July Rambling: Weird Al, and the moon walk

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Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. – George Orwell. To that end, Bible Stories for Newly Formed and Young Corporations and Congratulations: It’s a corporation.

An answer to the child immigrant problem at the US-Mexican border? I note that the Biblical Jesus was a refugee, his parents fleeing Herod’s wrath. Yet so many people who profess to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ “are so uncaring and hateful about hungry children trying to get to a better, safer place to live.”

In the non-surprise category: Stand Your Ground Laws Lead To More Homicides, Don’t Deter Crime.

Misleading on Marriage: how gay marriage opponents twist history to suit their agenda.

Yiddish Professor Miriam Isaacs has dug in a previously unknown treasure of over a thousand unknowns Yiddish songs recorded of Holocaust survivors; text is in Swedish, but can be translated. Miriam was my old racquetball buddy decades ago.

The Creation Myth of 20th Century Fundamentalism by Jeff Sharlet, who I also knew long ago.

Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe came out as gay. Arthur explains why it STILL matters. Also: I Can Be Christian, and Gay, and Live in Alabama.

Portraits of people in 7 days’ worth of their own garbage.
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Malala, the government shutdown, and other things

I was quite moved watching Malala Yousafzai on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this past week. Malala is the teenager shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan, but survived, and has since set up a fund to support girls’ education. Here’s Part 1, the section that aired, but see Part 2 and Part 3 as well. If those links don’t work, try this one.

When you listen, you’ll note that what she’s advocating for is essentially a liberal arts education, wanting girls to think for themselves, radical in the environment from which she came. The group that shot her were pleased she didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize this week Jon Stewart may want to adopt her but she is reviled in her own hometown as not being Muslim enough or being a CIA plant.
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My job is funded by state and federal monies. Which is to say I’m still working, but if this partial government shutdown continues for a while Continue reading

D is for Death


When someone significant in my life dies, I like to mention him or her in this blog. They don’t have to be people I actually met, but are usually people who inspired me in one way or another. The late Roger Ebert’s birthday was June 18, and I had a passing recollection of how well he wrote about issues other than movies in the latter stages of his life.

Paul McCartney, who shared a birthday with Ebert – both were born in 1942 Continue reading

She was loved (Annette), hated (Maggie)

I was feeling as though I wanted to write about a couple recent deaths, but I needed an angle. Then it came to me.

Annette Funicello, who appeared on the Mickey Mouse Club, was my first TV crush, as I have previously noted; I was hardly the only one – e.g., see Ken Levine’s piece. Heck, my wife said she had a little crush on her. Abnd it wasn’t just my generation: Cheri remembers her as well.

I watched Annette in a number of Disney programs, and almost certainly in Make Room for Daddy with Danny Thomas. Continue reading

The Idle Chatter award

Cheri at Idle Chatter has been kind enough to nominate me for a Liebster Award, whatever that is.

I’ve been doing this blogging thing long enough to do a few things with awards:
1. Accept them graciously.
2. Struggle with the random facts, but find some anyway, ideally, ones I hadn’t mentioned before.
3. Totally ignore the part about passing it on, on the theory that some people get really ticked off by it. I don’t, but I’ve long learned that my reaction to stimuli is not a universal.

{1} Each blogger should answer the questions the tagger has set for you.

Not only will I do that, I’ll even answer the questions Jeannie had for Cheri:
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Film and race: Song of the South, Holiday Inn, Django Unchained

I had heard for a long time how awful and offensively racist D.W. Griffith’s landmark 1915 film, The Birth of a Nation, was. It’s good that I saw it, but I’m glad it was as an adult, so that I could appreciate it in the historic context in which it was made. I’m not much on banning movies, but there is something to be said about seeing it at the right point.

A couple blog posts I’ve seen recently reminded me of this point. Continue reading

Past/future

Film critic Roger Ebert had a blog post Did you choose your religion? But the original title, as one can see in the URL, was “Would you kill Baby Hitler?”

The original entry began: Of course, you would have needed to know on April 20, 1889 that the little boy would grow up to become Adolf Hitler, and would commit all of the crimes we now know he committed. The only way you could know that, apart from precognition, would be to have traveled backward in time from a point when Hitler had committed all his crimes and you knew about them.

This was in context with a discussion of, among other things, the new film Looper, for which a big-time spoiler alert should have been stamped.

But this is a popular theme. There’s some current CBS show called Person of Interest about a computer that foretells crime. There was a previous CBS show Continue reading

Kind of stupid stuff

SamuraiFrog was complaining about some burnt out rocker claiming President Obama was behind the recent mass shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin so that he can get a gun ban bill passed. And it wasn’t even Ted Nugent, this time. Yeah, it might have bothered me if I had heard of this guy, other than by the stupid things he blathers.

I’m actually much more peeved Continue reading

July Rambling: the God particle, and Key’s defense of slavery

Cognitive Deficit: How Budget Cuts Could Prevent Scientific Breakthroughs
“The Higgs boson isn’t just one missed opportunity – it represents how much the U.S. stands to lose if we don’t give our scientists the support they need. The Congress of the early ’90s might have pulled the plug on a $10 billion particle accelerator, but it’s hard to imagine today’s Congress even contemplating such a project when attempts to fund basics like unemployment insurance and infrastructure repair result in partisan gridlock.”
Also:
We’re ALL Immigrants, Higgs is Our Common Ancestor.
Why the boson is like Justin Bieber.

Remembering when Francis Scott Key, the man who penned “The Star-Spangled Banner,” defended slavery in court. Continue reading

January Rambling: sweatshops, Steve Bissette and singing

Vernon Supreme for President. Just one of about four dozen candidates on the New Hampshire ballot.

From here: “When Steve Jobs died…, deification from the media and inconsolable consumers made gripes about Apple’s use of sweatshops seem like the cynical mumblings of contrarians. The problem is that there’s plenty of documentation and reporting that supports the criticism.” See also this: “Mike Daisey was a self-described ‘worshipper in the cult of Mac.’ Then he saw some photos from a new iPhone, taken by workers at the factory where it was made. Mike wondered: Who makes all my crap? He traveled to China to find out.”

Rich Kids For Romney.
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