Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why Is Obama Shining W's Knob?

Obama: "No one could doubt Pres Bush's support for our troops or his love of country & commitment 2 our security." Um, anyone agree w/ that?Wed Sep 01 00:40:57 via web

I didn't watch the speech. I just read through it and wasn't impressed. I don't think many on the left were, judging by my twitstream.

Obama: "I'm gonna spend a shitload of money in Afghanistan. Hope we can get by at home on a few coins in your cups."Wed Sep 01 00:15:42 via web

A Dose of Mencken

Hitch on the "I Have a Scheme" Beckture

Glenn Beck's rally was large, vague, moist, and undirected—the Waterworld of white self-pity. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine: "In a rather curious and confused way, some white people are starting almost to think like a minority, even like a persecuted one. What does it take to believe that Christianity is an endangered religion in America or that the name of Jesus is insufficiently spoken or appreciated? Who wakes up believing that there is no appreciation for our veterans and our armed forces and that without a noisy speech from Sarah Palin, their sacrifice would be scorned? It's not unfair to say that such grievances are purely and simply imaginary, which in turn leads one to ask what the real ones can be. The clue, surely, is furnished by the remainder of the speeches, which deny racial feeling so monotonously and vehemently as to draw attention."

One thing I'm surprised he didn't call out was how dismissive, condescending, and contemptuous of religions other Christianity the whole thing was. I can't help but wonder how many Jews and Muslims were made uncomfortable by the constant references to Jesus?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Don't Get Rick Rolled, Double Rainbow Instead!

Internet Meme Database | Know Your Meme

I'm so lame. How lame am I? I found out about this from NPR. They played "Never Gonna Give You Up" during the segment, effectively rick rolling us all.


Wikipedia springs 'Mousetrap' ending - News, Gadgets & Tech - The Independent

AKA Jim Sixxpack

The Beer-Every-Mile SF Half Marathon: 13 Beers in 13 Miles | Exercising While Intoxicated: "Several of you told me that I was “going to die” if I drank 13 beers while running the San Francisco Half Marathon. I did not die.

I puked three times, blacked out for miles 11 and 12, and needed five hours to finish. This is my story."

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Two Robots Debate the So-Called Ground Zero Mosque

If you read my previous post on this topic, I'm afraid this will be a bit redundant ... but, hey, this time it's robots!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Speaking of Eye-Rolling

What's the opposite of a Follow Friday?

RT @sibelmy: Standing behind a guy with a shirt that says "fuquay gun more bang for your buck" god bless the south <---Makes me proud!Fri Aug 27 17:41:00 via TweetDeck

Really? More guns in the neighborhood makes you proud? Makes me depressed every time I drive by that store.

#ff @kdn13

If I roll my eyes while you're talking, please know that I didn't intend for you to see that. Oops.Sun Aug 22 21:33:48 via web

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Containers and Their Drivers 1: "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"

Back in the days of Maxell, I used to make mix-tapes of songs and their cover versions that I'd call "Containers and Their Drivers" -- sort of randomly altering and appropriating the name of the (so far as I know) un-covered Fall song. It was fun to find and collect songs covered by bands I wouldn't have thought would necessarily fit the material. The format was rigid: original version & my favorite cover. Here's one I never got around to doing:

"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" made famous by Nancy Sinatra but also well done by, among others:
  • Megadeath (My favorite of Megadeath's covers.)
  • Operation Ivy (Excellent.)
  • Jessica Simpson (Actually, horrible ["Can I get a soo-eee!"], but included for the fun of seeing ol' Willie in the video.) 
  • Boy George (Well, it's better than Jessica's.)
  • Symarip (Oi. I might actually prefer the Bad Manners version for moonstompin' but this feels a little more rootsy.)
  • KMFDM (It's got a certain charm. Not enough to compete with Operation Ivy and Megadeath though.)
I'm leaning towards Operation Ivy's version as being the one I would choose to go alongside Nancy's original on the mix-tape.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Making Their Way From the 'Newly Added' to the 'Pop Brilliance' Playlists

They're not necessarily new, but they're new to this (nearly) 40 year-old out-of-touch musical shut-in.  These are songs that've had me tapping my toes the last week or two as I've been better about checking http://wknc.org/playlist after the commute so I could get 'em in the iPod. I'm going to be lazy and not include all the links/embeds, well except the one, but you can check my last.fm or just google'em if you're curious:
  • "Such Great Heights", Streetlight Manifesto's ska-ed up version of the Postal Service gem
  • "First of the Gang to Die", another cover ... this time it's Zee Avi doing Morrissey
  • "Brandy of the Damned", by Nickel Eye
  • "Don't Fight It", by The Panics
  • "Drunk Girls", by LCD Soundsystem
  • "Learned to Surf", by Superchunk (yes, they're still around and still awesome)
  • "Blood Pressure", by The Jaguar Club
  • "Summer Grof", by The Spinto Band
  • "Men's Needs", by The Cribs
  • "Help, I'm Alive", by Metric
  • "Sweet Potato Pie", by Block
  • "Making Me Nervous", by Brad Sucks
The (late arriving) song of the summer, which seems to have broken over the weekend, is Cee-Lo Green's "Fuck You".  

Saturday, August 21, 2010

O Come All Ye Faithful And Keep Your Hands Where I Can See Them

Freethought Today
This post is based on Bill Dunn's "Black Collar Crime Blotter" in the print edition of Freethought Today dated August 2010. To subscribe, please visit the Freedom From Religion Foundation. They do great work.

My fellow parents, these arrest, conviction, and sentencing notices are only a selection of the current issue's full list.  I chose from the ones with source articles dated on or after July 1, 2010. This post is very long. Had I included the items from June and the end of May, I would've been needed several more hours to finish. I point this out for parents in particular because you'll notice that most of these notices are related to sex crimes against children; that trend continues through the notices I skipped. And, while the Catholic clergy are getting most of the national press for their sex scandals, don't think they've cornered the market. Jews, Protestants, Hindus, Mormons (FLDS, to be fair), Jehovah's Witnesses and a few other faiths are represented here.

If nothing else, I hope this spurs at least one parent to think twice before leaving their child alone with someone who's chief qualification for moral instruction is strident belief in magical bullshit. In what other area of life do we place trust in people who are clearly either lying or deluded about things they claim to know? When someone loudly, proudly proclaims they have knowledge of the supernatural, it should give you pause.

Anyways, here's what some of our religious neighbors have been up to recently:

Pastor Jason Bolton
"Prince William County police have arrested a former youth pastor on charges that he carried on a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl in his church group. 
Jason Bolton, 32, of Dumfries, began a close friendship with the girl in September 2007, police said. By early 2010, the relationship had become romantic.

Bolton, a married man with two sons and a daughter, began as a youth pastor at Potomac Crest Baptist Church in 2007. He resigned in May after the sexual allegations came to light"
Rabbi Stanly Z. Levitt
"Indicted for indecent assault and battery on a chile while Levitt was a teacher at Maimonides School in Brookline, MA. Similar charges from 4 alleged victims were filed in 2009. In 2004 he pleaded no contest to molesting a boy living in an Orthodox community in Philadelphia." [Dunn, Bill. "Black Collar Crime Blotter." Freethought Today [Madison, WI] Aug. 2010: 16-17. Print.]

Reverend Patrick Umberger
"The Diocese of La Crosse placed no restrictions on an Onalaska priest despite learning he had reportedly followed young boys into a water park bathroom last summer, the diocese attorney confirmed.
The Rev. Patrick Umberger, priest at St. Patrick’s Catholic Parish in Onalaska since 2005, now is accused of having child pornography after a state Department of Justice investigation that traces back to the water park incident."

Ramon Sanchez
"A San Antonio man was arrested Tuesday evening after he admitted to molesting a 12-year-old girl at a Southwest Side church earlier this year.
Ramon Sanchez, 73, was charged with one count of indecency with a child by contact and was set to be booked into the Bexar County Jail. Bail was set at $75,000.
The alleged incident occurred on Jan. 10 at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses at 319 Price Ave., which both individuals attend. Sanchez offered the girl money and told her to meet him near the bathrooms, an arrest affidavit states. The unidentified girl then met him outside the restroom area, where Sanchez kissed her on the head, fondled her, gave her $20 and returned to the church, according to the affidavit."

Terry Jensen (volunteer at children's ministry)
"A volunteer magician and puppeteer who worked with a children’s ministry at Westgate Chapel in Edmonds is accused of fondling a young parishioner during Sunday school and sneaking his camera up the skirts of unsuspecting girls and women." 

Reverend Delbert Thigpen
""He said I did, I touched her and I'm sorry," said the woman who asked not to be identified.
She said she confronted Thigpen last Saturday, minutes after a young girl said he touched her inappropriately.
She also said the pastor of the St. George Pentecostal Holiness church confessed on the spot.
"I said 'you need to ask God to forgive you' and he just cried and cried," she said."

Reverend Felix Owino
"Fairfax County police responded late last Wednesday to the residence on Franklin Farm Road, where 44-year-old Felix Owino was accused of touching the child “inappropriately,” Officer Bud Walker, a Fairfax police spokesman, said.
Owino was considered a longtime friend of the family, Walker said."

Reverend Samuel Ciccolini
"An Akron priest who has run an alcohol and drug treatment center since 19-70 pleaded guilty today to tax and bank fraud, saying he took comfort in keeping cash...but then panicked. Father Sam Ciccolini faces up to eight years in federal prison."

Reverend Kenneth Kleckner
"According to Williamson, detectives first encountered Kleckner in an online chat room through Yahoo's site on May 5.
From that contact, the minister developed a relationship with what he believed was an underage girl.
Instead, the girl was really a male detective with the Orange County sheriff's Sex Offender Squad, known as the SOS.
"They just troll the Internet and assume these names. They're very good," Williamson explained of how investigators were able to convince Kleckner he was conversing with a teenaged girl.
Williamson said over the course of the relationship Kleckner exposed his genitals and made other sexual overtures to detectives."

William Hoefling (Boy Scout Troop 781 leader)
"Canton Police Sgt. Mark Gajeski has said Hoefling initiated contact with the boys, who were 14 to 16 years old. At the time of the incidents, Hoefling was scoutmaster of Troop 781, which meets in Plymouth."

Reverend Stephen Burke
"The Rev. Stephen Burke, 57, was charged with two counts of possession of child pornography. He was released after posting bond on the combined $40,000 bail.
According to Harris County court documents, the sexually explicit images of children were discovered on the computer Burke used as the priest at St. Anthony the Great church"

Reverend Kevin J. Gray
"A disgruntled Catholic priest was charged Tuesday with raiding church coffers to finance a double life befitting a mogul - and to pay for male escorts."

Youth Pastor William Lee Porter
"The documents state that the victim said that on an occasion in July 2009, Porter shoved her onto a couch and performed oral sex on her against her will.
After the victim recorded a conversation with Porter in November, in which he admitted the abuse, he was called to the West Lafayette police department and arrested."

Reverend Linda Hall and Reverend Shelly Hall
" A former Lake County assistant church pastor who was arrested for stalking a woman last month has been arrested again, this time, for harassing the new pastor of the church.
 Vincent Noffleo, who’s the new pastor at Faithful and True Ministries, says Shelly Hall and his wife repeatedly threatened him over the past few weeks."

Reverend Robert Chukwu
"A Catholic priest accused of embezzling about $200,000 from two Crawford County parishes and the Diocese of La Crosse entered an Alford plea to reduced charges Wednesday.
The Rev. Robert Chukwu, 59, made the plea in Crawford County Circuit Court to three counts of misdemeanor theft and entered an 18-month deferred prosecution agreement, said Jim Birnbaum, attorney for the La Crosse Diocese. The plea means Chukwu admits no wrongdoing but concedes a jury likely would have found him guilty."

Reverend Leonard Van Vlaenderen
"He also was accused of using church funds to purchase a computer in March 2004 that was given to a Chicago resident, the complaint states.
Van Vlaenderen has been under scrutiny since his arrest in December 2007 on a misdemeanor charge of possessing cocaine. He was convicted of that charge in 2008 and spent a year on probation."

Reverend Kirk Caldwell
"The Rev. Kirk Caldwell was sentenced to two to four years after entering the plea in Delaware County Court. He was to go on trial this week in the emotional case involving the death of his 21-year-old son. Jordan Caldwell. Police had indicated the shooting was triggered by a violent confrontation between the son and others."

Pastor Dean Richard Tarkington
"A former Lubbock pastor was sentenced on July 9 to 10 years in prison for trying to obtain nude photos of a teenage girl.
Dean Richard Tarkington, 57, also must serve 20 years of supervised release following the prison term, according to federal court documents.
The Word of Faith Christian Center pastor was arrested in January on attempted possession of child pornography charges for soliciting sexual material from a Louisiana state police officer posing as 15- and 16-year-old girls."

Reverend Arthur James Ree
"A retired pastor and former volunteer chaplain for St. Cloud Police Department was sentenced Thursday to 12 years in prison for sexually abusing a girl in his St. Cloud home over an extended period.
Arthur James Ree, 83, previously pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He admitted during his plea hearing that he had numerous sexual contacts with the girl from late 2001 until June 2003, when the girl was 11-13 years old."

James Wallace Fall (sexual predator with unspecified religious beliefs)
"Fall "married" his then-10-year-old niece during a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park in 2001. When they returned home to Mound, he alternated spending nights with his wife, who is 49, and the girl. Fall told police it was God's will that he marry the girl, and that justified the union legally and morally."

Reverend Stephen Bzdrya
"Dotson’s attorney, Joel T. Faxon of Stratton Faxon in New Haven, said the abuse started in a church basement after catechism class, where Bzdyra accused the boy of lying.
Faxon claims the priest whipped him with a belt before raping him.
Dotson was about 10 years old at the time of the alleged assault. Dotson’s mother was on public assistance at the time. Faxon said that in order to keep Dotson quiet, the priest threatened to report her to the authorities for violating public assistance regulations.
The priest was also close with Dotson’s family, Faxon said, which allowed the abuse to continue until about 1990.
He purchased a used car for Dotson, in addition to buying him a washer and dryer, all in an effort to buy Dotson’s silence, Faxon said.
The lawsuit claims the Archdiocese “knew or should have known” about Bzdrya’s activities.
“What the diocese did, like others in Bridgeport, Hartford, Norwich and other places around the country and around the world, was to move this pedophile around. Their idea of a fresh start was a new group of children,” Faxon said.
Dotson is now unemployed and has a history of drug and alcohol abuse, which can be attributed to his experience with Bzdrya, Faxon said."

Daniel McCormack (defrocked Catholic priest)
"Another young man has accused former Roman Catholic priest and convicted sex offender Daniel McCormack of sexual misconduct, filing a lawsuit against the Chicago Archdiocese and Cardinal Francis George in Cook County Circuit Court on Thursday.
The new allegation is the fifth one to surface since McCormack began serving a five-year sentence for molesting five boys in July 2007. The archdiocese confirmed in May that four other young men had come forward--though not all of the cases had been substantiated and none of the four have sued."

Bishop Roger Vangheluwe
"Behind an aggressive investigation of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Belgium that drew condemnation from the pope himself lies a stark family tragedy: the molestation, for years, of a youth by his uncle, the bishop of Bruges; the prelate’s abrupt resignation when a friend of the nephew finally threatened to make the abuse public; and now the grass-roots fury of almost 500 people complaining of abuse by priests."
There's more I haven't excerpted here. Every month, all over the U.S., all over the world. There's more and more and more. Good grief, I haven't even looked to see how many women have been stoned to death in Muslim countries in the last month. But, it's happening.  Every month, all over the world; it's happening and it's been happening in the name of God since some stupid human gave God a name.

Friday, August 20, 2010

#FF @EbertChicago (Obvious)

If there is a God, he better be Willie Nelson.Sat Aug 21 01:24:25 via Tweetie for Mac

#FF @SethMacFarlane

Get yourself a copy of "The Demon-Haunted World" by Carl Sagan.  My favorite book.  Just finished re-reading.  The Pope would hate it.Thu Aug 19 06:34:40 via Echofon

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thoughts on a Bullshit Controversy

What will the summer of 2010 be remembered for? The flooding in Pakistan? The capping of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? It sure seems like it's been the Summer of the "Ground Zero Mosque". You'd think after the phony Death Panels, the Breitbart hoaxes, Birtherism, etc., we might have some kind of Bullshit Scandal Fatigue. But, no. Every damn day it's another "Ground Zero Mosque" debate.  Considering:
  1. It's not exactly a mosque
  2. It's not actually at Ground Zero
  3. The United States of America is (still, I think) a free country -- the First Amendment has not been revoked
  4. Muslims were among the innocents killed in the terror attacks
  5. Nobody cares about the Japanese Cultural Center near Pearl Harbor, nobody cares if there are Christian churches near the Oklahoma City bombing site, and we let Catholic churches continue to stand next to playgrounds

Just as the KKK doesn't represent all of Christianity, radical Islamic terrorists don't represent all of the Muslim faith. It should make every Muslim and every Christian who fancies themselves a moderate, enlightened, modern practitioner of their faith sick to their fucking stomachs that the radicals within their respective faiths are reading the same Word of God/Allah as they are, and they have perfectly defensible interpretations of the same scriptures. Religious moderates and extremists are cherry-pickers. The faithful need to own up to the fact their scriptures are not perfect. And, recognizing their imperfection, acknowledge their provenance. They are the words of men, not gods, and as such should be judged for by standards like truthfulness and logical validity.  It has been amply demonstrated, they are lacking in both.

If you want to debate the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" go ahead. But if you're afraid of it, or your feelings are hurt by it, you should really take a good long look within and ask yourself why you're such snivelling hypocrite before you say one more word about it. You can't argue against it for those reasons without being against a boatload of other stuff that you've already shown you're not against.

I have no doubt there are people who lost family and friends in the 9/11 attacks who still grieve, deeply, for their lost loved ones. These people, with all due respect, do not get tell other people how or where to practice their religion. We have a Constitution, federal and state laws, local zoning boards, and what have you to set the rules on where houses of worship can or can't be built. If we love the rule of law, and we should -- really, we should -- then we look those people who want set aside the laws to govern based on fear and anger in the eyes and explain that their recourse is to make a reasonable case to change the laws, not to hassle the people who are following the rules. Alternately, if we're changing the rules so that the most radical, deranged, and violent practitioners of a religion determine how we tolerate all practice of even the mainstream versions of those religions ... well maybe then we're on to something. Oh, mainstream Christians don't want to take responsibility for the right-wing militias, the Christian Identity movement, the KKK?  I guess that argument is a non-starter then. Until that's the case, we don't get to paint all Muslims with the terrorist brush.

Look, in case it wasn't already clear, I'm against every church, synagogue, mosque, temple ... what have you ... any building that celebrates any religion that endorses violence against anyone. Sure, there's some beautiful architecture out there, and I'm all for people getting together in the spirit of community to help each other out; but, organized religion is a spectacular failure at promoting tolerance, peace, and community.  It's all a tragic waste of the human spirit. I wish every community center were secular; but, wishing doesn't make it so and I wouldn't change the laws to forbid their construction. I'll argue the case for not wasting another cent, another minute of human labor, on superstitious bullshit and I'll keep losing the argument and that's just how it is. Why am I surprised it seems like it's largely up to secular progressives to remind the faithful that (until we finally win freedom from it) we have freedom of religion in this country. Idiots.

It wasn't the best episode of the The West Wing, but Sorkin gives Josh the right words in "Isaac and Ishmael":

Learn things. Be good to each other. Read the newspapers, 
go the movies, go to a party. Read a book. In the meantime, 
remember pluralism. You want to get these people? I mean, 
you really want to reach in and kill them where they live? 
Keep accepting more than one idea. Makes 'em absolutely crazy.

These ideals move us forward: pluralism, liberty, the rule of law, reason, and compassion.

Irrationality, hatred, fear, and intolerance (in a word: religion) will be death of us.

The world's too small, and getting smaller everyday, for us to not be able to live side by side peacefully on account of our inability to reconcile differences of opinion on entirely made-up bullshit. There's real work to do.


Me: I think, “I don’t disagree” really means, “I agree, but I still think you’re an idiot.”
Her: I don’t disagree.

Glad we cleared that up.Sat Aug 14 11:13:00 via web

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"I Saw Two Shooting Stars Last Night / I Wished On Them But They Were Only Satellites"

This put me in the mind of that ol' Billy Bragg song ...

Perseid Meteor Shower Failure from ph dee on Vimeo.

Aw heck, since I referenced, might as well put the song video here too:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Amazing How They Mount the Pole ... Errrrr

Indian pole gymnastics. [VIDEO]

There's probably know way to discuss that doesn't result in double entendres.

My favorite Fuquay Varina bakery: Stick Boy Bread Co.

Not my doing, just happened to see this in my twitter stream. But I was there earlier today, as I am most Saturday mornings.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Older Than Dirt

Chunk of original earth found - Technology & science - Science - msnbc.com

Someone in the comments on the article had the same thought I did: I want to touch it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Skeptic's Annotated Bible / Quran / Book of Mormon

There's so much on the web, sometimes it's helpful to revisit the classics that sometimes get buried in the mountain of bookmarks and favorites.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Shooting in Manchester the Other Day ... Legal Gun Owner.

To obtain a permit, gun owners should be required to attend the funeral of an innocent gunshot victim.Mon Jun 28 17:08:26 via web

I Would Destroy Her

Or not.  I could maybe beat Ellen.  The little girl would pwn me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm Still Going to Netflix It

Totally NSFW nerd rage rap video disses pretty much everyone | Blastr

Technically, the problem isn't the casting of Jackie Chan, that's never the problem; the problem is calling it "The Karate Kid" instead of "The Kung Fu Kid".

Nice Catch 38

EMBED-Spiderman Style Baseball Catch - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Medellin Monkeys

Monkey Cocaine Research | Robert Accettura's Fun With Wordage

Strange Miss

Netflix Instant Play Picks of the Moment: Odd Man Out (1947): "Carol Reed's Odd Man Out is the first in a trifecta followed by The Fallen Idol (1948) and The Third Man (1949)..."

For as much as I love "The Third Man", I only realized upon reading this that I've never seen or sought out another Carol Reed movie. Probably because I've thought of it as an Orson Welles movie, despite knowing he didn't direct it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Airborne Annoying

Monkeys hate flying squirrels, report monkey-annoyance experts - CSMonitor.com: "One of the most effective ways to annoy a monkey is to place it in proximity to a flying squirrel, a new study of Japanese macaques has found."

Monkey. Annoyance. Experts.  I don't know if it's weirder that flying squirrels annoy monkeys so much, or that there are "money-annoyance experts".  No, I'm actually pretty sure which is weirder.

Sounds Like They're Friendlier to Humans Than is Actually Warranted

But still, it's pretty neat story: Pictured: The whales once dubbed the 'devil fish' that now want tourists to tickle their tongues | Daily Mail
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