Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Late Show: The Box

An amusing, somewhat bizarre 1981 film adaptation of the stage play “Buchanan’s Finest Hour” written by Terry Jones and Michael Palin. If there’s such a thing as the polar opposite of an “action movie” this would definitely be it. Directed by Micky Dolenz (yes, the ex-Monkees drummer).

Minnesota Dems Endorse Al Franken

Too bad, fascist scumbags. Despite your all your best efforts to smear and slime Franken throughout his run to become the Democratic nominee for Senate in Minnesota, it failed. Why? Because he’s good enough, he’s smart enough, and doggone it, people like him!

Hillary Clinton: “Yes, we can!”

“It is this belief, this optimism that Senator Obama and I share and that has inspired so many millions of our supporters to make their voices heard. So today I am standing with Senator Obama to say: Yes, we can!” — Hillary Clinton

I’d be remiss not to note the formal passing of Hillary’s candidacy this morning. I caught most of it live on CNN. Quite a good speech I thought — extremely well-crafted, eloquent and graciously delivered without equivocation or hedging. Of course, there will always be those who will churlishly bitch-slap it for one reason or another, as well as the partisan right-wing crackpots reading all sorts of nefarious things into it, but that’s to be expected one supposes.

Bullshit! — The Energy Crisis (Part 1)

Penn and Teller call “Bullshit!” on the energy crisis and look at the debate surrounding nuclear energy as an alternative source of electricity generation in a “fair and biased” way in this episode entitled “Nukes, Hybrids, and Lesbians.” Aside from solving the whole complex issue in 30 minutes, Penn also promises to “...give us tits. Did Al Gore give you tits? No he did not!”

Damien Hirst: Shark

Apropos of nothing in particular… The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living… Indeed. The work sold for $8 million to a hedge-fund manager in 2004. How ironic.

Paul Merton in China (Part 2)

Paul Merton continues his six-week tour of China. Part two takes in two of the most populous cities in China, as well as some of the most remote backwaters. In search of some spiritual relaxation, Paul heads for the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province, famed as the birthplace of Zen Buddhism. Checking in for some meditation classes, he ends up on a kung fu course instead. Under the watchful eyes of his Chinese minders, Paul and his local guide embark on a ten-hour trip over rough mountain roads to the Tibetan monastery of Labrang and meets nomads whose traditional ways may be under threat from increasing development.

From one of the emptiest areas of China, Paul travels to the most populous: Chongqing, the fastest-growing metropolis in the world, with 30 million people. In Chengdu, Paul meets a businessman with a chain of dog grooming parlours. And, whilst searching for a place to eat, sees a rather different example of the Chinese fondness for man’s best friend.

Top Toys: Model Cars

Ah yes… dinky toys, Matchbox racers, Corgis, Hot Wheels and of course, slot cars. Great stuff!

In this episode May tries to beat the Measured Mile landspeed record at 1:32 scale with a group of racing enthusiasts.

Cereal Mascot Therapy

New Wearable Feedbags

“It’s hot steamy food in your face, right now.”

Fast food giant Yum! Brands believes its new feedbags will make it even easier for Americans to constantly be eating.

Crikey! It’s the Harperites!

The Stephen Harper Party

It’s a shame really that more Canadians don’t visit the “Conservative” party website so they can witness for themselves what an asinine bunch of wankers the Conservative Party has become of late. Or more accurately it should be said, the STEPHEN HARPER Party, for as can be clearly seen from the graphics on their website and everything related to it, from stem to stern, this outfit now appears to be the sole proprietorship of its present leader. The word “Conservative” appears only as an incidental label in minuscule print.

In any case, as I said, more people should make of point of visiting the Harper Party website so they can take in the full measure of what a pathetic joke our “Tories” are these days. It’s somewhat difficult, for example, to take seriously a political party that suggests people join it just to “freak out” their ex-lovers, roommates, and so on. It’s also somewhat less than impressive to note that their “CPC Energy” website intended for “activists” and the “youth” of the movement, the one with the completely non-functional “C-Blog” and links to where you can buy “swag” (logo emblazoned, pins, toxic bisphenol-A water bottles, etc. — all made in China, I have little doubt), hasn’t been updated since December of last year… six months of total inactivity. The “Podcasting” and “Reality Check” sections are entirely blank. Yeah, that’s some real “energy” there, alright. Well, to be fair, maybe they were plumb tuckered out of imagination… after all, it’s pretty hard work Photoshopping the same picture of Stéphane Dion over and over and over and over and over and over again. I wonder what they’re paying in royalty fees for that lovely snap... Does anyone know who holds the copyright to it?

Countdown: Shunning the Iraq War Architects

“Now, I just don’t think we can let these people back into polite society and give them jobs on university boards and corporate boards and just let them pretend that nothing ever happened when there are 4,000 Americans dead and 25,000 Americans grieviously wounded, and they’ll carry those wounds and suffer all the rest of their lives.” — Richard Clarke

Surely we all realize that it’s highly doubtful there’ll ever be any admissions of wrongdoing, let alone punishment of any kind for those who implicated in the new Senate Intelligence Committee report as having misled America into an unnecessary war. I don’t see why “prominent Democrats” have ruled out impeachment as a remedy for their crimes and misdemeanors — I believe that’s what’s prescribed in the Constitution to address this sort of abuse of power. I’m not convinced that a good shunning is going to cut it. More at ThinkProgress.

Pinky & The Brain: When Mice Ruled the Earth

Pinky and Brain travel back in time to alter the evolutionary paths of mice and men.

A Very British Sex Scandal (Part 2)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Late Show: Dr. Who

The Lazarus Experiment • Series 3, Episode 7 (2007)

The Doctor, Martha and her family attend a scientific demonstration by the aged Professor Lazarus. But when the experiment goes wrong, a horrific product of genetic manipulation is unleashed, leaving a trail of death in its wake to live indefinitely. Meanwhile, the wheels of a deadly trap are set in motion…

Note: Apologies to my friends at CC-Central for honing in a bit here on their bailiwick.

MST3K: Space Mutiny!

“Put your helmet on… we’ll be reaching speeds of 3!”

Mark Steyn — Douchebag of Liberty

Speaking as an actual son of the “miserable, grey, nothing, dismal, dingy, rainy island in the North Sea” as it was facetiously referred to by a certain, greasy, puffed-up, self-righteous snotwipe, I wouldn’t be disappointed in the least by any judicial rebuke that might be delivered to Mark Steyn in respect of his hateful and inflammatory diatribes in Macleans Magazine. Of course he’s entitled to his outspoken opinions in exactly the same way that Nazis, domestic terrorists and child fornicators are, but the willful incitement of paranoid hated towards an entire group of people based on their skin colour and religious beliefs is certainly deserving of similar degree of scrutiny and perhaps even legal opprobrium.

Update: In case it hadn’t occurred to anyone: “Censorship is good for book sales.”

Oh and, oops, would you look here:

The latest news on the demographics front is particularly damaging. It seems that the French birthrate is surging and those fecund Mohammedans are not the cause: “France’s National Institute of Demographic Studies has done some detailed research and concluded that France’s immigrant population is responsible for only five per cent of the rise in the birthrate and that France’s population would be rising anyway even without the immigrant population,” writes Martin Walker of UPI. That blows a mosque-sized hole in America Alone.

Camp Tales: Christopher Lee Sings!

Hey kids, it’s Christopher Lee as the seductive “Mr. Midnight” extolling the multifarious wonders of alcohol from the gloriously camp 80s movie The Return of Captain Invincible.

There, top THAT LuluI double-dog dare ya!

Métal Hurlant: Driving in St. Petersburg

Yikes! You might want to avoid this particular intersection…

Worst Person in the World: John Ciccone

Interesting to learn that Dolores Claman, the nearly-dead composer of the iconic Hockey Night in Canada theme song, gets $500 every time it’s played by the CBC… meaning that she would have made well over $40,000 during the playoff season alone — just from TV rights. Untold hundreds of thousands of dollars would have accrued to Ms. Claman from television and radio broadcasts during the regular season. Ah, but apparently that’s just not enough for some greedy, parastic douchebags

Headcases (Ep. 6-3)

Piers Morgan — A smug, talentless oxygen thief. Heh, priceless.

Yawn: Part XXXIV

Trusty: Full of Shit & Bluster

Liberals as Dad Blasted Varmints... Good grief, it never changes. The laughably named “Trusty Tory” couldn’t come up with anything original or interesting if his life depended on it. Just the same old moronic, dull-witted, bellicose, shoot-em-up, rassin-frassin Liberal-bashing routine day after day after day after insufferably boring day… Pathetic.

McCain: The Right Change?

Jon Swift: It seems like all we have heard about in this election is how America wants change, but as John McCain pointed out in his speech, speaking very slowly and patiently and enunciating all of his words to make sure we all understood what he was saying, not all change is good. In fact, generally Americans don’t like too much change. We like to go out once a week for the Early Bird Special and order the exact same thing every time. It’s very economical and gives us a break in our routine. We would be very upset if it was discontinued and we had to order off the regular menu, which would still be more expensive even with coupons we clipped out of the newspaper. That kind of change would not be welcome at all.

America’s Medicated Military

Time Magazine: While the headline-grabbing weapons in this war have been high-tech wonders, like unmanned drones that drop Hellfire missiles on the enemy below, troops like LeJeune are going into battle with a different kind of weapon, one so stealthy that few Americans even know of its deployment. For the first time in history, a sizable and growing number of U.S. combat troops are taking daily doses of antidepressants to calm nerves strained by repeated and lengthy tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Be Still My Bleeding Heart: Ed McMahon

So, a 160,000 people have lost their homes to bank repossessions and a million more are in foreclosure, and we’re supposed to feel sorry that Ed McMahon might lose his 7,000 sq. ft., $6.25 million Beverly Hills mansion in a gated community off Mulholland Drive? Not.

Better start firing off those American Publishers’ Sweepstakes forms, Ed… Who knows — you might be coming to your own house! Oh, wait… It’s a scam? Never mind.

Standards of “Proof”

A Proof is a Proof

Christian Conservative: This time, you have “the tape”... and we’ve proven that it’s been altered, with opinions and documents solid enough to submit in a court of law.

Well, I hardly think that the paid opinion of two “experts” in a politically-motivated affidavit constitutes “proof” of the allegations being made…

Moreover, I might question the standards of “proof” involved, coming from someone who proudly describes himself as a “Born-Again Christian, redeemed by the shed blood of the risen and eternal Lord Jesus Christ” and who therefore believes that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was His own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat His flesh and telepathically tell Him you accept Him as your master, so He can remove an evil force from your soul that’s present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree...

Countdown: McCain Not Quite Ready for Prime-Time TV

Calling for “no process questions from reporters” and “no spin rooms,” John McCain has proposed one debate a week from now until the Democratic party convention in August. The idea isn’t unprecedented. In 1963, President Kennedy and Sen. Barry Goldwater agreed to hold such debates as part of the 1964 election campaign. John Dickerson at Slate looks at the promise and problems of such a debate tour.

A Very British Sex Scandal (Part 1)

In 1954, the Conservative peer Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and the Canadian journalist Peter Wildeblood (great name!) were convicted of homosexual offences. The trial caused a backlash of opinion among some politicians and church leaders that led to the setting up of the landmark Wolfenden Committee, which in its 1957 report recommended the decriminalization of homosexual activity in private between two adults in Britain.

Top Toys: Etch-A-Sketch

Count me amongst those kids who thought this toy was complete rubbish. But can a class of art students do more than make a load of boxes and stairs with it? May commissions them to do a life drawing of him in Etch-A-Sketch…

Check these out.

BBC Horizon: Human v2.0 (Part 2)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Late Show: Dragnet

The Big Seventeen • Season 2, Episode 4 (1952)

Upper middle-class teenagers in Los Angeles are going crazy! They trash a movie theater, beating up the manager and pushing a young man through a plate glass window. Sergeant Friday must get to the bottom of whats causing this to happen.

Spoiler alert: Demon weed, yellow jackets, goofballs and “H”...

Inventing Prentice

Jim Be-Gone®

“In this case, it would be worthwhile saying that if someone is making edits from a computer within the government of Canada ... if it was someone within that ministry, that would theoretically constitute a conflict of interest.”


MST3K: Century 21 Calling (Part 2)

More from the Wonderworld of Bell Telephone:

Turn on your home air conditioner and have the house nice and cool when you return from your hot trip… It may even be possible to water the lawn during that dry spell when you are many miles away on vacation! Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?

And don’t forget to enjoy the ongoing fun of long-distance and high-speed access price-gouging!

GM Cuts in Perspective

News From the Land of Duh:

In circumstances that we’re facing today, where we’re fundamentally restructuring the company, what has to be our primary focus is are we completing the actions that we deem necessary to get the company competitive for the future. … Whether it’s healthcare of other legacy costs, or structural costs, or excess capacity or making progress on reducing… umm, the level of employees that we don’t need…

Hey, was nobody but a few hardcore business news geeks actually listening to GM Chairman Rick Wagoner a couple of years ago? Because if they were, and if they’d had an ounce of fucking sense about global economics and the market realities of the automotive industry, the recent cuts to GM’s workforce in Ontario would have come as absolutely no surprise whatsoever.

Well first of all, we want to get this early-attrition program completed and try to get the maximum number of employees that are willing to accept that…

When asked about how much the workforce would be cut, here was Wagoner’s unvarnished answer:

We’ve indicated that we’d like to take out about 30,000 manufacturing positions over the ’05 to ’08 period. Last year, in 2005 we took out about 6,000 so that would imply roughly 24,000 to go...

It’s interesting to note some of the attitudes expressed by Wagoner during this interview, particular in response to allegations that GM hasn’t been as innovative in terms of fuel-efficiency as many foreign competitors. His take on the earlier development of the hybrid car by other companies, for example, is instructive: “And why would that be? Have you bought any gas in Japan recently? It’s real expensive — think in terms of $5 per gallon. And the government plays a very proactive role in directing the industry…”

Headcases (Ep. 6-2)

Gore Vidal: Ready to Kill (Part 2)

“Well if you smear the guy all the time and pretend that he’s the wild Zulu whose going to rush over to your house every afternoon and abort two or three ladies… yes, of course they’ll believe that.”

Seeing as Gore Vidal’s trenchantly dyspeptic musings about the American political landscape have provoked a somewhat lively discussion here today, let’s carry straight on with the final part of the interview…

Update: A bookend of sorts… One of the final interviews with Kurt Vonnegut.

Top Toys: Sindy • Action Man

Ah yes, the sorry world of knocked-off British dolls and “action figures”… Not one of our proudest toy-making moments, I have to say.

But then none of us it seems is entirely immune to rank imitation and even the outright theft of intellectual property. As it turns out, that most iconic mascot of nascent American femininity, Barbie® was in fact shamelessly derived from a provocative German antecedent named “Lili” that was originally featured during the 50s in the Bild-Zeitung magazine and then later turned into a doll that incorporated some rather curious patented innovations… a head unconnected to the neck, for example, as well as a cut-out scalp attached by a hidden metal screw and legs that didn’t sprawl open when sitting!

In this episode, May also answers the burning question many of us hopelessly inquisitive boys had about the efficacy of the Action Man/GI Joe parachutes — do they actually work when thrown from a chopper at a height of 250 feet?

BBC Horizon: The Lost Pyramids of Caral

One of the oldest cities in the Americas (2,600 - 2,000 BC) — pre-dating the Incas by approximately a thousand years — Caral was home to thousands inhabitants of the Norte Chico civilization that peacefully flourished in Andes between 3,000 and 1,800 BC. This would have been about the same time as the gigantic antediluvian Nephelim were wandering aimlessly about the planet, according to some deep-thinkers of the Christian faith…

The Adventures of Chicken Liberal

Chicken Liberal

Tough luck, immigrants.

Update: What’s for dinner? Mmmm... Smells like chicken.

David Sedaris: When You Are Engulfed in Flames…

I just started reading his new book the other day. Hilarious. I highly recommend it.

BBC Horizon: Human v2.0 (Part 1)

On the road to “The Singularity” Meet the scientific prophets who claim mankind is on the verge of creating a new type of human — a human v2.0.

It’s predicted that by 2029 computer intelligence will equal the power of the human brain. Some believe this will revolutionize humanity — we’ll be able to download our minds to computers extending our lives indefinitely. Others fear this will lead to oblivion by giving rise to destructive ultra-intelligent machines.

Métal Hurlant: Crashing a Smart Car

First of new series of posts under the rubric Métal Hurlant that serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever other than to indulge the morbid interest of people like me who are fascinated by car crashes. And what better place to start than having a look see what happens when the impossibly cute “Smart Car” is sent hurtling into a 20 ton concrete barrier at 70 mph…

Gore Vidal: Ready to Kill (Part 1)

Jon Snow interviews Gore Vidal in London the other week on the American presidential campaign. Vidal oozes contempt for... well, everything, really. But in particular here: the Bush regime, the gullibility and stupidity of the American public (“the most ignorant first-world country on earth”), and John McCain, who he likens to the comically nearsighted Mr. Magoo. More at Channel 4.

Moore Spinning on CBC “Politics”

Hmmm.The opinion of two “experts” paid by the Conservative Party that doesn’t appear to materially change the most salient comments made by Harper on the tape… It’s kind of hard to see how this calls into question the credibility of the tape in question, let alone “changes everything” about the desperate million dollar offer made by Harper’s minions to a dying man. What an unscrupulous shill Moore is — so much for his integrity.

Update: A capital idea indeed.


Dead Penguin

Hockeytown… Feh. Man, I hate the Wings.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

O’Reilly Meltdown: Herb Alpert Freak Remix

Ah, this thing is just evergreen.

Late Show: Danger Man

The Island: Season 1 • Episode 16 (1960)

Secret agent John Drake (Patrick McGoohan) is transporting two assassins by plane. A failed highjacking by the prisoners results in a crash landing on a small island inhabited by a mysterious recluse.

MST3K: Century 21 Calling (Part 1)

Headcases (Ep. 6-1)

Snippety, Snip…?


Pathetic. This is nothing more than a transparent move to get the Cadman tape out of circulation.

Speaking of doctored tapes, the “Conservatives” are quite expert on the subject, aren’t they? Buckets of Grewel, anybody?

Update: “And—there goes James Moore, leaving a roomful of vaguely hostile journalists in his wake, all asking much the same question of each other, now that he’s gone: How does this change what the Prime Minister allegedly said? What was added, or taken away, or otherwise “manipulated” so as to alter the meaning of his words?” More from Kady O’Malley’s live blogging of today’s pointless presser.

Update2: CPC toady Stephen Truckler has the “supporting documents” of the Tories injunction. You don’t have anything better to do than wade through all 336 pages, do you?

More Giants in the Sky

Well, I’m off to physio and then to daughter #1’s convocation at UVic, so I won’t be around for the remainder of the day. Have a good one all.

Veep Sweeps: Obama & McCain

Now the primary races are finally over, attention turns to the politics of picking a running mate. Some possible choices… here and here.

Onward to the General Election: Let the Smearing Begin!

Fresh from the dung heap of American politics, behold the “civility” of the right-wing. I’m afraid this is the true face of so-called “conservatism” these days.

John McCain: “Frighteningly Sad”

Sen. McCain’s “already-legendarily awful prebuttal” to last night’s Obama speech before an enormous crowd at the Xcel Energy Center, in St. Paul, MN. According to TPM, it was so bad that all the Fox commentators were giving competing explanations for why it sucked.

Top Toys: Airfix

Founded in 1939, Airfix started life as a manufacturer of inflatable rubber toys. A decade later, it was commissioned to create a promotional model of a Ferguson tractor. The model was initially moulded in cellulose acetate plastic and hand assembled for distribution to Ferguson sales representatives. To increase sales and lower productions costs, the model was sold in kit form by F. W. Woolworth’s retail stores. The first aircraft kit was released in 1955, a model of the Supermarine Spitfire, in 1:72 scale. The rest, as they say, is history…

Although I had a number of Airfix kits as a kid (and a lot of Revell ones too) the whole model-building experience was far too fiddly, stinky and unrewarding for my taste. Maybe if I’d sunk my Tirpitz like May does here with the Bismark on a lake with a rifle I might have had more fun with it… Nope, to me, Airfix was more synonymous with their 1:72 scale polythene military figures, of which I had thousands from all periods of history. Great stuff — terrific box art. My favourite? The Ancient Britons, naturally.

Panorama: Sub-Prime Suspect (Part 3)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Late Show: Black Adder

Potato: Series 2, Episode 3

To you it’s a potato, to me it’s a potato, but to Sir Walter Bloody Raleigh, it’s country estates, fine carriages, and as many girls as his tongue can cope with. He’s making a fortune out the things! People are smoking them, building houses out of them… they’ll be eating them next.

Guest appearances by Tom Baker (the fourth Dr. Who) as Redbeard the Pirate and Simon Jones (Arthur Dent in the BBC’s HHGTTG series) as Sir Walter Raleigh. Most excellent!

Cafferty File: McCain Targets Clinton Supporters

No doubt McCain will be full of indiscriminate praise for Hillary Clinton and her supporters. Why, he may not even mind if they “plaster on the makeup like a trollop....”

Small Dead Brains: On Tourism

Lost in Delisle

It’s why I do so much of my dog showing in the US right now. Not only is the competition keener, but it’s cheaper than showing in Canada — a fact that’s driven home the first time you’re charged 25 cents for filling your travel mug with coffee.

Yeah, because holiday-making is all about where you can fill your travel mug in the cheapest way possible. How utterly dismal.

Some of the reader comments from the CTV website are pretty hilarious. One writes: “Maybe the anti-American locals who leave snide notes and key US cars might consider the repercussions of their actions. The Internet is rife with such stories…” Really? I’ve never heard of a single incidence of this happening in Victoria and we’re host to millions of tourists each year, mostly Americans. Sounds more like urban legend stuff to me; quite unhelpfully propagated by Canada-haters like Kate McMillan and her minions, I might add.

Another writes “I would love to stay in Canada and travel but when I can spend $45 on a hotel in the US compared to $120 here in Canada the math is simple. Plus I can fill up for about $20 less.” What fucking planet do these wingnuts inhabit? At $4/gallon given the average gas tank holds about 15-18 gallons of gas, do the math on that claim of filling up his/her gas tank “for about $20 or less” — this person is either completely insane or an outright liar.

All Over But the Crying

Apparently the florists are busy today… Meanwhile, the filthy rabble weighs in.

Update: Duh.

High Price Environmentalism: The Honda Jet

Honda’s tagline in their promo for this new jet plane is kinda cute: “We always had wings.” Indeed. More info at their nifty website. Oh, in case you’re wondering, the tab for one of these babies is approx. $3 million.

Mizzle on tha danga of blogs...

Gangsta Bowie

I’ve bizzle scribbl’n ‘bout how blogs is a poser ta they owna n everyone around them fo’some time. Recently, I’ve seen two new reasons that support mah thesis...

My bad.

Environmentalism = “Elitism”

Aside from the assertion that it’s a fascistic power grab by radical eco-Nazis, another prong of the “conservative” pushback on the proposed Climate Security Act designed to combat climate change is the argument that it’s a nefarious invention of liberal “elitists” insensitive to the economic realities of middle-America. Look for a similar case to be made by the Harper government in… 5, 4, 3, 2…

Down & Out With Bill O’Reilly

O’Reilly unleashed his trademark manufactured bluster on Scott McClellan yesterday, attempting to bully him over his entirely justified allegation that the press corps completely failed its essential mission during the run up to the war in Iraq. “You’re telling me I didn’t do my job!” Bill O angrily challenged. Actually, considering that he adamantly shouted down all dissenters, denouncing them as traitors and worse… that would be a gross understatement.

Related: Videos of Part 2 and Part 3.

Giants in the Sky

Eat your heart out, Howard Roark.

Just as an aside, there’s a truly bizarre anomaly tucked in amongst all the iconic monuments to capitalism featured here. The 105 story Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea was started in 1987 but amazingly, is still unfinished. Now, after 16 years of inactivity, construction has resumed on the monstrous ziggurat — exactly why though is a rather puzzling mystery seeing that it’s structurally unsound due to the poor quality concrete and substandard materials used. Once dubbed “The Worst Building in the History of Mankind” by Esquire, the hotel is clearly visible from almost every vantage in Pyongyang, but even so has been removed by the government from all maps and is routinely airbrushed out of pictures.

Now if that isn’t an almost perfect metaphor for Communism, I don’t know what is.

Dear “Free Speech” Wanks…


Whatever sympathy we may have had in the past for your plight has been completely exhausted by your hysterical caterwauling and petulant, self-aggrandizing vulgarity.

The Nitpicker Files: Rootlecrap

Dingleberry Picking

Amazing. Don’t these feedburning maniacs have anything better to do?

Get a life, indeed.

Architectural Moment of Zen: Liège Train Station

More amazing stuff from the brilliant Santiago Calatrava (previously referenced here).

This video offers a virtual tour of the new train station being constructed in Liège, Belgium that artfully re-imagines the venerable “train station as cathedral” concept in a modern context with sweeping elegance. Little wonder that he’s been commissioned to design the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York City.

The Politics of Hope

Can one now begin to conclude that he agrees with them… or is that unfair?

In today’s thrilling installment, Sean Hannity talks to his turd blossom, errr... “friend” Karl Rove to discuss why Barak HUSSEIN Obama-Bin Laden has “long term established” relationships with so many hellbound Christian pastors that are, apparently, “the most radical elements out there”… You know, as opposed to the ones that John “Bomber” McCain embraces, who quite reasonably advocate nuking Iran to precipitate the End of Days and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, or who maintain that the Planned Parenthood organization is conducting a widespread, systemic, genocidal holocaust across the land against certain ethnic groups...

Beat the Press: Perils of Live TV

At the behest of Bill O’Reilly, Dan Abrams has an epiphany.

Top Toys: Lego®

Well, I never had geeky old Meccano as a kid, but cripes did I have Lego® aplenty! It was a quantum improvement over Kenner’s formulaic girder and panel building sets (which were still pretty awesome) that allowed me to build a clunky little town in the basement that my hordes of plastic Airfix soldiers could wage protracted battles over. Doubtless, Ole Kirk Christiansen probably wouldn’t have been impressed…

Update: Following up on the comments, here’s that cool pic of H.R. Giger’s “Alien” rendered in Lego®. I just knew it would come in handy one of these days...

Lego Alien

Panorama: Sub-Prime Suspect (Part 2)

Sub-prime mortgages make up just 8% of the mortgage market in Britain, but Panorama’s survey revealed that banks and building societies offering sub-prime lending are involved in 70% of the re-possessions. And the regulators? Missing in action, apparently. But hey, that’s a good thing, right?

Monday, June 2, 2008


Scene of the Crime

A post by this despicable, sweater-clad knob reminded me of another car accident from the 60s that we really just don’t hear enough about.

Perhaps it’s high time we reminded people of it at every possible opportunity. Like for example, whenever the First Lady appears on some morning program to pimp her latest book or worthy humanitarian cause, let’s not forget to make mention of the fact that in 1963 Laura Bush recklessly ignored a clearly visible stop sign at an intersection near Midland, Texas, resulting in an automobile crash that took the life of her ex-boyfriend Michael Douglas. After being T-boned at high speed by the future First Lady, the 17 year-old boy was thrown violently from his Corvair, broke his neck and died immediately.

When asked at a campaign stop in 2000 about the crash, Mrs. Bush rather indelicately said, “'I know this as an adult, and even more as a parent, it was crushing ... for the family involved and for me as well.” Crushing… indeed.

Late Show: Get Smart

A Spy for a Spy — Season 2-1967

The Chief is kidnapped by a magician named Siegfried, who tries to swap the Chief for the X11. Max is unable to raise the money to pay the ransom so he kidnaps KAOS’ top agent, which sets off a wave of kidnappings. This is the first appearance of Siegfried in the series.

GPS: Tony Blair

Fareed Zakaria sits down yesterday with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss his views on politics, religion and globalization.

Quite a promising start for the new show and a pleasant departure from the usual fare offered up by the chuckleheads each Sunday on the cable news networks.

Hunter of “Bias”

Hacktackular editing from eternally benighted slackwit “Hunter”…

See how she cleverly hits her dumbass readers/viewers over the head with claims of nefarious liberal media “bias” by repeatedly splicing in and looping the part where Taber says “...come election time you’ll look less progressive” over and over and over and over and over and over… What a retarded douchebag.

And speaking of heinously torpid nincompoops…

City of the Bees: A Sermon from Science

History clearly indicates that every civilized society has been based on certain moral and ethical principles which are contained in the 10 Commandments…

Science from a biblical perspective! This 1962 “educational” film from the “Moody Institute of Science” starts off with a fairly straightforward look at bees utilizing the sort of anthropomorphism that will be familiar to those who grew up watching Walt Disney’s nature films — the hive compared to a city with bees organized into police patrols, sanitation squads, and so on. The real fun however begins about 20 minutes into the film when we learn about how God’s design for human relationships differs from that of the bees…

Christian booksellers recommend this film on DVD as a super tool for home schoolers. Yikes!

A Note About Comments

I attempted to install the “Intense Debate” comment system yesterday but experienced some conflicting problems with the existing Haloscan installation. As it is now, both seem to be running — the ID comment interface in the post itself and Haloscan in a pop-up window. I’m working on remedying this. Just so you know...

Tales of Cognitive Dissonance

Bloody Honor

Via the Guardian:

Five weeks ago Leila Hussein told The Observer the chilling story of how her husband had killed their 17-year-old daughter over her friendship with a British soldier in Basra. Now Leila, who had been in hiding, has been murdered - gunned down in cold blood. (Related horrific story of the original “honour killing” here.)

Hysterical crackpot Pam Geller is fuming mad: “The brutal killer, the father, was then allowed to walk free from the police station. Is this what we spent all our blood and treasure for? Where is feminist outrage? Where are the damn womens groups, the leftards, the commies, the socialists, all the full-of-shitniks?”

For some reason Geller seems willfully oblivious to the fact that numerous “lefty” blogs (here and here as just two quick examples) have expressed outrage about this, that the stories were reported in the notoriously liberal media, and that when gunned down, Leila Hussein was with two women’s activists that were attempting to smuggle her into Jordan… So that answers the specious rhetorical interrogatives concerning the whereabouts of the feminists, commies, etc.

But what of Geller’s other salient question that she repeats with increasing frustration in her post:
“Is this what we spent all out blood and treasure for?”

So it would seem. And how’s that working out for you?

Well, not to worry, another fellow-traveling loon has the answer: perpetual occupation.

Considering that the authorities turned a blind eye to this incident, it’s more than a little difficult to see how this would offer any kind of solution to the problem of women’s rights in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, but since when did the winguts ever make sense about anything?

Top Toys: Meccano

James May, co-host of BBC’s “Top Gear” auto program, introduces favourite toys from his childhood.
In this episode, he challenges a group of 11-year-olds to build a Meccano crane using the original instructions (which it turns out the company fiendishly incorporated mistakes into as a test of young builders’ ingenuity).

The Politics of Hope

In today’s installment, Sean Hannity tries yet again to smear Obama with racial issues, this time linking Obama to a University Professor that’s pro-Palestinian.

This segment is like a five minute long attack ad — the tactics of innuendo and guilt by association employed are almost exactly the same. More douchebaggery here and here.

Meanwhile, another despicable racist scumbag has Michelle Obama in his sites.

Panorama: Sub-Prime Suspect (Part 1)

Reckless mortgage selling and shoddy financial regulation isn’t just an American phenomenon it sees. Apparently, there’s been a significant amount of fraud in recent years by brokers arranging mortgages in Britain as well — for example by inflating actual income and sometimes even supplying fake documentation. As a result, many people are finding mortgage repayments difficult and an estimated 100,000 homeowners are at least three months in arrears.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Late Show: My Favorite Martian

Celestial Junk: Onward Christian Soldiers!

On the side of the angels

Central to Junky Paul’s “thesis” that, in contrast to Islam — which he asserts is inherently violent, supremicist and persecutory — the foundational roots of Christianity are essentially peaceful in nature. To wit, we have this cockeyed notion:

Anyone at all familiar with Christian foundational texts, understands immediately that Christianity is by and large a pacifist religion. Christian foundational texts focus on spirituality and are almost completely devoid of political guidance. Christian foundations can best be described as “turn the other cheek.” Muslim foundations can best be described as “smite the unbelievers.”

Seeking to preempt the inevitable counterarguments that this audacious claim begs, Junky Paul is quick to note that:

Christianity, despite its pacifist foundations, has been used by political forces over centuries to enact all sorts of violence. Once it became the dominant religion in Southern Europe, it’s [sic] pacifist nature was quickly circumvented for any number of reasons, but none of these reasons could either then or now be justified using foundational Christian texts. As a result, Christians have always struggled back to their pacifist and peaceful roots.

It’s generally agreed that Christianity began as a relatively pacifist faith and that this position was prevalent through early Christian history. Even so, there’s some ambiguity in the portrayal of Jesus’ attitudes towards violence and war. For example, Jesus said “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). This of course is actually taken out of context (most scholars would argue that its true meaning otherwise is the complete opposite), but since when did that ever stop radical demagogues and theological hacks from selectively quoting the Bible to justify their warlike impulses? And this is precisely where Junky Paul’s argument falls apart — in relying on different interpretations of the “foundational texts” of Christianity and Islam that have been made over time, one has to admit that the same kind of willful distortions can be applied equally to both faiths. Unfortunately, being a colossally ignorant bigot, Junky Paul is apparently unwilling to make any such concession in the case of Islam while at the same time breezily dismissing the way in which Christianity has been “hijacked” for purposes of war and plunder throughout most of its existence.

For example, some Christians maintain that the pacifistic directives of Jesus apply only to individuals, not nations and that the Bible distinguishes clearly between the two in both the Old and New Testaments. While salvation may be claimed by the individual, the soulless nations remain under the sway of the prince of this world who once offered them, without success, to Jesus. Thus it’s argued, these commands cannot apply to a nation-state. As the self-described “Christian libertarian” opinion columnist Vox Day wrote several years ago: “The truth is that the world will never know peace without the Prince of Peace, and to work for peace in the absence of Jesus Christ is to directly contradict the fundamental foundations of the Christian faith. Of wars and rumors of war, ‘do not be alarmed, such things must happen,’ Jesus said – so peace between nations is simply not a significant concern for the Christian.”

There is a strong tradition within Christian theology for this line of thinking and indeed the seeds of rejecting pacifism aren’t hard to find in the New Testament — Paul readily accepted the state’s right and power to use violence to enforce its will. Perhaps in part because of this, as soldiers in the army were gradually converted, they weren’t expected to resign and take up other pursuits.

When Constantine became a church patron and Christianity was established as the favoured religion in the Roman Empire the pacifistic attitudes were rapidly abandoned by the church. In fact, the pendulum swung so far that in the Council of Arles of 314, Christians who gave up arms even in time of peace would be excommunicated and by 416, only Christians could serve in the army.

Christian leaders justified the apparent contradiction between what was preached by Jesus and what was expected of them in society by creating artificial divisions between the “higher life” of those who were called to religious service (priests, monks, nuns, etc.) and the “lower” strata of civil life. Those called to religious service were expected to uphold stricter rules through celibacy, not taking up arms, etc., which were not applied to others. Another division which was created, this time in the arena of moral theology, was between “counsels” and “precepts.” Counsels are exhortations which can certainly aid in the attainment of perfection, but which are not considered binding. Included in this group were a number of the commands of Jesus like chastity and poverty. Precepts, on the other hand, are absolutely required by Christians. The command to “turn the other cheek” and not return violence for violence was classified among the former rather than the latter.

During Middle Ages, further erosion of the pacifist origins of Christianity occurred as “just war” doctrines were developed. These provided a means by which Christian leaders could justify going to war and even killing other Christians without also appearing to betray their religious duties. At the same time, however, heretical Christian groups were arising which rejected many official church teachings in favor of a theology based more directly upon the gospels. Among those which advocated a strong pacifist position were the Waldenses, Lollards, Hussites, and Quakers to name but a few.

The period of the Renaissance and Reformation saw assertions of all three attitudes toward war. Renaissance humanism developed a pacifist impulse, of which Erasmus is one of the most important examples. Humanist pacifism appealed to such philosophical and theological principles as the common humanity and brotherhood of all persons as children of God, the follies of war, and the ability of rational individuals to govern themselves and their states on the basis of reason.

All Protestant churches except the Anabaptists accepted the inherited tradition of the just war. Luther identified two kingdoms, of God and of the world. While he rejected the idea of crusade, his respect for the state as ordained by God to preserve order and to punish evil in the worldly realm made him a firm supporter of the just war approach. The Reformed tradition accepted the crusade concept, seeing the state not only as the preserver of order but also as a means of furthering the cause of true religion. Zwingli died in a religious war; Calvin left the door open to rebellion against an unjust ruler; and Beza developed not only the right but the duty of Christians to revolt against tyranny. Cromwell’s pronouncement of divine blessing on the massacre of Catholics at Drogheda illustrates the crusade idea in English Puritanism.

Wars in North America, from Puritan conflicts with the Indians through the Revolutionary War to the world wars, have all been defended in religious and secular versions of the just war theory or the crusade idea. For example, World War I, fought “to make the world safe for democracy,” was a secular crusade.

Although various so-called “peace churches” such as the Mennonites, Brethren, and Quakers have maintained a continuing if at times uneven witness against war as well as a refusal to participate in it, these sects have always been regarded as far outside the mainstream of modern Christianity. Today, they account for only a tiny percentage of the number of Christians in America —about 1 million adherents. This fact alone would seem to strongly refute Junky Paul’s laughable assertion that “Christians have always struggled back to their pacifist and peaceful roots.”

Bloody Infidels!

Strong & Wrong

Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World

Walter Russell Mead discusses the centuries-long war between the Anglo-Americans and their enemies and argues for the importance of understanding the cultural, religious, and financial roots of the English-speaking peoples because they form the foundation of America’s global position. More at the New America Foundation.

Celestial Junk: Distorting Islam

Mohammed Lawgiver

Let’s take a closer look at another one of Junky Paul’s highly dubious assertions:

There may be any number of reasons why Islam is so uncompromisingly supremacist, but one reason stands out among all others. That is the fact that the foundational texts of Islam are supremacist in the extreme ... to the point of advocating violence as the main form of enforcement. To read about Muhammad, whose example all Muslims are required to follow, is to read about a brutal chauvinist who used murder, deceit, theft and all kind of barbaric means to pursue his agenda. Furthermore, he took the chauvinism common in his time and expanded on it, making Christian chauvinism of the era pale in comparison.

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, this is nothing but highly skewed opinion without any factual substantiation whatsoever provided. We couldn’t possibly know from simply reading the foregoing what exactly in the “foundational texts” is “uncompromisingly supremacist” as Junky Paul claims and therefore we’re forced to guess at what he may be referring to.

Presumably, he’s drawing from a widely quoted hadith (the literature that recounts the sayings and the actions of the Prophet) where some contend the idea of Islamic supremacy is encapsulated in the formula “Islam is exalted and nothing is exalted above it.” It’s claimed that pursuant to this principle, Muslim women may not marry non-Muslim men, defamation of Islam is prohibited, and the testimony of a non-Muslim is inadmissible against a Muslim, and so on.

It’s also claimed by some that Islamic supremacy can be found in certain verses of the Qur’an that, for example, tells Muslims to be harsh or ruthless to unbelievers (48:29) that it describes as the “vilest of created beings” (98:6). Some critics interpret such passages as sanctioning violence and even wholesale military action against unbelievers or kafirs. Other scholars however argue that such verses of the Qur’an are misinterpreted and maintain that when they’re read in context it clearly appears that while prohibiting aggression in general, Islam sets down clear guidelines as to when war is ethically right and clear guidelines as to how such wars should be conducted.

Like the Bible and other such “holy books” there always seems to be much dispute over the “correct” interpretation of what are supposed to be divinely revealed truths. In this case however, Muhammad very clearly articulated his position vis-à-vis tolerance of the Christians in a letter addressed to the religious leaders of Saint Catherine in Mount Sinai who had sought the protection of the Muslims:

“This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by God! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are declared to be protected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation [Muslims] is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day [end of the world].”

Well, it’s rather difficult to see any of the “brutal chauvinism” Junky Paul speaks of manifest in the Prophet’s Charter of Priviliges, wouldn’t you say? Quite to the contrary, this “foundational text” covers all important aspects of human rights, including such topics as the protection of minorities living under Islamic rule, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war. Hmmm. Go figure.

Paul Merton in China (Part 1)

Via the readers’ comments at IMDb:

Paul Merton — probably best known for his work on Have I Got News For You and Room 101 — provides a fresh look and feel and one more in line with what the average traveler can experience. Paul has never been to China, doesn’t speak the language, and has a look of perplexity about him when hit with new situations. But, the man is a very intelligent comedian and puts a good skew on everything that happens to him or in front of him. His six-week travels are compressed into four well-paced 1-hour programs.


Yep, she’s a Christian alright.

With the 2008 Democratic primary process spiraling into a whole new level of crazy, there probably isn’t enough popcorn to satisfy the greedy appetites of right-wing partisans… Thanks a lot, Hillary.

*A recently-discovered mineral composed of petrified bullshit

Pastor Deacon Fred: Repent Godless Atheists!

Landover Baptist’s Pastor Deacon Fred addresses thousands of hellbound freethinkers on the National Mall in Washington several years ago.

When Louis Met… The Nazis (Part 7 & 8)

If you’ve been watching the series, it won’t come as much of a surprise to discover that the subjects of the film end up revealing themselves as little more than dissembling hypocrites. Of Metzger, Theroux says: “As abhorrent as his views were, I found it hard to take Tom totally seriously. He seemed to like being seen as dangerous figure, but was all the while enjoying the fruits of a multi-racial democracy. I felt there was a touch of karaoke about this supposed ‘international politician’.”

The final encounter with Metzger’s publicity manager is truly cringe-inducing as he squirms awkwardly and lies up a storm while attempting to defend the indefensible. As for April Gaede, the National Vanguard mom, once the bogus rhetoric about attempting to teach her children “the truth” in a “perverted multiculturalist world” is dispensed with, we learn that in fact that her motives are more just the product of rank prejudice and superficial bigotry.

“I find other races annoying,” she says. “They bother me… I don’t like their chattering in other languages. I don’t like the way they look. You know, 99 percent of them I just find the way that they look just really… they’re just not pretty, they’re not attractive to me. I don’t want to be around them. I don’t like the way that they act. I don’t like the way they allow their children to behave. I don’t like the way they deal with situations. I don’t like the fact they seem to just make everything messy and dirty wherever they are. I don’t like that. I don’t want to be around them. I want to be around all white people, but it’s like I feel like I can’t be that way.” Well boo fucking hoo. Completely deadpan, Theroux asks her if she’s ever thought about getting some kind of therapy. To Gaede this is indicative of Theroux being “brainwashed by multiculturalism.”

And so the journey through the world of Nazis ends in frustration “with an argument, in a kitchen, with a mother of two.”