A brief entry for Zuly's Reading Room, on Neil Gaiman's book "Neverwhere" - overall, an enjoyable tale set in a unique hodgepodge of places that have "fallen through the cracks," carrying our man Richard Mayhew on a life-changing adventure. I found it weak in a couple of areas though - too many events felt like a deus ex machina, making me think perhaps another rewrite or tighter editing was called for to make the story feel "real," no matter how fanciful - and the "Ordeal" which Richard faced, while a good idea, should have been much longer, more drawn out, and used in a way to truly show the changes he was undergoing. This, of course, could also be the result of the editing outside of Gaiman's hands.
Regardless, if you like Gaiman's stuff, pick it up - an easy read if you're looking to kick back with a story-driven book, even if some loose ideas bounce around the pages without explanation.
HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A state House bill would require that middle and high school students who study evolution also be taught creationism, the belief that God designed life on earth.Van Regenmorter and Vander Veen, aside from having last names that are both a mouthful AND fun to say together, are also pushing for legislation declaring that rain is actually Baby Jesus crying and thunder is the angels bowling way, way up in Heaven above.
Republican State Reps. Bill Van Regenmorter of Georgetown Township and Barb Vander Veen of Allendale are co-sponsors of the bill.
The legislation introduced this month says science teachers should tell their students that evolution and natural selection are "unproven theories."
Hey, you never know - perhaps our ideas of what causes them are completely wrong. Sure, to date our observations indicate otherwise, but maybe tomorrow we'll catch sight of a runaway gutter ball from Seraphim Lanes.
Van Regenmorter said that while he believes intelligent design to be fact, that is not why he is a co-sponsor on the bill.Uh, Mr. Van Regenmorter, perhaps that's because evolution is a viable theory - that doesn't mean that every competing idea is suddenly a viable theory by default. There's nothing viable or theoretical (in the scientific sense) about intelligent design or creationism; it's completely unfalsifiable, yada, yada, yada, search the rest of this site if you need to know more.
"This provides balance. The way this bill is set up is if teachers are teaching evolution as a viable theory, than they also should teach intelligent design as a viable theory," the Ottawa County lawmaker told The Holland Sentinel for a story Thursday.
"There are scientific facts on both sides, and I think both sides need to be presented," Vander Veen said. "Our students are very intelligent, and they can make up their own minds."The only scientific fact about intelligent design is that the Earth appears to exist. That's it. Period. One fact does not a complete explanation make.
Ah well, at least the "we're not doing it because we happen to think it's true and we love the Lord - praise be! - hallelujah! - and amen on top!" intellectual dishonesty is amusing.
How very saddening:
LONDON, England (AP) -- The Loch Ness monster is a Loch Ness myth.However, no amount of technology will stop the gullible and the superstitious from believing what they want to believe. The truth is out there. Really. Honest injun.
At least according to the British Broadcasting Corp., which says a team which trawled the loch for any signs of the famous monster came up with nothing more than a buoy moored several yards below the surface.
Honestly, I'm not. Just keeping myself busy with the job hunt. You know how it goes - well, if you're a Denver blogger, you probably know how it goes. Seems they're all out of work; perhaps we should form a union. Or a support group. Ah hell, we already have a drinking club - that should about take care of things.
Speaking of drinking and bloggers and fun and monkeys, I'm set to announce that the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash II.V will be held on Saturday, August 16, 2003 at Wynkoop Brewing Company (the usual place). I'll put up a formal post this week, but mark your calendars tonight - come on out and see your favorite, least favorite, and possibly never heard of before bloggers. Talk with them. Drink with them. Beat their asses at pool. Dazzle them by offering them lucrative jobs that require little work.
(also known as Liza Loses at Love, yet another demonstration of how adept I am at alliteration)
Well, this is certainly shocking news:
Liza Minnelli and David Gest, who were married last year in a star-studded ceremony, have separated, Minnelli's spokesman said Friday.I wonder what could possibly explain this unfortunate turn of events...
Minnelli and Gest wed in March 2002 with best man Michael Jackson briefly carrying the bride's train. Elizabeth Taylor served as maid of honor.Ah, yes, how silly of me - they're completely nuts.
Well, at least their nutty nuptials outlived their idiotic idea for reality TV. Small miracles and all that.
I've nary an idea if anyone will stop by after reading the article in 5280, but if you do, welcome to the World Wide Rant! Have a look around, leave a comment or two, and if you're feeling really generous, I need a job!
In the real world, I'm a consultant specializing in process improvement, customer care, and the like, with some organizational development and training skills thrown in, whipped together and baked into the shape of me. I've worked in the Big Five (now the Big Four), as well as for a boutique consultancy - and for internal and external clients, both public sector and private sector. Sound like something you need? Leave me a comment and let's talk.
In the dream world to which I escape at times, I fancy myself a pretty decent writer and would be happy to do some freelance work. Have a read around the site and if you see something you'd like me to expound upon (for pay, that is), just ask - or if you have an idea of what you'd like me to write about (again, for pay - such is the plight of the unemployed!), just tell me - I'm sure we can reach an amicable agreement. In the meantime, I'll be getting started on the Great American Novel, just as soon as I figure out what the plot of it should be.
Thanks again for reading, visitors both new and old!
The long-awaited, much-anticipated mention of the World Wide Rant in the press has arrived! That's right, Denver's very own 5280 magazine is turning the spotlight on area bloggers courtesy of Dave Cullen.
So, if you're visiting here because of that, look, I really need a job. If you've got a job to spare, preferably in the consulting industry, let me know. And if not, well, thanks for stopping by - hopefully you found something mildly amusing here or in the archives!
Have a great night everyone - signing off from WWR-land.
Or give it back to Roverpundit, the latest member of the Laid-Off Bloggers ClubTM.
This is a not-so-nice trend. Make it stop, Baby Jeebus, make it stop!
Confirmed: New study shows that 20-30% of the German population is undeniably stupid:
One-third of Germans under age 30 believe the U.S. government may have sponsored the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, according to a poll.Does anyone know if Cynthia McKinney moved to or toured Germany after her electoral defeat?
And about 20 percent of Germans in all age groups hold this view, according to a survey of 1,000 people conducted for the weekly Die Zeit.
Our good friend Tom tells me that some people are upset about the jubilation at this news:
Rumsfeld: Uday, Qusay photos will be releasedI'm sorry, but what is the appropriate response? Sorrow? Grief? Beating ourselves about the heads and backs while screaming our mourning songs? I don't think so.
U.S. military details raid that killed Hussein brothers
The people who should truly be celebrating this are the Iraqi people - they should be smiling and proud and overjoyed that these murdering tyrannical thugs have been dispatched - and we should be on the sidelines being happy for them.
Jesus, I bet some nutters Stateside would have cried when the news came that Hitler was dead or when the little people exalted in the death of the Wicked Witch.
Actually, my mood is much better now - the wife is doing temp work (although if anyone in Denver needs a solid IT manager, she's your woman!), my outplacement assistance starts next week, I'm finding some leads and jobs for which to apply, and I'm learning to appreciate just how little credit we give the women in our lives for raising children.
You see, right now, I'm Mr. Mom. This is hard work. Two dogs, two cats, and a two and a half month old do their best to find ways to keep me occupied, when I could be doing something useful like reading, watching television, or surfing the net. Ah well, I signed up for it I guess when I helped bring our little Fiona into the world.
As promised, a couple of the non-musical highlights from our adventures at the LoDo Music Festival (Blogcritics review is here for those of you that missed it).
First thrilling story - seeing the man in flowing robes, with flowing hair, and a hat that was made famous by a lanky, goofball trapped on an island after a three hour tour. Yes, indeed, it was Gilligan of Nazareth!
Second thrilling story - end of day one, we've loaded ourselves into the car for the drive home, when - while driving through downtown Denver - Matt gets pulled over for some nebulous moving violation. We're still not sure just what he did wrong.
So, Mr. Friendly Policeman asks him to step out of the car, makes him do a series of tests (he passes with flying colors - go to the head of the class!), and then, ever disappointed that Matt has defeated him, makes him take a breathilizer. Cha-ching! Point-oh-six, baby! Impaired? Possibly, were he a small child or an elderly gent. Legally intoxicated? Not on yer life, brother.
Mr. Friendly Policeman then gives Matt a ticket for said nebulous moving violation (the $86 or whatever wasn't very nebulous though), and instructs him to go park somewhere for half an hour or he'll be arrested. So we did. We drove a bit. And parked. Here.
I didn't say we drank anything, now did I?
Third thrilling story - on day two, after a rapid-fire Rhett Miller set, we retired to a nearby loading dock to rest a bit. The loading dock was next to the margarita tent. In the margarita tent was a young woman who shall remain namless to protect the innocent. Because she innocently gave us a couple of free margaritas. Membership, or something, has its privileges.
So, go - read the review - and then intersperse those exciting details among the paragraphs, and you'll feel just like you were there with us. And isn't that what all of you really, really want?
The official BlogCritics write-up of the event is available here. See who we saw and what we thought.
More storytelling about our adventures to appear here shortly.
And thanks for the continued support in my new state of unemploymentednessicity. Doing much better now.
It's been roughly 48 hours since I got the news - and I am still not gainfully employed again! How long will this misery last?
OK, ok, I know I'm being a bit over-demanding. In reality, my network of contacts has - happily - sprung back to life quickly and vibrantly, so I hope leads will be in great supply by the middle of next week. Fingers crossed and other such superstitious acts for swaying ye Gods of Olde to find favor on their humble, albeit atheist, servant.
Also - a HUGE thanks to all of you for your support during this minor family crisis. Your well wishes and donations are greatly appreciated - I might have to rethink my cynical view of the world and rename this site the World Wide Cuddly Bunny! Seriously though, thanks to all of you!
I'll have a recap on the LoDo Music Festival up tomorrow sometime - Matt and I are headed out for day two of the event in a few hours. Last night brought us some good music, some good food, and a near ride home in a police cruiser (details later).
Stay tuned for details. And while you're looking for something to do, go check out this post on longing for marriage by Dave Cullen.
Isn't that what's supposed to happen when you get downsized?
Ah well - expect blogging to be very light for the near future as I now have slightly more pressing concerns. If anyone is so inclined, this would be a fantastic time to hit that PayPal tipjar over there (click here if you don't see it, and you probably don't because of my template), if you've even been mildly amused by anything I've written in the last 16 or so months.
I make no promises that this site will stay up; perhaps Jon or Tom will put up the money for it - right now I'm not sure I can spend the money in good conscience with a wife and a child for who I am responsible. Or maybe I'll need this as an outlet on those days when it becomes a little too much.
Wish me luck - and thanks for reading.
Update: Hey, guess what! I'm still unemployed. Oh well.
I got to thinking that I should probably put on this post just what it is that I do. I've got 8 years of consulting experience, focused on process improvement, customer satisfaction, with some organizational development and knowledge management thrown in for good measure. A little over five years of that experience was in the Big Five, working for multiple government agencies and private clients.
If you know of anyone who might be interested in someone like that, preferably in the Denver area, but I'm flexible and willing to talk about moving, please let me know. Whoever finds me a good job gets a free beer. I'll also get my resume up on this post at some point - I hope to have it polished and ready-to-go by tomorrow.
Thanks again for all the moral support!
By default anyway, in light of this news:
LONDON (Reuters) - Frequent masturbation, particularly in the 20s, helps prevent prostate cancer later in life, according to new research.Well, I suppose I can take prostate cancer off the list of things that might kill me.
Australian scientists have shown that the more men masturbate between the ages of 20 and 50, the less likely they are to develop the disease that kills more than half a million men each year.
(a big wank to Laurence for the story)
...and the teachers aren't much better either:
Nearly half of the nation's middle and high school teachers were not highly qualified to teach their topics in 2000, a report to Congress says.I would say that I'm surprised, but - sadly - I'm not. Even though Tom and I attended LAMP*, an accelerated curriculum public school, we didn't always have the best teachers.
Federal law defines highly qualified teachers as those who hold a bachelor's degree from a four-year college, have state certification and demonstrate competence in the subject they teach.
In eleventh grade (I believe), Mrs. Womack who, when not detailing for all of us the wonders of her husband's alcoholism, once informed us that the Spanish Armada was destroyed because all of the ships got stuck in ice. Historians, on the other hand, are pretty sure it was more like battle damage and storms.
Sure, she was our English teacher, so history probably wasn't her strongest area - but, on a test in which she asked for three examples of foreshadowing in a certain novel, she gave me credit for the non-answer "That the book had a beginning foreshadowed that there would be an end." So, maybe English wasn't the right subject for her either.
On the other hand, there were teachers like Mrs. Mullins. Not only did she do an outstanding job of teaching us the finer points of algebra and calculus, but (and Tom can vouch for this) she also looked great in jeans and sun-dresses - and out of them too, I would imagine, but that's all it was: a high school boy's imagination**.
Gimme gimme more more more »
* Originally LAMP stood for the Lanier Academic Motivational Program, but the school recently moved. It is now known as the Loveless Academic Motivational Program. There's some not-so-subtle irony in a school for dorks being called Loveless.
** Many of us were also convinced that she intentionally dropped pens and such so she'd have to bend over to pick them up, thereby delighting the straight males in the classroom. Hey, we were young and imaginative - and desperately hoping for our very own Mary Kay Letourneau. Sigh.
« That's plenty, thanks!
Nothing says "seek counseling" like the fact that I'm after a bit of the hair of the dog this evening.
So, consider this an open invitation to join me, RoverPundit, and possibly other bloggers and non-bloggers this evening at the Rock Bottom Brewery on 16th and Curtis in downtown Denver. Festivities will begin around 6:30pm I would imagine. Tell your neighbors (even if you don't live in Denver - it will befuddle them).
You know how after a long night of heavy drinking, you wake up the next morning, feeling like death, and vow to the heavens that you'll never drink again?
Why the hell don't we keep our word on that one?
Details on the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash 2.5 - stay tuned.
This time around it's the face of evil itself, Pat Robertson, who - not content to sleep with a virtual tyrant - is now a-prayin' with all his Jesus-powered might that some Supreme Court Justices drop dead:
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson urged his nationwide audience Monday to pray for God to remove three justices from the Supreme Court so they could be replaced by conservatives.Of course, Pat is not outright saying he wants them dead, but he did say this:
The same letter targets three justices in particular: "One justice is 83-years-old, another has cancer and another has a heart condition. Would it not be possible for God to put it in the minds of these three judges that the time has come to retire?"In other words, they're all kind of sitting on the bench with one foot dangling off their chair and into the grave - and I'm sure Pat wouldn't mind if the Holy Spirit just kind of floated on into the Court and pushed them the whole way in. We don't even need to get into the free will implications of Pat's prayer request, do we?
Also - read the letter for yourself. Normally when you hear a Christian mention "prayer" and "illness" in the same sentence, you expect to hear them praying for healing for the afflicted. Nope, not Pat - he just wants them to go away - ever the good Christian that he is.
I would imagine that these Justices have all, at one time or another, considered retiring from the bench. But then they probably sit in their chamber, turn on the 700 Club, and see that anti-social hobgoblin spewing his vile hatred and decide that maybe they should put in a few more years.
If you're a believer, maybe you - unlike Pat - could pray that the Justices have long and healthy lives. And maybe that God will put in Pat's mind that some Ex-Lax will cure his constipation.
When Andy and I started this little venture that has now become a best-selling novel, an award-winning Lifetime series, and a major motion picture, we began it with the idea that we'd be a beacon of reason in a sea of morbid stupidity...a capering jester poking fun at all purveyors of o'erweening partisan rhetoric with irrepressible glee (and not a little smugness, it's true.) We'd champion reason, science, humanism, liberty, with panache. Style. Wit. Longsuffering.
Well, some things don't change.
And true, Jon and Andy are continuing to fight the good fight. They do an admirable and a consistent job. They have unending humor and incisive opinions.
But I just have a short fuse. As I became more involved with critiquing slope-browed fundamentalist troglodytes, glittery, fuzzy-brained neo-hippies and socialists, gay-bashing mullet-mongers, and do-or-die patriots and antipatriots of all stripes, I began noticing that I was reaching James Lileks's YWP so quickly that I couldn't even maintain my indignant ire long enough to write about it.
He defines YWP as follows:
Anyone who writes opinion pieces should consider whether their piece contains a YWP, or “Yeah, Whatever” Point. The YWP is the moment where half your audience automatically stops reading because they know exactly where this is going, and they’ve been there a thousand times before. Sometimes the YWP is triggered by a phrase, but it’s usually a statement of fact that betrays a certain breathless hysteria in the author. In most cases the YWP is triggered by the assertion that we have gone far beyond the standard push-me-pull-you of politics, and have entered a dangerous age in which all we hold dear shall be snatched from our hands, torn to pieces and washed away in a torrent of tears. Sometimes it's the UN and the Contrail pilots who are responsible. Sometimes it's the undead Halliburton Zombie Army. Either side is perfectly capable of generating a YWP, and on any given day either side usually does.Perfect. My YWP threshhold is mighty low these days. I sometimes alternately refer to it as the "rolleyes" point, the "just give me another beer" point, or the "Jesus Haploid Christ, what an unbelievable fucking moron. Hey, what's on TV?" point.
I know, I know. As Andy says, we must think of the lurkers. Perhaps we may change someone's mind. It's awfully difficult, however, to think of the open-minded lurker when one is drafting YET ANOTHER "Evolution 101: A Primer for Dipshits who Still Argue About Piltdown Man," or "Pascal's Wager: One More Time for the Lethargic."
It ain't that I don't like discussion. Debate. Give-and-take.
It's simply that I'm becoming more and more convinced that most of humanity is irredeemably stupid and should be rendered down into industrial lubricant, sans discussion. It tends to just encourage them, and then they spew their dumbassedness everywhere.
Call me a curmudgeon.
That's right, we're all writing poetry to soothe the savage beast and submitting it to Poetry.com. Visit that first Dave link for los instrucciones.
Here's my submission*, from famed poet Theodorious P. Freemont:
A Reflection on the Nature of Words (or The Iguana)Admit it, you're moved, aren't you? Go on, lie, just for me. Just this once. C'mon baby, why you wanna be like that?
It was a dark and stormy
Much like this one
This one isn't so dark
Really, it isn't.
But this matters not
No, it matters, but
Loving for me, won't you
Give me, give me,
A Shock, a horror
The dog ate mother's toes.
Say it ain't so,
Gimme gimme more more more »
* It looks a bit different on poetry.com because I had to edit my masterpiece to make their 20 line limit. The limey bastards. OK, I don't know if they are limey - I don't think they are - but, man, the word "bastards" really flows right off it, doesn't it?
« That's plenty, thanks!
A co-worker offered to get me free tickets to hear one of my favorite instrumentalists, Anoushka Shankar, perform in Arkansas this winter. Anoushka is a world class beauty (though I make no claims to objectivity when it comes to Indian women- they're the best argument I know for heterosexuality) and a daughter of 60s legend/ Beatle musical guru, Ravi Shankar.
Gimme gimme more more more »
While I don't like Anoushka enough to go to Arkansas, I noticed that the tickets were priced from $55 to $84.
Here's what I thought was odd:
Norah Jones, bestselling less traditional singer/musician, also a babe and also a daughter of Ravi Shankar, is performing across the Mississippi in Memphis, and her tickets are priced from $35 to $60 even though she's far more popular than her father and or her half-sister. I'll never understand concert pricing.
The point: In the early 1970s, even a chubby Indian guy who smelled like patchouli and had bad teeth could get laid by young groupies if he knew George Harrison.
*Shankar is not to be confused with the Indians non-musical Indian guru, this old weasel eyed heathen.
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First, as you know, we supported the war in Iraq. We believed there was a multitude of reasons for the operation, not just the pursuit to halt any WMD development. I'm not here to argue those points.
That said, where in the world did they find Ari Fleischer? A sample from today's briefing on the apparently false Niger-nuke documents.
Fleischer indicated the White House had no interest in digging deeper into an incident that has embarrassed the administration.Actually, that's not the full quote; I just watched it on NBC and was dumbstruck by the answer he was allowed to give.
“I think the bottom has been gotten to,” he said. At the same time, Fleischer said, “No one can accurately tell you it was wrong. That is not known.”
I didn't tape it, unfortunately, but to paraphrase, Ari said "We thought it was right. It may not have been right. It may have even been wrong, but no one can say for certain that it wasn't right."
Well, yeah, Ari - and I have solid intel that you like to grind your privates against days dead barnyard animals, videotaping the whole affair for sale to Third World porn enthusiasts. Now, I think it's right - but it may not be right. It may even be wrong, but no one can say for certain that it wasn't right.
But Ari - you and I both know that isn't the way evidence works. You provide the evidence, with support, that Iraq was wheelin' and dealin' with Niger for uranium and YOU convince US. It's not our job to convince you that your evidence is weak or, at worst, wrong.
What do I know, though? Some people think that God exists because I can't prove he doesn't - so maybe some folks think Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger since I can't prove they didn't.
Actually, I bet both groups would be largely comprised of Republicans.
For those with high speed Internet access, a trailer for Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion" can be downloaded here. For the three people who may not know, it's a depiction of the last 12 hours in the life of Christ that is written completely in Aramaic and Latin, though Gibson recently caved to producers insistence that it have English subtitles.
Gimme gimme more more more »
So, you'd think that since he was insisting on Aramaic and Latin that he was going for historical accuracy. If so, you probably haven't seen BRAVEHEART or THE PATRIOT. Just in the one minute trailer you can spot the following errors:
1- Jesus would have carried the cross-beam (the patibulum), not the entire cross. The cross pole was stationary and too heavy for a man to carry; the cross beam was torture enough and was raised onto the pole (stipes) in an excruciating (the root of excruciating is crucifixion) maneuver. (Films that got this right include the miniseries JESUS OF NAZARETH [imo, the best film depiction of Jesus from a Christian perspective] and JESUS OF MONTREAL [imo, the best film depiction of Jesus from a humanist perspective].)
3- Why is there not a non-lightskinned face in ancient Jerusalem? There would have been more Arabs, Africans, and Meditteraneans than caucasians there any day of the week.
4- Was there a snake in the Gospels that I missed? (It's not Satan as "she" is played by a woman in this production, and that's another thing...)
5- Pilate pronounces "ecce homo" (behold, the man) as "etch-hay omo", which is correct if you're Nietzsche or a post Vulgate priest, but a first century Roman would have pronounced it "eck-kay omo", though more likely he'd have spoken koine Greek if addressing Jews or other non Romans
There are more, but you get the jist. While I admit to thinking of Gibson as a homophobic tool and self important ideologue, I'd think he'd at least have the decency to give some phonologists and historians an extra paycheck to ensure accuracy. Maybe when Quentin Tarantino gets around to doing the life of Jesus we'll have the definitive version.
« That's plenty, thanks!
As we all know, the FBI exists to
help protect the people of the United States protect itself and bloat the budget:
Because she is fluent in Turkish and other Middle Eastern languages, Edmonds, a Turkish-American, was hired by the FBI soon after Sept. 11 and given top-secret security clearance to translate some of the reams of documents seized by FBI agents who, for the past year, have been rounding up suspected terrorists across the United States and abroad.Yet another reason that big government and bureaucracies are bad things - it reaches a point where the critical mission is to ensure its own continued existence - something that both Democrats and Republicans would be well-served to finally learn.
Edmonds says that to her amazement, from the day she started the job, she was told repeatedly by one of her supervisors that there was no urgency - that she should take longer to translate documents so that the department would appear overworked and understaffed. That way, it would receive a larger budget for the next year.
Fox is currently airing their new series Banzai and, well, it's certainly different. I was looking forward to the play-at-home option, assuming there might be some sort of prizes, but it doesn't look like that's the case.
So, I think I'll go back to reading Salt: A World History until I fall asleep. No prizes for that either, but it didn't try to lure me in with implied winnings and strange Asian men screaming the title of the product.
Speaking of strange, screaming people - here's an idiot from the Banzai message boards, apparently distraught that a chicken got a chance to fly:
How dare you use a live animal for your interpretaion of a game! Considering that you have validated that this game is in real time and real life, I, Valerie A. Carr, will be filing suit with our animal rights lawyer for wrongfull abuse, as of Monday July, 14th, in the state of Connecticut. I encourage other readers to follow "suit". I, and as should you, will be contacting the state paper as well as my cable company. I encourage all readers to make the same complaints; use of animals via cruelty is not a source of entertainment, it is the route of abuse!Maybe next week Banzai will bet on Ms. Carr's IQ. I'd aim low.*
Update: Michele watched the whole thing.
Gimme gimme more more more »
* You see, the chicken wasn't harmed by being attached to the helium balloons. It clearly had a wire in place for retrieving it, lest it fly far far away over the rainbow.
« That's plenty, thanks!
Looks like I won't be a citizen anytime soon, what with my mind-boggling score of 9 out of 20. Guess I'll just have to keep on keepin' on with my American loyalties.
(thanks to Soviet Invasion Plan for the link)
Since our local library system has an extremely high limit on the number of books one may check out at a time (somewhere in the vicinity of 726, I think), I have added a couple more to the piles of pages that sit strewn across my house:
And now, I'm off to begin the weekend. Have a great one!
Controversy over textbooks erupted again Wednesday as scientists and members of the public addressed the Board of Education over the treatment of evolution in biology textbooks.Tom makes the point that the Discovery Institute is hardly unbiased, so I won't address that aspect of the article. What I did find amusing was the following:
Nearly all of the three dozen speakers defended the teaching of evolution against a report that questioned the accuracy of evidence supporting the scientific theory in the 11 biology texts being considered for adoption in Texas.
After Discovery Institute — a Seattle-based public policy group — submitted the 55-page report, teachers, scientists and activists went on the offensive.
While intelligent design, which claims that a higher power directed human development, is more scientific, critics said it couldn't be included because it had not been peer reviewed by reputable scientists.Emphasis mine.
I'm sorry, but intelligent design is not remotely scientific, and for a couple of very basic reasons. There is no way, absolutely none, to disprove it - evolution, gravity, thermodynamics, all of these could potentially be falsified by future observations, even though the likelihood is low.
Intelligent design, on the other hand, cannot. No matter what we find, if we assume the universe has a designer, then everything looks exactly as it was meant to look. See that rock? God made it that way. See those fossils? Yep, he put them there, sure enough. See the way that genetics and the fossil record make it look like we share a lineage of far-reaching entanglement with all other life? The Big Guy, baby.
Also, a designed universe could have popped into existence five seconds ago, fully formed, and it would look precisely the same as a current-state universe that began its inflation 14 billion years in the past.
There's simply no way to know - no way to say that intelligent design is wrong. But we can say that it isn't scientific and it sure isn't science; no more so than the unfalsifiable claim of an undetectable mongoose in your pants would be science.
How's that mongoose, by the way?
Students in my great homestate of Alabama are kickin' butt, takin' names, and movin' on up the charts when it comes to their writing ability:
The state Department of Education said 20 percent of eighth-graders scored proficient or above in 2002, as compared to 17 percent in 1998.That is great news!
So, as of last year, only 80 out of every 100 Alabama eighth-graders were incapable of writing "an organized and coherent response with clear language and supporting detail," as opposed to that awful, awful statistic of 83 out of every 100 from 1998.
Let's get those kids blogging ASAP!
"Our schools are doing a great job of developing writing plans for students in every grade," said Alice Doran, student assessment director for Montgomery Public Schools.Now, if only we could get the kids to do a great job of writing, we might be on to something. In the real world (read: not the government), we reward planning followed by poor execution with another big word: termination.
I wonder if any eighth-graders know that word. Hopefuly some administrators will soon.
Attention, people of Denver: the LoDo Music Festival is coming soon to your city. July 18th and 19th, Lower Downtown will be filled with throngs of people and plenty of music to keep you entertained!
I'm particularly interested in seeing Rhett Miller; Medeski, Martin, & Wood; Camper Van Beethoven; X; Blind Boys of Alabama; and BoDeans.
As it turns out, I and Matt Moore will be your faithful blog-based press reporters for the event, courtesy of the fine people behind the festival. Look for some personal thoughts here (and at Matt's site, I would imagine) as well as a comprehensive review of what we see, hear, and do over at BlogCritics.
It's great to see that blogs are being taken seriously as a worthwhile outlet for publicity, isn't it? A HUGE thanks to the organizers for allowing us to participate in this way.
There's a chance we'll get to spend some face-time with Rhett Miller, X, and Camper Van Beethoven - if you guys have any questions you're dying to ask them, post away and I'll add them to the list!
Now, go buy your tickets and see you there!
...as stupid people who will not see.
The girlfriend of the factory worker who killed five fellow employees this week interrupted a memorial service Thursday by standing up in the church and saying the gunman also should be viewed as a victim.Who just happened to have a very strange way of showing it.
Mayor John Robert Smith was speaking during the community service when Shirley Price stood and spoke: "Excuse me. Don't criticize this man. He was human too ... don't exclude him. He was a victim, too. ... He was a kind and loving human being."
Folks, if you want to show me how much you love me, all I ask is that you not come into my office and shoot me. Monetary contributions will be fine, just hit the ol' PayPal tipjar and consider me loved.
Rick Santorum, not content to make stupid comments just once, has published some new thoughts on the institution of marriage and why it is in desperate need of protection:
Every civilization since the beginning of man has recognized the need for marriage.Perhaps, but then pair bonding isn't exactly unique to us homo sapiens sapiens (neither is adultery, but that's another story). Also, Santorum is being quite liberal (heh, I bet he'd hate me using that word) with the word "marriage."
Marriage has had many meanings and interpretations throughout history and across cultures, including marriage as commonly practiced in the West, the submissiveness required of wives in the Middle East, the polygamy of the Mormons, the marriage-for-wealth of the ancient Greeks, the open-relationship marriages of the Spartans, arranged marriages, child marriages, forced marriages, the Hebrew tradition of marrying your brother's wife if he should die, and - as in the news of late - the concept of dowry, resulting in Indian men killing female infants to avoid paying up.
So, Rick old buddy old pal, which of these types of marriage are needed and which can we throw away? It's clear that Santorum means he wants marriage, but only as he and his slope-browed approbators narrowly define it. But you, dear reader, being as sharp as you are, knew that.
This country and healthy societies around the world give marriage special legal protection for a vital reason — it is the institution that ensures the society's future through the upbringing of children.Unfortunately, this leads to the logical end that people who do not wish to have children should not be allowed to marry - and that people who do want to have children, but cannot, should not be allowed to marry either (unless they adopt, but then whoever is giving up kids shouldn't be allowed to marry because clearly they don't want them).* After all, they are devaluing the importance of marriage as an instrument for raising children.
Furthermore, it's just common sense that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.BOOM!
And just like that, Santorum strikes a fatal blow to every pro-gay-marriage argument in existence. Don't you people get it? It's just common sense! What an unforeseen and brilliant masterstroke Rick has penned! Who - tell me, who - could not be utterly convinced of the legitimacy of his argument now?
Devastating, Rick - postively devastating! Why, with such powers of logic at work in the Congress, I will rest easy at night knowing that common sense shall rule the day!
Nevermind that, once upon a time, it was common sense that black people were sub-human, suited only to, Oh Lawdy, pick a bale of cotton, jump down turn around and pick a bale a day.
Common sense is often nonsense, Rick - time to clue in to that.
There is an ocean of empirical data showing that the union between a man and a woman has unique benefits for children and society.And allowing homosexuals to marry will alter these benefits how? Will straight couples suddenly throw up their arms in despair at the sight of two men in tuxes tying the knot? Will they exclaim "Our marriage is forever tainted!" and give up on the whole institution, give up on each other, give up on the children? Oh no! Say it ain't so!
Of course they won't. Straight people will still fall in love. Straight people will still decide to marry. Straight people will still raise families and grow old together, till death do they part (unless they part beforehand, lining the pockets of lawyers, all of which could be avoided by realizing marriage is a contract and treating it as such, but that's another post), yada yada.
Moreover, traditional family breakdown is the single biggest social problem in America today.I'll concur that it's a problem, Rick - but what does the breakdown of marriages have to do with gay people wanting to get married? I would think that allowing dedicated people to marry would, oh, increase stability rather than decrease it, but I'm silly that way.
Further, what's a traditional family? Ah, yes, the one that you define. Perhaps our problems really started when we moved away from the extended family concept. I expect Rick to invite his parents, children, grandchildren, cousins, and whomever else to move in right away so that he can lead us in rebuilding our great society, rescuing it from the evil clutches of married couples living in single-family homes with their 2.5 children and a dog.
In study after study, family breakdown is linked to an increase in violent crime, youth crime, teen pregnancy, welfare dependency and child poverty.And, since you've yet to show that gay marriages will in any way lead to further breakdown of the family unit, you might as well tell us that studies show that when you climb very high you can see very far, and that ice is cold. They would be just as completely irrelevant to the point you think you're making.
Marriage has already been weakened. The out-of-wedlock childbirth rate is at a historically high level, while the divorce rate remains unacceptably high.So maybe we straight folk should look at the huge plank in our own eye before we go pointing fingers at homosexuals. Given the divorce rate, it's obvious that we're pretty good at mucking up matrimony - maybe the gays can do a better job and show us how it should be done. I'm willing to give them the chance.
Legalization of gay marriage would further undermine an institution that is essential to the well-being of children and our society.How so? I read your blustering bravado in defense of marriage, but it's empty and hollow. There's no substance. Nothing you've written shows how gay marriage can or will undermine the concept of marriage, except that it won't be between just a man and a woman.
And, admit it, that's what really bothers you, Rick.
It's not that you think your marriage - or mine - or even Bill and Hillary's - will be affected by any of this, you just don't like the idea of giving even the aire of approval to gay people getting funky on the monkey with each other. Guess what - horror of horrors! - they're doing it anyway.
And lovin' it.
Maybe some of them are even imagining their partner is you!**
Gimme gimme more more more »
* Of course, actually enforcing such rules would require enlarging the powers of government and expanding departments and increasing spending, all of which conservatives are against, except when they aren't, which is rather often when you think about it - and usually when they want to spoil someone else's fun.
** OK, I doubt many people are that messed up in the head.
« That's plenty, thanks!
You know, I really don't think one could ever hear this classic song too many times.
OK, so I'm lying.
So, go. Read. You know the drill.
Update: Dave is catching hell for his article:
hey nice article, asshole! maybe you should have suggested that the victim actually be sentenced to prison. i mean, being raped and humiliated and having her career dreams shattered really isn't enough punishment for a woman for enrolling in a MAN'S academy. i mean, women don't even deserve to be there in the first place, right?Obviously, the complete and total imbecile who took 45 seconds to spew that blurb of crap didn't read the article. The guy didn't rape her. They were both drunk. She admits as much. No crime was committed - at best, two young people got drunk and did something that they later regretted. But, hey, dumbo, you know what? That's not a crime.
FUCK YOU. that was the most one-sided opinionated article i have ever read. you should be banned from any further attempts at "journalism". . .
Dave thinks maybe it has something to do with the sensitivity of people to the rape topic - that maybe these people who are sending him hate mail are too close to the issue. Bullshit. They are unthinking hateful robots driven solely by their emotions and unable to reason beyond them. Screw them, Dave - they don't matter.
I say this as someone who has known several victims of sexual abuse and also was deeply in love with a woman who was a rape victim. She had been raped by an older relative as a young teenager. She told me who the culprit was. I informed her that if I ever met him, I would do my best to hurt and/or kill him since he had gotten away with his crime. I still hate the guy, even though I have never met him (thus, sadly, he still walks the Earth), and even though I am no longer with that woman.
But none of that matters.
THERE WAS NO CRIME IN THIS INSTANCE.
Those of you who are so consumed by your hatred that you see the woman as a weak, unwilling victim who could not possibly have had a choice in the matter do the same disservice to women as the kooky feminists who see every man as a rapist do to men. You're blinded by bias, refusing to engage in clear-thinking lest it shatter your preconceived notions of how the world works.
In short, you're both complete idiots.
Love him or hate him, you have to admire Bush's political gutsiness and "I don't give a damn what the opposition thinks" attitude when he said in a speech on Oree Island, Senegal that slavery was ''one of the greatest crimes of history.'' Always a man of conviction, Dubya finally did what most politicians only dream about and, in reckless disregard for the position of all the pro-slavery lobbyists throughout the country he expressed his views. I just hope this doesn't haunt him come election time.
Gimme gimme more more more »
I wonder what'll be next- is he going to say that "Custer got what he deserved" or that the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments were wrong even though they saved defenseless lab animals from having to suffer? Well, this just shows what you get when you (almost sorta kinda) elect a radical hippie like Bush into office.
In unrelated news, this sentence from the Atlanta Constitution story on the Meridian murders bothers me more than it should:
Armed with a shotgun and a reputation for racism, a factory employee killed
five co-workers and wounded nine others before killing himself Tuesday.
I'm guessing the shotgun proved deadlier than the reputation. (I hate ridiculous phrase turns.)
« That's plenty, thanks!
It would seem that my reading a book on the theoreticals behind time travel is a needless exercise when I can simply buy the plans for a time machine:
Most scientists now agree that time travel is possible. The theory of relativity allows it. The plans on this page are written by Steven Gibbs who also designed the Hyperdimensional Resonator listed on this page. They are not the words of us at Future Horizons. We can say that the machine seems to induce out of body experiences in most users almost immediately. When out of your body it is possible to travel in time and space with your astral body and witness or experience events in time.And all of that for only $50.00! Wow!
For additional money, you can learn how to build such exciting devices as the Sonic Resonator, the Biotronic Oscillator, a Cosmic Diode, the Chronological Time Reflector, and the Atlantean Generator.
We'll be quantum leaping in no time!
Not that any of you will take us up on this invitation, primarily for fear that RoverPundit is a crazed serial killer, but if you're still interested, he and I will be sitting down for beverages at My Brother's Bar this afternoon, somewhere in the neighborhood of 5:00 or 5:30.
Stop by and say hello - we might even let you sit with us. For a price.
I kid - I kid - I'm a kidder.
As you know, or maybe not - ok, probably not - we here at the World Wide HQ of the World Wide Rant happen to have a love of music. So, it is in that spirit that we bring you this MP3 for your listening pleasure.
But first, a bit of a story.
While accidentally channel hopping and landing on NBC's "Scrubs," I noticed a familiar song and a familiar face. For those keeping score at home, it was this episode - the one with Colin Hay, formerly of Men At Work, playing a terrific acoustic version of their song "Overkill."
Oh, and - whaddayaknow - here it is.
Turns out that Tom really liked the song as well, in addition to some of Colin's other music, and so we had a bit of a talk about the brains behind Men At Work. I suppose I'll be seeking out his solo stuff now in order to buy it - and maybe catch a show if he's ever around these parts.
In the meantime, enjoy the MP3 - or don't - you won't hurt my feelings, or Colin's. I don't think so anyway.
According to a team of computer scientists, we give away our gender in our writing style.Why this is news to anyone is beyond me. It should be dreadfully, painfully obvious to even a layman, since everyone knows that girls like to write about butterflies and puppies and tea parties and make-up and slumber parties, oh my, while boys write about important things.
You may hit me now.
No, no, a little lower and on the backside Michele.
Having once again discovered the joy of ignoring the television and opening up a book, I paid another visit to the library today. Here are the additions to the reading list:
So far, so good.
It also might help extreme right-wing crazies to keep their jobs:
NEW YORK (AP) -- MSNBC on Monday fired Michael Savage for anti-gay comments.I'm going to assume this is not what one would call "compassionate conservatism." Unless it means compassion for the gay-hating religiobots who share our planet; after all, we can't have those dirty sodomites keeping the good straight folk up at night pondering what's happening behind closed doors, now can we?
The popular radio talk show host who did a weekend TV show for the cable channel referred to an unidentified caller to his show Saturday as a "sodomite" and said he should "get AIDS and die."
Makes one wonder if Mike would have said such things while swimmin' all nekkid up in there with Allen Ginsberg. Makes one wonder if maybe Mike isn't consumed by intense self-loathing. Makes one wonder indeed.
It's ok - come on out, Mike - Allen says the water is fine.
(thanks to ZombyBoy for the tip)
Well, now it's time to say goodbye to Buddy Ebsen and all his cells. He's the first celebrity death worthy enough to form a third for the triumvirate begun by Katharine and Gregory (Buddy Hackett was just not happenin', and I can't imagine Katharine and Barry White getting along).
I remember once at a Socialist Frottagists Anonymous meeting, a heavily bearded young lady (who later turned out to be Ted Kennedy) said "Buddy Ebsen never did anything watchable other than HILLBILLIES", and I said what about Breakfast at Tiffany's? I don't know which was odder: his love scene with Audrey Hepburn or Burl Ives' with Sophia Loren in Desire Under the Elms. Buddy's was definitely the more moving of the two.
Gimme gimme more more more »
Everybody knows about his "original Tin Man" status, but some trivia you may not have known about Buddy:
-an avid numismatist, he sold most of his coin collection at auction for almost $8 million during the 1980s, largely to finance his divorce from his wife of 40+ years in order to marry a woman less than half his age
-a conservative back before it was neo, he p.o.d many of his more liberal fans (not that it mattered, since he was retired by then) when he campaigned for the opponent of his very liberal former co-star Nancy Kulp. (In fairness, she started it: she stated in a radio spot that all of her former co-stars were behind her, in spite of the fact that in addition to being untrue it was totally irrelevant since they were all dead or living in California and she was running for a Pennsylvania seat; Buddy did a radio spot for her Republican opponent; bitter, she later insinuated that his acts were in part motivated by the fact she was openly gay, but evidently they made peace before she expired)
-Had he lived just 29 more years, he'd have held the record for Oldest Living Human
« That's plenty, thanks!
Perhaps there is hope for our beloved America when nose-up-Dubya's-hiney-hole and Republidrooling idiocy combined with not-so-very-good writing meets a traffic fate such as this. Perhaps Extreme tracker is broken, but I hope not.
Palestinian police have arrested a young woman suspected of planning a suicide bomb attack on an Israeli target, Palestinian security sources said Monday.Sounds pretty good, right? Well, let's see how they dealt decisively with this criminal, shall we?
The woman was interrogated Monday and released into her parents' custody.What? WHAT? Ooh, the mighty fist of justice in Palestine strikes fear into the hearts of potential martyrs everywhere! Perhaps this explains it:
One terrorism analyst said the arrest might have been staged for the benefit of public opinion...And not a very good one at that. Sorry, Arafat, we still think you're a terrorist. Sorry, Abbas, we still think you're complicit. Try again.
Boaz Ganor, director of the International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism, said the circumstances of the woman's arrest were unusual because none of the approximately 100 suicide bombers who struck Israeli targets during nearly three years of fighting have crossed the heavily patrolled fence.
It also was unusual that the suspect is a woman, he said, because Gaza is a conservative territory and the two radical Islamic groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have been reluctant to recruit women bombers.
"We felt in the past when the Palestinians wanted to show as if they were fulfilling their obligations in fighting terrorism, they produced photo-op events ... to gain some points in world opinion," Ganor said.
"This could be another spin."
Ahhh, Monday - well-rested and ready for the week, after three days of too much beer, too much food, and not enough shut-eye. Photographic evidence of Friday's good eats is below.
Saturday, we drove down to Colorado Springs to attend Vodkapundit's housewarming/holiday weekend get together. Steve and Melissa put together a great gathering, although with baby in tow and two dogs locked up at home, we could only stay for four hours or so. However, four hours adds up to a lot of Fat Tire. Mmmmm, beer.
Naturally, the usual blogging suspects were in attendance, as well as a couple others. While one of them fawned over my daughter, anxiously awaiting her to turn 18 in the year 2021 so that he might get a date, another showed awed interest in my wife's breast pump (hey, you can't make this stuff up).
On Sunday, I contributed to the ever-growing mythology of Andy by resting, and it was good. Tom and Kat, on the other hand, were up at the crack of dawn to fly home. Thankfully, John Ashcroft and his Crisco-anointed superpowers kept their flight safe from terrorists, and they arrived home, tired but alive.
Amen. El Fin.
Hey fellow bloggers and readers and whatnot, if you get an e-mail that appears to be from email@example.com, asking you to verify your account online, my advice is don't do it. Following the link in the e-mail, which looked authentic on the surface, I noticed that:
If PayPal doesn't know better than that, then perhaps my money is safer somewhere else. I say that because I just filled the form in with junk, hit Submit, and it said it could not log me in, returning me to a PayPal screen. Of course, this could be just part of the scammer's submit procedure - grab the info, then log you into PayPal via a script, and you're none the wiser.
Either way, I'm taking no chances. Sorry, PayPal.
I've notified PayPal and - if you would - spread the word, lest those same people who run attachments from unknown senders find themselves out a lot of money (not that a fool and their money don't deserve to be parted, but I'm feeling rather generous today).
Update: Looks like I'm not alone in my suspicions (via Instapundit). Although, I would point out that the confirmation received from PayPal is an auto-confirmation, and not necessarily an indicator that they've read your problem. Although I still believe it to be complete and utter spam.
The weekend, that is.
It's been a long, grueling, thoroughly enjoyable 72 hours, but I'm taking this evening to recover, rest, read, and watch some television. Oh, and deal with a cranky baby of course.
A quick thanks to Steve and Melissa Green for hosting a fine gathering in their abode (a word that is remarkably similar to "adobe," which happens to be a type of abode - ah, the joys of language).
Weekend details shall commence tomorrow morning, unless Tom feels inspired to kick it off first.
Hope everyone else had a fine, fine weekend as well.
Is it just me, or does the new Bravo show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, in addition to sounding like a candlelight vigil looking for a light, manage to use stereotypes to offend both gays and straights?
The premise for those who are unaware is that five gay men (decorators, fashion mavens, etc.) sprinkle their fairy dust on a fashion challenged straight slob and help him get some from his long suffering woman.
Gimme gimme more more more »
Since I overslept by several hours on the morning of my own Sexual Orientation I missed quite a few important notes, but I can personally attest that not all gay guys have superior fashion sense, enjoy decorating, or know/care the first thing about dancing or flowers. Likewise, I've known quite a few straight guys (including my label whore brother) who could have been the inspiration for the Kinks. I greatly pity any guy of any demographic who asked me for fashion advice as my example is "if it fits, you can afford it, and you find it not unpleasing then wear it" and "it's your your house- if you want to hang Chagal prints or black velvet likenesses of Dale Earnhardt shaking hands with Jesus then go for it".
But, as somebody who's given thought to spreading my intellectual wings (or legs, as the case may be) and making a few million mollusks by entering the world of TV programming, I suppose I should see this as an opportunity. I'm going to work on the following mini-treatments and see if I can get a development deal for BRAVO:
HARRY HAPLESS AND THE HEEP'A' HEBES- Five Jewish professionals (an accountant, a tax attorney, a broker, a banker, and a risk analyst) take a poor gile-less Gentile with a low paying job and a credit card debt higher than his annual income and teach him to be a cold blooded, take-no-prisoners businessman with a strangle-hold-on-the-media. (A high-ranking masked member of the Illuminati [are the Illuminati the handpuppets of world Jewry or is it the other way around? I never can remember] guest stars in the PRISONER like finale.)
THE HOMEGIRL OF SIGMA PI- Four upper middle class WASP sorority sisters from Bennington take in a black girl from a broken home in the inner city and teach her how to act white so that she won't have to be as nervous when she applies for a job at their parents' club. It's sort of like PYGMALION meets THE COLOR PURPLE at 8 MILE.
FRONTIER HOUSE MASSACRE- it's kind of like the PBS series meets The Mole. Five suburban families agree to live life just like the pioneers who came out west to star in the first reality shows back in the 1870s, but one of them is secretly selling whiskey to the local Indian tribe. Who will be the first one scalped? You can help decide by calling 1-900-FIRE H20.
SMACK HABITS- Five inner-city nuns from the order of St. Matthew of Methodone minister to heroin addicts in a posh Seattle suburb, then live agree to live with them "and have their lives taped" in a REAL WORLD meets HBO: ON THE STREETS style documentary. Highlights will be the Winnebago road trip from Seattle to Rome and the first ever mass sung in soprano-Grunge.
YOU AIN'T JIVIN'- Four ultra hip and sassy plus size soul sisters (all chosen by random lottery from the audience of the Def Comedy Jam) agree to move in with soulless and butless white she-yuppies and mentor them in assertiveness and more interesting vernacular expressions. For extra interest, the soulless and buttless white she-yuppies will not be told that it's being taped or that the sisters are moving in, but the local law enforcement will be told to ignore the call.
PEOPLE'S COURT OF INQUISITION- Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, sitting behind a podium made of a 12'foot 10 COMMANDMENTS and in front of a fully clothed Lady Justice, will host this, the first TV judge to allow spectral evidence and authorize stonings.
THE RACE TRAITOR- from the producers of JOE MILLIONAIRE and AMERICA UNDERCOVER comes this reality fest in which 15 militant white supremacists agree to live together and share their innermost feelings on a compound in the northwest. One is secretly a gay Jewish light skinned black guy; will he fit in, be discovered, or become their new leader? Only fate and the special 1-900 will decide.
Then enough talent comps to last for a thousand years:
AMERICA'S MOST TALENTED ALZHEIMER'S PATIENTS
AMERICA'S MOST TALENTED OLSEN TWIN
AMERICA'S MOST TALENTED JEW
AMERICA'S MOST TALENTED CRACK WHORE
AMERICA'S MOST TALENTED RETARDED KIDS
AMERICA'S MOST TALENTED HOMELESS PERSON
AMERICA'S MOST TALENTED DEFROCKED PRIEST
Ah, minorities and stereotypes; they're not just for 'Special Episodes' anymore.
More to come, until not one stereotype is not equally represented. Please feel free to suggest your own and we can all split the proceeds.
« That's plenty, thanks!
In the spirit of Independence Day, the boys (well, Andy and Tom anyway) sat down, reflected upon the history of our great nation, felt extreme gratitude to all those who gave their lives in the pursuit of liberty and freedom and the ability to do what you want when you want (so tell me what you want, what you really, really want) - then we drank a shitload of beer and forgot all about that, and came up with this holiday jingle for you, our adoring public - or even you, unfortunate passers-by.
So, without further delay, we proudly present a song to commemorate the holiday - we have lovingly dubbed it "Patriot Act Woo." We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it, assuming we remember making it when morning's light comes.
Consider it auditory fireworks for the Fourth of July!
Amen. Hallelujah. Heebie-jeebies.
Keep our day jobs? Yeah, no shit.
My best wishes to you and yours as we celebrate our nation's independence this July 4th. I'll be off with family and friends, engaging in the American pastimes of grilling out, drinking hearty adult beverages, and giving my British wife grief about how we whooped up on them in the Revolutionary War (with the help of the French, who, shortly thereafter, forgot how to fight).
Seriously though, to my American readers, be safe, have fun, and take some time to reflect on the sacrifices many have made for our nation, regardless of their polticial party, their color, their sex, or any other reason we find to divide ourselves. First and foremost, we're all Americans and we're in this grand experiment together. See you on the 5th!
The better to link you with, my dear.
OK, so it's not that big of a blogroll, so no harm in making it a little bigger (with my Swedish Blogroll-Enlarger that I got via some really convincing spam!). So, a few additions.
OK, more additions later - have we overlooked somebody? Is it you? Are you sure? Should we link to you? (yes, Zombyboy, I'll get your link up - so to speak - been meaning to do it for a couple weeks) Regardless, won't you be a dear and say hello?
Update: This just in from the home office in Walla Walla. Tara's site is NOT known as The Cosmic Cheshire Cat, but is now known as Naturalistic Banter. We're not sure if this relates to her possibly being a witty nudist, but if so, we politely ask for more pictures.
We have officially entered Bizarro world. At least, that's the only explanation I have for this story. In a time when our in-the-public-eye politicians are hiding when family issues arise (as if they are not some sort of reflection on their own shortcomings), a man like Ozzy Osbourne comes forward as a font of parental wisdom:
"The mistake that Sharon and I both made, and we both agree on this, is we never set any boundaries," the Osbourne patriarch told MTV News, addressing his son Jack's recent stint in rehab. "We never said, 'You must be in the house by a certain time.' We just let them have the freedom. Sharon and I are still learning. We're not the parents that say, 'We're always right,' because we're not."It gets better.
"One thing I noticed is that he never cried," Ozzy said. "He never showed. He just locked it in, you know. I think what families should do more often is have family meetings and talk: get around the table and say, 'What's up? How you doing?' Every day I say to my family, 'I love you,' you know. And I do love my family. People forget to say 'I love you. I care for you. Are you OK? Is there anything you need?' "Ladies and gents, allow me to present to you Ozzy Osbourne - biter of the heads of bats, and giver of sound parenting advice.
Pinch me, I must be dreaming. And even if I'm not, and you happen to be a hot little tamale of the female persuasion, pinch me anyway.
Dave Cullen says you're too late.
And that's a good thing.
Also, check out Zombyboy's views on the subject - well worth the time spent reading.
Dean argued there's no inconsistency in opposing the war in Iraq while backing intervention in Africa. He said Bush never made the case that Iraq posed a threat to the world.First, Liberia is even less of a threat to anyone than Iraq - and Bush also presented multiple reasons for going to war, although he did focus on the WMD angle when he went to the UN (after all, the UN doesn't generally mind slaughters that go on within the borders of sovereign nations, isn't that right my Rwandan friends?)
"The situation in Liberia is exactly the opposite," Dean said. "There is an imminent threat of serious human catastrophe and the world community is asking the United States to exercise its leadership."
Second, perhaps Dean doesn't consider the brutality of the Hussein regime, the imprisonment of children, the ethnic oppression and wholesale slaughter, and the culture of fear in Iraq to be a serious human catastrophe. I'm curious how he would explain the difference (but wait, he's a politician - he doesn't have to!).
And finally, who gives a flying flippin' fadoodle what the world is asking? We should do what is right because it's right, not because the world says we should stay or we should go. This is the real world, not a high school popularity contest - those who base their morality on sheepthink are the most immoral among us.
Recognizing our long ties to the nation of Liberia, and the tragedy that is unfolding there, I support some form of intervention, be it economic, diplomatic, or military. I'm consistent. Dean is not.
I won't be so cynical as to imply that Dean is supporting action in Liberia because it's located in Africa - and Africa is populated with Africans - and many Democratic voters call themselves African-Americans. OK, maybe I'll hint at it.
A politician pandering? Perish the thought!
Or perhaps he truly believes that action there is a humanitarian necessity, but was against ending the tragedy in Iraq because of his loyalties to the left.
Either way, I'm not very impressed.
Not that I was going to vote for him anyway.
(thanks to Jo for the link, although she too seems to think that the UN blessing something makes it "right" - if that's the case, it must mean Libya is a human-rights Valhalla, eh?)
The FBI has announced the following:
Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, whose operatives have used fraudulently obtained passports for international travel, has acquired stolen blank Saudi passports....Oh no, do you know what this means? Do you?
This means that Al Qaeda operatives could enter the United States of America and carry out terrorist acts WHILE POSING AS SAUDI CITIZENS!
This could seriously skew the ability of Islamofascist bookies to keep proper score of which Arab states have provided the most terrorists to operations that have succeeded in killing Americans and/or other infidels.
Until this unexpected announcement, everyone had their money on the Saudis, given that 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11, 2001 were from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Now their numbers could be artificially inflated, completely screwing up the odds for betting all things Islamo-crazy (such as - which nation's virtue police will keep girls in a burning school building next?)
I don't know about you, but I'm calling my man Raheem and canceling my bets.
But, first, a little background: at least a couple people down Loosiana-way have some sense about them.
Alexandria resident Robert Payne took issue with the notion the ruling was about gay sex.And if it is scaring the horses, perhaps you ought to make sure that's a human anus that you're about to give a good poking.
"It wasn't a gay sex ruling," he said, "it was an anal sex ruling. Gay people are not the only people that have anal sex in Louisiana."
Payne said the court was right to strike down the law.
"I don't care what anybody wants to do in their home," he said. "As long as it ain't scaring the horses, it don't matter."
That bit of sensible thinking aside, others in Louisiana appear to live in bubble-enclosed communities of black-and-white-television, Ricky-and-Lucy-in-separate-beds groupthink:
Jessie Alexander of Jonesville disagrees with the decision. She also refuses to believe that heterosexuals engage in oral and anal sex.I wonder how one, as a journalist, maintains a serious expression when a babbling imbecile like Ms. Alexander opens her mouth and lets the floodgates spill forth with ignorance and increduility. Bravo for anyone capable of such a feat.
"Why would they do that?" she asked. "I don't think heterosexuals have oral or anal sex. Only homosexuals do it."
She said Thursday's ruling was "a very bad decision because of the message it sends to the youth and children. This is a very wrong thing. It's like them ruling that murder is OK."
Now, the fundraising bit - I think Ms. Alexander needs a bit of enlightenment.
I think that this enlightement looks remarkably like the book Going Down: The Instinct Guide to Oral Sex, on sale for a mere $9.77 from Amazon.com.
I've nary an idea how we might get the book into her hands, but it's worth a shot. Anyone interested? Surely we can not let such ignorance persist!
Unless something terribly exciting happens in the news world (and, no, Palestinians violating the cease-fire is not news), blogging will probably be light today. Duty calls, especially since I took yesterday off to spend the day with my daughter so that Mrs. World Wide Rant could have some time out with friends.
So, amuse yourselves with "What's Andy Doing Now?"
The Reading Room
The Listening Room
Now, go and buy them - would I steer you wrong? And, no, I don't make any money off of the purchases.
Also, don't look for much content here from Friday through Sunday (you should be outside in the sunshine anyway). Tom, the original other half of the World Wide Rant, and his girlfriend are in town, so we have many festivities to which we must attend. I wish you all could join us, if only so you can help pay for the beer.
I'm an inclusive sort, you see.
But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the Carnival over in Amish-land!
...might well be on their way out. Roy Moore, Chief Mullah of the T'Alabam and Pandering Ass Extraordinaire, is probably fit to be tied, bound, and called Nancy as his illegally placed Holy Washing Machine is ordered removed by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Of course, Stupidity never closes a window without opening a door.
Like a lot of people, I have a mother. I love her, I respect her, and though I don’t always like her I’m the youngest of her children and I’ve always been the favorite and I’m unmarried, and as one of the Missing Beatitudes states (from “Four Gospels: The Director’s Cut- Special Features- Missing Scenes”) “Blessed is the youngest child, the one without children, for he shall inherit Mama.”
Gimme gimme more more more »
So- I love/respect/and even to a degree like the woman, though there have been times when I didn’t like her. One of the times I didn't like her the most was when she learned that I am “not like other boys”, then later when she learned I was gay as well. My fault to a degree- I never told her because
1- It’s not an easy subject to bring up even to the most liberal of mothers (“Do you wanna pack some fudge into this care package for Aunt Meridian? And speaking of….”)
2- My mother’s NOT the most liberal of mothers
3- I was 30 years old, had never been seriously involved with a woman (well, there were the ones I slept with and the one I married, but she didn’t know about any of them), never missed a Johnny Depp opening, knew every showtune ever written (in some cases I knew the songs before the composer was finished writing them), I collected nesting dolls, and can name every member of the Supremes- HELLO! But, to borrow a line from AMERICAN BEAUTY, “never underestimate the power of denial”
4- My mother’s had a thoroughly out of control roller coaster (of the $1 General Admission travelling sort you'd see on a Primetime expose featuring Diane Sawyer and a guy in a wheelchair who now makes lawn ornaments with his tongue) of a life (hillbilly birth, engaged to a much older man at 14, ladies' wrestling champ at 20, head turning socialite at 25, wealthy at 35, destitute widow at 45, a thoroughly bizarre 50s featuring a Passion Play story that I'll never tell, health scares throughout and a horrifying absence of psychotropic meds througout, etc.) and while she’s dealt with more bad breaks than a merciful God would allow she hasn’t dealt with them quietly or gracefully if you receive my meaning (think Eleanor of Aquitaine crossed with the Reverend Jim Jones, but that's another story). The words of the Wicked Witch from THE WIZ, “Don’t nobody bring me no bad news…” could be her motto.
5- I’m an adult and reckoned it to be precisely none of her business what parties constitute my sexual congress.
So for these and many more reasons I never told her then she found out both this little bio-factoid about her youngest/favorite child as well as a valuable lesson on “why you shouldn’t read your grown son’s private correspondence” all on the same Fourth of July weekend a few years back.
For those who don’t know my mother, think “Norma Desmond as played by Carol Burnett’s Eunice and written by Tennessee Williams”. Eventually she calmed down, after a few days of screaming, a few attempted “suicides” (much more like Harold’s “attempts” than Maudes), a few months of not speaking, and even a few lines of dialogue. My hypothetical sex-life has become the dead rat in the family beehive.* It’s simply a subject we don’t address, so if you find yourself in our company please do not use the words “gay”, “homo”, “queer”, “total Mo”, fudgepacking sissyboy”, “pantywaisted fruitwhip”, or “confirmed bachelor” unless you want some really stern looks and small caliber firearms to enter the conversation.
Now, speed ahead to the present. Since my mother is something of a recluse but loves the theater, and especially loves for reasons known to her and the Jade goddess the overblown "Aaron Spelling does Broadway" MISS SAIGON(nowhere near the play that its full sister LES MIS is, but she prefers it, but I digress), I decided for a belated Mother’s Day to get her out of the Old Virago’s Home for the day and take her to see the play at the Fabulous Fox in Atlanta. It seemed a natural: it gets her out and about, she can ride MARTA and feel all cosmopolitan and then be serenaded by doomed Southeast Asian whores under the beautiful planetarium ceiling of the historic theater and have a story to tell when she goes home if she ever hires a friend. Seemed a good idea.
Remember what I said about “don’t mention gay stuff around my mother?” This extends to “don’t even watch WILL & GRACE with her in the room” or “Don’t even mention Truman Capote [the late kinsman of my even later father] while she’s around” or it becomes tense.
The play was at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 29, 2003. The Fabulous Fox is on Peachtree St. in downtown Atlanta. I bought the tickets months ago and did not know until the weekend of the show that there was something else scheduled for Peachtree St. in downtown Atlanta on the very same afternoon, commencing at just after 1:00 p.m. and reaching full strength by the time the doors for the theater opened. That other event happened to be ATLANTA PRIDE, the biggest gay pride parade north of South Florida and south of New York.
We’re talking more queers than in the Garland/Minelli family tree.
We’re talking more rainbows than you’d find in the delusions of 300 tripping smurfs.
We’re talking more lesbians than Lilith Faire on more bikes than you’d find in a James Dean movie.
I’ll update the story later, but it proved interesting.
II: Before the Parade Passes By
So, I learned of the “Alternative Festivities” on the Friday before the play when my mother was already en route for her state visit to M’ville. To put it mildly, I expressed anxiety-
1- She’s NEVER going to believe this was a coincidence
2- She’s going to refuse to go to the Fox (this is a woman who boycotted her oldest son’s wedding because the restaurant he chose for the rehearsal dinner didn’t allow smoking) which means I’m out the money for the tickets
3- We’ll never remember parking anywhere near the Fox
Meanwhile my sister the Millionaire Fundie (the only member of the family who doesn’t know “my secret identity”) calls to remind me that I haven’t been to pay homage to her and her husband lately and I tell her the news. After a hesitation and a lot of “what kind of pride?” “a parade?” questions, she roars. “Oh Lord, I can just see Mama all up in that now- I’ll give you $500 if you can get me a picture of her settin’ on the Grand Marshal’s float.”
I tried to switch the tickets from Sunday to Saturday but to no avail, which was really just as well since Saturday was also bad in Atlanta due to the incredible attendance at the funeral of Maynard Jackson.
So when my mother arrived I told her about the March. “You’re not in it are you?” was her only question. I assured her that crowds aren’t my scene, though as far as being in it we could well be with one wrong turn.
So Sunday we entered the Holy City, opting to park at the Indian Creek MARTA station several miles out of town and ride the train in to avoid the parking situation on Peachtree St. Before getting out of the car she asked “You don’t think that the metal in…uh… my cast” (she’s wearing a carpal tunnel style brace at the moment) “will set off the metal detectors do you?” I told her that to my knowledge there weren’t any metal detectors. This will be significant in a moment.
We ended up stealing the first ride since the token machine wouldn’t accept the $5 I had but by serendipity the handicapped gate was swinging open, so my mother loved this. “I feel like a true big city person.” On the train we encountered several marchers (she asked me how I knew they were marchers, evidently adjudicating two guys with their tongues somehow simultaneously in each other's right ears as just routine Atlantans and being, I learned, completely unfamiliar with the significance of rainbow paraphernalia - for the rest of the day she would look at anybody wearing any item of clothing with two or more colors and ask me “Is s/he queer?... Well, that's practically a rainbow, minus the green and blue and yellow and orange”) and a Hispanic street gang. When one of the latter began looking at my mother’s purse my paranoia kicked in and I suggested she let me hold it. “Oh honey, I’m not afraid of a little Mexican…” I insisted and received a curt "Baby... I love you... but YOU ARE NOT HOLDING A PURSE ON A TRAINLOAD OF.... rainbow people!"
We arrived at the downtown MARTA station which essentially requires walking up the Spanish Steps to get to the Fox Theater. Since we’d allowed for some time to kill not knowing how long it would take to get to the theater, we arrived around 1:15 p.m. and while there was a small crowd on the sidewalk there was nothing going on in the streets yet. Brava, say I, and I asked her ‘would you like to go on into the theater and have a drink or six?’ Her response surprised me-
“Hell no… I wanna stay right heah and watch the Gay Pride parade.”
You do? Why?
“Honey, I live in Montgomery, Alabama, I'm damned near 70 and I have about one lung and half a ventricle left in my heart… when else am I gonna see something like this?”
(She has a point; Montgomery is one of those cities where there's an appropriate sized gay population but you'll never see them march, those under 30 being too terrified of their parents finding out and those over 30 too terrified of their wives finding out to participate.) So, nervous as a pregnant nun a fault line as to what from my mother’s mouth should emerge, I stand with her and wait for the "All Romanovs to the basement" call.
Nothing for a moment, then, not unlike the beginning of the show, a deafening roar followed by exhibit 1: Dykes on Bikes. There were seemingly thousands of them and it seemed as if John Wayne had returned from the dead to say “Round them lesbians in a circle” because they must have done about 592 circulations down closed-off Peachtree St. Most had rainbow flags (including variations on the Georgia flag that believe it or not STILL have the Confederate flag) with the occasional Human Rights Campaign sign or Rosenwinkle (which personally I think is distasteful to use on a festive occasion, other than perhaps in a Media Vita in Morte Sumus sort of way, but arguing with lesbians on bikes isn't a good idea).
My mother’s comments: “Is that a man? No, or if it is he has boobs… hmmm… what’s that Just Married with the Maple Leaf sign mean and why is she riding alone?… “ then as several gray haired women with unmistakable resemblances to Winston Churchill drove by she made my favorite comment “You know, I never really realized that there were old lesbians.”
“Well personally I never gave much thought to Marlena Dietrich, Agnes Moorehead, and Miss Hathaway having sex… especially not with each other.
Later, and confidentially, my mother half-whispers to me “You know, I’ve heard that Lily Tomlin is a dyke…”
Well, she’s not, but her lifepartner of 30 years is.
“And you know who else? Jodie Foster… I bet she only got that way after that man shot up Reagan for her.”
(Have I mentioned that my mother has an extensive collection of plaid, has several pairs of overalls, has an inordinate interest in Julia Roberts movies and has several times made comments to the effect of "I'm not sayin' I'm glad your daddy died, but it wasn't without it's upside" [the first such comment literally made between his death and his funeral]? Anyway...)
The bikes receded like so many receding bikes and the floats began. She was asking me the significance of things and I, through breaks in chainsmoking at the sheer absurdity and nervousness of the situation, was telling her in matter of fact style “The rainbow flag was designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker who deliberately kept it royalty free and it has become the international sign for the openly gay… here we have the HRC equals sign…blah blah blah” . For those who’ve never heard my voice it’s often compared to a newscaster anyway which prompted another elderly she-Saigon goer who was eavesdropping to say “you aughtta consider doing that professionally… you’re better than the Macy’s people…”
My mother watches amazed, constantly asking “is that a man or a woman?” of the crowds and the float dwellers. Then, some of the people begin throw souvenirs from the floats and her focus changes altogether as she uses me as her personal shopper. “Oh… baby, run get me some of those rainbow beads… run grab me one of those leis… oh, I gotta have one of those handfans” and she left with a haul worthy of somebody from a small LA town in Mardi Gras. My favorite were the colorful pens that say “I help write the homosexual agenda”.
All in all the parade was almost disappointingly tame. There was a float filled with some salivation inducing guys clad only in bikini Speedos that prompted my mother to say very loudly “Good lawd… those things are padded! They’ve got corn cobs or quarter rolls or frankfurters or something in those things because they couldn’t walk if they didn’t… I mean don't you think so, baby, have you ever seen a... a... float like that... it's tacky... don't answer”, and there was a good bit of dirty dancing (none of it any worse than I’ve seen breeders do on many occasions; gay or straight, I wish people who did that type of Lambada on Ecstacy crap would just strip down and start screwing as that would be worth watching- the dancing is just annoying, though if I had one of the Speedo boys as a partner I might think otherwise.)
There was an incident when an obviously intoxicated dude on one of the floats began throwing ice water into the crowd, getting royally cussed by the bystanders. My mother’s comment: “He’s just lucky he didn’t get me… I wouldn’t have shot him but I’d have damned sure made him run for cover…”
With what? You don’t have… Mama, are you packing heat?
Innocent pause. “Just my little derringer.”
I really don’t think it was
“Well you said MARTA didn’t have metal detectors and this IS downtown Atlanta, and if they don’t have metal detectors for good guys then they don’t for bad guys either so I’m just protecting myself under the Second Amendment.”
The parade was almost over by now and it was 10 minutes until curtain time*, so my mother made a great quote in which she didn’t see the humor but I thought it was the perfect capstone: “Well, I’m tired of looking at gay people. Let’s go into the theater and watch the musical.”***
All in all, it could have gone a lot worse. Afterwards, we ate at Picadilly Cafeteria, for if you’re over 65 and it’s a Sunday, it’s the law.
*(Metaphorical explanation: Rats love them some honey. Hear what I say? I say rats be loving them some honey. But them old bees, baby, they ain’t be feelin’ much about rats, or sharing, or particularly sharing with no damn rats.
Periodically a rat will say to hisself “Aw fuk it- honey just tastes too damn good- I gotta get me some a that” and he’ll break into a beehive to steal some. Once in a while he’ll get out and he’ll be all high on the honey and the other rats be sayin’ ‘Hey, that the mofo got the honey’ and his little rat women be giving him some and next thing you know he has 4 million little descendants roaming the Earth from the labs of Mary Kay to the rectums of Middle Eastern political prisoners, but more often the rat doesn’t make it out. Most worker bees being predominantly Shi’ite, they’ll make suicidal surgical stings on the little bubonic express rider until several bees and one rat are lying there dead.
Now a bee hate hisself (or, more likely, herself) a mess, but see, a bee cain’t be liffin up no dead ass rat. So what they gone do?
Well suh, heah it is: they coat the rat with wax. Takes a while, but worth the effort. They just keep dropping that wax until Ol’ Brer Ratcorpse is worthy of Madame Bee-Saude’s Mu-bee-um. The rat is still in the hive- don’t ever think he ain’t- and he’s still 40 times bigger than you are, but he’s essentially that big pile of wax between the futon and the entertainment center, a dead rodent you can live with.)
**My sister took it a bit better than I was expecting, considering that she once blamed a hurricane on a gay pride parade. This was when Opal wiped out a lot of the Florida panhandle; “Well you know why? It’s hardly any wonder. They had a big Queer Circus going on in Pensacola just a few weeks ago. This is God’s way of sayin’ that ‘If you sissies wanna see a Blow Job, I’ll give you one…. WWHOOOOOSH!” I pointed out the oddity that God would punish a gay pride parade by wiping out another city several weeks later, but received a conversational equivalent of a dial tone- Kathi’s attention span is roughly equivalent to that of a goldfish with early stages of Alzheimers.
***The play has changed quite a bit since the last time I saw it, incidentally. The special effects have been pared down and there are fewer sets. You’ll remember that the original attempted to out Lloyd Webber Lord Lloyd Webber by having a helicopter land on stage during the Fall of Saigon flashback along with other effects. Now, the helicopter is a much cheaper though still effective CGI while the 18 foot statue of Ho Chi Minh that is drawn through the streets of Saigon during the Morning of the Dragon number is replaced with a complex puppet show. The only real loss is from the Engineer’s feverish fantasy sequence “My American Dream” , which used to climax with him humping a Cadillac that descended from heaven , now ends much more tamely to a filmed montage of Americana and capitalist symbols. However, Jon-Jon Briones (who plays the Engineer), a Filipino Sammy Davis Jr. clone (complete with the flat greasy head), is the best I’ve ever seen in the role.
« That's plenty, thanks!
From Redneckin comes this charming tale of government research:
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is developing an urban surveillance system that would use computers and thousands of cameras to track, record and analyze the movement of every vehicle in a foreign city.Let's see, we gave Ashcroft expanded powers to fight the war on terror, and he's admitted to using them for non-terrorism investigations...somehow, my faith in our government not to abuse any new technology is very weak.
Dubbed "Combat Zones That See," the project is designed to help the U.S. military protect troops and fight in cities overseas.
Police, scientists and privacy experts say the unclassified technology could easily be adapted to spy on Americans.
Why is Andy so happy today?
When it comes to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, even a broken clock is right two times a day.