Sunday, January 31, 2010

California Budget Busters

Look, there are a lot of great things about living in the People's Gay-Public of Drugifornia (also known as California), but I've gotta tell you, there are a lot of not so great things about living here. It's really borderline sucky to live here if you're asking me. And I'm doing just fine. The walled off compound protects me from the morons of society quite nicely, thank you. Employment isn't an issue and neither is revenue. But unfortunately, employment and revenue are an issue for the state.

The current unemployment rate in California is hovering somewhere around 12.3% and the state is also expected to be running a deficit which is somewhere right around $15 billion. (Yep, billion. With a B.) And that's "deficit". As in "not enough money". So with that knowledge, what has the California Senate decided to do? Well, according to the SF Gate they "...passed a measure to create a state-run, single-payer health system." Wait. They what now?

Correct. The California Senate voted 22-14 to pass this thing. Only one Democrat had the sanity to vote against this measure. That Democrat would be a one Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana. You can vote for him next time. The rest of the Democrats? Yeah, you're going to want to be NOT voting for them. The Republicans? They can stay. Lou can stay. Everyone else? Out. Out!

Now, this might not sound like such a big deal. I mean, after all, a state-run, single-payer health system sounds like a good idea, doesn't it? Sure it does. And when you get back from Xanadu, let me know how it works there because it certainly isn't a viable option in this utopia that the Senators appear to be trying to create.

Let's just run over the basic basics of the state of California's fiscal issues, shall we? I'll be brief. That will be easy to do because there really isn't a lot to talk about, seeing as how the state is running that deficit of about $15 billion (still with a B). According to the Legislative Analyst's Office (the ol' LAO) California stands to make in revenue somewhere in the neighborhood of $82.5 billion. Sure, that sounds like a lot, but when you consider that it's around $5 billion less than a couple of years ago, you're going to kind of get the idea that revenue, well, it ain't what it used to be.

But here's the kicker: This utopian health care plan "All state residents would be provided health care and people could buy private health care to cover services not offered through the state plan." Um....what?

Everyone gets health care?! Score! Oh, wait. Maybe not. After all, this has just passed through the California Senate. The Governator has vetoed things like this before, so can I take it to mean that he's going to veto this as well? I should certainly hope so because, again according to the SF Gate, "It is anticipated to cost about $200 billion a year."

::: blink ::: ::: blink :::

It's going to cost what? $200 billion? A YEAR?! But...but....the state only takes IN about $82 billion a year. See....see....that....that....that's NOT ENOUGH! What in the world is wrong with those morons?!

I want an explanation from every single one of those morons who voted for this. What could their rationale possibly be?! Oh, that it sounds good?! It's because of all of the "sound good" and "feel good" programs that they're constantly passing legislation on that the state is in the fiscal toilet that it swirls around in daily! This isn't news! The state handed out IOUs last summer, for cryin' out loud! They're not kidding! The state is broke!!

You people in the California Senate have a lot of nerve, I'll tell you that. Every single one of you who voted for this garbage clearly have about as many brains as the state has surplus cash. That is to say NONE! Nice waste of time. Nice job wasting everyone's time and money to pass something that the Governator is sure to veto. Nice job accomplishing nothing. You morons.

It's $200 billion dollars! And that's just for this health care fantasy that they passed! It's not like there isn't the rest of the budget to continue to fund! You remember the rest of the budget, don't you? It's that thing that isn't fully funded as it is! Now just tack on another $200 billion to that. Oh, sure. Let me know how that works out, will you? I'll be over here, making the walls on my walled off compound even higher. After this show of stupidity, I'm considering adding a dome. We're so doomed.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fakeroversy at the Super Bowl

We've got the Super Bowl just right around the corner. Well, it's next week. I realize that's a pretty big corner, but it's still pretty close. And when it's Super Bowl time, that's when the station that's airing the game starts to wrap up finalizing all of the commercials that are going to be shown during the game. Already there is a lot of controversy over some of the ads and they've got nothing to do with those cute Clydesdales.

What we have stirring up some fake controversy (yep, another fakeroversy) is an ad that was paid for by the Christian conservative group Focus on the Family. Conservative. Family. Yep. You guessed it. They're "pro-life", also known as anti-abortion. This ad is going to convey the meaning behind the theme of "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life." It is also going to contain a one Tim Tebow (apparently a really good collegiate quarterback for Florida) and a one Pam Tebow, the mother of the aforementioned Tim.

According to the huffy folks over there at the Huffington Post the ad will be "...chronicling Pam Tebow's 1987 pregnancy. After getting sick during a mission trip to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her fifth child and gave birth to Tim." Um, OK. But can I just say something here? I want my freaking Clydesdales back!!

Look, do I personally care if this group wants to buy this ad time? No, not really. I'm not offended by it. It doesn't particularly bother me because of the subject matter. However, lately it has come to light that abortion has been illegal in the Philippines since the 1930s and it would have been odd for the doctors there to recommend such a procedure. See, that does bother me. You want to send your anti-abortion message to a bazillion people watching a football game? I guess if you have the money for that, you can do so. But I'd really rather that you didn't. And here's why:

I like the commercials during the Super Bowl. I find them to be interesting and hilarious. (And in the case of the GoDaddy commercials, I find them to be interesting Oh. Sorry. I was just envisioning GoDaddy commercials of the past and got distracted. GoDaddy isn't so much pro-life or pro-choice as much as it is pro-breasts.) I want to see interesting and hilarious commercials during the Super Bowl. I especially want to see interesting and hilarious commercials during the Super Bowl if I am watching said game at a venue with other people, some of which may or may not have imbibed just a little bit too much of any sort of alcoholic beverage furnished for said viewing.

You're never going to come to a nationwide consensus on whether or not abortion is OK or not. And from what I can tell, people have some really strong opinions about the whole matter. Don't believe me? Just ask that dude down in Kansas who blew away the abortion doc whilst he was sitting in church. I'm thinking that if your opinion is so strong that it leads you to justify blowing other people away with a gun while they're in church that you're not going to be swayed very easily to see the other side's point of view, you know what I'm saying?

And the last thing I want is a room full of people who may or may not have been drinking and who may or may not have extremely strong opinions about this whole abortion matter. That right there could turn the Super Bowl into the Super Brawl. It's supposed to be fun! Why do are we being subjected to commercials about abortions?!

Can you imagine if this sort of thing catches on? What if next year, instead of having all of the cute little dogs and horses unite in their ways to pull some sort of decrepit wagon into Small Town, USA so that all of the residents can have icy cold beer (some with a minimal amount of calories), we were instead subjected to political ads? And abortion ads? And gay marriage ads? And grandparent visitation rights ads? Oh, my God, I'd hang myself.

We could find ourselves in the not so distant future, sitting down for the big game with our family and friends with some youngsters, hopefully belonging to said family and friends. We could find ourselves saying to said youngsters, "You know, wasn't that long ago that the commercials during the Super Bowl were really funny! Yes! Funny! There used to be these horses...Clydesdales, they were called...furry hooves, boy were they a hoot! But now, we've just got these political commercials all the time God! How many of these with President Hillary are we going to have to sit through?!" That would be rough. Really. Rough.

It's not a controversy that CBS sold a commercial spot for an ad that is going to be anti-abortion. It's not. It's a fakeroversy. If there's such a problem with it, what say you pro-abortion folks roll out your own ad and get your message out there as well. And actually, I wish that they would. I'd find that very interesting, because I'm not all that aware of many pro-abortion advertising mediums of late. It's a tricky thing to advocate without sounding like a villain, I get that. But maybe try the Clydesdales! People really enjoy those!

Really, what are people worried about? That the ad is going to sway people into what? Not having abortions? I don't think that's going to happen. I don't think that anyone out there that is contemplating an abortion is going to change her mind simply because of the possibility that their child could grow up to be a college football quarterback. I don't think the reason that they're considering the abortion in the first place is because they're worried that the youngster won't be good at sports. I think that has next to nothing to do with the decision. Besides, the only people that one would have to be concerned with being swayed by something like this would be the Supreme Court. And from what I can tell, they're about as anxious to have anything to do with the subject as I am, that is to say, they don't want to touch it with a ten foot pole. Nor do I think that they're the sort of bunch that's going to be swayed by a freaking ad airing during the Super Bowl.

By the way, below is a Bud Light ad which was rejected as a Super Bowl ad a couple of years ago. Apparently, its subject matter was not suitable for the big game. Suitable or not, its freaking hilarious. And I'd rather watch that than I would watch a commercial having anything to do with abortion.

I can only hope that this will be the last "serious" ad which will air during the Super Bowl. We're not wanting to have brawls with drunken family members because of an argument instigated by an anti-abortion commercial. We're wanting to be happy drunks. Drunk and happy and covered in grease and sauce from too many Buffalo wings. That's what we want. We're America. It's what we strive for. Now...where are those horses? What about that talking E*Trade kid? He's a riot.

Wait! It's just come to my attention that the actors in the above disallowed Bud Light commercial have an encore commercial. Please, please, please let it make it to the Super Bowl this year. We can handle this can't we?

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Jeanette's Makeup

OK, I'm prefacing this with how I don't do this very often, so no complaining. Besides, y'all already got a "real" post today, so this is just gravy. Mmm...gravy.

The sister of one of my oldest and dearest friends (I know that makes me sound like I'm one hundred or something, but when you've known someone since you were sixteen and now you're, well, not sixteen, 24 years is a long time!) is an awesome makeup artist. She does all sorts of cool stuff and is really good at it.
Yesterday she ditched her website in favor of a blog and claims that she'll be updating it regularly (as was apparently not the case with the website). Have I mentioned that she's really good at what she does? Yeah, she is. And her blog has great photos that showcase her obvious talents.

Anyway, if you feel like it, give her blog a look. But more importantly, if you know someone who needs something like a fake butcher knife embedded in their melon or a fake tattoo of a tiger that covers their entire back (both scenarios involve what is known around my place as "Friday night"), then Jeanette is the chick for all of those odd, odd needs! And you can contact her as well as see several pictures of her awesome work over at Jeanette's Makeup. Yes, click that. Click that now. I appreciate it (and coming from me, that's sayin' a lot).

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A Parent Strikes Again

Today's post follows in the steps of yesterday's post in which we discovered how one parent (one who is likely a moron and who also likely just enjoys stirring things up) can cause the entire system to grind to a halt. We discovered how if just ONE person is "offended" by something or thinks that there is something wrong with something that the way that the complainer and the complainee think is the best way to handle it is to completely overreact and remove the "offending" item from the access of everyone, even those who are not offended. That's what we discovered. And it was through that discovery that we learned that there are just some pain in the ass people out there who want to up-end the system under the guise of "being offended". Today is another one of those stories. Please don't let that keep you from reading. It's just as idiotic as yesterday's, I promise.

Our post today takes us to Culpeper County Public Schools in (surprise) Culpeper, Virginia. It's there that we learn via the Star Exponent that the Anne Frank diary entitled "The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition"...will no longer be assigned to CCPS students". That is according to a one Jim Allen who is the school system's director of instruction. Great. So we're banning The Diary of Anne Frank now? Why is this? Oh, right. Because of the vagina passage. Wait. The what now?

I had the same reaction. What vagina passage? See, apparently there are two versions of The Diary of Anne Frank. There's the version where she's hiding out in an attic with her family for almost two years (you know, trying to avoid being taken to a concentration camp by the Nazis and all) and then there's the version where she's hiding out in an attic with her family for almost two years, trying to avoid the same fate as described above. The thing is that in the second version, there are apparently some "...sexually suggestive references". Uh-huh. The girl was 13, right? And there were only SOME sexually suggestive references? OK. And that's a problem?

It shouldn't be. It shouldn't be a problem. But guess what? It was a problem. For A parent. That's right. For ONE parent it was a problem. The problem was what was touted in several news stories that I read about this as "the vagina passage". Now, these publications don't have a problem printing the phrase "vagina passage" no matter how ridiculous it sounds. But do you think that any of them could actually print what the "vagina passage" was? No. Apparently not. Thank goodness for some thing called The Raw Story (which dubs their publication as "an alternative news nexus") that actually saw fit to include what was so freaking offensive to A parent. (It's a good thing that they found it via Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet otherwise we might never have known.

Ahem! The offending "vagina passage": "There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can't imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!" That's it?

Wait a minute. That's it? That is "the vagina passage"? What is wrong with that, exactly? That seems like a perfectly reasonable for a thirteen year old to think and to write. I totally remember wondering how that whole birth thing was possible (as it is akin to shoving a pot roast through one's nostril). There's nary a hint of anything fictitious in that statement. It's just as she describes. I have no qualms with it.

But here's the thing: Let's say I was a moron and I did have a qualm with it. We could even say that I had qualms. Why is it that I can't just ask if my kid can read the less "seedy" version? Why is it that I have to go in there and say that I don't want this book taught at all to any of the children? By the way, I'm using the term "children" extremely loosely here as we are talking about eighth graders in this situation. Yes! Eighth graders! Some moron has a problem out there with their eighth grader reading a passage which very vaguely and extremely tamely describes a vagina and the functions that one may or may not believe that it has the capacity to perform!

What is it about our society that if one person complains, everyone has to be affected? I don't get that. But that's what happened. According to the article linked above in the Star Exponent "Citing a parent’s concern over the sexual nature of the vagina passage in the definitive edition, Allen said school officials immediately chose to pull this version and use an alternative copy." Please note the usage of the term "A parent". I'm not kidding, nor exaggerating, when I say that it was because of ONE complaint. ONE.

The article continues with the aforementioned Mr. Allen stating, “What we have asked is that this particular edition will not be taught...I’m happy when parents get involved with these things because it lets me know that they are really looking and have their kids’ best interest (in mind). And that’s where good parenting and good teaching comes in." Hey, I'm happy when parents get involved as well. I'm not happy when parents interfere with the rest of the learning potential of the rest of the class. But I agree that when parents are looking into what their kids are doing, the (assumedly) have their kid's best interest in mind. But I'm going to have to disagree that this sort of a reaction could be defined as "good parenting" OR "good teaching" because I don't think that it's either one.

I'm curious as to what the response of this particular school would have been if there hadn't been another alternative to this book that was essentially the same book (only with less referencing of said vaginas and all). Would they have just banned the book altogether? That seems rash. After all, this is a book about a thirteen year old girl who ultimately dies at the hands of the Nazis in a concentration camp. It's not like it's light reading material at all. If anything, I'd like to thing that the "vagina passage" kind of lightened things up a little bit. But I'm apparently the only one who would like to think anything like that of the sort. Morons.

This has got to stop. We cannot keep altering the course of the masses because one individual complains. This is not setting a good precedence AT ALL. Man, I wish I had a kid in public school so that I could just try being a pain in the ass and see what I could get away with. Maybe then I'd start to understand the thinking patterns of these school administrators that simply cave with every "offended" parent that presents an issue before them. Because as it stands now, I don't understand a thing about it other than it's completely moronic and is going to doom us eventually. And probably sooner rather than later.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Define "Dictionary"

We have really come off the rails this time. I mean really. Really really. Really.

Let's go down to southern California to the Menifee Union School District in southwest Riverside County. And while we're there, let's stop by the fourth grade and fifth grade classrooms at Oak Meadows Elementary School. And while we're there, let's look up some words in Merriam Webster's 10th Collegiate Edition Dictionary. Oh, wait. We can't. They've been removed from the classrooms because A parent complained. Wait. What?

Correct. It would seem that, according to the LA Times, "...a parent complained to the school principal about what she believed was explicit sexual content in the dictionary." Explicit sexual content? Let's break that down, shall we? The dictionary defines words. It doesn't beat around the bush. Therefore, it tends to be explicit. Whether it be a definition of a duck (a duck) or a rock (a rock) or a tree (a tree), it tends to be explicit. And explicit or not, if it's a word, it needs to be defined. Hence it's inclusion in the dictionary.

"The books were ordered off the shelves until a committee could determine if they were "age appropriate" for fourth- and fifth-graders." If they were age appropriate? For people What age does one have to be before their language is deemed to be appropriate? What the heck is that all about? ONE parent complains and ALL of the dictionaries get removed?! When did that start happening? When did the opinion of ONE person suddenly have the potential to affect EVERYONE around them? (And in this case, apparently only one completely asinine person to boot!)

"The move immediately set off cries of censorship among many, including the president of the local school board, who warned that banning one book would inevitably lead to the banning of more and more." Let's forget about censorship for a moment because censorship is really the last thing that I'm worried about at the moment. What I'm concerned about is stupidity and this is one of the stupidest things that I've ever heard. Let's forget about censorship for a moment and let's instead focus on how ridiculous it is to remove a freaking dictionary because there are words in there that are explicit! Focusing? Are you?! Good! Then you see my point! Now, what was the problem exactly?

You have no idea the sorts of filth that I had to sort through on Google Images to find this photo.The word and the definition of said word that is in question here is "oral sex". Now, I don't know about you, but I don't know how you're going to define "oral sex" without it containing a fair amount of explicit detail. See, that's because you're going to have to use the word "genitals" or an acceptable substitute. (And by "acceptable" I mean something that you could put in the dictionary and allow said dictionary to retain it's credibility. Therefore, terms like cootchie, hoo-ha, and wee-wee would be immediately disqualified from consideration.) And technically, the term "oral sex" in and of itself is rather explicit. You've got the "sex" part of it which could be considered explicit and you've got all of the oralling going on with it which makes it even more explicit. It's hard for me to see a way around that one, frankly. And you know, you're also going to have to include some sort of reference to the oral portions of the human anatomy making contact with said genitalia without a funny nickname. Tell me how that's going to happen without explicit detail. Oh, that's right. It's not.

Now, I thought I had a hard copy of the "devil's book" (aka Merriam-Webster's Dictionary), but I was wrong, so I've had to rely on the online version in order to further assess this lunacy. If you check Merriam Webster's online and look up the definition of "oral sex", this is the definition you'll see: "oral stimulation of the genitals". Yes, we know. (Theoretically.)

::: blink ::: ::: blink :::

That's IT?!?! THAT is the explicit definition that A parent wigged out about and demanded that the dictionary be pulled from the classrooms?! Is this parent aware of some of the other words that are in said dictionary?! What about penis? I'm pretty sure that vagina is included in there! You know, the words that were referenced by the "oral sex" definition? You know, words that you could look up to get a clearer view of what we're talking about, though I doubt that from the oral sex position that you're really going to have a very clear view of anything, really. (Yes, that was a joke. Carry on.) They cross reference cunnilingus (not one who is clever with words) and fellatio (not an off shoot of the word "fellow") for crying out loud!

For the love of anything that is sane in this world, if someone could explain to me how society got to the point where if one person is annoyed by the slightest little thing that the entire system is thrown out of whack whilst that moron is accommodated? How?! How did it come to this?!

Look, the purpose of a dictionary is so that all of the words can be included. It's not a give and a take quite so much. It's pretty much an all or nothing thing here. You can have all of the words and call it a dictionary or you can have some of the words and call it a pile of words. Your choice. Actually, no. Wait a minute. It isn't your choice. It's no one's choice! It's a damned dictionary and that's all there is to it! You can't go changing the dictionary! It's not POSSIBLE! What is wrong with people (person)?

I cannot believe that because one fringe lunatic couldn't handle the term "oral sex" in a dictionary (not in their Bible, though that would be news!) for God's sake, that now (and I'm quoting) "The school is now promising to begin a thorough scouring of the dictionary for other offensive entries." Because of course they have nothing better to do, seeing as how all of the children are learning the most that they can and are getting the best education possible already.

::: blink ::: ::: blink :::

Good Lord, we're doomed.

"It's hard to sit and read the dictionary (Why, yes! It is! That's why people don't do it! You moron.), but we'll be looking to find other things of graphic nature." It's an amygdala. It's part of the brain! What did you think it was?!Let me save them some time! You're going to find other things of graphic nature! You don't have to READ very much! You can just flip right to them! Let me help you! Penis is probably in there. Don't forget vagina. Amygdala should go just because it sounds hilarious. (The same goes for urethra.) Get rid of vulva (the body part, not the car. Oh, wait, that's Volvo, never mind). And while you're at it, axe the prostate, will you? You should find some testicles in there (not literally, for cryin' out loud!). Breasts must definitely go (and I will miss them). Anus? Gone! Uterus? I'm not using mine, get rid of it too! Clitoris? Until we can agree on a pronunciation, it's gone as well! (Man, if whomever that parent was is reading this right now, I'm guessing that they probably had a heart attack somewhere right around 'anus'. But again, not literally.)

Did this parent never look up words when they were younger just so that they could laugh? If not, then I'm guessing that they were not part of a very large group known as "freaking everyone!" And after the school gets done reading the dictionary, then what? Are they going to black out those entries? Good luck. Ever read a dictionary? They're printed on that paper that's just a step up from the thickness that they use for the Bible. It's very thin. There's no way that you can just run a Sharpie over your penis (not many reasons why you'd want to, really) without it blacking out the other side as well.

So do you want to know what they came up with? You know, what to do after all of the scouring? Here's the solution: "The dictionary will go back to the classroom but the parents will be given the option to determine if they want their kids to have access to that dictionary...Students will take permission slips home and parents who don't want them to use Webster's 10th Collegiate Edition can opt for alternative dictionaries." What now?

An alternative dictionary? What the heck is that? An incomplete list of words? Why yes! Yes! That's exactly what it is! There is no word on what this alternative dictionary will consist of or which one will be used. But are they serious? They're going to send home permission slips in case parents don't want their children to have access to the dictionary? I'm pretty sure that if that sort of permission slip was sent home with me when I was in school that my parents would have pulled me out of that school. They would have assumed that the lunatics are running the asylum and they would have yanked me out of there before having to read through any more inanity. (Man, I wish that they had done that when I was in high school and with my chemistry class. You know, sent home a note asking if I was allowed access to my chemistry book. I would have forged that sucker so fast. I hated chemistry.) By the way, if you're wondering what the California Department of Education (you know, the department that funds the blasted schools) had to say about it, they "...said it had no authority over what Menifee does with its dictionaries because they are not considered instructional materials." I want to cry.

It's not an instructional material? It's a dictionary! It's a reference material! How is a reference material not an instructional material? Ever remember asking your teacher how you spell something or what something means when you were in school? What did your teacher tell you? That's right. She/He told you to look it up in the dictionary. I don't know how that is not an instructional material, but apparently it isn't.

I cannot believe that this got any farther than the individual who took the complaint. Oh, how I wish I had been that individual. I think my response would have gone something along the lines of, "Uh-huh. I see. Well, Mr. or Mrs. Jackass, the point of the dictionary is that is has all of the words in it. See, because otherwise it would just be called Merriam-Webster's Partial List of Words. And who is going to want to read that, really. No one. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have non-lunatics to see. Thank you for stopping by."

Look, I'll work my way up to something that could actually be said, all right? In the meantime can you crazy people please get over yourselves? And if you can't, will you at least accept some help from the sane? Good Lord, things are off the rails these days.

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