Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
October 15, 2010
When I plan my USA road trip...
Category: Current Events … Serious

...remind me to leave Georgia and Alabama the heck off my list of stops. Seriously, what the Cybertronian frag is up with these ads?!? I'd love to see a post-partisan political environment, but we don't have that right now -- and running against members of your own party (outside of the primary season) and their achievements is just lame. Jim Marshall boasts of voting with Republicans 65% of the time. The flip is up with that?! Bobby Bright, if your constituents are that amped on conservatives, and you want to serve the majority of them, then I guess you should freaking switch parties!

Now, I'm sure someone told them that these kinds of spots would help them to win the elections, but ugh. If I'm a conservative, I don't want the guy who voted with Republicans 65% of the time -- I want the guy who voted with them 100% (or at least 90+%) of the time. I don't want the guy who says he'll support a conservative, I want the guy who is one. And if I'm a liberal, I'm not going to be particularly excited about voting for either of these candidates -- I'd probably prefer to pack my bags and move to California with the happy dancing hippies (and absent phony Southern accents). (more...)

-posted by Wes | 5:42 am | Comments (5)
April 26, 2010
BBC News: Have Your Say
Category: Current Events … Linkage … Miscellany

I hate this feature. Now, apparently there are a lot of times that it does ask valid questions that people can legitimately weigh in on -- such as "Are campaigning politicians visible enough?" and "Who should pay for the volcano disruption?" and "Should dogs be banned from parks?" Even "Should the rules for Scrabble be changed?" is appropriate, though it does seem a bit trivial in comparison to other issues addressed on the site.

But for some reason, whenever Have Your Say shows up in my headlines feed, I get some question that actually has a proper answer -- whether we definitively know it or not -- such that soliciting opinions on the matter is silly and pointless. For instance, following Ricky Martin's announcement last month concerning his sexuality, the feed linked "Does 'coming out' affect careers?" It's not necessary for anyone to "have their say" on this -- the question is a simple yes/no one, though one could elaborate upon it to discuss how coming out could affect people in different professions and so forth. In any case, however, people shouldn't be voicing flat "opinions" so much as looking at past cases, how people and the media and celebrities themselves react to suspicions of homosexual activity, and making relatively informed inferences concerning the topic.

And then there's today's question: "Do aliens really exist?" Maybe, maybe not -- but how the fuck would we know? The first question asked at the end of the piece is similarly irritating: "Are there aliens out there capable of communicating with us?" Again, how the fuck should we know?! Of course, there might be people who actually know the answer to this question (assuming it's in the affirmative), but it's not directed to them and I doubt they'd share their secret government knowledge on an online forum anyway. The final question -- "If they exist, should we avoid making contact with them?" -- is more appropriate for an opinion question, however, as it essentially asks about people's beliefs and fears concerning extraterrestrial policy as opposed to asking them to provide their opinion on a yes/no question.

I think my problem with these such questions comes down to the wording -- if it asked "Do you think aliens exist?" I'd likely be a lot less annoyed.

P.S. Everyone knows aliens exist. We've been aware of the Doctor's visits to the planet since the 60s!

-posted by Wes | 11:35 am | Comments (3)
August 7, 2009
More crazy for you!
Category: Current Events

Elizabeth Carlisle is kinda cute.


Seriously, who drowns rabbits?! More to the point, who drowns rabbits and then takes a picture holding up their sodden corpses?!? AND THEN POSTS IT ON FACEBOOK FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE?!?!?!?

And y'all heard about the guy who let his daughter die because he was holding out for a miraculous cure from Jesus, right? I always find things like this interesting -- and unsurprising -- because it's actually quite rational within the religious mindset. Heck, given the stranglehold that Judeo-Christian faiths seem to have on the American public, I'm surprised these incidents don't happen more often. I mean, if everything is in God's hands and will always work out according to His Divine Plan, why should the doctor be called when a person gets sick? The doctor would just be meddling in affairs that God already has totally under control.

Of course, one could also ask why the doctor shouldn't be called, since it might be possible that God works through doctors and His efforts would, in fact, be impeded when people refuse to seek medical treatment. Except God's efforts are never impeded... so yeah.

I think the reality that most people aren't running through the streets eating each other is proof that the members of our so-called Christian nation don't truly take the Gospel to heart -- anyone who totally believed this stuff would be irredeemably batshit insane.

-posted by Wes | 5:49 pm | Comments (1)
July 30, 2009
What the bloody heck is wrong with people?!?
Category: Current Events

I thought the murders of pregnant women and Cesarean thefts of fetuses only occurred in fiction! But apparently that's not the case, as the body of a pregnant woman was recently found missing the baby -- which has since been found alive in the care of (I guess) the murderer. WHO THE HELL DOES SOMETHING LIKE THAT?!?!?! That's just... ick.

Other news items that deserve comment:

Canadian hitman admits to killing 27 — I've had this in a Firefox tab for a while now (since April, apparently) but am just now getting around to mentioning it. What amuses me about the piece is how he's described as "inconspicuous" -- the mayor of his town describes him as "an ordinary Joe, hard to identify in a crowd as someone who would commit crimes." This amuses me because, at least in the courtroom sketch, he looks exactly like the kind of person I'd expect to be a hitman. Really -- he looks just like Tom Cruise in Collateral. If you showed me a crowd and asked me to identify the hitman, I would point directly at him. Then I would duck, lest he see me and start shooting.

US father 'shoots his children' — Another article that's been tabbed in my Firefox for quite a while. What gets me here is the sheriff's comment: "This was not a tragedy. It was a rotten murder." He then adds, "This appears to be the terrible work of the biological father. If that doesn't break your heart, I don't know what does." But isn't something that breaks your heart tragic? And if so, wouldn't that make this a tragedy? Yes, it is a rotten murder, but I don't see why it can't be a tragedy as well.

Also, I am amused by the way that the BBC often puts portions of the headlines in single quotes: US father 'shoots his children.' I suppose that's their way of specifying that this is allegedly what happened, but I like to think that they're just being snarky. It certainly seems that way in other headlines, anyway -- see Earth landing for 'space cheese', Call for 'smarter' drugs policy, and Nigerian Islamist fighters 'flee'. Ah, you wacky Britons.

'Space cheese' sounds delicious.

-posted by Wes | 3:52 am | Comments (2)
July 28, 2009
How would you want to be remembered?
Category: Current Events

I don't watch "American Idol", so the name Alexis Cohen didn't ring any bells for me when I spotted it in the lede of an article about the circumstances and aftermath of her recent passing. However, after reading the full article (just one of many concerning these events) and watching the Youtube video at the end, I'm thinking that is probably not how I'd like to be remembered. And although Cohen strikes me as being a bit "off," I wonder if she would have done things differently -- or even gone on the show at all -- if she'd known that, upon her death, news articles would be referring to a "drunken 'Idol' killer" and calling her a "nutty 'Idol' contestant" in oddly lyrical headlines and featuring embedded videos of her sailor-tongued tirade.

On the other hand, she's got an entry in Wikipedia (even if it is apparently being considered for deletion). I want a Wikipedia entry, gosh darnit! Or at least one for Scary-Crayon. Perhaps I should don my crayon bandolier and strap one of my larger crayons to my back and show up at the next "Idol" audition session, eh? Perhaps I could sing an extended version of the Evil Joe song (though I think it owes much of its appeal to its brevity).

I am, of course, joking. If nothing else -- in the event of my unfortunate passing under "newsworthy" circumstances -- I wouldn't want journalists sensationalizing my death by attaching "American Idol" to my name. I mean, Cohen was at these auditions for what, two days out of her life? And yet the show's getting top billing in headlines about her death. It is true that the mention of a drunken "Idol" killer was what compelled me to read the article -- and thus learn about Alexis Cohen -- so I suppose it has had the effect of making at least one more person aware of the loss of an odd and colorful individual. Those kinds of headlines will ensure that Cohen is acknowledged and remembered by many, if only momentarily.

Is that how you'd want to be remembered?

-posted by Wes | 1:32 pm | Comments (2)