Friday, March 25, 2011

Praying for Norma Jean

A person can easily get caught up in the rush of work and how to juggle deadlines that conflict. And become focused on our "kinetic military action" in Libya, or the deficit, or Wisconsin. But all it takes is one late-night phone call saying that your 83-year-old mother is having emergency surgery halfway across the country, and your world narrows down to your own family, and nothing more.

She's out of surgery and stable, but hardly on the road to recovery, at least not yet. So for any readers so inclined, please pray for Norma Jean.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Got Nothing

Or at least, nothing but too much work on my desk and too many world events to keep up with.

And a dog that needs yet another walk. Back soon.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Princess of the Universe" Filler!

Because this weekend is full of long-overdue time with my wife, Utopia has always been one of my favorite bands, and the post on Libya simply isn't ready yet...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Goldendoodle Filler!

Meet Eubie, a 4-month-old Goldendoodle and our own girl's new best friend:

Life is always better with dogs...

Friday, March 18, 2011

An Unserious Man in an Unserious Party

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) on the defunding of NPR:

A national debt that tops $14 trillion. A projected deficit of $1.6 trillion in the Obama administration's proposed budget for next year. A federal government currently borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends.

James O'Keefe and the politics or bias of NPR aside, we're well beyond the point where we can afford something that might be nice to do. Or that we might like to do. If this country is going to have any future at all, we need to cut the federal government back to the bare essentials. And those bare essentials do not include federal funding of NPR.

Or Click & Clack.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pop Quiz: Presidential Leadership Edition

Which of the following strong presidential responses to a pressing issue or crisis best exemplifies our current leadership?

A) Presidential response to the tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan:

B) Presidential response to the revolution in Libya, currently being crushed by forces loyal to Qaddafi:

C) Presidential response to the deficit, debt crisis, and lack of a federal budget:

Hint: At this point, I don't just miss George W. Bush. I'm actually starting to miss Jimmy Carter.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Andrew Klavan: "Multiculturalism Explained"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Last 36 Hours in 3...2...1...


is the number of neighborhood dogs I've guided safely home after discovering them roaming free, with no tags or ID, because their owners left the gate either unlatched or wide open.


is the number of neighborhood "window watchers" who know me by sight, if not by name, from walking my own dog up and down these streets for four years yet still thought I was a criminal mastermind trying to burgle a house under cover of herding an escaped dog back into its yard.


is the number of people who thanked me.

Return to Normalcy

Monday, March 14, 2011

How to Promote a Sci-Fi Extravaganza

Say what you will about anime and its live-action remakes, the cast of Space Battleship Yamato definitely know how to promote their blockbuster film:

Clearly, I need to watch more Japanese TV during my insomnia hours.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Eternal Question

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How Not to Spend a Saturday Morning

Is there anything better than spending two glorious hours on a Saturday morning trying to make a mew printer work properly? Especially when that printer is a replacement sent by the manufacturer because the original printer you bought from them turned out to be defective?

There is. And it's how I plan to spend my Saturday afternoon.

(WARNING: Foul-mouthed yet entirely appropriate rap music ahead...)

Friday, March 11, 2011

James Clapper: Qaddafi, Social Network Will Win

WASHINGTON -- In open testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Muammar Qaddafi would prevail in the Libyan civil war and The Social Network would win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

As in previous hearings, Clapper's comments provoked immediate controversy. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stated, "You just undercut every American diplomatic effort to convince a murderous dictator to step down, and you pulled the rug out from under every Libyan now risking his or her life for freedom. You do know this is an open hearing being broadcast throughout the world, right?"

Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) echoed Graham's criticism. "You're making it pretty hard for us to keep covering for you, Jim. And for God's sake, don't answer Lindsey's question."

It was Clapper's comments about the hit film The Social Network, however, that truly sparked the ire of Sen. Graham. A transcript of the relevant exchange follows:

GRAHAM: How can you not know the Oscars were given out almost two weeks ago?

CLAPPER: Senator, it is the consensus opinion of the national intelligence community that the 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony has not, in fact, taken place.

GRAHAM: So The King's Speech didn't really win Best Picture?

CLAPPER: Senator, our analysts feel that a mercy Oscar in a technical category is the likeliest outcome for that film.

When asked about this exchange, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stated, "Vice President Biden has full faith and confidence in Director Clapper. Oh, wait. You were asking about the president. Let me get back to you."

Today's comments were not the first brush with controversy for Director Clapper. In February, he provoked a firestorm with his claim that the Muslim Brotherhood was a "largely secular" organization. A spokesperson for the National Intelligence Coordination Center later clarified that Clapper had meant to say the Brotherhood was a "largely spectacular" organization.

In related testimony during the Senate hearing today, Clapper revealed the U.S. intelligence community now believes that most members of the Muslim Brotherhood are not actual brothers. "Though some members may well be connected in a familial fashion," Clapper explained, "recent communication intercepts indicate the Muslim Brotherhood is actually an umbrella organization that includes many people, from many countries, who may or may not be related."

Current Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and rumored Clapper replacement Leon Panetta refused to comment on this story, explaining that he had not yet watched analysis of the hearing on CNN.

Shocking Photo: Arizona Now Requires Proof of Immigration Status for Eggs

Can you spot the undocumented egg?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

REPORT: U.S. Military Too White, Male; Michelle Rodriguez Named New Chair of Joint Chiefs

WASHINGTON -- Acting quickly on recommendations from a ground-breaking report that the top leadership of the U.S. military is too white, too male, and does not accurately reflect the diversity of America, the Obama administration today announced the appointment of actress Michelle Rodriguez as the new Chairwoman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"This is a profoundly important issue," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. "And quite frankly, after the whole Middle East thing, it's nice to get out in front of something for a change."

As with repeal of the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, the move has provoked rare criticism of civilian authority by uniformed members of the military. "Ms. Rodriguez is a brilliant young actress," said Gen. David Petraeus. "However, a three-week actor's boot camp hardly prepares someone to lead the finest fighting force this world has ever known." (UPDATE: See related article, "MoveOn.Org: David Petraeus, Two Thumbs Down!")

Experienced observers from outside the senior officer corps, however, disagree. "I applaud this visionary appointment," said Dirk DeSoto, executive director for Hollywood Veterans of Imaginary Conflicts. "For too long, America has mistakenly prepared to fight the last war. And as Michelle Rodriguez knows from Battle: Los Angeles, the next war won't be against rogue states or radical jihadists. It will be against alien invaders from beyond the stars. Or giant robots. But hopefully just aliens. Because of it's giant robots, we're screwed."

According to an anonymous White House source close to the decision-making process, the Rodriguez appointment was not without internal controversy as well. "Foxy Brown was a seminal film for the Obamas," the source revealed, "and the First Lady made a strong case for the positive message Pam Grier would send to the African-American tween community."

Others reportedly considered include Milla Jovovich, Scarlett Johansson, Jackie Chan, and Summer Glau.

Even with White House backing, however, Rodriguez faces an uphill battle for confirmation in the Senate. Appearing on Fox News, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) declared, "The American people know how much I love feisty women with big guns, but this appointment is nothing more than a cynical attempt by the Obama administration to recapture the Hispanic vote in 2012."

McCain's comments prompted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to counter, "Re-capture? What Hispanic in his right mind has ever voted Republican?"

Responding to these and other issues surrounding the appointment, new Defense Department spokesperson Chris Farley commented, "Remember when Michelle flew that helicopter thing in Avatar? That was awesome."

Current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Michael Mullen was unavailable for comment.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"She Don't Like Firefly"

Fortunately for me, my own lovely nerdy gamer wife is a Big Damn Browncoat.

Metaphorically speaking, of course...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Home Schooling Ingalls Family Wins Presidential Commencement Speech Challenge

WASHINGTON -- The White House announced today that the Ingalls family of Walnut Grove, Minnesota, are this year's winners of a graduation commencement address by President Barack Obama.

"We couldn't be more thrilled," said Charles "Pa" Ingalls, a family farmer and suspected Tea Party activist. "After hearing that only 68 schools in the entire nation had applied for this year's presidential graduation address, my wife and I encouraged our kids to throw their hats in the ring. Of course, we never thought they'd actually win!"

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also expressed surprise. "The essay by the Ingalls children really was just head and shoulders beyond anything we'd ever seen. Even Secretary of Education Duncan had no idea kids like this were still out there. They had paragraphs and everything."

Given continuing unrest involving unionized teachers in Wisconsin, however, political experts are divided on the implications of this announcement for President Obama's 2012 reelection bid.

"Politically, I just don't see the upside," said Joe Trippi, who ran Howard Dean's successful 2004 presidential campaign. "I mean, did you see them on the Today show? The father actually called one of his daughters 'half-pint.' How demeaning is that? The president should be calling out this abusive father, not rewarding him with a speech."

Robert "Bob" Shrum, who ran John Kerry's successful 2004 presidential campaign, disagreed. "IT'S A HOME RUN, BABY!!!" Shrum responded by e-mail. "THIS IS WHAT I CALL REACHING OUT TO THE CENTER!!!"

Among the president's core supporters, reaction was uniformly skeptical.

"President Obama has again betrayed those who put him in office," said noted education theorist William Ayers. "True education doesn't happen in the home, or a private school, or a charter school, or a magnet school. Research shows that true education only happens in a public school, or at a protest led by a teacher who called in sick."

Ayers is not alone in his views. The National Education Association has vowed to picket the Ingalls home during the president's backyard graduation address. Other organizations publicly committed to protesting the Ingalls ceremony include the American Federation of Teachers, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Westboro Baptist Church.

Reports that the Rev. Al Sharpton will lead a counter-graduation ceremony across the street were unconfirmed at press time.

What a True Grassroots Campaign Sign Looks Like

Not Even a Leap Year Could Make This Look Good

Remember the days when a several hundred billion dollars would be the deficit for an entire year? Now that's the deficit for a single month -- and the shortest month of the year at that:

The federal government posted its largest monthly deficit in history in February, a $223 billion shortfall that put a sharp point on the current fight on Capitol Hill about how deeply to cut this year’s spending.
I'd love to say that's the single most depressing thing I've read in a very long time. Unfortunately, the idea that cutting only $61 billion -- not even a third of our deficit for the shortest month of the year -- from our roughly $3.7 trillion federal budget is somehow "ideological, extremist, [and] reckless" clearly tops the quote above.

I'd also love to say that February's deficit, like the movie Kick-Ass, makes me feel like a geezer. After all, I can remember the days when the February numbers actually would have been the deficit for an entire year. You know, the days before "hope" and "change." Only those days weren't that long ago.

They just feel that way.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tyler Perry's "The President's Speech"

(H/T: I Hate The Media)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

REUTERS: Qaddafi Flees Libya, Replaces Steven Tyler on American Idol

TRIPOLI -- Fleeing armed rebels and unarmed protesters, Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi has accepted the international community's offer of exile in Hollywood, where he will appear as a judge on Season 11 of the hit television show American Idol.

"It's hard to keep a show fresh and unpredictable after 10 years on the air, so we're excited to have Col. Qaddafi as a judge next season," said Executive Producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz. "Qaddifi combines the wackiness of Steven Tyler and Paula Abdul with the tyrannic intensity of Simon Cowell. And his chemistry with Ryan Seacrest during the audition was unbelievable!"

Governments around the world uniformly praised the diplomatic breakthrough.

"The Libyan people gain their freedom from a murderous psychopath, and the American people gain another year of great television," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Geneva. "This kind of win-win is the essence of smart diplomacy."

The recently struck deal, however, also breathes new life into lingering suspicions of a double standard in the Obama administration's handling of the revolutions in Libya and Egypt. Addressing this issue, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney explained, "Hosni Mubarak is a 82-year-old autocrat with no knowledge of modern pop music, whereas Col. Qaddafi has paid for personal concerts by the likes of Mariah Carey, Beyonce, and Nelly Furtado. The two situations really couldn't be more different."

Republicans predictably criticized the new agreement.

"When America sheltered Nazi scientists after World War II, we at least got the Apollo moon program out of it," said Speaker of the House John Boehner. "What are we getting from Qaddafi? A better way to make some tone-deaf kid from Wichita cry?"

Potential presidential candidate Sarah Palin tweeted, "I guess Stalin had a scheduling conflict. And yes, I do know Stalin is dead." (UPDATE: See related article, "Chris Matthews: 'Why Is Sarah Palin Lying About Knowing Josef Stalin Is Dead?'")

At least one veteran television personality, speaking on condition of anonymity, also expressed confusion. "Steven Tyler's antics brought great ratings, but I guess he just became too unmanageable on the set," Kelsey Grammer told Reuters. "But why the State Department and the American Idol producers think a tyrant who bombed his own people will be any more reasonable is just beyond me."

Confronted with Grammer's anonymous comments, new State Department spokesperson Charlie Sheen responded, "Kelsey Grammer's mind cannot process how many bad-ass gnarly gnarlingtons are still out there. Even if Qaddafi flames out, we can keep filling a dictator's seat at that judges' table for decades, bro. I'm an F-18. Winning!"

Steven Tyler could not be reached for comment.

"Sheen Wars"

Is a warning really necessary? I mean, it is Charlie Sheen...

(H/T: The Other McCain)

On the Lack of Ketchup at My Local High-End Produce Market

"Did you find everything you were looking for, sir?"

"Everything except ketchup."

"We don't carry ketchup."

"You don't carry ketchup?"

"No, sir."

"How can you not carry ketchup?"

"We just don't."

"Not even some fancy organic ketchup?"

"No, sir."

"But you have five different kinds of premium mustard over there."

"We don't carry ketchup."

"Do you carry catsup?"

"Are you messing with me, sir?"

"No. Not at all. I'm just trying to understand how you can have five different kinds of mustard and all those other condiments but somehow not carry ketchup."

"We just don't carry it, sir."

"Even Trader Joe's has ketchup."

"We're not Trader Joe's."

"You have tomatoes?"

"Yes, sir."

"But no ketchup."

"No, sir."

"Seriously. How can you not carry ketchup?"

"I could get the manager, sir, and you could ask him."

"No. Thank you. That's all right. I'll just stop at Vons on my way home and get some there."

"That's what they all say, sir."

"I take it you've had this conversation before."

"You have no idea."

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Behind the Scenes at MSNBC

(H/T: Michael Prescott)

Campaign Signs of the Times

If sheer density of campaign yard signs is any indication, Judy Nelson has her election to city council in the bag!

Even Doug Tessitor (the red, white, and blue sign in the lower left corner) has endorsed her.

UPDATE: Judy Nelson and Doug Tessitor have both been elected to city council. The insurgent with the true grassroots campaign sign will unfortunately not be joining them.

Just So There's No Confusion...

I am not the same Wesley M. as the Wesley M. who tweets as @Westwit.

I am not the same Wesley M. who posts reviews on yelp.

I am also not Wesley Messamore.

Just so there's no confusion.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pop Quiz: Dancing Protesters of Madison Edition

Which of the following groups of dancing protesters in Madison, Wisconsin, has the best shot at winning America's Best Dance Crew?

A) The Sweet Carolines:

B) The Napoleon Dynamites:

C) Goth Mary Poppins, Middle-Aged Vampire Mummer, and...well...I honestly have no frakkin' idea, but one of them has a broom:

Hint: Sorry, but none of the above stands a chance compared to the brothers of Alpha Delta Phi, who in this not entirely safe depending on where you work video prove that you don't need a Supreme Court decision to deal with the Westboro Baptist Church:

Senator Tom Harkin's Steak Marinade

Yes, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) has his own steak marinade. And it's good!

¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together. Marinate your steaks in the mixture for 2 to 3 hours in a sealed plastic bag or covered baking dish.
Senator Tom Harkin, bringing liberals and conservatives together through tasty, tasty meat!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

One Window and Two Dogs

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"A Unionized Teacher, a Tea Party Member, and a CEO Are Sitting at a Table..."

Current status of a friend on Facebook:

A unionized teacher, a Tea Party member, and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the Tea Party member and says, "Watch out for that union guy. He wants a piece of your cookie." Reposted - pass it on.
High-larious! But let's try this another way:
A unionized teacher, a Tea Party member, the CEO of a "green" corporation, and President Obama are sitting at a table. Excited at participating in our democratic process, the Tea Party member shares a plate with a dozen cookies that she'd baked for the meeting.

President Obama reaches across the table and takes 10 cookies. Then he looks at the CEO of the "green" corporation and says "Thanks for all your support on cap-and-trade, health reform, and the Stimulus. Here are seven cookies in bailouts, green-energy subsidies, Stimulus funds, and other 'investments' in our future. Even better, here's an extra special waiver cookie that exempts you from the new health reform law you just supported!"

President Obama then looks at the unionized teacher and says, "Thanks for all your hard work teaching our nation's children. Here's eight cookies, but only five actually go to your salary and your classroom. And I'll just keep one of the other three cookies, since it'll come right back to me as campaign contributions from your union anyway. But don't worry! When you retire, I promise you'll still get a big percentage of your usual yearly cookies, no matter how many cookies in all that means, guaranteed!"

Confused by his accounting, the Tea Party member scratches her head and asks, "President Obama, you just took 10 of my 12 cookies, but you gave away 16!"

Looking sternly at the Tea Party member, President Obama replies, "Your grandchildren better get busy baking then, shouldn't they?"
UPDATE: Mrs. Copious takes issue with the realism of President Obama snatching up 10 of the 12 cookies. I agree that's overstating the tax rate, but considering the original joke had the CEO taking 11 cookies, I thought having the president take only 10 was fair turnabout. Besides, 10 cookies made the rest of the math a lot easier to work out in my head, because as everyone knows, math is hard.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sexiest Doll Butt Ever

(Post title via Mrs. Copious, proving once again that I married the right woman.)