Thursday, December 1, 2011

Posts to come

      First, I want to say hello to the person or persons in Russia who keep checking in with this blog. I also want to say a special hello to the person who is going through Facebook to check out the blog. 2 of the 4 people I know for sure have checked out this blog are friends with me on Facebook. One has told me she goes to the blog directly and the other is following me on Blogger, so she wouldn't need to go through Facebook. Makes me curious as to who it is that I'm friends with on Facebook that keeps checking in with my blog, but not saying anything to me about it.
      Now to the subject of this blog. I am going to start blogging again. I'm not planning on doing it. I'm going to do it. Either that or I'm going to delete the whole thing.
      For now, at least, the posts will probably be shorter. This should allow me to post a little more often since I won't be spending as much time putting a long post together. If I actually start getting some responses from people, maybe I'll put up a few longer posts. We'll see how it goes.
      It may be a few months before the frequency of my posts really picks up. The holidays are coming up, I have a baby on the way, and I'm planning to spend some time writing stuff that I can hopefully get paid for. So, needless to say (but I'm saying it anyway), writing posts for a blog I get nothing for, not even feedback, is not my highest priority.
      While the posts may be shorter and other things may change, one thing that is not going to change is that I'm not going to start having a theme to this blog. I considered it briefly, but decided against it. I don't want to limit what I can talk about. And, as I think I may have mentioned before, I think good writing is good writing. If I'm writing well enough, then it shouldn't matter what the topic is.
      That's it for now. More soon.

Friday, May 6, 2011

First the "birthers", now the "deathers"

        This is the next conspiracy theory the right wing has grabbed onto, that Osama bin Laden is not dead. Now, I can kind of see where people might think the whole burial at sea and the changing stories about what went down can seem a little hinky. However, if you think about it, the explanations that have been given about not wanting to incite the extremists with photos that they could use as recruitment tools or have a burial site for them to flock to, basically to avoid making him a martyr as much possible, makes sense.
        If there's anything that they might be trying to hide, it's exactly how he died. It's entirely possible that it wasn't a quick kill shot, boom, end of story. If they roughed him up a little before killing him, they might want to hide that. To be clear, I'm not saying that they did (and I wouldn't have a problem with it if they did), I'm just saying it's a plausible reason to not produce the body or photos of it.
        What's not plausible is the idea that Obama is just saying that bin Laden was killed to boost his popularity and win re-election. First of all, while everybody is thrilled about bin Laden's death, I don't think that's enough to ensure victory for Obama in 2012. But, more importantly, it would be incredibly stupid. All that would have to happen is for an audio or video of bin Laden to come out that was clearly taped after his supposed death. Obama would have to be a complete idiot to claim to have killed bin Laden if he didn't actually do it and I don't care what your politics are, there's no way you can say Obama is an idiot (unlike his predecessor).
        One other thing about this, there is some question about the legality of the operation. First of all, Pakistan can just shut the hell up about us conducting this operation in their country without their permission. You can't tell me the government didn't know he was there. If we had asked their permission, he would have been gone by the time we got there, assuming they even gave permission. As for the legality of killing him, this is definitely one instance where I don't give a damn whether something the government did was legal or not. This SOB was responsible for the death of thousands of innocent men women, and children. I don't care if they beat him up. I don't care if they tortured him. Hell, I would have helped them do it if I were there. This guy was the scum of the earth and whether or not his killing was legal matters not one damn bit to me. Good riddance. I only wish I believed in Hell, so I could have the satisfaction of knowing he'll be suffering there through eternity.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Burning Bridges

        As it says in the title, I may be burning some bridges today. The first possible bridge to be burned is with the JREF (and maybe other members of the skeptical community who are fans of it). Back in February, I responded to their call for open submissions with a post that I thought fit at least one of their criteria (either a topic that hasn't been covered much or a fresh take on a topic). It was about being a non-believer married to a believer and my thoughts on the "accommodation vs. confrontation" debate. I thought it provided a fresh viewpoint because I think it's safe to say that most non-believers married to believers (and probably all of the ones who read the JREF blog) are married to believers in more "mainstream" religions. I happen to be married to a Christian Scientist. The post was rejected.
        This is the reason I was given in the e-mail : "As for your piece,  it does a good job of explaining your position and it's one that a lot of people share. However we have to decline it because it's not really what we're looking for right now. The accommodationist/confrontationalist debate is an important one but we're looking for more fresh perspectives on the debate as a whole rather than posts that advocate for one side or the other."
        I thought I had provided a fresh perspective and as I said when I put the post up here ("Comfortable Accommodations", posted on 2/26), I don't quite see how you could post on the topic and be totally neutral about it. I just let it go at that, even though I had the thought that the reason I was given might not be the real one. Now, after some time and looking at what has been posted on the JREF blog since then, I feel like I have to express my real thoughts on the matter.
        I want to point out that the person who indicated that the post didn't work because it advocated for a certain side had recently put up a series of posts on her own blog where she and someone else had debated the topic and had asked for reader input. Granted, she did tell me that she had recently posted about the topic and directed me to her blog, so it's not as if she hid the fact. Still, I find it odd that it was ok for her to put up several blogs advocating for one side or the other on her blog, but not for mine to go up on the JREF blog. I'm not trying to throw this person under the bus. I'm sure it wasn't totally her decision not to accept the post, just saying that there seems to be some inconsistency there.
        Also, just a couple of weeks ago, the JREF blog had a post about ear candling. Ear candling ! Yeah, that's a topic that hasn't been written about much. Maybe they'll cover the barely trodden area of homeopathy next.
        So, if it wasn't rejected because I didn't provide a fresh perspective or cover a topic that hasn't been written about much, then why was it rejected ? Was it because the writing sucked ? I don't think so, based on the quote from above and the fact that I was encouraged to submit again. I was hoping by now to have another piece of evidence, but I don't. That's something that will be talked about when I get to burning another possible bridge later.
        Is it because they don't need that many guest posts ?  In March, I put up 5 posts. Yes, I know, I suck at updating regularly, we'll get to that shortly. There were 16 posts on the JREF blog in March. It looked like 8 of those posts were written by guest bloggers, which means that only 8 of the posts were written by people directly associated with the JREF, only 3 more then I posted in that month and as I've noted, so far, I've sucked at updating regularly. Seems to me that they definitely need as many guest posts as they can get.
        What is the real reason then ? I suspect that it's because of the specific religion of the woman I'm married to and the positive light I presented her and her family and friends in. I think it might have been ok if she were Catholic or Jewish or something like that. But a Christian Scientist ? I think in their eyes, I might have just as well said I was married to a "psychic". Think that it might have been just a little too much "woo" for them. To portray the people who are believers in that religion in any kind of positive way might have been more than they could stomach.
        Of course, I could be wrong about this. It would be nice if I could point to the responses I got when I put the rejected post up here. But, unfortunately, I don't have any responses for to that post. Which brings me to the other bridge I may be burning today, the one between me and you, the reader.
        You see, I can't point to the responses I got from this post on my own blog to show that it would have been worth putting up on the JREF blog, because I didn't get any responses. I almost never get any responses. Hell, I set it up so there are now Like/Dislike buttons at the end of each post. It's something that would take less then a second, just click on a button and you're done. You don't have to sign in and we're not talking about writing some well thought out response or criticism, just clicking a button. And yet nobody even does that. Either, the stuff I write is so boring or so poorly written that it inspires nothing but apathy or it's just too much to ask for people to even click a button.
        Either way, it means I will no longer get upset with myself if there's a long time between my posts. It used to really bother me. Yes, you can add this blog to your Google Reader (or something like it) and it will let you know when there's a new post, so you don't have come back to this site every day to check. Still, it bothered me. I kind of felt like I might be letting people down in some way. The more I've thought about it, though, the more I think, well, if people don't care enough about what I'm writing to even click on a button, then why am I going to care about how often I put something up ? Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I'm not going to post any more or that I'm not going to make an effort to do it more regularly. I'm just saying I'm not going to beat myself up when there's a long time between posts, unless and until I'm given some reason to feel I should be more diligent in posting.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Jodie Foster is scum

    Yes, I know that's a pretty provocative headline there. But I think it's justified based on this interview with her in The Hollywood Reporter :

    Of course, the fact that she continues to defend Mel Gibson becomes less surprising, when you consider she just finished working on a film with Roman Polanski, another waste of human flesh. What was her response when the fact was brought up that this man had drugged and raped a 13 year old girl ? 

    From the article : "As for Polanski’s complicated character and the resurrection of his rape charge in the U.S., “That’s not my business,” she says."

    Really, Jodie ? That's not your business ? You didn't have to go to Paris to work with him because production costs are cheaper there or he wanted authentic shots of the Paris skyline. You had to go there because France is where he ran to after sexually assaulting a child !! Tell me, Jodie, if one of your sons was raped by a famous director, would you still work with that director ? Or is it only ok as long as it's someone else's child ?

    You disgust me, Jodie. I don't believe in an afterlife, but if I'm wrong, when you and Roman die, I hope you end up sharing a room in Hell.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New name, same lousy service

      Today, I'm just going to do a little bitching about one of my least favorite companies, Comcast, or as they're trying to re-brand themselves now, Xfinity. They apparently think people are so stupid that they won't realize that the only thing that's changed is the name and they're still the same awful company. I can't stand them. I can't count how many times my internet service or TV service has gone out or I've had certain TV channels go dark for several hours for no apparent reason. And then, of course, there's the fact that they have over the last couple of years taken channels out of the package I was paying for without any warning and, of course, without reducing what I was paying even though I was getting fewer channels. In fact, I believe what I pay has gone up at least three times in the last couple of years. And for what, more content, better service ? HA !
      Anyway, for the last couple of months, at least once a week, it seemed, I had been getting mail from Comcast telling me that I could switch from the Expanded Basic package I had now to Digital Starter for no extra cost. I was not interested. At the last place I lived, I had a problem when I moved out and canceled the service. I had bought my own cable modem and had been using that, yet Comcast tried to say that I had been using one of their modems and that I had to return it or pay them for it. So, the last thing I wanted to do was have any equipment I would have to give back to Comcast when I move (or as I keep hoping for, when Verizon comes to my area. I don't know anyone who's switched from Verizon to Comcast who isn't extremely happy they did.)
      My wife said that they might force us to switch to digital at some point, that they had done that to someone she worked with. Sure enough, last week, I got something in the mail saying that as of March 22, they would be changing their signal and if you didn't have a digital converter box or digital adapter hooked up to your TV, you wouldn't be able to get your channels anymore. So, yesterday, I went online and ordered the necessary equipment. I chose the option of picking the equipment up. I didn't want to have it mailed to my house and be sitting on my front porch for somebody to take and Comcast wanted to charge to have someone come hook this stuff up that we had no choice about getting. After work, I went by one of their locations and after standing in line for half an hour, I picked up a converter box and two adapters. 
      I got home and hooked up the converter box. At first, it seemed to be working, until I tried to turn on ESPN2. At which point, I got a message saying that I wasn't authorized to receive that channel (keep in mind, with this "digital upgrade", I was supposed to still have all the channels I had before "and more") followed a few seconds later by a message saying that I wasn't authorized to use the set top box I had just picked up !!
      I called the number on the screen and after going through 5 or 6 menus, I finally got to speak to a real person who was able to send a signal through and get the box working and all my channels to come up. I was still getting a message that I wasn't authorized for On Demand, which was also supposed to be part of this "digital upgrade". I mentioned this to the guy on the phone and he said it might take a little longer for that to come up.
      This morning, when I got up, I checked and found that I was getting the same message. Figuring that 12 hours was more then long enough to wait for the On Demand to be there, I called Comcast again. Now, if you've seen some of the commercials they've been running lately, they've been trying to indicate that they're all about the customer, they want the customer to be happy. Bullshit. They never have before and they're not starting now. But they're sure trying to sell that idea. When the woman I spoke to this morning answered the phone, it wasn't just "Thanks for calling Comcast". It was at least a 5 second spiel (wish I could remember the exact words) that basically came down to "We sure love the customer here at Comcast, please don't switch to Verizon despite all the good things your friends tell you about it.")
     She told me that the reason I wasn't getting On Demand was that nobody had switched the "code" in my account to indicate that I was now supposed to have Digital Starter service. So, let's review, I went to the site they included in the mail they sent me about this "upgrade", logged in with my account and ordered the equipment. Then I spoke to someone face to face who pulled up my account before handing over the equipment to me. Finally, I spoke on the phone to someone about issues I was having with this new equipment and, at no time, did anyone bother to make the necessary changes to my account. I might understand it not being automatically changed when I ordered the stuff online, but the guy who gave me the equipment doesn't think to do it ? Certainly, you would think the guy on the phone who knew I was having  a problem might have picked up on it. But, of course, this is Comcast we're talking about, so expecting competent service is really too much to ask. I HATE Comcast and I will be so glad when I'm able to switch to Verizon and tell Comcast goodbye forever.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Update on "They just keep giving"

Apparently, I was right.

They just keep giving

      I'm beginning to think that I could just watch Fox "News" every morning and I would never have to worry again about having something to post here. This morning, the BHBB on "Fox and Fools" was interviewing Dr. Brian Weiss about his book, "Many Lives, Many Masters". It's a book about past lives and using past life "regression" to fix problems people have in their lives. One example he gave (and I'm not making this up) was if you had neck pain that it may be that you were hanged in a past life and by helping you "remember" that, you can cure the pain. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This is what FOX considers news, some quack peddling nonsense? It's bad enough that they put their own slant on real news stories, including flat out lying about things. But this, really? I admit it's not as if Fox "News" had any credibility before anyway. If they ever did, though, this got rid of it for sure.
      Sorry, folks, but you didn't have any past lives and you're not going to have any future ones. Just look at it from a strictly mathematical standpoint. There are MANY (we're talking literally billions) more people who are living today than lived in the past. Are there some people who have lived before and other people who are new souls? If that's the case, how is it that every person who goes to a quack like this Dr. Weiss is told that they had a past life? You would think once in a while they'd come across someone who didn't have any past lives. In fact, the difference between the amount of people living before and those living now would make it likely that most of the people they "treat" would NOT have had a past life, but that never seems to be the case. And, always, at least one of the individual's past lives was as somebody famous, again something the odds would be against. Why then, is this always the case? Oh, that's right, because the whole thing is BS.
     Oh, and let me ask you this. If someone opens fire on a group of people killing some and wounding others, what would you call that? I ask this because right after the BHBB's ridiculous interview, she mentioned the stories (and, really, if there's ever a time where that is the appropriate word for news, it's when it's something on FOX) was going to be about how President Obama won't use the word terrorism in reference to the shooting of U.S. airmen in Germany. We've heard this before from them. Obama never uses the word terrorism (which isn't true) and of course, this means he is really on the side of the terrorists (at least, that's what FOX tries to imply). You know, I don't watch FOX "News" that much, so maybe I missed it when they covered the story on TV, but I did a search on their website using quite a few combinations of "Arizona" and "terrorism" or "terorrist". Based on the results I got, it doesn't seem that they referred to the shootings in Arizona as terrorism even though it was very similar to what happened in Germany. Hmmm, why would that be? Maybe this table will help :

Germany shootings                                       Arizona shootings

Lone gunman                                                   Lone gunman

Attack on U.S. citizens in public                       Attack on U.S. citizens in public

Multiple deaths                                                 Multiple deaths

Shooter was not a U.S. citizen                         Shooter was a U.S. citizen

Shooter influenced by violent                           Shooter influenced by violent
rhetoric of Islamic extremists                           rhetoric of right wing politicians
                                                                         given airtime on FOX

      Gee, what are the differences that might be causing them to label one as a terrorist attack and not the other? As I said, I could be wrong. Maybe when the Arizona shootings happened, they reported it as a terrorist attack and they just don't refer to it as such on their website, right? Yeah....right.
      FOX "News", the gift that keeps on giving.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Said I wouldn't do this, but....

     ....I have a little bit of a new audience. I posted a comment on another blog and according to my stats, some people (not a lot , but a few) clicked on the link I included and checked out my blog. If any of those people are still coming back to check the blog out, I'm asking for any comments you have. It can be about a specific post or about the blog in general, what you like about it, what you don't, that kind of thing. I know I said recently that I wasn't going to solicit comments. But if I've got some people checking this blog out, maybe some of them might not be lurkers and would be willing to speak up. I think it's time to admit, to myself and anyone reading this, I would like people to read what I have to say. I wish I could say that I'm writing just to write, but let's be honest, if you're writing something and putting it out there and nobody's reading it, what's the point ? If you're going to write just for yourself, you should just keep a diary, not have a blog. I think feedback may help me get an idea of what's working and what isn't and allow me to do things that will get more people reading.
     Of course, I've already heard (and have successfully made use of the suggestion) that I should comment on blogs I read. And, yes, I know, posting a little more often would help. I'm working on it. I'm mainly looking for ideas about the writing, the layout, the about me page, etc, basically anything about the blog itself that I could tweak.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Comfortable Accommodations

     As I mentioned in my last post, I recently sent a post to a site calling for submissions. The site in question is the site of the JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation). They rejected it (although they did ask me to send other articles in the future) because they said they were looking for a fresh perspective on the accommodationist/confrontationalist debate as a whole,rather than a piece that advocates for one side or the other. As I said in my reply e-mail to them, I'm not sure how any post on the debate isn't going to come down on one side or the other. Anyway, since they decided they didn't they want it, I'm posting it here.

     There are two major factions among atheists. One side thinks a confrontational approach towards religion is needed. It isn't enough to get religious individuals to accept things like evolution while holding onto their religious beliefs. These "New Atheists" think it's necessary to destroy those beliefs, to get everyone to accept that there is no God. They say and write things that indicate that anyone who holds any sort of belief in a supreme being or an afterlife is an idiot. On the other side are the "accommodationists". They're ok with people having religious beliefs as long as they don't try to impose those beliefs on others or try to impede scientific progress and education because of their beliefs.
          I'm an agnostic. I'm also an accommodationist. I'm so accommodating, in fact, that I married a Christian Scientist.
          Let's be clear about a couple of things :
          1) Christian Scientists are not these extreme fundamentalist Christians who you've read the horrible stories about, stories where a child dies a slow, painful death from say, an easily treated ear infection, while the parents refuse medical treatment in favor of prayer. Based on my personal experience, they're more like the typical male, religious or not. They don't go to doctors for regular check-ups, but they won't hesitate to dial 911 if someone's in distress. I have visited Christian Scientists in the hospital and there isn't a Christian Scientist I've met who I believe would see a child suffering and do nothing but pray.
          2) While I won't say that there is definitely no God, I will definitely say that I think if God exists, he/she/it definitely isn't the God envisioned by Christian Science (if there is a God, I think the best case scenario based on the evidence is the Deist view of God expressed by many of the Founding Fathers that God made the Universe and then stepped out of the picture) and if I have a bad cold, I use Nyquil to get a good night's sleep, not prayer.
          My wife knows my thoughts on God in general and Christian Science in particular, yet it causes no problems. My in-laws, who are also Christian Scientists, know as well and they have no problem with it. In fact, my mother-in-law treats me like I'm her own son. And all of the Christian Scientists I've met at her church have accepted me even though they know I'm not a believer. Yes, I go to church with her. She likes having me go with her, it's not that early in the morning and I often get a nice little nap out of it. If you have a problem with that, well, I think you'd be amazed at how little I care.
          I realize that a non-religious person marrying a religious person isn't a unique situation, even if one of those people is an agnostic, skeptical cynic who wanted to be a doctor when he was a kid and the other is a member of a religion that believes the physical world is an illusion and that sickness can be healed through prayer.
          I also know that when it comes to religious people, Christian Scientists (at least in my experience) don't compare to Christian fundamentalists when it comes to ignorance (willful or otherwise) and intolerance. They don't seem to have any problem with the Big Bang, the age of the universe and Earth, evolution, etc. Where science is concerned, their only blind spot seems to be in the area of medicine. They don't aggressively proselytize. They won't tell you that if you don't believe what they do, you'll go to Hell for all eternity. They don't believe in Hell. And they are not hard-headed when it comes to science. A while back, I overheard a friend of my wife's family who's a Christian Scientist talking to my mother-in-law about seeing a TV appearance by Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey where they were spewing their anti-vax nonsense. When she saw me rolling my eyes, she asked for my input. I told her that I wouldn't be inclined to take medical advice from a woman who's famous for getting naked and a man whose breakout film role involved him making his butt pretend to talk. A few days later, I offered her an article from Skeptic magazine about the anti-vax movement and how it was based on fraudulent, unethical "research" conducted by someone who was hoping to push their own alternative vaccine. She eagerly accepted it. I confess, I never asked her what effect it had on her opinion about it, but at least she was willing to look at it with an open mind.
          Still, we are talking about people who have what would probably be considered wacky beliefs by your average Christian. Even Creationists go to the doctor. When I was dating my wife and I found out about her beliefs, I could have just said "You're crazy, lady!" and ended it. That would have been a huge mistake. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me. We have a happy home where the mailman delivers the Christian Science Sentinel and the Christian Science Journal along with Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry. Granted, there are no kids in the picture yet and even though we discussed how we would handle religion with them before we were married, I'm sure issues will still come up, but I'm also sure we'll be able to handle them.
          If we can make our marriage work, I think non-religious people can make things work with those who have religious beliefs. It means being willing to be tolerant of those beliefs (within certain limits). It means not thinking that everyone who's religious is stupid. My wife isn't stupid. Her family isn't stupid and her friends at church aren't stupid. Constantly belittling the religious isn't going to allow you to make much progress in changing their minds about things. Not only are people not going to listen to someone who insults them, but people tend to be stubborn about these things. If you constantly tell someone that a long held, cherished belief is totally wrong, they're just going to hold on to that belief even stronger. You may say, "So what, I don't care if I change their minds as long as I'm able to make sure religion stays out of the schools, doesn't shape public policy, etc." The problem is, as with pretty much any other issue, you're always going to have people who are somewhere in the middle whose help you're going to need to accomplish your goals and they're not going to be very sympathetic towards you if you act like a complete asshole. If you're one of these hardcore, religion must be destroyed atheists, I really think you should consider changing your tactics and following the example of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (of which I'm a member) and reach out to the religious moderates. Being willing to be just a little accommodating could yield some pretty big benefits. It has for me.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quick note

      Just an FYI, the amount of time between posts hasn't been due to me slacking off on posting again. I've been on a cruise and I wasn't paying the outrageous price to use their Wi-Fi connection. I sent a new post a few minutes ago to a site calling for submissions. If they accept it and post it, I will post a link to it so you can read it. If they don't accept it, I'll just post it here.
      Of course, looking at my stats, I'm not sure if it wouldn't be better to just post something about Lady Gaga arriving to the Grammys in a giant egg. My most viewed post, with 30 page views, is "Free Speech Limits". The second most ? "Mark Harris and Ricky Gervais" with 17 page views. Not only that, but the free speech one was posted last July. The Ricky Gervais one was just posted last month, yet it already has over twice as many page views as the free speech one. Of course, as my wife pointed out, it could be because of the tags it has causing it to pop up in people's search engines. I've added some tags to the free speech one (it didn't have any before). We'll see what happens.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Pro Bowl quarterbacks of the future?

" Looks like someone has taken the first step towards becoming an All Pro QB #AnimalCruelty #MichaelVickIsAScumbag"

    The above was what I put on Twitter this morning. The day after everyone is cheering  for that waste of human flesh Michael Vick in the Pro Bowl, this story was all over the news in Baltimore. What's described in this story isn't that far off from what he did. The only difference is these scumbags only got sick amusement out of it. Vick got sick amusement AND money.
    This is the kind of person so many you have forgiven. The person many of you have managed to forgive because he's a really good football player. It's this mentality that is the reason people like Ray Lewis and Donte Stallworth are playing for the Ravens. Just like Michael Vick, it doesn't matter what you've done. If you've got skills, people will forgive and forget anything. Refuse to help the police in the investigation of a double homicide? No problem if you're a great defensive player. Kill someone while driving drunk? Well, can you catch a football? If so, no problem. Did you torture and kill dogs? Did you have them tear each other apart for your amusement and profit? That's ok, if you can throw a football really well. Heck, you might even get your teammates to unanimously vote for you for the Ed Block courage award (because it takes so much courage to commit animal cruelty and then come back to the job that gives you fame and fortune) and be voted into the Pro Bowl.
     Michael Vick is scum. I don't care what that sanctimonious jackass Tony Dungy says. I don't care what that fat piece of crap Andy Reid says. Vick is scum and anyone who roots for him is too.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mark Harris and Ricky Gervais

     Some people might consider today's post a bit of a cheat because once again, it is partly a letter to the editor of a magazine, but oh well, deal.
     This whole so-called "controversy" over the jokes Ricky Gervais made while hosting the Golden Globes really bugs me. They were JOKES, people. And, you know, sometimes jokes aren't nice. In fact, they almost always aren't. Someone or something is usually the butt of the joke. I'll admit that comedians can sometimes go beyond what some people consider good taste. But a joke pointing out what everyone knows about what a farce the Golden Globes are ? A joke about Robert Downey Jr. having been a drug addict ? These are horrible ? Please !
     What makes it worse is we're supposed to feel sorry for these movie stars. "Oh no, Ricky Gervais made a joke about me, nobody's ever done THAT before. I'm going to go home to my mansion and wipe my tears with $100 bills." To any movie star who got their feelings hurt, why you don't go talk to some of the people who have lost their jobs and homes and tell them how rough you have it and how much you suffered that night.
     Anyway, today, I was reading the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (1/28/11). And before you say anything, I have never claimed that everything I read is of the highest intellectual caliber, ok ? It's not surprising to find celebrity ass-kissing and poor judgment in this magazine. In the same issue, they had a page devoted to "Under-rated movies". One of the movies included ? "Joe Vs. The Volcano". That movie isn't under-rated, it is a total and complete piece of garbage. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are lucky that people haven't sued them for compensation for that 102 minutes of their life they'll never get back. A regular columnist for the magazine, Mark Harris wrote a column in this issue basically whining about how mean Ricky Gervais was. I wrote the following letter in response, I meant to include a comment similar to the one in the paragraph above commenting on the stars' "suffering" vs real suffering, but I forgot. I think this still works, though. Hope you enjoy it.

  I have to thank Mark Harris for opening my eyes with his latest column ("Icky Ricky", 1/28/11). Sure, the Golden Globes only exist so that members of the HFPA can mingle with movie stars and, yes, those stars tend to be spoiled, pampered multi-millionaires who attend this event knowing full well they usually haven't done anything to deserve any kind of award and, all right, NBC did run promos where Ricky Gervais said he was going to do exactly what he did that evening. But, hey, he was just such a big meanie, right Mark ?
    Maybe next year they can just have someone get up there and tell knock knock jokes. Heck, maybe Mark Harris could do it himself, that is if he can pry his lips away from the nearest celebrity's ass long enough.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Just when you think she can't get any stupider

    Well, Sarah Palin has once again shown what a complete and utter moron she is. She posted a video on her Facebook page about the shooting rampage in Arizona that wounded Rep. Giffords and killed 6 other people  (On a side note about that, if you want to know one of the reasons I have problems with organized religion, three words :Westboro Baptist Church) After the shooting, many people were quick to blame her and others like her for the tragedy and this video was obviously her response to that.
    She had an opportunity to address the vile, hateful, VIOLENT rhetoric that she and others like her spew out. She could have suggested that while she doesn't feel that her words and her map with the targets caused this tragedy that she understands that maybe things have become a little too polarized in this country and that it might be time for a return to something approaching civil discourse.
    But she's not smart enough for that. Instead, she basically denied that political rhetoric is any more heated now than it has been in the past. That would be bad enough, because it would just be more evidence of how stupid, clueless/dishonest she is, but she wouldn't be Sarah "Death Panel" Palin if she didn't take the opportunity to stick her foot so far in her mouth that she could feel her toes in the back of her throat.
     So, she delivered this quote:

     “Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn,” she said. “That is reprehensible.”
     For those of you don't know what blood libel is, here's the deifinition :
     The accusation that Jews murder non-Jews to obtain blood for Passover rituals. This accusation was repeated in many places in the Middle Ages and was the cause of anti-Jewish riots and massacres. It was a regular motif in anti-Semitic propaganda until the Second World War.
     Sarah Palin compared what was being said about her by some people to blood libel. The cherry on top ? Gabrielle Giffords is Jewish. I've said it before and I will say it again. Sarah Palin is one of the biggest idiots ever to enter politics (and that's really saying something). I will hate John McCain until my dying day for bringing this woman to national prominence and inflicting her on all of us.
    I would like to believe that maybe this would put an end to her political life, not because I'm worried that she might ever be elected President, which you know she wants, but because I just want her to shut up and go away. Unfortunately, most of the people who are fans of hers aren't the kind of people who are going to see anything wrong with what she said.  So, we'll probably still be hearing from her for years to come. Luckily, it will mostly be on Fox "News" (ha!) and never from the Oval Office.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Few Thank Yous

I want to say thanks to a few people :

First, I want to say thanks to Agent Orange and the rest of the Republicans in control of the House now. While our economy is still in the toilet, people are still losing houses and can't find work and we still have men and women in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan, what's your first priority ? Reading the Constitution on the floor of the House (which I haven't seen or heard any of, did they skip Article VI, paragraph 3 which says that religious tests for office aren't allowed and did they skip the first clause in the 1st Amendment saying that the government can't make a law respecting the establishment of religion because I would think that would cause the explosion of the heads of the ultra-religious right wing nutjobs who seem to make up the Republican Party these days who insist this is a Christian nation) and making a show of trying to repeal health care (actually health insurance) reform. In two years, I'm sure voters will really appreciate that you tried to repeal an act that will, at that point, have given them all these benefits- -  for two years and will be thrilled you considered that (and reading the Constitution) to be the thing that was most important to do as soon as you got into office. Thank you for ensuring that the Democrats will have control of the House back in 2012.

Second, I would like to issue a pre-emptive thank you to all the idiots who believe that the world is going to end on either May 21, 2011 or December 21, 2012. If you could do me a huge favor and just kill yourselves now, that would be great. Just yourselves, though. Don't take anyone else with you which is what I'm afraid some of you may end up doing since you're so convinced the world is going to end. Just kill yourselves without taking anyone with you and you will have my eternal gratitude.

On a less serious note, I would like to thank Katy Perry for the amusement she provided me last night. Before I do that, since some people may say I'm being a little mean here, I want to say I actually do like her music and she does (from what I've read) actually write or co-write most, if not all of her songs which is more then you can say for some "artists" out there. That being said, after seeing this last night, I knew I had to write about it. Flipping through the channels, I came across the People's Choice Awards just as they were about to give out the award for Favorite Female Artist. When they announced her name, she seemed to me like she was trying to look surprised that she won, even though we all know the winners know ahead of time. Hell, they had her sitting right in the front row before they announced it. Then she gets on stage and for some reason, they hand her two awards. She bends down to the microphone until she's almost at a 90 degree angle showing off the thing (or I guess I should say things) that I'm sure played a large part (no pun intended) in her winning the award and she says "I have two of them" and then, even better, "These are heavy, I wish you could feel them !" I don't know if she was aware how that sounded with her practically shoving her boobs into the camera, but it was amusing. I'm inclined to think she may not be that quick-witted though, since she followed that up by doing what they all do at this show, saying how this award means more to them than any other because it's voted on by "The People". Except what she said, and I'm sorry I don't remember the exact quote, was that it meant so much to her because it was voted on by people, not by "The People", but by people ... and that's where she seemed to realize the corner she'd painted herself into (seeing as how all the awards are voted on by people) and said (after a second or two, kind of trailing off)...instead of a computer or something. Brilliant. Thanks, Katy !

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Twittering and 2011

        A new year, another attempt at making this blog something I actually update regularly. I plan to do so, which may be good news or bad news for those who were reading it regularly before. The good news is my posting should be done more frequently. The bad news, possibly, is that part of posting more frequently will be due to the fact that the posts will not all be the politically/socially themed rants that a lot of them have been. I will still comment on news and social issues, but I'm going to write about other things as well. The fact of the matter is that the infrequency of posts before came from me tending to focus on writing those types of posts, which involved a bit of research because if I'm going to make an argument about something, I want to be sure no one can point out an obvious mistake I've made. Doing that research takes time, as does actually writing the post and then editing it before posting and frankly, I have other responsibilities that take precedence. If I ever turn my hobby of writing into a job, then I can devote more time to this, but not right now.
        So I'm going to do something that goes against some of the common wisdom about writing blogs, I'm NOT going to have a particular theme to this blog. A definite point of view, yes, but a theme, no. If you were reading this blog before just to see who I would be tearing a new one this time, you may be disappointed. I hope not. I hope that whatever I decide to write about will be written well enough that you will want to read it no matter what it is.
        Also, I am no longer going to ask people to comment so that I know you're reading. Of course, I do encourage you to comment, but I can just look at the stats to see how many people are reading, so if you want to lurk, go right ahead. I will just say one thing, though. If you're not commenting because you're worried about me unleashing the same vitriol on you that I unleash on some of the subjects of my posts, I assure you I won't do that (unless of course, you write something really ignorant that deserves scorn heaped upon it).
        I also want to let you know that I'm on Twitter as well. My name (or whatever the specific term is for it on Twitter) is @WordsInTheStone. (No "The" at the beginning). You don't have to sign up for Twitter to read my "tweets", just do a search for @WordsInTheStone on the home page. Speaking of Twitter, I have 4 followers, 3 of which I'm not sure where they came from. Only one of them follows someone that I do. I've never commented on the tweets of the mutual person we follow and I doubt my follower looked through our mutual person's over 1,000,000 followers and decided to follow me. The other two, who I just picked up within the last few hours don't even share one person in common with me. The two of them seem to follow a lot of the same people though and neither one has done any tweeting of their own yet, which makes me even more confused. I've had a few "followers" who were obviously either some type of performer who was obviously following as many people as possible in the hopes they would be followed back and be able to talk about how many followers they have. Others have obviously been spam. But these don't seem to fit into either of those categories, so I'm wondering if they read the blog and decided to see if I was on Twitter as well. If you're one of those 3 people and that's how you found me, let me know. If you don't follow me on Twitter now, but you decide to, send me a "tweet" to let me know you found me through the blog. I know I said I'm not worried about comments any more, but if you find my blog interesting enough that you want to read my "tweets" as well, I'd really like to know that. Besides, if you want me to follow you back, that is the best way to make it happen. I'm not inclined to follow people who seem to be following me at random in the hopes that I'll follow them back and boost their numbers.