Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Curses, foiled again!

Another year gone and it looks like the War On Christmas™ has failed again. No doubt that our Evil Atheist Overlords are hard at work plotting for the upcoming the War on Easter™.

This year's defeat can be attributed to HR 951, introduce by Henry Brown of South Carolina that "strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas."

Isn't it great that things are going so well in our country that 74 Congressmen had nothing better to do with the taxpayers dime than to cosponsor a bill to defend the sanctity of Christmas? Because you know without that, it's just socialism all the way down.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I think I'm giving up on Twitter. The technology is interesting and all, but there just isn't much benefit there for me. I can see why celebreties like it; it's a way for them to keep their fans engaged without actually having to interact with them. But for me, there's just not much Twitter can do that a Facebook status update can't. I really don't need multiple "micro-blogging" platforms.

So I may check in there every once in a while, but I don't think I'll be tweeting much.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Yap, yap, yap

Via Ezra Klein, I found The Staggering Rise of the Filibuster, which has some interesting points about the Senate filibuster. Primarily that it's gone from being very-rarely used to being everyday business.

... there was an average of one filibuster per Congress during the 1950s. That number has grown steadily since and spiked in 2007 and 2008 (the 110th Congress), when there were 52 filibusters. More broadly, according to Sinclair, while 8 percent of major legislation in the 1960s was subject to "extended-debate-related problems" like filibusters, 70 percent of major bills were so targeted during the 110th Congress.
It's gotten so bad I've started hearing in news reports about how it takes 60 votes to pass a bill in the Senate. Which is wrong, of course; it takes 50. The other important point is that the Senate isn't really fillibustering anything. They're just threatening to fillibuster. I've long thought that it's high time the Democrats call the Republicans' bluff: make them actually fillibuster the bill rather than just say they're going to. We'd see lots fewer fillibusters if Republicans actually had to stand up and talk for 24-48 hours to block a bill or an appointment.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

American Family Association calls for sectarian cleansing of the military

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association is calling for a sectarian cleansing of the military. In a hate-filled post on the AFA website titled No More Muslims in the U.S. Military, he says:

It's time we all got over the nonsense that all cultures and religions are equally valid or worthy. They most certainly are not. While Christianity is a religion of peace, founded by the Prince of Peace, Islam is a religion of war and violence, founded by a man who routinely chopped the heads off his enemies, had sex with nine-year old girls, and made his wealth plundering merchant caravans.

Did you know there was another mass shooting at a US military installation earlier this year? Back in May, Army Sgt. John M. Russell took a gun off another soldier in Iraq, drove to a clinic, and shot five people. It was, up to now, the most deadly soldier-on-soldier killing since the start of the Iraq War in 2003. Here's a picture of Russell.

Funny, I don't see the AFA calling for the removal of all the white, Christian (I'm assuming) guys from the military.

(I don't know if it's fitting or horrifying that I'm writing about this on Veteran's Day.)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

How long?

I assume you've heard that a thirteen people were killed and over thirty wounded after a gunman opened fire at Ft. Hood, TX today.

I groaned when I heard that the gunman has been identified as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.

How long until the right-wing starts claiming this is more reason to believe Muslims are dangerous and Islam is a violent religion?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Why is the News Gazette violating it's own policy?

The News-Gazette has a policy of not printing "letters published elsewhere". So why did they publish David Smith's noxious letter? I've found it published at least in part in at least five different locations:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

David E. Smith: homophobic douche-yokel

It's been a while since I've posted an entry in the yokel series, where I have a bit of fun poking fun at the ignorant nimrods that write in to the News Gazette. Normally, I'd jump at the chance to write about this woomeister that manages to create an entirely fact-free letter about the flu vaccine.

No, this time I feel compelled to write about a recent letter by David E. Smith of the Illinois Family Institute about Kevin Jennings, former teacher, founder of GLSEN, and currently Assistant Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education.

First a little background for those of you not familiar with the current right-wing witch hunt that's after Jennings. In 1987, as a 24-year-old teacher, Jennings had a conversation with a gay student, who told him he'd had sex with a man. Jennings later wrote in one of his books, "I listened, sympathized, and offered advice." He also told the student, "I hope you used a condom." Conservatives have jumped all over Jennings accusing him of condoning child molestation and even being a pedophile himself.

Except that none of it is true. At the time of the 1987 conversation, the student with whom Jennings had this conversation, was over the age of consent in Massachusetts. Furthermore, the student has recently come forward and said that he had sex with anyone at all! There's simply no scandal here.

Not that you'd know it from reading Smith's letter in the News-Gazette.

One of the most shocking pieces of news about Jennings is a story he told several times about a young student who came to him and confessed that he had sex with an older man he met in a bus station rest room.

This is the most damning part of Smith's possibly libelous letter. Notice how he says "a young student." That's a bit vague, especially (as we will see in a moment) Smith is implying that Jennings illegally supported and covered up child molestation. The student in question was 16 years old at the time. That's over the age of consent in Massachusetts. (The age of consent in Illinois is 17.) Therefore, there's simply no molestation issue. Whether or not it's wise for 16 year olds to be having sex is another matter entirely and separate from Smith's accusations of illegal conduct on the part of Jennings.

But what's most frustrating about this whole piece is that Smith knows this! He's completely aware of the age of the student at the time. In a June 17th, 2009 blog post at the IFI website, Smith says:

Not only did Jennings not report the sexual abuse as required by law, but in his book One Teacher in Ten, Jennings shared that he "listened, sympathized, and offered advice" to the 15-year-old student.

However, in a October 8, 2009 blog post, Smith tells a different story:

One of the most shocking pieces of news about Jennings is a story he's told himself ... about a 16 year old student who came to him and confessed that he was having sex with older men in a bus station restroom.

Notice the change: not only is Smith aware of the student's correct age, but now he's changed the story so that the student was picking up multiple men in this restroom.

So if Smith is aware of the student's age and that clearly puts the student over the age of consent, why does Smith's Letter leave it out and not clearly state the student's age? I can think of only one reasonable explanation: Smith is deliberately attempting to deceive his audience into thinking Jennings was complicit in covering up sexual abuse.

Smith's vile missive continues:

Instead of reporting the high-risk behavior to the boy's parents, school administrators or the police, Jennings' only response was, "I hope you knew to use a condom."

Except that's also a lie! As I pointed out above in his June blog post, even Smith acknowledges that Jennings "listened, sympathized, and offered advice." He did say that he hoped the student used a condom. Let me point out again that this conversation took place in 1987. This was the height of the AIDS crisis. Ronald Reagan wouldn't even mention AIDS in a major policy speech until October of 1987. Quite frankly, I think it would have been irresponsible if Jennings had not mentioned condoms in a conversation like this one.

Will someone please make this guy shut up?

Jennings showed a disregard for parental rights and for our children's well-being, yet he is the president's choice to keep our schools safe – safe for sexual predators it would seem.

If the president hand-picked Jennings to serve in educational leadership, the public has a right to know whether he violated reporting laws and covered up child sexual abuse.

As I think I've made very clear by this point, there were no sexual predators involved here, there was no violation of any reporting laws and there was no sexual abuse. Hell, there wasn't even any sex! It's also very clear that Smith knows all of this and it appears that the Letter was deliberately crafted to deceive the News-Gazette readers.

I think the public has a right to know whether David Smith of the Illinois Family Institute likes to fuck goats.

Is it really any wonder that the Illinois Family Institute is one of only twelve anti-gay hate groups identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center?

Let me also point out that this same Letter was also published nearly verbatim in the Freeport Journal-Standard and at the Illinois Review blog.

I've gotten a bit worked up with this post, because it pisses me the fuck off so much. Let me just close with a statement by the person best qualified to speak about the conversation that Jennings had twenty-two years ago -- the student himself:

Since I was of legal consent at the time, the fifteen-minute conversation I had with Mr. Jennings twenty-one years ago is of nobody's concern but his and mine. However, since the Republican noise machine is so concerned about my "well-being" and that of America's students, they'll be relieved to know that I was not "inducted" into homosexuality, assaulted, raped, or sold into sexual slavery.

In 1988, I had taken a bus home for the weekend, and on the return trip met someone who was also gay. The next day, I had a conversation with Mr. Jennings about it. I had no sexual contact with anybody at the time, though I was entirely legally free to do so. I was a sixteen year-old going through something most of us have experienced: adolescence. I find it regrettable that the people who have the compassion and integrity to protect our nation's students are themselves in need of protection from homophobic smear attacks. Were it not for Mr. Jennings' courage and concern for my well-being at that time in my life, I doubt I'd be the proud gay man that I am today.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Actual quote overheard on some Focus On The Family radio show:

George W. Bush was literally the most pro-life president the United States has ever had.

Iraqi mileage may vary.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sometimes simple is best

I have a list of article bookmarked that I want to blog about, but they're largely political. These days, mostly because the GOP is made of lies, thinking about politics makes that vein in my temple throb to bursting, so I'm not going to do that now.

Instead, you should watch this, learn from it, and go practice it until you're really good:

In a weird synchronicity, I saw that video a few weeks ago, tried it once or twice, then WILL showed several of her shows last weekend, including that one.

I could watch her all day long. Frankly, I'd much rather see ancient (even black and white!) reruns of her shows than brand new episodes of Ming Tsai talking about himself and plugging his restaurant on Simply Ming.

Plus, unlike Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott, John Boehner, Roy Blunt, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Dennis Hastert, Dick Armey, Tom Delay, John Ashcroft, Jeb Bush, or Karl Rove, she served her nation in a time of crisis. </snark>

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's Sept. 11, you know what that means

Happy Birthday Billy! (Why, what did you think I meant?)

Was going to send a card, but didn't have your address, so I couldn't. So thought I'd embarrass you in public, instead.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Challenge me

So I kind of want to cook something. I just can't decide what. I tend to have a few things I cook a lot and put them in rotation. But as much as I like a good stir fry, they all tend to be variations on a theme. So I want something new.

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about doing a roast, but that's a lot of meat and three weeks worth of leftovers would get tiring after a while. On the other hand, you could do a lot with all of that.

So does anyone have any suggestions?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The oldest blog profession

I've been reluctant to endorse any product on this blog because I know what high esteem you have for my opinion, Gentle Reader. I did not wish to capitalize on the awesome power of my blog for something as common as filthy lucre. But I'm going to make an exception.

I really like cooking with fresh herbs, especially basil. It is just so fragrant and so essential to Italian cooking that the dried stuff is really just a pale echo of the fresh. Unfortunately, I can't really grow my own since it wants bright sunlight, which I don't have. I can't always find fresh bunches in the store, even at this time of year. Those little plastic tubs are expensive and somehow, even when I pick over them carefully, the leaves are brown and wilty even by the time I get the groceries home. Then I discovered this:

That's Gourmet Garden basil-in-a-tube. It's not the most attractive of delivery mechanisms, but it's really effective. I tried it once this winter for a recipe where I really couldn't omit the basil and none other could be found. I was expecting it to be bland and artificial, but it really wasn't. It smelled and tasted exactly like basil I'd just chopped fresh.

It's not the most attractive of presentations squeezed right out of the tube, but it's clearly finely chopped green basil in a paste. There are no particularly scary ingredients; no artificial preservatives, etc. I wouldn't use it where you really want recognizable basil leaves like on a pizza or added to Thai food, but for things like a tomato sauce or manicotti, it's really effective. Just add it toward the end of cooking, like you would fresh basil.

They've got some other products that I haven't tried, like cilantro, garlic, and parsley, but I think I will in the future. It's a bit pricey at about $3-4 a tube, but they last several months, and longer in the freezer, which is a lot more than the 24 hours or so I can get out of fresh herbs from the store.

I'm told that there's one local blogger that demands free swag from manufacturers in exchange for complementary blog posts. This is not such a blog post. I'm not that mercenary. Oh, who am I kidding, I just don't have enough clout to be that mercenary. If any major multinational would like me to be their corporate whore, the line starts on the left.

Monday, August 10, 2009

This thing is not like that thing

Both Illinipundit and Glock21 have accused the Obama administration of astroturfing and that they are therefore no better than the right wing mobs currently shutting down town hall meetings across the country. These are excellent examples of the logical fallacy of false equivalence. Basically it goes like this: the right wing is inciting their base to be as disruptive as possible, the Obama administration is encouraging people to contact their local officials: see, they're both astroturfing!

Well, no. This is a great example of the false equivalence. The best definition I can find online is from the link above, as equating "an act by one party as being equally egregious to that of another without taking into account the underlying differences which may make the comparison patently invalid."

I don't like the idea of the Obama administration handing out talking points; I think talking points are the lazy way out and are for people who don't really have an argument. But if you look at the evil, evil document that Illinipundit posted, all it's really encouraging you to do is "have a quick conversation with the local staff, tell your personal story, or even just drop off a customized flyer and say that reform matters to you." And it offers to provide you with "the address, phone number, and open hours for the office, information about how the health care crisis affects your state for you to drop off (with the option of adding your personal story), and a step-by-step guide for your visit."

Really, that doesn't sound like much to me. I've never visited my Congressional office and I can definetly see how that might be a bit intimidating. I don't know the protocol or procedures involved. (Did you know letters to your Congressman are properly addressed to "The Honorable So-and-so?")

When you really get down to it, the Obama campaign is nothing more than asking people to politely contact their own, local representatives and make their wishes known.

The opposition is not.

  • In Tampa, Florida, a town hall meeting had to be cut short because of shouting in the meeting, after the mob of 1,000 people was banging on the windows, and after a violent fistfight broke out in the entryway.
  • The SEIU is getting death threats by phone and -- believe it or not -- Twitter.
  • Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) has said "the time for polite town halls is 'over.'"

I'm all for people talking to their reps and voicing their opinions, even if I disagree with them. But these tactics show that the right-wing is not attempting to participate in the health care discussion, they're attempting to disrupt it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A married yokel

I swear, these yokels are trying to be the death of me. It's like they get together after the weekly Ku Klux Jesus meeting and plot ways to make my blood pressure go up. And I keep falling for the bait. This week our yokel is Harold Miller of Urbana, who is obsessed with thinking about your penis. But not, you know, in a gay way or anything.

How can any intelligent person, using simple common sense, not realize the stupidity in calling homosexual behavior "marriage"?

Well, as an intelligent person, using simple common sense, I don't think anyone actually is calling homosexual behavior "marriage." Not anymore than anyone is calling heterosexual behavior "marriage." I think what people are saying is that gay people shouldn't be treated any differently from straight people.

In all of recorded history, genuine marriage has always been between a man and a woman, male and female, as was designed and intended.

Well, actually, no. In all of recorded history, genuine marriage has pretty much been between a man and a woman and a woman and a woman. Usually underage and usually with her consent being optional.

Even animals are smarter; did anyone ever see two bulls shacking up?

Really? Really? We're supposed to base human sexual behavior off the behavior of cattle? Perhaps Mr. Miller could give me an example of one bull and one cow "shacking up," because, to the best of my knowledge, ranchers generally keep one bull for quite a few cows. You know, like the Mormons used to do.

It's always ironic when people try to use animal behavior to prove that human homosexual behavior is "unnatural," seeing as there homosexual behavior in animals is widespread and well-documented. There are gay penguins in Manhattan, Germany, and China. The German penguins took in an egg that was abandoned by its Biblically heterosexual parents, hatched and raised it. The Chinese penguins were given were given an egg and became "the best parents in the whole zoo". One of the gay San Francisco penguins recently broke up with his boyfriend and moved in with a female penguin proved once and for all that Mother Nature has a sense of irony.

In vivid contrast, true marriage is natural, normal, beautiful and sacred.

Sure it is. Just ask Brittney Spears.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A patriotic yokel

It's, well, no day in particular, but that means it's time for another in the Local Yokels series! Yes, where we learn all about the woefully ignorant, yet vocal residents of our society. They're like homeschooled yodelers.

This Local Yokel is Paul V. "Pete" Springer from Fisher, IL and the N-G titled his Letter "Country has drifted from biblical teaching". With a title like that, I think you know what you're in for, so let's get started.

In anticipation of experiencing another day commemorating our independence, I looked up the definition of patriotic. I found it as follows: "One who loves his country and jealously guards its welfare."

Yeah, because I know I anticipate the arrival of a holiday by sitting down for a nice session with the dictionary. A real patriot would have sat down with the Bible, not Mirriam-Webster. Obviously this is just another example of our country straying from its biblical roots.

Seriously, what is with people starting off an argument or a speech by giving the dictionary definition of a word? You see it all over the place. Is there some sort of crappy template these people are using?

I love our country and appreciate the many freedoms we enjoy, particularly our freedom to worship, and I am reminded that 52 of the 55 men who signed our Constitution were so claimed orthodox evangelical Christians.

That's an impressive reminder indeed, especially considering that 39 people signed the Constitution. Maybe he's using faith-based math. Obviously, Mr. Springer's love of his country is surpassed only by his ignorance of it.

When I think of how our country has drifted from the many biblical beliefs/teachings that were practiced at that time, I am dismayed.

Really? The many biblical teachings practiced at that time? Slavery, the subjugation of women, the execution of gays and lesbians, the persecution of Native Americans, what's not to love?

The Bible was considered to be God's Word and a guide for living, and was the basis for our laws.

And here we get to the real Christian chauvanism. The Bible has never been the "basis for our laws." The Constitution is the basis for our laws. It is a completely secular, non-religious document. Nowhere does it cite the Bible for support. I would challenge Yokel Springer to find me a bicameral legislature in the Bible. Or any elected body. Trial by jury? Copyright? Religious pluralism? In fact, it specifically states "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Today the Bible is made fun of and is no longer taught to our children.

Really? I wasn't aware that churches no longer discussed the Bible in Sunday School in Fisher, IL.

Consequently our morals have deteriorated to such an extent that I think our country is in danger of self-destruction.

Is there something about religous people constantly thinking that the end is nigh? Does it have something to do with their belief that Judgement Day is all but upon us (and has been immanent for about 2000 years now)?

To name a few changes contrary to biblical teaching that we now seem to accept:

1. The taking of God's name in vain

I'll mention that to Zeus next time I see him. I'm sure he'd be happy to strike people with a few thunderbolts.

2. No longer setting aside a day of rest.

Funny, it's Saturday and I'm writing this from my own home. I'm not just having one day of rest, I plan to have another tomorrow, too. Thank you, union agitators, for the weekend!

3. Homosexuality.

4. Same sex marriages

5. Divorce.

Gosh, just what is the point in being a Christian if you can't regulate other people's sex lives? You can't even smack your wife around these days and expect her to stay with you anymore.

6. Abortion,

Exodus 21:22: "If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine." Clearly not the same thing as killing, no matter what the pro-life crowd says.

Honestly, our country is in pretty good shape. We're having some problems at the moment, but they're primarily financial, not moral. People are more likely now to be able to live productive, healthy happy lives than ever before. We even let women own property. Shocking

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Unintentional humor

You know all those Facebook applications where you can send things back and forth to each other? A little while ago, I got a warning from Archaeology Weapons that looked like this:

Kinda soft and squishy for a weapon, don't you think? Then again, if the diaper is loaded, it might count as a WMD.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

I get email comments

It's always seemed to me that you haven't hit the big leagues as a blogger until you start getting hate mail from kooky, weird people. If you're PZ Myers, you get death threats. While I'm no PZ, I guess I'm moving out of the pee-wee league and into the little leagues. This comment was left by "Mary" on a two and a half year old post I wrote as a reponse to another local blogger's misogynistic column in the Daily Illini. I shall not speak the name of that local blogger lest that summon him, but it rhymes with "Shmambenek." Anyway, here's the comment:

Wow, could you possibly be more of a gutter slut? If I had a billion dollars, I'd bet it all that you'll die of some ghastly STD by the time you're fifty. That's how it is with all you gutter whores.

You are beneath me and anyone else with a shred of morality. You are the bottom of the barrel...complete and utter scum. People like you are just one notch above murderers.

I am all for gender equality, or equity at least. Women are just as capable of doing things as well as a man could, and in many cases better. But we don't need to use our bodies to get ahead. We are smart and can use our BRAINS. Men don't have to use their bodies to get ahead. Why do we persist on using our bodies and not our brains?

I like classical feminism, but this new 'omg I want to have sex with fifteen billion guys and I want everyone to praise me for it' is complete and utter bullshit and I WILL call feminists prostitutes with no integrity because that's exactly what you are. As John Bambenek said, at least they can be honest about themselves and what they do. One couldn't say the same about gutter trash like you.

Wow. People who have sex are "one notch above murderers?" Unhinged, much? I must say, if Mary and Schmambenek are apparently the paragons of virtue, I shall wear the label of "gutter slut" with pride. Now, where are my fifteen billion men?

UPDATE: Speaking of internet trolls, there's a really interesting problem over with Wenalway, a persistent troll, over at IlliniPundit. Check out the July 3 Open Thread. It seems to me the persistence, scope, and narcissism of this one troll makes me wonder if this is less about Internet jerkitude and more about a mental illness of some sort.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Definitions. You haz them wrong.

Tim Fernholz has a good post over at The Prospect about how Republicans and conservatives are calling every action taken by the Obama administration "socialist." It's simply not valid:

it's not fair to say that the Obama administration is socialist per se because socialism is an -ism, a system, a guiding philosophy, and it's clear that putting the government in charge of private production is not the Obama administration's guiding philosophy...

If the Obama administration had come into office without an economic emergency, they wouldn't be involved in these firms -- don't forget that the first big government takeovers came under George W. Bush and that the management and directors of the auto companies asked for government help. The current administration has made clear they don't intend to be in the auto making (or banking) business for very long, and voluntarily laid out various guidelines to keep politics out of business decisions. Obviously, lines will be fudged and there are plenty of opportunities for conflict, but this is clearly not an administration whose every answer is "seize the means of production"

Now, would someone please this to tell the yokels that keep writing into the News-Gazette?

(h/t Ezra Klein)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Why do bicycles have gender?

For some reason even I'm not really clear on, I've been thinking about getting a bike lately. They're kind of intimidatingly expensive, so I've also been keeping an eye out on Craigslist for a used one. It's gradually started to bug me about why bicycles have gender; that is, why are there "men's bikes" and "women's bikes"? (Actually, if you look at the Schwinn website, you'll see there are "bicycles" and "women's bicycles.")

The only difference between them that I can tell, is the location of the crossbar that goes from just under the handlebars to the stem on which the seat sits. On men's bicycles it's high. On women's bikes, it's low. Really, that's all I can find. Pink tassels on the handlebars notwithstanding.

The standard explanation I've always heard (and this is from way back when) is that men and boys are more likely to treat their bike roughly, and so they need a more sturdy frame. So why not just make them all that way? Is it just "Oh, you're a lady and ladies need a more feminine, breakable bike"?

To be fair, I just looked around a bit, and the "sport" type bikes that are likely to be ridden offroad or by professional athletes all appear to have the higher crossbar, I assume because the frame is stronger.

Is there really some reason behind this, or is it just an unnecessary gender difference and marketing scam?

UPDATE: OK, based on the comments here, the comments on Facebook after Bryan posted a link to this, and my mother calling me the other night, the most reasonable explanation is that women's bikes have the crossbar where it is so women can wear dresses without getting them all rumply.

I can't imagine that's particularly important anymore, though. Unless you're a fundamentalist Mormon woman riding a bicycle around the compound (because no fundamentalist Mormon woman would ever need to ride a bicycle off of her husband's compound), the need to accommodate long skirts just doesn't seem all that important anymore. I haven't seen many women riding a bike in a tea-length gown lately, have you?

Friday, June 12, 2009

You decide

From Matthew Yglesias comes this report of conditions under which prisoners are held:

[P]rolonged periods of exposure to the elements; humiliations such as public nakedness; confinement for up to several weeks in small ‘punishment cells’ in which prisoners were unable to stand upright or lie down; being forced to kneel or sit immobilized for long periods; being hung by the wrists; being forced to stand up and sit down to the point of collapse.

Quick. North Korea or American "enhanced interrogations"?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Paging Mr. Hitchcock

My desk sits right next to a window. From the outside, the windows must be reflective, because birds keep coming up and attacking their reflections. Sparrows, cardinals, and one with a little orange head that I can't identify. They can't seem to see us, because they never react to our movements.

This week, we had a new visitor, a hawk. For some reason, this guy didn't attack his reflection. These aren't great pictures (they were taken from a cell phone), but I was literally 12 inches or so from this hawk, which was a pretty amazing experience. It's like our own little hunting blind.

I had to tilt the shades open so we could see him, and I think he could hear that. You can see in some of the pictures, he's fluffing his feathers. When we tried to lift the shades up out of the way, he squawked and flew off.

I think this is a red-tailed hawk. He's been there before, but never this close. I hope we'll see him again.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shruken Head

Some time back, David gave me this little plastic husband that grows and expands if you put it in water. A little while ago, I put it in some water to see what would actually happen. The cup of water I used, however, wasn't quite big enough and it wound up growing to the point where it pushed up out of the liquid, which meant those parts didn't get to soak up water and grow. This is the result.

So what I want to know is, is this a metaphor or an omen?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Some weekend lightness ... ow!

Welcome our new bee overlords! A hive of bees shut down part of Union Square in New York:

Thousands of bees -- in a hive -- in a building between 4th Avenue and Irving Place -- and it was no joke to the employees here at GameStop. They were trapped inside their store. The sign in the window said, "temporarily closed, due to bee infestation."

"There's a hive...inside the walls...leading upward...they say somebody's on the way, but they're taking a long time to get here," bee watcher Herman Leath said.

In fact, it took two hours to get some help...and that was only after Eyewitness News called the police department...who said, call the fire department...who said, call 9-1-1...who said, call 3-1-1..who said, call the mayor's office.

And finally, at around 4 p.m. the NYPD's bee specialist arrived -- but removing the hive was no easy task...

"I'm probably gonna be relying on scent...the queen bee's could take a half hour&an hour...two hours...I don't know," NYPD bee expert Tony Planakis said.

And just in case you missed that, "...around 4 p.m. the NYPD's bee specialist arrived..." Who knew?

Hat-tip: The Consumerist, who suggests the bees may have been protesting for better game trade-in value.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another one bites the dust

IlliniPundit has again banned Regnad Kcin, née ewjohnson, from his site. I completely understand why he did it. Kcin was nothing if not offensive. (Not to mention a total kook: he's a Paultard and a 911 Troofer) But, frankly, he's not all that out of the Republican mainstream; just a bit more vocal about it. I realize that there are a few open minded Republicans out there, but purer-than-thou homophobia really is official Republican policy.

I posted this in response to Kcin's latest odious comment. I rather like it, if I do say so myself and have even gotten one complement on it, from a straight guy, no less. I figure next time there's an anti-gay yokel in the N-G, I'm gonna send something like it in as a Letter.

Since homosexual activity is a sexual hedonism demonstrably harmful to others and destructive to the framework of the society...

I would like to apologize on behalf of the smoking crater that used to be the LGBT community. If only we had known things like gay marriage and the lack government-regulated sexual activity would have led to turning this country into the post-apocalyptic hellhole it has become, we would not have been so strident in our demands. If only we had listened when we were told that Will & Grace was just the first step towards the food riots and race wars now sweeping this once great and entirely heterosexual nation. (Not to mention that everyone is now speaking French.) Obviously you were just begging gay men to marry your sisters and daughters and keep them in loveless, unfilling marriages for the greater good. Why, oh why, would we not listen?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

An online community is still a community

I've been meaning to put this up for a while now, but keep not getting around to it. I realize the topic of this post may initially look a bit dorky, just bear with me, it's really not. Yes it involves Warcraft (David, I can already hear your eyes glazing over), but just ignore the game jargon and it's a really great story.

This story was posted in the Warcraft Europe forums a while ago and it's about this guy that comes across a newbie asking for help:

So off i went, with a lvl 34 Human Warrior, and helped this fella out with a few of his red quests.. We chatted a little whilst we played, and it came to my attention that this wasn't a very old player, as he kept on having to go "becuase dad neds 2 chek the emall" he also clearly had no idea how to play, kept on pointing at random objects and saying "coooooooooool!!", and by the state of his outfit, it looked like he hit mach 2 and collided with a Dorthy Perkins store.

A few weeks pass, they stay in touch now and then, but then he sees the kid again, this time getting cyber-bullied in-game.

Anyway, a few hours later, i get a message from this kid "i got kicked from my guild :(" i tried to cheer him up, but it wasn't happening.. And to be honest i couldnt be arsed trying, and i was tired and logged off.

So yesterday ... i see this kid sitting next to the mailbox, no guild tag, people bouncing around him having fun.. And theres him, all alone, no-one paying attention to a "noob".. Now i know human race facial expressions never change, but as far as avatars go, this one looked really depressed.

So i message him asking if hes cool, and he tells me hes thinking about quitting, becuase he gets bullied alot at school, and his ex guild mates all said really horrible things to him, and that he knew some of the kids in reality, becuase they go to his school, and are beggining to bully him in school about how he plays WoW etc. We all remember how it was.. I remember i used to get bullied in school for not having any toys, or having an old version of a toy.. Imagine it now, you get bullied about it at home AND school too.

So he decides to do a really nice thing

So what did i do? I took the kid shopping is what i did... Bought him his epic (ground) mount, a load of nice armour off AH, which i made sure was well colour co-ordinated AND gave him very nice stats for his level. Bought him 2 very nice rare axes (fotgotten the name) and got a guild mate to put +15 agility on each one.

I also bought him a host of accessories, fun stuff, like a mana wyrm, somedeviate delights, an Orb of deception.. yunno.. all the "coooooool" stuff.

OK I realize that may have gotten a little thick for anyone that doesn't play the game. He later says that he spent about 1600 gold on this little shopping trip. Just to put that in perspective, if you added all the gold up on all my characters across all the servers I've played on, you'd have about that much. This was months of work that this guy spent on the kid.

Then (and this is my favorite part), he gets a thank you letter. Not from the kid, but from the kid's father:

I want to thank you for helping my son in this game, he's been so excited for days about the new things you bought him, hes also been having a tough time in school latley, and we agreed we would get him this game as an escape, although latley its turned into nothing more than another source of bullying and abuse.

Thanks to you the little chaps smiling again.

Once again, lots of thanks!"

So yeah, maybe people think playing the game is a bit dorky, but this is the sort of story that restores my faith in the humanity of dorks.

I just realized that it's a very fitting coincidence it's currently Children's Week, when players can take an (in-game) orphan around, show him different parts of the world, and buy him treats and candy.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

RIP, Bea

Bea Arthur

(If any of the Pussycat Dolls are reading, I'd just like to point out that it really should be "Don't cha wish your girlfriend were hot like me?" Really, good grammar costs nothing.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Last Disappointment, Part 2

This is the second post on this book that I wanted to make, and I'm still not out of the Preface. Feser's entire thesis in this book is that he can make a logical argument for the existence of God. Which is pretty amazing considering the diversity in beliefs, rituals, and claims about the religious supernatural. So here's how he gets around that:

...I should make it clear at the outset that this is not a defense of an amorphous ecumenical something called "religion," but only and specifically of the classical theism and traditional morality of Western civilization, which, I maintain, are superior -- rationally, morally, and socio-politically superior -- to absolutely every alternative on offer."

The amount of sheer arrogance in that statement is mind-boggling. Realize that when Feser is talking about the "classical theism of Western civilization", he's basically talking about conservative Christianity. Also realize that Feser bases his book almost entirely on two things: Platonic ideals and the Arisotelian final cause. The two are entirely unconnected.

Feser's argument is basically that you can logically prove God exists and that he is a being of pure Being. I may or may not deal with the absurdity of that statement in a later post, if I get around to it. But nothing in Feser's claim is exclusive to Jehovah. It applies to YHWH to about the same degree as Vishnu. But Feser disregards all the other possibilities out of hand because they're not Western enough. Ooooh, scary foreign philosophies.

It's also an unfair statement because the God in Feser's logical argument isn't the God of Western Civilization, i.e. Christianity. There really isn't a religion in the world that says God is a being of pure Being and stops there. No, they all carry the baggage of specific supernatural claims with them. God is triune, transubstaniation, demonic possession, an angel that wields a sword of fire that turns every which way. You can't have just a vague, hand-waving claim about God that you say proves how superior "Western civilization" is without also claiming all the supernatural baggage that comes with the dominant religion of Western Civ.

In other words Ed, Quetzalcoatl called while you were out and, man, is he ever pissed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Be specific!

I don't normally care for Andrew Sullivan, but he makes a good point about today's faux-grassroots teabagging parties:

But the substantive critique must remain the primary one. Protesting government spending is meaningless unless you say what you'd cut.

If you favor no bailouts, then say so. If you want to see the banking system collapse, then say so. If you think the recession demands no fiscal stimulus, then say so. If you favor big cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, social security and defense, then say so. I keep waiting for Reynolds to tell us what these protests are for; and he can only spin what they they are against.

All protests against spending that do not tell us how to reduce it are fatuous pieces of theater, not constructive acts of politics. And until the right is able to make a constructive and specific argument about how they intend to reduce spending and debt and borrowing, they deserve to be dismissed as performance artists in a desperate search for coherence in an age that has left them bewilderingly behind.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Last Disappointment, Part 1

Every once in a while, I try to read a book that's interesting or important or that will just be a change from the genre fiction I otherwise seem to read. So the other week, when I was in the library, I picked up The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism by Edward Feser. I'm not sure why it interested me; maybe I just thought it would be interesting to see what sort of arguments the other side has for their beliefs. I gotta say, if this is the best refutation anyone can come up with, the New Atheists (which would make a pretty good name for a band) don't have much to worry about.

Some quick background: over the past few years, there have been several books written by prominent atheists. Richard Dawkins wrote The God Delusion, Sam Harris wrote Letter to a Christian Nation, Christopher Hitchens wrote God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. I think there have been a few others, as well. There's even a snazzy new logo. In interest of full disclosure, I'll say that I haven't read any of these books. They may be brilliant, they may be silly, I don't know.

One of the reasons I haven't blogged so much lately is that I sit down wanting to write a review of this book, and just think "Ugh." So I'm going to break it into more manageable and less frustrating parts.

The first thing that strikes me about this book is just how shamelessly political it is. There's not a whole lot of philosophy in it, and very little past the Humanities 101 level of things. But Feser is continuously harping on all the hot-button socially political issues of the day. This is the very first paragraph of the book:

At the time of this writing, exactly one week has passed since the Supreme Court of the State of California decreed that homosexuals have a "basic civil right" to marry someone of the same sex... Malcom Muggeridge famously said that "without God we are left with a choice of succumbing to megalomania or erotomania." The court's majority, in declaring by sheer judicial fiat the equal dignity under law of family and sodomy, would appear to have gone Muggeridge one better by succumbing to both at once."

Allow me to point out the subtle characterization of heterosexual sexual relationships as being wholesome and constructive (i.e. his use of "family"), while gay relationships are entirely driven by sinful lusts ("erotomania", "sodomy"). The subliminal implication he's trying to make is that gay people don't of course have real "families"; their children, their relationships, their support of each other is somehow less valid and legitimate than others. But remember that this isn't a book about gay marriage or politics.

Again, let me point out that this is the very first paragraph of the book. But it's not the last time he'll mention it. Gay marriage is something that Feser returns to again and again in his book, referencing it I think at least once in every chapter. He doesn't limit himself to the terrible influence of Teh Gay, either. There's Terry Schaivo, abortion, and lots and lots of sex. Well, just the kind of sex that Feser doesn't approve of.

As I was reading Superstition, I think I gradually came to the conclusion that Feser's book is not the philosophical treatise I was expecting, but more of the philisophical analog of Ann Coulter's writings. You don't come into this book to learn something or to get a well-reasoned argument. You come to a book like this to get your worldview reinforced and to learn exactly how wicked those unlike you, in this case the liberals and the atheists, truly are. Just like Coulter, that's the service that Feser provides.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Now all I need is a belfry

So, the other night, I was lying in bed on my way to the Dreaming. There was a squirrel outside making some noise or another and I was looking up at the ceiling at the moving patterns the blinds made as a car went in or out of the parking lot. The squirrel must be in the tree right outside the window. Then another car drives through the parking lot making that pattern on the ceiling. Then again.

Wait. I didn't hear a car. At that point I'm really looking at the ceiling and see something go right across it. Oh, my God, there's a bird in here! So I jump out of bed and turn on the light and, yup, there's a bird circling around inside my bedroom. So I quickly remembered my glasses were in the bathroom and went to fetch them. I wonder how it got in, is there a window broken somewhere? I came back to the bedroom and stopped.

That's not a bird.

That's a bat.


Quickly, I closed the bedroom door and ran to the closet to get a bedsheet to catch it in. Well, OK, first I screamed like a woman in a 50s science-fiction B-movie, then ran to the closet to get a bedsheet. On my way back to my bat-filled bedroom, I also grabbed the broom. Why? I don't know. I guess bats are like spiders in that sense.

Back at the bedroom. Deep breath. Ready to open the door and throw the sheet over the bat and quickly catch it. Open the door. Cue dramatic music.


What? Where did it go? Walk over to the windows to see if one is broken. Nope. Check behind the blinds to make sure they're bat-free. OK, I'll open one so when I find the bat, I'll just shoo it out. Window's open. Screen's not. Screen won't open. Great, I have a rodent flying around my apartment and I can't even open a window to get rid of it.

Go back to the living room and open the patio door. Fortunately, the weather is warming up, so it's only about sixty outside. I can live with that.

I grab a flashlight and head back to the bedroom. I start looking around, under, inside, and through things. Nothing. No bat. Well, I *know* it's here. There's no other route out of the bedroom and I've kept the door closed every time I left. Keep looking.

I finally found it hiding behind the filing cabinet. Naturally, it had to decide to hide behind the heaviest thing I own. After moving the CD rack and the lamp, I've got enough room to grab the filing cabinet and pull it back. Yup, there it is, on the floor. I poke it with the broom enough to push it out from behind the filing cabinet. Grab a towel and run to the far side, at which point he decides to crawl back behind the cabinet. So I pull the cabinet out another six inches and throw the towel over the chirping thing.

Gently, I scooped it up in the towel and hightailed it outside. Putting the towel down, I shook it apart a bit and the bat chirped a few more times then lopsidely flew away to hide under the eaves of the building not far away.

Yeah, it was kind of icky. It was a bat after all. But you know, under different circumstances, he was enough like a little furry creature that it would have been kind of cute, too. But not flying around my bedroom at the wee hours of the morning.

At this point, it was pushing 1 am, I'd been running around the apartment, and moving furniture. Sleep was not quick in coming. So that explains why I'm a bit sleep deprived this week.

* With apologies to Samuel L. Jackson.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Does this mean I'm famous?

I've been thinking it's awfully strange that people keep coming to the blog after having searched for "plain yogurt" on Google. Then I did the search myself and found that this post is on the first page of results.

I never thought I'd be on the first page of any of Google search results. How strange.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hollywood, stop messing with my childhood! Part 2

OK, so I promised you a blog post. The last one wound up being about how Hollywood was taking beloved stories from my childhood and turning them into movies that actually were pretty decent. This one delves into the "not so much" territory.

What gave me this whole idea was the adaptation of a book I very fondly, The Dark is Rising. This is the second book from Susan Cooper's five-book sequence (don't call it a series!) of the same name. The books are richly steeped in English and Welsh folkore and Arthurian legend. To sum up the story, 11-year-old Will discovers he's the last of the Old Ones, a group of immortal paladins that serve the Light and fight against the Dark. Will must discover the Six Signs (bronze, wood, iron, fire, water, stone) before it's too late.

That about sums up the similarities between the book and the movie. The movie was retitled only weeks before its release to The Seeker: The Dark is Rising giving it a wholly unnecessary Narnian colon and ruining what I've always thought was one of the most evocative book titles ever. Will is changed from 11 years old to 13 making him less a kid and more of an annoying teenager, but allowing them to add a completely unnecessary girl-related-subplot. The price of which was removing the character of The Watcher entirely. Merriman's foster son, who deserts the Light when Merriman was willing to let him die to protect a power magical artifact, then serves his penance by having to carry one of the Signs for 600 years before giving it to Will. Oh no, that character is booted to the curb so Will can get a funny feeling in his tummy when some girl looks at him sideways.

Need I mention the fact that they fabricated out of whole cloth a long-lost brother for Will (and he's got 5 already), who is kidnapped and captured by The Dark as a baby, which makes his father cold and distant, that Will must find out about and rescue? Or the fact that Will seems to be less of the last of a line of a group of the most powerful magical heros throughout history more the leader of a group of incompetent octagenarians?

Sigh. When I heard there would soon be a film version of TDIR, I checked out the books from the library and gave them a re-read. I did the same with John Carpenter's (no, not that John Carpenter) Tripods series when I heard The White Mountain is due to be released sometime in 2009. In interest of full disclosure, I never did read this trilogy as a kid, but rather saw the BBC miniseries, which only made it through the first two books and left the fans hanging. It's about what you would expect from 1980s British TV fare, but I'm of the opinion that it was pretty good for what it was. It's sort of War of the Worlds meets Mad Max meets The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I still think the intro is a bit eerie:

Information about the movie is scarce at best. The IMDB page is subscription-only, but I notice that it's listed there as being released in 2012 rather than 2009, so perhaps it was pushed back. Supposedly Gregor Jordan is on to direct.

I have a bad feeling about this movie. The first book is the story of three boys' travels through post-alien-invasion Europe as they travel from England to France. (All adult humans are brainwashed and mind-controlled by the aliens at the age of about 15.) I suspect that the setting will be moved out of Europe to the United States to avoid the association with that most Communist of nations, France. I also suspect the boys will be moved up in age from 14 to 17 or so. Lastly, the fact that they appear to be changing the name suggests that they will try to condense all three books into one movie. The BBC had twelve on-screen hours to tell the story of the first two books. Trying to shrink that, plus another book, all into one and a half hours is just a recipe for disaster.

And a longer trailer for season 1 (fan-made, I think):

I'm of two minds of the recent remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The new one is a bit less technocolor than the Gene Wilder version. Depp's performance as Willy Wonka is very fresh; as I think can be expected from Depp, he takes the role and really makes it his own. Wilder's Wonka seemed to like the kiddies in the movie a bit too much, if you know what I mean, while Depp's Wonka seems more likely just to have some in the freezer. But the last act of the movie just goes in a totally strange and unnecessary direction. It doesn't seem out of place to me to have fantastical elements in children's literature that don't really need to be explained. I don't need some Freudian backstory about why Wonka became a chocolatier, he just is. Wholly unnecessary and distracting from the main story.

Lastly, we're starting to see trailers for Race to Witch Mountain, the remake of 1975's Escape to Witch Mountain. I hesitate to include this one because, even though I have fond memories of it from when I was young, I haven't seen it since and suspect it is actually fairly hokey. Still, I liked it and one of the things I remember about it is that there was quite a bit of mystery about it: who are these kids, why can they do these things, what happened to them? And from the previews for the new one, it looks like all that is gone and these two weird kids are just superpowerful beings that hire a former-wrestler-cum-taxi-driver to drive them cross-country to get somewhere to stop the end of the world from arriving. Ugh. I mean, aliens that can smash cars with their minds, but can't figure out how to work a cell phone or take a plane somewhere?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

You mean it gets even worse?

Four and a half years ago, I wrote this blog post, about how frustrating it was that no one would be held accountable for what happened at Gitmo other than a few low-level functionaries.

Three and a half years ago, I wrote this blog post, about how much worse what actually happened at Abu Ghraib was than we all had thought.

A former Gitmo guard has now come forward and is talking about what is actually going on there.

Neely [the guard] discusses at some length the notion of IRF (initial reaction force), a technique devised to brutalize or physically beat a detainee under the pretense that he required being physically subdued. The IRF approach was devised to use a perceived legal loophole in the prohibition on torture. Neely’s testimony makes clear that IRF was understood by everyone, including the prison guards who applied it, as a subterfuge for beating and mistreating prisoners—and that it had nothing to do with the need to preserve discipline and order in the prison.

Honestly, that really doesn't shock me. Several prisoners were actually beaten to death at Abu Ghraib. I remember one quote from an Army doctor that examined the dead detainee, and how he described his injuries as resembling those of someone that had been hit by a bus. So finding out that physical abuse is not just regular, but encouraged, seems just par for the course.

But as shocking and saddening it is to hear about beatings like this, that's not the end of it: (emphasis mine)

He describes body searches undertaken for no legitimate security purpose, simply to sexually invade and humiliate the prisoners. This was a standardized Bush Administration tactic–the importance of which became apparent to me when I participated in some Capitol Hill negotiations with White House representatives relating to legislation creating criminal law accountability for contractors. The Bush White House vehemently objected to provisions of the law dealing with rape by instrumentality. When House negotiators pressed to know why, they were met first with silence and then an embarrassed acknowledgment that a key part of the Bush program included invasion of the bodies of prisoners in a way that might be deemed rape by instrumentality under existing federal and state criminal statutes.

It's one thing (and implausible) to say that the Abu Ghraib abuse was the work of "a few bad apples." This obviously isn't. White House lawyers were aware of what was going on and actually fought to provide legal cover. You can't tell me that the awareness of these tactics stopped with those lawyers.

In other words, rape is now official government policy.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Hollywood, stop messing with my childhood! Part 1

It seems that Hollywood is determined to ruin many of the fond memories I have of books from my childhood. They keep making movies and remaking things and doing a hatchet job on them.

That's not to say they haven't done a couple of things right lately. I'm actually a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe. It's true to the books, it treats its source material with respect, and it's just a great story. It's a bit of a shame that the Religious Right adopted it in such a priggish manner, but maybe they'd read ahead and were trying to act like Eustace. Prince Caspian wasn't as good, but again, it was faithful to its source material; I just didn't like that book nearly as much. It also looks like they will be making The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, contrary to one rumor I heard. So I'm happy, since it is my favorite of the books.


I honestly doubt they'll go much past those three. The Silver Chair and A Horse and His Boy barely has the Pevinsies in it and The Magician's Nephew not at all. They have to get the movies made before the actors grow up too much to be believable, unless they do them out of order. The Last Battle seems doubtful to me. Would you really make a children's movie where the protagonists realize they're dead at the end of it? "Hey kids, lets go watch a movie where all the characters you grew up with actually die!"


I have to say that I am a fan of the Harry Potter movies as well. Again, they dealt with the source material faithfully, insofar as is reasonable for two-hour adaptations of pretty big books. (David, I can hear you rolling your eyes.)

In dragged on a bit in later acts, but Sci-Fi's recent OZ miniseries wasn't half-bad. I'm not sure if that counts in this list, since I was first introduced to Oz via The Wizard of Oz, as I suspect most of us were, but I did read several of Baum's books. The miniseries really was more of a reimagining, like the recent Battlestar Galactica, rather than a retelling of the original story. It didn't surpass its source material like BSG, but I think it retained the sense of steampunk wackiness and actual danger that I remember from the books.

Wow, after checking Wikipedia, it looks like there have been a lot more books made into movies than I was aware of: How to Eat Fried Worms, A Ring of Endless Light (thought I didn't read the book), A Wrinkle in Time, The Westing Game, and there was even a Neverending Story III. It looks like most of those adaptations sucked.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post, but it's taken me so long to get here, it's going to have to wait for another day.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Wacky things on the radio

When I travel, like I was doing over the past weekend, I listen to the radio a lot. Sometimes, I listen to talk radio, which means listening to conservative and Christian talk radio. This past trip, I had the dubious pleasure of coming across a series of interviews done with people at the Creation Museum. The one that I managed to catch most of was with Jason Lisle, head astrophysicist at the Museum.

Wait a minute. An astrophysicist that thinks the universe is only a few thousand years old? Isn't that like going to the infectious disease department at a hospital to find a doctor that thinks viruses and bacteria can't make you sick?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

OMG, Lost!

... but enough of that.

This weekend, I came across a recipe that said, if you didn't have any pimentos, you could substitute maraschino cherries.

I didn't even know my brain had a gag reflex.