Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christian Crybabies

A venture over to Fox News brought me to this story. I haven't seen this story on more reputable news sites, but leave it to the wingnuts at Fox News to give it play. (Yep, this story is all Fox News. Check the byline. That's not the AP, ladies and gents.)

I did see some blog posts on this, but I'm too lazy to look them up for your consumption. (Isn't it remarkable how bloggers usually evisecerate the mainstream media....and yet all we do is crib their stories?) Basically the blog reaction is "Give me a break. Change the fucking channel!"

But that's not the issue, is it? Christians are not being forced to watch offensive programming. They have the choice to consume it or not, and even the nuttiest among them couldn't argue that to the contrary. However, the part that gets stuck in their craw is the fact that this stuff is even available, that we live in a society where you are free to watch whatever TV show you want, even if there's a gay dude in it, or a self-medicating priest.

Seriously, I'm getting sick and tired of Christians. I'm fascinated by the religion, fascinated by the ideas behind it, the history, especially about why, after all these hundreds of years, there are so many ignorant people who revere Jesus so much that their brains turn to peat.

For instance, these nutcases in the AFA have called the show "an example of that network's anti-Christian bigotry." But is it? A dictionary entry defines "bigot" as "One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ."

Sounds like they're describing the entire Christian Right to me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Lazy Sunday

The NY Times has an article about my new favorite song. So far I haven't been able to describe in a competent way why I think "Lazy Sunday" is so damn funny, but this kind of pins it down:

"They rhyme with conviction about subjects that are anything but hard-core."

It's the deadpan delivery, the absurd subject matter. You have the dichotomy of hardcore style/nerdy material, but you also have the irreverent way Samberg and Parnell respect the genre. You can sense how much they love hip-hop, however uncool that is for a couple of white boys. They know that what they're talking about doesn't matter as much as how it is delivered, and in some weird way, that confirms the vitality of rap better than Eminem, 50 Cent, or anybody else.

You don't have to talk about robbing niggas and hustling, pimping or bling. You can talk about cup cakes and going to the movies and still represent.

Maybe "Lazy Sunday" will just remain an internet fad, losing its relevance faster than Jib-Jab. But I hope it kind of reminds people of some of the promise that rap had before it was co-opted by the gangsters and the thugs.

My New Year's Resolution: No More O'Reilly

I don't know why I even keep an eye on Bill O'Reilly. I can't stand his approach, can't stand his idealogy. I absolutely loathe his dishonesty. I don't even find it funny or sad anymore. Now I just think it's annoying.

In his most recent column, framed as a story of the O'Reilly Factor's New Year's Resolutions, Old Bill gives several examples of why he is part of the lunatic fringe. I mean, the guy is a nutter, crazy! Out of his frigging mind.

"We resolve to continue watching all the powerful in America, including the print press, which has drifted sharply left during the Bush administration."

Okay, Bill, I'll grant you that the print press is "powerful" but are they more powerful than the government? Hmm...don't think so. So how about leaving the writers alone and spotlight the politicians? Oh, that's right...they're not the problem. The "media" is. Gimme a break.

O'Reilly goes on to mention three of his personal enemies, George Clooney (the movie guy), Al Franken (the radio guy), and MSNBC, the news network. I gotta tell you. These guys (if you listen to crackpot Bernie Goldberg) are ruining America. Why does Clooney have to get all political with his movies? Doesn't he know we like him better when he's funny or smarmy? (Actually, it's refreshing to see a movie star who cares about more than money.) And Al Franken? Man, he should have stuck to comedy. (Actually, he's still doing comedy...only now it's political comedy, and it's those political comedians who control everything, ya know.) MSNBC??? What a joke! Everyone knows that NBC's news division is way too tabloidy to be taken seriously. (Wait...isn't Fox News the tabloidy one?)

O'Reilly is off his nut. He has been personally insulted by these guys and now they are "bad for America." What a doofus. The funny thing is that he criticizes Clooney for using "smear tactics" and yet, in the next breath he calls the ACLU "the nation's most dangerous organization," apparently with a straight face.

I mean, who doesn't live in fear of the ACLU? I know people in the inner cities who don't bat an eye when it comes to gang activity, but they shit their pants if the ACLU comes knocking. The KKK? The sleeper cells plotting our doom? Those wimps aren't even CLOSE to being ACLU-style dangerous.

Actually, it's that "most dangerous organization" comment that really confirms O'Reilly has lost his marbles. Blood vendettas based on personal insults (Clooney, Franken, etc) is simply evidence of deep-seated immaturity and egotism. But the phobia O'Reilly has about the ACLU is evidence of a clinical mental disorder. The man is seeing demons in shadows, hearing voices beamed to him from another planet.

Agree or disagree with the ACLU, there is no way you can reasonably say they are a "dangerous organization," much less the most dangerous one in America. And yes, a little hyperbole is good every now and then (you'll find plenty here, I admit), but use enough hyperbole and you just start sounding dishonest.

Which is especially funny when O'Reilly ends with this:
"Finally, we resolve in our 10th year to continue bringing you an honest broadcast that is not afraid of anyone."

Except, that is, for the ACLU and Mexicans.

Loonies on the Left

I can only hope Katha Pollit is joking in this piece. It's crap like this that makes it easy for the Fox News crowd to dismiss liberals as America haters.

Just look at her list of some of the "good things" that happened this year. Number one? The President's misfortunes. How incredibly smug and stupid. Yes, I understand Pollit is more sympathetic to the Democratic side of the house, but there is no way that having a weak president forced to defend every move he makes can be considered a "good thing." Sure, it may be good for Democrats and their liberal siblings, but for the country? Not at all.

That kind of thinking continues with example after example of Pollit calling unquestionably bad things "good." Her number two reason? "The Republican Party is mired in corruption and cronyism." Yeah, that's a good thing, ain't it? Because it means that (hopefully) Americans will reject Republicans and embrace Democrats. I'm assuming that was the thought process behind Pollit's statement. Of course, what do I know? I think a Republican Party "mired in corruption and cronyism" is a net bad. winners in that one.

And it continues! "The Christian Taliban is going too far." "The left is alive in Latin America." These are all considered good things, when obviously they aren't.

It's this kind of partisanship that makes it easy for Bill O'Reilly to call lefty libs "America haters." Why else would you want a weak useless president, a majority party crooked as the day is long, religious extremists going too far, coke-farmers taking over the Bolivian government, etc? If you really loved your country, you'd want a strong moral President (alas, we'll have to wait another couple of years for one of those). You would want a clean, principled Republican Party (even if you disagree with those Republican principles). You wouldn't want religious extremists going too far or some slightly communist coca farmer taking over Bolivia.

So maybe the left, as it is, needs some more articulate voices, voices less dependent on blind partisanship, more focused on the proverbial ball. And what is that ball, you ask? It's not politics as a win or lose game, election style, nor a struggle between right and left. It's a dance between right and wrong. Rooting against what's best for your country to score partisan points is just wrong.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

AFC West Leaders

You mean you didn't hear? The Broncos wrapped up the AFC West last night and secured themselves a spot as the second seed in the playoffs. They'll get a first week bye and host their opponents at home, two advantages that will hopefully take us into the second round, at least!

I was at the game last night and this is what I saw:

Twas the night before Christmas and all over town
Fans came to watch the Broncos take the Raiders down.

Denver's late season past has been checkered,
But the Raiders are no match with their 4-10 record.
Rod, Ashley, Tatum and Mike.
Bombs ready to blow when Jake says hike.
To beat the Broncos takes a lot of nerve
And who do the Raiders have in reserve?
Collins couldn't cut it up in New York
He went packing to Oaktown with all the pork.
And what about big bad Randy Moss?
It'll only take a second for Champ to show him who's boss.

When the D takes the field, coiled for attack.
There is no hope for the old silver and black.
You can run but you can't hide from Al Wilson.
He's setting you up for the kill, son.
Champ Bailey, eats his Wheaties daily,
Playing all Raiders like a ukelele.
And what about my man, John Lynch?
Never gonna give an inch.

Pinch me, I'm dreaming.
Those Raider fans are screaming.
What, are you smoking crack?
Cuz that ball is coming back.
You blew the game the moment you took the field.
Like a potato, you got peeled.
Shoulda warned you of the weapons we wield.
You only hear about winners in all the rags,
But you can't win a game with all those flags.
Hear that sound? Playoff bound.
Denver's sending Oakland underground.
From a Mile High, check out the view.
If God wasn't a Bronco fan, why are sunsets orange and blue?

Merry Christmas

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!

Kids across the country are waking up and shaking the sleeping dust out of their eyes. Families will gather. Gifts will be exchanged. Someone will take too many pictures and someone will drink too much egg nog.

And I'm the lucky bastard whose name was drawn out of a hat, condemning me to spending Christmas morning alone at the office. And no, there's no work for me; I'm just holding down the fort. Because I'm Santa Claus. Because I'm in the spirit of giving. Because, really...I care.

Afterwards I will be doing the family thing, which is always a scheduling nightmare, exacerbated this year by the fact that I'm on duty until 2 PM. Dad and his crew are going to be sitting down to eat at 1PM. Mom will be doing the same. I'll be late for both, and miss Mom's dinner entirely. Am I looking forward to the festivities? A little bit.

I'm woefully unprepared and will have to rely on a 24 Hour Walgreens or something to pick up some cheap Christmas cards that I will later stuff with cash. It's not that I'm a Scrooge. I hate Christmas shopping. I have no idea what to get anyone. I always want to buy people things I would want. My solution: gift cards. "Here ya go. Buy yourself something nice." Alas, this year I never actually bought them, so green money will have to do.

Here's a few things I won't be doing this Christmas:

- Going to church. Church is for suckers. The only time I step inside a church is for a wedding or a funeral and then only reluctantly. Part of me fears divine immolation for blasphemy as soon as my heathen feet cross the threshold. The other part of me, the more reasonable part, realizes how absurd that idea is, and by extension, the whole concept of religion.

- Roasting chestnuts on an open fire. If I didn't make it to the store for my loved ones' giftcards, I sure as hell didn't make it to the store for chestnuts to roast in my non-existant fireplace.

- Dashing through the snow on a one-horse open sleigh. Out here in the high desert, we're as dry as a bone. No White Christmas this year.

- Waking up to a bounty of presents under the tree. It's too late for that (I'm already awake and at work!) and plus, wouldn't ya know it, all the presents under my tree are for other people!

- Watching It's a Wonderful Life. Yeah, yeah, it's Jimmy Stewart. He is admittedly awesome, but come on, man! Everyone knows the best Christmas movie ever made is Die Hard, and I already watched that a few days ago. Yippie-ky-yay, motherfucker!

Next up....The Bronco game!