Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Birth, Right?

I'm really having a difficult time understanding people. (This is news?) We just emerged from eight years of an utterly lawless administration, of which we continue to learn more and more details of just how far they were willing to go to undermine our constitution and system of checks and balances.

Some of us weren't happy with this and expressed our displeasure at the time. Our reward? We were told that we were deranged. Literally. They coined the term Bush Derangement Syndrome in order to plant the idea that we weren't reacting to actual crimes being committed by our so-called leaders but that we were poisoned by an irrational hatred of the man himself. This was really putting the cart of hatred before the horse of insanely undemocratic and immoral policy. It was a clever -- if cheap and dishonest -- way of deflecting attention away from the criminals and towards those nuts who would call them on their criminality. Sand in the face.

Now, here we are in the future. I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with our new leader. I'm a fan in general, but I have some serious issues with him. (First and foremost, his insistence on continuing some of the worst policies of his predecessor.) But the people who believe that Obama is not a U.S. citizen are seriously, literally, certifiably deranged.

How on earth can a person continue to insist, in spite of overwhelming (or at least, satisfactorily convincing) evidence to the contrary, that The Prez was somehow born in Africa? These people show up at rallies and at town halls insisting that there is some sort of conspiracy on and that we're still waiting for him to show proof of birth. This, of course, is over a year after his birth certificate was produced and published. Oh, and the State of Hawaii certified more than once that he was born there. And, yeah, after two Honolulu newspapers dug up their archives to find the announcement that the Obamas had a baby boy on August 4th, 1961.

This should be more than enough to satisfy anyone.

And yet, we still have this.

For extra fun, go to the YouTube page where this video came from and enjoy the eloquent comments.

I'd be willing to give them the benefit of a small amount of doubt if there were the teeny-tiniest base on which to build their nutty theory (and I apologize here for demeaning the word "theory"), such as a claim of a birth certificate from Kenya, for instance. Haven't heard about it. This is built on a foundation of nothing.

The absolute rage displayed by these people, and utter indifference to reason or logic, tells me that this is not about facts. It's about people who simply can't comprehend that their vision of America is moribund. And this is the way they express it, by clinging to a fable. They couldn't possibly be wrong. Obama couldn't possibly be popular. It must be a hoax. Facts to the contrary? Scream louder.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Insensitive Asshole Wins Golf Tournament

This is pretty much the definition of bittersweet.

Virtually unknown professional golfer comes out of nowhere to capture his first major tournament. Sounds pretty sweet, huh? Yay, Stewart Cink!

But no. The whole week everyone was watching 59-year-old has-been (and not-really-expected-to-be-at-his-age) Tom Watson, who had been leading for most of the week at this year's British Open. Piss on this story if you dare. Nobody who was not related to another golfer in the tournament wasn't rooting for the old dude to reclaim his former glory.

He didn't. And all he had to do was make par on the last hole, even after Sink birdied it. Nope. Didn't happen. Well, there was still a four-hole aggregate playoff. Oops. The geezer really croaked on that one. Oh well.

How much does it suck to be the guy that wrecked the feel-good story of the year? I bet the first-place money helps. But still.

Thanks for winning, you big jerk.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

That's Not What They Meant When They Said That Skin Sells

Advertisements must be viewed to be effective. On TV, they get the full 30 seconds with no competition. In print and on the web, they need to pull your focus away from the exciting content you are so lustily consuming and say "Hey, look at me! I'm so goddamn interesting you will never get to that article about the new Harry Potter movie. At least not until after you've clicked through to the product I'm selling."

There are a few ways to do this. First, and most obvious, is the "Look at my tits!" ploy. Men will never ever stop falling for this. No matter how crass we consider it when examining the ads intellectually, the inner 16-year-old screams "Look at her tits!" And we do.

Second, there are the usual bright shiny colors and exciting graphics. This can be enhanced with new-and-improved Flash animations that actually fly across the screen to more effectively obscure your originally desired content, sometimes even forcing you to click on the "X" to close the offending doodad before you can view anything it obscures. Annoying.

But here's my least favorite. I got this screen shot from today's online edition of the New York Times.

Did you see it? It's subtle, I know.

I'll say this for it, it certainly draws focus. Of course, now I'm not interested in breakfast. Or lunch. Ever.

But they aren't selling lunch. They're selling...what? I'm guessing some kind of cure for the horrible affliction visited upon the poor slob pictured, with his/her face mercifully cropped. Delightful.

I could find out if I really wanted to. There's a button that says "Click here to learn more". What I really want is the one that says "Click here to learn less" or, more to the point "Erase this ad from your memory". Only twenty dollars.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sarah Palin, Babykiller

Every day we get more evidence that not allowing Sarah Palin into the White House was a serious dodged bullet.

Today, we get this chilling photo from Jim Wilson of the New York Times showing just how demonic Governor Palin and her minions are.

As onlookers beam in approval, Palin mercilessly stabs this screaming baby to death with a fine point indelible marker.

Culture of Life indeed.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Robert McNamara

One fewer reservation at L'Inferne Marriott. Good riddance to one of the 20th century's most cold-blooded wasters of human life.

Everything of importance that this man did was well before my time, except for recanting most of it. For this, watch Errol Morris's chilling documentary "The Fog of War".

Apparently, he did some good too. His obituary will tell you all about his work on behalf of tolerance, education and whatnot. But this can't make up for the evil that was Vietnam and his place at the forefront of it.

In Morris's film, which you really need to see if you haven't already, he sounds as if he's describing a product launch that didn't go as planned. He's not entirely unsympathetic in the film, which is the most sobering part of it. It's an important reminder that people will commit the most horrible acts thinking that they're doing good, and that evil is not Darth Vader or Sauron but actual human beings with families, values and ideals who have really bad solutions to problems.

"Dr. Strangelove" was a satire, but about the only thing different in "The Fog of War" is the accent and the apology. The sentiment is pretty much the same. Humans are no more than pawns in the game and their actual lives have no meaning.

Goodnight, Doctor. Enjoy the company where you're going.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Karl Malden

Admit it. You thought he had been dead for years already. He was 97, after all. 97!

Growing up, I knew him as the guy on the American Express ads with the funny hat. And as the dude on "Streets of San Francisco" with Kirk Douglas's son. And he was old then.

It was only later that I found his earlier work in two classic films, "On the Waterfront" and "A Streetcar Named Desire", both directed by the great Elia Kazan and both starring some dude named Brando. He was clearly meant to be a character actor. That mug and that schnozz were there even back then. Not a handsome man.

But, as it goes, he could act. And he had himself a long and distinguished career. He stands in stark contrast to this week's other celebrity snuffings. Unlike Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, he lived a long life unmarred by controversy or suffering. His greatest achievement? He was married to the same woman for 70 years. 70! That's beautiful.

A good and well-lived life. Thanks, Karl, for doing it the way it oughta be done.