Friday, September 30, 2011

Alternative scandal names for "Muffingate"

Buffet of Pigs

Savings and Scone


[For the uninitiated.]

Awesomest Fashion Show du Jour CXLVI

This is beyond fabulous.

[Source: Boing Boing.]

As seen on the Twitter II

BREAKING: Banks Raise Fees on Same People Who Bailed Out Their Asses
Sep 30 via Twitter for iPhoneFavoriteRetweetReply

Thursday, September 29, 2011

As seen on the Twitter

Cable news loves to cover popular uprisings around the world, unless they're happening in lower Manhattan.
Sep 29 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

Seriously, what's up with that?

Perhaps if these "dirty hippies" were history-misreading tea partiers donning tricorn hats and carrying muskets -- or were foreigners, addressing someone else's power structure -- they would get coverage. But, television news is Wall Street, so these protests are a little close for comfort.

ABC = The Walt Disney Company
CBS = CBS Corporation, spawn of Viacom with a controlling share owned by National Amusements' Sumner Murray Redstone
NBC = NBC Universal, a joint venture of Comcast and General Electric
CNN = Turner Broadcasting System (a Time Warner company)
and last, but certainly not least,
Fox News = the ever-popular News Corporation

Certainly one could understand why these big boys and girls would be less than enthusiastic about giving any airtime to the Occupy Wall Street crowd that isn't dismissive or ridiculing, right?

Fortunately, we still have the interwebs!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Awesomest Editorial du Jour CXLV

Today's Chicago Tribune hits the nail on the head with Selling Our Souls to Mark Zuckerberg.

Pitchfork time?

If you live in Greece, Spain, Israel, the United Kingdom or pretty much anywhere in the Arab world, chances are you have already polished up your pitchfork.  Rumblings have even started here in the United States (and might even amount to something if the chattering classes decide to leave the herd long enough to realize that joining them would be more effective than dismissing them as so many "dirty hippies").

So what's going on?  You know something is up if Americans -- even the "loony left" -- are taking (possibly, maybe) to the streets.

An article in today's New York Times has one intriguing answer:  " is worthless".

Wouldn't it be ironic if President Barack Obama goes down in history not as the man who fought for universal health care or the president who signed DADT out of existence but rather as the man who campaigned on hope and change only to prove the hollowness of those words in a world ruled not by politicians but by the plutocrats on Wall Street and those of similar ilk in every capital around the globe?

Put another way:  what do you suppose it would take to have anyone actually go to jail for driving the global economy off a cliff?  Apparently having a Democrat in the White House isn't enough.

As in so many cases, I believe Mel Brooks sums it up best:

[Blazing Saddles clip source:  You Tube.]

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour CXLIV

Ever wondered what M&Ms looked like through droplets of water? Of course you have!

No Photoshop was injured in the filming of this photo.  Click here to see how the photographer captured the image.

[Source: Northwest dad's photostream at Flickr via My Modern Met.]

Friday, September 23, 2011

Awesomest Civics Lesson du Jour CXLIII

Ah, the Social Contract.  Remember that?  Elizabeth Warren does.

[Video source:  You Tube; hat-tip The Dish.]


Gay, baby SEALs.

[For all the fun responses to the hashtag #peoplelikelytobebooedatnextGOPdebate, click here.]

Monday, September 19, 2011

Awesomeliest Nerdy Comic du Jour CXLII

[Source:  xkcd; hat-tip @ezraklein.]

Awesomest Quote du Jour CXLI

"This is not class warfare. It's Math."

-- Barack Obama

A little more of this, please, Mr. President.

[Source: TPM; hat-tip: @joshtpm.]

Friday, September 16, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour CXL


The above was taken in picturesque Monsanto -- a village built in and around, under, between and on the boulder-y side of a mountain in east-central Portugal.

Check out some other wild images here.

I wonder if Doctor Suess ever visited...?

[Source:  Amusing Planet.]

Brilliantest Image du Jour CXXXIX

From the Department of Missing the Point:

Somebody should really tell him.

[Source:  Boing Boing.]

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour CXXXVIII

Requiescat in pace.

[Story source:  NYT via Archinect; image source:  Richard Hamilton, Gagosian Gallery/Artists Rights Society.]

Awesomest Advice du Jour CXXXVII

I've always loved this guy.

The Ragin' Cajun speaks the truth.  Unfortunately, I doubt the Obama White House will listen...and we'll all suffer for it.  I hope to God I'm wrong about that.

[Image source:  Harvard Gazette; story:  CNN via TPM.]

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Inevitability...and about time.

Why the hell is my American government threatening to stand in the way of this!?

We should forever support the State of well as an independent Palestine.  They already exist.  Acknowledge the fact and muck through the details afterwards.

No one has or gets the winning hand on suffering.  Not anymore. Sorry, Everyone.  So, can we just get on with it, please?

UPDATE:  Read Reza Aslan's excellent op-ed for the Los Angeles Times here.

[Image sources:  Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times and Wikipedia.]

Stepping away from the Facebook Kool-Aid

I made up my mind last night to finally put into action a long-considered plan:  shutting down my Facebook accounts.  But, before doing so, I thought I'd give myself one last night to sleep on it.

I pulled the plug this morning.

And, fully cognizant that I may yet be in the intoxicating, initial throes of having thumbed my nose at The Man, I can happily report that it feels goooood.

You may have noticed that I wrote Facebook accounts, as in plural.  In retrospect, this cleaving of my Facebook self into two, differently-oriented personae was really the beginning of the end; but, at the time, it simply seemed like a reasonable attempt to stem online angst -- mine and my friends'.

It worked for a time.

Like many of my generation (give or take), I came to Facebook via earlier attempts at what would become known as social networking at Friendster and My Space.  They were essentially dating sites -- a huge improvement over print personals ads (remember those!?) -- and I was newly single.  Why not?  Word soon came down the ivy grapevine that some Harvard guy had started something that was allowing non-Harvard types to join and...well, you know the rest.

Again, seemed like a reasonable idea.  And all the cool kids were doing it.  Let's face it:  it's fun to "self publish".  You get to define yourself -- self-editing here, sharp-focusing or air-brushing there as needed.  And next to your online resume, you could define yourself further by posting some fun-filled pictures from your trip to Italy, amusing bon mots, political diatribes, and thoughts about the weather.  It felt good to have one of your friends like what you had posted, even more so if they commented in agreement (decidedly less so if they commented to the effect that you were full of crap); but, in the end it didn't matter.  You had held forth, and that was the important thing.

And you didn't mind so much that, all the while, your content and contributions were being fed into a matrix that produced specially-tailored ads just for you.  It should have been creepy, but you had grown inured to flashing banners and sidebars, and it didn't bother you so much.

But then something funny and unexpected happened:  your mother joined.  And the rest of your family.  Then friends of the family.  It had been enough navigating the rocky shoals of "friends" you last saw in high school (the ones who were not even friends then), but now you had to deal with the husband of one of your mother's childhood friends making snarky comments about the person you were supporting for president.

What started out as a light-hearted lark became a daily minefield of decisions to engage or not engage.  You discover, probably to your chagrin, that not everyone is in sync with your particular perspective.  When this happens, you are luckiest when they simply ignore you -- perhaps they even employ the increasingly-detailed mechanisms Facebook has helpfully provided to control what they see or "hide" you altogether.  Sometimes, however, friends pointedly and publicly disagree.  They might tell you outright that they think you're full of crap, or they might more politely suggest that you are full of crap.  Either way, do you ignore and walk away?  Do you respond?  Do you do so in a conciliatory manner...or do you shoot to kill?  And perhaps more importantly, do you post something like this in the future, knowing that a similar cascade of circumstances will most likely be triggered again?

It is one thing to tell the Facebook world what you think, but do you really want to hear what they think about what you think? And, if you are brutally honest, how much do you really care about their latest trip/baby/meal/sporting event/jog/book/ online petition?

In the end, it didn't much matter that I had split my Facebook presence into family and friends; the problem was the same:  my presence in both places was ultimately an exercise in narcissism. And, whereas I am more than willing to entertain the notion that I am the most self-centered person on the planet, the odds are against it.

For all the reasons above and no doubt others that will soon become clearer, the plain truth is that I have been nursing a bad attitude over the whole enterprise for some time.  Yes, there are a handful of friends and family with whom I enjoy interacting on Facebook; but, if the terms friend and family truly mean anything, I'll find a way to maintain the relationships without Mark Zuckerberg's midwifery.  We all have people in our lives who have withstood the Facebook siren call and have managed to remain firmly planted on the face of this earth, so we can be assured there is hope.

Regardless, here's hope that the daily voices will thin out.  Let's face it:  the only people who should have the benefit of/pay the price for you in their lives on a daily basis are your immediately-nuclear loved ones -- your spouse, your kids, your pets, others living with you (and even they deserve a break now and again). It's simply not normal to maintain daily interaction with...everyone. For me, and I suspect many others, it's actually harmful.

To be continued....

Friday, September 9, 2011

Soberingest Image du Jour CXXXVI

When President Obama and congressional leaders talk about reining in spending, they usually prefer to gloss over this:

We have boots on the ground in two different places; and with those boots come billions of dollars in materiel.

This materiel may be costly, but that price pales in comparison to the cost of something else that is American-made:  the guys pictured above.

We're still at war.

[Source:  Mother Jones' We're Still at War:  Photo of the Day for September 9, 2011.]

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour CXXXV

Clean up, Aisle...India!?

Egads.  Is there enough laundry detergent in the world to begin to clean all this up?

Well, I guess there must be because Holi is an annual affair.  It's actually celebrated in early Spring, but we can still enjoy the colorfest here in early pre-Autumn...thanks to the magic of photography.

[Source:  National Geographic; photograph by Anurag Kumar; hat-tip:  @pourmecoffee.]