SLIDESHOW EXPLANATION

THE PHOTOS SCROLLING BY IN THE SLIDESHOW ON THE LEFT ARE ORIGINAL AND CAN BE VIEWED OR PURCHASED AT WWW.WIZARDPIXPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

Monday, April 30, 2012

DAMMIT! NOW MY EYES ARE LEAKING! PROCTOR AND GAMBLE OLYMPICS AD MOVES A CURMUDGEON TO TEARS (THANKS, MOM...)


    
          I'm not sure if it's the music or the vid, but I've sprung a leak.

"WE CAN LEARN TO IGNORE THE BULLSHIT ABOUT GAY PEOPLE IN THE BIBLE" (gee, what a concept...)



        Dan Savage is one of my heroes...  In a speech before the National High School Journalism Conference Savage pointed out (correctly) that fundamentalists choose to ignore certain parts of the Bible when it is convenient for them to do so, but are unable to ignore the parts of the Bible that allow for discrimination against gay people.  That simple factual statement led to a group of Christian students walking out of his lecture.  Here's a quote from the transcript in Think Progress:

SAVAGE: We can learn to ignore the bullshit about gay people in the Bible the same way have learned to ignore the bullshit in the Bible about shellfish about slavery, about dinner about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation. We ignore bullshit in the bible about all sorts of things. The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document. Slave owners waived Bibles over their heads during the civil war and justified it…We ignore what the Bible says about slavery because the Bible got slavery wrong. …If the Bible got the easiest moral question that humanity has ever faced wrong, slavery. What are the odds that the Bible got something as complicated as human sexuality wrong? 100 percent.


“You can tell the Bible guys in the hall, they can come back now because I’m done beating up the Bible,” Savage said before moving on to his next topic, “It’s funny as someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-ass some people react when you push back.”

          When a dusty, two thousand year old book of bad prose is used to justify social injustice in the modern world, rational people have the right to point out the obvious hypocrisy of those who claim their bigotry is required by holy scriptures.  If they're willing to ignore dozens of other Biblical edicts but find themselves unable or unwilling to ignore the bullshit about homosexuality in the same book, well, they deserve the ridicule and scorn of thoughtful people everywhere.
          After all, it's either ALL true and therefore infallible, or we can agree that parts of the Bible are factually incorrect.  The sun revolves around a flat Earth?  Want to base your doctoral thesis on that one?
          Hate speech and intolerance aren't family values, and pointing to Biblical passages (or the language included in any religious text) for their defense is the weakest argument known to man.

          Savage deserves praise for making this simple tenet of rational thought so succinctly, regardless of those whose tender feelings might be hurt in the process.

HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A DENTIST SCORNED (with apologies to William Congreve...)



           One of the old sayings I grew up with was "You gotta be tough if you're gonna be stupid".  That would seem to apply to the guy in England who made a dental appointment after breaking up with his girlfriend, who just happened to be his dentist...
            There's a blurb in Huffington Post detailing the sad story of dental malpractice, and it should be required reading for anyone thinking his girlfriend's professional obligations supersede her emotions.  Marek Olszewski, 45, broke up with his girlfriend Anna Mackowiak, 34, and then developed a toothache.  Thinking to himself, "Hey, I know a great dentist!" he made an appointment to have the problem checked out.  Apparently, his former girlfriend couldn't resist the urge to extract a little vengeance upon his anesthetized ass, because she extracted 32 of his teeth before wrapping his head in bandages and sending him home.
             Here's how Dr. Mackowiak explained her actions to the police:

             "I tried to be professional and detach myself from my emotions," she told the news site. "But when I saw him lying there I just thought, 'What a b-----d.'"

             And here's how Marek Olszewski described finding himself toothless:

"I didn't have any reason to doubt her -- I mean I thought she was a professional," he said.

"But when I got home I looked in the mirror and I couldn't f--king believe it," he said. "The b--ch had emptied my mouth."

              Here's a little advice, Marek... If you hire an attorney to help you gain restitution from Dr. Mackowiak, DON'T turn to your ex-wife or another ex-girlfriend.  You'll probably end up owing the dentist for 32 extractions, plus the anesthesia and bandages.  And court costs.

             













 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

AUTOMATIC FAUCETS AND MOTION SENSOR URINALS IN PUBLIC RESTROOMS (hands free, but making me doubt my existence)


     
             Okay, right up front I'll admit this is a rant unworthy of the effort.  In the overall scope of time and space, given the problems we face as a society and as a species, whining about motion sensor public restroom facilities doesn't rank very high on the priority list.  But if recent events are any indication, these high-efficiency products are likely to contribute to a personal meltdown in a bathroom near you any day now.

             Here's the deal... Once upon a time, a man went into a restroom, stood at the urinal, and had the option of giving the handle a push to start some water flowing.  I don't know about anyone else, but my bladder tends to "let go" a little more freely amid the sound of running water.  Besides, most public urinals need a rinse. 
             But now, you stand in front of the urinal and a mysterious little box contained within the metal and porcelain waits for you to leave the urinal before triggering a short and completely inadequate flow of water.  That's it.  You piss, you zip up, you walk away, and maybe, if the Hooey Gods and the motion sensor approve, water flows down the walls of the urinal.
            So you leave the urinal and step over to the sink to wash your hands, but immediately notice there are no faucet handles, only another one of those mysterious little boxes embedded in the faucet watching for you to extend a hand.  Then, if you're lucky, the faucet will come on for a predetermined amount of time at a temperature predetermined by those who know your needs better than you do, and if you're quick you can get your digits rinsed before it cuts off the flow of water.
            In theory, that's how this wonderful new technology is supposed to "work".  In theory.

            Yesterday I shot a high school rugby playoff match, then drove over to a nearby soccer park for four straight games of soccer.  Between games I decided to avail myself of the park's facilities, feeling a little grubby from having dust and pollen blown in my face for several straight hours, and in need of a urinal.  I'd rather hang hose outside, myself, but they frown on that when you're in a park full of little league soccer players and their parents.
            So I stepped up to one of the three urinals in the park bathroom and immediately noticed there was a significant amount of urine (and the ubiquitous cigarette butt) over the strainer in the urinal.  Normally, I would give the handle a flush and rinse that disgusting mess away, or at least DILUTE it a little, but no... this was one of those fancy new motion sensor pissers.  It flushes when it's ready to flush, but thanks for asking.
            So I added a pint or two to the collection in the bottom of the urinal and stepped away to the nearest sink.  That's when I noticed the urinal's fancy motion sensor had failed to activate.  My urine was now part of the park's public restroom problem.  Along with the cigarette butt some asshole had dropped earlier.
            It was at that time that I realized my hands weren't getting rinsed, either.  So I stepped to the next sink and got the same reaction.  Nothing.  I felt like an utter idiot waving my hands around under the faucet, trying in vain to get that mysterious little gizmo to please-for-the-love-of-American Standard put some water on my hands.
             What the fuck?  Am I afflicted with some bizarre disorder that makes me invisible to motion sensors?  Is it something like the phenomenon attributed to vampires who can't be seen in mirrors?  Shit!

             So I left the bathroom with unwashed hands, after pulling open the door with a handle that had been touched by countless other unwashed, piss-dribbled fingers.
             High efficiency, touchless, motion-sensor activated wonderfulness.

             And for a brief instant I had an urge to take the guy who'd come up with that system and dunk his stupid face into the puddle at the bottom of that urinal, just for informational purposes.

             I would probably get in less trouble and feel better about life if I just pissed in the bushes between soccer fields.

             Heavy sigh...  Modern problems.

Friday, April 27, 2012

10 CORPORATIONS THAT CONTROL MOST OF WHAT YOU CONSUME ( but where's the Soylent Green? )

                  CLICK ON GRAPHIC TO EMBIGGEN...

         According to the link on Huffington Post, this was put together by the French blogsite "Convergence Alimentaire" and purports to show how ten major corporations control nearly everything we consume.
          Interesting... and when you consider the way banks have merged and combined to match the mergers of the media giants you begin to see how only a few very profitable corporations control not only our consumer goods, but our finance system and information.  Add the mergers of our health care and insurance giants to put your actual physical well-being at stake, as well.
          Then consider the fact that we have only two viable political parties in this country, neither of which is completely acceptable to any of us, and you begin to see how we're just choosing from an endless variety of the same shit being packaged and marketed by the same corporate whores, regardless of what we want out of life.
           You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.


         

SURGEON CLAIMS TO HAVE DISCOVERED PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF THE MYTHICAL "G-SPOT" IN CADAVER OF 83 YEAR-OLD WOMAN ( and skeptics debate his findings...)


          There's an article in the on-line version of Popular Science by Jennifer Abbasi concerning a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine by Dr. Adam Ostrzenski, a gynecological surgeon specializing in cosmetic procedures in St. Petersburg, Florida, in which he claims to have found the mysterious "G-spot" scientists, doctors, and sex toys have been searching for all these years.  Critics of his findings scoff at the notion of the discovery of a previously undiscovered organ in women's anatomy, saying his description of the G-spot organ as a "bluish, grape-like mass housed in a small, see-through sac inside the front wall of the vagina" was more likely to have been a gland designed to secrete vaginal fluids or perhaps a internal extension of the clitoris.
          According to the article, Ostrzenski found the Holy Grail of erogenous zones while dissecting the cadaver of an 83 year-old woman in Poland who had died of a head injury the day before.  Yale urologist Amichai Kilchevsky was quick to wave off the discovery: Kilchevsky concluded that despite six decades of study, there wasn't enough evidence to support the existence of a G-spot, and that the erogenous zone that triggers women's vaginal orgasms is probably just an extension of the clitoris inside the body. He says there are major problems with the new study, including that it was a single dissection of a woman whose "genito-urinary" history was unknown, and that no physiologic testing of the specimen was conducted to determine if it played any role in arousal.

           In other words, because this poor woman had passed away before anyone had diddled with her G-spot (at least, no one with an interest in scientific documentation) it would be impossible to say whether this "bluish, grape-like mass" was involved in sexual arousal or not. 

          I think the only reason there is still a mystery concerning the existence of the fabled G-spot is because men don't have one.  Seriously.  Think about it.  If men had an erogenous zone capable of producing orgasms, do you think for a minute we wouldn't have located it, documented its exact location, function, and physical existence, and made damn sure everyone everywhere knew how and where to find it?  We'd have that puppy up on charts in high school biology classes...
          But orgasms for women?  Meh... it's like all of the mysteries of the universe wrapped up in one hormonal enigma, and apparently it makes our heads hurt just thinking about the vast unknown we would rather choose to ignore. 
          It's 2012, and yet science and medicine can't explain, identify, or even locate an organ billions of women are quite familiar with? 
          If it were pecker-related, we'd have had it mapped out hundreds of years ago, and Da Vinci would have included anatomical sketches of it in his drawings...

EPIC FACEBOOK RANT VIDEO GOING VIRAL ( sums it up for so many of us! )



           Dan Bull's asking for donations for this vid, but also offers it free for sharing on sites like this one.

           Facebook.  What a banal time-suck it is...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

UNITED STEELWORKERS OF AMERICA BEGINS VIDEO CAMPAIGN AGAINST GOP VOTER ID LAWS



         This video, highlighting the indignities suffered by a Tennessee veteran who was denied the right to vote due to Republican voter ID laws, is part of a new campaign being waged by the United Steelworkers of America.
         I'm proud to be a retired member, and commend them for this effort.

DOONESBURY SUMS UP FAUX NEWS CONTENT BRILLIANTLY!


             Makes you wonder if anyone at Faux is paying attention to actual news or facts, doesn't it?
And while I'm up, here's a screen shot from "The Simpsons":

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"I'M SPARTACUS!" MOMENT: TENNESSEE FIREARMS ASSOCIATION DIRECTOR CALLS FOR "CRUCIFIXION" OF LEGISLATORS WHO HOLD UP 'GUNS IN CARS' BILL

House Republican Caucus Chair Debra Maggart (crucifix and all)

            Things are getting curiouser and curiouser at the Tennessee General Assembly, and yesterday's blow-up was one of the oddest moments in recent state history.  Sit back, folks, I'll try to sum up without omitting too many of the usual suspects or three part harmonies you've come to expect from the nation's most inept state legislature.
             You may have heard about our "guns in parking lots" bill here in Tennessee.  That's a measure that would prevent employers from punishing workers who leave firearms in their vehicles on company property, regardless of that company's rules about bring weapons to work.  The Republicans who sponsored said legislation thought this was a great way to pander to the NRA and the Tennessee Firearms Association, which is also a great way to stay in office in this state.  If the NRA's happy with the job you're doing, you tend to get reelected a lot.  Funny how that works.
            Anyway, some folks thought the prospect of employees showing up for work with loaded weapons at their disposal was a bad idea.  Those folks included the Chamber of Commerce and our own (very) pro-business governor, as well as sane people who don't think everyone needs a gun in every situation.  Suddenly, what seemed like a 'no-brainer' of a bill to Republicans, one that would satisfy the NRA and the state's gun nuts, was caught in the middle of a debate about property and business owners' rights to set company policy on their own property.  Property owners verses gun owners... What's a good legislator to do?
           Well, the obvious answer when faced with a tough call in Nashville is to mimic the town's football team and send in the punter.  Boot the bill down the calendar to the next session of the legislature and hope like hell it dies in committee or something.  So that's what the GOP's House members did yesterday.  And thus began a shit storm of Biblical proportions. 
            When House Republicans realized the Republican governor of the state AND the business lobby opposed the new guns-in-the-trunk-of-the-disgruntled-worker bill, the last thing they wanted to do was bring the bill up for an on-the-record floor vote, because if they had voted FOR the bill they would catch hell from the governor and the Chamber of Commerce, and had they voted against the bill they would face crucifixion by the NRA.  Literally.  Crucifixion.
             As soon as the Republican controlled committee moved to table the bill (punt's away!) the Democrats in the House, who had been grinning ear to ear over the prospect of putting their GOP counterparts on record (and thus in the crosshairs of one group or the other) went crazy, threatening to bring lawsuits if proper procedure wasn't followed.  At the same time, the Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association sent a blistering email to his membership urging them to go all Roman Empire-ish on the gutless GOP leadership who had abandoned the guns-in-cars bill.
             Here's a quote from Executive Director John Harris' email in which he blamed House Republican Caucus Chair Debra Maggart for the bill's delay, courtesy of The Tennessean (motto: "We're not making this shit up!  This guy is calling for crucifixions!") :

“Rep. Debra Maggart’s political career needs to end much as the Romans crucified criminals — not just to end her tenure but as a glaring example to other Republicans that you cannot take the grassroots groups or the rights of citizens for granted,” he wrote, adding, “it is time to display a used crucifix at the entrance to the General Assembly as a warning.”


Tennessee Firearms Association Director John Harris, (all 'round gun nut)
           When informed of Harris' call for political crucifixions (and the delivery of an actual "used" crucifix to the General Assembly) Chairperson Maggart expressed surprise and shock, pointing out that she and Harris had attended the same Christian academy together back in the seventies (which might explain where he learned so much about crucifixes and their value as tactics of intimidation).
             Try to get your heads around this, now.  Here's the head of a prominent state gun lobby threatening crucifixions of Republicans at the same time Democrats opposed to the NRA's bill were arguing in FAVOR of that bill being brought to a floor vote.
             And all the while, our governor is rubbing his head and wondering why no one pays any attention to the reforms he's trying to make for the state, saying it's the media's fault for covering the Legislature sent to Nashville to represent the voters.  Damn press...
             All of this makes me wonder which side of this debate Jesus would side with, you know, if he hadn't been crucified and were around to give an opinion on the matter. 
             How would Jesus vote?  Guns in cars, or crucify the bastards who punt the issue down the calendar? 
             Ah, it doesn't get any better than this...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

BLUEBIRD BRINGS HOME THE CARRY-OUT

             
               They're making return trips to the nest every couple of minutes now, and the little ones raise hell whenever mom or dad shows up with a treat.  We should have fledglings leaving the box in the next couple of weeks.

TEEN TURNED AWAY FROM SENIOR PROM BECAUSE OF CONFEDERATE FLAG DRESS ( sigh... here comes the "it's not hate, it's heritage" debate)

              Texanna Edwards and her now-famous prom dress

         Seems like this sort of thing has to rear its ugly-ass head about once a year around here to keep the flames burning...
         Gibson County High School senior Texanna Edwards was warned ahead of this year's senior prom that her Confederate Flag dress design would be deemed "offensive and inappropriate", but she decided to wear the custom made dress to her prom anyway.  School officials, apparently on the watch for such attire (which is a sad statement in and of itself) turned her away at the door.  Edwards was informed she could change her dress and return, but declined the invitation.
         According to an article in this morning's The Tennessean (motto: "Bringing you the latest styles from the 19th Century") there have been "race-related issues" at Gibson County High in the past, and administrators there thought the dress design might "cause problems". 
          What the fuck is going on...?  A couple of days ago I posted a piece about a woman who makes a full-time living sewing robes and hoods for the Ku Klux Klan, and now this...  a high school senior who chooses to wrap herself in a dress many find an offensive symbol of hate.
           Is this what we've become?  Either hyper-sensitive and ever watchful for any threat to the peace and serenity of every event, or blatantly provocative for the sake of "making one's point"?
Was there a school sponsored prayer offered to open the prom, too? 
           Sometimes you just want to hit fast-forward on the WABAC machine and scoot ahead to a more enlightened time.  If such a thing is even in our future, that is...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

SEAMSTRESS OF HATE SEWS ROBES FOR THE KLAN (seven days a week, she has a full-time job)

      It had never occured to me to ask where those hooded robes come from when I see photos of the Ku Klux Klan in action.  I guess you can't pick those up at your local Walmart... Not that there wouldn't be a market, but it might be a little politically incorrect, even by Walmart's standards.

      There's a photo essay on Mother Jones by Anthony Karen in which a seamstress known only as "Mrs. Ruth" is shown at work, sewing robes and hoods for Ku Klux Klan customers seven days a week.  Five generations of Klan members in her family tree, she claims the cash is needed to help care for her quadrilplegic daughter, and her daughter is included in some of the photos in Karen's story.

58 year-old Mrs. Ruth works on a hood.  Note the plastic wristbands... What Would Jesus Do?  Well, he'd probably burn a cross or something, I guess...                                             


This is an interesting shot... Mrs. Ruth is custom fitting a hood for the local "Exalted Cyclops" of the Klan, who's wearing a "wife beater" tee shirt for the fitting. 

Finished robes hanging outside                    


Here's a heart-warming scene:  Mrs. Ruth "blesses" each robe before shipping it off to her customers.


And this one ought to turn your stomach just like it turned mine...

We pass our hate and intolerance along to our kids, one generation at a time.

THE PORCH, VERSION TWO... (first a fall through the floor, then a fall off the ladder... I'm a magnet for gravity these days)

        (This is the part where the narrator would say, "Previously on 24..." and the theme music would swell around highlights of the last week's show...) 
        If you were around a few days ago you probably remember seeing my ass fall through the floor of our screened in porch.  A couple of tile guys had been hired to repair the last tile guys' mess, and after pulling up the old tile had discovered that the sub-flooring was rotten and would have to be replaced.  No sooner had they made that announcement and invited me out to see what they'd found, but my left leg punched through the plywood and sent me balls-first to the floor.
         Well, all of that has been repaired and replaced  (the flooring, not my balls), and the tile has been grouted and left to dry.  As the guys in the tile truck pulled away they left me with a warning:  "Don't let the new grout get wet!"

         So of course, the weather took an immediate turn for the worse, and threatening storm clouds gathered over our new porch.  My lovely (and dangerous when she's aggravated) wife "suggested" we make a run to a hardware store for plastic sheeting and tape to surround the screening of the porch in order to keep it dry during the coming rains.  I initially resisted her "suggestion", mainly because I'm basically lazy, but also because I knew hanging plastic film in a strong wind is about as futile as trying to push a chain up a hill.
          But we got in the car and went for plastic and tape, despite my complaints.  I know my place in the food-chain of command around here.

          A few words before we get back to the porch:  Walmart Sucks.

          The dregs of society were waiting for us there, slowly pushing their shopping carts out into our path as we tried to find our way to the paint department.  Trolls, dead-eyed and trailed by similar looking children, were everywhere we tried to go.  Swarms of them.  And those were just the employees.
          We bought the plastic and some quack tape, and returned home for the ordeal.  I only fell off of the ladder once, and managed to land on a soft place in the yard.  If I hadn't bit my tongue I probably wouldn't even remember that little humiliation today... but hot coffee has a way of reminding you of your fuck-ups.
           Anyway, we got the damn porch wrapped in plastic, then sat back to watch for the rains that never came.  The winds had the plastic flapping and snapping all evening, but it didn't rain.  And then, suddenly, in the middle of the night, it rained like hell.  Had we not wrapped the porch in plastic the new grout would have gotten soaked, and possibly stained in the process.
          Instead, it's perfect.  Again, the woman I live with was right and I was wrong.  Heavy sigh...

          Here are a couple of pictures of the tile prior to grouting yesterday afternoon.

          The little white spacers somehow remind me of Arlington National Cemetery...



            And here's the finished product, sans furniture and plants (which get moved back in tomorrow, weather permitting):


JAMES TAYLOR'S "MILLWORKER" AS SUNG BY JENNIFER WARNES IN STUDS TERKEL MUSICAL "WORKING"



         I can remember singing this song to myself as I built truck tires in the factory for 35 years... and it still brings a twinge of pain to think of those men and women who are still down there working twelve hours shifts half a mile from the nearest window to the outside world.

        Here's James Taylor's version of this great song:



SUSIE SAMPSON VID CLIP REMINDS US THAT THE GENE POOL NEEDS CHLORINE, LOTS AND LOTS OF CHLORINE...



       Found this over on Crooks and Liars, and wish I could unsee  the "stupid" that passes for reasoned discourse in America today.

       If you wonder why some of the kids you run into seem to have the common sense of gerbils in heat, meet their parents.

Friday, April 20, 2012

BLOBBER IS HERE TO HELP (our new and oh-so improved blogging interface...)

       Every now and then you have to put on mittens just to keep from bruising yourself from all of the face-palm moments life throws at you...
       Blogger has apparently decided that we're just not having enough technical problems with their product, so they've "improved" it for us.
       Boy howdy, is this fun, now!

       I can't go from publishing a new post to view my own blog without it locking up the entire computer, requiring me to cnt/alt/delete my way back to a task manager shut down.  Then I get to refresh my home page before finding my way back to my blog to see WHAT I JUST FUCKING TRIED TO POST!

        If anyone else is having as much fun as I am with this new and improved dealie, I'd appreciate hearing from you. 

        Misery loves company, and I don't want to suffer alone.

        Jeez...

NEWS BLOOPERS...

WHAT'S RED AND SMELLS LIKE BLUE PAINT?



Red paint.    


Happy April 20th, one and all.                                                   


SO YOU WANT TO BUILD A MOSQUE... (LOCAL JUDGE SETS DATE FOR TRIAL CONCERNING LEGALITY OF MOSQUE CONSTRUCTION IN MURFREESBORO)

         
            Jeez, it never ends...  After almost two years of this bullshit, after all the rallies and marches and petitions and hateful rhetoric, we're STILL arguing about the construction of a mosque here in rural middle Tennessee.  County officials estimate the lawsuits and court defenses related to this matter have cost Rutherford County over $100,000 so far, with more to come.
            The folks who are opposed to the new Islamic Center of Murfreesboro like to say they're not intolerant religious bigots, but no one has ever made this kind of stink over the Christian mega-churches that have popped up all over the county.  You can apply for a permit and get permission to build a cathedral the size of Neyland Stadium if you have the bucks to build the damn thing, and no one will raise an eyebrow.  But this mosque has been a rallying point for wingnuts and fear mongers since its inception, and it looks as if the plaintiffs in this case are finally going to get an opportunity to fight their last fight: they'll try to prove that the public notification clause of the law was violated.
             Chancellor Robert Corlew III has ruled that this court date will be specifically for the discussion of that public notification issue and all other issues will not be tolerated.  That means he won't allow out-of-state "experts" on Islam to appear or testify on terrorism, or whether or not Islam is an actual religion, or any of the other bullshit these cranks have tried to use to gum up the construction process for the mosque in the past.  This last ditch effort on the part of a few stubborn locals and their out-of-state backers looks to be the end of the line, and we can only hope that the resultant verdict in the case will put an end to this silly shit once and for all.
              They say it's not about Islam or religion at all... it's merely about improper public notification related to the construction permit.
              Right.
              That's why politicians and activists from around the country have pointed to Murfreesboro's new mosque.  They're all worried we weren't given adequate notice that a new building was going to be constructed in a vacant field.  Building construction is such a major national issue, you know?
              It has nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism or Islam or jihadists.  Just a zoning issue.

              Right...

             

Thursday, April 19, 2012

TENNESSEE HOUSE OF REPREHENSIBLES PASSES MEASURE TO ALLOW ASSAULT AND HOMICIDE CHARGES FOR ANYONE HARMING A FETUS ( supporters claim it's just a "clarification" of existing law, but...)


          Sigh... they're oh-so busy, busy, busy at the Legislative Plaza in Nashville.  It can be dizzying just trying to keep up with all of the legislation that concerns the everyday lives and economic realities of the average Tennessean.  You know, important stuff, like Don't Say Gay, or the Saggy Pants Bill, or passing laws to allow teachers to discuss creationism in biology classrooms, or making sure religious zealots are allowed to harrass gay kids with impunity.  The sorts of things unemployed and uninsured citizens of the state worry about at night.

          But someone in the General Assembly (and let's just assume it's a Republican, because Democrats don't worry themselves into shit-fits over crap like this...) is concerned about the language of existing laws in Tennessee concerning assaults and murders of pregnant women.  Hey, assaults and murders of pregnant women sounds like something we should all be concerned about, right?
          Well, sure, except that's not what this new bill is about, exactly.  See, under current law, if an asshole assaults or murders a pregnant woman and her fetus is killed in the process, that person can be charged with two separate assault charges- one for mom and one for the unborn baby.  Sounds reasonable.  But then one of the bill's sponsors, Republican (see?  told you...) Joshua Evans of Greenbrier, pointed out that current law protects fetuses after their 32nd week of development, and that most legal definitions of "fetus" don't apply until after the 8th week of development.  Prior to that the little unborns are referred to as embryos.
           Soooooo, new language has to be written into law making it illegal to harm an embryo, as well as a fetus.  The original bill passed unanimously by a vote of 80-0 in the House and 26-0 in the Senate on the last day of the previous legislative session, according to an article in this morning's The Tennessean (motto: "Doing our level best to find a way to signify 'eye-rolls' in print for our state's governing body.") but this bill passed with 18 Democrats voting against the change.
           Obviously, making it illegal for someone to harm an embryo has broader ramifications than a bill making it a crime to assault a pregnant woman AND her unborn child.  Supporters of the measure assure us that all they're trying to do is ensure that laws punishing violent assaults carry the maximum amount of criminal prosecution available, but the new language is raising red flags of concern that this might just be somehow linked to abortion rights in the future.
            Gee, you think?  It's pretty obvious that Republicans and right-to-lifers have found interesting and creative ways to attack the legal medical procedure of abortion, and this may well be one of them.
            So, if a teenager who pushes another teenager down at the smoking barrel of the local high school, and in doing so accidentally causes that student to miscarry her embryo, murder charges can be brought.  Of course, embryos are often lost naturally at that stage of development, and it would be impossible to say if one action caused a miscarriage or if it was merely coincidental.  But in the right-to-lifer's perfect world, anyone who harms an innocent unborn zygote is criminally liable for their actions.


             If you don't think this will somehow be tied to abortion or morning-after birth control, you're not paying attention.


            

ANXIETY KILLS LIBIDO (AND PUSSY DOES INDEED MAKE YOU STUPID...)


        
           While looking for something else I stumbled over this...  There's a report on Huffington Post about a study conducted at the University of Groninger Medical Center in the Netherlands, and its results confirm what I've long suspected:  Pussy Makes You Stupid.
           (Actually, the study doesn't come to that conclusion at all.  I just put two and two together and got a foursome, and they should have seen the same thing...)
            According to the report, scientists using positron emission tomography (PET scan) monitored the brain activity of men and women while they watched pornography and compared the brain activity to those same individuals when watching nature documentaries and non-sexual films.  They discovered that the portion of the brain that processes visual stimulation (the primary visual cortex, also known as Brodmann's area 17) seems to receive less blood and thus reflects less brain activity during pornography or actual orgasm.  That portion of the brain is in charge of anxiety in humans, always on high alert for dangers and threats to the individual's survival.  When we watch porn (or engage in sexual activity) this part of the brain goes into a slightly less-than-vigilant mode, which scientists explain thusly:  you can be anxious, or you can be aroused, but you can't be both.  In short, anxiety kills libido.
           There's a lot of science behind their explanations, and you can take the link and read it for yourself if you're interested.  But here's the gist of the thing, in my opinion.  Both men and women 'calm down' about external threats and worries once the mind is focused on sex.  In other words, once we're sufficiently distracted by nookie, we ignore threats and dangers, which is the basic premise of my long-held theory that Pussy Makes You Stupid, is it not?
            How else do you explain things like Secret Service agents bringing call girls back to their hotel rooms during a Presidential visit to one of the most dangerous cities on the planet?  How else do you explain why a guy cheats on the true love of his life with the barrista from the corner Starbucks?  Why else is the most terrifying phrase on Earth a variation on the theme of "Quick!  It's my husband!' (or father... or boyfriend...or girlfriend... or wife) Once the brain zones out and begins to focus on lustful thoughts, everything else becomes secondary.
           If you've ever had a female pet dog come in-heat, you quickly discover that the neighborhood mutts who normally would be scared off by your threats from the door of your house no longer seem to give a shit about your curses to "Go home, you little bastard!"  They no longer fear you because they can no longer deal with threats... they're too busy trying to find a way to get Muffy out of the house for a little romp in the grass.
           A guy who normally would be worried about his wife or girlfriend finding his secret porn stash will often forget and leave incriminating evidence in his DVD player or on his computer, not because he's no longer concerned about being "caught" with it, but because his ignorant brain turns off his Alert System when he's distracted by porn. 
           They didn't have to spend a million bucks (or whatever currency is used in The Netherlands) to prove Pussy Makes You Stupid.  Shit, I can list a thousand examples that prove the point.  And those are just from personal experience!

            But for the record, I only watch porn for the music.  I'm into Bad Jazz...
            

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

SQUATLO'S BALLS HIT THE FLOOR AFTER SHITTY PORCH CONSTRUCTION GIVES WAY TO GRAVITY


          About five years ago, my lovely (and dangerous) wife and I decided to add a screened aluminum porch to the back of our house, and almost immediately after its construction began to notice some problems with the grouting around the tile flooring.  But hey, what's a little crack or two, right?
          We (well, not WE, but my wife...) complained to the contractor that we had a problem and he should get a crew over to make repairs, and he promised to "make it right".  That was five years ago.  Since then, the grout issue has only gotten worse, and every so often my wife would call and complain to the contractor that he needed to follow through on his professional responsibility and take care of the shoddy workmanship his tile man had done.  Each time he assured her he was sending someone over, any day now, on our way...  Yeah, right.
          Now, before you start asking why I was leaving it up to my lovely wife to handle this issue, you should know that she had had a professional relationship with this contractor years before our marriage.  She and her mom had run a property management firm here in town, and this contractor was often the guy who made repairs to construction jobs for their company.  So when we decided to add the porch, he got the job.
           And his crew did a great job on the porch.  We've been VERY happy with out little backyard oasis, and there have been countless afternoons and evenings spent under the overhead fans enjoying a cocktail while we play our blood-and-guts Scrabble wars.  The only problem has been cracking grout around the tile, and other than that, it's been a great investment.
           But recently my wife ran into said contractor at a local supermarket and confronted him AGAIN about the deterioration of the grout.  This time he actually followed through on his promises and sent a tile crew out to inspect the problem.
           Yesterday the new tile guy showed up with his partner and began to pull up the existing tile to prepare the floor for a new tile job.  Almost immediately it became crystal clear that this would be no easy fix...   There were multiple problems beneath the tile which explained all of the problems we'd noticed from the jump.
           First of all, the backing under the tile on top of the plywood flooring was quarter inch instead of half inch thick.  Secondly, the backing wasn't affixed to the plywood with quick-set, as required, and the backing boards were improperly screwed to the plywood.  On top of that, there was no taping and quick-set applied to the backing board joints to join them together.  In short, the tile man who had installed our flooring did a shitty, half-ass job, and because of that the grout cracked and allowed rain and moisture to penetrate beneath the tile.  As a result, all of the plywood subflooring was sodden and rotting out from under us and would have to be replaced.

           I got a first hand look at how dangerous the floor was when I went out to see what they had found.  According to one of the guys sent to fix our problem, the only thing keeping us from falling through the floor was the tile itself.  No sooner had he made this announcement than my left leg punched through the plywood and sent me balls-first down to the floor.
           You might be surprised at how quickly gravity works.  I certainly was.
           One second I'm walking along testing the floor and the next second I'm at floor level trying to extract my leg from the hole I'd just made in the plywood.
           Here's a shot of my "hole" in the floor...

          No harm, no foul, I guess.  There was no damage done, no bleeding, and after the laughter died down I was helped to my feet by my wife (who always finds these moments to be hilarious) and the closest tile guy to my ass when I fell. 
          "Be careful" became the phrase of the day.  Five minutes later the same tile guy fell through the floor in a second place, and there wasn't as much laughter.
          Anyway, they're out there this morning pulling up the rotten plywood and we've got a new tile picked out at the local big box store.  They're assuring me that know what they're doing and it will be "right" when they're done with it.  Whenever that is.
          In the meantime, the house and garage are full of furniture that normally sits on the porch, and our little backyard oasis is one huge mess.
          Can't have nothin'...



           (heavy sigh...)

SECRET SERVICE HOOKER SCANDAL IS BLAMED ON OBAMA'S REPEAL OF "DON'T ASK/DON'T TELL" (to Tony Perkins, it's all about the gay thing...)

        
          You have to wonder how long it will be before we read about Tony Perkins taking a "wide stance" in an airport mens room...  Gay men don't think about gay sex as much as Tony does, which makes me suspect he might be getting a little crowded in that closet of his.
          I've written about this sanctimonious asshole several times, and each time I vow it will be the last.  After all, you can only ridicule one individual so many times before it starts to sound like a personal vendetta.  But Perkins, the head of The Family Research Council, is a special sumbitch from the word go.
          On a recent radio show interview with conservative host Janet Mefferd, Perkins was asked how good Christians are supposed to choose between a Republican candidate who was supportive of the gay marriage bill when he served as governor of Massachusetts and President Obama.  Perkins didn't miss the opportunity to tie the recent Secret Service prostitution scandal to Obama's repeal of Don't Ask-Don't Tell for the nation's military. 
           Here's a quote from the transcript on Mediaite:

Just for a moment step back and look at the implications of this, over the weekend we saw the news of the President’s Secret Service detail in Colombia and the issue of them hiring prostitutes and now the White House is outraged about that. Actually in a meeting this morning my staff asked, ‘why should the President be upset’? It was actually legal; it was legal there to do that, so why should we be upset? Well, the fact is we intuitively know it’s wrong, there’s a moral law against that.


The same is true for what the President has done to the military enforcing open homosexuality in our military. You can change the law but you can’t change the moral law that’s behind it. You can change the positive law, the law that is created by man, but you can’t change the moral law, it’s wrong. So what you have is you have a total breakdown and you can’t pick and choose. Morality is not a smorgasbord; you can’t pick what you want. I think you’re absolutely right, this is a fundamental issue going forward because if we say ‘let them do what we want,’ what’s next? You cannot maintain moral order if you are willing to allow a few things to slide.

           Got that?  If we repeal morality by allowing gays in the military, not only do kittens die, but every other immoral act that is committed by anyone anywhere is connected to that abominable choice this Socialist Muslim President of ours has made for America.  We deserve whatever happens to us if we don't rise up and smite the evildoers and sodomites...



          There are legions of good Americans out there who donate regularly to this guy and his organization, thinking their money is helping to keep America on God's chosen path.  So every chance he gets, Tony Perkins makes the case that gays and their lifestyle are the root of all of our country's problems.
           Intolerance and bigotry are family values to Tony Perkins, and it's important to keep that in mind whenever we see him or read his latest hateful words. 



SAYING ADIOS TO LEVON HELM, THE MAN BEHIND THE DRUMS


         Read in today's news that one of my favorite musicians is in the final stages of his battle with cancer, and thought I'd tip an imaginary hat to Levon Helm.  The music of The Band was important to a lot of us, and Levon was the driving force behind so much of their music, singing lead vocals on The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, The Weight, Up on Cripple Creek, and dozens of other great songs.  He was also the guy you didn't notice in some of your favorite movies... narrating and co-starring in The Right Stuff, portraying Loretta Lynn's father in Coal Miner's Daughter, and appearing in at least half a dozen other films.

        Here's a clip from the film Woodstock from the immortal 1969 concert:

        

         After Robbie Robertson left The Band it was assumed that the group was done as a performing band, but Helm and Rick Danko managed to carry on for several years without Robertson to much critical acclaim.  If you ever saw those guys perform live you know how infectious their spirit was from the stage.


         The soundtrack of my formative years is heavily influenced by this guy's work, and I'll miss him.

 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

CHENEY CALLS OBAMA PRESIDENCY AN "UNMITIGATED DISASTER" ( ED SCHULTZ BEGS TO DIFFER...)



           I saw video footage of this petrified fossil spewing this horseshit a couple of days ago, but rather than make note of Cheney's comments, I just forced myself to vomit a few times, and that seemed to help. 
           Ed Schultz seems unsatisfied with the purge process, so here's his take on all things Disastrous.

NEIL DeGRASSE TYSON'S FASCINATINGLY DISTURBING THOUGHT ( so you think we're "special", eh? )



          I stumbled across this video clip looking for something else, but like most things involving Neil DeGrasse Tyson, once I started the clip I was hooked and couldn't look away...
          The guy is the most interesting scientific mind in the public eye today, with the possible exception of Stephen Hawking, but makes his presentations in such down-to-earth language that even the least curious person in the audience is likely to become intrigued by his ideas.
           Intelligent life on other planets in the universe?  Almost a given, considering the chemical composition of the universe and life as we know it.  Intelligent life interested in a conversation with Earthlings?  Not bloody likely...  and he explains why that's the case.
           Hope you'll take ten or twelve minutes out of your day to ponder some of the things he offers in this clip. 

WANT TO TALK ABOUT ACTUAL "WAR ON WOMEN"? 140 AFGHAN SCHOOLGIRLS AND THEIR TEACHERS POISONED IN RUSTAQ

         When we cry about the War on Women in America, we're talking about serious issues involving pay discrimination, reproductive rights, and various health care concerns under assault by the modern Republican Party.  But we don't mean actual WAR against women like it applies in fundamentalist countries like Afghanistan.
         Douglas Stranglin of USA Today has a late breaking story about the hospitalization of up to 140 schoolgirls and their female instructors at a high school in Rustaq in the northeast province of Takhar.  Authorities there are "100% certain" the girls' water supply at the school was poisoned by extremists who oppose the education of women, which was outlawed under the Taliban government.
         You don't have to look very closely at this situation to realize what a clusterfuck a lot of the world is when it comes to equal rights.  Our concerns are valid and pressing, but at least no one's being poisoned for the crime of seeking to learn or educate.
         This is enough to turn your stomach.

         Which reminds me... What the fuck are we still doing in Afghanistan?

GUANO IN MOTION (because flashing lights and moving images keep the crazy at bay...)

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Monday, April 16, 2012

FORMER 'SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE' STAR VISITS THE NEIGHBORHOOD, MUCH LAUGHTER ENSUES (unfortunately, Victoria Jackson is unintentionally hilarious)






          If I'd known an actual Saturday Night Live star was tromping around less than half a mile from my house I probably would have picked up a camera and ridden my bike up to meet her and watch her in action.  But if I'd known it was only Victoria Jackson, and had I known she was only visiting Murfreesboro to play up religious intolerance against the construction of the Murfreesboro Islamic Center I probably would have called my buddy Mooner for a quick tutorial on baring an ass toward an asshole.
          Yep, Victoria was in my neighborhood today.  She's milking her fifteen minutes of fame for all it's worth, bringing her trademark dimwitted comedy stylings to the real world politics of religious bigotry in a town that foolishly believed itself beyond such bullshit. 
           You see, we've had this little dust-up going on for about two years now, and to tell you the truth the only people who are interested in talking about this mosque controversy are either running for office or trying to get work on its actual construction (which seems to be coming along nicely, thanks for asking).
           Anyway, Victoria Jackson is here.  Nashville's local CBS affiliate sent a satellite truck up to film her little comedy routine in which she called Murfreesboro the "buckle of the Bible Belt".  She also said she thought the Islamic Center "will be a training center for terrorists- Duh!"
           The "Duh!" part of that statement sums up my opinion of Ms. Jackson and her little publicity stunt here in the neighborhood.

           I've got nothing against Hollywood types playing off their fame to bring attention to political causes, even shitty, no-news-here causes like this one.  My problem is with the local politicians who continue to foment community unease by promoting (or humoring) idiots like Victoria Jackson for political gain.  One former failed Congressional candidate is featured in the news clip about Jackson's visit, and you can bet your ass she'll be on the ballot for the first opening in Washington.
            "I'm trying to use my fading SNL fame to shine a light on the topic that nobody in the media will talk about," said Jackson.

            Yeah... there's been no media coverage of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.  Good thing  you brought it to America's attention, Vickie. 
            And for what it's worth, your "fading" fame can't fade quickly enough to suit some of us who live here.