Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Iceberg Cometh

Granted, it wasn’t as much fun as Billy Zane, Leo DiCaprio, The Heart Of The Ocean and that slinky flapper who was Claude Rains’ girlfriend in The Invisible Man… but this tuneful memorial to the sinking Titanic remains a wonderful tribute to the April 15th birthday of America’s colossal maritime tragedy.

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 04/14/13 at 06:33 PM

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Balloon Juiceocalypse Refuge Open Thread


We have a working server, we have bandwidth, we have archives, we have popcorn, and we have sympathy with folks from our sister blog as it goes through this traumatic transformation.

Make yourselves at home if you can’t find a warmer corner of the intertubes to hang out in. No gouging, no biting, no goolie shots.

read the whole post »

Posted by YAFB on 03/23/13 at 06:07 PM

Categories: MessylaneousPoliticsPoliblogs

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Made-Up Names

Last night my daughter was texting a friend and accidentally exposed herself to ridicule while complaining about chores by referring to our vacuum cleaner as “R2.” She then had to explain that we’ve always called our vaguely droid-shaped, canister model after the Star Wars bot.

When I was a teenage pothead, I was a sort of MacGyver of bong and pipe-making, fashioning smoking implements out of such diverse materials as sweet potatoes, empty cigarette packs, shampoo bottles, etc. Once, while casting about for pipe-making materials at a friend’s house, I asked if there was a “goodle” available:


From the gaping incomprehension that greeted this request followed by a mortifying outburst of laughter when I explained what I meant, I learned that no one else calls the cardboard tubes that form the structure of paper towel or toilet paper rolls “goodles.”

My siblings and I grew up thinking “goodle” was an honest-to-god, dictionary-certified word for an everyday item. Everyone in our family calls them that – aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. But it turns out my grandmother just made the term up because, as far as she knew, there wasn’t a proper name for it, and she thought it should have one.

Do you use made-up words for nameless items or have nicknames for household things that occasionally slip into everyday conversation? Just wondering how widespread a phenomenon it is. Feel free to treat this as an open thread, even though it may qualify as serious research.

[X-posted at Balloon Juice]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 03/12/13 at 06:47 AM

Categories: Messylaneous

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Just a Bunch of Squirrels Trying to Get a Nut in This World

I’d say I don’t even understand this kind of thing, but actually, I’m kind of afraid I do:

WASHINGTON—A new short-term budget bill introduced on Monday by House Republicans includes a bizarre provision banning federal funding to anti-poverty group ACORN, despite the fact that the group has already been stripped of federal funding—and has been defunct for nearly three years.

ACORN leaders announced that the group was disbanding in March 2010, after Congress cut off all federal funding to the organization. The provision in the current GOP budget bill [PDF], buried on page 221 of 269, would duplicate legislation that has already passed, to target an organization that does not exist.

ACORN, also known as the Alliance of Community Organizations for Reform Now, came under heavy fire in the fall of 2009 after conservative provocateur James O’Keefe released a set of selectively edited videos that appeared to show employees of the organization offering advice on tax avoidance related to prostitution and child smuggling. Independent investigations by the California attorney general, the Massachusetts attorney general and the Brooklyn, N.Y. district attorney would later clear ACORN of criminal wrongdoing, and an investigation by the Government Accountability Office would clear ACORN of charges that it mishandled federal funds.

So, in actual “reality-reality”, ACORN was defunded and disbanded three years ago due to a pretty much now-mostly-discredited (I hope!) RW faux journalist who smeared them all over the place. In the mainstream (because these are elected officials, mind you) Republican bubble reality, ACORN is still an ever-present threat that is probably registering legions of zombies to vote in the 2014 mid-term elections even as we speak.

Part of this probably has an awful lot to do with the trust that conservatives still seem to place in what is a genuinely dreadful and dishonest media echo-chamber.  After all, in a world where Jim Hoft, Dumbest Man on the Internet, is going to be awarded for his efforts by a group called “Accuracy in Media” (he was also linked recently at the still-(conservatively-speaking)-relevant Drudge Report, the website that parties like it’s 1999), you can’t lose by appealing to the batshit. And no matter how many times you’re debunked, your bunk will still have currency in some circles.

But I also think it’s about an almost magical need to “repeat often” in order to banish the evil spirits of liberalism. Every now and again, resolutions need to be made to ensure that abortions aren’t federally funded (though they aren’t except in cases of rape and incest) or to ban gay marriage (no matter how many times it’s been resolved, previously) to make damn sure people remember that, while your GOP elected representative might not seem to be doing anything for you in the way of making sure your government works well, or at all, they will reinforce the bejesus out of your biases until the cows come home.

I’m not sure why their base is heartened by these things, but, hell. Maybe they are.

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 03/05/13 at 10:22 PM

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oklahoma is Just Raising Questions in the Classroom

By which I mean, questioning the foundation of several centuries worth of scientific inquiry by providing students with the option of a “Build Your Own Bullshit” Bar at the old studiatorium we used to consider a classroom.

Here’s the gist:

In biology class, public school students can’t generally argue that dinosaurs and people ran around Earth at the same time, at least not without risking a big fat F. But that could soon change for kids in Oklahoma: On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Common Education committee is expected to consider a House bill that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers attempting to debunk almost universally accepted scientific theories such as biological evolution and anthropogenic (human-driven) climate change.

Gus Blackwell, the Republican state representative who introduced the bill, insists that his legislation has nothing to do with religion; it simply encourages scientific exploration. “I proposed this bill because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks,” says Blackwell, who previously spent 20 years working for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. “A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations.”

HB 1674 is the latest in an ongoing series of “academic freedom” bills aimed at watering down the teaching of science on highly charged topics. Instead of requiring that teachers and textbooks include creationism—see the bill proposed by Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin—HB 1674’scrafters say it merely encourages teachers and students to question, as the bill puts it, the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of topics that “cause controversy,” including “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”

If someone wants their kid to be a nice little coddled egg or shit-fed mushroom, why is it so difficult to just homeschool the little larva without trying to impose one’s vast ignorance on everyone else’s brat? I mean, really! Making up stuff as you go along is to science as drinking cleaning fluids found under mother’s sink is to eating. In other words—that’s just wrong, son. The freeedom to write a paper claiming that the earth is held up by an infinite number of turtles is the freedom to step out in traffic—just because you can, doesn’t make it right. To understand science is to be able to ably defend your propostition because it has been tested and you understand what the tests meant and what the results meant. Parroting back the bullshit you were raised with is no more science than a dog shaking hands means that the canine in question is attempting to introduce itself into human society—except that a dog, at least, might expect a treat. Or petting. But a child who parrots nonsense and expects an A for failing to be educated isn’t introducing hirself to science. That child is rejecting it. And is no more educated than a child who rejects spelling or claims 2x2=a million.

Making bullshit a law doesn’t make it anything more than bullshit. They might as well call ice cream a vegetable.

(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/24/13 at 01:00 AM

Categories: Geek SpeakMessylaneousPoliticsBedwettersBqhatevwrNuttersTeabaggeryRelijunSkull Hampers

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Aqualunge, My Friends, Made Him Start Away Uneasy…

I just am not up to putting together a critique of Obama’s pretty darn good SOTU speech, which addressed climate change, gun control, and raising the minimum wage—all things quite timely and appropriate; nor am I concerned with poor Senator Marco Rubio’s long day, which started with voting against VAWA and ended with a speech where he complained that the President (who mentioned lowering the deficit, like a million times) was trying to create bigger government and boo-hoo’d over the notion that any Democratic president might ascribe motives to the GOP based on the logical outcomes of their policies as opposed to assuming in good faith that they believed their talking points. I just want to focus on what everyone will focus on, and are already all about on the Twitter engines:the Big Sip.

It’s a thing of so much awkwardness, and the water bottle is so tiny. He moves in for it like maybe, if he moves fast enough, we won’t even notice he had a case of cottonmouth and naturally, took a drink during a speech (LIKE PEOPLE DO!). (JUST NOT SO AWKWARDLY!)

Anyone want to share their impressions? Open thread.

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/12/13 at 11:32 PM

Friday, February 08, 2013

A Portrait of the Artist as a Man of Decent Hygiene

It appears that the Bush Family (yes, that one) got hacked recently, causing several personal emails and pictures to come floating out where people can see them. I don’t endorse this kind of thing, myself. I think everyone should be entitled to some privacy. However, I can’t resist commenting on the two works of the hand of former president George W. Bush because there’s something so solitary and bath-centered about them.

I’ve tried not to read other art criticism regarding the pieces because I like to keep my impressions fresh, and I’m sure there will be no small amount of speculation over the subliminal “coming clean” motif due to the pictures both involving Bush in the state of, well, becoming clean. It should be noted that as these are self-portraits, one might expect the painting to reveal something about the artist—I don’t know that it does. The bath portrait reveals legs mostly submerged in water.  The shower portrait is more oddly composed, giving the viewer the perspective of gazing over the subject’s shoulder, yet being able to glimpse his face at an odd angle in the reflection of a shaving mirror. It is hard to refrain from speculating about what this says regarding the psychological state of the artist, himself.  I will note that the bathroom is the one place where people can find themselves truly alone, the bath or shower where one finds oneself naked. It is a place where one performs daily rituals of hygiene, but it is also a place of vulnerability.

But the choice of the bath or shower for the settings of Bush’s self-portraits could also mean no more than that, in retirement, he’s simply taking a heck of a lot more showers and baths. He has the time to be clean now.  The inner self of the artist remains a puzzle. If it exists, at all.

I’m sure our Roasters can derive more insight into what is here than I have, however, so I’ll leave it to you.

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/08/13 at 11:45 PM

Monday, February 04, 2013

Senator McCain is On the Foreign Relations Committee, Right?

It is true that as far as flippant jackassery goes, Sen. McCain’s Tweet implying that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a simian astronaut probably isn’t as purely awful as his improvised song parody, “Bomb, Bomb Iran”, but it is up there, even drawing criticism from fellow Republican, MI Rep. Justin Amash, who Tweeted in return: “Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes.”

read the whole post »

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/04/13 at 10:32 PM

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Slappin’ at Skeeters and Scratching My Head

I think it’s a sad day in journamalism when the question of whether President Obama really, really, for really truly and honest-to-gosh “goes skeet-shooting all the time” at Camp David is seriously fact-checked.  And yet I think it’s a hilarious day when Breitbart’s very own John Nolte questions why no one is questioning the fact checkers. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, dig? Woodward and Bernstein once brought down a president with Watergate—but today’s lapdog press is blindly accepting photographic evidence debunking Skeetgate that was made in the very same seat of the powerful that brought us such sheer propaganda as….

I’m thinkin’....

Anyhow, he asks us to consider the evidence:

Today, however, the White House released a photo that purports to show Obama (love that tucked-in shirt) shooting skeet last August. Except… he’s shooting straight ahead, which means that there’s either a barn door somewhere in need of some patching, or Obama is such an awesome skeet shooter, he hits them as they come out of the firing device.

I keed, I keed. There are legitimate reasons that would explain the angle of his gun, but….

(I humbly submit that since there is smoke coming out the barrel, he has already shot and lowered the rifle, probably because it makes sense in the linear stream of things.  And I’ve watched many episodes of CSI. CSI: New York and Miami, too!) And of course, the press is only doing it to make the skeet-truthers look stupid!  Because…um.  Right.

Can anyone remind me again why this is supposed to matter? 

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 02/02/13 at 04:37 PM

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Donald And Walter, Served Up As Only Woody Herman Can

Big band colossus Woody Herman didn’t cover hack songwriters or marquee bands. In fact, he preferred to duplicate the songmaking of artists whose fame and talents rivaled his own. That became apparent yet again when Woody dedicated half a vinyl album to a cream-of-the-crop selection of Steely Dan tunes.

Herman’s Dan collection was hard to find (and expensive once you found it) when I acquired mine 15 years ago. I don’t know whether that situation has improved in the intervening years. But just in case the tracks are still fugitive, here’s what Polly and I excavated on YouTube. Enjoy the signature Fagen/Becker medley of American blues styles, with a steaming dollop of woodchoppers’ winds and horns on top!

There’s more below the fold:

read the whole post »

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 01/24/13 at 07:32 PM

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Can You Hear Me Now, You Feckers?


Wireless carriers are blood-sucking leeches run by amoral pricks whose unfathomable greed and utter disregard for fair dealing would make Bernie Madoff ashamed enough to seek species reassignment surgery. My husband and I recently fell prey to a scam perpetrated by our long-term mobile, landline, TV and Internet provider, Verizon.

We innocently strolled into a local Verizon retail outlet a few months ago to see about upgrading my husband’s old clamshell-style crap-phone so he could stop writing notes on paper, photographing them and sending that in lieu of text messages. A more credulous pair of bumpkins has never been so effectively swindled by such a brazen pack of bald-faced liars.

The fecking feckers sold us a packet of magic beans: a bundle that would supposedly result in a lower overall monthly payment for all services while upgrading hubby’s crap-phone to a smartphone, expanding our channel line-up and improving the quality of our landline service. (That last part smarts especially in retrospect since we had intended to get rid of the landline, which we rarely use.)

But no, the lying Verizon motherfuckers told us: With THESE special beans, the landline is BETTER than free! It exudes a magickal “savings dust” that reduces your overall bill, each and every month! Plus, the new and improved landline service comes with a snazzy new transmitter base with periwinkle-colored ambient lighting and can even serve as a marital aid / can opener / wine decanter!

We idiotically signed on, and when the incomprehensibly Byzantine combined bills began to arrive, we found that—quelle surprise!—the deal was not as advertised! When I called to investigate, I was eventually made to understand that through a combination of “line access” charges, service fees, etc., our bill was going to be around $30 more a month than it had been.

Moreover, I was given to understand that not only had we extended my husband’s phone contract by two years (which we knew), we were now locked into two-year contracts for the landline, TV and Internet service too, all of which had previously been at-will. The bottom line is, if we want to dump Verizon right now, it’ll cost us nearly $800.

I’ve raised holy hell across the Verizon customer service spectrum, calling, chatting, emailing and even snail-mailing the bastards to request that they kindly remove their dicks from our ass. To no avail.

But you know what? I can get through this. I endured the two-term governorship of Jeb Bush and the presidency of George W. Bush, and dog willing, I will outlast the vile governorship of Rick Scott, so I know a little something about waiting out evil fucks. I’ll wait out Verizon too, and once I’m shut of them, I’m hoping to arrange it so that they never see another nickel from the Cracker household. Ever. That’s the only kind thing about time: Eventually, this too shall pass.

My question is, of all the hucksterish-prick wireless carriers out there, which one have y’all found to be the least rapacious? Also too, is there such a thing as satellite TV and Internet service? And lastly, please consider this an open thread / wireless carrier primal scream therapy center.

[X-posted at Balloon Juice]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 01/20/13 at 07:55 AM

Categories: Messylaneous

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sarah Palin, In A Pair Of Comfortable Peep-Toe Flats

I don’t know why Adam Ant’s signature video, “Goody Two-Shoes” and the happy-happy stomp dance made me think of Sarah Palin, except to note that nothing else makes think of her at all anymore.

Certainly, there had to be some significance in Adam Ant’s retro-couture Napoleonic settings and costumes, apart from the lightning-fast assumption that Adam was going to usher in the second coming of Paul Revere and the Raiders, featuring Mark Lindsay.

Whether or not Adam was singing about Sarah Palin in 1982, it goes without saying that whatever about her was ever truly unique, one-of-a-kind, name-brand or timeless, has wound up where it was always destined to be—somewhere between Clark Kent’s costume closet and Al Capone’s Vault.

You don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do? Nothing to see here. Move along.

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 01/12/13 at 07:54 PM

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Don We Now Our Gay Apparel

Two things that never appeared previously in the Superman Comics Universe:

•  Fashionably color-dampened Superman without his bulging red underpants.

•  Stylishly-bearded Cluck Bent answers Bruce Campbell’s immortal book title, If Chins Could Kill.

Sad to say, that’s all I know about The Man Of Steel franchise that debuts its first $1.95 burger platter later this year. For all intents and purposes, it looks like The Man Of Steel will more nearly resemble That Guy From Last Night or audition-losing talent who weren’t selected for the Brawny paper towel wrapper. If Jor-El sucks as badly in this film as he did during ten years of hyperventilating fatherhood in the TV series Smallville, the next Superman film will be the last one ever…starring Michael Richards.

Posted by StrangeAppar8us on 12/29/12 at 01:06 PM

Monday, December 24, 2012



I’m in charge of holiday planning, prep and execution at my house. Not because of patriarchal oppression but just because that’s how we choose to break it down (picking up dog turds in the yard, for example, is thankfully outside my bailiwick).

Well, Saturday morning, I woke up feeling nauseated and achy in every bone. My head was pounding, my nose was stuffy, and I had a hacking cough. I tried to eat something and ended up tossing my waffle. So even though I had a million things to do to get ready for Christmas, I made a nest of quilts on the sofa and stayed there all day and all night.

The dogs were happy to keep me company, what with a little cold snap we had (it’s in the high 60s / low 70s, which causes my wimpy boxers to channel their inner Malamutes). I laid around alternately snoozing, watching TV and staring at the Christmas tree lights in a Nyquil-induced daze. I drank herb tea and munched a few soup crackers from time to time, which is about all I can keep down.

I didn’t feel much better yesterday, and I still feel lousy now. I’ve been dragging myself from room to room, dusting furniture, sweeping, cleaning out the fridge, etc. I’ve pressed my kid into service more than I normally would to complete errands and assist with housework. 

Mr. C always handles Christmas Eve dinner, so I’m off the hook for that, but I’ve got a slew of people coming by at various times today and tomorrow. I’ve got all the holiday meal stuff, but I have no idea where I’m going to find the energy to put the Christmas Day feast together and deal with a houseful of guests. My husband and kid are more than willing to help, but they’ll just fuck up whatever I assign to them. I know that sounds terrible, but it’s true.

There’s no point at all to this post; I just felt like whining. Open thread!

[X-posted at Balloon Juice]

Posted by Betty Cracker on 12/24/12 at 06:34 AM

Categories: CrittersMessylaneous

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I Came By It Honestly

Mama-san Don't Care

Poll, if I may interrupt for a second, I am really irritated at the way they allow Newt Gingrich to continue living on.

—my mother, at noon, and not a drop taken (so far).

Mama-San arrived yesterday, with her traditional complement of leftovers in baggies, family-size bottles of vino in case Chez Polly does not provide, and the non-crushable Shirt Which Must Be Carried Separately, which must not be housed in any kind of luggage, but travel with its own hanger, not to be confused with any other hanger which could not possibly be as good.  I had been introducing her to Charles Pierce with this piece, which is how we got to Newt, though with Mama-San, we could just as easily have gotten from there to her hatred of English toast racks or “EC cetera.” 

My nonagenarian mother will be here taking care of me while I do a four-day internship taking care of youngsters in their eighties, starting Christmas Eve. So if I don’t get another chance to say it, Roasters, how rare and wonderful it is to spend another year with you! And Merry Whatever You Wish.

Posted by Mrs. Polly on 12/23/12 at 12:22 PM

Categories: BoozeImagesMessylaneousPoliticsNuttersRumproast RelatedSkull Hampers

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