Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Pass the Catch-Up

Gawd, I am soooo behind the times, behind the curve, behind the eight-ball... I haven't been posting regularly for, like, two or three weeks, and no one even seems to notice. Unlike a couple other MIA bloggers -- one of whom disappeared from the ether nearly six months ago, while the other has been out of action for just the past few weeks (and where the heck are ya, anyway?) -- I have been doing these intermittent posts, keeping my hand in while still managing to neglect my duties and my loyal audience. What can I say? Sometimes I just don't have much to write about, or much time in which to write lately. So I save it all up and spew it all over when I get too full or find some spare time.

Step back, folks; it's spewin' time. Here are a series of generally unrelated items that have been running around my brain lately like I'm Herb Caen reincarnated. Dot dot dot.

* * *

I was reading a new-to-me blog called Pops' Bucket (thanks to mrgumby for the link) last night, and I had a dream that Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon came back to life. In the dream, I wasn't sure whether or not to tell him that there were a number of people who wouldn't be very happy with that turn of events, but I ended up saying nothing. When I woke up, I had a Cowsills song inexplicably stuck in my brain.

o/` "Flowers in her hair...
flowers everywheeeee-eeerrrre..." o/`

* * *

Ask Blog Jesus is my new favorite advice column. It beats Ask Beth by a heavenly mile.

* * *

Only 41% of Americans interviewed in a recent USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poll say the war in Iraq was worth it; 57% say it wasn't. Guess that "fooling all the people all the time" thing isn't quite working out the way Preznit Need Some Wood had hoped. Maybe he should talk about something people want to hear about, to take their minds off the daily killings and 'splosions happening over there instead. You know, like Social Security, or John Bolton or something.

* * *

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson makes the claim that George W. Bush will be remembered mainly for making this country safe for torture and extraordinary rendition, and he would seem to have a pretty solid case for believing this.

"It was a year ago when the first snapshots emerged from Abu Ghraib -- the pyramids of naked men; the vicious dogs lunging at naked men; and Lynndie England with her leash, leading a naked man like an animal. The one I can't get out of my mind is the hooded prisoner with wires attached to his genitals, fearing electrocution but seeming almost resigned to it, arms outstretched and head slightly inclined in a pose suggesting the Passion. It's something out of Hieronymus Bosch, a fantasy of Hell from the late Middle Ages.

"A year later, only the low-ranking grunts who grinned and gave thumbs-ups while committing these sadistic acts have been made to answer. Only one ranking officer -- a reservist, a woman, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski -- has been sanctioned. The White House and Pentagon officials who opened the door to these abuses, and the careerist Army brass who oversaw the brutality, sit comfortably in their offices, talking disingenuously of 'rogue' privates and sergeants."

According to John at Blogenlust, Lynndie England's defense team asked for leniency because she was oxygen-deprived at birth and had a learning disability. What, I wondered then, were Rummy and Chimpy's excuses?

* * *

From Wonkette comes this gem, The Three Faces of Evil Times Two.

"My brain hurts. Preznitin's hard work!" "Checkin' my eyelids for leaks... be with you in a minute." "Aaaa-veeee Mariiiii-iiiaaaaa..." "Whoa! I didn't know I could get my thumb that far up my ass with my pants on!" (*Gas*) "Terra. 9/11. 9/11. September the Eleventh. Terra. Heh."

* * *

I don't know what it is about Drew's posts over at Scamboogah!! (remember, that's SCAM-boo-gah, em-PHA-sis on the first syl-LAH-buhl), but they often inspire some of what I consider my best comments. I especially enjoyed his post about Pat Robertson (*ptoo!*) from yesterday.

I have to admit, though, being the geezer that I am, that the whole Pac-Man vs. Frogger thread left me cold. When you start debating the merits of ring-a-levio versus mumbletypeg, give me a holler.

* * *

Our esteemed colleague The King of Zembla offers up a link to The Swift Report post describing how a whole bunch of fundies have their collective Jesus-fish-embroidered panties in a considerable wad over Laura Bush's recent comic roasting of her idiot husband; and if any of you missed Jon Stewart's Daily Show take on her equine comments, you really missed a good horse laugh. I had horse milk shooting out my nose two nights in a row from that.

* * *

When I first read this interview with biologist Richard Dawkins on Salon last week, I wanted to reprint the entire thing here on the blog. I thought it was that good. Here are just a very few excepts, but you should really read it in its entirety.

Salon: Still, so many people resist believing in evolution. Where does the resistance come from?

Dawkins: "It comes, I'm sorry to say, from religion. And from bad religion. You won't find any opposition to the idea of evolution among sophisticated, educated theologians. It comes from an exceedingly retarded, primitive version of religion, which unfortunately is at present undergoing an epidemic in the United States. Not in Europe, not in Britain, but in the United States.

"My American friends tell me that you are slipping towards a theocratic Dark Age. Which is very disagreeable for the very large number of educated, intelligent and right-thinking people in America. Unfortunately, at present, it's slightly outnumbered by the ignorant, uneducated people who voted Bush in.

"But the broad direction of history is toward enlightenment, and so I think that what America is going through at the moment will prove to be a temporary reverse. I think there is great hope for the future. My advice would be, Don't despair, these things pass."

Fifty years ago, philosophers like Bertrand Russell felt that the religious worldview would fade as science and reason emerged. Why hasn't it?

Dawkins: "That trend toward enlightenment has indeed continued in Europe and Britain. It just has not continued in the U.S., and not in the Islamic world. We're seeing a rather unholy alliance between the burgeoning theocracy in the U.S. and its allies, the theocrats in the Islamic world. They are fighting the same battle: Christian on one side, Muslim on the other. The very large numbers of people in the United States and in Europe who don't subscribe to that worldview are caught in the middle.

"Actually, holy alliance would be a better phrase. Bush and bin Laden are really on the same side: the side of faith and violence against the side of reason and discussion. Both have implacable faith that they are right and the other is evil. Each believes that when he dies he is going to heaven. Each believes that if he could kill the other, his path to paradise in the next world would be even swifter. The delusional 'next world' is welcome to both of them. This world would be a much better place without either of them."

There's more, lots more, including quite a few letters to Salon and a long discussion in the comments section over at Pharyngula. I urge you to check it out.

* * *

Finally, there is this brief but pithy post (pithy post? say that three times fast) from mrgumby at itlookslikethis:

"There will be no price gouging at gas pumps in America."
-George W. Bush, April 28, 2005 Press Conference

Oil company profits up.

Any questions?

I don't have any myself, but thanks for asking.

Also check out (if you haven't already) his tribute to Marla Ann Ruzicka on the BARBARIAN Blog. That is some of the finest writing I've seen on a blog in some time. Beautiful work, and a real tribute to a genuine American hero.

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