Friday, February 29, 2008

Won't someone please please get me one of these?

Great googly moogly! Available here. You know you want one too, don't you?!

This is the funniest effin thing.

Click on the video to take you to the YouTube page. I first saw it today at -- one of my favorite sites of alllllll time. I admit I may be the last person in the world to have seen it, but -- thanks to Meg at -- I have finally made it to the 21st century. Oh my dog.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


About a month ago, I told my sister that I thought that Bill Clinton was actually working to undermine Hillary's candidacy -- maybe unintentionally/subliminally, but nonetheless. After all, he's always been the consummate campaigner. When he was running, he rarely made a misstep. But now he's screwing up royally. It's got to be because, deep down inside, he doesn't really want her to win, doesn't it?

The last few days, I've been hearing pundits say the same thing. See, I should be actually blogging what I think when I think it, so that I can become one of the elite blogosphero-types that get Listened To. Yeah, that's what I oughtta do.

I've always basically liked Hillary, except for those glaring moments when I wonder what she could be thinking. But I also like Barack and, if he gets elected, I hope that he can count on the same combination of charisma and good strategic advice that we've seen throughout this campaign. He seems relatively unruffle-able, and he clearly has a good campaign team keeping him on message. Whether it works to actually unite Americans, who knows. Whether it works to inspire less pessimism in America globally -- well, that would be even better.

My biggest concern, no matter who gets in, is to what extent they can resuscitate the Constitution. I never thought I'd see the day that the government of this country (all branches) would be able and apparently more than willing to relegate the Law of the Land to the shredder. Will no one in the Legislature or the Judiciary stand up for the Constitution, at long last? Doesn't the United States government care -- don't the people who were elected to these posts give enough of a damn, any of them, to stand up and say "Enough!" loudly and persistently? What the hell is happening to us?

So bloody sick of people waving the flag in a threatening manner and shredding the Constitution at the same time. It's like a funhouse mirror; everything is completely topsy-turvy. Without the Constitution, what does the flag represent? Lies, deceit, treachery.

To me, it's not enough to say you're going to change the country if your first step is not to demand that our leaders, our judges, our legislatures stand up first and foremost for human rights, dignity, habeas corpus. For keeping not only *our* young people alive and out of a pointless war, but also for the innocents who are not Americans from dying for this miserable mistake. To make sure that people get a fair trial. To destroy secret prisons, to stop anything resembling torture, and to apologize for what's been done. To stop pouring money into lost and misguided causes and right the economy. You know, the Bill of Rights. And, dammit, to make those who are responsible for these crimes be held accountable.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ah yes, I remember it well

Remember how Ralph Nader said there was no difference between George W. Bush and Al Gore? So that was a good reason to vote for Nader? Remember how some people believed that? Like just enough people?

This is a funny country sometimes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

It could have been worse

If indeed John McCain has/had an "intimate relationship" with a lobbyist, at least it wasn't with:

1. Charles Keating
2. Russ Feingold
3. A terrorist

So there's that, at least.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Can't sleep ... clock will eat me ...

Is this not one of the scariest things you've ever seen? From Popular Mechanics, Nov. 1936, courtesy of this terrific site.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Go Pogo!

Especially in an election year. Pogo (and his maker, Walt Kelly) was my political, spiritual, and comical teacher when I was a child ... and maintains that ranking (amongst a few others) even today. You can hardly find anything about Pogo in the stores, although Fantagraphics (thank doodness for Fantagraphics) plans some sort of massive omnibus of Sunday and daily strips for release later this year.

Surreal and hilarious, full of nonsense songs and verse, breaking that comic strip panel and playing with conventions (a talk balloon commandeered by precision-choreographed bees?), Pogo did it all right ... and beautifully so. Kelly was a master with a brush and with a turn of phrase. One book (at least one) had a table of contents that read in verse. And Kelly was gloriously democratic, in every sense.

Here is the frustrating part: Apparently the well-intentioned and loving Estate is terribly terribly anxious about Pogo presence on the interwebs. I understand that they don't want to have Pogo chewed up and appropriated and hacked and mangled. But, sadly, that also means that Pogo and Walt are almost unknown to a generation or two of people, when I (and many other Pogophiles) feel strongly that we need to know that sweet and kind possum more than ever before -- and we need Albert (alligator), Churchy La Femme (turtle), Howland Owl, Beauregard the Hounddog, Porky Pine, and oh so many others just as much. I'm daring to put a picture here ... and maybe another one some other time, and I hope that the licensers won't get all up in my face about it. Anyway, I'm linking to the official site, and you should go ... and follow their accepted links to see more.

Monday, February 18, 2008

It's Yokolicious!

It's Yoko Ono's birthday today -- and, wow, get this: she is 75 years old today. That just seems unbelievable to me, but the math works out.

I love Yoko, doggone it. Always have. Many people who find this out about me thinks that makes me a kook, but some terrific people agree with me. Don't be caught in the nonsense of the popular press; think for yourself (i.e., agree with me!): Yoko is -- and always has been -- totally cool.

Possibly the greatest American novel

It ain't like that's news to anyone. I mean, that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn may be the greatest novel ever written by an American. It had a tremendous influence of me, personally. And this is the anniversary of its publication in 1885.

It's time for you to read it again. Furthermore, you can read it free online, for example at Project Gutenberg.

(Here's the old poop himself.)


Dr. Philip Zimbardo, author of The Lucifer Effect, on The Colbert Report: "Obviously, you learned well in Sunday school."

Dr. Stephen T. Colbert: "I teach Sunday school, m*****f****!"

See it here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Say goodnight, Gracie

On Feb. 15, 1932, George Burns and Gracie Allen debuted as regulars on radio. In 1950, they moved to TV. If you haven't seen their shtick, here's a bit of it.

George Burns broke that televisual 4th wall in surreal ways, often, on the show. He talked to the tv audience, and he'd occasionally watch the program in progress on his tv set in his "office" to see what was going on in the show while he was away from the main action, and -- by the time he got downstairs again -- the plot would have changed, so he'd be all at sixes and sevenses when he came in the door. Any chance he'd have to force the plot in his direction would be foiled by Gracie's unique art of meta-misunderstanding.

Great work. Some of the best tv comedy ever.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

In memory of my home town.
(You can get one of these, by the way, here.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A lovely moment when my favorite things collide

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats meet Vonnegut on the rails. Bless you, Mr. Apelad.

And so it goes.

Also - it's Abe's BD too.

I wonder what he'd be thinking about the elections this year.

(This image is borrowed from this guy's blog, and I really hope he doesn't mind.)

Albert loves U!

Speaking of Science!, check out these totally excellent valentines.

Happy birthday, Chuck!

Get your very own Darwin Bobblehead and support Darwin Day at Southern Illinois University! For reason's sake, support the teaching of science, wouldja?

While I'm on the subject, let me also encourage you to pick up The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution, by David Quammen. It's a fascinating look at the extensive struggle to deal with a burgeoning idea that flies in the face of every authority, Darwin's extreme effort to provide reams of evidence, and the physical, emotional, and social tolls that it took on him. Plus it's very readable.

Monday, February 11, 2008

3rd Annual Shoot Your Friend in the Face Day

The ritual is: You shoot your friend in the face, and then make him apologize on TV for having a face and therefore making it possible to be shot in it.

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's time for the penguin on top of your television set to explode.

This is the anniversary of the death of Mary, Queen of Scots (1587).

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Los Beatles arrived in America on this date, 1964. (Thanks to the strange and brilliant Don Martin for this image, which I "borrowed" but I can't remember from whence.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mary Leakey

Mary Leakey was born on this date in 1913. When I was younger, everyone knew who the Leakeys were, but this doesn't appear to be the case any longer, so let me tell you a little:

Mary and Louis Leakey were paleoanthropologists, who both discovered a number of ancient humans and human ancestors in their research in Africa. (Louis was also responsible for sending Dian Fossey out to live with gorrilas, as seen in the movie Gorillas in the Mist.) Many other Leakeys have been involved in paleontology; their son Richard also became deeply involved in elephant conservation.

One of Mary's most amazing discoveries was of the Laetoli footprints in Tanzania, which she found along with some other notable researchers. The footprints of a few individuals, walking across damp volcanic ash, were cemented in place. Dated to 3.7 million years ago, it was the first indication that there were people (or human ancestors) walking around on two arched feet so long ago. I think the early skeletal remains are interesting, but the footprints were the first evidence I'd seen that actually got my imagination quivering (at least in terms of paleoanthropology).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Primarily pissed off

The excellent John Hodgman reminds us today to Hope and to Vote (right here: good evening: HOPE).

My dilemma has been, in fact, that I've been failing in the Hope department. Believing in and trusting an idealistic candidate seems far, far away from any experience I have had in such a long time. I've really been of two minds about all this, and it's a rare experience. Having gotten used to resignedly marking my ballot for the least scummy individual, I'm confused -- and frankly, a little freaked out -- that there are choices this time. Some of the differences are nuanced, some are more obvious, and sometimes a preference toward one candidate's ideas has to be weighed against a different issue, a different candidate. How weird is THAT?! I'm glad to be reminded that Hope is not only an acceptable emotion, even in politics, but that it's one of the birthrights of American citizens. Thanks for that, Mr. Hodg-man.

OK, with all that said, let me backtrack to the Michigan primary, so-called. I voted, despite the fact that my vote has been stolen by the National Democractic Committee, or the Michigan Democratic Committee, or by both of them acting like big babies. Everyone I know voted, and everyone who voted in the Michigan Democratic Primary was kissed off. Government by the people, stolen by the temper-tantrumming committees that are supposed to be watching over the DEMOCRATIC PROCESS. Of course, Florida has the same problem. And I am truly pissed off.

I'm wondering: Is there a class-action suit being filed against the Democratic Committees, national or otherwise? If not, shouldn't there be?

Ultimately, I'm sure I'll be happy (more or less) with the outcome -- at least at the primary level -- despite all the weirdness of "superdelegates" and all this nonsense that makes my head hurt. And I'm sure I'll vote in the general election for that candidate. Unless, of course, my own party sees fit to somehow disenfranchise my state again.

\ | /
- H -
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Picture of the Day

'Nuff said!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Yay! I gots my book!

My Laugh-Out-Loud Cats book! W00t!!1!

Excellent birds

... etc. CBS News Sunday Morning yesterday had a lovely piece about Charley Harper, whose name had been unknown to me but whose illustrations I recall seeing with some frequency when I was a kid. I'm sure that, lost amongst the detritus of my basement, are some books or periodicals with his images. Luckily, Todd Oldham has made it his mission to accumulate Harper's artwork into a volume ... and apparently into his own designs (presumably $ to go to Harper's family) ... and apparently some of it for La-Z-Boy, which I would not have guessed. (Crumbs, I can't find the image that I had in mind. If I find it in future, I'll pop it in here.)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Interesting Publishing Trend

I heard today about another book that's being released whose premise is the need (and a prescription to effect) a revival of the conservative movement. So let me get this straight: Someone thinks that the conservative movement is nearly dead? Even during a Bush presidency? Sure, I know that there are a ton of people who are appalled by the current conservative movement, but it hardly seems dead. Are these people thinking that lack of primacy equals death rattle? Even while we are still mired in the ongoing hell of this administration (and a lot can happen still in this year), there's a call for revival?

Oh, I know -- I understand that they feel threatened. I do love that there's panic in the ranks, even while the ranks still run the show -- especially due to the fact that the ranks run the show. Nothing works better to undermine the conservative movement than to have the conservatives in charge for awhile.

Today comes in threes

This is the 33rd day of the year. There are 333 days remaining in 2008.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Today is the anniversary of Buster Keaton's death in 1966.

Wouldn't it be funny ...

... if it ends up that the Republicans' preferred choice for a Democratic President (if they have to choose) is Hillary Clinton? That'd be a hoot.

Lorem Ipsum Generator!

Who knew that there was such a thing? In fact, there are more than one Lorem Ipsum generators, and here's one. And here's the stuff you get:
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Pellentesque tempus diam et sapien. Aliquam vitae nibh vel justo rutrum rutrum. Cras ut risus quis erat dapibus iaculis. In bibendum turpis at diam. Sed sed pede in neque auctor placerat. Aliquam eget enim. Cras mattis. Integer magna. Donec in odio quis mauris convallis congue. Vivamus purus nisi, malesuada non, faucibus sed, auctor nec, pede. In blandit est quis odio.
Supposedly random Latinesque nonsensicle words used as placeholders for copy editors and graphic designers, it's been used for years -- maybe for a hella lotta years; Cecil Adams says that the text comes rather from Cicero, more or less. I'd always vaguely wondered about all that stuff, so the fact that you can request as much or as little generated semi-fake Latin and get it in an instant just cracks me up, somehow.

Happy birthday, Terry Jones!

Coinage of note

David Rakoff, in his book Don't Get Too Comfortable, uses the term monstrocracy. I presume it's his coinage. I think this should become a regular part of our political parlance.