Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blast from the Past: Sexy Teeth and Fresh Breath in the 70s !

Often for my Blast from the Past, I know I've repurposed and rerun old columns because of either a) running out of time or b) losing interest! This is one of those weeks where I'm reusing an old idea, but I'm not even going to look at my previous columns, I'm just going to see what I can find, using YouTube and my own memory as a guide.

I got the idea this week from the fact that I'm going in for my last insured dental visit for a while. The Other Half and I are embarking on a risky new chapter of our lives, where we will not have this type of coverage until we secure new jobs in a new town. So, obviously, it's a bit on my mind. But for some reason, I discovered that the topic of oral care is somehow extra sexy in the seventies. Take a look.

1. Ultra Brite Toothpaste (1978) - In a previous piece, I remember running a Farrah Fawcett Ultra Brite commercial. Here's one with her fellow Charlie's Angels "sister," Cheryl Ladd.
2. Close-Up Toothpaste (1979) - Ultra Brite wasn't the only toothpaste to play up sexuality. Close-Up did that almost exclusively. Here they are with Tom Selleck.

3. Crest Toothpate (1970s) - How about a little mustachioed Bill Cosby in your mouth? *blurrgh*
4. Pearl Drops Tooth Polish (1975) - Back to sexy (if you don't find the Cos sexy), with a woman who is a little to thrilled with her polished teeth. Sorry for the video quality, but there are other 70s commercials in the clip.

5. Macleans Toothpaste (1971) - Wow, they were sure horny for clean teeth in the 70s! Here, Cybill Shepherd is much less than subtle about getting it on with a guy who insults her.
6. Scope Mouthwash (1976) - Better rinse before getting that morning smooch!

7. Signal Mouthwash (1978) - Apparently Signal Mouthwash makes cheesy come-ons more sexy.
8. Freshen Up Bubblegum (1978) - A gum so sexy, it squirts in your mouth. . . And yes, that's Sorrell Brooke, Boss Hogg from The Dukes of Hazzard.

And that will about do it for me for the week. Though I just can't get out of here without the Farrah one. It's too classic. Here it is, happy Monday!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Photo from Wikipedia
Now I'm not saying there will be no blogging today. But it is a distinct possibility. It's Thanksgiving after all, and while some of you may actually have more time on your hands to be on the computer, I do not. I am off to my "home away from home," at Mr. & Mrs. Lesto's house. They're gourmet cooks, and their Thanksgivings are legendary. This is my 16th or 17th at their house if I have my math right. And--spoiler alert--it's my last, as we will not live in Las Vegas or Nevada next year. More on that in coming weeks and months.

So, if you've come looking for new posts, it is very unlikely to happen. I could get home early of course, but likely not. So, while you're here, by all means, scroll down. Aside from the usual politics and news commentary, I have a couple of fun Thanksgiving posts up, such as a Planes, Trains and Automobiles compilation, and WKRP in Cincinnati's "Turkeys Away" episode! Enjoy, and don't eat too much!

Thanksgiving's Best Movie: Planes, Trains & Automobiles

This is sort of a re-run of a post I ran last year, but I ran it after Thanksgiving, which kind of defeated the purpose of the post. Planes, Trains and Automobiles is probably the best--and certainly the funniest--Thanksgiving-themed movie ever.

I would say the list for that genre is pretty short, but even if it wasn't, Planes, Trains and Automobiles would still have no trouble making the top of that list.

Starring Steve Martin and John Candy, it contains more laughs per minute than most comedies, maybe even surpassing Airplane! and What's Up, Doc? Marred only by a sappy ending, and an atrocious 80s soundtrack, it is simply one of the best comedies of all time. Surely John Candy's best movie, and possibly Steve Martin's as well (though All of Me might nudge it out), PT&A can leave you laughing days later, and you'll be quoting it for years to come: "I want a f***ing car, right f***ing now!"

WARNING: Clips may contain hilarious profanity (and had to be rearranged this year, due to changes in the YouTubes). . .

#1 - Car Rental - This clip with Edie McClurg is one of the funniest scenes in comedy history, and was severly butchered in TV airings. Enjoy it uncut here.

#2 - Those Aren't Pillows! - John Candy & Steve Martin share a romantic moment.

#3 - Doin' the Mess Around - When I hear this song, I don't think of Ray Charles, I think of John Candy.

#4 - You're Going the Wrong Way! - How do they know where we're going?

And a bonus, the trailer for the film.


WKRP in Cincinnati: "Turkeys Away!"

If you ask any fan or even casual viewer of WKRP in Cincinnati to name their favorite episodes, this one is certain to be in their top three. And if you're too young to remember the show, or never watched it? Settle in for 24 minutes, and enjoy.

Thankful for: 12 Years with My Cat

Tuesday was a sad, but inevitable day at Casa Greenlee. Our fluffy tuxedo cat, Jinx, saw the end of her days after a string of close calls. When they say cats have nine lives, they were talking about Jinx. We rescued her on her expiration date--after hours--at the pound, and from there began a mostly wonderful dozen years. Jinx wasn't a scairdy-cat, and had little fear of people. She was cool with you rubbing her belly, and you could play with her toes. She could be bitchy, but in a way that was full of personality. She was a vindictive pooper. But always in an easy-to-clean spot. And, she was my buddy. I'm married to a flight attendant, so when The Other Half is away, I always have had someone to talk to.

Now that she's gone, the house is less a home. And I find I'm talking to myself. It's a transition every pet owner makes, especially if it's their only pet, and for such a long time. Honestly, the sadness is bearable, as I know she had her life extended so many times. The hard part is definitely the decision to actually make the call, to end things. We couldn't do it the first day. Or the second. By day three, we knew we were just stalling, and committed. Blubbery messes we were. Jinx was just sort of annoyed, though she enjoyed her treat of beef jerky. She was her same adorable, fluffy, aloof, bitchy self on her last day. Which was kind of perfect.

As essentially an atheist, I can't really go in for mysticism, or spiritualism. But there is a little wistful part of me that hopes if there is anything to any of that stuff, that my cat gets to lounge on fluffy clouds, and eat endless bags of Jack's Links jerky, and piles of Daddy's rugs to poop on. RIP, Jinxy. You'll be a tough act to follow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Impeach Obama! (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

This would of course be the sentiment of the new Congress and their seemingly very confused voters (except for the ones who also voted for pot, minimum wage, and against personhood laws?!?). Ugh. Anyway, it's all very festive, thanks to Rocky Mountain Mike. To the tune of Jose Feliciano's Feliz Navidad.

For more Mike, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In Case You Missed It: Benghazi Conspiracy Theories Are All Bunk

It must smart. Right Wing World has been putting everything they have into Benghazi, and it's just been shown to be a nothing-burger. Actually, it's a whole sack of nothing-burgers.

Now, let's start out by saying that the Benghazi attack was a genuine tragedy, and I have never belittled the four deaths that happened there. But this has never been about those four men. Certainly, most Benghaziites on the right couldn't name more than one of the four, Ambassador Chris Stevens. It has been about hanging a scandal around Democrats, initially President Obama, and more recently, Hillary Clinton. Any other Dems they could bag along the way would be fair game as well. But in point of fact, the right politicized the four deaths to the point of absurdity, even against the wishes of the survivors' families.

Image from source, MSNBC
But they've been at it so long, they can't let it go. I've never understood the fervor they have over whether or not it was a tape (I agree with Hillary, at this point, what difference does it make?), why they are obsessed with what Susan Rice had to say a few days later, or exactly what the conspiracy was. But it turns out, every single thing on their bullet-pointed list has been debunked thoroughly, and by a Republican investigation. Some diehard true believers are still holding on though, holding out hope for pinhead, Trey Gowdy's superfluous investigation to turn up something, anything.


House Intel panel demolishes Benghazi conspiracies
The substance of a story is what matters, but sometimes, when a story breaks is nearly as important. The Republican-run House Intelligence Committee, for example, waited until late on a Friday afternoon, the week before Thanksgiving, to announce the results of a two-year investigation into the deadly attacks on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya. . .

Read more at: MSNBC

Ferguson Decision Fallout

At war with the citizenry? Image from source, MSN
I don't have a lot to say about the Ferguson story. I don't know what happened. I understand why people are frustrated and angry, even if the facts of this particular case are murky. Cops are increasingly militarized, and there have been a number of high profile shootings, often of unarmed (or not lethally armed) men. Very often the decedent is black, but not always. "Always" is reserved for "cop walks." Or FBI agent walks. These cases have a higher rate of  "not culpable" decisions than Congress has a retention rate. Police and law agency agents just tend to get the benefit of the doubt, to the point of (sometimes) absurdity.

Now, in this case, as I said, things are a bit murky. Michael Brown seems like he wasn't necessarily a good guy, but then again it's arguable whether or not he deserved to die. The number of times he was shot seems to have been notably excessive, whether or not the first shot was justified. But this long ago became yet another left/right issue, and I don't have this particular fight in me. I hope violence and strife generated from it quickly gives way to substantive discussion and constructive work to fix any real problems in the system. And I think every once in a while, it would be nice if one of these cases could acknowledge that cops are capable of making a mistake, or even being culpable in going further than that.


Grand jury won't indict Ferguson cop in shooting

A grand jury declined Monday to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting sparked weeks of sometimes-violent protests and inflamed deep racial tensions between many African-Americans and police. . .

Read more at: MSN

Monday, November 24, 2014

Blast from the Past: Positively Perfect Pop Songs!

Pop music gets very little respect from music fans. For those of us who like it, it's just a fun confection, an enjoyable lark. From "real" music fans, pop music is disposable, meaningless, without artistic merit. The equivalent of Stephen King or Dean Koontz in the fiction genre. Well, you know what? I dig King and Koontz! And I dig pop music too!

There are numerous pop songs that just strike me as pop confection perfection. And this is my list of some of the best of the best.

1. Misery - Maroon 5 - This group, headlined by The Voice's Adam Levine, is one of the most successful acts at crafting pure pop perfection. Usually, they include a little profanity to add a little street cred. But their songs are just little balls of perfectly crafted song candy. Misery is one of the best, making an abusive relationship sound fun and bouncy! Yay! I'm in misery!

2. Express Yourself - Madonna - It would be impossible to narrow down Madonna's discography to find the best, most perfect pop song. That's why I didn't, and there is more than one. This one isn't just perfect, it has alternate versions that are equally perfect! And that shouldn't be possible!

3. Mony Mony - Billy Idol - This is an eighties version of a sixties song, that is largely meaningless. But it is absolute perfection in what it sets out to do: set dance floors on fire, and make people happy for no reason. Its recent inclusion in a Nissan Sentra ad is just proof.

4. Steal My Sunshine - Len
- Usually, when an act samples parts of another song to put into their own, the result is derivative, uninspired and something of a retread. In this case, one-hit-wonder Len achieves pop perfection, using Andrea True's More, More, More disco tune as a foundation.

5. Just Can't Get Enough - Depeche Mode - You can tell when even an "alternative" band has become mainstream when their old tunes not only get mixed in on "80s and More!" radio stations, but get put into GAP ads. This song might be from a band with a heavy artistic cred, but the song is a pop meringue.

6. Vogue - Madonna - Leave it to Madonna to take an underground gay dance craze, and turn it into mainstream success. And then, make it enough of a classic that if you played it on any dance floor 20+ years later, it would still draw a crowd.

7. Waterloo - ABBA - I am of the opinion that ABBA's catalog--almost all of it--could be released today, and be successful. Many, if not most of their hit songs are masterpieces of pop music. Songs like Ring, Ring and On and On and On should be re-released, just to see what happens. But Waterloo, to me, is a perfect pop song.

8. A Little More Love - Olivia Newton-John - This one might seem like a stretch, but hear me out. Pay attention to Olivia's change-ups in melody. Notice that she changes the note structure in each lead-in to the chorus, and each chorus itself. Much like Adam Levine does in Maroon 5, Olivia plays with the notes, going all over the place, but always in tune, and sounding perfect.

Okay, kids, that's my bit for this week. Hope you had a great Easter and/or Walking Dead finale weekend! Have a great week, and happy Monday!

Over Time with Bill Maher, November 21, 2014

Bill Maher and his guests – Chris Matthews, Seth Rogen, MP Chrystia Freeland and Roland Martin.

SNL's "I'm Just a Bill" Parody on President Obama's Immigration Plan

I'm always ready for a Schoolhouse Rock parody!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Nevada Republican's State Assembly Speaker Openly Racist, Sexist, Homophobic*

Image from source, Think Progress
Nevada has faced a number of oddball candidates for office, from the Chicken Lady, Sue Lowden to the certifiably batshit crazy Sharron Angle. And for decades, we've had the Hansen family, from the "Independent American Party," which should absolutely, positively not be confused with your run-of-the-mill independents. The IAP is a very fringy party, where you thought fringes were impossible. And the Hansens tried for years to get into mainstream politics.

Undoubtedly some have, and there is a new one. I wasn't able to confirm that he's part of the same family, but if not he'd fit right in. Ira Hansen is the new Speaker of the Nevada State Assembly. And he simply is pure hard right wing id. No filter, no dog whistle, all right there in the front window.

Whew. Unbelievable.


Incoming Nevada Speaker Said Democrats Have ‘Master-Slave’ Relationship With ‘Simple Minded Darkies’

Nevada Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R), who the assembly’s Republican caucus selected as their choice to be its next speaker earlier this month, has a long history of racist, sexist and homophobic statements chronicled in a long list published by the Reno News Review. Among other things, as part of a broader statement of support for school vouchers, Hansen claimed that “[t]he relationship of Negroes and Democrats is truly a master-slave relationship, with the benevolent master knowing what’s best for his simple minded darkies.” Indeed, according to the News Review, Hansen keeps a Confederate battle flag on his wall, which he says that he flies “proudly in honor and in memory of a great cause and my brave ancestors who fought for that cause.” He also “tends to use the term ‘Negro’ and often does not capitalize it. . .”

Read more at: Think Progress

*Obviously, "racist, sexist, homophobic" are all subjective judgments by me, your editor. Though I'm not sure another conclusion could be drawn.

President Obama Announces His Immigration Plan

Image from source, USAToday

I really can't see what everyone is so worked up about. This sounded logical, reasonable, and fair to me. Truly, I sometimes think conservatives view the world through some sort of distortion lens.


First take: Echoes of Bush in Obama's immigration speech

The immigration speech President Obama gave a week before Thanksgiving was the one he was supposed to give before Labor Day. But Obama punted until after the election. "I want to spend some time, even as we're getting all our ducks in a row for the executive action, I also want to make sure that the public understands why we're doing this," he said on Meet the Press in September. . .

Read more at: USA Today

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Skeeter's Song (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

One of the most common laments of liberals is that conservatives (and some liberals) vote against their best interests. And this couldn't have been more clear than in the 2014 election. How do you explain people voting for minimum wage increases, pot legalization, against personhood amendments and more. . .and yet voting in Republicans who are diametrically opposed to those positions?

The embodiment of this mindset is "Skeeter," Rocky Mountain Mike's tea baggin', conservative-because-I-was-born-this-way character. Here, Skeeter sings his explanation to the tune of Kenny Loggins' Danny's Song.

For more Mike, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!

The Gay Thing: Marriage Equality in Montana! And (Kinda) in South Carolina

Despite a few setbacks, roadblocks, stays, delays and really, really whiny Republican governors and attorneys general, the marriage equality wave just keeps on rolling, from one end of the country to the other. Or more like in from the edges, and crashing together in the middle, pooling in some rather confused states (looking at you, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri). Due to the aforementioned whiny politicos, those states and South Carolina have a muddled mess of marriage in some places, not in others, recognized from out of state or not, recognized by their own state or not. It grows a little tiresome, but it's really happening so fast, I can almost just roll my eyes and shrug it off.

Image from Slate
Almost. I'm still pissed that it seems to be cool with so many people--from anonymous bloggers, to radio personalities, to elected officials--to proclaim gay people to be less than, other, second-class citizens and worse. What they don't realize is that their naked animus is actually helpful in proving the point that we're treated unequally. In fact, without the discriminatory pre-emptive constitutional amendments that swept the country in the 90s and 2000s, it's extremely unlikely that we'd be up to at least 34 marriage equality states. So, thanks, haters. You did it. You really did it. You still suck, but you did it.


Montana marriage ban overturned; licenses granted
A federal judge on Wednesday overturned the state gay marriage ban in Montana, one of the last states to continue defending its ban despite rulings in favor of same-sex marriage from appeals courts that oversee them. . .

Read more at: Yahoo!

Image from source, MSN

1st gay marriage licenses issued in South Carolina

A judge issued the first gay marriage licenses and a couple was married in South Carolina on Wednesday, even as the state attorney general asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and block the unions. . .

Read more at: MSN

Et tu, Jonathan Turley?

One of the most frequent charges by Democrats about Democrats regarding their performance in the 2014 election was that they didn't act like Democrats. They played the part of Republican Lite. It's more than annoying. You'll find few on the left who care whether or not Mary Landrieu retains her Senate seat, mostly because--to paraphrase a Republican term--she's a DINO: Democrat in Name Only. Though, truth be told, she's always been a blue dog (at best).

But it's depressing when a person you have semi-idolized and identified with for years shows entirely different stripes. Jonathan Turley is a law professor and legal analyst. I became familiar with him from his frequent appearances on The Randi Rhodes Show on the radio, in the dark days of the Bush Administration. His pithy, smart analysis of the misdeeds of Bush/Cheney were amazing. I'm quite sure I've referenced him on the blog in the early days. Later, Turley would often appear on MSNBC, offering the same sort of spiel. I really liked him. I used to read  his blog daily.

Now, Turley is the unlikely third-in-a-series attorney for John Boner Boehner, in his bizarre lawsuit against President Barack Obama. Over tweaks made to the Affordable Care Act. You know, the dreaded ObamaCare that Republicans want to kill fifty times (and have tried). They're allegedly suing because they're upset that he delayed parts of it!? Why on earth would they care? They don't. It was a random pull-a-reason-from-a-hat excuse to sue, because they'd already said they were going to sue. It's so unbelievably stupid. And I expect a lot better of Jonathan Turley. Then I found out he's been guesting on FOX "News" a lot lately, and all became clear. Dead to me.


House Republicans Hire Jonathan Turley to Pursue Obama Lawsuit
House Republicans have hired their third attorney since August to pursue their lawsuit against President Barack Obama for allegedly overstepping his authority, tapping George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, according to House Speaker John Boehner’s office. . .

Read more at: Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keystone XL Pipeline Loses in Senate by One Vote

I've already lamented here about the mystery of exactly why conservatives have a big ol' chubby for the Keystone XL pipeline. Maybe it's because of that XL there, sounding like a super-sized SUV or a roller coaster. It's certainly not the scads of permanent jobs, because even the thing's builders have copped to 35-50 permanent jobs. It's not "energy independence," because it's not our oil, it's Canada's. Near as I can figure, Keystone gives conservatives a woody because liberals--especially Obama--are against it. Ipso facto, it's got to be good.

Image from source, MSN
I frankly see this as just about the best example of the worst of our politics, and while it is slathered all over the right, it drips onto quite a few of the left. This is a combination of a) "truthiness," the feeling that it must be good, whether or not the facts are in evidence; b) greed; c) money in politics; d) extremely divided "us vs. them" politics; e) blindness to the possibility of consequences; f) the inability to let facts change a full-speed-ahead charge to an outcome; g) craven politics on both sides. And oh, so much more.

Of course, when Sen. Mitch McConnell gavels in the Republican Senate in January, they'll put Keystone XL up right away, and it'll pass. And then the President will have to veto.


Senate Democrats reject bill to build oil pipeline
The Democrat-controlled Senate has defeated a bill to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The Senate's 59-41 vote Tuesday night was a nail-biter to the end. The bill needed 60 votes to reach the White House. The House passed it overwhelmingly last week. . .

Read more at: MSN

So, Obama's Immigration Executive Action is Unconstitutional? Really?

When people say both parties are the same, I get grouchy, because there are many very clear differences (even if I wish there were more than two options sometimes). But one area where they are alike: when the balance of power shifts, they often develop policy amnesia.

For instance, remember when Democrats were in the minority last time, and Republicans' never-ending mantra was, "up-or-down vote?" Angered by what they saw as obstruction, Republicans aimed to browbeat Democrats by drilling that phrase into voters' psyches, and it was relentless. Then, when Republicans found themselves in the minority, suddenly they were the lord-god-kings of obstruction. Unfortunately, Democrats are very, very bad at phraseology, or speaking with one strong, consistent voice. Republicans are very, very good at it. So there is a difference for you. Another is that Republicans are absolutely unafraid to be disingenuous or dishonest in their wordsmithing. Just repeat, repeat, repeat.

But back to my point: now that Republicans are shifting into power, they seem to have forgotten that presidents have some executive power themselves. And any flexing of it by a Democratic (black) president is obviously unprecedented, obviously lawless and unconstitutional, obviously impeachable! Even though George H.W. Bush did something similar. Even though "Ronaldus Maximus" Ronald Regan did pretty much exactly the same thing. Can you remember any Republican outcry for the impeachment of Saint Ronnie?


Remember How St. Reagan Got Impeached For Executive Order On Immigration?

Monday’s Rachel Maddow Show kicked off with one of those “where’s she going?” bits, about the odd technologically outmoded conversations between Pope Francis and his best American bud, Cardinal Se├ín O’Malley — they fax each other all the time, as a 60 Minutes profile detailed this week. Turns out, one of the things O’Malley is big on is immigration reform, and there’s the hook for the real focus of this segment: The Catholic Church didn’t like several provisions of Ronald Reagan’s 1986 immigration reform act, and when Congress couldn’t get the votes together to fix them, Reagan issued an executive order to change how the immigration laws were enforced. George H.W. Bush also issued executive orders to exempt some categories of people from deportation. In total, the tweaks allowed some 1.5 million people to stay in the country, without any approval from Congress. . .

Read more (with video) at: Wonkette

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ted Cruz Continues Fight Against Al Franken on Net Neutrality

I dislike everything about Senator Ted Cruz. Superficially, I'm annoyed by his perpetually creepy face and his annoying, mosquito-buzzing-by-your-ear voice. More seriously, it pisses me off how he plays to his base. But does he believe his own patter? Is he a patronizing douche, who calculatedly throws red meat to the savages? Or is he an egotistical ignoramus who believes that whatever claptrap falls out of his mouth is the truth?

Say what you want about Senator Al Franken, but he's genuine. He knows what he's talking about, and he believes in what he's saying. In the case of Net Neutrality, Franken--who has championed the idea for years--is explaining what it is, in reality. Ted Cruz calls it "ObamaCare for the Internet," and makes rotary phone analogies, neither of which makes a lick of sense in regard to the subject. Cruz is outmatched here, but to paraphrase President Obama again, "Please proceed, Senator."


Ted Cruz Hits Back At Al Franken On Net Neutrality

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) responded on Monday to comments made by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) about net neutrality, the latest exchange in what is becoming an ongoing, public back-and-forth. The debate began when Cruz dubbed the concept "Obamacare for the Internet." Franken said in an interview on Sunday that Cruz has no idea what he's talking about. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Could GOP's 2014 Election Success Spell Their Doom in 2016?

SPOILER ALERT: Lawrence will read a rather frank and brutal analysis to you, about how the GOP should enjoy their two years of crazy, but that it will end with significant setbacks for them in the next election. The language is pointed and out of character for Mr. O'Donnell. And that's because he is reading the words of a Republican political analyst.

It's Impeachable (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

To anyone who lived through the Clinton impeachment imbroglio, I for one would like to say, knock it off, GOP. It's exhausting, you'll overplay your hand, and you'll ensure Democratic success in 2016. On second thought, "Please proceed, Governor."

Rocky Mountain Mike has put the idea to music, to the tune of Perry Como's It's Impossible. For more Mike, go here. And buy his album, Politically Incoherent on Amazon!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Blast from the Past: Saturday Morning in the 70s, Pt. 2: The Cartoons

Saturday morning cartoons--an absolute weekly event during most of my childhood--are a thing of the past. There are entire channels dedicated to cartoons and children's programming, but it's just not the same as the big three TV networks having a slate of kids shows from 6 to noon every Saturday. They competed against each other, and ran promotional ads in comic books to get our eyeballs on their channel. And we all watched. I don't
remember any kid my age who didn't.

My first edition covered the live-action shows, and this time I'm going for the cartoons. These are my favorites, in no particular order.

1. Josie and the Pussycats (1972-73) - A weird amalgam of Archie Comics style and Hanna-Barbara Scooby-Doo-like storytelling. But I loved the music, and Sebastian the cat.

2. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969-1970) - Scooby-Doo ran for many, many years, in many, many formats. But long before the insufferable Scrappy-Doo came along, was the original. And dig that music!

3. SuperFriends (1973-1986) - The first season was a kid-friendly version of The Justice League of America, complete with ordinary kids Wendy and Marvin (with WonderDog). The show picked up steam and popularity with the introduction of the Wonder Twins, Zan & Jayna. But the closer they got to the feel of the JLA, the more I liked it.

4. The Pink Panther Show (1969-1980) - This is another one that ran under a great many titles, but I always liked it, with its mix of segments, from the Ant and the Aardvark, Tijuana Toads and The Inspector.

INTERLUDE A: In the News (1971-1986) - CBS ran these mini news programs between cartoons. They brought our mornings to a screeching halt. But as I got older, I started to enjoy them.

INTERLUDE B: Schoolhouse Rock (1973-2009) - Unlike the previous, I loved these shorts. Almost all of them. We looked forward to Schoolhouse Rock just as much as the regular cartoons.

5. The Brady Kids (1972-73) - The Brady Bunch cartoon version included Marlon the talking mynah bird, and Ping and Pong, the pandas, for no particular reason. I was only 6, and I was rolling my eyes at the wacky animal sidekick trope. Speaking of which. . .

6. The Partridge Family 2200 A.D. (1974-75) - For some reason, the Partridges have a different mom, and instead of touring on a bus in the 70s, they're flying through space in the 23rd century. With a robot dog called Orbit.

7. The Tom & Jerry/Grape Ape/Mumbly Show (1976) - Though Tom & Jerry went through many, many titles (and their theatrical shorts are their main draw), this mouthful of a title still sticks in my head, and thus deserves a spot on the list. Unfortunately, the only video I can find is of the version without Mumbly.

8. Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1972-1981) - I loved this show, and Bill Cosby (here's hoping he's not guilty of the current allegations), but it always heralded the end of cartoons for the day, which was also sad.

And now, the weekend is over, and it's time to go to school work! Happy Monday!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Keystone XL Pipeline to be Fast-Tracked by Congress - Both Sides Seeking Credit

I really wish somebody could explain this to me. The Keystone XL pipeline is loathed by environmentalists, and some climatologists. If successful, the oil extracted from the sands it will move is allegedly "game over" for the environment. And if it should leak, it could endanger a major aquifer that supplies water to a huge portion of the American populace. It will move oil that isn't ours, and will not be ours when it is sold either. It will employ lots of people for the time it takes to build it, but won't have many long-term jobs at all.

So, why does Right Wing World have a hard on for it, exactly? I know this is a major political football, so much so that both sides of Congress--particularly Louisiana Senate candidates looking at a runoff--are seeking to fast-track it, and try to take credit for it. But why? Why is this priority #1?


Keystone XL Pipeline: Lame-Duck Congress Fast-Tracks Legislation

The tortuous six-year fight over a controversial proposal to funnel oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast took another turn this week after both houses of the lame-duck Congress moved to vote on the Keystone XL pipeline. As the legislation barrels through Congress and heads to the Oval Office, President Barack Obama may soon settle one of the most politically charged debates of the decade. The White House appeared to downplay the congressional maneuvering Wednesday, saying it takes a "dim view of these kinds of legislative proposals. . ."

Read more at: NBC News

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Gay Thing: Gay Marriage Comes to Kansas; Ban Struck Down in South Carolina

When the 6th Circuit Court (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee) decided to uphold the bans on same-sex marriage in their jurisdiction, anti-gay forces got a rare boost. Except for two or three outlier decisions in the last two years, marriage equality has racked up dozens of wins, culminating with four Circuit Courts ruling in their favor, and the Supreme Court electing to leave it that way. Then came the 6th. While many, if not most of the court watchers on both sides figured a Circuit split would happen, it didn't stop the sting on one side and the jubilation on the other.

Image from source, Yahoo!
But it turns out, the 6th hasn't changed things in other marriage equality cases. Gay couples can now marry in Kansas. And in South Carolina--barring an extraordinary occurrence--will have it soon. We are soon to be left with the Deep South (which somehow has spread upward all the way past Ohio to Michigan), the Dakotas, Montana, Nebraska and Texas. And some of those could topple at any time.

The smart money is on the Supreme Court taking the 6th Circuit cases (though some say they'll send it back to an en banc review), with some sort of decision by the end of June, 2015. Meanwhile, some of these individual states will go into the "win" column, and at least one other Circuit could rule, probably siding with the 6th. But by the time that happens, the Supremes may very well have ruled. Just about everyone I've read seems to think our chances are good at SCOTUS, though not assured. With over 2/3 of the states now experience marriage equality, it is difficult to imagine that SCOTUS will shut it down. Especially since it was their actions that gave us a large chunk of those states.


Gay marriage advocates get victories in Kansas, South Carolina
Gay marriage advocates won another two victories on Wednesday as the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Kansas to become the 33rd U.S. state where same-sex couples can wed and a federal judge struck down South Carolina's ban. . .

Read more at: Yahoo! News

The Media's Insane Reaction to Ebola

Now that the very few actual cases of Ebola in the United States have run their course, and the incubation period for anyone else is past, can we talk about the media reaction?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

US and China Announce Climate Agreement

I'm sure Right Wing World sees this as much ado about nothing, since--somehow--their political ideology overrules climate science, and relegates climate change to being a hoax. But if anyone has been paying attention to China's desperate--and unsuccessful--effort to squelch their horrific air pollution in advance of this summit, they'd see just how obvious it is that we can affect our environment in bad ways. Why on earth they think it's impossible to cause more global changes is hard for me to fathom. But good on President Obama for this effort, whatever the usual suspects have to say about it.


US, China Announce Ambitious New Climate Agreement

The United States and China unveiled ambitious targets Wednesday to reduce greenhouse gases, aiming to inject fresh momentum into the global fight against climate change ahead of a make-or-break treaty to be finalized next year. President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would move much faster in cutting pollution, with a goal to reduce by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025, compared with 2005 levels. Earlier in his presidency, Obama set a goal to cut emissions by 17 percent by 2020. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

What Happens in Vegas: Caesars Filing for Bankruptcy?

Several years ago, the big casinos on the Las Vegas Strip started consolidating. Very quickly, they pretty much came to be two gigantic companies, Caesars Entertainment and MGM/Mirage. There are exceptions, but not many. And of course, these two gigantic companies own and/or operate casinos and resorts all over the country and around the globe. But are casino companies too big to fail?

Apparently not. As hard as it is to believe that a business centered on mostly casinos--where the game is always tilted toward the house--could possibly fail. But given that it can, it ought to be a lesson for the rest of corporate America: your colossal corporations--formed by decades of unchecked consolidation--could fall victim to the same thing. I for one would be very excited to see some of the consolidated businesses in many industries be trust-busted, like we used to do. We could start with the media.

I'm so sorry, sire!

Caesars, Creditors Said to Have Deal on Unit’s Bankruptcy
Caesars Entertainment Corp. (CZR) reached an agreement with key senior creditors on the outline of a debt restructuring plan that includes a prearranged bankruptcy for its largest unit as soon as January, according to two people with knowledge of the negotiations. Under the plan being negotiated by first-lien bondholders including Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. and Pacific Investment Management Co., the casino company would put its Caesars Entertainment Operating Co. unit into Chapter 11 proceedings as soon as Jan. 14, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. . .

Read more at: Bloomberg

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In Case You Missed It: Too Many Cooks!

Yeah, I know. I'm at the tail end of this one. That's what you get when you don't blog much on weekends, and you get busy after that. But I wanted this here anyway, because it's such a perfect encapsulation of my many pop culture touchstones; a stew of TV and movie tropes all stirred together brilliantly. Though, I'm quite sure it leaves people scratching their heads.

Suffice to say, the longer you watch, the weirder (and more trippy) it gets.

I've Been a Little Busy. . .

Oh, hi! Didn't see you there. Yeah, I know, nothing new in a couple of days. Such is the life of the hobbyist blogger: life gets in the way. Between social obligations, a house guest and our renewed home improvement efforts, blogging has just not been possible. And here I sit at ten past midnight, with nothing up since Sunday.

I'll be back! Probably tomorrow, with an unexpected day off from work, due to Veteran's Day and a slowdown in projects. So, maybe this here blog thingy will see some action on Tuesday. So, until then. . .


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Give Me Some Credit! (Updated)

I noticed long ago that I get a lot of credit card offers. Beyond the standard junk mail and insurance offers (probably a topic for another post), credit card offers come weekly. But what really started to catch my eye was that it was the same offer, over and over again: Barclay Card, Capitol One and Discover. I would make a joke of it, "Look! An offer for Barclay Card!" So, I decided to start collecting them, to see how often they really do come. I started this project in early March, and the stack of offers is so high, I'm declaring an end to it. Here are my findings:

Barclay Card: 16 offers
Discover Card: 13 offers
Capitol One: 19 offers
Grand total: 38 credit card offers from three companies in 6 months

This is (with the exception of just a couple from Capitol One) all for one person in our household! These mailers are heavy, high quality printing, and in the case of Discover, glossy. They are not cheap to produce, and cannot be cheap to mail. How much money do credit card companies spend, saturating the market with these mailers?


The Other Half and I have each had our troubles with credit in our lives, thankfully at separate times, and also thankfully in the distant past. But I'm amazed at how much the credit card companies want our business. After years of offers, about six weeks ago, I decided to start collecting the offers, just to see how often they really come. To date: 5 Capital One Card, 5 Barclay Card, 3 Discover Card. In all, 13 offers from three companies in six weeks. Even more odd, only one was for me! I guess I've been out of debt so long, they don't think I'm interested any more?

But keep this in mind, next time you wonder why your interest rates are so high: how much money are they spending on these repeated, excessive, expensive, glossy mailers?

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Gay Thing: The Best "Review" of the 6th Circuit Decision

I've given you my take on the woefully bad 6th Circuit Court decision to uphold gay marriage bans from Michigan to Tennessee. But if you'd like to read a review of the decision that is both on point and also highly entertaining, you can't do better than this:


Sixth Circuit Strikes Down Gay Marriage For Stupid Reasons That Are Dumb

Well, looky here, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to cram homophobia down everyone’s throats. Talk about judicial activism! In a 2-1 decision, the three-judge panel — with the dissenter writing a most epic dissent, but we’ll get to that — ruled in DeBoer v. Snyder that it is perfectly fine and legal, and probably also good for the children, to ban marriage equality in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The court uses a lot of fancy legal jargon like “strict scrutiny” and “rational basis review” and lots of citations to lots of cases to make it look like the judges are just doing their jobs, but when you cut out all of that lawtalk, the basic premise of the court’s decision to overturn the lower courts’ decisions is that, as judges, they cannot possibly decide whether it is constitutional to discriminate against gay people for being gay. What are they — judges? . . .

Read more at: Wonkette

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In Case You Missed It: Rachel Maddow Finds a Silver Lining in the 2014 Election

I forgot to post this yesterday, and it's too good to forget. Rachel Maddow was one of MSNBC's main commentators on their election coverage (yes, FOX-lovers, I'm her one viewer, haha), and did a pretty good job during the dour thing (when Chris Matthews wasn't being a dick). People who claimed it was funereal on that channel didn't watch, or only caught a snippet. Because Maddow lives for this stuff. She's a political junkie who thinks of elections like Christmas, no matter who is winning.

As such, even though the night was dire for liberals, Rachel culled the returns for some good news. And delivers it with the appropriate amount of "yes, I'm digging through a pile of poop for nuggets of gold here." So, if you don't know about the good things that came out of that dismal election, here's your go-to source.

The Gay Thing: 6th Circuit Rules FOR Gay Marriage Bans (Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan)

For an atheist, I have an unusual amount of things that are so intuitive and coincidental, that it makes me wonder if agnosticism might not be more my speed. Almost daily I have an odd occurrence, the repetition of an unusual word in disparate places, talking about an obscure celebrity, only to have them die the next day. Things like that. I had another one today. I thought, "What's going on with the 6th Circuit?"  They'd heard cases on marriage equality quite a while ago. The election is over, so I figured the timing was ripe. When were they going to rule? This was right before lunch. I did a quick couple of Google searches, and no news.

After lunch, boom, the news hit. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the gay marriage bans in their jurisdiction can stand. This is quite the departure, and provides a Circuit split, as every other Circuit Court that has ruled on the subject has ruled against such bans. In a week of bad political news (from my perspective), this was just the rancid icing on the moldy cake. I suppose it shouldn't bother me so badly, since we're on the edge of 34 states having marriage equality. Even my current state has me in the legal column.

But Ohio is my home state. We've talked about moving back there. If we moved tomorrow, in most of the states in our path, our marriage would be intact. It would wink off in the Texas panhandle, wink back on in Oklahoma, and remain so until we got to our destination. Where we'd promptly become roommates in Ohio. Clearly, this is no way to run a country. And I'm hoping, that's what the Supreme Court will think as well. The question is, when will the case even get there? If things move quickly, it could be decided by June of next year. Or maybe June of 2016. And there's no guarantee we'll win.

But I think we have a much better than even chance. Let's start with the 6th's decision. While I'm no lawyer or judge, I don't think this decision would pass in high school debate class. There's very little in the way of legal reasoning at all. It's mostly appeals to tradition, and--very oddly--an effort to duck responsibility. The court is actually saying it's not their place to decide. Not their place to decide a constitutional issue! It's absurd.

Actually, the entire battle from the anti-gay side has been absurd. I've been arguing this subject for years online and elsewhere, and there is literally nothing new to their arguments. The things that this court did latch onto have been argued down and defeated in dozens of previous decisions. These retread arguments would only sway judges who were groping for reasoning. And rather than answer the questions before them: a) can a state constitutionally ban gay people from getting married and b) can a state refuse to recognize a legal marriage from another state, were largely responded to with a, "What? Who? Us? You're asking us? It's not up to us." Crazy man. Crazy.


Supreme Court Gay Marriage Showdown Looms After Appeals Court Upholds Bans
The march toward gay marriage across the U.S. hit a roadblock Thursday when a federal appeals court upheld laws against the practice in four states, creating a split in the legal system that increases the chances the Supreme Court will step in to decide the issue once and for all. The cases decided were from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Obama: No, I Won't Let Them Repeal ObamaCare

Image from source, Talking Points Memo
A lot of people have pointed out that the GOP won largely on a single rallying cry: "We hate Barack Obama." Beyond that, there really wasn't much of a platform. So, what are they going to do with all this power? Well, impeachment is a possibility. Why? They don't need a why. They'll find a why, like they did with Bill Clinton. And as that episode proved, it doesn't even have to be a good reason.

But it's risky. It only made Clinton more popular. If Al Gore hadn't made the decision to distance himself from Clinton (a lesson Democrats hopefully have now learned by doing the same with Obama), he very well might have won. Or rather, won more decisively, so that SCOTUS couldn't hand it to Bush. I know, I know, get off the tangent. Okay.

So, while I'm sure somebody is going to bring up impeachment, it's far from a sure thing. So, what's next? ObamaCare. Obviously. Even though it's working (after an admittedly fumbled rollout), and millions of previously uninsured people now have insurance. Even though they don't have an alternative. Even though the cry for repeal only really exists at the base level. They've got to reward that base. So, you know they'll at least make some noise about it. I mean, how many times did the House vote for repeal, 50?

Anyway, barring an astounding turn of events, repeal of the whole thing is very, very unlikely. But don't be shocked if they go for some changes. And you know they won't be the good kind.


Obama: No, I'm Not Going To Allow The GOP To Repeal Obamacare
President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he would be "open and receptive" to "responsible changes" to Obamacare proposed by the new GOP Congress, but asserted that there were some policies that were off the table. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

The Gay Thing: Marriage Equality Comes to Missouri (and Maybe Kansas)

With the gigantic Republican swing in the Senate and House, many gay people like myself immediately bristled: "what are they going to try to do?" The marriage equality wave has been bigger and more sustained than even this Republican wave (which, let's face it, was powered by a combination of overly-motivated conservatives, and under-motivated liberals). Up until now, there has been a lot of squawking by conservatives about gay marriage, and futile efforts at slowing it down, but it keeps coming, state-by-state, and even the Supreme Court seems to not care about slowing it down.

April Dawn Breeden & Crystal Peirs at their St. Louis wedding.
Image from source, St. Louis Tribune.
So, I figured we were finally a dead issue. But with their new position, who can be sure what Republicans will do? Will they take this bullshit issue about "sincerely held religious beliefs," couple it with the Hobby Lobby decision, and come up with religious exemptions to civil rights laws? Will they push for a "Federal Marriage Amendment?" Will they come up with something we haven't thought of yet, to demonize gay people, or otherwise try to keep us at second-class status? They might. They might do a lot of crazy stuff. Or, just maybe, they'll be so busy trying to repeal ObamaCare, and with trying to impeach the President over something (anything will likely do), they'll decide we're not worth the trouble.

In any event, it was some consolation to the dismal election returns, to find good news on the marriage equality front in both Kansas and Missouri! Neither is all the way over the finish line, though Missouri will be soon, and Kansas quick to follow. 2/3 of the states now have equal marriage. At this rate, regardless of what they throw at us, we'll get to 50 before they gather a strategy. I hope...


Judge overturns Missouri ban on gay marriage

A state judge overturned Missouri’s constitutional ban on gay marriage Wednesday in a ruling that immediately set off a rush among some same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses. St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison said in a written ruling that Missouri’s measure recognizing marriage only between a man and woman violates the due process and equal protection rights of the U.S. Constitution. The decision mirrored ones handed down recently in several other states. . .

Read more at: St. Louis Tribune


Kansas ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional: judge
Same-sex couples may soon be able to marry in Kansas following a federal judge's ruling on Tuesday that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree granted a preliminary injunction stopping Kansas from enforcing its ban on gay marriage and put the ruling on hold until Nov. 11 to give Kansas an opportunity to appeal. . .

Read more at: Reuters

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Election 2014: Where I Differ from the Punditry

This is America's idea of a leader? SMH.
Image from source, TPM.
I just got done reading the post excerpted below. It's from Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo, one of my go-to guys on one of my go-to blogs. And I fundamentally disagree with him. And agree with him. Let me explain.

Election night was a doozy: great for Republicans, dire for Democrats. This much is true, and is indisputable. It is being described (by Marshall and others) as a massive "national tide" or "wave." Marshall goes so far as to say the results are, ". . .about the national political climate." Excuse me, but no, they're not. And yes they are. But, no first.

No, because this wasn't a national election, not really. As everyone knows, liberals and Democrats are notoriously difficult to rouse in off-year or mid-term elections. I don't know why this is so, but it's so. Also, the right-wing base is extraordinarily easy to get to the polls. Any time, really. So this "tide/wave" isn't really all that big. It was effective, but does not necessarily indicate the national political climate. Unless the only climate you care about is this small group of voters.

And yes, because, well. . .there is a level of political "truthiness" going on here. The GOP (and its support network, your FOX "News," your Rush Limbaugh) has done a bang-up job painting President Obama as a ruthless, Maoist, fascist, Marxist, socialist, communist, you name it, negative-ist caricature. He's also a feckless, gormless, lazy, rudderless, incompetent boob who can not, will not lead, except "from behind." Forget that he really can't be all of those things, the cognitive dissonance somehow sells. This sales pitch has become part of the national political climate whether it is true or not. And Democrats--by and large--treated it like it was true as much as Republicans did. Economic indicators are up. . .just about every measure that should have the president's party doing well is good. But people are angry! Why? Because they just are.

So, this wave is both not as large as it's being portrayed, even though its results were. And though this may portend a national political climate, it is also kind of baseless and lacking substance. How's that for some cognitive dissonance?

Now, let's see how crazy this gets.


What Does It Mean?
No two ways about it - a big, big night for the GOP. We won't know the outcome in Louisiana until December. But it's now looking likely that the GOP will end up with a 54 - 46 seat majority in the next Congress. We still haven't heard from Alaska. And we can't totally count Landrieu out. But this is close to a maximal win for the Republicans. . .

Read more at: Talking Points Memo

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election 2014: How Screwed Are We?

I went into this election with all the positivity I could muster. And with all the bracing I could manage for a bad result. All-in-all, I guess I'm weathering it. Whereas in 2012--which turned out pretty well--I was all aflutter with worry, this time it was more like grudging resignation. I don't understand why people are voting heavy Republican. I don't understand how anyone would want to elect Mitch McConnell, Rick Scott, Scott Wanker Walker, John Kasich, or any of a host of other candidates who were  re-elected tonight. But I accept that they have.

How screwed are we? Well, given that the previous Congress was the least effective in history, not much more screwed than before. The more relevant question might be, "how crazy will they be?" And my thought is, "pretty crazy." The rabid base that got them here has been frothing at the mouth for all kinds of nutty things, and they're going to want to flex their muscles. And I will make a prediction right now: The Republican Congress and Senate that was elected in 2014 will shoot their crazy wad all over the country, and will inspire a Democratic wave in 2016.

Until then, we have to cover ourselves with a tarp or something. Another prediction, my just re-elected Republican Governor Brian Sandoval will have to battle Wisconsin's Governor Walker for the 2016 RNC nomination. And finally, I'm going to have a lot more material for the blog.

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