Wednesday, April 16, 2014

In Honor of Holy Week

I've been watching bits and pieces of various Easter/Jesus movies from the 1950s or 1960s, which teach that the greatest of all Jesus' miracles was never mentioned in the Bible: how the HELL did so many blonde-haired, blue-eyed, lily-white folks manage to live in ancient Israel without getting sunburned?

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Imminent Absence of Gay-Rights Pioneer Fred Phelps

Apparently Fred Phelps of "God Hates Fags" infamy is on the edge of death, but his family can take comfort in his life's work as a strong (though inadvertent_ promoter of gay rights. Seriously: I remember watching a documentary about him some years ago, before he was nationally famous (and, I think, before any state even recognized "civil unions," let alone "gay marriage") ... the Westboro Baptisters were holding one of their typical Tourette's-style insult-laden protests, and the documentary filmmakers were asking ordinary bystanders about it. One nearby driver watched the event as he sat in his car waiting for a traffic light to change, and when the documentarian asked him what he thought, he had a pained expression and said something like "Well, no, I don't exactly approve of homosexuality, but what THESE guys are doing ...." and I could almost see the little thought-wheels turning in his brain: "If these hateful idiots agree with me regarding sexuality, what  does that imply about my own attitudes ...."

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The Sympathetic Magic Behind E-Cigarette Bans

Los Angeles has decided to ban e-cigarettes same way they ban regular cigarettes, and over at Consumer Affairs I discuss this and point out the similarities between e-cig opposition and the primitive belief in sympathetic magic: 

In modern American pop culture, the best-known example of sympathetic magic is found in voodoo-doll horror movies: “This doll looks just like you, so anything affecting the doll affects you too.” Western-literature majors or Old Testament scholars might also be familiar with the alleged healing or fertility powers of mandrake root — the roots of a mandrake plant often branch out to look somewhat like a four-limbed human figure, ergo the believers in sympathetic magic thought: “Since it looks like people, it must have power over people!”

And belief in sympathetic magic appears to be enjoying a renaissance among those who oppose “e-cigarettes” or “e-cigs,” basically on the grounds that a battery-operated metal tube emitting water vapor looks like a burning tobacco cigarette emitting cancerous smoke, ergo it must have the same disease-inducing power as said tobacco cigarette, right?

The full article is here

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sympathy for the Persecuted Christian Minority

In light of the latest pro-gay-marriage judicial rulings, I deeply sympathize with members of the persecuted Christian minority here in America. But, take heart! I don't mean to get y'all's hopes up unreasonably, but: If you are very very good and say all the right prayers, you might -- just might -- live long enough to see an openly practicing member of your religion elected to some high political office. Maybe Congress, or even the White House! And if you get luckier still, you might go so far as to have the federal government recognize your religious holidays enough to turn them into actual legal holidays, too.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Health Update: All The Latest Stuff That's Fatal

Been too busy working to keep up with the blogging, but I wanted to take a moment to warn you guys--after reading the 1,593 latest spammy press releases in my work email box, about all the latest foods discovered to cause health problems ranging from cancer and diabetes to gout and ennui, I've realized maybe General Ripper had the right idea: protect your purity of essence by subsisting off filtered rainwater and pure grain alcohol, because everything else on Zod's earth is going to kill you.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Creeped Out By LinkedIn: TSA Friendship Edition

A couple days ago I received and accepted a LinkedIn invitation from a guy I knew back in college, which reminded me I hadn't been to my LinkedIn page in quite awhile. So I visited my profile and made some half-assed updates a la "include my current job which I've had for five months now," then scrolled down its list of "People I might know." Some of them were obviously from my email; others were listed because we had one or more connections in common, or the same employer at one point or other.

Further down the list were names that appeared completely random -- no connections with me, not even in the same field or from the same area, I've no idea why LinkedIn might have suggested them -- but then I saw one name I most assuredly recognized: Thedala Magee, the loathsome TSA agent who became infamous when she tried suing Amy Alkon after Alkon complained about being molested at the hands of Ms. Magee, thus inspiring me to write a couple of scathing blog posts about Magee at the time ... and somehow LinkedIn has enough awareness of this to suggest I might want to "connect" with Ms. Magee.

(Incidentally, I've heard legends of people offered wonderful and legitimate jobs via LinkedIn. I have been unable to confirm them. From my own personal experience, LinkedIn helps you find a job in the same sense that having an email account helps you find a date -- sure, you'll get scads of unsolicited offers, but none anyone in their right mind would ever actually consider.)

Monday, February 03, 2014

Your Annual Post-Super-Bowl Manufactured Controversy

I celebrated the Super Bowl in my traditional manner by watching something else on TV, so not until I went online this morning did I see a bunch of articles allegedly written by angry right-wingers, complaining that a multilingual Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad is trying to "Balkanize" America -- those are actually satires written by humor-deficient left-wingers who hacked into sites like, right?

Please tell me they are, as even my misanthropic self can’t believe the writers are sincerely be such ignoramuses as to overlook the fact "The Balkan Wars basically happened because a bunch of people decided 'If your religion/ethnicity/lifestyle are in any way different from mine, we cannot peacefully co-exist; we can only hate each other." Seriously: if you want to "Balkanize" America, then griping about this Coke commercial and taking umbrage over the fact that anyone other than English-speaking heteros might be considered 'real Americans' is a damned good way to start. 

(In other news: yes, I know I've been neglecting the hell out of this blog lately.This is partly due to assiduously working as a consumer journalist, and partially because I visited a doctor expecting to be diagnosed with, at most, a mild allergy, only to learn I had an infection bad enough to require powerful antibiotics. I've been swallowing them down with water, but the brouhaha over their Super Bowl ad almost makes me want to buy a Coke. Except if I try downing such enormous horsepills with a carbonated beverage, they'll hear my belches on the moon.)
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