The Rebuttal

Charlotte Bacon, Feb. 22, 2006. Daniel Barden, Sept. 25, 2005. Rachel Davino, July 17, 1983. Olivia Engel, July 18, 2006. Josephine Gay, Dec. 11, 2005. Ana M. Marquez-Greene, April 4, 2006. Dylan Hockley, March 8, 2006. Dawn Hochsprung, June 28, 1965. Madeleine F. Hsu, July 10, 2006. Catherine V. Hubbard, June 8, 2006. Chase Kowalski, Oct. 31, 2005. Jesse Lewis, June 30, 2006. James Mattioli, Marc…h 22, 2006. Grace McDonnell, Nov. 4, 2005. Anne Marie Murphy, July 25, 1960. Emilie Parker, May 12, 2006. Jack Pinto, May 6, 2006. Noah Pozner, Nov. 20, 2006. Caroline Previdi, Sept. 7, 2006. Jessica Rekos, May 10, 2006. Avielle Richman, Oct. 17, 2006. Lauren Rousseau, June of 1982. Mary Sherlach, Feb. 11, 1956. Victoria Soto, Nov. 4, 1985. Benjamin Wheeler, Sept. 12, 2006. Allison N. Wyatt, July 3, 2006. What’s this? Just THE ONLY REBUTTAL YOU NEED right now regarding reasonable gun legislation. Don’t forget Newtown.

In other news: I think it’s about time I dusted off some Shakespeare. Am now watching an excellent performance of Twelfth Night on the YouTube. Good cheat sheets here: No Fear Shakespeare for Twelfth Night Notes.

Hello, It’s Johnny Cash’s Birthday

Many a fan steals a favorite image of him for blog-posty uses, Johnny Cash flipping the bird with a twisted up face. Like a lot of his fans, I adore that image. Defiant. Outlaw. Pissed off.

There’s a heck of a story about that image, and it’s told well here. You should go read it and come back.

I thought I’d steal a different image of him though today. Here’s Johnny holding a kitteh.

Johnny Cash holding a kitteh.

Had J.R. Cash lived to today, he’d have been 81.

A friend who could play just about any Cash song you could name (on the guitar, not the radio) made me appreciate the music. Before that, I was rather close-minded about it. I’m so glad for that. Because friend, if you’ve never sat down and listened to the entire Folsom album, you’re denying yourself one of life’s better pleasures.

The Next Food Network Farce

Am trying not to be negative about the recent announcement that Food Network Star wunderkind Justin Warner will finally surface on the television at 10 p.m. March 30 in his own road-glutton one-off called “Rebel Eats.”

Food Network sez: “Armed with $300 in his pocket, a beat-up car and a passion for unconventional food and eccentric people, Justin will travel the back roads of the South to try everything from moonshine and bacon beer to barbecue in a jar and jellyfish pasta. Along the way, Justin will meet the cooks and proprietors who, like him, march to their own beat through the world of food.”

I am buoyed by the weird accompanying photograph of Warner apparently emerging from tufts of smoke, donning goggles and holding a lit flare triumphantly above his head. But, I don’t know, Food Network, isn’t the road-glutton genre usually reserved as either the consolation prize or as a second act for an already hot property who has made a name with an established instructional cooking show? Alton Brown didn’t do Feasting on Asphalt until he was halfway through his Good Eats run, and I can’t help but think that he had a reason to resist the road-glutton premise for so long.

I’m just concerned is all. I mean, it’s okay to relegate mediocre FNS finalists like Artie and Sammich Man to 2 p.m. Sundays and hope they pull an Amy Finley. But Justin Warner was not your average FNS winner. He didn’t just have viewers and voters; the kid inspired an uprising, a following. And this tidal wave occurred because viewers really enjoyed watching the man cook. So your first venture out is to do one of those shows where he has a few bucks in his pocket and goes out to find the weirdest hush puppy?

This is on top of the fact that a cherished premise of the Season 9 FNS viewer—that Warner’s show would be produced by Alton Brown—has just been tossed out with the punch bowl?

We were told that the show we were waiting for was that this mischievous genius would carve out the Son of Good Eats, guided by the steady and strangely copacetic hand of Alton Brown, and now it turns out that The Man won’t be involved in the project at all because—gulp—AB has to be available for the NEXT edition of Food Network Star?

I have a feeling that viewership for Season 10 is going to fall off a bit.

Apply Directly to the Forehead

I would like to offer you a couple of tips today regarding the sharing and forwarding of quotes from the nation’s Founding Fathers.

A few examples I have come across lately, shared by friends of mine on the social media:

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” This was attributed to George Washington. Who never wrote nor uttered it.

Another: “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” To which I replied: “The thing about quotes from the Internet is that it’s hard to verify their authenticity.” (Abraham Lincoln)

Because this quote is dubious as well.

A quick tip: If you can understand a quote by our Founding Fathers without furrowing your brow and feeling a headache coming on, then, good gravity, man, Google that sucker before sharing or forwarding.

Those guys wrote funny. They did not use simple declarative sentences and verbs of ‘be’ to express themselves. They did not traffic in simple tautologies. Generally, if a Founder wrote it or uttered it for public consumption, it’s going to make your head hurt reading it.

Another example of another often-shared pearl attributed to President Abraham Lincoln: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Let’s compare that turn of phrase to something that can actually be attributed to Mr. Lincoln, from his Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society in 1859:

From the first appearance of man upon the earth, down to very recent times, the words “stranger” and “enemy” were quite or almost, synonymous. Long after civilized nations had defined robbery and murder as high crimes, and had affixed severe punishments to them, when practiced among and upon their own people respectively, it was deemed no offence, but even meritorious, to rob, and murder, and enslave strangers, whether as nations or as individuals. Even yet, this has not totally disappeared. The man of the highest moral cultivation, in spite of all which abstract principle can do, likes him whom he does know, much better than him whom he does not know. To correct the evils, great and small, which spring from want of sympathy, and from positive enmity, among strangers, as nations, or as individuals, is one of the highest functions of civilization.

You feel that?

It’s not quite the kind of pain you feel when you’ve eaten an ice cream too quickly, but it’s close. It is how you felt when you first read Portia’s mercy speech. And it is how, generally, reading the notions of our Founders is actually like.

How about this Faulkner-esque bunch that actually can be attributed to President Washington? GO GET YOUR ADVIL NOW:

Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?

I think this part of my point has been made. I did want to add as well this: Most of what our Founders offered for public consumption was written down. This is because electronic recording devices had not been invented yet, so there were no sound bytes. Just letters, speeches, treaties, and the occasional historic founding document.

This means that it should be rather easy to figure out if a quote from one of them is full of rat-poop. And, if a friend of yours is sharing it on the Faced-book?

Yeah. Probably rat-poop. Just sayin’. (Research is SO EASY these days.)

In other news:

From bathroom door to urinal to sink and back to bathroom door, I have just witnessed a person take the fastest and most weirdly urgent piss ever.



How To Shake A Black Guy’s Hand

As you can see here, Sen. Mark Kirk (R – Ill.) is working on his advanced courses.

Mark Kirk - Obama fist bump

The total surface area of the United States is 3.794 million square miles. This number includes all land and territorial waters.

The total surface area of the Earth is 196.9 million square miles.

3.794 / 196.9 = .01926866429

The United States comprises 1.9 percent of the Earth’s total surface area.


The Nuge

You’re likely to hear many things said about The Nuge between now and tomorrow evening, as he will be in the audience at President Obama’s SOTU address tonight. Here’s a little tidbit from his wiki you might like:

“In September 2009, Nugent embarked on a hunt near Somerset, El Dorado County, California. He was accompanied by a guide and a cameraman, filming for his Outdoor Channel show ‘Spirit of the Wild.’ The video taken appeared in an episode of the show first broadcast on February 9, 2010. California Fish and Game wardens who watched the broadcast noticed that it showed Nugent killing a very young buck which had been attracted by commercial bait. Both the killing of such a young deer and the use of bait are crimes under California state law.”

He’s * not even a good hunter. *


I find odd symbolism in today’s announcement that Pope John Ratzenberger will resign at the end of the month, the first Pope in 600 years to do so.

I find it symbolic of something I’ve been thinking for a while as I watch guys like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Stephen Hawking and Carl “Thor” Sagan*. Hawking, in fact, tells a story in which he and other scientists once met with the Pope, I don’t remember if it was this fella or John Paul Jones. The Pope told the scientists that the church certainly didn’t have any problem with science exploring the universe and where it began, but would rather they not speculate about the exact moment of creation because that was the work of God.

“I didn’t fancy the thought of being handed over to the Inquisition like Galileo,” he said of the encounter.

Tyson points out that for many explorers, even the great Isaac Newton, there comes a place where the scientist gets cut off from successful scientific explanation. At this point, he notes, the scientist always shrugs and says, oh well, must be God.

My favorite thing though about science is that it will defeat political might every time, whether that political might comes from a hapless President outright banning an arm of research, or a Pope chaining a people to the notion that everything in the universe revolves around the Earth. Science always prevails.

I like that.

*I have decided that “Carl” is too common a name for Mr. Sagan and am petitioning to have him renamed as “Thor.” Yes, I know, naming him after an ancient pagan god might be a litle weird. But the man wielded a considerable hammer.

In Other News

8 GIFs Of Bill Cosby Dancing. You’re welcome.

Dear The Huffington Post: You are the worst headline writers in the known universe. “The Holy See Ya Later?” Who’s on your editorial staff, Mel Brooks?

Drat. No “Smash” this week. And it really is Obama’s fault.

George Bush Doesn’t Care About Pink People

Kanye Pink

For a guy who performs “music” that I neither like nor understand, Kanye West occasionally stumbles into wisdom.

In other news: Football season is over. Congratulations to the team that is not the only citizen-owned sports franchise in the United States of America on the victory.

One thing I enjoy about Rochester: You are allowed to root for any football franchise you like. Can’t tell you how much crap I took as a kid for wearing Steelers paraphernalia having just moved to Northeast Ohio from Pittsburgh. Here, you see fans of every stripe. Just recently saw a fella sporting a jacket regarding the Cleveland Browns, who I think it should be said indirectly won the Super Bowl last night and by the way it’s the closest they’re going to get to it in a long time ha ha.

For me, it’s a short list. Packers first because, as just mentioned, I like their business model. Then, I reckon it would be the Stillers (as it is actually pronounced) because if I have a bead on any sort of home, it’s there. I like New Orleans, though I’m generally against their hits-for-hire policy and think even though it’s been settled those players will wear it like Shoeless Joe Jackson wore 1919. And, I know it’s not cool for some reason to like Dallas, but their brand of football is certainly fun to watch.

And the Bills, of course. For what it’s worth.

Of course, I think the best thing about the Super Bowl is that once it’s over, we can all stop screwing around watching this hideous sport and start paying attention to college basketball, which is what’s really important.