Thursday, May 29, 2008

Act Quickly To Avert Campaign Disaster

Barack Obama may need to make a weekend swing out to the west coast to reassure voters in Seattle and San Francisco that he is disgusted by and disagrees with and personally disavows recent comments made by Sharon Stone. They are both American and they both know of China and Tibet - and that's just too big a coincidence for American voters to laugh off the possibility that Obama has been thinking these same kinds of thoughts and would likely enact policy as President based on this thinking. If he has ever attended church in the same zip code as Ms. Stone, he would do well to withdraw from the race today.

I hate that I feel compelled to specify this explicitly - but the above was a joke.

Paging Lee Greenwood...

That's A Full Lid

There’s a new book out called What Happened: Inside The Bush White House And Washington’s Culture Of Deception, by former White House press secretary (second in a series of four!) Scott McClellan. The book is purportedly harshly critical of Bushtard and his lackeys with respect to such topics as the war in Vietraq and the Valerie Plame scandal. *Gasp!* You mean they lied to us?!?! It’s a good thing McClellan didn’t confess to sleeping with a Senator or sticking a needle in Mark McGwire’s butt or turning a novel he couldn’t sell into a memoir of a life he didn’t really lead - we might be led to believe that he wrote those things justto sell a book. Who would do such a thing - other than Barbara Walters, José Canseco, and James Frey? Certainly not Scott McClellan...right?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Free Bumper Sticker - Warning! Applying Sticker To Car May Cause Car To Lean Left (#2)

Another free bumper sticker from the fine folks at MoveOn - this one calling attention to the idea that electing John McCain in November would be akin to giving George Bush a third term. This isn't quite right, of course - but it is typical MoveOn: heart in the,, overzealous, not at all subtle, and not entirely accurate. The slogan is, however, bang on with respect to the quagmire in Vietraq. Though McCain is reasonable, and even sort of liberal, on some things, when it comes to the war he's...well, he's as much of an idiot as Bush (although he knew beforehand that it would take more than we were putting on the ground to win - so maybe he's not quite as bad as Bushtard, but if they turned Arkham into a loony bin for war hawks, they'd both wind up on the same floor in the same wing).

Here's what the sticker looks like:

Since I live in Indiana, though, I have to wonder how many people are just going to see the word McCain on the sticker and assume that I support him. Hopefully they'll have more success reading the sticker than they do reading, say, No Turn On Red signs at traffic lights.

Click here to get a sticker of your very own! For a small donation, you can get a whole pack of stickers!

Friday, May 23, 2008

This Man Is An Impostor!

"My View" piece in the op-ed section of today's paper concerning the quote-unquote issue of ethanol driving up food prices. It's not really an issue, of course, but people like to demonize ethanol, even here in Hillbillyana, where there is little else going on but corn. The interesting thing about this very good op-ed piece, though, is that it's written by Dick Lugar. His positions and opinions are so well thought out and intelligent and (often) correct that it always seems incongruous to me that he's a Republican.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Early Oscar Buzz?

I was reading the weekly Movieline report at work on a Monday morning a week or two ago, perusing the long list, toward the end of the report, of movies coming out later this year - and the name of one movie positively leapt off the page at me:

Revolutionary Road

The sad thing is that not many people are going to be excited about this one - yet. It has a late December 2008 release date and, if the film version is even one-thousandth as good as the novel, there should be considerable Oscar buzz around it in the weeks leading up to its release.

It’s based on a novel by Richard Yates, and another sad thing is that not many people are going to recognize that name when they read it. He wrote all of seven novels and two short story collections and died basically penniless in 1992, with the working manuscript of an unfinished novel in his freezer for safekeeping (in case of fire).

The theme is rather bleak - the idea that suburban married life destroys the soul - but the execution is really terrific. Yates was a writer of enormous talent who was terribly, terribly underappreciated in his time - and continues to be to this day. A recent novel by Tom Perrotta, Little Children, is in many ways strikingly similar to Revolutionary Road - including the fact that each novel is the best work of the respective author.

Another similarity - both film versions feature female leads played by Kate Winslet. Unfortunately - very unfortunately - Revolutionary Road has Leonardo DiCaprio as the male lead. The last time these two starred together (Titanic) they conspired - with James Cameron, lunatic - to make the most overrated movie in the history of cinema. The director this time around, though, is much better - Winslet’s husband Sam Mendes, who directed the very fine American Beauty.

One last similarity - and this starting to get a little odd, isn’t it? - this film was originally going to be the film that director Todd Field did after he finished In The Bedroom. Instead of doing Revolutionary Road, however, he decided to make - wait for it - Little Children.

If there is justice in this world, this film will generate enough buzz for Yates that Picador will usher back into print the three Yates novels that have for years been out of print - and perhaps bring Kate Winslet an Oscar that is long overdue.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Party At Dr. Tim's

I think I probably subscribe to too many magazines - or it could just be that weeklies really stack up, especially for a guy who normally reads 2-3 books at once and hasn't entirely given up his fairly stupid dream of one day becoming a novelist. When they offer you a year of Newsweek for twenty bucks, though, it's hard to say no. I'm working on last week's issue at the moment and came across a blurb about a fellow who had died. He was called Albert Hofmann and he is credited as being the first person to synthesize LSD. He lived to be 102 years old. The guy who gave the world LSD. 102. I'm just sayin...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Jackson Gazes In Awe At The New Stadium

So says I, right? I don't have any new pictures from staying home with him this week - he slept a lot more than he usually does these last two days - so these are a couple of shots I snapped on the sidewalk catty-corner from the new stadium. In one of them, Jackson is looking off to his left, in the general direction of the stadium, but I can't say for sure that he was looking at the stadium. He might well have been pooping.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lucas Oil Stadium - Pictures

Just a couple of shots of the front of Lucas Oil Stadium, taken from the corner of South Street and Capitol Avenue this afternoon. Amy will be finished with school in a couple of weeks, and that will hopefully mean that we can get out and about more frequently - the new cultural trail is starting to take shape, and the first portion of it looks to be almost complete. This will be a very cool addition to downtown when it's all finished - forming a pedestrian and bike path that connects Fountain Square and downtown with the leg of the Monon Trail that leads up to Broad Ripple (the really adventurous can then continue along the Monon from Broad Ripple all the way up into Fishers, although walking the Monon from 10th Street to Broad Rippele will likely be more than enough adventure for even the hardiest of souls). For now, though, have a gander at the new stadium.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Big List #6

The third and fourth items are described as new blogs. This only means that they are new to me - not that they are brand new blogs making their debut in the cyberspaceship. There are literally hundreds of blogs out there on the Interwebs and I have as yet encountered but a handful of them. The more interesting ones will get a quick mention in a Big List post and be added to the Tasty Blogs sidebar.

The Bush-McCain Challenge

Click above to play America’s fastest-growing quiz sensation - the Bush-McCain Challenge! Brought to you by our good friends at MoveOn (Motto: Who’s too far to the left? What left? We’re right and we know it!) As a bonus, those fine folks at MoveOn even included a link to the sources for the questions they pose in the challenge. Join the fun today!


Another entry from Cosmic Log, this one taking Ben Stein to task for his film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary in which Stein takes scientists to task for not allowing “intelligent design” to be taught in science classrooms. Lots of links in the post to various side topics and supporting material discussed.

New Blog - The Intersection

Ran across this while reading a story on Cosmic Log about Cyclone Nargis - a science blog by the fellow who wrote a very good book called The Republican War On Science. Perusing The Intersection then led me to another...

New Blog - Science Progress

Another science blog, this one part of the Center For American Progress and dedicated to the idea that scientific inquiry is one of the best achievements of humankind and that it should help people achieve a better future.

Say Goodbye, Don’t Follow

The link is to the online site for the comic strip Non Sequitur, and the strip in question is Monday’s (5/12). I first uploaded the picture directly into my blog, but found when I looked at it that it was too small too read. So in place of the picture there is the link - this strip is funny most of the time anyway, but this one is really good.

Friday, May 09, 2008

New Skeptic Magazine

In a previous post, I mentioned that the upcoming issue of Skeptic magazine would have a cover story on global warming and that it appeared, based on the preview of the issue on their website, that the magazine was not going to focus solely on one side of the issue - that there would be healthy debate on the topic. I've only picked up a couple of issues of the magazine (somewhat because it only publishes quarterly), but I've found what I've read to be interesting and well written. I picked up the new issue tonight and have only had the chance to flip through it and skim some of the articles. Two of the articles are linked to on the web page for the current issue - one article for each side of the debate.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Notes On The Primary Election

This from an MSNBC article updated at 8:25pm:

"In Indiana, nearly three-quarters of those who said it was important voted for Clinton."

The "it" in question? The controversy surrounding Jeremiah Wright. (There are one or two people out there who understand that Wright is mugging for the camera, right? And there are one or two people out there who understand that the pastor isn't the only reason that people go to a particular church, right? If there are some people like that out there in the world, will you please move to Indiana in time to cast an informed ballot in November?)

Is that racist and stupid, or just stupid? Thanks to the Byzantine method of nomination concocted by the Dems, losing Indiana won't break Obama and it won't make Clinton. She'll get a few more delegates than he will, and in a week or two people will forget how Hillbillyana voted - but it sure would have been nice for the next day or two to know that Indiana had been smart enough to see beyond an issue that doesn't matter - Wright - and an issue about which Clinton is completely, utterly incorrect - the gas tax suspension.

Hillary Clinton is correctly praised for her mastery of issues - and yet she's in favor of suspending the gas tax. Is it even conceivable that she does not know she's incorrect on this? Nope. Not remotely. She's pandering to hicks - and the sad thing is that it's working.

Clinton is up 12 points with 38% of precincts reporting - but that was a few minutes ago. In the time it's taken me to write this, another 15% of the precincts have come in and Hillary's lead has gone from 12 points to 8 points.
UPDATE: MSNBC's front page is updating faster than the RTV6 page, showing Clinton up only 6 points (53-47) with 68% of precincts reporting.
UPDATE: 74% of precincts in and Hillary's lead is down to 4 points (52-48).

And - sadly - the Carson machine rolls on. I wonder if Andre will look any less goofy after the lobbyists finish attaching all the strings and start making him do his puppet dance.

0% reporting on the Indiana House race in Distric 89 - where I'm hoping that John Barnes wipes the floor with Tyler Gough, one of whose supporters deigned to send me - entirely independent of the Tyler Gough campaign or any of its agents, volunteers, and staff (unless the sender is actually in that group, which I do not know because the sender did not identify him- or herself) - one unsolicited e-mail. Hopefully this race will keep the night from being a complete downer for me.
UPDATE 11:25pm: 100% reporting in District 89, and John Barnes obliterated Tyler Gough, 78-22. Good result, though not a surprise.

UPDATE 11:15pm: Nice county results map on CNN here - shows counties for Obama in dark blue and counties for Clinton in light blue. Dark blue is Allen, Boone, Elkhart, Hamilton, Marion, Monroe, Tippecanoe, and St. Joseph - including the state's two biggest cities and a large concentration of the biggest universities. There's a lot of empty, light blue space in Indiana. Lake County is not in there yet because they have not reported - but will, of course, go big for Obama, which will then mean four of the five biggest cities in Indiana. Is there anything for the state of Indiana to be proud of, other than the job Tom Crean is doing cleaning up the basketball program down in Bloomington?

UPDATE 12:30am: I heard on NPR coming home from work, from a reporter with Chicago NPR, that early returns from Lake County showed a 16,000 vote margin in favor of Obama - putting the overall margin at a scant 2 points, 51-49. So how's this going to look in the morning? CNN and NBC are both calling it for Hillary. Fox News, oddly, is calling it for Giuliani. His name wasn't even on my ballot. Someone will figure out a way to blame Beth White for that, I'm sure. (Those last three sentences were jokes.)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The Big List #5

Global Warming Is...A Good Thing?

Seems unlikely - presuming that this global warming mumbo-jumbo is really really real, yo - but if it is real and it's possible that it might not all be hellfire and brimstone, you just know that that could only be the case in - wait for it - Iceland. Turns out that about two-thirds of the electricity generated in Iceland comes from renewable resources, including hydroelectric plants that benefit from more water in the rivers, which is due to melting glaciers, which are themselves due in part to man-made global warming. E: The Environmental Magazine has an article on the topic, too.

Old Friends Growing Older

It appears as though the Grand Canyon, which was already millions of years old to begin with, just might be getting even older than that. A recent study puts the age of the canyon at 16 to 17 million years - and a new report in the May issue of the bulletin of the Geological Society of America suggests that the canyon, or perhaps the Artist That Would Become The Canyon, may go back as far as 55 million years, or nearly to the time of the dinosaurs.

Pushing Forward Back

From MSNBC’s Cosmic Log blog, some commentary on a collection of essays that predict what the world will be like in the year 2058. Hopefully someone will have seen their way to disbanding the NBA by then. It can also be hoped that desperate politicians will no longer be pandering to stupid voters by pretending that suspending the gas tax is a good idea. It's sad that Hillary Clinton is going to win Indiana by double digits because of her gas tax propaganda and Jeremiah Wright - proof positive that the Hoosier brain drain is complete.

John Barnes For State Representative

This is the new web site for John Barnes, candidate for State Representative in District 89, which I live in (barely). Mr. Barnes was one of my history teachers in high school, and I enjoyed his self-deprecating and occasionally funny approach to trying to teach U.S. History to high school juniors during first period. He nearly defeated an entrenched Republican two years ago and will hopefully have much better luck this time around.

And finally...

• Last but not least is an item without a link. It's a little anecdote, if you will. I'm going to talk a little shop, for just a few moments. I've mentioned before, from time to time, how much more enjoyable it is working for Landmark than it was working for Another Major Competitor - but it's not all quality movies and having Famke Janssen make an appearance at your film festival. Even with an almost exclusively adult crowd, you still sometimes have to ask theatre-hoppers to leave. (I drifted into second person there for a second. Odd.) Three weeks ago I had the opportunity to do this very task - but the theatre-hopper was not a kid, and has not been a kid for a long, long time. It wasn't his first time theatre-hopping, either - this was just the first time I caught him and got to ask him to leave. His thing is to buy a ticket for a show, camp out after his show in one of the chairs in the area past the ticket taker, and then just stroll back into the show he saw the first time and watch it again. Now...we have to strive to be polite and respectful to all of our guests, of course - but if I could have said anything I wanted to him when he failed to produce a ticket stub upon request and admitted to having watched the show once already, I would have given him a very specific amount of time to vacate the theatre. How long? Two minutes...twoooo-aaaaahhhhhhh!

(I know...that little anecdote will mean nothing to most of you - but some of you will recognize the last sentence and will make the connection. And for that small handful of you - are you freaking kidding me?)

Bonus item:

Ha Ha, Charade You Are

Last Sunday at the Coachella music festival in California, the giant inflatable pig from the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals floated away - a pig on the wing! - during the Roger Waters portion of the show. It was later found in pieces in the yards of a couple of houses a few miles from where the festival took place.