Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Doesn't anyone read the Constitution anymore?


Just when you thought Christine O'Donnell, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Delaware, could do nothing further to top herself, she does.

At a Tuesday morning debate with her Democratic rival Chris Coons, she appeared to be aggressively ignorant of the fact that the First Amendment requires the separation of church and state.

Making matters worse, the audience was actually filled with people with presumably more than a passing familiarity with the Constitution: law professors and students.

The Washington Post reports:

The exchange came in a debate before an audience of legal scholars and law students at Widener University Law School, as O'Donnell criticized Democratic nominee Chris Coons' position that teaching creationism in public school would violate the First Amendment by promoting religious doctrine.

Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism but that "religious doctrine doesn't belong in our public schools."

"Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?" O'Donnell asked him.

When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O'Donnell asked: "You're telling me that's in the First Amendment?"

Her comments, in a debate aired on radio station WDEL, generated a buzz in the audience.

"You actually audibly heard the crowd gasp," Widener University political scientist Wesley Leckrone said after the debate, adding that it raised questions about O'Donnell's grasp of the Constitution.

Not only is this extraordinary because O'Donnell is running for the U.S. Senate, but she represents a political movement, the Tea Party, that has made a fierce adherence to the Constitution one of its fiercest principles.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Comics + Papercutting = Art
The Work of Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik

“You did WHAT to my comics?”
Fine Art Mash-up ∙ New Work by Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik

Opening Reception at Brave New World Comics
on Saturday, September 11, from 7 to 10 pm

Show Open from September 11 through October 9

Brave New World Comics

22722 Lyons Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Time That Will Be Nevermore

“I'm in awe of people out there who deal with Alzheimer's, because they have to deal with death 10 times over, year after year.”
Marcia Wallace, actress

After I wrote my brief tribute to Fess Parker here, I soon ordered the series from Netflix, well season one, and then I outright purchased season two. As much as I can make it a routine, I come home, make dinner, and turn on Daniel Boone.

When I told people about my ritual of watching Daniel Boone, I joked and said I was reliving my childhood, but today after visiting my dad and realizing, truly realizing he is not the man he was, he is barely a shadow of himself. Add in other circumstances that have transpired in my life recently and I now recognize I wasn't kidding.

My youth was a safe time. A time of no worries other than where I would ride my bike to the next day, wondering what time my grandparents were coming over, or what toys of mine my brother borrowed without asking me, not that I would have shared if he did ask. Some mornings, I would lay in bed and hear my father drive off to work, while it was barely light, to ply his trade day in and day out to make sure we had a roof over our heads, clothes to wear, and toys to play with. In the evening, I’d see his truck turn the corner and pull into the driveway, I would go running home just to say hello. After a long week, he worked around the house throughout the weekend to make sure the place was well maintained and neat.

Tonight, I watched a Daniel Boone episode and I definitely knew it’s a way of revisiting the simpler times of my life before I understood what politics were, before I could fathom the battle of the roses, before I understood greed, and the cruelty that people and nature can inflict. Today I visited my father and it’s barely him. Bit by bit, day by day, he is rapidly (rapidly is subjective) disappearing even if he is still here physically. The happy ending of tonight’s show made it crystal clear why I escape to Boonesborough for an hour each night – because all was right in my world during this time, a time that will be nevermore.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A Post About Dr. Demento

OK, it's been *ages* since I last thought about Dr. Demento, but I used to be a big fan -- bought his vinyl, listened to his radio show on KMET on Sunday nights, became fans of bands I first heard on his program (Weird Al, I'm talking to you)...

Apparently times have not been good for him, as I discovered from today, and when I clicked over to his site and started to read -- well, it's not exactly news that he's not the big draw he used to be, but check out how depressed he (or his webmaster) sounds about everything; these are excerpts from recent posts

...This was a very painful decision for the Doctor...

...The broadcast has been losing money for some time...

...As CD's continue their slow fade from the marketplace, Rhino Records has notified us that the "Dr. Demento 25th Anniversary Collection" set has been discontinued, effective immediately. We are permanently out of stock and can no longer supply copies of this set...

...We have had multiple problems filling orders for the new Demento Society membership kit...

...Yes, I know it's late. It's very, very late...

You can read more over here on his website (but I'm not sure you'll want to).

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Dear British Petroleum
(It's Not Your Fault)

Dear BP,

Don't feel bad -- it's not your fault. After all, you don't know anything about keeping oil in the ground; your job is to get it *out* of the ground.

So... good job! It's out of the ground. Now stop trying to keep the oil in the ground. Please start putting it in barrels so we can buy it.

After all, getting oil out of inconvenient places in the ground and into barrel is what you do best -- especially in challenging situations like the one we're faced with right now.

So remember -- play to your strengths, and pack up that oil!


P.S. If all of the extra oil on the market makes the price go down a bit, I'm sure you'll be OK; you've got some of your money put away for a rainy day, right?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rolling Stones Warning
Regarding Exile on Main St.

It's morally wrong to allow a sucker to keep his money.
Words Mick Jagger lives by. W. C. Fields 1880 – 1946), comedian.

I love the music. The “new” songs are pretty good too. But, don’t buy the deluxe package expecting to see the full-length features of “Cocksucker Blues” or “Ladies & Gentleman The Rolling Stones.” This is nothing more than a movie trailer for the two movies. The hardcover photos deliver the same old photos everyone has seen a million times.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Arizona IS on the path to Nazi Germany, regardless of what some say.

Rabbi Cooper, you're wrong (as quoted in the Los Angeles Times). I know we all make comparisons to Nazi Germany far too often, but this is a case in which it's appropriate. And though I was uncomfortable saying it loud, I refuse to sit by and not say anything. First, your rights are abrogated based on how you look. The... next step could well be, "All you foreigners who are here legally can wear this badge so we know who you are." It's a dangerous, slippery slope, and if we ignore this just because improper comparisons have been made before and we're afraid to tell it like it is, we're allowing evil to flourish.

(If you want to read what he said, check it out here.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Picasso, Einstein, Rockefeller, Hitler

There aren't that many people who wind up having their name take on greater metaphorical or idiomatic meaning, such that you can say, "You're such a ___________."

I've got four names on the list so far: Picasso, Einstein, Rockefeller, Hitler. Can you think of more?

(Weirder still, Rockefeller is a name we all know, with a face most of us *don't* know.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

You Are Not My Friend

You are not my friend,
I cannot pretend that you are.
Norah Jones, singer, song writer

I read an interesting post over at Random Thoughts titled “Dad’s Not Your Friend” regarding parents being friends with their kids. Even the Wall Street Journal has an article this week about parents being hip with their kids:

This less-defiant generation is influencing plots, changing what types of shows get made and prompting networks like MTV that have long specialized in youthful rebellion to rethink their approach. The new, more-sanguine shows still broach racy topics like sex, drug use and teen pregnancy, but they appease parents by always presenting consequences. Parents typically have prominent roles and just as many tawdry story lines as the teens—and look almost like older siblings. …For decades, TV has depicted teens as angst-ridden and rebellious, and parents as out-of-touch and unhip…

While I always thought I was knowledgeable, if not hip, when it came to pop culture, by my late-20s I was falling behind. When daughter was four or five, I thought Snoop Dog was a new name for Charlie Brown’s dog Snoopy. We had a short who’s the boss moment about what she could or could not listen to; I prevailed and she no longer owned a Snoop Dog tape.

I never viewed myself as daughter’s friend, buddy, chum, colleague, or comrade ever:

  • We share secrets – but only important family secrets: “let’s have a Ding Dong, but don’t tell mom.”
  • We go to sporting events – but we don’t have beers. We boo and cheer, share a hot dog and peanuts.
  • We might have a drink over dinner – but we don’t go drinking.
  • We go to concerts – but we don’t get drunk or smoke anything, but we do have a good time singing and dancing. She has seen the Rolling Stones and Ray Davies three times.

While daughter is grown, it seems financial assistance is still required. Granted, she is still in school, and that seems like it is going on forever (Bachelor’s, Master’s, and next May, a law degree). I have nothing to complain about. She is a good kid and works hard, but we are not pals.

I view friendship differently -- more informal and certainly much less responsibility. I would never want to burden her with my problems and issues. I am her father and I will always be her father. That is a relationship that is so much more meaningful and important than being her friend.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Emails from an Asshole

"Ducking for apples - change one letter and it's the story of my life."
Dorothy Parker (1893–1967), writer, poet

No, these are not my e-mails or my book, however, I wish I had thought of it. It very much reminds me of The Lazlo Letters by Don Novello, who also played Father Guido Sarducci on Saturday Night Live.

The Lazlo Letters were stilted letters to celebrities under the pen name of Lazlo Toth (name taken from that of Laszlo Toth, a deranged man who vandalized Michelangelo's Pietà in Rome). The letters, designed to tweak the noses of politicians and corporations, were full of deliberate misstatements of fact and inside jokes. Many of these letters received serious responses; Novello sometimes continued the charade correspondence at length, with humorous results (from Wikipedia).

I encourage for a good laugh to check out a few of the other letters. One my favorites thus far is the "Wood Chipper Rental."

Original ad:
Garage sale on Saturday April 17th from 10 am to 4 pm. Lots of clothes, furniture, electronics, and more. The address is 341 ********* Drive. Email me if you need directions. Now before you think this woman doesn't deserve it, she spammed this ad everywhere, every day. I was sick of seeing it. From Me to ***********@**********.org:


I live a few blocks away from you and couldn't help but notice you are having a garage sale this Saturday. I am going to have to kindly ask you to change the date of your garage sale. I am having my annual world class garage sale on that day, and I do not want you to take away any of the customers that would be coming to my garage sale.

If you could hold your garage sale some time during May or June, that would be great.


From Karen ******** to Me: I'm not changing the date. There is plenty of room for both of our garage sales. From Me to Karen *******:


There is not enough room for both of our garage sales. As I said earlier, my garage sale is a "world class" event. It draws in garage sale connoisseurs from all over the region. I have already booked a bartender and a string quartet for my sale on Saturday. My garage sale is a classy experience, and I do not want that experience to be ruined for customers who mistake your garage sale for mine. Now I'm not saying your garage sale isn't going to be nice, but I highly doubt you have a bartender and string quartet at your sale.

Please take down all of the ads in the neighborhood for your sale to avoid any confusion for my customers.


From Karen ******** to Me: How rude of you to even make this request. I have the right to have a garage sale when ever I want to. What gives you the nerve to think you can tell me what to do?

From Me to Karen *******:


You are correct, you do have the right to do whatever you want. I realize that I cannot change your mind about this.

I can, however, put up this ad all over the neighborhood. Let me know what you think of it:


From Karen ******** to Me: What the hell is the matter with you? I swear if I see any of those ads in the neighborhood I will tear them down and report you. Do not speak to me again about this. You have been warned.

From Me to Karen *******:


I'm willing to cut you a deal and get you a spot on the guest list for my world class garage sale if you cancel yours.


From Karen ******* to Me: Screw you and screw your world class garage sale, you world class prick.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Exile on Main Street Redux

“Of course, they look a little different, ... We all do.”
Keith Richards, Rolling Stone

Exile on Main St. is the Holy Grail of the Rollings Stones LPs, CDs, MP3s, etc. Now, The Rolling Stones are going to re-release it with 10 unearthed tracks and everything remastered.

Enjoy! I have and will

Here is the official video release of the single "Plundered My Soul":

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ice Cube - Then and Now

Saw this somewhere pretty small, so I rebuilt it to share with y'all.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Technology vs. Freedom

I'm enjoying Chuck Klosterman's latest collection of essays, Eating the Dinosaur. In particular, the essay titled "FAIL." Here's an excerpt:

When it's warm out I like to sit inside air-conditioned rooms. Yet what am I giving up in order to have a 70-degree living room in July?

Nothing that's particularly important to me.

For the air conditioner to work, I need to live in a building that has electricity, so I have to be connected to the rest of society. That's fine. That's no problem. Of course, to be accepted by that society, I have to accept the rules and laws of community living. That's fine, too. Now, to thrive and flourish and afford my electric bill, I will also have to earn money. But that's okay -- most jobs are social and many are enriching and necessary. However, the only way to earn money is to do something (or provide something) that is valued by other people. And since I don't get to decide what other people value, what I do to make a living is not really my decision. So -- in order to have air-conditioning -- I will agree to live in a specific place with other people, following whatever rules happen to exist there, all while working at a job that was constructed by someone else for their benefit.

In order to have a 70-degree living room, I give up almost everything.

Yet nothing that's particularly important to me.

What do you think? Is he crazy, or did he hit the nail on the head?

Friday, March 19, 2010

King of the Wild Frontier RIP

Take another little piece of my heart now, baby.
Janis Joplin (1943-1970), from her famous song “Piece of my Heart”

I was saddened to see the headline of Fess Parker’s death yesterday. I was a fan of his Daniel Boone television series Thursday nights on NBC. It was sort a family hour for us. My father would watch the show with us, peel apples and cut them into slices for handing a piece in alternating order to my brother and me as Boone tricked the British and attempted to deal with the Indians fairly in Kentucky and around Boonesborough.

We felt a connection to the frontiersman because our father was from Kentucky. As a youngster I had every intention of moving to Kentucky someday. I also recall reading some lame biography of Daniel Boone from the elementary school library. Do public elementary schools have libraries today? Still, I have an interest in Daniel Boone as I purchased the 2007 biography “Boone, A Biography” by Robert Morgan.

Parker’s Davy Crockett days were a bit before my time, but once Daniel Boone became a hit Crockett was rerun occasionally on “The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” on Sunday nights and I was able to catch up on a craze that was a hit before I was born. Crockett had an influence on Boone because the Kentuckian never wore a coonskin cap.

Time marches on and as family members and TV icons leave their mortal coils, I have an even greater appreciation of our relatively brief and temporary time allotted to us.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Raisin Family Celebrates Passover

Time to make a buck, if I can -- this time, by selling hilarious Passover stuff! After all, why bother having a blog if you can't use it to shamelessly promote your goods and services, right? First though, because I know that explaining a joke makes it even funnier, here's the explanation (for those who may stop by this blog but not be up on their Hebrew language skills):

The cartoon predicates itself on the knowledge that at Passover we sing "Avadim Hayinu" -- translated as "we were slaves." When the Raisin family celebrates Passover, they sing the very similar-sounding "Anavim Hayinu" -- translated as "we were grapes." Get it? Hilarious! Trust me -- your rabbi will be in stitches. And it comes with a Hebrew caption or one in English transliteration (as shown above).

Well, maybe it's funny only to those of us Hebrew language geeks who think it's amusing to say "Hodu l'adonai" on Thanksgiving (someone can explain that one in the comments section if they want to).

So what can you buy with this great cartoon on it? Lots of stuff, and all right here: greeting cards, tote bags, shirts, mouse pads... But buy early, so that you get your goods before Passover!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Why Dodger Ticket Prices are Rising

“Poverty wants much; but avarice, everything”
Publilius Syrus, Roman author, 1st century B.C.

Ms Dodger half owner (Jamie McCourt) listed her expenses and asked the court for $988,845. Here are some of her MONTHLY expenses:

- Expenses for Holmby Hills home - $202,715
- Expenses for L.A. home - $9,007
- Expenses for Malibu home - $151,054
- Expenses for other Malibu home - $88,106
- Expenses for Cape Cod house - $93,279
- Expenses for Willowbend house (we don't even know where that is) - $5,048
- Expenses for Vail house - $7,784
- Expenses for Cabo house - $2,530

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Long Short Story

“Real luxury is time and opportunity to read for pleasure”
Jane Brody, author

Just finished Point Omega by Don DeLillo.

"Everybody remembers the killer's name, Norman Bates, but nobody remembers the victim's name. Anthony Perkins is Norman Bates, Janet Leigh is Janet Leigh."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bunch Of Phonies Mourn J.D. Salinger

CORNISH, NH — In this big dramatic production that didn't do anyone any good (and was pretty embarrassing, really, if you think about it), thousands upon thousands of phonies across the country mourned the death of author J.D. Salinger, who was 91 years old for crying out loud. "He had a real impact on the literary world and on millions of readers," said hot-shot English professor David Clarke, who is just like the rest of them, and even works at one of those crumby schools that rich people send their kids to so they don't have to look at them for four years. "There will never be another voice like his." Which is exactly the lousy kind of goddamn thing that people say, because really it could mean lots of things, or nothing at all even, and it's just a perfect example of why you should never tell anybody anything.

[From The Onion]

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Olbermann's Sorry

“All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.”
Winston Churchill (1874-1965), British Prime Minister during World War II

Jon Stewart sets Keith Olbermann straight. Would any of the Republican pundits ever apologize or admit mistakes, not counting mistresses or pay offs to girlfriends?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tax the Churches

“When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) writer

California’s Proposition 8 legal challenge exposes the churches not so secret attempt to influence politics and law. Religious experts who supported the church’s stance have since withdrawn from the case, I am guessing because they cracked under questioning and admitted that some churches contributed to discrimination against gays and that religion also has been used to justify discrimination against African Americans and women.

According to the LATimes article, documents unveiled that Catholic and Mormon churches played a major role in passing Proposition 8.

This further makes the case that churches need to pay taxes, both property and income.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rainy Day in LA

“The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), poet

The rain is a welcomed weather change in Los Angeles, expect for those who live near fire ravaged hills. We need the rain and it's unfortunate we cannot order it in moderation.

It has been coming down in proverbial buckets. I pulled the screen off the den window to attempt an interesting rain puddle picture, but instead ended up realizing the multiple colors in my front yard.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Secret Jesus Messages
on U.S. Military Weapons

This is what Jesus would have wanted!

See ABC News for the depth of this insidious righteousness.

Books Read in 2009

“If you read a lot of books you are considered well read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you're not considered well viewed.”
Lily Tomlin, comedian, actress

I am bit behind, but here is my annual listing of books read in 2009:

1) Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago
2) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
3) Miles from Nowhere by Nami Mun
4) Fifty Days of Solitude by Doris Grumbach
5) Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
6) The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss
7) The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
8) The Void Moon by Michael Connelly
9) The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
10) World without End by Ken Follett
11) The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
12) The Little Book by Selden Edwards
13) The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker
14) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson (not out in the U.S. until May, but you can order from Amazon UK)

The first book I completed in 2010 was Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving.

Not a bad book in the bunch.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Another View of the Getty

Art has a double face, of expression and illusion, just like science has a double face: the reality of error and the phantom of truth.
Publilius Syrus, writer of maxims, flourished in the 1st century BC

I have been so unexpectedly absorbed by the Getty Gardens. I had been there twice previously and never noticed the gardens. There is so much to take in when you first arrive at the top of the hill and enter the main plaza.

There is the breathtaking view. Facing east you can see downtown LA and walk across the plaza and you see the Pacific Ocean. In between there is Westwood, the South Bay, and the hidden homes in the hills surrounding the 700 plus acres of the Getty conservatory.

It was a beautiful day in January that daughter and I visited. The flier listing the day’s activities suggested the Garden tour. Had I not taken the tour I may have never noticed that from one angle a row of trees stand as one. A step to the side reveals a row of trees.

Thursday, January 07, 2010 Commercial (The Shining Spoof)

Awesomeness, even if I still prefer Google (and I do).

Getty Museum's Central Garden

Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas.
Elizabeth Murray (1940 – 2007), painter, printmaker, and draughtsman

I spent two days at the Getty Museum, well, four plus hours on Tuesday and three hours on Wednesday, and photographed the Getty Garden. Even though the trees were stripped of leaves there was still plenty of muted color, as it turns out by design.

The garden fascinated me. I thought it was just from a photographic point of view. From the museum store I purchased the book “Plants in the Getty’s Central Garden.” I read one of the early chapters "A Gardener Meets an Artist" and I was amazed at the planning, designing, investigating, and positioning to create a garden that most people will walk through and admire, but will never investigate further the years of punctilious perfectionism that created the Central Garden and the Stream Garden.

I will share notes from the book as it relates to my photos. I love the serendipity of going to the Getty the first week into 2010 and taking pictures of trees and shrubs purposely designed to heighten winter’s effect in California’s deciduous climate. I will go back again in March, April, and May. Oh, but I want to see how the canvas will change further in June and July. The New Year is already off to a sterling start.

Enjoy the photos, but real thing is an inspiration.

Monday, January 04, 2010

411 on the 405

"If it used to take you 15 minutes to get over the Sepulveda Pass, just automatically tell yourself that it will take twice as long. It's the new reality."

15 minutes? In what reality is that even possible? I would LOVE for it to only take 30 minutes to get through the Sepulveda Pass!

Check it out: three years of construction on the 405.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Musical Typewriters

"I get up in the morning, torture a typewriter until it screams, then stop."
Clarence Budington Kelland (1881-1964), writer

My computer is acting like a typewriter... This morning the keys were just singing.

Are there any musicals where they make computers look fun? Most of the time they are a take off on the evil HAL from "2001."

And my all time favorite that I only discovered after B2 recommended it.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Rush Limbaugh -- A Man to Trust

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity”
Andre Gide, (1869-1951) writer, humanist and moralist, 1947 Nobel prize for literature

Rush Limbaugh after he was admitted to a Hawaii hospital for chest pains "found absolutely nothing wrong," according to the radio host. Obviously they did not check his head.

"The treatment I received here was the best that the world has to offer," he said. "I don't think there's one thing wrong with the American health care system. It is working just fine."

Hmm, let’s see – a multimillionaire, mouthpiece for right wing nut jobs everywhere, one of the most famous radio personalities in the country – what hospital would not provide their best care? NONE!

Maybe he should try my local hospital; my town is very conservative, hell we even have Mecca for conservatives – The Reagan Library. If he was not famous or rich, he would be assigned to the waiting room whether he came in via the ambulance or not. If he were lucky a doctor might look at him, but most likely it would be a nurse.

Yet sadly, millions of Americans, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers will agree with the blowhard conservative that there is nothing wrong with our health-care system.