Saturday, January 09, 2010

Simpsons at 20 - Even the Vatican Likes Homer!

So who would have though that the little animated bumpers used between segments on the Tracy Ullman show wold become the worlds longest running animated sit-com? The Simpsons marked its 20th anniversary this month. That is a milestone for any show, much less an animated one.

Most surprising was the comment by the Vatican, congratulating the show and mentioning a Simpson take on theology that is enlightening and provocative. Homer's numerous struggles with God and his relationship to religion are often a theme on the program.

The Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano said of the show's lead character, "Homer finds in God his last refuge, even though he sometimes gets His name sensationally wrong....But these are just minor mistakes, after all, the two know each other well."

That last quote referred to one of the several episodes where Homer and God have a chat.

Congratulations Homer and Matt Groening for an incredible and praise-worthy achievement.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Michael Jackson's Doctor to be Indicted

Looks like Conrad Murray, doctor of Michael Jackson, will finally be indicted on involuntary manslaughter charges. This after an extensive investigation and much speculation may put a final chapter to the story.

The coroner ruled Jackson's death as a homicide. His death was caused by acute intoxication of the powerful anesthetic propofol along with other sedatives. The trial will most likely prove to be as spectacular as the singers life itself.

Rudy Giuliani Tries to Rewrite History Again!

It's amazing how the GOP manages to live in their own reality. The latset delusion comes from Rudy Giuliani who made the amazing statement,
"We had no domestic attacks under Bush; we've had one under Obama."
Dang, I could swear there was some kerfuffle about a couple of airliners striking some tall buildings in New York, but heck maybe that was just a bad dream?

Make no mistake, 9/11 happened on Bush's watch. I don't blame him, but the way he handled the crisis was amazingly bungled. Now I wonder where Rudy Giuliani was during that time....oh yea, he was Mayor of New York!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Prop 8 Vote May Have Been Corrupted

Reading an abstract of a study that says the Proposition 8 vote in California does not mesh up with exit poll results. There may have been tampering. More as it develops.

Goodbye Kiss Triggered Airport Shutdown

Seems a traveler and her friend just couldn't say goodbye before screening, so he slipped through the security checkpoint to give her a goodbye kiss. That activity was caught on video, yet the breach triggered the shut down of Newark International Airport for hours.

The TSA officer in charge had left his post when the incident happened. That officer is on administrative leave.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Body Scans and Going Deeper

OK, I have already blogged about going through the Full Body Scanner in Indianapolis Airport during the holidays. Personally, I don't have a problem with it. It is preferable to a frisking, that is unless the guard is really good looking, and I don't have a problem with an official being able to see under my clothes. Invasion of privacy? Maybe, but if not carrying a bomb is a prerequisite to flying, then there have to be ways to check. The Nigerian guy understood you are not supposed to carry a bomb on a plane and yet he did.

My biggest problem with the scanners is the immediate jump to an untested technology in favor of something that works time and again. I am talking about dogs. Man's best friend has a really good track record at detecting explosives, drugs and just about anything that smells. Our friends at GE who made the ill fated puffer gadgets that were supposed to detect explosives can't make that claim. Those big bucks machines are now basically huge paperweights, paid for by the general public's hard earned dollars.

Now the body scanner enters the picture and yet another big company gets richer.

Doesn't Alpo have a lobbyist? A bomb sniffing dog would be faster and less intrusive than one of these peeping scan things, but since no one gets rich from dogs they remain on the sidelines.

This article in Mother Jones says pretty much the same thing, so I am not the only one with this nagging question. Mentioned in the piece is a British device that does a virtual body cavity search. If it's expensive, you can bet it is in our future as we remove every last bit of fun from flying.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Partner of Freddie Mercury Dies at 61

I have been humming Queen songs for a week, then today I find that Freddie Mercury's former partner, Jim Hutton died. Coincidence? Who knows?

Hutton lived with Freddie for the last six years of his life as he died of complications of AIDS. Hutton died of cancer, though no word has come of exactly what the cause was Hutton was also HIV positive.

Mercury's music will probably be remembered for a very long time.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Dolphins Should be Treated as "Non-Human Persons"

That alarming headline came directly from a research study by scientists looking at the cognitive capacities of dolphins. Though it sounds like something PETA might publish the study seems authentic and according to the Times, dolphins brains are second only to humans even outstripping greater apes when it comes to intelligence.

Now I am no fan of animal rights folks. Most I have met are certifiably wacky, but when it comes to dolphins, that is a different matter. I had the distinct privileged of working with these amazing animals in several live performance venues and in films. They are indeed not just clever, but they have distinct personalities and even understand humor. Humor? Indeed.

To illustrate my point, here is a story that is true and telling.

While working at a sea life park directing several non-animal shows, I spent a lot of time passing the dolphin tanks. I got in the habit of stopping to watch, and the animals regularly popped up from the water to check me out. I sincerely believe their smiles are genuine expressions of their attitudes, and they were not present every day.

They would often come over to the side of the pool and even let me pet them a few times. I had no fish or other treats, so this was voluntary on their part. What's more they seem to recognize that I was unassuming and laid back. A quality not present in some of the folks I dealt with.

The case in point was when a business associate accompanied me. He was dressed in a suit and was pretty much out of place at the laid back park. The dolphins noticed this and very accurately managed to squirt a stream of water onto his freshly pressed trousers, missing me and the others standing around the pool. They then quickly retreated to the far side and bobbed up to watch the reaction.

Everyone but the man in the suit was laughing, including the dolphins with their taunting chuckles.

This happened time and again and they were uncanny in finding the exact person who would be most ruffled by a splash. To me that was a sign of not just perception, but the abstract principal of humor expressed in a slapstick manner. Now what was that about Flipper being unrealistic?

Co-conspirators in Ugandan Genocide

Three advocates of the widely discredited practice of "curing" homosexuals spoke in Uganda and are being implicated as part of the motivation for the new anti-homosexual laws there.

Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Don Schmierer all spoke at a conference attended by thousands of Ugandans, including police officers, teachers and national politicians. Today, they are all trying to distance themselves from the issue, but luckily the press is keeping the ties crystal clear. The far-right fundamentalists fuled the hatred in Uganda and as the saying goes they are "inheriting the wind."

From a story in the New York Times, a minister who attended the conference states:

“What these people have done is set the fire they can’t quench...."

Mr. Kaoma was at the conference and said that the three Americans “underestimated the homophobia in Uganda” and “what it means to Africans when you speak about a certain group trying to destroy their children and their families.”

“When you speak like that,” he said, “Africans will fight to the death.”

These rabble rousers must be held accountable for what they are doing on foreign soil. If they were Muslim, they would be called terrorists.

Say "I Do" In New Hampshire!

At midnight January 1, the state of new hampshire began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. A couple who had been together 19 years was the first to wed, Linda Murphy and Donna Swartwout tied the knot at 12:01am.

Now, if the bigots don't come out of the woodwork and try to overturn this just and fair law, perhaps the momentum might once again build to give full and equal rights to all Americans.