Thursday, January 26, 2012

Senator Shortey Responds.

If you're a regular reader of Standing On The Shoulders Of Giant Midgets, (and if you aren't, shame on you), you'll have read today's shocking entry in which Eric was able to get his hands on an angry letter to Oklahoma State Senator, Ralph Shortey.  The letter takes issue with a bill Sen. Shortey has introduced that would ban the use of fetal tissue in the manufacture of food products.

Lest you only see the angry letter (obviously posted because of Eric's unreasonable bias), I have delved deep and managed to acquire Senator Shortey's response to Mr. Schemerofsky Brigman-Johannson.  In the interest of fairness, I present it here.

From the desk of
The Honorable Senator
Ralph (Don't Call Me) Shortey

Harold Schermerofsky Brigman-Johannson
Happy Sunshine Baby Foods, Incorporated
3457 Placenta Way
Storage Room R-28
Foundling City, OK 74666-6666

Dear Mr. Schermerofsky Brigman-Johannson,

Thank you for taking the time to write regarding pending legislation.  The opinions of our constituents are vital in our efforts to make a better Oklahoma for Oklahomans in Oklahoma and elsewhere. You have my sincerest apologies for negatively impacting your disgusting, evil, Satanic business plan. Rest assured, your place in Hell is secure.

As to your difficulties with disposing of the "10,000 gallon tank of fetuses behind Building G", I recommend you contact someone in your local municipal government.  I happen to know that your town dump only accepts "one pick-up truck load" per week from each property.  

I must admit that I never imagined a business such as yours when I thought of the bill which I've previously said was inspired by my own internet research.  At the time, I thought that stories of Embryonic Cell Research in the Food Industry were only apocryphal, but imagine my revulsion when I found that these experiments are not only real, but already producing horrific results. Here are a few examples of my discoveries.

Here, we see Dr. Agnes Mittendorfer-Klein proudly display a "carrot baby".

A hideous "tomato-human" amalgam gone horribly wrong.

This one was called "Peter in a Pepper".  Imagine, sir, relegated to a life sealed inside of a vegetable, only to be disposed of as the "ucky part" when the pepper is consumed. I shudder to think of the poor beings entrapped within peppers higher on the Scoville Scale.

Then there are the food products forced to work for their keep -- programmed to commit suicide for our benefit.

And last, but not least, if you won't think of the poor babies, you should have a care for your own future.  "Science" has a way of turning on the "scientist".

In closing, just let me say...We know we belong to the land. And the land we belong to is grand.  And when we say, "Yeeeow Ayipeoeeay", we're only sayin', you're doing fine Oklahoma. Oklahoma, O.K.

Think about it.


Ralph Shortey
Oklahoma State Senate.

It Would Have Made Perfect Sense If It Had Made Any Sense, But That's Moot Now Anyhow.

Hey kids!  Remember when Newt went all Hulk at the GOP debate because it was so despicable to ask him to respond to one of his ex-wives' allegations about him asking for an open marriage?  Regardless of how despicable the question was, he had a prepared answer.

"Let me be quite clear. Let me be quite clear. The story is false. Every personal friend I have who knew us in that period said the story was false. We offered several of them to ABC to prove it was false. They weren't interested because they would like to attack any Republican."
I have to admit this didn't make any sense to me at all. Was he claiming that he had a bunch of personal friends in attendance at all times?  Did he and his wife have no privacy?  In which case, they were already having something of an open marriage to begin with?  It's kinda like if he claimed he was all alone in the tundra and he killed a bear with his bare hands and ate it raw to survive and then he scaled a glacier and walked 800 miles all alone back to civilization "and I have the video footage and interviews with my three cameramen and my bear wrangler to prove it!"

Well it turns out I can stop trying to wrap my mind around how Newt had a completely traditional marriage where the couple has moments to themselves and conversations that aren't meant for anyone else, and a bunch of personal friends who could attest that no such conversation ever took place -- because they were there at all times when Newt was reassuring his wife that...oh, never mind.  I can stop wondering because apparently, Newt's personal friends were actually his daughters from his first marriage.

So, Newt's daughters from his first marriage were an audience to every private moment Newt had with his wife in his second marriage?  Yeah.  That's better

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dear Madonna, If I Didn't Care, Would I Bother Writing?

Well, truthfully, yes. I would.  The blog has been light on content lately and I'll take any inspiration I can find.

I realize that David Furnish and (presumably), Elton John are a bit miffed over your Golden Globes win for Best Original Song...and that's delicious in it's own way. I loved the reaction shots of Elton in the audience who was clearly thinking "Your little career fits into a tiny corner of my career and I don't have to pretend I give a rat's ass about you and I was born with this accent, you poseur twit, you!"

But that's neither here nor there and could just be chalked up to professional jealousy.

I'm also getting a kick out of the YOUR digs that Lady Gaga is totally derivative of YOU. And, yes... I'll cop to the fact that when I first heard Born This Way, I thought it sounded more than a bit like you. But then again, when I first saw YOU all those years ago, I thought YOU were Cindi Lauper with a makeover. I don't really have a dog in this fight either, but if Gaga's derivativeness is so egregious, there are courts for that kinda thing. Maybe The Chiffons' lawyer is still practicing.

This is also not the reason we're having this little chat. Sure, I'll admit it; if I'm in the car...alone...I don't automatically change radio stations just because some of your stuff comes on, but I feel pretty much the same way about Gaga.  But I can't imagine paying money to listen to either of you.  Sorry.  I'm probably not either of your intended audiences anyway.

I don't even particularly care about how weird your arms look.  It's no skin off my nose who you emulate.  Even if I do think you could choose a more universally beloved archetype than Jane Fonda. (I don't have any particularly strong feelings about her either way but you have to admit she comes with a bit of baggage.)

No, I'd like to chat with you a bit about your little acceptance speech. (I'm sorry'll have to skip to about 1:30 into this clip to get to the part that's about YOU.)

I've discussed this theme before, but I'm just curious, Madge.  Did you meet any of the other people involved in making W.E.?  By definition, acceptance speeches are usually filled to brimming with use of the First PersonI want to thank the writers and the make-up artists.  I want to thank the HFPA and God.  I want to thank the the amazing, talented, irreplaceable Location Manager without whom I would not be standing here today. (Hey, I can dream.)

What I can't remember is ever hearing an acceptance speech so filled with First Person Possessives.   You started off basically O.K. You thanked "MY co-writers", (presumably that couple behind you that looked like bodyguards), "MY co-producer", and "MY manager". I'm not sure how else you'd phrase those, so you get a pass.

Then, you went on to mention (in order):
"MY movie"
"MY record"
"MY beautiful leading lady" (will she ever be allowed to work for anyone else?)
"MY film"
"MY film"

Frankly, this is a tad Madonna-centric.  It's a bit off-putting to those of us who are not Madonna. It's vicariously a bit dismissive to the hundreds of other people who left their fingerprints all over YOUR film.  I hesitate to chastise you, Madonna, but it's a bit rude.

I know directors have a reputation for being a little "me, me, me" all the time, but it's really more the exception to the rule.  In my experience, the word MY is more often heard in the context of "Oh, damn. I think I left MY script with all MY notes in MY hotel room.  Any chance we could send someone back to get it?"  And while we're on the subject of just whose movie it is, yes, it's become common for the opening titles to call a movie "X" director's film.  But when the Academy Awards come out (you know...the real ones),  and they're giving out the Best Picture award, AMPAS considers it the producer's movie.

And while we're on that subject,  you sounded like you had won for Best Picture...not for Best Friggin' Original Song!  It's a stupid fucking category.  We're not talking about the music that accompanies the film and contributes to how an audience reacts from moment to moment. We're talking about the damn song that usually plays over the credits.  While most of the audience is leaving.  The song that rarely has anything to do with the movie whatsoever!  The song that rarely, if ever, even makes a nod toward the period in which the movie takes place.  The song that qualifies as successful and relevant if the least it does is to NOT jar the audience out of the moment.  Let's have a little perspective here, shall we?

One last thing, Madonna. I feel fairly safe stating that there were millions and millions of people watching who had the same first reaction as me:  "Madonna made a movie?  Who knew?"

Far be it from me to try to remake your image, but I'd like to suggest some reading material.

Friday, January 13, 2012

a couPle oF thIngs that hAVe NoTHing tO DO wiTH EACh otHer. sO, of cOURse, i'LL mAsh tHEm toGEther IN oNE posT withOUt aNy aTTemPt at coNNEcting THEM*.

The first thing that has nothing to do with nothing else:
Recently, I've finished a couple of different books that kinda, sorta go together because technology features prominently in each of them.  First, there's Turn of the Century, by Kurt Anderson.  I'm not sure if it says more about my age or about me personally, but I had to take a quick look before buying it to make sure I knew which century it'd be about.  After all, for most of my adult life, the phrase "turn of the century" referred to the end of the 19th century.

This one takes place as the 20th Century is coming to a close and the background of most of it is the wide range of new technologies available and how they feature in new media and in people's daily lives.  I'll admit that the book took a while to hook me in, but eventually, I really enjoyed it.  One of the more captivating aspects was me trying to remember which technologies were actually new in 1999 when the book was published and which the author was taking liberties with.  The fact that some of them seem so antiquated already (dial up anybody?) provided another nice wrinkle.

Technology aside, there's a somewhat Kafkaesque story in there -- one in which basically innocent actions come back to haunt the protagonists later in the story.

The other book I just finished is REAMDE, by Neal Stephenson.

I'm a big fan of Stephenson's and, overall, I recommend this.  I'll cut to the chase right away and say that even though I think this may be Stephenson's weakest book, it's still so head and shoulders above most other books I read that it still rates as terrific. (Note: I really like long books so, at 1044 pages, this one was right in my wheelhouse, but it could still stand to lose about 300 pages in the middle without suffering.  Sorry...just my opinion. I have a feeling Stephenson may be a victim of his own success and reputation, making editors hesitant to force that type of issue.)

Anyway, this one centers on a Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game called T'Rain and the people who created it.  Part of the company's plan involves the realization that some players will naturally find ways to monetize the game and profit from it -- so they embrace that model and build that into the design.  Unfortunately, one group of hackers creates a virus called REAMDE to make the profit-making quicker and more...profitable.

Unwittingly, this sets off a series of kidnappings, murders, terrorist episodes and epic battles...both in the real world and within the world of T'Rain. The protagonists will include IT geeks, hackers, MI6, FBI, local cops, sex tourists, survivalists and a cast of hired thugs.

Sound confusing?  Nah.

" [the] decryption key [was] pulled out of a dead man's wallet by a Hungarian in the Philippines communicating with an American in Canada, the conversation taking place on an imaginary planet."
 See? Not confusing at all. But it's really well worth it. Really.

Something that has nothing to do with nothing:

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Air Florida Flight 90's crash into the Potomac River shortly after takeoff.  Watch the linked video and read some of the other coverage.  In addition to being highly newsworthy, this crash is sort of a seminal moment in the history of news coverage.  Because of where and when it took place, much of the event was carried live to most of the country and I honestly can't remember a prior event that was covered with this sense of immediacy and access.

Ten days from now, it will be the 30th anniversary of World Airways' Flight 30's crash.  This was a flight from Newark, NJ to Boston's Logan Airport during a snow storm and the plane slid off the runway when it landed and ended up partially in Boston Harbor. The front portion of the plane broke off including the front row of passenger seats.  The only two deaths in this crash were passengers in the front row whose bodies were never recovered. (I'm not ascribing any weird conspiracy theories, but I'm amazed that the bodies - strapped into their seats -- were never found.  Maybe they were eventually and I'm just not aware of it.  Please correct me if my info is wrong.)

Anyway, the reason this one sticks in my mind is that I was a student at Emerson College at the time and it turns out I knew two people on the flight.  One of them was a college friend and I honestly have no memory of knowing she was on the flight at the time it happened.  I know we discussed it a few years later, but I'm amazed that I didn't know about this when she was part of my immediate circle of friends.  I'm at a loss to explain that. (BTW, this person is a current FB friend but I don't think she's ever visited the blog.  If she does happen to read this and feel like commenting, I'd welcome her memories.)

The second person I knew, I didn't actually meet until 4 years later.  It turns out that he was in the second row of seats and basically watched the rest of the plane continue further into the harbor without him.  If you read any of the reports about the crash, one of the themes is that Logan Airport's response to the crash had some real problems.  My friend recounted how he had waded ashore from the wreckage and somehow ended up wearing a jacket that had fallen on him from the overhead bin.  Once on the shore, he wandered around the tarmac for a while before he was picked up by an open stake-bed truck that ended up ferrying passengers to the airport fire station (which was an unheated garage space).  One of the things that stuck with him was that when he climbed onto the truck, he ended up sitting next to one of the pilots -- who promptly said, "That's my jacket. Give it back."

As is customary here, I have no unifying point to this story...just an odd memory I felt like writing down.

*i reCEived thE foLLoWing eMail just a SHORT time ago, so I've altered my headLINE.  iS this aCCeptable?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Today's Petty Annoyance.

You may (or may not) have noticed that posting has been a little sparse around here lately.  Depending on your attitude about that, I either apologize profusely, or graciously accept your gratitude.  And, honestly, I'm not really sure why I haven't been putting up new stuff.  Could it be that less stuff is annoying me lately? (I sincerely doubt that.)  Could it be that I think it's unlikely you'll give a crap about what's annoying me? (Heaven forfend; that'd be unpossible!)

No, I think I've just been lazy. 

Anyway, last night Channel 4 ran a story about a Traffic Agent who got arrested because she tried to prevent the City Marshall from towing her car because of unpaid tickets.  (Here's the NY Times version.) This story rates as ironic or amusing or enraging, since Traffic Agents are the folks who, among other things,  run around writing tickets.  These folks are classified as "civilians employees" but they wear a version of the NYPD uniform so people will take them seriously. They're don't get to carry guns...Thank Gawd. (Every few years, one of them gets into a fight with an irked citizen and then there are a few months worth of them lobbying to be armed and then the city issues a resounding "No", followed by a statement from the Police Commissioner suggesting they try to do their job without being complete assholes about it.)

This is all neither here nor there.

What peeves me is that, Channel 4 seems unable to pinpoint where (other than Brooklyn), the story occurred. Brooklyn, like the rest of NY, is made up of a bunch of neighborhoods.  Let's start with a look at the photo and caption Channel 4 used on their website.

I've highlighted where they say it happened on Greene Avenue in Flatbush.  Now, let's go to the map!

That blue line running East-West near the top of the map is approximately where Greene Ave is.  Then, please note that little pinkish, orange shape near the bottom of the map -- Flatbush.  Not even close!

But it got worse.  They don't have video of the story up, but they kept cutting to interviews with folks about the story (because obviously it's critical that we discover whether or not this might be annoying to the average citizen - average citizens were predictably annoyed), and they kept running little graphics at the bottom identifying the neighborhood variably as Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene, and Bedford-Stuyvesant.  Two of those are possible while not. But regardless, I'm pretty sure that since this took place at the location of a parked car, the event didn't travel from neighborhood to neighborhood. And even if they're unsure of the exact border of a neighborhood, it's not like Ft. Greene and Bed-Stuy overlap each other -- there's an entire other neighborhood separating the two from each other.

Granted, this probably doesn't concern anyone who doesn't actually live in Brooklyn, but I kinda expect a local news station to be able to correctly identify local neighborhoods...even if they aren't in Manhattan.  It's a little like the Network News talking about a story in Paris and showing you video of Cairo.  Somebody's likely to notice.

P.S. If you don't, in fact, give a crap about what's annoying me, feel free to tell me what's annoying you today.  I won't even tell you I don't give a crap about it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Oh, The Shame!

Anon Niece has another kid on the way, so Anon GF has been knitting lots of teeny, tiny things to clothe the child and inspire oooohs and ahhhhhs and awwwwwwwws. (At least for the month or so stuff fits kids at that age.)

Anyway, while looking through patterns Anon GF announced, "Hey, here's one with a Star Trek insignia on it.  I should make that".  Which I said would be a brilliant idea, but she shouldn't make it red.  Then I had to explain why.

Apparently, these things aren't learned by osmosis and I've clearly been falling down on the job.  I'm so ashamed.  (It's not like I expect random Plan 9 From Outer Space references!)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

And So, It Begins...

I don't have anything in particular I want to talk about today.  They're having the GOP Primary in Iowa today (I think?) and I'm pretty sure whoever wins scares me about as much as the other possibilities, so it's a wash regardless.

There was a story on the news a few nights ago about a "promising new treatment for acid reflux", so I decided to pay attention to that.  Most of the story was about how much having acid reflux sucks, (yeah, big news there), and concluded with about 5 seconds describing some kind of surgery where you get an artificial lining installed in your esophagus.  Oh, goody.  Surgery that isn't available that I wouldn't have anyway.

Last night's "Everybody Panic" story was about how some unidentified group (at least unidentified by the anchorman), in some Scandinavian country found a higher incidence of prostate cancer among men who drank milk regularly as children!  Holy Crap!  I drank milk as a child.  The story concluded, (of course), with a disclaimer that the test group was really small and from a tiny geographic area and that the results were all anecdotal and the research was far from establishing any cause and effect, so you should basically ignore the whole thing.

Here's an entire story about some guy who realized that constantly interacting with his iPhone may get in the way of him experiencing his real life.  Thank Gawd the NY Times was there to reveal this hidden truth. PIX OR IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!

Since none of this is particularly inspiring, let's begin the New Year with CATS!

Widget and Teufel.  The Teufman can't stand sleeping alone.

And Widget is more comfortable crawling into a nightshirt. We're trying to teach her not to turn it inside out, but we're not holding out any hope for her properly identifying which hole her neck goes through.  LuLu's just embarrassed by he whole thing.