Monday, January 31, 2011

Vide Clip Monday!

You think it, Tracy Morgan says it live on TNT:

Ever wonder why the Simpsons keeps grinding out episodes, despite the fact that it seems like most of the writers on the show have no interest in writing Simpsons episodes? Here's an old clip from 1992 explaining it all:

UPDATE! Tracy Morgan WILL NOT back down:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Friday!

For your amusement, it's Tea Party Jesus!

As an added bonus, you can click on the pictures at the site and they'll tell you who actually said it (besides, of course, Jesus).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This Is Funny

Bob Odenkirk, of Mr. Show fame (but you already knew that, right?), came up with this new warning label for 4Loko. I presume the FDA will be requiring it shortly.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How Do You Justify Repression?

There are two ways to justify the repression of citizens practicing their constitutionally-guaranteed rights in a democracy. Demonstrating they pose a legitimate risk to public safety is usually accepted as the most legitimate reason. A close second, though, is just making shit up.

Bob Fletcher, the incredibly over-zealous former Ramsey county sheriff whose tactics at the 2008 RNC caused even other law enforcement officials to wince, justified his heavy-handed tactics by pointing to the number of terrorist groups and terrorism briefings his special, oversight-free anti-terrorism unit dealt with.

Problem is, according to a spokesperson for new Ramsey county sheriff Matt Bostrom, the supposed 33 terrorist groups Fletcher and crew had ratted out were "a very big lie."

Not only is there no documentation that any of these groups even exist, there's no documentation anywhere that the anti-terrorism group, which was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money, ever did anything.

Of course, Fletcher has fired back, claiming he never lied and that everything happened as he said it did. Though even if we take a giant leap of faith and trust him at his word here, there's still a fairly big problem. If these terrorist groups were so dangerous that they justified mass arrests of hundreds of completely innocent people, shouldn't he have, you know, at least left a note for the next guy? Or did he so effectively fight them that all terrorist groups have ceased to exist, thus making it completely unnecessary to leave any information for the next sheriff about this now non-existent problem?

Monday, January 24, 2011

More Cool Things That Happen After I've Left...

As I've complained extensively (and recently), the State of Iowa, at some point in time, decided to wait on doing anything cool until I was long gone. All in an effort to ensure I grew up with a really boring childhood, I suppose.

So add this to the growing pile of evidence -- Flava Flav, ex-Public Enemy hype-man/current walking punchline, is opening his own fried chicken restaurant in friendly li'l Clinton, Iowa. To top it off, he claims he plans to be there regularly, even working the fryer himself on occasion.

Why he chose Iowa, and why he then chose Clinton of all places in Iowa, is unknown, but the chance of me taking a road trip to Clinton to experience the magic of Flava Flav chicken is highly likely...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Want To Be Great?

First of all, if you are not watching Parks and Rec, you are committing a pop-culture crime of the greatest proportions.

Second, if you want to be great, simply follow this chart:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why Do Cool Things Only Happen When I Leave? Part 92 in a Never-Ending Series

Added to the list of cool things happening in Iowa that made sure to wait until I was gone to happen is the 33 1/3 art show going on in the sleepy little berg where I went to school.

It's a show where artists from the area have re-interpreted record covers as they would have designed them, had they had the chance. Some are merely cute riffs on the existing art, and some are quite arguably better than the originals.

Of course, I won't see any of these, as I no longer live in Iowa...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Don't Exactly Know How To Explain This...

...other than to say this is the exact reason the internet exists. When I woke up this morning, I had no idea this even existed, and yet now, I'm so happy someone took the time out of their life to put it together.

Have you ever wondered what it sounds like when LBJ custom orders several pairs of pants? Well, not to give to much away, it involves the fucking President of the United States describing how they should fit near his "bunghole" and how the crotch of his pants "down where your nuts hang" is too tight, so he needs some more Presidential nut room.

Seriously, watch this shit. It is well worth the 2 minutes and 47 seconds of your life:

Put This On: LBJ Buys Pants from Put This On on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

This Has Nothing to Do With Anti-Semitism

The problem with attempting to have a discussion of Israeli policies and programs is that it's utterly impossible -- even the most tepid criticisms of Israeli actions are often quickly met with cries of anti-Semitism (which is just a ridiculous of branding people anti-American for daring to disagree with a war, but I guess they're both effective at ending the conversation).

The best rebuttal I've ever heard to this line of arguing came from a young Palestinian student I met a college discussion panel on the Israeli wall. He pointed out that the reason the international community rightly encouraged and facilitated the development of the Israeli state in the first place was because of the horrible suffering inflicted on the Jewish people by the Nazi state. But by turning around and unleashing their own campaign of horrendous violence and apartheid-style restrictions on the Palestinian people, they were undercutting the very reason for the existence of Israel.

And here's another pristine example of how the Israeli state (but not necessarily the Jewish people, who exist quite separately from the state of Israel) has incredibly lost it's way: given the recent fall of the Tunisian dictatorship and incipient growth of democracy in several other Arab nations, you might think Israeli officials would salute this development as the growth of freedom and self-determination (you know, like Israel is to be for Jews).

But you'd be wrong. In fact, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom had this to say on the prospect of democracy in the Arab world:

“I fear that we now stand before a new and very critical phase in the Arab world. If the current Tunisian regime collapses, it will not affect Israel’s present national security in a significant way,” he said. “But we can, however, assume that these developments would set a precedent that could be repeated in other countries, possibly affecting directly the stability of our system.”

Shalom added that if regimes neighbouring the Israeli state were replaced by democratic systems, Israeli national security might significantly be threatened. The new systems would defend or adopt agendas that are inherently opposed to Israeli national security, he said.


Shalom emphasised that a democratic Arab world would end this present allegiance, because a democratic system would be governed by a public generally opposed to Israel.

So to summarize, the state of Israel does not want Arab people to have democracy because it might make life more difficult for them. So much for that whole being-against-fascism thing they used to have, I guess...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hey, It's That Day We Celebrate That Guy

It turns out that, in addition to having some sort of dream that makes selling cars easier and everyone from Glenn Beck to Sarah Palin think they would have been best buds with the guy, MLK actually had some opinions on things. And they weren't as rosy as the "hey, let's all pretend everything's fine and hold hands!" type message that seems to be associated with him these days...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Drugs are for losers! And hypnosis is for losers with big weird eyebrows!

Just in time for you to fill out your office Golden Globes pool (that's a thing, right? People do that kind of stuff, don't they?), comes the Futurama Golden Globes preview review.

Being both brief and witty, they're pretty much the only movie reviews you'll read this year that truly capture the essence of the film in question...

Monday, January 10, 2011

On That Whole Horrible Tragedy Thing

So by now you've probably read or seen at least a dozen news stories about the attempted assassination that left a US Representative gravely wounded and killed 6 others, so I'm probably not going to offer much novelty to the thousands of opinions you've already heard, but then again, when do I ever do that?

As it so often does with politically-motivated violence in this nation, it turns out the gunman was probably a right-wing nut job. As I've pointed out often here before, while the right in this country has a long (and recent) history of employing violence, the left appears to significantly more surveilled, even though there really hasn't been any leftist-motivated violence in this nation since the Weather Underground disbanded.

Though I'd like to stress, as many others have pointed out, clearly Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck are not immediately or directly responsible for this happening, just like video games and Marilyn Manson didn't lead to Columbine, or the lindy hop didn't lead directly to WWI.

But I think the big difference between "video games led to Columbine" and "Glenn Beck led to the Arizona shootings" (again, neither of which is really true) is the difference between making violence look fun or acceptbale in an abstract way (like rewarding you for running over hookers in Grand Theft Auto) and repeatedly saying (albeit supposedly as joke) that certain people should be killed.

Because even though this guy was probably mentally ill in some way, it has been happening with increasing regularity that people, whether mentally ill or not, who listen to a great deal of Glenn Beck and that ilk, have gone out and killed people. This is the second such incident in the past 3 months (recently in Oakland a Beck fan got into a shootout in which he killed three officers while on the way to murder ACLU members and earlier in Pennsylvania), and if I weren't too busy to spend the morning on google, I know I could find several more recent examples of a nut job going unhinged and killing people in part because of their paranoid world vision greatly fed by Beck and Co.

So again, you can't really blame someone when something they've said encourages someone who is probably mentally unhinged to go kill someone. But when it happens repeatedly, there becomes a certain point when that person becomes culpable. If not in the legal sense (though you could definitely make an argument for that), at least in the moral sense.

And I also am well aware that political violence and extremely heated and violent political rhetoric are nothing new (hell, they're what this nation was built on), there's still something about people who listen to all of your shows and buy all of your books and then go out and attempt to assassinate public officials or non-profit officials or anyone starting to occur somewhat regularly that should at least make you take pause and potentially re-evaluate what you're saying. Not because of your politics or because of your world view or what have you, but because clearly a small (but highly impacting) part of you audience is clearly receiving the message that they should go out and kill certain people.

And if that is not the message you want them to be receiving (I'm probably granting them way too much here), then you should probably think about it a little bit...

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Problems of Hero Worship

Surprisingly, there was a really good piece in the Washington Post yesterday about why Americans (wrongly) so revere the military (short version: because so very few of us have ever experienced it, we see it as a magical force for good, not just another bureaucracy with its good and bad sides).

It's a pretty succinct explanation of the problem so many Americans have with lionizing people/institutions. Another great example is the current right-wing worship of the Founding Fathers™. Not only is it blasphemy to ever say anything bad about the Founding Fathers™, but it's insane to ever imply any of them may have ever not been perfect.

Of course, what's lost in this is the fact that the Founding Fathers™ didn't even like each other, and constantly bickered, spread lies about each other, and shot each other in duels. I'm not exactly sure how one is to reverently worship a bunch of people who mostly hated each other, but I suppose thought is not really to enter into one's reverence of the Founding Fathers™.

However, an even bigger irony of all this hero worship is that the Founding Fathers™ themselves didn't want this and even specifically warned against it. For example, here's John Adams on the subject (quoted from an excellent article about how incredibly ignorant Michelle Bachmann is):

"The History of our Revolution will be one continued Lye [sic] from one end to the other. The essence of the whole will be that Dr. Franklin's electrical rod smote the Earth and out sprung General Washington. That Franklin electrified him with his rod—and thence forward these two conducted all the Policy, Negotiations, Legislatures and War." Vice President Adams, as a critic of the man under whom he served, was acutely aware that celebrating mythic reputations only diverted citizens’ attention from the duty to judge candidates based on their qualifications. And, Adams added, "the question should not be who has done or suffered the most, or who has been the most essential and indispensable cause of the Revolution, but how is he best qualified to govern us?"

But then again, what do I know? I haven't even said my prayers to the Founding Fathers™ yet today

Monday, January 03, 2011

Do You Have Any Grease?

Then grease me up, woman!

Yes, immortalizing what may be perhaps my most favorite Simpson exchange ever, I present to you the Ragin' Willie plush doll, which comes complete with its own bucket of grease (which I suppose negates the necessity of asking Lunch Lady Doris for help).

I know the holiday season has passed, but if anyone out there is still scrambling to think of a last-minute gift idea for me, you're welcome.