Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Balls of Macklemore

Hip Hop has had an overall bad record when it comes to its treatment of women and gays.  The enlightened have been few and far between.  They have mostly consisted of peripheral characters to the mainstream scene.  Finally, someone has come along and had the balls to point this out and show some compassion and intelligence on an important issue of the day.

Sure it is timed with the release of an album, so he gets some publicity for the "controversial" position, but it could also be a risk.  I guess he is also banking on the fact that most young people do not understand the homophobia of their elders.  This is also timed to publicize the referendum up for a vote in Washington concerning marriage equality.  Though same sex marriage was approved by the state legislature, it has now been put on the ballot, by some regressives.  Confusingly, the correct way to vote for this homophobic referendum is IN FAVOR.  So tell all your friends in Washington, like Macklemore is.  

I hope he sells a shit-ton of albums and becomes super famous off of this.  I am going to download this now.  You can download the song here.  Watch for the full Macklemore and Ryan Lewis album, The Heist, on Oct 9.  Get more info here.      

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Peeps on Film

What is it about peeps that inspire such reactions in people, whether negative or positive?  They are an intensely weird thing, peeps.  They are surreally colored and shaped into vaguely animal shapes.  They seems to be from another world and another time, but their popularity persists.

Now, they have taken to the cinema - creating great movie scenes.  Actually, they have been for years, as part of a peep diorama contest.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The folks at Mental Floss just collected the ones depicting oscar-winning films.  Behold "the Peeps of Wrath:"

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Not a Fair Fight

If there is class warfare going on in the United States right now, then it is the most lop-sided fight I have ever heard of. If this were a sporting event, it would have been called by the ref by now.  I was inspired to write this by a Facebook post.  Canaan Huie wrote this with facts from yesterday's New York Times.
In 2010 the average income of the top 0.01% of American taxpayers increased by 21.5% or an average INCREASE of $4.2 million. For the rest of the 1% income increased by 11.6% or an average increase of $105,000. For the remaining 99% income increased by 0.2% or an average increase of $80. There's a reason it's called "trickle down" economics instead of "flow down" economics...

The poor, and middle, and upper middle, and lower upper classes really suck at class warfare.
You could almost call this a guest post, except that Canaan did not really agree to write for my blog.  I could have written about the same facts, but he just did such a good job.

I have never really considered myself a socialist, but I have my doubts about unfettered capitalism.  I am a small businessman and I want to make money.  On the other hand, I do not think I could live with myself if I was amassing a fortune while cutting the pay and benefits of my employees, or worse firing them.  Clearly these people have no such moral compass.  Something needs to be done about it.  If not from a moral perspective, at least practicality demands action.  History has shown great problems for societies when the income disparities became so great.  I would not say "off with their heads," but some would.     

Friday, February 17, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Progress or Regress?

My latest favorite saying, which I stole from someone (sorry I cannot remember who to credit), is that eating mostly local and eating organic is not some newfangled, trendy, snooty thing.  It is basically just eating like our grandparents did.  It is that simple.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Take the Day Off

Maybe it is my age.  Maybe it is the fact that I lived in Chicago.  Maybe it is my love for 80's music, but I loved and continue to love Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  I own it and have watched it within the past year.

So of course I was excited to hear about the Honda commercial featuring the return of Ferris.  Yes, I know that I preach against consumerism and giant corporations, but as an artist and filmmaker, I can enjoy a well-made commercial.  Realistically, I also just love to laugh more than the next guy.

Many people seemed disappointed with the ad, but I for one loved it.  I thought it was pretty clever.  Broderick did not actually reprise his role, but played himself having a Ferris-esque day playing hookey.  Here is a side by side comparison that shows that they "quoted" the movie even more than you might have realized.

I also admit that I take a certain amount of pleasure from Ben Stein's displeasure over not being included in the ad.  He is pretty much a right wing-nut, so I am glad he was left out.  Hearing his asinine opinions over the years have ruined his part of the movie as I tend to should out (or at least think), "jackass" when he intones the famous "Bueller, Bueller."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mind Blowing Technology

So that might be a little like saying "tasty bacon."  The mind blowing has been going on for quite some time.  Every once in a while, something comes along that takes it to the next level.  You can feel the world shift a little as you contemplate the ramifications of some new device or piece of software.  You start to imagine where this will lead.

This happened to me with the Cube, the first 3-D home printer.  I saw it on Thrillist.  The company's website is here.  If you read this and are planning to buy one, please let me know and share.  I want one so badly, but with no practical purpose, I could never justify it.  Sucks being all practical and crap.   

Watch it go!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Newt"onian Physics

I hope you were not hoping to see some scientific information here.  Instead, we make fun of Newt.  

It seems that his days are numbered.  That would be such a shame.  He has provided such amazing entertainment.  True, if you take him too seriously, it could be very depressing.  But I chose to just take him for the absurd clown that he is... and laugh.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Different Art

I love looking at the creative stuff people do.  Of course painting and sculpting are amazing skills and can produce amazing results, but I just love seeing people get creative with art materials and the whole idea of art.

Who would think to make art IN toilet paper rolls?  Well someone, and here are some pictures.

File this under things I should have thought of (and wish I did).  I have always loved photography and water and this is a great combination of the two.

I am also all about art, so I might have thought of this idea too, but I did not.

 And then there is this cool edible type.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Perhaps the Best Music Video Ever?

Russian Constructivism meets Conan the Barbarian Zombie Hunter meets 80's hair band.

Thanks to the SLOG for showing me this.

Friday, January 20, 2012

the President SPEAKS for the First Time

Obama is so cool.  He has to be to avoid being pigeon-holed as an angry black man, but he comes by it naturally.  Many of us wish he would just let loose on some people sometimes.

Here he does thanks to Key and Peele.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Do our Dirty Work, Then Die

I read this story about an undocumented Mexican worker who was working on a construction site in Chicago.  He was severely injured, making him a quadriplegic.  He was then deported and sent to a Mexican hospital without the facilities to care for him.  Then the man dies, before ever getting to go home. 

Difficult to know where to begin in talking about what is wrong with this.  No matter what your positions on immigration, it would seem any compassionate human would see that this man was not treated fairly and deserved special consideration.  Yes, he was working without authorization, but he was injured building buildings for Americans and at least deserves something for giving up the use of his limbs.  What kind of world do we live in where this case is not an exception.

I believe that we need more real world immigration laws.  There are plenty of jobs being filled by undocumented foreigners because employers can find no other employees.  We need to face up to that.  These people are a vital part of our economy.  Ask farmers in states that have "cracked down on illegal immigration."  Crops rot in fields with nobody to harvest them.

As there are fewer jobs in the US, the undocumented population has decreased.  They are not going to be able to realistically "take our jobs."  They typically have limited or specific skills.  I do not think we can just have a completely open border, but I do think we need to acknowledge this reality that has so long been conveniently overlooked, and our policies need to deal with these specific needs in our economy.  There is no reason that these human beings who are productively contributing to our society should be treated like criminals when it is discovered they are here without authorization that in reality would not even be available to them.  Contrary to popular belief, it is not easy to get into this country legally.  Take it from a former immigration attorney.

If we really want to keep all of these manual laborers out, we are going to have to treat workers better and pay them more so that we can get Americans to do the jobs.  So buildings will cost more.  It will cost more for lawn care.  Food will cost much more.  If we ever figure out a way to get the economy to the point where there are plenty of jobs for less skilled workers, we will end up in the same place with a shortage of workers anyway. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to Explain Gay Rights

This is a great chart explaining gay rights so that any idiot ought to be able to understand.

This is almost tiresome to write about.  I have heard plenty of black people saying that they get tired of having to "teach" white people about racism.  I am starting to feel a bit of that exhaustion when it comes to basic rights for gays.  I am not even talking about marriage or military or all of those basic rights, but just the right to exist without question.  Whether it is nature or nurture or something else, it exists so get over it.  Even one of the last bastions of support for the notion that sexual orientation can be changed is crumbling.  The founder of Exodus International, long at the forefront of the reparative therapy movement (mostly among evangelical Christians) has finally admitted that nobody has really ever been "cured" of homosexuality.  It just does not go away no matter what.

Well some people's sexuality may be more fluid.  They may be attracted to both sexes and the amounts may fluctuate.  But that just means that sexuality, like most anything in the world, especially things involving human behavior, is VERY complicated.  And that gets to the crux of the matter.  In a recent discussion with my friend Eileen, she defending her position against gay marriage very eloquently (as always).  It is easy to see why many women are against marriage, as it is historically an institution that oppressed women.  Heck it oppressed women even before the church got involved and WAY before the idea of one man and one woman.  But that is another discussion.  Her point that most hit home with me was about the big picture.

The whole fight is just accepting people for who they are and having the relationships as they are.  Why cannot two elderly sisters living together have the same benefits as a married couple?  There are many other combinations even among those that would be considered socially acceptable that would be left out of even an expanded view of marriage.

I hate getting caught up in so many details about who and what we should accept.  Should we accept leather folks?  Should we accept trans-gendered people?  Should we accept Muslims?  Should we accept those that support Justin Bieber?  Yes, for the love of god, we should accept everyone just as they are.  If we are uncomfortable accepting a straight couple with the wife's sister or three adult men as a family because they chose to make it so, then we can be uncomfortable with it.  That does not mean we have to push that onto them.  If you don't want to give them the rights and privileges of a family, then I think we should just take it away from everyone.  

The government does not need to be in the family planning business.  Without any tax incentives, most men will still pair off with one woman and most will chose to have children.  The species will survive.  Other people will chose other arrangements, like they already do, and that is okay too.   

Friday, January 13, 2012

Nail Art

Yes, evidently now that is a thing.  Don't look at me like that.  I am not just talking about some wildly painted nails like these.  

That is so two years ago.  Now they are three dimensional.  Someone even wrote a book about it.  I mean REALLY 3D!

Some of my favorites contain guns!

I am in awe.  I cannot imagine the patience it takes.  I have patience, but not like that.  What really awes me is the maintenance.  I cannot imagine trying to protect and keep up such nails.  More power to them, unless they are trying to type up a form while I am waiting.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Best Ad for Girl Scout Cookies EVER

I am really trying to better my diet and limit my intake of both sugar and processed foods.  However, after watching this video, I have a great desire to buy as many girl scout cookies as I can get my hands on.

I will admit that I could not get all the way through the video.  Not only is it boring and in need of editing, her sort of automated sounding tone is both annoying, disturbing, and suspicious.  I must say it is telling when she says "me and my family" at one point, because her plea does not sound like it is coming from her.  It does not come across as sincere and heartfelt.  The tone is just so odd, and she seems to assume that what (to me) are the most mundane facts will somehow be shocking to the viewer.  Of course to me, allowing a transgender person who identifies as a girl into a girls group just makes sense.  There is certainly nothing dishonest about it.  The only dishonesty here is this girl's family using her to advance a bigoted agenda, but saying it is about "dishonesty."  That sounds much better than "keep these freaks away from my pretty daughter."

Sadly, this could have been a nice teachable moment for the girl in the video who seems to have NO actual knowledge about transgender people.  Instead, her family took the opportunity to turn her into a puppet for some regressive views.  Based on her little cross, I am guessing her family has invented some religious justification, but based upon my knowledge of the bible, it must be a convoluted or entirely invented justification.

Look, I get that many people may be personally uncomfortable with transgendered people, especially when it comes to children.  Uncomfortableness is part of life and something that needs to be overcome.  Imagine how "uncomfortable" it is for that little girl born with a boy's sex organs.  Imagine how "uncomfortable" it was for the family to accept and put their daughter into situations where brainwashed girls like the one in the video can make her feel worse about herself.

Now where can I find some cookies?  Thin mints!    

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Santorum on your face: maybe too late

Given last night's results, this may no longer be timely.  Rick Santorum's showing in Iowa reflected the amount of time he spent in the state visiting every county.  He did deserve something for that.  But it seems that the rest of the country is less familiar with him as a person and more familiar with his crazy, regressive ideas.  I imagine he will push on to at least South Carolina (and probably do better than he did in New Hampshire).  I do not see him lasting too much longer, but I will present these anyway.  These are some of the worst Rick Santorum quotes as compiled by the New Republic, so that you may judge for yourself.  After all, the man should be judged for his ideas and not just his vulgar last name.

On the Catholic Church’s abuse scandals: “Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political, and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.”
On same sex marriage and bestiality: “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality...”
On the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s decision to approve same sex marriage: “This is an issue just like 9/11. We didn't decide we wanted to fight the war on terrorism because we wanted to. It was brought to us. And if not now, when? When the supreme courts in all the other states have succumbed to the Massachusetts version of the law?”
On the link between same sex marriage and national security: “I would argue that the future of America hangs in the balance, because the future of the family hangs in the balance. Isn't that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?”
On the war in Iraq: “As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else. It's being drawn to Iraq. You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the eye to come back to the United States.”
On contraception: “Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”
On the Affordable Care Act: “I would tell you that my first priority as a president of the United States is to repeal Barack Obama's healthcare plan. I think it's the most dangerous piece of legislation, well, in many generations. It is the reason that I'm running for office. Because I believe Obamacare is a game changer. I believe Obamacare will rob America, the best way I can put it is, rob America of its soul.”
On President Obama’s pro-choice stance: “I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.’”
On global warming: “I believe the earth gets warmer, and I also believe the earth gets cooler, and I think history points out that it does that and that the idea that man through the production of CO2, which is a trace gas in the atmosphere and the man-made part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas, is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, just patently absurd when you consider all of the other factors, El Niño, La Niña, sunspots, you know, moisture in the air.”

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Occupy Art 2

I do not want to dismiss the Occupy movement already because I believe they are still reformulating and influencing the dialog.  I do not believe that we have heard the last of those people.  I hope so anyway.

But as a cultural touchstone, they might be losing currency.  Before that happens, these are some cool manifestations.  In San Francisco, someone took the idea of "Occupy Everywhere" literally and came up with a clever way to do so.  

And of course there is the Lego Civil Unrest series of toy sets.  Watch the video for it here:

Glad we can have fun with it.  I think humor is important for even the most serious issues and movements.  Occupy everywhere indeed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quick, while it is still barely timely

So the Iowa Caucuses are over and the primary season has officially begun.  At least the unrelenting analysis can use some facts and not just endless (and changing) speculation.  Mitt has been campaigning for years and he actually received several fewer votes than in 2008?  Literally, the different was less than what separated he and Rick Santorum this time, though to be fair, Romney has focused more on New Hampshire.  (I will refrain from making any Santorum jokes at this point, but I could change my mind later.  It is just too easy, and if you have been hiding under a rock, just Google "santorum.")

As for Santorum, it is big news that he came so close to winning.  I am not sure if I should be happy or sad.  On the one hand, I think he would be a disastrous nominee for the GOP and it would be fun (if maddening) to watch him be such a stupid ass.  On the other hand, I have learned to be careful what I wish for.  Do not overestimate the American electorate.  I made that mistake in 2004.

Paul did very well in Iowa.  That is probably the big news, even though Bachman dropped out and it looks like Perry will.  (This is the same Perry who attacked gay rights while campaigning, but employed openly gay staffers).  Paul might finally get the attention he deserves from the media, and I am sure his campaign is feeling energized.  I respect him for being the one who has remained most true to his principles and kept at it despite being virtually ignored by the media.  He has a few good ideas, but overall I think he is a crackpot.  Some of Paul's views are downright crazy.  I get tired of moderates saying they would consider voting for him.  They must not have looked at all of his views.

I do not know where this leaves Gingrich.  I love this picture of a young version of him and his doppelganger.  I had to get that humorous link in there before he is a footnote.  I do not like anything about this guy and I cannot wait until he disappears from the public again.  This is coming from one who has celebrated the circus in the GOP (big tent/top indeed).  I think the craziness helps Obama, but I just cannot stand Newt.  Of all the hypocritical politicians, he has to be the king.  He has not shame, and he makes my stomach turn.