Dec 31, 2007
10. "Dichotomy" (ahem) Top Ten Lists
9. Atheist Chaplains They're still doing it wrong.
8. GI JOE Update. Looks like we'll be covering this more then... further update is: Rachel Nichols will play Scarlett, a skilled martial artist who specializes in hand-to-hand combat and counterintelligence. Akinnuoye-Agbaje will play ordnance expert Heavy Duty and Taghmaoui will play Breaker, the team's communications specialist. Sienna Miller will play Cobra's the Baroness.
7. Predictions of things in 2008 - 4 parts of potential suck in '08.
6. Aliens Vs. Predators E.T. phone Mike
5. Little Hitlers Your last name is Hitler, what's that like?
4. Shopping at Target - We gotta give Nevermind a steady gig on Blasphemes.
3. Shake the Bear - You people were warned that this would take your soul away...
2. Star Wars Toys I Never Got Guess you're into this stuff too.
1. Why the Simpsons Have Lost Their Way Long article that a lot of people looked at. Homer gets the trophy.
Have a great '08. Should be giggles.
"I stole my victory fair and square. Right dad? Oh, don't mind him, he's just a little stroked out right now."
It starts off with a discussion of "Hamlet" and "A Midsummer's Night Dream" and only gets better from there!
"Robert Reed's Orignal Memo Regarding Episode 116My thoughts: I wonder if he also wrote a dissertation on the location of the family dog "Tiger", or cousin Oliver? I also wonder if he ever discussed with producers how an architect of his stature could have created a house with a living room the size of a stadium, but also a shared bathroom without a toilet.
To Sherwood Schwartz et al.
Notes: Robert Reed
There is a fundamental difference in theatre between:
They require not only a difference in terms of construction, but also in presentation and, most explicitly, styles of acting. Their dramatis peronsae are noninterchangable. For example, Hamlet, archtypical of the dramatic character, could not be written into Midsummer Night's Dream and still retain his identity. Ophelia could not play a scene with Titania; Richard II could not be found in Twelfth Night. In other words, a character indigenous to one style of the theatre cannot function in any of the other styles. Obviously, the precept holds true for any period. Andy Hardy could not suddenly appear in Citizen Kane, or even closer in style, Andy Hardy could not appear in a Laurel and Hardy film. Andy Hardy is a "comedic" character, Laurel and Hardy are of the purest slapstick. The boundaries are rigid, and within the confines of one theatric piece the style must remain constant.
Why? It is a long since proven theorem in the theatre that an audience will adjust its suspension of belief to the degree that the opening of the presentation leads them. When a curtain rises on two French maids in a farce set discussing the peccadilloes of their master, the audience is now set for an evening of theatre in a certain style, and are prepared to accept having excluded certain levels of reality. And that is the price difference in the styles of theatre, both for the actor and the writer--the degree of reality inherent. Pure drama and comedy are closest to core realism, slapstick and fantasy the farthest removed. It is also part of that theorem that one cannot change styles midstream. How often do we read damning critical reviews of, let's say, a drama in which a character has "hammed" or in stricter terms become melodramatic. How often have we criticized the "mumble and scratch" approach to Shakespearean melodrama, because ultra-realism is out of place when another style is required. And yet, any of these attacks could draw plaudits when played in the appropriate genre.
Television falls under exactly the same principle. What the networks in their oversimplification call "sitcoms" actually are quite diverse styles except where bastardized by careless writing or performing. For instance:
The Paul Lynde Show....Farce
I Dream of Jeannie....Fantasy
And the same rules hold just as true. Imagine a scene in M*A*S*H in which Arthur Hill appears playing his "Owen Marshall" role, or Archie Bunker suddenly landing on "Gilligan's Island" , or Dom Deluise and his mother in " Mannix." Of course, any of these actors could play in any of the series in different roles predicated on the appropriate style of acting. But the maxim implicit in all this is: when the first-act curtain rises on a comedy, the second act curtain has to rise on the same thing, with the actors playing in commensurate styles.
If it isn't already clear, not only does the audience accept a certain level of belief, but so must the actor in order to function at all. His consciousness opens like an iris to allow the proper amount of reality into his acting subtext. And all of the actors in the same piece must deal with the same level, or the audience will not know to whom to adjust and will often empathize with the character with the most credibility--total reality eliciting the most complete empathic response. Example: We are in the operating room in M*A*S*H, with the usual pan shot across a myriad of operating tables filled with surgical teams at work. The leads are sweating away at their work, and at the same time engaged in banter with the head nurse. Suddenly, the doors fly open and Batman appears! Now the scene cannot go on. The M*A*S*H characters, dealing with their own level of quasi-comic reality, having subtext pertinent to the scene, cannot accept as real in their own terms this other character. Oh yes, they could make fast adjustments. He is a deranged member of some battle-fatigued platoon and somehow came upon a Batman suit. But the Batman character cannot then play his intended character true to his own series. Even if it were possible to mix both styles, it would have to be dealt with by the characters, not just abruptly accepted. Meanwhile, the audience will stick with that level of reality to which they have been introduced, and unless the added character quickly adjusts, will reject him.
The most generic problem to date in “The Brady Bunch” has been this almost constant scripted inner transposition of styles.
1. A pie-throwing sequence tacked unceremoniously onto the end of a weak script.
2. The youngest daughter in a matter of a few unexplained hours managing to look and dance like Shirley Temple.
3. The middle boy happening to run into a look-alike in the halls of his school, with so exact a resemblance he fools his parents.
And the list goes on.
Once again, we are infused with the slapstick. The oldest boy’s hair turns bright orange in a twinkling of the writer’s eye, having been doused with a non-FDA-approved hair tonic. (Why any boy of Bobby’s age, or any age, would be investing in something as outmoded and unidentifiable as “hair tonic” remains to be explained. As any kid on the show could tell the writer, the old hair-tonic routine is right out of “Our Gang.” Let’s face it, we’re long since past the “little dab’ll do ya” era.)
Without belaboring the inequities of the script, which are varied and numerous, the major point to all this is: Once an actor has geared himself to play a given style with its prescribed level of belief, he cannot react to or accept within the same confines of the piece, a different style.
When the kid’s hair turns red, it is Batman in the operating room.
I can’t play it.
Oh, I also cannot authenticate this, as everywhere else that had it posted linked back to someone else's cutn'dapaste. Even if it's fake, it's fun. Talk about 'overthinking' your role.
Dec 30, 2007
John Edwards leads with 24%, followed by Sen. Hillary Clinton with 23% and Sen. Barack Obama with 22%. Edwards has the momentum since the last poll in early December gaining 3 points, while Clinton lost 4 points and Obama lost 3 points.
Key finding: Mirroring other surveys, Edwards gets the most second-choice support. When Richardson, Biden, Dodd, and Kucinich supporters are realigned, the poll has Edwards leading with 36%, followed by Obama and Clinton tied at 26%.
Among Republicans, Mitt Romney has regained the lead as Mike Huckabee "has lost momentum and support, even among evangelical Christians who had propelled him into the top spot just weeks ago." Romney now leads with 27%, followed by Huckabee at 23%, Fred Thompson at 14%, and Sen. John McCain at 13%. Huckabee is down 8 points since earlier this month, while Romney is up 7 points.
Complete survey results are available for Democrats and Republicans.
(Original story here)
Now, here's a thought I want to share with you, that this "data" seems to be suggesting - What if the Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire turn out to be racists or chauvinistic pigs? (Shock! Horror! But DEMOCRATS aren't racist or chauvinists!!! That's the other guys, Cap'n?! How dare you!) Let's just say they are. That could put John Edwards up enough to pull in Iowa and also N.H.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately... it's against what Rove wants, and it's just wacky enough to happen. I can almost imagine the Iowa voters deciding at the last moment to forget the other two nice people and say "Let's play it safe and stick with the white guy."
If I'm wrong - I'm wrong. I'll owe up to it. -- It would be interesting though.
By all accounts, it seems that the United States Armed forces have not helped, by forcing them to slash inventory and to consider cost cutting measures, including potential layoffs.
However down, the AlQDah group has been known for it's innovation and ability to surprise Wall Street. Even Gen. David Petraeus warned that the group is still the greatest threat facing Iraq today.
An announcement by the CEO Osama Bin Laden yesterday urged his employees and the people of Iraq to reject the US aim of a national unity government:
"Our duty is to foil these dangerous schemes, which try to prevent the establishment of an Islamic state in Iraq," he said at the internet Town Meeting.
Bin Ladin also warned Sunnis in Iraq not to join the US-allied tribal councils fighting his organization.
Iraqi interior ministry spokesman Maj Gen Abdul Kareem Khalaf said the disruption of the AlQDuh network was due to the weeding out of security force personnel with ties to militias. Coupled with a bad marketing scheme and few new product innovations have created a bad climate for AlQDuh.
He said: "[Their] activity is now limited to certain places north of Baghdad. We're working on pursuing those groups, that is the coming fight." His claim that 75% of the group's hideouts in Iraq had been eliminated could not be independently verified. He also said assassination attempts were down 79% since June.
Wall Street analysis marks the decline with the fall in violence over the year coincides with the surge in US troop numbers authorized by President George W Bush.
One such analysis comes from the BBC's Jo Floto in Baghdad, who says there are a number of other factors behind the security gains, such as a six-month ceasefire announced in August by the Mehdi Army militia of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr.
But perhaps most crucial, has been the emergence of Sunni militias who once fought the Americans and the Iraqi government but are now fighting AlQDuh.
In his year-end review for media, Gen Petraeus said US figures showed the number of overall attacks had fallen by 60% since June.
But his figures also showed a slight rise in suicide car and vest bombs since October, highlighting the fragility of security.
He said tougher action by a number of Arab nations had helped reduce the inflow of foreign funds and fighters into Iraq.
'Less Iranian weapons, fewer deliverables'
Concerted action by the authorities in Damascus had halved the flow of insurgents through neighboring Syria, he said.
According to Gen Petraeus, attacks using Iranian-supplied deliverables had also fallen in recent months.
But he nevertheless called on Iran to respect a pledge to "stop the training, funding and arming of the so-called special groups".
Analysts said this was a reference to Shia militias that have splintered away from other vendors such as the Mehdi Army.
Gen Petraeus said intelligence indicated that funding from abroad for AlQDuh had fallen. Perhaps that the weak dollar hasn't helped in their Q4 showing.
"Some of what we are told is that they are really struggling to buy gas for the vehicles, you're seeing a much more survival level of conversation [among AlQDuh in Iraq operatives]."
With their operation in Iraq faltering, many insiders feel that the AlQDuh in Iraq venture might be spun off or even sold as a last minute cost saving tactic. Many see the organization's new focus on Pakistan - and the attempts to destabilize it's government there - as another factor of the weakness of the terrorist maker's ability to perform in Iraq.
Perhaps they are redoubling their efforts in Pakistan because they aren't doing well in Iraq. Besides, Pakistan is a nuclear state, and focusing more on long term goals may pay off for them in the long run.
Dec 29, 2007
(link to the story in The Guardian)
Boys should be encouraged to play with toy guns at nursery school because it can help improve their academic performance, according to government advice issued yesterday.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families said boys aged between three and five had fallen behind their female classmates partly because nursery staff tried to curb their desire for boisterous play involving weapons. Boys were more likely to become interested in education and would perform better if encouraged to pursue their chosen play.
Amazing. It's not only okay, it's now encouraged. Who would have thunk it? Common sense rules!
The best part is that this story comes from ENGLAND - a Nanny State notorious for banning their citizenry from owning guns.
- Let's take a second and remind you I'm talking about TOY guns and little boys. I'm not talking about arming the first graders in your neighborhood and shipping them to Iraq. This is a discussion about allowing little boys to go 'pew pew pew' at recess.
- I also think it's hilarious that the Nanny State is telling nannies how to do their job. That's, like, irony?
Dec 28, 2007
(Here's the video) - not of the presentation - no, that would have been sweet - it's a video of this article... almost word for word...
"Jacobson said that she quickly felt threatened." He took the Bible and he said, 'I'm going to do this because I can. I'm going to do something that your stupid, little minds aren't going to be able to comprehend and he took the Bible and started ripping out pages."
School officials said that they know about the incident."We take this extremely seriously," said Dr. Karen Schulte, Janesville School District safety and security coordinator. Officials said that they will not confirm whether the boy was suspended.
"We do an assessment of this situation and students involved to ensure the safety of every student and staff at that school," said Schulte.Officials said that ripping up a Bible is constitutionally protected, adding the punishment has nothing to do with the student's Freedom of Speech demonstration."
Any actions that were taken in this case were because of behavior separate from the Bible," said Parker High Principal Dale Carlson.Some parents said that they disagree with the school's reaction."The school worries about his right to privacy and to free speech that to teachers' rights or the students' right to safety," said Paul Jacobson, Elle’s father.He said that he's pulling his two high school daughters out of Parker High.
"It's not about free speech. It's not about necessarily about the Bible although that was disgusting, too. This is about the vicious, vile manner in the way this kid went about this and tried to make some kind of point," he said. Elle Jacobson's parents are looking for another school for their daughters.
Parker High School officials aren't saying whether the student who sparked the controversy is back at school.In a separate incident, following the punishment, three Parker High Students wore T-shirts asking for the student in question to be brought back after a punishment was levied against him. School officials made those students change clothes. We're full up on controversy.
Sounds to me like this kid was trying out performance art in high school? Most of the kids who did that in my school became tackling dummies for the football team. Not always during practice. But if that doesn't work out, I would suggest that he look into reading up on that non-transfat oil conversion for your fry station, dude. Seriously. It looks like it's going to be a bitch!
Dec 27, 2007
But while "AVP" flaunted its status as R-rated holiday counterprogramming with the ad line "No Peace on Earth," the day's other new arrivals struck a more hopeful, seasonal note."'Alien' was sensational," said Bert Livingston, Fox senior vp distribution. Although its R rating meant that the movie didn't venture into some small towns, it nevertheless commanded a $3,713 per-theater average in the 2,563 theaters where it set up shop.
The original "AVP," which brought together the voracious monsters from the studio's "Alien" and "Predator" franchises, bowed to an opening weekend of $38.3 million in a wider release of 3,395 theaters in August 2004 on its way to an eventual $80.3 million domestic gross. The new film, directed by the brother team of Colin Strause and Greg Strause, played two midnight shows on Christmas Eve at the Mann-operated Grauman's Chinese Theatre inand Regal's Stadium 14 in before making its bid for young males, eager to escape family gatherings, on Christmas Day.
Hollywood Reporter, Thanks (link for more)
The Pakistani opposition leader has been killed in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others...
Well, this is an unfortunate start to 2008.
I'm not saying that Musharaf is going to start a shooting war with India, but the whole thing smells like an airport men's room.
Dec 26, 2007
(link, Mother Jones)
You know, it used to be that if you could draw the picture of a duck and a pirate you could be a graphic designer...
And at finally you can respect the Philosophy major. At least there's a method!
I mean, what is the Creationist Method?
Throw your hands up and declare, "It's just too complicated! I believe God must have done it!"
Belief in a thing doesn't make it so. I believe more than three people read this blog - it just doesn't make it so. See, I can add code to the HTML and actually 'record' and 'observe' how many 'hits' Blasphemes takes - and no, I'm not talking about the War on Drugs right now...
Creation Science has got to be like Military Intelligence or Jumbo Shrimp - right?
Frankly, I'd be more impressed if there was a Masters in Magic. That freaky dude with the mustache who was on the Muppet Show, Doug Henning could be a guest speak- oh, he's dead? Really? Liver Cancer? Wow. Bummer.
I'd keep making jokes, but this is Baylor University. A (once) respected institution. Does the Oral Roberts 'school' offer this?
Fine. You know what? Go for it. And that's one more person I don't have to compete with for a real job. Even your typical HR slug will have a red flag for this applicant. You might want to get a minor in 'Frier Technology in the 21st Century." That evolution from Trans-fat oil to non-transfat oil at your fry station is going to be a bitch, dude.
Yep. Time for a pretentious look at the "Best Things" that have gone on in the last 360 some odd days. More likely than not, you were too busy - or didn't give a rip - the first 360. Maybe you've got another long weekend coming up? Maybe you want to look like a smart ass at the New Years Eve party to some hot drunk thing? What the hell do I know?
I know this: Lists of Things sell magazines.
Maybe a list of useless knowledge - you may have noticed, I've got a lot of that! - in a list form on Blasphemes will somehow catapult us past the Huffington Post?
Who cares. Here's a list for ya':
Important Films (not seen)
Opened May 25th, 2007
Directed by Luc Besson
The guy who did Fifth Element. Yeah.
So it's in black and white? Its about a guy who and there are some morals in it. It's in Paris - they probably speak some French or something? First time I heard about it. Today. While researching this list.
I have a feeling there might be a reason I never heard of it - what'a think?
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Opened September 21st, 2007
Directed by Andrew Dominik
Brad Pitt in a Jesse James deal - but not playing Jesse James. I hear it looks great - which to anyone other than a Cinematographer ought to read as "boring as paint drying."
Death at a Funeral
Opened August 17th, 2007
Directed by Frank Oz
It's Mrs. Piggy! Bert! He made a movie! Cool. It's about dead British people? Uh, yeah! I'm running out to see this.
Opened April 6th, 2007
Directed by Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino
I know. Like you I wanted to see this. Couldn't get the change or the time to get to the theater. Also - a little scared of the crowd who could get the change and the time to see this. Thought it'd be best to wait until DVD. It'd be tough to keep my drink on for the 3 hour plus run time of this thing. Funny though. It's on DVD now, and I still haven't seen it. But dude, if you did go, good for you. But judging by the numbers - you're the only one who made it out.
I'm Not There
Directed by Todd Haynes
Six people as Bob Dylan - including Cate Blanchett - I'm not there either.
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Opened August 17th, 2007
Directed by Seth Gordon
Documentary about Donkey Kong - and the people who are still playing it. It's enchanting, so I've read. I like Donkey Kong as much as the other guy. I even played it at a bar - not that long ago too. However, I'm not trying to beat the world record in Donkey Kong. Not in 1980, and especially not in 2007. It seems that this limited release has a limited audience too. The epic battle for Donkey Kong high score, today? In 2007? Guys, might want to check into World of Warcraft, okay? As far as this doc goes, I think I'll just keep my quarters, thanks.
Opened March 30th, 2007
Directed by Scott Frank
Now this I did see. That guy who was in Brick is the lead character - you know - the kid from that 3rd Rock sitcom? It's a Memento meets, ah, um - it's a little Fargo, with uh - Memento - But it's not Memento - it's more like... it's a heist movie with a Memento-ish kind-of character. And there's some stuff in between!
I'm not selling it. It was good. It's just a really hard movie to sell.
Opened July 20th, 2007
Directed by Danny Boyle
I love Danny Boyle, man. I love his work. Even the kid movie Millions - I dig the way he tells a story, his look and everything. But something about this idea that the sun is all burnt out and its up to this rag-tag-crew of misfits to re-ignite it. er, Yeah?
Another one of those "Looks great" comments there...
Here's a couple others that are on 'Top Ten lists'. Have a pretty good feeling this is the first time you're hearing of them too.
Across the Universe - People either love it or hate it. It's the Beatles music in visual form. For example: "I want hold your hand" tenderly expresses the feelings of a lesbian cheerleader - oh. Can't believe I haven't seen this!
The Kite Runner - Pre-war Afghanistan - hold on - about a boy who was molested? Next! (Expect this to win buckets of Oscars.)
Away from Her - love Sarah Polley - she's not in it, she directed it. Bummer. It's about Alzheimer's. Double bummer. Next.
La Vie en Rose French. Next.
Juno - This is basically Knocked Up, but for the 'smart' people. You know - snobs!
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead - Out of the cineplex before anyone heard about it. It's got Phillip Seymour Hoffman in it. Brant from Big Liebowski. Man, I wish that guy could get more work. It seems like no one has ever heard of this guy.
Atonement - or English Paint Drying in Mansion. Unless Keira Knightley is naked in it, it will be forever missed, as the love of the family groundskeeper keeping a terrible secret all in the backdrop of WWII - not kidding.
Great Debaters - Denzel is smart. This title to his movie is dumb. South Park should do an episode making fun of this. Oh, I'm sure it's great! I am dumb.
Movies I really WANTED to see, never got around to it:
Once - Groovy date movie. A Dublin street musician meets a hot Czech chick - and they make beautiful music together. Yeah, corny gag -- apparently this is fantastic.
Into the Wild - Sean Penn directed the story of Christopher McCandless, an idealistic young man who fought against the grain of the 'system' and became one with nature. Kind of the same way as Timothy Treadwell from Grizzly Man. Nah, I'm really simplifying this amazing story for a laugh. I friggin' loved this book! I wanted to make this movie myself. I wanted to be Chris McCandless until I sold out and started typing this blog. Every kid should read this instead of Catcher in the Rye. I hope the film lives up to the book.
Best Movie of 2007, that I really DID see, and told you people to see. I hope you did too:
This really is one of the best movies I've seen in a long, long time.
"This article is a little long and knee-deep in soft-focus intellectualism, but I've never seen an article that so clearly expresses the heart of the problem with the Democratic Party and the love/hate relationship with The Clintons. How Clinton and Ron Brown and a handful of other Democrats adopted the "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" strategy after being pussywhipped by twelve years of Reagan and Bush. How Clinton exposed an inner hypocrisy from the very beginning that was the source of embarrassment from his supporters. How that hypocrisy has poisoned the Democratic Party through The Gore and Kerry elections and led to a Congress that caves in to Bush out of weakness despite a majority. Read it if you got time."
My problems with the article, while I agree with why the Democratic party and voters have a love/hate relationship with the Clintons - it fails to mention why he was able to beat George the First. It wasn't his compromised vision - it was because Pat Buchanan punched holes in George's armor, exposing him as a naked emperor. Then Ross Perot kicked him around a bit.
Perot did enough damage, and by bowing out, then coming back in was calculated enough to keep Perot and Bush out of the White House. This allowed Clinton in with 42%. Clinton was simply at the right place at the right time.
All this crap about his platform rebuilding in New Orleans Progressive' new ethos stuff -
isn't named by name, I noticed...
nor his failures with 2/26 World Trade Center? TWA 800? Waco?)
Frankly - it's either Bill running for a third, illegal term in the White house, or it's not.
Again, Hillary will LOSE to ANY Republican. Obama and Edwards BEAT all the Republicans.
Once that poll came out, 'Inevitability' was no longer attached to Hillary's "Change Banner."
UPDATE: How much "experience" can Hillary really have if she never even had a security clearance while in the White House? I have been hoping that someone would finally call her on this one - she's either experienced or isn't. It's all starting to fall apart now. (link to the story)
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) also estimates that between 200,000 and 800,000 Israelis would be killed, the Jerusalem Post reported.The report, which is theoretical and based on limited verified knowledge of Israel's and Iran's nuclear capability, paints a bleak picture for both nations.
It estimates that a nuclear war would last approximately three weeks and ultimately end with the annihilation of Iran, based on Israel's alleged possession of sophisticated and powerful nuclear weapons.
The report does not predict the number of deaths due to nuclear fallout.
It lists possible targets for an Iranian strike as Tel Aviv and Haifa, while the list of probable targets in Iran includes Tehran and Tabriz.
The report also points to Israel's Arrow missile defense system as an obstacle facing any Iranian strike.
Another scenario includes Syria coming to Iran's defense with chemical and biological warheads launched at Israeli targets. Up to 800,000 Israelis would be killed if that were to happen, according to the report. Syria, however, would be forced to grapple with the deaths of approximately 18 million of its citizens if Israel responded with its nuclear arsenal, the Post reported.
Thanks to Fox News for this completely unbiased view of next year's war!
Dec 24, 2007
Hey, Happy Birthday - To Me...
Hey, everybody; Hope this letter finds you well. I found the card at a dollar store. I thought it was cute.
It's that time of year again, the sun is at it's lowest point in the Northern Hemisphere and it's time to get to the mall. Sorry for the form letter, as you know I haven't been in touch as much as I'd have liked to this year. Things have been crazy. Well, you know how it is. Oh, and Dad says "hi."
It's been a busy year again. I appeared in various tacos in Central America, a grilled cheese sandwich and a couple tree stumps. And then my mom has to one-up me by appearing in a Chicago Overpass. Man, even at her age she's still very competitive.
Don't worry, even though I'm busy, I'm always listening to your prayers. I might not always find time to grant them all - especially those of you who are about break some Commandments. Especially if it's a couple at the same time! Oh, and pretty much any politician can guarantee that I'm not listening to them anymore. (Larry from Idaho knows what I'm talking about.) I just thought I'd get that note out now, especially with the election year coming up and all.
I just thought I'd write and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I know that's not as fashionable as it should be, maybe I'm supposed to say 'happy holidays,' and as a Jew you might think it's a little odd. I think it's okay to say 'Merry Christmas' to everyone. You don't even have to be a Christian, you don't have to believe I'm divine. All I'm doing is wishing you well. At the very least, enjoy the day off. Okay? And since I'm on the subject, I think putting a nativity on public property is a little pushy. A church, fine. But for a public place, not as much. it's also kind of embarrassing. It's like when company comes over and your mom pulls out the baby album? Yeah, it's a lot like that.
Anyway, to me this is a special time of year, and I just thought I'd remind you to 'Be as nice as you can to other people'. And then try harder. Stretch a little. Even people you don't like. Actually especially people you don't like, because, come on, if it's hard for you to be nice to the people you like, you're already in trouble, right? That's the important stuff. That's the message I really wanted to get out.
Again, sorry about the form letter, it's just the easiest way to get the message out without having multiple translations and 2000 years muck it up.
Prince of Peace.
Dec 23, 2007
Santa crucified by consumerism: Man protests commercialized Christmas
Art Conrad hung a Santa from a cross in front of his West Bremerton, Wash. home, to make a statement about the commercialization of the holiday season.
Conrad has nailed jolly old St. Nick to a 15-foot crucifix in front of his home.Hey, Art? Duh?!
"Santa has been perverted from who he started out to be," Conrad said. "Now he's the person being used by corporations to get us to buy more stuff."
Old St. Nick, actually Agios Nikolaos, "victory of the people" is the common name for Nicholas of Myra, a saint and Bishop of Myra in Lycia of Anatolia. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, children, and students. Now he's a big fat jolly Coca Cola pitchman living in the North Pole who enslaves elves and uses flying reindeer that are able to warp the space time continuum to break-in to people's homes to deliver presents? Yeah, Art, what's up?
Although, I gotta add that I can't wait to see what Art will be doing for Easter!
Here's the NPR Story
Ah, Atheist Chaplains? Yeah, you're doing it wrong.
Now, if you've been reading Blasphemes, you know I'm not exactly a big fan of organized religion. But I've personally been very easy on the atheists out there. For the most part, they keep to themselves and do on to others as they wish that others would do onto them - kind of like that one guy, oh, what was his name? You know? He had long hair. I think his name was Jim and he lived behind the supermarket?
But around this time of the year, when all the preparations for the Christ-mas, the Kwanzaas and the Hanukkah celebrations the Atheists look around and are either jealous of all the fun everyone pretends to be having - or just want to yell out loud that everyone is an idiot except them.
If it's jealousy - hey, guess what, it's just a game face you're looking at. Do you really think all those people at the mall, buying sweaters with reindeer and pink slippers really want to hang out with the people they're giving that stuff to? Look at the Chia Pet - probably one of the worst things a human being could give to another person - I mean, as far as I know you can't even eat the thing - it's a thoughtless and useless gift, right? But still it continues to be a great seller this time of the year. Why? It says to me, "I don't know you, I don't want to, but I'm obligated by my birth into this stupid family to purchase you a gift. Here's a Chia Pet I picked up at Walgreen's on the way over here."
And if the atheist looks around at the mall or the holiday party and just thinks that everyone is an idiot for buying into this 'holiday crap', and then feels obligated to tell everyone that they are an idiot because of this belief system - whoa, cowboy. Let's pull back on those reins just a tad. That's one of the reason you're an atheist, right? Because everyone is always pushing their beliefs on you, remember? The Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Scientologists, Methodists, Satanists, Jihadists, Fundies, Trekers and Random Extremists - that's just off the top of my head, all want your dollars and beliefs to mirror theirs -- or we'll kill you and you'll burn in hell for eternity you son-of-a-bitch, which ever comes first. When Atheists start pushing their belief system (that there is no belief system, and all religion is dumb) it begins to smack AS it's own religion. Atheist Chaplains, remember? And frankly, if you're meeting with other atheists, and have a fold up chair and a table - you are now organized. Let's back off the gas a tad - why not try Agnostic - where you accept there MIGHT be a higher power, but you're too lazy to give a rip.
I know you're feeling really pissed that people look like they're having fun. All the little kids are crying and peeing on Santa's lap. You're going to have to go to that damned 'holiday party' and someone is going to send you a Christmas card with their kids on it. Any one of those things piss you off more than the 10 Commandments in the courthouse. I know.
Let me offer you one quick thought: once you accept that XmasKwanzaasChanukahFestivus festivals all happen to reside at the Winter Solstice - and pretty much all of humanity has always celebrated these moments in the sun's movement - you'll be a lot happier.
Maybe the sun beginning its return to almighty life giving strength exactly 6 months from now, and celebration that the sun's weakness 'doesn't get any worse' and in fact, gets better after the 21st of December -- maybe THAT can be your 'happy holiday'...
If that doesn't do it for you, take comfort in the thought that it'll be another FULL year before you have to deal with this crap again!
Dec 22, 2007
- In 1659, the Puritans of Massachusetts banned the celebration of Christmas, "which had become known for public drunkenness, licentious sex and gambling."
- The American vision of Santa Claus was created by Clement Clarke Moore in his 1822 poem that starts " 'Twas the night before Christmas" and was later exported to the world largely via Coca-Cola ads.
- Department stores, invented in America, "contributed greatly to the economic growth of Christmas." Macy's began decorating its windows in the 1870s and launched its Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was created for Chicago's Montgomery Ward stores in 1939.
- "The first electric Christmas-tree lights, 80 hand-blown red, white, and blue glass bulbs, festooned the 1882 tree of Edward Johnson, an executive in the Edison Illuminating Co."
It's always been about the consumer buying crap. Please don't look so surprised.
Ladies and gentlemen, the next (what?) huge sci-fi franchise has a director. During an interview with “The Kingdom” director Peter Berg, he confirmed the rumor that “Dune” is coming and that he’s the one that will helm it. Calling the plans for him to direct “a done deal,” Berg told me that “if it weren’t for the writer’s strike, we’d be in it right now.” (chalk one victory up for the writer's strike then!)
Berg says that while there’s no script yet, they have a list of writers they plan to go out to once the strike settles. The helmer called himself “a huge fan of the book” and when asked about the scale of the film, he simply replied, “big big big.”
As any fan of the Frank Herbert classic knows, “Dune” received the big screen treatment once before in a divisive David Lynch film. Berg said that while he’s “a big fan of Lynch,” he believes “that interpretation has left the door wide open for a remake.” (and as there's no mention of the Sci-fi Channel's version that not only remade Dune, but also Dune Messiah combined with Children of Dune - guess you're not THAT big of a fan, huh, Peter?)
No word on casting - I can imagine Tom Cruise...
Meanwhile, Berg also confirmed that even before “Dune,” he’s likely to direct Tom Cruise in his next film. Berg called the script about a CIA agent on the run after being accused of being a spy “great” and “a great role for Tom.” (Because we've NEVER seen this movie before - it's totally original!)
Berg described the story as an “action thriller” and that “the audience is trying to figure out whether this character is good or bad. He’s claiming one thing and we’re not sure up until the very end.” (So it's complicated, and original, and it's Tom running! Yep, never seen that before! Kablam!)
When asked if he’s met with Cruise himself yet, Berg said “we’ve been talking.” (ah, no, that means you're leaving messages on his voice mail - this is called 'not signed'...)
Dec 21, 2007
Three actors on assignment in "G.I. Joe"
Sienna Miller is the young lady below - perhaps will be playing Scarlet?
So, let me ask you - Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, as an international force of operatives set in Does that piss you off? Or does the casting of Siena Miller and Rachel Nichols offset the Brussels thing?
To add to the CIA's woes today, and the continued failure to keep the highest most sensitive secrets from our enemies and the press - the following photo has surfaced.
On first glance, this photo confirms the conspiracy we've suspected all along. I'm not going to speculate if the image has been 'doctored' or 'PhotoShopped' in anyway. That's another article all together.
What I will question is how this photo was leaked? Why now? Is it to distract the press from the Hillary free fall in Iowa, N.H. and S.Carolina? Is it to show how porous the CIA has become? Or is there a darker message? Perhaps to show us that our borders cannot be closed from Northern intruders?
The other parts are on YouTube as well.
Part 2 of 7
Here's a great, scene by scene discussion/break down of the entire Star Wars Holiday Special
(link to iMockery.com)
Dec 20, 2007
"House Republicans were almost in a state of euphoria as they left Washington, D.C., on Wednesday."
As Congress now adjourns for the year, has 2007 been an absolute disaster for Pelosi, Reid, and new Democrat majorities in both Chambers ushered in last November with so much optimism? In fact, given what appears to be failure after failure to deliver on 2006 campaign promises, do Congressional Democrats possibly represent lamer ducks than the President? How does the ineptitude of the first year of the 110th Congress impact next November's elections if at all? It could be interesting, especially with Hillary on the top of the ticket. You could see a whole lotta' Freshmen Republicans taking the entire Congress? Tack that prediction on to my outlook for '08, okay?
I crawled into my house last night later than usual after an evening of poker with friends. Everyone who plays poker has a bad beat story. After enough of them, you stop sharing with others and just meditate on the loss. I try to figure out if the move I made which was my demise was the right one. What are the odds, etc. i was mulling over how a two outer could have taken me three times in one game. I tried to figure out the odds (5% three times) and couldn't do it. Besides my poor math skills, the incessant drone from the Christmas station was driving me crazy. Then it came on. The worst song ever. "Little Drummer Boy."
Not only is the song poor. Barump-a-bump-bumm. But this is a boy who should not be praised nor honored and certainly not at Christmas. This kid had the nerve to show up at the Son of God's barn days after birth. The poor mother is laying in straw, surrounded by noisy, stinky animals, half the population of Bethlehem showing up with lame gifts, a bright star that makes it impossible to get a good night's sleep, and a husband who seems not to talk. Now, this little prick brings a drum. Not as a gift. He's going to play a song. On a drum. Only.
I have seen a "song" on a drum. I called it a drum solo and it was not lullaby-ish. In fact, it was loud. Now this kid starts his Barump-a-bump-bump-ing around the baby and cows and sheep and what not. Joe doesn't make a peep. Not a "get the hell out of here, can't you see my son, the Son of God, is sleeping?" or even a broken drum to speak of. They sit there and watch the freaking ox and lamb tapping along to the never ending barumping and pounding and it makes me nervous. I do not like it.
And Mary puts up with it. The whole time. That lady must be a saint.
Other reasons to hate the song:
- That horrible Bing Crosby David Bowie thing.
- The Trapp Family singers sang this on their retirement album. They did make the "ox and lamb kept time" into "the ox and ass kept time" which although equally ridiculous still has the word ass in it so church could be alittle more fun.
- Richard M. Nixon's favorite carol. Enough said.
Here's a detailed 10 step guide to dealing with broken light bulbs has been drawn up by the UK House of Commons Commission—an organization responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Parliamentary estate.
Naturally, this had many taxpayers in an uproar. It seems that the people are angry that they need tax money to tell them how to throw away a lightbulb. A spokesman for the Taxpayers' Alliance referred to the list as "ridiculous." He went on to gripe about how public officials are being paid to write "guidelines on how to use a dustpan and brush." However, Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury. Not something to play around with - anymore.
But right when you think that the nanny state will step in and educate the public - Nick Harvey, the Commission spokesman, said nothing of mercury in his response. Instead, he noted that the guidelines were necessary, because "there had been an incident where a light bulb had been broken and placed in a waste paper bin. Someone had picked it out and cut their finger." So it appears that a portion of the commission's £144 million budget is spent on band-aid prevention?
I have not seen such warnings from Al Gore, nor our own governmental bodies warning of the mercury that these bulbs contain, nor am I aware of my disposal procedures for such bulbs in the U.S. Feel free to forward that message along in the comments section. Expect these to be filling up our landfills and entering the water supply in, oh, about 5-7 years when they burn out.
Dec 19, 2007
CIA: Waterboarding an Al Qaeda captive provided valuable information and prevented future attacks. FBI: All information obtained from captive as a result of waterboarding was crap.
Abu Zubaydah was:
A) A high-ranking Al Qaeda operative who largely confounded U.S. interrogators with his literary and tactical genius until they submitted him to waterboarding and other forms of torture. After that, he provided key information that likely preempted future attacks.
B) A low-ranking and mentally ill Al Qaeda operative who provided valuable information under gentle questioning, but whose confessions made under torture were useless. Much of the threat information he provided was "crap."
A is the CIA's version (and the President's). B is the FBI's. And in today's Washington Post, Dan Eggen and Walter Pincus walk through the competing profiles. Zubaydah, remember, was one of the two detainees whose interrogations appeared on the destroyed CIA tapes.
It's clear off the bat that the version of events provided by John Kiriakou, the former CIA agent who launched something like a PR blitz last week, is not quite right. In his telling, Zubaydah held out until waterboarded; after only 35 seconds of that, he gave in and "from that day on, he answered every question."
By contrast, both CIA and FBI agents tell the Post that he provided valuable information before he was waterboarded. And there wasn't just one session: "Instead, [other former and current officials] said, harsh tactics used on him at a secret detention facility in Thailand went on for weeks or, depending on the account, even months."and then it gets more interesting.... (Link to the story)
Without quoting George Orwell - which is difficult - Why would one government agency completely contradict the other government agency? Is this a funding feud? Is this to insert dis-information to our enemies? I'm confused by the confusion.
Wait, maybe there are two guys named Abu Zubaydah!
That's probably it. A case of mistaken identity like the Prince and the Pauper?!
Sure. Oh, the hilarity! Like a Woody Allen movie or something?
"Sorry about the waterboarding, old chap. You look just like Abu!"
"Yeah, I get that a lot! Can I go home now?"
He has recently accepted the post of Prime Minister if his hand picked Presidential candidate wins the election. First deputy prime-minister and chairman of Gazprom Dmitry Medvedev is expected to be carried in on the popularity of Putin. Putin has thrown lip service that he will not tinker with the Constitution, nor will the responsibilities of Prime Minister and President be switched. Far from it, I'd venture to say that Medvedev will just hand it all over to Putin, rather than swapping jobs.
Putin has found legal maneuvers around the term limits. He could dissolve the government. He could re-write the Constitution (ala Hugo Chavez). Or he could resign and then re-run for President. The path he has chosen seems more politically pleasing to the Russian people and to the rest of the world. It's still a power grab, but it is legal.
Wow. Power grab right in front of everyone. No one bats an eye. Everyone is just letting it happen. Gosh, it's great that can't happen in the United States... right?
Hold on. Question posed: Is Bill Clinton doing the same exact same thing? Is Bill running for a third term, without being on the ballot? Isn't this a blatant, illegal power grab from the American people? The pretense is that Hillary is running for President.
However, seeing Bill out on the campaign trail so much and so often talking about himself rather than his wife, why aren't more people speculating the unconstitutionality and blatant power grab in front of everyone's eyes? He is popular, you know?
With the changes in the Hillary campaign from Inevitable to Question Mark, perhaps, maybe, eyes are opening? Maybe it's time that real hardball questions be raised? How can Hillary run on 'Change' and not be laughed off the stage? Hopefully someone will bring some tomatoes to the next Clinton rally and show her the door?
There's been a couple really funny things going on lately - one of them was Bill, Hillary and Magic Johnson going to a grocery store in Iowa.
Everyone, and the press followed Bill around the store. He finally had to corral everyone over to Hillary.
I can only imagine how surreal that scene must have been.
Magic Johnson? Dude? WTF?
The other really funny thing is that Bill Clinton is questioning Obama's leadership and experience. Uh, hey Bill - remember way back in 1991? When all you brought to the table was Arkansas? Foreign Policy Experience? Arkansas Gov?
Sorry Bill - on this one Obama has YOU beat. Even a two year Senator would have more exposure, and I guess 'experience' over you, as a candidate had in '91.
Bill also said he and 41 - that's George H.W. Bush - would tour the world on a good will trip to give out coupons apologizing for the past 8 years... or something like that. I'm guessing that it wasn't cleared by Hillary, or 41 either. Just a guess.
Hey, Bill, you're kind of turning into a liability. You can stop helping now, okay? Thanks.