Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Royal Non-Sequitur

The British press has been abuzz lately over a blackmail scandal involving a member of the royal family who (allegedly) does drugs. Oh, and he also (allegedly) does guys, too. Somehow this is supposed to make the Queen look bad -- at least that's the impression one gets from perusing the UK media. Said media, by the way, is unable to identify the target of the blackmail for legal reasons.

The rest of the world is not under the same restrictions. So now we know who the royal is. The whole drugs and sex aspect of the blackmail attempt wouldn't be that big of a deal if the Viscount did not already have a Viscountess and two little Viscountlings. Just take a look at some of the family photos at this site. They look mighty happy in all of the pictures. The kids are cute, of course, and the Viscountess is a beautiful woman.

Why in God's name would a man married to her even think about seeking physical stimulation from other quarters? It does not compute. Perhaps you could chalk it up to royal privilege, but if such privileges existed, why bother setting yourself up for blackmail, or even getting married in the first place?

I'd offer to console the Viscountess myself, but unfortunately for her I'm already married.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Now This Is More Like It

Unlike the Ed Rendell-themed Googler in the previous post, this guy is a well-grounded, normal individual.

Oh, if I did have that sort of information on here, I would be the most popular blogger on the Internet.

If you look at the Google image search for the same terms, the first thing that comes up is a picture of Bugs Bunny marrying Elmer Fudd. Welcome to the 21st Century.

Someone Really Has It In For The Governor

Someone on the Internet is searching for something that no one else even thinks about thinking about.

My curiosity is piqued. Not about the subject of the search, but about the searcher. How sick and obsessed do you have to be in order to go through at least eleven pages of search hits on that particular string of terms?

If I were a shrink, I'd be seeing dollar signs before my eyes.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Is That A Wand In Your Robe, Or Are You Just Harry To See Me?

So, Joanne lets the cat out of the closet!

Billy & Mandy fans wonder if Albus will follow in the footsteps of Toadblatt and marry the Squid...er, I mean the Sorting Hat.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

These People Need To Do Their Homework

The local flap over radio station WDUQ's refusal to accept advertising from Planned Parenthood is, in my eyes, little more than a tempest in a teapot. I don't see eye to eye with either side, so I don't really have a horse in this race. After reading the Moron Mail in this morning's Psychosis-Gazette, I can't help thinking that those who are advocating the cause of Planned Parenthood don't quite understand that WDUQ is not your typical NPR radio station. Take this chap from Shadyside, for instance:

As a past contributor to WDUQ, I had no idea that my contribution was supporting a mouthpiece of the Roman Catholic Church ("WDUQ Pulls Planned Parenthood Spots," Oct. 13). Never again.

The next time WDUQ asks for my support, I will suggest it ask the pope. As a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood's mission, I have to assume my contribution would not be welcome anyway.

"Mouthpiece" isn't exactly the right word. Hours upon hours of jazz music doesn't exactly equate to preaching Roman Catholic theology. Presumably this guy knows that the DUQ in WDUQ stand for DUQuesne University. He need look no farther than Duquesne's web site for the mission statement:
Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit is a Catholic University, founded by members of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, the Spiritans, and sustained through a partnership of laity and religious.
So WDUQ is a radio station loosely affiliated with a Catholic institution of higher learning. And people are surprised about the decision not to take the Planned Parenthood money, when the goals of the latter are decidedly not in harmony with the mission of the former? Know where your money is going before you pony up, fella.

Then there's an outraged chick from Lawrenceville who says something outrageously funny:
If we cannot support WDUQ without "supporting" Duquesne University and the Roman Catholic Church, many of us will choose to support other, less partisan NPR stations.
"Less partisan NPR stations"??? Nationalsocialist Public Radio is incapable of being "less partisan" anywhere. No matter what NPR station you listen to, you're hearing hyperpartisan propaganda. As I said above, the university's Catholic mission doesn't have a huge impact on the programming. Any time I have tuned in to WDUQ, it's either monotonous jazz or the sleep-inducing tones of NPR's lefty talkers.

Get a friggin' clue, people.

Monday, October 15, 2007

GEICO

I eagerly anticipate the commercial where the Caveman meets the Gecko, and bites his little green head off.

Whither Earth?

The third season of the reborn Doctor Who on the SciFi Channel ended a couple of weeks ago, so I'm getting a little lonely on Friday nights. I'm looking forward to the return of Battlestar Galactica. After last season's dynamic finish, which answered some big questions but put forth some new posers, fans have had a hard time waiting to see what happens next.

It looks intense:



That's just what we need to whet our appetites!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Setting The Record Straight

A note of rebuttal and clarification from my local Representative, Congressman Tim Murphy, saw publication in this morning's Psychosis-Gazette:

The letter claiming my office placed fliers on cars in the writer's church parking lot is flat out false ("Murphy Church Fliers," Sept. 26). While reaching out in various ways to my constituents is of the utmost importance to me, my office does so only through legitimate means of communication.

My office knows and respects the nonprofit, tax-exempt status of churches and would never put them at risk. MoveOn.org and other political organizations, which are the true source of these fliers, have purposely chosen to ignore the risks they pose to our local churches.

I would hope the Post-Gazette would independently verify such claims before publishing accusatory letters in the future.

U.S. REP. TIM MURPHY
Washington, D.C.
The September 26 piece of Moron Mail (thank you, Learned Foot) to which the Congressman refers had this to say:
A couple of weeks ago, fliers from Tim Murphy were found on my car after church! My wife was so upset by this "unethical" behavior that she wrote a letter to the PG. But her letter wasn't published; [a suburban Republican committeewoman]'s was. I thought the PG was the liberal newspaper in town.
A few things:
  • Tim Murphy is WRONG. Wrong to expect a rag like the Psychosis-Gazette to engage in an exercise like fact-checking, which would easily confound the editorial board's goal of putting a left-wing slant on everything it publishes.
  • The 9/26 letter writer really must be goofier than a roomful of greased rubber balls if he thinks that a Congressman would waste his resources propagandizing churchgoers with unsolicited fliers on a Sunday morning. This is pretty typical of how Democrats perceive Republicans, in my experience. It's been 35 years since Nixon last won an election, yet they still think in terms of "dirty tricks".
  • He implies that the P-G letters page editors displayed some kind of right-wing bias in publishing a Republican's letter instead of his wife's. I admit, I am a little shocked as well. The P-G's selection of letters is almost as biased to the left as it's editorials. If you ever see a letter written from a conservative or right point of view, the paper published it for one of two reasons: either it's from some significant Republican party figure, like a Congressman or a committee person, who figures prominently in the news already; or it's from someone expressing an opinion on a hot-button topic that is sure to bring the moonbats out of their caves, thereby leading to several days' worth of letters refuting the conservative correspondent's position, and pointing out how stupid, evil, or misguided the fellow is. Sneaky devils, those P-G editorialists.
  • This would not be the first time that MoveOn.org or similar organizations have tried to defraud people using Tim Murphy's name as a cover. In 2006, an election year, voters in the 18th district received calls informing them about the terrible, horrible things that Murphy has allegedly done. Caller ID indicated that the calls emanated from the Congressman's office. Needless to say, his staff was surprised to receive calls from voters who wondered why his own office would do something so strange. Since that time, the House has passed legislation to prevent that sort of thing from happening. The bill was Murphy's, but no one, politician or otherwise, can reasonably support the fraudulent misuse of technology that the anti-Murphy people perpetrated.
And so, the lunatics had to hang up the phone and head out into the church parking lots. Don't expect to hear about it on the P-G's front page, though.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Line 'Em Up, We'll Knock 'Em Down

The race for Congress in the Pennsylvania 18th district is really heating up -- or getting even more boring, depending on how you look at it. Yet another candidate who will never receive my vote has declared her candidacy. So far, the Democrats have a fishmonger, a legacy candidate, a cipher, and a bitch vying to run against Tim Murphy. (There's an Allegheny County row officer looking for new work, but he hasn't declared yet, so we'll ignore him for now.)

The newly declared bitch candidate is best known for conducting a one-woman war against Rick Santorum over the infamous residency issue. If you recall, Rick purchased a house in Penn Hills as his primary residence, but spent most of his time living in another house in Virginia so he would be closer to work. (For the geographically ignorant, Virginia is across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., where Rick Santorum was employed as a United States Senator.) Not only did he want to have a home close to work, but he wanted to be close to his family. Where he went, so did his family; thus the reason that he purchased a second home in Virginia rather than renting an apartment as many federal officeholders do.

There were a couple of issues at work here. One was the question of Santorum's primary residence: If he and his family spent most of their time in Virginia, and rarely set foot in the Penn Hills house, was he actually representing the state in which he lived? This was a valid question, because he won his first campaign for Congress in 1990 by running against an incumbent on this very issue. Most Democrats and even a lot of Republicans had a big problem with Santorum's ostensible Virginia residency in 2006.

The other big issue became the pet cause of the aforementioned bitch candidate. Rather than sending their kids to the local public school, or to a private institution, the Santorums chose to educate their kids through an online cyber charter school. Home cyber-schooling is a great option to have. My kids have been in cyber school for the last couple of years. It combines the best aspects of the public school system (there is a certified educator who oversees each grade level) with the freedom of homeschooling. Parents take a more active interest in their children's education, instead of leaving them in the hands of total strangers five days per week.

In the case of the Santorums, cyber schooling allowed the children to proceed with their studies while staying at the Virginia residence, hence the public outcry. Cyber schools are public schools, and receive funding from local school district taxes. Each child who studies online takes money away from the brick & mortar schools. The local Dems raised a fuss: if the Santorums aren't living in Penn Hills, then they should not avail themselves -- indirectly -- of local funds to educate their kids online. Eventually, it was dealt with; the state paid for whatever cyber school tuition Penn Hills refused to support, and the Santorums switched over to regular homeschooling. The matter was closed -- but some fallout lingered.

Now, while I don't entirely disagree with the people who protested the residency and school funding issues, I have a big problem with the fact that the Penn Hills Dems were motivated to use these issues against the Santorum family for political as well as personal reasons. The school board is controlled by Democrats. A leading board member is also head of the local Democrat party organization. These Dems hate Rick Santorum. They hate anything smacking of school choice, even if it's a public school option. Why not make an example of Rick Santorum over it? I'm sure there must be other parents who travel and have to take their children's cyber education on the road with them for long periods of time. Why not seek out and go after some of them, too?

You wouldn't see it reported this way in the paper, but it was pretty obvious that the bitch lady was trying very hard not only to take down Rick Santorum but also to discredit public school alternatives. She succeeded in doing the former; as for the latter, that's another matter. The public flap over the cyber schooling made more parents aware of it than if no one had stepped forward to make an issue out of it. My family might not have considered this alternative if it hadn't been for the publicity it received in Penn Hills. No such thing as bad publicity, after all.

Speaking of which, the extended controversy put the bitch lady in the news both locally and nationally, including the dreaded Fox News. She is famous, and not just for fifteen minutes. I saw one picture of her in the paper a couple of years ago; she looked nice and pretty, but when you heard what she had to say, all that sweetness turned sour. Not content with bringing down one of the top Republican senators in the country, she wants to move up in the world by running for Congress. I can't help wondering what kind of shit she is going to bring up to hold against Tim Murphy, assuming she gets past the four or five other Dems in the primary. She likes personal attacks, so if nothing else, she will make the race more entertaining than the one last year.

As for what's wrong with her, she is quoted in the Psychosis-Gazette article (linked at the top of this post) as saying, "We're not getting the federal funds that we deserve". Cripes. Does every Democrat running for Congress in this neck of the woods have to come on like John Murtha? I'd like to know exactly what she wants federal funds for. Or, more to the point, what she wants money stolen by the federal government from private citizens for. Vote for me, and I'll come back from Washington with buckets full of money!

Another quote from her: "I believe that I can make a difference because I am middle class, I'm a working person and I know what working people need." It pisses me off when someone uses this kind of rhetoric to bullshit their way into the public trust. Let's analyze. She has a belief. This tells voters that she isn't lecturing to them. That's a good way to start; most politicians do that. Next, she can make a difference. Of course she can -- she belongs to a different party than the sitting Congressman. Meaningless. That brings us to the "because": She's middle class. So am I. It doesn't mean I relate to her in any way, shape or form. Hell, she's probably better off than I am. Then, she's a working person. So am I. I spend 37.5 hours per week at my job, where I do paperwork, data entry, tinkering and other manual labor. What does she do? The only thing we know about her "work" is that she's a school director, which is a part time job that requires you to spend a lot of time sitting down talking. But that's irrelevant, because she knows "what working people need". I call bullshit on that as well. Nobody knows what I need. She certainly doesn't. Sometimes I don't even know what I need. A true representative should listen to the voters, not tell them that she already knows what they need. In just two sentences, she has effectively convinced me that voting for her would be a terrible, terrible idea.

She's the kind of Democrat that makes me glad to be a registered Republican.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Senator? We Have a Senator?

I listen to Rush Limbaugh, at most, about half a dozen times a year. Back in the early 1990s I listened to him every day and also stayed up late to watch his TV show. At the time, Rush was the only big time alternative media available. In the 21st century, I have a vast selection of information sources, both mainstream and alternative, at my disposal, primarily via the Internet but also through dozens of cable channels. Add to that the fact that I now have a day job rather than an off-hours retail job, and I don't follow what Rush has to say about much of anything. The only time I hear anything that Rush says is when a bunch of clueless idiots have a nationwide hissy fit about some supposedly controversial comment that he has made.

Naturally, the loons take it completely out of context and convince half the country that Rush needs to make amends for saying something that neither said nor implied. This cheeses me big time. I'm not sure which is more outrageous: The fact that these creeps openly belie someone's words, or that they can convince the vast herd of sheep into believing it without showing accurate proof.

The worst part of this made-up controversy is the letter signed by forty-one United States Senators demanding an apology from Rush Limbaugh. All of them are Democrats, but not all Democrats signed the letter, which makes me believe that there may yet be hope for some of the folks on the other side of the fencepost. I shall reserve my anger for the 41 individuals who affixed their names to the noxious epistle.

In particular I shall feel scorn, revulsion, and maybe a modicum of outright hatred for the one name on the list that hits close to home: The Junior Senator from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, one Robert Casey, Jr. I still do not know what this guy is doing in the U.S. Senate. He's at his best when he's keeping quiet. (By contrast, his predecessor, Rick Santorum, lost because he did not keep quiet enough.) When Bob Casey does say something, I feel like I need to do a Google search to see if someone like Hitlery Clinton made a similar or identical statement the previous day. What does Casey really feel about the "phony soldiers" controversy? As of the time of this post, there is nothing on his Press Releases page about it. I suspect that signing the Limbaugh letter is his way of going along to get along. Does anyone really believe that Casey listened to the full segment of the Limbaugh show so that he could craft an informed opinion? Or that he bothered to read a transcript of what Rush said? I doubt it.

Casey's sycophancy aside, at least he's being his usual quiet self otherwise. Harry Reid and Tom Harkin, on the other hand, make me want to go out and buy a punching bag. POW!

Great New Blog! ...Maybe

Admiral Richmond K. Turner (deceased), late of The People's Republic of Pittsburgh, and more recently contributor to The Burgh Report, has completed his long-expected move to Philadelphia. I had wondered, back when he announced that he was leaving town, whether he was going to continue blogging after taking up residence across the state. It sure looks that way: He has gone ahead and created The People's Republic of Philadelphia. There's no content yet, but it takes a while for a new resident to become acclimated to the surroundings.

I am looking forward to reading what the Admiral has to say about Philly. His independent, clear-thinking views sparked my interest in Pittsburgh politics more than any other local blog. I do not doubt that he could do the same in Philadelphia.

Anxiously awaiting his first post...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Album Review: Ted Nugent's "Love Grenade"

He's back!

Actually, he never went away, but Ted Nugent has just released his first album of new material in five years. For people who know Nuge first and foremost as a rock star, that's the only thing that counts. I've seen his shows on the Outdoor Channel and on VH1, and I've heard the news stories about one outrageous quote after another. That's all well and good, and I agree with much of what he has to say, but what we want to hear from him is some good R&B based heavy rock guitar.

The new album, "Love Grenade", does not disappoint. Age has not slowed down this man who has been performing just a little longer than I have been alive. The title track, which opens the album, comes out charging and kicks you in the balls. The man knows how to pick an opener, I tell you. This song deserves airplay. I can't get the closing chorus ("sex shrapnel, sex shrapnel") out of my head. If you survive this song, you're hooked. You can't turn off the album until the end.

The second track, "Still Raising Hell", digs the hook in deeper. Abandoning the sexual metaphor of "Love Grenade", this barn burner oozes attitude. Great track.

Next up is "Funk U", a funny little ditty that abandons some of the energy of the first two tracks in favor of a bit of playfulness. "Funk U" best translates as an update of the classic "school of hard knocks" cliche. It's loaded with juvenile wordplay, but that's okay. Ted Nugent wouldn't be nearly as entertaining if he went around acting all serious and grown-up all the time. He wouldn't be Ted Nugent!

"Girl Scout Cookies" is a solid hard rocker, but if you're expecting more sexual metaphor as only the Nuge can do it, forget it. I listened to this song about half a dozen times before I decided that this song is actually about the baked goods referred to in the song's title. A clever swerve on Ted's part.

Then we have "Journey To the Center of the Mind", a song that Ted Nugent composed and performed as a member of the Amboy Dukes about forty years ago. The original continues to get frequent airplay on Classic Rock radio, and has popped up from time to time in Ted's live sets. This remake lacks some elements of the original -- no keyboards, for instance -- and is more of a hard rocker than a psychedelic hippie trip. It's not the best song on the album. In fact, it seems a little out of place here. But it's a good tune.

The changing themes of sexual metaphor, attitude, playfulness, cookies and nostalgia give way to four tracks dealing with the half of Ted's life that exists outside of rock music: the spirit of the great outdoors. Ted pays tribute to some inspirational historical figures in "Geronimo and Me", once more placing himself on the side of the Indians against the Cowboys. The chorus is catchy, and the lyrics have a dose of attitude. "Geronimo" segues into instrumental "Eaglebrother", which nearly encourages the listener to grab a set of tom-toms and pound along. Following is "Spirit of the Buffalo", Ted's paean to the majestic beast that once dominated much of the North American continent. Keep those tom-toms handy; you'll need them when the infectious chorus grabs hold of you. "Aborigine" is a declaration of independence. This is not the independence of the American nation; this is about Ted getting close to man's primal state -- again.

No 21st century Ted Nugent album would be complete without a blatant political statement. A declaration of independence in its own right, "Stand" was originally released during the 2004 presidential campaign, making references to lefty politics in general and Democrat nominee John Kerry in particular. The 2007 version eliminates the Kerry references and goes after leftism in general. Mentions of Ted Kennedy and Al Sharpton are retained from the original, because some political memes are timeless. Putting aside the lyrical content, this song just rocks.

"Broadside" just dares you. That's it. It just DARES you. It's also the closest thing to "progressive" music on the disc. Not out of place, but it lacks something.

I thought I was going to hate a track titled "Bridge Over Troubled Daughters", until I heard it. I sighed with relief upon learning that it has nothing to do with Simon & Garfunkel. It's close to filler material, a good sign that the album should be winding down soon.

Finally, "Lay With Me" hearkens back to Ted's blues influences. It's easily the slowest song on the album, but no less heavy than the rest. To me, this is the weakest track on the disc because of the style...all blues songs sound alike to me. The only redeeming quality is that it eases the listener into a state of calmness. It winds you down from a hard and heavy set of rockers.

Overall, I'd say 8.5 out of 10. I hope I have Ted's energy when I'm 58. Heck, I hope I have his energy when I'm 38, and that was two years ago!