Thursday, November 30, 2006

Skippy of the Day: Dennis Prager

One of the things I rejoiced in when Keith Ellison, a Muslim, was elected to Congress earlier this month was the possibility that he would throw a wrench in the whole Christians-only club atmosphere of politics.

Now that he has refused to be sworn in on a Bible and wishes to substitute a Koran, right wing idiots like Dennis Prager thinks it "undermines American civilization". Never mind the fact that nowhere in the Constitution does it require elected officials to swear on any religious text. These nitwits will never, ever understand the separation of Church & State, so that's why we need to vote every single one of them out of office (or, in the case of Prager, discredit his false arguments at every turn).

BONUS SKIPPY MOMENT: Prager was one of conservatives that appeared in the documentary Fuck, which I reviewed back in May. Near the end, after all his speechifying about language, he let slip the one word that was far dirtier than the title, and also the word that demolished all arguments: Arbitrary. He stated point blank that the demonization and position of the word "Fuck" as a harbinger of cultural chaos was all arbitrary. Definition:

1. Determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle: stopped at the first motel we passed, an arbitrary choice.
2. Based on or subject to individual judgment or preference: The diet imposes overall calorie limits, but daily menus are arbitrary.
3. Established by a court or judge rather than by a specific law or statute: an arbitrary penalty.
4. Not limited by law; despotic: the arbitrary rule of a dictator.
So much for logic and fairness.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Most obvious punchline of the week

The following is a headline over at MSNBC today:

3 goats found spray-painted, surrounded by porn

Boy, what gets into kids these days?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanks Giving

I've been aware of cartoonist Chris Ware for almost a year now. I came across his book The Acme Novelty Library in a Barnes & Noble one night and sat there on the floor just glued to it for at least thirty minutes. He communicates so much about the human condition in terms of loneliness and sorrow. I'm not meaning to sound snobby or intellectual when I say that, so let me put it in more direct language: The motherf%ck&r cuts deep.

With these themes in mind, Thanksgiving is a ripe occasion for his work. The New Yorker actually commissioned five different covers from him for their Thanksgiving issue. I've posted two of them down below. You have to click on the pictures and open them up, but trust me ... they are worth it.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks. Let's give thanks for our loved ones most of all.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

No Salvage Value

I get nervous when an actor I admire is about to do something stupid. I get real nervous when I get that vibe just looking at the poster. Case in point (via

Sigh. For the record, the plot is described thusly:

"Dismissed from NASA's space program, former astronaut-in-training Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) pursues his lifelong dream by building his own rocket in the Polish Brothers' family film. On the eve of his launch, he must battle foreclosure on his ranch, a small-town community of disbelievers, the FAA, and FBI agents who want to shut him down in the name of Homeland Security - but remains determined to reach his goal and instill in his children the courage to pursue their own dreams, no matter the odds."

Kinda makes Kevin Costner's character in Field of Dreams sound downright levelheaded and sensible, don't it?

So, it seems they are going for a straight-faced feel-good drama, even though the inclination of most people when they see that poster will be to roll their eyes and/or burst out laughing. You can tell they are going for earnest, because the one thing the poster reminds me of (besides photoshopping over at is the poster of The Rookie, another earnest movie of some fortyish guy achieving their dreams while being backlit by a sunset. At least Dennis Quaid isn't wearing a spacesuit and riding a friggin horse!

When Billy Bob Thornton first came onto the scene, his down-home Southern demeanor had some comparing him to Andy Griffith (And for those of you who would consider this an insult, go see A Face in the Crowd). It is then ironic that this film bears an eerie similarity to a cult classic television movie called Salvage. This film starred Griffith as a junkyard owner who dreamed of going to the moon in a spacesuit and rocketship he builds himself. In case you're wondering, the film is every bit as silly as a 1979 TV movie about a homemade spacecraft can be.

I suppose if this film can draw a lesson from it's counterpart from almost thirty years ago, it is this: Keep something like this on the small screen ... and maybe broadcast it opposite the Super Bowl or something.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Skippy of the Day: Senator James M. Inhofe

Christian Fundamentalists who cannot divide their own personal beliefs from their duty to all Americans (believers and unbelievers alike) should not be in charge of decisions regarding the environment. And here is reason number one:
"In an interview with Fox and Friends this morning, outgoing Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works James Inhofe (R-OK) argued that the current wave of unprecedented warming is due to 'natural changes.' 'God’s still up there,' Inhofe said, and to the extent there is warming going on, it is 'due to the sun.'"
Congratulations, Senator. You just inherited the environmental pig-ignorance crown from former Secretary of the Interior James "My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns." Watt.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

How can slasher films work for you?

When website URL's are let go by webmasters who run out of money or simply don't want to run a website anymore, they are often replaced by clever, professional looking placeholders that look like a real website, but have simply take the keywords from the URL and generate lots of advertising links and incoherent text.

So imagine my amusement when I clicked on a link called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and got this page:

You can have some real fun and create your own business technobabble for the text (spoken in charismatic tones by the blonde woman at the top of the page):

We help companies build chainsaw business productivity infrastructure to fuel chainsaw business growth and transform their chainsaw IT infrastructure into a strategic chainsaw asset!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Skippy of the Day: George Bush Sr.

One side effect of #41 getting all the recent press was that he has more opportunity to stick his foot in his mouth. Here are a pair of pearls concerning the Internet from the former POTUS. Number One:

Last night on Fox News, former President George H.W. Bush said the current political climate has "gotten so adversarial that it's ugly." Asked to offer an explanation for why there is this "incivility," Bush pinned the blame on bloggers. "It's probably a little worse now given electronic media and the bloggers and all these kinds of things," he said.
Yes, George. Because it's all to do with intelligent political commentators like Daily Kos and nothing to do with nation wide broadcasters like Anne Coulter, Rush Limbaugh or any number of people on the conservative news network that's interviewing you. Dipstick.

And Number Two:

Also, Bush revealed that he enjoys using "the email" but lamented that his son, President George W. Bush, cannot for fear that the emails would get subpoenaed. Bush worried that presidents who used email would be forced to prove "that you were telling the truth and all this stuff."

Yes, heaven knows what will happen to the highest office in the land if Dubya was forced to tell the truth.

"The apple doesn't fall very far" and all that.

They both start with "P" ... aaaand that's about it.

So last week I got a FedEx from the website DVD File in Los Angeles. After I looked through my email, I was reminded that I had enetered their October contest to win a copy of the new Pride & Prejudice anniversery DVD set.

Unfortunately, I did not win this grand prize, but one of the consolation prizes instead. What was it, you ask? Ahem ...

I don't wish to look a gift horse in the mouth and all that, but could these guys have picked consolation prizes that were somewhat similar to the grand prize?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Quick break for post-election goodness

Yes, the election went very well, and at the time of this post the Senate was still up for grabs. But amidst all the big races, I looked through MSNBC's coverage and found this item:

MINNEAPOLIS - Voters elected a black Democrat as the first Muslim in Congress on Tuesday after a race in which he advocated quick U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and made little mention of his faith.

Keith Ellison, a 43-year-old defense attorney and state representative, was projected to defeat two rivals to succeed retiring Democrat Martin Sabo in a seat that has been held by Democrats since 1963.

Ellison, who converted to Islam as a 19-year-old college student in his native Detroit, won with the help of Muslims among a coalition of liberal, anti-war voters. "We were able to bring in Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists," he said. "We brought in everybody."

Congratulations, Mr. Ellison. Even more so than soon-to-be-appointed Speaker Nancy Pelosi, you bring some much needed variety to the haggard old WASP's that currently dominate American politics. I salute you.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Hypocrites to the left of me, Criminals to the right of me

Novel writing (not Live from Wessex) continues apace. I had to pop back on to blog about the gay-bashing, evolution-denying evangelicals exploding all over the place. The first one you've probably already heard about:
Rev. Ted Haggard said yesterday he bought methamphetamine and received a massage from a male prostitute. But the influential Christian evangelist insisted he threw the drugs away and never had sex with the man.

Haggard, who as president of the National Association of Evangelicals wielded influence on Capitol Hill and condemned both gay marriage and homosexuality, resigned Thursday after a Denver man named Mike Jones claimed he had had many drug-fuelled trysts with Haggard.

But the second one has not been as well publicized:

Kent "Dr. Dino" Hovind, founder of Creation Science Evangelism and the Dinosaur Adventure Land creationist theme park in Florida ("where Dinosaurs and the Bible meet!"), and his wife face more than 200 years in jail for tax fraud. ... Yesterday, Dr. Dino was found guilty on 58 counts, including not paying an $845,000 employee-related tax bill.
You can read more of that second story here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

LEGO Filler

And so, as is my habit, I leave you with a trio of superb LEGO creations (not mine) to leave you entertained and enthralled while I try to pound out a novel in thirty days. Wish me luck.

Forest Whitaker Quote of the Month: November 2006

With all due respect to Maki, I have to say that i didn't believe Sin City to be all that and a packet of crisps. That said, I will say that I enjoyed the first segment the most, which focuses on the character of Marv as played by up Mickey Rourke. Rourke did a pretty damn good job with it, and he was able to do it under a heavy make-up job. Oddly enough, it's not the first time that Rourke has played a touching criminal under layers of facial prosthetics.

Which is my awkward segue to the film Johnny Handsome. Rourke plays the title character, who has some physical features similar to the Elephant Man, but is also a smart crook. When he is left for dead by a couple of double-crossers, he's put in a prison hospital and given the opportunity to undergo experimental surgery to fix his face and also start a new life. The doctor, natch, is played by our good friend Forest Whitaker (with a heavy bai-yoo accent). The following exchange is right after he details to Johnny the surgery he wants to perform.

Dr. Steven Fisher: "Anyway, this is not an abstraction for you. You can come out of this with a normal life."

Johnny Handsome: "This experiment is all bulls*&t. I'm still going to be Johnny Handsome."

Dr. Steven Fisher: "I will give you a new name. I will give you a new face. I will give you new identification and a chance at a new life. They do that for witnesses. I can do that for you."