Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
So tonight I'm watching some Boston Legal episodes from season 5. Early in the episode entitled "Mad Cows", the point is made that 8 out of the previous 11 presidential elections had gone Republican. That seemed a bit high to me, so I made a quick list:
1996 Bill Clinton
1992 Bill Clinton
1988 Bush Sr
I went from memory, except for 1964, which I don't remember, having not yet been born. But Wikipedia helped there. By my count, we have Clinton (2), Carter, and LBJ winning a total of 4 of the previous 11 presidential elections, meaning Republicans have won the remaining 7.
I'm not sure why this is important to me, but did Boston Legal miss this? Or did I miscalculate? Please let me know if I missed something.
About ten years ago, in 1999-2000, Elton John went on tour without his band. I attended three of these shows. When he performs with his band, his shows are excellent. When he performs solo, however, he really shines.
Just in case you missed it, here is a clip from that tour, from Pontevedra, Spain.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I saw on Anna's blog something that looks suspiciously like a chain letter, but it seemed like a lot of fun anyway, so here it is. Bloggers interviewing bloggers! (The mind bloggles!)
The rules are:
1) Leave me a comment saying "interview me".
2) I will respond by emailing you 5 questions (I get to pick the questions)
3) You will update your blog with answers to the questions.
4) You will include the explanation and offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5) When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them 5 questions.
So here I am, facing 5 scintillating questions from Anna. Here we go!
1) You have 1 bottle of Jack, 2 albums and 2 guests. What are the albums/guests and what happens when the Jack runs out?
I realize that there is much innuendo in that question, but I'm going to skip that aspect of it, and try for people who I'd be interested in talking to for an evening.
But who to choose? So many possibilities. I first thought I would list them, but now I think that would be cheating, so only two. I'm certain I'll change my mind later, when I suddenly remember someone else, but I'll go with what I'm thinking now.
Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings director)
Dennis Phillips (Finished 3rd in the main event at last year's World Series of Poker)
I'm not sure the albums would necessarily complement the evening, but here's two faves:
Vladimir Horowitz: The Last Romantic
And everyone who knows me will chuckle at the very idea of the Jack running out.
2) What are your views on the death penalty?
In a word, "contradictory". I understand that there is evidence that it does not lower the homicide rate, but I cling to the idea that it must. I will also admit that a bit of blood thirst is in play. I wish we could speed the process up, as I feel it would be more of a deterrent if it didn't take so long. At the same time, the foremost principle to be applied to these cases should be, "Be absolutely certain of guilt".
3) You are offered the chance to rule the world, but only for an hour and you can only pass 3 laws - what are they?
1. Get rid of all stores that end in "mart". (Okay, I got the idea from Alan Shore on Boston Legal. But still.)
2. "24" will no longer be shown on television in its current one-hour-per-week format; instead, they must broadcast all 24 episodes in a full-day marathon that I can TiVo.
3. Sarah Palin is cast out.
4) If you were a chess piece, which piece would you be and why?
The knight. Elegance, with a touch of trickiness.
5) If you ran a cult, what would it be called and what would its main principles be?
Goodness gracious, I have no idea. I've always wanted to run a cult. I am so annoyed by the simpleminded idiots that plague this planet that the idea of having a bunch of them serve me after donating all their money to me is quite appealing.
So the only answer I can come up with is we'll call it the Ponzi Cult, and it's main principle would be to spawn more cults, with a unidirectional cash flow and a clever accountant.
I saw this news story the night before the Inauguration. It includes the following quote by Rush Limbaugh:
"They didn't give Bush a chance in 2000. Before he was inaugurated, the search-and-destroy mission had begun. I'm not talking about search-and-destroy, but I've been listening to Barack Obama for a year and a half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don't want them to succeed."
Pause, while this sinks in.
Okay, let's start with the first part. In my opinion, no one, ever, gets to claim that Bush was a "victim" of a "search-and-destroy mission". He got away with ignoring, avoiding, and dismantling the Constitution to an unprecedented degree, starting a war on false pretenses, and being a global embarrassment to us all.
His predecessor got impeached for lying about having sex.
However, it is the second part of this quote, in particular the last sentence, that truly reveals who and what Rush Limbaugh is. If you have ideological differences with someone, what you would say is, "I don't believe your policies will succeed." If you say, "I don't want them to succeed", then what you are saying is that you don't care if the country suffers; the important thing is that your opponent is wrong.
One problem I have with the entire right-wing apparatus in this country is that so many of them think this same way. To be honest, if they added an ounce of common sense, not to mention common decency, they would have my support. But I will not abide any person, or group, who would rather see their enemies fail than their nation succeed.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
I am in favor of same-sex marriage. To my mind, there is simply no rational reason to deny people this right. There are several legal rights that go along with marriage, such as tax breaks. It is unconscionable to deny these rights to an entire group of people.
So when the Mormon church actively campaigned in support of California's Proposition 8, I felt it was tantamount to a hate crime. It caused me to recategorize it as a political organization. I realize that they have been active in politics for some time in my home state of Utah, but in my mind this crossed another, firmer line.
On one hand, I just don't see why they, or anyone, give a rat's ass. I fail to see how it would diminish the so-called "sanctity of marriage". That's a religious term, and no one is suggesting that churches be forced to "sanctify" these marriages by hosting them or officiating in any way. Your temple marriages are safe.
On the other hand, I'm afraid I do understand. It's fun to hate. It's fun to discriminate. It's fun to pick on minorities. I don't know this firsthand; but I see it all over the world, and throughout history. Indeed, when the Mormon church first started out, they were similarly disparaged. The hypocrisy is stunning.
I am also finding that it has colored my view of my Mormon friends. I generally don't care what my friends believe, yet I am finding it increasingly difficult to ignore these hateful, bullying acts. It's sad, because some of them seem to be likeable, quality people. But I am experiencing difficulty reconciling what they appear to be with the actions they take.
Update: onegoodmove.org posted a relevant video.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
It's a picture of a billboard. The text starts with, "Attention Lunatic Atheists". As many of you might imagine, this caught my attention.
Now, I have many friends who are Christians. In fact, I was discussing this very picture with one of them this evening. But here's my take on this. Believe whatever you like. Believe in the virgin birth. Believe in the resurrection. Believe that aliens deposited trillions of alien souls into our volcanoes, if you wish.
But do not then try to fashion yourself as a bastion of rationality by calling the rest of us "lunatics". If you are trying to embarrass us, it won't work. If you are trying to convert us, it won't work. All you are trying to do is feel better about yourself at the expense of others.
As an aside, and possibly a prologue to a future post, I find it quite telling that some religious groups, having themselves faced a history of persecution, find it entirely acceptable to then persecute other groups.
You know who you are.