Sunday, December 26, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Let this be a lesson to you girl: Don’t come around where you know you don’t belong.
They’re riding on the avenue and probably coming after you and they all look mean and strong.
Mean and strong like liquor.
Mean and strong like fear.
Strong like the people from South Alabama and mean like the people from here.
We ain’t never gonna change.
We ain’t doin’ nothin’ wrong.
We ain’t never gonna change
So shut your mouth and play along.
-Drive By Truckers, 'Never Gonna Change'
Every year at this time, we see a story or two about it; The gay kid who wants to attend the prom. As a society, we should be beyond this. Way beyond. It shouldn't be a story, it shouldn't be news.
It's a disservice to all of us, even when it's supposed to be positive, even when the message is how well the event played out. We read 'interviews' with the heterosexual attendees, where they all say they were fine with it, and no collateral sexual identities was damaged. How many times are we supposed to clasp our hands to our hearts and sing Whitney Houston songs about children being the future?
It's not news when no one is offended by something that's none of their god damn business. Or at least it shouldn't be, not anymore.
Indoor plumbing isn't newsworthy anymore, not even when some wretched hill folk who've never encountered it before, are frightened by it. It's just a fact that it exists. Our society doesn't put up outhouses on our Main Streets, to accommodate people who aren't ready to accept bathrooms.
And homosexuality has actually been around quite a bit longer. So why are we still entertaining the opinions of people who want it to 'go away'?
Everybody already knows by now, the story of Constance MacMillen, the young lesbian girl who wanted to go to her prom. A normal and modest enough goal, you would think. But instead, she had to battle a prejudice that seemingly engulfed an entire county in the state of Miss..
A Federal court, told them they were not free to discriminate. The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA told them, it was not permissible to treat a young girl, practically a child, as a pariah.
But these good folks have a view of the world that's as self-serving, as it is small. Oh, they're all about God and Country. But they'll change either one of those things any which way they can, until the message suits their motives.
So they set up a fake prom. They. Set. Up. A. Fake. Prom. An entire community, children and adults. Citizens and school administrators. They set up a place, and seeded it with a handful of other youngsters shunned by these 'people'. The lesbian and the learning disabled, and one or two other kids who would do well to celebrate the fact that they were cut from that particular herd. It will only benefit them later in life to be grateful to be excluded from this grotesquerie of a mini-caste, these grubby cretins, enfeebled by their own hatefulness.
How hard they worked to hold on to their petty hostility, they hoarded their prejudice like it was pirate gold, they secreted it away and held it aloft to glory in it for a few private hours.
How did it feel to them, this momentary victory? Was it the decadent, exhilarating high of the criminal who made off with a coveted prize? Or did they dance all night in their tuxes and gowns, with the grim satisfaction that some southerners get, when they've once again fended off the will of the present culture?
It doesn't matter. Who cares why? My personal opinion, based on stories coming from the south (and other places too, sure.) is that there are people in America, who feel they have a right to prejudice. A right to amend discrimination laws, to exclude some other Americans.
They're looking for a loophole, in which it is permissible to allow some group less rights than they are afforded.
It doesn't matter why they feel that way. We can no longer indulge their voices in the conversation.
Tomorrow, 'Why they feel that way'.
Here's a bonus link, the story itself, won't give you anymore insight but maybe the guy in the comments section whose ramblings vacillate between Jesus hating gays, and lesbian vaginal afflictions, can help you understand the school board's case.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
At least that what he says. But can he be sure?
After all, he's never seen your urine. Or where it comes from.
Urology of Mt Dora: Cassell Jack MD
717 North Donnelly Street
Mt Dora, FL 32757-4833,
Saturday, March 27, 2010
"With all their beady little eyes
And flapping heads so full of lies
“Since I’ve arrived in Canada, I’ve been denounced on the floor of Parliament — which, by the way, is on my bucket list — my posters have been banned, I’ve been accused of committing a crime in a speech that I have not yet given, I was banned by the student council, so welcome to Canada!”
Can you spot the true statement in the above sentence? Ann Coulter's I mean, not Mrs. Broslovsky's, a woman who may be Coulter's only rival for both cartoonishness and agenda driven Canada bashing.
"I've arrived in Canada." One true statement, told only as a springboard, to be used to leap into a pool of excrement, where you'd imagine she feels most at home. Her relevance in the U.S. at low ebb, Coulter launched a P.R. attack on unsuspecting Canada, using her well-worn catalog of easy stereotypes and ugly cliches to try to battle her way back into the limelight. An offensive offensive, if you will. She created a goldmine of out-of-context 'slights' to report to her dwindling fan base back home, painting herself as the brave stormer of a castle that had all but rolled out the red carpet for her arrival.
But who did Brave Sir Ann really slay in her quest for matterdom ?
By my count: One young girl, a college Provost who offered her counsel, her hosts and benefactors for the evening, and of course her two most elusive enemies: Honesty and Irony.
The young girl was cut down for the sins of being of middle eastern heritage, and making a very human, very affecting statement. It was essentially ' Because of statements you've made, I'm afraid to be in airports.' Ann's response? "Then ride a camel."
Sa-NAP! Who wouldn't want someone that witty lecturing their leaders of tomorrow, amiright?
Well, THAT got some attention, and Ann like any rock star or circus geek, knows when you've got their attention, it's time to kick it up a notch. That's when she fired back at the Provost of University of Ottawa, Francois Houle for accusing her of 'committing a crime in a speech she had not yet given'. Or, as she calls him "A-Houle." A-Houle, get it?
Whew. Whatever they're paying her, it's not enough!*
And what kind of reactionary-socialist-monster would make such a brazen accusation? No kind, really. What actually happened was, a career academic whose job it is to make sure such things run smoothly, sent Coulter an e-mail welcoming her (rather effusively) to his campus.
Here's the entire transcript:http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2710037
He does caution her about the differences between Canadian and American laws. But that's just a courtesy, isn't it? When people from the States come to visit me, I caution them about several things. The speed limit signs are in kilometers not miles, don't get a speeding ticket. It was a nicety that he performed in the course of his job.
I suppose if you're the type of vicious unprincipled thug who's comfortable calling a young girl a camel jockey (essentially), you may be paranoid enough to misinterpret someone else's graciousness as threatening behavior. But to be sure, that's the way she spun it when she leaked it to the press.
With conservatives like Ann, the help you offer may not be as valuable as the help that can be attained from you. That's how you make headlines, if you're distasteful enough to be controversial, but not interesting enough to fill a hall.
Well that got asses in the seats, with asses left over. Really, from Ann's perspective there was nothing left to do. Certainly no reason to fulfill her contractual obligations. It's not her fault the University/campus security/demonstrators/Ottawa Police demanded the appearance be cancelled, is it?
Here's a link that shows how none of those things happened:
So she lied. So she mobilized the aging frat boys who frequent her website to perpetuate the lie. They LOVE Ann, and it's only not because she talks just like one of the guys from Omega House that used to spank you in your underpants....It's also that she looks like one of those guys but is, technically, a woman. Unless you're elected to Public Office, a conservative's gotta keep those feelings repressed!
But this isn't about that! It's about.....FREE SPEECH! Yeah That's it, FREE SPEECH! Ann LOVES the free speech! Oh, you didn't know that about her? Hell yeah. She's a fierce advocate of the right to free expression!
And to prove it, she took her show to Calgary, in the more conservative (at least by the socialist standards of Canada, wink-wink) praries,where they had to change venues form a 400 seat hall to a 1000 seat hall, where Good Sir Ann who was now describing herself as a "hate-crime victim" would preach the gospel of beautiful, glorious free speech!
Oh, by the way? "“While there will be a Q&A to ensure open, intellectual discussion between attendees of the event and Ann Coulter, the Question and Answer period will be moderated, and any sort of ranting, heckling, or otherwise disrupting of the event will result in removal by security and/or police...As well, individuals caught recording this event will be removed.”
You can almost taste the freedom! I want to know all about Ann the Victim's heroic tale of overcoming the adversity she single-handedly manufactured.
No officers, I DON'T have any questions!
* As mentioned in Part1, they were paying her 10,000 Cdn, down roughly 150% from her speaking fees from two short years ago. For those of you cynical enough to suspect that would motivate her to create some controversy for attention? Yeah, I hear you.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Sometimes I don't even wait for the song to come on. Sometimes the room just seems too quiet, or noisy. Sometimes I just want to see what will happen. It's long been my dream to shout it into a P.A. somewhere, in public. A dream, sadly, deferred.
Until last Tuesday.
Last Tuesday my lovely, long-suffering L'Amour de ma Vie and I brushed off our liberal guilt and anti-corporate hostility, and made our monthly trip to Wal-Mart. It was there in that most-hated of retail stores, in the greeting card section, I saw it...The phone.
You know the one. They're in every big store you frequent, in every department. Grocery, sporting goods, electronics. They're attached to a wall or girder, and they've got programmable buttons to connect you with other departments, manager's office...
...And 'page'. The button you push to call someone to your section for clean-up, re-stocking, and of course (gulp) security. The MAGIC button. The one that they show you how to use, because it's NEVER marked.
Until last Tuesday. We were innocently perusing the birthday cards when I saw the phone, and the button with 'page' penciled in next to it.
My eyes got wide. I looked around. I whispered to my companion, who shrugged and gave me a look that said, "Go ahead, you know you want to. Get it over with." It also seemed to say, "Yes. Do it you mad, impetuous fool, I am aflame with desire to see this grand scheme of yours come to fruition. I hold you far above all other men, mere mortals that they are."
I'm not entirely sure about the last part, as I was moving quickly now, but it stands to reason she'd think that. Right?
So anyway, I pick up the receiver, held it against my ear, and pressed page. It made a couple of beeping noises, and then a little white-noise hiss. And I did it.
I quickly hung up the phone. I looked around to see if I'd been spotted. I put on a casual air, and picked up a talking card, pretending to chuckle at the wit of Larry The Cable Guy, ("Git 'r Done"?...How PRICELESS!) glancing furtively up and down the aisle. Everything seemed fine.
The rest of the shopping trip, I listened for the P.A. to call security on me, and strolled the aisles, whistling 'She Blinded Me With Science' and feeling very much like I'd gotten away with something. It's always a little kick, to have imagined doing something silly or fun, and being able to cross it off your list.
Maybe it'll just escalate. I know the button now. On the Lucent brand phone, second row, 4th from the top.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
In the latter part of the middle of the last century, when I was a child...I'm old...saturday morning was almost too good to bear. I'd be up at the crack of dawn, the TV set on, still showing the test pattern with the picture of the Indian in his headress ,(we didn't have 24 hour programming back then, or infomercials...We didn't even have racial sensitivity and we called Native Americans 'Indians') waiting for the cartoons to start.
I loved saturday morning cartoons. I loved everything about them. I even loved the sponsors who were kind enough to provide the colorful bounty, most of them cartoon characters themselves. Thank you Cap'n Crunch! God bless you, Trix Rabbit! And yes...YES...YES! Yes, I DO want my milk to turn 'choclatey' in the bowl, Cocoa Puffs Cuckoo! Thank you for asking!
Almost all the commercials were for breakfast cereal, and they all wanted only two things in this world...1) To give me the energy I needed to be a kid, and 2) To give me toys. Just GIVE them to me! Either right there inside the box, or in trade for a couple of measly box tops. Worthless box tops! We were just gonna throw them away anyhow!
It was a paradise. All my cartoon friends and I got along, and we all lived in a harmonious, mutually beneficial society.
Except for Quisp and Quake:
These guys could NOT get along! It was always a fierce competition with them, each trying to convince us that their cereal was superior. Sometimes going so far as to invade one another's commercials!
As far as my sister and I were concerned, this was the conflict of the ages. There was no way to reconcile this chasm between these two vastly different pitchmen, the spaceman with a 'quazy' attitude and the down-to-earth rugged Quake. Even their boxes proclaimed their diametric opposition, with Quisp (my choice) a spacy liberal blue, and Quake (my sister's vote), with his red box and John Birch-like construction helmet. We argued about the relative merits of our man with passion and fervor, each declaring the other's cereal gross and inedible. My poor mother was forced to buy both, to keep the peace, lest cereal civil war break out at our table.
Of course both of these products were not only manufactured by the same company, Quaker Oats, but were made of identical ingredients, corn meal and staggering amounts of high fructose corn syrup. The only difference were the packages and the shapes.
These battles went on at our house until the day my mom read an article that quoted Ralph Nader as saying that all of these cereals were like "giving a kid a vitamin pill and a shot of whiskey." She stopped buying that kind of stuff altogether, and my sister and I patched things up, as we now had a common enemy: Corn Flakes. Although I'm still pretty 'blue', and she's a little on the 'red' side.
Oh yeah...There's a big commotion going on right now between Seth MacFarlane and Sarah Palin. It's a big controversy centered around the sensitive subject of developmental disabilities. The two combatants both are very influential figures in popular culture, with Seth being irreverant and brash while Sarah is....I don't know...Reverant and brash.
Anyway, both have large followings, one for his cartoon shows on Fox Network, which is owned by News Corp, the other for her frequent appearances on, and her high profile contract with Fox News Network, which is owned by News Corp.
A lot of sources I respect and rely on for information (Bill Maher, Huffington Post, Truth Dig) have all come out gleefully chortling at Seth 'sticking it to' Sarah, and her phony outrage, and her frequent use of her Down's Syndrome child as a political football. And I don't disagree with the sentiment. And of course Bill O'Reilly and Sarah Palin are discussing it on Fox News and and the controversy escalates and escalates until it explodes, covering Rupert Murdoch (and Sarah and Seth) in a pile of money and influence.
Ralph Nader already tried to explain this to us a couple of times, don't make me call my mom.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Whenever I find myself having a reasonable discussion on advertising (which is often), I invariably arrive at the same reasonable conclusion; Everyone in 'marketing' should be herded up and driven over a cliff like lemmings.
And at the bottom of the cliff there should be broken glass, in case any of them survive the fall.
And the glass should be covered in salt, so they can really think about what they did, in the time they have left.
At first blush, this sounds a little extreme, I know. Bear with me.
It's not hard to get me going on this subject. All that's needed is to turn on the TV, or the radio, or open a magazine, log onto a computer, attend a sporting event, see a bus, see a taxi, look inside the house, look OUTSIDE...Well, you get the idea. So in order to keep myself from ranting incoherently, I'm going to break it down in pieces of no particular order or size.
Today's installment: The Auto Industry
Between the U.S. and Canada, billions of dollars were pumped into bailing out the floundering corporations, a desperate attempt to save badly needed manufacturing jobs. Their business model, building cheap, shoddy, gadget-laden crap, had been going swimmingly for decades. Every year the corners that got cut in quality, which SHOULD have resulted in a loss of profits, got made up for with marketing savvy.
They stopped selling well-built, durable goods, and started selling us shiny, slickly designed 'lifestyle' accessories. Family cars gave way to behemoth SUV's, as commercials featured happy moms 'having it all' and driving through ravines and up mountains on the way home from soccer practice. Mountains, that incidentally, their children will never see, as they're watching Disney videos in the tv set in the back of the headrest! These kids couldn't find their way home from school, because they've never looked up to see the route!
I won't even go into the specifics of selling sportscars and oversized pick-up trucks to suburban men who'll only ever drive them to commute to the train station. It seems like forever since they began selling these as big-ticket Wonderbras for the ever insecure male phallus. A sociological phenomenom that has caused science and the pharma industry (a rant for another day) to dedicate themselves wholly to the search for the neverending middle-aged erection.
An automobile is a major purchase, in most anyone's budget. They should always have been going to great pains to assure us they got that. But they didn't. They hired marketers, who put together 'focus groups', and they waved doo-dads like OnStar and GPS, and brighter headlights than the other guy in their faces, and convinced themselves, the focus groups, and us (in that order) that those were the important components in making that investment.
And they started to fail. And when they did, instead of putting their faith and trust in a workforce that was proven, that had made them, they cut costs and workers to retain profit margins.
And they continued to fail. So we bailed them out. With very few conditions, and no demand for attrition.
So in a way, we all share a measure of blame, for the fact they remain unrepentent dirtbags. They haven't changed. It's not in them to admit mistakes. They've learned nothing. Because they didn't have to lose anything. They STILL wave shiny baubles in front of us, while we gurgle like babies staring at $30,000 mobiles, just out of reach above our crib.
I really hoped they would have re-evaluated the choices that led them to the brink of non-existence. But 2010 brought another year of asinine commercials urging us to buy a car...Sorry, that's BUY A GODDAMNED CAR because it will read our text messages to us. Or because the entertainment system is equipped with THX theater quality sound.
No,"Whoops, we get it. We'll fix it." No contrition. Just "Thanks for the cow. We used it to get more magic beans. Oh, and we ate the beans."
These guys nearly destroyed an industry that was created in America, and thrived for decades, and they did it by investing in smug, superficial marketing campaigns, because it was easier and more lucrative than building a decent product. And they'll continue to do it, until we hold their feet to the fire....
Which we should do after we herd them. Let them hop to the cliff.
Monday, February 8, 2010
That's a lot of stuff, right? Some things that I'll really miss. I was a fan of Matt Groening when I found 'Life In Hell' in the Chicago Reader before there even was Fox Network, and I'm a shameless Simpsons fan-boy. Same with Futurama. Fox also holds the rights to broadcast NFL games, and for better-or-worse I'm a loyal Bears fan.
That also means I'll be checking for the 20th Century Fox logo before I attend, buy, or rent a movie.
Of course, I understand in this exciting technological age we live in, it's possible to find all these things online for free, anyway. Not that I would ever do that, or recommend anyone else do so. No matter how easy it is.
And it's really, really easy.
Look, all I'm saying is that I find Fox News practices odious enough, that I'm no longer willing to put ANY money in Rupert Murdoch's pocket. Last year in the 4th quarter, News Corp reported losses of $203 million. They're not wholly invulnerable. And while I don't believe that Roger Ailes is really "a ratings guy", so much as a slobbering tool, being used by a powerful foreigner to shape American culture and politics, I'd be curious to see if his (and Fox's) behavior could be modified by some financial setbacks.