Friday, July 31, 2009

Stuck in the 60's

Oh, that brings back memories. Very distant ones, but vivid nonethless. Did we really used to take a mega-hit, then stand up real fast, so we could pass out, fall back onto the couch, and hit our heads on the cement wall behind the couch? Just so we could try to remember the weird little "40,000 Headmen" dream in that short time while we were unconscious? . Yeah, ISTR we did. I s'pose that's why they called it "dope".

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

Leaving aside materialistic options such as going back to the spring of 1969 and betting on the New York Mets to win it all, the one thing I'd personally try to change in history is the burning to the ground of the Library of Alexandria in the 6th Century AD. What an irreplaceable loss! . And on an entirely unrelated matter, Jason bought Liz The Time Traveler's Wife for Christmas last year. It's still on her TBR shelf, but she's considering making it her next read. That should be interesting.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Different World (part two)

As mentioned in Part One of this rant, there were two times in my life when it dawned on my rather thick head that it's a different world for Black Americans than for us White folks. The first time was at one of my many sessions of Traffic School. This was about 15 years ago. The instructor was black, and wasn't an off-duty cop. His name was Mister Robinson, and he told us that for the next 7 hours, we were in his neighborhood. . We were doing the usual stuff - watching countless movies, and discussing our citations. Since most of us were uncommunicative, Mr. Robinson was recounting some of his own experiences. . He started into a story about once when he was pulled over here in Phoenix. And how, when the (white) cop came up to his window, he made very, very sure to move his hand very, very slowly to the glove-box where his registration was. "Because," he said, "you don't ever want to give the policeman a reason for shooting you." . Wow. It has never occurred to me in the many times that I've been pulled over ("Stop" apparently is an absolute term, not a relative one); that some unwitting gesture I make might lead to my demise. Yet here was a traffic school instructor, cautioning anyone who wasn't white to be extremely transparent in all your actions when a policeman pulls you over. .The second incident involved the O.J. criminal trial. The whole nation was caught up in the drama, including everyone where I work. . The trial part was over and a TV was set up in the break-room. It took a while for the jury to reach a verdict, but one morning it was announced that they were filing back into the courtroom. Everyone stopped working, and crowded around the television. . We had three or four black girls working there at the time, and they were in the front row. When the "Not Guilty" verdict was announced, they all spontaneously jumped up, screaming and clapping. . For the record, I thought that was the correct verdict. The cops had planted evidence, and once that was exposed, it was tough to say OJ was proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. Nevertheless, I didn't see that it was something to cheer and clap about. OJ obviously did it (if not him, then who?), but you can't allow cops to taint the evidence. . I didn't understand the actions of those black girls until now. They, and Mr. Robinson, lived in a different world than me. One where, if you're black and there are cops involved, you're in a life-threatening situation. Racial profiling, on both a conscious and subconscious level, still runs rampant in the USA. And it is not possible for us white folks to "put ourselves in the shoes of Professor Gates" when the white cop was in his house, and was extremely skeptical that Gates was anything but a burglar. . So here's hoping that the cop and Gates do indeed end up having a beer with Obama. It'll be another small step in stamping out racial prejudice here in America.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Heineken Art

These are simply amazing. And a quick post, since I made it to the gym for the first time in about two months tonight. I walked 3½ miles on the treadmill, which was much better than walking 3½ miles in the 115°F outside afternoon heat. Nevertheless, the soles of my feet are screaming at me right now.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Run, Sarah, Run

And so begins the speculation as to what's going on in that empty head of hers. A presidential run? Dittohead money from a book deal? Or perhaps sipping pina coladas on a beach in Aruba, in order to evade the plethora of ethics probes coming in Alaska.
Personally, Sarah, I'm hoping it's a presidential run. I even promise to contribute. I think you'll get your political butt kicked worse than McCain did.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Different World

There is this theory that states, since we have a black US president, that surely the USA has resolved the issue of racial bigotry. And that esteemed Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is a big bad bully who posed a threat to the uber-sensitive, mild-mannered Cambridge, Massachusetts police force recently and had to be arrested for disturbing the peace. What utter hogwash. For an intelligent look at this, see Newsweek's article here. This is unfortunately a he-said-she-said situation, but on this much both parties agree : . A (white) officer responded to an attempted-burglary call-in after Gates had jumped his own fence because, after returning home from a business trip, he realized he didn't have his house keys. The officer demanded to see some identification. Gates initially refused, but then relented, showed ID, and it was established that indeed, he did live there. . Here the stories diverge. Gates says the officer got mouthy; the police say just the opposite. The truth most likely lies somewhere in between. But in a pinch, I believe Gates more than the cops. I have had police on my doorstep a couple times, wanting information. The thing is - police carry guns. I don't. I therefore tend not to get too sassy with them. The thing about being dead right is, you're still dead. In any case, keep one thing in mind - it is not against the law to yell at a policeman when he's in your home. Stupid, yes. Illegal and/or peace-disturbing, no. . The truth is - its a very different world for black Americans than for white Americans. I can think of two different times when that fact was brought home to me, but for the sake of brevity, we'll keep those for another post. Racial Bigotry - both conscious and subconscious - seethes in the US right now, in part because one of "them" is in the White House. . We shall see how this all plays out. Obama called the officer's actions stupid, then did a two-steps-backward political tango. Cambridge released Gates from jail almost immediately (but not before subjecting him to the above mugshot), and apologized without actually coming out and saying so. The Massachusetts police force is deeply hurt that one of their officers was portrayed as an over-reacting bully, and is demanding a presidential apology. And the dittoheads are already trying to tell you how Blacks have more rights than Whites nowadays. . Yeah right. And Rodney King was a grave threat to those four LAPD officers when he was handcuffed and on the pavement, so they had to beat the living sh*t out of him. And the KKK is just a bunch of good-old boys out having fun. And surely the USA has resolved the issue of racial bigotry.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blunt Instrument

It's not that I think people like James Blunt, Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, and Jordin Sparks are devoid of talent. They can sing. It's just that none of them have even a trace of musicianship in them. If all you are is a singer, your fame is going to be very fleeting.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tony Alamo

Meet Tony Alamo. He's an idiot. And a hate-monger. And apparently a pervert as well. But he's more famous than any of us, cuz he's got his own entry in Wikipedia. You can read about Tony here. Tony's been around for decades. So have his minions. Back in the 70's, I swear they were all ninjas. You'd come out of the grocery store, ot a movie theater, etc. - and you'd find one of his hate pamphlets on your (and everyone else's) windshield. But you never ever saw any of his peeps in the act of putting them on the cars. . Tony hates the Pope. I mean he loathes him. Any Pope. Every Pope. In reading the Wiki aritcle on him, I'm not sure why he has such venom. But he does.

Just recently, the Feds busted Tony. According to them, Tony's a polygamist with a taste for young girls. I mean, we're talking 8-year-olds here. Here's an MSNBC article about this. Methinks you're going to jail Tony. I'm hoping you get a 300-pound cellmate named "Animal" who will have fun making you his b*tch.

What is it about polygamist leaders that makes most of them want to marry a bunch of underage girls? I could probably make a snarky comment here, but this just isn't a humorous subject. Oh well, your trial's almost over, Tony. Better buy some vaseline.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jesus & Mo

Time to introduce yooze to another great comic. Called Jesus & Mo, it can be found at . Wonderfully controversial, totally irreverent, and not for the weak-in-faith. He does however spend a lot of time exmaning the scriptural and doctrinal foibles from both the Bible and the Koran. The only bad thing I can say about it is that you only get a new strip about twice a week.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Diana Rigg !

Dame Enid Diana Elizabeth Rigg (what kind of parents name their daughter "Enid"??) turned a spry 71 today. But she'll always be Mrs. Emma Peel to me.
The Avengers was a great, campy TV series, with Patrick MacNee's Mr. Steed a perfect complement for Rigg's Mrs. Peel. They don't make shows like that anymore.
By sheer coincidence, I watched most of the 1990's The Avengers movie over the weekend. With Uma Thurman as Mrs. Peel and Sean Connery as the weather-changing bad guy. Despite the horrible ratings given it at (it is now the second movie I've seen there where the 1-Star ratings outstrip any of the other options), I found the movie to be quite enjoyable.
The highlight was Connery, decked out in full Scottish regalia, delivering his ultimatum to the world leaders. Knowing his nationalist feelings for Scotland, one gets the feeling he demanded that wardrobe for that scene as part of his agreement to be in the film.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ed Finney

Here's another cool webcomic to follow. It's called Edmund Finney's Quest to find the Meaning of Life, and you can find it at It's fairly new, and new strips are added Monday-thru-Friday. A lot of the strips are standard on-the-surface humor (which is not a criticism), but some have a more-deep message... . So here's a hearty "yo-ho-ho" to my heroes over at The Pirate Bay. I haven't heard anything about yooze for a while now. Hopefully, the vicissitudes of the pirate life are once again going your way.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Twilight Tarot

I don't know which is worse - the desecration of the sacred Tarot deck, or that annoying extra "e" in judgement.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Here in a nutshell, is one of my pet peeves about religion. Any religion. The first image is of Ayatollah Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, one of the Iranian "good guy" clerics. ran it this morning, cuz he gave his first sermon since the protests started, and everyone was all agog about what he would say. . Okay fine. But what caught my eye was "the finger". What is it about religious fanatics that makes them feel like they are entitled to wave their fingers at us peasants when they're in the pulpit?
Is it a power trip? Do they think they now "speak for God"? Does it make them feel righteous?
Of course, political nutcases do the same thing, like bozo Ahmadinejad above. So I'm guessing it's mostly about the power.
Hey, Rafsanjani and Swaggart and Pope Benny and Ahmadinejerk, I got a finger for you as well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Harry Potter 6 - A 29-word Review

This is courtesy of my carpool partner, who had the privilege of chaperoning 5 teenagers at the midnight opening of HP6 last night; finally getting home at 3:45 AM, and then having to be ready to go to work at 6:30 AM. I drove. . "Heavy on the drama; light on the action. It doesn't follow the book at all. Not the best HP movie; not the worst. Dads are not the target audience." .
. Snogging. (v) : (French) kissing; sucking face; tonsil hockey; and about 50 other synonyms that you can read here. My favorite is the French slang : "Rouler une pelle." (to roll a shovel). As in, "There is some snogging in HP6." . I have to admit, I had never heard of "snog" before.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Art Appreciation Monday

A couple Van Gogh images - one real, one ersatz. I've been dueling with a Trojan Horse virus the last couple days. Tenacious little booger, but I think I finally got it. We'll see if it stays away.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Mummy : Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

AKA : "Mummy Three"
Genre : Campy Action
Time : 112 minutes
Year : 2008
Overall Rating : C
. Mummy-3 switches the setting from Egypt to China; adds Chinese megastar Jet Li to the line-up and replaces Rachel Weisz with Maria Bello as Evy. Rick and Evy have to come to the rescue of their now-grown son, who has accidentally revived the evil emperor Han. . Alas, it has to follow the first two masterpieces, and frankly falls flat. There's no chemistry among our family of heroes, Jet Li is woefully under-used, there's no depth at all to any of the Chinese characters; and you're gonna hate the new Evy. . What's To Like... That being said, there's still lots of action, including some butt-kicking Yetis. The computer-generated armies look good, and the Chinese characters speak honest-to-goodness Mandarin. Very little of which I understand anymore. Evy's brother, played by John Hannah is the saving grace, delivering some great comic scenes. The terra cotta army motif is nicely done. .
Survey Says : Put Mummy to bed.
Mummy-3 got raked over the coals at I can't remember any other movie where the one-star ratings outnumbered each of the other options. Wow.
It really isn't that bad, but it doesn't merit anything above a "C", as in "meh". And to think I could've watched Iron Man instead of this.
The ending keeps the door open for a Mummy-4 set in Peru. Sadly, here's hoping they choose not to do that, and let the series die. Hey, two out of three ain't bad.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla !

Nikola Tesla is (or for you chronological flat-liners, "was") a fellow time/dimension traveler, and a genuine think-outside-the-box genius. I'm having lunch with him tomorrow, 23 millenia ago, on the planet Citsong, in a nearby parallel universe.
Queen Victoria will not be joining us, although we occasionally talk her into chrono-hopping. Vic finds Nik both slick and thick.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cyanide & Happiness

Cyanide & Happiness is another web comic I read daily. A number of the strips make you go "Ewwww", and others are unfathomable. But some, like the one above, are of ROTFLMAO quality. . On the home front, all three of the dogs we were sitting have returned home. We got the pup and the momma dog partially house-broken during their sojourn here. Cookie was the faster learner. We're done dog-sitting the shepherd, Echo as well, at the very least for three weeks, and maybe completely finished. Our three dogs are all happy to not have to compete with the interlopers for our attention. . More dog pics to follow, although tomorrow night will possibly be a rare movie review from Yours Truly. Liz and Jason are going to see Wicked, which means I get to waste the whole evening online.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

More Cures, Less Wars

You can expect a lot of self-righteous ranting in the near future from the dittoheads about the cost of Obama's Health Care Reform plan. This is hypocritical, since the Dubnutz regime took deficit-spending to new heights. Er... depths. It is also not surprising, since the GOP has pandered to the big-business drug companies and insurance providers for decades.
Personally, I'm all for bringing the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and spending all that wartime "Mad Money" to improve the day-to-day conditions of folks here in the USA. I realize that the wing-nut stance is "as long as wealthy white Americans can afford health coverage, who cares about anybody else". But I'd prefer that the American Dream be achievable for all of us.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Rae Waters sightings !

Both photos by Michael Chow of the Arizona Republic.
Rae's the dashing redhead directly above the "high-fives" in the lower picture. Both pics show some of our Democratic state legislators at the recent all-night budget session.
Arizona, like most states, is facing severe budget shortfalls. Our Republican governor, Jan Brewer, would like to raise taxes to meet the needs. Our Republican reps feel that instead of more taxes, we should cut expenses on unimportant, frivolous things. Like education.
Both Rae Waters and Governor Brewer have always made a good education system a cornerstone of their platform. And you know how those bleeding-heart Democrats are always caring about the welfare of our youth.
BTW, I have an inside tip that Rae occasionally runs google searches to see what's being written about her. Hey, Rae! If you make it here, leave a comment! And tell Jason to introduce you to FaceBook. :-)

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Cookie's Pedigree

This is Joey, Cookie's dad, and a purebred King Charles Spaniel. This is Odie, the mom, who's a chihuahua-dachshund mix.
And here's the offspring, Cookie. She gets her markings from her dad, albeit black-&-white instead of Joey's brown-&-white. She gets her body shape, and her hyperactivity, from her mom.
For the record, Cookie already has figured out the doggie door, and is about half housebroken. We should charge extra for these services.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth of July !!

Happy Independence Day, everybody! Or, as they call it in England - Happy Ungrateful Rebellious Insurgents Day! . Today most patriotic Americans will commemorate our freedom by getting drunk, grilling dead animals, and watching baseball and fireworks on TV. It's a really cool holiday; and a pity we have only one. . Canada, OTOH, has two independence days. One is Canada Day, held on July 1st, just so they can get drunk a couple days before we do. And the Quebecois celebrate Francophone Independence Day on June 24th, although to fool their English-speaking countrymen, they call it St. John the Baptist Day (Saint-Jean Baptiste Day). . Mexico one-ups Canada by having three independence days. The main one is on September 16th, to celebrate their victory over Spain. But there is also Cinco de Mayo, which falls conveniently on the 5th of May, celebrating their victory over France. Last but not least is The Day of the Revolution, on November 20th, to celebrate their victory over Mexico. . But pity poor England, which ANAICT doesn't celebrate a single independence day. That's somewhat surprising, since over the years they've been overrun by the Beaker people, Druids, Jutes, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Catholics, Vikings, Normans, Braveheart, Anglicans, and Japanese tourists. Do you mean to tell me they never successfully threw off the oppressive yoke of any of those foreigners?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Quidditch for Muggles

Muggles Quidditch. It is having as profound an impact on the collegiate scene as, say, Hacky-Sack.
Wikipedia doesn't devote a separate article to Muggles Quidditch yet, but you can find a section on it under "Quidditch" here.
There are chasers, seekers, keepers, beaters, and even (as shown above) a golden snitch.
Obviously, the game has been modified from the HP series. We scientists are still working on those flying brooms. ANAICT, it's kind of a cross between rugby and basketball, with the added stipulation that you run around while "riding a broom".
There are leagues and tournaments, although I get the sense that the rules haven't been standardized yet. For instance, Wiki says the goal areas are hula hoops (mounted on PVC), but the pictures here (especially the one below) show quite a variance in goal-diameter.
Although the pitch itself is usually the size of a soccer field, the snitch often has the run of the entire campus. He dangles a sock stuffed with tennis balls from his belt, and the seekers attempt to grab that off him, similar to flag football.
Personally, I was having enough trouble comprehending the zen of Hacky-Sack when I saw it being played at MCC before night classes a few years back. When I was getting my degree back in the 70's, frisbee was our primary interactive, no-cost, time-wasting activity. To each his own, I suppose. But I would like to see a Quidditch-For-Muggles match someday.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The thing about Faulkner is...

I've never crossed paths with The Sound And The Fury. I do vaguely recall having to read As I Lay Dying for a high school English class. (*) Yeah, that quickly became a "Cliff Notes" project. . As for Rat's comment in the middle panel, I did say that about Waiting For Godot in a freshman English Lit class at Penn State. Hey, the prof asked for our honest opinions. I guess what he really meant was our honest positive opinions. . (*) : ISTR (but could easily be wrong) that there is one chapter in As I Lay Dying that's something like one sentence long. Some last-gasp thought by whoever is lying around dying. Maybe. Maybe not. I've been quite successful at purging my brain cells of anything having to do with Faulkner.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Cookie Pogo

We're dog-sitting this little cutie for the next 10 days. Her name is either Cookie or Pogo (her owners haven't decided yet), and she's 8 weeks old.
Her poppa is a King Charles Spaniel and her momma is a Chihuahua-Dachshund mix. That makes Cookie-Pogo a mutt.
We're also on-&-off dog-sitting over the course of the summer Echo, a shepherd mix, whom you can see in an old pic here. She'll be here over the coming holiday weekend, which means it'll be Liz, me, and five dogs. And fireworks. And monsoon thunderstorms. Send tranquilizers for everyone.