Monday, April 30, 2007

Devil Went Down To Provo

It's unfair to base your opinions of an entire political party on the crazy statements of a couple of fringe elements. In fact, it's hilariously unfair. Quoting the Salt Lake Tribune:

Utah County GOP Chairwoman Marian Monnahan says District 65 Chairman Don Larsen's resolution - asserting that illegal immigration is the devil's plan to destroy the nation by "stealth invasion" - "in no way" is endorsed by the Republican Party.
As Larsen helpfully points out in his resolution, “In order for Satan to establish his ‘New World Order’ and destroy the freedom of all people as predicted in the scriptures, he must first destroy the U.S.” Larsen thinks it is important to get this language into the public books, perhaps because we will be able to touch Satan's forehead with them and make him dissolve into a shower of sparks and dust.

The KUTV coverage of this story provided both a drawing of the devil (he resembles Cesar Romero) and a link to this story. Last year a Republican Congressional candidate in Salt Lake City named John Jacob blamed the Devil for his difficult campaign.

Jacob says that since he decided to run for Congress, Satan has disrupted his business deals, preventing him from putting as much money into the race as he had hoped.

Yep, that's right - the devil is responsible for keeping rich people out of politics. You know what that means: Satan is on Obama's side! By the way, the devil featured in this article looks more like Montel Williams, only green against a red gradient background. Curious choice, as if the devil hasn't yet been dropped into boiling water, but he'll be delicious afterward.

So as a fair-minded liberal blogger, the power of Christ compels me to point out that the majority of Republican candidates almost never blame their failures of Satan. Publicly. Like any good football team they will cite Jesus when they win something, but so will lots of Democrats. I just don't want you to go around thinking that Republicans are prone to blame everything that goes wrong on some otherworldly scapegoat.

They usually use Clinton for that.


Title = "spa update."

I have chosen my spa. Ultimately I had narrowed it down to three clubs - Topanga Fitness, 24-Hour Fitness, and Spectrum. I visited each club and toured with their spokes-specimen, then did a spreadsheet based on their deals.

Spectrum was the first one eliminated. Even though they had the obviously best facility, a huge building about 2 miles from my house, they also charge $80 bucks a month for the privilege of belonging. I go the gym for the weight machines and treadmills and they all have 'em; so the extra money would have been spent, essentially, to avoid working out around people like me.

Incidentally the Spectrum rep was a pudgy little guy, short and funny, like a character actor. I found him far more reassuring than the Golem I wound up signing the papers with.

At the other end of the scale, I had a sweet deal offered at the local, unenfranchised, Topanga Fitness. Farthest from my house but near the freeway; nominally on my way to work, this club offered the smallest facility but low, low prices. about $14 a month and they were going to throw in a free massage. In addition to being too far, there was no one there when I visited except a trainer and a member. I would also avoid working out around people like me; or any people for that matter. Too depressing.

I'm going with corporate behemoth 24-Hour Fitness. Three or four days a week, and I'm in for five training sessions with the goal of actually MEETING my optimum actuarial table weight and having a little definition to my torso instead of the ectomorphic pale blob it is now. My weight? If you know me you might think I'm slender, but I've been about 10-20 pounds more than the insurance people recommend for my whole life. I want to go to my death bed one day saying, "you should have known me for that month when I had a perfect body."

One can only hope I don't say it a month after.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Iraq: The Big Picture In A Spiffy New Frame

As we consider our options of when to pull out of Iraq (it seems to boil down to either October or The End Of Days) I have been pondering why we're IN there. As an exercise, I'm formulating my opinion on the basis of Right Wing talking points. After all, how am I going to convince someone of my conclusions if they disagree with my premise? So the history, disregarding whatever may have been said or implied in the past, goes like this: Iraq was in no way connected to 9/11 but we thought Saddam Hussein had WMDs. It turns out he didn't (though he probably did and shipped them to Syria before the war started, clever bastard) but now we have to stay there to fight the terrorists who are flooding into the country to fight us.

Okay, any Republicans disagree with me so far? Good. Then here is why we need to get out.

It is phenomenally immoral for us to take over another country and fight our battles there.

It would be like the Palistine invading New York because they want to fight Isreal but leave Palestine intact.

As always, I invite logical criticism. I'm the Berlin Wall baby, tear me down!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

FUSION TANGO Generates Heat

My parents in-law are octogenarians. Terrifyingly they are also Tango dancers. They're not professionals, they don't do exhibition shows or anything, but Tango is one of their hobbies. So it was that they invited the little woman and me to join them at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood last night for a show called Fusion Tango, which comprised a five-man band, two singers and four couples.
Tango is a strange, exotic brew. The music - so dark and smoky and soulful, so primitive. The movements - fast, twitchy, almost insectoid in nature. This is perhaps the only dance where they insist on not smiling.
Three of the four couples were young, intense people, and they were amazing. Precise but acrobatic, I lost count of how many times a woman in a thigh-slit black dress was twirled like a sexy baton by a glowering young man with greased black hair. A few times the woman would walk away and turn her back on the fellow, only to be pulled back into his arms. Then they would dance, with less than half an inch between their taut bodies, suddenly kicking and jerking their limbs so violently that it's astonishing that no one broke any bones.
Then there was the other couple.
"Watch that guy," my mother in law said. "He's our instructor."
A stocky man in a white double breasted suit, balding, probably around 50, emerged. His partner was another 20-something in a black dress. This man was indeed, captivating. It was hard to figure out why at first. Sure part of it was the narrative. An older man dancing so close to a girl obviously too young for him, that carries some drama. But there was something else. I couldn't put my finger on it.
The man was doing a lot of his dancing with his hands. Where another couple had swung each other like ice skaters, this man would pause, almost motionless, and lift one finger to shake at the bandeleon player. Or he'd fill a beat by caressing the girl from her shoulder blade to the small of her back. Or he'd rub his thumb along his fingertips. Tiny, precise movements, perfectly in rhythm.
He had managed to make his hands a third, separate performer in the dance.
Needless to say, he was the most popular of all the dancers. If you are young you can get attention by defying gravity. At his age, that's out of the question and you look towards less strenuous ways to tell the story. Instead of dazzling footwork, he did dazzling fingertip work. Though his footwork was quite accomplished as well.
For me, economy of movement trumps amazing movement every time. I'd rather see that bald guy dance than see Lance Burton, all things considered.
And this is why, as the entertainment world shrinks and investors pull out, there will still be good movies and TV shows. Because there are plenty of bald guys who know how to make it work without special effects. Even some guys with hair.

(Hear this read on the Box Office Weekly podcast here)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Media Matters' Unfair Verbatim Quoting

O'REILLY: OK. The website you got it off is called Media Matters, which is an assassination website. It's a far-left propaganda thing. Now, I do two hours -- you do radio, two hours as well. They'll take two, three sentences; they'll put it on out of context. - Bill O'Reilly on Ireland's The Late Late Show

I don't do this often for fear of sounding strident, but it's fair if you're only stridenting back. Media Matters has been mischaracterized.

O'Reilly is correct in perceiving a leftward bias in Media Matters. I don't recall ever seeing them writing up a Democrat. Probably at some point they've quoted Joe Lieberman or Zell Miller, but these people are Democrats in (D) only. If you want FAIR bullshit-calling, you should take Dick Cheney's advice and go to As for "far-left" well, if Colin Powell ever publishes a book exposing his REAL feelings about his time with GWB, they'll call HIM far-left too.

However, what Media Matters does fairly is this: They accurately quote their adversaries and go out of their way to provide context. For example, if somebody says something odious in a segment of a pundit show, they will usually reprint the transcript of the entire segment. When they don't do that, they provide a link to the transcript.

It's true they boldface the quotes they want to call your attention toward.

Probably the thing that bothers O'Reilly and Tammy Bruce and Rush Limbaugh and Melanie Morgan about the site is in addition to all the other info in their articles, they publish contact info. They'll give the show's email address, along with this disclaimer: "When contacting the media, please be polite and professional. Express your specific concerns regarding that particular news report or commentary, and be sure to indicate exactly what you would like the media outlet to do differently in the future." I'm guessing not everyone who writes takes that advice, but Media Matters isn't revealing any private addresses and at least they make the attempt to maintain civility.

It's a lot easier to attack the messenger then to try to explain (or God forbid apologize for) an offensive remark, especially if you pop 'em out like waffles on a daily basis.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Broken Valve

Beltway insiders must envy me today - many of them were obligated to attend the clearly miserable White House Correspondent's Dinner, while I get to read the highlights. While they were eating rubber banquet food, I was enjoying top quality salmon at a good seafood restaurant in Calabasas. And while I listened to my mother-in-law's account of her most recent health scare, they had to endure Rich Little.

My mother in law, for the record, is just fine. Comedy itself has been dealt a mortal blow.

The bizarrely un-hip booking is a reaction to Steven Colbert's turn last year, which was clearly TOO hip. Colbert's speech was the equivalent of walking into a crowded pool hall on tournament night and screaming "billiards sucks!" To make the scenario more apt, I'd add that the judges have long ago decided to always pick Bob as the winner, even though everyone knows that Bob can't play.

Little addressed the bad Colbertian taste in the mouths of attendants with his opening lines.

"I'm not here to make any political points," the veteran comic said. "...I'm just here tonight trying to make enough money to get my relatives out of Canada."
He then wisely stuck to Nixon jokes, Johnny Carson jokes - basically humor which had absolutely no relation to anyone in the room who happened to be alive. Because those people can be a little testy, dontcha know.

Unfortunately, by all accounts the act went over like Colbert's but with the substance removed. As Wonkette pointed out, the President said he wouldn't be funny in light of the Virginia Tech shootings, and Little bravely did the same. But I think he was on the right track, because Rich Little understands the WHCD.

The dinner is a safety valve.

It's a public truce between the White House and the press, who spend the rest of the year trashing each other. It's a way of saying, "we recognize that what you do is essential to the functioning of a healthy democracy, no matter what we may say." If it's swung from too mean to not mean enough, perhaps it's because neither side has been doing their job properly. Democracy has gotten a pretty raw deal these last six years.

Meanwhile, away from the podium, Laurie David and Sheryl Crow approached Karl Rove while he was eating, to talk to him about global warming. Rove is said to have snapped at them; Crow reportedly reminded him, "you work for me!" To which Rove responded, "I work for the American people." This response is the key to Karl Rove. If you don't agree with everything he says, you are NOT AN AMERICAN. To Karl Rove, only 35% or so of us are Americans. The rest are, I guess, the terrorists.

Helluva choice, siding with Rove or the Terrorists. My choice is that they both have to go.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Setup, Punchline

One official, who works closely with Gonzales, described him as "out of touch" with the political pulse in Washington. (courtesy CNN)
NOW he's out of touch with politics?

Clubbin' For Health

I'm considering joining a gym. Not one of those public gymnasiums that all cities are sponsoring nowadays, but a privately held, bright primary colors, meat-market-style gym. It has to do with a desire to shave down this gut, which in turn has to do with my ongoing midlife crisis, now entering its sixth year.

For a long time I belonged to Bally's, and I gotta admit I had a sweet deal with those guys. In the eighties they offered this insane rate - something like a $400 initiation fee but $60 a year membership dues. That didn't last long, but I got in on it, and they honored the commitment for a long time. Up until 2005 I paid it despite never actually going to a Bally's, because it was 4 miles from my house in the wrong direction. I didn't want to give it up, because even though I was getting nothing for the money, it was a bargain nothing.

Now that I'm considering other local gyms, I'm lamenting that deal all the more. The best deal is this tiny l'il gym near the freeway that will cost me about $300 a year. Next best deal, $400 and change. All so I can can stave off the icy hand of decay for a few extra years, and maybe, just maybe, catch the eye of a college girl; who will cooley appraise me before turning her head and chuckling silently to herself, as she tones up for her date with Lars, the trainer. If I'm smart I'll just stick with plan B, which is a daily run around the neighborhood except when it's too cold. Healthful, but not much fun.

Either way, it's cheaper than a Testerossa.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Keepin' The Poor In Line

Skot's comments on my post yesterday led to an interesting conclusion, which reinforces a long held idea of mine. He said:

"Antiquated" social concepts like bourgeois propriety and noblesse oblige have become fading memories, but perhaps they served an unsuspected purpose: self-preservation.
It's oh so true. I read a lot of angry conservatives, people who are furious because they have to pay for their medical care while John Doe is given free medicine at the clinic. Or free food in the form of government vouchers. The AC will lambaste the bleeding heart liberal like myself for coddling the poor.

Listen pal, I ain't coddling nothin'. The poor scare me s**tless.

Here in the big city, you're surrounded by the poor. If you don't give them medical attention, they won't go out and get jobs. They'll get sick. They'll throw up in the streets. They'll catch the bird flu, and you, the rich guy, will catch it from them.

When the poor are hungry enough, they don't get jobs. If they could get jobs, most of them wouldn't be poor! What they'll do instead is steal YOUR food out of desperation. Then you'll be poor, foodless, catching some nasty virus. Good luck.

Remember, when you give a man a fish, you help him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you keep him from sneaking in and eating all your f**king fish.

The Future Is Now

The good people at BoingBoing pointed me in the direction of a series of predictions that were made by the Ladies Home Journal in 1900. What wonders are we supposed to be experiencing today?

Prediction #3: Gymnastics will begin in the nursery, where toys and games will be designed to strengthen the muscles. Exercise will be compulsory in the schools. Every school, college and community will have a complete gymnasium. All cities will have public gymnasiums. A man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling.

Prediction #9: Photographs will be telegraphed from any distance. If there be a battle in China a hundred years hence snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later. Even to-day photographs are being telegraphed over short distances. Photographs will reproduce all of Nature’s colors.

Prediction #11: No Mosquitoes nor Flies. Insect screens will be unnecessary. Mosquitoes, house-flies and roaches will have been practically exterminated. Boards of health will have destroyed all mosquito haunts and breeding-grounds, drained all stagnant pools, filled in all swamp-lands, and chemically treated all still-water streams. The extermination of the horse and its stable will reduce the house-fly.

Prediction #12: Peas as Large as Beets. Peas and beans will be as large as beets are to-day. Sugar cane will produce twice as much sugar as the sugar beet now does. Cane will once more be the chief source of our sugar supply. The milkweed will have been developed into a rubber plant. Cheap native rubber will be harvested by machinery all over this country. Plants will be made proof against disease microbes just as readily as man is to-day against smallpox. The soil will be kept enriched by plants which take their nutrition from the air and give fertility to the earth.

Prediction #16: There will be No C, X or Q in our every-day alphabet. They will be abandoned because unnecessary. Spelling by sound will have been adopted, first by the newspapers. English will be a language of condensed words expressing condensed ideas, and will be more extensively spoken than any other. Russian will rank second.

Prediction #21: Hot and Cold Air from Spigots. Hot or cold air will be turned on from spigots to regulate the temperature of a house as we now turn on hot or cold water from spigots to regulate the temperature of the bath. Central plants will supply this cool air and heat to city houses in the same way as now our gas or electricity is furnished. Rising early to build the furnace fire will be a task of the olden times. Homes will have no chimneys, because no smoke will be created within their walls.

Prediction #28: There will be no wild animals except in menageries. Rats and mice will have been exterminated. The horse will have become practically extinct. A few of high breed will be kept by the rich for racing, hunting and exercise. The automobile will have driven out the horse. Cattle and sheep will have no horns. They will be unable to run faster than the fattened hog of today. A century ago the wild hog could outrun a horse. Food animals will be bred to expend practically all of their life energy in producing meat, milk, wool and other by-products. Horns, bones, muscles and lungs will have been neglected.

So, basically they were dead-on. Which reminds me, I have to telegraph a picture to my cold-air plant, because I found a house-fly in the spigot. After that, a visit to the public gymnasium, then a delicious bone-less steak! Ah, these are the good times.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Et Tu, Barack?

There's the "verbal violence" of Imus.
There's "the violence of men and women who have worked all their lives and suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them because their job is moved to another country."

Courtesy REASON, which pulls the quotes from THE POLITCO, which I can't access from work. The Obama speech apparently equates these examples with the shootings. I'm all for the O-man, but this is the worst kind of rhetoric, and at way too early a juncture. I'll write further if I find a transcript of the speech.

Virginia Tech: Notes From the Dark Side

I'm certainly against politcizing the tragedy of the Virginia Tech Shootings. But I think we can all enjoy the spectacle of OTHER people politicizing it.

First, hat tip to Wonkette: a commenter in the newsgroup.

The Korean Shooter Was A Democrat And A Terrorist
1.Cho said he hated rich Americans. That is typical of class envy and democrats.
2.Cho said he hates American society. Again, that is typical of socialistic, communistic democrats.
3.Cho planned ever detail of his attack.
4.Cho attacked the USA because of his hatred for America.
Though he was a lone actor, Cho was a terrorist because he hated who and what WE are though he was going to one of our finest Universities. Cho was one more terrorst attacking the USA because we are NOT what he wanted us to be, just like muslim extremists who hate us and have killed us for not being like them.

If you crave video, check out Olberman's Worst Person In The World, VT Edition. Note John Derbyshire's response: “I’m still not too clear about who this Keith Omdurman character is. He’s plainly a leftie, though — one of that legion who pine for the days when they could tongue-polish Stalin’s boots — so I am proud to be top of his Worst list.” (hat tip to Think Progress). Way to soothe those ruffled feathers, Derbyshire!

The New York Times argues for Gun Control, as though that would have stopped the whole thing. Michelle Malkin, bless her big adorable heart, argues that the tragedy would have been controlled had we only allowed ALL the students to carry guns. "What if just one student in one of those classrooms had been in lawful possession of a concealed weapon for the purpose of self-defense?" Indeed! Let's pass 'em out to the high school kids too... how would that hurt anything?

The President's comments at various points have been distinctly un-political, sensitive and presidential. Logged and noted, sir.

Finally, my favorite: The argument that somehow, allowing abortion leads to campus shootings. I can follow the logic train on that one, but I think I'll catch the war-of-choice-leads-to-campus-shootings express instead. Less detours, dontcha know.


Update: BoingBoing steers us in the direction of an all-purpose essay written just after the 9/11 attack.

Many people will use this terrible tragedy as an excuse to put through a political agenda other than my own. This tawdry abuse of human suffering for political gain sickens me to the core of my being. Those people who have different political views from me ought to be ashamed of themselves for thinking of cheap partisan point-scoring at a time like this. In any case, what this tragedy really shows us is that, so far from putting into practice political views other than my own, it is precisely my political agenda which ought to be advanced.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No General Conclusions

Yeah, I avoided writing about the Virginia College shootings yesterday. I avoided reading about them. The story is kind of outside my beat.

However, even if I wasn't a smart aleck I think I'd steer clear of this, because our opinions mean nothing in the face of such an awful event. Something this tragic and isolated cannot be helped by Monday-morning quarterbacking. I've seen a call to ban firearms, which wouldn't have helped because firearms are already banned at schools. I've seen the opposite expressed also, as if somehow we'd have safer schools if MORE kids were armed.

The most predictably asinine opinion I've see expressed is that because Cho Seung-Hui was an immigrant we must curb immigration. This is absurd, as ridiculous as the call to ban long overcoats after Columbine. Overcoats don't kill people, disturbed people do. Seung-Hui had been living in the US for 14 years. If you want to rule on the grounds of nationality, we should ban Americans from America.

What we need to do as a result of this is mourn. Nothing more. Life is precious and sometimes short, and we cannot predict how it will end. A thing like Virginia Tech makes the news precisely because it rare and horrible. Throwing fear at it won't make it stop. Mourn, move on, treasure every moment in which there is not a shooting or terrorist attack or medical emergency. Beyond that, it's out of your control.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Considering The World's Ugliest Dog

Yesterday Animal Planet re-aired the 2006 WORLD'S UGLIEST DOG competition. Like the Miss Universe Competition, the applicant pool is curiously limited - no applicants from outside the US for World's Ugliest Dog, no applicants from other planets for Miss Universe. You'd think at least Venus would have someone in the running. In any event, that is where the resemblance between the two competitions ends.

When you think of ugly dogs you are probably picturing a bulldog, or a chihuahua. That is unless you've see a picture of the late Sam, legendary multi-year winner of this competition.

Sam is the stuff of nightmares, Cujo would be scared away from Sam. George Romero's production company, working for 2 years nonstop, wouldn't have come up with half the dog Sam is. (Sam's widow, incidentally, took 3rd place in her category! Work it, sistah!)

Quite a few of the finalists resembled each other. They were small, hairless except for a wiry patch on the tops of their heads, and they had tongues which hung out the sides of their mouths because they lacked front teeth. They were all pure breds, of the group "Chinese Crested." And this fascinates me. Because these dogs, with their imperfections, health problems, and singular unappealing looks, have been made that way on purpose. It's literally the opposite of eugenics. "Malgenics?"

It's especially weird when you consider that there aren't a lot of rewards to owning an ugly dog. Worst case scenario is people comment on how much dogs look like their owners, but there are also extra expenses involved. For example, one dog featured on the program was almost put to sleep for her constant pain until the vet realized that a daily dose of phenobarbitol would fix the problem. Would you keep your dog if it needed more drugs than you do AND scared the neighbor's kids? Of course not, no more than you'd keep a child with those qualities.

Looking at these dogs make me glad that I have one gorgeous dog and one dog who is goofy but appealing. But if I had a hideous parody of a dog, I would love him too. Assuming I could determine a sex at all.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Imus In The Gloaming

"Life is being on the wire, everything else is just waiting." - the late Karl Wallenda

Man, bad week to be Don Imus! On Monday he had a nationally syndicated radio show and it was simulcast live on MSNBC - here it is Friday, and he's the local morning guy on a sports station. All because of a muttered description of a woman's basketball team. Had he just followed the herd and ignored woman's basketball, he'd be on his way to Santorum's house by now for cocktails.

I'm not going to repeat the phrase here - it's offensive but you've heard worse. What's fascinating to me is how we went from "Oh, that's just Imus" to "Imus must be stopped!" I've seen plenty of worse examples of hate speech from Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh, but even outside of the partisan politics you can't swing a clock radio without running into some shock jock making fun of latinos or asians every single day in this great land of ours. Often there is no repercussion beyond an insincere apology; and you almost never get the wholesale airwave scrubbing that Imus went through.

This is why I think the real reason CBS kicked him off has little to do with the incident. Most likely bad demographics coupled with excessive salary demands got Imus fired, with the remark simply being a good vehicle to void the contract. This may be cynical to say it's the whole reason; but from out here it sure looks like it.

Morning radio is a tightrope walk, hence the quote from the founder of the famous Flying Wallendas. You have to be outrageous just to compete, but you can't be too outrageous and keep your job. And the line between the two isn't thin. It's wide, grey, and it moves under you all the time. Poor Don Imus wasn't even near the edge when it slipped out from under him. His career isn't over though. When a radio guy loses his job, it simply means he's hirable by any station who was losing to his time slot. If he doesn't retire, he'll be back in a month tops.

Just now as I was driving back from McDonalds with my multi-culturaliscious southwest chicken salad, I heard a program director saying that Imus wasn't a shock jock, he was an intelligent interviewer who spoke with the most influential Washington power players of our age. Why couldn't he be both? Doesn't a comany town like DC need a shock jock too? To hold that opinion is to fail to recognize just how big the intersection is between showbiz and politics nowadays. They are, at heart, the same thing. The difference is how the money is raised.

And I have to say, just how relevant IS Don Imus? Before this week I'd never have bothered to write about him. After this week, same thing. Clearly, this is the best place to stop.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

So It Goes...Like a Rocket, Every 3 Minutes

You know there is no bad news, only opportunities. So when I read this morning that Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is dead at the age of 86 I considered it bad news because I think I've read more of his work than any other novelist. Then a little later I read that the English city of Chatham will host Dickens World, a theme park based on the work of Charles Dickens. Which is the worst news? Who cares? Glass half full! Move on!

I give you... VonnegutLand!

From the Big Montana Wildhack Coaster to the Eliot Rosewater Log Flume Ride, VonnegutLand will be fun for kids of all ages -- especially telephathic twin kids! Who wouldn't love climbing into the Cat's Cradle, which features neither a cat nor a cradle? Arrive early to eat at the Breakfast Of Champions Cafe; Try the Kilgore Trout - it's delicious! Then spend a little time listening to the Player Piano (it plays German songs, but it's really working for the Americans, but it's really working for itself) and be strangely attracted to the Sirens Of Titan ride!

Enough, enough.

Not to go all emo on ya, but I want to finish with a quote from the CNN obit that I cribbed all the references from. "My father, like Hemingway, was a gun nut and was very unhappy late in life. But he was proud of not committing suicide. And I'll do the same, so as not to set a bad example for my children." Vonnegut died of brain injuries resulting from a fall, and it's fitting. I don't think you could have stopped him without stopping his brain first.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

1:1 Scale Model Car Kit

Attention Skot - This has got to appeal to you. Model car enthusiasts recreate a table-top display of model cars WITH THE ACTUAL CARS THEMSELVES, along with faithful scaled up glue, parts trees, and enamel paint. Hat tip to BoingBoing. My only worry is that this exhibit may be the seventh sign of the apocalypse; but it could also just mean that Bert I. Gordon is rising from the grave.

His Son Is Working For The Daily Mail

A follow-up to yesterday's piece about BBC Haterz:


It was the day that a host of BBC executives and star presenters admitted what critics have been telling them for years: the BBC is dominated by trendy, Left-leaning liberals who are biased against Christianity and in favour of multiculturalism.

The above quoted from the Daily Mail. Click on my title for the link. But before you do, put a little money on the barrel - what do you bet that the above paragraph is a direct quote from anyone?

And does the following sound a tiny bit like white paranoia to you:

At the secret meeting in London last month, which was hosted by veteran broadcaster Sue Lawley, BBC executives admitted the corporation is dominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities, deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American, anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims than Christians.

Political pundit Andrew Marr said: 'The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias.'

Former BBC business editor Jeff Randall said he complained to a 'very senior news executive', about the BBC's pro-multicultural stance but was given the reply: 'The BBC is not neutral in multiculturalism: it believes in it and it promotes it.'

Much of my experience with the BBC comes from the BBC World Service, which broadcasts to, you know, the world. An organization like that would pretty much have to be multicultural in nature, wouldn't it? I don't know much about the Daily Mail (beyond the Beatles reference to it in PAPERBACK WRITER) but Simon Walters, who wrote this article, displays a spot of the old skinhead bias. A big spot. To tell the truth, it's creeping me out. It looks like THE WALL was about 25 years ahead of its time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I'm not kidding. This last week I've read three blog posts about the leftist bias at the BBC, and they all have had an article at the London TELEGRAPH as their source. I don't think Murdoch is behind the Telegraph, but something is definately fishy there.

Under the headline HERO'S TALE IS "TOO POSITIVE" FOR THE BBC, a story of the cancellation of a 90-minute dramatization about Johnson Beharry, who won the Victoria's Cross in Iraq. The story quotes the fired producers of the show, who believe that the BBC is bowing to anti-war pressure. Nobody from the BBC itself responds to the charge. Still, this is not an editorial; which makes this paragraph a little troubling:

The BBC's decision to pull out will only confirm the fears of critics that television drama is only interested in telling bad news stories about the war.

Damn that MSM and their left-wing bias! Once can easily imagine the BBC pulling out because the script was bad, and not talking because it would be damaging to the producers.

The Telegraph is also the paper of record for BBC SHOULD DUMB DOWN, SAYS OWN REPORT, though again the BBC (and the report, which has not yet been completed or published) say no such thing. The Telegraph, though, includes this as its 2nd graf:
Executives at the corporation have always denied that it is a bastion of the liberal elite, pandering to the young, upmarket and metropolitan.

"Liberal Elites?" What the hell is the word liberal doing in there? What does that have to do with this story? Nothing, as it turns out. But they threw it in anway. Again, not an editorial; this was presented as straight reporting. Note the usual lack of named sources.

My friend at Publius' Forum says these articles are proof of bias at the BBC; I say it's proof that the Telegraph wants to smear the competion.

This concerns me because there are few news organizations that try harder to avoid bias than the BBC news. By going after their entertainment programs the Telegraph paints the whole corporation as biased, and therefore you should stop trusting them and trust, say, the Telegraph instead. Colbert was right - the truth itself has a liberal bias! At least it does when you look at it from the far right edge.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Fun Facts About THE AVENGERS

  1. Though BBC America runs a single season of 26 episodes, The Avengers actually ran 6 seasons. Included in those are one season with Diana Rigg which was in black and white, a season with Linda Thorson as Emma Peel's replacement Tara King, and two seasons with Honor (Pussy Galore) Blackman as Cathy Gale. All Avengers seasons had Patrick MacNee as dapper secret agent John Steed.
  2. The Avengers was a spinoff from another season, incredibly called POLICE SURGEON. That show was canceled but the character of the surgeon ("David Keel") was popular; they put him in another show and paired him with a shadowy secret agent. In the first few episodes Steed and Keel tracked down the killers of Keel's wife. Hence, the avengers.
  3. Blackman left the show after two seasons to become a Bond girl; Diana Rigg left the show after two seasons to become a bond girl. The Linda Thorson years only ran one and a half seasons.
  4. Before Diana Rigg, the show was practically live. That is to say it was either live or videotaped the day of airing. In other words, they didn't have time to take the mistakes out. The show went to film when the producers found an American market for it.
  5. The last season, with Linda Thorson, was actually the highest-rated in Britain and Europe. Sadly, Americans didn't take to it. Without American money, the show went off the air.
  6. Prolific producer and writer Brian Clemens went on in the nineties to write several episodes of REMINGTON STEELE.
  7. Diana Rigg hated leather catsuits and is seldom seen in one, despite what you may think, or may have liked.
  8. Some Diana Rigg episodes are rewrites of Honor Blackman episodes, because they were never syndicated and it seemed like a waste of a good idea.
  9. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee both appeared in episodes; in both cases the plot revolved around remote-controlled humanoids.
  10. Almost everybody agrees the movie just didn't get it.
  11. The theme of the show was written by Laurie Anderson; he also wrote the theme to Space: 1999. As you will recall, the moon flew out of Earth's orbit 8 years ago, taking with it the entire crew of Moonbase Alpha. Long story.
  12. Steed drove six different Bentleys (plus a Vauxhall) during the original series, even though he and Emma spoke as if he had only one. Patrick Macnee says he never learned how to drive them; he left them in third gear all of the time, and often they would have to be pushed into the camera frame by the crew or driven by a double. The Bentleys were usually rented from private owners, and most are said to have been in rather poor condition. (paragraph courtesy Avengers Forver!)
  13. BBC America is canceling the Avengers, opting for shows which aren't 35 years old. More's the pity, I say.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Keith Can Relax About The Ashes

First of all, it's been widely reported that Keith Richards was just kidding about snorting his father's ashes with cocaine. But really, just because he says he didn't, how would he know? He probably insists he's a drummer twice a day at this point.

However, according to Slate magazine, there is no pressing health danger in snorting cremated remains. There might be, if you do it all the time, of course. It would be similar to black lung disease. And there's a slim chance that you could get mercury poisening from the remains of people's fillings. But on the whole, snorting up your relatives pales compared to the risks of the cocaine itself. Or falling out of trees, for that matter. If you haven't already, go for it Keith. Joseph Campbell would be proud.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Another Delicious Retraction

This one is even better than Gingrich's weirdo explanation for his "language of the ghetto" remarks recently. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was on Meet The Press Sunday and speaking about the totally reasonable dismissal of US Attorney Carol Lam. He pointed out:

"She was a former law professor, no prosecutorial experience, and the former campaign manager in Southern California for Clinton"

These are not the reasons anyone is giving for her dismissal, by the way. However, Hatch's statements raised some red flags because a little easy research reveals she was never a campaign manger for Clinton, because at the time of the campaigns she was an Assistant US Attorney, and thus to participate in any campaign would have violated the Hatch Act. She never was a law professor and she has, actually, been a federal prosecutor for 18 years. So was this part of a disinformation campaign to distract us all from the political nature of these firings?

No no, of course not. According to a letter to MTP Hatch wasn't talking about Carol Lam, fired US Attorney, at all. No, he was talking about Alan Bersin, her predecessor. Bersin had been appointed by Clinton and was presumably fired when Bush came into office. As Rachel Maddow points out:
Given the massive media attention and debate about "Alan Bersin" recently, I can understand his mistake.

News of the correction should rip through the right wing blogosphere like wildfire. I bet Drudge has a spinning siren over item right now! But maybe this is the solution to the whole problem... it's all a big misunderstanding! Gonzalez, had he been involved at all with the decision, thought that he was firing THE PREVIOUS OFFICE HOLDERS. It happens. So let's just let bygones be bygones, shall we?

Once we re-impeach Clinton, if you know what I mean.

What Could Be Cuter?

It's Knut, the polar bear cub! Knut is the first polar bear born at the Berlin Zoo in over 30 years.

What's in store for Knut? Eventually he will grow to become a dangerous, ravenous beast; but only after several years as a mascot for the Grateful Dead.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Language of the Ghetto

Once again, America is forced to pay attention to a Newt.

Over the weekend Newt "Contract With America" Gingrich came out against bi-lingual education. "We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto," he said. This, predictably, has led to a few accusations of racism directed towards someone who is, arguably, the whitest man in America.

It wasn't so bad, really; unartfully phrased but God knows easier to climb out from under than last night's correction on Hannity and Colmes. "...frankly, "ghetto", historically had referred as a Jewish reference originally. I did not mention Hispanics, and I certainly do not want anybody who speaks Spanish to think I’m in any way less than respectful of Spanish or any other language spoken by people who come to the United States."

So what Newt is saying, if I'm reading this right, is that you want to learn English so you don't wind up like those unprosperous Jews.

I live in Southern California, and I can tell you that I'm fed up with those people. The way the gardners lapse into Yiddish whenever they want to talk about you behind your back; the drive-thru guy telling me to try a large because "you should live a little - would that be so wrong?" I hate seeing all those unlicensed accountants hanging out in front of H&R Block, hoping someone will hire them despite their illegal status. And you know what? If we don't keep them out, on their side of the fence, you KNOW they're going to overrun the entertainment industry.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Orwell That Ends Well

I love stuff like this, in the same way that I love slowing down at car wrecks on the freeway. Did you know that there are over 30 public surveillance cameras in the vicinity around George Orwell's historic London home? Ha ha ha... 1984 is funny because it's true!

In the DIGG comments under this story, someone points out that his girlfriend's bike was stolen in London, and they have footage of the perp from about a dozen angles, but the police say they are unable to catch him. Gosh, why would those cameras even be up if it isn't to catch criminals?

Personally, I'm a middle child but I have a big SISTER, so the idea of a Big Brother might appeal to me. But if the dude takes me away in the dead of night and brainwashes me, maybe I'd be happier as an orphan. If I ever pursue my dream of making a new life in England, I think I'll live in Cardiff. Even with Torchwood and their temporal rift.

read more digg story

Bagdhad Is Perfectly Safe

Just look at this footage of John McCain demonstrating that you can, indeed, walk the streets safely. I guess we were wrong - the surge is working in a big way!

Newsweek provides a little more background.