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Friday, June 17, 2005

CULTURE/SOCIETY and ENTERTAINMENT: My Take on the Michael Jackson Verdict

Actually, I'm not that surprised at the verdict. A bit, yeah, of course. But from what I heard, there was quite a bit of evidence that the charges were fake. I believe the mother had been caught making fake charges before. And the previous charges against Michael had been proven to be fake.

Besides, I'm not 100% convinced Michael is the child molester he is made out to be. He's pretty weird and strange, and doesn't seem to quite understand how the adult/child relationship works, but that doesn't make him a molester. And considering his childhood, it probably shouldn't be a big surprised if Michael doesn't understand how to interact properly with kids. He sure didn't have a good example!

So I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. And just consider him a weirdo!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

POLITICS and ENTERTAINMENT: A Look at a Conservative Weekly's "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries"

"HUMAN EVENTS asked a panel of 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders to help us compile a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Each panelist nominated a number of titles and then voted on a ballot including all books nominated. A title received a score of 10 points for being listed No. 1 by one of our panelists, 9 points for being listed No. 2, etc. Appropriately, The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, earned the highest aggregate score and the No. 1 listing. "

1. The Communist Manifesto - by Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels
2. Mein Kampf - by Adolf Hitler
3. Quotations from Chairman Mao - by Mao Zedong

Okay, the first three, I can understand - Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf and Quotations from Chairman Mao. Though I don't think The Manifesto is all that bad. I think Marx's criticisms of capitalism is pretty on target. I just don't agree with his cure.

I was scared when this group put The Kinsey Report as #4. This book has probably helped us understand sexuality more than any other book in the 20th century!

And then #5 - Democracy and Education by John Dewey. Don't know of this book, but according to the weekly, it "disparaged schooling that focused on traditional character development and endowing children with hard knowledge, and encouraged the teaching of thinking 'skills' instead." Good Lord! Let's not teach our kids any thinking skills. They might become liberals! And start a neoconservative movement!

As for #6 - Das Kapital by Karl Marx - like I said, great criticism, horrible idea how to fix things! (Here's my imitation of Karl Marx - *holding cigar up to my mouth* - "I shot an elephant while writing Das Kapital! Why it was writing Das Kapital, I'll never know!"

#7. The Feminist Mystique by Betty Friedman. From what I hear, this book may have gone a little overboard, but I guess we all know all women should be trapped in their homes!

#8. The Course of Positive Philosophy by Auguste Comte. I never heard of this book. The weekly really does not say anything about the particular book, just about the writer. So I have no idea what is wrong with this particular book in their eyes.

The writer is apparently a problem because he's a ex-Catholic who turned his back on religion. Having been raised Catholic, I guess I'll have to check this guy out some time!

#9 Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Neitzche. I don't know Neitzsche very well. But it always sounds to me like Neitzche is an extreme realist and pragmatist. Don't agree with him, but I can see where he's coming from - IF I'm understanding him correctly, which is a big IF with Neitzsche!

#10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes. I won't pretend to know much about economics. I can spend within my limits, but that's pretty much the end of my skills economically speaking. I've heard of Keynes, but don't really know much about him or his ideas.

According to the weekly, "The book is a recipe for ever-expanding government. When the business cycle threatens a contraction of industry, and thus of jobs, he argued, the government should run up deficits, borrowing and spending money to spur economic activity. FDR adopted the idea as U.S. policy, and the U.S. government now has a $2.6-trillion annual budget and an $8-trillion dollar debt."

Well, it seems to me, that FDR's programs helped people through The Depression. And it also seems to me that Clinton had our budget almost balanced, and the recent balooning came with our current president!

As for the honorable mentions -

The Population Bomb by Paul Ehrlich might have been off in its scale of the problem, but let's face it - there'd be a lot less pollution and hunger if there were fewer people on this planet!

B.F. Skinner's Beyond Freedom and Dignity? I have to admit it's been 20 years since I read it. I have it in one of my five boxes of books and could dig it out, but that would be too much work for a blog I don't even get paid to write for. But from what I remember of the late Dr. Skinner, he provided some ideas of things we should do if we were to have a democracy. And I believe he was more of a determinist kind of guy.

Don't remember any of the ideas he suggested, but like most of Skinner's ideas, I remember finding them interesting and worth thinking about if not worth doing. I don't remember the ideas in and of themselves being dangerous. But using them could be dangerous, if I could remember what they were. I just don't remember being scared by them.

Two books by Darwin! The Origin of Species and Descent of Man. Well, we are know why these are here, so what more needs to be said?

And that nasty Ralph Nader - Unsafe at Any Speed - trying to make cars safer, instead of letting the car manufacturers make deathtraps any way they want!

And Freud's Introduction to Psychoanalysis? Okay, I think Freud in a lot of ways is full of bunk. But without him, there would be no psychology. And psychology and psychotherapy has helped a lot of people. I wouldn't want to have been dumped in the kind of treatment insane people were given in Freud's time. I don't think it would have helped me after my episode!

You know, now that some ultraconservative thinktankers and academics made their list, it's time to get some ultraliberal to do the same thing. Well, fellow liberals, any suggestions for what you think are the 10 most harmful books of the 19th and 20th centuries?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

POLITICS: An Interesting Rant on the South

Ernest T Spoon sent this to me a few months back. But being the big procrastinator that I am, I'm only put it up now.

I will admit this isn't the most polite dissertation around, but it had enough interesting points, that I wanted to put it up anyway. And to be honest, it was worse! The original title was "F*** the South". But I cleaned up the language, because I'm trying to run a PG/PG-13 site here.

We should have let The South go when they wanted to leave. But no, we had to kill half a million people so they'd stay part of our special Union. Fighting for the right to keep slaves - yeah, those are states we want to keep.

And now what do we get? We're the Arrogant Northeast Liberal Elite? How about this for arrogant: the South is the Real America? The Authentic America. Really?

Cause we founded this country, jerks. Those Founding Fathers you keep going on and on about? All that bull about what you think they meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault weapons in the glove compartment because you didn't bother to read the first half of the freaking sentence? Who do you think those wig-wearing lacy-shirt sporting revolutionaries were? They were freaking blue-staters, dumbhead. Boston? Philadelphia? New York? Hello? Think there might be a reason all the freaking monuments are up here in our backyard?

No, No. Get out. We're not letting you visit the Liberty Bell and freaking Plymouth Rock anymore until you get over your real American selves and start respecting those other nine amendments. Who do you think those freaking stripes on the flag are for? Nine are for freaking blue states. And it would be 10 if those Vermonters had gotten their freaking Subarus together and broken off from New York a little earlier. Get it? We started this stuff, so don't get all uppity about how real you are you Johnny-come-lately "Oooooh I've been a state for almost a hundred years" dumbheads.

Arrogant? You wanna talk about us Northeasterners being freaking arrogant? What's more American than arrogance? Hmmm? Maybe horsies? I don't think so. Arrogance is the freaking cornerstone of what it means to be American. And I wouldn't be so freaking arrogant if I wasn't paying for your freaking bridges, jerk.

All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your freaking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane, you can come crying to us if you want to, but you're the ones who built on a freaking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it," we said, but you had to have your freaking orange juice.

The next dirtwad who says, "It's your money, not the government's money" is gonna get their butt kicked. Nine of the ten states that get the most federal freaking dollars and pay the least... can you guess? Go on, guess. That's right, they're red states. And eight of the ten states that receive the least and pay the most? It's too easy, jerk, they're blue states. It's not your money, jerks, it's freaking our money. What was that Real American Value you were spouting a minute ago? Self-reliance? Try this for self-reliance: buy your own freaking stop signs, jerks.

Let's talk about those values for a freaking minute. You and your Southern values can bite my butt because the blue states got the values over you freaking Real Americans every day of the week. Which state do you think has the lowest divorce rate you marriage-hyping dirtwads? Well? Can you guess? It's freaking Massachusetts, the freaking center of the gay marriage universe. Yes, that's right, the state you love to tie around the neck of anyone to the left of Strom Thurmond has the lowest divorce rate in the freaking nation. Think that's just some aberration? How about this: 9 of the 10 lowest divorce rates are freaking blue states, jerk, and most are in the Northeast, where our values suck so bad. And where are the highest divorce rates? Care to freaking guess? 10 of the top 10 are freaking red we're-so-freaking-moral states. And while Nevada is the worst, the Bible Belt is doing its freaking part.

But two guys making out is going to freaking ruin marriage for you? Yeah? Seems like you're ruining it pretty well on your own. Oh, but that's ok because you go to church, right? I mean you do, right? Cause we freaking get to hear about it every year at election time. Yes, we're fascinated by how you get up every Sunday morning and sing, and then you're freaking towers of moral superiority. Yeah, that's a workable formula. Maybe us freaking Northerners don't talk about religion as much as you because we're not so busy sinning, hmmm? Ever think of that, you self-righteous jerks? No, you're too busy erecting giant stone tablets of the Ten Commandments in buildings paid for by the freaking Northeast Liberal Elite. And who has the highest murder rates in the nation? It ain't us up here in the North, jerks.

Well this gravy train is freaking over. Take your liberal-bashing, federal-tax-leaching, confederate-flag-waving, holier-than-thou, hypocritical bull and shove it where the sun don't shine.

And no, you can't have your freaking convention in New York next time.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

HUMOR: Air Flight Humor

Once again an item from The OlderMusicGeek Email Clearing House. Enter our sweepstakes, and we'll get you a bunch of worthless subscriptions for the very slim chance of winning a million dollars!

- On a Continental Flight with a very "senior" flight attendant crew, the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."
- Heard on a Southwest Airline flight. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing and if you can light 'em, you can smoke 'em." On landing, the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have."
- "There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane"
- "Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."
- As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Ronald Reagan, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"
- After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced, "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted."
- From a Southwest Airlines employee: "Welcome aboard Southwest Flight 245 to Tampa. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised."
- "In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend
from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite."
- "Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Southwest Airlines."
- "Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."
- "As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."
- And from the pilot during his welcome message: "Delta Airlines is pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"
- Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City: The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump,and I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault, it was the asphalt."
- Overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo, Texas, on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"
- Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."
- An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a "Thanks for flying our airline." He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?" "Why, no, Ma'am," said the pilot. "What is it?" The little old lady said, "Did we land, or were we shot down?"
- After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the attendant came on the horn, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Capt. Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we'll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal."
- Part of a flight attendant's arrival announcement: "We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of US Airways."
- A plane was taking off from Kennedy Airport. After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the Captain made an announcement over the intercom, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Welcome to Flight Number 293, nonstop from New York to Los Angeles. The weather ahead is good and, therefore, we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax... OH, MY GOD!" Silence followed, and after a few minutes, the captain came back on the intercom and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier. While I was talking to you, the flight attendant accidentally spilled a cup of hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants!" A passenger in Coach yelled, "That's nothing. You should see the back of mine!"

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

CULTURE/SOCIETY: Why We Are Less Mobile Residents As We Age

I now know why people move less when they're older...

It's not because they have kids.
It's not because they're settled.
It's not because the spouse doesn't want to move.

It IS because it's a lot harder to move heavy crap when you're over 40 than when you're under 40!

HUMOR and CULTURE/SOCIETY: Life in My Home State

More stuff from my cleaning out my emails. This is about my home state, but since I'm a paranoid when it comes to being on the computer, I'm not saying which state I'm from. If you're not an old friend or family member, then you'll just have to guess which state this is referring to - and no, I won't tell you if you're right or wrong!

If someone in a store offers you assistance, and they don't work there, you might live in my home state.
If your dad's suntan stops at a line curving around the middle of his forehead, you might live in my home state.
If you have worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you might live in my home state.
If you have had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you might live in my home state.
"Vacation" means going east or west on I-80 for the weekend.
You measure distance in hours.
You know several people who have hit a deer more than once.
You often switch from heat to A/C in the same day and back again.
You can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard, without flinching.
You see people wearing camouflage at social events (including weddings).
You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.
You carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend knows how to use them.
You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction.
Your idea of creative landscaping is a statue of a deer next to your blue spruce.
A brat is something you eat.
Your neighbor throws a party to celebrate his new pole shed.
You go out to a tailgate party every Friday.
Your 4th of July picnic was moved indoors due to frost.
You have more miles on your snow blower than your car.
You find 0 degrees "a little chilly".

Monday, June 06, 2005

HUMOR and CULTURE/SOCIETY: Signs You're Getting Older

More cleaning out of my emails.

Your houseplants are alive and you can't smoke any of them.
You keep more food than beer in the fridge.
6:00 a.m. is when you get up, not when you go to bed.
"I just can't drink the way I used to" replaces "I'm never going to drink that much again."
You hear your favorite song in an elevator.
You watch the Weather Channel.
Your friends marry and divorce instead of "hook up" and "break up".
Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up".
You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.
You're the one calling the police because those dang kids next door won't turn down the stereo.
You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.
Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.
You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonald's leftovers.
Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.
You take naps from noon to 6 p.m.
Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.
A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good stuff."
You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.
90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.
You drink at home to save money before going to a bar.
Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 am would severely upset, rather than settle, your stomach.
You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that doesn't apply to you and can't find one to save your soul.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

HUMOR and CULTURE/SOCIETY: An Engineer's Perspective on the Differences Between Men and Women

A person I used to work with sent me this when I was feeling down earlier today, and it picked me right up. I hope it does the same for you.

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