Tuesday, November 30, 2010

100 Notable Books of 2010

HALLATROW, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 12:  Seco...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
The holidays are already upon us; time to start making that list of books you should have read this year as potential stocking-stuffers. The New York Times Sunday Book Review has been gracious enough to help us out be releasing their top 100 list of notable books released in 2010, soon to also appear in the December 5 edition of the Book Review.

Anybody have any titles to add to the list? What novels did the New York Times overlook this year?

100 Notable Books of 2010 - Holiday Gift Guide - NYTimes.com
Enhanced by Zemanta

O'Reilly: WikiLeaks Leakers Are Traitors, Should Be Executed

Bill O'Reilly's predictabl­y insane declaratio­ns aside, the react of our Government and News Media over the latest round of WikiLeaks documents is very reminiscen­t of the reaction to the potential release of the Abu Ghraib pictures way back when. Not the supposedly comical Frat Prank ones that made the rounds, but the pictures that weren't released, that were viewed behind locked doors by our political leaders; pictures featuring rape, murder, depraved forms of torture, and other happy-go-l­ucky Snuff Film material worthy of a seventies Italian cannibal film.

The documents being released now are nowhere as bad as the pictures of America's treatment of foreign prisoners in Abu Ghraib, but both involve the airing of dirty laundry. Back then, as is now, the cry of the powerful and enlightene­d was not that these things shouldn't have happened, and steps must be made to prevent them from occurring in the future. Instead we see only a mad scramble of ass-covera­ge, shrouded in complaints that the release of documents revealing the truth of how things are done behind the scenes will hurt us in the eyes of the world. No pause is taken to discuss the implicatio­ns of the truth; instead, our time is wasted arguing whether or not the truth should be known in the first place.

I have no real solution to offer regarding this. Just pondering the state of things, which I am beginning to realize is never a healthy mental exercise.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Big Lie of Black Friday Economic Recovery, Take Two

We went through this same nonsense last year. The mad rush to cash in on bargains on Black Friday spawned headlines screaming "What Recession?­" and articles featuring pictures of shopping carts overflowin­g with widescreen television­s, with newscaster­s and journalist­s practicall­y giddy over the concept of "consumer confidence­" (a disgusting term in itself) as they predict this sudden shift in spending habits is an indicator of a waning recesssion­, and not just a typical spike in holiday shopping. Then, after New Year's Eve has come and gone, more subdued articles are released, sans pictures and exclematio­ns, with numbers showing an actual decrease in holiday shopping.

I understand that the news media is desperate to fill empty space on a regular basis, but when the lies and distortion­s become cyclical and predictabl­e, if not just boring, you have to start asking yourself why we even bother anymore. Granted, the supposed improvemen­t projected this Christmas season might have been influenced somewhat by the recent increase in high-end spending by the wealthy as reported last week, but the this rehash of unfounded hopefulnes­s is still adding to the nation's already plentiful seasonal depression­.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, November 26, 2010

Yet Another Bank Commercial That Pisses Me Off

Does this commercial piss off anybody else besides me?

Here we have an average blue-collar worker (notice the clean suit and tie) with a decent job (notice how he has an overseas business "colleague" that sends him surprise gifts, and not a co-worker that drew his name in a Secret Santa pool with a $10 limit) that apparently pays well (notice the clean and modern kitchen of what appears to be an expensive city apartment) that receives two unexpected surprises: A rare and popular toy from a Japanese "colleague," and a $1000 prize from entering in a contest by activating a Citibank credit card.

Now, the intended sentimental holiday message is supposed to be about an ordinary guy who is inspired to give a valuable toy away to charity by the generosity of his credit card's financial institution. All I can see, however, is the story a greedy corporate douche who receives a gift that turns out to be quite valuable, and so immediately begins fantasizing about all of the money he can make by auctioning off a children's toy to the high bidder online for a boatload of cash that he doesn't appear to be hurting for.

But then he wins $1000 dollars in an advertising scheme designed to convince economically inexperienced individuals to unwittingly enslave themselves to a financial institution at 20% APR for the rest of their natural lives with the promise of fabulous cash prizes to be won. So, now that he has lucked into a chunk of unearned excess income already, he decides to donate to charity, not out of the kindness of his heart or the eagerness to do good, but because now it has become exceedingly convenient for him to do so. Then, instead of donating the $1000 to a charitable organization dedicated to housing and feeding the homeless, he takes the valuable toy that didn't cost him a dime, and will be worthless in six months anyway, and drops it in the nearest toy-drive bin.

A bank attempts to sell memberships to their credit-cards with the false promise of easy money by disguising it as a demonstration of the desire to do good to others by donating to charity, and they still can't manage to make it any less shallow than some greedy prick who only considers being charitable when it becomes extraordinarily convenient and manages to not cost him a penny.

This commercial is the perfect example of:

a) How screwed up we are as a nation and a culture, and
b) Why I shouldn't be watching any television this holiday season.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gospel of the Money River

God Bless You, Mr. RosewaterImage via Wikipedia"Perhaps, if they stopped believing in crazy things like a Money River, and go to work, they would stop having such a rotten time."

"If there isn't a Money River, then how did I just make ten thousand dollars today, just by snoozing and scratching myself, and occasionally answering the phone?"

"It's still possible for an American to make a fortune on his own."

"Sure - provided somebody tells him when he's young that there is a Money River, that there's nothing fair about it, that he had damn well better forget about hard work and the merit system and honesty and all that crap, and get to where the river is. 'Go where the rich and powerful are,' I'd tell him, 'and learn their ways. They can be flattered and they can be scared. Please them enormously or scare them enormously, and one moonless night they will put their finger to their lips, warning you not to make a sound. And they will lead you through the dark to the widest, deepest river of wealth ever known to man, You'll be shown your place on the riverbank, and handed a bucket all your own. Slurp as much as you want, but try to keep the racket of your slurping down. A poor man might hear.'"

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Enhanced by Zemanta

O'Reilly Strikes Back At The Simpsons For Fox News Jab (VIDEO)

First of all, I love the fact that Bill O'Reilly implies that Fox should manipulate and control the creative output of the shows broadcasting in its entertainment division so that they don't clash or interfere with the public image of its news/entertainment channel. I guess the idea of controlling the message by suppressing alternative views seems like a no-brainer to Bill.

But, more importantly, I am totally smitten with Bill's refusal to take any negative criticism from a cartoon. Speaking out against critics and detractors is one thing, and defending yourself against comedians and satirists is another, but complaining about a joke in a cartoon takes it all to an entirely new level of whining narcissism that is almost (almost) funner than the actually Simpsons clip shown.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Denis Leary: People Only Pretend To Read Franzen (VIDEO)

So, Denis Leary's selling pitch for his new book Suck On This Year is that other books have too many pages. It's nice to know that somebody out there has the guts to market their book specifically to lazy people and functional illiterates. As far as his assertion that most people only pretend to read Jonathan Franzen, I guess that could be true. After all, most people only pretend to think Denis Leary is funny. I guess it worked out well for both of their careers. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and pretend to read How to Escape From a Leper Colony.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Enhanced by Zemanta

House Passes Ban On Crush Videos

Sorry animal-lovers, but as cruel and barbaric as these "crush videos" are, they are not exactly what you would call a widespread epidemic, and far from what I would consider a major issue requiring swift and decisive action. With all of the problems sweeping this nation, and the impending gridlock of the upcoming GOP-run House, it is depressing that this is the kind of stuff lawmakers are fine-tuning to be more effective. I guess they all just want to be able to point out having accomplished SOMETHING, even if it is simply making it easier to prosecute individuals selling hamster snuff films.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jon Stewart Responds To The "False Equivalency" Critique Of The Rally To Restore Sanity

I think a lot of people are overlooking something important when it comes to the lame pseudo-controversy surrounding the Jon Stewart / Stephen Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. The reaction of the news shows, pundits and supposed reporters, singled out during the event for their alarmist and disinforma­tion-brand of journalism, have spent all of their time dissecting the rally's overall message, and no time whatsoever examining the target of the rally's overall theme: themselves.

Predictably, the talking heads have taken an immediately defensive stances, eschewing reflective self-examination for more self-serving denials and complaints. The most humorous of these are the more liberal voices, like Keith Olbermann or Bill Maher, who are now bristling at being lumped into the same category as Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity. Olbermann's was especially funny, as he prefaced his complaint with a suspension of his "Worst Persons in the World" segment in acknowledgement that Stewart's argument was wholly unfounded.

The "They Do It Worse" complaint is not only a poor excuse for an overall culture of shoddy and sensationalist reporting in the news media, it is illustrative of the overall point: news media channels and personalities alike are more concerned with their public image and approval ratings (or just ratings) than they are with transcending the rhetoric and simply reporting the facts.

Take the hit, guys. Stop whining about the dig, spare us the pity party, and start cleaning up your act.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
Enhanced by Zemanta