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idiot king

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The Rude Pundit wants Trump's defenders to prove that Trump isn't a fucking moron. Stephen Miller and CIA Director Mike Pompeo have defended Trump, but the Rude Pundit remains unsatisfied, suggesting that we "take a page from Trump himself:"

When questions were created by right-wing nutzoids about whether or not Barack Obama was born in the United States, Trump hounded Obama about producing his birth certificate. The best-known birther in the nation, Trump wouldn't let it go until Obama did finally make the document public. Even then, that wasn't enough for Trump, who fanned the flames of crazy until it no longer served a political purpose for him. [...]

So let's demand that Trump fucking prove that he's not an idiot, that he's actually engaged and understands the issues. That he is "like, really smart" and that he understands tax law better than any CPA or health care as well or better than anyone. That he's fit for office. Prove it. Put the fuck up or shut the fuck up. Because right now, we're just supposed to take his word and the word of his lackeys and sycophants. And if President Obama's word wasn't good enough on his place of birth, then Trump's word sure as shit ain't enough.

"Trump's gotta do a press conference," he continues "a real one, not a spontaneous one:"

He's gotta sit for an interview with someone who isn't one of his conservative ball washers. It's gotta be a real reporter who will ask him specific questions about specific policies and demand detail. C'mon, motherfucker. Let's see what you've got.

One can hope--although it's far more likely that "his idiot hordes will tell us that Trump is smart because, indeed, idiots want one of their own as their idiot king."

haiku, too

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I penned a few more Rude haikus:

"Vote for Trump!" they cried,
and they did, just because they
hate Clinton so much.
The airwaves were full of
Benghazi, "crooked," emails:
worst news job ever.
"librul media"
they're called, for doing the work
of conservatives.
Benghazi, emails...
weapons of mass distraction
unleashed on US.
Trump voters proclaim:
"We voted against Clinton"
but that's just bullshit.

rude haikus

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Rude Pundit announced his "Annual Haiku Celebration of the Dying Year:"

Submit your haiku about the year that is almost past, any subject. The only rules are that it has to be a for-real goddamn haiku (a line of five syllables, a line of seven syllables, and a line of five syllables). You can be as angry or sad or funny or fucked up as you like.

I came up with a few, but nothing spectacular:

Dafuq? How did that
short-fingered vulgarian
win the election?

I still can't believe
President Pussy-Grabber
won the election.

"Cheetoh-faced buffoon
loose in the Oval Office,"
the front page should read.

'16 took too many:
Prince, Bowie, Leonard Cohen,
and now George Michael.

Fake news fucked it all:
the manufactured "scandals"
blinded us to Trump.

DC will fill with
imported alligators
the swamp won't get drained.

#BoycottHamilton

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Let's never stop booing the incoming administration, implores Kali Holloway in examining the Hamilton incident:

Not a single one of us needs to be scolded about the importance of safe spaces by an unhinged racist who has made this entire country an unsafe space for millions of people. This is the same guy who hasn't made a single sincere effort to get his vicious and violent supporters to end their sustained campaign of harassment against people of color and other minorities. This is the same man who once said he'd like to punch a protester in the face; who encouraged people to attack reporters at his rallies; who told crowds that he longed for the days when peaceful protesters were "carried out on a stretcher"; who egged on his supporters' aggression by telling them he would pay their legal fees if they were physically violent with protesters; and who is accused of actually harassing many women going back 40 years.

It's clear that Trump plans to gaslight us all for the next four years. When his baldface lies and hypocrisy are revealed, as they are being right now and will be many times again, let's definitely not be fooled or let him get away with it without calling it out.

Trump's tweet ended with the demand that the "Hamilton" cast apologize. Thousands of his supporters--probably people who chanted "kill the bitch!" at his rallies--retweeted his message with no apparent irony.

As far as the theatrical boycott, Holloway writes that "No one cares they won't be attending that show they never planned to attend in the first place." She implores us to "be displaying our absolute opposition to Pence, Trump and this whole administration in the loudest voices we can muster every chance we get:"

They are unburdened by values or virtue, have shown callous indifference to millions, and are on the road to destroy this country and very likely--in ways direct and indirect--millions of lives within it.

This is no time for silence or complacency. Shame on us if we ever stop booing.

AlterNet writes that the problem with the #BoycottHamilton movement is how easily Snowflake-in-Chief Trump's delicate feelings can be mocked:

If we wanna discuss what is rude Mr. President, I'm pretty sure grabbing a woman by her genitalia ranks higher than booing. #BoycottHamilton -- i miss the yankees (@redrag0n_) November 19, 2016

"The irony of the #BoycottHamilton movement," writes Hrafnkell Haraldsson in his look at how it's been destroyed by Twitter, "is that it's mostly folks who already boycott both hip-hop and knowledge of history." This tweet from John Fugelsang nails another aspect of it:

The irony of the #BoycottHamilton movement is that it's mostly folks who already boycott both hip-hop and knowledge of history. -- John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) November 19, 2016

Haraldsson wondersed, "how do you boycott something you can't get tickets for because it's sold out until next August?" and LiberalAmerica discusses the #NameAPenceMusical hashtag, nothing that "both Trump and Pence are going to flat-out hate some of these postings, which makes it even sweeter:"

Les Deplorables #NameAPenceMusical -- Monique Beatty (@QDreamsOfParis) November 20, 2016

Oklahomophobic! #NameAPenceMusical
-- Amy Shouse (@CupcakeMurphy) November 20, 2016

grab her by the CATS#NameAPenceMusical
-- Kevin Perkins (@Pope_Of_Balt) November 20, 2016

A Streetcar Named You're Fired #NameaPenceMusical
-- nicandro iannacci (@niannacci) November 20, 2016

...and there are many more where those came from.

It was time for me to have some graphic-design fun, combining Banksy's slap at Trump with the revolutionary pretensions of his Teatard supporters:

20160507-donttrumponme.jpg

This would make a fun t-shirt design, don't you think?

Mark Russell & Shannon Wheeler's God Is Disappointed in You is reviewed by BigThink as possibly the first honest Bible:

Written by Mark Russell with illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler, God Is Disappointed in You cuts to the heart of the matter, and sometimes down to the funny bone, to translate the Bible into terms that allow a modern reader to understand the wild, weird, and wonderful "essence" of the Good Book.

David Hart's open letter to Bitches Brew at McSweeney's is hilarious:

Your nearly 90-minute double album has been described as "one of the most remarkable creative statements of the last half-century, in any artistic form." You're also nearly unlistenable to anyone over the age of 15 without massive loads of drugs, and even then you've gotta be kidding me. [...]

But seriously, your title track is almost 27 minutes long. Couldn't lose even one note of "bleebloorfruuuh"? I thought jazz was supposed to be about the space between the notes, but you didn't leave any.

Part of the problem, he continues, is that "jazz music almost always sucks:"

I think it's time for you to go into a bag and off to Housing Works donation bin, where some other moronic teenager can enjoy you and be warped by your awful music.

Thank you, Bitches Brew. Also, fuck you, Bitches Brew. Or, to put it in terms you can understand...

"Fruhfroberderpberderpberderpshweeeeeedo."

new Occupy image

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The OWS movement is inspiring all sorts of creativity:

20111019-occupymordor.jpg

As one commenter wrote:

Republicans say "Don't blame Mordor for being evil, it was the Elves that created the rings of power. The Dark Lord is a job creator for millions of orcs and trolls, so it's time to defund the regulatory agencies like Gondor and Rohan that [prevent] evil from growing."

Today is International Blasphemy Rights Day, on the anniversary of the Danish Mohammed cartoons (see here for my previous comments).

Believers may wish to ignore the inconvenient parts of their scripture, but Leviticus 24:16 clearly demands that I be stoned to death for this offense (among others).

Come at me, bro!

Today's moment of sanity is brought to you by Jon Stewart (h/t: David Taintor at TPM):

Gingrichamesh

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Newt's spokesweasel Rick Tyler fired a floridly full-bore fusillade against critics of his boss:

The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding. Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment's cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won't be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.

It's ridiculous to suggest that Newt is anything but a Washington insider who makes his own living from distortions and falsehoods, but Rachel Maddow ridiculed the statement as "The Epic of Gingrich" for its overblown heroic rhetoric:

The text has also been adapted into a delightful cartoon (h/t: Alex Pareene at Slate):

20110519-newt.jpg

(Click here to see the whole thing.)

I just saw what may be the dumbest bumpersticker ever:

20110512-obamabinbiden.jpg

How stupid are you? Let me count the ways...

John (The Pun Also Rises) Pollack was a guest on NPR's Radio Times this morning, and I emailed a fellow punster out of courtesy. Along with thanks, I received some snark:

I notice the author was a speechwriter for Clinton, so I'm sure he's a master of fiction and fantasy.

My reply, after listening to the interview, began innocuously enough:

I liked the Samuel Johnson quote that was mentioned, but couldn't find an authoritative attribution; here it is anyway, just in case you liked it too:
"If I had hung my head for every pun I shed there would not be a puny shed in which I had not hung my punished head."

[I did find a variant in Get Thee to a Punnery]

Then I ventured forth with a few puns:

The callers to Radio Times have probably been hounded by their friends and family (doggedly so, I would imagine) for being far too tame when confronted with such a renowned punster, but I suspect that they would liken [lycan] the experience to being thrown to the wolves.

I couldn't let the obsession with Clinton slide unnoticed, and I contemplated listing a few WH speechwriters who penned some truly pernicious prevarications--Tony Blankley, Pat Buchanan, David Frum, Michael Gerson, Peggy Noonan, John Podhoretz, Tony Snow, and Ben Stein came to mind most readily--but I decided to try a less inflammatory tactic:

Your remark about Clinton seemed intended to start a flame war; I had originally planned to come out with puns blazing, but instead decided to temper my remarks. I don't want this to become a trial by ire between us, but I'll still give you a little morsel to stew over: I'm glad to see any speechwriter who is primarily a writer and only secondarily a partisan hack [too many to list]. I consume an unhealthy amount of half-baked punditry (little of which is well-done) and find the confluence of style and factual content to be quite rare.


update (5/12):
This fabulous Parthenon of punnery (h/t: Jim Culleny at 3 Quarks Daily) arrived in my RSS feed this morning:

The Agamemnon Rag
.
Atlas, you're Homer. I am so glad you're Hera.
Thera so many things to tell you. I went on that
minotaur of the museum. The new display centaurs
on how you can contract Sisyphus if you don't use
a Trojan on your Dictys. It was all Greek to me, see.
When I was Roman around,
I rubbed Midas against someone. "Medea, you look like a Goddess,"
he said. The Minerva him! I told him to
Frigg off, oracle the cops. "Loki here," I said.
"In Odin times men had better manners." It's best to try
and nymph that sort of thing in the bud. He said he knew
Athena two about women like me, then tried to Bacchus
into a corner. Dryads I could, he wouldn't stop.
"Don't Troy with my affections," he said.
"I'm already going to Helen a hand basket."
I pretended to be completely Apollo by his behavior.
If something like that Mars your day, it Styx with you
forever. "I'm not Bragi," he said. "But Idon better."
Some people will never Lerna. Juno what I did?
Valhalla for help. I knew the police would
Pegasus to the wall. The Sirens went off.
Are you or Argonaut guilty, they asked.
He told the cops he was Iliad bad clams.
He said he accidentally Electra Cupid himself
trying to adjust a lamp shade. This job has its
pluses and Minos. The cops figured he was Fulla it.
He nearly Runic for me. I'm telling you,
it was quite an Odyssey, but I knew things would
Pan out. And oh, by the way, here's all his gold.
I was able to Fleece him before the museum closed.
.
(Jack Conway, from the July/August 2005 issue of Poetry)

Sartre Wars

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"Sartre Wars," "Existentialism and Ewoks"...call it what you will, but this YouTube clip (h/t: Tyler Cowen) of mid-20th-century French philosophy dubbed over Star Wars is pretty funny:

walking dead

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No Gods Allowed points out the most overlooked part of the Easter narrative:

ZOMBIES!!!! We all know the Zombie Jesus story, but a whole crapload of dead people were reanimated just after Jesus H. kicked the can. They took two days fighting their way out of their tombs before running amok within Jerusalem. It's right there in Matthew 27.

For reference, here are the relevant verses (Matthew 27:51-53):

27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

PZ Myers calls this incident the first Zombie Uprising of 33AD, and notes "It's funny how this amazing awesome story didn't make it into any other historical accounts." That's not completely correct, though--there is a painting that we can use as evidence:

20110421-zombiejesus.jpg

remixed ad

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What happens if you add a pint-sized Thor to that classic mini-Vader ad?

This:

Following up on his holiday musings, Ricky Gervais posted an Easter message accompanied by this photo:

20110415-easter.jpg

Gervais writes, "I am of course not a good Christian in the sense that I believe that Jesus was half man, half God, but I do believe I am a good Christian compared to a lot of Christians." After working his way through the Ten Commandments, Gervais observes:

Even if this doesn't prove I am a good Christian it does prove that the Bible is a bit inconsistent, open to interpretation, and a little intolerant.

This is not peculiar to Christianity to be fair. And I like to be fair. Because unlike ALL religions, as an atheist, I treat ALL religions equally.

3eanuts

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Even better than Garfield without Garfield, 3eanuts takes classic Peanuts strips and simply drops the last panel:

20110329-3eanuts.png

Charles Schulz's Peanuts comics often conceal the existential despair of their world with a closing joke at the characters' expense. With the last panel omitted, despair pervades all.

(h/t: Brian Childs at Comics Alliance)


update:
See this WaPo feature for more information.

20110322-manifesto.gif

(h/t: Daily What)

Potential GOP candidate Mike Huckabee shared a Murphy Brown moment with Michael Medved when they were talking about the Oscars:

MEDVED: ...there was one moment where a very brilliant and admirable actress named Natalie Portman won Best Actress, and she won for a movie which I loathed called Black Swan. But in any event, she got up, she was very visibly pregnant, and it's really it's a problem because she's about seven months pregnant, it's her first pregnancy, and she and the baby's father aren't married, and before two billion people, Natalie Portman says, 'Oh I want to thank my love and he's given me the most wonderful gift.' He didn't give her the most wonderful gift, which would be a wedding ring! And it just seems to me that sending that kind of message is problematic.

HUCKABEE: You know Michael, one of the things that's troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, 'Hey look, you know, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children, and they're doing just fine.' [...] ...it's unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock.

I owe an enormous h/t to Evan Hurst at Truth Wins Out for mentioning this awesome-beyond-awesomeness rap by Ms Portman that is a perfect response:

[an uncensored, even-more-NSFW version is here]

random video clips

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That great VW/Vader commercial

now has some outtakes:

This video shows what can be done in a Vegas hotel room with a 2564fps digital camera:

not the only one

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Today's combination of intriguing things is Palin-centric, breaking my too-brief participation in Dana Milbank's month-long Mooselini moratorium. Mock, Paper, Scissors posted this button from today's CPAC gathering:

20110211-palinbutton.jpg

If conservatives can recycle Goldwater's 1964 slogan, we can certainly re-use the Democrats' response:

"In your guts, you know she's nuts."

At a GOProud party, Sophie B Hawkins delivered my Quote of the Day (h/t: David Weigel at Slate):

"I'm not a conservative, but I'd like to [expletive] Sarah Palin."

Here are some reminders that Hawkins is not the only one:

20110211-palinlegs1.jpg
(AP, Gerald Herber)

20110211-palinlegs2.jpg
(Reuters, Carlos Barria)

shame and awe

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This United States of Shame map

20110129-shame.jpg

has been countered with this United States of Awesome map:

20110129-awesome.jpg
[slightly reformatted for ease of comparison]

The characteristics chosen yield some interesting combinations, such as infertile Vermonters who are otherwise healthy. One might be tempted to mock Utah's happy porn users or Mississippi's fat church-goers, but avoid picking on Pennsylvania's hunters--doing so might get your house burned down.

Ohio's nerdy library users, however, make that state sound positively enticing.

Bill Maher has some thoughts on how socialism makes the NFL great:

It's no surprise that some 100 million Americans will watch the Super Bowl next week - that's [...] 85 million more than watched the last game of the World Series, and in that is an economic lesson for America. Because football is built on an economic model of fairness and opportunity, and baseball is built on a model where the rich almost always win and the poor usually have no chance.

Maher continues with the observation that "football is more like the Democratic philosophy:"

Democrats don't want to eliminate capitalism or competition, but they'd like it if some kids didn't have to go to a crummy school in a rotten neighborhood while others get to go to a great school and their Dad gets them into Harvard. Because when that happens "achieving the American dream" is easy for some, and just a fantasy for others.

That's why the NFL runs itself in a way that would fit nicely on Glenn Beck's chalkboard - they literally share the wealth, through salary caps and revenue sharing - TV is their biggest source of revenue, and they put all of it in a big commie pot and split it 32 ways. Because they don't want anyone to fall too far behind. That's why the team that wins the Super Bowl picks last in the next draft. Or what the Republicans would call "punishing success." [...]

So, you kind of have to laugh - the same angry white males who hate Obama because he's "redistributing wealth" just love football, a sport that succeeds economically because it does exactly that.

To top it off, I'll add a football joke:

Q: What do you call a bunch of guys sitting at home watching the Super Bowl on TV?

A: The Philadelphia Eagles.

20110129-toomuchcrazy.jpg
Tomorrow, Tom. Too Much Crazy (Berkeley: Soft Skull Press, 2011)

Under the pseudonym Tom Tomorrow, cartoonist Dan Perkins has spent the last twenty years skewering various political foibles and fallacies in his strip This Modern World (website, Wikipedia). His previous collections (including 2008's The Future's So Bright, I Can't Bear to Look) have just been joined by his ninth book: Too Much Crazy. It covers the period from mid-2008 through mid-2010, with Obama's election serving as prelude to the, well, craziness that the Right has foisted upon us since. (The Left's craziness has largely been limited to wishful thinking that Obama is anything but a centrist, a belief that the author ridicules several times.)

In his introduction, Tom Tomorrow laments a prominent crazy component of today's media, "The constant unending refrain, the low keening wail that just seems to grow louder every day:"

Obama's a Marxist, a fascist, a Muslim; progressives have a century-long plan devised by Woodrow Wilson to overthrow capitalism itself, blah blah blah blah--if you're paying the least little bit of attention, you've heard it all out there. [...] There was a time when we might have been able to at least politely pretend that most of the people around us had some tenuous connection to sanity, but thanks to chat boards and comments sections and Tea Party tallies and those aging standbys, talk radio and Fox News, we have all been thoroughly disabused of that notion. Now we know all too well just how much crazy there is around us at every moment. (p. xxiii, Introduction: When the Levee Breaks)

Here are links to a few of my favorites from the book, beginning with a memento from the early 2009 "post-partisan" moment in "Wrong about Everything" (1/7/2009, p. 35):
20110129-postpartisan.jpg

Glenn Beck's conspiracy theories take a hit in "Democrats Are Fascists" (4/15/2009, p. 48),
20110129-liberalfascists.jpg

along with double standards on political rhetoric in "Then and Now with Goofus & Gallant" (9/9/2009, p. 63),
20110129-goofusgallant.jpg

Tom Tomorrow examines anti-abortion self-righteousness in the "Rightwingoverse" (6/10/2009, p. 78)
20110129-rightwingoverse.jpg

and his "All the Rage" is, sadly, as relevant as ever (4/6/2010, p. 93)
20110129-alltherage.jpg

Sparky the Penguin asks "WWSAD?" (4/26/2010, p. 96)
20110129-wwsad.jpg

and Obama is exposed as a "Far-Left Radical" (6/8/2010, p. 104)
20110129-farleftradical.jpg

If this sampling intrigues you, please visit the cartoon's archives at This Modern World and Salon--then go out and buy some of his books. Independent newspapers don't support political cartoons like they used to, so it's up to readers to pick up the slack!

After the House GOP Teabagged the Constitution last week, David Cole penned a bitingly sarcastic Conservative Constitution of the United States. My favorite parts are the Preamble,

We, the Real Americans, in order to form a more God-Fearing Union, establish Justice as we see it, Defeat Health-Care Reform, and Preserve and Protect our Property, our Guns and our Right Not to Pay Taxes, do ordain and establish this Conservative Constitution for the United States of Real America.

the passage about presidential eligibility,

No person except a natural born Citizen who can produce video, photographic or eyewitness evidence of birth in a non-island American State shall be eligible to the Office of President.

and the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law abridging the Freedom of Speech, except where citizens desecrate the Flag of the United States; respecting an establishment of Religion, except to support Christian schools, religious apparitions in food products and the display of crosses and creches in public places; or abridging the free exercise of Religion, except to block the construction of mosques in sensitive areas as determined by Florida Pastors or the Fox News Channel.

The rest of it is pretty good, too.

More seriously, People for the American Way discusses Teabaggers' real Constitutional philosophy in the report Corporate Infusion (PDF). PFAW notes that "Despite all the hype, the Tea Party is not a 'populist,' 'libertarian,' or 'constitutionalist' movement:"

Rather, it is a movement of grassroots frustration that has been co-opted by wealthy corporate interests to fight against the historic victories of Populism, against the key movements for civil liberties and civil rights, and against modern constitutional principles...

In addition, the report debunks "the boastful and ubiquitous claim that the Tea Party speaks for liberty and freedom:"

Tea Party activists may dress themselves up in colonial garb and swear their devotion to the Constitution. But the Constitution they revere is not the real one, but only a projection of their own reactionary desires. [...]

The much-trumpeted passion for "liberty" in the Tea Party has little to do with promoting the actual freedom of citizens... [...] The freedom being advanced is not the freedom of people; it is overwhelmingly the freedom of corporate capital. [...]

If the Tea Party's political project is populism, it is corporate populism; if it is libertarianism, it is corporate libertarianism; and if it is constitutionalism, it is corporate constitutionalism. These are strange hybrids that prior generations of Americans fighting for popular democracy and freedom would recognize as laughable contradictions in terms.

"Rhetorical gestures aside," observes the report, "the real-world political program of the [Tea Party] movement and its elected officials...is all about tightening the stranglehold of corporate power over American political institutions:"

It is now up to Americans who remember what the real Populists fought for, who love the real Constitution and Bill of Rights, and who cherish real liberty to reclaim these words and defend the ideals of America.

The Right's long effort to co-opt patriotism has been--at least in the popular mind--largely successful; we can't let them steal the Constitution, too.

Senator Arlen Specter's new career will be teaching law at Penn. I wonder if he'll be reprising his famous "not proved" vote from Clinton's impeachment, perhaps by teaching a course entitled "LAW 101: Guilty, Not Guilty, or Something Else"?

This update to A Charlie Brown Christmas (h/t: PZ Myers at Pharyngula) made my day:

20101222-charliebrownxmas.jpg

After the decades-long relentless Christianization of practically every square inch of our culture, it's nice to see a little bit of truth breaking through here and there...bravo!

multiple holidays

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Today certainly qualifies as a multiple-holiday day: it's Winter Solstice, there was a total lunar eclipse [see also NASA and Sky & Telescope], and it's both the final day of Zappadan and International Rush Day.

I saw some of the eclipse this morning--the first one on the Winter Solstice for over four centuries--while I was out for a slightly-earlier-than-usual run. Despite my thirst after the first few miles, I heeded Zappa's advice and stayed well clear of the yellow snow:

I would have loved a few of these yellow snow cupcakes after I got home, though:

20101221-yellowsnowcupcakes.jpg

Speaking of Zappa, I finally finished reading the MOJO special issue on him and his work:
20101221-zappamojo.jpg

It was an interesting read, and now I need to find one of these buttons:
20101221-zappabutton.jpg

Last but not least, it's also International Rush Day (Americans write today's date as 12/21, but it's 21/12 for much of the rest of the world).

Whatever you choose to celebrate, don't forget that axial tilt is the reason for the season!

20091221-axialtilt.png

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