Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy, "Mr. Spock" of Star Trek, Dead at 83

Image from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
No. No, no, no, no, no, no.

I know he was elderly. I know he was ill. I know that everyone has their time, and that eighty-three cannot be considered an untimely year to expire. But this was Leonard Nimoy. This is an icon. What's more, he was an icon who was as revered now as he ever was. Even with several announced retirements, he kept coming back to make his fans happy. He appeared in both of the rebooted Star Trek movies, even though every character from the original had been replaced by another actor! He appeared on Fringe, an over-looked but loved sci-fi show to the delight of that core group of fans. He was so wanted for that program, they animated him when he couldn't appear live!

Image from source, Huffington Post
Star Trek is of course what he'll be remembered for most, and it was at conventions (I've been to a few) where I was lucky enough to see him in person. But he was good in virtually everything, and had an amazing voice (perhaps only matched by James Earl Jones, or his former cast-mate George Takei) that added gravitas to anything. We've lost a few of the originals of Star Trek prior to this, including DeForest Kelly and James Doohan. But this one actually hurts. This one is Gilda Radner/Madeline Kahn/Robin Williams-level of sad for me, eighty-three or not.

People who know me, know that I'm a touch slow to compassion, sympathy and empathy at times. I'm awkward dealing with sadness, or really displaying signs of it myself. But dammit, this is a sad day. Dammit, Spock! And RIP, Leonard.
Image from source, Huffington Post

'Star Trek' Star Leonard Nimoy Dead At 83

Leonard Nimoy, who was best-known for his role as Mr. Spock in the "Star Trek" franchise, died at his home on Friday in Los Angeles, his wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed to the New York Times. He was 83. According to his wife, Nimoy's death was due to end-stage chronic obtrusive pulmonary disease. The star had been open about his condition, and spoke publicly about it last year. "Just can't walk distances. Love my life, family, friends and followers," he wrote on Twitter a week after announcing his diagnosis. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Browser Trouble

I'm writing this post, because I really hope someone who has had the same issues comments back to me. Maybe not with an answer or a solution, but merely to commiserate!

Okay, let me start with the fact that I use my computer in a certain way, mostly because I'm self-taught, and have been doing this for 25 years. I started with MS-DOS 2.something, up to Windows 3.0, through Windows 8.1 (not to mention OS-X in various versions). I'm a relatively tech-savvy guy, though I've sort of tromped my own path, and continue to. One thing I use, I get criticized for: I still use AOL. I know, I know, people hate it. I hate it too, but I like it for certain things. It's a legacy "thing" for me, that became part of my work habits, and I've seen no reason to expunge it--or my 20+ year email address--when I still have use for it.

So, please, no, "Why would anyone still use that?" okay? I get that from my brother. Besides, the fact of the matter is, there is no browser on any platform that doesn't have issues. There is none that doesn't eventually irritate me beyond measure at some point. They've all got their quirks, strengths and weaknesses. So, I tend to use them in tandem, and use different ones for different things.

To be fair, it doesn't look like this anymore.
For instance, I toggle between AOL and Internet Explorer 11 on my main monitor, and Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome on my secondary monitor. If they are freshly opened (and for a while thereafter), this is a great setup, and works very well for me, and for how I work. Ultimately, however, cracks start to show. Firefox has the unnerving tendency to lose its title bar utterly, and for other features to sort of fade away, and randomly crashes (very apologetically). Internet Explorer loses its tab names, has many issues with "not responding" and "long-running scripts," and always foists responsibility off of itself, and onto whatever web page(s) you're visiting. Chrome tends to follow Firefox with its goofy error messages, but hey, at least will point the finger at itself, where IE never does. All are pretty lousy at offering help when something goes wrong, unless you are a real nuts-and-bolts techie, instead of a bumbler like me.

But here is my number one irritation, so ***eyes down here***  if you care to help me with this question:

Every. Damned. Time.  And no, it was NOT incorrect.
Why is it almost impossible to log on to anything from Internet Explorer? And why is it impossible to find help, an answer, or even any evidence that it's a problem? Here's what I mean. From IE11, I may wish to comment on a story at Salon or Slate or another national site. Or maybe it's even a local or regional newspaper. If I can get remember whatever arcane password and username system they're using (really, web developers, you could do better with some helpful hints*), I'll find that logging in is futile. Salon for example. I'd recently set up a new user name and password, because I kept getting shut out. I know what it is. But from IE, it failed. No problem, right? They've got helpful logins for Google+, Twitter and Facebook. I have all of those! Nope. Useless. Utterly and completely useless. Nothing gets me in, it always, always fails.

Sometimes AOL will get me in, sometimes not. Usually Firefox or Chrome will do it, so I'll do a few copies and pastes (if my comment didn't evaporate in the mean time), and get in. By then though, usually, I'm well past caring about whatever issue I wanted to comment on in the first place. But beyond this issue--which I can replicate on other computers by the way, and isn't even unheard of using Safari on a Mac--how am I the only person this seemingly happens to? I can find nothing out in the cyber-universe about it.

Irritating. But so very usual for the problems I've run into over the years. I especially detest the "helpful" answers you sometimes get on forums to these kinds of questions: "Well, what version of xx are you using when this happens? What site were you trying to go to? How much RAM do you have? Why would you be trying to. . ."  AAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!! Whenever you start getting those sorts of "answering a question with a question" types of responses, you know they're fishing. They don't know the answer, and possibly don't understand the question. Anyone with me?


Right Wing World: Climate Change Still Happening, Deniers Still Denying

Of all of the strange things I've blogged about over the years, probably the most frequent one is the bizarre fact that virtually every issue has become a left vs. right shouting match, even those things that don't have a logical, political divide. Climate change may be becoming an even bigger one than abortion or gay rights.

Let me start with what is strangest about it to me: conservatives should probably be on the conservation side of this one, but aren't. Given their heavy saturation with religion, you'd think that wantonly raping and pillaging the earth to wring every drop of fossil fuel out of it might bother them. You'd think potentially ruining the beauty of vast regions and making parts of the planet  inhospitable for "God's creation" would also spur a twinge of guilt. And you'd think the regimentation and repeatable nature of science would align with that rigid, upright (tight assed) reputation that conservatives always use to have. Nope.
Yeah, let's just ignore the scientists.
That never goes wrong.

Long ago, anything to do with nature, science, conservation, regulation, safety, caution, concern for future consequences (in anything beyond the national debt, or a nuclear Iran) all became dirty hippie, granola munching, kale and arugula eating liberal stuff. Somehow, a scientific consensus (and that is what there is among climatologists, a high 90-percentile on board with man-made global climate change) is just a liberal conspiracy, invented by Al Gore after he made the internet, just so he could put the screws to energy companies. Or something.

See, part of my problem is the motive. For a believable conspiracy, you need a motive, and "So Al Gore can feel important and get rich(er)" doesn't seem like enough to me. Sure, you'll hear some conservatives try to say there is a "climate change industry" that will allegedly get rich too, somehow, though I've seen no through-thread from climatologists to Solyndra. But even if a credible "truther" movement had gelled, HOW did it overtake the majority of conservatives' and Republicans' world view, from the layperson to high elected officials?

All of this ignores the fact that of course man can affect the ecology with pollution. We've seen acid rain, state-sized oil slicks and garbage patches, ozone holes, rivers and lakes and sometimes tap water that are combustible. We've seen earthquakes that coincide with fracking patterns. Smog in big cities to the point of severe health alerts. In China, the air is practically a solid. Go back to the early industrial revolution, there were blackened cities from coal. And hey, how 'bout Chernobyl? Clearly, it is possible for us to affect our immediate area, surrounding areas, down-river areas and beyond with the things we as humans do. Why the hell is it even remotely hard to believe that it could accumulate, grow, become something that is a global concern? Why? And how exactly is that left or right?

My guess is, conservatives think that if they're wrong, we will either
get a rapture or The Jetsons, so what's the problem?
The answer is kind of easy: huge monied interests, gigantic corporations with deep pockets would really rather not have a lot (or any) regulations. They'd rather not be forced to change at all until there is no fossil fuel left to exploit. Full speed ahead, dirtier and more dangerous methods of extraction, it doesn't matter as long as there is profit. So, anything that puts the brakes on hurts profits, any caution would anger shareholders. Corporations and their shareholders rarely plot out contingency plans beyond the next quarter(s). Their concern is profit, now. So forget that forging new, cleaner plans for energy could make them a bundle too. Forget even making plans to contain inevitable clean-up necessary for more difficult fossil fuel extraction. Profit, profit, profit.

So, they fund think tanks, they fund punditry, they fund their own "science," so they can latch onto anything that might throw a credible-sounding counter argument, so that they can continue raking it in. And if there's one thing the conservative media will grab onto it's giant corporations and their funding. "Job creators" shall not be questioned! So, it's not hard to see where the genesis of Right Wing World's climate change denialism comes from. It's just amazing how entrenched it is, when it's built on such an insubstantial foundation. But it's a fabulous case study on how to get a base of voters to vote against logic, reason and their own self-interest. And it also shows how easily you can get a group of people who have wedded their politics to their religion, to champion your cause as though it is their own.

But can we please not go totally Gomer Pyle, and claim that a snowstorm disproves "global warming?" Can we at least squelch the stupid? No, I guess not. [By the way, if you're wondering how the excerpted article below resulted in the Right Wing World column above, just follow the link and head to the comments there. WOW.]


The big melt: Antarctica's retreating ice may re-shape Earth
From the ground in this extreme northern part of Antarctica, spectacularly white and blinding ice seems to extend forever. What can't be seen is the battle raging underfoot to re-shape Earth. Water is eating away at the Antarctic ice, melting it where it hits the oceans. As the ice sheets slowly thaw, water pours into the sea - 130 billion tons of ice (118 billion metric tons) per year for the past decade, according to NASA satellite calculations. That's the weight of more than 356,000 Empire State Buildings, enough ice melt to fill more than 1.3 million Olympic swimming pools. And the melting is accelerating. . .

Read more at: AOL News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Primal Instincts

Succubus attack.
UPDATE 02/26/2015: Pussy so good that if you threw it up in the air it would turn into sunshine...

It's been awhile since I've grabbed a vine & took a swing at the Greenlee Gazette but I figure with our Dear Editor being tied up trying to figure out why he moved into an igloo, I can maybe take a couple of minutes & bless this blog with a little poo flinging.

Here we go.

In case you missed it... Out here in the Northwest sticks of the Oregonian part of the good ole US of A, our governor has resigned due to his, uh, "misassociations"™, if you will.

Now I'm not gonna get into the politics or the lawlessness of it all, there's plenty of that already out there. I'd like to touch on the part of it that belongs solely to the monkeys... Us monkeys.

This entire situation boils down to our animal instincts... Our primal instincts. Governor John Kitzhaber is nothing more than a victim of his primitive monkey loins. Fucking. That's it. Straight, gay, bi, tri or politician - sex is what it's all about. Sure there's money to be made, but really all that bouillon is ultimately used to achieve something primal with one, more or all of the aforementioned monkey fuckers.

"No way!!! That bitch!"
Poor old governor Kitzhaber genuinely got fucked on this one. Seriously, he scored a great piece of ass when it came to Cylvia Hayes. She is really hot by the politically involved litmus scale. She's even hotter than that Sarah Jessica Palin chick.... Or whatever that nasally Eskimo's name is???

He just couldn't see past that chance at some poon. He missed the illegal stuff, the green-card marriages, the pot farm, the money, the pool boy, the reserved parking spaces at the front of the liquor store, the fact that her constant answer to serious questions he asked was a blowjob... He missed it all. Her pussy was just that marvelous, I guess. Like sunshine.

Cylvia Hayes was was able to politically & socially crush a 4th term governor with her primal pussy power (P³ Destruction™). Can you imagine that????!!! A politician losing everything over sex??? I know, I know... It's easy to imagine it. It's happened before & it'll happen again. It's primal instincts... It's the Stupid Monkey in us all.

Spunky little fucker, ain't it?

50 FOX "News" Lies in 6 Seconds

This is the Vine video mentioned by Jon Stewart in the previous Daily Show post. 50 lies in 6 seconds, with annotations (click the image to pause it at any point). It's rather illustrative of a point made here over the entire eight year existence of this blog. In fact, if you go back to my very first post, you'll see that indeed FOX "News" (I only leave off the quotes around "news" when it makes punctuation confusing) was one of my motivations in creating the blog in the first place.

Jon Stewart Deconstructs The Right's (and FOX NEWS') Relentless Reality Distortion Campaign

With his announced imminent departure from Comedy Central's Daily Show, Jon Stewart has stepped up his willingness to go just a bit further in his willingness to call a liar a liar, sans euphemism. Having been called a liar by FOX "News," Stewart returned the favor, and then deconstructs the tactics of the right, in their relentless campaign--not for unbiased truth--but for a rightward leaning spin everywhere.

[Video is below the fold, because I couldn't turn off the "autoplay" feature. . .]

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Gay Thing: North Carolina Senate Passes Religious Exemption Law for Magistrates on Marriage

Crazy. Mean. Illogical. Desperate. Stupid. Unconstitutional.

All of those things--and more--apply to the law just passed by the North Carolina Senate, and those like it in various stages elsewhere across the country. It is a transparent attempt to discriminate legally, in legal matters that legislators simply don't like. It sets bad precedent, will--if fully enacted--create a plethora of unintended consequences for all citizens, and will stand as an embarrassment years down the line.

Let's start with the basics. More and more, high courts are finding that bans against same-sex couples civilly marrying are unconstitutional. A civil marriage need not and often does not have a religious component. Indeed, the "holy matrimony" part of a civil marriage is completely optional. Setting aside the fact that there are religions and religious denominations that do recognize same-sex marriage, religion--as it pertains to civil marriage--is irrelevant. Interfaith couples may legally marry, atheists and agnostics may legally marry. Beyond that, all manner of what many religious people consider "sinners" may legally marry, from 2nd and 3rd marriages, to open marriages, to convicted convicts marrying. I list these things not to compare them, merely to point out that magistrates (and other authorized state officials) have seldom expressed objection to granting these people marriage licenses.

Barronelle Stutzman, the florist who won't do
gay weddings. Because: Jesus. Image from
Until now. For some reason that no religious fundamentalist has adequately explained to me, two things: a) homosexuality and b) abortion are the primary causes of concern for many conservative Christians. Jesus never mentioned either subject of course, and actual Biblical concern with them is quite scant compared to say, adultery, inhospitality and man's inhumanity to man. But for whatever reason, The Gay makes either #1 or #2 on these folks' list of religious concerns. Fine.

It's still irrelevant. Civil same-sex marriages are not being forced upon any church. They're not being performed in the name of these unaccepting churches' Gods. A minister, priest, rabbi, reverend or pastor is not required--unless he/she is working as an employee of a civil authority--to perform a same-sex marriage. Moreover, a civil marriage is a civil contract, and should be no more objectionable to a "magistrate" than should a building permit or business license. The religion of the magistrate, or that of the marriage participants is utterly beside the point. There is no religious test for civil office, and there is no religious test for civil marriage.

The case for "sincere religious belief" being an impediment to these people is rather thwarted by their silence lo these decades past, where surely each and every one has issued licenses to people who do not follow the magistrate's faith (and why on earth should they have to, anyway?). It is extremely telling, and plainly obvious what's going on here. It's bigotry wrapped in religion. Naked animus presented as "faith." The magistrate is not sanctifying, blessing or celebrating a "holy matrimony," they're registering a civil contract.

The couple who won't sell cake to gay people.
Again, Jesus. Image from Back to
All of this "sincere belief exemption" stuff gets even more shaky when it comes down to wedding vendors. This group (traditionally stuffed with gay professionals, oddly enough) has seemingly and suddenly become a very sanctimonious, religiously delicate bunch. Though they rarely if ever point to what part of their religion commands that "though shalt not sell thine product or service to the gays," it has become their chief concern of late. They're willing to make a public case of it, get hit with fines and citations, potentially lose their business, and then tour the conservative speechifying circuit over the issue. Over someone else's celebration. Never before have I heard that a customer must follow a vendor's religious beliefs in order to be allowed to purchase their product or service. Never before was selling a cake, or flowers, or renting out tuxedoes considered participation in, endorsement of and celebration of an event.

The reason we never heard this storm before is because it's disingenuous. As I stated at the top, it's a desperate attempt to fight a lost cause by other means. It stinks to high heaven (heh) of animus and rancor. And it's so short sighted, it almost can't be believed. Because for all of the previous faux panic over "Sharia Law," many of these legislators and their supporters are quite happy stirring some religion into state, so long as it's their brand of religion. What they're not considering is that religious exemptions here will open the floodgates for a) Non-Christian religions small and large demanding exemptions to b) all kinds of laws and regulations.

Before you accuse me of presenting a slippery slope fallacy with that last bit, please tell me: what would limit this precedent to Christians? And what would limit it to wedding industry vendors?


NC Senate passes a lawless law on same-sex marriage

Despite North Carolina's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, marriages are proceeding because federal courts have ruled such bans in other states are unconstitutional. In a few months, the U.S. Supreme court will resolve the matter. But some North Carolina Republicans refuse to apply common sense and want to keep fighting for the ban in court. And now, thanks to a push from Phil Berger, the Eden Republican and president pro tem of the state Senate, more anti-gay marriage foolishness is afoot. . .

Read more at: NewsObserver

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Idaho Lawmaker Literally Thinks Babies Come Out of Mommy's Tummy

Vito Barbieri (R-Obviously), whose parents apparently never have
him "the talk."
The stupid. It burns. As a camera would have to do to get from a woman's digestive tract to her vagina. Jesus, I'm a gay guy, and I knew more about the lady parts than this guy.


Idaho Lawmaker Wonders If Women Could Have A Gyno Exam By Swallowing A Tiny Camera
An Idaho lawmaker revealed his confusion about female anatomy during a legislative debate over a proposed abortion bill on Monday. According to the Associated Press, Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri (R) asked a doctor testifying before the House State Affairs Committee whether a woman could have a remote gynecological exam by swallowing a tiny camera. Dr. Julie Madsen told him no, that’s not possible, because items that are swallowed do not end up in the vagina. . .

Read more at: The Daily Buzz

President Obama Vetoes the Keystone XL Pipeline

Image from source, AOL

Not only is this a project with no particularly obvious benefit to the US economy for its out-of-scale push from Right Wing World. Not only is it bizarre that conservatives (allegedly the careful, considerate, deliberate party) squelched environmental and scientific studies in order to full-steam-ahead this sucker. Not only could an environmental disaster with this pipeline cause utter devastation to the country. Not only would it produce a bare handful of permanent jobs. Not only have oil and energy politics changed drastically since the right started flogging this issue. It is also a bill that the President has already said he'd veto. An issue that the Democratic/progressive base has been convulsing over more than virtually any other. Politically, there is no downside for the President, who has proffered very, very few vetoes in his terms in office, and is not up for any future election.  Good.

Let Right Wing World blow a fuse. At this point, who cares?


Defying GOP, Obama vetoes Keystone XL pipeline bill
Defying the Republican-run Congress, President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, wielding his veto power for only the third time in his presidency. Obama offered no indication of whether he'll eventually issue a permit for the pipeline, whose construction has become a flashpoint in the U.S. debate about environmental policy and climate change. Instead, Obama sought to reassert his authority to make the decision himself, rebuffing GOP lawmakers who will control both the House and Senate for the remainder of the president's term. . .

Read more at: AOL

AFA Courts Irony Explosion with "Bigotry Map"

Oh, this is cute. In my email box, I just received a "bigotry map" from the American Family Association. At first, I thought the AFA was pointing out their own calendar of events, since they exist--as do many of these "Family™" organizations--primarily to foist their own bigotry onto others. But when they're not doing that, they are playing up each and every odd occurrence in the country that could be spun to appear contrary to evangelical Christianity. By "spun," I mean that even those random events they find and try to present as a pattern, are often just ginned up as money-begs for the AFA, its affiliates and its contemporaries.

We are a very religious country, but a peculiar one. Because much of our visible religiosity takes this form, this knee-jerk, hyper-sensitive (while simultaneously complaining about the sensitivity of others), martyr complex, money-drenched, professionally and perpetually offended network of "crazy Christians." I'd wager that any real animosity toward religion in general and Christianity in particular by people in America is actually in response to these extraordinarily irritating Family groups. Seriously. And if they're feeling dumped upon by "bigots?" Well, turnabout is fair play.

[From their press release]

Anti-Christian Bigotry Groups

The American Family Association has identified groups and organizations that openly display bigotry toward the Christian faith. These groups are deeply intolerant towards the Christian religion. Their objectives are to silence Christians and to remove all public displays of Christian heritage and faith in America.

Read it (if you must) at: AFA.Net

Jon Stewart on Rudy Giuliani's "Obama Doesn't Love America" Comment

I'm so gonna miss Jon Stewart, and can only hope they pick someone like John Fugelsang to take his place. . .


Stewart To Giuliani: You Know You're Not The Mayor Of 9-11, Right?

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart took a whack at Mr. A-Noun-Verb-and-9-11 this Monday and his ridiculous statement that he's since tripled down on that President Obama supposedly doesn't love America and gave him the treatment he deserves. . .

Read more at: Crooks and Liars

Monday, February 23, 2015

Giuliani (A Rocky Mountain Mike Song Parody)

While it's a real shame that somehow Rudy Giuliani has made himself relevant again, that unfortunate situation has been turned into another Rocky Mountain Mike song parody! And that's almost always a reason for celebration. Also, if you're my age, you get to revisit your fascination with Bobby Sherman. So, win-win! And Rudy can keep opening his dith-pickable pie hole, and maybe take down a Scott Walker or a Bobby Jindal in the process by their assent. Which is truly a good thing.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Is MSNBC Shifting Away from Leaning Forward?

Television and radio are prone to sudden and dramatic shifts in schedule, in editorial tone, and even in complete formats. In the case of programming that caters specifically to liberals, these changes can often be almost inscrutable. For instance, though liberal talk radio has always had difficulty getting a
Keith Olbermann handing off to Rachel Maddow.
Those were the days.
market foothold for a variety of reasons, it has often been the case that a station (or chain of stations) will abandon the format for programming that gets worse ratings.

It's not hard to feel like there's something more at work than mere market forces sometimes. As a long-time consumer of liberal-oriented information (not to the exclusion of all else, mind you), I'm very, very, very familiar with this phenomenon. I had to chase The Randi Rhodes Show all over the internet, through two or three sudden complete disappearances, and finally her rather abrupt retirement. Other favorite hosts have come and gone with no word, and poor Stephanie Miller is now operating out of her house!

So, I rather scoff at the old "liberal media" trope. It's a moldy, lazy, inaccurate assessment of how things really are. So, if it is indeed true that MSNBC--struggling this year in the ratings--is about to abandon its liberal leanings, it won't surprise me much, though I'm not happy about it. For one thing, their biggest star is Rachel Maddow, whose eponymously named show is unlikely to shift focus without both irritating its host, and losing its audience. What she needs is a stronger lead-in, or a shift to 8:00 pm, putting her in the actual lead spot that Countdown with Keith Olbermann used to occupy.

I like Chris Hayes, but he's a bit dry, as is the curse of many a scholarly liberal (see: Thom Hartmann). And I like Lawrence O'Donnell, but he's better at his current spot. Still, I'd prefer either to a return of the likes of  Scarborough Country, Joe Scarborough's old gig before Morning Joe. By the way, can we talk about Scarborough for a second? His very presence as host of a three-hours-per-day show on MSNBC ought to single-handedly dispel any "MSNBC is the flip-side of FOX 'News'" comments. At least until Ronan Farrow or Joy Reid show up as hosts of the oddly named Fox & Friends. But I digress. . .
Frank's kid (I mean come on) is out at MSNBC,
at least as host of his own show.

If Rachel Maddow finds herself smack-dab in the middle of Right Wing World in a format shift, she'll balk, and probably walk. If they lose her, they might as well change the format of the channel to something completely different. There's very little chance MSNBC can compete with FOX as a cloned or "lite" version of that channel. They could instead go hard news--Maddow might even welcome that, and hell, they'd be unique if they did--but would ratings actually go up for that? Righties still wouldn't watch, because reality has that unfortunate "liberal bias" they don't have to worry about on FOX.

I don't envy the position Phil Griffin is in, being in charge of programming there, and undoubtedly with corporate overlords breathing down his neck to improve ratings. But quick fixes don't come easily, especially when you consider that the situation may correct itself with the political and news cycle and the 2016 election. Getting rid of Farrow and Reid can't hurt, and putting in Thomas Roberts again is actually heartening. He's newsy and known to be (gay) liberal, so he's a good blend without feeling traitorous to the audience. Some shuffling around with the schedule? Fine. A wholesale change in tone? A mistake with a capital "M." It all comes down to this, I think: Does Comcast care if MSNBC improves in the ratings, or are they trying to squelch their liberal leanings before a big election? After having seen Clear Channel's treatment of liberal formats on radio, I think that's the most germane question.


MSNBC Shifts Ronan Farrow, Joy-Ann Reid; Thomas Roberts Returns to Dayside

First on TVNewser: A year-old experiment at MSNBC is coming to an end. As TVNewser first told you earlier today, “The Reid Report” is being canceled, and we can now confirm that “Ronan Farrow Daily” is also being shelved. Both Reid and Farrow will take on new roles with the network. . .

Read more at: TV Newser

Behind the Blogger: Back to Ohio, Winter Update

Okay, so I've been back to Ohio now for roughly three weeks. After driving for the last four days of January from Las Vegas to Central Ohio (with a couple of stop-overs in Iowa to visit family), we managed to stay ahead of a big winter storm that had basically followed us all the way. We safely ensconced ourselves at The Other Half's sister's house on the west side of Columbus that first night, and then stayed for one more night before moving north to my parents' manse in the woods.

Since that time--all of February--I've been up here, in various stages of "snowed in," mostly. I picked a weird time to move from the Mojave Desert, didn't I? I know, because I kept my Las Vegas weather app on my phone, and can see the seventy-degree temperature gap for myself! At first, I was like a typical Las Vegan, one who had rarely or never driven on snow: a bit freaked out by the prospect. Odd, when you consider my very first experiences driving solo were in a very snowy winter, circa 1982-83. My sister--an experienced hand at both driving on snow and in a big honking diesel pickup truck--has been awesome about driving out here, (where the only access to the road is a half-mile long driveway in the woods, along a cliff) to tamp down the snow a bit for me.

Our poor cars, which have prior to now only known the desert.
Mine was cleared off 8 hours prior to this shot.
So, with the occasional melts, and my sis' efforts, getting out hasn't been 100% impossible. I've ventured out a few times, and in fact for one whole afternoon was unknowingly driving around in a level 1 snow emergency. I've--somewhat--got my "snow feet" back underneath me. Now, however, we've been buried under snow again. And I say "we" euphemistically, because in reality, I've spent most of my time up here in Frozen: Ohio Edition mostly alone. The Other Half went off to do some back-to-back-to-back trips for his work over a week ago. And he's not due back for another week!

The view from my temporary bedroom this morning.
Ah, so I have all this time on my hands. I'm not working, other than some few-hours-per-week tele-commuting design work. So, why am I not blogging? What in the world am I doing with my time? Aren't I bored? Yes and no. I'm finding that it's entirely possible to "do nothing," and still have a day zoom by. I'm managing to diet and exercise, including time on the treadmill, and the one-mile round trip in the snow for the mail. I've been cooking and cleaning up after myself (fortunately, I suppose).

Initially, there was the house hunt, and all that entails, including getting the financing, inspection and all of that. There was also the flurry of socializing with local family, though that's been largely curtailed because of the weather. So, right now, I'm in a holding pattern on the house, and pretty much a hermit under the snow. I had to go out to a funeral yesterday, but have no social engagements lined up. I have some work that's likely to come in, but probably won't go beyond a couple of hours' time in the next few days.

So, I'm going to try to get back into the blogging habit! For real! I hope. Here's the surprising thing: after blogging nearly daily for almost 8 years (even given the gradual reduction over the years), I've completely fallen out of the habit. It was a compulsion, a personal obligation for so long, I'd actually feel guilty if I skipped a few non-weekend days. I'd feel compelled to put up something, anything to let people know, "hey, I'm still here!" But I found out, once you willingly put yourself on hiatus, and then return with a "I'm going to slowly come back to this" disclaimer? The daily tug? Evaporates. I've utterly lost the feeling--when I'm once again sitting at the keyboard doing nothing in particular--to blog about this.

The new abode, assuming all goes as planned. Obviously before
the snow-mageddon.
Well, I'm going to try to get it back. I know I don't want the blog to go permanently dark, and I know also that there's not much point to a once-a-week blog either. I never want it to be a burden though, and I don't want to have a random assemblage of posts that only exists to fill some space. It's still got to interest me, and it's still got to be (hopefully) interesting to others. Now is as good a time as any--in fact, it's not going to get more opportune--for me to find that blogging desire and voice again. Barring an emergency or an unforeseen amount of work obligation, I'm going to re-train myself to blog again, and it begins this weekend.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Gay Thing: Oklahoma Bills Seek to Punish Dissent, Block Gay Marriage

Now that same-sex marriage has pretty much become inevitable in the United States, and is indeed reality in the majority of states, a frantic backlash has begun to emerge. New proposals, bills and laws--filled with obvious, naked animus--have been popping up like weeds. The fact that these proposed "fixes" to the perceived problem are quite obviously extremely mean spirited, anti-American, and blatantly unconstitutional doesn't seem to stem the tide.

Doesn't she look pleasant?
Rep. Sally Kern (R-Obviously)
Image from source, TulsaWorld
At the root of all of this is hatred, which has been wrapped in religion, excused by it, in fact. These legislators and their supporters will steadfastly insist that this is "different" from the way interracial couples used to be treated. They'll rhapsodize about how wrong it was to treat different races with discrimination, and then excuse the very same behavior toward gay couples. They drag God and religion into the mix, when in fact, this has nothing to do with their religion at all. It's a manufactured, phony, artificial complaint. Only knee-jerk, fact-free "truthiness" gives it an air of credence at all.

Here's the deal: civil marriage isn't a religious issue in the first place. Though there are religions that are supportive of it (and hey, legislators, what about them?), religion is utterly beside the point. Civil marriage is a legal contract, as religious in nature at the clerk level as is a building permit or business license. The clerk's, officiant's or civil servant's participation in this contract hasn't got any more religious component than whatever the couple themselves bring to it (if any). It can't be against their religion, because it doesn't have anything to do with their religion.

It's not different. The hatred is the same.
Image from
Even less can be said for any wedding/formal industry professional selling a product or service. They are not participating in the event at all, they're selling a cake, a dress, renting a tux or reception hall, taking pictures or recording video. That's not "participating in," or "celebrating." It's doing their jobs. Moreover, there is no Biblical verse (and we're usually talking about Christian objections in this country) against selling a product or service to "sinners." By that book, we are all sinners, and by being in that industry, there is a 100% chance of selling to people who are not of the same exact faith as the seller.

The disingenuousness is really starting to make me crazy. For decades, centuries even, people have been getting married in all faiths, no faiths, mixed faiths. There are re-marriages, open marriages, marriages of convenience, shotgun weddings. In some states, cousins marrying, minors marrying, death row convicts marrying! But--horrors--gay people marrying? All of the sudden, bakers are so religiously delicate, they get the vapors at baking a cake for a customer. It. Is. A. Bogus. Issue.

It's a newly invented argument, to allow certain people to legally discriminate against others. And it's being disguised as "religious freedom." It doesn't hurt that it doubles as the fulfillment of the martyr complex many religious people seem to have. But to see elected officials trot out ridiculous legislation that seeks to fire people, punish people, and scream to the rafters "you're not the boss of me, US Supreme Court!?" Well, it takes balls, I'll give 'em that. But they're going to lose, they're going to lose big. And they are going to look really awful in retrospect. History will treat them like it treated the worst bigots of the Civil Rights Era.


Bills targeting same-sex marriage advanced by Oklahoma House panel
Bills discontinuing state marriage licenses and forbidding state and local government employees, including judges, from complying with federal rulings on same-sex marriage advanced from the Oklahoma House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. . .

Read more at: Tulsa World

Monday, February 16, 2015

Train Derailment Leads to Oil Tanker Explosion in West Virginia

Image from source, NBC News
During the oddly partisan wrangling over the Keystone XL Pipeline in Congress (why they have such a woody for it, I have no idea), the specter of transit disasters via truck and train have been flogged quite a bit. Sure, they'll say, there's the occasional oil pipeline spill, but it's actually safer than transporting the stuff in any other way. Because trains, they go boom. And train just went boom. I don't have my tinfoil hat out of my storage pod yet, but it makes me go hmmmm.


Fayette County, West Virginia, Train Derailment Sparks House Fire

A freight train carrying crude oil derailed Monday in southern West Virginia, causing an explosion that set at least one house on fire, according to authorities. Several of the train cars spilled oil into the Kanawha River, east of Montgomery, and caught fire, prompting an evacuation order for a mile-and-a-half around the area where the train skipped the tracks at about 1:30 p.m. ET, according to NBC affiliate WSAZ. Only one train car, of 109, actually fell into the river. . .

Read more at: NBC News

Friday, February 13, 2015

Greenlee Gazette's Guide to Friday the 13th!

I know, I know, I've talked about slowly returning to blogging, but where am I, right? Well, my excuses are thin. I've fallen from the habit. But The Other Half is gone for a long stretch, and I'm going to try to get back into the game. Great day to start, a weekend, where blogging is always light, right? So, what easier way to re-start, than to start with a rerun of. . .

Happy Friday the 13th everybody! If you've read this blog even a little bit, you know that I'm a cheesy horror movie fan. And there is no cheesier series of horror films than the Friday the 13th series. From the beginning, it was a rip-off (but the first one!) of Halloween. But you could safely say that Halloween as a franchise was born due to the success of Friday the 13th. The following blog post was written for my annual Halloween scary movie retrospectives. But every time there is a Friday the 13th on the calendar, these movies come back into vogue.

Photo from

Unlike the original Halloween, I'm not sure anyone would put Friday the 13th in the "classic" category. At least not good classics. The series is loved with a heavy dose of nostalgia, and not a lot else.

Sure, it's iconic, was amazingly influential, and made a whole lot of money for both Paramount and New Line studios. But the Friday the 13th string of movies was easily the hollowest, least plotted, worst acted and least impactful story wise of the horror movie franchises (Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Hellraiser). Each Friday film pretty much follows a mindless killer, stalking stupid people.

There were variations along the way. And if you try to assign a real-world continuity to the films, you'll give yourself a headache that feels like a machete in your skull. Here are some short recaps (star ratings do not relate to the real movie world, only within the horror movie genre!):

Friday the 13th - The first film is by far the best. Jason does not appear (outside of a possible hallucination), but his storyline is set up. Notable for Betsy Palmer's iconic performance as Jason's mother, and Adrienne King as "the final girl." Sets the tone and atmosphere for the first four to seven movies. Genuinely scary for the uninitiated. And pretty much put the slasher genre on the map (even if it did take the cue from Halloween). Plus, Kevin Bacon. ***

Friday the 13th, Part 2 - Almost as good as the first, though very short (especially considering the lengthy recap at the beginning). Notable for Amy Steel's strong performance, the VW bug scene, and the guy in the wheelchair. Struggles to find a reason why Jason didn't drown, and why he was motivated to start his killing spree. Though the explanation is weak, it is used as the basis for the rest of the series. **

Friday the 13th, Part 3 - This (originally) 3D installment is one of the weakest, with very little story, and shots that were intended for the 3D audience. Most notable for hand-walking guy's death, and Jason's acquisition of his iconic hockey mask. Gone is the notion of revenge, Jason just kills everything in his path now. I initially thought this installment was terrible, but it's better in retrospect. *
Friday the 13th - The Final Chapter - Final, yeah, right! It's the best of sequels, and could have served as the finale, but there was more money to be made. Jason ventures out of Camp Crystal Lake, and seems to meet his end. Considering that this was all the way back in 1984, I'm sure you know that it wasn't to be. Plus, Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover(!?). ***

Friday the 13th (Part V): A New Beginning - Close to as good as part 4, reviled by fans for its plot twist, but very much in line with the tone of the first four movies. And Corey Feldman only wishes he grew up to look like John Shepherd!  Woof. **

Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives - Yeah, I guess he lives. Often considered one of the best sequels, it left me cold. It felt like a different studio picked up the reins. This edition has a vastly different tone from the first five films, and the gory kills just aren't there.  But I guess the MPAA is to blame for that. *

Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood - They throw a psychic girl into the mix, and tack on a ridiculous ending, which puts Jason into the same scenario as the end of the last movie--making this one irrelevant. On the plus side the tone of the first five movies is back. And for you gay fans out there, this one is known as FriGAY the 13th for the high number of gay actors in the movie. *

Friday the 13th, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan - The Friday feel is still there, but just barely, as Jason stows away on a cruise ship bound for New York. Most of the action is on the boat, and there are some great scenes. But it feels like the series is running on fumes. Not very gory. And that ending. What the hell? *1/2

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday - Speaking of Hell, New Line Cinema took over the franchise from Paramount here, and it is very, very obvious this was made by others. Some of the feel is still there, and the film is undeniably fun. But it adds a bunch of new story elements that wreck any (already strained) continuity from the first 8 films. Also ignores the end of Part VIII. Fun anyway. And it sets up the movie after the next one.**1/2

Jason X - Tenth installment puts Jason in space, with no context to the rest of the storyline. Continuity-wise has no home, and is akin to a comic book "elseworlds" or "imaginary story." Has its fun parts, but utterly skippable. The cryogenic scene, though? Priceless. *1/2

Freddy Vs. Jason - I loved it. They took the monster from the best horror franchise (though it had run out of steam) and the worst (but still loved), and pitted them against each other. Truly, one of the best outings for this type of movie in a long, long time. That said, not the least bit scary. Plays like gory comedy. And I'm still confused by Jason's new fear of water. Maybe the "New Line" Jason is an alternate version. ***

Friday the 13th (Remake) - I was right that they couldn't really mess up the remake. It's a hoot. The twist--apparently--is that most of the characters you kinda want to see dead. And Jason is given a much heftier back-story. Unfortunately, they still don't explain what happened that made Mrs. Voorhees think he died when he didn't. Regardless, I'd put this in the top three with the first two installments. I don't know if there will ever be a part 2 (actually XIII), but I'm game. ***

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Jon Stewart to Leave The Daily Show

This is a day many fans have long feared. After the exodus (or planned exodus) of luminaries like Stephen Colbert and David Letterman (and to a lesser extent, Craig Ferguson) from their groundbreaking late night shows, Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show. This one probably hurts the most, as Stewart is a nexus of sorts for pop culture, humor, news and politics. He brought it all together, particularly for liberals and progressives.

I dare say, neither The Daily Show/Comedy Central (whatever becomes of the franchise), nor Stewart himself, will eclipse what they've achieved with the program. A new star may be born, of course (and John Oliver may be sorry he jumped ship). But the gravitas Stewart earned in that chair, and the zeitgeist that formed around it will be difficult for any involved to ever recreate. What it does, is open the door for the new The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to take off, unencumbered by competition from his previous boss. I'm hopeful that Samantha Bee and Jason Jones, along with the fleet of amazing writers at The Daily Show either manage to rebuild and/or maintain some of the brilliance Stewart managed to deliver. But I fear without him as a linchpin, this moment in American pop culture just may be coming to a close.


Jon Stewart Leaving 'The Daily Show'

Jon Stewart will step down as host of "The Daily Show," he announced during Tuesday night's taping. Comedy Central confirmed the news in a tweet.
Stewart has been at the helm of the beloved satirical news program for over 15 years. He will continue hosting the show until later this year. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Greenlee Gazette Makes the Move Home

As I sit and type this, The Other Half is sleeping in, as is my brother who spent the night with us at my parents' manse with us. This is my first blog post since late in our final days of residency in Las Vegas Nevada. My blog was born there in Vegas, in the waning years of the George W. Bush administration, starting as an outlet for my frustrations politically, and as an area to express myself, practice my writing skills, to develop a hobby, and to test my fortitude.

Seven and a half years later, and now over 2000 miles from there, I'm back after a short hiatus. Blogging--if you didn't know--is a hefty time commitment. And when your readership is as random and diffuse as mine is, can lack feedback. So, even though I feel a sense of self obligation to "get something up there," I pushed all of that to the back of my mind, and just pulled the plug for the duration of the move. Now that I'm back up and running, sort of, I'm going to have to just stick a toe in. Get back up to speed, as it were.

I'll be writing more about my transition from 20 years literally in the desert, back to my home state, very near my home town. But for the time being, as we look for a new house, and actually finish the project of physically moving in, I'll just try to get the blog back up to speed. From the looks and sounds of things, I'll have plenty to write about. So, please stick with me. This place will be back to normal shortly (even if it's missing the What Happens in Vegas feature).

Thank you!
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