July 5, 2020

Saturday Ramblings, July 4, 2015

Hello, imonks, and welcome to freedom! Ready to Ramble?

Feeling patriotic yet?

Feeling patriotic yet?

Are you having Watermelon at your cookout this weekend? Need some pointers on how to cut that baby up? Here ya go:

Well, this is classy. The Milwaukee Art Museum will display a portrait of Pope Benedict  XVI . . . made of condoms. The museum admitted it was trying to gain some free publicity with the side benefit of pissing off Catholics. Just kidding, of course: they claim it “will ignite a conversation about the AIDS epidemic in Africa and the role art plays in public discussions.” Oh. Yes. I’m sure it will.

Of course, they completely miss the irony. The New York Times this spring refused to run the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. The reason, they say, is that the do not want to offend religious people. The collective snort you heard then was from every honest reader of the Grey Lady. But even then non-snorters are snorting now. For the Times had absolutely zero problem with publishing the condom pope portrait.

Speaking of the Times, they published a long hit piece against Marco Rubio last month, in which they talked about his “luxury speedboat” and implied his house was lavish. Other journalists looked into this. Below is a picture of his “luxury speedboat”. Below that is a comparison of Rubio’s house (on the left) with Hillary Clinton’s. _____boat

Maybe the Times should steal the "fair and balanced" slogan from Fox

Maybe the Times should steal the “fair and balanced” slogan from Fox

Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis web site is not a fan of the TV miniseries A. D., even though it’s about the Bible. “Theologically and historically, the writers of this show have been sloppy at best and calculatingly agenda-driven at the expense of Scripture at worst.” Man, this is like Madonna accusing Lady Gaga of being self-promoting and pretentious.

Gif of the week: “Must resist urge to kill…” must resist

The U.S. election cycle is in full swing. Chris Christie announced he is running this week. And Bernie Sanders is picking up steam in New Hampshire, though he still trails Hillary Clinton 59 percent to 15 percent nationally, and trails her even worse in fund-raising.


And Donald Trump was in the news this week for some stupid and insensitive remarks. But you knew that already, didn’t you? In fact, we may have to make this a weekly feature: “Crazy stuff the Donald said this week”. Several companies are refusing to do business with him after his remarks about Mexican immigrants: “They are not our friend, believe me…They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs and they are bringing crime, and they’re rapists.” In defending these remarks in an interview this week, he claimed he was supported by an article in Fusion. The interviewer pointed out the article was actually about female immigrants being raped on the journey from Central America to the United States. Trump’s response: “Well, somebody’s doing the raping, Don! I mean somebody’s doing it! Who’s doing the raping? Who’s doing the raping?”

In related news, I found this helpful chart: crime_f1

Odd headline of the weekBeach closed off after huge hole opens up shooting SNAILS into the sky ‘like a geyser’.

Did you know that a study published in 2000 found that people with light-colored eyes “consumed significantly more alcohol” than their dark-eyed peers? Now a new study from the Univesity of Vermont finds that people with light-colored eyes — which researchers defined as blue, green, gray, or with brown in the center — may have a greater chance of becoming dependent on alcohol. People with blue eyes had the highest rates of alcohol dependence. Scientists controlled for other variables that could influence the result, such as age, sex and genetic ancestry.

On a related note, I came across this graphic this week. Apparently if you have blue eyes and live in Wisconson, you’re going to be pretty smashed this holiday.

Why is Utah so white?

Utah: Always as white as it gets

July 1 was international joke day [also known as Donald Trump’s Birthday]. In honor of this, a British magazine published the most popular jokes from around the world. Some of them definitely prove the adage that humor is cultural. But others were great. My favorite was from Ireland:

A doctor says to his patient, “I have bad news and worse news”.

“Oh dear, what’s the bad news?”

“You only have 24 hours to live.”

“That’s terrible,” said the patient. “How can the news possibly be worse?”.

The doctor replies: “I’ve been trying to contact you since yesterday.”

George Takei is a liberal celebrity who attaches his name to Facebook posts that other people write for him. You may remember him as Mr. Sulu. After the supreme court decision affirming SSM last week, Takei called Clarence Thomas, “a clown in blackface.” He later apologized after taking heat for the racist remark.

America in one picture: 

America in one picture

Bubba Watson is a great golfer and a good ol’ southern boy from central casting. I mean . . . he’s named “Bubba.” He even owns a 1969 Charger that was featured in The Dukes of Hazzard, known as the General Lee. That’s why it raised some eyebrows when he said this week he would paint over the Confederate flag on the roof of his General Lee. This, of course, is part of the wave of disgust at that flag following the shooting in Charleston. Defenders of the flag say it represents “heritage, not hate.” This was rather brilliantly deconstructed by Ta-Nehishi Coates in the Atlantic. To me the issue is clear: That flag should never be flown over any public building in this country. Your thoughts?


Wanna see a squirrel dive bomb the dugout from 40 feet up at a Phillies game? Of course you do:

An Australian woman spent four days in a hospital after the blood supply to her legs was cut off and caused her to collapse. She had spent the day house-cleaning, and as she walked  through a park later that night “her feet became increasingly weak to the point where she fell.” She eventually managed to crawl to the side of the road and hailed a taxi to the hospital. The cause of all this?….Skinny jeans.

My skinny jeans are just my Wrangler relaxed-fit jeans after a heavy meal.

Please take five minutes to watch this video. The footage is spectacular. Be sure to make it full-screen.

Ed Young’s Mega-church is hosting some sort of Patriotic event this weekend. Guest of honor: Glenn Beck. When the church was asked why it was promoting a Mormon talking head, an official spokesman gave this statement: “Glenn Beck is a man who is undoubtedly an American patriot, loves this country, and has shown his love for God in many ways. His knowledge of our history and his understanding of our nation is unmatched, and we’re excited to have him here.” Yes, who could argue with that assessment, especially after reading his wisdom and love for God in quotes like these:

I didn’t think I could hate victims faster than the 9/11 victims… And when I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I’m just like, ‘Oh shut up!’ I’m so sick of them because they’re always complaining. And we did our best for them.

The most used phrase in my administration if I were to be President would be ‘What the hell you mean we’re out of missiles?”

You know those fat people who sit in their couch — and I mean really fat. I mean, not like me. I mean the people who, like — their skin grows into the couch. And then, you know, they call the fire department and they cut them out of the wall, and then they have to bring in a truck, and then they take them to the hospital. I say let them die.

I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out — is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus — band — Do, and I’ve lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, “Yeah, I’d kill Michael Moore,” and then I’d see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I’d realize, “Oh, you wouldn’t kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn’t choke him to death.” And you know, well, I’m not sure.

Why, the spokesman was right! This guy sounds just like Saint Paul, doesn’t he? Picture3

Did you know you may be able to drive from New York to London? At least,  if the head of Russian Railways has his way. He is pushing for a major roadway to be constructed alongside the existing Trans-Siberian Railway, along with a tunnel under the Bering Strait for cars, trains and pipelines. “This is an inter-state, inter-civilization, project,” the Siberian Times quoted Vladimir Yakunin. “The project should be turned into a world ‘future zone,’ and it must be based on leading, not catching, technologies.” If built, it would link, for the first time, five continents. So, how long would a road-trip from New York to London take? 12,910 miles, or around 26,000 miles round-trip. Better bring some audio books.

"Are we there, yet?"

“Are we there, yet?”

Finally, let’s end with some “music”. I think you will see why I use the scare quotes. For I give you this morning, in honor of the fourth of July, William Shatner’s AMAZING rendition of Rocket Man. Enjoy.


  1. Dan form Georgia says

    First. HA!

  2. I like you Daniel, but any more Shatner musical numbers and you get to pay for my therapy

  3. And a very sad but grateful farewell to Chris Squire.

  4. The NYT has very strict policies regarding the use of graphic epithets (except for words like hell and damn), and the same per images. I can’t imagine that they would ever have considered publishing the images from Charlie Hebdo on that basis alone, because they really are raw.

    I honestly don’t see how that has anything to do with non-obscene imagery.

  5. The Grey Lady, a coward at heart. I don’t mind media being biased if only they’d have the courage to admit it and abandon the myth of impartial coverage.

    • Vega Magnus says

      But why do we expect impartiality from them? I’m reaching way back in my memory banks to high school history, but weren’t newspapers largely understood to have various biases up until about the ’60s when Watergate and Vietnam elevated the news media to a more respected position? Regardless, I’ve totally given up on expecting impartial coverage from any news outlet. I think it is far better to just examine the material to gather what the specific outlet’s bias is (It’s usually easy to tell) and then be careful to read anything they publish with that bias in mind.

      • Newspapers have always had biases – ever heard of the Hearst papers and their “yellow journalism”? The Wash. Post was really outstanding for its willingness to publish the Pentagon Papers as well as for its groundbreaking Watergate coverage. Both things have a lot in common with The Guardian’s coverage of Edward Snowden and the information he made public about the NSA.

      • But why do we expect impartiality from them?

        Because so many of them claim to be impartial. Except for the editorial page.

        Yep. Totally impartial.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Nobody wants to “upset” Islam because we (including Charlie Hebdo) know what Islam does whenever they get “upset”. If Christians went kill-crazy and racked up a body count any time we thought some Heathen somewhere might possibly be dissing us, nobody would dare “upset” us either.


      • The people who killed the staff of Charlie Hebdo were *not* members of Al Qaeda or ISIS or similar, though. There is tremendous prejudice in France against immigrants from former French colonies, especially those from Africa. Not meaning to initimate that all of the French people feel that way, but many do (as evidenced by the Front National and its racist, anti-immigrationist, “France is for the French” rhetoric). The anger that brewed into the storm here has much to do with poverty, prejudice/isolation and disaffected youth who see little hope formpeople like themselves in the country where they live, even though many are citizens.

        This is less abou Islam,per se, and more about many other things. By no means am i wanting to downplay the mass murders at Charlie Hebdo, but there’s much that your (-imo, somewhat oversimplified and reductive) view of Islam doesn’t come anywhere close to taking into account.

        P.S.: remember the intense outrage over Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ”? Well, C. Hebdo is FAR more provocative, with “cartoons” like one in which the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are shown having an orgy. Some publications made a wide selection of drawings from the magazine available after the killings, but the NYT wouldn’t have been able to publish that one, either, due to its own strictmpolicies regardingmobscenity. I have no doubt that if they had, many lives – of employees – might have been at risk.

        • Robert F says

          One of the most discouraging developments in recent events is the growing animus among the European populace to the “boatpeople” making their way over the Mediterranean from Northern Africa to escape war and oppression in their home countries. It’s not unusual to hear calls of, “Let them drow!” and, “Sink the boats!” from what we had heretofore supposed to be civilized Europeans. It seems that civilization is after all a thin veneer with the most hateful and vile barbarism ready to break through at the right opportunity.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Not much different from the way feelings run high along the Mexican border.

        • Numo, be real. Let’s see the Times publish a photo of Mohammad made of condoms. They would never because they are scared shless of retaliation.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says


          • Donalbain says

            That is a great point. Except for the fact that it is amazingly stupid. Mohammed is not a political leader who leads an organisation famous for its opposition condoms that have the potential to save millions of lives.

          • The issue is not whether some Muslims use their religion as a reason to murder (fact). Nor is it that the New York Times is biased in its religious coverage (possible, but not demonstrable in this situation). The “issue” is that a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed is about the founder of a fairly popular world religion and is known to result in harm to others without accomplishing anything other than, “See, we have free speech!” On the other hand, the Pope is not the founder of a religion, and his position on contraceptives contributes to pain and suffering in the 2/3 world. Publishing this art does draw attention to the situation and stimulate thinking. So I really don’t see any congruence between the two things other than the fact that some people find them offensive.

        • The suggestion that the members of CHARLIE HEBDO were somehow complicit in their own destruction makes me want to puke. Sadly, many in the West are unworthy of the liberties bequeathed to them by real heroes who struggled and fought and died to liberate humankind from oppression, political and economic and religious.

        • Robert F says

          numo, I agree with you that the attacks you mention have complicated causes, and it’s wrong simply to attribute them to militant Islamic terrorism without providing more context.

          But the Western media also has developed a realistic fear of provoking retaliation from extremists and/or unbalanced individuals inspired by radical Islam. Otoh, no violent attack against the Charlie Hebdo offices came after it published the vile “cartoons” dealing with Christian subjects, like the Father, Son and Holy Spirit “cartoon” that you mentioned. This difference in reaction has made a big difference in what the media is willing to publish with respect to Islam in comparison with other religions.

          • Robert, i think that for most French people, Charlie Hebdo was a relic of the 1968 student uprisings. People did not pay much attention to it.

            Except, obviously, for a few.

          • I did say that if the NYT (or, to add to that a bit, any other US paper) were to publish the C. Hebdo “cartoons” that have xtianity as a target, there might well be a risk of violent reprisals. I honestly believe this to be a very real possibility. I do not think any major US paper would take that risk.

        • Edited by moderator. Unnecessary profanity.

          I’m pretty sure this is, in fact, about Islam.

          If poverty and oppression breeds terrorism, then why aren’t African women—the poorest and most oppressed of all people–deeply involved with terrorism?

          It’s also worth pointing out that the poorest *Moslems* tend not to be involved with terrorism: Jihadis are often middle-class people with advanced degrees, solid salaries, stable home lives, etc. They’re often 2nd or 3rd generation Westerners or from wealthier, supposedly pro-Western Moslem countries (Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia).

          These people really ARE NOT closet Marxists, okay? That’s an idea that needs to die. Impolitic and uncomfortable as it is, the faith of islam really IS implicated.

      • Ah, yes…the hypocrisy of news media. “We won’t print offensive religious images…well, at least not the ones that might get us killed.”

      • What Christians do when they get upset is invade a foreign country and cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, defend torture, that kind of thing.

        As for Charlie Hebdo, nobody should be murdered for their speech, but you know what they did when other people were murdered? If they were fundamentalist Muslim protestors they ridiculed them, or so I gather.


  6. Daniel, thanks very much for publishing the link to Ta-Nesihi Coates’ piece. Btw, he has a book coming out later this summer, which should be well worth tracking down.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Thanks, I think I will. I don’t always agree with him, but he always makes me think of the issues from a different perspective.

      • Daniel, i don’t always agree with him, either, but he makes me think, and he’s a highly intelligent, engaging writer. I think we ignore voices like his at our peril.

    • Agreed. It’s a brilliant and well-researched article. I’m glad (and nauseated) to see the original sources in their own words.

  7. Thanks for another funny/caustic/sarcastic and totally ridiculous installment Daniel. You made my night.

    That ok with you jazziscool?

  8. Vega Magnus says

    Squirrels are nature’s daredevils. I’ve never seen any other creature attempt as many outright suicidal actions as squirrels. They’re completely…. nuts. You may slap me through your computer screen for that one.

    I know that I’m supposed to pay attention to politics to make informed decisions be a good citizen, but I’m afraid I cannot. It’s all so silly and I can do nothing about any of it, so I just ignore it and focus on important stuff like complaining about wrestling on the Internet instead. Does that make me a bad citizen?

    I refuse to listen to Shatner sing, so instead, I’ll link to something way better. Here is some straight up 70s/80s styled rock’n’roll, except it was released just a month ago. Members of past their prime death metal bands Arch Enemy and Soilwork have teamed up to form The Night Flight Orchestra, a really fun band that recalls the sound of rock from a few decades ago.


    • Vega, i hope you can come to grips with the politics thing – not due to partisanship, but because it is encumbent on us as citizens to try and make informed choices. I’m no politics maven, but our society has become, imo, about as polarized as it was in the 60s (again), and i think there are trying times ahead for all. You don’t have to watch TV commentary (kind of an oxymoron, since TV news is all about soundbites, not in-depth coverage), but I’m thinking that reading is good. 🙂

      And you might well want to vote in the next presidential election, too.

    • And yes, a lot of politics is silly, but there’s much more to it than that. Again, i think TV anc showboating for coverage and “angles” is partly to blame for that. I was in undergrad when Jimmy Carter ran for president – his was the 1st campaign that focused (almost relentlessly) on image over substance. As in, Cater carries his own luggage onto planes!, as opposed to what he actually *thought* about various issues.

      Plus, it’s possible to be highly skeptical but still enjoy aspects of the show.

    • Thanks for the link, Vega. Good stuff. And, their first album – Internal Affairs – is free for Amazon Primer owners, of which I am one. FTW!

    • Speaking of paying attention to the apparently silly aspects of this election season, the major revelation this week revealed that Donald Trump’s rant concerning Mexico was taken from Ann Coulter’s new book.


      Trump probably assumed Coulter represented the mainstream conservative mindset. Now that he is number two in the latest Iowa polls, apparently he is right. This is no longer a silly political sideshow.

  9. Robert F says

    The Confederate flag should be removed from all government buildings and property. It symbolizes slavery and racism.

    It also glorifies the treasonous actions of the Confederacy, actions that immersed this nation in a bloody Civil War that scarred the American landscape with more corpses than anybody new what to do with. Our current funeral industry found its charter and origin in dispatching the vast human carnage that resulted from our Civil War.

    Take down that flag.

  10. Robert F says

    Hey, baby, it’s the Fourth of July….


    And here’s Lou Reed’s take on how things really go in our star spangled realm:


    Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor I’ll piss on ’em
    That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says
    Your poor huddled masses
    Let’s club ’em to death
    And get it over with and just dump ’em on the boulevard

    • People also forget that Reed was early in his career a confirmed gay man who later renounced being gay and became heterosexual and was married for over a decade. Where would he fit in today ?

      • Robert F says

        Renounced being gay? My understanding has always been that he was a bisexual man, whose lifestyle and image sometimes emphasized androgyny, but mostly didn’t as he got older. I never heard of him “renouncing” being gay, or ever being critical of gay people. Today he would be accepted by the LGBT as a bisexual man who settled down into a straight marriage.

  11. Robert F says

    Hey, Hillary Clinton has nice digs!

  12. I’m not surprised that Tennessee would be rated where it is in the percentage of drinkers. Heck, we don’t even acknowledge one another in the liquor store. As far as Wisconsin is concerned, what else is there to do?

  13. Suggestion, Daniel, for Fridays. Open mike with welcome mat out for lurkers and infrequents, usual minimal restraints for civilized conversation. Wouldn’t stop you from posing questions and conundrums. Don’t know how sustainable it would be over time, but I’m always interested in what and who shows up whenever the opportunity arises.

  14. Steve Newell says

    On the issue of the Confederate Battle Flag, it has NO place in any public place. It represents the rejection of the Constitution of the United States of America. Those states that claimed to Confederate flag as their national flag rejected the US Constitution by signing the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. If a person wishes to fly any Confederate flag on their own property, they can under the protection of the United States Constitution as freedom of speech.

    This leads me to a follow up question: Should Christian Churches place the national flag of what ever nation they are in as part of their worship space? In my view, the

    • Steve Newell says

      In my view, flags should not be part of the worship space since they denote a type of loyalty to the State. I really don’t like the “Christian” flag since it can imply that there is a earthly “Kingdom of God” that is somewhat politcal in nature. I want to see either a cross or crucifix as the main sign of who and what we identify with.

  15. That must be a later model Rambler. It has that AMC, almost Vega look to it.

  16. Randy Thompson says

    A suggestion:
    Let’s put Donald Trump in a Rambler (appropriately enough for folks here) and drive him across Siberia and then under the Bering Straights and then across Alaska and then into the Yukon Territory until this election cycle is over. His political speeches would be greatly appreciated in Siberia, I think, as long as no one is translating.

    (This may help save his TV career, at the rate he’s going.)

    • You know, I miss the days when politicians had the common courtesy to save presidential election campaigns until the actual year that the elections occurred. Good suggestion on Trump.

  17. There’s not complete direct correlation, but generally speaking the most alcoholic states tend to be in really cold regions of the country (note the top 5 list) while the least drinking states are in the South. We don’t need alcohol to stay warm, we need sweet tea and porch swings to keep cool.

    • Steve Newell says

      Clark, it’s that German heritage. Lutherans and Catholics drink beer to cool off after an intense bowling match in the winter. In the summer, it’s to cool off while grilling brats.

    • Christiane says

      just a thought about West-By-God-Virginia . . . I wonder if the reporting is accurate on so little drinking going on there? From ‘stories’ in the family, I’ve heard that the folks out in West Virginia not only built and operated their own stills but sold the stuff as a money-making enterprise ( and not just ‘for special celebrations, don’t ya know’)

      • Could be a cultural thing. Episcopalians would have no problem reporting that they drink alcohol. Baptists and Pentecostals would be reluctant to admit very much. As Wayne said, above, in Tennessee they don’t acknowledge one another in the liquor store, and you know darn well that some good whiskey is made there.

        I hang out with doctors on medical teams to Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, and it seems that patients will report somewhat accurately how much they smoke, but as for alcohol consumption, docs will often multiply by 2 or 3.

      • I lived in WVA for a while, and it has a huge substance abuse problem – meth, pain pills, weed, and yes, alcohol. I suspect this is reporting bias. And to be fair, my current state of Kentucky is no better in this area, but we do have better health care and treatment options.

  18. Graciech says

    Hi all and hi Daniel in particular… I’ve only just discovered this blog (about a month ago?) and whilst I find the Sunday to Friday installments require more focus and effort on my part to digest, I always look forward to Saturday Ramblings for some much needed ridiculousness. So thank you Daniel…and the rest…I enjoy reading the comments too 🙂

  19. Klasie Kraalogies says

    Meanwhile, spare a thought for us here in Saskatchewan. The wildfires up north are out of control – 115 of them as of yesterday. And as of yesterday, 51 towns, villages and reserves had been evacuated – and then late yesterday they announced the evacuation of the main centre up there, La Range. Firefighters from as far away as Newfoundland are helping, while crews from South Dakota are fighting grass fires in the south in Cypress Hills to free up people to fight fires in the north.

    In one fire late yesterday four water bombers, 2 helicopters and ground crews could not stop a fire from overwhelming a reserve. These are monsters.

    The cause is simple: Very dry, basically drought conditions combined with high temperatures….