Showing posts with label TMIH. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TMIH. Show all posts

Friday, November 06, 2009

Half Mast

Killeen and Ft. Hood are not all that far from Austin.

My evening ran long, and so I wasn't going to post at all this evening, but before turning in, I wanted to join in with so many others who are shocked and stunned by the events at Ft. Hood today.

Details are sketchy as they always are in the first 24 hours of any such incident. I've not been watching much but the local news, trying to avoid what will surely be knee-jerk and uninformed reactions to the situation, which does the victims no honor.

I am positive that the soldiers of Ft. Hood and all military installations will take this day with the same resolution with which they face challenges abroad.

If you read this site, you will know I'm no jingoist, but like most people who love their country, I salute the women and men of the armed forces, and find it all the greater tragedy that any of them would be attacked by one of their own, and one they should have felt theyc ould trust over all.

May the US military pick up the pieces, learn what you can from an act of senseless violence, and continue on.

From the AP wire and Austin American Statesman.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

This is happening: Marge Simpson in Playboy

Apparently, this is actually happening.

I am dumbfounded/ amazed/ amused/ probably still not buying Playboy.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Joe Wilson's got nuthin' on Kanye

A huge tip o' the sombrero to Jason Craft for this one

Monday, August 31, 2009

Yes, I Know

As always, Nathan C was first to alert me to the news, followed within five minutes by Randy, and Dan G. walking into my office.

Yes, I am now aware that Disney bought Marvel Entertainment.

More to come.

As I told Randy: We can now have that Quasar/ Clarabelle Cow crossover so many of us fans have long believed should occur!

But I confess that the idea of Mickey in a web-slinger outfit strikes me as a particularly great idea... And Wolver-Duck. Berserker rage, indeed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Moonlanding - 40th Anniversary

Firstly, its mind-boggling to me that the moon-landing has become a pet conspiracy of people who cannot fathom achievement. Your belief that "we didn't have the technology in the 1960's" does not, in fact, make it so. NASA sent brave men into space, just as they do today. We might as well have said the same about any explorer who ever stepped out of your personal view.

Secondly, far be it from me to wish for another Cold War, but I cannot imagine an America today in which our citizenry has the will or which would be willing to fund the effort it took to get us to the moon. Not when we firmly believe that every tax dollar spent is wasted if its not spent on us, somehow.

That said, I am of a belief that we'd be better off leaving Earth's orbit for altruistic, and/ or scientific purposes, and not for corporate or commercial purposes. Though I suspect the minute that someone figures out how to exploit the rings of Saturn to build a sharper television, that will be what gets us past the moon and out into the rest of the Solar System. Maybe Bradbury's Martian Chronicles (aka: "The Silver Locusts") had too much of an effect upon me as a youth, and maybe I've had The Prime Directive beat into my head entirely too much over the years, but until our imagination reaches beyond exploitation, I'm not sure we're ready as a species to break free from El Sol's pull and join whatever else is out there, moving between stars.

That said, its the spirit of competition which saw Apollo 8 ring around the Moon, and Apollo 11 touchdown on cosmic dust. I'd like to see that exploratory spirit, free of commercial enterprise, guiding us outward, so that when we can look back at our blue marble, we appreciate what we've got here all the more.

Today, The League salutes not just Collins, Aldrin and Armstrong, but the entire flight crew of Apollo 11, and the armies of nameless engineers, scientists, ground crew, and everyone who made Apollo 11 possible. We've had a unique opportunity as a generation born after Apollo 11, to grow up believing, utterly and completely, that with imagination, determination, intellect and will, humanity has no limitations. And I dream of seeing that again in my lifetime.

And, dammit, if its isn't a little sad Cronkite died so very close to the anniversary of the day he guided us through.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pig Flu


I'm not going to say this right, and I'm going to be taken the wrong way, but here we go.

I am aware that the flu/ Spanish Influenza/ Swine Flu/ Avian Flu, etc.... are all very serious.

But before we start saying "pandemic" and "epidemic", we should keep this in mind.

According to NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory, something like 100 people die from lightning strikes each year in the US, and about 500 are injured.

There are roughly 300 million Americans.

While lightning does not travel like a virus, before we all believe we're doomed from pig flu, let's get a handle on the statistics. Or else I suggest we start treating lightning as an epidemic.

As of today, they found 40 non-fatal cases of the flu in the US. You are more likely to die from lightning as of today in the US than you might from Pig Flu.

That could change tomorrow, but the number of cycles being lost as everyone calms everyone else and explains basic hygiene is sort of nuts. And I sincerely hope we don't see a return of La Grippe. I'm just not sure we're there yet.

That is all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Inaugurated

I don't think I can say anything new on this. We had an official policy at UT that said it was okay to take time to watch the inauguration, but I have to make the time up. So I'll be doing that fifteen to twenty minutes a day for the rest of the week.

Excellent speech (but not necessarily one that will go down in history). I've been very pleased with Obama's focus on the challenges rather than riding the wave of celebrity and his and the First Lady's call to service. An interesting and worthwhile challenge to Americans.

We watched the Neighborhood Inauguration Ball on ABC, which was an interesting mix of performers. Sting, Shakira (who I will never complain about), Beyonce, Jay Z, Faith Hill.

This leads to my challenge: You have been elected to the highest office in the land. Who are five bands you'd insist play your inaugural ball?

Keep in mind, you are now leader of the free world and that while we all like 2 Live Crew, they may not be appropriate for the occasion.

Gran Torino

Was fine. It wasn't anywhere near as great as I was told it would be, nor do I get the accolades I've seen in the ads. I don't think it was as good or as nuanced as Unforgiven (which I guess won Best Picture, so...). And I think I just like The Outlaw Josey Wales better.

Plus, aside from Eastwood, I wasn't all that impressed by his supporting cast. Especially the two neighbor kids who were so crucial to the plot (neither of whom had any previous credits on IMDB).

It's not a bad movie. It's fine. It was just exactly what I expected from the trailers, and not a whole lot more.

Cate Blanchett Movies

I also watched "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and "Notes on a Scandal". I actually believed both were true stories until I Googled "Notes on a Scandal".

I wasn't nuts about "Notes" while I was watching it, and then learning it wasn't a true story then made me kind of wonder what the point was, if not "well, this happened, and it was weeeeeird". I guess there are so many oddball stories about teacher/ student scandals that a fictionalized one (even a fictionalized one with Cate Blanchett) seems sort of redundant, SWF aspects aside.

I liked "Elizabeth II: Electric Boogaloo" a bit better, although it wasn't as well constructed a film as the original "Elizabeth".

Blanchett is, I should mention, excellent in both.

Most People are to Kate Winslet as The League is to Cate Blanchett

Signal Watch

A second Signal Watch column is up at Comic Fodder.

Friday Night Lights

I watched FNL's season premier over the weekend. The show seems very much back on track with the first season, which is still one of the best seasons of TV put together. Sadly, the second season was a soap-opera-esque mess that I eventually walked away from. Glad to see they're back on track. Even if this is Tim Riggins' and Lyla Garrity's third senior year.

Anyhow, if you liked the first season, it seems they may be back on track.

Monday, January 19, 2009

This Moment in History: Obama Inauguration/ MLK Day

Jamie, Lucy and I spent some time this weekend watching CNN footage of the inaugural activities going on in Washington DC.

It's tough to listen to the endless stream of superlatives and attempts by the commentators to repeatedly remind viewers of the historical significance of Obama's inauguration without feeling that it's just a portion of the significance. A vast portion, to be sure, but it does seem that it's almost forgetting the campaign and messages Barack Obama shared which lead to his election. It's not that I'm not aware of the fact that we have a changing of the guard, or that Obama is African-American. I get all that, and I get the historical significance of what it means for the character of the U.S. that the generations that would never have seen or allowed a man of Obama's racial make-up and background to ascend to the White House have either fallen away or have had a change of mind and heart.

These are things to celebrate, and, of course, its fitting that the inauguration would fall on the day following the national holiday celebrating Dr. King's message and legacy.

Before its forgotten, Obama wasn't elected or not elected because of race (although I do not want to dismiss the meaning for the U.S.). I would posit that he was elected because of the ideas that Barack Obama brought to the campaign trail.

I could appreciate that Obama's first volley was to reject big money donors to the campaign and rely mostly upon the smaller contributions of individuals. Sure, there were days when I thought that if I got one more e-mail from the campaign, I was going to scream, but rather than wondering what Obama would feel he owed certain contributors once in office, I knew what Obama was at least attempting to do by letting thousands have their voice rather than the needs of large donors. And, I could appreciate the make-or-break nature of such a plan, right up to the requests for donations to support the inaugural balls rather than having the Exxon Inaugural Ball, what have you...

If we're serious about government for the people, by the people, then I can get behind a person who has the vision to try to run their campaign by having faith in their supporters as much as possible. While they're important, I can believe in a candidate who recognizes that corporations are not people, and a politican who would rather be financially supported by thousands of individuals who believe in him than by behemoth groups looking for a quid pro quo.

There are also Obama's stances on international engagement, use of military force, health care, education and more that were welcome changes (and Senator Clinton reflected many of those same stances, so my choice making was made difficult). All of these things were incredibly important to me as a I selected my candidate of choice, and only rarely did I see Obama need to shift his message of plan for any of these issues. And I hope that Obama will work with Congress, and Congress with Obama to implement the messages put forth during the long, long campaign season.

The economy is an enormous issue, and I've appreciated Obama's straightforward discussion of what America faces in the months leading up to the inauguration. No one would envy Obama the challenges facing him as he steps into the Oval Office, and I will be watching closely to see what plans he and Congress cook up. It's my sincere hope that partisanship will only serve to craft refined economic plans as each party keeps the other honest. (I also hope for more in the way of job-creation rather than merely propping up crumbling financial empires, but that's just me).

The underlying tone of the enthusiasm one sees on cable news isn't just for a certain person to come into the presidency, but a hope and faith placed into Obama as a sign that the status quo of politics in the U.S. has the potential for change at this moment. While anyone over the age of 22 is probably jaded enough to know only so much can change, we can ask for President Obama to not fall prey to the partisanship of the past 20 or more years, political dynasties, what have you... to work in service to all Americans and not the implied oligarchy of "those who know what's best for you" that we've seen during such a huge swath of my lifetime. Or politicians who are admired for how they game the system rather than for their policies and how they lead.

But a lot of what Obama has promised has not been a change that he can carry on his own. The motto, after all was "Yes, we can", not "Your government has got it covered". So I find it fitting that the day before Obama is inaugurated, we find ourselves honoring the leadership of Dr. King and his quest for racial harmony and social justice. But MLK Day isn't just a bank and postal holiday, but also a day of service and remembering. No official can successfully lead by asking for their citizenry to remain unengaged or place their fates into the hands of their leaders without thought. Obama's calls for engagement in our community will need to be heeded, and already I'm getting e-mails from the First Lady asking for my service. And, honestly, its giving me a moment of pause. What can I do? Am I the change I wish to see?

Will we blame Obama when we, ourselves, fail? What can we do to ensure not that Obama succeeds, but that America succeeds?

Everything leading up to 12:00 Eastern tomorrow has been nothing but a prelude. We do not know what the future holds, or what compromises Obama will find himself in as he sits down with his cabinet this first week. Inevitably, the cheering throngs will decide (perhaps one by one) that Obama has disappointed them somehow as personal agendas go unaddressed, as congress stalls in pushing through reforms, laws, policy...

But we do have a choice under new leadership, and a leadership that has been fairly clear in that it is a "we". Americans need to remember that asking for a vote is asking for very little. "Yes, we can" is not just a call to show up at the polls, but a promise that we'll do better.

I'm celebrating the 43rd peaceful transition of power, of a hope for a better tomorrow, and for what it means to have this person at this time stepping into the position to be the face of America. I don't want to diminish the resonance that MLK Day has so close to the election, but to celebrate the sort of person who we've chosen to lead us, perhaps based not upon the color of his skin, but upon the content of his character.

Edit: By the way, while I was writing this, President-Elect Obama and Michelle Obama announced the USA Service website.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

This Moment in History: Interesting Day in Politics

Firstly, it seems that President Bush rounded up his father, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter to join he and Barack Obama for lunch.

Say what you will about any of these people, but if there's one lunch that should have been recorded for posterity... While perhaps not as mindblowing as imagining John Adams lunching with, say... Thomas Jefferson and non-Prez Ben Franklin... or any of the lunches that would have had to have occurred in Philadelphia in 1776, there's no doubting that the conversation had to have been worthy of some archiving.

Hopefully W. did better than the hot dog lunch he served John McCain.

Read up on the lunch here.

Meanwhile, Blogojevich's pick for the Illinois Senate seat vacated by President-Elect Obama has been held off by a lack of some official seals, signatures and the fact that the Dems in Senate don't want anyone selected by Blagojevich within ten miles of the Capitol.

It's kind of fascinating to watch this wrech unfold, which you can do here.

And Al Franken, of all people, is poised to claim a Minnesota Senate seat after narrowly squeaking out votes in a recount (I think it was a difference of 225). Franken's opponent has promised to sue, which will gum things up for a good, long time.

You can read up on that fiasco here.

And my favorite story is, of course, that Porn Kingpin Larry Flynt has petitioned the US. Congress for a bailout of the porn industry.

I'm not someone who looks down his nose at the porn industry in a "there's trouble right here in River City" sort of way. It's simultaneously an incredibly complex issue and an astoundingly simple issue, and may be capitalism and freedom gone awry in their purest form.

And while I am not a reader of Flynt's foremost publication, Hustler, I am one of the goofy millions who find his antics quite awesome. Less so "Girls Gone Wild" entrepreneur and pervy drunk-girl-exploiter, Joe Francis. But the two joined forces to write a letter today to congress beseeching them for a bailout of $5 billion for themselves and their smut generating brethren. A bailout, I might add, its not clear the evergreen industry of porn needs as, even as folks are tightening their financial belts, they're continuing to simultaneously loosen their actual belts.

Anyhow, I have often saluted Flynt's chutzpah and creative use of attorneys, and it seems I must tip my hat to the man once again. Uncle Larry isn't worried about himself. He's worried about us!

"People are too depressed to be sexually active," Flynt said in the statement. "This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such but they cannot do without sex."

Read here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

This Moment in History - Watching the Financial Crisis

It's always odd to live through a moment in the news that you realize is becoming a moment in history. I've been around the block long enough to recognize them when they crop up, I think (and getting the history degree doesn't hurt, especially once you see how these things cook up when using primary source documents in research). And, Leaguers, this story is picking up enough steam to maybe be one of those events.

And while the events of the current financial collapse won't be recognized in the same manner as, say, Pearl Harbor, 9/11, etc... it could be recognized in much the same way as Black Thursday. And you know what the big difference is between those events (aside from loss of life and the road to war)? The mistakes made along the way are amazingly clear in hindsight.

I am unsure what to make of the bailout. We're getting a plea from a government that has made a lot of claims over the years insisting that the public rush to get behind them, but its a governments whose credibility has been tragically diminished thanks to requests for blind faith (and this isn't just opinion here. I'm going off well known polls, Sunday morning show consensus, etc...) and then finding their goodwill has been taken advantage of.

Add in the idea that the government hasn't ever really reacted this way before to financial crisis, and the American public surely isn't too excited about finding themselves holding the bag (taxwise) for what's seen as nothing less than an act of hubris by people who would as soon step on them as speak to them.

The American public seems to have a feeling in their gut that the bailout plan is the wrong way to go, and you can't blame them. After all, where's the bailout for the people losing their homes? Why are CEO's for failing companies regularly receiving "golden parachutes" after driving their companies into the ground and losing their jobs? Why were the financial policies of the past few years ever allowed if anyone was aware of the potential risk? And whys hould we be expected to pay for their risk? When so many people have already lost so much thanks to participating in their risky behaviors? And it seems hopelessly mired in the notion that the financial well being of the country should be based in propping up the wealthy (and wealthy institutions) to support the trickle down effect theory of economics.

That's not to say I believe that $700 Billion should be set aside for people who took loans they couldn't afford, but I don't see the value in putting your $700 billion in fewer baskets over spreading the wealth when the institutions seem to lack the discipline to handle the money they have/ had. (Either way seems to be a dud. I wonder how historians and economists of the future will see the economic stimulus checks we got this summer. FYI: Mine was spent in Costa Rica. Viva America!)

Economists will be studying the past six years for the next fifty. And, I assure you, we'll do it all over again in my lifetime when another generation is running things, doesn't know their history and believes the people in their same jobs of a few decades back were merely fools who couldn't handle things the way THEY can.

In a way, we sort of know what will happen if the bailout doesn't happen. We have a major financial crisis and have to hit the reset button. And while it will surely hurt many, many people, its something that may serve to force our economy into a natural equilibrium. Joe Average on the street has no faith in the companies who have failed in the first place, so why would we give them $700 Billion again (whether that's how the administration looks at it or not, it's our dough...)? In short, if we think we're about to bottom out, anyway, why go further into national debt throwing good money after bad?

Frankly, I'm a bit stunned that this plan came from the White House. But if I were an outgoing President, I wouldn't be too keen on letting the end result of eight years of my economic policy being financial collapse of the US, either, I guess. So I'd be looking for some stopgap to try to keep that from happening. Nobody wants to be remembered as going down in flames in the same manner as Hoover.

Whether right or wrong on this bailout request, unfortunately the current administration has burned through its goodwill and claims of wise leadership (I guess they call it political capital). Which is another lesson in government to you future leaders of America. Sooner or later you might actually need for people to get behind you on something, so you better not waste and/ or drop the ball on the first two or three requests.

Part of me wonders if Bush did more harm than good in going begging to the public for their support instead of leaving the idea of the bailout as more of an abstraction without a face.

Part of why I'm writing this post is that LoM might be your daily bit of goofiness, but it's also got a multi-year archive at this point. So it seems a shame to not mark some of this stuff for posterity for myself. Especially if I suspect that events as they unfold will be part of our national narrative. So I can see if I was right or wrong in my predictions, and see how what I was thinking about the news as it unfolded.

So, yes, perhaps a bit selfish, but I hope it'll have some value for me in the future.