I always thought he was the perfect straight man: self-effacing, good-natured, able to laugh at himself, along with millions of others, after Johnny Carson's brilliant needling; just the right man in the right role at the right time. He handled his own life's ups and downs with poise and dignity.
... let me count ONE way. Using a beautiful actress to forward a totally negative agenda. I refer to an ad campaign by atheists using the late actress Butterfly McQueen to try and destroy faith. (via The Macho Response)
The ad reads: "As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion."
I'm almost at a loss to express my disgust at the multiple layers of crap being inflicted here.
Number one: Butterfly McQueen, who received a bachelor's degree in political science in 1975, was FAR from a "simple-minded darky," as she was portrayed. It was symptomatic of the times that she portrayed a template model in "Gone With The Wind." She was one of the most intelligent actresses ever to ~not~ grace the screen, being African-American at a time in American history where her talents were not ever going to be noted.
Number two: She may, or may not, have been a committed Christian (or Hindu, Muslim, or whatever religion).
Number three: To use her in an advertisement after her death -- in such an egregious way -- "a slave, breaking free of the 'slavery' of religion'" -- not only uses her, but, well ....
It uses her. And that pisses me off.
UPDATE: Gregory James in comments points out that Miss McQueen was, in fact, an atheist and a member of the Freedom from Religion Foundation; hence, the use of her image in the advertisement. I'm grateful to Mr. James for pointing that out -- very civilly, when he could have answered my belligerant tone in kind -- and grateful that Miss McQueen was NOT, in fact, abused. She remains one of the people I admire of all time.
I also removed the profane statement I had previously appended in the post, as I hate profanity as a general rule, and only use it in moments of extreme anger. The organization did not deserve the slur, so I'm happy to remove it.
"The findings? No, Obama’s new housing plan won’t stop money going to dumb speculators. No, America didn’t invent the car. No, the US isn’t importing 'more oil today than ever before'. No, his '$2 trillion in savings over the next decade' aren’t real. No, his new budget doesn’t 'end education programs that don’t work and end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don’t need them'. No, his budget does not 'finally end… the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas' No, his recovery plan will not “double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years'. No, we cannot be sure his plan 'will save or create 3.5 million jobs'."
"To environmentalists, there is no more urgent question than addressing global climate change. The new Democrat-led Congress has vowed to pass major cap-and-trade legislation in response.
"Later this year. Maybe."
Astonishingly, the zealots -- and their largely Democratic champions in the Legislature -- have discovered that "(c)ap-and-trade would require businesses to buy permits to release carbon emission as a way of reducing CO2 emissions overall. For states that use a lot of coal-fired electricity, that could mean new expenses for business and new costs for consumers." (emphasis mine)
Nooooooooo. Really?! And we've all got so much extra cash to splash around in the BEST of times for these stupid schemes. //sarcasm off// If there's one bright spot in this recession, it's that even the idiots have to pay attention to common sense.
Meanwhile, a Norwegian blog-poster writes: "There is so much snow in Oslo, where I live, that the city authorities are resorting to dumping truckloads of it in the sea because the usual storage sites on land are full."
Commenter Steve puts it pretty well:
"No matter what the problem.. global warming.. err climate change is aways the cause. More snow.. climate change, Less snow.. climate change.. arctic sea ice expanding .. climate change.. artic sea ice retracting climate change.
"Freeze in Rio.. climate change.. freeze in north pole.. climate change. How much needed money are we going to continue to give to these scamsters?"
I SEE you guys, from Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, India, and who knows which European country. Right on my Google Analytics screen. I KNOW you're checking out my Muslim Babe of the Day (or week, or whatever).
So. Let's take a little reality check, shall we? And let's make you take a dose of medicine you badly need.
Reality Fact No. 1: You like to look at beautiful women.
So why do you behead them in Buffalo?
Reality Fact No. 2: See Reality Fact No. 1.
You are balls and chains on humanity. I don't like it. A whole LOT of people -- who use their BRAINS, unlike you, don't like it.
So stop with the stupidity. Start appreciating the other half of the human equation, and stop stomping on her because she doesn't fit your stupid brain mold.
Just to show you idiots I'm not afraid of you, send me your e-mail address. I'll give you personal details of where I live, and how to find me.
But just so's you know, I've got a couple of security guards in my corner. Their names are Mossberg, Colt, Glock and Winchester. Also a Chinese employee, whose moniker is SKS.
Bringiton. Thatisall. I look forward to meeting you. And then destroying you.
And this, from "Saul" in the comments section, is a gem:
"My all time favorite quote (source unknown):
Jews are just like everyone else, only MORE so.
My all time favorite Jewish joke:
Several centuries ago, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert to Catholicism or leave Italy. There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal. He would have a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community. If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy; if the Pope won, they would have to convert or leave. The Jewish people met and picked an aged and wise rabbi to represent them in the debate. However, as the rabbi spoke no Italian, and the Pope spoke no Yiddish, they agreed that it would be a 'silent' debate.
On the chosen day the Pope and rabbi sat opposite each other. The Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers.
The rabbi looked back and raised one finger.
Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head.
The rabbi pointed to the ground where he sat.
The Pope brought out a communion wafer and a chalice of wine.
The rabbi pulled out an apple.
With that, the Pope stood up and declared himself beaten and said that the rabbi was too clever. The Jews could stay in Italy.
Later the cardinals met with the Pope and asked him what had happened.
The Pope said, 'First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up a single finger to remind me there is still only one God common to both our beliefs.
Then, I waved my finger around my head to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right here with us.
I pulled out the wine and water to show that God absolves us of all our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin.
He bested me at every move and I could not continue.
Meanwhile, the Jewish community gathered to ask the rabbi how he had won.
'I haven't a clue' the rabbi said. 'First, he told me that we had three days to get out of Italy, so I gave him the finger.
'Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews and I told him that we were staying right here.'
'And then what?' asked a woman.
'Who knows?' said the rabbi. 'He took out his lunch so I took out mine.'"
With the recent Darwin anniversaries fresh in awareness, the debates go on over intelligent design versus simple natural selection.
Indeed, they're heating up. Deservedly so. There is no more pressing intellectual, emotional and moral gateway to raising consciousness than this. We solve THIS conundrum, and we unlock important secrets to knowledge.
Disclaimer: I'm a Christian. It could be argued that I am trying to fit the template by siding with intelligent design. Fair enough. Hear me out, then drag me over the coals, if you feel I still deserve it. (As cold as it is here in Pennsylvania just now, I'll probably appreciate it.)
The best champions of both sides, as I see it, are Steven Novella, a neurologist at Yale University, and Michael Egnor, a neurosurgeon from the State University of New York, Stony Brook. (Many thanks to npr.org)
Novella sez, Brain causes the mind. That is, the evolving functions of the physical matter that make up brain tissue create the conditions under which consciousness is able to develop. Consciousness is a natural by-product.
Egnor sez, "There is nothing about neurons that scientifically would lead you to infer consciousness from them. They're masses of gelatinous carbon and hydrogen and nitrogen and oxygen, just like other kinds of flesh. And why would flesh have first-person experience? So, even logically, it doesn't hang together."
Well, you've got nothing on THESE parents (via Mental Floss's Top Bad Parents):
1. When the movie Anatomy of a Murder came out, Jimmy Stewart’s dad was so upset by the content that he took an ad out in the newspaper imploring people to avoid his son’s filthy movie.
2. Mickey Hart, the drummer for the Grateful Dead, got his dad hired on as the band’s manager when the band was just starting out. The problem? Lenny Hart stole thousands of dollars from the then-struggling group. There was no love lost after he was fired: “He was an absolute rotten human being,” Mickey said when his father died.
3. Stephen King’s dad pulled the cliché “I’m going for cigarettes” move when Stephen was two and never came back.
Read the rest of the interesting dish, including, alas (take note, Charles Henry), Clara Bow's incredibly bad parents.
The idea is to rid oneself of unpleasant sensations. The upshot, taken to the level of policy, is, perhaps, more sinister. That is: Such a drug may be possible in one particular application, but even more effective in, say, ridding the population of unpleasant associations with ANYTHING.
Drugs -- that is, "drugs" -- have moved far, far beyond the '70s perception of mind-altering substances, which was a benign pursuit, with no real social consequences. Drugs, in those halcyon days, were recreational. (Which should, unless I am mistaken about freedom, remain a choice.
Nowadays, drugs have moved into the next dimension. We now have a clear understanding of how exactly to tweak this, that or the other neurotransmitter to achieve the optimum result. Your kid is too exuberant in class? Ritalin.
My wild Irish rose, Dana, above -- she inherited my mother's Black Irish dark hair and pale complexion -- and my fair English rose, Maggie, in the video following.
(She's first visible at about 0.38 seconds, between a girl on the left in a purple dress with white sleeves and apron, and a girl on her right with a dark blue dress with white sleeves. Maggie's in a gown of pale green, standing just below the two other girls.)
Both of them artists. Both of them beyond beautiful.
"Muzzammil Hassan, of Orchard Park NY (SE of Buffalo), is the 'founder and chief executive officer of Bridges TV, which he launched in 2004 amid hopes that it would help portray Muslims in a more positive light. Its slogan was 'connecting people through understanding'.
"Forest Fire Victoria — a group of forestry experts and scientists, including outspoken academic David Packham — claims the Government has sidelined crucial recommendations from its own parliamentary environment and natural resources committee to curry favour with environmentalists.
"The dispute flared when (Environment Minister Gavin) Jennings said this week Victoria had carried out 400,000 hectares of fuel-reduction burning over three years…
"Mr Packham yesterday accused the minister of deception.... Fuel-reduction burning of 400,000 hectares in three years represented only 1 per cent of Victoria’s bushland a year — when 10 per cent was needed to safeguard the state properly and the Government’s own committee had urged an annual minimum of 5 per cent fuel-reduction burning. ..."
And this (note the terrible irony):
"Nillumbik Shire, one of the areas that suffered the worst casualties in these fires, last year explained why it wasn’t keen on burning off the fuel piling up so lethally in its forests:
'Council believes there should be consideration of greenhouse gas pollution produced from undertaking such burns and the possible contributions to climate change. There may be alternative methods for reducing fire risk to assets such as sensitive slashing or fine fuel removal in firebreak areas.
All right. Now, the native Americans knew that it was essential for periodic fires to level forests for the very reason that allowing tinder to accumulate leads to just such a situation as has happened in Australia. AUSTRALIANS have known this for many long years.
But the limp-wristed, oh-the-poor-trees-and-birdies crowd has prevented this from taking place in recent decades, and the result? Murder. Yes, MURDER.
And to top it off, the ~carbon emissions~ from this wildfire are enormous. So, so much for that.
I'm filled with rage, both hot and quiet. One minute I want to break everything in sight, including these worms' heads. In another, I want to actively seek out each and every council member, policy wonk, aide or flunky who directly or indirectly created this situation, and cause great unhappiness in one way or another. Revenge is a dish best served cold, as the saying goes.
But, unlike them, I care about my fellow humans, even the worms. So, my anger has nowhere to go but this page.
All I can say is, mea culpa, you bastards. Have a nice day.
Christopher Ries is an artist in glass, from my neck of the woods here in Pennsylvania. Like me, he's a proud supporter of our public radio station, WVIA. I always hear references to him, and always meant to check out his stuff, and never did -- until tonight.
... the incomparable Lena Horne. This song was done superbly well by others, including the equally incomparable Ella Fitzgerald, but Lena's take will always be my favorite.
Anyway, not to digress too far off the original intended topic -- the weather.
Extremely high winds today in Pennsylvania, my state. High winds in France. A tornado in Hawaii. Terrible heat and, hence, terrible wildfires in Australia. Heavy snow in Britain.
Global warming? Uh ... no.
But what is it? The climate certainly is changing. It has a way of doing that, every so often, throughout history. Why, and what does it mean just now to us? Got a few theories, me. I'm doing research on them, and will post again on this topic soon.
"TORONTO — The Ontario Human Rights Commission is calling for Parliament to force all Canadian magazines, newspapers and 'media services' websites to join a national press council with the power to adjudicate breaches of professional standards and complaints of discrimination."(emphasis mine)
Oh, nice. Just peachy.
"Barbara Hall, OHRC chief commissioner, said in an interview that the rise of the Internet has strengthened the case for a national media watchdog. In her vision, a national press council would be 'a vehicle for full discussion about what’s written in the media' that is less strict and more accessible than the courts."
'A vehicle for full discussion,' eh? Based on the past performances of these Inhuman Rights outfits, you can read that as 'a vehicle for soaking you for lots of money, trying to force you to recant your beliefs and opinions in public, and, in short, controlling you in the finest Big Brother tradition.'
To my ... er ... (former) brethren in the journalistic ranks: Don't you have a SMALL PROBLEM with someone telling you what to say?
(*tap-tap-tap* Is there anybody IN there? Or did you get testicular surgery?)
Number 2: These "human rights" outfits are employing stealth tactics like this "press council" gag every DAY to try and end-run around REAL rights, like freedom of speech.
Wake up. Please. They're cockroaches. They do NOT represent Canadians. Buy your Combat Roach Termination plastic thingies today. That is, decide not to buy that particular insanity. And more importantly, LET YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES KNOW that you do NOT want this sneak attack on free speech to go unchallenged.
The kind of anti-Semitism Hitler institutionalized has been all-too-quickly air-brushed by groups and individuals with certain agendas. They count on people forgetting the absolute inconceivable horror that was the Holocaust. Worse, they're massaging history and justifying their behavior, in small, scarcely noticeable increments -- a press release here, a misrepresentation of a news story there, and a "human rights" lawsuit somewhere else -- that perhaps, the Holocaust:
A) Wasn't that bad B) Was completely made up C) Is an "excuse" for Jews to attack Muslims
STOP this cockroach-style, sneak attack on history and reason. Now. Show up at the March. If you can't, communicate your views to your provincial, state or federal representatives on that day that you see what's happening under the radar, and that you're not buying it.
Disclaimer: I am not Jewish. Simply an admirer of an incredible culture, whose long traditions have made it possible for me to live life well, and the way I want to.
I'm totally sick of the cultural hypocrisy against smoking pot. Now, swimmer Michael Phelps, who wowed everyone around the world with his amazing grace, has been made to wear the hair shirt.
It's a substance that alters neuronic patterns in the brain. Like caffeine. Like alcohol. Welders depend on it to counter the debilitating effects of "welder's flash" on their eyes. Chemotherapy patients depend on it to offset having to hurl your lunch every three seconds. Ordinary people just like it.
I've smoked it a time or two, but it puts me to sleep, so I don't indulge in that particular substance. BUT IT'S NO BIG DEAL. And it should NOT BE A BIG DEAL.
Big Bro has convinced us that partaking of THIS vice is okay, but THAT one is not.
BULL. On many levels.
So WHAT if people like to alter their own brain chemistry once in a while?
What if ALTERING YOUR BRAIN CHEMISTRY ONCE IN A WHILE is ..... wait for it ..... enjoyable?
(Trivia: One of my classmates in high school was Heather McLean, cousin of Don, who wrote "American Pie." She looked a lot like him. She never would talk about him, embarrassed by the attention fame brought to her indirectly. She was very shy and self-contained.)