Saturday, February 28, 2009

Parents Upset Over Disabled Children's Show Host

The BBC has received numerous complaints from fearful parents over the hiring of new children’s show host, Cerrie Burnell. When I first heard a variation of my first sentence, I assumed she dressed too provocatively or otherwise had some obvious adult issue parents thought their children should not be exposed to at a young age. But actually, the issue is Burnell only has one and a half arms. Her right arm has not formed normally because of a birth defect.

As one who has very apparent disabilities and gets stared at constantly by children and adults alike, I can attest the parents are wrong on two levels. First, their children are not scared. They are curious. When parents cut off the television and refuse to let them explore their curiosity is when that curiosity turns into fear. After all, if mommy does not want you to even see the one armed woman, there must be really something bad about. Second, it is much better to talk about these things with kids so the disabled are not dehumanized.

People with disabilities are the last acceptable group there is to discriminate against, even by the most liberal of liberals. I have been sat down in recent years and been told been told I walk to slow and there are staircases, which I am perfectly capable of claiming, so I really need to stay out of the way. These are the same people who would never tell another person they were too fat too ugly, but if you are disabled? Heck, they are doing you a favor, you ignorant ingrate.

While i hate to beat a dead horse, I must mention the above anecdotes were actual encounters from Regent University from incredibly sheltered, judgmental nincompoops who had no clue how to mind their own business. it is a safe bet their equally sheltered parents spared their them from exposure to the "frightening" disabled person, so they never learned the proper way of behaving around them. It is not something that needs to be passed on to the next generation.
Paul Harvey Has Passed On

The legendary radio announcer passed away at the age of 90 in a Phoenix hospital. He was in the eighth year of a ten year contract, if that tells you how sharp and dedicated he still was in his golden years.

I used to listen to Paul Harvey on my ride home from school years ago. It was one of those experiences that I subsequently never deliberately sought out, but always stopped to listen to when I stumbled across him. Right on up through college, his radio segment reminded me of happy times as a child when things were a heck of a lot simpler. He was a throwback to simpler times which were probably mostly the imagination of idealists, but I would like to think not.

Now we know the rest of the story. Godspeed, Mr. Harvey.
Rihanna and Chris Brown Make Up

Is anyone really surprised, even after all that drama?
Christianity and Slavery

This week I had the opportunity to be reminded why I had such a teeth gritting experience in my stint at Regent University. I have been vocal in the past about two of them, namely too much self righteous judgment and a complete inability to mind their own business, both with the necessary of ignorance and arrogance to pull them both off effectively. But there is yet a third—they cannot defend their beliefs when confronted to save their souls, bless their black little hearts.

I really cannot elaborate much. I do not want to use names, this was an extended Facebook debate, and my opponent erased all evidence of the conversation from his wall once he had been backed into a corner with all the contradictions of his various responses laid out for all his friends to see. I still have it all saved as a Word document so I could keep all the scripture references and Hebrew and Greek term translations in one place, but I shall keep all those to myself.

The gist of the issue extended from a comment on the movie Pleasantville. if you have not seen the movie, you have not missed much. As much as I like Reese Witherspoon, it ranks down there with Sweet Home Alabama as one of her worst efforts. But the gist of the film is that the characters all live in a black and white, rigid world until they have some sort of experience which brings them out of it. Said experiences ranged from reading a book to realizing true love for a spouse to sex.

Understand something about Regent. Virtually every one of the more fundamentalist of my fellow students had two axes to grind. They thought “The Battle Hymn of the republic” should not belong in hymnals because it was written by a Unitarian and everybody hated Pleasantville. I never cared to argue the former. Religions are mutually exclusive, so it is pointless to argue who is going to hell with a true believer. The answer is always going to be, “Whoever disagrees with me.” But for the latter, I have to assume the answer has to be worth a laugh.

It turns out that personal growth is a humanist philosophy and therefore bad. I can shrug that off. If you have not been around Christians who have been sheltered most of their lives, understand this; they view life as a war, where there are dark, sinister forces constantly out to get them. Inserting pagan messages in bad Reese Witherspoon movies is just the tip of their devilish (I use the term deliberately.) plot. It is also a symptom of paranoid schizophrenia, but it is a more benign than that in sheltered Christians. It is more a way of asserting themselves as part of a likeminded group.

With that in mind, arguing the point self-discovery as presented in Pleasantville is largely personal growth is pointless as you will just be accused of causing dissention among the group. Suddenly you become part of the conspiracy and must eventually be removed if you do not stop, you pesky undercover agent of Satan you. So I can let that go. Like I said above, it is good for a laugh and not much else.

But there was an added twist I had not heard before. While the enlightened characters are colorized in Pleasantville, the unenlightened remain in black and white. Eventually, the B & W characters put out “No Colreds” signs in stores and such to ostracize the enlightened. What this actually demonstrates is that which I described in the last paragraph; those who think differently are bad and most be excluded before they contaminate others. Either some of my my Christian brethren do not see that or the truth hurts in the mirror that has been put up in front of them because their criticism is this is a less than subtle accusation that Christians are racist.

I do not believe Christianity is inherently racist, but I am still a realist who cannot ignore history. Christians have supported slavery and segregation in the past and used scripture to justify it. I will be the first to admit the Bible takes no position against slavery. Indeed, Jesus even laid out rules for handling slaves properly in Luke 12: 45-48. But here is the truth: Christendom was the first belief system, because of the principles borne out of it religious beliefs, to question slavery and eventually move to abolish it. Christianity changed for the better because a cultural shift in morality apart from scripture.

Therein lay the crux of our debate and probably why it eventually got deleted to cover up the evidence. My opponent wanted it both ways. He believed slavery was tolerated in Biblical times because it was an accepted cultural institution, but hated it in Pre-Modern Times even though it was an accepted cultural institution without drawing any distinction apart from changes in cultural morality why it was decided slavery was wrong.

My opponent tried to claim Biblical slavery was not based on race, then ignored when I pointed out Leviticus 25:44-46 which established rules for race based slavery. The debate subsequently went nowhere because, although my opponent believed it was at best foolish for Christians in the Pre-Modern Era to support slavery and at worst un-Christian altogether, he could not give any logical reason why.

The answers, as far as I am concerned, are Christianity grows and develops as the religion shapes its followers’ characters, often through ideas not directly expressed in Scripture, and theologians draw new conclusions and judging the past with modern day morality is unfair. To illustrate my point, I asked the following hypothetical:
We have established the Bible condoned slavery at least at one point and that Christians later kept up their support of slavery beyond some ambiguous time period when it became unacceptable to do so. These Christians, who were either foolish or not real Christians by your own statements, used Scripture to justify their beliefs. What do you think if in 200 years from now, Christians have decided some scriptural belief you currently hold is either foolish or makes you not a "real” Christian. What would be the status of your Christianity in retrospect from the future?
The question prompted my opponent to delete the entire debate, never answer the hypothetical or any lingering points, and complained in his status bar no one apparently thinks much of his opinion.

See ya in heaven, pal.
Caturday

You will figure out why I chose this one in my next post.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Battlestar Galactica--"Someone to Watch Over Me"

A lot of fans seem irritated the final few episodes have Battlestar Galactica have centered on personal moments. I will grant you lost week’s unpleasant mix of soap opera clichés was disappointing and made the decision to veer away from slam bang action for a few episodes appear to be a bad one. However, tonight should redeem that notion in everyone’s eyes. The show has never really been a space opera about human survivors battling genocidal robots. It has always been at its best when the small, dramatic moments escalate into the big ones. That is what “Someone to Watch Over Me” was all about.

One of the reasons I am so attached to BSG is underlying theme none of these characters I have grown to love have much of a future, if any. Everything is gone, save what they could salvage from Caprica. Certain characters just seem to be more cursed than others to be alone. Starbuck and Tyrol immediately come to mind. The two were the main focus of the episode.

Arguably, it was a Starbuck episode. We see her humdrum routine in all its tedium. She is just fumbling through life like a somnambulist, working her pointless job all day and drinking all night. One night she runs into a piano player trying to compose a song that reminds her of her past. Her father was teaching her piano as a little girl before he disappeared. She stopped playing to spite her missing father. With the help of one of Hera’s drawings, Starbuck and the pianist compete the song: “All along the Watchtower.”

When ther remaining Final Five Cylons converge on the piano, we realize there never was a pianist. Starbuck and Hera just knew the song. So we can conclude that the pianist was a manifestation of Starbuck’s father, he either composed the song or taught it to her as a child, and he must be the missing Cylon. That would make Starbuck the first hybrid, not Hera. Considering the cliffhanger, that may mean a great deal. One also has to speculate her father was boxed by Cavil. We may see him yet.

As for Tyrol, he is torn by Boomer’s impending execution. Everyone around him believes she is a dangerous emotional vampire, but he bonds with her as she projects the kind of life they could have had together. He helps her escape unaware that was the plan all along. She kidnaps Hera to take her to Cavil. Her escape severely damages the already crumbling Galactica. To top it off, Roslin collapses in what looks like the nearing of her death.

I really liked the episode. I imagine it ultimately furthered the plot more than the complainers think. The writers are laying down big hints for the climax as well as not so subtle hints many of these characters will not live happily ever after.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
Sarah Palin Still GOP Favorite

A new CNN poll of republicans and independents shows Sarah Palin with a lead among other candidates. the numbers are not much different than the poll taken in December, but there is one major exception:
While the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll doesn’t indicate a clear frontrunner, it does suggest there’s a gender gap among rank and file Republicans.

“Among GOP men, the same pattern emerges — no clear advantage for Palin, Huckabee or Romney. But among Republican women, it’s a different story. Palin has a 10-point edge among Republican women, winning 32 percent support among them to 22 percent for Huckabee and 20 percent for Romney,” adds Holland. “With the sampling error, that’s not enough to say for sure that Palin is in the lead, but it does indicate that if the primaries were held tomorrow, Palin would have a good chance of being the favorite among GOP women.”
What caused Palin's favorable ratings among women to jump so significantly? Bristol Palin's recent interview may have highlighted the governor's role as a mother. I do not know, but i will take it either way.
Emilie de Ravin

The Lost beauty is out of sight, but certainly not out of mind.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Burn Notice--"Sins of Omission"

I got the same vibe from tonight’s episode as last week’s. it is like the writers were trying to tighten the screws on the emotional drama, but just could not quite set the tone they wanted. “Sins of Omission” might even be a bigger offender than last week’s in that regard, but I still liked it more for inexplicable reasons. The drama here was personal: Michael’s fiancé returns, claims he has a kid, and he has been kidnapped. There we have a combination of soap opera plotting and a cheap shot—the kid was not his and no viewer ever believed he was.

That said, it was otherwise a classic con game. Samantha, the ex, stole a piece of military hardware at the behest of Brennan, a psycho who has her son Charlie held captive to blackmail her. The gang runs through an elaborate plot to convince Brennan the stolen hardware needs to be returned rather than sold to avoid holy hell. All that is routine, but fun.

What is also routine is the drama. Michael kept the past fiancé bit a secret from everyone. The women in his life were upset. His mother because that is a secret you just do not keep from your mother (I suppose) and Fiona because..well, I am not sure. Jealousy? Honesty? Inability to commit? I really could not tell. The character is so aloof anyway, her only emotions are outbursts usually on behalf of clients who are either children or been sexually assaulted. Frankly, I get the vibe she isa weirdo because she was sexually assaulted as a child. Whatever her deal was, it did not resonate with me. It does not matter, since his ultimate explanation ought to get the ‘shippers fired up enough to forget ll about it.

This was the penultimate episode of the season, so it also set up—supposedly, at any rate—the face to face meeting with whoever burned Michael. The semi cliffhanger involved Michael kidnapping Victor as part of his plan. But all that is next week.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
William Shatner Will Not Be Prime Minister of Canada

Some fans are aflutter over recent comments William Shatner made in response to a fan campaign to have him appointed Governor General of Canada. Shatner politely declined to cooperate with the campaign because he has his eyes on the big prize: Prime Minister.

Two points here, folks. First, he was joking. He has no interest in either job. He just wanted to perpetuate his reputation as never settling for second banana. This is a guy who allegedly counted lines in Star Trek scripts to make sure he had more dialogue than Leonard Nimoy. Harlan Ellison asserted that, no one has established whether it is true, but Shatner knows it and a hundred other stories like it pin a quirky reputation on him he milks to the fullest. That is all he is doing here.

Second, in order to become Prime Minister of Canada, Shatner would have to be the leader of a political party that holds a majority of seats in the lower house. There is not a single party in Canada that will allow the ex-Capt. James T. Kirk to take over as their leader. I assume Shatner knows this and is jerking fans around, particularly the Americans, who know nothing about Canada.

It is funny when you take it for what it is worth. Truth be told, he really ought to consider the Governor General job. It is largely ceremonial with the only real responsibility being calling for a new election.. It would be a more interesting feather in his cap than applying his shtick to another acting role. But I cannot argue it has worked well for him so far, so what do I know?
Evangeline Lilly is Not Leaving Lost

Whew, that is a relief.

The rumor Evangeline Lilly was auditioning for roles on news show premiering this fall was obviously bunk. Kate is not only a pivotal character, but she is the main eye candy for gentlemen--I use the term loosely--in the audience. Besides, she is under contract until the end of the series. While the creators have dumped contract characters before, Lilly has never gotten a DUI, so the odds she will join their ranks is nil.

It is true a major-ish character is going to die before the end of the season, but my money is on Sonja Walger's penny Widmore to join the choir invisible. I suspect she was Ben's "unfinished business' in the episode "316."
Lindsay Price Naked

Lindsay Price, formerly of Lipstick Jungle, has been cast in Eastwick, a television series based on the '80's witchcraft comedy, The Witches of Eastwick, set to hit the ABC airwaves next season.

Oh, and she looks pretty good naked.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nadya Suleman May Do Adult Films

It is no secret octomom Nadya Suleman has been trying to cash in on her notoriety. It is also well known she is so a weirdo, no legitimate businesses want to work with her. Even the website, where she solicited gifts from the public had to betaken down due to death threats.

All right, I will admit she is weird, probably emotionally unstable, and the Angelina Jolie copying is creepy as all get out, but death threats? Those must be from people with even fewer marbles rolling around than her.

Suleman has been turned down even for the ultimate post modern status symbol: a reality show TLC, the network that produced Joe and Kate Plus Eight about the last couple to birth octuplets, said no. Either the additional of another six to make it fourteen was not thrilling enough or they could not think of a cute way to rhyme “Suleman” with fourteen. I am surprised no one suggested Nutty Mom, Thorazine, and Fourteen. I like it, but I guess that is why I am not a network executive.

But Suleman still has one option left. She, like future answers to a trivia question like John Bobbitt and Amy Fisher, can turn to the porn industry. Suleman has been offered $ 1 million, along with medical and dental coverage for her kids, to star in an adult film for Vivid Entertainment. No word on whether she will do it, but we all know since all legitimate get rich quick sources are drying up, she eventually will.

It would be more of a sure thing than trying to pick a suitcase with that amount along howie Mandel. It is a move I would not put passed floundering NBC.

Not to get too prurient here, but I am puzzled. I can see someone having an Angelina Jolie does Pr0n fetish. Suleman could fill that void, but speaking of void…fourteen kids. Make your own Grand Canyon joke here. I cannot bring myself to do it.
Lost--"The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham"

What a jam packed episode this was! It was probably the best of the season so far, but that is understandable considering Locke is the character I find most intriguing. In a lot of ways, he is pitiful. He wants to be important, so he keeps looking for people to tell him he is. Whenever he does, he fails miserably at whatever task they give him because his delusions of grandeur are completely divorced from reality. As we learned tonight, even if he settled down to an unimportant life when he had the chance, happiness would still have eluded him.

This episode chronicles the time he left the island until his death, but is bookended by the plane crash that occurred off screen last episode. Locke returned to life from the casket in the crash, an even more miraculous development than when his spine was healed the first time. The oceanic six appear to have wound up elsewhere, but Locke encounters an unconscious Ben in a DHARMA infirmary. It is not going to be a happy reunion when he wakes up.

Locke lands in Tunisia three years after turning the frozen donkey wheel and his picked up by Bedouins. He passes out in their near medieval infirmary, but awakens to find Charles Widmore waiting for him. It is he who sends Locke off to gather the Oceanic Six. Widmore tells him a war is coming and if the O6 are nota part of it, the wrong side will win. He assigns Matthew Abbaddon to assist Locke. You may recall Abbaddon was the orderly who convinced Locke to go on the walkabout that lead to his crashing on the island. Widmore has been manipulating Locke for a while now. He remembers Locke from meeting him in 1955.

The first of the O6 Locke finds is Sayid. He is part of an organization like the Peace Corps building homes in the Dominican Republic. He worked for Ben for two years after Nadia was murdered, but left on bad terms after he realized he was being manipulated. He refuses to return with Locke, but they part on good terms. Sayid invites him to join the organization, if he so desires. At least we know now why Sayid might be a wanted man in Guam.

Next, Locke visits Walt, who is apparently having prophetic dreams of Locke being dead. Oddly, he is having those dreams, but does not know his father is dead. Locke dodges the subject in a round about way.

Locke then encounters Hurley, he believes he is seeing another ghost, but eventually believes Locke is alive and real. He refuses to cooperate when he recognizes Abbaddon as the guy who has been snooping around the hospital in the past. Hurley is crazy, but he might be the only one catching on.

Locke urges Abbaddon to find Helen and he does. She died years ago of a brain aneurysm. Locke laments his lost chance at happiness. It causes Kate to sympathize with him, but she still refuses to return to the island with him.

Abbaddon is killed y a gunman who turns out to be Ben. Ben has been spying on Locke. In the subsequent car chase, Locke is injured. He awakens in the hospital with jack looking on. He is not convinced to go back, either. He believes Locke is just a lonely old man looking for meaning. Locke’s mention of Jack’s father pushes him over the edge start taking those frequent plane flights hoping to crash. Jack must believe his father is still alive.

Locke, despondent over yet another failure, plans to hang himself, but is stopped by Ben who claims Widmore isa bad guy manipulating him for evil purposes. Locke falls for the line of how important he is yet again. But after he reveals the name of Eloise Hawking, Ben strangles him, then makes it look like a suicide. This may open the possibility Ben’s “unfinished business” last week was killing her, not Penny. The writers like to throw in red herrings, but which one is the real red herring?

Why do both Widmore and Ben want the O6 to return to the island? We have not yet gotten enough clues to figure that out, nor do we know how sun’s meetings with Widmore factor in. but the mystery is intriguing and so was this episode. By the way, Jeremy Bentham was a philosopher who major work can be boiled down to the ends justify the means. Food for thought.

Rating: **** (out of 5)
Bobby Jindal is Not Ready for Prime Time

I figured—and was proven correct—Barack Obama’s State of the union speech last night was going to be high on lofty, meaningless rhetoric and promises to spend, spend, spend our way out of the current economic downturn. The speech was previously touted as Reaganesque, but it is difficult to sound like Reagan when pushing socialism on a capitalist country. The Obmassiah does not even understand basic high school level economics. Thank goodness we only have 47 more months of his incompetence. Hopefully, the country will survive that long.

I also hope at some point fairly early within those 47 months the Republicans will either groom Bobby Jindal much more carefully or dump him altogether for a better choice. Jindal is the current favorite of the GOP elite who have no faith in Mitt Romey but assume Jindal’s Pentecostal beliefs will help the unwashed masses accept his Rhodes Scholar education. However, after last night, even they have to be thinking he is not worth it.

Jindal was earnest, but goofy, and not telegenic in the slightest. Anyone who is holding out for him to be the savior for 2012 because they dislike Sarah Palin needs to take a second look at her. She is nowhere near as dumb as they would like to paint her regardless of her lack of Oxford pedigree and she is a heck of a lot better on television than Jindal. Right or wrong, that counts for a lot these days.

Do not get me wrong. I like Jindal. I just like Palin more. I doubt many GOP elitedead set against her are going to rapidly come around to my way of thinking, but for right now, a Palin/Jindal ’12 ticket looks really good. You may disagree, but Jindal needs more political savvy at the moment than Palin. It is a perfect fit.
Ann Hathaway Sideboob

I think Ann Hathaway runs hot and cold, but when she is hot, she is scorching.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bill Maher's Oscar Sour Grapes

Everyone is talking about the political acceptance speeches from the Oscars the other night, particularly Sean Penn’s. It was pretty obvious he was genuinely shocked to have beaten Mickey Rourke for Best actor because of how clumsily he fumbled around with his speech. Iam not one to think the Oscars is the time and place for politics at all, but I am really perturbed when politics rears its ugly head as a smearing of one side’s viewpoints as some terrible violation of civil rights well beyond any sense it may actually be.

But forget that moment. Hollywood types feel guilty at earning so much money for work of negligible value they have to spout off about such things to ward off self-loathing. Right now, I want to point out one of the stupidest mistakes I have ever seen the Academy make for a live broadcast—let Bill Maher, noted religion basher who was snubbed for a Best Documentary nod for the Christian bashing Religulous present the Oscar for Best Documentary.

Maher is famous for brutally criticizing religion and its adherents as either stupid or crazy with no exceptions. At times, even some of his most left leaning guests have taken him to task for his statements on Real Time. There was no conceivable way he was not going to take a jab at ‘snubbed” because of Religulous’ controversial subject although there is no proof that was the reason it was not nominated.

His exactintroduction:
"Now as a producer and a star of my own documentary this year, the one about religion that didn't get nominated. I know, it's a touchy subject. But someday, we all have to confront the notion that our silly gods cost the world too greatly. But there I go, ruining the ending."
Classy guy, that Bill Maher. Not too mention paranoid. He genuinely believes there is a mass Christian conspiracy to hide the “truth” there is no God and that is the sole reason his documentary was not nominated. It has never crossed his mind Religulous was actually a candid camera gotcha segment designed to make the religious look dumb.

Well, we do not need Maher for that. We have doofuses showing up on television all the time. But that is not the point. The Academy gave Maher a forum presenting in a category they knew he was going to have bitter feelings about. His behavior was childish, but anyone who has seen him before would have already guessed that. The question is why was the Academy dumb enough to give him the set up? Was it a purposeful jab at Christians or just a miscalculation on their part?
Five Ways to Decrease Your Blog Traffic


I did not mean to skip blogging yesterday. It was a consequence of my well established boredom with covering day to day news. If there is not anything interesting to write about, then I do not. It is too soon to tell whether that might kill the place or not. I have never figured out why anyone comes here in the first place to read me spout off on whatever tickles my tuckus on any given day.

A meme has developed I recent days in which relatively new bloggers who have experienced traffic booms discuss how they accomplished said boom. It all boils down to dumb luck and how much the Google algorithm appreciates you. That does not make for an interesting right, though, does it? Surely there are deeper thoughts on the issue I could come up with in relation to explain my boom and bust traffic.

I am full of contradictions when it comes to participating in memes. On the one hand, I like to belong to something, but I generally loathe being part of a group. So, just to be contrary, here are my five steps to making certain my blog is mostly a bust.
1. I do not do link sharing often enough: Evidently, the true point of blogging is to take a chunk of someone else’s work, post it on your blog, briefly coo how much you agree, then add a link to the original while urging your readers to go read the whole thing. This simple act drives up traffic for the other blogger, prompting him or her to return the favor should you stop linking to other bloggers’ stuff long enough to write something of substance yourself.

All this is assuming your readers have not been to a half dozen bigger blogs linking to the post already, the linked blogger appreciates the negligible traffic you bring, and said blogger can find anything of value on your blog. There is a three strikes joke there somewhere, but I cannot be bothered to find it.

It does not work for me on three different levels. First, I could not generate enough traffic to merit any valuable reciprocal links of appreciation. Second, you have already read anything I could possibly link fifteen times before you got here. Finally, if I am motivated to write on a topic, then I do not need someone else’s post to give me a jump start.

The final point is the big one. My blog ought to be about my ideas, whether that is a popular idea or not. My aversion to using too much of other people’s work dates back to my disappointment in the difference between college and law school. I earned a degree in political science. It is nothing but a research degree. From the first day of my sophomore year until the last day ofclass my senior year, I lived in the library. I spent more time searching bookshelves than sniffing around the Chi omega sorority house. While I referenced tons of other people’s work through footnotes and endnotes, the research was all mine. I had to write these papers. I had to organize the arguments. I had to do the heavy lifting.

I assumed this was all working with the training wheels on for the big task of legal research. I was wrong. Every single line of legal writing—I am talking academic papers mostly, but briefs are not a whole lot different—is footnoted because it is taken directly from someone else’s work. Legal scholars do nothing but cannibalize each other’s work while political scientist’s, even the undergrad students, striveto promote new ideas. I was terribly dismayed by the realization.

The best way I know to illustrate it is the scene in Jurassic Park where John Hammond is defending his decision to clone dinosaurs to the group of skeptical scientists. Ian Malcolm scolds Hammond by saying he looked at what other people had done, nitpicked what he liked from it, and took it to the next level without doing any research of his own. The other scientists agree. The one guy who pipes up in Hammond’s defense is his lawyer. Naturally, he sees nothing wrong with Hammond’s actions. After you have suffered through law school, that scene takes on a whole new meaning.

So I just do not see how building up a blog based on other people’s work is a worth while endeavor outside of the remote chance reciprocal links will being people in to see you link to even more work done by other people. It is not a worthy pastime as far as I am concerned, even if it means toiling away in obscurity.

2. I cannot decide what this blog is: I am not just talking about how I change the background color more often than Dennis Rodman dyes his hair. With apologies to Mrs. Gump, my blog is like a box of chocolates. When you click on it, you never know what you are going to get.

I go through longs streaks of covering just one, often esoteric, topic. Sure, I covered the presidential campaign just like everyone else. But then I dropped politics like a hot potato for science fiction, television, sports, and anything else I felt like. Mix in quite a few blue periods where I railed against the poisoned box of chocolates I have been handed, and I have a solid recipe for an inconsistent stew no one cares to keep on the menu too long.

Will it get worse? Probably. Tracking nothing but the ups and downs of the political pageant week after week does not thrill me nearly as much as questioning whether secular humanism is utopian cult, Nazi allegory in the Daleks, and how Jennifer Love hewitt’s latest bikini photo shoot mangles young girls’ body image. It will not build up an audience, but it will satisfy me.

3. Half naked celebrities alienate half my potential readers: Interestingly enough, anyone who would like to read about politics, secular humanism’s utopian fantasies, and the Dalek’s historical roots do not take discussions on those topics seriously when said discussions are frequently interrupted by thong bikini photos. Others are upset the thong bikini photos are interrupted by boring old pointless discussions.

There is a general vibe among the more irreverent bloggers the occasional exposure of celebrity skin drives up traffic. They are right. It does. Somehow it seems to add to their general traffic without detracting much from their written content. It has not worked that way for me.

I catered to popular whims rather than posting only girls I found attractive, so I wound up with long spurts of Jessica Simpson or Paris Hilton or Britney spears blogging. In Simpson’s case, the tide rolled for two solid years when her bikini photo from The Dukes of Hazard became popular.

Driving up traffic that way became a “sounded good at the time’ kind of thing. Fortunately, the popularity of certain photos is boom and bust, but I have no control over which photos are going to catch on and how long it will last. Frankly, it is all an illusion to think the tactic is bringing in readers and becoming known as the Jessica Simpson Guy is not worth it anyway.

4. I do not play well with others: I am flypaper for lunatics. Since starting this blog, I have had the usual trolls who call me an idiot and conspiracy theorists, but I have also had commenters pretending to be more than one person, occasionally even gender bending to do so, conservatives and/or Christians assuring me I will go to hell for the Eye being anything less than a proper circle jerk, one who pretended to be Jane Galt in order to tell me I believed the way I did because I was too ugly for sex, and tons of anonymous jabbers who make normal comments usually, but felt like taking the cowardly route just this once, twice, or seven times.

The king of it all has been a stalker who used to write on his blog how much we had in common in between therest of his posts which constituted a diary of stalking his coworker. He dragged on reading this and a private blog for years, sent anonymous e-mails talking about my need to repent in order to be miraculously healed or some such nonsense and visited friends’ blogs to critique them, too, since we are all entitled to his judgment. He still shows up here and there to alternate between telling me what a deranged creep I am and begging me to be his buddy since we have so much in common. Dollars to donuts, he shows up t rant about this post in the next day or so.

All that to say, I have a tough time loving my commenters like I am supposed to. So much for building up a community surrounding my blog. I am certain it is a detriment to so many anonymous readers hiding out, but that is the way it goes. I do not do much commenting on other blogs, either, so I just never get the proper networking one needs to grow a blog.

5. Who the heck is this guy, anyway?: No one gives a crap what some peon blogger has to say. Exactly how big can I reasonably expect to be?
There you have it. Five sure fire ways to keep your blog as small and unnoticed as possible.
Resistance is Futile

I missed it a couple days ago, but everyone's favorite Borg, Jeri Ryan, turned a very MILFy 41 this weekend.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Star Trek: TNG Data Music Video

I had planned to make these a little faster, but life keeps getting in the way. Here is my music video for my favorite character, Data. He was always the most interesting of the TNG crew because he is the one who grew the most during the series run. The others really stagnated because of the general edict characters were to take a backseat to the plots and humanist evangelism.

I searched around for the best song YouTube would still allow me to use. i would up with "Human" by the Killers. I am not hip enough to have heard it before a couple days ago, but it not only fits data well, but i have grown to like the song on its own merit.
Danica Patrick Picks Jolie Over Aniston

Since I took up fighting the blogging doldrums by posting whatever the heck I feel like rather binding myself as a slave to the news cycle, I have actually posted less celebrity titillation than before. As a young horn dog, I am as amazed by the fact as you are.

Danica Patrick graced these pages a couple days ago when I discovered Sports Illustrated had photoshopped a flag tattoo off the small of the lovely race car driver’s back. The act amazed me because it was not the first time Patrick had bared herself for the magazine. The first time was 2007, deep into the descent of Bush and subsequently America’s popularity, right or wrong, and the flag was prominent. Here allegedly as it allegedly once again cool to bean American on the world stage in the Age of Obama, the flag is gone. It was a point worth mentioning as well as an excuse to post bikini pictures of Patrick.

Surely I cannot let Patrick be the lone half naked celebrity to show up at the eye in the month of February. Indeed I shall not, but nor will I stray too far from Patrick. Recently she was asked who shewould like to play her in a movie:
,“I’ve always said Angelina Jolie would be great because she’s an action star,” Patrick, 26, told a group of Canadian bloggers.

“Although I don’t quite look like her,” Patrick goes on.

What about Jennifer Aniston?

“I don’t think that’d be age appropriate,” she says of the He’s Just Not That Into You star, who just celebrated her 40th birthday. “She’s older than me!”
Note that Patrick is 26, Jolie is 33, and Aniston is a young looking 40. Jolie is much older than Patrick. You might give Patrick the benefit she may be unaware of Jolie’s actual age, but I suspect she has fallen into the general line Aniston is a high maintenance loser who is cool to hate on.

Here a good photo of Aniston’s boobs:The photo can be greatly enlarged.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Nadya Suleman & Company's Cash Crunch

Nadya Suleman, the nutty octomom who thinks she is Angelina Jolie, might have pulled her plastic surgery and invitro fertilization stunt in order to gain fame and fortune, either as a movie star or pseudo-humanitarian, but at least one other involved in the proceedings, has aimed lower. Her father just wants to appear on television.

Ed Dood, the octogramp, taped a segment for Oprah Winfrey in which he questioned his daughter’s sanity, her fertility doctor’s ethics, and the public’s lack of cash donations. An organization called angels in Waiting has offered a place for Suleman and her kidsto live, but it would cost $ 135,000 a month for the dozen caregivers who would have to compensate for Suleman’s incompetence. Dood made a public pleas for Oprah viewers to help.

I feel sorry for the guy myself. Helost his home caring for the six kids Suleman already had. If I thought I had a chance to get all fifteen people out of my house, I would degrade myself for Oprah, too.

Not to be outdone, Suleman recently sat down with Dr. Phil to straighten everything out. Well, I do not know about you, but I feel better already with him on the case. No word on how much he paid for the interview, but since Suleman was recently seen shopping at Nordstrom’s, it must have been a decent chunk of change.

On a more serious note, if you have wondered how we could be mired in such a huge mortgage crisis, look no further than Suleman’s case. She bought her on the verge of foreclosure home in March 2006 for $605,000. How does an unemployed student with no collateral swing a loan that big?
Battlestar Galactica--"Deadlock"

I am surprised to have such an uneventful episode this close to the series finale. Not that it was bad. A more personal story is probably a welcome breather after the seat of your pants action of the last two parter and the heavy exposition of the last. Still, it felt out of place with the soap opera elements.

The love triangle between Tigh, Six, and Ellen was at the heart of it all. It would have made an interesting box of poisoned candy had it aired on Valentine’s weekend instead. It was an awkward and tragic mix. For me, it was uncomfortably strange to see Ellen go from the all knowing, motherly type to the Cylons last week to the petty, jealous woman she was this week upon discovering her husband is about to have a child with one of her “children.” The end of the story, where Six miscarried because of the stress of the conflict, was predictable, but sad.

Not to mention convenient. Tigh might be a self-loathing Cylon, but he had come to the conclusion the humans and Cylons have to eventually unify in order to survive. I gather this isar are epiphany. The Cylons were pinning their future hopes on the chils Six was carrying rather than the hybrid child Hera. Would she not logically be the bridge that gaps the two? Look at Tyrol, as well. Last week, he was eager to resume his job on the Galactica, but this week he is willing to throw his lot in with the Cylons. What is with the flip flopping loyalties? There is just no notion the two races are growing closer together. In they do in the few episodes remaining, I fear it will come off trite.

Speaking of trite, what the heck happened to Baltar’s character? He has become nothing more than a con man shifting identities in order to suit his needs. Now he has gone back to his cult of female followers and convinced Adama to arm them in the wake of the coup thinning his security ranks. Exactly how wise is enabling an army of Squeaky Frommes?

Rating: ** (out of 5)
Caturday

Because Mardi Gras is underway!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cylon History Thus Far

Last week’s episode was packed with exposition by Anders, Cavil, and Ellen Tigh laying out the entire history of the Cylons. I am pretty sure I did not get it all uncapsulated properly in my review, so here we go again more thoroughly. I will flog myself thirty lashes with awet noodle if I miss anything.

The planet Kobol settled the twelve human colonies and the thirteenth colony named Earth. The Cylons on Kobol could not reproduce, so they invented resurrection technology. Subsequently, they discovered how to reproduce and forgot about the resurrection machine. The Final Five Cylons all lived on Cylon Earth and reinvented resurrection technology. But Cylon earth was destroyed in a nuclear war.

The Final Five were resurrected post nuclear war, traveled for 2,000 years at subluminal speed until they stumbled upon Cylon War I, which was being fought between human descendants of Kobol and the new Cylons they had invented few decades before. The final Five gave these Cylons resurrection technology in exchange for an armistice.

The five also created John Cavil, who was modeled after Ellen’s father. Cavil killed the Final Five, then resurrected them with false memories. He kept their identities secret from the other skinjobs. Cavil wanted them all to resent humanity, but his plan backfired. Each one of the Final Five turned out to be a vital part of humanity’s survival.

There. I believe we are all caught up now.
John Carter is Doomed

I have not watched or particularly even followed general knowledge gossip about ER in about six years. The show hit its high point around about that time. In fact, I would argue the 199-2002 era of the show was some of the best television ever produced. What turned me off, aside from a general disinterest in the predictability of mainstream television shows, is how shock value and cheap tricks became synonymous with drama. I understand the fundamental rule of storytelling is to make us love the characters, then run them up a tree and throw rocks at them. But ER took way too many liberties with the concept, to the point of self-parody.

Forget even the stereotypical day to day soap opera drama of the characters’ lives. Focusing solely on how they have been killed off, we have stabbing by a paranoid schizophrenic, suicide by train, brain tumor, brain injury, IED in Iraq, strangled by umbilical cord, hit by helicopter, and HIV. If you want to extend it to just medical issues, there have been bipolar disorder, double leg amputation, having an arm chopped off, malaria, small pox, losing a pancreas, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, Alzheimer’s, and whatever hip degenerative disease Dr. Weaver had. I forget, but it was that forgettable.

The bottom line is killing off or permanently maiming characters has been a staple of ER throughout the latter half of its fifteen year run. It is stale, boring, and has become cheap. So logically, it looks like they are going to do it again.

Last night, Noah Wylie began a several episode stint as part of the final season’s gimmick to bring back old characters. His character, John Carter, will go back to working at County general, but he has a secret motive. As evidenced by the last scene, Carter is on dialysis or is perhaps receiving radiation treatment for cancer. It is not clear at this point which, but the typical death knell has sounded. One cannot imagine carter will ride off happily into the sunset after that set up.

Does the show really have to mangle all its characters in order to come full circle? It is pretty ridiculous to think so. I am certainly a cynical fatalist who believes everything heads towards entropy eventually, but come on. Statistically speaking, someone has to be born with a gold horseshoe up their butts so the rest of us have something to measure misery.
Did Prescott S. Bush Steal Geronimo's Skull?

Could someone explain to me the absolute, soul swallowing obsession liberals have with crafting conspiracy theories to attach to the Bush family? I first noticed it after bush 41’s call for a “new world order” after the Gulf War caused fevered minds on the right and left—those who fear the world is run by a consortium of Jewish bankers, the illuminati, Free Masons, the Council on Foreign Relations, Satanists, Roswell aliens, and a giant computer somewhere in Belgium—just knew all their nightmares had come true.

It did not occur to me until Bush 43 was elected and we started hearing about domestic spying, coups, the Plan for a New American Century, and trashing the constitution that I knew for certain the loony left considered attempts to conquer the country/world/universe werea Bush family legacy.

I even humored purple faced angry liberals who insisted the entire Bush clan, but particularly Bush 43, was evil because Prescott Bush had done business with the Nazis without ever mentioning Joseph Kennedy not only became wealthy violating prohibition, but was practically waving a Nazi flag on top of the US embassy during the blitz when he served as ambassador to the Court of St. James. Guilt by association only works one way with liberals. It is one way too many if you ask me, but I am a degenerate conservative, so what value could my opinion possibly have?

But that is not all of Prescott Bush’s supposed evils. A lawsuit filed by the heirs of Apache Chief Geronimo alleges Prescott Bush of outdoing even Montgomery Burns, whom we know made shells for the Nazis that actually worked, darn it. The lawsuit alleges Prescott Bush robbed the grave of Geronimo in 1918, took his skull, and gave it to the Yale University secret society, Skull & Bones. Geronimo’s skull is rumored to still be on display at the Skull & Bones’ clubhouse, the Tomb.

Yeah. College pranksters, grave robbing, old Native American Chiefs, secret rituals, and a clubhouse. It may sound like an updated version of Animal House, but it is really just those pesky Bushes at it again for the first time. Or at least asfar back in the family tree as their critics have yet fantasize about.
How about a little bonus musical number semi-related to the subject matter? i am sure the yankees amongst could usea little classic country to brighten up their philistine lives.

The following video is called "Geronimo's Cadillac." It is a 1972 song by cowboy singer Michael Martin Murphy based on this photo and story:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Burn Notice--"Truth and Reconciliation"

I had a classic Miami Vice vibe throughout this episode. As far as the nostalgia trip goes, it was great. Miami Vice was one of those shows I watched when I was way too young to be doing so and was therefore one of the factors that warped me into the glorious cynic I am today. For that, I am grateful. Innocence is overrated in a world this nasty.

I think I carried on with the nostalgia trip because I was not all that engrossed in the story itself. The plot involved Haitian man who has tracked down a corrupt political leader, Jean-Pierre Dumon, to Miami. Dumon killed the man’s daughter some time ago and fled to the United States under an assumed name. There were tons of episodes like this not only on MV, but various ‘80’s shows where some Latin America dictator was being hunted in the US by one of his torture victims or the like. It seems quaint in the days of Al Qaeda destroying skyscrapers full of people to recall a time when international issues could be so personal.

Michael goes through his usual motions of not wanting the case, but Sam chimes in urging him to do so under the notion he is familiar with the type of evil things the Haitian dictatorship committed. At least that was it on the surface. Sam revealed his soft spot again over a daddy/daughter problem. This time it was the reverse over a couple episodes ago when he wanted to help a girl who father had been murdered. I am pretty sure there is some back story there we have not seen yet. Does Sam have a daughter somewhere?

For me, the emotional build up did not resonate. I do not know. Maybe it was all too quick. The con job Michael and the gang ran to get Dumon back to Haiti to stand trial was not one of their best, either. It was entertaining, but not one of their best. It might have helped if the story was not so crowded with a pointless “C” story about Michael’s mother along with the continuing Carla adventure. At least the nigh-cliffhanger ending revealed Victor is back. Michael Shanks makes an unusually good, over the top villaibn.

Rating: ** (out of 5)
Travis the Chimp Case Gets Ever Stranger

This case about the Xanax addled chimp that went on a rampage gets weirder with every new revelation. According to the previous link, Sandra Herold, Travis’ owner, had an obviously unhealthy attachment to the chimp. I understand he was her meal ticket, so she had to take good care of him. But this woman went well beyond keeping the goose that lays golden egg alive and comfy. This chimp was treated like an adult companion.

She fed Travis steak, allowed him to sleep with her in her bed, and apparently looked after his emotional well being with anti-depressants. Herold appears to be a lonely old woman who treated him like he was a person. It is always dangerous to forget animals are not people. There can be tragic results.

The thing is, Herold does not seem to realize that. She mentions her friend’s severe injuries almost in passing in the interview. For a little perspective, his victim, Charla Nash, ost her eyes, nose, and jaw. I have heard commentators say her injuries were life altering. That is an understatement.

Nevertheless, while her friend clings to life, Herold spends the rest of the interview rationalizing Travis’ attack and lamenting his passing. The illusion of unconditional love Travis supposedly gave her trumps all else in Herolds’ mind. I would say she is the one who needs psychiatric help rather than the chimp.

One thing is for certain, this tragic case will begat peculiar, probably bad law in its wake. Bank on it.
American Flag Airbrushed off Danica Patrick

I thought it was cool to be American again in the Age of Obama?

Race car driver Danica Patrick has an American flag tattoo on the small of her back as seen in the first photo above. The tattoo airbrushed out for the second photo. the kicker is both these photos are from Sports Illustrated. The first is from last year while the second is from the current issue.

The magazine made the request and Patrick agreed. What prompted the airbrushing? your guess is as good as mine.

Speaking of good, Danica patrick looks really good in a bikini.
Lindsay Duncan, Doctor Who Companion

Russell T. Davies promised an older, less traditional companion for the second Doctor Who special of 2009 and he delivered. Tony award winning Scottish actress Lindsay Duncan (pictured left) will join David Tennant in the TARDIS for the Christmas special.

my favorite past role of hers was in the short lived, but much missed by me Rome, but Duncan is probably best known in the united states for her role in Under the Tuscan Sun. She earned her science fiction stripes by voicing a robot in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

Interestingly enough, Duncan appeared onstage with the next Doctor, Matt Smith, in recent times.
Going Ape Over a Cartoon

The above New York Post editorial cartoon is causing conniption fits among liberals. They allege the dead chimpanzee represents Barack Obama in a longstanding stereotype. The Post claims the cartoon was mocking the recent Travis the Xanax Chimp story and tweaking what the cartoonist considers a bad stimulus bill. So what is the deal?

I do not believe the cartoon is intentionally racist. Obama did not write the stimulus bill. He signed it into law, but it was congressional democrats who drafted the thing, loading it up with leftist pork. On that level at least, the chimpanzee does not represent Obama.

With that said, the racist stereotype of comparing blacks to primates is well known and offensive. I understand artistic types are irreverent—heck, I am as irreverent as they come myself—but the cartoonist should have known in this society so hypersensitive about race, someone was going to draw the conclusion he was making fun of the president.

I imagine there would be more backlash about the cartoon if Al Sharpton had not been the first black “leader” to speak. No one wants to be the guy who backs up Sharpton. If Sharpton calls something racist, everyone should take a pause and decide how stupid he is being before commenting further.

It ought to be noted the last president actually was often compared to a chimpanzee with no outrage whatsoever by the left:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lost--"316"

I certainly was not expecting the Oceanic Six (five, really.) to agree to head back to the island so quickly. It was almost anticlimactic. I am giving the result the benefit of the doubt because so many questions were set up about how they all came together, I assume we will get to see how it all unfolded. If we do not, though, then I think we got robbed. By all accounts, they are never going to leave the island again. Going back does not sound like a decision to be made rashly.

Mixed feelings abound here. The cold opening was a shock. It was nearly an exact reenactment of the first scene of the pilot, except this time Jack woke up in the jungle to rescue Hurley and Kate after their second arrival. I dug the shock value of it and the subsequent lecture by Ms. Hawking of what we pretty much already knew: the island moves through time and space. The DHARMA Initiative uses a special pendulum in order to calculate windows of opportunity in which they can travel there. The pendulum and the subsequent calculations were developed by an unnamed “brilliant man,” who I assume is someone we know. Jacob, perhaps?

I will admit I thought it was trite that no one questioned how there could be an island moving through time and space. Even Ben’s biblical allusion to Doubting Thomas and the lesson everyone is convinced sooner or later did not do much for me. Neither did the heavy emphasis on jack. First there was his long refusal to read Locke’s suicide note and then the sequence where he put his father’s shoes on Locke’s corpse. I am not sure what that was supposed to be symbolic of, so it was just weird.

The episode left a lot of unanswered questions. How did Hurley find out about the plan to crash on the island again? Why was Sayid being transported as a felon? What made Kate come back without Aaron? Where did Ben go when he said he had to fulfill a promise to an old friend?

Pure speculation here, but I suspect Sayid was captured and confessed to the murders he committed, freeing Hurley. Hurley was carrying a guitar case, so he must have seen Charlie again who told him about the flight. Kate is probably playing Jack because she wants to see Sawyer again. Sun was convinced to go probably because she was contacted by Charles Widmore. Ben would up beaten and bloody after he kept his unseen promise. Did he kill Penelope Widmore? She would have been in Los Angeles. If he did, then Desmond will go back to the island for revenge.

The title of this episode also suggests a future question: is Jack going to be sacrificed by his father for the greater good? Keep in mind John 3:16:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The King James translation makes it all sound so regal, no? we still have not discovered precisely why the oceanic Six had to go back, but one assumes it is an earth shattering reason.

You had to figure with next week’s episode entirely devoted to Locke’s turn as Jeremy Bentham, the episode would have to end on a big cliffhanger. It did. When Locke fixed the wheel last episode, the island was apparently stuck in the past before the DHARMA Initiative purge. The island Lostawys have joined them, because it is Jin who discovers Jack, Kate, and Hurley.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
"A Nation of Cowards" About Race

So says Eric Holder, the first black Attorney General, who was appointed by the first black president of the United States, a majority white country. But if he insists we need an honest dialogue about race in this country, we probably do. Here area few ground rules we need to establish first.

One, Holder needs to admit he was talking only about white people. He probably believes Hispanics and Asians are as racist as whites, but he was not referring to them. So be Honest yourself, Mr. Holder. You are being just as close minded as the people you are critiquing.

Two, everyone needs to be part of the dialogue. Do not exclude me because I am a white Southerner who votes Republican. Branding me as a racist ignoramus with nothing of value to say so I should be ignored is a cowardly act.

Third, if high minded liberals like you were not so obsessed with finding racial problems in every freaking instance imaginable, a national dialogue on race would be unnecessary. In fact, it already is. Quit race baiting and you will probably figure that out.

Forth, people who complain about the breakdown of the nuclear black family, the gang violence, the antisocial behavior, the demand for ebonics and various other entitlements might be onto something. Honest observations are not necessarily racist.

Finally, it would help to drop any notions the current generation has to pay for thesins of the past. An honest dialogue would necessitate a moving on rather than an one sided airing of grievances.

Accept those terms, drop the “nation of cowards” insult, and you might be surprised how smoothly things go from here.
North Dakota House: Fetuses Have Legal Rights

The North Dakota House of Representatives has passed a bill granting personhood to fetuses. Ending the life of a fetus would constitute murder should the bill survive the State Senate and the governor. It has a better chance of becoming law than you might think.

South Dakota attempted similar legislation that was overturned twice by referendum. I am not enough of a student of North Dakota zeitgeist to determine whether it is likely to happen there, too.

But amidst all the bad news regarding abortion, from Barack “No Born Alive Act” Obama’s election to the Freedom of Choice Act debate, it is good to see there is still some room left in politics to do the right thing.

A developing fetus is a life. You can argue that it's not a human life, but it's scientifically incorrect to say that a growing fetus is not a living organism. And if that living organism is not killed, then barring a miscarriage, it will become a human being. You may now cease your internal dialogue.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Roland Burris Should Resign from the Senate

Roland Burris ought to resign from the Senate for the revelation he perjured himself his dealings with Rod Blagojevich prior to the governor appointing him to fill Barack obama’s vacated seat. Barring that, the senate ought to expel him. Either would be the honorable thing to do, so neither is going to happen.

In Senate testimony, Burris said he refused to raise money for Blago while under consideration for appointment to Obama’s seat. But that was then, this is now. Burris has revealed he sought to raise campaign cash at the behest of Blago’s brother at the same time he was pursuing the Senate appointment.

It sounds like perjury to me, but some legal experts are claiming it is not an out and out lie, buta revelation he had more involvement with Blago than previously known. To me that translates as, “Yes, he perjured himself, but he is a liberal, so he is allowed to fudge a bit in the holy cause of liberalism.”

Whether it presents a strong case for perjury, the senate has the broad power to decide who can join its body. They can expel a member for high crimes, moral turpitude, or bad fashion sense if they so desire. I would be shocked if said power was exercised.
Xanax Addled Chimp Mauls Woman

Sure, it is difficult to believe keeping a 200 pound chimpanzee in your house might be a bad idea, but how about a chimpanzee doped up on xanax to cope with his anxiety issues?

Such is the hard life of a Hollywood actor. Travis the Chimp has starred in commercials for Old Navy and Coca Cola. Apparently the pressure to perform finally got to him, because he went all Christian Bale on his owner’s friend, Carla Nash, a Good Samaritan who made the mistake of agreeing to help capture the beast after he escaped his Connecticut home.

Travis attacked the woman, severely injuring her neck, face, and hands. The owner called 911, then joined the scuffle with a butcher knife. Travis was shot before causing any fatal injuries. The damage he did cause, however, has been described as life changing, if not life threatening, for Nash.

Here is the kicker; a primatologist at the Bronx Zoo sought out for comment advised keeping wild animals as domesticated pets is a bad idea, even if, as was the case, said wild animal was on Xanax for his nerves. it just ruins that whole King Kong/Anne Darrow love affair notion, too, does it not?

Anyone want to take bets on what aspect of this case PETA is going to havethe biggest conniption fit over?
Is Classical Education Dead?

Robert Stacy McCain offers up a point and James Joyner responds to the issue of cultural illiteracy in today’s youth. You should follow the links for the whole story, but it boils down to McCain blaming the education system’s emphasis on self-esteem rather than classical studies or embarrassing kids publically who have not read assignments while Joyner gives allows the lack of quality teacher candidates has been a problem, but the notion of a well read populace is a myth to begin with. I fall somewhere in the middle, but reluctantly lean more to Joyner’s point of view.

I did not go to a public school. I attended a private Christian school from kindergarten until twelfth grade. The curriculum was heavily influenced by Bob Jones, so the faculty was eat up with the concept of original sin and how we were all wretches beyond redemption without salvation through Jesus Christ. Self-esteem does not fit into the equation at any point. Neither does any notion of political correctness. So I (fortunately?) missed out on today’s education standards McCain is lamenting.

I wondered for the longest time whether I was being shortchanged with the education I was given. Creationism was given equal time with evolution, sex education relied heavily on Scripture references, and Bible was a graded class just as much as math and English. There was a lot of tip toeing around certain subjects so as not to offend parents with varying degrees of fundamentalism. The nagging feeling I might be missing out on something was ever present.

Until I got to college, anyway. It was my first time in a state supported education environment and it did the trick. My college experience was the first time I realized smart people could be ignorant. The only previous notion I had of public education is that it was run by minions of the devil who taught evolution as fact and passed out condoms to grade schoolers. Both of those were true, but so was the fact kids could go through twelve years of fancy book learnin’ and not have a single idea penetrate their thick noggins. I cannot comment on Joyner's belief in the lack of quality teaching candidates in public schools, but it sounds plausible to me. those who cannot do, teach.

So at least in that sense, McCain is right. There is a abundance of smart people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Plenty of rhetoric, but no substance.

But then I have to take on Joyner’s point. I am well versed (no ego, there. I am just saying.) in the subjects I like and do not know the first thing about subjects I do not. I appreciate the fact there are people out there who adore math, but I cannot stand the subject. I have not used the Pythagorean Theorem since tenth grade geometry, so I have not had to know it since then, either. I have spent my time in the humanities learning what I needed to know.—probably things Mr. Math over there could not rattle off if his life depended on it.

The truth is we both have our uses and failures. There really is not much value in ‘knowing things” other than a nutty sense of satisfaction and the remote possibility of kicking butt on Jeopardy! some day. I am not certain there is anything wrong with that. I do not appreciate ignorance, mind you. I often use my heavily referenced based sense of humor as a litmus test to decide whether certain people are worth talking to. But that is just my personal relationships. I can appreciate people emphasizing only what subjects they really need to know.

Whether they get that or not is another story altogether. I am also a firm believer in people rising to the level of their own incompetence. But I am a cynic. What do you expect?

Monday, February 16, 2009

The People v. George Lucas

It looks like those awful, overblown prequels have prompted a frank documentary regarding Star Wars creator George Lucas' place in the movie making world. In this trailer alone, he is called the Antichrist and some question whether he has fulfilled his destiny or destroyed his legacy with merchandising. Still, there are not a whole lot of prominent Hollywood types interviewed, so there must still be many who are afraid to critique the man.
Religious Influence in America

The map above is the result of a recent Gallup poll asking a little over 350,000 Americans about the importance of religion in their lives. The poll reveals a few interesting things.

First, there really is a Bible Belt that stretches across the South. Christianity has its strongest adherents in the heart of Dixie. Religion is losing its influence in states like Virginia where northerners are encroaching. I expected most of them to become more like secularized Florida, which has been the destination of snowbird retirees since the invention of the air conditioner.

Second, I am surprised the famed red state/blue state divide is not more represented. There is still a religious influence in the prominent blue state of Michigan, Illinois, and even New York. One suspects those states results are skewered by major cities serving as secular enclaves from the bible thumping rubes, hence their status as blue states.

Finally, there are two Secular Belts, as it were. Why does no one come up with a name for the West Coast and New England to identify their lack of religious belief? Is that not just as important as the high Christian of the South? Or is the “Bible Belt” supposed to be an insult to southern states?

A troubling point is that in this survey, a shade over 60% think religion is losing its influence. That is the highest number in the fifty year history of the survey. In the 2002 survey, the numbers were a complete reversal with 71% thinking religion was gaining influence? What is the deal? Have things gotten so bad over the last seven years, people have lost faith there is a god?
Religious Influence in America

The map above is the result of a recent Gallup poll asking a little over 350,000 Americans about the importance of religion in their lives. The poll reveals a few interesting things.

First, there really is a Bible Belt that stretches across the South. Christianity has its strongest adherents in the heart of Dixie. Religion is losing its influence in states like Virginia where northerners are encroaching. I expected most of them to become more like secularized Florida, which has been the destination of snowbird retirees since the invention of the air conditioner.

Second, I am surprised the famed red state/blue state divide is not more represented. There is still a religious influence in the prominent blue state of Michigan, Illinois, and even New York. One suspects those states results are skewered by major cities serving as secular enclaves from the bible thumping rubes, hence their status as blue states.

Finally, there are two Secular Belts, as it were. Why does no one come up with a name for the West Coast and New England to identify their lack of religious belief? Is that not just as important as the high Christian of the South? Or is the “Bible Belt” supposed to be an insult to southern states?

A troubling point is that in this survey, a shade over 60% think religion is losing its influence. That is the highest number in the fifty year history of the survey. In the 2002 survey, the numbers were a complete reversal with 71% thinking religion was gaining influence? What is the deal? Have things gotten so bad over the last seven years, people have lost faith there is a god?
Barack Obama Dismisses Winston Churchill

Once again, Barack Obama proved why those of us who could not vote for him because of his gross incompetence and inexperience were right on the money. Believe it or not, I am not even talking about the dire hyperbole with which he prodded congress to pass Porkulus or risk plunging the United States into cannibalism, then blew off signing the bill until today. No, I am talking about Obama offending our most stalwart ally while dismissing their most famous leader.

In the wake of 9/11, the bloodiest day for Britons since the darkest days of the blitz, the government of the United Kingdom sent a bust of Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the White House as a symbol of solidarity and a reminder that one must fight tyranny on land, sea, and air with bare hands if need be in defense of freedom and home. It was a gesture Bush gladly accepted and gave a visible position.

Obama just sent it back even after the UK government asked if he really wanted to do so.

I am deeply embarrassed. One month into his presidency, the man who pledged to improve our image around the world has offended for no good reason the one country that has stood beside us for the eight years. Would it have killed him to keep the bust? If nothing else, it would be a reiteration of our alliance.

Maybe Obama thought a bust of Neville Chamberlain in his White House would be more appropriate?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Ten Best Conservative Films of the Quarter Century

National Review Online has compiled a list of The 25 Best Conservative Films of the Last 25 Years. The staff of NRO asked readers to submit their choices, along with arguments to defend said choices. I was not aware of the endeavor until finding the final list. It does not matter. I would not have participated anyway. But it is good blogging fodder, so I have decided to compile my own list. Just to be different, I am chopping it down to a top ten.

Here are a few caveats. First, the list covers only movies from 1984-2009. Second, these are not necessarily movies I like, although most of them I do. They just happen to have a discernable conservative message to them. Considering how liberal many creative types are, many of them would probably hate to know the conclusions I drew from some of their efforts. Finally, I rally hate overtly ideological movies. Rightwing An American Carol is just as awful as leftwing Frost/Nixon as far as in-you-face politicizing far outweighing entertainment value. I despised both of them. Let me decide what message to take away from your movie. Once I buy the ticket or the DVD, it is no longer yours anyway. It is mine.
1. Forrest Gump--Gump portrays an innocence and simple savvy that allows him to remain uncorrupted by the decadent ‘60’s. Because of this, he achieves the American dream of heroism and success while remaining unspoiled by both. His true love, Jenny, gets caught up in the sex, drugs, and rock and roll that fueled thedestructive leftwing politics of the era. Note as well that every villain in the movie is a leftwing radical.

2. Braveheart--As a history buff, I cringe at the mangling of facts, but the spirit of the film is clear. Home and freedom are not only worth dying for, they are worth killing for. I am reminded of Patton’s statement that no one ever won a war by dying for his country. Wars are won by making the other poor, dumb b*st*rd die for his country. Braveheart brutally mocks those who would rather open a dialogue with unrelenting enemies rather than go after them by the throats.

3. We Were Soldiers--two Mel Gibson movies in a row might seem odd, but he is about the best filmmaker today who can produce movies that speak to common sense values rather than self-important liberal elitist ideas. This movie was the rarest of birds—a movie about Vietnam which did not criticize the war or blame America for fighting it. Instead, it is all about Americans of all races, creeds, or religions pulling together heroically to do a job. That is America.

4. Blackhawk Down--Much of the rationale for We Were Soldiers applies. Somalia was not politicized one way or the other. It all boils down to the last few lines of the film—when the shooting starts, politics no longer matter. It is all about theguy next to you.

5. Star Trek: First Contact--It would appear conservatives are not the biggest science fiction fans. Or maybe it is just the preachiness that trek often suffers from, but a group of heroes trying to prevent an army of automatons from destroying humanities chance to explore opportunities in space by turning them into uniform drones with a collective conscious telling the “proper” thing to always do is as good a metaphor for fighting communism as there ever was. Too bad it came seven years after the Cold War ended.

6. South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut--The nanny state, while trying to protect kids from anything that might possibly warp their little minds, brings on the apocalypse. The road to hell literally is paved with good intentions, particularly if those good intentions involve getting the government involved.

7. The Dark Knight--Batman has to push the limits of the law in order to defeat the terrorist Joker. This is the ultimate 9/11 movie. It is a sad commentary on our culture it had to be so thickly disguised as something else in order to keep moviegoers from blanching at it. Take note the covert message got through--The Dark Knight is the second highest grossing film in history.

8. Back to School--Rodney Dangerfield is a high school drop out who shows up the snobbish intellectuals at a university in order to prove to his son quitters never win. He gets to jab at Kurt Vonnegut, too.

9. Heartbreak Ridge--For a long stretch there, this was the last pro-American war movie. It was released in 1986 and we did not see another until, what, Saving Private Ryan in 1998? Clint Eastwood was an American hero who hated communists the way any freedom loving American should have. It feels like the quaint notion of a bygone era now.

10. Brazil--a lot of people think it is too weird, but it appeals to my pet interest of examining leftwing utopian dreams and how they are actually dystopia. It is a visually stunning and very funny film, to boot.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: The Incredibles (family values), The Terminator (pro life), Commando, Casino Royale, 300, Rambo: First Blood II (Rambo is more jaded than conservative, no?) Legally Blonde (I flipped a coin with Back to School. The same rationale applies to that movie applies.), Gattaca, Starship Troopers, Blast from the Past, and Red Dawn. (I do not really like it, but it appears to represent a conservative anthem, so it will probably remain a unique effort.)