Monday, July 29, 2013

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (Near-End-Of-July Edition)

NASCAR fans attending the 2013 Brickyard 400 races were greeted by this ad on a jumbotron at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The spoof beer ad produced by the Marijuana Policy Project, highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol by characterizing marijuana as a "new 'beer'" with "no calories" and "no hangovers."

In addition, they cite "no violence" associated with its use -- unless it's from Columbia.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

Here's a guy who should have gone with weed; a man who chugged eight beers and swam across Lake Michigan to (of all places) Detroit. (Gawker)

This week's cover of Time magazine features Pope Francis on the cover. As is the standard fare for such magazines, the head covers part of an already-recognizable title, with the two corners of the "M" looking like ... nah, that's just the lighting. (BuzzFeed)

In what can only be a related subject, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa says that if God is "homophobic," he would rather go to "that other place." Reminds me of what they used to say about one of Mom's aunts: "Heaven doesn't want her, and hell's afraid she'll take over!" (Huffington Post)

Finally, have you ever looked at your credit card? I mean, really looked at it? You'd be amazed at what it can tell you. Really. Duuude! (DataGenetics)

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Monday, July 22, 2013

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (St Mary Magdalene Edition)

In November of 2010, David Gregory, host of NBC's Meet The Press, spoke at the City Club of Chicago. For those who report the news, even within the "lamestream media," there is a human side to the business of (ostensibly) keeping us informed. So there's a few good laughs in this clip, as we listen to the stories behind the stories, which are usually a lot more interesting.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

They say that police departments are getting to be more paramilitary in their approach to crises, whether it's a hostage situation, or ... (

Meanwhile, investigative journalist Geraldo Rivera has discovered that "seventy is the new fifty," and wants the world to know it. Duuude??? (Twitchy)

With the Boy Scouts' new membership policy in place, here's hoping this will never be an option for a summer camp experience. (Blur Brain)

And speaking of options, will this be the latest letter in the alphabet? Probably not, but it won't prevent some -- innovators in text messaging, perhaps? -- from trying. (NPR)

In another story of changing fortunes, palm surgery is on the rise in Japan, in the hopes of beating the odds. (At least here in America we have Vegas. Yeah, baby!) (Daily Mail)

The City of Detroit has declared bankruptcy, and some empty suit at MSNBC isn't just blaming George Bush. And that's the good news. (Real Clear Politics)

Finally, if you're looking to beat the heat, there are only two ingredients needed for making ice cream, and ice isn't one of them. (Lifehacker)

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

“JamboLive dot org”

As this is written, the final Jambopalooza is about to begin at the 2013 National Jamboree of the Boy Scouts of America, located at its permanent and already way the hell over budget site, the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, located in the mountains of southern West Virginia. The opening acts are from earlier this week are shown here, including a band from the United States Army, as well as local country music recording artists Taylor Made, with more than one album to their credit, but no mention on Wikipedia.

Meanwhile, the identity of the closing act, to begin shortly as this is written, is a well-guarded secret, what with all the champions of tolerance picking on the BSA over that membership policy thing. (Picking on the Boy Scouts. So what else is new???) You can find out with the rest of the crowd at three o'clock Eastern time by clicking here at "jambolive dot org."

It's the next best thing to being there, and you don't have to climb up a hill for three miles (never mind with a full pack).

UPDATE 1: Two things have happened since this was posted. The first is that we lost the embed from the Jamboree site, so we chucked it for now. The second is that, due to contractual obligations, the featured and long-kept-secret star performer for today, Universal Republic recording artists Three Doors Down of Escatawpa, Mississippi, was not allowed to be streamed for all you freeloading SOBs out there. That obviously didn't bother the guys who performed at the 2010 Centennial Jamboree, namely lowercase people/Atlantic recording artists Switchfoot from San Diego, California, and (frankly) they were way better, as the substitute videos here will demonstrate.

Be honest, guys, that was totally awesome, don't you think?

Or don't you?

UPDATE 2: Archived video clips of the opening and (eventually) closing arena shows can best be viewed here.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: Star Wars Episode IV in Sixty Seconds

Time once again (after what is admittedly a bit of a hiatus) for our usual midday Wednesday feature.

I was interning at a public television station in West Virginia in January 1977, when this movie first came out. I must have seen it six or seven times while I was there. Once or twice it was for no other reason than to escape from ... well, whatever it was out there that caused me to escape. Someone captured that into a line-drawing animation, that shouldn't take more than a minute of your time.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Daniel Flynn Explains It All For You

I suppose my devoted fans around the world (several dozen at last count) are expecting me to opine on the verdict of George Zimmerman in the death of Treyvon Martin. I've already commented on it last year.

Until the investigation is over, we really don't know the whole story. It won't stop guys like the Reverend Al Sharpton, who make a living by sticking their noses wherever there's a race card to be played.

The truth is, I don't have much of an opinion, because I still don't know the whole story. Neither do any of you. You had to rely as much on the mainstream media to tell you what happened as I did, and we all know they made utter fools of themselves.

Zimmerman's troubles are far from over. Martin's family will probably file a wrongful death suit in civil court (inasmuch as "not guilty" is not the same as "innocent"). And the White House, never missing an opportunity to stick its nose where it doesn't belong, is asking the Justice Department to investigate for possible civil rights violations. Zimmerman, of course, can build his legal defense fund from his lawsuit against NBC, which appears to be the news huckster of choice for now. (And what of CNN?)

Of course, none of this will bring back that young man, but it will keep Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton gainfully employed for a little while longer.

All that said, the closest I could come to an opinion was best expressed by a writer for The American Spectator.

One wonders if the cage-fighting classes, the pursuit of a career in law enforcement, and a firearm kept ready to fire were Zimmerman’s ways of discovering his elusive manhood in a manner akin to Trayvon’s tattoos, coarse language, and demonstrative drug use. With the teenager sans a father in the home to serve as guide, and the neighborhood-watch captain growing up watching the cowed captain of his home, the pair’s past altered their future as much as anything else did ... Civilizing men out of existence has come at great cost to civilization. Instead of men, we get feminine imitations lacking beauty. We get lost boys compensating by becoming barbarians. We get Sanford, Florida, February 26, 2012.

And so it goes.

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (Saints Bonaventure and Henry II Edition)

Today, the reformed Roman calendar remembers Saint Bonaventure, the Franciscan and Doctor of the Church from the 13th century, who died on this day in 1274. This day had been assigned to the Holy Roman Emperor of the early 11th century -- that would be Saint Henry II -- until the 1969 calendar reforms, when the latter's feast was moved (back) to the 13th, which was the day of his death.

When you look at it that way, it all makes sense. Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

Lithuania is known for its basketball team, which has gained a sort of cult status in the European realm of the sport, what with that "Deadhead" thing they've got going on and all. In another shot at innovation for the former Soviet "republic," the mayor of its capital city is determined to measure the happiness of its inhabitants. (Reuters)

Meanwhile, the citizens of Mother Russia may be a little too happy, or at least having too much fun, if Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has his way. (Radio Free Europe - Radio Liberty)

It was the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner which included the famous line: "Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink." That could change, if approximately five-eighths of the world's surface were to become potentially potable. (

Most of us have heard of the recent plane crash earlier this month at San Francisco International Airport. Some of the names of the flight crew, "Sum Ting Wong" and "Wi Tu Lo" among others, were actually confirmed by Federal authorities before someone figured out the obvious. (

And finally, with all the news about anti-Catholic legislation regarding health care plans and same-sex marriage, some of the faithful may be looking for a place of voluntary exile, where nearly everyone is Catholic. There are five tiny nations from which to choose. No, Vatican City is not one of them, unless you're a cleric, or you work there. (

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

When the Catholic blogosphere analyses the bejeezus out of something ...

facepalm gif photo: Facepalm GIF facepalm-1.gif... it looks like this.

When reporting on the pope's humility becomes like beating a dead horse with a stick, you know that the problem is either with his humility, or with people avoiding their own. These are the moments when I think about giving up blogging. How in the hell can I compete with this kind of obsession? There is more to being a Catholic than getting hourly tweets on every move a pope makes. You wouldn't know that by all that's been written about Pope Francis, whatever his (presumedly many) virtues.

My dear brethren in Christ ... get a life!

Monday, July 08, 2013

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (Elizabeth of Aragon Edition)

Today, the traditional Roman calendar celebrates the feast of St Elizabeth of Portugal, also known as Elizabeth of Aragon, also known as Isabel, who lived from 1271 to 1336, was Queen Consort of Portugal during the reign of King Denis of Portugal, and who was a third order Franciscan known for her great charitable works. Closer to the present, if you want to have your awareness raised about every cause with a colored ribbon, check out our handy guide featured here. Collect the whole set. Or read the musings of someone who begs to differ. Don't ask me why.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

Holy Toledo, Batman! A sinkhole in northwest Ohio swallowed a car going down the street, briefly trapping the driver, who climbed out on a ladder. (AP)

And speaking of sinking to new depths, the state of Washington has eliminated the word "freshman" from its educational vocabulary, to be replaced by "first-year student." In an equally bold move, "penmanship" is replaced by "handwriting." No word yet on a proposal to respell the word "woman," which is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word "wif-man." That's why it has "man" in it. (Reuters)

Elsewhere on the Left Coast, a medical marijuana dispensary billed as the world's largest cannabis store will be allowed to stay open, according to a Federal judge, but not if the City of Oakland can help it. (Reuters)

In a related story, a Pennsylvania woman who had her newborn taken away because she failed a hospital drug test, after she ate a poppy seed bagel, has settled a lawsuit over the case. (AP)

After years of being phased into non-existence by compact discs and digital downloads, the cassette tape is making a comeback in the homegrown music market. (BBC)

And finally, in what has become a unique company perk, a Dairy Queen franchise in Minnesota has installed a treadmill for its employees. No word on whether the service will be extended to customers. (KARE-TV)

And that all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Keeping America Awesome

Why is America so awesome?

Is it because we tend to win our wars? Is it because we consume a disproportionately high percentage of the world's natural resources? Is it just that we appear to rule the world, getting into everyone's business whether they want us to or not? Is that what makes us so great?

No, not really.

We did not originally intend to be one big-@$$ country, but began as a union of “free and independent States.” Even as the Constitution provides for a strong central government, the several States are not merely arbitrary administrative jurisdictions. They enjoy limited sovereignty over their own affairs. Each and every one of them has been the place of refuge for people from all over the world. The best, the brightest, the most ambitious, the greatest dreamers the world has to offer -- all come here, more than anyplace else. (Yes, even you, Canada.)

So today, there will be hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, and families headed to the pool. And tonight, here in the Nation's capital city, there will be fireworks on the National Mall. Over a hundred thousand people will be on the grounds, watching a concert with top-name stars, one that they could just as easily see on public television. The celebratory display will be repeated, if on a smaller and humbler scale, in great cities and little hamlets throughout the land. Together, they will celebrate a great experiment, an idea, one that still works, still draws the world to itself, in spite of everything.

When the Nation's founders finished their work, someone asked Benjamin Franklin what had been created. “A democracy, if you can keep it.” In a recent general election, Americans frustrated with the current political situation still looked for a savior, someone with all the answers. But we can no longer deceive ourselves like we've been doing for the past five years. We must concede that the work of keeping America as a great nation will not be one of a single-person-as-panacea. It will be that of each and every one of us. If our "free and independent States" are less free, less independent than they were intended to be lately, it is because we sat back and allowed someone to take that freedom away from us, and because we lack the resolve to take it back. Are we going to settle for that in the next general election?

The intentions of Harry Truman notwithstanding, the buck doesn't stop in Washington anymore; it stops with who we see in the mirror. Remember that before you get your hopes up, America. Stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Monday, July 01, 2013

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (Feast of the Precious Blood Edition)

We have recently witnessed an example of the failure of our educational system, and also how some people will say the darndest things, and they're not always kids. (Sigh!)

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

An aide to a Texas congressman said that he was able to live on food stamps for a week, to show that the present form of assistance was adequate. How well did he do? (ThinkProgress)

They say that if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. What will they do with a better stapler? (Dornob)

A woman in Georgia had to get her driver's license renewed, but first had to prove that her birth certificate was mistaken in identifying her as male. (Fox 5 Atlanta)

Finally, when Kirkland, Washington, celebrates our nation's Independence Day this year, they will have to move the fireworks about 350 yards farther away from another piece of our nation's heritage. (Reuters)

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.