Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday Cartoon Blogging - Time to Catch Up

Now that the World Series is over, I can get back to paying regular attention to other things.

(from Drew and Natalie at Married to the Sea)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wingnuts Say the Darnedest Things

TV/Radio asshole Glenn Beck

On the October 22 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, host Glenn Beck stated, "I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.”…Beck's comment came as forest fires ravaged parts of Southern California, leaving one person dead, four firefighters wounded, and forcing about 1,500 people from their homes, according to The New York Times.
(from Media Matters )

The illogically-named LogicalSC, weighing in at Paranoid Bedwetter's

Most of the likely targets of these terrorist attacks are bastions of liberals, so I am really starting to say the h*** with it.

If they really want to walk blindly around in a Gaza-type world of exploding cars, trains, malls and pizzerias just so they can get one over on President Bush and conservatives, then I say let them go for it. After all, it will be their children and families scraped off the walls and streets. Fewer liberals would not hurt this country.

Just so we are clear, no relief funds or federal help should be available to states or areas represented by Members of Congress opposed to these safeguards when the events occur.

That would include DC, Mass, NY, California or Nevada, among others.
LogicalSC 10.17.07 - 3:56 pm

The always incomprehensible darthcrUSAderworldtour2007, weighing in during a discussion of The Original G-Lister’s ‘I Question Your Patriotism. Yes, I do.

Since WHEN do left-wingbats from La La Land (it's burning by the way...too bad San Fransicko can't be 'cleansed'...) embrace The Third Reich and Karl Marx's CCCP Manifesto?
If GITMO offends them...then what about stalags and gulags and death camps? Would the ACLU oppose these three 'abuses'? If panties placed over one's head is torture...they haven't seen anything yet! Have a nice day.
" are going to the Siberian Front!"darthcrUSAderworldtour2007 10.24.07 - 10:16 am

And finally, Limp Weenie just posted his own nugget, and sez:

Americans have a lot of experience with this sort of thing (“knocking over nations”), and we are getting better at it all the time. Practice makes perfect.
Note – good to know that Limp Weenie also has the solution to all of our energy problems.

While unadulterated idiocy is clearly one common thread that binds these wingnuts to each other, they also share what the journalist and blogger David Neiwart describes as ‘eliminationalism:’

White frat boys who long to enslave blacks, Texas ranchers who think hunting and shooting a Jew sounds like fun, and radio audiences who want to tattoo Muslims and lock them up in concentration camps -- they all reflect the strands of the hard-wired right-wing desire to eliminate, by violent means if necessary, anyone deemed the Other, or the Enemy.
Eliminationism is an essential theme in the overall wingnut narrative – one piece of the puzzle I’m putting together as I assemble this blog.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday Fish Blogging

Last week I bit the bullet and started buying stuff to set up an aquarium. I had several pets as a kid, and even more pets when my own kids were growing up, but never any fish.

I bought a 20-gallon tank, a biofilter, a grow light for live plants, and a cover. That pile cost about $250, a bit over my initial budget. Once my wife and I pick the spot (there are a few options), I'll need to come up with a stand or other piece of furniture capable of supporting 200 pounds. Then I guess I'll clean things up, fill the tank with water, and get the filter going.

The guy at the store - a very friendly and knowledgeable fish geek - suggests I also get a heater, and I'll need to add some sort of rock/gravel mix on the bottom. The next decision is whether to get freshwater fish, or to go all the way and set up a saltwater reef tank with coral, crustaceans, and tropical fish.

I'm thinking at this point that I'll probably go with a freshwater setup as a way to ease in to the whole hobby. Right now the empty tank and boxed accessories are still sitting at one end of the dining room table, so - first things first.

(photo from Bolton Aquarium in England)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ways of teh Wingnut, 1.1 - Terminology

I've been poking around online for over 10 years, and for the last 3 or 4 I've spent much of that time participating in a number of liberal and progressive communities that focus on political and cultural issues.

I didn't need to go online to know that we live in strange times, but the online communities I frequent have given form to the notion that our times have been made stranger and much more dangerous by the corrosive effects of the people that I and others call the wingnuts.

You may not be familiar with the wingnut world, or with the use of the term 'wingnut' in the context of politics, culture, history, science, art, or home cooking. Perhaps the clearest answer to, “What's a wingnut?” can be found by asking further questions: many ordinary people do you think an evil authority would have to order to kill you before he found someone who would, unjustly, out of sheer obedience, just because the authority said to? What sort of person is most likely to follow such an order? What kind of official is most likely to give that order, if it suited his purposes?

Robert Altemeyer has studied and written extensively on wingnuts, though he uses the term “authoritarian” to describe the individual and social psychology underlying the phenomenon.

Wingnuttery is a psychopathic mindset that, among its top-level practitioners, is the route to unquestioned power and influence; while those at the bottom of the wingnut ladder see it as their best chance for validation and approval, as they remain unburdened by the more troublesome aspects of free will and critical thinking.

Dick Cheney may be one of the most brazen and powerful top-level wingnuts, and Rush Limbaugh one of the most shameless, but there are countless others in politics, government, organized religion, mass media, and the grass roots who help make the whole thing work.

Altemeyer has cataloged the characteristics of wingnuts at every level, again effectively framed as questions:

...research shows they are very aggressive, but why are they so hostile? ...experiments show they are almost totally uninfluenced by reasoning and evidence, but why are they so dogmatic? ...studies show the Religious Right has more than its fair share of hypocrites, from top to bottom; but why are they two-faced, and how come one face never notices the other? ...their leaders can give the flimsiest of excuses and even outright lies about things they’ve done wrong, but why do the rank-and-file believe them? What happens when authoritarian followers find the authoritarian leaders they crave and start marching together?

I plan to explore the “ways of teh wingnut” in more detail with a series of Tuesday posts, using Altemeyer's work and my own selections from G-list wingnut bloggers as the basis for understanding who these people are, and how they can be overcome.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Heels, Meet Ideals

Wingnuts got their panties in a bunch over news from Maine last week, when the Portland School Committee voted 7-2 to approve a plan to include contraception as part of the reproductive health program at the King Middle School’s health center.

There’s plenty more to this story (pdf), but wingnuts only need to hear some combination of the words “birth” and “control” before they start sputtering.

I’m not even a parent and I’m outraged that this is even being discussed at a Middle School!… I don’t think I even knew how birth control worked at that age.

This young wingnut
, a self-described 19-year old "devout Catholic...striving to major in Mass communications,” calls her new blog High Ideals in High Heels. I’m eager to see if her writing will match the consistent craptitude of her mom’s, or if she’ll ever learn the meaning of the word irony.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Potluck Saturday, Recipe Edition

I'm still trying to figure out my lineup for regular blog entries. You know how it is - the eagerness to blog generally runs far ahead of the readiness to do so. Please bear with me as I work this through, and until things settle down into a more predictable pattern, enjoy this simple twist on an American Classic that is sure to please your family and amaze your friends.

Barbecued Meatloaf

(adapted from an original recipe by John Thorne at Simple Cooking)

I like to combine several different ground meats for my meatloaf, often using varying amounts of pork, beef, veal, and/or lamb. I generally use about two total pounds of ground meat to yield a couple of formed loaves. If the grocer has some cuts on sale (like chunks of veal or chuck for stewing), I'll sometimes pick them up and grind them myself.

Be sure that your mix isn't too lean, so that the finished product has some flavor and juiciness.

I also follow John Thorne's call to first lightly cook the chopped onions to a light yellow before adding them to the mix. The cooked onions are mild and savory, while I find raw onions too harsh tasting.

Mix the cooled cooked onion with the meat in a large mixing bowl. I use my impeccably clean hands to do the mixing. It's a little messy, but the ingredients get blended more thoroughly.

Add an egg, a cup or so of fine fresh crumbs (bread, cracker, corn flake, etc.), and enough liquid (buttermilk, milk, stock, or even condensed tomato soup - though the soup will definitely add the strongest flavor of these options) to give the blend a soft consistency that isn't too wet. Mix again.

Finally, add your favorite flavoring like Worcestershire, Pickapeppa, or other savory sauce, to taste. I usually look through the fridge and use whatever needs to be finished off.

Form the mix into two loaves. I usually start by forming a big loose snowball with half the mixture, then pat the ball into a roughly oval-shaped loaf as shown in the picture. Place the loaves on a sheetpan covered with heavy duty aluminum foil.

If you're cooking your meatloaf indoors, top each one with a couple strips of bacon.

I cook mine outdoors with genuine hardwood charcoal (not coal dust briquets) in my Weber kettle grill using the indirect method. I also toss a good handful or two of dry wood chips, and use a mix of hickory, oak, and pecan, onto the grill directly over the glowing coals.

The loaves take about an hour to cook at about 350 degrees F. Serve with barbecue sauce, or homemade gravy, along with garlic mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, and buttermilk biscuits for an unforgettable meal.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Falling, but still plenty more room below

Gavin at Sadly, No! writes that the ever erudite Ms Malkin has been fired resigned from Baba O'Reiley's televised nightly hatefest.

The ever erudite Ms Malkin is spinning it in her favor, but the fact that she's been going at her farts with a blowtorch over the matter of a seriously injured twelve year-old and his family probably has much more to do with it.

I'm sure there will be a few champagne corks popped in Left Blogostan over this development, along with the predictable gnashing of teeth in the wingnutosphere (blaming the inherent bias and unhinged Malkin-hatred of teh left wing media at Fox....oh, wait).

However, the ever erudite Ms Malkin is still above ground and running water, her head remains attached to her shoulders, and her mumbling is not due to a fistful of freshly-picked garlic packed into her maw. Much self-destruction remains to be done. I've bought a triple-sized box of popcorn to go with my 64-ounce diet Pepsi while her story unfolds further.

(graphic by Teh Sadly)