Wednesday, January 27, 2010

happy birthday song

happy birthday to my nephew, John Alex!

and thanks to Caleb for helping out with this goofy-ass project. i had a ton of fun--hope you have fun watching it. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010


Imagine being such a desperate fame-whore that you would hook up with as loathsome and odious a fame-whore as Kate Gosselin in an attempt to get some of her fame-whore fame to rub off on you. My god. Have some dignity. Build a balloon and coach your kid to lie, or go visit the White House or something.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

extremism against cartoonists

Have we seen this yet? It's kind of dated, but the new news is that the cartoonist (Mark Fiore) is receiving death threats. Over this. This cartoon.

Remember the Danish cartoonist who was nearly murdered by a crazed Somali Muslim over his depiction of the prophet Muhammed?

As Fiore says on his blog, 'muslim extremist, meet tea party extremist.'

What do we call death threats over political statements again? Oh yeah. Terrorism.

If we needed more proof that some of the teabaggers are dangerous nuts who take seriously the irresponsible rhetorical fire-bombing by the likes of Beck, Limbaugh, Malkin, Palin and Bachmann, we need look no further. This also illustrates the disconnect these people have between what they say they stand for and what they actually stand for: after all, if they were truly standing up for the Constitution and our freedoms, they wouldn't seek to silence voices with which they disagree.

No, extremist fundamentalists all have more in common with one another than they do with anyone else. That is to say, the actions and the rhetoric of extreme fundamentalist Muslims is more similar to that of extreme fundamentalist right-wingers in this country than right-wingers are to moderates or any other Americans for that matter. Same with fundamentalist Israelis and any other fundamentalist group, including the fundamentalist Muslims they despise: all of these groups seek only to go back, to tear down, to control, and to destroy any progress the human race has made since their ancient, ridiculous books were handed down by illiterate tribesmen. They seek a return to an imaginary simpler time, and anyone who stands in their way or even politely disagrees is deserving of a violent end.

After all, if God has told you that you're supposed to be the big winner, that your way of life and belief system is the bestest and rightest, and yet you see others functioning in the world just fine without your beliefs, then maybe it's not such a great leap to imagine that God wants you to destroy them.

Monday, January 4, 2010

dave foley/glenn beck

I think the Kids in the Hall could sue Glenn Beck for copyright violation. This is predates his schtik by nearly two decades.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

eating animals

I just finished reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Eating Animals,’ and I’ve been ranting about it to anyone who doesn’t run away screaming the second I bring it up. Now, I’ve been called a cynic more than once (I prefer ‘realist,’ but whatever). I would argue that cynics are the only true idealists; we hold the world and the people around us to a higher standard. Everyone else has settled for second-best.

Here’s something I jotted down a couple weeks ago when I was working on the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ review:

‘The pinnacle of cynicism is over-sentimentalized, emotional manipulation. The huckster attempting to sell us cheaply maudlin, calculatedly heart-tugging schlock is far more cynical than the so-called ‘cynic’ who refuses to be moved by this artfulness. True cynics are truly the greatest, most dedicated idealists--we’re just holding out for the genuine article.’

Quoting myself. Now that is a new low.

Anyway. I bring up cynicism because I almost literally never say things like I’m about to say regarding Foer’s book: ‘Eating Animals’ literally changed my life. I am not easily influenced, and am actually known as a stubborn fuck in some quarters.

You know who you are.

But this piece, if you approach it honestly and with eyes wide open, will change the way you view yourself as part of this strange world we’ve created. You can’t drive past a strip of McDonald’s, Applebees, Wendy’s and Carl’s Jr. without feeling a distinct queasiness. Or at least taking them in in a different way.

Here’s an excerpt, and another piece that offers a Jonathan Swift-like modest proposal.

Foer is a highly acclaimed fiction author (‘Everything Is Illuminated’) who embarked on this, his first non-fiction project, three years ago, after his son was born. He writes that he needed to know more about food and the way we deliver it to the table before making decisions on what to feed his son. He weaves the narrative into his personal history--his grandmother is a Holocaust survivor, and her tales of near-starvation while fleeing the Nazis illustrate how food is much more than fuel for the machine; it is our culture, our history, it is in the stories we tell about ourselves and our self-image.

The food we eat is us.

And so through countless interviews and some harrowing late-night visits to factory farming facilities, Foer begins to illuminate what it is to eat meat from living animals that are treated as though they were a car door on an assembly line, or an Ikea table.

Ever wonder where these new virus strains come from? How about from literally billions of animals packed one on top of the other in cages too small to move in, living their entire lives in their own shit? And keep in mind these animals are genetically modified freaks with virtually no immune system and so must be continually pumped full of antibiotics, as well as the massive doses of hormones that make them grow with such insane speed and to such ridiculous proportions that broken bones are commonplace. Foer’s sources tell him most factory-farmed turkeys cannot even walk.

Here’s something that’ll make you think twice when you’re shopping for chicken: according to industry standards (maintained under the watchful eye of the USDA, as captive a bureaucracy as the SEC and we all know how well they regulated Wall Street) up to 11% of a chicken’s weight can legally be water that the carcass has soaked up after death.

No big deal--so you pay a little more. Except that after the chickens are scalded, often still covered in the shit that exploded out of them when they were snatched up to be slaughtered, they are then dipped in a foul stew of feces, water, and bleach. That’s the liquid that is soaked into them and sold as if it were chicken meat.

Yum. Pass me them McNuggets.

But despite my tone here, Foer manages to avoid shrillness, scolding or excoriation most of the time, despite the truly heinous things he encountered. He managed to write this book in a way that is almost gentle, and is certainly very thoughtful and personal. He says he has a stake in this, as do we all, and that it is our responsibility to at least be aware of what is going on.

It’s important to understand what we are supporting when we buy factory-farmed meat, to realize that the industrialization of raising animals carries hidden costs that go far beyond the cheap price tag on those pork chops, not least of which could be our very humanity. Empathy is a dangerous thing, but it’s what gives us our value, it’s what makes us human.

And while it’s a cute, glib response to say something like, ‘Meat tastes good, and humans were designed to eat meat, and therefore it’s natural...’ (which is an argument I made and still believe to be true) there is not a single goddamn thing that is natural about factory farms. And by the way, labels like ‘free-range, organic, and cruelty-free’ mean very little when the ‘regulators’ are themselves current or former factory farmers.

Blah blah blah. Check it out, please. It’s difficult information to process, but shying away from the truth doesn’t make it any less true. It just makes us more ignorant.