Monday, November 29, 2010

A Fairly Reasonable Pay Freeze

Yesterday, President Barry's administration announced that they're going to not give any civilian federal employees (military personnel are excluded) a raise for the next two years. It is, essentially, a pay freeze. And it is, essentially, about friggin' time.

I'm not sure why it took so long for this to happen. It's not like we couldn't all see that it was necessary. According to the
Huffington Post they're looking at a "...two-year pay freeze that would save the country $28 billion in the next five years and $60 billion over the coming decade." I like the sound of that. You know who doesn't like the sound of that? That's right. Civilian federal employees. To which I reply: Sorry. (Not really, but you know what I mean. Trust me, I had a much more colorful phrase that I was intending to use there. But then I remembered that I have friends who work for the federal government and I didn't see any need to anger them further.)

Am I being heartless, as per usual? I don't think I am. I think that I'm being realistic as per usual. (Realistic is never very popular.) Let's take a look at some simply astounding statistics (they're also known as facts) from the lovely folks over there at USA Today. Keep in mind that a lot of this data covers the time frame between 2005 and today. So, when the entire housing market crashed and when everything in the financial world went completely into the crapper, all of this stuff was going on. Also keep in mind that the current national unemployment rate is hovering around 9%. NINE percent. And as long as we're keeping things in mind, please also remember that earlier this year, unemployment was around 11%. ELEVEN. Now, let's see how things are going in the fantasy land that is working for the federal government, shall we?

Where to begin? How about here: "Top-paid staff have increased in every department and agency. The Defense Department had nine civilians earning $170,000 or more in 2005, 214 when Obama took office and 994 in June." Um, wait. What now? So, in the last FIVE years, the Defense Department went from having NINE civilians in the $170,000 or more range to NINE HUNDRED NINETY FOUR?!?! With SEVEN HUNDRED EIGHTY of those folks making that wage under President Barry's watch? He's only been President for two years!!

What else? How about this: "The biggest pay hikes have gone to employees who have been with the government for 15 to 24 years. Since 2005, average salaries for this group climbed 25% compared with a 9% inflation rate." Oh, sure. That makes perfect sense. Inflation is 9%, so absolutely the average salary of a federal worker should increase by 25%. Are you kidding me?! Is there anyone who can explain that rationale to me? Anyone? Anyone? OK, then. That's what I thought. Moving on...

"Federal workers earning $150,000 or more make up 3.9% of the workforce, up from 0.4% in 2005." And "Since 2000, federal pay and benefits have increased 3% annually above inflation compared with 0.8% for private workers." OK, then. Well. I think I've read enough.

It is about time that something was done to curb the ridiculous amount of debt that this country has incurred. And I realize that if you're a federal civilian employee, you are none to happy about this. Tell you what, buttercup. If you'd like, we could have the federal government deal with their bloated workforce the same way that the private industry has been dealing with their problems for...oh, forever. That's right. We could lay a bunch of y'all off. Would that make you feel better? Because that's what the private sector does. They lay people off. They don't freeze their pay. No, they cut their pay entirely by firing them. So if you're out there whining about this, knock it off. You're going to be hard pressed to find any sympathy in the private sector and you're sure as hell not going to find an iota of sympathy from me. My only two questions are "What took so long?" and "What's next?"

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Don't Call Me Shirley

Well, Leslie Nielsen died yesterday. I'm guessing that right at this very moment, you're thinking that surely, I can't be serious. But I am serious. And don't call me Shirley.

But while an unknown portion of the United States mourns this ridiculous actor, their sorrow is nothing compared to that of the Chileans in Chile today. You remember Chile, right? They had a bunch of miners trapped underground for some God-awful length of time before they were miraculously rescued alive. (And I'd like to take this opportunity to mention that while it was all very nice that they were thanking God and all of that, I really would have liked a shout-out to the US, as it was the majority of our technology and expertise that got them out of there in one piece and without having had their bones gnawed upon by their compadres. I'm just sayin'. Now where was I?) They are also, apparently, huge fans of Leslie Nielsen. Behold!

Yep. What you're looking at is the front page of a daily Chilean periodical called Las Ultimas Noticias. That translates into The Latest News (according to Google Translate, which I freaking love). The page which reads "Leslie Nielsen fallecio de una neumonia" and "Repentina muerte de la estrella de "Donde esta el policia?" translates into "Leslie Nielsen died of pneumonia" and "Sudden death of the star of "Where is the police?" I guess that, since that picture is from The Naked Gun, they call it Where Is The Police? That's odd because it's not like you can't translate The Naked Gun into Spanish. Why don't they call it "Agárralo como puedas"? I don't know either, but they don't and he's still dead.

I felt the need to check out other stories on their website to get some sort of a grip on what kind of news they report on, especially if the death of Leslie Nielsen warrants taking up the entire front page over there. I'm still not really sure what they're all about. They had this picture:

And the title or headline that accompanied it read "La esposa del campeon dejo ver sus encantos", which Google Translate says is "The wife of champion left to see its charms". I'm looking at the picture and I'm reading that accompaniment and I'm still not getting it. Nice rack, though. And hey! Before you start judging me for saying that, I'm just going to add that underneath that cryptic description, it also said "Peligroso escote", which apparently means "dangerous cleavage"! Hmm. I'm really wanting to know more about these folks AND about her cleavage. Just HOW dangerous is it?

Then there was this picture:

That was accompanied by "Pas Buscunan se la juega por la vida sana" and "La actriz lanza su página web con audaz foto" which apparently means "Pas Buscunan it plays for healthy living" and "The actress launches its website with bold picture." Well, that's definitely a bold picture. So far, we have dangerous cleavage and a bold picture. Is there anything in this newspaper that doesn't have to do with female physique and (of all things) an unabated love for the newly deceased Leslie Nielsen?

Well, there's this: It's accompanying caption reads "Zafrada cuenta su vida en Internet" and "Tiene su propia página web". Uh-huh. As confusing as that is for me, the English translation didn't do much to clear things up for me when I read it means "Zafra has your Internet life" and "It has its own website". What is Zafra? Or maybe the question should be WHO is Zafra? Is that little boy Zafra? Does Zafra mean leather loafers and courdoroy pants in Spanish? I'm very confused by this entire newspaper and the events upon which they report. I think I'm just going to go back to mourning Leslie Nielsen by watching "Where is the police?" in English.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

All Of The Japanese Did Not Attack Pearl Harbor

It's hard for me to know where to go with this one. Some things just speak for themselves. I have just spent a fair amount of time transcribing it, so I'm a bit worn out by it all and I'm not sure how much I have in me to discuss this. But I will give you this to chew on: It would appear that Whoopi Goldberg is so worried about being politically correct that all common sense that she might have had (and I stress the word "might" as I'm not so sure that she's ever played with a full deck) has gone right out the ol' proverbial window. In a nutshell (and this is all pretty darned nutty), in this exchange with Bill O'Reilly (video below) she admits she doesn't know what a madrassa is. But wait! There's more! She asserted that is wasn't the Japanese who attacked America at Pearl Harbor AND claims that Muslims that are in America are being more persecuted than Jews. Do you need any more? Good Lord. Seriously? The video is below. Do with it what you will. The transcription is below the video. I just can't take any more of these Whoopi Goldberg-esque morons. I can't.

BILL O'REILLY: Do you believe in the world, we have a Muslim problem?



GOLDBERG: I think we have a terrorist problem.

O'REILLY: OK. So, you don't believe we have a Muslim problem. Would you agree with me that if all the good Muslims, and I think they overwhelm the bad Muslims, OK? Would cooperate with the West, with the United States and NATO and other countries, that we wouldn't have a terrorist problem? For example, if Pakistan would cooperate with the United States, we wouldn't have the Taliban problem in Afghanistan. We would defeat them.

GOLDBERG: That would all be great if that's how it worked.

O'REILLY: But that's how it works.

GOLDBERG: But it isn't how it works, because, if you recall -- think of it this way, that crazy gentleman, I take that back because that's rude -- the gentleman that said he was going to burn the Koran, that got played all around the world.

O'REILLY: You mean the nut down in Florida?

GOLDBERG: I'm not going to say that.

O'REILLY: OK, I will. But that, you're diverting the attention.

GOLDBERG: No, no, I'm not. Listen to my point.

O'REILLY: All right. Go ahead.

GOLDBERG: So, all the people who are watching around the world saying, boy, America feels like that, so Americans....

O'REILLY: See, but I disagree. I don't think Muslims think that everybody is like that crazy guy. I don't believe that. But let's get back to Pakistan. Pakistan, if they would help us...

GOLDBERG: No, no. Bill, Bill.

O'REILLY: ...we could win that.

GOLDBERG: Bill, do you think that the people in Pakistan, the people who live in Pakistan, the poor people, the people who don't have any say, you think they don't want help to help the West?

O'REILLY: A lot of them don't. The madrassa -- do you know what a madrassa is?

GOLDBERG: No, I don't. (I have to say, I'm surprised that she admitted that.)

O'REILLY: OK. Madrassa is a school that teaches Islamic jihad and there are madrassas all over the Muslim world. They teach 4 and 5-year-old kids to hate people.

GOLDBERG: Bill, that may be true...

O'REILLY: It is true.

GOLDBERG: It may be true. I can't prove it. You've clearly been... (But you COULD prove it if you were interested in learning about something that you know nothing about. But since you're clearly not interested in the truth, let's just continue as if you have something meaningful to say.)

O'REILLY: I can.

GOLDBERG: You've clearly been to them and I will take your word for it. But that does not change the fact that when you paint all Muslims with one brush, it's bad.

O'REILLY: I'm not painting all Muslims with one brush.

GOLDBERG: But when you say Muslims killed us, when you don't specify. It's like saying whenever I see black men coming down the street, I'm scared. That's the same...

O'REILLY: Do you have a problem in history when you were taught about World War II that Japanese attacked us? Do you have a problem with that?

GOLDBERG: I have a problem with that.

O'REILLY: Do you?


O'REILLY: But they attacked us?

GOLDBERG: The Japanese...

O'REILLY: Attacked us.

GOLDBERG: attacked us. (THAT is her quibble with the statement that the United States was attacked by the Japanese?! That because ALL of the Japanese folks who lived in Japan weren't in the planes that day, that somehow changes the fact that it was the Japanese that attacked us?! Is she on glue?!)

O'REILLY: The air force did.

GOLDBERG: Sorry, the air force did. You understand my point? (If your point is that you are completely idiotic in the nits that you want to pick, then yes. We've come to an agreement.)

O'REILLY: No, I don't, because I think you are cutting the hair so thin. We have a Muslim problem in the world in the sense that 90 percent of the terrorism....

GOLDBERG: Bill, we're going to disagree.

O'REILLY: Comes from that area.

GOLDBERG: You know what? What do you mean 90 percent of the terrorists...


GOLDBERG: ...are from everywhere. They are white.

O'REILLY: No, predominantly they are Muslims.

GOLDBERG: Right now. (Yes, right now! What in the hell else would he be referring to? Wait. Don't answer that. What in the hell are you referring to? For cryin' out loud...)

O'REILLY: Right. That's what we are talking about.

GOLDBERG: Right now, everybody can say the Muslims are the terrorists. Two years ago, it was the white people that were the terrorists.

O'REILLY: What white people?

GOLDBERG: Oh, wasn't it white people that blew up Oklahoma City? (Does she know that Muslim isn't a race? It's not like you can be black or white or Asian or Muslim. Does she get that? I'm getting the sense that she does not.)

O'REILLY: Yes, two of them. Two of them.

(I have to interject. The Oklahoma City bombing was not TWO years ago. And that was DIFFERENT. If you don't understand the difference between the Oklahoma City bombing and terrorism by Muslim extremists, then I can't help you. I doubt that anyone can.)

GOLDBERG: What about all the folks...

O'REILLY: It's like saying crime is white is black.

GOLDBERG: Bill, we disagree. (It's not just Bill that disagrees with you, you nut job.)

O'REILLY: All right. We disagree.

GOLDBERG: We disagree on this.

O'REILLY: But I just want to be clear.

GOLDBERG: And it's OK.

O'REILLY: We have to have these discussions.

GOLDBERG: We must have these discussions. (And if we must have these discussions, it would really help if you don't storm off the set of your show when one of these discussions is being had. That's the only way that they're going to get had. Then again, I'm not so sure if this particular discussion is necessary. I'm finding it rather frustrating.)

O'REILLY: Right. But I just want to be clear and I'll give you the last word on this and then we'll get to your book. (Ohhhhh. She has a book. No wonder she appeared on his show. Gotcha.)


O'REILLY: I believe there is a Muslim problem in the world. (I really wish that he would specify "radical Muslim" or "Muslim extremist". That's the only part of his argument that I have a problem with. Don't get me wrong. I can't stand Bill O'Reilly most of the time. But I haven't found much to quibble with, other than this, during this exchange.)


O'REILLY: And that's what I was trying to get across to you guys on "The View."


O'REILLY: That 70 percent of Americans believe the way I do. They thought it was inappropriate to make a Muslim community center that close to Ground Zero. That was my point.

GOLDBERG: I understood your point. What did I not understand and I will just reiterate it again because...

O'REILLY: I just left out the word terrorist.

GOLDBERG: Yes. Because in this day and age when kids are getting their butts kicked because they are Muslim, OK?

O'REILLY: Not so much.

GOLDBERG: Bill, are you kidding me?

O'REILLY: New study today, Jews in America are far more likely to be persecuted than Muslims, just came out today.

GOLDBERG: You know what? I'm sure that someone believes that, but I believe that in neighborhoods where they don't want Muslims, they beat up kids. (That's exactly the problem. You can give someone like Whoopi some sort of data to back up your point and they just choose to ignore it because it doesn't fit their self-defined narrative that they're so freaking proud of. Thank God she's just a talk show participant. If she had much more influence, I'd be more concerned.)

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Confuses Me

I've discussed this before, but apparently, I'm going to have to discuss it again. Because somewhere along the line, someone isn't quite getting it. I'm not sure if it's just me that doesn't get it or if it's just the throngs of apparent lunatics who don't get it. But it's definitely one of us. I'm speaking of this absolutely insane "tradition" of Black Friday.

First of all, given as how we're sooooo enlightened and politically correct these days, I'm surprised that someone has allegedly (probably loudly) that calling it Black Friday is racist. You'd think that we would have heard that by now, especially considering all of the other ridiculous things that we have to hear about as being racist. But we don't. And for that ONE little thing, I am glad.

For the rest of it? Yeah, not so much. I'm sure you know the drill. The Friday after Thanksgiving is when the Christmas shopping season "officially starts". And on that Friday, most major retailers (and I'm sure the minor ones as well) offer some pretty good deals on some of their items. The key is that the bargain is only for a limited time and that time is usually a couple of hours. Thus, that has morphed into another new "tradition" of people lining up outside of stores DAYS before they open and camping out to get the best deals. That's right. CAMPING. OUT. Oh, let me tell you this: I would kill, we're talking murder, for that sort of time.

Here's what/who I don't get: You folks at the back of the line. What are you doing? What are you hoping for? Seriously. Those things that have great prices on them that you think that you want? Yeah, you realize that there are only like one or two of those at every store and your chances of getting one, being as how you're 275th in line, are completely zero. Not even slim to none. No. Zero. So why are you there? What do you want?

Is it the thrill of the hunt? Everything that you could possibly want at a good enough price to make it worth standing at the end of the line in the middle of the night is going to be gone when you get in there. How much of a saving is worth that to you people? Look, if 56-inch, flat-screen TVs were on sale for $100 each, that would be worth something, I will agree with you on that one. But they're not. And even if they were, there would only be one or two of them and they would be GONE by the time that you folks who are at the end of the line (that has now wrapped around the block) get up there. The deals are good, but they're really not THAT great unless you're planning on spending a boatload of cash. I read an article online this morning (can't remember where, otherwise I'd link to it) about a woman who had been at the tail end of one of those lines for hours. Hours. And what did she finally end up buying when she made it into the store? Well, it certainly wasn't anything that she had hoped to get because they were all out by the time that she shoved her way in. No, she ended up buying a Candyland game for four dollars.
::: blink ::: ::: blink :::

What does a game of Candyland cost when it is NOT on sale? Eight dollars? Six? I really don't know (even though I loved that game as a child), but I know that I would be willing to pay full price for Candyland as opposed to standing outside in the frigid cold for hours upon hours to get one for the low, low price of four dollars. Are times THAT tough? They can't be.

But some folks really must want that Candyland game, as evidenced by the ridiculous near stampede that occurred at the Buffalo, NY Target store in (you guessed it) Buffalo, NY. Who are you people who just push your way through even though someone has obviously fallen and is about to be trampled to death? I want you found and tarred and feathered in the town square. Or, better yet, I want you be lying on the ground as a crazed mob bears down upon you and you're moments from death if someone doesn't step up and help you. Granted, you people that kept on going, I would really like it if you were trampled to death, but that's just me. There's video of this madness below so that you can see for yourself. If the video doesn't work, try clicking here.

And one final note: Have you people never heard of the Internet? How great is shopping online? You can be drunk as a skunk, sans pants, still eating leftover turkey and still get what you need/want without leaving the comfort of your home AND without nearly being trampled by a bunch of savages at your local Target store. That's right. The Internet. Check it out. You'll love it.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

You Can't Take Just ONE Day?

I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. At the very least, I hope you had a nice Thursday. But you know who didn't have a happy Thanksgiving? That's right. Angelina Jolie. She hates it. She hates Thanksgiving. Wait. What now?

I've heard of people hating a variety of different holidays. I'm not a particularly huge fan of Arbor Day. That doesn't mean I'm against planting trees. I just don't see the point in having an entire day dedicated to the subject. Now, Thanksgiving? That's a little different. I can totally see the point in taking a day to give thanks, spend it with people you like (usually) and get paid for the day off. (Thank you FDR for mandating that it be held on the fourth Thursday in November.) But, surprise! Angelina Jolie doesn't see it that way.

According to the fine folks over there at PopEater, a one Rob Shuter tells us that "Angelina Jolie hates this holiday and wants no part in rewriting history like so many other Americans...To celebrate what the white settlers did to the native Indians, the domination of one culture over another, just isn't her style. She definitely doesn't want to teach her multi-cultural family how to celebrate a story of murder." Oh, for cryin' out loud.

And continuing alone in true Angelina style, the article goes on to say that "Angelina gets so grossed out by Thanksgiving that she has made sure her family will not be in America this year on Thursday." Good Lord.

Listen, Angie...through the history of time, across the world, across the entire world, civilizations have been formed by one group of people taking over and/or slaughtering another. This is not unique to America. If there's one thing I cannot stand it is those who feel so enlightened and feel as if they are acting so politically correct, but they're completely wrong about their basis for doing so. But that aside, it's not the point.

The point is that it is a day to give thanks. Maybe if she felt so strongly about it, she would use this day and her immense (yet, unfathomable) star power to do something about it. Then again, considering that she's wrong about her position on this particular topic, it would make her look like a damned fool to do so. That might explain some of it, but I don't think that it really does.

Here's someone who has the entire world on a platter placed before her and she can't see the point in a day to give thanks? Be thankful for your family? Be thankful for what you have? Be thankful for what your life is or is not? One day? She can't get into that? All right then. I knew there was a reason that she's always bugged me.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! And to those of you not celebrating Thanksgiving today, Happy Thursday!

This may come as somewhat of a shock to some, but yes, even someone as cynical and as sarcastic as I can be on occasion (translation: with every living breath) can actually acknowledge things to be thankful for. And I have plenty of them. I don't know if I constantly think about them year round, but it does occur to me at times other than Thanksgiving that there's plenty to be thankful for.

See, it's coming up on almost ten years since an occurrence that I refer to as The Unfortunate Incident, when a bunch of stoic doctors were predicting that I had about an hour to live. Of course, no one bothered to tell me that. (I'm always the last to know these things.) And almost ten years later, I'm happy to report that, thankfully, they were wrong. (Actually, they probably got the diagnosis right, but just underestimated me is all. Hey, these things happen. No harm, no foul.) While I don't think about it all the time, at this time of year I do tend to think about how thankful I am that I have been able to continue living my life as if nothing ever happened (some minor mangling aside). It's awesome.

So here we go. My thankfulness for this year is that: I'm thankful for my crazy family...even if I don't tell them all that often. (And that trend will likely continue, thankfulness or not.) And if they ever figure out how to use The Innerwebs and find this, then they'll know.
I'm thankful for the things that are typically considered "the basics"; a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear and a bed to sleep in. (Basics are good.)

I'm thankful that even though I write this blog, that doesn't necessarily make me 'a blogger'. (I prefer "That funny chick who writes stuff".) But more than that, I'm thankful that there are folks out there who actually read what I write and (for the most part) seem to enjoy it. That's awesome. Thanks.

I'm thankful for Guitar Hero (I will deny writing this, should it ever come up in conversation.)

And I'm way thankful for my friends for being my friends, even after all of this time.

Right about here is where most of you could stop reading if you wanted, but I hesitate to say that because I need at least one of you to keep on reading. (But besides that, if you stopped reading, you'd miss the most awesome Bloom County strip ever at the bottom.) And yes, it does matter which one of you needs to keep reading.

Dude, I am ridiculously thankful your friendship. I wouldn't have thought that someone who was so kind, real, polite, real polite (that's important, you know), smart, intelligent, really funny, honest, caring and just fun as hell, actually existed. But you do and it's awesome and I am way thankful for said awesomeness.

I'm thankful for all the times we've done stuff together (though not so thankful for the same damn menu at Chili's) and for your patience (and guidance and list of rules) with me during interactions with the general public. I'm thankful that I don't always have to be "on" when we're hanging out (even though I do miss the stand-up routine at times). And I'll deny this if it ever comes up, but I just think that's the coolest thing. Don't know what I'd do without ya. Happy Thanksgiving, dude.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

End Of Credits Amusement

Two And A Half Men is the highest rated show on TV. The star of the show, a one unpredictable and often knife wielding Charlie Sheen, is the highest paid actor on TV, raking in somewhere around $1.8 million PER EPISODE. And it's sort of morphed to the point where it isn't really a sitcom anymore. It's more reality show, as it is really mirroring Charlie Sheen's crazy-ass life these days. You'd expect it to maybe be on the Biography Channel or something. Or that maybe it's one of those E! True Hollywood Story shows. Either way, it seems to mirror his violent and out of control life rather closely and no one seems to care. It's starting to get a little odd is what it is.

At the end of this past Monday's episode, after the credits rolled, something flashed on the screen that looked like a letter or a list. It was quick. You wouldn't have been able to read it without pausing the screen. Yes, this is what I have chosen to do with the advent of technology like the DVR. I've chosen to wait until the end of a show's credits are done rolling and then see if anything interesting pops up. OK, that's a little bit more about how I've chosen to spend my time as opposed to how I use technology, but it sounds a little more pathetic when I talk about it in terms of myself. Just go with it, will you? Thanks.

So, I rewind and I pause the screen. To my amusement, it was, in fact, a list. And just like the show, it was an imitation of life itself. Let's take a gander at it.

To Do List:

Recalibrate the line behind fiction and reality.

Meditate using new mantra: High ratings do not equate to high self-esteem. High ratings do not equate to high self-esteem.

Go to Al-Anon meeting.

Stand in front of a mirror and practice saying, "No comment."

Stand in front of a mirror and practice saying, "As far as I know, everything's terrific."

Write a country song entitled "Hooker in the Closet". Chorus: There's a hooker in the closet, 'neath the monogrammed robes. Don't know how she got there, and I can't find my clothes. Officer Krooky, how are you tonight? I've misplaced my watch but I'm feelin' all right." Donate royalties to women's shelter.

Quit the business and teach creative writing at Cal State Bakersfield. Fresno?

Bite the hand that feeds you because you've had more than enough to eat.

Hire a publicist to put a positive spin on this vanity card.

Wow. Just wow. Art imitating life, indeed. I really wish that there was some music to set to the lyrics of Hooker in the Closet. It sounds like a winner. Maybe not an Emmy award winning winner or anything like that, but more like a played-all-over-the-Internet-sort-of-winner. It worked for Antoine Dodson. There's nothing wrong with it. Don't judge. The point here is that it's both hilarious and rather odd all at the same time. I guess the lesson to be learned here is that if you just embrace who you are, whether it be an upstanding member of society or a naked, drunk, crazed actor with his face covered in cocaine, scaring the bejeezus out of a $12,000 a night hooker, you'll do just fine. People will be more accepting of who you are, what you do, who you do it with and how you do it if you just don't shy from who you are and embrace yourself. And believe me, embracing yourself will get you a lot farther than holding a knife to your wife's throat on Christmas Day. Allegedly.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Security Gropes Explained

Worried about flying somewhere for Thanksgiving? Not sure how to feel about getting groped by the TSA? Luckily, there's this handy video (who I must thank my friend, Julie, for posting on Facebook, otherwise I would still be in the dark about all of the procedures) to let you know what to expect when you're expecting to get felt up. You're welcome.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

The Facebook Is Flawless

Do you know who Karl Lagerfeld is? Me neither. Well, I didn't until I read this little piece over at something called Styleite. That's where I learned that Mr. Lagerfeld is some sort of German fashion designer. It's also where I learned that he doesn't know squat about technology. I'm not saying that the guy needs to know about technology. After all, he designs fashion. Does he need to know about technology? I'm not saying that he does, but he might want to be aware of what certain aspects of technology are. You know. Just in case he's asked about it or something. At least then he won't sound like he's on the brink of dementia. (By the way, Mr. Lagerfeld is pictured below. Is he from the future?)

He gave an interview to The Luxury Channel. (In other news, there's a Luxury Channel.) He was "... asked to describe technology he finds "amazing". He gave a rather long and extremely odd response. He answered, "Facebook is a flawless object. It’s for me like a Brancusi. As I told you, I got one as a gift in gold — in white gold. And the BlackBerry too, and the iPod. I have all those from a gift, I wouldn’t buy it. But somebody gave me all those things in white gold. They are beautiful objects on the table — they are stunning. I don’t use them because I don’t have to use them." Wait a minute. What now?

That statement begs more questions than it answers. He finds Facebook to be "a flawless object"? Um, dude, I'm not so sure that I'd classify Facebook as an object. Maybe you're thinking of something else. In fact, I'm going to have to assume that you're thinking of something else, as I don't know how you would receive a Facebook in white gold. (By the way, in case you were wondering, Brancusi is an artist. Thus, "a Brancusi" would be one of his works. Yeah, I'm definitely thinking that this guy is confused.)

Next up, the BlackBerry and the iPod. I guess I didn't realize that you could get either one of those in white gold, but I guess that it doesn't surprise me. Anyone can make a case out of anything these days. The folks over at Engadget have some pictures of a BlackBerry 8700 encased in 18k white gold. Behold!

Yeah, I don't know if I'd consider that "stunning" the way that Mr. Lagerfeld does. It's a bit garish for my tastes. Maybe they've improved since the 8700, though. AllTechnoBlog reports on a white gold iPod 4G. It's definitely more slick than the BlackBerry, but it still seems like a mugging waiting to happen. Behold!

But I digress. Back to his statement. Sooooo...he doesn't actually use these things? They just sit around looking all pretty and sparkly to him? Look, if he's not going to actually USE stuff, I don't know that he should be asked his opinion on it. If someone wants to know about the aesthetic properties of a certain piece of technology, then I think he would be the perfect person to consult about that. But the guy thinks that Facebook is a tangible object. On top of that, he thinks it's flawless. Clearly, he's never used Facebook. And I'm guessing that, until someone explains it to him in a little more detail, he never will.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Safe Sex With Bristol And The Situation

It must be a slow news day because I've got nothin'. My head is about to explode reading about all of the TSA nonsense and so it's hard for me to format a coherent post about that. (I could probably ramble on for quite some time about how, in some fashion, this country has decided that we are only going to be attacked from the air and has focused every, single, freaking effort on that. Maybe it's because they don't want to admit, yet do realize, that there's nothing we can do to prevent some Muslim extremists (or other terrorists) from blowing up a mall.) Lindsay Lohan is still in rehab, so there's a once perfectly reliable go-to topic straight out the window. So, here I am. Nearly topic-less. Fortunately, I found a video of a PSA that Bristol Palin did with The Situation which is supposed to steer one toward either abstinence or using condoms. Yep. That's what I've got. I don't think that this is going to do any good, nor do I think that The Sitch is really in need of a magnum condom. (I'll bet it's baggy.) But at least they're both sticking to their guns. Bristol is not going to have sex and Mike is going to have all of the sex. Fine. Now go away.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rangel's Wrangles

Longtime crook, Charlie Rangel, was finally "held accountable" after it was voted upon and found that he should be censured for a number of violations. It seems Mr. Rangel, who was responsible for crafting a LOT of the current tax laws and rules, felt that those rules didn't apply to him and his little villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. Shocking, I know. And Mr. Rangel really seems to enjoy that villa of his. Why, here's a photo of him enjoying himself now!

It doesn't get much easier for political cartoonists than that. But back to the crooked congressman. He was found guilty of eleven different violations. Naturally, there were ethics violations in there as well as his not paying taxes (which seems like it maybe should have warranted a criminal investigation, but because this is Congress, I guess they do things however they want). And since he has been found guilty, there is now a punishment. Can you guess what his punishment is? I would have thought that if you're found guilty of stuff like that that they just boot you out. Corrupt politicians in Congress are not what we need. Ever. But that's not what they do. No, they voted to censure him. Wait. What now?

That's right. Censure him. If you're wondering what a censure consists of, so was I. I was really hoping that there were going to be lions involved, but sadly, there will be no lions. Maybe if Siegfried and Roy were making the rules we'd get some lions, but unfortunately, they're not. According to Wikipedia (so take it for what it's worth), "After a motion to censure is passed, the chair (or the vice-president, if the presiding officer is being censured) addresses the censured member by name. He may say something to the effect of, "Brother F, you have been censured by vote of the assembly. A censure indicates the assembly's resentment of your conduct at meetings. A censure is a warning. It is the warning voice of suspension or expulsion. Please take due notice thereof and govern yourself accordingly." Wait. That's it?

That's it. Mr. Rangel will stand in the well of the Senate and they will read the charges that he has been found guilty of and then they will say that he has been censured. I'm pretty sure that he gets to say something, but I'm not sure if it's required, nor am I sure if he is required to apologize. (If it is a requirement that they apologize, that's a pretty stupid requirement, as it's not like the person would actually mean it or anything.) Then he can go back to whatever it is that he does. That's it. That seems like a slap on the wrist if you're asking me. They could have voted for expulsion. Now that I could have gotten behind.

I don't get this censure thing. And I can't imagine that it's going to have any effect on the man at this point. He's been a congressman for 20 terms. TWENTY. That's unbelievable. That's also forty years, which is also unbelievable. He represents the area in and around Harlem and I'm just guessing that, based on what he has been able to do for the community, they aren't really going to care about some censure. After all, all of these charges had already been brought against him when he went up for re-election just a couple of weeks ago and he won with something like 80% of the vote. His constituents don't care about censure. And while he acts like he cares, he doesn't.

I started wondering about this censure thing and why it doesn't happen more often, given how crooked I think a lot of the politicians in Congress actually are. I know it takes a ridiculous amount of time to look into these things, but I don't know why. I didn't find the answer to that and I perused the Innerwebs looking for answers, but I did find a fairly interesting statistic regarding censure. There have only been 22 other representatives who have been censured. Um, that's not very many if you take into account how long we've actually had a Congress.

Several folks were censured for "unparliamentary language". Now, I don't know what that consists of, but whatever it is, it sounds great! Very engaging! I sure would like to see a little bit more of it on C-SPAN. Those hearings are awfully boring. They need a little unparliamentary language to liven them up a little bit. (Hell, the Taiwanese lawmakers get into fisticuffs with each other all of the time!) A couple of folks assaulted some other lawmakers. The first guy censured was a one William Stanbery who, in 1932, "...was censured for insulting the Speaker of the House." I really want to know what he said. I also really want to know what he would have had to say about Nancy Pelosi. (I'm guessing that Botox would be a theme in his thoughts, should he have been able to share them.)

But here's the other thing I learned: A guy was censured in 1921 for the unparliamentary language. It wasn't until 1979 that the next guy was censured (only this guy apparently partook in mail and payroll fraud). Not only do I find it absolutely unbelievable that there have only been 23 (counting Mr. Rangel) members of Congress that have ever been censured, I find it incredible that they could go for almost sixty years in between. Between the 1832 and that guy in 1921, there were 19 censured congressmen. Since 1921? FOUR. The last one was in 1983!

You cannot possibly tell me that there hasn't been a single crooked politician since 1983! And mind you, the two most recent censures were for "...sexual misconduct with a House page." You're telling me that everyone else has played by the rules this entire time?! Oh, please! Is anyone surprised that politicians are on the take? Is anyone surprised that they do the crooked stuff that we all know that they do? If there aren't any penalties for them other than being told in front of their peers that they've been caught and then they get sent back to work, why would they follow the rules when there is so much money to be made and power to be had?!

We need more censures. Who's up next? A one Maxine Waters looks to be on the docket for being investigated or charged or something along those lines next. Maybe we'll know how that one turns out in another sixty years or so. That would be about right, given the history of these sorts of things. I'd be willing to bet that Charlie Rangel not only runs for re-election next time, but that he wins as well. People never learn. And those that do are the ones who are getting away with stuff like Charlie Rangel did and does and probably will continue to in the future. We're so doomed.

::: Insert unparliamentary language here:::

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