Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On Apples and V-Chips

I was reading this utterly fascinating article in the New Yorker called Crunch, written by John Seabrook (sorry, link is subscriber only), on, of all things, apples (the fruit, not the company).  It was a comprehensive account on how new brands of apples come to market.  Of particular focus was the Honeycrisp, a new apple I have come to love.  Interestingly, in 2006 the Association of University Technology Managers named the Honeycrisp one of the top 25 innovations that changed the world, along with Google and the V-chip.  This brings two questions to mind.  First, and I'm speaking to new parents here, does anyone actually use the V-chip? It's always struck me as a particularly useless device but perhaps its actually quite popular with parents and/or red-staters (I don't associate with a lot of either!). Second, what are you favorite apples?  I think my top 5 favorite apples, in no particular order, would be:

Mutsu (aka "Crispin")
Asian Pear (which look and taste more like apples to me)

So Long Frankster!

With Barney Frank leaving politics, joining Alan Grayson and Anthony Weiner on the sidelines (for different reasons of course), it's hard to see who is left to fight the Republican batshit crazy machine.  It also means my top four favorite political figures are all women Darcy Burner, Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Elizabeth Warren.

But Barney Frank was fuckin' awesome - here he eviscerates current GOP frontrunner (can't believe I'm writing that) Newt Gingrich.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

This post only make sense if you know "Alice's Restaurant," but it's 46 years later and we're still locking up young people for "littering" (but really because we don't like what they have to say) and we're still fighting pointless wars. Sigh...

God I am the world's biggest bummer. Arlo Guthrie would be ashamed of me.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lieberman Out

I was hoping I would go my entire life without posting a single blog about the world's most grand-standing US Senator, Joe Lieberman, but today he came up with an idea so monumentally stupid it takes my breath away - he wants readers to be able to "flag" comments on google blogger when the blogs contain "terrorist" content.  Is he fucking serious? This man is a US Senator?!? This kind of reactionary idiocy has no place in the world's most deliberative body.  If, by some miracle, legislation like this passed, I will be spending entire days flagging the twitter accounts of Republican presidential candidates for terrorist activity.  For example, did you know that this VP candidate painted a bulls-eye target on Democratic candidates, including Gabrielle Giffords? Did you know this current Republican candidate has called for violence against Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and has called for Texas' secession from the Union?


I think I would be more sympathetic to this NY Times article on teaching law students more "lawyering" if I didn't suspect the authors and the critics of such strong ulterior motives. The article argues that law professors are unwilling to teach the "necessities" of law practice - attracting clients, plea bargaining, drafting contracts, etc.  Instead, law firms are supposed to teach their recruits these skills on the jobs.  In other words, law firms are being forced to pay their employees to do these things instead of farming it out on the US taxpayer, which is what they propose.  "The horror."  Look, I get it.  Lawyers should probably learn how to do these things.  But this whole article just reeks of contempt for the law school elite, selectively mocking law journal submissions like "Why Non-Existent People Do Not have Zero Well-Being but Rather No Well-Being", so its hard to take this criticism without a grain of salt.  There clearly is an agenda present. The simple matter is, these law firms don't want to pay their hirees to learn what they describe as basic skills.  But isn't the firm actually the best place to learn these things?  I think the point that is unspoken in this article is that law firms are just trying to reap the advantages of the "unpaid internship" here.  And the unpaid internship is one of the most unjust and inequality-perpetuating mechanism in the US capitalism system.  On its face, the argument that law schools should spend more time teaching practical skills seems reasonable.  But teaching higher principles and abstract theoretical critical analysis is definitely more important.  We need to teach law school students how to write and how to reason.  Filling out Form 37-8234c is not going to help these individuals acquire these skills.  Thankfully, we are finally beginning to see studies that measure the effectiveness of certain-collegiate level degrees.  Surprisingly, it's the "practical" majors that do the poorest job preparing their students for post-graduate work.  Instead, the classes that teach critical thinking skills do a much better job of preparing their students for "the real world".  It is important to keep this in mind before we go rewriting the law school curriculum.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Look at these violent protestors!

The most important video you'll see all weekend.  Please watch the whole thing if you can.  The ending is pretty important.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Some good news for once

I can't believe I'm writing this, but it looks like baseball is putting the other major sports to shame when it comes to labor agreements and rule changes.  As you can see here, baseball is pretty close to locking down a new 5 year collective bargaining agreement.  And it didn't take a strike or nuttin'!
There are some rule changes coming our way, as well as a realignment that will bring the Astros to the AL West (a good idea in my opinion), but for the most most the changes are sound.  I did not want baseball to add another wild card team to each division (making ten of thirty teams eligible for the postseason - bleh), but since they are adding teams, the absolutely best outcome was to add a one-off "play-in game" for the Wild Cards.  This could actually make for some exciting baseball.  Anyway, I feel the need to pat these billionaires and millionaires on the head when they do something right for once.

Is we be learning?

A major malfunction of human beings in general is that we are extremely overconfident about the limits of our own knowledge. We think we "know" something, when in fact we do not. We "know" that government should tighten its belt during a recession when in fact, we should do the opposite. We "know" that the government wastes too much money on foreign aid when in fact, it's only 0.5% of the federal budget. We "know" Social Security will go bankrupt in a few years when in fact its fully funded, with no changes at all, until at least 2025.  We "know" there is a higher power who controls our destinies and forgives our sins when in fact there is no God (I kid, I kid, I'm just tweaking the Christians here). This overconfidence effect has the upsetting impact of distorting a lot of public policy, since our political officeholders, and the public that elects them, believes all sorts of things that are simply untrue.  What's even more upsetting is that our knowledge of the existence of what is called the "overconfidence effect" doesn't make us any less likely to be overconfident.  Let that sink in.  I'm telling you right now, we need to be systematically cognizant of the fact that we are overconfident about the validity of our most sincerely held beliefs.  I'm priming you as we speak. Now go and take this quiz and tell me how you do - remember while taking the quiz, you are shooting for 90% certainty/accuracy.  Feel free to be liberal in your confidence intervals.  The point of the exercise is that you are very certain that the correct answer is somewhere in the range you provide. Even though I've just warned you about overconfidence, I suspect you will still all victim.

BTW, I scored a 70% and was shocked to get that high.  But since I was supposed to be 90%, I scored as overconfident.  And please do click on some of the wikipedia links in this blog post if you are unfamiliar with priming or the overconfidence effect.  They are super interesting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Speaking from both a practical and political standpoint, I think this ruling by the judge in NYC that the Zucotti protestors can't camp out at the park is a win for them, though they clearly can't admit it. Let's be honest, as the winter grew colder and more dangerous, the movement would have lost a lot of momentum and attendance anyway.  With this ruling, they can declare victory, go home, and regroup for the spring (in a new, more legal venue) when the momentum of craziness in the Republican primary will be at its maximum height (otherwise known as peak wing-nut). Its a win-win.  And even the DFHs don't want to be camping in NYC in the snow - do you remember the winter we had last year??? Anyway, I think the protester below owes this friendly officer an apology.  What will these dirty fuckin' hippies do next to offend our delicate sensibilities, honk their horn?

Online dating

Have you ever written something so clever to a girl on an online dating site that you actually hope they don't write back because you don't think you can maintain that level of cleverness?

Yeah, me neither...

NBA Owners vs Arena Owners

One subject I've touched on before is the bizarre unwillingness of the rich to take on the rich. There are exceptions of course.  Microsoft, and Netscape, and Apple, and Google seem to be suing each other all of the time over one thing or another (perhaps its specific to the software industry).  But other large firms never really seem to be willing to take on other large firms, even when their interests are diamterically opposed.  I bring this up in the context of the NBA lockout because its curious to me why we do not see any arena or stadium owners (or their employees, labor unions, etc.) suing NBA owners over lost revenues due to the owners' decision to lockout out the players.  Remember, there is a current NBA collective bargaining agreement in place. The NBA owners just decided they don't like it. As a result, they have preemptively decided to lockout the players from fulfilling their contracts (how owners can unilateral void agreements made between two parties without paying any financial compensation to the other party is beyond me - I mean, people who can't afford their home mortgage payments can't unilaterally void the mortgage contract.  Perhaps someone familiar with labor law can fill me in).  So why aren't the stadium owners suing the NBA owners for void of contract?  How come the owners of The Staples Center aren't suing Jerry Buss? There has to be millions and millions of dollars in lost ticket revenue and merchandise sales in each stadium alone. Plus, the uncertain nature of the current negotiations ensures that these venues cannot be leased for other events to replace this revenue (concerts, circus, etc.).  So why don't arena owners go after the NBA (barring the few cases where the NBA owners own the arenas)? It would seem to be a slam-dunk case. Yet, not a single stadium owner has taken such a step. Only the city of Memphis has even broached the idea of suing the Grizzlies over lost revenues. Why aren't more cities taking such steps?  Why isn't Bloomberg suing James Dolan?  Okay, well I know why.  But that sure as hell doesn't make it a good reason.  I thought the powerful 1% were greedy enough to care more about money than their personal relationships.  Can't I even count on that to increase social welfare? Does every aspect of this game need to be rigged?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Bitterness

So I'm reading a Sunday NY Times article written by Rachel Leigh Brown on college students renting rooms in foreclosed Mcmansions in the Merced, California area.  It's okay as far as articles are concerned, though I'd be a bit more interested in knowing if this is any kind of national trend (I suspect not).  If it's not, I would call into question the article's front page prominence in the United States' paper of record. What I love about the article is this block quote below, from a frustrated homeowner:
“Everybody on this street is underwater and can’t see any relief,” said John Angus, an out-of-work English teacher who paid $532,000 for a house that is now worth $221,000. “This was supposed to be an edge-of-town, Desperate Housewifey community,” he said. “These students are the reverse.”
Mr. Angus pays $3,000 a month, while student neighbors pay one-tenth of that*. “I think they’re the luckiest students I’ve ever come across,” he said somewhat bitterly.
I absolutely adore this man's bitterness.  It's my favorite kind - irrational.  Let's keep in mind that abandoned homes drive down property values, attract squatters, and increase crime.  They are also aesthetically unsavory as abandoned homes are also unkempt homes (uncut lawns, homes in disrepair, etc.).  Renting to students ameliorates all of these problems and makes this underwater homeowner better off, but he just can't control his seething rage at these "lucky-duckies".  I love it.  I don't know what we need to do to convince people not to loathe their neighbors.  We're just not willing to do it if it somehow offends are delicate sensibilities about concepts of fairness.

But to tap into my own sense of bitterness, I'm all for the continued unhappiness of Mr. Angus, a man who wanted to live in a "Desperate Housewifey community."  This tool actually deserves the scorn of his neighbors for that comment alone.

* This appears to be a factual error (and a rather important one) made by the article's author.  There was not a single example within the article of a student home paying less than $800/month (most paid more). Individual students may be paying $300/month, but Mr. Angus is not sharing his home with five other residents. So the comparison is neither factual nor apt. Good job NY Times!


I feel like I should say something about NYC raiding the OWS protests down in Zucotti Park since this will clearly be the topic of the day.  First, speaking from public relations standpoint, this is just idiotic behavior by Bloomberg and the NYC Police.  Hullabaloo seems to have the most up-to-date info and videos I've seen, but I expect to see a lot more.  I mean, these kind of things are the lifeblood or rallies and protests. Let's be honest, press attention to the Occupy Wall Street Protesters was already diminishing.  I'm not sure how deep the protesters would have lasted into winter.  Plus, the press didn't even seem to care anymore.  So why do you go out and kick the shit out of a bunch of sleeping protesters at 1'o'clock in the morning? This adds fuel to the fire from a media standpoint and an activist standpoint.  Do you think there will be more or less activist participation after this morning's raid?  Seriously take a guess.  These types of protests live on police state aggression.  It is the lifeblood that fuels rebellion.  I realize the seriousness of the OWS protests is not the same, but the excessive use of police force is what brought the broader public to take seriously the protests in Birmingham, Tiananmen Square, Benghazi, etc., etc., etc.

Can I also point out that the manner, secrecy, and aggression surrounding these evictions belies the rational for the it.  Nobody, I mean, nobody, arrests a hundred people and sends dozens of them to the hospital because they want to clean a park the size of a large Hess station.  This is all about hippie-punching, pure and simple.  There is no other rationale. Police haven't been able to kick the shit out of hippies in decades. Now they have their chance.  I have no idea why the police want to beat the shit out of people who are trying to protect their jobs, protect their retirement benefits, and increase their salaries, but there you have it.

Deep thought

Sometimes I sit around and I think to myself, who are the people watching HBO's How to Make it in America? Who is actually watching Terra Nova? Terra Nova is particularly vexing since many of my friends and relatives enjoy the sci-fi genre, and yet I don't know anyone who watches it. These are the things that keep me awake at night.

The problem with Social Security and Rising Healthcare Costs: Two great tastes that go great together

One particularly pernicious zombie lie in politics is that Social Security is in some kind of crisis. The right wing screams it from the rooftops.  Rick Perry calls it a Ponzi scheme.  The "liberal" NY Times and the "liberal" Washington Post says it all the time.  But its just not true.  Its so amazingly untrue its pathetic that we even have to have this conversation all the time.  The reality is, Social Security can fund itself, with no tweaks at all, for the next 25 years.  25 years!  After that, a few minor tweaks amounting to 1.5% of the GDP and Social Security is saved forever.  Forever!  (Editor's note - I wanted to include a chart here but my browser is acting up and it won't let me upload the pic, so please click the link). Nevertheless, thanks to the media constantly claiming otherwise, everybody and their grandmother believe Social Security is doomed.  Doomed!
A USA Today/Gallup Poll shows six in 10 Americans who haven't retired yet say there will be nothing for them when they stop working...Younger Americans are least likely to believe they'll one day get Social Security... while those older than 55 are confident they will get benefits.
Again, this is utterly ridiculous and it's another major example of the media misinforming the public (intentionally or not, I don't know).  I have no idea why the mass media has a bug up their ass about Social Security.  It's inexplicable really.  And yet, they keep clamoring for some grand compromise that will a) cut benefits or b) raise the retirement age.  Forget the fact that we should be doing the opposite, at least in the short term.  I mean, lowering the Social Security eligibility age would actually be a really effective stimulus program because a) it would increase the capital in circulation, thus increasing demand for goods and services (otherwise known as capitalism) and b) it would open up thousands of jobs as new retirees left the workforce to enjoy their golden years. But we can't have that conversation.  He have to have conversations about "Grand Bargains" and "Super Committees".  But any decisions these committees make are virtually worthless.  Why? Because subsequent Congress' can always overturn these decisions.  It's not like we will strike a grand bargain on Social Security and then Congress retires forever (would be that it was so).  No, the next Congress comes in and raises taxes and raises those benefits, and then the next Congress comes in and raises the retirement age and cuts taxes, and so on.  Passing legislation now, that effects the population 25 years from now, is folly and has the added benefit of being politically unpopular.  The real problem we face, from a deficit standpoint, is rising healthcare costs (again graph won't cut and paste). I mean, healthcare costs are going to get really, really, really bad.

Luckily, these are two problems that take care of one another!  You see, as long as healthcare costs continue to skyrocket and the government continues to refuse to offer universal healthcare coverage, life expectancies will get so bad that US citizens simply won't live long enough to collect Social Security benefits! Its perfect. How come I never see any of these so-called number-crunchers in their nerd factories do that analysis?!? Currently the US is ranked 36th in the world in life expectancy (78.3 yrs), just behind communist Cuba (heh, heh). But healthcare costs are expected to increase 70% in the next ten years. Yeah, you read that right, 70%.  Thankfully, a lot of our poorest citizens will not have health insurance, thus they will be unable to afford any kind of life-sustaining treatment and surgeries.  So, they'll just die off before they have the opportunity to collect any of their ill-deserved Social Security benefits anyway. I mean who were these people??? Convenience store workers, manual laborers, date entry clerks, nurses aides, teaching assistants. A pox on them all I say!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The exception that proves the rule

One of my pet peeves is the use of the expression "the exception that proves the rule," primarily because I've never heard it used in a manner that makes any sense.  I mean, whenever people use it, they are actually citing exceptions that disprove the rule! In fairness, this actually has more to do with the statement itself, rather than its usage.  In fact, I think the only time one could accurately use the expression "the exception that proves the rule" is if the rule itself stated, "this rule is in true in all cases, but one exception."

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Yeah, you should already know this, but, umm, Pabst Blue Ribbon is the worst beer in the world...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Polls and Drug Tests

I saw a poll on facebook today asking people if individuals receiving unemployment benefits should be drug tested.  Of course, people answered in the affirmative at a rate of about 9 to 1.  This is generally fueled by the impression that unemployed people (of which I may be joining their ranks very shortly) are a bunch of pathetic, lazy, moochers, sucking on the government teat.  But here's the thing.  I don't think drug-testing people receiving unemployment benefits goes nearly far enough.  We really need to be asking this question more often.  I mean, shouldn't we be drug-testing these federal government parasites who are stealing our hard-earned money?

  1. Should we require drug tests for families that receive food stamps?
  2. Should we require drug tests for single mothers who receive child and dependent care tax credits?
  3. Should we require drug tests for people receiving Medicaid benefits?
  4. Should we require drug tests for people receiving Medicare benefits?
  5. Should we require drug tests for college students applying for Pell grants?
  6. Should we require drug tests for college students applying for subsidized/unsubsidized Stafford loans?
  7. Should we require drug tests for retired senior citizens collecting Social Security benefits?
  8. Should we require drug tests for homeowners using the Home Mortgage Income Tax Deduction?
  9. Should we require drug tests for drivers who use our federal highways?
I think you see where I'm going with this.  If you answer yes to these questions, you are advocating for the government to drug test every single citizen in the United States.  You know why?  Because every single citizen in the United States receives benefits from the government in one shape or another.  Yes, even those unemployed parasites collecting unemployment insurance, paid into the unemployment insurance fund at one point or another.  So you can't make the argument that drug-testing the jobless is some kind of special case that deserves extra scrutiny.  They paid into the program just as the retired paid into Social Security.

Former governor of California getting high.
But let's think about it in a practical sense.  What if we did enforce drug testing for the unemployed?  Well, drug-testing is very expensive and requires massive man-power to administer the tests and analyze the results.  So you'll need to create a massive new bureaucracy.  And hire a lot of new people.  Fine then, off the top of my head I can think of a bunch of people that could use the job, heh, heh.  But creating a new bureaucracy and hiring a lot of people costs money.  So you're taxes will need to go up to provide that revenue.  Or your benefits will need to go down.  Probably both.  Plus, we have to decide which drugs we are testing for. Are we testing for alcohol too? If not, why not? Marijuana?  That seems like a no-brainer, but I know pot-heads that pass drug tests all the time.  So as an added bonus, the tests aren't too reliable either. Wonderful. And who are we drug-testing again? Just the unemployed?  Why not people using our federal highways?  I can guarantee you that people using our public highways on drugs are doing vastly more societal damage than people on welfare smoking pot. I honestly can't think of a good ethical or practical reason why the unemployed should be drug tested but drivers should not.  I guess the only difference is that pretty much everybody drives (except the poor) so drug-testing drivers would affect "us" rather than the marginalized "others" who are unemployed.  And if you thought the wait times at the DMV were bad, can you imagine what the wait times at a government sponsored drug-testing facility would be?  Not to mention the personal privacy invasion associated with being compelled by your government to give blood and urine samples.  In other words, we shouldn't be asking people if the unemployed should be drug-tested before receiving benefits.  We should ask them:
Would you be in favor of the creation of a massive government bureaucracy that will increase taxes, cut benefits, demand hours and hours of your personal time and invade your personal space and privacy, in order to prevent a handful of drug users from collecting unemployment benefits?
Because that would actually be a much more accurate description of the trade-offs involved and the remedies suggested.

*** UPDATE ***

The Daily Show hits it out of the park below...

Exhibit A in Horse Shittery

I'm not sure this is an important article in the grand scheme of things, but a friend of mine linked to it on facebook and I can't let it go without commenting. Here's an article written by some douchebag named Bob Jennings who normally works for (surprise, surprise) Fox Business News but this trash is somehow granted legitimacy by being a featured article in Yahoo News. In the article Jennings "explains" that income taxes are going to increase substantially next year when tax season rolls around.  This is exactly that type of bullshit I'd hold up as Exhibit A of when the media, masquerading as an objective news organization, subtly pursues an ideological agenda.  Clearly Jennings, and Fox News, want to scare you about rises in income taxes.  But are income taxes really going up - well, er, no.  Jennings, to his own credit, blows the lede here (boldface mine):
In a recent tax planning meeting with one of our clients, we shocked them with what their income tax future looked like for 2013 if -- on the off-chance -- Congress continues to do nothing to provide a long-term permanent set of tax laws.
They had no idea what tax breaks were expiring this year and next year, and how much it would cost them personally in extra income tax. But they aren't alone, many Americans and even tax professionals aren't aware that their tax bill could rise dramatically next year.
So yeah, we don't know what Congress is going to do.  Taxes could go up. Taxes could go down. Who knows??? Congratulations Bob. You just described every single day of every single year in Congress.  Even Jennings acknowledges that Congress doing nothing is probably the less likely scenario ("on the off chance").  But he still launches from this least likely scenario to paint a morbid tax environment where everybody's taxes are going up thousands of dollars.  Because we need to scare people about taxes.  We need to convince them that our government (cough, cough, black President) has substantially raised federal taxes (he's actually cut them), and that he's out to get your money and give it to his free-loading friends. But the entire premise is faulty.  Congress not doing anything about the current tax code is the least likely scenario.  Sure, taxes might go up.  But probably not.  In fact, they are more likely they go down (since cutting taxes is the only policy we can seem to pass during a recession).  But there is no reason to let those likelihoods get in the way of a good scare mongering, am I right?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Well duh!

Unsurprisingly, Herman Cain has raised more money from donors since the allegations of sexual harassment have been revealed.  Well anyway, unsurprising to those of us who know anything about the how the Republican mind works. It paradoxically celebrates and rewards politicians who sexually infantualize women while simultaneously condemning the "liberal" media that exposes it (even though it was logically the Perry or Romney campaign that leaked it). It's legitimately a win-win for a Republican candidate. That's why I don't think Rick Perry's already famous debate gaffe will hurt him that much (if at all).  The truth is, most Republican activists celebrate and reward stupidity.  I mean this literally. When choosing candidates, this is a feature not a bug.  I mean just watch this clip again below (I can't even make it through it myself).  For the right wing, Rick Perry is super Jesus + super George Bush combined.  I guarantee you, he will be still be a player in the Republican field. He may not be smart, but he's smart enough to know we need to get rid of those big bad government bureaucracies! He can't name them, but we know they're bad!

One day

If I ever find the opportunity to liveblog the first season of Transformers while under the influence, I guarantee you it will be the best, most funny thing I ever write.  Season One is like the Treasure of Sierra Madre of nostalgic and comedic gold.  It's just amazing.  In the meantime, here's a picture of Thundercracker, who was the most underrated Decepticon of his time. Look at'em!  He's just havin' a great time!

Manipulating Audiences

So I got back into wrestling recently, due 100% to a worked shoot from CM Punk. It was pretty awesome.  It's the WWE equivalent of painting cocks on a wall. He knocks down the fourth wall and he really takes on the system at the WWE in an aggressive manner.  The episode caused a phenomenon in WWE, particularly due to a series of worked shoots with Punk and John Cena that were really quite good and they almost pulled off the impossible, which is make me like John Cena.  So of course, the writers milked it for about 5 weeks and then they inexplicably killed the storyline.  I really have no idea why.  Anyway, this is the video that launched the storyline.

I bring this up in a roundabout way (like all of my blogging), of mentioning that I'm always impressed by wrestling's ability to manipulate audiences. I mean, if the writers decide one character is a face ("good guy") one week and a heel ("bad guy") the next week, the audiences instantly fall into line.  I almost always root for the heels - they definitely have funnier and more compelling storylines. I mean, how can you not love, say, Chris Jericho, just lacing into his audience.  It's awesome.  But then you have these kiss ass "good guys" who the audiences just go ga-ga over.  I'm always amazed how easy it is.  One day Santino Marella is despised by the WWE audience, the next day he's a lovable loser that the audience goes ape-shit over.  Forget about falling into line, these people melt into line. That's why if I ever ran for office, or even staffed a campaign office, I'd hire a WWE writer.  I mean, these guys get shit done, and I just don't know how they do it.  I mean, there are theories right?  WWE fans are just a bunch of dumb, red-necked yahoos who will buy into anything.  And I say, yeah, so what?  If you can get them to buy ratty t-shirts by the millions and pony up $100 for Wrestlemania tickets, can't you get them to the polls?  A vote is a vote.  They don't weigh votes by education level, or income level.  If I get Obama to hit current enemy du jour Kevin Nash over the head with a chair, will he carry South Carolina? Will Elizabeth Warren smoke Scott Brown in Massachusetts if she tag teams with John Cena during Summer Slam? Cause as a campaign strategist, I'd say bring it on.


I'm a little bit surprised that Bridesmaids was as good as advertised.  I mean, it looked good, and the reviews were just excellent, but sometimes a movie can be overpraised to the point where expectations are just raised too high (The Sixth Sense is a good example).  But Bridesmaids was pretty damn funny.  The second half definitely lagged but Kristen Wiig is compelling enough to suffer through the drama portion of the movie.  And congratulations to Maya Rudolph for finally playing a character I didn't hate.  I didn't think she had it in her!

Anyway, this post is just a roundabout way to link to Mia Rose Frampton (Peter Frampton's daughter) just crushin' Wiig in this deleted scene from the movie. If this was improvised (and even if it's not), this girl has an amazing comedic future.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Can a man join a yoga class?

I have to say, I've always been a little intrigued by yoga classes.  It DOES look relaxing and let's face it, it does not seem particularly tiring (I'm not talking about hot yoga which I have no interest in).  So from time to time, I've been intrigued by the idea of joining a yoga class.  If it works, God knows I could benefit from the stress release.  However, I'm always plagued by the nagging suspicion that I'll be viewed negatively by my fellow female yoga attendees because the females outnumber the guys by such a great number that, if I'm there, I must be either gay, or, I'm there for less noble, pervy reasons (i.e. watching a predominantly attractive female class stretch themselves into pretzels). Here's what makes things worse - if I ever did join, I would be there for the females! They would have me dead to rights! Not in a pervy sense or anything. Clearly there are easier ways for a male to get there perv on in the year 2011.  But in the sense that I would like to meet females in the class. I mean, it's tough to meet girls.  Does it make me a terrible person if I put myself in a position where I can more easily meet women? Or am I invading an outlet where women normally feel free from prying male eyes?  I feel like it's the latter.  But that could be my Catholic guilt talking.  I honestly want to know - if I join, say, a free yoga class at my gym, am I just a super-perv? Female feedback is appreciated!


Heavy D sucks - long live Biz Markie!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A request

Are there cool, ironic, and snarky websites for pop culture that I can link to from my blog?  I already have Grantland and Deadspin. What else? TWOP is good, but a little different than what I'm looking for.  Gawker is not really my thing.  So what's good out there?

A sad reminder

I know I'm going to get into trouble for "politicizing" this, but the situation At Penn State is a very sad reminder that people in power protect other people in power.  And people like Joe Paterno, and the Athletic Directors at the Penn State, and campus administrators are powerful people (in every sense of the word), who protected a despicable human being because a) he was also powerful b) it would be embarrassing to their powerful positions and c) powerful people believe (for the most part correctly) that they are above the law.  Now, this wouldn't be the most horrific thing in the world if we had a press corps that held powerful people accountable, but by and large we do not have such a thing.  JoPa, who by most accounts has probably been senile for about 8 years, has been venerated as some moral, untouchable wise man whose character is beyond question.  Jim Tressel was seen that way too. John Calipari has probably broken every single NCAA rule in the book and he just gets rewarded with more wins and much more money at more prestigious programs.  I guess he gets the run of the joint until he fucks a horse or something.
Of course, journalistic deferential to authority figures is not exclusive to the sporting world - it just happens to be the most recent example.  But we don't need a lot of reminders of powerful people protecting other powerful people in other fields like art, religion, business, and politics.  It's why Hollywood cheered that child rapist Roman Polanski at the Oscars a few years back.  It's why Scooter Libby and Karl Rove outed an active and effective CIA agent and they were either effectively pardoned or not prosecuted at all.  It's why not one higher up individual has been prosecuted for the torture and illegal rendition conducted at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and other secret rendition sites across Europe and the Middle East.  It's why the Catholic Church transferred priests around the country and covered-up the rapes of thousands and thousands young boys and girls around the world. It's why not a single banker has been prosecuted for destroying the world economy through deviousness, lies, cheating, and outright fraud. The only remedy against such injustice, I mean the only remedy, is a watchful and dutiful press core that is skeptical of press releases, of candidate statements, of PR spin and of power in general.  But this is not what we see.  We see authoritarian veneration.  We see any unwillingess to raise flags, or alarms, or even question our societal elites. There is a very important difference between us and the powerful.  We get fired for ironic facebook posts.  They get promoted for covering up financial fraud, spying on their own citizens, raping young children, and lying their way into wars.  I'm just not sure what we can do about it all...

What's crazy about all of this is that I still believe government is ultimately a force for good in this world - but we must watch our watchmen.  And right now, we don't.

UPDATE: I guess now we know why Penn State canceled JoPa's press conference. This is what he said to a group of students huddled outside his door today:
"It's hard for me to tell you how much this means to me. I've lived for this place, and I've lived for people like you guys and girls, and I'm just so happy to see that you could feel so strongly about us and about your school. The kids that were victims or whatever they want to say, I think we all ought to say a prayer for them. Tough life, when people do certain things to you. Anyway, you've been great. Everything's great, all right."
What an insufferable prick.  What a doddering old man.  "The kids that were victims or whatever they want to say"??? "Everything's great, all right"??? Fire this asshole already.

UPDATE II: Want to see more MEDIA FAIL?  Look at it preeminently whitewash and edit Paterno's statement above. Who needs PR flacks when the media will clean your reputation for you?