Saturday, February 17, 2007

Faux News... No Really- Fake News on Fox-- Wait... I give up

This weekend, Fox News will run a comedy show. No, it is not Billo or Hannity. Or Ollie. Or Gibson. Or Brit. Or the Beltway Boys. Or Cavuto. Or...

On Sunday, Fox will broadcast the premier episode of the "1/2 Hour News Hour," trying to provide a "conservative alternative" to The Dialy Show or The Colbert Report. While The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are reactionary, this show will be conservative. I wonder if they will joke about (and support) torture?

So, the fair and balanced show will air at 10pm Eastern, 9pm Central. It is produced by Joel Surnow, the executive producer of 24. Here is a clip from the show that Fox leaked to YouTube. While I am not sure if the clip is funny, the comments under the clip are very entertaining. It seems unfunny because of the delivery (no timing) and poor interaction between the co-hosts. It is hard to judge the material because there is not enough of it and it seems one-sided, which raises the question as to whether or not it is propaganda for the one sided treatement. Also, it relies on a laugh track at certain points.

Here is the intro to the show. Notice the red meat issues for the red states:

I am happy that the show will air this week. I will be discussig parody in class. I have already showed the SNL clips on the presidential debates. I planned on using The Dialy Show and The Colbert Report. Now I have this "alternative."

Today's sign of the apocalypse

While watching the News Hour with Jim Leher, syndicated columnist Mark Shields discussed the Iraq debate in Congrss by stating, "It is the fifth year of the war and the first time Congress debated it." No one disagreed with him,

Last week a student of mine stated in class "now is not the time to criticize and debate the war. W are in war and we must..." (stay the course, remain united, buy lolipops... fill in the blank yourself.

No student challenged her on this position. I don't know if most students don't care or if they they agree with her. If the people don't get to debate this issue, then who does? Isn't that how we got into that mess in the first place-- no deliberation?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Brilliant Insight about Sexual Behavior

I feel guilty for linking to this. This articles is so bad that critcism of it seems unfair. However, if you would like a good laugh, then read "Moral Mayhem."

The articles states that chastity "ain't what it used to be" because of a well-marketed culture and academia. Rather than discuss human nature and the animalistics desires humans possess, or denouce the individual for bad choices, the author states that companies market to perferences of the young and lead people away from traditional understandings of sexuality (Because 50 or 100 or 150 or 200 years ago, everyone knew how to behave-- See Ben Franklin's exploits in France as an example. Wait, I mean, read about the purity of ancient Romans and their orgies. Wait... I mean...Ancient Greece... Wait what about the sexual exploits, I mean purity, in the Bible...Wait. Just forget it.) Further, professors tell students "drink responsibly" or "have safe-sex" rather than "be sexually pure," or "commit to your future spouse with your eyes and heart and body," or "sex outside wedlock is wrong" or "be modest."

But wait, there's more. The articles concludes with
The local result is that when a student enrolls at Texas A&M, he or she becomes saturated in a sexually promulgated community. Revealing dress can be seen around the campus. Sexual appetite, passion, desire, bodies and skin are among the ingredients to the average college party. One walk through Northgate at night will open the na've eye. There, hundreds of students gather to drink and dance. While seeking to "have a good time," many see sexuality and the chance to get frisky on the dance floor as a means to that end. Get drunk. Get wild. Get laid. As long as no one gets hurt, sick, diseased or pregnant, American culture and this school seem to be satisfied.
Pop-culture is teaching this generation to "indulge your sexual fantasies." Academia at the same time is saying, "do what you want, just don't be stupid about it." It seems that, at this point, neither of these influential titans has the courage to say, "stripping might actually be wrong."

What I love most about this article is how is avoids TELLING STUDENTS TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR ACTIONS. It is "Pop-Culture" that makes the world bad as if it can be separated from the individual. It is a professor that is wrong for teaching the young generation "do what you want but don't be stupid" not the students who do STUPID THINGS.

Wait-- maybe my problems are not my fault but stem from the editorial. Maybe I should blame the author of the editorial for making the world a bad place.

Welcome to Texas, Circa 1615

Texas law-maker, seemingly theo-crat extraordinaire, and House Appropriations Chairman Warren Chisum expressed interest in reverting knowledge in Texas back to 1615 C.E.

According the Dallas Morning News .
Dallas Morning News, Chisum distributed a flier to all Texas House members that encouraged the state to stop teaching Evolution and teach Creationism. The memo, which was written by Georgia GOP Rep. Ben Bridges, contained a link to the web site, Fixed Earth. According to the website Fixed Earth, you can “Read all about the Copernican and Darwin myths—and their many ramifications to Kabbala based Big Bangism.” You can also purchase the book, The Earth Is Not Moving: Over 400 Years of Deception Exposed! The Bible Told the truth All Along!, which is

But wait, there’s more!!! While you are at Fixed Earth, you can not only read the myths of the universe but also get a great helping of anti-Semitism. For example, if you read about how you can petition your state legislature to remove “evolution science” from public funded schools, you will see that “evolution” is really a religion. In fact, it is not just any religion, it is a Jewish religions and it comes from The “Holy Book” Kabbala. It seems that, according to this web site, Evolution is nothing more than a conspiracy to destroy the Christian Faith by Jewish physicists. I knew Darwin left something out of his texts.

Maybe this means gravity is incorrect and we possess intelligent falling.

On a lighter note, Rep. Chisum thought he carried out a “Good Samaritan” act by distributing the flier. He stated he did not mean to offend anyone and he did not know the website contained anti-Semitic remarks BECAUSE HE DID NOT EXAMINE THE SITE IN QUESTION.

How can a Rep. be this dumb? After living in Texas for five years, I think I have reached my limit with this nonsense. How do these representatives stay in office? He advances a position and does not even check the sources he uses but still thinks he does a good act. Jackass.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Clevon: "I thought you was on the pill or some shit!"

Pirates and Emperors

It's always fun to post something at direct odds with those paranoid--"the prayer rugs are coming!, the prayer rugs are coming!"-- fascist bigots over at Little Green Footballs (Harrogate cannot bring himself to link to the filth of which he speaks, but he does recommend that Readers go there, for it is important to know thine enemy). Sometime long about a month ago, this particular video really upset the Self-Important Head Lizard and all his Kool-Aid-drinking followers that think they're fighting a war from their keyboards. "Nuke Mecca!" they scream. "Has it started yet?" they wonder if anything happens anywhere, fashioning themselves as modern-day Cassandras who will be ready when the "war against Islam" takes to American streets. Such drivel, they're comedic really.

Also, there is a wonderful ubiquity of brand new babies shaping the scene in Harrogate's world these days, and it gets him to thinking "Red State" style, 'bout teaching them there Values. Mommy PhD has been inspirational here, lately blogging about the intellectual development of her young daughter. Harrogate shouts out to Mommy PhD and all other new parents within the megaphone call of this award-winning blog: check out Noam Chomsky working hard for his money in the spirit of Schoolhouse Rock!

Herein, many questions from the Child can be addressed, but the answers don't come easy. What is the difference between an emperor and a pirate?, asks the song. And Harrogate will be damned if he knows the answer.

Schoolhouse Rock!!!!!! Enjoy.

Blood on the Tracks

Harrogate's fascination with movie Westerns goes back longer than he can actually remember. Movies like Last Train from Gun Hill, The Searchers, and Lonely are the Brave kept him up late as a young boy, thinking about what he'd seen. In the midst of such movies one thing you cannot escape is the unfairness of life; nor can you avoid that part in you that wants to be noble in the face of it. The sublimity of the music attending these movies is palpable, too. Take the famous refrain from The Good the Bad, and the Ugly--the song to which, incidentally, Mrs. Harrogate walked down that aisle to marry a crazy fellow who likes to write, and often speak, in the third person.

Nor does the genre lack for moments of dry humor that stick with you forever, like friendly ghosts always ready to be recalled. There is a scene from The War Wagon, for instance, in which John Wayne and Kirk Douglas are talking by a stable, trying to decide if they can trust one another, when two baddies almost get the drop on them. Harrogate says "almost" because their shadows give them away. Our two heroes spin and shoot reflexively, and all you see is the shadows fall and you hear the 'thunk' of their bodies. Douglas and Wayne regard one another critically for a moment, and then Douglas announces, "Mine hit the ground first." To which Wayne replies, with that classic smug half-grin: "Yeah, but mine was taller."

In later years Harrogate realized the real money, for him anyway, was less in the modern movies than in the books, from the early frontier stuff through L'amour, Larry McMurtry, and of course Cormac McCarthy, who remains the current king of the genre at this point. The constructed personality of the storyteller, or narrator, in these works is at least as important as the story and characters. A classic case in point is "Lily, Roesmary, and the Jack of Hearts" from Bob Dylan's classic early 70s album, Blood on the Tracks -- an indelible piece of artistic vision that has occupied Harrogate's "Top Five" since he was ever able to conceive of a "Top Five."

So distilled, this song. The vault robbery at the center of the action remains wonderfully underplayed, almost functioning on a Freudian-subconscious level. "The drilling in the wall kept up," Dylan's narrator intones, "but noone seemed to pay it any mind." Did Harrogate say Freudian? Scratch that. Let us call it a memento mori--"remember you must die"--big drama and power politics may seem larger than life, but that is the greatest heist of all.

The sexiness and the innocence of Lily, the desperation and big-heartedness of Rosemary, the awe-inspiring ethos of Big Jim--this song has it all. Gambling, dancing, troubled childhoods, brutal frontier justice, tragic prostitution, high-stakes business, and the ambiguous line between love and lust all give way in the end to one con man known simply as the Jack of Hearts, whose boys "can go no further" until he is finished with his "business back in town."

The con man is such an important figure in the Frontier Narrative, oh Readers. To be a true frontier con man, among other necesseties: his origins must be unknown and fraught with danger, he must be smooth with the ladies (this is true even though it isn't a rule that he has to be good-looking--he usually is), and he poses an ineradicable threat to even the most powerful and insightful of those occupying conventional society. He is the great destabilizer of the status quo, whatever story is being told, yet he is at the same time absolutely essential to that story: and of course, the narrator is always his complicit double. Even without hearing it, just by reading the lyrics, printed below, one can clearly sense the narrator's fascination with the con man whose story he's telling. There are, indeed, moments where the two figures merge; even though Lily is technically the song's most sympathetic figure, Dylan infuses the entire thing with an ironic sarcasm before which Lily really stands no chance. It is fitting that the whole thing fades out with her thinkin', most of all, about the Jack of Hearts.

The festival was over, the boys were all plannin' for a fall,
The cabaret was quiet except for the drillin' in the wall.
The curfew had been lifted and the gamblin' wheel shut down,
Anyone with any sense had already left town.
He was standin' in the doorway lookin' like the Jack of Hearts.

He moved across the mirrored room, "Set it up for everyone," he said,
Then everyone commenced to do what they were doin' before he turned their heads.
Then he walked up to a stranger and he asked him with a grin,
"Could you kindly tell me, friend, what time the show begins?"
Then he moved into the corner, face down like the Jack of Hearts.

Backstage the girls were playin' five-card stud by the stairs,
Lily had two queens, she was hopin' for a third to match her pair.
Outside the streets were fillin' up, the window was open wide,
A gentle breeze was blowin', you could feel it from inside.
Lily called another bet and drew up the Jack of Hearts.

Big Jim was no one's fool, he owned the town's only diamond mine,
He made his usual entrance lookin' so dandy and so fine.
With his bodyguards and silver cane and every hair in place,
He took whatever he wanted to and he laid it all to waste.
But his bodyguards and silver cane were no match for the Jack of Hearts.

Rosemary combed her hair and took a carriage into town,
She slipped in through the side door lookin' like a queen without a crown.
She fluttered her false eyelashes and whispered in his ear,
"Sorry, darlin', that I'm late," but he didn't seem to hear.
He was starin' into space over at the Jack of Hearts.

"I know I've seen that face before," Big Jim was thinkin' to himself,
"Maybe down in Mexico or a picture up on somebody's shelf."
But then the crowd began to stamp their feet and the house lights did dim
And in the darkness of the room there was only Jim and him,
Starin' at the butterfly who just drew the Jack of Hearts.

Lily was a princess, she was fair-skinned and precious as a child,
She did whatever she had to do, she had that certain flash every time she smiled.
She'd come away from a broken home, had lots of strange affairs
With men in every walk of life which took her everywhere.
But she'd never met anyone quite like the Jack of Hearts.

The hangin' judge came in unnoticed and was being wined and dined,
The drillin' in the wall kept up but no one seemed to pay it any mind.
It was known all around that Lily had Jim's ring
And nothing would ever come between Lily and the king.
No, nothin' ever would except maybe the Jack of Hearts.

Rosemary started drinkin' hard and seein' her reflection in the knife,
She was tired of the attention, tired of playin' the role of Big Jim's wife.
She had done a lot of bad things, even once tried suicide,
Was lookin' to do just one good deed before she died.
She was gazin' to the future, riding on the Jack of Hearts.

Lily washed her face, took her dress off and buried it away.
"Has your luck run out?" she laughed at him, "Well, I guess you must
have known it would someday.
Be careful not to touch the wall, there's a brand-new coat of paint,
I'm glad to see you're still alive, you're lookin' like a saint."
Down the hallway footsteps were comin' for the Jack of Hearts.

The backstage manager was pacing all around by his chair.
"There's something funny going on," he said, "I can just feel it in the air."
He went to get the hangin' judge, but the hangin' judge was drunk,
As the leading actor hurried by in the costume of a monk.
There was no actor anywhere better than the Jack of Hearts.

Lily's arms were locked around the man that she dearly loved to touch,
She forgot all about the man she couldn't stand who hounded her so much.
"I've missed you so," she said to him, and he felt she was sincere,
But just beyond the door he felt jealousy and fear.
Just another night in the life of the Jack of Hearts.

No one knew the circumstance but they say that it happened pretty quick,
The door to the dressing room burst open and a cold revolver clicked.
And Big Jim was standin' there, ya couldn't say surprised,
Rosemary right beside him, steady in her eyes.
She was with Big Jim but she was leanin' to the Jack of Hearts.

Two doors down the boys finally made it through the wall
And cleaned out the bank safe, it's said that they got off with quite a haul.
In the darkness by the riverbed they waited on the ground
For one more member who had business back in town.
But they couldn't go no further without the Jack of Hearts.

The next day was hangin' day, the sky was overcast and black,
Big Jim lay covered up, killed by a penknife in the back.
And Rosemary on the gallows, she didn't even blink,
The hangin' judge was sober, he hadn't had a drink.
The only person on the scene missin' was the Jack of Hearts.

The cabaret was empty now, a sign said, "Closed for repair,"
Lily had already taken all of the dye out of her hair.
She was thinkin' 'bout her father, who she very rarely saw,
Thinkin' 'bout Rosemary and thinkin' about the law.
But, most of all she was thinkin' 'bout the Jack of Hearts.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Funny Valentine

Linda Ronstadt tears this up.

Dedicated to Harrogate's admiring throng.