Friday, July 31, 2015

Ed Schultz Exits MSNBC, and Does So with Class

When I think of Ed Schultz, "class" isn't the first word that leaps to mind. He's not a host for all tastes, and frankly, he wasn't to mine. As a long-time listener of liberal talk radio, I have long been familiar with Schultz. Frankly, there aren't very many liberal hosts (belying the "liberal media" cliché), so he'd pop up quite a bit when lineups were shuffled, and such. The first time I'd heard him, I thought at first he was Rush Limbaugh. And Limbaugh is nearly (remember, I said nearly) the furthest thing from class I can imagine.

So, I can't call myself a fan of Shultz. I've watched his show occasionally, more this year than before because of my new time zone and my sabbatical for full-time work. But I've really never much cared for his style, though I appreciated what he stood for. Ed can be overly strident, and so can his fans, to the point of a bluster, which does not endear me. So, I met the news of MSNBC's cancellation of The Ed Show with little in the way of sorrow. But I have to say, Ed's parting shot to his network, and his viewers changed my mind a bit. Here, at a time when he could have dynamited his bridges, he instead went out in as classy a way as I've ever seen for a person in his position.

Now, I have to say, there is another bombastic figure on the news-scape; a man who loves the word "class," who has none: Donald Trump. Trump keeps misusing that word. I'm sure he really means "crass," and just has a bit of trouble with confusing them, like I do with "affect" and "effect." And whatever I think of Ed, I think it's a shame we're losing one more voice against the Trumps of the world. I swear, if anything happens to Rachel Maddow, John Oliver or Bill Maher, I'm going to lose it! I'm just relieved that Berkeley Breathed has come back, and hopeful about the looming return of one Stephen Colbert. . .

World's Dumbest Focus Group Says Trump "Classy," "One of Us"

Herp derp. Image from Talking Points Memo
Wow. The Donald--current GOP 2016 presidential primary leader, and bombastic BS artist--sure has these people snowed. What's more, the man who speaks in vagueries, likewise seems to inspire vague reasoning in his supporters. Basically, they don't know why they support him they just do. It's a cult of personality. That couldn't be clearer, when you have this group thinking Trump is "one of us." Or confusing an unfiltered, stream-of-consciousness crassness for either "truth telling" or "classiness." It's just baffling.

It will be interesting to see how this recalibrate after the first FOX "News" debate next week. Undoubtedly, Donald Trump will be the main focus of the event. The lion's share of reporting will be about how Trump responds to debate questions, how he interacts with the other candidates, how well he bats down what they lob at him, how they try to "out-Trump Trump." He'll also undoubtedly crack a few zingers--I really hope he curses--that become the crystalizing and memorable "moment" of the first debate. But will he have a single concrete policy idea? Will there be any substance to what he has to say beyond insults, platitudes and vagaries? I rather doubt it. And given his extraordinarily undeveloped and shallow pool of extemporaneous vocabulary words, I'm hoping he comes through as the boob that he is.

He may not shed the 20-25% of the GOP nutbars who have fallen under his allure. But at least maybe the media will begin to treat him as he should be treated: as an egotistical curiosity.


New Hampshire Focus Group Fawns Over Trump: 'He's Like One Of Us'

At least 12 voters in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire are absolutely gaga over real estate mogul Donald Trump. Bloomberg Politics' John Heilemann sat down Wednesday night with a focus group of 12 Trump supporters in the Granite State who riffed on why they thought the billionaire was the best candidate in a crowded GOP presidential field. . . 

Read more at: TPM

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I'm Still Here!

Oh, Hi! Hey, just realized I got so busy the last few days, I didn't post anything. It's not like me to just forget, but I kind of did. And today, I'm taking advantage of one of the best things Ohio has to offer: a roller coaster park on both ends of the state. Today, we're doing King's Island, and I hope to squeeze in Cedar Point before the summer is over. Meanwhile, the blog lays vacant, and I didn't want to let the day buzz by without a note that at least says: I'm still here! Really! Didn't want it to look like an abandoned amusement park. Back soon!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Is Donald Trump Really Doing All That Well?

Image from source, the excellent NewsCorpse
Donald Trump continues to poll well ahead of his GOP competition, sometimes leading his nearest challenger by double digits. The punditry have gone from dismissing him as the joke he is, to treating him more seriously. Which shows just how quickly a political vibe can change, and how shallow the thinking of the Beltway media can be.

Listen, the Republican/conservative base is batshit crazy, we all know that, right? The extremes of any group have that tendency, and very few people would argue with the fact that the extreme has taken over the right in this country. So, capturing the top (bottom) 20-25% of conservatives should be easy-peasy for the nuttiest nutbar in the group. This is probably why so many of 2012's GOP group rose to the top briefly: so many of them were bonkers.

If the rest of the GOP field contained one, two or three other strong candidates, Trump could have the same support, and still be significantly behind in the polls. But since there are fifteen other candidates dividing those percentages, we have the illusion of a wide lead. And, naturally, the longer he has it, the stronger the illusion looks, eventually becoming sort of  a real deal, "conventional wisdom." It doesn't hurt when the candidate is as gaffe-proof as Donald Trump. So far, crazy statements about religion, veterans, race, and any other third-rail potential potholes that would sink most candidates does not dissuade Trump fans from waving his banner.

I think it's going to take a sifting out of the rest of the field to put a dent in The Donald. Or finally that One Big Gaffe that can't be shrugged off. Mike Huckabee--a prior competitor for lunacy, before Donald cornered the market--has probably made his One Big Gaffe with an ill-advised Holocaust reference. So, that field may be shrinking a bit already. I can't quite envision what Donald would have to do or say that would do that to him at this point. Maybe a Face in the Crowd open-mike moment would do it.


New Poll Shows 18% Of Republicans Are Ignorant Dupes With Severe Mental Decay
There is much being made about a new CNN poll that shows Donald Trump leading his GOP rivals in the race for the Republican nomination for president. However, there is less substance in these numbers than the media is pretending there is. What is astonishing is just how shallow the media analysis of these polls are. The ranking at which Trump finds himself can easily be explained by the clinical dementia of today’s Republican (Tea) Party. And despite these polls, Trump will never get the nomination or reside in the White House. . .

Read more at: NewsCorpse

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Separated at Birth: Donald Trump & Nurse Diesel

With apologies to the great Cloris Leachman, with this particular image of Donald Trump, I keep seeing hints of Leachman's Nurse Diesel character from Mel Brooks' High Anxiety. If I could find a better picture of Nurse Diesel in that pose, you'd see it more clearly. But then, you'd also see that she's the one with the better hair.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Daily Show: Jon Stewart Distracted by Squirrel TRUMP!

Hilariously funny. Jon Stewart won't just be missed after his retirement, he will practically be <i>mourned.</i>  As for Trump? Jon is right, though my delight in watching this outsized fool being himself, and garnering so much attention, sucking the oxygen out of the rest of the presidential race, I'm almost equally embarrassed as an American. If there is a clearer depiction of the road to Idiocracy, I haven't seen it.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Big Shake Up at MSNBC

Ed Schultz, from source, PoliticsUSA
I've been a regular watcher of MSNBC since Countdown with Keith Olbermann first caught fire, back during the dog days of the George W. Bush administration. After a several years-long honeymoon from the media on Bush, finally someone was on the teevee telling it like it was! It was refreshing. He was pretty much the only one.

For all the talk of "liberal media bias," I wonder how many people remember the climate after 9/11 and on through the beginnings of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It was a time of "Freedom Fries," and Dixie Chicks boycotts. Bill Maher being cancelled for being politically incorrect on Politically Incorrect. If you criticized Dubya, you could be met with, "Why do you hate America?" Freedom, liberty, patriot. . .all of these words were appropriated and practically trademarked by the GOP.

So yeah, Olbermann--bombastic as he was--was like a beacon of sanity in the middle of a surreal, conservative alternate reality that we somehow got sucked into. Eventually, the more popular Olbermann got, the more his network, MSNBC, came to take on more of his flavor. Rachel Maddow went from appearing sporadically on other shows to appearing regularly on Keith's show, to guest hosting, to her own show. And when Olbermann was shown the door, Rachel carried on, becoming the face of the network. I still watch her show, as is evidenced by her regular appearance on my blog.

Occasionally, you'll see other MSNBC clips here, but not too often. As Maddow spun off from Olbermann, so too did The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell. I like him, but he's not "must see" viewing for me. Likewise, All In with Chris Hayes spun off from Maddow.  Hayes is drier, wonkier. He's good, but again, not appointment viewing. With each generation of cloning, the shows (beyond
See? No "News" in the name.
Rachel) seemed to lose something. And then MSNBC seemed to make the mistake of trying to clone its evening shows all over the schedule. It became almost entirely a politics and news commentary channel.

Actually, there is very little wrong with that concept. Unlike FOX "News"--who they are often and unfairly considered the mirror counterpart--MSNBC doesn't have "news" in its name. It doesn't bill itself as "fair and balanced." Its slogans are "lean forward" and "the place for politics." So, their political leanings are completely fine, or ought to be. The weak spot was ratings, and I believe that's because it became very much stuck in a rut. There is a sameness across the day, with similar guests, similar styles, similar sets, colors, music, hosts. When most of the shows have such interchangeable parts, nothing is appointment viewing anymore.

So, MSNBC is shaking things up, and jettisoning some of their daytime programming. The old heave-ho to Now with Alex Witt, to The Cycle (the landing ground for a handful of guests from other shows) and The Ed Schultz Show. In their place will be an attempt at NBC-style "hard news." None of these things make me sad. Except that some of it will be hosted by Chuck Todd, who I think is kind of a tool, and one with a bit of a conservative bent. Joining him will be Brian Williams, on his road to redemption. So, cool, we may have some better place to turn for actual news then we've had lately.

This, I'd love to see, but I kinda doubt it.
Also, goodbye Ed Schultz, I won't miss you most of all. If you'd taken Rev. Al with you, it wouldn't make me sad either (someone please tell Al he actually has a working microphone?). I've never, never cared for Ed, and thought he was a bad fit from day one. So, that's my favorite part of this news. Now, they'll probably follow these changes with more. I wouldn't be surprised to see Chris Hayes at least moved if not cancelled. O'Donnell could see the same, I suppose. Rachel Maddow is likely going nowhere, unless they move her up an hour. And who knows about Lockup. I'll never figure out why they still air that so often.

All in all, change is inevitable in television programing, even if we can tend to get used to our old favorites. FOX "News" had an unusually stable roster for most of its existence, but has seen a few shakeups in recent years. CNN is still wont to cancel and move stuff around. So I say great. Hope it works, hope it makes things better. Just don't mess with my Rachel, mmm'kay?

MSNBC Is Canceling Ed Schultz And Giving His Show To Chuck Todd
MSNBC is expected to announce that they are canceling Ed Schultz and giving his timeslot to Meet The Press host Chuck Todd. Mediaite is reporting that The Ed Show along with two other programs will be canceled. . .
Read more at: PoliticsUSA

The Rudest (and Funniest) Bomb Movie Review You'll Ever See: PIXELS

I've never heard of MovieBob, but I'm a brand new, instant fan. It's like someone took The Rude Pundit, crossed him with Lewis Black, hopped up the result on energy shots and gave him the task of reviewing a shitty movie. It's spectacular, and from the looks of things, more entertaining than the movie by a long shot. But be warned: it's profane. In a good way, but your boss (or your spouse or your mom) might night think so.

You've been warned.

Rachel Maddow and Seth Meyers Discuss Donald Trump

Very entertaining, even if you're tired of all the Trump talk.


Rachel Maddow Interviews Rick Santorum

Obviously, within the context of a couple of segments of her nightly show, Rachel Maddow was unable to get to every point we'd like her to ask Rick (don't Google me) Santorum. But this segment did a couple of newsworthy things: it undoubtedly gave Santorum a little bit of buzz, evidenced by the fact that the story is currently trending on Twitter. Secondly, Santorum fans might just discover that Maddow is a different breed of cable pundit. I can't imagine a similar interview of a Democratic candidate on Hannity, for example.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Presenting the Donald Trump Insult Generator, Stupid

Donald Trump is many things, most of them irritating. He's the Republican Party id, a mean-spirited bully, who they see as a "truth teller," because he says whatever is on his mind. But what is on his mind is less about truth than it is stream-of-consciousness, whatever enters his brainpan, argle bargle. Worse, though he loves to insult people, his well of extemporaneous vocabulary words is very, very shallow. Fortunately for him, much of the Republican base loves that shit. They're conditioned to mean-spirited "humor," repeated endlessly as though it's original and the most hilarious thing ever. See for example, Rush Limbaugh.

Anyway, someone realized how recognizable The Donald's patter is, and came up with an insult generator. His insults are so generic, you can plug in anyone's name. Here's the first one it came up with for me:

"Stupid James Greenlee is a total joke, a dummy who is lost! if you were smart, which you are not, you would oppose the monstrous windfarms that will destroy your country. Let's ‪#‎MakeAmericaGreatAgain‬!"


If You Don’t Click on This Classy Post, You Are a Loser and a Moron

Four days after mocking Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for being captured in Vietnam, Donald Trump is at the top of the Republican presidential polls. Despite his history of political flip flops, Trump has gained traction with red-meat-loving conservatives by skewering and belittling establishment figures such as McCain and Karl Rove, questioning President Barack Obama's legitimacy, and attacking undocumented immigrants. But he's also been quick to fling insults at anyone who ever says anything bad about him—other celebrities, journalists, legislators, and this one poor guy from Bermuda. Donald Trump insults people. . .

Read more at: Mother Jones

Windows 10 is Coming

Windows 10 is to be released on July 29. Seven ate Nine, that's what they're saying. So, no Microsoft Windows 9, we're going straight to ten. You might think that Windows 10 is so named, in order to finally catch up with OS X, but that "version" has been around for an awfully long time, and Apple's naming conventions are even weirder than Microsoft's. They've gone through a list of big cats, and are now on obscure California towns for their version names. Microsoft has gone from numbers (3.0, 3.1, 3.11), to years (95, 98) to a series of modifiers (me, XP, Vista) back to numbers (7, 8, 8.1, 10). But apparently, due to those nineties years, the "9" is dangerous coding, so 10 it is.

It's a nice round, clean number. It's one they're likely to stick with for a while. And it's free, at least for many users. That's important, when you realize that Apple has had low-cost or free upgrades for a while, and how poorly received Windows 8/8.1 were with consumers. I myself never cared for 8, warmed to 8.1, but never found any need whatsoever for Microsoft's "new"-style apps. I know they were going for cross-platform uniformity, for ease of transition from phone to tablet to laptop to desktop. But these different devices have very different purposes, and the use of Windows on tablets and phones is very low. Windows' installed base on desktops and laptops is so large, and the users are so well versed in the platform (particularly in XP and 7 flavors), all their effort did was alienate people.

Windows 10 purports to revert back to familiar ground, and that will be welcome. What worries me, is that my "early adopter" urge always wins out over my better sense of caution. Undeterred by issues I had as a beta downloader of Windows 7 and 8, I jumped on Microsoft's offer of "release day" candidates for the 10 upgrade. Now I'm a little bit worried. In both of those cases, there was quite simply no going back. It couldn't be undone. But the chief problem then, was that they were limited time offers that forced me into pricey upgrades later. This time it's free. So, my big worry is that a) some hardware I use will no longer function properly due to driver issues, and that b) some software I used--a few of which weren't supposed to function properly with Windows 7, let alone 10--will finally be non-functional.

Add to that, that I use Parallels on my MacBook Pro to run Windows 7, and I'm bound to have a few Computer Woes posts here on the blog! But here it comes folks, ready or not.

Read more about Windows 10 here.

President Obama's Final Visit to The Daily Show

Despite joking that he'd author an executive order to retain Jon Stewart forcibly to remain host of The Daily Show, Tuesday night was President Barack Obama's final appearance on the show. Stewart will depart as host in less than three weeks, leaving a rather large hole in the political humor universe. This interview shows just how difficult Stewart will be to replace, given the deft blend of humor and information provided. I'm gonna miss both of these guys.

Monday, July 20, 2015

2016 GOP Clown Car Update: Ohio Governor John Kasich Piles In

When I lived in Nevada, I assumed our governor, Brian Sandoval was going to make a 2016 play for the White House. Given how many GOP candidates there are, I suppose he might as well. Now, I've moved to Ohio, and my new governor, John Kasich is going to run. He'll be the 17th major candidate to declare, when he makes it official on Tuesday. For now, I have this Twitter post to show that he's actually going to do it.
I'd say his odds are long to make a splash. But he does have a little residual FOX "News" mojo, though I think opponent Mike Huckabee--also a FOX veteran--may have the edge there. Good luck, Governor. If this plays out like 2012, you'll at least have a shining moment for a week or so before the campaign is over. And truthfully? If I had to pick a GOP candidate? You could do worse. So much worse. He still would trail behind even the lowest polling Democrat for me, though.

The GOP's Donald Trump Problem

It took some doing, but they found someone less photogenic than
Ted Cruz and Chris Christie. Image from source, Washington Post
Donald Trump is not a serious candidate. Regardless of how he's polling, or how much support he's getting from the loud and frothy, he's not. He's a terrible extemporaneous speaker, has a limited vocabulary (particularly when fired up), has no filter, and is a transparent bullshit artist. "He's a truth teller! He tells it like it is!" is a constant refrain from the Trump faithful. These people confuse stream-of-consciousness, all-id, word vomiting for truth.

Trump is the biggest, the hugest, nobody's ever been this huge. He's the richest, he gets standing ovations from the many thousands (more than will actually fit in the room) at his rallies, no one's ever seen anything like it, it's unprecedented. And he's rich. He's so rich. Nobody's ever had so much money. There is no better businessman. His show, The Apprentice is unrivaled for ratings, no show is bigger, no show gets better ratings. NBC is so mad he's running for president, because they're begging for another season. His book, The Art of the Deal has been number one longer than any other book, it probably outsells the Bible. God only wishes he had a book so big.

Don't believe all of that? Just ask him, he'll tell you. He's a bullshit artist.

Worse than that, because he has no filter, and engages his mouth before his brain, he often has to shift gears mid-sentence. Somehow, the sound from his mouth filters through that swirl of hair to his ears, and something clicks, sometimes. But only sometimes. And he has to course-correct, or soften the damned fool thing he's just said. That's why, after he called Mexicans murderers and rapists, he tacked on that he assumes some are good people. Which made it sound like some of the murderers and rapists are good people, because of how inartfully he speaks.

Image from source, Washington Post
I can't imagine this man speaking for our country on a national stage. Dubya was bad, but at least he had a team of wranglers and writers and puppeteers pulling his strings. Trump doesn't seem to have that. He's also notoriously thin-skinned, and can let virtually nothing go. He gets into twitter fights over any perceived slight. He's a lot like Sarah Palin in that regard, but rather than paragraphs of word salad, Trump speaks in Twitter-sized chunks. He not only comes off like a bully, but a sore loser, an egotist, an insufferable boor, and an intellectual lightweight.

In his current kerfuffle, Trump made what was essentially a joke that landed with a thud about John McCain's war service. He tried to course-correct in his follow-up sentences, but the damage was done. He refused to apologize, doubled down on what he said, then finally tried to spin his stance by claiming he was saluting the people who were not captured, as though they're unfairly maligned! It's as preposterous as it is transparent. But Trump is "too much." He's so too much, that the media has too much to comment on, and this simple fact gets overlooked: he's a bullshit artist. He's not a truth-teller, he's not a straight-shooter, he's a bullshit artist.

Look no further than that tangle of hair swirled around the top of the gourd he calls a head.


The Republican poll nightmare that is Donald Trump, in four charts

Ten days ago, we raised an important point. People referring to Donald Trump as the Republican front-runner ignored that his leads, where they existed, were within the margin of error. Meaning that he was among the leaders, but he wasn't the clear leader. In this crazy election, ten days is a long time. . .

Read more at: Washington Post

Friday, July 17, 2015

Huffington Post Moves Donald Trump to the Entertainment Section

Image from source, Huffington Post
I'm sure that "The Donald" will have some sort of stupid Twitter response to this, but I kind of like the boldness of HuffPo's editorial staff. Henceforth, they say, Donald Trump "news" will be relegated to the Entertainment section of their coverage, rather than the Political section. Those two subjects can often blur, because let's face it, the clown show can be kind of entertaining. But it does make me wonder why Sarah Palin wasn't treated in the same fashion. I wonder though, do they have a "Has Been" section?


A Note About Our Coverage Of Donald Trump's 'Campaign'

After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won't report on Trump's campaign as part of The Huffington Post's political coverage. . .

Read the rest at: Huffington Post

Greenlee Gazette's Yard Sale Primer

Store-bought is okay. But if a neighbor
is using the same signs, you might confuse
people. And use that white box for an
arrow and little else.

Yard Sales, Garage Sales, Tag Sales, whatever you call them, they're a weekend activity for lots of people. Antique dealers, collectors, new home owners, resellers and hoarders are roaming the streets of their cities and towns in an ever-expanding orbit, looking for goodies. But why are people so bad at actually throwing these sales?

There is not much more frustrating for the shopper than being unable to find an elusive sale, or being misled by the signage once they finally find it. And for the seller, it must be frustrating to see people drive by without stopping, or see hardly anyone at all, right? So, this article is less about knowing what to buy, or knowing how to buy and sell for profit or gain, and more about just how to throw a proper sale.

As a sign maker by trade, I'm going to focus most upon signage creation and placement, because this is the most important part about getting people to your sale. Yes, Craigslist can help, though probably not classified advertising (what is this, 1985?). But you can have a successful list with only good signage to get people there. And good signage--though you'd think it would be obvious to people--is a rarity out there, it would seem.

Cute. But a terrible sign. Illegible while
driving, no indication of which way,
useless unless you stop to read it,
AND know where Wilton Pl. is.


- Make your signs bright and bold, with as little information as possible. People can't read much as they're driving.
- A BIG BOLD ARROW may be all you really need.
- Only use extraneous words, if your sale is VERY specific. Mostly toys, mostly baby stuff, mostly furniture? Use concise, bold, SHORT words to sum that up: "BABY SALE," "FURNITURE," "ANTIQUES" and a big, bold arrow.
- Did I say BIG BOLD ARROW? I meant it. Get a big, fat, BLACK marker, the kind you practically have to hold in your fist. Lightweight, skinny arrows CANNOT be seen from a distance.
- Consider colored poster board, all the same color. Cut it into quads, and make your signs. Big arrow in the middle, a minimum of verbiage on the top and/or bottom. Make several rights and several lefts. Or make an all-purpose one like the green one I made below.
If you made a stack of signs like this, it would be
all you need to get the job done.
- If you have lots of soft, curbside ground in your neighborhood, attach your signs to stakes.
- If you attach signs to a pole, make the sign stiff enough, or small enough that the wind won't bend it or take it down. Use clear packing tape in big pieces over the whole face of the sign, onto the pole.
- If you attach signs to a box, make sure the box doesn't obstruct anything, and put a rock, brick or other weight in the box to keep it steady.
- Make sure your signs are secure to whatever they're attached to, and can't easily be blown down, torn or bent by the wind, or otherwise made useless by the elements.
- Place your signs in the most logical location. Nothing is more frustrating for a driver than turning left because the sign is on the left, and finding out that the sign actually pointed right (a BIG BLACK ARROW helps with this too).
- If the driver must turn anywhere in their path to your house, put another sign. These are breadcrumbs to your sale. Do you WANT a secret sale?
- Make your signs consistent to each other. If they obviously match each other, people can't be led astray by someone else's signs.


- Don't list your address. It's not necessary, most people won't recognize the street name. They usually won't be able to read it while driving. Nobody cares.

Might as well be invisible.
- Don't list FRI., SAT., SUN. It promises something that may not happen, and it's extraneous. The signs should only be up while the sale is on.
- Don't use a standard Sharpie, Marks-A-Lot or any other ordinary pen or marker. They're too small, and almost impossible to read.
- Don't be overly cute. It's just confusing. Unless you're making every sign have a distinctive design that ties them all together AND quickly indicates something important about the sale, don't bother.
- Don't leave excessive gaps between signs. People will think your sale is over if they can't find you.
- Don't place a single sign at the entrance to your development, and then leave people hanging.
- Don't make the signs too small (though a series of brightly colored darts or arrows of the same color as the rest of your signs CAN be helpful to lead the way).
- Don't put your signs up before you're ready to open.
- Don't leave your signs up after you've closed.


- Have as much ready the night before as possible.
- Price everything before you open.
- Have plenty of tables to display your merchandise upon and beneath.
- If the tables you're using look like they might be for sale, make a sign that says "table not for sale."
A fairly good sign. Arrow could still
be bolder.
- If you place an ad on Craigslist, do not list your address, list the cross streets. List the time it starts, and some other identifier: "Follow green signs," "In Moondance subdivision," "Behind playground," whatever it is. Otherwise, you'll have earlybirds before you're ready.
- If weather is a factor, consider shelter for your items, whether it's tenting, or your sale is in the garage.
- If the sale is in the garage, block access (and preferably line of sight) to anything NOT for sale.
- Have someone help you for as much of the sale as possible, it's invaluable.
- While one person sets up, the other can put up signs.
- Don't put up signs until it's time to open.
- Put signs up from the INSIDE (closest to the house) OUT (furthest from the house). This will save you from having people drive around aimlessly while you put signs up.
- Have someone check on the signs once or twice, or ask customers if they had any trouble finding you.
- Have plenty of change from the beginning. People will show up with tens and twenties when you FIRST OPEN!
- Put most attractive, large, sales-worthy items where they can be easily seen.
- If you're worried about your lawn or driveway getting messed up by cars, block them with cones, rope, flags, etc. So long as there IS somewhere for people to park.
- If you have large items that you don't want to drag out unless someone is interested, take several pictures, and print them out.
- Do NOT overprice items, or expect them to draw top dollar. It's a yard sale, not an antique store.
- Edit Craigslist ad to goose sales if there's a big lull: "Everything marked half off for rest of sale," "End of sale, everything must go!" or at the end, "Come and get it, curbside free!"
- Take DOWN your signs starting from the OUTSIDE, IN, which will allow those last few customers to find you while you're winding down the sale.
This one.
Use this one.

Also, know your market. Does your neighborhood tend to have a lot of sales on Friday? Do they usually start really early, or do they not get going until 10 am? How late do they usually run? This is important stuff, because different areas do these things differently. In Las Vegas, for example, sales tend to mostly run on Saturday (with some Friday and Sunday overspill), tend to start very early (7:30 or 8:00am), and don't tend to run past Noon or 1:00 pm.  In central Ohio, the big day seems to be Friday (with some overspill into the weekend), and they tend to start later (9:00 or 10:00am), and can run until 4:00 at night.  If you don't run your sale at the usual times, you may miss out on your prime shoppers.

And finally, be aware of any local restrictions you might have in your area on sales. Some municipalities are very strict about what they allow.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Gay Thing: LGBT Employment Rights Federally Mandated All Along?

Well, this is kind of nifty. And no big hoopla, or anything. I've used the 1964 Civil Rights Act as an example for quite a while when arguing against discrimination in public accommodations. You know, those oddly religiously sensitive bakers and florists who won't sell to gay folks getting married? Though sexual orientation wasn't part of that act nationally, it's illustrative. But who knew it applied to discrimination in employment already? This is such new news, I wonder if it might not also apply to public accommodations? If so, this is a rather nifty end-run around all of those RFRA thingies, isn't it? I'm hoping so.

Image from source, Buzzfeed

Sexual Orientation Discrimination Is Barred By Existing Law, Federal Commission Rules
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that existing civil rights law bars sexual orientation-based employment discrimination — a groundbreaking decision to advance legal protections for gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers. . .

Read more at: Buzzfeed

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Solution to the FOX "News" 2016 GOP Debate Dilemma

I was listening to the radio on my walk today, listening to The Stephanie Miller Show, about the FOX "News" 2016 GOP debate dilemma. Namely, how do they decide who is going to be on the stage? There are--so far--16 candidates declared, with possibly more to come. Most of them are within the margin of error on any single poll, and any hint of diversity (cough, Fiorina, cough, Carson) could unwittingly get bumped off if they aren't careful.
I started thinking about stagecraft, and how it could be done. Then it hit me: 1 vs 100. It was a game show, during network television's post Who Wants to be a Millionaire? game show phase. They managed to make a stage with 100 contestants, and it worked. And then my mind, as it often does, took that several steps down the line. A game show format would be perfect! This is already chaos. Why not make each "contestant" leap for a buzzer? It even solves the problem of candidates complaining that they don't get enough camera time. You have to buzz in, Lindsey!

If FOX decided it was still too much trouble to put everyone on a stage at once, why not heats? Put six out there at a time, let a winner be selected, and so on, and then have championship rounds! They could do variations on Celebrity Jeopardy! or if that's too hard, maybe Celebrity Family Feud. Hell, wouldn't everybody like to see Donald Trump on the other side of the boardroom table?
My personal favorite is my version of Match Game '74: Ass Game '16, only flip it so that moderators Steve Doocey and Megyn Kelly, emceed by Sean Hannity, ask the questions and the candidates have to fill in the blanks! "Dumb Dora was so dumb [How dumb was she? Thank you for asking], she thought you could repeal and replace ObamaCare with BLANK!]"
I think it would be awesome, and I'd pay-per-view to watch it.

Scott Walker's Logo Lacks Originality, Vision, May Be Too Liberal

On Monday night's The Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel pointed out that the new Scott Walker for President logo may be all nice and patriotic, but it's hardly original. I can't find the clip from the show, but I can show you the ones it seems to be inspired by. The logo looks like a direct steal from an eye care company. And as a graphic artist who specializes in logos and brand identity, I've got to say that using the "e" in Walker is an odd place to drop the logo in the first place. But it's understandable to want flag imagery, and there are only so many ways to represent Old Glory in a simplified "bug."

But how funny is it, that Walker's logo also looks like the logo of former liberal talk radio flagship for  Air America Radio, WLIB? That right there is kind of hilarious. But if recent history is any indication, even a controversial logo (Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz) will probably be retained by the candidate, despite any argument to change it. There's too much invested in the design. Even if it kind of looks like the logo for US Airways.


Eyeglass company: No Scott Walker endorsement in logo

America's Best Eyeglasses is reminding people that their logo may look like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's new campaign logo, but they're not endorsing him, or any other candidate for that matter. A handful of angry tweeters pressed the eyeglasses and contacts company this past weekend, after Walker revealed a campaign logo that looks very similar to the their boxy American Flag-redux logo. . .

Read more at: CNN

Monday, July 13, 2015

Berkeley Breathed Bringing Back Bloom County?

Trump-themed Bloom County strip from late
in its run.
There has to be a catch. It's got to be too good to be true. My bookshelf is stuffed with the published works of three retired--and brilliant--cartoonists. The complete library editions of The Far Side by Gary Larson, Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson and Bloom County/Outland/Opus by Berkeley Breathed even made the 2,500 mile journey from Las Vegas last winter when we moved, even when other prized possessions didn't make the cut. Since those three artists quit contributing to it, the funny pages have been an insipid wasteland for the most part. And the world is poorer for it.

But as you can see, one of them has a tendency to come out of retirement. Breathed didn't just have one strip, and he didn't only retire once. He's returned before. The first time was a semi-retirement, when he literally put Bloom County out to pasture, but kept the Sunday space in the paper for the Outland spin-off. The daily dose was gone, and the familiar feel was largely replace with the surreal, but there was enough left to enjoy. Then he fully retired from the comics, leaving heartbroken fans to re-read the collected editions for seven or eight years. Then, in the early 2000s, he came back and brought Opus with him. Still Sundays only, and this time with high artistic flair. Even so, Opus, like Outland, soon came to feel like a proper Bloom County sequel. And then, Berke pulled the rug out from under us again. Three finales, we've lived through!

Through the wonders of the internet, and social media, there have been little nuggets to follow in recent years. But a boulder dropped this morning: Bloom County 2015. Can it be true? Could Donald Trump's run for president (after decades of threats) have been enough to drag Opus & Co. out of the boarding house, and into our newspapers, or at least computer screens? It looks like it, yes.

Image from source, Huffington Post
But there's got to be a catch. I know there must be. Whether it's a limited run, sporadic in nature, comes in binge-worthy Netflix-style batches, or one every so often, Breathed fans will eat them all up. But I'm going to enjoy them for what they are, and not get my hopes up too high. I won't count on a library edition-sized book version of the new strip to accompany the rest. But if it should ever amount to that, you can be sure it will find a home there.

Thanks to my friend Tracy for the tip.


'Bloom County' Comic Strip Is Coming Back
The iconic 1980s comic strip "Bloom County" is coming back after ending more than 25 years ago. Berkeley Breathed, creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning strip, posted an image on Facebook of himself working on a strip called "Bloom County 2015" with the beginnings of what appears to be Opus the Penguin. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

Saturday, July 11, 2015

David Letterman Out of Retirement to Give Top Ten Facts About Donald Trump!

TV I Can't Wait to See: Fear the Walking Dead

Image from source, THR
Finally! Though still five or six weeks away, we know when Fear the Walking Dead, a companion series to the AMC mega-hit, will debut (August 23), how many episodes it will be (six, the first season), and we even have a full-length preview! Though I'm not bowled over by the title they chose, I love the premise. Most zombie stories start mid-apocalypse. Starting at the beginning will solve a lot of riddles that have either had to be ignored by fans, or fanwanked away (how did they over-run society, how did it get so bad so fast?). [Story continues below]

Of course, the chief problem inherent in the genre is, "how do you end the story?" And this is largely irrelevant in an ongoing series. So long as the parent series and/or its spinoffs remain popular, they don't have to devise a resolution. If this spinoff works (and if there are any others), I suppose they could end it with either having all of the remaining survivors setting up together on an island or something, or even having the zombie contagion simply dying out, leaving a handful of people to repopulate. Then we could have, After the Walking Dead!

Comic-Con: 'Fear the Walking Dead' Debuts Full Trailer, Sets Premiere Date

Following a string of cryptic teasers, AMC officially released the first trailer for Fear the Walking Dead on Friday at Comic-Con, where the cabler also revealed that the L.A.-set series would debut on Aug. 23 and lead directly into the season six premiere of the flagship series. There will be a special Talking Dead airing Oct. 4 after the season finale of Fear. . .

Read more at: The Hollywood Reporter

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Gay Thing: "Sweet Cakes by Melissa" Story Built on Lies (Update: Minus One Lie)

UPDATE: This story has been updated by its source, RawStory. Update is below.

Because of the way court cases wend their way through processes and appeals, this moldy old case, Sweet Cakes by Melissa keeps coming around. It's a case about an Oregon bakery that ran afoul of public accommodation laws by refusing to sell a cake to a lesbian couple. I've written about it, and related other cases, several times before, here, for one instance.

Image from source, Raw Story
Let me start this time, by saying that the entire tactic being used by the religious right regarding wedding vendors, civil clerks and magistrates in resistance to same-sex marriage is 100% bullshit. Not just in places, or in some cases, but complete bullshit in every case. It's so wrongheaded, and wrong in so many places, that it's rather difficult to write about, because the list of wrongs--and the tangents it takes you down--are so extensive. But the short version is, we're talking about civil marriage, which is a contract, not a religious sacrament. Civil marriage has coexisted with "holy matrimony" for eons, without causing a religious crisis for vendors, businesses, magistrates and clerks. A lengthy list of examples of past civil marriages that do not comport with mainstream religious beliefs can be hastily brought to mind, and yet there was no flurry of RFRA laws and other attempts to skirt around the rights of Americans to get civilly married. Shorter still: atheists don't have problems buying wedding cakes.

That only happened when gay people started the quest to get the right to marry. Suddenly, religiously delicate wedding vendors were coming out of the woodwork claiming that these civil marriages conflicted with their "sincerely held beliefs." Apparently, only The Gay Thing is "sinful" enough to warrant this brand new understanding of "religious freedom," meaning the right to be exempted from certain laws (or to ignore them), and to trample and trump the empirical rights of gay customers. Oddly enough, they rarely even try to define which "sincerely held belief" prevents them from selling their wares to gay couples, or how these beliefs enter into a typical business transaction in the first place. There's lots of bogus talk about them having to "participate in," "celebrate" or "condone" the ceremony by selling their product or service, all claims that are either in extreme dispute, or flatly disprovable.

Apparently, this is either "Sweet Cakes," or "Melissa."
What makes the Sweet Cakes by Melissa story even more of a lie, is that it started out before there was legal gay marriage in Oregon. This was a story about a couple, the Kleins, who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple's commitment ceremony reception. Not a sacred and/or legal ceremony. The Kleins broke the law doing this, since there is a state law that prohibits businesses from discriminating against sexual orientation, along with the standard list of gender, religion, race, and what have you. Yet, whenever the Kleins' story is recounted, you will be told (usually by the Kleins or by some of the loudly religious groups that have helped martyr them) that this had to do with the legalization of same-sex marriage. The Kleins' legal drama is consistently touted as a consequence. It wasn't.


Oregon bakers weren’t fined over cake — they were punished for sharing lesbian couple’s home address [See correction below]

The anti-LGBT owners of an Oregon bakery were not fined simply for refusing to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple – they were ordered to pay $135,000 in damages for intentionally causing their would-be customers emotional distress. e case has attracted widespread media attentiothe couple first filed their complaint in Januay 2013, and that is largely through the efforts of Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa.

Read more at: RawStory

"Correction: An earlier version of this article contained a significant error that resulted from failure to distinguish the difference between the agency’s recommendation and the commissioner’s final ruling. The bakers were not, as previously reported, punished for threats by others against the couple, as the agency had recommended. They were ordered by the commissioner to pay damages to the couple for emotional harm caused by their unlawful discrimination. We regret the error, and we would like to thank Eugene Volokh for clarifying the distinction." --RawStory 07/12/15

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Presidential Candidates, Summed Up in Brief

Dan, my blogging adversary and friend from Las Vegas days (we've each since moved away) posted his quick takes on the presidential field thus far, on his much more successful blog, Las Vegas Badger. I thought it was an interesting idea, so here is my take.

Hillary Clinton: It's hers to lose, but the attempted "death by a thousand cuts" by her opponents may hurt her.
Lincoln Chafee: Has gone from Republican to Independent to Democrat. . .and made little splash in any of them.
Martin O'Malley: Who?
Bernie Sanders: The anti-Trump speaks completely unfiltered, but does so with substance.
Jim Webb: Eh.
Joe Biden: Prone to blunders, but a good guy. Won't win.

Jeb! Bush: Just say no to a third Bush.
Dr. Ben Carson: Completely inexperienced, and a bit of a nutbar.
Chris Christie:  Four years too late, too much scandal, and rude to boot.
Ted Cruz: Crazy dad, pandering, smarmy and unctuous son. Plus, too much religion in the politics.
Carly Fiorina: Only claims to fame are spectacular failures.
Lindsey Graham:  Closest (almost said closet) thing to a GOP candidate I'd vote for, and I still wouldn't vote for him.
Mike Huckabee:  No preachers for president please. Anyway, his media back catalog of crazy will sink him.
Bobby Jindal:  Religion in politics is his stock-in-trade, and he's not ready for prime time.
John Kasich: A former FOX "News" guy for president? No thanks.
George Pataki: Not crazy enough to stand out in this field.
Rand Paul:  Plagiarist chip off the old block, but not really a libertarian.
Rick Perry: Oops.
Marco Rubio: Stay thirsty, my friend. Try again next time.
Rick Santorum: Fluke runner-up last time will get nowhere this time.
Donald Trump: A bullshitting buffoon who will make a mockery of the entire field, but might make them look normal by comparison.
Scott Walker: Bland and boring, has his fans but will only rise to the top if it's by process of elimination.
Jim Gilmore: Who?

There are others, but I doubt they're worthy of notice.

Personally, I'd like to see Hillary Clinton win the nomination, and the general election. She would have been fine with me last time, if I hadn't liked Barack Obama (and his supporters) more. She's capable, smart, tenacious and tough. Bernie Sanders would be terrific too, but I'm afraid if he won the nomination, he'd lose the general election (too Socialist, irascible, elderly, unkempt and Jewish for the general public, I fear). I love him though, and you'd better believe I'd vote for him over any GOP candidate. Martin O'Malley made no impression on me in particular, and both Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb may trend too Blue Dog for my tastes (besides having little to no zazz). Given my choice in a perfect world? Senator Elizabeth Warren for the win, any other Democratic candidate (but preferably a younger heir apparent) for Veep.
This team would be fine with me too.

I fear that Jeb! Bush will win the GOP primary having both the most well-known name, and generally being in the more sane column. I think having the last three Republican presidents all from the same family, with one of them having served two terms as Vice President in the one before that, is just too much. Way too much. Even if the previous Bushes had been terrific at their jobs. Instead, we had a middling Poppy and a disastrous Dubya. Jeb!'s motto should be, "Third Time's the Charm?"

The win in the general will depend entirely upon the mood of the country at the time, and just how well anybody can keep the momentum going through these next two summers. Ugh. That's a long slog. And we just can't know what will be going on politically. It's a tough hat trick for one party to extend a two-term presidency into another four or eight in the White House. But the rules are different in this 24/7, post-Citizens United, rapid news cycle era. At present, there's just no way to know.

2016 GOP Clown Car Update: Jim Gilmore Piles In

Whew! Who knew there was still space in this thing? And Jim WHO? Gilmore? Wasn't that a killer from the 70s? Well, I had to add another spot to the roster, so to fill out the space, I put a couple of potential other candidates up there. I can't believe I'd previously forgotten Twisty. And since we've got a Gilmore, I've added a Gacy. Makes as much sense as anything, at this point.


Former Virginia Gov. Gilmore entering crowded GOP field
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore will be the latest Republican to enter the ever-growing field of White House candidates. Gilmore told the Richmond Times-Dispatch Tuesday that he will jump in. Gilmore was governor from 1998 to 2002, served as Republican National Committee chairman in 2001 and lost Virginia's 2008 U.S. Senate race to then-Gov. Mark Warner in a blowout. . .

Read more at: CNN

Homer Simpson Learns the Secrets of Donald Trump's Hair (as a Paid Crowd Member)

First of all, huzzahs to the FOX TV network both for re-securing Harry Shearer for two more years for The Simpsons. Secondly, thanks to The Simpsons for continuing to kick FOX "News" in the shins even while being on FOX TV. And lastly, thanks for this clip which proves--if for no other reason for the sheer number jokes crammed into this clip--that The Simpsons has still GOT it.

Has FOX "News" Effectively Killed Conservatism?

I love this story. . .


Fox News built a f**ked-up Frankenstein, dumb, angry and divorced from facts. Now Donald Trump will devour them

. . .Donald Trump is practically a mirror image of the Fox News psyche. Most of his speeches consist of repackaged stupidities plucked right out of the conservative mediascape. It’s kind of brilliant, really. Trump knows his audience, and he beams back at them every idiotic thing they want to hear. Which, of course, is exactly what Fox News does. . .

Read more at: Salon

Monday, July 6, 2015

Fireworks Viewed Through the Eyes of a Drone

Pretty spectacular.

HOAX The Gay Thing: President Obama Calls for June 26 to be "National Equality Day"

THIS STORY HAS BEEN REPORTED AS A HOAX.  So, good one, pranksters. I guess. It wasn't particularly funny, but you got me as well as several legit news outfits, so score one for you.  
June 26th was a day of great importance, and has featured three major civil rights victories at the Supreme Court for gay rights. Though I'm doubtful that the current Congress will vote for a national holiday, it would be nice to get Representatives and Senators on record. And it would also be interesting to see if a future Republican president would have the temerity to revoke Obama's Executive Order.

Of course, even with gay rights at the root of Equality Day, the notion of civil rights equality wouldn't be confined to that specific issue alone. This is a tremendous idea.

Image from source, USAToday

President Obama to Declare 6/26/16 National Equality Day

President Obama called the Supreme Court decision requiring states to recognize same-sex marriage “a victory for America.” Now the Commander in Chief is set to honor those who fought for marriage equality by issuing an executive order declaring 6/26/16 National Equality Day. . .

Read more at: USA Today

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