Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hillary's Meme

It's like I told Madeline's Dad - she may be the first, but she won't be the last.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Where Are Your Prayers, Atheist?

I knew there was something I wasn't seeing behind GWK's comments! It's not just about good wishes, it's about prayer. As you noted, G, I am an atheist; and therefore please take my remarks here to represent an extremely small segment of the American population. We're under 5% the last time I checked; Mac users have a bigger market share.

Well, obviously from this angle, my praying won't help Sen Kennedy at all. Will yours? I'm not sure. Just because I don't believe in God doesn't mean I KNOW there is no God. After all, i can't offer any physical evidence. Sure I could be wrong - my non-belief is its own way an article of faith. So I hope you can believe me when I say I don't feel superior to you because of your beliefs. More power to ya. Besides, maybe you're part of a collective good vibe, a healing energy which works in ways we don't understand yet.

Getting past the vibe scenario though, I don't think praying for a public figure would help. Einstein famously said "God doesn't play at dice;" and I'd suggest that God is also not an American Idol judge. He isn't deciding who lives or dies (or who is saved or not) by how many "votes" that guy gets. Otherwise, Regan would be alive and Carter would be dead, yes? I don't believe in him, but even if I did that would just be a crazy system.

Onto other things! I've deactivated the CAPTCHA as an exeperiement. We'll see.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Where Are Your Good Wishes, Leftie?

"Great White Knight", erstwhile commenter, wondered yesterday why it took me so long to wish Ted Kennedy a speedy recovery. I suspect there's more behind the question than simple curiousity; though the full point hasn't been revealed yet, it probably has something to do with the left having no compassion.

Well, best to just be honest then and let you make of it what you will.

Ted Kennedy, like all public figures, is a kind of abstraction to me. I don't think of him as a real flesh-and-blood person. He's a character in the vast soap opera which is political news. Intellectually I know he really exists of course. I don't imagine GWK is in a different situation either. His expression of good wishes probably had as much to do with demonstrating his compassion as it did with actual compassion. Maybe I'm wrong and GWK is emotionally invested in Ted Kennedy; in which case you have my sincere apologies sir.

Assuming I'm right though, the compulsion to publicly wish well to a public figure is something I didn't feel here. I don't feel I have to prove that I support the people that you already know I agree with. It's useless information to you. You should take it for granted. In fact, I'd regard these kinds of statements, to a degree, as grandstanding.

Of course, there is also the other side of the coin - what good does it do Ted Kennedy? Is he going to spend the coming months reading blogs to see who was nice to him? I hope not. I hope a guy in that position has better things to do. That's the kind of behavior Nixon would have engaged in, looking for the absense of comment and devising ways to get back at me.

That's it, GWK. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Hate You, I Hate You, I Hate You, Get Well Soon

I have to admit this - the right is a lot better about being nice when their opponents are stricken with illness. I see this point made again and again - Tony Snow gets brain cancer, the commenters at Huffpo are divided 50/50 between "I hope he gets better" and "I hope he rots in hell." Ted Kennedy gets a brain tumor and the LGF commenters are almost all "I hope he gets better. I disagree with his politics, but my prayers are with him."

I've been skimming around looking for vile Ted Kennedy comments and I've only found two - one guy buried deep in the LGF comments said "Too bad, I was betting on the liver." Insensitive but a funny line. The other was nationally syndicated columnist Michael Savage. But hey, he makes his bones offending people - he may not even MEAN it.

The positive spin for the left (and it's an awfully weak spin) is this - at least we're consistant? I mean, one thing I read today from commenter AMERIDANN on Where Are My Keys said "I have called him not only a traitor, but a murderer. I stand by those comments. (But) my prayers and my wishes go out to Senator Kennedy and his family." And this seems to be a common attitude on the right. Before this week, you didn't see an awful lot of "Senator Kennedy's policies are wrong, but I respect him as a legislator." How am I supposed to reconcile this U-Turn?

For the record, people who pilloried Tony Snow when he was well and then ridiculed him when he was sick are the worst kind of Neanderthals. Like most people, Snow is a decent guy with a difficult job who believes in what he did. It's cool to disagree with his beliefs but stupid to hate him for them. Hate, as a rule, is stupid. Try to avoid it when you can.

And for the record, good luck and best wishes to Senator Kennedy. May he get better and legislate happily for another fifty years.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Weirdly Apropos Quote

The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern.

- Lord Acton

Some Of My Best Friends Are Racists

The Obama-demonization strategy is pretty firmly ensconced now, and has probably gotten all the traction it's going to. We knew the RNC was going to Demonize Obama, because that's how they deal with threats - they demonize 'em. Have you ever noticed that all the people to speak out against the president are fame-whores, have uncontrollable anger issues, are criminals, or just plain insane? Gosh, there has to be something WRONG with you if you disagree with us!

To summarize, Barack Obama must not be president because people he has associated with are filled with hate toward white people. Therefore he himself must hate white people too.

Oh, where do I begin?

Okay, the Wright stuff. Whatever Wright has said, no matter what you think, it doesn't follow that Obama buys it too. In fact, he's publicly repudiated it. Yet he attended the Church for so long - how could he NOT buy it? Well, there are Catholics who eat meat on Friday and practice birth control. There are Jews who drive around on Saturday not wearing those funny hats. In fact, there are lots of them. You go to Church to connect with God - sometimes you're gonna disagree with the guy giving the sermons while you're there. Does that mean you keep shopping around until you find a Pastor you agree with 100%? You tell me. I'm an Atheist.

Next this: Obama scandalously appears on the same magazine cover as Louis Farrakhan, Elijah Muhammed, Johnnie Cochrane, Luthor Vandross et all. Obviously Obama must be just like these people (Luther Vandross?) because his supporters think he is. This is a little crazy on the face of it, but let's throw a hypothetical out here, h/t to Ed Shultz. The KKK is likely to endorse John McCain and/or Hillary Clinton over Obama. So don't you want to vote for the candidate who isn't with the KKK? I mean, duh. In fact, we'll have to eventually replace ALL the white candidates now.

Still, the crazy guilt-by-association garbage is working with some people, and it's important to figure out why. There's nothing wrong with a candidate hating a group of people, as long as they're the right people. Obama says he hates nobody, but let's ignore that for now. If he hated Muslims, he'd be doing okes with us because they're our enemies after all. (All of them? Let's ignore that for now too.) If he hated homosexuals he'd still probably be just fine with the majority of Americans, who are either hetero or self-loathing closeted homos. But he's accused of hating white folks. Which I guess would include his own white half. So why is that bad?

Because it makes him uppity.

Look, I call 'em as I see 'em. This talking point at its base is a warning to black people to keep quiet or we'll make them sit at the back of the bus again, just before we throw them under it. How dare they think there is still Racism in this country? If we elect Obama, they'll never stay in their place.

Right wing readers, please please please convince me I'm wrong. I don't want to be right about this one.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Friday, May 02, 2008

I've Lost 15 Pounds! Ask Me How!

Don't bother asking - I'm going to tell you anyway. And at the end, you'll also learn my secret to losing weight - it's not just diet and exercise!

So this year I made this New Year's Resolution - I was going to whittle down my ectomorphic body to the recommended BMI for my height, which is 5' 8". I was, at my peak, around 180. This is the result of a lack of exercise coupled with depression and comfort-eating from my recent divorce, and my lack of a bathroom scale.

So once I bought a scale and assessed the damage, I devised a strategy. Since I worked pretty close to my apartment, about 3 miles, I decided that I could get there by bike. After all, I could either waste 12 minutes a trip driving there or I could profitably burn calories for half an hour riding. * So outfitted with the bike, a helmet, and a heart rate monitor (more out of curiosity than anything else) I commenced burnin' off that excess avoirdupois.

For the first two months, that was my whole strategy - daily exercise and more sensible eating. That helped me lose 10 pounds. Additionally I felt more alive and I've developed a nice tan, something my pale countenance needed aesthetically.

Caveats to this plan, by the way - obviously if you have a forty minute drive to work, you're screwed as far as the bike trip goes, because it'll take you around 6 hours. You can't listen to the radio because you need your ears to detect the traffic sneaking up behind you. And Canoga Park in the dead of winter, even in the middle of LA, is surprisingly cold. Antarctica cold. Mr. Freeze couldn't take that kinda cold. Bring a sweater.

Around the end of March, I realized I was stalling at around 172 pounds, 10 pounds short of my goal. Since I'm around actors all the time now (I'm in a play this month and another play next month, but I swear I'll stop after that!) weight advice is pretty easy to get. My friend Art gave me the obvious advice: "Stop with the carbs." No bread! No sugar.

These would be difficult things to give up, but my weak will power is easily trumped by my vanity so I have manged to curtail both bread and sugar with relative ease. Especially bread! My director Karen also suggested that I avoid all white foods, which is pretty weird but essentially good advice.

On the exercise and no carb program, for the last two weeks I've lost about .6 pounds a day, and as of yesterday I'm officially out of the "overweight" BMI zone and in the "normal" zone. Normal is a term of art here; we're Americans! I've been normal this whole time.

But what is the secret? I've been through this before and when someone asked me that I just sighed and said "no secret - diet and exercise." But that's not really true. Those things alone won't do it because the diet thing flies out the window when you start feeling hungry. The secret, the thing that will make you lose the weight and keep it off, is this:

Find ways to like the hunger.

That's your only hope. I'm a little hungry about half the day. I would reach for a snack normally, but I've convinced myself that mild hunger is just your body's way of telling you it's burning off the fat. Mild hunger is exercise that you don't even have to do! Extreme hunger, low-blood-sugar-fainting hunger, is a different story and you should just open up that bag of Wonder Bread and enjoy. But most of the time, listen to your body, thank it for the helpful info, and plan your trip to the beach. On a bike. And use sunscreen.

* You probably don't live so close to your job, but you may live that close to a mass transit access point! Good exercise, and you'll be reducing your carbon footprint, and you'll be ahead of the curve when gas goes up to $5.00 a gallon on Memorial Day. Ha ha, just kidding! Unless it does, in which case I'm predicting.