Entries Tagged as 'diatribes'

diatribespolitics & government

Welcome home

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All politics aside – or most of it, anyhow – President Obama’s decision to stop the deportation of young undocumented immigrants was long overdue. It was a cruel policy that diminished all Americans. And hopefully this move is the beginning of a long-term trend toward a sane immigration policy. By “sane” I mean one that judiciously bars the door to some, opens it at least part-way to many, and offers a pathway to citizenship that Americans can be proud of and makes us a stronger as well as a better country. Yes, stronger. [Read more →]

diatribeshealth & medical

Dragging horses into Troy…

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Last night I dreamt of you, Abbie Hoffman peddling your books, I gave five bucks to you, the other kids just gave you dirty looks.

I said “I’m sorry it didn’t work out quite the way you planned.”

You said, “That’s silly boy, the revolution is at
hand.”

And if you got a ten spot brother, I got a dime,
These are desperate,
desperate times.

Last night I dreamt of you, Pepe Lopez strung out on a stage, It don’t even look like you, smiling like sawed-off twenty gauge.
I still remember the
Telecaster down around your knees,
It’s late November and I think I smell tequila on the
breeze.

And if you got the Cuervo honey, I got the lime,
These are desperate,
desperate times.
And if you got the shotgun honey, I got the crime,
These are
desperate, desperate times.–Rhett Miller

I’ve been too busy dealing with family issues to write or think or do anything really coherent of late. [Read more →]

diatribestelevision

Two Outta Three Ain’t Bad

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One look at me, and it’s obvious that food is a big – perhaps TOO big – part of my enjoyment of life. That includes my time on the move, traveling, which I’m preparing to do later this month. Looking at our itinerary, I’m already looking forward to making a couple of stops at places I’ve seen on the Travel Channel.

TC has three shows on their prime time lineup devoted largely to food at various locations around the country and around the world. Two of them – Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” and Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods” – are really, REALLY good, and encourage me to set my feet and my palate along the paths they have followed. Then there’s then there’s Adam Richman’s “Man vs. Food” … oh, well – two outta three ain’t bad.
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diatribespolitics & government

Toast to Texas … and America!

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These are thoughts I’ve addressed before … but somehow they gained a new relevance for me, a new perspective after Rick Perry – our state’s governor – tossed his hat into the ring, seeking the Republican party’s nomination for President of the United States. And while that candidacy has long since come and gone, some of its impact still resonates within me. More than once Governor Perry used the states’ rights (some would say ‘secessionist’) rhetoric that has endeared him to so many here in the Lone Star State, encouraging that ‘Austin versus Washington’ or ‘Texas versus the rest of you guys’ attitude that still has its staunch defenders.
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diatribesends & odd

Consensus is a helluva drug…

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When you’re working in a group, it’s hard to know what you truly think. We’re such social animals that we instinctively mimic others’ opinions, often without realizing we’re doing it. And when we do disagree consciously, we pay a psychic price. The Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns found that people who dissent from group wisdom show heightened activation in the amygdala, a small organ in the brain associated with the sting of social rejection. Berns calls this the “pain of independence.”

 

Take the example of brainstorming sessions, which have been wildly popular in corporate America since the 1950s, when they were pioneered by a charismatic ad executive named Alex Osborn. [Read more →]

diatribespolitics & government

Newt Gingrich: The joke that South Carolina didn’t get

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I never wanted to write an attack piece. As a satirist with a few TV appearance under my belt, I’ve always avoided the type of person-as-the-joke pseudo-commentary you can hear from smirking amateur comics in LA who say things like, “Hey guys, GLENN BECK! Haha!”

Legitimate commentary deconstructs politicians in order to make a point, rather than relying on shared prejudices to get a snicker. But despite my best attempts, the only real point I can think of to make about Newt Gingrich is that he actually is a joke, and he’s one that a shocking number of Americans don’t get.

This is my attempt to explain it to them. [Read more →]

diatribessports

Let Go, Mets!

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This has been one of the bleakest winters ever for Met fans.  We lost Jose Reyes to free agency, a body blow though anyone could see it coming.  And our general manager acquired a few adequate relief pitchers while all our division rivals bulked up.  Meanwhile, the team continues to hang from a financial thread. But things are looking up: they recently signed Omar Quintanilla to a minor league contract. [Read more →]

diatribes

Since when is an increase in hopelessness cause for optimism?

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WILL WRESTLE YOUR MOTHER IN LAW FOR A BUCK! –Unemployed beggar at truck stop in Southern California

So, the unemployment rate has dropped below 9% to 8.6%. Why am I less than  excited by this? The unemployment rate is based on the number of people who are  considered to be in the workforce, so if you eliminate people from the workforce who are unemployed, the percentage employed is skewed to the right. [Read more →]

diatribestrusted media & news

A rant and a wish for Thanksgiving

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First, something for which I am less-than-thankful, this Thanksgiving … my annual plea to the media to please, please, PLEASE ignore the people waiting for hours-on-end outside the doors of some megamania superstore, jostling to be the first to glom onto some Black Friday bargain.
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diatribesends & odd

Chasing My Father

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Lately I’ve been chasing my father all over Hell – figuratively speaking. I don’t expect to catch him; he died seven years ago, taking with him some secrets I wish I could have asked him about, and others that I know I couldn’t have. He left behind some intriguing clues about himself, but remained something of a mystery to the end. [Read more →]

diatribes

If only the stooges revolt…or weren’t stooges to begin with!

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As a counter to the GOP’s inquisition of climate scientists, let us remember that in the last year or so, UC Berkeley physicist Richard Muller re-examined all the temperature data from the NOAA, East Anglia Hadley Climate Research Unit, and the Goddard Institute of Space Science sources. Even though Muller started out as a skeptic of the temperature data, and he was funded by the Koch brothers and other oil company sources, he carefully checked and re-checked the research himself. When the GOP leaders called him to testify before the House Science and Technology Committee last spring, they were expecting him to discredit the temperature data showed real change. Instead, Muller shocked his GOP sponsors by demonstrating his scientific integrity and telling truth to power: the temperature increase was real, and the scientists who had demonstrated climate was changing were right.9

This is the essence of the scientific method at its best. There may be biases in our perceptions, and we may want to find data that fits our preconceptions about the world, but if science is done properly, we get a real answer, often one we did not expect. That’s the true test of when science is giving us a reality check: when it tells us something we do not want to hear, but is inescapable if one follows the scientific method and analyzes the data honestly.

Thomas Henry Huxley said it best over 150 years ago: “Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.”–Donald Prothero, Professor of Geology, Occidental College and Cal-Tech

This month’s edition of E-Skeptic has a great article by Dr. Prothero about the interseces of faith, politics and science, and based on his discussion I’m kind of convinced that we have a fascinating problem — when the three collide, bet against whichever has the greatest value and truth. In the article, Denialist Demagogues and the Threat to Science, Prothero makes the point repeatedly, that there are whores amongst us who will sell out as well as dupes and those unwilling to accept science and the scientific method.  Rick Perry has famously commented that four semesters of biochemistry made a pilot out of him; thing is, even that  “misunderestimates” his level of ignorance. It’s not that the man is stupid — he is willfully ignorant.

This seems to be par for the course for the right this cycle, and probably should be on the minds of most of us. When confronted by facts, theories, hyposthesis, evidence that they do not disagree, they proclaim along with the choirs of angels and saints that it’s a mystery and the Lord will provide. Since I know more than a few conservative atheists, that seems a bit disingenuous, so they proclaim a conspiracy which then, on examination, turns out to be a combination of right wing PR combined with whoreish behavior by a few and eye on the prize hypocrisy by others combined with a degree of malign, self-serving calculation. [Read more →]

diatribesends & odd

My revenge scenario

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I am a fairly laid-back, low-key person. It takes a lot to get me riled up. This attitude has generally served me well. It’s only on very rare occasions that I become angry; only twice in my adult life have I ever actually been angry enough to yell at someone (yelling at sporting events, rooting on my favorite athletic performers, does not count). Generally, if I’ve been wronged – and it does happen occasionally – I forget it pretty quickly and move on with my life.

It’s not something I spend a lot of time on, but I do concoct revenge scenarios. [Read more →]

diatribessports

U-nited we stand

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I thought I might be the first  in the Coliseum to write about the University of Miami athletics scandal, until the talented Alan Spoll made it the subject of his weekly Good Sports Bad Sports piece. Alan did a bang up job of giving readers a snapshot of what is going down at the U. But being a former ‘Cane, I would like to give it all just a bit more perspective. [Read more →]

diatribes

The grotesque wad of ineptitude called Enterprise Rent-a-Car

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I’m currently experiencing some bad customer service, courtesy of a sauna trout named Marc at the Austin Straubel Enterprise Rent-a-Car in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Marc has possession of my wife’s wallet, which she inadvertently left in an Enterprise rental car. Marc has made retrieval of the wallet a difficult process.

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diatribes

Excuse me … you did WHAT?

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Here, in the heart of the oil patch that is the Permian Basin of west Texas and southeast New Mexico, one often hears complaints about the image oil & gas companies have among the general public … mostly negative, and often unwarranted. And on that point, I agree … it IS mostly negative, and it IS often unwarranted. [Read more →]

diatribespolitics & government

BP cleanup? Forget that, let’s party

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The wonderful thing about Louisiana is the commitment to living life to the fullest. The devastation and embarrassment of Hurricane Katrina could have buried the state in self-pity for a long time, but sure enough they rolled up their sleeves and worked to rebuild. When the BP oil spill happened, it looked like yet another setback, but I’ll be damned if they’re going to let something like a cleanup effort hurt their good time.

Why not just allocate money meant to clean up the BP Oil Spill toward their bicentennial celebration?

The state’s turning 200 years old and Governor Bobby Jindal is looking to blow Mardi Gras, the Saints Super Bowl victory parade, and New Years clear out of the water. The fact that that water is still filled with compressed sludge composed of dinosaurs, poisoning an unknown amount of sea creatures and wrecking the Gulf Coast’s fishing industry, is not about to put a damper on that party. [Read more →]

diatribespolitics & government

DisSCENT is patriotic

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Finally!

Finally, after all these years of not being enthusiastic enough to join a political rally or grassroots movement, I have found a cause worthy of my support.

I am going to START wearing crappy cologne and offensive body spray simply to spite the city of Portland.

Portland leaders approve anti-scent policy

PORTLAND, Ore. — City leaders unanimously agreed to pass a new policy discouraging personal scented products in the work-place, saying such products can irritate some people’s allergies or asthma.

On Wednesday, commissioners said they would adopt the policy that discourages perfume, aftershave, cologne and the use of strongly scented powder, deodorant and other personal hygiene products.

Won’t you join me? Let’s take our stench to the streets. Let’s galvanize. Power to the (pungent) people!

On a serious note, I give up.

I officially give up.

diatribesgames

Monopoly On A Whole New Level

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I awoke with a start. A cruel, twisted nightmare had run its course through my synapses, triggering primal fears embedded deep within my psyche. Moments ago I had witnessed the murder of my childhood, the stagnation of any creativity that made residence in my bones. [Read more →]

diatribesfamily & parenting

No, she’s not a mail-order bride but you’re a (BLEEP-hole) for asking

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Note: Today is my sixth wedding anniversary, so I figured I would dust off an old post to commemorate the occasion.

Wanna know how to annoy me? I mean really annoy me?

Just ask if my wonderful Ukrainian wife is a “mail-order bride.”

The question is rude and dumb on multiple levels. [Read more →]

diatribeson the law

That Darned Constitution of Ours

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There has been a lot of talk lately, mostly on the political right, about the U.S. Constitution. You may recall that the entire document was read in Congress a few weeks ago, a few sentences per member, like schoolchildren at an assembly proving their patriotism. It seems the Constitution is especially popular these days with conservatives and Tea Partiers. I’m not sure why. [Read more →]

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