Thursday, December 31, 2009

Always Be Closing

Glengarry Glen Ross Don't you hate it when you miss a great movie? For whatever reason, it escapes your radar. You hear people say, "Oh yeah, that's a great movie," and you try to remember to pick it up at some point, but keep forgetting.

That is what happened to me with "Glengarry Glen Ross." It was released in least I can say that I managed to watch it in this decade! Recently, I've been reminded of the movie by Detroit Mark and Darren (we share similar tastes in movies, and I trust their judgment), as well as a piece on "60 Minutes" in which they interviewed Alec Baldwin. Baldwin, as Blake, has only one scene in the entire movie...but it is definitely a memorable one, including this gem:

Dave Moss: What's your name?
Blake: Fuck you. That's my name.

This movie immediately shot onto my list of all-time favorites. I'm usually not a fan of "talky" movies (I don't want any smartasses commenting on my age and mentioning silent movies, okay? Okay.), and this is definitely a talky movie. But the dialogue is so fascinating and compelling, delivered by characters like the smooth-talking but desperate Levene*, an aging salesman who is trying to hang onto his job. If I ever get a chance to see the play of this, I will jump at it, because I'm sure the play version would be even more intense. The characters and the actors in the movie version are just...perfection.

Glengarry Glen Ross2 Don't believe me? Here are the main actors in this movie: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, and Kevin Spacey. I adore each and every one of these guys as actors, and they are all incredible here. Pacino won the Oscar for best supporting actor for this movie, but I think each of them deserved such an award—what an incredible cast. I was amazed and riveted, whether the conversation was intense and heated, or cold and calculating. I know that there were a few times when I sort of laughed in delight at a particularly well-done scene or turn of phrase or delivery. I was blown away. I won't put up the longer Alec Baldwin "motivational speech" (although it's worth a look if you get a chance), but instead will put up an excellent Al Pacino rant. [Warning: language content.] Thanks for the recommendation, Darren and Mark. It was well-warranted, and you gained even more credibility as movie buddies. :)

Just remember: it takes brass balls to sell real estate.

*Trivia note: Although Jack Lemmon plays "Shelley" Levene here, Alan Arkin played Sheldon, a.k.a. Shelly, in another of my favorite movies, "The In-Laws." Peter Falk's character utters the immortal line, "Serpentine, Shelly, serpentine!"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This Hoosier doesn’t claim him

Chuck Norris In his continued quest to morph from third-rate actor to third-rate political activist, Indiana native Chuck Norris weighed in got it...the war on Christmas. Ol' Chuck takes it up a notch, though, and seems to feel that it is now President Obama's War on Christmas (a.k.a. POWOC). In fact, he sees POWOC in even more general terms. The President doesn't just hate Christmas; he hates Christians and Christianity. I guess Chuck forgot the part where the President said that he is a Christian and believes in God. Too many roundhouse kicks to the head, Chuck? I suspect Chuck buys into the "Obama is a secret Muslim" conspiracy bullshit.

Chuck waxes nostalgic for the good old days when everyone viewed America the way our founders did...and by everyone I guess he means white Christian males. At the time of the founding of our republic, remember that women couldn't vote, and blacks were not considered "complete" people. In Chuck's utopian world-that-never-was, everyone showed their love for America by declaring "a good ol'-fashioned Christmas proclamation of Christ's birth."

I've already written about that, so I won't go into Chuck's obvious ignorance of the truth of the matter. I will, however, say that I find his particular brand of intolerance and his failure to comprehend that America consists of more than kickboxing white male conservative Christians to be dismaying and all too typical of what way too many others believe.

President Obama (Yeah, Chuck, I know you're having a hard time dealing with it, but he really is the President...and he's your President! Dig it!) caught a lot of flak a while back for saying that we are not a Christian nation. As hard as it may be for people to accept that, it's the truth. We are a nation of many faiths, including those who have no faith at all. It doesn't mean that anyone of a different faith or lack thereof is less of an American or a "bad" American. They're still American.

Beware of Dogma In fact, it's never been a Christian nation. People love to claim that our founding fathers established this nation on Christian principles. They didn't. The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This is usually interpreted to mean that the Congress is prohibited from the establishment of a national religion, or the preference of one religion over another, or the support of a "religious idea with no identifiable secular purpose." If you recall, the Puritans came over here because they were sick and tired of the Church of England bossing them around and telling them how they should believe. The last thing they wanted was to have some sort of national religion.

Thomas Jefferson, in the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, wrote:

That no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.

I feel that Jefferson was one of the most visionary men in history; regardless of his own feelings about religion or how he practiced it, he realized that true freedom could come only when a government does not have the power to coerce any citizen into a certain type of belief system, or into any type of belief system.

Jefferson's far-thinking words are perverted by groups like the Discovery Institute, who insert themselves into political issues and whose main goal is to promote the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, despite claiming to be a secular organization. According to their Wedge Document, they want to "defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies" and to "replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God." What the hell is "scientific materialism," anyway? Do they mean things like proven scientific facts? Those pesky scientists and all their fancy book-learnin'. "Everyone would have fallen in line and believed like we told them if it weren't for you meddling scientists!" [shaking fist]

The Treaty of Tripoli, signed by President John Adams in 1797, states in Article 11:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion [italics mine]; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

(This last one is particularly apt concerning a future topic: religious and ethnic profiling. Stay tuned.)

Chuck Norris cat I get frustrated when I hear people (yeah, I'm talking to you, Chuck Norris) assert that our country was founded on Christian principles. It is not the President's job to "stand up for Christianity"; it is his job to lead our country and provide a worldwide leadership presence, to faithfully execute federal law, and to command our troops. Part of faithfully executing federal law is to protect our Constitution and all American citizens from fucktards like you who think they have the right--the God-given right--to shove any sort of religion down anyone's throat. You have no such right.

You can bitch about it all you want, Chuck, but if you'd bother to do a couple of hours of research or attempt to move beyond your apparently limited capacity for comprehension of even the most fundamental of concepts, you might find out that your ramblings are just so much bullshit.

You're also a crappy writer.

(Note: A special thank you to my Facebook and Blogger friends such as Darren, Diana, DB, Alex, Tim, and anyone else who has been there for discussion, information, and links. I love to have my horizons broadened, and you're all damned good at it!)

Monday, December 28, 2009

A furry belly and a hollow body

Beth and Baxter My family Christmas was at my niece's, and I got to meet their new dog, a bassett hound named Baxter (the same as Kim and Steve's kitteh...hi Baxter!). He was such a big sweetie, so affectionate and loving! We bonded, and as I rubbed his furry belly, he laid his head down on my foot and seemed very happy and content.

I am definitely a cat person, but I have to say that this dog was a total charmer. He was a tad bit drooly, and sniffed my crotch once, but all in all, just a cool and sweet dog. He let me flop his ears around, and if I stopped petting him, he'd lean his head back and look at me with those big brown eyes, like "Why did you stop, brown-haired lady?" Heehee! Just a wonderful, sweet dog. But shhhh, don't tell Sheeba I said so...he's laying on my lap taking a nap, and I don't want him to read about how I loved on another pet...! Please keep your lips zipped, or he might slash my carotid while I sleep.

I'm not kidding. Do not tell the cat.Divider bar My Colts lost yesterday, after they took out the starters midway into the third quarter. I'm really not all upset about it...they could have gone for the undefeated season, and I suspect that Peyton wanted them to, but it doesn't make sense to risk injuring him or any of the other starters just for an undefeated regular season. They've clinched the home field advantage for the entire playoffs, and what matters now is getting to and winning the Super Bowl. It would have been fun to see an undefeated regular season, but I'd be happier to see them in the Super Bowl.

Jamie and Beth3 I stopped watching part way through the fourth quarter, because my friend Jamie came over and we went out for a little pool, a few drinks, and a lot of talk. It was her birthday! So go on over and wish her a happy one, if you haven't already. I so totally suck at pool, even though we have a table that I could practice on if I got motivated enough. I did okay early on, hitting a couple of shots that I impressed myself with, but as the night wore on and more drinks were consumed, I really got bad. Haha! I actually won a game or two (through no talent of my own, believe me), and once when I broke, the cue ball veered right off into the back corner pocket. I was like, "Fuck, I couldn't do that again if I tried! Can I get a do-over?" Jamie was kind and gave me a do-over. Sure as hell, I did the same thing, cue ball in the same damn pocket. I am the anti-talent when it comes to pool!

The picture is for our friend Darren. His request was for us to each have either a White Russian or a Whiskey Sour for him. The plan was for a White Russian, but the place had no milk, can you believe that? So a Whiskey Sour it was. I really don't do whiskey after a couple of bad--very bad--experiences in college with Jack Daniels, but I was a good sport and a team player, and so was Jamie. It was actually quite tasty, but I'm afraid that it didn't sit well with Jamie...although I think she's feeling better now. It was a lot of fun to get together and have some fun--after a while, there wasn't much pool going on, it was just talk, and it was great. I know it was your birthday, Jamie, but I had fun, too, and I'm glad we went out! Divider bar Finally, since I was watching the Colts yesterday, and then went out, I didn't play any Rock Band. Played some today to make up for lost time and to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. I decided to buy a new guitar (Since I'm making some bucks and gaining a lot of fans you know why? 'Cause I ROCK, that's why!), although I was diggin' my basic Fender Big Block Strat. Since Brian Setzer is my favorite famous guitarist, I thought I'd choose a Gretsch in his honor, and got this awesome hollow body. Check it's pink! That's my cool new outfit, too. I've always loved the leopard print.

Rock on, people.

Rock Band2 avatar2

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Would you?

Duct tape I think we were all interested in the story of the guy who tried to set off a bomb on the flight from Amsterdam. Interested and somewhat frightened--it was a reminder that these nutball assholes are still out there and still want to blow shit up and kill people.

What got me to thinking (stand back!) was hearing about the Dutch guy who heard a pop, saw smoke, and just went after the guy and took him down. Don't you just love stories like that? I read something else about an unruly passenger who was tackled by others and restrained with duct tape. (I think this picture could be also be taken in a serial killer sort of way, but I'd rather think about subduing murderous fanatics.)

It made me wonder what I would do. It's hard to say until you've been in such a critical situation, but I would hope that I would be brave enough to step up like the Dutch guy did on this flight, or the passengers on the doomed United 93. I'm not a big person, so I usually tend to err on the side of self-preservation and not put myself in harm's way. (Or as one dumbass I used to be involved with liked to say, "in arm's way." I rolled my eyes every time he said it.) However, I also have quite a temper, and it really pisses me off to see others mistreated--especially loved ones, but even complete strangers. I don't lose my temper often, but when I do, you'd better run. [grin]

Norman I would hope that if I were in such a situation, I would do whatever I could to help, even if it were just using my innate klutziness to trip in front of the dude and make him fall over me. Over the years, I've learned to control my temper, but in that sort of situation, I would think it would serve me well. I'm not joking about learning to control my temper...I may have my moments here where I come across as angry, but that is nothing compared to what I'm capable of. I'm glad I've mellowed. Why are you laughing?

People talk about losing their tempers so thoroughly that they lose their minds...can't think straight, don't remember what they said or did, or what happened. I tend to focus like a laser beam, with things remaining clear and my thought processes sharp. I would imagine that witnessing someone attempting to blow up innocent people in the name of their psychotic religious fanaticism would definitely make me see red, and I'd like to think that I'd either do what I could, or be a part of whatever group decided to make a move. How can anyone sit idly by as they witness such a wrong being done? I hope I would do what was right.

How do you think you would react?

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Rock Band2 avatar I was just getting caught up on some reading, and read this snippet from a Dr. Kornel, a neurosurgeon at Brain & Spine surgeons of New York, in White Plains:

Musical video games that sharpen the mind: Guitar Hero and Rock Band. People who play along with the beat of the songs develop new connections between neurons and synapses, building up the brain.

My addiction to love of Rock Band is merely my attempt to sharpen my mind. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Of course, I suppose I wasn't really sharpening my mind when I bought some cool schwag at the Rock Store, including a sweet leopard print tank top and lace up boots to go with my short shorts. Whatever. You're not the boss of me and don't you judge me! It's a cool outfit, and I'll take a picture of my avatar the next time I play. Which should be right

Friday, December 25, 2009

“Hey Doll!”

BruceI got an email last night from my friend Bruce...except it wasn't from him. It was from his email address, but it was a friend of his informing me and others on Bruce's email list that Bruce had passed away on December 12.

I was shocked and dismayed to read of this. I even wondered if someone had hacked into Bruce's email account and sent this out as a sick joke. I went to Keep to the Code, the site that Bruce designed for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and the message board mentioned his death of liver and kidney failure. It wasn't a joke.

Such unexpected news always takes a little while to process. After my initial shock and sadness, I decided that the best thing I could do would be to remember my friend here, and talk about the fun things I remember about him.

I met Bruce when we worked at the same hospital in Indianapolis—I was a microbiologist, and he was a surgical technician. We both smoked, and started talking when we'd see each other outside for a smoke. He was just an incredibly likable and sweet guy—but with a little bit of an edge and a wicked sense of humor. He was also gay, and it was a refreshing change to hang out with a guy who didn't want to get into my pants. Sorry if that sounded crude, but it's the truth. There was another surgical tech named Bruce who was also gay and also smoked (not kidding!) and he was much more flamboyant than the original Bruce. Another good friend was Shelley the housekeeper, and then there was Ruth the clerk. We had some fun times talking (and smoking!), believe me, and we were quite the little gang!

wolf_on_the_set Bruce lived with his husband Terry (that’s Bruce on the far right, and Terry is next to him) in a big old mansion in kind of a rough section of Indy, on McCarty Street. I think it has seen a bit of a renaissance since I left the city, so Bruce and Terry were ahead of the curve. They had me over for dinner one night, and their place was so eclectic and gorgeous. Those big high ceilings...I remember lounging around in the parlor drinking wine, talking and laughing, and feeling very bohemian. Terry was an accomplished artist, and I got to see several of his pieces throughout the house. I got to see their "retirement room," which was packed full of Disney collectibles, Barbie dolls in their original packaging, and various and sundry pop culture memorabilia. I wonder what they did with all that stuff?

You see, Terry died a few years ago of complications due to diabetes. Bruce stuck with him through it all...the increasing circulation problems, the amputations, becoming wheelchair-bound, and worst of all for an artist, the loss of sight. I know that Terry loved Bruce very much, but he could be difficult at times. Bruce stayed until the end, and it hit him hard, because he also loved Terry very much.

Bruce and I stayed in sporadic touch...Christmas cards every year, the occasional email, and a while back, a phone call after an email exchange in which he said he was really having a hard time coping. When he called me up, he greeted me the way he always did, "Hey Doll!", and I could tell he was sloshed. We had a sappy, fun, and tear-filled conversation, and ended up laughing. I got an email from him a while after that, and he said that he was doing better, and was starting to date again, although he still missed Terry.

Bruce was also a fine writer, and wrote a few pieces for a gay mag in Indy. He sent me all his columns, and I still have them in a binder downstairs. My favorite—and my favorite story about Bruce—involved the death of a coworker's (Ruth, mentioned above) cousin, and Bruce titled it "The Great Dumpster Dive." This cousin happened to be gay and had died of AIDS, and Ruth found out that much of the family condemned him for that, and were throwing out most of his possessions...and that the cousin had a huge collection of gay porn videos.

Dumpster dive Well, the two Bruces were on the case! They picked up Ruth and Shelley late at night and located the dumpsters into which the cousin's possessions had been tossed (just as his family tossed him into the virtual dumpster because of his orientation), and Bruce and Bruce proceeded to get into the dumpster and toss stuff out to Ruth and Shelley. It wasn't just videos his family had was antiques, posters, photographs, china. All because the cousin was gay and had died of AIDS.

The two Bruces ended up with about ten dozen videos between the two of them, and some of the treasured possessions of the cousin were salvaged. (If I were still living in Indy when this took place, would I have participated in this? Oh, hell yeah!) When Ruth went to the funeral, she knew that she had helped her cousin's legacy live on through her late-night, felonious escapade, and had honored him and cared for him much more than most of the rest of his family had.

As did Bruce. A fine mind, a wicked wit, a sweetheart of a friend. I am so sorry he's gone, and it hurts. Not just for me, but for all the other people I know he touched in his life. It was a pleasure to know him, and I will miss him. It also reminds me that life is fleeting—Bruce wasn't that much older than me—and we need to love each other and care for each other while we can. The poor cousin's family cared nothing about who he was, or what his interests were, or what he had accomplished in life. They focused on his orientation and hated him for that.

In this holiday season, I choose to focus on love. It's a lot more fun than any alternative. Peaceful rest, Bruce. I will miss you, my friend. And I’ll miss hearing “Hey Doll!”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Cowbell Hero Oh dear! Look at me, Miss Daily Blogger, missing a couple of days!

Well, for whatever reason, I'm off my blog feed, and blogging isn't high priority right now. I'm just going to go with the flow and ride it out and...whatever other metaphor you think applies here. Everyone is busy enough at this time of year without having to feel guilty about whether or not there are regular updates. Yeah, I'm just trying to make myself feel better. Just a picture or three tonight.

I mentioned my new T-shirt. Check it out, bay-bee! The only thing missing is...more cowbell! My friend Darren posted a picture of it on Facebook a while back and I said "WANT!" I got! Is this the coolest shirt ever, or what?

Mad Housewife wine

When I was buying wine at the grocery store the other day, I came across this brand. I didn't write a diary entry about it, but it made me chuckle, and I had to get it. I love it! For any mad housewife, I’m guessing that the number of servings in the bottle is exactly…one.

As I wrote on Facebook, I think "Green Grass and High Tides" could very well be the Kobayashi Maru of Rock Band. I cannot finish that bitch...yet. I won't give up, but after two tries today, I had to move on. I was in a cold sweat, kinda shaky, because that song is mindfucking with me, I swear it. That's the last song on the first Rock Band, so I moved on to Rock Band 2. Much more fun, because you can make your own avatar and earn money, fans, and the chance to play new venues. Meet my alter-ego, Beth Anne. Okay, same name, but this Beth Anne is from Chicago and plays guitar for the band I called Awesome Sauce. She's kind of a punk, with straight brown hair cut in The Betty style, and the palest skin possible. And she’s as short as you can make an avatar on there. Yeah, that's about right. Rock Band2 avatar Everyone have a great holiday, and rock on!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Out of the Horse Latitudes…

Balls ...and into the Doldrums.

Don't you hate those days when you just feel blah? I'm having one. I don't feel ill or anything, just sort of floating along through life. It wasn't a bad day at all, and I got some things done, did a little laundry (washed my new T-shirt…it is the awesomesauce!), got caught up on correspondence...I wasn't bored.

But I missed seeing my Colts this weekend. What am I going to do when the season and the playoffs are over? I go through this every year. I'm really hoping that they make it to the Super Bowl, because if they're out early, I'm going to be really bummed. I wish they could play all year, although I suspect they might take a dim view of such a schedule. They probably need all of the off-season to recuperate. "Hey guys, Beth wants us to play all year! What do you say?" I'm guessing the answer would be no.

I also crapped out on doing the rest of my wrapping. I just need to get it done, because it's hanging over my head like some sick holiday version of Damocles' sword, all tarted up with red and green baubles and glitter...glitter that gets stuck to your skin and you don't realize it until you look in the mirror and see a piece stuck to the end of your nose and wonder why the fuck no one told you about it, because it had to be reflecting the light enough so that it looked like you had some sort of radioactive zit.

I was also frustrated by Rock Band yet again. I even practiced the guitar solo in a slower mode, and still couldn't make it all the way through. One way or another, "Green Grass and High Tides," you're goin' down. I'm going to make you my bitch. I will conquer you, and when I do, I'm going to kick you when you're down; when you're crying, I'm going to get all up in your face and taunt, "Cry, just CRY!" I'm going to dance on your grave, and then I'm going to stand arms akimbo over it and laugh triumphantly as I imagine your rotting corpse beneath my feet.

You will pay, "Green Grass and High Tides." You will pay dearly.

Gee, I guess I'm in a bit of a mood, aren't I?

Never fear. I am able to put things in perspective and realize that compared to the problems that people have all over the world, I am a very fortunate person. When I think about all the pain and misery experienced by millions, I understand that my problems and frustrations don't amount to a hill of beans. Of course, when I think about all the pain and misery going on in the world, it makes me all the more frustrated at seeing the political idiocy going on here and elsewhere. The hatred, the lack of compassion, the inequality, the fear, the hunger, the death and disease. Putting people last because you're worried about whether or not you're going to get reelected, pandering to the people you think will most help you in your climb, or who will provide the biggest bankroll.

Health care3 I've grown so disillusioned, especially with this health care debate. Something that should have been a common goal for everyone because we care about human beings became a political hockey puck, and the brutal checking got ugly. For millions of Americans, this is not a game; I am appalled that it ended up as politics as usual. Religion ended up as part of the debate, with some people actually praying that this would be defeated, and yeah, I'm talking to you, Bachmann, you sick bitch. Praying for millions to continue to not receive the health care they need? Praying for people to die because they can't afford treatment? Praying for people to live in agony because their insurance doesn't cover the prescription drugs that give them relief? Praying for people to lose their homes because their heart attack and rehabilitation left them with thousands in medical bills?

That is fucked. And yeah, I'm pissed. I'm pissed that one of the most prosperous nations on earth is apparently so goddamn cheap that we're willing to let people die just so that we can hang on to a little more of our filthy lucre. I'm pissed that we're stuck in two wars, one completely unjustified, because our previous administration was hell-bent on some kind of holy war. In this time of celebration, love, and compassion, I'm pissed that we, as a nation, just don't seem to care about what happens to those who are less fortunate than ourselves. I believe this bill will pass, but it is a weak sister compared to what could have been. So if I don't seem to be properly in the Christmas spirit, I do have a reason behind my scrooge-itude.

I guess the good news is that I'm not totally in the doldrums. I've still got some fiyah in me.

Wrapped and wiped

Scissors I mostly wanted to play Rock Band tonight (yeah...I'm addicted), but figured I'd better buckle down and wrap some shit.

So I spent a couple of hours doing that.

Good times. For whatever reason, wrapping is just not fun for me. Maybe it's because one year, I spent an entire fucking day wrapping presents for three people, and by the end of the day, I just wanted to scissor off my own head. Maybe I have PTWD.

At least I got most of it done tonight, but I tell you, it's exhausting for me. I enjoy giving presents, but with each snip and fold, each attempt to make a crisp pleat and neat end, it's like a little part of me dies. I didn't cry, but I felt like a laborer at the Triangle Factory looking for a way out during the conflagration. Yeah, it's just about that bad for me.

You know, I could write some more stuff about how the Colts are now the only unbeaten team in the league, or about today's trials and tribulations with Rock Band, or about how I was a good girl and did my workout today, or about my new T-shirt (oh, just you wait...!), but I just don't have it in me tonight. I'm not sure I could get fired up if Palin herself came knockin' on my door and told me she had a bone to pick with me.

Nahhh, you know I'd get fired up for that. [limbering up my ass-kickin' leg] Hey, I forgot to mention that I had a visit here the other day from Wasilla, Alaska. That was pretty funny. I wonder if it was friend or foe?

I'm off to Snoozeville soon. Who knew that wrapping was so hazardous to your health? Or at least to your mental well-being?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Idiocy Ad-visor-y

Palin's visor You know, I wasn't planning on writing about this, because I'm getting a little tired of wasting my time on this silly bitch.

That's right. You heard me. The previously entertaining sport of picking on Palin grows tiresome to me. ::yawn:: I mean, it's just so easy. It's a constant parade of ignorance, arrogance, and just plain bat shit craziness, and it's all so...yesterday. [flapping hand] The ennui is stultifying, darling. I need more of a challenge.

I couldn't let this one pass by, though. The Palins are vacationing in Hawaii, and photographers got a shot of her wearing a visor. Not just any was a McCain for President visor. But she had taken a Sharpie or something and scribbled out the logo! [photo from TMZ]

The woman got a multi-million dollar book deal for a book she didn't write, she's vacationing in Hawaii, and she can't spring for ten bucks for a new fucking visor? She takes a Sharpie to a campaign leftover?!

Crackuh, please. The trailer park is calling and it wants its white trash ho back!

I’m no fashion maven, but even I know that it’s not cool to color your clothes with a marker. Jeez, she didn’t even stay in the lines.

Oh, and the former First Dude of Alaska was spotted wearing a T-shirt that said on the front, "If you don't love America" and on the back, "...why don't you get the hell out?"

And there are people who think that these window-licking Deliverance rejects would be good representatives of the United States of America. Who think that it would be just dandy to have her at the helm. If you think we were hated under the Bush Realm, just vote Palin into office and see how seriously the rest of the world takes us. I'll move to Canada, I swear. Good beer, good health care, good times. A Palin-free Zone.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I’ve got the knack

The Knack No, not that one.

I don't enjoy stirring things up, but I seem to have the uncanny ability to do so.

Okay, I lied. I do kinda dig stirring things up. I love making people think, I love pushing the envelope, and I love to get people to explore their own thoughts about issues, maybe question a long-held belief. When I posted my entry about how Christmas is based upon a pagan holiday, and not really Jeebus's birthday, on Facebook, my friend Doug wrote that I was brave. Haha! I don't know about brave, but it certainly generated some interesting responses. Rather than making another entry about this, I left a fairly long comment on yesterday's entry. Feel free to check it out. I feel very strongly that everyone has the right to believe what they want or to not believe what they want.

Mic stand I have taken another step in my Rock Band journey (I was proud of myself for not going through too bad of a withdrawal while on vacation). Note that I have bescarved the mic stand, a la Steven Tyler, or maybe Janis Joplin. My friend Greg will be so proud! Since I did that, I had to get back to my vocal band, Dirty Pleasures, and made it to the next level there. I sang "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" and was wishing like hell for a cow bell! I will order one. Then I switched back to my favorite, my guitar band Gravitas, and did a couple of songs there. "Flirting With Disaster" was surprisingly fun considering that I'm not a big fan of Southern rock, but I guess I channeled my inner Georgia peach. I did live there for a while, so I've got my peach cred. Oh, and if you look in the background, you'll see a cabinet full of penguins. I have a few.

I should also mention that I’m not getting Christmas cards out this year. A week away really put a crimp into things, and I’m just not going to fret about not getting them out this year. I appreciate any cards I’ve gotten from some of you, and rest assured that if you don’t get one from me this year, I haven’t forgotten about you, and I still love you!

Work it on out, baby!

Santa Raccoon I thought I was pretty clear in my entry yesterday, but I think I need to clarify a little bit.

I don't hate Christmas. I celebrate Christmas. I have fun at Christmas with my family. I often say, "Merry Christmas." I'm not trying to force anyone to celebrate Christmas in any way other than which they already do. My issue is with the constant idiocy about the "war on Christmas," and about how it's all about religious persecution against Christians. That is simply not taking place, and my point is that Christmas did not begin as a Christian holiday, so don't try to create the fallacy of some "war on Christmas" as a persecution against Christians. If you look at the history of the holiday, it's a ludicrous argument. People were celebrating this holiday for thousands of years before Christianity existed. Christians really don't have exclusive rights on it. :)

As my friend Paul and others have pointed out, you don't have to be a Christian to celebrate Christmas. See previous entry for the full explanation.

Gay marriage Oh, and that reminds me of something I read on Facebook about gay marriage. If marriage is a religious institution, why is it perfectly okay and legal for atheists to get married? Hmm? Riddle me that, Batman! You can keep talking till you're blue in the face about it being a religious institution...although I try to see most things from both sides, try to understand the opposition, I have no problem in this case saying that you are wrong. It is a civil institution. Gay marriage is a civil rights issue, not a religious issue. It's past time for people to wrap their little brains around that and give every citizen the rights to which they are entitled. I find it shameful that we are still debating this. I am also confident that it will soon be the law of the land.

But I digress. Change of subject.

Female bodybuilder Remember me writing about my recent health screening, and how I was going to start working out again? Yeah...I kinda procrastinated about that. Well, you know, going on vacation, the holidays coming up...ummm...okay, I was just lazy. No excuses. I called on Monday and got registered with the program and set my two goals.

First is strength training. I want to get more toned, I want to get stronger, and with some loss in bone density, I need to work on improving that little problem. I want to do some treadmill work and really focus on weights...but I just generally need to get off my lazy ass and DO something! I got busy today--if not quite jiggy wit' it--and did a little on the treadmill, did some weights, and did some crunches on the Ab thing. Man, I have really lost strength and tone and I'm looking forward to getting some of that back!

My second goal concerns skipping meals. I can easily go all day long without eating anything until dinner, which is usually late, around 9 PM. That's a long time without eating, but I've always been that way and it doesn't really bother me. However, I know that's not a good thing. I know that it fucks with your metabolism, and your body goes into a sort of "survivor" mode. I don't overeat at dinner to compensate, but that's still a long time without eating and can do more harm than good. So I'm starting to eat a little something in the morning, whether it's a yogurt, some cottage cheese, or a grapefruit like I had this morning. I have a feeling that the combination of kick-starting my metabolism by actually eating more and starting to work out might make me lose a pound or two.

Award Circle of Friends Anyhoo, I can tell you that it felt really good to get out there and get started. I put on the Ting Tings and that was fun and upbeat and got me moving! ♪♫ That's not my name! That's not my name! ♪♫

I also want to thank Kyle over at Out Left for giving me a blog award, the Circle of Friends. I met Kyle through some other blogging friends, and we think alike on so many things! We really do have a little "circle" (I could easily make a naughty joke right here, but I won't be a jerk) going on, and it's a pleasure to know not just Kyle and the gang, but all of my fellow bloggers and readers. As I always do with these awards, if you're reading, you're in the circle, so feel free to snag the award for yourself.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Reason

Santa on the cross This entry has been percolating for a while now, since I started seeing Christmas decorations in the stores before fucking Halloween.

I'm not a Scrooge, I enjoy being around family and friends during this time, and who doesn't like presents? I love getting presents! Oh, and giving them is fun, too. Haha. However, I grow weary of the rampant commercialism, I don't like sappy Christmas music, and don't even get me started on the constant, annoying Christmas-themed commercials! ("More seasons greetings to you all from Menard's!" GAAHHHH! Someone shoot me!)

What is really rankling me, though, is the continued brouhaha about the "war on Christmas." Just. Shut. Up. There is no "war on Christmas"—it’s merely a bunch of whining fundamentalists who seem to feel that they have bragging rights about Christmas being a Christian holiday. As usual, anyone who doesn't believe the way they do is not only going to hell, they're apparently going there as a passenger in Santa's sleigh. And naturally, everyone is out to get them, and trying to stop others from celebrating Christmas as a Christian holiday. Hey, celebrate however you want to! Bake Jesus a birthday cake! Sing happy birthday to him! Knock yourself out!

There's just one problem with that, though. Christmas is not a Christian holiday, and Jesus wasn't born on December 25.

JC Mithras Winter solstice celebrations predate Christianity by many years, and took many different forms in different cultures, all celebrating the lengthening days and the return of the sun. (The sun…get it? The son?) The Roman winter celebration of Saturnalia is where the tradition of gift-giving began; popular Christmas symbols and traditions such as evergreen trees and branches (the Asherah cult), mistletoe and holly (Norse mythology and Druid rituals), and the Yule log (more Norse mythology) began in pre-Christian Europe. The early Catholic church was having a hard time getting people to give up their pagan holidays and embrace Christianity (go figure), so they decided to co-opt most of the pagan celebrations and hope people wouldn't notice. Such tricksters!

As for December 25, it was the last day of Saturnalia, and it was also the birth date of Mithras, the Persian sun god. In 350, Pope Julius I decided that Christ's birth celebration would take place on December 25, again hoping that everyone would fall in line and sort of get used to the Christian thing while they were singing "Happy birthday, dear Mithras." Most historians put the birth of Christ somewhere in midsummer.

JC Virgo Christianity also doesn't have the market cornered on the virgin birth thing, and they weren't the first to come up with it. Such legends go back to ancient Egypt with Horus the Younger, and again with Mithras. Who was also apparently said to have "healed the sick, made the blind see and the lame walk, cast out devils, and raised the dead." Sound familiar? For an eye-opening read, I recommend this great article by Tom Flynn. (Thanks to Darren for the link.)

I'm not saying that Christmas should be banned; quite the contrary. I say enjoy your time with family and friends, appreciate the joy of giving, and celebrate the fun of the season. I know that I will! If you choose to recognize it as the birth of Christ, that is certainly your prerogative—many in my family do, and everyone should certainly feel free to celebrate in their own way. But pardon me if I disagree with you when you tell me that "Jesus is the reason for the season," because that is not the case. Not at all.

Simple reasoning—and research—shows me that that is the truth of the matter.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Look out…I’m back!

Poolside After a week of warmth and sunshine, it's back to the cold weather. Ah well, it's always good to get back home. At least there were no delays coming back, but it made for a long day of travel. Going through Customs, Immigration, and two more bag screenings was time-consuming, but relatively painless and uncomplicated. Oh, and my ankle held up okay with all the walking. Those of you who are friends on Facebook saw that I twisted the hell out of my ankle one evening because I was looking around instead of down, and tripped on a big gap in the sidewalk. Ohhh, it hurt so bad, but I could walk on it and it didn't swell, so I knew I didn't have a fracture or a sprain. Probably just a badly pulled muscle. You should see my bruise. It is quite breathtaking.

I'm also probably a little rusty with writing--I didn't bother much while I was gone since I couldn't get a good connection on my computer, which has all my programs and pictures. I got a lot of reading done, too, finishing Ground Zero (the latest Repairman Jack novel, by F. Paul Wilson), and Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton. I'm more than halfway through Ford County, John Cabo Wabo tequila shotGrisham's collection of short stories (fantastic!). I'll get back into the swing of things this week as I try to come back to reality. No more dinners out, so it's back to cooking, and tomorrow I begin my ascent on Laundry Mountain. I might have to fit a little Rock Band in there somewhere, too! Today, it will be just a few pictures and a little commentary.

I previously mentioned the smooth tequila at Cabo Wabo. I had no idea tequila could be that smooth! Usually, when you think of doing a shot of tequila, you think of downing it, choking a little, maybe making that little wheezing cough...this was just warm and smooth, and went down as easy as can be, with a bite on a lime slice afterwards. (I don't think the natives do salt at all, just bite on a lime or lemon afterwards, if even that.) Oh, and in the U.S., National Tequila Day is July 24, but I see no reason why I shouldn't extend the shot glass of fellowship, good cheer, and drunken revelry to our global neighbors. I hope everyone will mark it on their calendar, and maybe we can Wrestling maskall do a shot that day! I want to get a bottle of Cabo Wabo, but I checked the price up here, and it's $47! I could have gotten it for $38 down there, but didn't feel like messing with bringing it back in the suitcase. I still think I'll get a bottle, though. That was just too tasty to pass up.

While watching some people do shots of tequila in the hot tub, I saw an older guy do the choke and the cough, and thought, "Pussy. You need to man up." hahaha Or at least drink some better tequila.

Above is a picture of me with my Cabo Wabo shot. I noticed that because it was a hot walk downtown and I worked up a bit of a sweat, I developed a devil horn in my bangs! This cracked me up, so I knew I wanted a Mexican wrestling mask with horns. This is the one and only souvenir I got. Isn't it awesome?! It was kind of funny when they were showing me all the masks they had, and I was mimicking devil horns on my head. Heehee! They probably thought, "Loco gringa." Now that I think about it, I could have made the horns sign and said, "Diablo!" but that might not have gone across well.

No KittyThere was a cat that hung around by the pool and patrolled the restaurant for treats from the diners. Turns out they call him Banjo, and he was a sweet little guy. Surprisingly svelte for all the food he was being fed! I know when we saw him at dinner, he dined on shrimp and sea bass. When he was checking out the bucket of beer during the day, he made me think of Cartman and his pot pie. He just wandered all over the place, and it was kind of funny to see various women try to pet him. Not that I did that. Okay, a couple of times.

Oh, and the place was rife with Canadians. Everywhere I turned, it was all "oot" and "aboot" and "eh?" What's up with that? Darren? Ziggy? Ted? Do you guys migrate? Well, if you pass through on your way to warmer climes, stop by and we'll have a shot of Cabo Wabo! Okay, I'm totally kidding about the oot and aboot stuff. But not about the eh. Or the tequila shot. :)

And here's a picture for David. The waiter at a place called Los Ajos was such an adorable little guy! I had to get a picture for DD! Again, he was probably thinking, "Loco gringa." All in all, I found everyone so warm and friendly, and most were really, really pretty! I've got a couple more pictures, David, so stay tuned. As a loyal Dust Bunny, I was on the case! Los Ajos I'll end with a video of one of my favorite bands, Los Straitjackets. They do surf music, and they always wear Mexican wrestling masks. One of my favorite songs is "Sleepwalk," and although I prefer Brian Setzer's version, these guys do a fine job. Whammy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Miss you!

I'm bummed about not being able to post the way I want to and put up some pictures, but have to update a little bit. This will be brief.

I thought of David recently, because honey...have you ever been to Mexico? There are cute Papis everywhere! At a recent show during dinner, they did some disco crap, and when channeling the Village People, they came out (haha) into the audience, and Construction Worker got his crotch all up in my grill. Hola, Papi!

Hung out at the pool today. Missed a couple of spots with the sunscreen, and have sunburned armpits. Ouch man. But it felt really good to soak up some sun as I soaked up some beers!

Heading downtown tonight for some Mexican food. Oh, went to Cabo Wabo on Sunday, and enjoyed it very much. That is some majorly smooth tequila. I know I've put this up before, but it never fails to make me smile. Wheeee!

Oh, and I'm hearing that there is snow back home. Yikes!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Travel woes

[Note: I wrote most of this last night, but was unable to post it. The free wifi connection within the room is tenuous, kind of like my grip on reality.]

Villa del Palmar

A view from the balcony.

When checking in this morning, it turned out that the flight from Cleveland to Houston had been canceled. (Original plans were South Bend to Cleveland, Cleveland to Houston, then Houston to Cabo.) After some fiddling the guy got us on a flight to Cincinnati, and then we'd make the other connections. He called down to the gate to get them to hold the plane, we rushed down and went through security (I even got a pat down...I guess I look dangerous), and when we got to the gate, they had already closed the door to the plane, and we were shit out of luck.

Keep in mind that I had stayed up all night, so I was getting a tad on the cranky side by this point, and the little prick at the gate didn't help. We found out that he's new, and he's obviously got a lot to learn about customer service. He could have said something like, "I'm really sorry, folks, but once we've closed the doors, we can't reopen them." Instead, it was "The doors are closed, and I've got to board this other flight." I believe my response was "Are you freakin' kidding me?!" At least I managed to keep from dropping an F-bomb on him. Aren't you proud of me?

So it was back to the check-in counter, where the route was completely switched. South Bend to Minneapolis, Minneapolis to Phoenix, and Phoenix to Cabo. A couple of hours were lost in the morning, so by the time the plane took off, I pretty much crashed, and same on the flight to Phoenix. I'm getting so that I really hate to fly, and it's not because I'm afraid of it. It doesn't bother me at all. I just hate the hassles, being stuck in an airport, all the security, blah di blah blah. Air travel is supposed to be fast and convenient, and it's getting to be neither.

Kiddie beer By the time we got to Cabo, went through customs, had our luggage checked again, waited for the shuttle to the resort, and finally got there, the sun had mostly set and there wasn't much to be seen. It's been a long day. Oh, and since this is a timeshare, they're really doing a hard sell. It grows tiresome, and if they weren't so nice, I'd just say fuck off, there's no way! But I don't. Again...aren't you proud of me?

They had the fridge stocked with a few “honor bar” items, including the little Kiddie Coronas on the right. We got some Sol—kind of like Corona, pretty good—and that’s mine on the left. The baby Coronas are so cuuuuute! Don’t you want to just pinch its little cheek, kiss its little freckled nose, and twist its little cap off? Awww! Isn’t it nice that drinking can be a family affair? Of course, Baby’s would have to go in a sippy cup.

The good news is that I'm connected, the bad news is that it's kind of slow and funky, and Facebook is erratic. So my connection may be hit and miss. I’m hoping I’ll be able to upload this.

Breaking news! In the light of day, it seems that we have an ocean view off of the balcony, and it’s of this famous arch here that everyone wants to see. Pictures to follow—it’s beautiful! Plan on walking around a bit, maybe finding a place where they’re showing a Colts game. Hey, it’s my addiction, so no snide comments, okay?

Oh, that reminds me. In the Cabo airport yesterday, as we were walking by the small bar area, a huge cheer erupted from a good-sized group of guys watching the bar TV. They were watching soccer (I know, I know…most of the world calls it football), and it was kind of neat to see them so enthused about their favorite sport. I think they’re probably crazier about it than we are in the States, and that’s kind of neat, too.

Oh, and the other thing was that when we were getting all of our arrangements made to get to the resort one guy welcomed me to Mexico, shook my hand, held his arm up to mine and said, “You need to work on getting some of the Mexican color, Senora!” I laughed and said, “I know I’ve got some work to do!” Golly, am I that pale? Apparently so!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mexico bound

Sombrero Tomorrow morning we're off to Cabo San Lucas for a week. The flight leaves at 6:45, so guess who is pulling an all-nighter?

Here is my logic:

For some time now, I've been staying up until 3 or 4 am.

If I tried to go to bed at 1 am or so, I'd just lie there and not be able to sleep.

If I went to bed at 3, I'd be getting up in about an hour, and would feel like shit.

If I were to go to bed early, that would end the night; I couldn't very well get on an early morning flight and order a drink, now could I? But if I stay up all night, then I will be pleasantly happy and tired on the flight and can drift off to Snoozeville.

Sounds like a plan to me, and incredibly logical. So I'll be doing my thing until around 4 and then hopping in the shower, and do my last-minute packing. I've definitely been in a homebody mood lately, so I kind of hate to leave, but it will be nice to experience some warmth, sun, and sand. Maybe a little tequila, too...might pay a visit to Cabo Wabo, Sammy Hagar's cantina down there. I'll be careful, though...tequila is dangerous for me!

I'm looking forward to some delicious, authentic Mexican food, and I'm thinking there might be some fresh seafood in there somewhere, too, since it's right at the tip of Baja California. My Mom was kind enough last evening to tell me a story about a friend of hers who went to Mexico and ate something that caused her to have four feet of her colon removed and to be put into an induced coma. Thanks, Mom. As a microbiologist, I understand the dangers of food poisoning, so I don't plan on buying any fish tacos from street vendors. I'll be careful, and hope to avoid a colon blowout.

I won't be reading a lot of blogs while I'm gone (Since I won't be reading much, if you need me to know some news, please email me at, but do you think you're going to get a break from me? Oh no...not at all, my preciouses. I'll be taking the laptop and I just got a new cordless mouse today (gotta get that hooked up tonight). There is wireless high speed in the rooms, so you can't get away from me that easily! Bwah-ha-ha-haaaa! Expect pictures, perhaps a video or two, and quite possibly a tequila-fueled ramble...or three. You'll see me on Crackbook, too. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Ladies and the Tiger

Tiger's big check Since I've written here about how much I like Tiger Woods and admire him as an athlete, I suppose I should comment a bit on this "scandal" that is making big news at the moment.

It looks pretty obvious that he cheated on his wife, which proves the longstanding Bob & Tom-ism that no matter how good-looking a spouse is, there are always going to be some people that want to fuck some strange. Didn't both Cindy Crawford and Christie Brinkley get cheated on? Tiger's wife is gorgeous, but for whatever reason, he decided to go after something different. I'm not going to pass judgment, because that's above my pay grade, and I don't know either firsthand or secondhand what took place.

I'm reading that it's pretty evenly split between genders as to how people feel about it. Most women think she should take him for everything he's got, he's a total cad, they hope she took a golf club to his balls (and I'm not talking about his Nike golf balls). Most men think that although he was wrong, he admitted his mistake, he's human, and he and his family should be allowed their privacy.

I have to say that I'm not the typical woman, but you've probably figured that out already. I tend to agree more with the guys I referenced above. This is a personal matter, and let them have some privacy. I also have a hard time with people getting millions in a divorce from a spouse who made much of their money before they even met each other...think Heather Mills McCartney and Sir Paul. Of course, this is all just speculation about Tiger and his wife, and I haven't heard any mentions of divorce. It's probably a natural reaction to wonder if it might not happen.

Phelps3 It looks like his endorsement companies are sticking by him, and I'm glad. I'm still pissed at Kellogg's for dumping Michael Phelps for smoking weed...yeah, that guy is a real slacker, isn't he? If Nike dumped Tiger for infidelity, I'd start to wonder even more about our weird and twisted morality in this country. It's okay for government higher-ups to authorize the use of torture on prisoners, but it's a heinous crime for athletes who excel in their sports to smoke a little weed or cheat? That is fucked up.

When it comes to being a role model for kids, we had this conversation a long time ago, when Charles Barkley first said it. He said he was an athlete, not a role model. It's okay to admire people for their athletic skills, and you all know how much I love sports. But that doesn't mean I know what they're like in their personal lives, and that is none of my business. You'll notice in my first sentence here that I said I admire Tiger as an athlete. He also has done a lot of great charity work, and I admire him for that. But I don't know him personally, and it would be silly to say that I admire him as a person. Because I don't know him.

Having said all that, if I had known that Tiger was on the prowl, why couldn't I have been in the right place at the right time? Drat. (I kid, I kid!)

The old switcheroo

Birthday 45rpm Shane Before I get into that, I just wanted to wish Cousin Shane a very happy birthday! Those of you who have been reading for a while have heard plenty about Cousin Shane over the years. He truly is like a brother to me, and one of my best friends. We have similar senses of humor, we crack each other up and sometimes go into gales of hysterical laughter over the silliest things (I still remember him playing air guitar using my leg), we have a mutual love of music and have been to many concerts together, and he's just one helluva a great guy. We have a Cosmic Cousin Connection, and I hope you'll join me in sending him some birthday love.

As for the switcheroo in the title...after President Obama's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, many on both the right and left are now calling this "Obama's War."

Exsqueeze me? The guy inherited this idiotic, poorly planned war from the idiotic, poorly planning previous administration, and suddenly it's his war?

I'm getting more than a little sick of hearing about how Obama is destroying this country, and I'm especially getting sick of hearing assholes like Dick Cheney saying it. That foul blight upon humanity did more to destroy our reputation around the world than anyone in recent memory, and Cheney2he has the nerve to keep yakking about how Obama is doing everything wrong. This is the same walking, talking pustule who keeps trying to justify our use of torture (America does not torture! There is no grey area here!), and wonders why people around the world hated us for so many years! Everyone hates a bully, DICK, and your despicable swagger, insane braggadocio, and psychotic lust for dominance brought us close to diplomatic destruction. We do have domestic terrorists, and I believe one of them is named Dick Cheney. Talk about doing everything he could to hurt our country....! He needs to go on another hunting trip and instead of shooting his buddy in the face, trip and blow his own head off. Or else shut the fuck up and let our President do his best to repair the damage that was done long before he took office.

This is just one part of the mess that Obama inherited, along with an economy teetering upon the brink of destruction due to economic practices set in motion by Mr. Trickle Down himself, Ronald Reagan. So everyone needs to chill the hell out and understand that we didn't get into this clusterfuck on Obama's watch.

For the record, I'm not thrilled with the decision to send more troops to Afghanistan; however, I believe our President listened to all advisors and made the best decision possible in what is a FUBAR situation. People were clamoring for him to move quickly. I applaud him for deliberating and learning about the situation rather than making a rash decision. What a refreshing change.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mike, you look toasted

Huckabee3 No, are toast!

It didn't take long for the news to come out that the cop shooter in Washington was pardoned from what was essentially a life sentence by the Arkansas Governor at the time, Mike Huckabee. (No disrespect towards the victims are meant in my caption. No, every bit of any disrespect is intended for Huckabee.)

I think it's safe to say that this pretty much dooms any chances he had for running for President in 2012, especially since he's faced this issue before with his pardon of a rapist who went on to rape and murder another woman. In doing some further reading, I'm disturbed by his penchant for commuting sentences.

According to an article on Politics Daily, Huckabee often let politics and connections influence his decisions. What is more disturbing to me is this:

Other prisoners, such as Clemmons, claimed to be on the straight and narrow after religious rebirths. Huckabee was "a bit of a sucker sometimes for the noble notion of personal redemption" because of his own background as a preacher, John Brummett, a columnist for the Arkansas News, wrote me in an e-mail. "He was perceived as soft or oddly sympathetic to prisoners. For a couple of years, the big political story in Arkansas was that Democrats and prosecutors professed themselves aghast at the rate at which he commuted the sentences of violent offenders."

Why did Huckabee grant the commutations? Joe Carter [former research director of his presidential campaign] says it was courage mixed with political naivete ("The governor seemed genuinely surprised that he was held responsible for the criminal acts committed by those whose sentences he had commuted as governor") and too much trust in conversion stories ("The opinion of clergy appears to have carried a great deal of weight in the decision-making process"). Carter concludes that Huckabee is an appealing candidate because of his empathy and belief in the individual, and for those same reasons he will never get to the White House.

This goes back to what I wrote the other day about keeping religion out of political decision-making. Huckabee's thinking process was obviously clouded by his own religious beliefs. As a preacher, he wants to believe that redemption can occur through Christ. But why would you take the word of clergy, let alone that of the convicted criminal himself, over that of prosecutors and professionals who maintained that some of these people were continued menaces to society? I definitely believe that people can turn their lives around. But to believe the veracity of every jailhouse conversion that comes down the pike is the height of naiveté, and there is case to be made that it is atrociously negligent.

When we saw Huckabee speak a while back, I was perplexed by his little tale of "Hucktown." I wrote this at the time:

He went into this weird shtick about a fictional place he called "Hucktown," where there was only one law: Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. Because of this law, Hucktown had no economic woes, no need for a large police force, no drug problem, no crime, blah blah blah...basically, all of our problems are due to the loss of our "sense of decency" and our lack of "ethical behavior."

WTF? I wrote down on my little pad of paper "Simplistic." To me, that is a fundamental problem with the recent Republican agenda...they want to return to a time that never existed. He painted a pretty picture, but you know what, Mike? There will always be liars, cheaters, and thieves. There will always be those who are motivated by nothing more than sheer greed. It's laudable to hope for better, and to believe the best of mankind, and you all know that for the most part, I try to be that way. I'm also a realist, and I know that there is no changing human nature, and that's why there must be regulatory agencies in place. Wow, he totally sounded like a Pollyanna on that one. "Everyone is wonderful, trust that they'll do unto you the way they would want you to do unto them!" Riiight, Mike. I bet they'd do unto me, all right.

It would seem that that is the way he lives his life, and hey, more power to you, Mike. However, this attitude, colored by your beliefs, led you to pardon some very mentally unstable and dangerous people, and now more people are dead. If you want to live your life that way, have at it; however, it is dangerous to let such a simplistic world view influence what should be a rational, logical decision based upon documented evidence from professionals. "Yeah, I killed a buncha people but I love Jeebus now" just isn't good enough.

Palin witchcraft Susan Atkins also became a born-again Christian while in prison. Remember her? She was the Manson family member who repeatedly stabbed Sharon Tate--and her eight-month old fetus-- while Tate pleaded for mercy. Henry Lee Lucas, the notorious serial killer and profligate liar, also had a jailhouse conversion. They both rightfully died in prison. There are countless others. Even that skank Paris Hilton took to reading the Bible in her cell during her incarceration and declared herself a changed person. Odd that we haven't heard more about that since she's been out.

My whole point is that it is exactly this reason that religion has no place in politics. Huckabee's own belief system, based on his religion, caused him to make horrible decisions. With a snowball's chance in hell of winning the GOP nomination in 2012, I would guess that most of his supporters will throw their support behind Sarah Palin, who quizzed Billy Graham about what the Bible had to say about Israel, Iraq, and Iran. Yeah, way to trade up there, people. Go from a guy who lets violent criminals out because they say they’ve found God to someone who apparently thinks she has a direct line to God and wants to blow the holy hell out of people based on what the Bible has to say about it.

Palin and others of her ilk are the first to squawk about how they're losing their freedom of religion. Bullshit. They're taking away our right to freedom from religion, whether personally or within our government. Such demagoguery is incredibly dangerous, and I hope there are enough of us who realize that.