Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Interesting billboard being ran on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel. According to American Atheists who purchased the advertisement, the purpose of the billboard is threefold:
1)To address those atheists who “go along to get along”, and to encourage them to come out of their closets.
2) To attack the myth that Christianity owns the solstice season.
3) To raise the awareness of the organization and the movement.
I've already read some blogs and stories about Christians being offended by the ad. Whatever. How many religious billboards are we subjected to all year, especially in Oklahoma. I can think of a pretty disgusting abortion billboard off of I-40 just east of Midwest City. More power to this and other atheist groups for raising awareness to their organizations.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
"Just like when I go to the airport it's a civilian function of the TSA to check me out and to make sure that I am who I say I am and that I'm going where I say I'm going. That's why they check my boarding pass and my photo ID to make sure that I'm not bringing something on that could be harmful, so that's why I go through all that X-ray and patting down process."
Apparently Huckabee feels differently today:
"If he thinks this is an appropriate way for us to deal with security as he has defended, then I've said, 'OK, Mr. Obama, take your wife, your two daughters and your mother-in-law to Washington Reagan National Airport and have them publicly go through both the body scanner and the full enhanced pat-down in front of others,'" Huckabee said in an interview on Fox and Friends. "'If it's OK for your wife, your daughters, and your mother-in-law, then maybe the rest of us won't feel so bad when our wives, our daughters and our mothers are being put through this humiliating and degrading, totally unconstitutional, intrusion of their privacy.'"
I understand that there is a little bit of nuance to the two statements but this a prime example of conservative hypocrisy. Believe one set of principles one day and then change them the next to score political points against an opponent. Of course liberals do this too, I just feel not with the same frequency as right wingers. Isn't it also funny that the most vocal group against the TSA enhanced searches are the same group that brought us the Patriot Act, a far more vile intrusion to our civil liberties! I'm really tired of these conservative Teabagging scum fucks. Guess who's fault it would be if airport security was made more relaxed and we were attacked?
So where do I stand with the whole controversy? I'm actually torn. I consider myself somewhat as a civil libertarian and I really hate the thought of the government performing these kinds of enhanced searches or forcing people to go through scanners that could possibly be unsafe. On the other hand I do agree that the 4th Amendment doesn't necessary apply when going through a security gate at the airport. I've been through the scanners and it was no big deal to me; however, if it were I guess I would just have to drive to my destination. Traveling by plane is not a right in this country.
What often gets left behind in this debate is the abuse that TSA agents receive on a daily basis. These are people on the front lines just doing their job:
“Yesterday a passenger told me to keep my hands off his penis or he’d scream. Is this how a 40 year old man in business attire acts? He’ll scream? My 3 year old can get away with saying he’ll scream, but a 40 something business man? I am a professional doing my job, whether I agree with this current policy or not, I am doing my job. I do not want to be here all day touching penises.”
I do have to concede that airport security is kind of a joke. It probably really isn't keeping us as safe as we could be but having scanners and enhanced searches at random has to have helped in at least being a deterrent to someone bringing something crazy on to a plane. Has anyone flown a plane into a building in America since 2001? Something somewhere in our security protocols have to be working!
From Richard Adams:
"Relax, 40 year old man in business attire. If you think a TSA pat down is sexual assault then you don't ever want to go on the New York subway at rush-hour. Modern life, especially in densely-populated cities, is full of such minor indignities."
Wouldn't it be nice if we could have a national conversation about safety versus civil liberties without all the screaming and hyperbole? I just don't think that's possible with right and left wing fringes screaming the loudest...
I think Lewis Black put it the best (I'm paraphrasing): in the name of fighting terrorism we've spent billions on two wars, lost thousands of American military and civilian lives, tortured people, and spied on our own people. Airport security is where we draw the line? Go back to watching "Dancing with the Stars" America...
Thoughts or opinions?
Thursday, November 18, 2010
I'm curious what everyone thinks about this development. Historically the Speaker of the House will give up his or her leadership position after losing the majority. Pelosi believes that the losses Democrats sustained in the mid-term election had more to do with jobs than it did with the party's policies.
I actually like Nancy Pelosi a lot. I think she's one of the strongest leaders we've had in the House in a long, long time. Though you may disagree with the philosophies of the Democratic party, she steered her caucus to pass a massive amount of legislation. In other words, she always got the votes when they were needed. Moreover, I absolutely believe without Speaker Pelosi's leadership and grit the Congress would not have passed Health Care Reform (such as it is). She was able to whip up enough votes in the House to pass the Senate version of the bill when many liberals were adamantly against it. She took the initiative when President Obama was ready to crack and start over.
On the other hand Pelosi's national popularity is low and she can be used easily by the opposition to paint a broad stroke on how liberal the party really is. Keeping the San Franscisco liberal as the leader is probably a PR gift to the Republicans.
After thinking about the pros and cons of her staying as the leader, I've decided, fuck it, I'm glad she's staying on. Most of the Democrats who lost their seats in the mid-terms were moderates so it's natural that a more liberal group would keep Pelosi on as their leader. Besides she's 70 years old, how much longer could she serve?
I want to know what you think. Is it better for the Democrats to keep such a strong leader in spite of the fact that she is controversial in "main stream" America? What are your general thoughts on the soon to be former Speaker and her job in the 111th Congress?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
"Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into a complex and atmospheric novel.
Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of iniquity and corruption."
I've heard two schools of thought on this novel, love it or hate it. I'm not exactly sure why. While it does deal with some convoluted financial subjects, often cited by those who don't care for the book, I had no problems following or enjoying the story. Perhaps another issue with the novel could be the translation from Swedish. While some of the translation can be a little odd and the names of locations can be downright scary, this too was never a major hurdle for me in my reading. Overall I found the writing quite accessible and I have to scratch my head a little when I hear someone say the book was a "hard read."
I enjoyed the plot of the book, or rather plots, as there are a couple of storylines going on at the same time, mostly a murder mystery and a financial intrigue story. What endeared me to the novel more than anything was the characters, especially Salander, the tough as nails, quiet computer hacker. I really wished the book had delved deeper into her past, which hinted at being fairly traumatic. I guess now I'll have to read the next book in the series to find some answers.
Overall a great read that kept me interested throughout. I felt the pacing of the book was the strongest during the first half and the book did drag on a little longer than I thought it should have, clocking in at just around 600 pages. Other than these minor quibbles, I recommend this novel and I look forward to reading "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest."
Why would I be excited about a set of games that are re-releases, the oldest of which is nearly 10 years old? Simply put the Metroid Prime series is one of my favorite series of games with the original game being one of my favorite individual games ever. Retro has adapted the Wii remote functionalities into the two older games as well as shorter load times, upgraded and altered visual effects, added bloom lighting, and wide screen capability. While none of these new additions make for a new experience of the original two games, it does make for a better experience to two already nearly flawless experiences.
I began playing the first game in the series, Metroid Prime, on Monday. I'm about 30% complete thus far and I'm enjoying the game as much as the previous three times over the years that I've completed it. While the graphical updates are subtle and the game does show its age, the control upgrades are outstanding. With Metroid being a first person shooter/adventure game, the inclusion of the Wii remote and nunchuck functionality is brilliant. In spite of all the other "upgrades" to the series of games, the reason to be playing this version is because of the responsive controls.
Not to be missed for Metroid Prime fans and most definitely recommended to those who never had a chance to play the first two GameCube games. An excellent value considering that you're basically getting three games for the price of one.
Is anyone else playing anything of interest at the moment?
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I finally replaced my original Wii that has been on life support for the past year or so. All I could determine from researching online is that there must have been some kind of problem with the lens and how it was reading the DVD's. I was able to play some of my games but the system was unable to recognize larger games that were written in dual layers. Long story short (too late), I was able to pop in some games last night that I had bought over the past year that I was never able to play.
The Wii I chose was a really cool collectors edition for the Mario franchise's 25th anniversary. As you can see from the picture above the system is red, comes with the a controller and nunchuck which has the Wii MotionPlus functionality already built in, and it comes with two games, Wii Sports of course and New Super Mario Bros. Wii. All this cost $199.99 which isn't a bad deal compared to the original Wii I purchased that only had one game and just the control wand.
While I'm excited to have the new system, this really is the end of an era for me and Nintendo. This is the first system I've ever had to replace due to a problem dating all the way back to the Nintendo Entertainment System, including all the various versions of the GameBoy and DS systems. Not a bad record over the course of 20+ years.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Franklin D. Roosevelt was President.
America was in the middle of World War II in Europe and the Pacific.
My dad was four years old.
I was 29 years from being born.
George Lucas was born on this year.
A gallon of gas was 15 cents.
Sunscreen was invented.
Kind of amazing, no? I think the Pokes are going to drop another football monkey off their back tonight! Go State! It's a good time to live Orange...
Friday, November 12, 2010
"The center of the world: 1990's Manhattan. Victor Ward, a model with perfect abs and all the right friends, is seen and photographed everywhere, even in places he hasn't been and with people he doesn't know. He's living with one beautiful model and having an affair with another on the eve of opening the trendiest nightclub in New York history. And now it's time to move to the next stage. But the future he gets is not the one he had in mind.
With the same deft satire and savage wit he has brought to his previous fiction, Bret Easton Ellis gets beyond the facade and introduces us, unsparingly, to what we always feared was behind it. Glamorama shows us a shadowy looking-glass reality, the juncture where fame and fashion and terror and mayhem meet and then begin to resemble the familiar surface of our lives."
I really wanted to like this novel, especially since I've become quite a fan of Ellis' work this year. "Glamorama" is to the 90's what "American Psycho" was to the 80's, in this case, a satire of the celebrity culture. Victor Ward is the typical Ellis "hero." The current "it boy" in modeling, he's vapid, shallow, and a slave to his culture worship. The story is told from Victor's perspective and he's constantly describing in detail what celebrity was at what party, what they were wearing, and what was playing. Another over the top style of Ellis' to convey that name dropping and brand labeling is more important to a lot of his characters than substance. Indeed, I've heard it said that much of the book reads like articles out of Page Six from the New York Post.
Victor's life takes a turn after a night opening a New York nightclub goes awry. He finds himself in London and then later Paris, sucked into an international terrorism plot he can't escape, perpetrated by models/celebrities. I know it sounds bizarre but the way the story eases into the final premise, it can be swallowed, but barely. For the last two thirds of the book, the narrative takes a different tone as though Victor is shooting a film (being followed around by what I could only guess was an imaginary film crew that he often directly addresses). He provides intense detail to each "scene" as well as a soundtrack of popular songs at the time. I was left wondering many times if Victor was losing his mind. There is also quite a bit of violence and sexual content that, again true to Ellis' style, borders on pornographic.
As I said earlier, I really wanted to like this novel more than I did. At times I either wanted to throw the book across the room or was unable to put it down over the stretch of about 150 pages in the middle third. The narrative has all the charm typical of Ellis' writing, mistaken identity, attention to detail, hilarious dialogue between characters, and a dark, satirical humor. The story was a little over the top and borders on absolutely schizophrenic near the end. The novel is far too long in what it accomplishes (over 500 pages) and finishes too unresolved for my tastes. Not recommended unless you're a fan of Bret Easton Ellis.
"The better you look the more you see."
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Giant "cock" advertisement for Rex Goliath wine I saw in Chicago last month. I forgot it was on my phone until I was going through pictures earlier. Not among my favorite brands of wine but not bad. Just thought I would share...
Thanks veterans from all generations for serving and giving your lives to protect the freedoms we all enjoy today! I also want to give a shout out to those serving currently, especially my friend the Captain. Thanks for all your hard work day in and day out in the service of your country, it is truly appreciated!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
"The family respectfully asked in lieu of flowers that memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society or to the campaign of whoever is running against President Barack Obama in 2012."
What a world we live in! Originally seen at The Political Carnival.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Bizarro World - a place where everything is inverted, backwards, or just not right but similar.
I feel as though I'm living in Bizarro World. Examples:
The Dallas Cowboys are 1-7 half way through the regular season.
Though it's November it's 90 motherfucking degrees in my office.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys football team is in lone possession of first place in the Big 12 South.
The Texas Longhorn's football record thus far is 4-5.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are playing lousy defense.
Conan O'Brien has a show on TBS.
John Boehner with be the Speaker of the House in the 112th Congress.
A lot of drama went down Sunday night and I wasn't involved!
I'm telling you there's something weird in the air these days, or maybe I'm just bored...
A conversation I'm not sure I agree with but an interesting discussion nonetheless. The theory of everyone simultaneously not paying their mortgage payments would give all the banks pause to consider their slimy ways is very interesting. But as the guest suggests, you can't even get everyone in this country to stop littering.
In other news the graph above that I swiped from The Maddow Blog represents job growth (or lack thereof) in this country in recent years. The red lines represent a Republican majority in the House while the blue lines represent a Democratic majority. Hmmm.
Thoughts or comments?
Friday, November 05, 2010
These songs are pretty random and should be a good example of how eclectic my music tastes are... Enjoy!
(1) You know you can't fool me, I've been lovin' you too long.
(2) I am a rock, I am an island.
(3) If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?
(4) We can't go on together with suspicious minds and we can't build our dreams on suspicious minds.
(5) With you in that dress my thoughts I confess verge on dirty.
(6) I was a damn builder across the river deep and wide, where steel and water did collide.
(7) I know you'll think I'm like the others before who saw your name and number on the wall.
(8) Counting flowers on the wall that don't bother me at all, playing Solitaire 'til dawn with a deck of 51, smokin' cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo.
(9) Keep your head still, I'll be your thrill, the night will go on, my little windmill.
(10) Slip inside the eye of your mind, don't you know you might find a better place to play.
(11) I can't understand what makes a man hate another man, help me understand.
(12) Well I tried to make it Sunday, but I got so damn depressed that I set my sights on Monday and I got myself undressed.
(13) She just can't be chained to a life where nothing's gained and nothing's lost at such a cost.
(14) It's bitter without you, I can't live without you, and I'm in love you.
(15) Chippin' around kick my brains around the floor, these are the days it never rains but it pours.
(16) There where the air is free, we'll be what we want to be.
(17) You're the priestess, I must confess those little red panties they pass the test.
(18) I'm through with doubt, there's nothing left for me to figure out, I've paid a price and I'll keep paying.
(19) It was perfect you know with just one little problem, the fact that it turns out that you don't really want it. (This is a tough one)
(20) Please don't leave me, I always say how I don't need you but it's always gonna come right back to me.
Here are some of the other low lights:
Representative Kris Steele of Shawnee looks to be the next Speaker of the Oklahoma House. He's a minister, awesome.
"Little Dixie" in the Southeast region of the state went Republican in areas for the first time since statehood.
Republicans lead in the state Senate 32-16.
Republicans lead in the state House 70-31.
And my most favorite:
My new Congressional Representative to the U.S. House in the 5th district, James Lankford. I just got a cold chill down my spine...
Where do Oklahoma progressives, liberals, and Democrats go from here? I have no clue. Just when I think it can't get any worse politically around here another election proves me wrong. I think it may be easier to move to another state than fight to change this one.
Thoughts and opinions?
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
"Step into the perfumed parlors of Chicago's Everleigh Club, the most famous brothel in American history - and the catalyst for a culture war that rocked the nation. Minna and Ada Everleigh, the two sisters who operated the Club at the dawn of the last century, were unlike other madams: The Everleighs made sure their girls dined on gourmet food, were examined by an honest physician, and were even tutored in the literature of Balzac. But not everyone appreciated the sisters' attempts to elevate the industry. Progressive Era reformers, spouting lurid tales of "white slavery," ignited a furor that shaped America's sexual culture and had repercussions all the way to the White House, even leading to the formation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. With a cast of characters that includes Jack Johnson, John Barrymore, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., William Howard Taft, "Hinky Dink" Kenna, and Al Capone, Sin in the Second City provides a vivid snapshot of America's journey from Victorian-era propriety to twentieth-century modernity."
This book was outstanding, but it's not surprising given my near obsession with all things Chicago lately. Basically the book is the story of the Everleigh sisters and their famed brothel in the South Levee area of Chicago at the turn of the 19th century, a subject I knew next to nothing about going in. The rise and fall of the red light district was especially interesting considering the views of all the forces against the wicked area of town and those who thought segregation of the the area was more suitable to society, better to keep vice in one area least it run amok all over Chicago. Abbott's style is easily accessible while informative, I flew through the 300 pages of the book even with all the distractions at work.
While I think the "white slavery" trade of the time was truly horrid, I had to wonder if the Mann Act didn't cause more problems in the long run instead of only stymieing the trade and transportation of women, against their will, into and throughout this country for the purpose of prostitution. I also found some interesting comparisons to today in the way that religious group decry actions and material that they deem unfit for society. Of course "white slavery" should not be tolerated but why should a whole group of people be arrested and driven out of an area because of vice, namely prostitution, drug use, and gambling? All of these forms of vice I find completely acceptable for free choosing adults. Well we've got Nevada!
A fun, interesting, and very informative look at Chicago and vice trades of the era. Highly recommended.
My boss brought this to my attention this morning, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing! No, it really isn't funny. Well, ok, it is funny and a little sad...
During the big election years (Presidential and mid-terms) it's always fun to see what kind of lunatic state questions will be on the ballot. This year was no exception! State Question 755:
This measure amends the State Constitution. It changes a section that deals with the courts of this state. It would amend Article 7, Section 1. It makes courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases. It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Sharia Law.
International law is also known as the law of nations. It deals with the conduct of international organizations and independent nations, such as countries, states and tribes. It deals with their relationship with each other. It also deals with some of their relationships with persons.
The law of nations is formed by the general assent of civilized nations. Sources of international law also include international agreements, as well as treaties.
Sharia Law is Islamic law. It is based on two principal sources, the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed.
Shall the proposal be approved?
Needless to say I voted no. As if a judge would use Islamic law to make a ruling, especially in Oklahoma! It was an absolute waste of time that this question was printed on our ballot, don't we have better issues before us in Oklahoma as well as the country at large? Even the Oklahoman (aka the Daily Fish Wrap) said the measure was a waste of time and shouldn't be written into our state Constitution!
We also voted on making English the official language (stupid and mean spirited) and term limits for lower elective offices (the legislature and Governor already have limits on how long they can serve).
So did everyone out there in blogger land get out and vote? Were there any crazy local questions on your ballots?
Monday, November 01, 2010
Welcome to Monday Mayhem.
In celebration of the fall colors, today's meme is all about the color orange.
For each prompt, answer with something orange.
1. What is your favorite orange colored thing on the planet?
This is difficult I actually like the color orange a lot. Other than agent orange I'd have to go with an orange sunset.
2. Ever see an orange person?
Only dressed up like fools at football games or on Halloween.
3. Name something that you hate that is orange.
The University of Texas, burnt orange.
4. What is your favorite sports team that uses the color orange?
Oklahoma State University of course.
5. Name an orange food.
Creamsicles! Not a good combination with everclear when made into a drink. I had such a concoction on my last trip to Vegas and I had to swallow hard thinking about it.
6. Tell us something funny that entails an orange (like a joke or image).
I have no clue. Why did the orange roll down the hill? It ran out of juice...
7. When is the last time you ate an orange?
It's been a while, the acidity in them usually gives me a fat lip.
8. What's your opinion about pulp - does it belong in juice or should it be removed?
Definitely pulp free. Simply Orange is simply the best orange juice.
9. Name an orange piece of your wardrobe.
I have an orange Oklahoma State football jersey that I wear often on game days.
10. Orange you glad we didn't say banana?
Yep, I probably wouldn't have participated in a banana meme.
There's a lot going on in November this year, the war on Christmas kicks off soon, the most wonderful time of the year! I'm really ready for some "fall" weather still. We've had amazing weather in October but I'm definitely ready for a cool down. Upper 30's and lower 60's today, that's a start. I think I just want to wear some of the winter clothes I bought recently. On tap for this month:
November 2nd: Election day, finally. I'm so sick of hearing about this election I could just puke. I'll definitely be voting but I'm afraid progressives are about to take a bath this mid-term. What I'll be most displeased about is the loss of the House of Representatives to Republicans. Speaker Boehner? Oh lord. I'm less concerned about the Senate, it's an already broken institution and a slim majority by either party will make little difference.
November 7th: Daylight Savings. One of my favorite days of the year! Who doesn't love an extra hour of sleep? I know I do but I consider sleeping one of my most passionate hobbies and an art form.
November 25th: Thanksgiving! One of the better holidays around I think, primarily because I get two days off, Thursday and Friday. I also like going out to the clubs on Thanksgiving night, it's a good time to run in to people who aren't usually out or who are in town for the holiday.
November 27th: Bedlam! For those unfamiliar with the term, bedlam refers to the annual Oklahoma/Oklahoma State game. Yearly I get my hopes up for an OSU win and most years I'm disappointed. With the game at OSU this year I think a change for a Cowboys win is a little better than usual. Hopefully the game will determine who'll win the Big 12 South and move on to the Big 12 Championship game.
I'm sure I missed something in this post but those are the highlights for me in November. What does everyone else out there think of the month ahead? Any interesting plans or stories for November?