Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Panda porn update

I never thought I would get to update that entry from a few moons ago, but guess what? I get to after all. Here with the math (and thankfully none of the video goodness).

Porn is a tough sell for bashful panda
But Thai zookeepers keep showing videos, hoping he’ll get in mating mood
By Watcharaporn Taithongchai
The Associated Press
Updated: 3:46 p.m. ET March 27, 2007
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CHIANG MAI, Thailand - Chuang Chuang the panda has been spending his days in front of a big-screen television watching panda porn.

Authorities at the Chiang Mai Zoo in northern Thailand hope the images will encourage him to mate with his partner, Lin Hui, and serve as an instructional lesson in how to do it right.

So far, it’s been a tough sell, the zoo’s chief veterinarian, Kanika Limtrakul, said Tuesday.

“Chuang Chuang seems indifferent to the videos; he has no reaction to what he’s seeing on TV,” Kanika said. “But we’re continuing to show him videos and hoping they will leave an impression.”

Pandas are threatened by loss of habitat, poaching and a low reproduction rate. Females in the wild normally have a cub once every two to three years.

There are as few as 1,600 giant pandas in the mountain forests of central China, according to the zoo. An additional 120 are in Chinese breeding facilities and zoos, and about 20 live in zoos outside China.

Zoo officials say Chuang Chuang will be reunited with his partner in about another week. The two pandas have been kept separate since late last year as part of efforts to spark some romance between them.

Chuang Chuang recently was put on a strict diet because zoo officials said he was too heavy to mate. The diet trimmed him down from 331 pounds to 313 pounds.

Thailand rented 6-year-old Chuang Chuang and 5-year-old Lin Hui from China for $250,000 in October 2003 for 10 years. They are expected to generate millions of dollars in revenue from Thai and foreign tourists.

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Under the covers

So why this blog entry? Well, three reasons, 1) It is a kick ass cover of the Rolling Stones, 2) Harriet Wheeler's voice was always way sexy and 3) because this is still my page until yahoo takes it from my cold dead hands.

Enjoy or not, me I will just close my eyes and listen to that voice. Mmmmmm, yummmy!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tumbling towards an Asshat

Say hello to Mr. Tumbles. Some of you may have seen him, other most likely not. Seems our dear beloved Mr. Tumbles hosts a childrens' show in the UK and has taken to greeting his listening impaired viewers via sign language. Isn't that sweet, he cares about deaf kids. Not so fast Skippy, not when he is greeting them by signing "I am fucking you." We need go no further, really, that is indeed Asshat worthy, but for those who would like more to the story, here ye go.

Mr Tumble's F*** Up? March 20 2007

Mix-up suggests TV character's greeting is less wholesome than you'd think

screenshot - mr tumble - is a greeting not a greeting? When TV's Mr Tumble is signing it, apparently. A row has blown up between an angry parent who claims that the BBC's Something Special presenter Mr Tumbles is greeting viewers with the words, 'I'm f****** you' rather than 'I'm happy to see you'.

It's a pretty awful error if it's true – but the confusion lies in the fact that Mr Tumbles uses a sign language called Makaton rather than British sign language.

Father of one, Jamie Miller, who works for the Royal National Institute for the Deaf says he first noticed the error when he watched the show with his daughter Katie, aged 5. ' The signs for “happy” and “f******” are quite similar but it was still an awful error to make,' he told The Sun'. Mr Miller brought up the issue with the BBC on five separate occasions, but says that Mr Tumble is still making the same mistake every show.

In British Sign Language the word happy is signed by brushing the palms of your hands against each other. The F word is signed by brushing the hands together between the thumb and first finger.

An RNID spokesperson yesterday said; 'We advised the BBC that using Makaton would cause confusion. Makaton is used more for children with learning difficulties — it is essentially a different language.'

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Again we are ahead of the curve, it's why you come here after all

I realize that I just posted one of his columns a couple of weeks ago, but I think Mark Morford is now reading my blog. This isn't the first time this has happened, as previously former NYC mayor Ed Koch would pop up a day or so later after I had blogged something, only to say the same thing. Those of you with very good memories may recall that little bit of blogging history. Well, this time we are weeks ahead of the curve as Morford finally gets around to talking about a former Asshat winner, Kentucky Fried Chicken and the yet to be blessed Fish Snacker Sandwich. Welcome to the party Mark, even if you are behind the curve of the rest of the frequenters of this blog.

Do Evil CEOs Sleep At Night?

In other words: Does Kentucky Fried Chicken deserve a blessing from the pope?

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Here's my favorite recent story in which tepid mealy execs of giant unholy megacorporations do silly insulting things in the name of gluttony and excess and profiteering and yet which they claim are actually done in the name of all that is positive and helpful and good even as they make the world far, far worse and darker and less healthy and yet they still somehow manage to sleep at night without being eaten by giant karmic mealworms or struck dead by lightning, as you think they should be.

Here's the story: In search of the elusive semi-practicing Catholic/obese junk-food addict demographic, Kentucky Fried Chicken apparently sent an official, personal letter to the Vatican, asking Pope Benedict XVI to bless the company's upcoming, happily toxic Fish Snacker sandwich so Catholics could eat it in good grace on Fridays during Lent.

You read that right. In other words, KFC wants the Fish Snacker to be officially sanctioned for those days when Catholics don't eat meat but when they apparently have zero problem shoving a nasty frozen deep-fried chemical-blasted hunk of cholesterol and salt and fat and binding agents and mystery gunk made by one of the skankiest junk-food purveyors in America into their bloodstreams. You know, just the way Jesus intended.

KFC's president is someone named Greg Dedrick. When writing the personal letter to the pope, Greg apparently kept a straight face and didn't even shoot any wine cooler through his nose in hilarious apoplectic shock when he wrote, "[W]e believe this new sandwich could make it easier and more affordable for Catholics to observe the tenets of their faith."

Greg did not feel any sharp stabbing pains deep behind his right cornea, nor a nauseating pinch in the pit of his stomach, nor a debilitating spasm in his colon indicating his body and soul were actually being eaten alive by angry invisible demon moths. I'm just guessing.

What I didn't realize (or perhaps what I simply chose to carefully ignore) is the fact that there are apparently armies of deeply unhealthy practicing Catholics -- I'm assuming KFC did lots of market research for this -- who are right now pining for an extremely awful meat-free food item, Catholics who very much believe in following the awkward rules of their faith but who clearly don't care a whit for the sacredness of their own bodies. Hey, it's America. We don't do spiritual correlation.

It all raises the perennial question, one I've often wondered at as I see CEO after CFO after nasty politician after corrupt misogynist Supreme Court justice march across the face of the planet without so much as a glimmer of a hint as to the pain they so casually, effortlessly inflict.

Here is the question: How can they not know? How can you stomp through life and attain a position where you provide a product or service to the nation that literally poisons its very heart and still go home and play with your kids and smile and not beat your dog or drown yourself in Prozac and cheap whiskey and bloody ritualistic self-flagellation?

In other words, how does someone like Greg Dedrick stumble into his McMansion at the end of the week and slump into his La-Z-Boy and flip on the plasma and think, Yessiree, I sure helped the world today, it's good to be me, good to lead one of the world's foremost makers of toxic foodstuffs that cause obesity and heart disease and diabetes in millions. Fast-food fish sandwiches for Catholics, blessed by the pope himself! I'm a genius!

This is the question: Is there not some sort of karmic threshold of human behavior? Some sort of line beyond which the otherwise normal, healthy, relatively balanced human soul snaps itself in the ass with a giant rubber band of appalled obviousness and says, Oh holy hell, I have simply gone too far and now might be a good time for a spiritual colonic and is it too late for me to reverse this downward free fall toward all that is demeaning and lost and sad? Do you already know the answer?

It is, I realize, not a new question. I realize it is rather obvious, timeless, has plagued psychologists and philosophers for millennia and they all stare at the question and ponder how the human mind can be capable of such massive ongoing self-delusion, and then they invariably shrug and sigh and go back for more laudanum because, well, it's been this way just about exactly forever and if we could parse out why the hell we do such harmful disgusting things to each other while not feeling the slightest bit of remorse or moral acid reflux, we'd all just finally evolve and levitate and dissolve into happy starlight Jesus mist.

What's more, I know it's a question that can be asked of anyone at all in any position of rather insidious power, from tobacco execs to oil barons to violent soccer hooligans, Enron and e-mail spammers and Mel Gibson, all the way up (or rather, down) to someone like Alberto Gonzales, one of the slimiest law-dissing lackeys in American political history, a guy who has done the impossible and has actually managed to make John Ashcroft look like a giant oily sanctimonious teddy bear. How this man sleeps at night is one of the great mysteries of this modern world. Or maybe it's just lots and lots of denial, vodka and a triple dose of Ambien. You think?

For many of us, it's often merely a question of necessity, of what we have to do to get the bills paid and the family fed and keep the porn collection fresh. But in the case of Dedrick and Gonzales and the like, it seems to be much more about conscience, of where we draw our moral lines and how blind we can be to just how blurry they can become. It's a question that's occasionally worthwhile to dip back into now and then, if for no other reason than merely to check our progress, to see if there's been any change in the spiritual barometer. And the bad news is, in most cases, the needle has barely twitched.

As a token of good faith, KFC offered the pope a free Fish Snacker sandwich to try for himself. The pope, himself not exactly known as a hot bastion of fairness and moral-sexual-spiritual balance in the modern world, is sleeping soundly on it.

Thoughts for the author? E-mail him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A toy to play with

Just something for you to do while I get ready for the show this morning

Daylight Savings Asshat

In response to that tradition of moving our clocks ahead an hour, we will move the Asshat of the Week ahead by a day. Truth be told, I was all content to hand the Asshat award to Carol Burnett for her lawsuit against the creators of Family Guy. The Smoking Gun website has all of the gory details on that one, including the "offensive" video, which I found funny, but that is just my sense of humor kicking in there. I think I just like the show because it may be the first one that really pokes fun at all of the things I grew up with as a kid. Sure, some shows have have alluded to things I am familiar with, but I think Family Guy is the first show where literally all of the jokes are focused on things in my lifetime. God forbid, I just may be the target audience of a show. Don't tell the advertisers, but I don't have that much disposable income to throw at their products, so while I enjoy the show, the ads contained therein have little impact on me.

So if Carol Burnett suing a cartoon isn't the Asshat, who is? Remember the title kids, the Daylight Savings Time reference? Our Asshat actually comes from Monday, deep in the heart of Miami Florida, where one Republican Presidential candidate by the name of Mitt Romney was courting the Cuban vote, which is substantial in Miami. However, Mitt's wisdom to target such a block of voters was trumped by his ability to close his speech, where he fired off a closing line straight from the desk of Fidel freaking Castro. I wish I could make this stuff up, but then there wouldn't be Asshats, would there?

Posted on Mon, Mar. 19, 2007

Presidential candidate bungles speech in Miami

People chuckled when presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a Mormon raised in Michigan and elected in Massachusetts, bungled the names of Cuban-American politicians during a recent speech in Miami.

But when he mistakenly associated Fidel Castro's trademark speech-ending slogan -- Patria o muerte, venceremos! -- with a free Cuba, listeners didn't laugh. They winced.

Castro has closed his speeches with the phrase -- in English, ''Fatherland or death, we shall overcome'' -- for decades.

''Clearly, that's something he was ill-advised on or didn't do his homework on,'' said Hialeah City Council President Esteban Bovo. ``When you get cute with slogans, you get yourself into a trap.''

Romney's fumble demonstrates the potential snags for state and national politicians trying to navigate the Cuban-American community of South Florida.

Ever since Ronald Reagan enthralled exiles by crying, ''Cuba sí, Castro no,'' in a landmark 1983 visit to Little Havana, politicians have clamored, with mixed success, for the Spanish-speaking vote.

It's not so different from the candidates who court Broward County's heavily Jewish retirement condominiums, offering residents a free nosh and delivering their best schtick.

For politicians visiting Miami-Dade, glad-handing with patrons at the coffee window at Versailles has become as compulsory as kissing babies. But sipping café con leche and shouting ''Viva Cuba libre!'' no longer guarantees votes in a community that has moved from the margins of society to the professional and political mainstream.

''Cuban-American voters have reached a level of political sophistication where the empty rhetoric of the past regarding Cuba's liberation is no longer acceptable,'' said state Rep. David Rivera, a Miami Republican. ``Our community now demands specific policy proposals on achieving freedom and democracy for the Cuban people. Anything less is summarily rejected.''

Cuban-American voters want to know: What do candidates think of the trade embargo and travel restrictions? What is their immigration policy? Would they try to indict Raúl Castro for the Brothers to the Rescue attack?

Romney delivered a speech to the Miami-Dade Republican Party March 9 that was heavy on anti-communist rhetoric but light on policy details. He also condemned the Venezuelan president who has embraced Castro. That's when he tripped.

''Hugo Chávez has tried to steal an inspiring phrase -- Patria o muerte, venceremos,'' Romney said. ``It does not belong to him. It belongs to a free Cuba.''

No, it doesn't, said University of Miami Professor Jaime Suchlicki.


''It belongs to Fidel,'' said Suchlicki, an expert on Cuban history. ``I don't know where [Romney] got that.''

The Romney campaign did not explain how the words got into the speech.

''Gov. Romney was trying to make the point that the phrase should not be used by oppressors, but by liberators,'' said campaign spokeswoman Gail Gitcho. ``It was an unfortunate error in the language that certainly wasn't meant to offend.''

Al Cárdenas, a prominent Cuban-American Republican who is advising Romney, said he understood what he meant.

''This is a man who abhors Castro,'' he said. ``From a style standpoint people can say what they want, but on substance he's where he needs to be.''

Romney punctuated his speech with ''Libertad, libertad, libertad!'' to show his support for freedom in Cuba. But to some, he was echoing a line from Scarface, a movie notorious for its stereotyped portrayal of Cuban immigrants.

State Rep. Rene Garcia, for one, said he was ''unimpressed.'' The Hialeah Republican grimaced when Romney called the state House Speaker ''Mario Rubio'' -- his first name is Marco -- and mispronounced the names of U.S. Reps. Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart.

''He used the Cuba issue way too much,'' Garcia said. ``I don't want to judge a man based on one speech alone, but it bothered me that he didn't get the names right.''

The gaffes were surprising, considering that Romney has surrounded himself with savvy Florida advisors. He recently hired Alicia Gonzalez, a Cuban-American media consultant.

''He's not one of those politicians who comes down here and says the Cuban vote is important and then when Radio Mambí calls, they can't make time for them,'' said Gonzalez, adding that Romney is scheduled for an interview with the Spanish-language station Monday.

Courting Cuban-American exiles, who have lost their livelihoods and faced jail for political dissent, can be like treading through an emotional minefield. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry caused a stir in 2004 when he said he favored ''principled travel'' to Cuba. The incident reflects how a candidate's every word on Cuba is scrutinized and potentially exploited by critics eager to hurl the soft-on-communism epithet.

Sometimes a gaffe is more cultural than political. At a 2004 rally in Little Havana, a New York City politician called for ''Latino'' empowerment.

''That's a message that doesn't resonate whatsoever with a Cuban-American audience,'' said political consultant Fred Balsera. ``Miami Cubans call themselves Cuban American or Hispanic.''

Then there's the ultimate question for outsiders who stump in Little Havana: whether to don the traditional guayabera.


Why not, said Rod Smith, who's from a small, rural town in northwest Florida, and wore the trademark Cuban shirt while campaigning for governor in Little Havana last year. His opponent in the Democratic primary, Tampa lawyer Jim Davis, stayed in his blue oxford shirt. ''I am what I am,'' Davis said.

When campaigning for chief financial officer last fall, Tom Lee, a Central Florida developer born in Texas, went so far as to film a spot in Littl Havana's Domino Park. But his lack of familiarity with Cuban-American culture slipped out during an interview with The Miami Herald editorial board when he inadvertently referred to Radio Mambí by another name: Radio Mambo.

His Democratic opponent, Alex Sink, experienced a similar moment of cultural disconnect during a fundraiser at a Little Havana restaurant. When her café con leche arrived -- coffee in one cup, hot milk in the other -- she looked confused and asked why there were two cups. ''Is that the leche?'' she drawled in her North Carolina accent.

Balsera was there and remembered the moment. ''I laughed,'' he said. ``We can't be ethnocentric. We can't expect people who aren't from this community to immediately understand all our traditions and customs.''

Miami Herald staff writer Amy Driscoll contributed to this report.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Rumors of my departure are greatly exaggerated

Well, okay, there really aren't rumors. Still, I haven't the time to get all serious and stuff, what with a baseball draft 8 hrs away and me smack dab in the middle of the production room doing whatever it is I do here. But, just to let everyone know I was thinking about them (or just to post for the sake of posting), here have another video.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Richard Jeni

There are lots of things I could blog about this evening, but it is getting close to bedtime (even I have a bedtime of sorts), and the other stuff can keep. Suffice it to say, those looking for updates, there is an Asshat in the offing (already determined), we do have a change meter update, and I finished the year second overall in hockey, which means I will have a first round bye in the playoffs so I get the week off from that sport.

I have never mentioned it in this blog, partially because it never crossed my mind and partially because I was never asked, but I can say that probably the funniest standup performance I ever saw was many years ago, when Richard Jeni did his "Platypus Man" special on HBO. It was such a hit with my friends and I that even now, should we run into each other, it is entirely possible that we will just start shooting off lines from the routine. That being said, finding out that Richard passed away this weekend from was is called an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound, let's just say that it kicks off the week on a downer. That being said, I did manage to steal some video, not from Platypus Man however, I wish it were, but instead from his most recent HBO special, A Steaming Pile of Me.

To quote Aldo Nova "Life is just a fantasy"

We start with the change meter, a mere dime gets added to the total, so we sit at $12.89 as of this typing. Not that I expected lots of cash, but one always hopes they do better than a dime.

I can say officially that we will be having Drew Curtis on the radio show on Friday. He is scheduled for the 10am hour (probably around 10:10am or so). For those of you who are still unfamiliar with Drew's work, get with the Farking program ( . Hopefully we will get his book in the mail before the interview, "It's Not News, It's Fark".

The Penguins got their new arena. Must say I am geeked, being the hockey fan I am and all. The notion that we will get more years of Crosby, Malkin, Stahl, Fluery et al. instead of hoping to catch them once in a while on TV as they play in freaking Kansas City is indeed a positive one as far as I am concerned.

Speaking of hockey, a bad final week for me, I went 2-7-1 in fantasy hockey, but like I said last week, I had at least the two seed already wrapped up, so I get to take this week off and get back to the grind starting next Monday. Until then, I get to watch the other teams beat up on each other this week.

Not that that is all that I have on the fantasy gaming front. The NCAA men's basketball tournament starts this weekend, and like last year we have an office pool that the station put together for free for those of us that work there. Like last year, they will be giving away prizes to the leaders after each weekend. last year, I managed to snag the prize for leading after the second weekend, mostly due to the fact that I had LSU in the Final Four. My prize was $75 and another %75 dollars in trade from people that do advertising with us. Amazingly I just cashed out the trade today. I took 4 movie passes to the South Side Cinema (a $34 dollar value), a $25 gift certificate to Applebees and $15 in gift certificates to The Italian Bread Place. I gave Lynn a couple of the movie passes, the rest I haven't had time to do anything with yet. I waited so long to cash the stuff out simply because we didn't have anything I wanted and the email reminding me of the tournament for this year jarred my cranium to see what we had now, and from there I went ahead and picked up today's goodies.

I also have the fantasy baseball draft on Sunday. Like last year, I will be taking part in the AL only draft and it is looking like we will have 11 teams in this year. The rules for last year are the same this year, and auction draft, which means it will take most of the afternoon. Just hope I can stay awake for it since I will be working most of the night.

lastly, we have our Asshat of the Week. For those of you that follow hockey, you know that the race for the final couple of playoff spots in the Eastern Conference is definitely heating up. The playoffs take the top 8 teams and places 7 through 11 are separated by a mere 4 pts in the standings. Currently occupying the 7th spot is the NY Islanders, though because of this week's Asshat, their playoff spot is far from assured. I will admit, I have no problems with fighting in the NHL. There is a certain code that if you take a cheap shot at a team's star player, you can bet later in the game, some gloves will be dropped and fisticuffs will ensue, with the combatants squaring off. Usually not much will come of it, save for some penalty minutes being issued, though as you saw in a previous entry, sometimes a lucky shot does get into the mix and the fight has a definitive winner. That being said, there is nothing cheap about it, both guys know what is coming and while squaring off, they don't use weapons and both know what is coming. That can't be said for the Islanders Chris Simon, who after taking a clean check (the sport is physical after all), decides to retaliate in a fashion that is uncalled for. The result is that Simon will serve a 25 game suspension (the rest of this year and all of the playoffs, or if the Islanders miss the playoffs, the remainder of the suspension will be served next season). If the Islanders miss the playoffs, this may be part of the reason why. But whether they do or do not make the playoffs, the fact is Simon is still our Asshat. Here with all of your video goodness...........

Monday, March 12, 2007

Remember those last two brain cells you had?

This'll kill them.

It's official, you can find anything on the web.........

Including this little gem that I enjoyed way back when I was but a pup, almost 20 years ago now, damn I am old, and while I would put it out there as trivia to see who recognized the band, some Australians may have a slight advantage on this, so I better not.

From my show prep this morning

Ran across this, thought it was appropriate for my page, so I took it, like I am prone to do.

Disagree About Iraq? You're Not Just Wrong -- You're Evil.

By Shankar Vedantam
Monday, March 12, 2007; A03

The conviction of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby last week gave Americans a chance to pick at the scab of what has become a favored obsession -- the debate over the motives of the Bush administration in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

The contours of that debate are straightforward. Opponents of the war believe passionately that President Bush, his neoconservative allies and a complicit Congress deliberately misled the nation into war. Supporters of the president and the war concede that mistakes were made, especially on the question of whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, but say this involved no attempt to hoodwink the nation.

Antiwar groups declared that the Libby trial laid bare the Bush administration's smear campaign to discredit a war critic -- and said they hope Libby is just the first in a long line of officials to be punished. Supporters of the administration and the war declared the trial showed that Bush had done nothing to mislead the nation and that war opponents are being paranoid.

What is interesting about the clash from a psychological perspective is not that supporters and critics disagree, but that large numbers of people on both sides claim to know the motives of people who disagree with them. When was the last time you heard people say that those who disagree with them on the Iraq war are well-meaning, smart, informed and thoughtful?

A wide body of psychological research shows that on any number of hot-button issues, people seem hard-wired to believe the worst about those who disagree with them. Most people can see the humor in such behavior when it doesn't involve things they care about: If you don't care about sports, for example, you roll your eyes when fans of one team question the principles and parentage of fans of a rival team.

"We are really bad about putting ourselves in other people's places and looking at the world the way they look at it," said Glenn D. Reeder, a social psychologist at Illinois State University who recently conducted a study into how supporters and critics of the Iraq war have come to believe entirely different narratives about the war -- and about each other. "We find it difficult to grant that other people come to their conclusions in good faith if they reach a conclusion that is different than ours," he said.

When Reeder and his colleagues asked pro-war and antiwar Americans how they would describe the other side's motives, the researchers found that the groups suffered from an identical bias: People described others who agreed with them as motivated by ethics and principle, but felt that the people who disagreed with them were motivated by narrow self-interest.

There were also large differences in how the groups perceived Bush's motives. Nearly three-quarters of the people who supported the war believed that Bush was thinking about self-defense when he launched the invasion of Iraq. By contrast, fewer than 2 in 5 Americans who opposed the war were willing to grant that Bush was thinking of self-defense. Fully 70 percent of the people who supported the war said Bush was aiming to do good; only 27 percent of people who opposed the war believed that the president's motives were about doing good.

When Reeder asked the pro-war and antiwar volunteers whether they thought Bush had a hidden motive, the numbers flipped. Only 11 percent of the supporters of the president and the war said they could see a hidden agenda, whereas 50 percent of the people who opposed the war said it was plain as day that Bush had a hidden (and nefarious) motive.

It is important to note that the experiment does not establish which version of Bush's motives is true. It is possible, in other words, that everything you believe about Bush's motives is true and everything that your opponents believe is false. But a number of studies suggest people ought to be cautious about such conclusions. Studies have found, for example, that people believe that those who disagree with them are less informed and that those who agree with them are better informed. On issues in which information is widely available, people concede that their opponents are knowledgeable but insist that their conclusions are self-serving and biased.

Another study found that liberals and conservatives not only overestimate their opponents' partisan motives on questions such as abortion and same-sex marriage but also overestimate the partisan motives of people on their own side.

"Partisans within ideological groups tended to view themselves as atypical vis-a-vis their group: atypical in their moderation, in their freedom from bias, and in their capacity to 'see things as they are in reality' even when that reality proves to be ideologically inconvenient or 'politically incorrect,' " Harvard Business School researcher Robert J. Robinson and his colleagues concluded.

All this can be amusing, but the consequences are obvious. If you believe that you are a patriot but that those who disagree with you about the Iraq war are self-interested zealots intent on destroying America, what can you possibly have to discuss with them?

Reeder said he has very strong beliefs about the Iraq war, but reminds himself when he gets too heated that he might be falling victim to the very biases he studies. I asked the psychologist where he stands on the war. He declined to say. "I have done my job," he said, "if partisans on both sides think I disagree with them."

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Stolen content, because you like it

Yes, I brag about some of the papers I read on this blog, notably the Washington Post, but that isn't the only paper I read in the morning, far from it actually. You can also toss in most mornings the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, NY Daily News, and San Francisco Chronicle for starters, and should the mood and time permit, there is a good chance I am checking out the Philadelphia Inquirer and the LA Times as well. During my normal morning perusal of said papers, I ran into someone who I don't think I have posted since waaaaaaay back in the "Best of the web....." days. (Sorry if some of you missed it, that is why there are so many blog entries on this page, feel free to go back and check or just accept that you will always be behind the rest of the class.) Anyway, it looked interesting enough to share, so share I shall. Welcome back to the page Mark Morford,

Innocence Is So Overrated

Are you not scarred for life? Isn't everyone? What's more, isn't that how it should be?

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

We seem to have this bizarre notion. We seem to suck on this freakish and ill-begotten idea like it was some sort of sticky candy cane of bitter, irrefutable truth.

It's about innocence. It's this sincere, fantastical idea that we are born pure and simple and clean like bright happy cotton balls and then we somehow quickly become horribly corrupted by the icky Satan-ruled world, and it's all we can do to stumble our way through and not get too soiled and damaged and emotionally shredded before finally wheezing our last emphysemic breath and saying, Well, at least I never became a seething Republican or a secretly gay evangelical or a rabid Celine Dion fan, and then clicking off.

Take sex. Take a lot of sex. Take lots and lots of wet dangerous imperfect sex and mix it liberally with hyperactive religious piety and conservative sanctimony and wanton Christian hypocrisy and you've probably got the greatest recipe for our culture's devout belief in the inevitable corruption of innocence of all time.

See, there was a study. A recent report about teen sex (yes, a new one emerges roughly every nine seconds) concluded that any sexual encounter teenagers endure, from oral to anal to upside-down to groping each other's nether regions through some nicely faded True Religions, any sexual encounter could cause emotional damage to your otherwise perky, cherubic teenager.

That's right. They say sex of any kind can harm teens emotionally. Even permanently. The researchers go on to say -- in that sort of nicely patronizing, obvious way that scientists are wont to indulge in -- that this means it's extra-important for parents to inform their kids of what sex can do, what it contains and what it wants and what it whispers in your ear late at night when the flesh is trembling and the thoughts are scalding and the guilt is ominous.

This is where it gets interesting. This is where it gets confusing. This is where you go, Wait wait wait, something is just not right here. Are we not missing some essential truth? Something core and vital and deeply human? I think we are.

Perhaps it's this: There is simply no such thing as an authentic human experience that doesn't somehow and in some way affect, stain, taint or scar the human animal. It cannot be avoided. It cannot be shunned or quieted or talked off the ledge. This is, in fact, what we do.

In other words, there is no such thing as a perfectly innocent life, or childhood, or experience, no such thing as strolling through this world wholly sheltered from, say, everyday trauma, abused puppies, shocking imagery, bad sex or inappropriate fondling or confusing orgasms, and if you insist that there is or that there should be or that this is the way God intended it, it is quite likely you are one violently oversheltered home-schooled virgin and now might be a good time to read a book and buy a vibrator and head into therapy very soon and I can say that without fear of reprisal because, well, you are not reading this column anyway.

Let's flip it around: There is no human child on the face of the earth who has had some sort of ideally perfect, sex-free, trauma-free, drama-less life by which we should measure all our failures and woes. There is no standard, no perfect score, no idyllic model. And there never was. It's the equivalent of arguing that we are meant to go through the modern world free of raw flesh and sticky blood and parasites, ever struggling to remain clean and pure, when in fact this is the stuff of which we are made. Bacteria and spit and germs? Baby, it's what we are.

The notion of "pure" innocence invites one of two perspectives: One is the aforementioned cheerless Christian view, an all-too-common attitude that implies that human life is mostly pain and suffering and forbidden, guilt-ridden midnight masturbation interspersed with slivers of blind faith, and we are here to endure Satan's nasty trials until armies of happy dopey angels come and lead us into the giant Blue Light special in the sky. Familiar? Sure is. Hell, even the president believes it.

The second perspective goes something like this: Drama is what we are designed for. Emotional (and physical, and spiritual) scarring and discoloration is, in a way, what we do. Our spirits are, after all, here to experience and taste and immerse in it all.

But it's when you deny this fact, when you choose to see all the sex and drugs and tattoos and mortgages as a giant drawer of scary sharp knives that the gods sigh and frown and say, Well, why in the hell did we set up this mad gorgeous kitchen for you in the first place if you're not going to slice off the tip of your finger now and then, and scream, and get a bandage and heal awkwardly and then do it all over again?

Is this not what it's all about? The wise ones, the gurus and mystics and the energy readers, they will tell you that unless you're the Dalai Lama or a Bodhisattva or some rare precious otherworldly creature who's already essentially transcended this plane but who's decided to hang around to show the rest of us how to untie those wicked knots of divine misunderstanding, most of us are here to learn some very particular lessons, perhaps over and over again, until we get it.

And each time we return, it's to pick up something we didn't get the last time, be it through pain or suffering or unutterable joy or clumsy sex or trauma or a wicked delicious mix of all of them, and to think that you can somehow evade or deny this lesson, this cosmic fate, is not only charming and cute but also merely means that you've probably read one too many lopsided scientific studies and have chosen vacuity and blind faith over the raw meat of life.

But those scientists were right about one thing: Inform those teens. Arm them well. Teach them to respect the body and the flesh and learn its nerves and wires and bones and juices like it was a crazy road map to the stars. Try to minimize the harsher damage caused by sheer ignorance, misinformation, guilt.

But let's not mislead ourselves. Let's stop with the silly thinking that it's not supposed to be this way, that we're somehow supposed to traipse around in fresh white robes and lavender-scented air and mess-free innocence, hovering above all things awkward and painful and delicious and embodied and ever potentially catastrophic.

This is the greatest lesson of life, God, earth: Resistance is futile. All you can really do is grit your teeth, take a deep breath, unbutton your pants and smile.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Don't look now, but I wrote this one

I will be the first to admit that I am way behind here and as a result, I have no idea where to begin this blog. I could start by doing updates, of which I am behind on, or some things that have crossed my desk, or the ever exciting life I lead when it comes to booking the radio show, or some news stuff that I found interesting, I just don't know.

Maybe the best place to start would be to send out ye olde congratulations to a couple of people that are on the friends list, and while I have asked people before to stop by and check out their pages (they are usually more interesting than my mindless bleatings), that doesn't mean that you have actually taken me up on my advice, so I will have to do the legwork for you and send along the blog style congrats to Jean on her pending nuptuals and to Angie and Lee for surviving yet another year together. You do realize that if you keep this up, people are going to start talking, don't you?

I have some update action to get out of the way as well. After last week, it is official, I have claimed one of the two byes in the first round of the hockey playoffs, coming soon to a theater near you. We have one week left in the regular season, and I am playing the 1st place team, more for pride than anything else, we both have locked up the two byes in the playoffs. I went 6-2-2 last week, so the new overall record is now 125-69-26, but despite the record, I dropped a point to first place, so I now trail by 14 pts, which means in order to finish in 1st during the regular season, I need to go at least 8-2-0 this week (I would win the tiebreaker based on victories). This is not likely to happen, so the goal is to finish well and enjoy the fact I am off next week.

We have a change meter update with a stipulation. Those of you that have been with the page from day one will remember the blogs over the moral implications of the change meter, the what if I found questions regarding large sums of money, wallets etc. Well, I did find 67 cents so the new total is now $12.79, but that is not where the implications lie. The issue involves the fact that I found someone's Visa debit card as well. So, in essence, I could put an asterik by the change meter total, because we will never know how much is in the account (unless I were to find a way to hack it). Instead of hacking it for potential cash however, I opted for the high road (or the stupid road, depending on how you look at it) and when I saw the name on the card, I came home and did a quick white pages search online to find a similar name in Pittsburgh that may be the owner of the card. Once finding a match, I placed a phone call only to find that it wasn't the owner of the card, but that they had a nephew with the same name who lived in my neighborhood, which makes sense since that is where I found the card (and it was a valid card, it didn't expire until August of 09), so I tried calling the number they gave me, but just got voice mail. No problem, I figure he can call me back, but he never does, or if he does he doesn't leave a message, so after holding the card for a few days for the potential owner, there is me trekking all over downtown Pittsburgh in single digit wind chills, trying to find a branch of this guys bank so that I can return the card. Had I realized that I would get no response and froze my ass off trying to do the right thing, I would have rather just thrown the damn thing back out in the street and let someone rip him off and been done with it.

The radio show has kept me busy recently. I have Andrew Cockburn booked for today, I had James Swanson on the show Monday, he authored the book Manhunt, which is the story for John Wilkes Booth after Booth had assassinated President Lincoln. I also have some representatives from the local Israeli Film Festival coming in today, and early next month, author Jeanette Walls will be on the show. I am also working on a few others, though I haven't nailed anything down yet, including Drew Curtis, whose work has shown up on this page from time to time. I also have a couple other things in the hopper, but those are the most recent adds to the schedule or close to adds to the schedule.

Part of the reason I have been away from posting original content is that 1) I am very lazy and 2) I have had two doubles this week, working the radio job from 5am-12:30pm, going to lunch, then coming back to work from 2pm-3:30pm followed by working the parttime job from 4pm-10pm. I have a third doube in a row tonight, but the parttime gig is from 5:30pm-9pm, a measley 3 and a half hours or as I told my boss, that shift is about as useful as masturbating with a Brillo pad.

I would like to say I have a Joe Random update, but I haven't played the game recently, I have been playing with my old hockey game on the PS2. I started a sesason and once again I am hooked. I am about 65 games in, so I will probably complete it first before diving into baseball again. Sorry, but it takes very little to distract me, and right now hockey is doing it.

The newest name to pop up in the steriods in sports scandal is none other than Pittsburgh's own Kurt Angle. It's true, it's damn true. I don't know if he is guilty or not, but it is troubling that prior to his release from WWE there were rumors of his abuse of pain killers and now this pops up. While I hope for his sake it isn't true, it isn't damn true, I wouldn't be surprised if it were.

I have blogged about comic books in the past, most recently regarding the events of Marvel's Civil War storyline. In a brief recap, the war starts as a group of heroes, the New Warriors, are filming a reality show. In the show, they vidoe themselves taking down bad guys and then the show appears on TV. During one encounter, they confront a group of super villians, including a villian by the name of Nitro who can create explosions. During the encounter, one such explosion occurs outside a schoolyard killing over 600 people, many of them children. Because the event was taped for TV, video footage shows the heroes role in the events and public outrage ensues. The government then passes a Registration Act, forcing all super powered beings to register their identies with the government or face being in violation of the law and imprisionment. Some, led by Iron Man, view the steps taken by the government as neccessary to maintaining security, others led by Captian America, view registration as a violation of their civil liberties (and you thought I just read comic books for the pictures). Well, the subsequent stories would have Iron Man's forces rounding up former friend and foe alike to enforce the law, and offering former villians a chance at redemption. By implanting devices in their brains to control their behavior, Iron Man offers villians a chance to track down their former enemies with the sides being switched, the bad guys were now working for the government while the former good guys were now fugitives from justice. This all comes to a head in Civil War #7, where both sides have a knock down drag out brawl in the heart of Manhattan. The results seem to be promising to the foes of registration, as it looks like they are winning the final battle, until one looks around and sees what has actually happened. As a result of their dispute, a large amount of property damage occurs and another 50+ innocent bystanders are killed during the battle. Seeing this, Captain America orders his people to stand down, and surrenders to Iron Man to face whatever justice may await him for opposing registration.

I mention all of this, because if some of you like myself have been watching the news wires this morning, you will see a story that Captain America is killed. Apparently, while being led from the courthouse in handcuffs during his trial, a sniper shoots and kills Captain America, which will surely send shockwaves throughout comicdom if it is true, given the iconic nature of the book itself and will certainly lead to quite a turn in future storylines for all of the characters involved in the Civil War storyline. It should be noted that after Captain America's surrender, many of the former unregistered heroes opted to register themselves, while some are still holding out against the act, though I wonder Captain America's death will play with that faction. I realize that I may be the only one on this page that finds any of this compelling, but compelling it is and it is one of the reasons that I tend to like Marvel books more than DC books in general. There usually is a certain metaphor at play, whether that being how mutant were treated (similar to racism) or the current Civil War (security vs civil liberties) or even the characters themselves, who seem, while superpowered in some degree, to always be a little flawed as well which I found refreshing.

Well, I should get to work, rumor has it I have a radio show going on, I might want to pay attention to it. Toodles all.

P.S. Don't tell anyone just yet, but it looks like I will have Drew Curtis on the show next Thursday. I will let everyone know once I have things confirmed.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

For the thinking Farker ........ Drew Curtis

I have been a big fan of Fark, as most readers of this blog will attest. You will find a link to it in the blogroll, on occasion I have had "Farking Days" where I will post maybe the best 10 headlines I saw on the site that morning and of course the term Asshat is one I first saw on Fark. Not saying they were the first to use the term, just where I ran into it. Well, who should pop up in the Christian Science Monitor with an editorial on the media? Drew Curtis, creator of Fark. Since I have been one to share the best of the web when I run into it, I will quit jabbering here and just let Drew's words speak for themselves. Fark on indeed!!!

Why the media passes off bunk as news

The 24-hour news cycle is partially at fault, but the frantic quest for ratings reigns supreme.

In early February, the lead story on – "the most trusted name in news" – was about tattooed fish.

Emblazoned on the website was a large picture of a fish with some kind of design on its belly. I don't have fish but if I ever wanted any, I'd probably get that fish. It looked pretty cool.

Here's the problem, though: Surely there were more important things happening in the world. I think there is a war going on somewhere. Is Social Security fixed yet?

Don't get me wrong. I like oddball news as much as anyone. In fact, I make a decent living showcasing a daily collection of silly news, offbeat items, and real news with amusing headlines on my website,, which attracts 3.5 million unique visitors each month. What's scary, though, is that the ratio of filler news to real news is now so high that the content of Fark and major news websites is often nearly identical. That should never happen because, in theory, mass media outlets are staffed by full-time, serious journalists who have better things to do.

So what's going on?

Part of the blame lies with the 24-hour news cycle. Sometimes there just isn't anything substantial going on. But the mass media, like nature, abhor a vacuum. Journalists have developed proven techniques to fill it.

Consider the recent announcement – almost certainly bogus – by movie director James Cameron that he discovered boxes that once contained the bones of Jesus, his alleged wife, Mary, and their alleged boy, Elroy, or whatever his name was. This news item is a combination of two common "not-news" stories slammed together.

1. Headline Contradicted by Actual Article. Headlines of most of the articles about this subject stated that Mr. Cameron had found a box with Jesus' bones in it. However, the actual articles tell us that there were no bones inside after all, and we don't have samples of Jesus' DNA. Headline Contradicted by Actual Article is either an editorial oversight or an intentional misleading of the public to draw attention to an otherwise lame article. In this case, however, the article wasn't just lame, it was inflammatory because of its close relation to our next type of bogus media article.

2. Ad Masquerading as Actual Article. Several hundred publications ran this article, so it's not likely that anyone was paid off for placement. But this isn't a news article – it's a commercial. Most articles tell us that the "startling" claim about Jesus will be examined in-depth in a documentary Cameron produced. And they helpfully remind us what channel it's on and what time to watch. That's an ad in my book. Figuratively and literally. (Sharp readers will see what I just did there.)

There are several other techniques media use to stir reader interest. They're transparent and simplistic, but they work.

The good news is that every journalist I've talked to agrees this is a problem that's getting worse and they're not happy about it. They didn't go to graduate school to spend their time researching and writing about nuts who think Noah's Ark is visible from space on a mountain in Iran or what Brad Pitt thinks about stem-cell research.

Mass media aren't intentionally trying to dumb down the news, but there's no getting around the fact that nonnews types of articles are what drive ad revenue on the Internet. It's a subtle difference but an important one, because it removes intent as a motivation. Sadly, we still end up with the same result: bunk being passed off as news.

Sometimes, the revenue incentive in media produces hilarious results. Remember the girl who couldn't stop hiccuping this winter? ABC's "Good Morning America" representatives called her home 57 times in one day in a bid to book her for the show. Occasionally, though, you get horrific results, such as this past January when nearly every news outlet ran video of Saddam Hussein's execution ad nauseum for days. Apparently, snuff films are now OK for mainstream news. Now all that's left is a live on-air killing passing as news, maybe in a high-speed car chase. Wait, that's already happened. That leaves just pornography, and that's not far behind.

So whose fault is all this, the media's or the public's? Both. Real news is simply not a ratings leader. Evening network news shows aren't shown during prime time because they can't hack it. This is also why prime-time news shows consist almost entirely of celebrity interviews and pedophile arrests. Note which type of "news" gets the better time slot.

It's looking more and more as though the age of impartial journalism was a temporary blip in history whose reign ended a few years ago when the Internet turned news consumption from all-inclusive (per newspaper) to a la carte (per story).

My forthcoming book offers some solutions. Here's one: Split 24-hour news channels in two – one carries all the "Fark," the other carries all the real news. Revenues funnel into the same bank account; everyone wins.

Until that happens, news consumers will have to adjust to a world in which journalistic principles are being thrown out the window in a frantic quest for ratings. And mass media outlets need to make a call: Either report serious news or give up all pretenses.

• Drew Curtis is the founder of His book, "It's Not News It's Fark," is out May 31.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Do Not Open until Monday - Asshat enclosed

I know, I am supposed to save this until Monday, but like a kid with a secret, I can't help myself. While Ann Coulter made a late run for Asshat, calling John Edwards a "faggot", the problem with nominating Coulter is simple, nothing of merit ever does come out of her mouth. Should something like that actually occur, she may end up being Asshat simply for not being Ann Coulter.

Our winner is the above picture, compliments of the fine newscasters at WAGT in Savannah, Georgia who apparently took no time to actually look at the graphic before putting it on the screen. The story was actually about a new whole wheat Krispy Kreme donut, but if this is what the donut does, I am not sure I want one.

For those of you with bad eyes, the lettering below the donuts reads "So Good, You'll Suck Dick" . Now where is Ollie Williams with the weather?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Radio guest update

Coming to the radio show on March 7th 9am-10am EST, just thought I would give a heads up to those of you who are interested.

Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy

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Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy (Hardcover)
by Andrew Cockburn (Author)

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