Monday, February 26, 2007

Yes, And?

Director defends Jesus tomb findings - Today Entertainment - MSNBC.com

Instead of being too lazy to change the pre-formed link, this time, I think the link speaks to NBC's views of (or maybe it's lawyers'/sponsors'/standards and practices' views of) the story.

Entertainment, eh?

In short - this story on the Today Show this morning (pimping a book and a movie and a press conference) asserts that tombs of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and a brother of and son of Jesus have been uncovered near Jerusalem. Or more accurately, were discovered nearly 30 years ago, but are now being linked to the Holy Family based on statistical probabilities of finding that specific combination of names in that place. I haven't seen the documentary or read the book yet, but so far, seems a narratively compelling, but scientifically weak proposition.

But let's say it is true. Let's say Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children. Let's say Jesus had siblings born of Mary and Joseph after his birth. Let's say there's bones in that box labeled Jesus.

So what.

Does his having a family harm your spirituality? If someone starts using science to hammer away at the resurrection part of Christian beliefs, what happens? Anarchy in the streets? Mass conversions to Judaism? (If Jesus lived, but didn't rise from the dead, then he's probably back to prophet status, which fits Jewish beliefs, right?)

What purpose does it serve? Pulling the veil from the eyes of millions stuck believing in foolish old stories? If that's the motivation, do you feel better? Should they feel better? More harm than good? Do you think chipping away at two thousand years of faith is going to end well?

I think it's going to end like that one time Geraldo opened Al Capone's safe or whatever.

Go Stags: Entertainment Edition

BitTorrent to offer movies, TV shows for downloading

Best of luck, Ashwin.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Hotels Hotels Everywhere - And Not A Place To Stay

This year the California State Democratic Party will convene in San Diego in late April. I've heard rumors that hotels designated for delegates are surprisingly far from the convention center. I can't confirm that yet because it's too late at night for me to google it up or ping anyone on IM to tell me. (Lazy blogger tonight = well-rested blogger tomorrow.) I can, however, confirm that the hotel designated for the media sounds thoroughly inconvenient:

The [hotel] is located approximately six miles from the Convention Center – about a 20-minute cab ride. The [hotel] does not offer shuttle service to the Convention Center, however there are sometimes taxis on site or the hotel will call one for you when needed. Because there is a huge optometrist convention that same weekend, there are not a lot of choices if you wish to stay closer to the Convention Center.
CDP staff is stuck at the same hotel. A six-mile, 20 minute cab ride sounds pricey to me. But I can't help chuckling at the optometrist convention showdown looming ahead. There's a joke somewhere in that little factoid, no? Anyone care to find it? Can't see one? Ha! Can't SEE one? See what I did there? Ha! I did it again.

Two Links For Upcoming Bar Takers

On adverse possession and murder - for your last minute property law cram.

On wills and Anna Nicole - for you last minute stiff & gifts cram.

'Put On The Breaks, He'll Fly Right By'

Mauritanian Hijacker Gets in Hot Water

Don't Get Me Started

This new show should be interesting, but maybe not in the way intended by its creators. The pitch: finally, a Daily Show for the rest of us, where us = red state Fox News viewers.

Of course, the show has a high chance of failure for precisely the same reason Air America has stayed largely grounded: Comedy Central's gang beat FNC's to the punch. It's also the same reason Democrats haven't been as good at repurposing language as Reeps - they scrubbed up and redefined everything before we caught on. Then we look like kid sibblings aping for the cameras, trying to be cool like Joe Older Brother Quarterback. Repitition is funny within a comedic framework. Repitition outside that framework is merely impression - or worse, pure plagerism. Never quite as funny.

In cable channel ratings land, however, the show could be a "hit" - pulling in the numbers required to make it competitive with the Daily Show and Colbert Report. Creatively, however, I'll be reserving judgment for several episodes (that is: if I break my strict No-FNC code to begin with).

If "The 1/2 Hour News Hour" seeks to provide yet another outlet for (intentional) political comedy, it could be great. If, as I suspect, it sees itself as an anti-dote to Stewart and Colbert, it will flop. No, actually, again, I have to hedge that statment because, in context, this is a cable program on a cable channel with a devoted following. That means that, while The Daily Show skewers power, regardless of its color or state of origin, conventional, conservative wisdom frequently pegs it as a left-wing funfest of presidential battery and Democratic lovemaking. Daily Show fans know that characterization to be grossly generalized. But FNC viewers might be avoiding Stewart and Co. anyway - knowing only what non-satirical FNC personalities ascribe to the programs. Therefore, they will happily gulp down the antidote, blithely unaware that the poison never entered their bodies to begin with.

Have I checked ratings to back up that guess? No. But anecdotally, I know some intra-FNC people don't watch The Daily Show even as they are aware - or think they are - of the content and angle.

The final analysis: if it's legitimately funny, more power to it, it should, and probably will, succeed. If, however, it is the lone voice against an imagined enemy on Comedy Central, it should, yet probably won't, fail. Got that?

An aside: Perhaps supporting my contention that the reality of The Daily Show and Colbert Report won't have any influence on the content or success of FNC's new show, is this passage from the article:

"Liberals are endlessly entertained by jokes about how George W. Bush is stupid and ignorant," Rice said. "Despite the fact that he has a master's degree from Harvard University. He's been a governor, a president. He's had a massively successful life. But those jokes about him being dumb, they just never fail."
I trust a majority of my readers to know that an advanced degree from Harvard - while held by some absolutely brilliant people - should never alone be proof of intelligence. That simply isn't the way life, or the admissions process for presidential legacies, works.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

When Good Bills Go Bad

More like when they start bad and stay bad. And when that happens in California, people notice. Of course, while California proposals frequently make national news, we're hardly alone in earning the mocking - gentle or otherwise - of The Daily Show or Colbert Report.

Oh - and the above article contains the requisite J. Pitney quotation. Go Stags!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

'Edwards' [sic] Bloggers Regret Critical Posts'

Harkening back to previous discussions on whether anyone can reasonably expect candid blogging from political campaigns or politically employed bloggers, this story on Edwards's bloggers previous posting content, before they were hired to blog for his campaign.

I'm guessing - based on pure conjecture - that I would post content critical of The Catholic League because, I'm guessing, they aren't focused on the kinds of things I'd prefer my church to focus on. And I'm Catholic. And I hate Catholics who give fodder to the haters out there (of which there are many - oh, and of the many, most are the first to try to gain Catholic voter support by playing to single, sexy issues like abortion whilst questioning their true Christianity behind their backs).

Don't mind me - I'm having some issues with my church right now. Well, no, actually, I'm not. Maybe. Kinda. More on that later. Of course, I'll always have issues with the footballing of free speech rights and what is born of them. Kudos to Edwards - so far - for not firing the bloggers.

Papers, Please

If this does not bother you, someone should question whether you are an American.

An ICE spokeswoman says there are many "fallacious rumors" circulating in the Bay Area. Perhaps this is alarmist rumor-mongering seized upon by a local news program for ratings purposes. Perhaps it is.

Perhaps it isn't.

A Geographic, Not A Partisan Issue

This story isn't about a clash of parties. It is yet another example of the subtle, anti-western sentiment that prevails in American government, media, and politics.

Must be nice to live within just a few hours of Washington, DC - but for the rest of us, and our representatives, the luxury of direct flights isn't an option? The woman needs a bigger plan that can make it from SF to DC without stopping. Hardly a impractical request. It takes long enough to get across the country as it is - more taxpayer money would be wasted if Pelosi had to stop to refuel along the way.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Facetious Is My Baby's Name

Did anyone catch The Sarah Silverman Program on Comedy Central this week?

What did you think? Is Miss Silverman the lost love child of Gilda Radner and Adam Sandler, as raised by a traveling theatrical family known as The Aristocrats?

Or is she a one-joke pony who gets a ton of credit because she proves pretty girls can be crude and mildly amusing too?

I can't decide yet. I wasn't awed by her first show. Tim Goodman's review highlighted Silverman's somewhat baffling comedic sensibility. Am I not getting it or is there nothing to get? With the exception of the subject line of the post which, when uttered by a particularly stereotyped jail inmate in the premiere episode, made me laugh out loud, I wasn't that entertained.

Oh, and Mom, Dad, trust me, it's not your kind of humor. At all. I'm not even sure it's mine. It's either crude, ironic, post-ironic, post-post-ironic, or just unfunny. Only time and the general consensus of paid reviewers will tell.

A More Sensible Approach Than Banning Anything

Senator Carole Migden has proposed all restaurants clearly post relevant calorie counts in "plain view."

Makes more sense than the trans-fat bans proposed here and implemented in at least a few cities in the U.S.

I think an even more common sensical approach is to require fast-food restaurants (which, thanks to my Youth & Government kids, I now know has a legal definition. No really, fast-food has been codified) to print nutritional information on burger wrappers and fry boxes. Some do. It's a great first step.

Another regulation I wouldn't mind seeing: honest serving size labels. If the cookie is sold as one complete peace, don't label it as having 350 calories per serving if one cookie equals 2 and 1/2 servings. Can we all agree that's just a lame practice?

And speaking of serving sizes: Chipotle - the McDonalds of burritos, no really - makes their nutritional information available online (with some digging), but lists the values for individual components of their burritos, bols, and whatnot. That's fine - I can add - but I have little choice but to trust the accuracy of whoever makes my burrito bol that day. I'm not saying they aren't accurate - but a lot rides on their heavy-handedness. Like how heavy my hands become. And my feet. And my stomach. And . . . .

This completes my food rant of the week.

Rehab Is The New Black

Newsom to seek help for alcohol abuse / MAYOR'S ADMISSION: In wake of scandal, he says that he has stopped drinking

Question: how does one "slurp pasta?"

And consider this - a not uncommon sentiment in articles covering this story (and had Jack Pitney and Strunk & White not beat it out of me, I'd have scare-quoted the word story just then):

Though the disclosure of Newsom's affair has not provoked a huge public outcry, it remains to be seen what the new revelations about his problem with alcohol will have on either his chances for higher office or his re-election campaign. He is up for re-election in November.
ie: Though the disclosure of Newsom's affair has not provoked a huge public outcry, we really, really hope it will because booze and women is even sexier than Care Not Cash or the Gonzalez-Newsom-Who's-The-Trust-Fund-ier Battle of Ought-3 and c'mon, City and County of San Francisco can't you react more emphatically that this?

Planting the seeds for your next story in your current story - now THAT is impressive.

Monday, February 05, 2007

More Biting Bites From The Governor. Or Not.

Look, there's more gubernatorial soundbites that kinda sound bad but don't really damage anything.

And 15 paragraphs into the story covering the new audio files, confirmation of what the rest of us had been saying for months:

A California Highway Patrol investigation into the downloading of the conversations concluded that no crime was committed when aides for Angelides accessed an embarrassing tape of Schwarzenegger from the governor's Web site and leaked it to the press.

Investigators found that the governor's office lacked basic computer security barriers to prevent the public from browsing areas meant to be private.

The five-month review, which was made public on Friday, vindicated the Angelides camp, which had been accused by Schwarzenegger's campaign of possible criminal violations.
So, in closing, what wasn't a story continues not to be a story about no crime committed by no staffer. Phew. Thank goodness it was worth all the ink.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Something I Never Thought I'd Type

Thanks, Republican Texas Governor Perry, for not engaging in a debate over the merits of vaccinating girls
against cancer.

Oh but wait - let's make sure we point out how much drug makers give and how much they spend on lobbying. See, those evil lobbyists, everyday they come a step closer to pushing their cancer-eradicating agenda on our nation's youth.

No worries though:

Texas allows parents to opt out of inoculations by filing an affidavit objecting to the vaccine on religious or philosophical reasons. Even with such provisions, however, conservative groups say such requirements interfere with parents' rights to make medical decisions for their children.
Please let the affidavit forms have a box where parents can "check here to give you daughter cancer," or "check here to acknowledge that your virginial daughter can contract HPV from her husband even on her wedding night after she removes her non-ironically-white wedding gown."

The Tree Has Perpetrated A Hoax Against Us All

Ignoring the comments there, which I haven't read, Sean Bonner has the best post wrapping up yesterday's Boston T[errorism] Party.

Blogger-Out-Of-Beta Has Crappy Dashboard

That is all.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

It May Pay To Be American, But Only After You Do

ABC News: U.S. Proposes Rise in Immigration Fees

Apparently, I'm not in a mood to integrate links these days. . . .

Fees are going to go up. Not a just a bit for inflation either. Ca-ching! This should help pave the way for more legal immigration and fewer people trying to avoid the system.

Oh wait, no it won't.

So, He's Not Gay, Then, Right?

AIDE QUITS AS NEWSOM'S AFFAIR WITH HIS WIFE IS REVEALED / Campaign manager confronts mayor, who is 'in shock'

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! But wait, why is the sky falling?

Is it possible that political golden boy and San Franciscan Gavin Newsom could fall because of . . . a completely mundane, average, middle-American infidelity scandal? Whaaaaa?!? In San Francisco? Not a same-sex affair? Not something involving indiscretions at Burning Man? Not something more, I don't know, more Bay Area?

Quote of the day comes from, surprisingly, someone other than Chris Daly:

Jack Davis, a political consultant who helped elect Brown and former Mayor Frank Jordan and was looking for someone to challenge Newsom, said, "There is nothing new in that story that I haven't been aware of for the last six months. Now that it's public and out there, Gavin ought to resign and seek psychiatric help."
Resign and seek psychiatric help? For what? Yeah, he messed up, but he doesn't need a shrink or a prescription to figure that out.

There's a peculiar elegance in the possibility of Newsom perhaps derailing because of an average extra-marital affair. See, I told you San Francisco wasn't that far from the same Puritanical roots as the rest of the country. Is the city somewhat absolved of its queer-friendliness if the mayor is disgraced under such normal circumstances? Is this the ultimate San Francisco-ness: a city so down its own rabbit whole it reconnects to the rest of the country and thus rehabilitates the San Francisco values image by being the same kind of marriage-unfriendly as, say, the Midwest?

See THIS is the kind of family values problem that Americans can look up to. Not that gay marriage nonsense. Nay, that drives us apart from the mean. Let's get back to our roots. Cheating husbands! Cheating wives! Divorce!

And all is right with the world again. Amen.