This week is Bike to Work Week in Washington, D.C., which is a perfect opportunity to point out why the vast majority of bikers are huge jerks who ruin the road for the rest of us. I’m not saying they’re jerks all the time; just when they’re on their bikes. Kind of like how someone turns into a Mr Hyde version of himself when he climbs into a Prius.
I’m not even saying all bikers are this awful. Just most of them. Enough of them to give bikers a bad rep, even when some of us actually try to be considerate, safe, and respectful. So this Bike to Work Week, please do bike to work — just don’t be a jerk about it.
5. Biking on the road, without following the rules of the road
You know what I’m talking about — the bikers who use the bike lane or actually drive in the traffic lanes, but breeze through stop signs without pause, creep past red lights, cross lanes when they turn, and generally act like the rest of traffic should bend around them. This is incredibly unsafe — for bikers, drivers, and pedestrians. As someone who walks to work every day here in D.C., I could count on two hands (and a few toes) the number of times I’ve nearly been run down by a bike that had no intention of stopping for a red. Hills are no excuse. If your brakes are too poor to come to a full stop when you’re pointing downhill — or your legs are too weak to stop then start again while climbing uphill — then you shouldn’t be biking on the road. Get in shape, get a tune-up, and come back when you’re ready to bike safely.
Leave it to Salman Rushdie to bring back the Left’s favorite stratagem: moral equivalence. During the Cold War, leftists used to say the following: “Sure, the Soviets are doing bad things, but so is the United States.” Those a bit more to the left would advance the argument, and say: “The Soviets do terrible things, but the U.S. is responsible, since its leaders view them, as Reagan did, as ‘the evil empire.’ Since we won’t accommodate their just demands, they have to respond to us with hostility.” Those even further to the left would push the analogy even further, arguing: “The Soviets may do some bad things, but at least they stand on the side of progressive change. The U.S., on the other hand, oppresses Third World peoples and supports right-wing reactionary regimes all over the world.”
A good example of the old moral equivalence was to equate the Gulag in the Soviet Union, in which hundreds of thousands were imprisoned, starved to death and executed in massive frame-ups, with McCarthyism in the United States. During the so-called McCarthy era, relatively few were imprisoned or lost their livelihoods, and many actually guilty of being actual Soviet agents portrayed themselves as innocents accused because of their political views. Yet the Left in America argued both were the same.
Now Salman Rushdie has a lot to be wary of. After the Iranian revolution, the late Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa along with a reward for anyone who murdered him. Because of his novel The Satanic Verses, Rushdie had to go into hiding in different safe houses for a number of years, while under the protection of the British government. Intellectuals and writers in the West rallied to his defense. Eventually, Rushdie came into the open, moved to the United States, and became a favorite in the celebrity world, as well as a best-selling novelist.
In The Company You Keep, Robert Redford stars in as well as directs a story of an ex-Weather Underground radical who has been living quietly as a public-interest lawyer in upstate New York for more than 30 years. His true identity is discovered by an annoying reporter (Shia LaBeouf) after the apprehension of one of his co-conspirators (Susan Sarandon), who was one of four terrorists who robbed a bank and murdered several security guards in the process.
Redford, that noted “liberal activist,” shows where his sympathies truly are. This is a movie that argues:
1. The Weathermen were fighting for peace.
The Company You Keep begins with a montage of real news clips (and a fake one) edited together to tell the story that the Weather Underground grew out of the antiwar group Students for a Democratic Society and that its activities were meant to end the Vietnam War by “bringing the war home.” Nonsense. The Weathermen loved war and wanted more of it. They were a murderous group of Black Power and Marxist revolutionaries bent on the violent overthrow of the United States. After the 1970 accidental explosion that killed several terrorists who blew themselves up with their own bombs in a downtown New York City townhouse, the true intent of the bombs was revealed: They were meant to be used to blow up a library on the campus of Columbia University. Not exactly a military target.
Governor Mick Huckabee, now a TV and radio talk-show host, seems to be a nice guy. He is kind to everyone and seemingly wants everyone to like him. Unlike other media hosts, he regularly features as guests those with whom conservatives disagree. When The Iron Lady came out in 2011, Huckabee invited on actress Meryl Streep to discuss her performance of Margaret Thatcher. I recall her nervousness as she clearly feared being the guest of a well-known social conservative with whom she had profound disagreements. The governor quickly put her at ease, and showed that he truly wanted to make her welcome.
Sometimes this works. But yesterday, Huckabee revealed the dangers of such a stance. He had as guests on his radio program none other than Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, there to give their TV series, The Untold History of the United States, more publicity and attention. Listen to the interview, and you will find one of the most disgraceful interviews by a conservative that you will ever hear.
You might expect that Huckabee (or his staff) would have done some homework and, if he chose to have these two advocates of what Roger L. Simon rightfully calls “Stalin porn” on his program, asked them challenging questions. If so, you will be waiting a long, long time. Instead of asking them any tough questions at all, Huckabee allowed them to use their assigned time to spout leftist propaganda without any objection or disagreement. Indeed, at one point, historian Kuznick praised Joseph Stalin and chastised the United States during World War II for not doing Stalin’s bidding, arguing that the U.S. could have come to their aid earlier and not refused a second front in Europe when Stalin wanted it. After all, Kuznick said, Stalin was “anti-fascist” when no other powers were.
Clearly, Kuznick does not realize that in fact Stalin was preparing his alliance with the Nazis during the period of the Nazi-Soviet Pact way before it was announced, and the nature of his anti-fascism was spurious to the core. Indeed, as Foreign Minister Molotov had said in a famous statement, “fascism is a matter of taste.” The NKVD gave advice and aid to the Gestapo, among other things, and the two totalitarian leaders easily accommodated their ideological differences to work together against the West.
Did Huckabee challenge this statement? Not once. Nor did he object when the two repeated their argument about the unnecessary A-bombs dropped on Japan and the United States’ true purpose as a permanent militaristic power based on hegemonic domination of the world on behalf of American corporations.
Dr. Tom Perez is a retired chiropractor in Houston, TX. He lives with his wife Monica, daughter Kat, and sons Tommy and Matthew, and they prepare for a terrorist attack (specifically, a radiological dirty bomb). If that happens, and society panics, Dr. Perez plans to bug out to a 700-acre ranch 300 miles to the west in Bracketville, TX, near the Mexican border.
Brackettville was once home to Fort Clark, home to horse-mounted cavalry units from the 1850s up until World War II. It is perhaps best known as the location in which John Wayne starred as Davy Crockett in The Alamo. The Perez family compound borrowed that name for their two limestone homes… rather macabre, when you consider the name is synonymous with a doomed last stand.
Doomsday Preppers, by it’s very nature (hint, the title includes “Doomsday”), finds the most extreme preppers, and the Perez family breaks the mold in more ways than one. The family has spent ten years and more than $2 million to build the compound into a prepper’s fortress, which is to my knowledge the most money spent by any prepper in any season of the show. He has a windmill and concrete cisterns of more than 2,000 gallons.
The two buildings boast bullet-resistant walls, steel bars over the windows, security cameras, and the entire compound is surrounded by a 7′ high barbed-wire fence. He’s “contaminated” 10 percent of the food and water as a trap for those who would steal from him. He has 46,000 rounds of ammunition, enough cartridges, as the narrator points out, to shoot everyone in the entire county 12 times.
In 1972 (or what I like to refer to as “prehistoric times” before cell phones, internet or cable) I was a junior at Needham High School in Needham, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.
In homeroom, my assigned seat was next to a student named Peter, who my friends had designated “most likely to die of a drug overdose.” But Peter, despite “having issues,” had cultivated a reputation for being on the cutting edge of rock music hip-ness.
So one day during homeroom “quiet time,” I passed Peter a note asking what bands he was currently listening to and he wrote back Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and Fleetwood Mac.
These names fascinated me because I had yet to hear of any of them.
Why do I even remember this note passing incident from 40 years ago?
Two reasons: first, as predicted, not long after high school Peter tragically died of a drug overdose. And second, the music of the bands named in Peter’s note formed a prophetic soundtrack for my life in the years ahead.
Starting in September of 1973, Pink Floyd and I had a monumental first meeting during my freshman year at Ohio State University. The experience resulted in lifelong friendship bonds chronicled here a few months ago.
Then there is Black Sabbath, or rather Ozzy Osbourne. Although I was never a big fan of his, the lyrics, “I am going off the rails of the crazy train” is a favorite phrase that occasionally pops up in my writing, but more often in conversation when I am describing the current state of our nation.
But most prophetic was Fleetwood Mac, a band with whom I had a love affair which lasted years. Later in 1972 a friend introduced me to their new album called Bare Trees. A good album I thought, but not life altering.
But in 1977, during my senior year in college, Fleetwood Mac released the album Rumours and that was life altering. Songs from Rumours were always playing in the background as I transitioned from college to Washington D.C with first jobs and first marriage.
I will not bore you with all the tawdry details of why I am so emotionally tied to this album, but please do write some comments about yours! For if you are about my age I know you have some, because this album greatly impacted millions of baby boomers.
Especially one 1946 “first crop” baby boomer by the name of Bill Clinton, who in 1992 revived the popularity of Rumours and Fleetwood Mac by choosing Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow as his presidential campaign theme song.
President Clinton even convinced the band to get back together to play at his 1993 inaugural ball.
Back in the late 70’s, due to the popularity of Rumours, I discovered the first and only album by Lindsey Buckingham and Steve Nicks entitled Buckingham Nicks. This spectacular album, largely forgotten and never released on CD, was a foreshadowing of this duo’s future greatness. Here is the entire album if you have never heard it.
So in honor of Rumours, Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey, Stevie and Peter (may he rest in peace) what shall we drink?
Absolutely nothing but spring water! Because this morning I am sitting in Manitou Springs, Colorado elevation 6,412 feet with a pounding headache that started last night after I imbibed three glasses of Pinot Noir with my dinner of wild boar spare ribs and a few bites of my husband’s antelope.
Apparently, since I now live at sea level (literally next to the sea), an elevation of 6,412 feet and wine do not make beautiful music together for this aging baby boomer.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone and may I recommend that your family along with ours sing this really classic song before dinner.
And will someone please try that “favorite rock song conversation game” I wrote about recently over the long holiday weekend when gossiping about other family members finally runs dry?
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
Where have our brains gone? It’s true, humans have short memories. Case in point, the re-election of Jerry Brown as the Governor of California. (Quick reference; Village News Jerry Brown’s past performance should not be overlooked.) But when did we become so mindless, making reality television such a large source of our entertainment? Of course it’s not just television and film media, it’s the printed media as well. There are very few places you can go where one of your senses is not assaulted by some sort of reporting about yet another mindless event or story.
Rag magazines have been around for years reporting on UFOs and on things such as assassination attempts or conspiracy theories. Those stories are becoming more of the past, which would be fine if they weren’t being replaced with stories such as the size of Kim Kardashian’s tush. Do we really care, and if so, why? Why is there even a discussion about whether she has had tushie enhancement or not? Honestly, doesn’t that sort of journalism make you feel as if you’re getting a bum deal when spending your money on this magazine or others like it?
It seems to me that as our economy continues to spiral downward, the search for a quick, easy buck has also reached an unenviable low…. reality TV. Forget the game shows. Those garner the contestants one shot at a prize that may or may not include money, and there’s always a catch. The catch here is that you have to win the game to win the prize. If you don’t, too bad, so sad. You’ve wasted a day and have nothing to show for it except possibly a little humiliation.
Ah, but with reality t.v., a person can become famous even when lacking any kind of extraordinary talent or skill. It’s as if today’s television show producers have found a way to bring back the circus sideshows that were banned so many years ago.
How did Honey Boo Boo become America’s darling? The show has been great for the cheese ball industry, but probably not very encouraging to those watching the show and trying to stay on a diet. Is it possible to watch that show without a bag of cheese curls in hand? Watching as Honey Boo Boo’s mom lifts her multiple chins to show the camera the crust that has accumulated under those folds of fat is more nauseating than when she’s feeling sexy and throws kisses to the viewers, yet the number of viewers continue to rise. As a matter of fact, Honey Boo Boo’s August 29th episode drew more adult viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 than did the Fox News coverage of the Republican National Convention. Trying hard not to be out done was the September 5th episode which tied in viewership with CNN’s coverage of the Democratic National Convention.
Toddlers and Tiaras breakout star Alana Thompson a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo earned her own reality spin-off, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, this year. Now Comedy Central is turning the 7-year-old into a South Park character.
Cartoon versions of Honey Boo Boo and her mother, June Shannon, will appear in Wednesday’s South Park episode in which “Cartman discovers he has a rival in America’s Sweetheart, Honey Boo Boo.”
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
I like reading college newspapers to get a feel for the culture on campus. Today, I was reading The Stanford Daily and an article on the front page caught my eye. The article, “Groups react to sexual batteries” under “crime and safety” reminded me of how advice from politically correct women’s groups can actually be harmful to women. Unfortunately, I could not find the article online but I will summarize it for you.
A male suspect has been groping and attempting to sexually assault women — two of whom were in public places and another who was on a foot path. The police believe the same man may have perpetrated these three incidents and recommended that pedestrians be more aware of their surroundings and “women jog in pairs or small groups whenever possible.”
Good advice, right? “No” according to the Stanford Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse (SARA) office: “To suggest that someone can employ certain tactics to ward off an offender–particularly when caught off guard during blitz attacks such as these–can be victim-blaming.”
This office goes on to encourage students to do whatever makes them feel “safe and empowered in public spaces and behind closed doors, but prefer not to give advice on self-defense.” The director of the Women’s Community Center at Stanford stated “We don’t advocate using self-defense as a prevention measure for a sexual assault or rape or relationship abuse because it’s not prevention.”
Huh? The woman attacked on a secluded foot path struggled out of a bear-hug by a perpetrator. Is that too much self-defense for these damsels of political correctness? They would rather a woman not use or learn self-defense to protect herself because to do so would somehow be victim-blaming? Do they really think the perp doing this is going to stop himself and say “no, this is wrong?” Perhaps if these sanctimonious women would come out of their cocoon long enough to join us in the real world, they would realize that the police officers’ advice is sound. There will always be people in the world, both men and women, out to harm others. You cannot wish that away, no matter how much you may wish to do so.
Cassy Fiano has a post here at PJ Lifestyle entitled “Five Things Men Do That Secretly Annoy Women.” I have to say that I read it with amusement, especially when Fiano’s main question seems to be “What’s the deal with all the toilet time?”:
…what is it about men and taking forever in the bathroom? Now that there are smart phones and tablets, the problem’s even worse. There are endless forms of bathroom entertainment nowadays for men to take advantage of, which means that men have an excuse to take even longer to spend an hour doing something that really, should only take two minutes. And why is that? Sure, you can sit in there and play Angry Birds to your heart’s content. But couldn’t you just do that, I don’t know, on the couch or something?
When I was researching my forthcoming book called “Male Strike:” Society’s War on Men,” I wrote a section on the decline of male space, even in their own home. Brett McKay, the author of The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man had this to say about a man’s lowly position in their own house in modern times:
The rise of suburban culture with its emphasis on creating a domestic nest, usually meant sacrificing male space for the good of the family. Home designs in the 1950s exchanged the numerous, smaller rooms of the Victorian home for fewer, larger rooms. The goal was to create more open space where families could congregate together and bond while watching the Honeymooners on TV.
With no room to call their own, men were forced to build their male sanctuaries in the most uninhabitable parts of a home. Garages, attics, and basements quickly became the designated space for men, while the women and children had free reign over the rest of the house.
Commenters to Fiano’s post on all that bathroom time reiterated what many men feel, they have no space at home of their own so they have taken to using the toilet as a sanctuary:
I heard one older guy claim that his wife had completely taken over the rest of the house so the bathroom was the only place he felt was his own.
I remember my grand dad– when he got home from work, he’d have a glass of bourbon and read the paper. Today… if a man ever sits down in the presence of his wife, she’ll (a) complain about how tough her life is, (b) start a fight about something, or (c) iterate through the “honey do” list.
So men have made the toilet into their sanctuary. Maybe asking why these “annoying” men spend so much time in the toilet is the wrong question and the right one is: why don’t men have anywhere else in the house to go to get some peace and quiet?
Maybe, maybe not, but if you’re going to be honest with yourself and those around you, you’d admit that you hate people too. With the loss of common sense, politeness, and consideration by most, how could you not? It seems that “kindness to others” has been placed on a shelf next to the good china to be taken out and “used” only on special occasions. Let’s face it, people wander through life taking care of their daily business oblivious to those around them unless of course they may somehow be affected by an encounter with another.
I can see that you don’t believe me. You are either not paying attention, which launches you right into the middle of the oblivious, or you are surrounded by a much better breed of people than I. Since I don’t know your situation, I can only share a few of my daily experiences so you don’t think I’m lying.
Often times my daily chores take me to the grocery store. Honest to goodness, I have never asked anyone to allow me to go in front of them, but somehow my time is rarely considered as valuable as the person behind me. On one particular day, I was in line in, my cart moderately full. I had been waiting my turn patiently for about ten minutes when I was approached from behind by a lady (I use that term loosely).
“‘Scuse me, ‘scuse me lady…let me go in front of you. I have only this, I’m in a hurry.”
Granted, she was polite, she did say “‘Scuse me” as she held up her item. I was annoyed. Aren’t patrons like her the reason there are lines for those with “15 items or less”? As I said, I had been waiting my turn and had other things I needed to do. Reluctantly, I allowed the woman with the one item to go in front of me. As she maneuvered past me, she looked back, waving her hand yelling, “Over here!” I turned to look in the same direction as the lady who had just moved to the front of the line, in front of me. With G-d as my witness, I was nearly knocked down by another woman barreling towards me with a grocery cart so full the wheels were about to click off.
As this woman pushed past me running over my toes, she looked over her shoulder and spat out “Watch it lady, I’m with her….” In that one quick minute, these two women accomplished a feat those who know me thought impossible: they made me speechless. I think I was in shock until after the checker began ringing their order, and then it was too late. With my jaw still hanging open ten minutes later when my order was finally being checked, I was asked if I required medical attention or perhaps a chair on which to sit since I didn’t look well.
Still don’t believe me? Okay, let’s go to the movies. If you want to see a movie without the probability of being hit in the head with flying objects, it is suggested that adults go to evening movies. It’s a great suggestion, even if you take into account that the person in front of you may be hard of hearing, and his partner may repeat the entire dialogue of the movie at the top of her lungs, don’t you think? (Yes, it really happened!) Probably less noise, chances of crying infants should be way down, flying objects should not be a worry. Huh, ya think? My girlfriend and I one day decided to take in a “chick flick” choosing an evening show. It was a seven o’clock movie; we figured that would work.
We bought our tickets, loaded up on the popcorn and drinks, and in we went to a half filled theater. Perfect.
We picked our seats and settled in for a hopefully enjoyable two hours. No sooner than the lights dimmed and the previews started, a phone rang. At first I thought it was one of those clever movie commercials reminding viewers to be polite and turn off their phones. Unfortunately, I was wrong. A person a mere four rows back answered her phone, speaking as if she were enjoying a cup of coffee at her kitchen table with a couple of friends. I’d like to report that she immediately told the caller that she was in a movie theater and she’ll return the call later, but that was not in the cards.
Ed Driscoll and I had fun last week with my brainwave about the preposterously-named Adam Smith’s freakish drive-by harassment of a (preternaturally Zen) Chick-Fil-A employee.
I was struck by the incident’s similarity to the famous “diner” scene in Five Easy Pieces (1970), right down to the “chicken”:
Ed quoted a film critic who held up that scene “as the point where American movies began to celebrate gratuitous anger.”
Anyone who’s watched other drivers careen out of the parking lot after the latest Fast & Furious movie has to admit that films affect our behavior; that cinematic ideas and attitudes trickle into the cultural water table, and sometimes pollute it.
To take one trivial instance: I’ve written before about the influence all those 1970s “Satanic children” flicks had on my decision not to have kids.
Three other movie tropes from that era impacted audiences in ways that continue today.
(Language and content warning:)
Last month Dr. Helen blogged about the development of sex-robots.
Now Susannah Breslin — the most talented journalist writing about pornography today — has a fascinating report on an industry in transformation.
Fixx is the market research manager for the Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network, an online adult company that bills itself on its website as “THE #1 ADULT VIDEO ON DEMAND THEATER IN THE WORLD!” Among other properties, AEBN owns PornoTube, an X-rated YouTube, and xPeeps, an adult webcam site that encourages users to “xpose yourself.” It also produces the product Fixx is hawking.
I stick my finger into the rubbery, flesh-colored slit on the side of a plastic grey peanut the size of a very large loaf of bread. This is RealTouch, an “award-winning male masturbator” designed by a former NASA engineer that syncs with adult movies to simulate sex for the male with which it is interacting through your computer’s USB port. The device retails for $325, and the package includes 120 RealTouch VOD minutes, anti-bacterial cleaner, and a 90-day limited warranty.
More recently, the company has begun marketing the RealTouch JoyStick, the lingam to the RealTouch’s yoni, which is to say it looks like a dildo. Available only to adult webcam models at this time, the joystick serves as a remote control for the RealTouch device, enabling users in remote locations to have “True Internet Sex™!”
Per Fixx’s instruction, Savannah Steele, a busty blonde porn star in a lab coat, moves the joystick, and the mechanism tightens around my finger and increases speed.
“It feels like having sex with a robot,” I announce. I extract my finger and wipe it off with a wet wipe from the box on the table.
Earlier this year I reviewed Doug Rushkoff’s graphic novel A.D.D Adolescent Demo Division. The sci-fi vision of a near-future with hyper media-savvy youth. He predicted this development and also the response many Millennials will have:
Today the Hollywood-gossip and 20-something-fan-girl sets are reeling over revelations that Kristen Stewart cheated on longtime boyfriend Robert Pattinson with the married director of her latest movie Snow White and the Huntsman. There are many snarky comments about how Stewart was so bold as to cheat on one of the most sought-after hunks in Hollywood. The fans and gossips are combing through old interviews and appearances looking for explanations. The whys won’t be found in such details — they’re in our society, in what we teach young women and men about love and commitment.
These days, we tell teens that their 20s are for living their life, doing their own thing, experimenting, experiencing. So if a girl meets Mr. Wonderful in her early 20s, when things turn to serious talks about marriage and children, she freaks out. Her friends, her sisters, sometimes her mother — they have told her it is too soon. If she goes so far as to get engaged, we women stage interventions. Granted, sometimes marriage is too soon. Other times the couple isn’t a good match. But we don’t typically weigh the relationships with a little discounting of the judgment of a younger woman. We take her youth as the decisive factor.
In so doing, we create the very immaturity we use as evidence of their immaturity.
Manolo says, on the occasion of the actress Katie Holmes announcing her divorce from her husband of six years, the petite superstar, Tom Cruise, the Manolo is reminded of something that he noticed when the romance was in full blossom seven years ago. Tom Cruise’s body language was most peculiar, it was, the Manolo noted at the time, as if he were “trying to choke the Xenu right out of her.”
Here are the few samples…
Yes, Tom Cruise’s pimp hand was strong.
Indeed, over and over again, at least the dozen times, Tom Cruise was photographed grabbing Katie Holmes by the neck, so many times, and so hard, that the Manolo began to refer to it as the “Death Grip of Super Masculinity”.
It was very peculiar, and clearly did not bode well for the long term viability of this marriage.
Of the course, the Manolo has more thoughts at his humble shoe blog, including who he thinks will be next for Tom.
A man who haunts Central Park dressed as Elmo, the lovable Sesame Street character, was handcuffed by New York City cops yesterday and whisked away in an ambulance after he launched into one of his trademark anti-Semitic rants.
The unidentified man, who police say was not arrested, was removed from the vicinity of the Central Park Zoo, where he has alternately posed for photos with park visitors, screamed curses, and launched into diatribes about assorted Jewish conspiracies.
For instance, last week the man was filmed loudly complaining that he was not making money because “the Jewish cops” were harassing him. He also suggested that parkgoers read “The International Jew,” a notorious series of anti-Semitic pamphlets distributed about 90 years ago by the auto magnate Henry Ford.
I’m having a hard time finding it that funny given the related news in New York City…
And on the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt, Barry Rubin: Egypt: A Muslim Brotherhood President Does Not Prove That We Are All ‘Chimps’ and David P. Goldman: Egypt ‘Another Gaza’ with Obama Administration Backing