Monday, February 27, 2012

All's fair in love and ham.

Above: Governor Chris Christie.
Not pictured: neck.
Yeah, ok, so California is somehow still slogging through Prop. 8 douchebaggary, this terrible woman still has her job and the Governor of New Jersey looked up from his honey-glazed ham* just long enough to veto a same-sex marriage bill. But despite all this, February wasn't all bad news when it comes to equality. Maryland is about to pass their own bill legalizing same-sex marriage thus bringing the total to 7 states and D.C. which is pretty good in a country where hating gay people can be an official part of a your political platform.

Oh, and there was this bit of kick-ass justice in Texas about a gay judge who is refusing to perform weddings until such a time as everyone is treated equally under Texas law. I mean, she's basically on strike, how brilliant is that?
Pictured: An artist's rendition of a time when everyone is treated equally under Texas law.
-right in the coiffure.
Speaking of strikes, it's not just the Maryland state legislature and Texan judges that are sick of the bullshit, the Governor of New Mexico's hairdresser has been refusing to see her until she reverses her position on same-sex marriage. He's even been getting calls from other stylists around the world saying they're also going to refuse anti-equality customers. I really hope this catches on. Like, what if every anti-gay Republican's (what? Like it's not almost entirely a Republican thing?) hairdresser did this? Hit'em where it hurts. I don't think anyone's ever stopped to calculate the political pressure stylists can bring to bear.

It reminds me of this ancient Greek play called Lysistrata (yeah, I majored in Theatre). It's a comedy wherein the women of Greece withold sex until the menfolk end the Peloponnesian war. Since it's the ancient world and there's no such thing as porn or Xbox, the men give in and the play ends with peace and lots of boning.
Although it occurs to me now that Lysistrata might actually suffer from a major
plot hole. Ancient Greece, no women, oiled pecs, do I need to do the math?
Above: 6 mustache-based industries
 that would grind to a halt.  
I think everyone (gay, straight, bi, robot) who supports equality should join in. And not just people in stereotypically gay professions like hairdressers, waiters and Indian Chiefs, but everybody. Imagine a world where the guy at Dunkin' Donuts refuses to give Newt Gingrich his customary box of lunch Munchkins or where Rick Perry can't get his face re-Lexol'ed. Think of it as non-voilent demonstration; like the Occupy movement, but with clearer goals and better hygiene. Just a gentle reminder that gay people are entitled to equal rights and protections under the law and if you don't like it you can do your own goddamn hair.

*What? I'm not sorry. Chris Christie is an awful person and in all likelihood was eating ham when the bill came across his desk.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Prince of Lies and Waffles

Like they could have come up with
these without selling their souls.
Here's the thing: there is no Devil. I'm not trying to be a dick or tell other people that their beliefs are stupid, but it's just not a thing. At least not in a literal, relevant sense that everyone can be expected to agree with. So when someone who's running for President and whose chances aren't nil starts in with the Prince of Darkness talk I get a little nervous. Like what if this guy is in charge of U.S. foreign policy someday and declares war on Belgium or something because he thinks they're in league with the Lord of Flies?

This is approximately 87% more
likely than the Devil. That's math.
So am I being a jerk when it comes to the religious worldview of 70% of Americans including Rick Santorum? Maybe. But while I can't prove there isn't a Devil, I also can't prove that Santorum isn't some kind of elaborate man-puppet operated by leprechauns or aliens or something. He appears to behave (somewhat) like a human so we accept him at face value. Similarly, since the universe appears to operate on a (somewhat) rational, scientifically explainable level, so as far as public discourse goes shouldn't we be treating claims of devilry with an appropriate level of derision and anti-psychotics?

I like to be respectful of other people's beliefs, but this guy seems to be saying that he's the only thing standing between us and a tangible and malevolent supernatural force orchestrating the downfall of America through the cunning use of gay marriage and free health care. That's certifiably insane, right?

"Curse those social conservatives! Their family values and
supply-side economics have foiled my plans once again!"

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Prop 8-Ball

Holy shit, again with the feet dragging? I hope you weren't planning to get gay married in California anytime soon because lawyers for Prop. 8 have asked for a mulligan. Yeah, because that's what you do when you don't get your way, you take a do-over. It's like they didn't like what the magic 8-ball said so they're shaking it again and again in hopes of getting an 'Outlook Good.'

I mean that metaphorically of course as most Prop. 8 supporters consider the
Magic 8-Ball a form of sorcery along with fortune cookies and the Weather Channel.
Hey Andy, if 7 million Californians told you
to jump off a cliff, would you do that too?

Andy Pugno, the head lawyer for the Project Marriage Coalition (an anti-equality group with a lot of time on its hands and a seemingly inexhaustible legal fund) said this (possibly even with a straight face):

"This gives the entire 9th Circuit a chance to correct this anomalous decision by just two judges overturning the vote of seven million Californians."

"Reconsider? Alright, fine: Prop 8 is
unconstitutional and you're all dicks."

-Some Judges
Hmm. So the PMC is giving the 9th Circuit a chance to reconsider their reconsideration. How thoughtful of them. Hasn't Prop 8. been thrown out twice now? At what point does this stop being just legal maneuvering and start to qualify as harassment? Like could I maybe have a list of people who are members of the Protect Marriage Coalition and then get a judge to put their marriages on hold? I can say that marriage between homophobes offends Lloth* the Spider Queen. Then when my case gets thrown out for being stupid and crazy, I can appeal and throw up legal obstacles for years. How's that sound?

What? Legally, the wishes of the Dark Goddess of the Drow should carry as much
weight as that 'definition of marriage' horseshit the Prop. 8 people are peddling.

*I'm opting for 'Lloth' as opposed to 'Lolth' as the this is the (admittedly archaic) spelling preferred by the Dark Elves of Menzoberranzan. That's a +2 to my nerd roll.

Monday, February 20, 2012

All faiths lead to Batman.

Remember when tea-bagging didn't
have such a negative connotation?
Like when it referred to balls?
You know what? Screw this guy. Seriously. Look, as I've had to mention far too many times, I'm no scholar of theology, but who gave Rick Santorum the 'legitimate religion' stamp? Like, is he some kind of authority on doctrine? I mean who got nailed to what and left him in charge? (Too soon?) What the hell am I talking about? Well, in his most recent 'Vote for Me, I hate everyone you hate' plea to Tea-Baggers, Santorum complained that President Obama isn't the right kind of Christian. What the shit does that even mean? Since when is there a religious requirement for office in this country? Ok, if you said 'since always,' you'd be kind of be correct, but it's bullshit.

"Listen, I'm just trying to bring everyone together, you know,
in common hatred of womengays and people who don't
 agree with me. I don't see what your problem is."

-Rick Santorum
Can we please just take religion off the table? Not just when it comes to politics, but with everything. I think everyone from the most devout Pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic Mel-Gibsonian to the douchiest of hard core everyone's-stupid-but-me-atheists can agree that anyone with a different belief system from their own is rabid-foam crazy to some degree.
Except for Raelians. They believe in cloning, nudity
and aliens so I'm pretty sure they're on to something.*
Oh, like this is any crazier
than 98% of the Bible.
For example, if you tell me that the Earth is 6000 years old and that any minute now, all the true believers are going to get raptured away leaving the rest of us to battle the anti-christ and monsters in a post-apocalyptic nightmare, I'm going to tell you that you're an idiot. Similarly, you'd probably say that I'm wasting my time waiting for aliens to land in their mothership. But does this really mean we can't be friends? Kirk and Spock, Riggs and Murtaugh, Mulder and Scully-it's our differences that make us stronger, so suck on that Rick Santorum.

Although I think it
should be fairly obvious.

Everyone's got a different take on the nature of the universe and that's cool. Subscribing to one system or another doesn't really make you better qualified to be president. All religions are equally provable in so far as you can't prove or disprove anything to anyone else about god or the afterlife or anything just by believing in it really hard and shouting down people who disagree. I know, it seems like fun at first, but wait until you die and discover that god is in fact a spaghetti monster or doesn't exist or something and that you've wasted your short time on this planet in an argument with as much relevance as which The Fast and the Furious movies was the least waste of your time. Embarrassing, right?

Religion is a lot like Batman, really. Over the last 70-odd years there's been like a ton of different versions, re-boots and re-imaginings of Batman. Behold:

na-na-na-na-na-na-na- Batman!"

-A traditional Batman hymn
Many faces, one Batman, yet they can all coexist peacefully side by side. Batman is still Batman whether he's kicking the shit out of the Riddler or solving haunted amusement park crime with Scooby-Doo. Trying to reconcile these different Bat-Universes would only drive us insane, so we don't. Choosing a Batman is a deeply personal decision that everyone must make for themselves. There is no right or wrong answer, we simply accept that all are a path to Batman.

*I swear to Xenu,** I'm not making fun of them. The Raelian worldview is no more or less crazy than anyone else's and has, to date, resulted in zero crusades.

**Ok, so I am making fun Scientologists, just a little.†

†But that doesn't mean they're not right. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

I don't think I'll ever get over Macho Grande.

Green screen is for weather reports
and filmmakers who've given up.
A friend of mine went to see The Phantom Menace in 3D last weekend. I tried to stop him, I really did. I reminded him that every time we hand Lucasfilm our Imperial Credits for the Prequels or Special Editions we validate the Greedo-shot-first/Jar-Jar/Darth-Vader-as-whiny-child-murderer decision making that ruined Star Wars forever. Yet, he went anyway, and was unsurprisingly disappointed. In his words: 'Instead of looking like actors standing in front of a green screen spouting nonsensical dialogue for 2-hours, it looked like Colorforms spouting nonsensical dialogue for two hours.' 
"Of course! Sith, Gungans, trade 3D, it totally works!"
Was I right to try and stop him? Absolutely. What kind of friend would I be if I didn't point out that it's the same awful movie except that now you have to wear stupid glasses? But is it right to continue hating it? That I don't know. It's been like 13 years, shouldn't I be over it by now? Is it even as bad as I remember? What about Episodes II and III? Check out this guy who tries make the case that the Star Wars Prequels are superior to the Originals and he's not even a ten-year old boy raised by Xbox and Red Bull (at least I don't think he is).

I'll wait for the Cliff's Notes.
He argues that in showing us the descent of the Galactic Republic into the Evil Empire, the Prequels were more topical and spoke to our apprehension towards the preemptive war, paranoia and fear-mongering of the Bush-era. And while I don't buy that they're better movies, he might have a point. The moral ambiguity of the Jedi, the Karl Rovey Emperor Palpatine and complex (or baffling) machinations do offer more texture than the Original Trilogy's Rebels Vs. Empire. Of course, the point would be a stronger one if the plot made any damn sense. If there are cogent observations made about politics and the role power plays in corruption they're kind of lost in an illogical mess of 'esplosions and gratuitous lightsaber fights.

Paul Verhoeven: One of the most
misunderstood geniuses of our time.
I don't know. There is, right now in my DVD collection a void, a gap between Starship Troopers (don't judge me) and Star Wars Episode IV (original theatrical release in non-anamorphic widescreen...thank you very much Mr. Lucas). It longs to be filled by the Prequel Trilogy I long ago dismissed as heretical. Is it time to just get over it? Drink the Kool-Aid and accept the fact that there are 6 Star Wars movies instead of 3? Were they really so terrible? Is it possible that in the light of adulthood we might see something we missed?

I mean sure, they're pretty weak when it comes to story-telling, dialogue, acting and characterization. Oh, and the overuse of CGI was kind of distracting. Also, Watto and the Trade Federation guys were pretty racist, what was up with that? Oh and the podrace was like 20 minutes too long and...where was I?
'I don't like sand. It's course and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere."
-Darth Vader from Episode II,  whining
about sand and answering my question. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fred Phelps does not deserve a pool.

Hey, did you know that the Westboro Baptist Church is going to protest Whitney Houston's funeral? And it's not because they're shocked and saddened by her sudden passing. Nope, they're upset that the late singer didn't use her talent to 'encourage obedience to His Word and warn the wicked that their rebellion brings destruction from the hand of God,' 
'It's a shame a certain six-time Grammy award winning recording artist
didn't better prepare you for my wrath, because I am going to Fuck. You. Up.'

Explain to me how these people are
allowed to raise children?
Also they think she was a sorceress. Yes, a sorceress. So what I want to know is why we can't just have the WBC members institutionalized or tranqued up or something. I mean they've accused the star of The Bodyguard of dabbling in the Dark Arts, what about that isn't certifiable? Can't we all agree that only crazy people believe in wizards? I know that in this country we have a freedom of religion, but this dances dangerously close to Hale-Bopp mother-ship territory and these people get their kids involved. Does anyone not see this ending with Kool-Aid and CNN?

'...and that's why I hate you all
so, so much. Especially this kid.'

-Jesus, the Rant on the Mount
As I may have mentioned before, I'm not a theologian or a philosopher or anything and I don't mean to pass judgement on the WBC people's beliefs (yes I do), but their god is a total dick. If you have a strong stomach go to their website sometime. It's all about how god hates everyone and everything except Phelps and his crazies. Gays, soldiers, America, puppies (I assume) and now Whitney Houston. Even if you're not a fan of her music, how can someone hate Whitney Houston like this? They even came up with a parody of 'I Will Always Love You' called 'God Will Always Hate You.' They're just the worst.

Maybe an 'act of god' could destroy
something that deserves it for once?
I don't condone violence or anything, I really don't, but if there is a god and he/she/it/or they wanted to send a meteor or a tornado or something to a certain Church located at 3701 South West 12th Street, Topeka Kansas, I don't think anyone would mind. Nobody has to get hurt, I mean, it could happen on a Saturday night and then in the morning when WBC pastor Fred Phelps and his flock roll up to see the smoldering remains of their vitriol factory they'll snap out of it. They'll replace their 'God Hates Fags' signs with upbeat, positive slogans like: 'How's it Going?' and 'Everything's Super!' Wouldn't that be great?

Holy shit, these assholes have a pool? Are you serious? 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Important Safety Tip: Don't cross the streams.

Today is the day we mark the martyrdom of any one of fourteen early Christian saints named Valentine by giving cards and flowers to the people we love and bang. Why? Because nothing says 'I love you' more than beating a priest with clubs before hacking off his head.
'I know chocolates are more traditional, but just I couldn't help myself.'
I love you Doc, but get the
fuck out of that chair.*
Speaking of things mating, I'd like to complain a little about this, which I caught wind of here. What? Too busy to click? Fine. There's going to be a comic book cross-over between Doctor Who and Star Trek: The Next Generation and the word you're looking for is 'no.' I'll explain, but if your nerd quotient is any lower than 6, I'd stop reading now and just assume that my rant is correct. Still with me? Ok and I apologize in advance. So here goes: while both DW and ST:TNG are both awesome (as are acronyms), the characters just don't belong in each other's narrative sandboxes, or more specifically the Doctor doesn't belong in Star Trek.

Not knowing exactly what the plunger
is for actually makes it scarier.
Don't get me wrong, this is not Who-hate and it's not that a super-advanced being with the ability to manipulate space and time couldn't exist in the Star Trek universe, it's the rest of the Doctor Who baggage that comes along with him. Par example: in the Who-verse, the Earth was taken over by the Daleks in the 22nd century. Meanwhile in the Trekiverse Scott Bakula was Faith of the Heart-ing around the galaxy and never once encountered an invasion of the plunger-wielding cyborgs. What's up with that?

Similarly, the Doctor never had any wacky adventures on the Klingon Homeworld, never saved the Earth from a Whale probe and to my knowledge never had to fashion a crude diamond cannon out of bamboo (though if anyone could...).
It was simultaneously the stupidest and most badass moment in television history. 
'You know it's weird, 139 episodes and no one
 ever asked me to end war or cure cancer.'
Ok, so the crossover probably has the Doctor TARDIS-ing into the Star Trek universe, and that's why the future encountered on DW is different from the one on Star Trek. But this is complicated by the fact that characters on DW have referred to Star Trek before, suggesting that it exists as a TV show in the reality the Doctor comes from. Does your head hurt yet? Yeah, mine too. The Doctor finding himself interacting with Jean-Luc Picard would be sort of like us being magically transported into an episode of I Dream of Jeannie. 

"Robin? Dead? Zoinks! How am I going
to break this to Scoob and the gang?"

There's a 'realism gap' between the two series. Doctor Who regularly plays fast and loose with logic and reality whereas Star Trek presents itself as a little more grounded (note: I said 'a little'). Where the Doctor can sort of get away with dismissing the crossover as a timey-wimey spacey-wacey-thing and move on, the best Trekkies can do is write off the whole escapade as Q screwing with the crew (which is trek-speak for 'a wizard did it'). It's like how when Batman hung out with Scooby Doo it made much more sense for those meddling kids to run into Batman than it did for Batman to ride around in the Mystery Machine.

Fortunately for continuity-obscessed fanboys who over-think such things (yes, like me), the rules for what counts in Star Trek and what doesn't (canon) are pretty strict and comic books most definitely don't count which is good because I'm pretty sure the crew of the Enterprise once ran into the X-Men. That said, Happy Valentine's Day!
Alright, that's it. Everybody out of the multiverse.
'What? Pike didn't save his seat.'
*Seriously, it's nothing personal but there are only three ways a person can legitimately sit in the Captain's chair:
1-Graduate the academy and become a Starfleet officer.
2-Happen to be doing the Captain.
3-Be the under-qualified son of a dead space hero and grab it while the captain is recovering from eel-torture.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Westward Stranger Fiction

Try not to get any on your skin.
I have once again made the trek across country towards the sunnier, yet somewhat more earthquakey shores of California and again I made the drive solo. By myself. Alone in the car with my thoughts for 43 hours. It was (as I've mentioned before) pretty bo-ring, although the highlight of the drive was far and away this cologne dispenser in the men's room at a Love's in Ohio (see right). For ¢25 this wall mounted de-stankifier will hose you down with 'exquisite replicas' of leading man-romas.

A close second to trucker Fabreeze was seeing Bumblebee getting repoed.
HATE you.
While I took a different route from last time, there still wasn't much to do except read billboards and get angry at other drivers. Speaking of which, why is it that when I'm in the right lane on an otherwise empty interstate there's always some jackass doing 90 who has to get within inches of my rear bumper, sit there for fully 30 seconds before sliding over to the passing lane and going around me? I hate this person. If you are this person, stop doing this. I hate you.

You know, going by the billboards alone, you get a kind of skewed view of our priorities as a people. The most common road sign themes seemed to be fireworks, knives, Jesus and Ron Paul, which is odd since I didn't think he believed in roads.
It was three days of this.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Let's hear it for Judge Reinhardt!

Wait, for real? Yup, the three judge panel ruled that Judge Vaughn Walker was totally correct in striking down Prop 8! Of course one judge, N. Randy Smith, dissented because somebody has to be the fifth dentist, but all in all it's nice to see the good guys win...even if it's not really over. Why isn't it over? Well, Prop 8 fans are well funded, sanctimonious and didn't get their way. Check out this from Focus on the Family's Jim Daly:

-Jim Daly on why it's selfish to want
equal treatment under the law.

In the majority opinion Judge Stephen Reinhardt (!) wrote: 'Proposition 8 serves no purpose and has no effect other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples..." Hell yes, Judge, hell yes. And I loved you in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Above: Judge Reinhardt in official 9th Circuit Judicial Robes.*

*That's Judge Reinhardt, right?

Monday, February 6, 2012

More valuable than coal?

I know how many oxen it takes to get
to Oregon in 1848. Thanks Public school!
A fifth grader named Clara Lazen just discovered a new molecule that could either store energy or explode in an extinction-level blast the likes of which our planet has never seen (hyperbole!). On the one hand, that's awesome, but on the other, it kind of bums me out. Not the doom thing, but the fact that a ten-year old invented a molecule. If she keeps this up, by the time she's my age she'll have invented hover cars. When I was 10 the greatest thing I accomplished was making it to Oregon in the Apple IIe version of Oregon Trail. In fact, that still might be my greatest accomplishment.
Above: The apocalyptic inferno that awaits us all thanks to
5th grader Clara Lazen. Way to go, kid.
10 year olds randomly putting things
together has a storied history.
According to the story, she invented this new molecule while playing with a toy molecule model and there's some confusion over whether or not her discovery was intentional or an accident. Her teacher says she was just randomly plugging atoms into one another, but she just rolls her eyes and insists she knew what she's doing. Either way, this gives me an idea. People have said for years that children are our most valuable resources, but up until now they've just been soaking up our tax dollars and beating me at Halo.

I say we put them to work. A recent experiment has indicated that a million monkeys at a million typewriters might actually come up with Shakespeare given enough time. Kids are at least as smart as monkeys (I assume) and America has like 60 million kids. Can't we hook them all up to computers or something and exploit their youthful creativity for our own benefit?
Finally, a use for tweens.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Won't somebody please think of the children!?!

One Million Moms are leading a crusade against delightful day-time talk show host Ellen Degeneres! One million. Wow, right? What could Ellen have possibly done to piss off a million mothers? Be the spokesperson for JC Penny, that's what. So what's their deal? Funny story.
Finally, the Helens Lovejoy of the world have a voice. A shrill, disagreeable voice.
Above: The most powerful tool you
have to remove tough stains.
This particular pack of mothers is actually part of the American Family Association. If you think the name smells a little judgy with just a waft of self-appointed moral guardian you've smelt right. The AFA is a non-profit group that promotes traditional (straight white Christian) family values by complaining about there being too many swears on the TV. The spin-off group, One Million Moms, is dedicated to cleaning up everything we watch, read and listen to. In fact, they tout themselves as "the most powerful tool you have to stand against the immorality, violence, vulgarity and profanity the entertainment media is throwing at your children."

Ok. So maybe they are powerful tools, but what specific depravity are they accusing Ellen DeGeneres of throwing at defenseless children? Is it her Emmy-winning TV show? Her fondness of blazers? Or could it be her famously abusive threats of violence towards those who refuse to dance?
'I swear to god, if you slack-jawed mid-western hausfraus don't get up
and dance, I am going to fucking kill every last one of you.'

-Ellen, in a typical rant
Or maybe they just love lesbians.
Nope, it's because she's a lesbian and they don't like lesbians. A pretty uptight attitude for an organization with a deceptively zen acronym like 'OMM.'  In a surprisingly bad-ass move for a store that sells Liz Claiborne and hosiery, JC Penny said it: "stands behind [their] partnership with Ellen DeGeneres." Good for them. Next time I need crew socks, I know where to go. Sure, it's probably motivated by PR, leveraging demographics and third quarter deliverables, but it's refreshing to see a company stand up to homophobia. Suck on that OMM.

Look, I'm not a parent and I'm not really sure what makes the moms of OMM (of the dads of OMD for that matter) think that Church-attendance and the ability to produce offspring entitles them to the moral high ground, but is it out of line to ask why they don't simply turn the television off?
I mean seriously, buy your kids some Veggie Tales DVD's or something and leave the rest of us alone.