Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pastoral Spaghetti Harvest

I had heard of this broadcast many times before, in lists of great April Fool's pranks, hoaxes, and so on. It is hard to think anyone took it seriously, but apparently hundreds called the BBC asking for information on how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. Hat Tip to Buzz Feed.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Climbing FAIL!

I really enjoy Bad Astronomy. If I remember correctly, the blog got started in large part criticizing the horrendous "science" in movies, primarily science fiction: hence the name. Its author is Phil Plait, who is now a professional astronomer... but still finds time to put together a fascinating and entertaining blog. I mentioned it to Rawley this morning, regarding an amazing deep sky image he had posted on.

Just a bit ago, he posted a great video of a drunk squirrel. Good giggles.

It's Friday night. Imagine hundreds of these. Now imagine they're boisterous college students looking to get laid. You're imagining the neighborhood I live in.

But college students don't instinctively climb, thank goodness.


I had heard that David Rheinhard was retiring from The Oregonian, and was not too displeased. I try to keep informed of conservative perspectives and thinking, but have no interest in shrill conservative soundbites. Rheinhard had polished to perfection the right-wing pundits' skills at the latter and demonstrated exactly zero of the former. I'm willing to listen to and consider different perspectives and thought. I have no time for nor interest in regurgitations of Rush Limbaugh's scripts.

So today I was pleased to read, finally, a column of Rheinhard's that I actually enjoyed. His last. Following are a couple of fun excerpts.

I wanted to be a newspaper columnist in the worst way, and no doubt many readers would say I achieved just that goal early in my career here.
I'm sure this is intentionally ironic, but yes, he was a columnist. In the worst possible way.

One story: Some months after I arrived here I was at my desk one morning that
my column ran. The phone rang. I braced myself, but the man on the other end of
the line could not have been more complimentary about my offering that day. I was
new to the trade, insecure as an opinion columnist can be, and ready to listen
to this wise reader.
"You really should be syndicated ..." he said.
Isn't that what every young columnist wants to hear?
"Your writing reminds me of George Will's ..." Oh, merciful heavens, George Will is one of my idols.
"... except that your writing is easier to understand ..." Yes, yes, yes. Exactly. My one criticism of Will's work was his baroque, mannered prose. My head was spinning. A feeling of well-being washed over me. Was this a great gig or what?
"Do you mind if I make one suggestion?" No, no, my good man, suggest away. I've got all day for readers like you. Go right ahead.
"Do you think The Oregonian could devote more space to UFO sightings?"
Sadly, many of Rheinhard's positions were more looney than the recent headlines, Aliens Suspected of Stealing Mt. Hood. UFO sightings were clearly too mundane for him. Goodnight, David.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Looks Like We Got 'er Back in "D"

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Pundit Kitchen
I have a couple more politiposts to get up, but I'm so relieved, and so happy, for so many reasons. But I need to spend more time on what I love most: science generally, geology especially. I look forward to getting back to it, but like I say, I'm not quite done gibbering about poitics yet.

How McCain Pulled It Off

Oh, yeah... that's right. He didn't.


Why McCain Lost

  • Bush
  • Palin
  • Rove
  • Sound bites over substance

He never separated himself substantively from the idiocy of the first, however often he may have stated that he was a change from Bush. He actively chose and promoted the idiocy of the second, likewise the poisonous tactics of the third. Finally, rather than running as the true "maverick," he bought into the Republican platform hook, line and sinker. This was presumably to solidify the "base," but showed a lack of understanding that this is a period of crisis in our country. We the people want thinking outside the box, away from SOP, because SOP hasn't worked out so well. I'm a little concerned that Barack will bow to convention too easily, but to my mind he was so superior to McCain that there was no consideration of "choice" on my part.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Few Laughs to Take the Edge Off...

the final 30 hours. I'm going to visit with Bill and Iris tomorrow evening to watch the results come in; whatever happens, it will be an emotional, exhausting night. My ballot is in, so I can ignore the news until next Monday or so, when the 2012 campaign is scheduled to kick off.

Piraro, whose comics I've posted a couple of times, put up a couple today that he invited his readers to share. Who am I to say no to Pirarro?

Michael Palin wasn't (despite my first impression) McCain's VP choice. However, a couple of guys out of LA have been running a Silly Party Campaign to get him elected President... no, seriously. The Silly Party.

During the course of this campaign, they have sent me a number of e-mail updates helping me follow Palin's successes. If you're still undecided, you should absolutely vote a straight silly party ticket. If they're not listed on your ballot, write them in. Following are some excerpts from e-mails, tracking key events in the campaign.

(September 25)

Dear Lockwood,

All hail to the Silly Party!

Due to the current economic crisis, theMichael Palin for President campaign
has been temporarily suspended....


...and now it's been un-suspended, so please continue campaigning as normal. More than 492,000 people have now viewed the Michael Palin for President video. We expect to pass half a million views in the next day, before proceeding rapidly to half a million and one. Thanks once again to all of you who've told your friends about the video and helped turn our goofy little idea into a worldwide phenomenon. Because of you, we're this month's #1 MOST VIEWED COMEDY VIDEO in the U.K. and #44 worldwide.

Keep it up!

According to the London Times, the video is "spreading like wildfire on the internet." Apparently the internet is composed mostly of dry grasses, and the fire is blamed on the combination of record heat and "winds of change," whatever those are. Republican firefighters are attempting to quell the blaze with little success.

According to the Daily Telegraph, "Republicans have said they expect Democrat party activists to be behind the video as part of a 'dirty tricks' campaign."

Which is 100% accurate, if you simply replace the words "Democrat party activists" with the words"two middle-aged (though charmingly boyish) Monty Python geeks from L.A. who aren't particularly political but may just possibly have a bit too much time on their hands."

(October 9)
Fellow Prisoners (ooh what a giveaway!)...

The Silly Party continues to dominate in the debates. Our strategy: victory by virtue of not being there.

Through the act of strategic absence, Michael Palin has rendered it completely impossible for the other candidates to refute anything he says.


Michael Palin is in fact gaining ground by the moment in both swing states and, more importantly, SWONG states, where our paid "vote tabulator" from Diebold is making sure everything is being done legally and that we will win no matter what.
(October 28)

Dear Lockwood,

Since our last newsletter, we at the Silly Party have been seriously considering changing our name to the Silly But Not Nearly As Silly As The Republicans Party.

Between Not-Joe the Not-Plumber, the $150,000 shopping spree and the brilliantly clever "accidentally say the wrong words to insult your own constituents" campaign, the Republicans are rapidly proving themselves to be very silly indeed.

Which is why we're proposing that in future elections, all debates should be replaced with bouts of Fish Slapping, in which candidates must engage in all-out, to-the-death battle using only herring, bream, mackerel, salmon, poached salmon, poached salmon in a white wine sauce, and pre-packaged sardines.

Here, at long last, are the results of our enormously popular "What Should Michael Palin do to Resolve the Critical Issues of Our Time?" Survey and our even more enormously popular "Who Should be in Michael Palin's Cabinet?" Survey.

Critical Issues/Party Platform Results...

--The Economy: BLACKMAIL! Threaten to expose the truth about Dick Cheney's affair with Sarah Palin unless Halliburton donates all of its profits to Social Security.

--Foreign Policy: Retrain all United States military personnel in the lost arts of "marching up and down the square" and "close order swanning-about."

--The Environment: Hire notorious highwayman Dennis Moore to plant 800 billion Lupins in the American southwest in order to release massive amounts of oxygen into the atmosphere.

Cabinet Posts Results...

--Secretary of Defense: Brigadier Arthur Gormanstrop (Mrs.) (Deceased)

--Secretary of State: Terry Gilliam, in the role of Cardinal Fang

...and finally...

Vice President: John Cleese! (Like there was ever any doubt.)

(November 3)

Dear Lockwood,

The somewhat important 2008 election is upon us.

Silly though we may usually be, we at the Committee to Elect Michael Palin President
would like to take a moment to say, in all seriousness...


Vote like the wind!

Vote like you've never voted before!

Vote like your life depends on it! (It may)

Vote like the ice caps are melting! (They are)

Vote like if you don't then the Spanish Inquisition will fry you up and toss you into a Spanish Omelet!

Vote like a crazed weasel with its head on fire that has to vote in order for someone to dunk its head in a bucket of water, thus dousing the fire and eliciting a collective sigh of relief from every other potentially flammable weasel, stoat or ocelot in the vicinity.



We believe we've made our point.

Your friends at the Temporarily Serious Though Usually Quite Silly Party

P.S. If you're not a U.S. citizen, please feel free
to close your eyes and vote metaphysically.

You may have heard over the weekend that Sarah Palin got pranked by a couple of Canadian DJ's pretending to be French President Nicholas Sarkozy. The following is the audio of that prank (static picture). If you're not French or Canadian, the transcript may help with some of the language and cultural references.

This dates back to the last election. I hope it's still funny on Wednesday, though some of the reports I've heard on early voting suggest it might be otherwise...

Mike Myers
more lol celebs!

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

Obama and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

From Coyote Crossing.

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

And finally, this was everywhere a couple of weeks back. On the off chance you haven't seen it yet. (I don't recall where I swiped it from, but I know I saw it a dozen times or more.)

For the Record

That One- President

Jeff Merkley- US Senator

Kurt Schrader- US Representative, OR. Dist. 5

Kate Brown- Sec. State

(and I'll skip the remaining minor and local votes)


54-57: yes

I have very mixed feelings on 57, but it's set in opposition to a much worse measure in such a way that if both pass, the one with most votes is implemented. This shouldn't have been allowed to happen at all. Thanks once again, Bill Effing Sizemore! BTW, would it be constitutional to sponsor a measure barring BS from EVER submitting a measure again? Srsly!

58-65: No

Commentary: That whole thing, bubbling my ballot, sealing the secrecy envelope (which hides my ballot while my registration and signature are checked) sealing and signing the outer envelope, AND writing up this post, have taken less than half an hour so far. While drinking coffee and listening to music at my favorite coffee shop. After I post this, I'll walk two blocks to the OSU Library and drop my ballot off. Compare that to a guy who called in to CNN this afternoon after spending 3 hours standing in line in freezing weather.

Whatever your politics, most of us here in Oregon simply can't understand why every state in the country isn't implementing Vote-by-Mail.

Finally, my condolences to Barack and his family on the loss of his grandmother. Even though Hawaii is suspiciously foreign, and it was certainly a massive strategic error to visit her when you received word she was failing fast, you must be relieved that you made the right decision. Once again. I hope you apply the same wisdom and compassion to our country. While I think few would be disappointed to live to 86, to fall mere hours short of a grandson's election to President of the US (and I become more confident with each passing hour), is heartbreaking to many of us.

Again, our thoughts and hopes are with you.