Saturday, May 31, 2008

Har-Har-Har LOL Har-Har-Har

I've said it before, but Michelle Malkin is an idiot.

When I called her an idiot before, I meant it as a dismissive insult rather than a reflection of fact. Hopelessly partisan and reliably wrong, yes definitely, but I always thought that there was at least a working brain beneath her thick skull. Now with this Dunkin Donuts thing (and I can't believe I'm linking that), I'm not so sure.

What exactly is her point, I wonder?

She doesn't seem to be arguing that Dunkin Donuts and Rachel Ray secretly support terrorists by wearing terrorist-style clothes in their commercials, so at least we don't have to deal with that ridiculousness. (OMG, Osama got to Rachel Ray!)

She doesn't even seem to be arguing that Rachel Ray was even wearing a keffiyeh, just that the (apparently paisley) scarf only "appeared to be a black-and-white keffiyeh."

She then goes on to explain why the keffiyeh is so offensive:
The keffiyeh, for the clueless, is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad. Popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos, the apparel has been mainstreamed by both ignorant (and not so ignorant) fashion designers, celebrities and left-wing icons.
One word: Weak!

I'm not going to deny that most Westerners associate keffiyehs with the "murderous Palestinian jihad," but it's also the "traditional scarf of Arab men." Ignorant Westerners, who think all Arabs are terrorists, see a keffiyeh and automatically think Yassir Arafat!

But the only information the presence of a keffiyeh gives us is: Arab male. It's unfair to say that all terrorists wear keffiyehs, because I'm pretty sure the Tim McVey and Eric Rudolph, two American terrorists, didn't wear them. Nor did the IRA in Ireland or the FARC in Columbia. It's equally unfair to say that everyone who wears keffiyehs are terrorists.

Context matters. Yes, Michelle, if you see a guy wearing a keffiyeh in a beheading video, chances are he's a terrorist. What was your first clue? The keffiyeh, or the big fucking knife in his hand?

But Rachel Ray wearing a keffiyeh (if indeed it was a keffiyeh) in a Dunkin Donuts commercial? I think it's safe to say the intent is probably benign. Unless you think trying to sell coffee and donuts is evil.

And if you can't tell the difference between a murderous jihadi and a celebrity pitchwoman, you're an idiot. Either you're being intentionally bull-headed to score some points, or you're just fucking dumb.

I do have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Dunkin Donuts' response to Malkin's intrepid attempt at "reporting." The gist:
Thank you for expressing your concern about the Dunkin' Donuts advertisement with Rachael Ray. In the ad that you reference, Rachael is wearing a black-and-white silk scarf with a paisley design that was purchased at a U.S. retail store. It was selected by the stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended. However, given the possibility of misperception, we will no longer use the commercial.
It's as close to a "fuck you" as you're going to get from the PR office of a corporate entity with a legal department.

Reworded, it might read something like this: "Thanks for giving me the opportunity to set you straight. It wasn't a keffiyeh, dummy. If Rachel Ray was an Arab man wearing a checkered pattern on her head, I can see how you'd be confused. But it was a paisley scarf worn around the neck of an American woman. A keffiyeh? Yeah, only if you change the definition of a keffiyeh. Since you can't tell the difference between an ugly scarf, and we'll admit it was ugly, from the rag on Yassir Arafat's head, we're pulling the ad in favor a campaign featuring Sesame Street characters teaching children of all ages their numbers, letters, and colors. We hope you will find these new ads more your speed. If you find them just as confusing, however, please have a parent or guardian contact us again. Your donut overlords, Dunkin Donuts Mgmt."

If the Graeme Frost incident didn't convince you, perhaps this one will. Don't let Michelle Malkin do your thinking for you!

If you're not arguing for home equity loans as the path to affordable healthcare, you're going to start mistaking the host of TV cooking shows with suicide bombers. Either way, you are going to be poorly served.


Molly Parker (the Widow Garrett from Deadwood) is starring in a new CBS show set in the 70s called Swingtown. A description I found on the Swingtown's Wikipedia page describes says the show "peeks into the shag-carpeted suburban homes of the 1970s to find couples reveling in the sexual and social revolution that introduced open marriages, women's liberation and challenged many conventional wisdoms."

So let's see, we got Molly Parker, the 70s, sexual revolution, and swingers. I'm listening...

Oh, it's on CBS? Well, never mind.

No boobs, no dirty words, but plenty of commercial breaks? Thanks but no thanks.

An Admission

I must confess...

Ari Fleischer made my skin crawl, Scott McClellan annoyed me, and Tony Snow just pissed me off. But I love Dana Perino.

I wish I could say my admiration comes from her ability to rock the podium, but if I were to be completely honest, I'd have to say it's because she's all kinds of hot.

Yes, as enlightened as I am, I sometimes have trouble NOT seeing women, especially attractive women, as sexual beings. (I almost said "objects," but I never see women as objects, even when I imagine what they'd look like naked.) That's not to say that I only see them as sexual beings.

For instance, Nicole Mitchell is one hell of a meteorologist. But damn, fine!

I keep hoping I'll outgrow it, but I'm still waiting.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Drip System

Last year, it took me a minimum of fifteen minutes to water the garden, and that meant me standing over each plant with the hose, slowly counting to ten before moving on. It was time-consuming and laborious and there were other drawbacks as well.

Since it's awkward fumbling around in the dark with a hose, I usually had to do it during the day, sometimes in the afternoon even, when most of that ten seconds of watering would be wasted to evaporation. Snaking the hose through the obstacle course of my raised beds was also a pain in the ass and there were some spots, deep in the back corners of the garden, I just couldn't reach all that well. Due to the sporadic watering, I couldn't let my tomatoes ripen on the vine. If I did, they would eventually split before I was able to pick them and would therefore be inedible. Instead, I picked them green and watched them turn red on the kitchen counter.

So in the off-season, I installed a drip system. It's complex but nothing fancy, really. I don't have it hooked into the water supply, nor do I have it on a timer. The sprinklers don't pop up only to disappear into the landscape when they're finished. It's constructed with Home Depot parts and a wide range of drippers, foggers, sprayers, and misters. The feeder line snakes all around the garden, meandering along the fence for the most part with a slight detour through the bushes and a fork in the road that takes it into the wild interior.

Each section of the garden has its own water supply. In the big garden bed, four 90 degree sprayers pointed at each other in the corners drop a box of rain that falls within its pressure-treated boundaries. What the wind doesn't carry goes directly into the soil.

All the labor of negotiating the twists and turns of the garden with the hose, going from plant to plant, and the time it takes to do that is now gone. I can turn it on, set the timer for five minutes, go do something else, and live comfortably in the knowledge that every single plant will have gotten a good five minute soaking.

The only downside is that it seems too good to be true. You mean I turn it on and all I gotta do is remember to turn it off? That's it? It almost feels like cheating.

So far, though, the results speak for themselves. I'm thinking about doing something similar in the front, and I probably will.

The People Vs. James Pearce

After two hours in court, I finally got to see the judge. She was a nice but firm lady who gave me three options. Plead guilty and pay the fine, plead not guilty and go to trial, or speak to the city attorney.

Any other jurisdiction I've been in, you see the city attorney first. They turn your "failure to obey traffic signal" ticket into a "defective vehicle" beef and send you on your way. Apparently in Aurora, things move a little slower.

My appointment with the city attorney isn't until June 24th. And so the saga continues...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Men are Outraged, and Hillary is a Sexist

This election season I've been contemplating taking the step of actually registering with a party. The Republicans are out, unless they abandon their devotion to an anti-gay agenda, rediscover a newfound respect for church-state separation, and realize that a free market, like all freedom, isn't free. Since that won't happen, then I'm left with the Democrats. (I see no point in joining the smaller parties like the Greens. I'm better off on my own.)

Well, I've made up my mind.

I'm going to remain an independent.

And attitudes like this is why:
We need to talk. How dare the leadership of the Democratic Party turn on Hillary Clinton! How dare they betray Bill Clinton! How dare they not speak out when Hillary is disrespected by words like bitch, whore and the "c" word! How dare they allow them both to be smeared as racists, playing the race card! Where was Howard Dean ? Where was Nancy Pelosi ? Where were Hillary's colleagues in the Senate when the Clintons were being so unfairly accused and denigrated? The Democratic Party has a lot to answer for.

How dare the Democratic Party "turn on" the Clintons? When did they do that? She's still running, isn't she? And while there have been calls to wrap it up, no one has forced her out, even though she has little to no chance of winning. Would a candidate with a penis be handled so gently?

Besides, who's working for who here? Are the Clintons working for the Democrats, or are the Democrats working for the Clintons?

And not speaking out when Hillary was called a bitch, whore, and cunt? Huh?

I remember SNL called her a bitch, saying "bitches get things done," and the very next week, Hillary showed up on set...not to "speak out" on the misogyny but to get in on the joke and shout, "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" So stow it.

Randi Rhoads called her a whore, and got suspended for it. Not speaking out? Which planet are you on, lady? How's the weather there?

This part is just as laughable:
Women are outraged. We are still fighting for her, and we are ashamed of how our candidate, a woman who has devoted her adult life to serving others, a woman who has been a distinguished First Lady, a woman who has helped her colleagues pass legislation and win races in their own states, a woman who has stood up for all of our rights, has been treated not just by the media but by her own Democratic Party. Throughout all this, Hillary has maintained her focus, her message and her dignity. This is truly courage under fire. This is what it takes to be a great president. It is not over until the lady in the pant suit says it is and I and millions of others are with her.
At the risk of being accused of misogyny, I'm sick of this pseudo-feminist bullshit.

When you have to emphasize the word "woman" six times (and that's not including the pronouns) to make your point, you're being sexist! I know it's crazy to think that a woman can actually be sexist, but there you have it.

Imagine Obama or McCain talking about how "Men are outraged..."

I'm with Mahablog when it comes to Hillary's "woman power":
I predict the first woman president will be an accomplished politician who will not run as The Woman Candidate, but as herself.

Do Not Read - Indy 4 Spoilers Abound

In regards to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Cinematical asks:
Did you dig Shia? Were you disappointed in Cate Blanchett's baddie? Were you irked by the three waterfalls? Captivated by the jungle chase? Sickened by the monkey swing? Did you miss Sallah? Did the "Dad and Brody are Dead" scene feel a little ... clunky to you? Did you hate the CGI? Did the fire ants remind you of The Mummy Returns? Isn't it horrifying when a Spielberg film reminds you of a Sommers film? Did you find the movie a little anti-climactic? Did you enjoy the romantic angle of the final scene? Do you think aliens "fit" into the Indiana Jones universe? How COOL was it to see Marion again? How pointless did you find Ray Winstone's character? And what was with the prairie dogs???
Here are my answers:

Not really; liked him better in Transformers. A little; Cate's eyes were captivating, but her character was poorly conceived. No, although I think there were actually 4 waterfalls. The jungle chase was cool, but not captivating. The monkey swing left no impression. I did miss Sallah, Dad, and Brody, but I didn't find the "they're dead" scene clunky. I liked the CGI, and am glad they embraced it. I don't think the Nazca lines could have been so striking as a matte painting. Yes, the ants were very Mummyish -Ginger even thought so- , which was sad because Spielberg is WAY better than Sommers. A little anti-climatic? Sure. I didn't enjoy the romantic angle of the whole movie. Romance? Where? If an angry Jewish god, sacred stones from India, and the fricking Holy Grail fit into the Indy universe, then why not aliens? It was VERY cool to see Marion again, although I think her re-appearance was largely wasted. Ray Winstone's character was incredibly pointless...and his appearance in the film helped inspire this post and this one. In fact, my biggest complaint about the movie is what they did with Ray Winstone's character. You got the Great Ray Winstone in your movie, and this is what they do with him? What a waste.

As for the prairie dogs, who knows?

Who else has seen it yet?


When Ray Winstone showed up in the Indiana Jones movie, I got all excited and said to my movie-going companion, "I love that dude. He's got chops."

She looked at me with an expression that said, "Whuh?"

You know, chops.

People say, "Don't you miss it, Gal?" I say, "What, England? Nah. Fucking place. It's a dump. Don't make me laugh. Grey, grimy, sooty. What a shit hole. What a toilet. Every cunt with a long face shuffling about, moaning, all worried. No thanks, not for me." They say, "What's it like, then, Spain?" And I'll say, "It's hot. Hot. Oh, it's fucking hot. Too hot? Not for me, I love it."
I love that movie, but I have to admit it took two viewings to appreciate it.

Ben Kingsley got all the kudos, but the real reason to watch is Ray. Why? Cuz he's got chops, man!

When We Left Earth

This show looks awesome. I love the use of Gimme Shelter in the trailer, too. Usually that song accompanies Vietnam imagery, so it's a bit striking to hear it as a backdrop for something triumphant.

Monday, May 26, 2008

For Unconscionable Cretinous Knuckleheads

In my blog reading tonight, I stumbled upon this post. Ignoring the thrust and content of the post, this paragraph annoyed me:
I thought I could do a much better job than this fellow if only because 1) my vocabulary allows me to get through an entire post without once using the word “f*ck; and 2) I am not a half-crazed, obscenity spewing, ignoramus who missed the point of Packer’s essay and substituted a thesis of dubious logic and intellectually incoherent arm chair psychology for reasoned analysis.
I could care less about dipping into point 2.

Point 1, though, that's the one that irked me. "My vocabulary allows me to get through an entire post without once using the word f*ck...."

Please. It's spelled F-U-C-K.

Putting that little asterisk in there doesn't neuter the word, doesn't obscure its meaning enough to make it less obscene. We know what you meant, dude. Have the courage to actually communicate.

As for the charge that the use of "fuck" indicates a lack of vocabulary, I have two words for that one:

Fuck that.

Here's the thing: the f-word is one of the most powerful and versatile words in existence. It can be used as an adjective, a noun, and a verb. It can be used to modify anything. A little experiment: pick an adjective out of clear air...say, juicy...and try and fit it with as many nouns as you can. Juicy fruit, juicy badonkadonk, juicy opportunity, okay, so far so good. Juicy telephone? Huh? What the hell is that?

Try the same thing with "fuck" and see how long it takes you to find a noun that doesn't fit. Find one yet? Didn't think so. The word "fuck" is like the color black: It goes with everything.

Besides, am I the only who finds it kind of funny that the guy who's bragging about his extensive and superior vocabulary is also simultaneously bragging that his extensive vocabulary is missing such an important and useful word?

Seems I have a +1 advantage there, buddy. What the fuck do you got? An asterisk?

Biden Speaking Some Good Stuff

What Joe Biden said:
At the heart of this failure is an obsession with the "war on terrorism" that ignores larger forces shaping the world: the emergence of China, India, Russia and Europe; the spread of lethal weapons and dangerous diseases; uncertain supplies of energy, food and water; the persistence of poverty; ethnic animosities and state failures; a rapidly warming planet; the challenge to nation states from above and below.

Instead, Mr. Bush has turned a small number of radical groups that hate America into a 10-foot tall existential monster that dictates every move we make.

The intersection of al Qaeda with the world's most lethal weapons is a deadly serious problem. Al Qaeda must be destroyed. But to compare terrorism with an all-encompassing ideology like communism and fascism is evidence of profound confusion.

Terrorism is a means, not an end, and very different groups and countries are using it toward very different goals. Messrs. Bush and McCain lump together, as a single threat, extremist groups and states more at odds with each other than with us: Sunnis and Shiites, Persians and Arabs, Iraq and Iran, al Qaeda and Shiite militias. If they can't identify the enemy or describe the war we're fighting, it's difficult to see how we will win.
The only thing I don't like is the "Al Qaeda must be destroyed" statement, but not because I disagree with it on its merits.

I just don't think it's helpful to put it that way. It leaves too many openings for the wingnuts to say things like, "So you're saying Al Qaeda must be destroyed...but you want to deal with 'global warming' first? Good thing you're not in charge, you commie surrender monkey!"

Was "Al Qaeda must be dealt with" not strong enough? Or does Joe Biden have some kind of secret plan to destroy an amorphous group of nutjobs that he's not sharing with us?

Destroy Al Qaeda? How, man?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Movie Cliche of the Day

If I was king of Hollywood the first thing I'd do after eliminating the Mexican Stand-off from action movies is to put in place a Turncoat Villain rule. We really need it.

You can only use the Turncoat Villain plot device if A) you put a unique (and I mean unique, because let's face it, it's all been done before) twist on it, B) you establish it early and weave it into the storyline, ala the second season of Dexter, where the villainous machinations that are usually revealed at the denouement* are a main part of the story rather than just a plot device, or C) you pull it off, like in What Lies Beneath, where years of hero roles and a Hitchcockian backdrop made Harrison Ford's turn as the bad guy a genuine delight.

No more movies where the bad guy is revealed to be the hero's buddy or sidekick.

You can't spend the whole movie trying to help the good guy look for the killer...and then turn out to be the killer.

That's just lame.

A few movies that violate the Turncoat Villain rule:

Minority Report
Die Hard 2
The Reaping
The Fugitive

Can you think of any others?

* I stubbornly pronounce the word as "de-new-mint" because I possess a slight but perceptible American accent. Besides, we wouldn't want anyone thinking that we're talking about Yo-Yo Ma's less talented brother, Daynu, would we?

Today's Metal Moment

Last Breath by Hatebreed

This song will break your neck.

Hatebreed's, ahem, singer, er, screamer, er, vocalist is Jamey Jasta, who was also the most recent host of Headbanger's Ball. Tight band, tight song, and at less than two minutes, it's doubtful to cause permanent injury. So listen!