You know how your camera flash sometimes illuminates particles in the air, causing little dots in the picture?
Well I've just found out from Beliefnet that this isn't photographic backscatter at all... it's evidence of spiritual energy forms called orbs. Apparently this has been a thing in paranormal circles for at least nine years. Maybe the new X-Files film will deal with it. Here's a hilarious site that has given names and personalities to the orbs. According to this, there are different types of orbs that are at war with each other. And we're caught in the middle! It's like Aliens vs. Predator, only smaller and only visible on crappy compact cameras.
Last week, following Barack Obama's historic 75,000-person rally in Portland, the Oregon State University newspaper urged students to get out and vote with a singularly unfortunate headline.
[h/t: David Simmons]
A new web site has gone up under the URL isbarackobamamuslim.com. The idea is clearly to capture people Googling that question in order to give them the one word answer: "No." Clever... but the word "No" is followed by a series of strange numbers in brackets. Oh, those are footnotes. They take you to citations of articles disproving the "stealth muslim" rumor. But come on, footnotes are the invention of elitists -- the exact same elitists who are trying to trick hard-Googling white Americans into believing that Obama isn't a Muslim. Having those high-falutin' numbers there pretty much destroys your credibility with anyone you might be trying to reach.
The new site is not yet the top Google result for "Is Barack Obama a Muslim?" That honor goes to the About.com urban legends site, where the rumor is carefully refuted. So is it persuasive? Here's the results of a poll that About.com is running on the very site that disproves the notion that Obama is a stealth Muslim.
When will liberal elites give up this idealistic nonsense about educating the electorate? Better to embrace the realization that anyone who believes this should be pretty easily persuaded that the secret Muslim rulers of the USA have moved election day to November 5.
Sorry, too tasteless, even for me.
"The black one." —Clambone
"OK, so which is the nihilistic bastard who destroyed your ego and with it all attachment to our current plain of existence?" —jake
"Yes, ma'am. You go ahead and pick out the bastard that gave your little girl leukemia." —Richard
Ya know, after this, I don't think Obama would really feel safe having Hillary Clinton as his vice president.
Paul Greengrass is one of my favorite working directors, but I never could bring myself to see United 93. I just don't want to have to live that day again, you know what I mean?
Here's the trailer for Recount, on HBO this weekend. It looks well made, and has a great cast. And yet... I don't think I'll be watching it. Is this just me?
Let's be clear. John McCain's "gaffe" about who runs Iran is no gaffe. He's well aware that the mullahs have the power. He's just, as Blickstein writes, "muddying reality in order to beat the politically expedient drum of fear." Mocking anyone who questions him is just Bush-flavored icing on the cake. (And as we all know, the cake is a lie.)
In the next election, Americans will get to decide if they want a president who will actually pursue polices that lead to greater safety and security for the United States and the world, or if they'd rather stick with somebody who thinks it's more important to "talk tough."
Obama used exactly the right word when he called McCain's foreign policy "naive." That raised hopes that Obama might really champion the policy power blogger Matthew Yglesias identifies as liberal internationalism in his new book, Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats.
I have the book in my to-read pile, and since you probably should to, I'm pleased to announce that Matt has donated a copy as a prize for next week's anti-caption contest. Let's hope nobody blows up the world before then.
If you're in New York City, set aside next Thursday, May 29, for Gelf Magazine's Non-motivational Lecture Series. The topic is religion, and I'll be doing a presentation along with Louis Ferrante, an ex-mafioso-turned-Orthodox Jew.
For a sneak preview, here's a Q&A I did with Gelf's Adam Rosen that delves a little more deeply than these things often do into the theological, commercial and cultural issues raised by Rapture Ready!
As the US military strives to assure Iraqis that its policy is not to shoot books but only people (whew!), one can't help but wonder if stories like this aren't a little more relevant to the whole "why they hate us" question. It seems that since 2003, Iraqi courts -- you know, the ones the US is supposed to be seeking to legitimize -- have dropped charges against some 3,000 people detained by American forces, and American forces have simply refused to release them from prison.
"The conditions on the ground require us to temporarily derogate from certain rights in order to ultimately lay the groundwork for civil society and the implementation of human rights law," said Maj. Gen. Doug Stone. Ah yes, the old "destroying the village in order to save it" strategy. How'd that work out last time?
"Fuck, it's the dream again. I'm on trial, surrounded by tiny non-whale mammals, and I don't even know what I'm being tried for. Wake up, don't worry, you'll wake up, wake up." — Snazzy Spazz
"Did I mention that my client's last name is Kennedy?" —Kathy H
"Objection! ANOTHER request for production of documents? Your honor, I believe this discovery process is excessive. And frankly, my client has been made to jump through too many hoops already!" —Stevo Darkly
Eleven years ago, Sarah Vowell pleaded with the media not to mark Frank Sinatra's death with the hackneyed My Way (in vain, she noted a year later, when he actually died). Today, as the tenth anniversary of Sinatra's death approaches, Jim Fusilli (yeah, yeah) has a similar critique of the commemorative merchandising.
Although I marked Sinatra's death in my usual hilarious way -- posing in Suck the sarcastic question, What if Frank Sinatra had lived? -- I actually agreed with Vowell, as I do now with Fusilli (must resist...), that too many people simply don't understand Sinatra, as the inevitable repetition tomorrow of My Way, Strangers in the Night, and (ugh) New York, New York will illustrate.
So for what it's worth, here's my tribute playlist. Not necessarily his best or my favorites, but a good selection of what's available through SeeqPod. Take a few minutes out of your busy day to remember, won't you?
Bonus: Frank and Bing in High Society...
And from the best Sinatra film (as far as musical performances go): The Lady is a Tramp.
"I don't think it's being racist necessarily, they just don't like black people that well." —West Virginia voter R.K. Horton
"I can't tell you how many times I masturbated to that yellow caution sign showing you and your sister crossing the street. What ever happened to her?" —djack
"Naturally you'll be paid a stick figure salary." —al in la
"Here's the plan: you and your fellow robots will pass unnoticed among the humans until you receive my command." —Arthur
From MSN Live Search:
A thoughtful discussion and analysis in Slate (that, for what it's worth, I don't entirely agree with).
Also, there are now six excerpts available online at various sites, with more to come. Pretty soon the entire thing will be free on the Internet, just like music.
Perhaps due to all this buzz, my Amazon rank briefly rose to about 850 and has now settled down to 3,000-something.
What can you do to help continue this saturation coverage, I hear you ask? Well, if you have a blog, drop a mention in whatever manner suits you best. If you want to enlist me in any such enterprise for a Q&A or guest post or whatever, let me know. If you don't have a blog, get one. Or Twitter it. I have no idea what Twitter is, but I hear it's quite fashionable.
Also, if you read the book, please take two minutes and write a review on Amazon. If you haven't read it, check out the reviews that are already there and let them know which ones were "helpful to you" (hint, the five-star ones). You can do that in less time than it took you to read this post.
You did read this far, right?
Hello? Is anybody there? There was going to be cake.
Andrew is right that no matter whether John McCain convinces you that Arianna Huffington and the cast of the West Wing are all lying, we've still got a cable news story (as opposed to a real news story) about John McCain's dinner with Arianna Huffington and the cast of the West Wing — at Candice Bergen's home in Beverly Hills. Think they were knocking back Pabst Blue Ribbon?
Better still, John McCain is put in the position of affirming, loudly and clearly, that, yes, he voted for the asshole with the highest disapproval rating in history. And we should vote for you why?
I'll leave it to Jack Shafer to untangle everything that's wrong with the AP's reprinted White House press release on The Dangers of Marijuana: This Time It's Actually True, Trust Us.
But just a couple of things off the top of my head. According to the first graf, marijuana "can lead to dependency, mental illness or suicidal thoughts."
The supposed evidence:
"A teen who has been depressed at some point in the past year is more than twice as likely to have used marijuana as teens who have not reported being depressed."
"Teens who smoke pot at least once a month over a yearlong period are three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than nonusers"
Ergo, smoking marijuana leads to suicidal thoughts! Or, perhaps, depression does. No, that can't be it. Really, one little data point could answer this question: are depressed teens who smoke more likely to consider suicide than depressed teens who don't? Guess they didn't have room in the budget for that question.
I'd also be curious as to whether the suicidal thoughts increase or decrease immediately after smoking. I mean, if depressed kids are becoming "dependent" on marijuana, might it be because marijuana helps them feel better?
Even taking the study at face value, which is never wise with a government study on drugs, the logic makes no sense. "Gee, depressed people take Prozac. Sometimes a lot. And sometimes they think about suicide. We'd better ban Prozac!"
Oh, and by the way, is there any chance these kids also drink alcohol?
American teenagers rap about The Economist.
What, no love for The Week?
So Alec Baldwin thinks he can be governor of New York. He's ready to face hard questions about the "thoughtless little pig" incident. But to understand how clueless Hollywood Liberal Elites are about real America (yes, New York is real America, once you get north of Westchester), take one look at the picture Reuters chose to distribute with this article. Sure it's probably just the latest photo the agency has of Baldwin, but still...
"Hi, Soccer Moms and Dads, here's me at the premier of a movie defending a fugitive child rapist!"
Oh, don't give me any nuance. If a missing flag pin can become a campaign issue, this picture definitely will.
According to Salon's Obama Veepstakes quiz, my top two picks would be Wesley Clark and Jim Webb. And although some of the questions are kind of a joke, that's probably what I would have said on my own, though not in that order.
Of course, the fact that these are the top picks of nearly half of all Salon readers means it probably won't happen.
"Me like picture of jewish man! Me put it up on wall!" — Jimby
"Gloria, we just have to put the past behind us. We were too young to be parents; we were only kids! We can't let an abortion prey on us like this." — kejo
"And the best part is, her stupid, monster boyfriend has no idea!" —Charles
PROGRAM YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND TO STOP HOMOPHOBIC TENDENCIES! ALLOW YOURSELF TO ACCEPT PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF THEIR SEXUAL PREFERENCE! RELEASE YOURSELF FROM UNWANTED FEAR OF HOMOSEXUALS & HOMOSEXUALITY! LEARN TO HATE CHRISTIAN SIRIANO FOR THE RIGHT REASONS!
OK, I added that last one.
The mysterious secret of absinthe revealed: Booze! (and psychosomatics).
CG kiddie porn is The Next Big Thing. Or possibly robots. Does Vanity Fair know about this?
Why not Bil Keane! By which I mean, Why not, Bil Keane, try some of this LSD? It might do wonders for your creative process.
If you're thinking of blogging about anything Jeffrey Goldberg writes, pick up the phone and call him first. He's got the time. There are only, what, a couple dozen people with blogs out there? Note: I tried to call Goldberg to before posting this, but got his voice mail. Should I have left a message? How long should I have waited for a callback? This Internet blogging thing moves fast, like some kind of superhighway.