Come and have some fun.

When: Thursday, November 20, 6:00 p. m.

Greene Turtle
1401 Greenbrier Pkwy, # 2260 (Greenbrier Mall)
Chesapeake, VA (map)


Old men lie. Young folks die.


Of all the mindless fads–pet rocks, chia pets, low-profile tires–the one that most beggars the imagination is the sudden fascination with kale.


Psychology Today investigates the subtle dehumanizations of the surveillance society. Give it a read. Here’s a bit:

In the modern surveillance environment, with so much personal information accessible by others—especially those with whom we have not chosen to share that information—our sense of self is threatened, as is our ability to manage the impression others have of us, says Ian Brown, senior research fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute.

If people treat us differently based on what they have discovered online, if the volume of data available about us eradicates our ability to make a first impression on a date or a job interview, the result, Brown believes, is reduced trust, increased conformity, and even diminished civic participation. The impact can be especially powerful when we know that our information was collected and shared without our consent.

To be sure, we are responsible for much of this. We’re active participants in creating our surveillance record.

Then think twice before you decide to run naked through Facebook and G+.


Terry Eagleton:

The role of the intellectual, so it is said, is to speak truth to power. Noam Chomsky has dismissed this pious tag on two grounds. For one thing, power knows the truth already; it is just busy trying to conceal it. For another, it is not those in power who need the truth, but those they oppress.


There ain’t no such thing, at least, not through honesty. Will Bunch:

Our modern AC was born, essentially of a panic that set in during the mid-1970s, when it first became clear that factory jobs might not be coming back. It’s kind of ironic that gambling in Atlantic City was born of a gambler’s mentality — the idea that a faded city could win it all back with one role of the dice, a kind of magical thinking that this would work…because no one else east of Las Vegas would ever open a rival casino.


That’s why it’s kind of nauseating to see Philadelphia take one more compulsive step down this pathway of failure. Casinos are “economic development” in the same sense that Taco Bell is “dinner.”


Politeness, with malice towards none:

A 15-year-old was killed Sunday by an accidental in Mesa County.

The County Sheriff’s Office says they don’t believe there was any malicious intent behind the shooting that killed Brandon Crawford.


Werner Herzog’s Bear wonders why those so quick to gin up a nonexistent “war on Christmas” haven’t noticed the real war on Thanksgiving. A snippet:

But the war on Thanksgiving is plain to see, and that war is being waged by Black Friday, capitalism’s Walpurgisnacht. That orgy of consumerist frenzy has now invaded Thanksgiving, with several retailers opening their door and turning a day for family and reflection into a disgusting exercise of our country’s least attractive values. It is a war in that Black Friday is not only taking hours from Thanksgiving, it is undermining its very value system. Our capitalist Moloch does not profit from family time, does not profit from a quiet day of contemplation, does not profit from the cherished stillness of that blessed day. (As a child it seemed that there was no other day of the year so peaceful as Thanksgiving.) It profits from people trampling each other to buy Xboxes.


RIP, Valley of Virginia.

The federal government will allow a controversial form of gas extraction called fracking in the George Washington National Forest, but it will sharply cut the amount of land on which fracking could occur.

The much-anticipated decision represents in effect a compromise between people who feared fracking would harm the 1.1 million acre forest and industry representatives who said the process can be done safely.

View of Shenandoah Valley from overlook in Blue Ridge Mountains


Bruce Maiman, writing at the Sacramento Bee, considers the case of some kids who were punished for omitting the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. After reminding readers that the punishments were prima facie illegal, he reminds us that things are not always what think they are, including the Pledge:

In 1890, a magazine publisher was selling flags to schools as a premium to solicit subscriptions. When sales declined the following year, the publisher concocted the idea of using the quadricentennial of Christopher Columbus reaching the Americas to revive the flag effort, complete with flag salutes and pledge recitations in schools nationwide. Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, was commissioned to write the pledge, which first appeared in The Youth’s Companion on Sept. 8, 1892:


“The United States of America” was added in 1923, then the words “under God” in 1954 – which Bellamy’s family descendants strongly protested. But our lawmakers decided this would somehow be a fantastic response to the perceived threat of those godless commies in Soviet Russia.

Typical, isn’t it? What many believe was about religion and patriotism was really about three dubious American obsessions: money, politics and the empty symbolic gesture.


John Romano notes that the new buzz word in the effort to destroy public education seems to be “customization,” something that apparently applies only to private schools. A nugget:

It is part of a philosophy that says parents should be calling the shots when it comes to the education of their children. That means more charters and more voucher money. It means home-schooling and virtual schools. Essentially, it means parents know best.

So here’s my question:

What about customization in traditional public schools?

If parents have concerns about Common Core-inspired standards, shouldn’t they be able to request an alternative curriculum? If parents feel their children are not ready for cookie-cutter standardized tests, shouldn’t they be able to opt out? The short answer:


This has nothing to do with children and everything to do with “privatizing” the public’s money.


Allen Klein:

You may not be able to change a situation, but with humor you can change your attitude about it.


John Cole puts words to my inchoate feelings of earlier today.

The white power structure in Missouri wants themselves a riot in Ferguson so as to justify their racism.

It’s an effect–>cause thing.


I used “inchoate” correctly in a blog post.


What would happen if a high-profile TV presenter wore the same suit every day for a year? It’s a question that we now have an answer to, thanks to the efforts of Karl Stefanovic, a presenter from Australia. Unsurprisingly, the answer is: nothing.

Stefanovic, who co-presents Channel Nine’s Today show with Lisa Wilkinson, has been wearing the same blue suit – day in, day out, except for a few trips to the dry cleaner – to make a point about the ways in which his female colleagues are judged. “No one has noticed,” he said.

Early in my working career, I carpooled with the secretary of my company’s controller. This was just a little after the Mad Men era: bosses still had secretaries who typed memos, did filing, and controlled their schedules, and no boss would lower himself (they were all hims) to do his own typing.

This particular boss was a jerk, and not just to his employees. He was an all-around jerk, a utility infielder of a jerk, someone who could be competently jerky regardless of the position he played.

His secretary’s duties included taking care of his dry-cleaning, for Pete’s sake. She therefore knew of what she spoke when she told the carpool that he wore a different suit every day, but you would never know it because all his suits were identical bespoke muted blue pinstripes.


Conniving, underhanded, low-life twits.


Dick Polman discusses packaging and politics and Republican pearl-clutching about the political process is–gasp!–somehow political. A snippet:

Iraq. Rest my case. The war was sold to Americans as a quest to quash Saddam’s supposedly imminent use of his supposed mass weapons. The sales job began in September ’02, because, as Bush chief of staff Andrew Card explained, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” That autumn, a cowed and deceived Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq. I doubt it would’ve passed if it had been truthfully titled the Authorization to Preemptively Invade and Occupy Iraq, for the Purpose of Long-Term Nation Building.

But let’s stick with health care, because Obamacare haters don’t seem to remember what happened in 2003, when Republicans expanded Medicare to include drug prescriptions for seniors. Same kind of gamesmanship.


There’s weather, and I’m under it.

Not very far under it, but under it nonetheless, so I’m taking a break.


Self-politeness is the politest kind.

The investigation revealed a 25-year old woman sustained an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound to her abdomen. She was transferred to the appropriate trauma hospital where she is currently in stable condition.

To my two or three regular readers: I know this gets old. So too does the mix of ammosexuality, guns, and stupid.


An interview with the fellow who actually read a “Privacy Policy.”


Franklin P. Jones:

Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.