Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A few more thoughts

Following my comments earlier in the week regarding Mitt Romney's magic underwear, I received an email that essentially accused me of being anti-Mormon and opposing Romney simply on the basis of his religion. This is obviously a point that needs much clarification.

First of all, I support every one's right to practice whatever religion that they want, as long as the practice of that religion doesn't start affecting other people in a negative way. The Republican party has created an incredibly unfortunate situation by crawling into bed with the Evangelicals. Despite what Evangelicals believe, they didn't get a damn thing for electing Bush two times, except blood on their hands from the Iraq war. And by the way, abortion - still legal. Hope it was worth it. The belief that religion has a place in government is one example of how your own personal religious beliefs, as innocuous as they were when they were just personal, can seriously fuck with the rest of us. And the Evangelicals are double-fucking us because they expect political favors in return for their support.

Being Mormon doesn't make Romney a bad candidate for President, but it does mean that he has some explaining to do. It is a fact (as O'Donnell points out in the video Lord Bling posted below) that until 1978, Mormons believed that black people were a different color because God hated them and really only changed because they realized that this would seriously hinder their plans for world domination. Romney may or may not have agreed with that stance, but he and others need to acknowledge that this is not an issue that should be disregarded as his religious freedom. Would you support a person who was a member of the Klu Klux Klan in the 1970s for President? Didn't think so.

People do have the right to practice whatever religion they want, but I have the right not to vote for you for President if I think that your religious beliefs and practices are going to negatively impact American people. Because of Mormon's frequent, sudden dogmatic shifts, they have a credibility problem that will haunt Romney, as it haunted his father George. Perhaps in the early days of Chritianity, they faced some of the same resistance. Romney could solve the problem by coming out and saying "I don't agree with the stance of the Mormon Church when I was in my 30s", but that won't happen. Instead, people who question Romney's credibility on this basis will be wrongly accused of being against him only because of his religion, when really the issue isn't his religion at all, it's about his willingness to that being a racist is not defensible, just because your people think that God is a racist too.

Lawrence O'Donnell goes off on the Mormon faith

This is in response to the Midge's comment in his last post about the Mormon faith being racist, and also another reason why I love The McLaughlin Group. Lawrence O'Donnell went off so hard that he even got Eleanor Clift to back down, which is not an easy thing to do.

Also, here is an editorial written by O'Donnell that goes into more detail, and quotes the Book of Mormon and Brigham Young.

Now, I think O'Donnell made the cardinal sin of being too emotional, and that got him into some exaggeration. 'The worst political speech of my lifetime?' I doubt it. But I think the base of his argument holds water.

For the record, I know there are some fucked up things written in the Bible too. I'm sure the same is true about the Quran, the Torah, et. al. Being a questioning agnostic, I really don't give a shit. It's just words. I only wish the worst messages from those texts didn't burrow their way into so many people's minds.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Goodbye NASCAR Presidential candidate!

So long Fred Thompson! Today, after getting his ass kicked across the US by the other Republican candidates for President, Fred Thompson is calling it quits. Yes, Fred Thompson who has the dubious distinction of being the most conservative horse in the Republican race for President, which is like being the sluttiest girl in Paris Hilton's circle of friends: not something to brag about. Thompson also has starred in such TV shows as Matlock and Law and Order, as well as great movies like Curley Sue and Feds. What an interesting man!

You may not realize it now, but Fred Thompson leaving the race is a wonderful thing for everyone in the whole world. Why you ask? Because he's COMPLETELY FUCKING CRAZY! He makes Huckabee look like that transgendered Green Party candidate that Cowboy Law voted for for San Francisco City Council election last year. He makes Reagan look like a brain surgeon. And the scariest part of all of that is that given how weak the Republican candidates are and the relative strength of the Evangelical section of that party, Thompson was one Mormon backlash away from being a contender. If that doesn't scare you, you're either on crack or a nihilist.

The good news is we don't have to worry about Fred Thompson anymore. The bad news is that the leading Republican candidate wears special underwear and belongs to a religion that openly supported the notion that black people are evil until like last August.

Lord Bling's 2008 Oscar picks: Now with 25% more hate!)

The Oscar nominees were named this morning, and frankly, I'm a little pissed that Rambo didn't get a nod for Best Foreign Language Film. Seriously, I need a Rosetta Stone to understand half of what Stallone says in his movies, and now that he's 61 years old, I don't see it getting any better. I can even understand Arnold better than him, and to most people, Arnold sounds like THIS.

A couple of other things to get off my chest before I name my Oscar picks for the major categories. First, Heath Ledger is dead, and Paris Hilton still walks the earth. We live in sad times. Second, the Ebert picture I posted above makes me laugh, but honestly, I miss the guy. He needs to get back on his show, Ebert and Roeper. I'm glad he's now writing print reviews, but the sooner he gets his speaking ability back, the sooner he can return to TV and demote that smarmy fuck Roeper back to second-string status. Also, thanks are due to warm_machine for helping me figure out how to shadow the text in the above picture.

Okay, Oscar stuff. I've been out of the film industry for two years now, so I don't have the same insight that I used to have. Basically, what I'm saying is I'm making excuses before the fact. However, I won the office Oscar pool last year, and I worked with a bunch of film geeks, so don't write me off. But two years is a long time, and so you all have an even better chance of beating me. Just don't get online with me on Call of Duty 4. I will bring your entire world crashing down. Well, everyone who reads this site on a regular basis, at least. Okay, maybe except for Miles. He's pretty good.

Adapted Screenplay
“Away from Her”
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood"

Even though the Coens already have a Best Screenplay Oscar for Fargo, I don't see how they can lose this one. However, I could see Atonement having an outside chance. It didn't get nearly as many nods as I thought it would, so this might be the only major one it gets.

Original Screenplay
“Lars and the Real Girl”
“Michael Clayton”
“The Savages”

Here's where I think Juno will get its validation. However, if Michael Clayton wins this, it'll be a good indicator of how the night will go for that film.

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Casey Affleck in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”
Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men”
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War"
Hal Holbrook in “Into the Wild”
Tom Wilkinson in “Michael Clayton”

Bardem HAS to take this one. Talk about a creepy motherfucker. I'll give Hal Holbrook the outside shot, since he's had a long and storied career, and Hollywood likes to reward those with token awards when they get a chance (see also: Michael Caine). Casey Affleck won't win an Oscar because of his name. The Academy voters probably still regret giving his brother one. Even though Good Will Hunting is a really good film, has he done anything worth half a shit since then? Lemme check: Nope. If he's being anything but a USDA-Prime asshole in a film, it's a minor miracle. In fact, he's another in the countless reasons why I'm rooting against the Patriots in the Super Bowl this year.

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Cate Blanchett in “I’m Not There”
Ruby Dee in “American Gangster”
Saoirse Ronan in “Atonement”
Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone”
Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton”

This is a tough one. I'm gonna go with Tilda Swinton, but that's mainly because I think Michael Clayton is gonna walk away with the most awards. The only sure thing here is that Cate Blanchett won't win another Oscar for the rest of her life. If she does, it'll be because she TRULY deserves it, and not like The Aviator. Her Kate Hepburn impression was nails on a chalkboard, but apparently, it was Oscar-worthy. I call it the Renee Zellweger Effect.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

George Clooney in “Michael Clayton"
Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood”
Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”
Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah”
Viggo Mortensen in “Eastern Promises”

Holy shit. Viggo actually has a chance! He IS great in the film, but there are some BIG names ahead of him. The one thing he has going for him is Clooney, Day-Lewis, and Jones all have statues already, and I doubt they'll give Depp one for acting weird in yet another Tim Burton movie, no matter how many songs he sings. But still, Depp is the 'it' guy in Hollywood, so you never know. I'm gonna go with Viggo, but I'll be surprised if they actually give it to him.

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett in “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”
Julie Christie in “Away from Her”
Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose”
Laura Linney in “The Savages”
Ellen Page in “Juno”

If there is any justice, Julie Christie will win. Her performance in 'Away from Her' is truly heartbreaking. However, there is no justice in Hollywood. I know this because Uwe Boll keeps making movies. So, I'll make her the outside pick. Laura Linney is my pick to win it. She's consistently great. I don't see them giving it to Ellen Page, no matter how good she was, and getting nominated is as good as a win for Marion Cotillard. Cate Blanchett? Yeah, I think I covered her already.

Achievement in Directing

“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”
“Michael Clayton”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood”

It's hard to bet against No Country in this one. Juno and Diving Bell were both made by relative noobies, and Michael Clayton was made by a first-timer. If any of those three win this award, I hope Martin Scorsese goes on a shooting spree on Mulholland Drive. And by shooting, I don't mean film.

Best Motion Picture of the Year
“Michael Clayton”
“No Country for Old Men”
“There Will Be Blood”

This group scares me the most. I'm gonna pick No Country for Old Men, but I really have no idea. In recent years, the Academy has made some weird choices for Best Picture. Crash? Give me a fucking break. I'm a pretty liberal person, but even I can see that Crash was a bunch of preachy, hold-hands-and-sing-Kumbayaa bullshit. Million Dollar Baby? If the corner man could've picked up the stool like he was supposed to, the film wouldn't have had a reason to exist. And don't get me started on Shakespeare in Love. There is no possible reason why Saving Private Ryan should've lost to that bullshit, other than the Weinsteins were so powerful at that point in their career that they could've bought all of Sunset Boulevard, much less a gold statue. Wasn't Ben Affleck in that film too?

/shakes head

Post your picks for the winners in the comment section. The winner gets a date with Ben, and gonorrhea, in that order. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The internet is the ideal medium for picking on Amish people

If you ever wanted to say something bad about an Amish person, the internet would obviously be the ideal place to do so. You could write anything you wanted, and they would never know about it. If an Amish person ever came up to you and said "Hey, jackass, I read what you wrote on your website about me!" I would be like "On what? Your computer powered by horseshit and prayers?"

The hard part is that I can't even imagine what you could say that would be bad about Amish people. They live their lives the way they want. They actually believe in and practice peace, something that many Christian people have a tendency to ignore, particularly when voting. Amish people just want to live simple lives, like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. We have free reign to say whatever bad things we want with no consequences, and it turns out you can't really bag on them after all. Now that's a conundrum.

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time...

God bless the internet.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

'How do you know if your cat is Jewish?'

'Because he's wearing one of THESE!'

Don't ask how I found this, or why. Just know that it exists, and you can get one HERE.

Monday, January 14, 2008

We came, we threw down, we conquered

Well, there were no local barflies with snakes, no free rounds of beer, and the Dixie Chicks didn't show up again this year, but I'd still have to say that the 2nd Annual Benson Pub Crawl was just as much a success as was the 1st. There wasn't an official theme to the crawl, but in retrospect I'd say that it should have been "We don't stop (drinking) until the whistle blows", because the number of folks who crossed the finish line was at least 3 times greater than last year's Magnificent Seven. There was also a new record for the number of attendees, with 35 crawlers present at Louis' Bar, the first stop on the tour. After kicking off the tour by listening to inspirational music (BEER!!! by Psychostick) the party progressed through 5 downtown Benson establishments: Louis' Bar, The Musette, Burke's Pub (formerly the R Bar), Barley Street Tavern, and The Full House. The event marked the crawl debut of Cheaptrick, who has been much maligned for his egregious absences at both last year's Benson Crawl and at the Midget's St. Patrick's Day Bus Crawl. Despite beginning his beer consumption a full 3 1/2 hours before the official start of the 2nd Benson Crawl, though, he was still upright and conscious at the time of last call at The Full House. This should lay to rest the rumors that Cheaptrick simply "can't hang". In fact it must be sweet revenge to Cheaptrick to know that one of his most vocal detractors (I'll call him the Hebrew Hammer) was unable to stay the course and finish the tour himself. Those of you who know the Angry Midget will not be surprised that he was in usual form, and threw down with the best.

As you can see from the following candid shots, he wasn't the only one...

You'll see in one of these pictures that even Mrs. Angry Midget was getting wild. So much so that she later related that she has no recollection at all of the 4th stop in the tour.

The participants of this year's Benson Crawl all automatically get first priority for a spot on the Angry Midget's proposed 2nd Annual St. Patrick's Day Bus Crawl. Maybe we'll be recovered by then...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Presidential Breakdown

I got an email the other day that is demonstrative of how far things have regressed for me intellectually since I started school again. "Ryan" the email started as so many in my email Inbox do(even the ones promising me a larger member) "You started the blog to talk about politics. Yet, all you write about is drinking and video games, and how much you hate PETA. What gives? Also, I have cheap VIagra and CIALIS for larger member."

The main reason that I have been low key about the Presidential races is complete saturation. I am having a really hard time getting excited about any of the candidates. I'm in the 4th stage of Ryan's cycle of political awareness, complacency, which follows anger and is followed by the 5th and final step death.

You've probably observed that I tend to lean hard to the left of all things political. I've said on this blog before, obviously while I was high on crack, that I could potentially vote for a moderate Republican candidate, like John McCain, but that was before McCain started making public appearances with Jerry Fallwell of the evil empire, simply to appeal to the religious orgy that permeates all Republican activities. I try to approach both parties with an open mind, but now, more than ever before, the idea of a Mormon being the best your party has to offer solidifies my commitment to my political values and the Democratic party.

That leaves what I think are the three leading Democratic candidates: B-Rock Obama, Mrs. Bill Clinton, and John Edwards. I would vote for any of the three over any of the Republican candidates without a second thought on the matter. How lame is the primary season where you just don't care who the candidate is for your party, because you know you don't have any choice beyond what color socks to wear when you vote?

This is what our process has boiled down to, and I have a hard time getting fired up about arguing over which Democrat I will end up voting for, because the Republican candidates are straight up frightening people, primarily because of their association with various aspects of religious organizations that are attempting influence political activities. We saw how well that worked over the last 7 years.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pub Crawl Survival Tips

Only about 30 hours left until the Benson Pub Crawl 2008, so I thought I would post some lessons learned from previous adventures (See Exhibits A and B).

1) Pace yourself - This is probably the most important piece of advice in anything you do in your life: getting through college, sex, marriage, and of course, pub crawls. Last year's Benson crawl would have been more enjoyable for a certain friend of mine, who I will refer to as the Hebrew Hammer, if we had not started the crawl with the following drinks in the first 15 minutes:
Double Captain and Coke
Jager Bomb
Unless you want to go to bed earlier than your babysitter is putting your kids to sleep, avoid what I now refer to as a "suicide start".

2) Avoid lengthy discussions with surly regulars - Bar crawls that take you to fancy bars that have a cover charge can get expensive. Plus, why pay to hang out with a bunch of douchebags your own age, when there's a bar right around the corner where you can hang out with douchebags your parents' age for free. Becuase of this, some of the best and worst things that happened in previous crawls were directly related to someone trying to be friendly, and start a conversation with one of the natives. If you do not heed this warning, you may be exposed to the following:
- A biker's bare ass
- Highly slurred insults and profanity
- Proof that if you ever become severely brain damaged from a head injury, that you can always hang out in a local bar and harass pub crawlers.

3) Observe the code of silence - One of the most psychologically damaging effects on bar patrons and staff who are not part of a pub crawl is the sudden influx of humanity that a well-promoted crawl can bring to a bar. You can double mindfuck these poor bastards by denying any relationship between the 40 people who simultaneously ended up in the bar. It makes them think there was an invasion or something, and when all parties involved deny association, it makes them feel like they are in a David Lynch movie. But, not the one with the hot lesbian sex.

Monday, January 07, 2008

2nd Annual Benson Pub Crawl

This Saturday marks the return of one the coolest and best things to do this Saturday in Omaha: The Historic Benson Pub Crawl and Winter Retreat. With Leptodactylus serving as our fearless leader, a group (currently around 30 people) of mere mortals will become drunk mortals at several of the Benson neighborhood's finest establishments and some of their dives. Mostly the dives.

A list of the participating bars and taverns can be found on Yelp. Just search Omaha, Nebraska for Benson Pub Crawl and see Related Lists at the bottom. I have created a blow-by-blow of what is easily the most important thing ever to happen in human history.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Top 20 Metalocalypse Moments (Season 1)

First of all, Happy New Year to all you freaks. I found this on YouTube today and thought you'd all appreciate it. Consider it my Xmas present (and yes, I purposefully took the 'Christ' out of 'Christmas' just to piss off any holier-than-thou types who might accidentally end up here). Here are the top 20 moments from the Adult Swim cartoon 'Metalocalypse':

You don't have to like heavy metal to appreciate the humor in the show, but if you do, you'll catch some inside jokes here and there. Season 1 is available on DVD at most retailers, or you can get it HERE.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

PETA: People Eviscerating Therapeutic Advances

People for the Ethical Treatment Of Animals (PETA) is probably one of my least favorite organizations of all time. I have several reasons behind my disgust. I eat meat, and have never once felt the least bit guilty about it. Given the magnitude of other problems, like violent crime against people for example, I think it's hilarious that people choose to advocate this point of view so violently themselves. Furthermore, unless you grow your own food at your own house, don't drive a gas-powered vehicle, don't use electricity, natural gas the internet or watch TV, some of the things that you do in your daily life will kill animals. Where do you draw the line? It's Ok to run over animals with a combine at an organic farming operation, but I can't eat one?

My newest objecting against PETA is the realization that the entire organization is suffering from a much more obvious source of hypocrisy: PETA kills animals too. Somehow, PETA and their members are still morally superior than the rest of us because they don't eat the animals they kill.

PETA has made death threats against several of my colleauges who perform humane animal research and their families. While the Bush Administration's lack of funding for health research is absolutely the largest barrier to development and advancement of health research, PETA's agenda of terror against fellow humans is more dangerous. As a result, you'll notice a new banner with links on our sidebar.