Sunday, December 31, 2006

If Penises Could Speak

They would rejoice tonight.

Fireworks in the sky.

Sperm for the masses.

2007 - The Theme Song

I can't think of a better song to haul in 2007 than this.


Patti Smith is 60

txrad and I saw Patti Smith perform at La Zona Rosa in Austin on March 26, 2003. Small club, general admission, standing near the stage. If I recall, she and the band weren't even on tour. They just came to Austin to play a gig. Life doesn't get much better than that.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Father and Son

A photo I took of my father in Mexico in 1972

Twenty-four years ago this morning I answered the phone around 8:45 and was calmly instructed by a nurse to come to the hospital. My only reply was "OK" and I hung up and began to get dressed. I knew my father had died.

I scarcely recall walking down the hospital corridor to his room. But I shall never forget walking into the room and seeing my mother seated in a chair, and a corpse on the bed. It was my first real experience with death. My brain immediately counted only one person in the room. That which was my father was elsewhere. The body certainly wasn't him and I felt no emotion for it.

My dad and I generally got along fine. However, there were difficulties as I moved into adolescence. He had to suspect I was gay. I went through a phase one summer when I was addicted to All My Children. I would discuss the characters with my parents -- partly to provoke a reaction. I enjoyed hearing my mother call it "trash." Once, my father must have been particularly annoyed because he made a comment I'd never heard him say. Although I can't remember his exact words, he suggested I was a sissy. I was never ridiculed for watching other "sissy" programs like Bewitched, That Girl, I Dream of Jeannie or any of the Doris Day shows and films. He clearly thought soaps were for women and therefore no self-respecting boy would be caught dead watching them.

After that episode, the fun was gone. I didn't want to discuss soaps with my parents again.

We had far worse disagreements over music starting a few years earlier. I was always very open and communicative with both my parents. I wanted them to take an interest in things I liked, or at the very least be supportive. That changed as I began exploring rock music. And ironically, it was my dad who got me interested in radio where I discovered this new musical world.

I was occasionally able to buy records at the "five and dime" store in town but the selection was very limited and my horizons were broadening at a much faster pace. Fortunately for me, we used to travel frequently to Little Rock, Memphis, Dallas or New Orleans. Nothing was more exciting for me than to be unleashed in a shopping mall with $20. Some of the larger malls would have two, perhaps three record stores and I was in heaven.

My taste in music had evolved into hard rock and I was on the prowl for albums by Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, etc. One time we were in the car at the mall about to leave. I was pulling albums out of my bag to examine my latest treasures. My father reached around and picked up an album by a band called Bloodrock. What happened next would define my relationship with him.

Now granted, Bloodrock probably wouldn't be listed in anyone's top 100 list of bands (having said that, I'm sure I'll get a comment from some huge fan) and frankly I'm rather annoyed that this little incident occurred as a result of a purchase I'd later regret as being bland and uninteresting. I was a little embarrassed that he had to grab that particular LP since, if I recall correctly, the album cover featured a photo of a rock wedged into broken glass -- a car windshield perhaps -- with blood splattered around it. Some of the ideas for album art back then were a few notches south of uninspiring, but I digress.

My father took a look at the back of the LP where the song lyrics were listed. I remember seconds of very uncomfortable silence before he threw the album into the back seat and began his tirade. "Burn America Burn" he said, incorrectly referring to the track American Burn. That's the part I succinctly remember. His next outburst I'll just have to paraphrase as best I can remember:

I'm not giving you hard-earned money to go out and spend it on this nigger music.

I can't say with certainty he used the term "hard-earned" but rest assured he absolutely did call it "nigger music." My heart almost stopped beating. I honestly can't remember if I replied, or simply thought to myself, "But there's not even any niggers in the band."

I was confused. I didn't understand his reference. Most of all, I was hurt because music was such a vital part of my life and I knew he'd never accept it. End of discussion.

No one ever taught me much about music or recordings. At that time I never bothered to read most of the fine print on a record album, aside from the lyrics. I had no idea what those names indicated under each song title on the record label. For instance, on the first Led Zeppelin album, the songs You Shook Me and I Can't Quit You Baby were written by Willie Dixon. I just assumed this was all original music by Led Zep.

I continued buying many (far too many, to be honest) records during my years in high school -- carefully steering clear of any bands with black people in them, or at least clearly featured on the album cover, for fear of coming home from school one day to find my records all burning in a pile outside.

I am ashamed at my own level of ignorance back then regarding music history. It would be years after that Bloodrock incident before I remotely understood my father's comment.

He was afflicted with what was diagnosed as arthritis during much of my life. It was never too severe until my teen years. He would have really bad days when he couldn't move. I remember my mother having to help him into a tub of hot water to soak and he was sobbing from the pain. This would go on for weeks. And then suddenly he'd be fine for days or weeks, only to have the pain return at a later date. Sometimes his moaning was too much for me. I remember being in bed one night praying to God to take his life and end his misery. Then I discovered headphones.

I spent the last 3 or 4 of my high school years sitting in my room at night, with headphones on, listening to my music as loudly as I wanted and as late as I wanted.

Sometimes I wish I'd spent more time with my dad, asking him real-life questions and having him teach me things that might help me. Racism aside, there were many things I could have learned from him on the days when he was feeling good and mobile. He and his father built our farm house. He was great with tools and woodworking and he could handle electrical work as well. He once bought a large van that had been a food service delivery vehicle and converted it into a motor home, complete with sleeping facilities and a tiny kitchen area.

He also built from scratch one of those metal detectors that were becoming popular at the time. You know, the ones that you hold near the ground and walk around until the tone would reach a high pitch and you knew there was some piece of metal on the ground? It worked. He could build or repair just about anything.

He could have taught me all this and more. I can't even change the oil in my car. It was always an awkward moment for me when a car salesman would pop the hood on a car for me to take a look. Oh sure, I'd go peek in, but what the hell was I supposed to do? I'd wiggle the dip stick and say, "looks nice, thanks."

I really never gave any of this much thought until I was in my late 30s and maybe into my early 40s. Home ownership can force you to think about things. I wish I could build a wine rack instead of buying one. I wish I could run wiring down a wall to put in a new electrical outlet. I wish I could fix things that are broken.

He could have taught me all of this and a lot more. I lost far more than just my dad when he died.

But I still have my music. And if my father had a problem with that "nigger music" I listened to back then, I'm sure he'd die a second death if he could hear what moves my soul these days.

These are for you, pops. I still miss you sometimes.

Part 1 in a series on Parents/Grandparents

It's Possible the World is Flat

I got this via email this morning from Ms. Julien.

Screw science. Screw geology. The Grand Canyon is probably only 6,000 years old. To believe otherwise might cause some fundamentalist Christians' heads to explode or something.

Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Would this be the same Bush administration responsible for the nicely progressing march of democracy in Iraq? No wonder it's so bungled.

This is so far-fetched it's laughable. It's a story you'd expect to see posted on a blog on April Fool's Day. Speaking of fools, as another year approaches, my level of excitement grows only because we're that much closer to January 2009 when the absurd clowns of this administration pack up their shit and leave. Whether they will be replaced by people with something resembling rational minds remains to be seen.

Oh, let's not forget evolution: "the greatest hoax of all time." Thanks, Misty.

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

As I try to remove from my mind the ugly spectacle of a man's life being sucked out while dangling from a noose (so "tastefully" done, I might add), let's see what else is going on in the world today.

(AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Wow. It sure didn't take long for the anti-American protests to start up. And no, this wasn't happening in Iraq; it's in Bangalore, India.

That's not to suggest things were quiet in Iraq. Just hours after Hussein's execution, a car bomb exploded in a fish market killing at least 31. More than 50 Iraqis were killed today in various events.

(AFP/Qassem Zein)

While I was drinking away my troubles last night awaiting confirmation that the dangling had ceased, it seems our president was relaxed and... well....asleep, if you can believe the friggin' news.
"The president concluded his day knowing that the final phase of bringing Saddam Hussein to justice was under way," deputy White House press secretary Scott Stanzel said.
That's not justice; it's murder. At least Bush is right about one thing: the violence will continue.

Oh cool! Pictures are already coming thru the tubes...

Friday, December 29, 2006

National DunkDrunk Bogging Blogging Gay Day

Leave it to some jackoff to tip me off to this beauty.

Get yerself tore up!

So, without further ado...

Friday Pussy Blog

It's the last cat blog of 2006! Yea!

One Martyr, Coming Right Up

Saddam Hussein, in what is certainly a huge gamble by putting troops at risk in the event of more violence, may be hanged as early as today.

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Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, sentenced to death for his role in 148 killings in 1982, will have his sentence carried out by Sunday, NBC News reported Thursday. According to a U.S. military officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, Saddam will be hanged before the start of the Eid religious holiday, which begins at sundown Saturday.

The hanging could take place as early as Friday, NBC’s Richard Engel reported.

When do Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the warmongers get theirs for the unnecessary deaths of 3,000 US troops and tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of innocent Iraqis? And what message does this send, not only to the warring factions within Iraq, but to the rest of the civilized world from which we have distanced ourselves?


Mary Tyler Moore is 70.

Marianne Faithful is 60

Paula Poundstone is 47.

I was going to post a video of the opening of the Mary Tyler Moore show from the 70s. I loved that show but the music is so dated and hokey now I couldn't even bring myself to watch the clip!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Winners and Losers in 2006

The poll results are out for the villains and heroes of 2006, and the winner... and the loser is...

The Worst
When people were asked in an AP-AOL News poll to name the villains and heroes of the year, Bush topped both lists, in a sign of these polarized times.


In the best celebrity role model category, 29 percent of adults chose talk-show host [Oprah] Winfrey.

Actor George Clooney, who's been advocating for refugees in the war-ravaged Darfur region of Sudan, finished third with 12 percent.

This is just pathetic. Bush probably can't pinpoint Sudan on a map and I'd guess a majority of the 27% of Republicans who say they believe he's the hero of the year have no idea what Clooney is even advocating.

At the top of the worst celebrity category was Britney Spears.
The 25-year-old pop singer and mother of two young sons recently filed for divorce from Kevin Federline, her husband of two years. She then followed with highly publicized nights out with party girls Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, including photographic evidence of Spears wearing no underpants, which raised questions about her fitness as a parent.

Since when did underwear determine one's fitness to be a parent? Would dirty undies make her a slightly better parent than none at all?

Liz at Blondesense has a good compilation of other year-end summaries.


Nichelle Nichols is (gasp!!) 73 today.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

"Men Are Like Street Cars"

txrad read a story in the Austin American-Statesman yesterday about Donna Hightower and asked me to search for her music online last night. We have a Rhapsody subscription but the only CD which appeared after a search of her name was this one -- a compilation called "Men Are Like Street Cars: Women Blues Singers 1928-1969."

She has lived in Austin since the early 1990s and plays a local jazz club. We'd like to check her out. She only has one song on the CD and she sounded very young -- unlike the 80-year-old woman she is today.

The Missouri-born singer, who signed her first recording contract with Decca in 1951, had made a pretty good living in Europe, where she went to sing for a week at a swank London jazz club in 1959 and stayed 31 years.

But God came to her one day in 1990, she said, and told her to move to Austin, a town she had never visited before.

"I didn't know it was supposed to be a music town or anything," Hightower said from the North Austin home she purchased on arrival. "Didn't really know anything 'bout Austin except that it was in Texas."

Donna Hightower


But that's changing as Hightower, who can still belt with the best of them, plays random gigs backed by the Marc Devine Trio and her protégé Denia Ridley. Hightower doesn't just delight audiences, she shreds them, jerks them to their feet, with a voice so pure and powerful that it's almost miraculous that she'll turn 80 Thursday.

Happy Birthday, Donna! Hope to see you soon. (She is playing a gig Thursday night!)

I could not help but notice one of my favorites, Big Mama Thornton has two songs on the same compilation CD so I had to play those. I had time for one more selection and I randomly picked Messin' Around With The Blues by Alberta Adams. I've never heard of Ms. Adams but you can bet, based on that song, I'm going to be doing more investigating tonight.
It's always such a thrill to discover a "new" artist -- new to me, at least. As I told txrad last night, I think I've found me another "girlfriend."

Alberta Adams

The one song I've heard moves me like Ella & Sarah. Unfortunately a search of Rhapsody reveals no CDs of her own works. I must have more.... and fast. Kona has a kraving.

Photo of the Day

This is probably the most surreal photo I've seen in weeks.

Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

This is from Lagos, Nigeria after the gas pipeline exploded, killing 260 people.
Residents said a gang of thieves had been tapping the pipeline for months, carting away gasoline in tankers for resale.

Tapping is common in Nigeria, a major oil exporter, where many of the 130 million people live in woeful poverty amid widespread graft that makes a handful of people wealthy. One pilfered can of gasoline sold on the black market can earn the equivalent of two weeks of wages for a poor Nigerian.

This dismal situation needs to be addressed quickly. It is inexcusable for the US and other nations who are dependent on Nigeria's abundance of oil to turn a blind eye to the dire circumstances in which tens of million of people must survive on very little while vast wealth goes into the pockets of a select few.
Widespread corruption and mismanagement have left Nigeria’s refineries unable to meet demand, and fuel shortages are common. Christians heading home for Christmas and Muslims preparing for a feast day have jammed service stations for days across Lagos, a sprawling city of 13 million people. Many Nigerians contend they have gained little from decades of oil production in their country, saying natural gas flaring and oil spills have spread pollution, while they remain poor and a tiny elite grows rich.

“How can this be, that people are so poor in Nigeria that they will risk their lives for a little thing?” asked Bode Kuforiji, a university lecturer. “But boats leave for America every day filled with oil.”

And we don't seem to care as long as we can keep pumping our tanks full without waiting and at prices we can afford. I'll wager we'll hear not a peep of outrage from those Episcopalians who currently have a love-fest going on with the archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, an outspoken opponent of homosexuality who supports legislation in his country that would make it illegal for gay men and lesbians to form organizations, read gay literature or eat together in a restaurant.

More on Nigeria

Gerald Ford is Dead at 93

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“With his quiet integrity, common sense, and kind instincts, President Ford helped heal our land and restore public confidence in the presidency,” Mr. Bush said. “The American people will always admire Gerald Ford’s devotion to duty, his personal character, and the honorable conduct of his administration.”

Indeed. Quite a stark contrast to your presidency, Mr. Bush.
When Mr. Ford took the oath of president in 1974, the economy was in disarray, an energy shortage was worsening, allies were wondering how steadfast the United States might be as a partner and Mr. Nixon, having resigned rather than face impeachment for taking part in the Watergate cover-up, was flying to seclusion in San Clemente, Calif.

There was a collective sense of relief as Mr. Ford, in the most memorable line of his most noteworthy speech, declared that day, “Our long national nightmare is over.”

And here we are, over 32 years later, waiting on another "long national nightmare" to end. Pam has some interesting info from a GLBT angle posted this morning: October 2001 he notably went on the record in support of gay rights issues, including full marriage equality at the federal level...


Ford was the highest ranking Republican ever to make such a statement about civil equality, and it earned him the wrath of the homobigots...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Question of the Night

What one gift did you receive during the holidays that you absolutely have no use for?

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I got this box from my mother around mid-December with explicit instructions not to open it until Christmas, or as long as I could wait, as if I'm some child who shows no restraint.

I waited until Friday, December 22 before ripping into it looking for money because I needed to go to the bank.

She always puts several wrapped gifts in one box and this was no exception. It contained the following:

*a airline-sized pillow with a cat pillow case she made.
*two packets of hot cocoa mix. (I absolutely hate any kind of liquid chocolate although solid chocolate is one of my favorite things in the world.)
*a CD of religious music by one of my cousins in Mississippi (I'm wondering if I should wait and play it when I have tequila in the house.)
*a pair of itchy dress socks (like I need those! They're going straight to Goodwill this week.)
*a small box of Godiva (Yea!)
and lastly:
*a squeeze toy that is unlike anything I've ever seen. It's like a clear rubber ball with all kinds of colored balls inside it, plus a device that when squeezed will light up. I have that beside my bed in case I wake up on a dark night, perhaps I can use it as a night light.

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This is kind of cool. Very konaesque. All in all though, what a waste of postage. I wish she'd save her money and just send the cash. Only costs 39 cents to mail a big fat check!

A Solution to the Military Draft Issue

Not Your Mama left this link in a comment thread here today.
The armed forces, already struggling to meet recruiting goals, are considering expanding the number of noncitizens in the ranks -- including disputed proposals to open recruiting stations overseas and putting more immigrants on a faster track to US citizenship if they volunteer -- according to Pentagon officials.

Foreign citizens serving in the US military is a highly charged issue, which could expose the Pentagon to criticism that it is essentially using mercenaries to defend the country. Other analysts voice concern that a large contingent of noncitizens under arms could jeopardize national security or reflect badly on Americans' willingness to serve in uniform.

The last thing we need is more exploitation of those already at a disadvantage to put their lives on the line in exchange for a fast track to citizenship -- provided they survive. But what a grand idea for avoiding a draft and the resulting pesky street protests.

Tsunami Survivers Continue to Face Challenges

That shouldn't come as a surprise given the problems we've seen with Katrina relief right here in our own country.

Two years after the devastating tsunami, life in Banda Aceh is far from normal.
All across the ravaged cityscape, scraped bare by the waves, thousands of tiny, toy-box houses have sprung up in recent months as a program of rebuilding gains momentum. But many of the new houses are empty because they lack water, sanitation and electricity and because there are no schools, clinics or commercial activity nearby.

Billions of dollars in aid were pledged. I recall making a contribution myself. Now I seriously wonder just how much of my $125 donation actually helped those in need as opposed to those handling the money bags.
But by some estimates only one-third of the promised aid has been distributed to affected countries, and much of that has been lost to corruption, mismanagement, political squabbles and bureaucratic dead ends.

Hundreds of thousands of people still have no permanent homes or jobs, and it seems that many will live out their lives as refugees of the tsunami.

In India, the British aid group Oxfam estimates that 70 percent of affected people still live in temporary shelters. In Sri Lanka the revival of a civil war has made life even more precarious for survivors.

I cannot even begin to fathom the logistics of an international relief effort of this magnitude. But am I wrong for expecting those who are involved, and their governments, to think this through to a logical conclusion? What a waste and a missed opportunity for creating new jobs and training for those people.
“We are constantly overwhelmed by the massive task confronting us,” said the director of the Indonesian government’s reconstruction agency, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, at a conference of donors in New York in November.

One of the poorest provinces in Indonesia, Aceh cannot easily absorb the $7.1 billion in international aid that has been pledged, Mr. Kuntoro said, and does not have the capacity to carry out the quantity of rebuilding that is needed. Some projects have been put off, he told reporters here, because the province has only nine asphalt plants and cannot meet the demand.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Heeeeere's Johnny!

To solve the Magical Mystery Meme, click this photo:

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maurinsky, shakes sis, and the Disgruntled Chemist nailed it.

Peace on Earth

and goodwill... oh shit. Disregard.
Reuters photo

No peace yet.

Ethiopia has plunged into war with Somalia's Islamist forces, pushing ground troops deep into Somali territory on Sunday and attacking the airport in the capital of Mogadishu on Monday, in a major escalation that could turn Somalia's internal crisis into a violent religious conflict that engulfs the entire Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia's Christian-led government has with tacit American support been helping a weak interim government in Somalia that is threatened by forces loyal to the Islamic clerics who control the capital and much of the country.

God Save the Queen

Her Majesty the Queen's traditional Christmas message to the people of the Commonwealth.

konagod's traditional Christmas retort:

Black Christmas

James Brown has died at the age of 73.

Click for video

"It doesn't matter how you travel it, it's the same road. It doesn't get any easier when you get bigger, it gets harder. And it will kill you if you let it.”
--James Brown

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Politically Incorrect Santa (PIS)

Rated M for Mature

And this gem from the Atheist Jew is a total hoot:

The Magical Mystery Meme

I saw this at Shakes but was tagged by SAP. Four of the following stories about me are true, and one is false. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to identify the false one.

1. My uncle is a Harvard professor and author of many books about petrochemicals. That's sort of a niche market so it's not like he was going to achieve any huge notoriety. However, in the 70s he wrote a book which landed on the best seller list and ended up meeting with President Jimmy Carter to discuss energy policy.

2. I have been baptised at the Jordan River.

3. When I was 14 I attended a taping of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It shouldn't have happened because you had to be at least 16 to be allowed in the audience. But I looked older than I was and nobody asked any questions. Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet Johnny -- that was my dream. But I did shake hands with Buddy Hackett.

4. I once danced next to Kevin Bacon at a gay disco in Little Rock.

5. I was quoted in the January 11, 1982 issue of US News & World Report after chastising them for a negative story they published about punk rock.

I will reveal the false statement sometime after lunch on December 25.

I've been thinking about who I'd like to tag on this. I thought about Tart and the Disgruntled Chemist... while you're both hanging out in Tennessee, surely you have nothing better to do than accept my challenge.
But, I'd really like to see what Pam comes up with.

The answer has been posted here.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

37th Street "Holiday Hysterics"

Austin's 37th Street has long been a spectacular hotspot for holiday lighting and decorations. Things had begun to deteriorate as many long-time residents moved away and were replaced by folks not so inclined to indulge in the electrified holiday excess.

Randy Thompson, a 37th Street resident since 1980, said, "Most years I wouldn't say the [Zilker Park] Trail of Lights is better than ours, but this year it is." Thompson said he opted against putting up lights due to spousal pressure and reported overhearing upset and belligerent onlookers bemoan his lack of lights as well as his next-door neighbor's lackluster illumination effort.

"It's unfair that we're somehow responsible for entertaining the city of Austin," said a 37th Street resident of four years who asked not to be named for fear of darkening relations with neighbors. We'll refer to that source as Rudolph. "The story ended last year. You can observe what happened now that the people who started the tradition aren't here any more," Rudolph said. "It's not the new people's fault that they didn't buy into the lights, they simply saw a house that met their needs." Many of the new homeowners are professionals who come home late and rarely socialize with neighbors, he added.

All is not lost. This could be the winner of this year's most original and comically timely holiday display.

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What the display lacks in shimmer, it has recently made up for in shock – with the weekend debut of a nativity scene featuring Mary Cheney – the vice president's pregnant lesbian daughter – and her partner, Heather Poe, as Christ's parents, along with Dick Cheney and Rummy as wise men and an angelic floating Condi Rice overhead.

Simply brilliant. Not overdone. No horrendously tacky Airblowns. It's just pure Austin class.

hat tip to litbrit's "Queen Mum II" for this piece!


Derek SmallsHarry Shearer is 63.

It is difficult for me to even research anyone associated with Christopher Guest's projects, let alone selecting an appropriate clip. Just browsing through the material is enough to make me laugh until I cry.

Another guy who has messed with my head on a number of occasions turns 66 today: Jorma Kaukonen.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Precision Metaphysical Collision

People may wonder why I get so annoyed when some politician, Bush, Romney, or any of those other bozos start claiming that God spoke to them and instructed them to run for office, or start a war, or try out for cheerleader. Whatever.

It's the same reason why I want to go ballistic when I see a "God Bless America" sticker on some ungodly GMC Suburban... or a Prius for that matter. Or when I see people praying for their favorite sports team to have a victory, or for someone to find a better job or get a raise. People pray to God for all kinds of things. Better health comes to mind.

And I really have no problem with people who pray without any selfish intentions. Although one could argue that almost any prayer is rooted in some selfish desire. I've certainly made fun of some public prayer and flagrant displays of religion, and I'll continue to when it involves a public official or a celebrity or anyone else who makes an absurd public claim about God in a way that infringes on what I believe about God. I don't mean to suggest I'm going to argue against what you believe about God just because we might be in complete disagreement. But I will most definitely argue if the claim being made is an attempt to restrict my beliefs or my freedoms. Go forth and believe as you wish. Just realize, we're all speculating. That's why it's faith and not a fact. And that's also why it should be a personal matter.

I was just visiting the blog of the Omnipotent Poobah. He has a post up called "The Gospel of the Universal Messiah" and it really got me thinking. Go read Poobah's post and tell me you aren't inspired to express something.

Here was my "confession" to the Poobah:

I've been down that road so many times as well before I came to the conclusion that there is NO organized religion to fit my needs. I don't really consider myself an atheist -- perhaps an agnostic. I just think of God as universal energy -- the cume of it all. What was going on out there before the big bang? Who knows. How can the universe be boundless? Who knows. How can anything have no beginning and no end? Who knows. But that's about as close as I can get to explaining what the concept of God means to me. In fact, that's the point. It is difficult to conceive of it. And our planet is about as consequential in the universe as a grain of sand in the oceans. The idea of some God with a human-like image sitting in "heaven" listening to every thought, word and deed of mine and every thought, word and deed of the other 6 billion people, and preparing to judge me and the rest of us upon our material death on the planet is just too far-fetched.

There may be a karma involved and I'm certainly not going to deny the concept of reincarnation, but if there is, I believe it's probably regulated by that sliver of God or stardust or whatever we're made of that's within us. We all know right from wrong. We can choose to ignore it but perhaps the part of us that knows it may control the destiny of our energy in the next life. Self-regulation, if you will, through eons of lifetimes. I'm just speculating. That's more than many people do. Some people won't even allow themselves to speculate. And frankly, I'm not even sure it matters. This stuff is damn near impossible to comprehend and without proof, it's just easier for some to subscribe to a pre-fab dogma and be done with it.

However, I'm content with my befuddlement. Qué Será, Será.

Friday Pussy Blog

We're a happy family!

Yep, a little Friday skunk blogging thrown in. You don't see that very often. We have a couple of skunks that will come up and eat cat food in the evening. They're rather noisy eaters and drinkers.

A Little Less Holiday Cheer

There won't be much joy over the holidays for the family and friends of five more troops killed in Iraq today.

I'm sure the Bush family will have a relaxing holiday.

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AP Photo/Evan Vucci

This month, 76 American troops have died in Iraq, the same number that were killed in April. With nine days remaining in December, the monthly total of U.S. deaths could meet or exceed the death toll of 105 in October.

With nine days left in the year, that seems quite likely.

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Mohammed Ameen/Reuters

Blow This

Now I know what this obnoxious trash is called: Airblowns.

Ugly trash

I first noticed one popping up in front of a nearby house last year around Halloween. It was round and clear with an internal fan to blow around fake snow in an effort to mimic one of those snow globes. It stayed inflated for about a day before collapsing into an unattractive pile of plastic. I wondered why anyone would spend hard-earned money on something so... worthless.

This year they are in abundance. Especially in a new upscale housing development just up the hill from us. Lawns along one street are littered with plastic reindeer, elves, and some new decorations that are made to look like some kind of crystal formations in familiar holiday-related shapes, and of course... more tacky Airblowns. In that neighborhood alone, I suspect thousands of dollars have been spent on this rubbish -- enough to feed quite a few homeless and needy people. Alas, it shall all eventually wind up in the landfill.

And while I haven't gone out to inspect any of this stuff in stores, I'll wager my last dime all this crap is made in China. Oh well, it's none of my business. I just wish I didn't have to see it every time I leave the house.
Such is the phantasmagoric, Disney-esque experience of the new Christmas custom sweeping the suburbs.
Whatever else Christmas in America means — the birth of Jesus, holly wreaths, the Chipmunks, cultural tension — it now also includes these gargantuan, inflatable outdoor decorations, called “Airblowns” by their chief manufacturer.


Not quite a culture war. Call it an intramural disagreement among the Christmas crazed.

“Appalling,” Catherine Bruckner, a traditionalist who decorates only in holly and evergreen, sneered as she stopped her car in front of an inflated Santa playing poker with two shrewd-eyed reindeer in a menagerie totaling two dozen figures. “It’s bad enough to see those things on Halloween. At Christmas, they rise to a level of tackiness that is horrible.”

Most of this garbage sells for $69 to $300 and is marketed by a company here in Texas (but of course! Make it extra big and ugly, please!) which also came up with some other brilliant ideas -- remember "Big Mouth Billy Bass?"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Food Quiz

txrad had this idea for a question of the day. I think he wants to figure out how seriously people who read this blog are into cooking, or if your kitchens are just used for unwrapping frozen dinners or take-out.

What food item do you have out on your countertop almost constantly due to daily or frequent usage? (If some of you are clean freaks and always keep everything put away, you may substitute the word "pantry" for countertop.)

We have garlic, tomatoes and chiles on the counter always, as well as a can of mixed nuts. Also avocados make a frequent appearance as they did tonight. We also keep a stockpile of onions in the pantry. Always.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and George Bush Have One Thing in Common

Neither of them seem to take opposition victories in elections very seriously.
In final results announced Thursday from local elections last week, moderate conservatives opposed to Ahmadinejad won a majority of seats. They were followed by reformists, making a comeback after being driven out of local councils, parliament and the presidency over the past five years.


In the capital Tehran, where Ahmadinejad was mayor before becoming president 16 months ago, his allies grabbed only three of the 15 council seats, while moderate conservatives won seven.


But Ahmadinejad appeared unbowed.

Iranian president Ahmadinejad called Bush "the most hated person in the world." I won't argue with that, but... coming in a close 2nd place is nothing to boast about.

Keep a watchful eye on the Persian Gulf. The Shrublet and his Brit poodle are up to something. Never a dull moment over there.

No tengo futuro

Please God, I long for the day when a Bush doesn't hold a political office.... anywhere.
"No tengo futuro (I have no future),"
Jeb Bush told Spanish-language reporters in Miami, when asked about any possible political ambitions after he steps down next month. [one down, one to go!!!]


"Jeb would have made an outstanding presidential candidate," said Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, who joined Bush at a luncheon on Wednesday hosted by a Cuban American political action committee.

It doesn't matter, Sammy boy. What kind of president would he have been? I'm fighting off a surge of bile just thinking about it.

Big Mama Thornton

This reminds me of our house on tequila night.

The Natives Are Restless

C&L has must-see video from Scarborough Country. How much longer must America suffer under a buffoon?

village idiot

Celebrations du Jour

Samuel L. Jackson is 58.

Jane Fonda is 69.

Frank Zappa would have been 66.

It's the end of Zappadan.
Long live Zappa.
The creation and destruction of harmonic and 'statistical' tensions is essential to the maintenance of compositional drama. Any composition (or improvisation) which remains consonant and 'regular' throughout is, for me, equivalent to watching a movie with only 'good guys' in it, or eating cottage cheese.

Winter's a Comin'

AP Photo/Peter M. Fredin

The winter of 2006/2007 will start on the 21st of December, 2006, at 7:22 PM EST

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


txrad and I have two stainless steel rulers at our desks. we're both sitting here rather fucked up listening to Zino Francescotti and got into this discussion about where shit is made, man.

And we decided to compare rulers.

txrad proudly displayed his. A Westcott, made in the grand 'ole USA. Well, me, Mr. Socialist Extraordinaire, had the Fiskars ruler made in ... China. I swear we bought them around the same time. It's not like he or I had to measure something before the other. It just proves my point. In that short amount of time, look how many jobs got outscourced. No metal rulers in the USA!

The movie with the song behind the lens -- txrad.
I just ran head-on into two cats trying to type that.

And this fucking blogspot shit is in cahoots with the DEVIL.
which, some would argue, is why I'm here.

"The Perfect Crime #2" is such a Talking Heads ripoff.

Robert Johnson says "take the ponies to the stable."

I'm not sure why, but I learn fast.

txrad just said: "I need to silence my intellect."

It's Sarah Vaughn man.

Yeah another fat black woman.

You know what? Billie Holliday was the only skinny black woman to be a success.. (even if it was mostly post mortem.)

My memory of Diana Ross is hazy at best.

Hunger hurts but starving's worse.

2 Bottles Later

I'm almost 3 sheets to the wind.

It's wine night and Carole King is doing her sweet stuff.

Pizza is almost in the oven. And we're on bottle #2.

I've complained about my distaste for French wine before. Sorry, no links. I'm lazy.

Trust me. But this one had a screw top. konagod never complains about easy access.

And yet... it's quite acceptable without that earthy parfume essence that inflicts other French wines I've had recently.

Thumbs up. And CHEAP.

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"Ain't it good to know you've got a friend."

BY THE WAY: If you have not played the Billy Bragg video below. Then get right to it.

I don't post this shit for nothing!

UPDATE: Zino Francescotti will make you cry. If not, you are the aliens among us.

Trivia Question

There's a video at the bottom of the "Generals & Majors" post below. Answer this trivia question and earn valuable KonaPoints™:

Name the band and the song. No, that's way too easy.

Name the well-known (OK, relatively well-known) personality in the video who is NOT a member of the band and you'll earn 20 valuable KonaPoints™. If you can also name the person's relationship to the band, I'll throw in 10 bonus KonaPoints™ for a total of 30.

Now, there's nothing to redeem the points for at the moment. Oh, for about 50 points I might consider sending you some of my dirty underwear. But for 30 points all you get is a digital photo of my armpit or something.

Collect and save! Down the road they can hopefully be redeemed for a konagod coffee mug or t-shirt. Far better than my underwear or armpit photo. Guaranteed.

Obviously, the points only go to the first person who answers the question in the comments. txrad got it so how hard can it be? But family can't earn points. :lol:

Just Make It $100 BILLION

You know there will be some cost overrun somewhere.
The Pentagon wants the White House to seek an additional $99.7 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In fact, the $300 million needed to make this a request equal a cool $100 billion could easily be squandered in a day.
Overall, the war in Iraq has cost about $350 billion. Combined with the conflict in Afghanistan and operations against terrorism elsewhere, the cost has topped $500 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

The additional funds, if approved, would push this year's cost of the war in Iraq to about $50 billion over last year's record. In September, Congress approved an initial $70 billion for the current budget year, which began Oct. 1.


The budget request includes:

_$41.5 billion to cover the costs of ongoing military operations.

_$26.7 billion for replacing and repairing equipment damaged or destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

_$10 billion for body armor and other equipment to protect U.S. troops from attack.

_$2.5 billion to combat roadside bombs and other improvised explosive devices.

_$2.7 billion for intelligence activities.

Speaking of intelligence activities (since there seems to be such a dearth of them in the Pentagon and White House), I'll give you my advice for about $250,000 which would be just about enough to keep me from stressing about credit card bills and how I'm going to pay my health insurance in January. And you folks can pocket the remaining $2,699,750,000.00, not to mention the savings in the other categories from listening to what I have to say. Sounds like a fair deal to me.

What Do Generals & Majors Think?

I'm starting to feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates found American commanders wary of a proposal to rush more U.S. troops to Iraq as he visited the war-ravaged country Wednesday.


Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq and one of several generals who met with Gates, said he supports boosting troop levels only when there is a specific purpose for their deployment. Other military leaders have expressed uncertainty over the purpose and results of injecting more troops.

"I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea, but what I want to see happen is when, if we do bring more American troops here, they help us progress to our strategic objectives," Casey told reporters during a news conference with Gates and other military leaders.

The "specific purpose" probably has a lot more to do with Bush trying to save his own ass than any other strategic objective.
Echoing some of his commanders' questions about a troop surge, Bush said, "In order to do so, there must be a specific mission that can be accomplished with more troops."

Perhaps he could fill us in on his specific objectives BEFORE calling for an increase in troops. For that, I guess we'll have to wait awhile for him to mull it over. Perhaps he'll have an epiphany while clearing brush in Crawford.
Gates said he was just starting to study that idea. He expressed concern that the Army and Marine Corps are not large enough to face challenges of the 21st century that might include threats in Iran and North Korea' as well as natural disasters.

Or UNnatural disasters such as Iraq. So far, the greatest challenge and threat of the 21st century has been Bush himself. When you tally up the costs and casualties, there's not even a close second.

Now, excuse me while I escape back to the 80s. Life seemed so much easier during the Reagan era.


Quelle surprise! And pardon my French.

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Bush said he is "inclined" to believe that the United States needs to increase the size of the army and the Marines.
"2006 was a difficult year for our troops and the Iraqi people."

So true. So was 2003, 2004, and 2005. And so will 2007. He also managed to work in his new favorite word: "foment."
The enemies of liberty ... carried out a deliberate strategy to foment sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shia. And over the course of the year they had success," he said.


Bush also explained a striking shift in position — his statement on Tuesday that the United States is neither winning nor losing in Iraq, contrasted with his insistence at a recent news conference that it was "absolutely winning."

He said his earlier comments were meant to say that, "I believe that we're going to win, I believe that ... My comments yesterday reflected the fact that we're not succeeding nearly as fast as I had wanted."

Gee, what would it be like if we were clearly losing? I think after almost 4 years of this crap, to be neither winning or losing sounds like another truckload of manure ready to dump.

How about this: "We're not succeeding..." End of story. Based on obvious facts, I'm not "inclined" to believe otherwise.

Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg is 49 today.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Light Posting = Lousy Hangover

Either that or a slow news day. Honestly, just reading news would have made me want to hurl.

Isn't it about time Bush got his ass back to Crawford for the holidays and shut his pie hole?

Let's see. What lessons were learned from the mid-term elections? Apparently nothing.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Bush said he has asked his new defense chief, Robert Gates, to report back to him with a plan to increase ground forces. The president did not say how many troops might be added, but said he agreed with officials in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill that the current military is being stretched too thin to deal with demands of fighting terrorism.

As far as his bold new plan is concerned, here's a hint:
And I'm going to take my time to make sure that the policy, when it comes out, the American people will see that we ... have got a new way forward."


Bush said his decision to increase the size of the armed forces was in response not just to the war in Iraq, but to the broader struggle against Islamic extremists around the globe.

Dude... you can't even control Baghdad. But we will continue in our conquest to control the world.



Rubinchik's Yiddish Ensemble (Mark Rubin on bass, Ben Saffer on clarinet, Don Weeda on accordion) featuring Cantor Neil Blumofe on vocals.

Monday, December 18, 2006

What? Can't Take a Fucking Joke?

I'm so glad to see that Pam has a Fucking sense of humor.

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At first I wasn't sure if the Fucking news was for real or not. As many times as I traveled through Europe, you'd think I'd have found this Fucking place. As much as I love to use the F-word, if there was a Fucking, Texas I'd be packing my bags tonight and putting my house on the market and hitting the Fucking road.

Apparently this is for real. The fucking British keep stealing the Fucking sign so they had to put it in concrete.

I've visited and lived in a lot of towns that I ended up wanting to leave. And I've used all manner of adjectives to describe the places. But to live in a town such as this would be my residential wet dream. My lingo would not be radicallly different than it currently is, except you could never accuse me of swearing, and when writing, I'd have to use caps to be certain I'm not offending anyone:

I've got to run to the Fucking post office, then to the Fucking bank, and the Fucking supermarket. The Fucking traffic is a bitch! If another Fucking asshole cuts me off there's gonna be hell to pay. Where are the Fucking police when you need 'em? Sitting at the Fucking donut shop? I would complain to the Fucking mayor but what's the point? All the Fucking politicians are corrupt anyway. Why else are the Fucking taxes so high? It's not like the Fucking streets are safe, nor are the Fucking schools particularly good. Where's all the Fucking money going? Tax breaks for the Fucking rich? Incentives for the Fucking corporations? Give me a Fucking break.

OK. So it might get tiresome after awhile being a Fucker. I'm going on the assumption that's what the residents would be called. Just as with any town, you'd have your smart Fuckers, your dumb Fuckers, your lazy Fuckers, and perhaps even some Mexican Fuckers stealing all our Fucking jobs. The racist Fuckers would get upset, the Fucking city council would pass some new Fucking laws, and suddenly the entire Fucking town would be divided. You might get arrested and thrown in the Fucking jail for flying any flag other than the Fucking flag.

Fucking would be insane. Now that I think about it, I don't fucking want to live there.

Anti-Immigrant Fury Continues in Pahrump

Pahrump is becoming quite the media whore. Back in November I posted this and today the fast-growing community about 60 miles west of Las Vegas has made the New York Times again.

This all began when Michael Miraglia proposed an ordinance declaring English the official language of Pahrump, and also denied unspecified town benefits to “undocumented foreign nationals.” The ordinance also included the ridiculously xenophobic regulation against the flying of any foreign flag without an accompanying American flag.
Mr. Miraglia said that the English Language and Patriot Reaffirmation Ordinance, as he called it, was intended to bring the community together under a common language and custom. But its adoption on Nov. 14, by a vote of 3 to 2, has had the opposite effect.

“It has stirred up anger toward the immigrants,” said Arturo A. Reyes, 40, who came to the United States from El Salvador two decades ago and became a citizen. Mr. Reyes, who owns El Cancún Mexican Restaurant on Highway 160, also known as Main Street, added, “The whole thing is just bad; it’s just stupid.”

I love the irony of an immigrant from El Salvador correctly telling Americans who were born and raised here what is stupid. It's obsessively stupid.

Some Hispanic residents have said that since Mr. Miraglia’s proposals were introduced, people in passing cars have yelled racial slurs at them.

Lee Rowland, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said students had been harassed by school officials for speaking Spanish in private conversations.

And eggs have been thrown at the home of Robert and Liese Tamburrino, a white couple who protested the ordinance by flying Italian and Polish flags, representing the heritage of Mr. Tamburrino’s parents. They also received a hate letter calling them “thimble-brained, knuckle-dragging cretins.”

The level of hateful intolerance is mind-boggling. One man who owns two Mexican restaurants in Pahrump believes the motivation for the ordinance was "cut-and-dried racism." One of his restaurants had anti-Mexican slurs painted on it after closing on May 1 for the “Day Without An Immigrant” protests.

One of the regular commenters here is the author of a blog called Coyote Angry and happens to live in Pahrump. You can find more "ranting at assmonkeys from the Mojave desert" over there.

Hopefully, for the sake of our future as a nation, this nitwit fanaticism will die down soon before the "assmonkeys" do irreparable damage to America's reputation... or worse. This is not a healthy society.

Weblog Awards Update

Results have been certified and I have updated my original post with some additional comments here.

Thanks again for everyone's support!

By the way, the message board over at the Weblog Awards has been pretty active with accusations of cheating, etc.

Someone suggested any blog which cheated should be removed from the competition and banned from future competition. That would be fair if it could be proven that someone associated with the blog did the cheating or gave instructions to someone to cheat. I'll give anyone the benefit of the doubt. It's entirely possible, given the political gulf between the two front runners that someone could attempt to stack in a few hundred votes for one over the other and not be affiliated with either blog or have been authorized to do so.

When you have people on the far right making nasty comments about the sexual orientation of the opponent, it's a recipe for strong emotions to emerge on both sides. Some people took this competition just a wee bit too seriously.

Lesson in History: Dinosaurs Were on Noah's Ark

It just doesn't stop. It's as if these folks have some programming chip implanted which drives them to proselytize and ignore the 1st amendment.
Shortly after school began in September, the teacher told his sixth-period students at Kearny High School that evolution and the Big Bang were not scientific, that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark, and that only Christians had a place in heaven, according to audio recordings made by a student whose family is now considering a lawsuit claiming Mr. Paszkiewicz broke the church-state boundary.

“If you reject his gift of salvation, then you know where you belong,” Mr. Paszkiewicz was recorded saying of Jesus. “He did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sins on his own body, suffered your pains for you, and he’s saying, ‘Please, accept me, believe.’ If you reject that, you belong in hell.”

The student, Matthew LaClair, said that he felt uncomfortable with Mr. Paszkiewicz’s statements in the first week, and taped eight classes starting Sept. 13 out of fear that officials would not believe the teacher had made the comments.

Since Matthew’s complaint, administrators have said they have taken “corrective action” against Mr. Paszkiewicz, 38, who has taught in the district for 14 years and is also a youth pastor at Kearny Baptist Church. However, they declined to say what the action was, saying it was a personnel matter.

“I think he’s an excellent teacher,” said the school principal, Al Somma. “As far as I know, there have never been any problems in the past.”

If he can't make a distinction between what he teaches at the church and what he teaches in a public school, then perhaps he's not the "excellent" teacher after all.

In a bizarre twist (but hardly surprising), most of Matthew's fellow students and the community have rallied behind Paskiewicz. Some have even called for Matthew to be suspended. He has already received a death threat. If you've followed very many incidents such as this, it is rather de rigueur among certain wacko fundies to want anyone who disagrees with them to... DIE.

What I do find surprising is that the school isn't in Virginia or Alabama... it's in New Jersey, 10 miles west of Manhattan.

Tony Blair Pledges British Troops to Remain in Iraq

New York Times

Mr. Blair said preparations to give control of Basra, the southern city where the British military is based, to Iraqi troops were “going well.” But he added that British troops would remain in Iraq “until the job is done” and the Iraqi Army could stand on its own.

Click the poodle for the full story.

Monday is Looking Pretty Good

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Brad Pitt is 43 today.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I got them Sunday evenin' blues

The weekend is almost over. That's enough to give anyone the blues. Found a good long clip of Joe Bonamassa over at Dusty’s juke joint. Check that out, then click this pic for some "Burning Hell."
Joe Bonamassa
Don't forget to pop open a cold one.

Time Magazine's Person of the Year

Gee, where did they get that idea?
The Dude

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Many Episcopalians, obsessed with their own intolerance, are on the verge of aligning themselves with their intellectually retarded counterparts on other continents.

As many as eight conservative Episcopal churches in Virginia are expected to announce today that their parishioners have voted to cut their ties with the Episcopal Church. Two are large, historic congregations that minister to the Washington elite and occupy real estate worth a combined $27 million, which could result in a legal battle over who keeps the property.

In a twist, these wealthy American congregations are essentially putting themselves up for adoption by Anglican archbishops in poorer dioceses in Africa, Asia and Latin America who share conservative theological views about homosexuality and the interpretation of Scripture with the breakaway Americans.

“The Episcopalian ship is in trouble,” said the Rev. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church, one of the two large Virginia congregations, where George Washington served on the vestry. “So we’re climbing over the rails down to various little lifeboats. There’s a lifeboat from Bolivia, one from Rwanda, another from Nigeria. Their desire is to help us build a new ship in North America, and design it and get it sailing.”

Yes, Nigeria -- bastion of tolerance and freedom. Some "lifeboat."

In Virginia, the two large churches are voting on whether they want to report to the powerful archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, an outspoken opponent of homosexuality who supports legislation in his country that would make it illegal for gay men and lesbians to form organizations, read gay literature or eat together in a restaurant.

Go ahead, cozy up with another like-minded group so your brains can continue to be eaten away by the poisons of fear, prejudice, and bigotry. This gives a new meaning to the phrase "hell on earth."

SUNDAY EVENING UPDATE: Yep, they've gone and done it.
Truro Church in Fairfax and The Falls Church in Falls Church plan to place themselves under the leadership of Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, who has called the growing acceptance of gay relationships a "satanic attack" on the church.


In other news, Ft. Collins, Colorado is in another battle of Christians vs. Jews.

The controversy, similar to recent wrangling over Christmas trees at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, centers on the refusal by Fort Collins to allow a menorah to be displayed downtown during Hanukkah, near a Christmas tree and other Christmas displays.

All six city countil members voted against allowing the menorah on city property while allowing Christmas trees and other Christmas-related accoutrements such as a Santa's workshop display.
Several Council members said they were concerned that allowing a menorah display would open the door for other religious groups and organizations to request that their displays also be included.

“Someone said there are 79 recognized religions in the world,” said one member, Karen Weitkunat. “Where do you draw the line?” Another member, Diggs Brown, said: “If we were to open it up to a menorah, then everyone wants to get involved. You’re going to get sued if you allow religious displays, and you’re going to be sued if you don’t have them.”

Let me help you out here. Where you draw the line is having the city council involved in making decisions favoring one religion over another, or over the other 78.

The Ft. Collins city attorney was quoted as saying "a Christmas tree is a secular symbol, while a menorah has both secular and religious significance.” He got that partly right. The "Christmas" tree was a pagan symbol which has been hijacked by Christians (and in turn, hijacked by corporations for marketing purposes, along with most other holidays) to celebrate the birth of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Where do they think the word "Christmas" is derived from? And what would Jesus think of all this crass marketing and consumerism is his name?

Here's a holiday message to all the homeless people. We have 7 shopping days left. Could you please get off the street? It's hard enough trying to find a place to park the Suburban this time of year. And we have lots of stuff to buy for other people so they'll know how much we care about them -- even if they really don't need any of it. The last thing we want to see is someone wanting a handout, or trying to find a place to stay warm and dry, cluttering up the sidewalks and making it just that much harder for the rest of us to get our feet in the door at Macys.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev'rywhere you go;
Take a look in the five-and-ten, glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Toys in ev'ry store,
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door.

A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben;
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen;
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Ev'rywhere you go;
There's a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well,
The sturdy kind that doesn't mind the snow.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.
Homeless Veterans

Nearest Book Meme

From the TruffleBoy.

Take the book nearest you. Go to page 123, type the fifth sentence.

"Let us look, now, at some of the things which the Euclidean mind has done to our everyday life."

From Cloud-Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown, A Mountain Journal by Alan Watts.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I Am the Lizard King

One of my daily chores during the summer months is lizard rescue. Sweet Pea loves to catch lizards and bring them to the patio. It's rather odd for it to be happening this time of year but we are having above average temps although the lizards are still more sluggish than usual.

Earlier this week I went to feed the two outdoor cats and there was a lizard beside the food bowls, and he was considerably larger than this one which I snared today. I came in the house to grab the camera, still holding the lizard and hoped he wouldn't start scrambling. The last thing I need is to drop a lizard in the house. I got outside, holding the camera with my left hand which is quite awkward, and managed to get a fairly decent shot. I gave my scaley skinned friend a few loving strokes and released him near a pile of rocks.

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2006 Weblog Awards - The Official Roundup

Voting has ceased. We may resume with our normal lives.

Final results have been announced. While no titles appear to have been swapped out due to irregularities in voting, there was a major change in the Best New Blog category. It seems the "neck and neck" race between Lesbian Dad and Hang Right Politics wasn't as close as it seemed.

Some excessive votes from one or two IP addresses were recorded on both sides and subsequently removed, the impact was hardest on Hang Right Politics which dropped from what appeared to be a very close 2nd place down to 4th place. And with the removal of such a large number of cheating votes, konagod received slightly over 7% of the vote total. Not bad.

The biggest perk for me, aside from being among the finalists, are the new blog pals I've discovered during the process. That's really what it's all about. We're all winners.

Best New Blog Preliminary Results:

33.04 % (3141)

jules crittenden
13.55 % (1288)

Blue Crab Boulevard
11.73 % (1115)

Hang Right Politics
10.95 % (1041)

WIMN's Voices!
9.48 % (901)

7.04 % (669)

Reformed Chicks Blabbing
5.09 % (484)

4.93 % (469)

Jane Lake Makes a Mistake
2.09 % (199)

the fiveforty
2.09 % (199)

A BIG THANKS to everyone who supported me and voted for my blog, and to the Weblog Awards for putting on a fun event.

Complete list of official winners:

Best Blog: Daily Kos
Best New Blog: Lesbian Dad
Best Individual Blog: Lileks
Best Humor Blog: Sadly, No!
Best Comic Strip: Least I Could Do
Best Online Community: Fark
Best Liberal Blog: Think Progress
Best Conservative Blog: Little Green Footballs
Best Centrist Blog: The Moderate Voice

Best Media Blog: The Raw Story
Best Technology Blog: Engadget
Best Sports Blog: Kissing Suzy Kolber
Best Military Blog: Blackfive
Best Law Blog: The Volokh Conspiracy
Best Business Blog: Club for Growth
Best LGBT Blog: Pam's House Blend
Best Parenting Blog: Breed 'Em And Weep
Best Educational Blog: Michael Bérubé
Best Science Blog: Pharyngula
Best Medical/Health Issues Blog: Respectful Insolence

Best Photo Blog: Cute Overload
Best Culture Blog: Pop Candy
Best Diarist: Raymi The Minx (NSFW)
Best Gossip Blog: Delisted
Best Music Blog: i guess i'm floating
Best Podcast: Slate Magazine Daily Podcast
Best Video Blog: Crooks & Liars
Video of the Year: Diet Coke and Mentos

Best Canadian Blog: Small Dead Animals
Best UK Blog: EU Referendum
Best European Blog (Non UK): Retecool
Best Asian Blog: One Man Bandwidth
Best Middle East or Africa Blog: Rantings of a Sandmonkey
Best Australia or New Zealand Blog: All Men Are Liars
Best Latino, Caribbean, or South American Blog: Babalu

Best of the Top 250 Blogs: Talk Left
Best of the Top 251 - 500 Blogs: Betsy's Page
Best of the Top 501 - 1000 Blogs: Blogs of War
Best of the Top 1001 - 1750 Blogs: Boots and Sabers
Best of the Top 1751 - 2500 Blogs: Parkway Rest Stop
Best of the Top 2501 - 3500 Blogs: mAss Backwards
Best of the Top 3501 - 5000 Blogs: Blue Gal
Best of the Top 5001 - 6750 Blogs: File It Under
Best of the Top 6751 - 8750 Blogs: Garfield Ridge
Best of the Rest of the Blogs (8751+): LizaWasHere

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Weblog Awards - Last Call

If you haven't voted today, make me happy. Click the Weblog Awards graphic in the sidebar right now and vote for konagod Lesbian Dad. LD is trailing Hang Right Politics by about 150 votes.

Rising IQs Trigger Vegetarian Diets

The British Medical Journal has publised a report linking a child's rising IQ to the likelihood the child will become a vegetarian. Read all about it. They should have consulted me first. I could have saved them a bit of time.

Of course, I've known this for a long time. I strongly supported Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign in 1980 when I was living on meat and potatoes. By 1982 as my IQ rose, I abandoned the Republican Party and began having cravings to move to England, which I did in 1983 for over a year.

By the mid-80s I was exploring vegetarian diets as a result of my switch to more liberal political beliefs. By 1991 after completely losing faith in the two-party system, that seemed to do the trick. I've been a vegetarian ever since.
The researchers found that 4.5 percent of participants were vegetarians. Of these, 2.5 percent were vegan, and 33.6 percent said they were vegetarian but also ate fish or chicken.

Ahh, yes, that staggeringly ignorant segment of the population which would like to believe they have high IQs, but don't. The notorious 33% who think chicken and fish are vegetables. That's always good for a laugh.

Of course, the people with the absolute highest IQs will tell you, as I'm about to, that there is no such thing as a true vegetarian.

Tonight is our pizza night. As soon as I'm done with this post, I'll be measuring flour for the dough. txrad enjoys telling me about all the grasshopper and other bug parts that must be part of the milling process in turning wheat into flour. And he should know since he grew up on a farm where wheat was grown as a chief crop. What's a wheat field without flying critters of some sort?

So while most of you are voluntary carnivores, I count myself among the 4.5% who are involuntary carnivores. The 33.6% of you who call yourselves vegetarians while eating fish and chicken, well.. you're just dumb.

Another Food-Related Illness Outbreak

This one in Indiana.
INDIANAPOLIS - More than 300 people say they became ill, and at least three have been hospitalized, after eating at an Olive Garden restaurant last weekend, health officials said Friday.

The tainted food saga continues... spinach, Taco Bell's green onions, then green onions were OK but it was the lettuce, and now an Olive Garden.

Eating out is like Russian roulette. Health officials do not believe this is related to any prior E. coli outbreaks and appears to be confined to one restaurant.