Monthly Archives: April 2013

About the Barrel

Freddy_Got_Fingered

The late and incomparable Robert Ebert on the movie “Freddy Got Fingered”: “This movie doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.”

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The Reality Show Parallel Universe

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From Buzzfeed, about TV reality shows: “If the cameras weren’t turned on, these would be lives we’d run away from.”

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Dan Coats: Goodbye

Here’s what I sent to Indiana Senator Dan Coats this morning;

I’m an evangelical, and a gun owner with a concealed carry permit. I’ve also voted for Dan Coats in every election over the years (and Dan Quayle before him).

Because of your vote yesterday against the background checks bill, I will no longer vote for you or support you. I’m done. You have shown that you care more about the NRA than the will of the majority of the people who elected you. You do not represent me.

I’m done with you. And that saddens me.

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Misunderstanding the Arab Spring

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A while back, while heading home from work, I listened to “The Five” on FoxNews Radio. It’s always entertaining watching the only liberal, Bob Beckel, fend off the four lightweight conservatives who try to storm his battlements.

At the end of this particular broadcast, during which they focused on the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya, one of the women sarcastically remarked, “That whole Arab Spring thing is going real well, isn’t it?”

I guess she thought she was really sticking it to the Obama administration, and would get brownie points from Roger Ailes. Since she wasn’t one of the multitudinous FoxNews blondes, she had to try harder.

I’ve heard lots of similar junk from conservatives. It’s as if the Arab Spring was an initiative of the Obama administration, and Republicans want to make sure it gets discredited. But Obama had nothing to do with launching the Arab Spring, any more than the French were responsible for starting the American Revolution.

The Arab Spring started with a Tunisian who set himself on fire, resulting ultimately in the toppling of the Tunisian government. This rampant Arab discontent spread to other countries under dictatorial rule, not unlike a viral Youtube video. I’m sure there were some behind-the-scenes persons pulling strings, but ultimately, it was a grassroots movement which swept across borders.

This was NOT an American program. We had nothing to do with starting the Arab Spring, and probably nothing to do with spreading it. In fact, a lot of American voices, including liberal ones, were calling for caution, since we didn’t know what kind of governments would replace these dictators–maybe radical Islamic governments.

Anyway, I can do without the sarcasm, FoxNews Lady.

Let’s applaude these Arab people who courageously rose up against ruthless dictators and claimed their freedom. They may or may not get the new leadership they wanted or deserve, but at least they risked their lives to bring about change. That, after all, is a very American thing to do. And we should give them a standing ovation…not snide mockery on cable TV.

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Wouldn’t it Be Amazing to Live Here?

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Welcome to Flam Valley, Norway. Wow.

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Run Run Run

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How far do athletes in various sports run during competition? According to Gizmodo, there is a technology called SportVU which can track individual athletes. It found:

Basketball. Seems like a lot of running. But in 2012, the player with the highest mileage was Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls–just 2.72 miles per game. Of course, we’re talking about a lot of sprinting.

Football. Only 11 minutes per NFL game involve actual movement. Cornerbacks and wide receivers do the most running–about 1.25 miles per game. The typical lineman: probably not so much.

Tennis. During a five-set match, tennis players run 3-5 miles, much of it very quick movements in a very small area. During 7 matches at the 2012 Australian Open, SportVU showed Novak Djokovic running 15.79 miles.

Soccer. Players easily average 7 miles per game, some as much as 9.5 miles in a single game. Except goalies, of course.

Baseball. Nobody has bothered training SportVU on pro baseball players. It’s doubtful that they run more than a few hundred yards during a game. But then, their uniforms look like pajamas, so what do you expect?

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Over-Rating Our Roots

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Let’s get back to the principles on which our country was founded!

Back in the days when our nation was founded, only white men who owned land could vote. That means rich white men with money controlled the political system, calling all the shots. Okay, that part hasn’t changed.

In our first presidential election in 1788, the only people the Founders decided could vote were…well, they were NOT women, NOT blacks, NOT poor white men, and in many states, NOT Catholics or Jews.

But then we got on a slippery slope away from the principles on which our country was founded.

Over time, some states abandoned the landowning requirement, thus enabling poor white men to vote. Religious restrictions were also lifted, thereby bringing Catholics and Jews to the voting booth.

When the 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870, black Americans finally won the right to vote. Fortunately, in order to stick to our founding principles, True Patriots invented poll taxes, literacy laws, and other measures to keep black voters away. But it was only a matter of time before liberal judges undermined these well-intentioned efforts and cleared away any impediments to black men voting.

Four amendments later (19th), we gave women the right to vote. We had slid most of the way down the slope. Now all that remained was to give voting rights to pets, farm animals, and corporations.

When people romanticize the beliefs and practices of our Founding Fathers, and how we need to get back to our roots, I tend to groan. America evolves, mostly in good ways. The Founders got us off to a fabulous start, but they were fallible men locked in a particular period of time with its own peculiar sensibilities. Going back to our roots is, in many ways, going…well, BACKwards.

So thank you, guys, for launching the USS America. But I have no desire to return to the America of 1776. We’ve come a long way, mostly in the right direction. And somehow, I think you’d all agree.

I suspect that the Founders themselves would NOT want to return to those roots.

Besides, they wore wigs and stockings. Who wants to do that?

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No Sharing Allowed

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Louisville gave coach Rick Pitino an extra $150,000 for winning the national championship. His players, of course, had a role in making that bonus possible. But from what I understand of NCAA rules, he can’t even buy his players a Coke.

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Hunter Organization Likes Background Checks

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Good piece on Politico by Gaspar Perricone, head of Bull Moose Sportsmen, an organization of hunters. He wrote in favor of universal background checks. Some points:

  • A poll of their organization showed 72% support universal background checks, with exemptions for some sales between private individuals.
  • 84% of their members oppose an assault weapons ban.
  • “We believe background checks fall within an ethic of responsible gun ownership sportsmen have been living and teaching for generations.”
  • “Aside from reasonable exceptions, like giving a gun to a family member or sharing a gun on a hunting trip, every person buying a gun in America should go through a background check. Private sellers and buyers can go to a gun dealer to process the checks and an online site to process checks should be explored.”
  • “For all checks, licensed dealers should keep a record of the sale. This is merely an extension of the existing system that has been in place and has worked well for the last twenty years….Dealer record-keeping ensures checks are being done and aids law enforcement in tracking guns used in crimes.”
  • “Felons, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill should not have access to guns.”
  • “Three out of four hunters we surveyed believe we can protect our Second Amendment rights while making it more difficult for criminals to get guns. A background check is the best method to prevent dangerous people from getting them, and a licensed dealer record is how we prosecute those that commit crimes with guns.”
  • “Our support for a background check for all gun sales does not mean we support a government firearm registry of any type. We do not. The gun checks bill proposed in Congress does not and will not create a registry. The law already ensures that only dealers keep a record – and that all federal records for background checks are destroyed within 24 hours.”
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A Fashion Idea Ahead of Its Time

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I’m surprised this jumpsuit idea from the 70s never caught on. Doesn’t this powder-blue outfit make this apparent lumberjack look totally manly?

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