Friday, August 31, 2012

The Daily Show Is Human Beings, My Friends. They Built This.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - RNC | Comedy Central

Narrated by Leonard Nimoy

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
RNC 2012 - The Road to Jeb Bush 2016 - Mitt Romney: A Human Who Built That
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Clint Eastwood's R.N.C. Speech Made Us Long For The Relative Coherence Of Jon Voight

Clint Eastwood's R.N.C. Speech - Video - The New York Times:

82 year-old Clint Eastwood, two teleprompters, and an empty chair.
All you need to know about the RNC in one image.
I was busy with work while Mr. Eastwood was speaking, but I had the TV on mute and was watching out the corner of my eye as he seemed to be spending an inordinate amount of time talking to a chair. Joked on facebook after that I assumed it was a skit, not an indication of dementia -- not that being on that stage in the first place isn't itself enough of an indication that screws are loose -- only to have it turn out he is, in fact, demented.

They might as well have brought out the other hot messes of Conservative Hollywood, Jon Voight & Stephen Baldwin, that's the company Clint's in now.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Only Houdini escaped ...

Dog Named Houdini Sole Survivor Of Griswold Fire -

Norwich Bulletin
A dog named Houdini was the only one to escape a house fire in Griswold that killed a couple, three other dogs and several cats.

Class warfare is being waged. On us, not by us. #rootstrike1

What I mean by secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot. 
Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?
Properly executed, a progressive tax code and representative government would seem to be the solution  to these problems. (And many others.)  Lightly taxed, super-rich Greed Titans with the unfettered ability to buy elections, not so much.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What did I miss?

Back from vacation but not quite ready to return to the full-on routine. Need zonk time in front of the tube before getting back into worker bee mode or even attempting an ambitious blog post*, so just want to stake a few flags that I may (or may not) circle back to discuss at greater length. Turns out the world didn't stop doing things while I was out in the woods.

Photo taken by Armstrong, but you can see him if you look closely.

RIP Neil Armstrong, David Atkins and George Lazenby had thoughts I found myself nodding along with.

Suddenly, there's seems to be a lot of buzzing in atheist circles about an apparent re-branding of secular humanism as Atheism+. Which, OK fine, I guess? But why exactly?

Another nutter found a place to start shooting at people for no good reason. I thought I heard something happened in Chicago, too, but it was clarified for me that it wasn't one mass murderer there. Just the usual assortment of fatal, closer to one-at-a-time shootings which we should just ignore because, hey, par for the course.

Driving home today, was behind a truck with a bumper sticker that read, "I'd rather be Judged by 12 than carried by 6," next to a another sticker for a gun store. The capital "Judged" made no sense to me (either), but Judges is a book in the Bible, so maybe mental defectives always have to capitalize any form of the word "judge"?  Anyways, dude, you were judged today, and the verdict was You Are A Dangerous Idiot.

And, finally, the Red Sox blockbustered Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford to Los Angeles, making this season's implosion official. Here's hoping Ben Cherington can assemble a team to compete sooner than later. Meanwhile, Second half investment in the MLB package through my cable company feels a bit like an albatross now.

* I hear you, smart-ass, quipping, "Why start now?"

Friday, August 17, 2012

Membership has its privileges. (A glimpse into the making of This Modern World.)

As a member of Sparky's List, I'm one of the elite few (OK, paid subscribers) who get to see Tom Tomorrow's toons a couple days before they're published. Which is cool. Because Tom is timely and relevant, occasionally he has to hustle to update comic based on current events. As such, those of us on the list now have an alternate version of the Romney VP pick 'toon that ended up getting revised due to the Ryan announcement.

What you all saw was:

Detail from the full comic here.

But what we saw a few days earlier was:

Via Sparky's List
A neat little behind-the-scenes glimpse into how a pro works and proof that Paul Ryan is, if nothing else, comedy gold.

Oh, and next week's cartoon, it features of the ghost of a very important figure in Paul Ryan's life. Good stuff. I predict you're going to want to print it out and hang it up near your computer monitor or, better still, on the monitor of that right-wing nutter in the office. You know, the one who's still got a McCain/Palin bumper sticker prominently displayed on the wall of his cubicle because, yeah, that would've been awesome you guys! *koff*

In case you can't tell by the links to Sparky's List dotting this post, I'm a huge fan of Dan's (AKA Tom) work and would like to encourage everyone to support great political cartooning by signing up.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Batman and Robin meet Colonel Klink (And I'm Still Irritated About It)

The Golem Universe: Batman and Robin meet Colonel Klink

No. No. No. Don't do this! (Image via The Golem Universe)

Am not sure how to rectify the "world's colliding" aspect of a character from World War II meeting Batman and Robin the then-current 1960's. I suppose a remarkably well-preserved Klink could have been cleared of any war crimes, and settled nicely in a Gotham city luxury apartment on the interest from looted Nazi gold... but how to explain the inference, at the end, that he still has Colonel Hogan imprisoned?
I remember the first time I saw this as a kid about 7 years-old, watching both Batman and Hogan's Heroes in syndication on primitive 1970s-era TV with a chunky UHF dial and a clicky VHF dial. (Or the other way 'round. It's been a while.)  I remember being irritated by it then because it made even less sense than all the other stuff about Batman that didn't make sense. It was end of my enjoyment of the show.

My 6 year-olds like the show and we DVR it during the week so they can watch it during, what in my day, was the Saturday morning cartoon block. This episode was on TV again the other day, it came up for us again on Saturday, and I've been steaming about it since. They've never seen Hogan's Heroes, and don't know much of anything yet about WWII and the Nazis, so it didn't bother them, but man, I just can't let it go.

I mean, there's a time travelling Nazi on the loose in Gotham and the Dynamic Duo don't think that's a serious enough problem to stop and deal with!  "Good luck keeping Hogan and his men imprisoned throughout eternity you time travelling Nazi bastard, we've got a guy here trying to steel cattle from the state fair to track down, or something."

Damn you, Batman. You suck.


As long as I'm talking Batman, now's as good a time as any for my day late, dollar short review of TDKR. Spoilers ahead, in case you care.

It made a bit more sense than the old TV show, but guys, c'mon, not that much more. The best review I've seen of it, and I forget where now, was that it was philosophically incoherent. Was it about Occupy? Not really. Was the whole trilogy a sly critique of the superhero genre, pretending to be about Big Themes And Stuff to trick pretentious idiots into paying for the privilege of being talked down to without their knowing it? Maybe. But if it was, nobody except maybe Cronenberg got it.

Don't get me wrong. I had a blast watching to see how Bane and the League of Shadows would be defeated and if Batman would die at the end. He didn't, by the way, you guys who were, evidently, confused about that.

There is just no way you can say that this was an important movie, or anything more than a stylish, somewhat darkly entertaining thrill ride.

It did, to some degree though, at least address what I felt was the thematic collapse of the second movie. I really liked that movie, too, until the very end when I hated it.

Gordon and Batman turned out to be insufferable pricks at the end of TDK, deciding for the citizens of Gotham -- who had just defeated the Joker by deciding, in the only true acts of heroism in the movie, not to blow one another up at the Joker's instigation -- that they couldn't handle the truth about Harvey Dent. They had just proven they could! Ugh.

Alfred and Blake had the only sensible lines in the whole dizzy affair: Alfred when explaining to Bruce Wayne the appropriate use of his resources and abilities to promote justice; and Blake when chastising Gordon for keeping the truth about Dent covered up. Had Wayne listened to Alfred, and had Gordon been as principled as Blake (in that moment, Blake later plays along), then the institutions of Gotham could have been in a position to deal with the threats facing them without the need of superhero. But then you wouldn't have a blockbuster movie either, so that's a dead end.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if Nolan intended for Blake's rejection of the stultifying structures of city government and law enforcement, along with his misplaced paternalism when dealing with the kids from the group home on the bridge, to show his need for self-styled heroes to give up on societal institutions and save the rest of humanity while placing themselves above, or outside, of it? I get the sense Nolan wants it both ways: he wants to argue government institutions can achieve just outcomes if they deal honestly with challenges and are accountable to the public; but, at the same time, he wants to make blockbuster movies that sell the Great Man Theory to those of us with more energy than sense. I bought a ticket, so I guess the Batman Theory wins.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gorilla brothers' emotional embrace

Gorilla brothers' emotional embrace captured after three years apart |

(Picture: Ian Turner/BNPS) Metro

Handshakes, hugs and laughter were on display when two long-lost gorilla brothers were reunited after spending nearly three years apart.
On a related note, I'm headed back to New England for a visit next week. Can't wait to see my gorilla brothers.

The Daily What

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

'F-bomb' is for real, you guys.

'F-bomb,' 'sexting' among new Merriam-Webster dictionary words -

I'm droppin' proper bombs left and right. (Why indeed.)

The Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary has added "F-Bomb" and "sexting" to its list of new dictionary entries for 2012 along with the likes of "mash-up," "aha moment," "cloud computing" and "earworm."

Red Sox icon Johnny Pesky dies at 92

Red Sox icon Johnny Pesky dies at 92 | News:

Johnny Pesky, 6, tips his cap.
Image via Bloomberg
"We have lost a dear and beloved friend," said Red Sox owner John Henry. "Johnny was happiest when wearing the Red Sox uniform. He was able to do that for 61 wonderful years. He carried his passion for the Sox, for Fenway Park, and for baseball everywhere he went, and he was beloved in return. We will miss him. We share the sadness that his family and legions of friends are all feeling."
Pesky the player and manager was before my time, but Pesky the grandfatherly ambassador of the game, Pesky the familiar shock of white hair, that Pesky was always there, seemingly. A comforting, joyful site in the Red Sox dugout for years.

For fans of a certain age, our fathers were fans of Dick Radatz, Carl Yastrzemski, and the teams of the 60s, and our grandfathers remembered for us young Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky. They weren't my Red Sox, but they were just a couple generations back. We never get to know our grandfathers as young men, but we love the stories they tell and were told about them; Pesky's passing is a sign that we're not going to hear those stories directly any longer, that era is fading from living memory.

Pesky is gone, but his name will be linked forever to that pole.

Pesky's Pole
via Adventures of the Blackgang

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Slippery History Of Eel Pie Island

From A British King To Rock 'N' Roll: The Slippery History Of Eel Pie Island : The Salt : NPR

Image via

Our search for the source of these vanishing eels led us to southwest London — to Eel Pie Island, a tiny slice of land with a flamboyant history that stretches from Henry the VIII to the Rolling Stones.
I'm not curious about eel pie. Would've been something to see the Yardbirds play there though ...

[Updated with a limited time Empire Avenue EAster Egg ... click to activate.]

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Happy 63rd Birthday, Mark Knopfler.

cryptonaut-in-exile: Happy Belated Birthday, Mark Knopfler

Last year (the link above) I was a day late, but crammed a bunch of my favorite videos into that post, so this year I'll just let Mr. Knoplfer lay everybody low with this love song that he made ...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Remind me to tell you about the time we stopped at a bar in Green Bay on nickel tap night ...

Page 2: Remembering 10-Cent Beer Night - ESPN Page 2

Even though the Indians offered copious amounts of beer at cut-rate prices, a great many attendees opted to play with a handicap, arriving at their seats drunk, stoned or both. The June 4 promotion turned out to be quite popular, drawing 25,134 people, more than double the average crowd that season.
... Actually, I can't tell you the nickel tap story because I've blacked it out. Good times.

Amazon: Lord of War?

Horvitz ordered the used television from an independent reseller who conducts transactions through Amazon. He received a Sig Sauer SIG716 a 7.6 pound, 37-inch-long assault weapon. Like many people, Horvitz has ordered plenty of things off Amazon in his life. Usually, things turn out fine. 
"Items get mixed up sometimes, but never on this scale," he says. "I didn't think I was getting into a gun/electronics dealer."
Order War Games on DVD, receive a thermonuclear device instead.

@MittRomney Should Probably Stop Using Facts To Support His Arguments (Since Both Tries Backfired)

Mitt Romney Should Probably Stop Using Facts To Support His Arguments

"[Robotic laugh] Well, if you lived in Massachusetts, em ... er ... *koff* [robotic laugh] I mean, put up or shut up! OK, because, corporations are people my friends. By the way, these cookies taste like crap and there's no way you guys will ever host an Olympics as good as mine! Romney out."

When even the Irish can't abide organized religion, you know progress is possible. #atheism

Religiosity slides worldwide, plummets in scandal-hit Ireland | Reuters:

Empty Pews via Dialog Intl
Only 47 percent of Irish polled said they were religious people, a 22-point drop from the 69 percent recorded in the last similar poll in 2005, according to the WIN-Gallup International network of opinion pollsters.
I love the smell of irreligiosity in the morning.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Missouri voters overwhelming approve so-called 'Right to pray' amendment #secularism

'Right to pray' measure passes by wide margin : Stltoday

Via Addicting Info

"This is going to be a nightmare for school districts, which will end up getting sued by individuals on both sides of church-state debate," said Alex Luchenitser, associate legal director for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. "This is the most far-out constitutional amendment we've seen in the church-state area."
Here's a bit kids will love:
... that students may express their beliefs about religion in written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their work; that no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs ...
Good luck teaching evolution, history, civics, philosophy, anything that could possibly contradict someone's holy text. In other words, kids from Missouri will now be fit for employment at Chick-fil-A, but nowhere else.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

In #NC, women are found to be much smarter than men

Obama slightly ahead in NC - Public Policy Polling:

Uploaded with
PPP's newest North Carolina poll continues to find an extremely close race for President in the state, with Barack Obama at 49% to 46% for Mitt Romney. PPP started monthly polling of this contest in November of 2010 and Obama and Romney have now been within 3 points of each 21 of the last 22 months.
Interesting, but Nate Silver's got NC as 73% likely to go for Romney, so I'm skeptical of PPP's numbers.

Guys. What up?
And he's only down 58-38 with white voters ...
"Only ..."?!  Oh right, because it's a amazing to anyone not in the South that there's more than a handful of white guys in North Carolina who aren't hiding away their End Apathy albums until the next mass shooting makes everyone forget about this last one.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another entry in the long history of "Hairy Looking Thing Must Be a Sasquatch" pictures

Did a Canadian trapper capture an amazingly clear photo of Bigfoot? | Blastr:

Is it just me or is this cryptid posing seductively?
"I know this person. They are a dogsledder and would in no way be the type to try to fool around with fake pictures. They actually think it's a bear and cub but for some reason they only have one photo. Strange."
Well, if they're a dogsledder, say no more. Folks, we're not talking about some turnip-chomping hillbilly yahoo, we're talking about a dogsledder. (Although I think they prefer to be called mushers.) The Iditarod is certified 100% clean, don't you know? They may beat the living fuck out their dogs and leave them to die after exhausting them (or eat them), but they would never try to trick anyone.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Where will next week's horrific mass shooting occur? #templeshooting

The price we pay for letting blood-thirsty wannabe Rambos set policy on gun control is a biweekly mass shooting. Since the mere mention of taking a rational, ethical, evidence-based approach to regulating firearms is considered gauche, or naive, or OMG YOU LIBTARD DON'T YOU KNOW ONLY MORE GUNS CAN MAKE US MORE SAFE FROM THE GUN WIELDING LUNATICS!!! The question we have to ask ourselves is: when and where will the next one be?

It won't be long, it'll probably be in an American suburb, and a bunch of well-meaning hand-wringers will offer up prayers afterwards but utterly fail to do anything to prevent the next massacre after that because they can't be bothered to question whether it's too easy for psychopaths and other mental defectives to get guns. 

It's not enough, but it's a start.

Then, more of us need to stand up and say this:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Carolina Mudcats on tap for tonight ...

North Carolina Webcam at the Carolina Mudcats Baseball Field - Wake County, Live NC Webcam |

That's where the kids and I will be tonight; our first visit to Five County Stadium to see the Single-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.

Tennessee, where it's still 1925 and we have to fight the same battles over and over. #secularism

Tennessee School Officials Post Ten Commandments in County Schools:

1925 may as well be 2012.
Image via TN History for Kids! (Where Darwin's theory is still controversial!)
This community cares nothing about its children because they would rather throw taxpayer money toward fighting an unnecessary legal battle instead of spending it on the children in the district. It’s irresponsible and selfish. Residents should be ashamed of their elected officials.
Absent accountability, theocratic goons will continue to abuse their authority. Sadly, none of them will lose their jobs or face punitive damages that would dissuade other proselytizers from trying the same thing. The residents should be ashamed, but they're not, maybe but for an isolated few. Secularism isn't understood, never mind appreciated as an American value, because -- in  large part -- the public schools those kids' parents went to failed them.

Jamestown, TN, where this is playing out, is about 80 miles, from Dayton, TN. More than close enough to the site of the Scopes Trial that these people should know better.

Where's Clarence Darrow when we need him?

Friday, August 3, 2012

White girls can write poetry.

For Shaquille 
Where does a poem come from? I write something bad on a piece of paper, I crumple the piece of paper up, I slam-dunk the paper into the trash. I sink deeper into myself and think. 
The dunk is conceptually exciting. The word itself like the sound of the thing! I'm surprised all poems aren't called “The Dunk”— then everyone would have to be impressed by them. If a poem is called “The Dunk” then very certainly it is one.
The link is to the article about the poem. The link to the poem is at the end of the article.

I have executed the perfect pass: you weren't there when I started it, but you and the ball arrived in exactly the right spot at exactly the right time. That's court vision. It's up to you now to be Malone to my Stockton ... and finish.

Heroic Chi

Chihuahua Finds Missing Kids, Proves Chihuahuas Aren't Useless After All

"No te preocupes, yo te salvaré!"

Turns out these lap dogs aren't just for decoration: a three-year-old Chihuahua named Bell helped locate three missing girls who had gotten lost in the woods.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Rick "America's Worst Governor" Scott: sacrificing the 1st Amendment on the altar of the 2nd.

The Plan to Muzzle Doctors Over Guns | Mother Jones

Doctors have long been permitted to ask patients about other risk factors, like smoking and drinking (and patients, of course, have long had the freedom to lie about their bad habits). But asking about guns is different, say backers of the law, which could cost offending doctors their medical licenses and a $10,000 fine.
Hey, Floridians, doctors aren't trying to take your guns away; they are trying to make you aware of the risk factor you have brought into your home. They'll probably put it much more delicately than the facts warrant: if you are a parent that keeps a gun the same house as your child, you are an irresponsible, dangerously ignorant parent.

Funny, isn't it, how these same clowns who pretend to be so concerned about a "government takeover of health care" are the ones most in favor of the government taking over health care and preventing doctors from having open and honest conversations with their patients?

Free Pussy Riot! #secularism

Free Pussy Riot!

Image via Dangerous Minds
Blasphemy is not a crime. Disagreeing with your government is not a crime. A handful of women doing a bit of performance art/guerrilla mini-concert on private property is probably some sort of misdemeanor that it's probably appropriate to fine them for if the owners of the private property are going to be within-their-rights-dicks about it, but you don't lose your shit and jail them for months (months, before the trial even starts!!) over it.

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