Monday, June 30, 2008

Taking Harp Lessons....

George Carlin died last week. Almost every modern comedian owes a debt to George Carlin. From Jerry Seinfeld to Chris Rock, the modern brand of smart, cutting, sometimes unforgiving observational comedy was perfected by Carlin.

The pabulum spouting mainstream media outlets responded by taking about the "7 words you can't say on television." Oh those 7 words." "Oh George, you and your seven dirty words." "Who can forget those seven dirty words!" Most of these newsreaders on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc., have probably never seen a Carlin routine in their lives.

Carlin was about so much more than fighting censorship. Carlin pointed out the absurdity of life with an unbiased eye. Whatever ridiculous platitudes and self-serving cliches you thought you could get away with in real life, Carlin would deconstruct mercilessly, making you laugh all the way. Rest in Peace, George, wherever you are. Here is the master himself giving his thoughts on death and the afterlife. They're not very comforting, but it wouldn't be Carlin if they were. (Note: The explanation of this post's title can also be found within.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Free Rice

There is an awesome site that everyone should check out. It's called Here's how it works: You get quizzed on words. Every time you get one right, you earn points towards increasing your vocabulary level. More importantly, every time you get one right, the site donates 20 grains of rice to feed starving people. Instead of simply wasting time and getting meaningless points for playing an online quiz, you FEED STARVING PEOPLE. Your knowledge is actually USEFUL.

In addition, the game is designed to actually teach you and increase your vocabulary. It's a win win. You get smarter and starving people get to eat. How often do you get a win-win in life?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Bush Legacy

The Supreme Court just ruled that restrictive gun control laws are unconstitutional. Some pundits are saying that the ruling is not a big deal. That it doesn't change that much. But it is a big deal.

It's a big deal because it's the Supreme Court giving a big F-U to the American people. The Court is saying that no matter how many people want a government led according to the principles of the Democratic party, the right wing court will always be there to wield the power. They have five activist judges willing to overstep their bounds and make their own laws and that's what they're going to do.

And make no mistake, that is what they've done here. The text of the Second Amendment is quite clear:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

In any country not full of gun nuts, that would not be open to interpretation (and don't come at me with the commas issue. It says what it says). There's a dependent clause in there. It says because we need a militia (because we have no standing army), everyone needs to be able to have a gun (in case the Redcoats come). The conservatives would have you believe that despite the fact that every other part of the consititution is carefully worded with specific purpose, the Founders just threw in that part about the militia for the hell of it. That it was just a bit of a jerk off. That they got together and said: We think every nut should be entitled to pack heat but instead of writing that, let's mention that a militia is important. It's ridiculous. It's nonsense.

And the Court knows it's ridiculous. They ruled that people were entitled to own a gun subject to certain limitations. Unh uh. That's not what it says either. It says shall not be infringed. No limitations. It was okay that they wrote that because if you only have your gun to fight off invading Redcoats and the occasional Cherokee, there's no reason for limitations. On the other hand, if the national defense issue is off the table and has nothing to do with the right to own a gun, even the Court understood that limitations are needed. So they decided limitations were legal. Even though the constitution says they're not. They simply wrote a law. One that says the opposite of what the constitution actually says.

This is the Bush legacy. Activist judges who control our government like it was Fascist Italy or Communist Russia. Possibly for decades to come. So much for checks and balances. So much for the American experiment.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

American Myths

What Classic Archetypes are your favorite superheroes based on? Here are my thoughts. Let's hear yours:

The Hulk: Mr. Hyde


Captain America: Achilles

Batman: Sherlock Holmes

Iron Man: Frankenstein's Monster

Wonder Woman: Atalanta

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is Pegasus Next?

Here is a picture of a unicorn. This is not a joke and I do not know how to photoshop. This is an actual picture of an actual unicorn discovered in Italy this week. It's not as smooth-looking as the unicorns you see illustrated in storybooks, but reality rarely is. Still. A unicorn.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Selective Memory

I saw a comment online the other day where someone said that if Hillary Clinton was the VP choice she would vote for McCain because she would rather die than see another Clinton in the White House. How can the average person be so psychologically deluded as to buy into this? How can people fail to remember how great things were when Bill Clinton was President? Here's a quick reminder:

Unemployment Rate in 2000: 4 percent
Drop in Violent Crime 1992-2000: 506,784
Hostile Action Military Deaths: 76
Federal Surplus: +230 Billion
Cost of a Gallon of Gas: $1.51

By way of comparison, here are some more current numbers:

Unemployment Rate in 2008: 5.5 percent
Drop in Violent Crime 2000-2006: 7,741
Hostile Action Military Deaths: 2,596
Federal Deficit: -410 Billion
Cost of a Gallon of Gas $4.00

But everyone should keep on voting Republican for President and blaming Democrats and see how much better things get.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The System is Broken

CNN reports today that after the results from Puerto Rico are tallied, Hillary Clinton will have more of the popular vote than Barack Obama. If Obama wins the general election, he will be the second consecutive President who takes office despite another candidate winning the popular vote.

We can all see how well the first one worked out.

The Electoral College system is a dinosaur. It was designed for times when there was no direct communication between states, let alone instant communication all over the world. It was for a time when a local man in a small town had to get up in the town square and say "This man Thomas Jefferson is a great man! Vote for me to ride my horse to Philadelphia and represent Smithtown's interest in Thomas Jefferson!"

That man was called a delegate, and he clearly isn't needed any more. It's time for America to have a true democracy where everyone's vote counts. We can rebuild it. We have the technology.