Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nothing to Protect Me From Robots

Last week, I, like many of my blogroll members, got rid of captcha because it got too goddamn annoying. Why the hell would any administrator arrange it so the real word was clearly legible while the nonsense word, the word that is harder to suss out, is a horrid blur? Uh, I may have answered my own question. Well, since then, I've been getting a slow but steady trickle of spam. Most of it I delete out of hand, but these two had a weird poetry to them- I've bolded the parts I found funniest:

Bed linen lawyers representing the US Army analyst accused of leaking superintendence secrets procure asked the investigating policeman. The beseech came as Foot-soldier Bradley Manning, 23, appeared at a military court during the main time. He faces 22 charges of obtaining and distributing direction secrets - which he allegedly leaked to anti-secrecy locate Wikileaks. The Article 32 hearing ordain adjudge whether Pte Manning is to wood trial. The hearing offers the oldest inadvertent an eye to his screen get to on the today their turns entirely that since he was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 and placed in military custody. It is bewitching role down the pilot of impervious security at an army disgraceful at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Spam News Service, who knew?

I've replaced the name of the coffee advertised here with Folger's crystals so as not to have the spammer score a victory:

(Advertised Coffee) will be the commonest and riotous road to have a good mug of coffee. All you have to complete is play the pod and begin the manages . Then you'll have your cup in under 3 minutes. No mess, no fuss. What you regard to be the (Advertised Coffee) are not the same for the subsequent person. In other words, Some Consumers are on a tight budget and need to buy the brassy coffee. On the other hand, Some peoples can not let their brand go and will do whatever it takes to get their hands thereon but they still want a deal . Do you e'er ask yourself (REDACTED) where to buy (Advertised Coffee)? If you do then you shouldnt simply sit by idly, you will need to look for roughly until you find the absolute right place to buy (Advertised Coffee)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Novel Concept!

I am truly amazed, the new NPR guidelines include a dedication to presenting the truth:

In all our stories, especially matters of controversy, we strive to consider the strongest arguments we can find on all sides, seeking to deliver both nuance and clarity. Our goal is not to please those whom we report on or to produce stories that create the appearance of balance, but to seek the truth.

As we all know, reality has a well-known liberal bias. Yeah, getting a balanced view is pretty stupid when one side has all the evidence and the other side makes shit up. Hopefully we'll hear no more crap like:

"Tonight, we'll present diverse viewpoints, ranging from that of the Cato Institute to that of the Heritage Foundation"

Hopefully, there will come a new day, when people get called out for their bullshit. I'm not holding my breath, though... both sides do it and IOKIYAR probably won't be going away anytime soon, but at least NPR seems to be throwing off those Conservative shackles.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Could This Possibly be Peak Wingnut?

So, the land-locked state of Wyoming had considered obtaining an aircraft carrier in case the U.S. suddenly turned into something out of a "Mad Max" movie.

Humungous-R Wyoming:

This, gentle reader, should put the final nail in the coffin of the long-disproven assertion that the GOP is the party of "fiscal responsibility". The Wyoming Republicans are a bunch of rather stupid grammar school kids fantasizing about being the stars of an incredibly cheesy action movie. Could this possibly be the, heretofore considered legendary peak wingnut? I mean, what the hell could they do to top this? Could Wyoming Republicans decide to nuke the Devil's Tower because it's Satan's (now, let's not confuse "Satan Santorum" with Sanctum Sanctorum toehold on 'Murka? It's hard for me to believe that the right-wingers will top this one, but I am not reassured by the famous quote attributed to Einstein:

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

Damn, if there's no "peak wingnut", why can't we find a way to power our cars with "wingnut"?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Too Bad He Can't Buy Friends

Gotta feel sorry for Mitt Romney, who, even with all his millions, can't buy friends. He's got nice hair, he's a pretty good simulacrum of a generically handsome boring upper class twit, but he's utterly devoid of charisma. If the day came when he felt a natural emotion, he'd get such a shock he'd probably jump in the ocean. The funny thing about Romney the Faux Man is that he's such a priggish, emotionless stiff that his ill-advised attempts at folksiness crash to earth like a lead zeppelin (and not the good kind). All of his efforts to avoid seeming aloof and contemptous merely serve to make him seem clueless and moronic. Shit, the guy can't even suck up to a crowd correctly. Here he is, blathering the sort of platitudes that he could have picked up from briefly scanning a guidebook:

I'm reminded of a conversation, in which a girl I marginally knew found out that a guy was from St. Louis, and she immediately piped up, "St. Louis? Great barbecue!" For some reason, it sounded like such a canned response that my college roommate was doubled up with laughter. If the guy had been from New Orleans, she would've said, "Love those crawdads!" Mitt would probably have thought that a bon mot, and filed it away for future use. At least Mitt's catalogue of likes has improved in the past few months:

Romney's stupid speech reminded some wags of a movie that I've never seen (Will Ferrell kinda creeps me out):

Me? I was reminded of one of the worst songs ever written, a parody of an even worse song:

At least Mitt likes things... his primary opponent (WARNING: It's that link) hates things... hell, he even hates the Dutch:

Funny, the Netherlands must have changed a hell of a lot since last I've been there... could it be that the little cafe by the harbor is now Death Panel Central?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Post Lecture Recap

Wednesday night, I headed to the beautiful Bell House in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn for the monthly Secret Science Club lecture by NYU Neuroscientist David Carmel. Dr Carmel's field is the role of the brain in visual perception, and his lecture was accompanied by many displays illustrating the topics he addressed. Before the lecture, attendees were supplied with small slips of paper displaying the classic blind spot demonstration, and "glasses" with a red and a green gel, much like classic 3-D glasses (not to be confused with X-Ray Spex).

Humans tend to recognize patterns, and often impose aninterpretation on objects which isn't supported by further observation.

The "blind spot" phenomenon was explained- the optic nerve connects to the retina in a region that lacks the cells that "receive" incoming light. The blind spot test allows one to "locate" one's blind spot, but an unusual thing occurs- the brain "fills in" the missing details, in the test, one perceives a blank white space in the white background, if one were to draw a line on the paper through the two test images, one would perceive a continuation of the line where the "missing" image should be.

After a brief discussion of "metacognition", basically one's abilitity to know what one knows, and the ability of one to recall images briefly flashed on a screen, Dr Carmel presented a bunch of bistable images, which are basically unchanging stimuli which can be perceived in various ways. A classic bistable image is the Necker Cube. Dr Carmel also displayed the ambiguous duck/rabbit (sounds like an ingredient in a McGravitasian recipe), the vase/face image and the young woman/old crone image. Notably, one cannot perceive both images simultaneously.

The most mind-blowing part of the lecture was a demonstration of the selective attention test, which must be seen to be believed. Sadly, I fall within the 50% or so percent of the population which gets blindsided by the test. It's truly humbling. The sequel is not quite so bad.

Dr Carmel then went on to demonstrate binocular rivalry, instructing the audience to use the two-toned "glasses" to "separate" the two images in this composite- as one looked at the image with glasses, one would alternate between seeing the face and the building. I am ashamed to admit that I asked a n00b question, about the ability of color blind persons to perceive the two images, forgetting that they would experience the binocular rivalry, with the two images appearing gray. I sure hope a colour vision specialist doesn't read this, because I really didn't drink enough Ommegang to justify the lapse.

Dr Carmel went on to discuss the portions of the brain involved in perception, focusing on the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation to monitor brain activity. Here's a nice, brief overview of TMS... Dr Carmel showed a video of himself receiving TMS, and having one of his hands moving without his volition (a waggish bastard in the audience asked him if TMS had been weaponized for use in crowd suppression... not yet, at any rate). While the primary visual cortex is located at the rear of the brain, there are other portions of the brain which are involved in perception. Dr Carmel studied the role of the right parietal lobe in perception of and found that TMS affected the duration of "dominance" in binocular rivalry. At the same time, one of his colleagues found that TMS decreased the duration of "dominance". They were able to reconcile these seemingly contradictory findings by ascertaining that they had been stimulating slightly different regions of the parietal lobe. One portion of the parietal lobe plays a role in maintaining an interpretation of visual stimuli, while another plays a role in changing our perception of something based on changes in the perceived stimuli.

The lecture ended with a summation- we perceive the world with our brains. Perception is a balancing act- we make choices as to how we interpret the visual stimuli we receive. All told, it was yet another brilliant lecture, and the accompanying video presentations really knocked it out of the park- I'm still a little freaked out about the selective attention test.

Sorry about the delay, folks, but I had to chase down links to a lot of the images which were featured in the lecture (and ya know, I almost forgot one of the best examples of bistable imagery.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Man of Mystery?

Wow, who'd a thunk that a simple messed-up "href" tag would launch all sorts of speculation regarding my whereabouts? Hmmm... could he be a secret agent, infiltrating the lair of an arch criminal?

Could he have been out shaking his ass?

Was he driving around in a van, solving mysteries with a bunch of counterculture teens and a Great Dane?

Well, at least I wasn't carried off by Death in the middle of my endeavor,like this guy:

I never thought I'd be so mysterious! To some extent, I am a creature of habit. Hmmmm... what regular habit could I have been indulging in, maybe something I haven't covered so far this month?

All will be made clear tomorrow, I promise! I don't have time to do a proper post today, but I promise that I'll do a writeup in tomorr

Uh, just kidding, folks!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Getting His Ash Handed to Him?

This is going to be a bad week for Mitt Romney, I can feel it... First of all, Billy Graham's even more awful son hinted that Mitt Romney is not a Christian. Then there is Mitt's decision to agree to a debate held on Ash Wednesday evening. Damn, Mitt, there's a serious bonehead move- just think of the optics... we'll have ashless Mormon Mitt flanked by two Roman Catholic Pharisees sporting crosses on their foreheads (on Sunday, I asked readers to predict which of them would be sporting a bigger cross).

This sort of thing should have occurred to Mitt's team as they were coordinating the campaign. In an primary election in which turnout is extremely low, fighting for political survival against a "more holy than the Pope" candidate, this lack of an outward sign of piety is probably going to hurt Mittens, especially in the wake of his Arizona campaign chair resigning because of his big gay scandal.

For the record, I composed this post on Tuesday night, as I will be

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Top Conservatives on Grindr

A while back, conservatives made a big deal about Twitter, even trumpeting the existence of the top conservatives on Twitter. Twitter is the perfect vehicle for conservative communication, the paucity of characters is perfect for blurting out the shallow bullet points that can be repeated ad nauseam. Yeah, Twitter is a particularly good "social media" outlet for conservatives, but there is another "social media" tool which is even more useful for Republicans. Yeah, you got it, time machines Grindr, as seen in this video:

Hell, just this past week we've seen a Texas based conservative radio host hanging out at a gay bar, and probably hitting some poor guy's car and fleeing, and a conservative sheriff and GOP congressional candidate threatening his undocumented alien male sex partner with deportation. Yeah, it's looking like G.O.P. is standing for Gomorrah's Own Party these days. Going by the axiom that, when one points one's finger at another, there are three fingers pointing back at oneself, I am awaiting revelations that Rick Santorum (note to Laura, it's that link, so you've been warned) regularly has buttsex orgies with entire biker gangs.

I think the Sheriff Babeu case is especially schadenfreude-enducing... it's now impossible for me to watch John McCain's ad in which Crankypants says, "Complete the danged fence" without supplying a follow-up line for Sheriff Babeu, "Make sure it features glory holes!"

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Contraception Controversy

I am going to preface this post by saying that I was raised in the traditions of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, so anyone who asserts that I am attacking Roman Catholics can kiss my royal Irish arse. To paraphrase the greatest Catholic lay theologian of the 20th Century, "You don't write a post like this because you hate the Catholic faithful, you write a post like this because you love them and you're fed up of seeing them mistreated." For much of my life, I was a typically devout Roman Catholic, then I made to transition to Shane MacGowan Catholicism. For the record, I now consider myself, for lack of a better term, an apatheist- the cognitive dissonance required to remain in the fold just got to be too much in the wake of the pedophilia scandal, and the election of the current Pope, who presided over much of the cover-up. Having a dualistic deity which is omniscient, omnipotent, and merciful just doesn't square with the typical portrayal of said deity to be a tyrannical father or ultra-jealous husband. For the record, the last time my bulky frame darkened the doorway at St. Barnabas' was the time that Senator John McCain(!) spoke at a pro-immigration reform rally (!!)... yeah, that really happened, folks. Alright, I think I established my sine fide bona fides, so without further preamble, here's my take on the contraception controversy...

The Roman Catholic Church's current stance on artificial contraception was encoded in the 1968 Papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, which reinforced the Church's position on contraception stated in the 1930 encyclical Casti Connubii. Even in the context of marriage, artificial birth control is to be avoided, according to this encyclical.

Even though the Church hierarchy was dead set against contraception, there was a little bit of wiggle room... I was taught in Catholic school that (and I quote, because I vividly remember this bit) "A well-informed conscience is the highest moral authority." As liberal theologian Fr. Richard McBrien (quoted in this article, which is required reading for all pro-contraception Catholics), put it:

If, after appropriate study, reflection and prayer, a person is convinced that his or her conscience is correct, in spite of a conflict with the moral teachings of the church, they not only may but must follow the dictates of their conscience rather than the teachings of the church.

Most lay Catholics seem to have tacitly adhered to this "out", most Catholics support the funding of birth control coverage. The majority of Catholics consider their sexuality and their religion to be nonoverlapping magisteria.

Traditionally, the Roman Catholic Church has embraced syncretism- Catholic theology is rooted in Aristotle's philosophy as much as it is in Biblical morality, the Communion of Saints includes many thinly-veiled pagan figures. More recently, the Church has embraced disparate worldviews, accommodating such disparate figures as ultra-right-winger Father Charles Coughlin and unabashed leftist Dorothy Day. There were enough lefty Catholics, even among the clergy, that even nice Jewish pop singers paid tribute to them. A Catholicism that could embrace such a multiplicity of views could be an umbrella for a congregation with differing views on contraception.

For the past four decades, though, the Church has taken a lurch to the right... as much as it pains me to say it, this Church-Lurch took place under this guy, who is still viewed with affection by the vast majority of Roman Catholics, because of his heroic backstory hiding from the Nazis, hanging out with poets, writing plays- hell, he was even a handsome guy, as far as popes go (confession time, for a year and a half, I went out with a woman who could have passed for his granddaughter- just picture this guy as a pretty 25 year old, with long brown hair and a spectacular rack, and that same good-natured Krakow moon-face... but I digress). Even as he was portrayed as fighting Communism in Eastern Europe, he was a dyed-in-the-wool authoritarian who resisted reform and presided over a Vatican hostile to leftist movements within the Church. Yeah, in my lifetime, the catholic church became sharply less encompassing, until the U.S. Catholic hierarchy looks like a branch of the conservative wing of the Republican Party.

The current Catholic hierarchy is composed of priggish men who seem like they'd be more at home in Calvin's Geneva than Fellini's Rome. They seem to have forgotten the earthier side of Roman Catholic culture, they are all Lent, no Carnival. The Anglo-Catholic writer Hillaire Belloc wrote:

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!

This is the Catholicism of the typical Catholic layperson, the Catholicism that's not about holding an aspirin between one's knees, but is all about carrying a giant wang down the street. The average Catholic strikes a balance between Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday (any bets as to whether Newt or Rick will be sporting the larger cross of ashes on his forehead this Wednesday?), between the sacred and the profane. Even though the Church has taken an almost Calvinistic approach to matters of sexual morality, loyalty to tradition keeps most Catholics, even though they diverge from Church teachings to a great extent, in the fold. For many Catholics, Catholicism has been a badge of honor in the face of oppression- as an old Irish poem dating back to a time when the English passed laws against the practice of the Catholic faith, translated from Gaelic by Brendan Behan, put it:

Never mind the English clergy
Their philosophy, religion or faith
For the foundation stone of their Temple
Was the bollocks of Henry the 8th.

Even the lapsed Catholics tended to find a stubborn pride in the faith- hell, even America's most infamous homosexual considers himself a "cultural Catholic".

The issue now, with the president's plan to have insurance companies pay for contraception coverage for employees of Catholic institutions, has been couched by right-wingers as a religious freedom issue. They tend to gloss over the first clause of the First Amendment, though:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

No establishment of religion... the amendment is not to protect the clergy's right to impose religious policies on any individual, it is to protect individuals from such clerical ordinances. As many, including myself, see it, since Catholic organizations receive funding from the government, they have ceded the right to impose restrictions on their employees. The religious freedom argument goes out the window when a lawyer for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says that even secular businesses owned by lay Catholics should be able to deny contraception coverage:

He cited the problem that would create for "good Catholic business people who can’t in good conscience cooperate with this... If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I’d be covered by the mandate"

Go ahead, make the case that a person's boss should have even more power over one's life- that's a winning argument in today's social climate!

Now, to close this already long-winded post, I'm presenting a suggestion to Catholics who support the President's plan to make insurance companies provide no-cost contraceptive care to employees of institutions affiliated with religious groups. Ash Wednesday is the one day of the year when the Catholic laity is most visible (we always joked about A&P Catholics, who typically only showed up in church on Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday... bonus trivia: the ashes are burnt palms from the preceding year). Oddly enough, Ash Wednesday, that most Catholic of days, is not a holy day of obligation. You read that right, blowing off church on Ash Wednesday is not a sin at all, and by the way, by practicing contraception, you are guilty of the sin of ovarice (by all means, spread this neologism, but please credit the Bastard). Yeah, show the bishops that you are the loyal opposition... if you really want to freak them out, show up on the cathedral steps with the the Venus symbol on your forehead instead of a cross.

If you're reading this, please, please, please pass the word along- show your opposition to the hierarchy by forgoing Ash Wednesday. If your parish priest asks you why you weren't at church receiving ashes, be up front about it. It's time that the bishops learned how the bulk of the laity live their lives, time for them to acknowledge that the average Catholic has to live in the here and now, and that mundane concerns often trump celestial ones.

Ultimately, liberal reforms would be good for the Church, as even solidly Catholic societies are pushing back against an uncaring Vatican. As penultimate note, blast this song at full volume, Leslie Dowdall gorgeously sums up the gist of this post in under six glorious minutes.

Finally, part of me thinks that my sainted grandmother must be spinning in her grave, but the more sensible portion of my mind is convinced that she'd have my back one-hundred percent.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Got Rid of Captcha

It got to be too much of a pain in the ass... the word verification used to be legible, even though posting involved a modicum of effort. Recently, though, the goddamn captcha became illegible and confusing (is it case sensitive? What about that half-assed punctuation?). I love your comments, hell, I even love anonymous "well-after-the-fact" comments! Just this week, I found a comment from an anonymous reader which taught me what a nyckelharpa is! GIVE ME YOUR COMMENTS!!!

There's a downside, I had to delete three spam comments, but that's a small price to pay to make commenting easier for my dear, dear readers. Captcha says, "Please prove you're not a robot", but I say, "Fuck that! Bring on the robots, especially if they're sexy."

Yeah, I know I link to that video a lot, but it never gets old. Until this week, I wasn't aware that there was a performance video of the group, with the added bonus of some theremin noodling:

When I was a kid, the robots weren't nearly as sexy:

For the record, I prefer the later version of The Robots from "The Mix" compilation.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mean Liberals Fire America's Racist Uncle

Some days, it's hard to get paid big bux to spout racist twaddle on a supposedly liberal cable news network. This is one of those days... MSNBC fired America's Racist Uncle, Pat BukkakeBuchanan. Of course, those liberal meanies are now crowing about the demise of this loveable curmudgeon racist, anti-semitic troll. Now, MSNBC viewers will be deprived of such trenchant Buchanan assertions, such as castigating the dirty Messicans for not embracing the culture of people who hate them, or blaming those selfish Poles for forcing Hitler to start World War 2.

Poor Racist Uncle Pat is being deprived of his First Amendment rights to appear on a major cable television network. Could it be that Pat will have to resort to sending out hundreds of thousands of e-mails to get his point across to the public. Not a chance! I hear Stormfront's hiring.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

No Girls Allowed!

Holy crap, the Republican Party really has become the He-Man Woman Haters' Club in the wake of the President Obama's plan to force insurance companies to pay for contraceptive coverage for all women, regardless of employer. Can they show any more contempt for women than to assemble an all-male panel of witnesses? Shit, they're not even trying to hide their misogyny behind a smug, "concern-troll" facade. Ladies, these are the mullahs of America (Amullahca?), sitting in judgment of your ovaries.

This is about imposing Bronze Age morality on American women. They may be whining that the issue is religious freedom, but they'd be the first to scream "Sharia law!!!" if their Muslim counterparts were trying to force employees to conform to their religious practices. If you try to kid yourself that it's really about religious freedom, you're just not listening.

I can't see this anti-contraception crusade turning out well for either the GOP or their subsidiary, the Conference of American Bishops. Could any woman really support either organization? Well, besides the well-paid flacks and the barking insane ideologues, that is...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Canadian Flag Day!

The little wall calendar in the office tells me that today is Canadian Flag Day. I am going to take a moment to thank all of my Canadian blogroll members for being so awesome, whether they are troll-slapping snarkmeisters, smokin' hot apron models, mother-lovin' motherlovers, earthbound demigods with enticingly large foreheads, or nerdlicious residents of Whitebreadville. Thank you, Canadians! Thank you for the gracious good sense that leads backpackers from the U.S. to sport your flag on their Eastpaks. Thank you for your delicious, carbohydrate-laden gutbombs... so good when you're drunk as a skunk. Thank you for your warmth and good humor. Here's to you, my dear Canuckistani friends! I will celebrate your flag day by drinking a Bloody Caesar and blasting your national anthem, which I'm pretty sure is Aldo Nova's Fantasy:

Stay awesome, northern neighbors!

UPDATE: Fixed a link, even though I think jim looks hot in an apron.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Kisses

This Valentine's Day, I hope that everybody who is looking for a kiss finds one:

Gotta love the New York Dolls... when I was a nerdy grammar school kid who read the newspaper every day (yeah, I did), I read about the Sex Pistols and somehow got the notion that they wore women's clothing on stage. Silly me, I had them conflated with the Dolls. Yeah, I was a punk rock n00b in the second grade.

If you find your kiss, make sure that it's not one of those deadly kisses that one seems to hear about every now and then. Last week, in one of the comments, the wily Wiley wrote:

That girl's band reminded me of Cher on "the Sonny and Cher" show introducing an all girl band with the caveat that they weren't very "feminine" as if Cher weren't a professional vamp. I thought at the time that the network forced her into it, because she didn't seem very sincere when she said it. I was 14 at the time, so it was '75 and I'm thinking it might have been very early Joan Jett. Or not. I dunno. But I really liked them and loved it that they were rough and tumble--- like me--- a ridiculously heterosexual tomboy.

I believe that the band in question was The Runaways, who featured Lita Ford on guitar. Of course, Lita Ford had something to say about those deadly kisses later on in her career:

I have to confess that I find the song dated and more than a bit cheesy. I remember my freshman college roommate and I laughing our asses off at the opening line, "Went to a party last Saturday night, didn't get laid, got in a fight." Damn, Lita, you'd been a rockstar since you were in your teens, could you not have tried a little harder?

As far as songs titled "Kiss Me Deadly" go, I have to rate for Generation X's song by that name (warning, video contains footage of Billy Idol... I kid! I kid!):

Of course, both songs share the title of perhaps the greatest film noir ever produced. Kiss Me Deadly took a run-of-the-mill Mickey Spillane potboiler about stolen narcotics and turned it into a post-Hiroshima horror story about a deadly "whatsit" being chased down by various law enforcement officials and an international criminal organization.

Inspired by Smut's posting of a picture of a statute of Perseus slaying Medusa, I went searching for a clip from Kiss Me Deadly, in which the villain describes the "whatsit" at the center of the film as "the head of the Medusa", and found the entire movie posted. Yeah, I know the SOPA and PIPA people will freak, but I'm posting the movie, because it must be seen. As a little background reading, you may wish to check out Wiley's take on nuclear fears- as an Air Force veteran, she's extraordinarily wise about these issues.

Damn, what dialogue! I still get goosebumps hearing the villain's speech at 1:16:

What is it we are seeking? Diamonds, rubies, gold? Perhaps narcotics? How civilized this earth used to be. But as the world becomes more primitive, its treasures become more fabulous.

Why is it that the villains always seem to end up with the best lines?

The actor who played the villain, Albert Dekker seems to have died of sexual misadventure, which brings us back to the topic of Valentine's Day. If you are going to get kinky this V. Day, take all possible precautions to be safe- leave the deadliness to posted videos.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fabulous Job, Jersey!

New Jersey decided to join the 21st Century today, although Baron Harkonnen in Trenton threatens to veto the bill, thereby putting the "big" in bigotry.

If Chris Christie goes ahead and vetoes the marriage equality act, then I say all bets are off, we should send a Takei/Tengrain tagteam (note to readers... no Takei/Tengrain slashfic, now!) to snark Christie's ass back to the goddamn Stone Age, from which he derives his bigoted "morality".

Congratulations, New Jerseyites! You did the right thing.

CORRECTION: The New Jersey senate passed the marriage equality bill- as of the writing, the bill had yet to go through the assembly. It's not awaiting Chris Christie's veto pen yet. Sorry about the screw-up... pay no attention to the man behind the cretin.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Houston, She Had a Problem

I have to confess that I really didn't listen to a lot of Whitney Houston's music... I had nothing against her, but my musical tastes didn't run toward conventional pop songs. Still, it's a shame that she died at the age of 48... I still remember co-workers discussing rumors of her death in 2001. Ms. Houston is another one of those cautionary tales- the talented singer who succumbed to drug addiction. She also had a problem with the men in her life, it seems that she attracted all sorts of scumbags.

Rather than focusing on the sordid later years, I'd rather remember Ms. Houston's early career, when she was young, had a promising future ahead of her, and she wasn't the person onstage with a substance abuse problem.

Once in a while, there's a youtube comment that is worth reading... I present:

stargate121 (2 hours ago)

RIP to a gorgeous, talented performer. I miss you, Serge.

Adieu, Mademoiselle Houston, adieu!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What Is the Sound of One Party Dying?

I have to admit that I've been pretty lackadaisical lately... still languishing with a cold-based malaise. To compound matters, I've been dicking around watching Italian Helping JenniferSpiderman in its entirety. Strange to say, I must have watched the "trailer" a half-dozen times, but never watched the rest because I foolishly thought that the trailer could not be topped (for the record, I thought the original "Terminator" was so damn good that I refuse to see the other movies in the series- I really should do a post on the movie in future). Holy crap, that is some funny, funny cheese, a brilliant send-up of a bizarro-world giallo by a bunch of Australian students. Check it out, pussycat, then make me a macchiato, PRONTO!

Needing another comedy fix, I decided to check out the results of the Maine Caucuses (in my not-so-together-today head, I am conflating Lewis Carroll's Caucus Race and Loster Quadrille), and was shocked (and highly amused) that fewer than 6,000 people participated! This pathetic showing comes right on the heels of other races in which turnout had dropped dramatically. It seems the Republican Party is involved in a suicide pact in which the plutocrats and the theocrats are egging each other on towards the cliff, while the general electorate is jumping out of the car careening toward political oblivion. Not too long ago, GOPeratives were talking about a permanent Republican majority, but with these numbers, it's looking more like the last days of dicko.

Of course, even though, as Thunder would say, the schaden freudes itself, this is no time to become complacent- voter suppression efforts continue apace and SuperPAC's are going to dump fucktons of cash into the presidential election. Yeah, even though it seems the beast is dying, it can still lash out in it's final throes, so we still have to be vigilant and prepared to work our asses off.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Just Not Inspired...

I feel like crap, and I don't have time to put up a substantive post, so I'm going to fall back on that "post a video" gambit... at the mothership, mention of Mr French was made, which led a certain bastard to post a video by Angel and the Reruns, who were supposedly America's best loved all female/all ex-con band (sigh, I never knew it was a put-on). Back in my big blond afro days, the band's tribute to the short life and sordid death of TV's Anissa Jones was actually played on the radi-adi-o:

And now, for something completely different those of you who want some of that sexy "Mr French" magic, here's the man himself:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mitt's Hopes Washing Away in Wave of Santorum

It seems I'm not the only one posting on the unstoppable wave of Santorum that has washed over the heartland...

While Santorum picked up no delegates in yesterday's race, his trifecta means that any momentum Romney may have had is kaput. Romney's numbers are, to put it mildly, embarassing.

The G.O.P. likes lube and shit
Better than a dude named "Mitt".

The real story, however, is the dramatic drop in the number of primary voters. Maybe it's the bruising primary campaign, maybe it's the craptastic roster of candidates. At any rate, the schadenfreude I experience while watching this ugly contest between ugly candidates is a most delicious feeling.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Seems to Happen This Time Every Year

Just like the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, some things occur every year at about the same time. For me, I usually get a really nasty cold every February that makes me feel like crap for a week or two. Not being the sort of person who takes antibiotics at the drop of a nose (uh, people, colds are viral infections, so antibiotics don't do squat to help), I resign myself to feeling like crap for a week or two and cope with drinking plenty of hot toddies and, uncharacteristically, bundling up in a half-dozen layers of clothing. If my nose gets really congested, I blast my sinuses with a neti pot (I imagine somebody out there is aroused by that video). The neti pot, while pretty off-putting, does the job- it really flushes the garbage out of your head.

Thankfully, I live in the Northern U.S., so I don't have to worry about brain-eating amoebae infesting my neti pot. That's one less thing we have to worry about. If you're concerned about the presence of brain eating amoebae in your water supply, this map will show you where the brain bashers live- their range is indicated by the red color.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Go Ahead, Make My Car!

Although I did not watch the Super Bowl last night, I did watch Clint Eastwood's Chrysler ad on the portable binary numbers mill. Well, the ad had at least one right-wing cobag (and the cobaggiest cobag of all) whining like a bratty kindergartner. I imagine the right-wing blogosphere is awash in butthurt and garment rending. I think the real cause for these bad fee fees is that conservatives tend to be drawn to the sort of movies that Eastwood has starred in and directed and they consider the reliably Republican Eastwood to be one of the fold. Hell, even his best known tough-guy line was co-opted by conservatives' tutelary demigod.

That's some betrayal, so Eastwood must be excommunicated from the Conservative Movement, the members of which have never been fans of his movies.

I want to suggest, just like President Obama is a Manchurian candidate, a Kenyan born Muslim elevated by a conspiracy so prescient and far reaching that it faked his birth announcement in Hawaiian newspapers in 1961 just so he could become President in the 21st Century in order to destroy America, I have come to the belief that Clint Eastwood has always been a Manchurian candidate to destroy Movement Conservatism. Born during the Great Depression, CLINTON Eastwood would have been bombarded with pro-New Deal, pro-FDR propaganda throughout his youth. He would go on to co-opt the image of the heroic American gunslinger and frontiersman in order to lull Middle Americans into a false sense of comfort. In the 1960's, Eastwood traveled to Italy to work with a socialist turned anarchist, collaborating on a series of films which subverted American and capitalist (although I am being redundant here) ideals. After his return from his Italian socialist indoctrination, he would go on the star in a series of films in which he seems to embody the perfect right-wing law and order stereotype (although everyone knows that conservatives are all about the "rule of law for thee, not me"). Even as the character of Dirty Harry seemed to embody an almost cartoonish "tough on crime, tougher on criminals" archetype, such left-wing themes as a denunciation of "shoot first, don't bother asking questions later" vigilantism crept into the series. Eastwood even went so far as to satirize the school lunch policy of the sainted Reagan:

Another of Eastwood's acclaimed films, portrayed honest mining industry moguls as heartless land-grabbers and murderers. Commie Eastwood took the side of the squatters, rather than the Randian supermen and job creators.

Eastwood's always been a pinko socialist infiltrator, aping the ways of true Americans. It's just now, when the mask has slipped, and he has backed the Kenyan Usurper's Big Government car bailout, that the true, red-blooded Conservative can see the truth... that he has never been a Clint Eastwood fan.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Can't Be Arsed Watching Spectacles

So, there seems to be some sort of sporting event taking place tonight... I decided to cover for a co-worker so he could watch the game with his children. I just can't be arsed watching the overblown spectacle, and the ubiquitous commercials. I used to enjoy going to a local tavern to watch the game... most places had open bar deals and it's a great night for chatting up teh ladeez (the funniest snappy comeback I've ever had was when I started hitting on a willowy gal who told me, "Most guys hit on my friend, because she's bustier than I am." to which I replied, "Do I look like a baby to you?" Editor's Note: Don't answer that question after looking at the profile picture of the big-headed hairless guy). For the last couple of years, I just couldn't be arsed participating in the whole spectacle... better to work than to blow a day's pay on booze and sundries.

My uncle Richard used to have some of the best season tickets in Giants' Stadium. Back in the '60s, my grandmother won four season tickets in the upper tier in a high school benefit raffle. She gave the tickets to my uncle Richard, and he was able to upgrade every year until he finally had tickets in the third row behind the Giants' bench on the 40th yardline. Here he was, an ordinary middle class guy from the Bronx, with the best damn seats in the house. Every home day, he'd get to the stadium early, and put on an elaborate tailgate party. He'd often give tickets to co-workers or relatives- he allowed himself the luxury of buying the season tickets every year, and he never stinted when it came to extending his hospitality.

Back in 2008, when the new Giants' Stadium was opened, the organization decided to charge Seat License Fees. My uncle would have had to have shelled out $80,000 for the privilege of purchasing season tickets. Suddenly, the one luxury that a middle-class guy from the Bronx could indulge in became unaffordable. No circuses if you've got no bread, Joe Punchclock.

Of course, my uncle had to give up the tickets that he'd had since the Johnson administration. He'd been less enthusiastic about heading out the games anyway, not being as young as he used to be. The last time I attended a game with him, I found it none-too-enjoyable... the sound system was way too loud, and goddamn commercials were broadcast on the scoreboard between plays. I left the stadium feeling insulted and wishing I'd brought earplugs.

I opted out of professional sports fandom. I'd rather watch the amateurs. Why buy into the hype and the high finance of the big leagues when I can see a camogie match in Van Cortlandt park, or the annual New York Open every March?

Thank You, Internet?

In a very moving recent post, the lovely, gracious, and talented vacuumslayer thanked the internet for exposing her to viewpoints with which she was not familiar. Yeah, the internet is a great place for learning about topics one had never really considered before, a wonderful mechanism for broadening one's horizons... that's good, really good. At any rate, I'm pretty sure it's good, even if it kinda freaks you out.

Brando put up a recent post about video game addiction (friends don't let friends catass!) which led me to do some googling of online games. In my search, I found **DRAMATIC PAUSE** Voregotten Realm, which would, from its description, seem to straddle the line between a multi-user game and, frankly, some rather outré porny content, specifically porny content with a vorephilia theme (check out the artwork of the dragon swallowing someone, which is probably not considered a bad outcome in this particular game). From the description of the game (which is apparently not available these days), characters in the game can choose to be humans or furries (but, alas, no sexy robots).

In a world in which people are getting off by pretending to be anthropomorphic raccoons being swallowed whole by monsters, plain old gayness seems to be quaint and old-fashioned. The Kinsey scale should be reconfigured to look more like a spirograph than a straight line. Still, in this age of multifarious sexual expression the bigots still fight to keep a sizable segment of our population in "second-class citizen" status. They know their time is nearly up, so their fight is a rear-guard action of particular viciousness and desparation.

For an unsensational depiction of the related macrophilia, this post is a good one. While I'm pretty goddamn vanilla on the kink scale (any seemingly masochistic tendencies on my part can be chalked up to "sport"), there are very few consensual kinks that freak me out (hey, as long as nobody gets hurt, everything's cool). Now, I can't end on a serious note, so... anybody got a macrophiliac/voraphiliac Chris Christie fetish?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Where Are My Eagles?

This week, I took my annual pilgrimage north to do a bit of eagle spotting but, due to time constraints, only went to Charles Point Park, just north of the Indian Point nuclear reactor. This being an uncommonly warm winter, there were no ice floes in the Hudson, and I did not see any eagles in the vicinity. Today is the day of the annual Hudson Eaglefest, at which I could pick up info about good eagle-watching locations this year... if I didn't have to go to Manhattan to teach small children how to fight (to make matters worse, one of my all-time favorite students just had her appendix removed, so she'll be out of the loop for a while). Like I said, I only had time to hit Charles Point Park, and was unable to brave the eldritch horrors of Croton Point Park. I'll probably take a trip there next week to see if I can spot any big boids.

Until then, I will echo the cry of the Emperor Augustus, "Where are my eagles?"

I'm sure Thunder could make a golf joke out of that...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Won't Celebrate Groundhog Day

This winter has been so mild that six more weeks of it would not be such a bad thing. That being said, I don't celebrate Groundhog Day, and never did. In the past, my most bitter rival was a Woodchuck-American, and celebrated Groundhog Day in a most raucous style. I would not have given him the satisfaction of celebrating a holiday that ennobled his culture.

As much as he annoyed me, I mourned his passing when he kicked the bucket. Even with our long feud ended, I just don't have it in my heart to celebrate Groundhog Day... I can still remember what my workplace smelled like while he was decomposing under the foundation.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Couple of Boobs

Just in case any threads at the mothership go off-topic, Canada's best dressed man and hat aficiando Spearhafoc brings the commentariat back to the topic at hand... hot, well-nourished redheads. Spearhafoc doesn't blog (or he'd be on my blogroll, which conforms to Canadian Content laws), but he does use Twitter, so if any of you tweeters want to send him a twat, or whatever you do, then by all means do so. Oh, and while you're at it, tell those goddamn little blue birds to GET OFFA MAH LAWN!!!

Anyway, as is typical, Spearhafoc brought a recent thread around to the proper topic, a smoking hot firetress with an endowment equal to that of a small northeastern university. Not being one to pass up the opportunity to take the mickey, I commented: I’m beginning to suspect that you were prematurely weaned! For the record, I take the problem of premature weaning very seriously, and annually participate in the Tits for Tots fundraiser to benefit the Prematurely Weaned.

Spear's reply to my "piss take" was I have a type. So sue me. I don't think I have any grounds on which to sue him, but I think he should be brought up on charges of crimes against huge mammaries.

Yeah, I know you're thinking, "What a pair of boobs!" On a serious note, the Susan G. Komen Foundation pulled grants for breast cancer screening from Planned Parenthood. Of course, Planned Parenthood tends to operate clinics in poor neighborhoods, and African American women are more likely than other women to die of breast cancer. The Komen Foundation's Senior Vice President for Public Policy is a teabagging failed politician... not the sort of person who'd give a tinker's damn about the mortality rate of poor black women.

I've donated to participants in the Komen Foundation's three-day walk, my mother (and the mothers of many of my friends) has successfully fought breast cancer. I support efforts to reduce the incidence and seriousness of breast cancer. What can I say? I love the b00bz. The Komen Foundation sure as hell isn't getting any more of my donations.

As Von Would Put It, Fridge Note

As Von periodically does, I'm going to put a note on the fridge. I'll be returning to my usual snark and satire after a week of earnestness. Before I resume the snark, though, I have to mention that Soul Train impresario Don Cornelius apparently took his own life this morning. My favorite Soul Train moment involved a somewhat nonplussed Don Cornelius interviewing members of YMO, the "number one dance band of Tokyo, Japan". What a moment- there's a sense of culture clash, albeit a benign one, and there's the reassurance that the groove transcends all boundaries. It's a pity that Don Cornelius' life took a turn for the worse, and that he ended it all.

We will resume our snark momentarily.