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  • Cosmos: Carl Sagan (7 DVD Set)
    Cosmos: Carl Sagan (7 DVD Set)
    starring Carl Sagan, Jaromír Hanzlík, Jonathan Fahn, Robert H. Goddard

    I just picked this up.Twenty years plus and its still fun and timely.

  • The Ed Wood Box (Glen or Glenda / Jail Bait / Bride of the Monster / Plan 9 from Outer Space / Night of the Ghouls / The Haunted World of Ed Wood)
    The Ed Wood Box (Glen or Glenda / Jail Bait / Bride of the Monster / Plan 9 from Outer Space / Night of the Ghouls / The Haunted World of Ed Wood)
    Image Entertainment

    How can you not love this mans movies?

  • Rickles' Book: A Memoir
    Rickles' Book: A Memoir
    by Don Rickles

    Just started this.

  • Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey [Blu-ray]
    Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey [Blu-ray]
    starring Neil Degrasse Tyson, Tom Konkle

    Teriffic stuff.

Monday
Nov122012

Political Brain Farts



The political events  of the last few weeks prompt me to write the following. Comment on any or all as you see fit.

ROVE V MADE men

One person that I would not like to be right now is Karl Rove. Once known as “Bush’s Brain”( a title that give the term damned with faint praise a whole new depth) his new persona is out of some late forties film noir classic involving a schmoe who is into the syndicate for several thousand dollars.

But its millions of dollars. Hundreds of millions, of other peoples money, that he bet on elections. Not one, let me repeat that, not one of the the people he poured truckloads of cash into got elected. Not one. I’m sure that these high rollers are savvy enough to expect that a few of those liberals would get in under the wire, but all of them?

Of course, Karl is not the only dodo bird to get whacked over his rich and important head that day. The Koch Brothers come to mind. I envision them wiping their wounds with Brawny paper towels, and wiping the meal of crow from the corner of their mouths with Mardis Gras napkins. Or Zee Napkins.  Or Vanity Fair napkins & paper towels. Its alright they own all of them.

And they owned the money they lost.

But Karl? Sadly no. He lost other peoples money. Powerful peoples money.

LETS GET ONE OF THOSE

Already, the GOP is making noise about how they can turn the tide in 2016 by nominating Marco Rubio .  (He’s Latino ya know.)This is a direct result of a Republican meme that I call, “Lets get one of those.”

The Democrats did well with Hillary Clinton. The other side of the aisle said, “ Lets get one of those.” and came up with Sarah Palin. Obviously, all the GOP saw was ovaries.And it was such a great choice. Four years later, the party was spending time and money distancing itself from her. And she still hasn’t got the memo yet.

As soon as the Grand Old Party was aware that Obama was popular, and Black, word came down from on high “Lets get one of those.” And Michael Steele was found. It took awhile to find him. He was once the Lt Governor of Maryland. Also, the only republican to ever hold that office. He lasted two years as head of the party. They dropped him in 2011. It would seem , the Republicans sweeping the House the year before was less than the party hoped  for. You can see Michael now , regularly , on MSNBC. He’s appreciated by that forward leaning news network, because he comes across as well spoken and rational. No wonder his days as the head of the Republican National Committee were numbered.

They also like to bring up Bobby Jindal , which is kind of ironic, as most republicans seem to think that he is African-American. In truth, he is second generation Indian-American. And thats not to be confused with American Indian.

The point is, The GOP seems to think that black people, women and other minorities vote for a candidate for the tone of his skin and the shape of the candidates junk. The GOP honestly seems to believe that the American voter is a shallow little troll who never looks deeper than an i1080 tv screen will allow.

There has been a constituency of voters who think this way, and there always will be. But their numbers are NOT on the rise.

NOW, ABOUT THAT CONSTITUENCY

Yes, you don’t have to tell me that they are still about. But lets ignore the bigots for a second and zone in on people who just plain ignorant.

By ignorant, I don’t mean people who don’t agree with me. Let me give you examples.

Recently, I was shown a diagram of how all the counties voted in the past election. The person asked me, without the slightest bit of irony in her voice, “How could Obama win , with all these states showing red?”

I tried to explain that the votes are based on population, noy geographical area. I reminded her that in many of the cities I had lived in, one city block held more people than the county we both are living in now.

I don't think she bought it.

Another conversation involved several people who were complaining about the electoral college. Hey, I'm with you on this one. It should have been replaced after the invention of the telegraph. Or at least the telephone. Television? Well, surely, the internet makes it obsolete. *

But the basis of this particular argument was that Romney lost. Huh? I jumped in with that Obama won the popular vote also.

I’m not making the following statement up:

“But if they stopped counting the votes early, Romney would have won”.

Of the five people including myself, the only democrat in the bunch, three of them shook their heads yes, quite thoughtfully.

Maybe we are doomed.




* Okay, Richard A. Posner has some good reason for keeping tis mess here , avoiding run offs being the best, but I'm still not convenced. The whole thing gave us George W. Bush.




Saturday
May052012

Another "Damn Good Movie" 

Sometimes I like to talk about movies that you might not know, but really should. Things that deserved to be seen several times.

 

Damn good movies.

 

A Face in the Crowd” 1957 B&W Ratio 1.85 : 1

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050371/

 

 

If you ever watched “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” (and you know I did) you heard him reference this movie all the time. He often called Glenn Beck, “Lonesome Roads.” When you see the movie its easy to know why.

 

Marcia Jefferies (Patrica Neal) is a college girl with a reel to reel tape recorder looking for human interest stories for a local radio station. The county jail seems like a good place to start looking for specimens, and she gets a great one within minutes. He's Larry Rhodes  (Andy Griffin), in jail for drunk and disorderly and wearing wife beater shirts."Ten thosand miles from home, and I dont even know the name of my shirtmaker."

 

During the interview, Larry proves to be a force of nature in his own right. He pulls out a guitar and starts ripping a a blues riff about how he's ten thousand miles from home and doesn't even know his name. It's easy to see that Marcia is smitten.

 

She gets Larry a regular spot on the local radio station, and right away he becomes both a local success, and quite a hand full. It doesn't take him long to discover the power of radio to manipulate the common folk. And he's finding that he has a growing distaste for these yokels .He adopts the nickname “Lonesome Rhodes”."Todo, we aint in Mayberry just yet."

 

Soon local television beckons, and not long after that, the big time. Before long he's rubbing shoulders with network presidents and Presidential Candidates.

 

Along the way he picks up a manager Joey DePalma ( Tony Franciosa ) who cinical enough to see right through Lonesome almost from the beginning. Mel Miller (Walter Matthau) a streetwise television suit is equally unimpressed.

 

He also finds Betty Lou Fleckum ( a young Lee Remick in her first role) twirling her batons in at a local fair ground. He sees her as the perfect accessory and marries her immediately. Marcia feels ambushed by this sudden move, as she saw herself and the woman to tale the Lonesome out of Rhodes.

 

Larry even puts her on his show, with batons blazing. Unfortunately, she turns out to be a one trick cheerleader..Larry looses interest in time, but she adds more to the plot a little later.

 

Lonesome is becoming a king maker, and he knows it. He's the one who'll show the street monkeys and snuff queens who to vote for and what to think. What Lonesome has forgotten is that he was made a king maker by that other great dispensary of power. King Television.

 

Over in the discussion section of IMDB.Com, there is a thread of people who compare Lonesome to President Obama. These are people who have been eating from the petri dish again. As I said earlier, Olbermann would call Glen Beck “Lonesome Rhodes” all the time. The analogy held up well. Both men were know nothings who read and believed their own press releases. Both thought nothing of telling people what to think and say . I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that the Obama thread is some sort of twisted “get Keith” meme.

 

Now comes the irony. The director , Elia Kazan, claims that the inspiration for Lonesome came from Ronald Reagan. Well, think about it. In 1957, Reagan's political career was barely past the Screen Actors Guild phase. On TV he was he still hadn't even hosted an episode of “Death Valley Days” yet, but he had been hosting “GE Theater” since 1954. And just like Larry, “Lonesome” Rhodes, Ronald “Dutch “ Reagan got started in small time local radio.

 

 

The movie is avalable through Amazon.com You can help me out if you buy it by clicking on that link.

 

 

 

Tuesday
Mar132012

Always Glad to Plug Good Stuff

I love The Great Courses Series.  It's like attending an Interesting lecture. The emphasis is on interesting if you haven't guessed. 

 

But the one I want to plug right now is

Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills:

The Lecture is given by Dr. Steve Novella.    

If you're an avid fan of the podcast The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, you can probably skip on ahead. If you aren't , well lets cut and paste some of Steve Novella's  resume:

Dr. Novella is an academic neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine. In addition to being the host of The Skeptics' Guide podcast, he is the president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society. He is also the author of NeuroLogicaBlog, a popular science blog that covers news and issues in neuroscience, but also general science, scientific skepticism, philosophy of science, critical thinking, and the intersection of science with the media and society. Dr. Novella also contributes every Sunday to The Rogues Gallery, the official blog of the SGU, every Monday to SkepticBlog, and every Wednesday to Science-Based Medicine, a blog dedicated to issues of science and medicine. He is also a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and a founding fellow of the Institute for Science in Medicine. He has a regular column in the Skeptical Inquirer - The Science of Medicine. Dr. Novella is also a Senior Fellow for the James Randi Educational Foundation and directs their Science-Based Medicine program. Dr. Novella is available for public lectures, radio, podcast, or other media appearances. Contact him through the contact page or at snovella@theness.com to request an appearance.

 

All that and a real job. Whew. Remind me to stop kvetching about two jobs.

 

The course is great if you are new to this whole critical thinking thing. Or for that matter, even if your not. 

 I highly recommend it.

Me with the good doctor and some of the rest of the Skeptics Guide. In the background you can hear my mother say "Stop Slouching!"

Tuesday
Mar132012

Yes, I have Been Away From My Desk

As anyone who has tried can tell you, keeping up a blog demands a lot of attention. Ironically, in the winter, when I only have one job, I seem to have less time. Can you explain that?

Monday
Dec122011

That Makes Everything Right....

Sometimes a lyricists gets stuck." Hey Saul, I need a rhyme for jackhammer."

 

Then you get phrases that don't survive scrutiny . 

 

Christmas songs can be the worst offenders. We've talked about this before.Santa when he was signed with The William Morris Agency. Later he went to ICM.

 

One that always bothered me was from "Here Comes Santa Clause". Its the one that goes, "Santa knows that we're Gods children, that makes everything right."

 

Really? Everything? 

 

Then why didn't OJ use that as a defence?

 

I'm just asking.