Thursday, May 29, 2008

THWAP! (Ahhhhh.)

Short, vicious, and deeply gratifying: A beautiful exchange courtesy of Sadly, No. (HT to TF, of course.)

1... 2...

It's the classic-television edition so far...

1. Harvey Korman (that's Hedley!), the gold standard for comedians who laughed at their colleagues' work and, in doing so, let us in on the joke

2. Earle Hagen, who gave us the Andy Griffith Show theme to whistle

3. ...? It's Alexander Courage, composer of the Star Trek theme, which you'll whistle as soon as you're done with Andy Griffith.

A sad grouping for fans of witty classic TV, whether conveyed in words or music.

spring in Seattle

Colorful and arched.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lovely man, lovely woman

Wackadoo wackadoo wackadoo wackadoo... If you haven't been following the controversy over the Southern California car-dealership ad that offended just about every sentient being who encountered it (and thanks to Consumerist, the whole world did), you'll be interested to hear that the Kieffe & Sons dealership has apologized apologized and then rescinded it, but the guy who claims to have written and recorded the ad most emphatically does not. So did "JW Horne" really have the dealership's approval for that bigoted mess? (ETA: Yup.)

But at least this guy is merely kicking the shins of people old enough to not be much bothered by him. And then we have Wendy Portillo, the current front-runner for the 2008 Lori Drew Grownup-Card Revocation Award. Ms. Portillo, as of this writing still a kindergarten teacher at Port. St. Lucie's Morningside school, took a dislike to a boy in her class who has been diagnosed with Asperger's. She chose to express her dislike by having the other children, including the only friend little Alex Barton has ever made, "vote him out of class" -- yes, just like Survivor. The vote was 14-2. Class-ay lady, Wendy Portillo.

I invoked Lori Drew, the woman at the center of the Megan Meier suicide, and though I don't think it's going to come to a bedroom-closet hanging, I have a bad feeling that little Alex is going to be carrying this for a long, long time. (I had a run-in with a kindergarten teacher who made fun of me in front of the class and I still remember it vividly. And I thought of it when I saw that same teacher 25 years later, shuffling down the hall at my grandmother's nursing home, destroyed by Alzheimer's. Just, you know, saying. Memory's funny that way.)

Offline, these things move slowly. Alex is staying home for now, the Portillo woman has been "reassigned," and the lawyers are assembling, though the Florida state's attorney's office says they can't find grounds for charging the woman with any crime. Online, on the other hand... I mentioned Lori Drew, right? Readers at the TCPlam scared up an email address, phone numbers and an address or two; Digg backed their play, and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network is all over the situation. (And then there are the more extensive efforts.)

And my hope? Other than a fond desire for Ms. Portillo to feel the social enlightenment that comes from enhanced contact with a wide, wide selection of her fellow humans, I best like one Digg patron's suggestion: Turn the class over to the two children that voted no. (What, would they be less mature than Wendy Portillo?) If you're that kind of independent thinker at five, you're already on the road to being the kind of person I hope to know. (ETA: Or you could be the kid in Indiana who busted his abusive kindergarten teacher by surreptitiously recording what she says. The fact that the Indiana teachers' union is defending teacher Kristen Woodward by claiming her "human dignity" is being abused by these revelations may help the other 49 states understand why even good progressives such as myself suspect that teachers' unions ought to be broken up like cheap crockery. Looks from here like Woodward's got exactly the amount of dignity she afforded little Gabe Ross.)

Oh, and if you'd like to do something sweet for Alex and the kids in his class? The Net's got that too.

Cool thing I found: Waterstone writing contest

Hey, wanna co-author a book with JK Rowling? Now's your sort-of-kind-of chance: The British bookstore chain Waterstone's is sponsoring a contest for writers who can work short -- in the space of a postcard, or in 600 words or less. The "What's Your Story?" contest winners will be displayed among similarly bite-sized works by luminaries such as Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Nick Hornby, Doris Lessing, and -- yes -- the Harry Potter author, whose 800-word entry is a Potter prequel. Needless to say there's a charity involved, but for details you should check out the site; come 11 June, you'll be able to read the entries there as well. And yes, three lucky/good writers really will be published alongside Herself.

Newsman fired over O'Reilly "protest" speaks!

I'd been hoping to hear what Barry Nolan had to say about his firing by Comcast, and now he's spoken. Mr. Nolan, an anchor on Boston's CN8 news, was dismayed by the prospect of the regional Emmy folk giving Bill O'Reilly its Governor's Award (the highest award they give), and thus took the time to print out and hand out a brochure with some quotes from the Falafel King. For which reportage he was canned.

Nolan explains his decision in a great post to Think Progress, posted above; read it through to the end for a remarkably warm and hopeful take on where America's heading. For my own part, I'm painfully aware that few old-line media organizations are comfortable with their on-air / byline talent having opinions beyond the most insipid and conservative possible; I appreciate the stones it took for Nolan, working for the far-right creeps at Comcast, to speak up. And like him -- on my better days, anyway -- I believe too.

From the Stupid Human Tricks files

Normally I don't go for this sort of thing -- if I want stupid humans, I can go outside and get some fresh air with my helping -- but QuizLaw dug up something today that's giving me the giggles. Consider this as close as anyone's gonna get to an apology for that toenails thing yesterday:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In which CBS schemes to destroy my happy childhood

Oh, cruel CBS, posting the entire run of Twin Peaks for our streaming-video pleasure. What happens when I watch it and discover that the show is more genius, more blissfully weird, more fully-formed in memory? What then, CBS? What then? (HT

From the AAAAA! files

Oh, god, I did not need to see this. Click and share my horror, or don't and figure out how I'm getting those brain cells back. What the hell is wrong with people?!

Is Barack Obama a Muslim?

Link to it, read it, forward it, love it.

Thought for the morning

"Whoever marries the spirit of their generation will be a widow in the next."

Unknown, quoted by Leonard Cohen.

Thought for the morning

"Whoever marries the spirit of their generation will be a widow in the next."

Unknown, quoted by Leonard Cohen

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day triptych

Remembering to remember:

- Last man standing: Frank Buckles, the 107-year-old last known US veteran of WWI, has received honors while he's around to enjoy them. (I wonder who the oldest surviving WWII veteran might be? My uncle Herb is 101; I'll bet he's in the running...)

- Frank Buckles was 16 when he enlisted; likewise, our soldiers today are just unbelievably goddamned young. So are our widows. (Our politicians, meanwhile, voluntarily refuse to grow up. If I start linking in the previous sentence I will be here all night.)

- The greater struggles also continue, but U. Utah Phillips has moved along from the fray. The labor historian, Korean War vet, hobo, historian and folksinger was 73.

It really was a hell of a town

(And not in the good way.) I barely saw this New York -- got there late and lived in other parts of the city -- but I know that once there was this city, this hellmouth New York. I lived there at the midpoint between the worst of the Then and the mega-mall Now that the city is today. Down the road, there'll be another iteration; the genius of NYC being self-recognition in the moment, we'll know it when it is to be seen. Timing is everything, I suppose.


1. Keith Olbermann decides to do a Friday Special Comment on that Clinton RFK insanity -- FTW!

2. jetBlue doesn't carry MSNBC and I'm not able to hit my Slingbox to record it -- FTL!

3. MSNBC posts the clip and spares me a No-bermann Memorial Day -- FTW!!! And now for your viewing pleasure, ten minutes of country ass-kicking from a city boy:

Cats in the news (not LOLing)

The story on a cat in charge of a railway station in Japan was going along swimmingly, until...

Happy with her successful job as stationmaster, the company promoted Tama to "super-stationmaster" in January this year, making her "the only female in a managerial position" in the company's 36-strong workforce.

Lovely. Are we calling that (both female and feline) a twofer these days? And if you were female at this company, whose litterbox would you kick over first -- the cat's or the CEO's?