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Quotes of the day: Wil Wheaton
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Published Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 12:31 AM EDT
Jul 29 2014


(Wheaton currently hosts The Wil Wheaton Project Tuesdays at 10 pm on the Syfy Network.)

Richard William "Wil" Wheaton III (b. July 29, 1972) is an American actor, blogger and writer, known for his portrayals of Wesley Crusher on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gordie Lachance in the film Stand by Me, Joey Trotta in Toy Soldiers, and for his recurring role as a fictionalized version of himself on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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Don’t let the fear of not pleasing someone stop you from being creative.

Either you have a sense of humor about (being a former child star), or you're in rehab. There's not a lot of gray area.

If the world were a bar, America would currently be the angry drunk waving around a loaded gun. Yeah, the other people in the bar may be afraid of him, but they sure as hell don't respect him.

No matter what I do with my life, or how successful I am, I will always be a socially awkward penguin inside.

Some days, you're just going to be Sideshow Bob, and the world is going to be a dozen rakes.

When you say a 'former child star,' you may as well say 'failed child star.'

When I was a little boy, I was called a nerd all the time because I didn't like sports, I loved to read, I liked math and science, I thought school was really cool, and... it hurt. A lot. Because it's never ok when a person makes fun of you for something like you didn't choose... we don't choose to be nerds. We can't help it that we like these things, and we shouldn't apologize for liking these things.

I wish that I could tell you that there is a really easy way to just... not care. But the truth is it hurts. But here's the thing that you might be able to understand- as a matter of fact, I'm confident you'll be able to understand this, because you asked this question.

When a person makes fun of you, when a person is cruel to you... it has nothing to do with you. It's not about what you said, it's not about what you did, it's not about what you love. It's about them feeling bad about themselves. They feel sad. They don't get positive attention from their parents. They don't feel as smart as you. They don't understand the things that you understand.

Maybe one of their parents is really pushing them to be a cheerleader, or a baseball player, or an engineer, or something that they just don't want to do. So they take that out on you, because they can't go and be mean to the person who's actually hurting them.

So, when a person's cruel to you like that- I know that this is hard- but honestly, the kind and best reaction is to pity them. And don't let them make you feel bad because you love a thing. Maybe find out what they love, and talk about it- how they love it. I bet you'll find out that a person who loves tetherball loves tetherball exactly the same way you love Doctor Who. But you just love different things.

And I will tell you this: it absolutely gets better as you get older. I know it's really hard when you're in school and you're surrounded by the same 400 people a day that pick on you and make you feel bad about yourself. But there's fifty thousand people here this weekend who went through the exact same thing- and we're all doing really well.

Don't you ever let persons make you feel bad because you love something they decided is only for nerds. You're loving a thing that's for you.
-Wil Wheaton, responding to a question from a young girl at the 2013 Denver Comic Con.


Categories: Quotes of the day, Video, Wil Wheaton, YouTube


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Now THIS is an error message
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Published Friday, July 11, 2014 @ 3:48 PM EDT
Jul 11 2014


(Mediocre Laboratories' web form error message.)

From the guy who invented and sold Woot!, meh.com.


Categories: Computers, meh.com, Music, Video, WTF?, YouTube


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Signs of the Apocalypse, #911...
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Published Wednesday, July 09, 2014 @ 9:30 AM EDT
Jul 09 2014

... when Jesse Ventura is the voice of reason:

This is simply the protection of religion, again, to gain its foothold into our state houses, and to inflict their beliefs on people like me that don't want to believe what they believe.

You listening to me out there? I don't want to believe what you believe, and you can't make me. And you never will. Enough of this.

You have your religion, you're free to practice it, but stop bringing it into the state house and stop trying to pass now federal laws that protect you.

When the churches start paying taxes, then the church can have a say so."


Categories: Church and State, First Amendment, Jesse Ventura, Religion, Signs of the Apocalypse, Supreme Court, Video, YouTube


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Quotes of the day: Anna Quindlen
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Published Monday, July 07, 2014 @ 8:15 PM EDT
Jul 07 2014

Anna Marie Quindlen (b July 8, 1952) is an American author, journalist, and opinion columnist whose New York Times column, Public and Private, won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1992. She began her journalism career in 1974 as a reporter for the New York Post. Between 1977 and 1994 she held several posts at The New York Times. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)

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A finished person is a boring person.

Acts of bravery don't always take place on battlefields. They can take place in your heart, when you have the courage to honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations, and yes, your soul by listening to its clean, clear voice of direction instead of following the muddied messages of a timid world.

And sometimes you do everything right and something bad just happens. It's as simple, and as scary, as that.

But never fear, gentlemen; castration was really not the point of feminism, and we women are too busy eviscerating one another to take you on.

Catastrophe is numerical. Loss is singular, one beloved at a time.

Control is a nice concept, little more.

[Dr. Seuss] is remembered for the murder of Dick and Jane, which was a mercy killing of the highest order.

For the young the days go fast and the years go slow; for the old the days go slow and the years go fast.

Guilt is what separates humans from animals.

Have you ever noticed that what passes as a terrific man would only be an adequate woman?

Here is one of the worst things about having someone you love die: It happens again every single morning.

I conveniently forgot to remember that people only have two hands, or, as another parent once said of having a third child, it's time for a zone defense instead of man-to-man.

I have a cat, the pet that ranks just above a throw pillow in terms of required responsibility.

I know from experience that those least capable of truly assessing any marriage are the children who come out of it. We style them as we need them, to excuse our faults, to insulate ourselves from our own expendability or indispensability.

I would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.

If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.

It's only before realities set in that we can treasure our delusions.

Maybe crazy is just the word we use for feelings that will not be contained.

New York City has finally hired women to pick up the garbage, which makes sense to me, since, as I've discovered, a good bit of being a woman consists of picking up garbage.

One of the useful things about age is realizing conventional wisdom is often simply inertia with a candy coating of conformity.

Our lives, so settled, so specific, are built on happenstance.

People who wish to salute the free and independent side of their evolutionary character acquire cats. People who wish to pay homage to their servile and salivating roots own dogs.

The life of a good dog is like the life of a good person, only shorter and more compressed.

The voices of conformity speak so loudly. Don't listen to them. No one does the right thing out of fear.

There's something undeniable about the posture of a person trying not to acknowledge your existance.

This is how I learn most of what I know about my children and their friends: by sitting in the driver's seat and keeping quiet.

We're part of a mixed marriage: he's male, I'm female.

What I expect from my male friends is that they are polite and clean. What I expect from my female friends is unconditional love, the ability to finish my sentences for me when I am sobbing, a complete and total willingness to pour their hearts out to me, and the ability to tell me why the meat thermometer isn't supposed to touch the bone.

What is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.

When you really want to say no, say no. You can't do everything- or at least not well.

You can tell a really wonderful quote by the fact that it's attributed to a whole raft of wits.

You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are.

Your children make it impossible to regret your past. They're its finest fruits. Sometimes the only ones.


Categories: Anna Quindlen, Craig Ferguson, Quotes of the day, Video, YouTube


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Kids and animals
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Published Monday, July 07, 2014 @ 12:38 PM EDT
Jul 07 2014


A picture of granddaughters Joelle and Leanna from their vacation cabin.

>

Pixie the Shih Tzu (Klingon for "small, insane, dog-like creature") attacks: a) invisible bunnies under the comforter; b) my socks; and c) her older "sister," Sassy.


Categories: KGB Family, Video, YouTube


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Quotes of the day: Carl Jung
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Published Friday, June 06, 2014 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jun 06 2014

Carl Gustav Jung (July 26, 1875 – June 6, 1961), often referred to as C.G. Jung, was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology. Jung proposed and developed the concepts of extraversion and introversion; archetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religion, philosophy, archeology, anthropology, literature, and related fields. He was a prolific writer, many of whose works were not published until after his death. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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A man who has never passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them.

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.

Beautiful bodies and beautiful personalities rarely go together.

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.

Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.

I must also have a dark side if I am to be whole.

I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.

If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.

In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.

No psychic value can disappear without being replaced by another of equivalent intensity.

Nobody, as long as he moves about among the chaotic currents of life, is without trouble.

Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment, and especially on their children, than the unlived lives of the parents.

One cannot live without inconsistency.

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls.

Primitive superstition lies just below the surface of even the most tough-minded individuals, and it is precisely those who most fight against it who are the first to succumb to its suggestive effects.

Reason alone does not suffice.

Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.

Space flights are merely an escape, a fleeing away from oneself, because it is easier to go to Mars or to the moon than it is to penetrate one's own being.

The greatest and most important problems of life are all fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved but only outgrown.

The healthy man does not torture others- generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.

The inner voice is at once our greatest danger and an indispensable help.

The meaning and design of a problem seem not to lie in its solution, but in our working at it incessantly.

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.

The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.

The reason for evil in the world is that people are not able to tell their stories.

The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that fits all cases.

There's no coming to consciousness without pain.

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.

What you resist, persists.

Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

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(Today is also the birthday of Thomas Mann.)

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"This is Dr. Niles Crane, filling in for my ailing brother, Dr. Frasier Crane. Although I feel perfectly qualified to fill Frasier's radio shoes, I should warn you that while Frasier is a Freudian, I am a Jungian. So there'll be no blaming Mother today."
-dialogue from "Frasier Crane's Day Off," written by James Burrows
Season 1, episode 23 of the NBC television series "Frasier"


Categories: Carl Jung, David Hyde Pierce, Frasier, James Burrows, Quotes of the day, YouTube


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Quotes of the day: Bob Dylan
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Published Saturday, May 24, 2014 @ 5:52 AM EDT
May 24 2014

Bob Dylan (b. Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American musician, singer-songwriter, artist, and writer. He has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly reluctant figurehead of social unrest. A number of Dylan's early songs, such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'," became anthems for the US civil rights and anti-war movements. Leaving behind his initial base in the culture of the folk music revival, Dylan's six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone" radically altered the parameters of popular music in 1965. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.

All this talk about equality. The only thing people really have in common is that they are all going to die.

And don't criticize what you can't understand.

Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain.

Chaos is a friend of mine.

Colleges are like old-age homes, except for the fact that more people die in colleges.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside and it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'

Don't matter how much money you got, there's only two kinds of people: there's saved people and there's lost people.

Everything passes. Everything changes. Just do what you think you should do.

I believe strongly in everyone's right to defend themselves by every means necessary.

I have no message for anyone. My songs are only me talking to myself.

I once loved a woman, a child I am told
I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul.
But don't think twice, it's all right.

I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.

Just because you like my stuff doesn't mean I owe you anything.

Money doesn't talk, it swears.

Morality has nothing in common with politics.

People dissect my songs like rabbits but they all miss the point.

People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties. They are still being passed around- the music and the ideas.

Sometimes it's not enough to know what things mean. Sometimes you have to know what things don't mean.

The cost of liberty is high, and young people should understand that before they start spending their life with all those gadgets.

The first way to answer the questions in the song ('Blowin' in the Wind') is by asking them. But lots of people first have to find the wind.

To live outside the law, you must be honest.

We may not be able to defeat these swine, but we don't have to join them.

You can't be wise and in love at the same time.

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, 'n' how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

The official Bob Dylan web site.


Categories: Bob Dylan, Music, Peter, Paul and Mary, Video, YouTube


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Quotes of the day: Happy birthday, Craig Ferguson!
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Published Saturday, May 17, 2014 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 17 2014

Craig Ferguson (b. May 17, 1962) is a Scottish-born American television host, stand-up comedian, writer, actor, director, author, producer and voice artist. He is the host of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, an Emmy Award-nominated, Peabody Award-winning late- night talk show that has aired on CBS since January, 2005. Ferguson will leave the show in December, 2014. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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It's hard to stay up
It's been a long, long day
And you got the sandman at the door
But hang on, leave the TV on
And let's do it anyway
It's okay!
You can always sleep through work tomorrow, OK?
Hey hey!
Tomorrow's just your future yesterday.

Tell the clock on the wall
Forget the wakeup call
Cause the night's not nearly through
Wipe the sleep from your eyes
Give yourself a surprise
Let your worries wait another day
And if you stay too late at at the bar
At least you made it out this far
So make up your mind and say
Let's do it anyway!
It's okay!
You can always sleep through work tomorrow, okay?
Hey hey!
Tomorrow's just your future yesterday.

Life's too short to worry about
The things that you can live without
And I regret to say
The morning light is hours away
The world can be such a fright
But it belongs to us tonight
What's the point of going to bed?
You look so lovely when your eyes are red!

Tomorrow's just your future yesterday.

The world can be such a fright
But it belongs to us tonight
What's the point of going to bed?
You look so lovely when your eyes are red!

It's hard to stay up
It's been a long, long day
And you got the sandman at the door
But hang on, leave the TV on
And let's do it anyway
It's okay!
You can always sleep through work tomorrow, OK?
Hey hey!
Tomorrow's just your future yesterday.
Tomorrow's just your future yesterday.

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A junkie will steal your purse, and then help you look for it.

Being guilty tends to engender feelings of guilt.

Change is the nature of God's mind, and resistance to it is the source of great pain.

Confession is a sacred rite enhanced by allegory, exaggeration, and lies.

Disagreement, vehement disagreement, is healthy. Debate is impossible without it. Evil does not question itself. Even the incorruptible are corruptible if they cannot accept the possibility of being mistaken.

Failure is not disgrace. It's just a pitch that you missed, and you'd better get ready for the next one. The next one might be the shot heard round the world. My son and I are Americans, we prepare for glory by failing until we don't.

I think when you become a parent you go from being a star in the movie of your own life to the supporting player in the movie of someone else's.

I'm always a bit shy around evil people.

If you really don't want gay people to get married, you shouldn't ban gay marriage, you ban gay divorce.

It's a great day for America, everybody!

It's easier to feel a little more spiritual with a couple of bucks in your pocket.

Love at first sight is not rare, in fact it is extremely common, it happens to some people a few times a year. The feeling of 'what if' when meeting the eyes of a stranger can be love unrecognized.

Maybe fear is God's way of saying, 'Pay attention, this could be fun.'

Other than the laws of physics, rules have never really worked out for me.

The devil is not abroad at night in the form of a cat or a wolf or any other animal. He lives eternally in the hearts of men.

Time is only linear for engineers and referees.

To most Americans, soccer is like warm hockey.

Tomorrow's just your future yesterday.

White Americans have a very unusual sense of history. They make it up as they go along, constantly revising to suit their tastes in a manner that would make Stalin blush. Very few of them saw any irony in the fact that during a recent nasty Balkans conflict, when Uncle Sam intervened to stop the Serbs from ethnically cleansing the Bosnians, the military action was performed using Apache helicopter gunships. Helicopters named after a people that had been ethnically cleansed in the United States less than one hundred years previously. Sixteen lane highways across the sacred burial grounds. Yee-hah.

You die alone in your house, and your cat will eat you.


Categories: Craig Ferguson, Quotes of the day, Video, YouTube


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Cleaning off the desktop III: A helicopter, the Tamiami, and Girls With Guns
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Published Sunday, May 11, 2014 @ 8:26 AM EDT
May 11 2014

We were living in Philadelphia in the summer of 1985, and the television was on as background noise. A "Miami Vice" rerun was airing. I'd caught a few minutes of the series earlier in the year and, frankly, it wasn't on my must-see list. Anyway, I was working on something when I heard a car engine gunned, followed by a hard cut to Tommy Shaw's driving "Girls With Guns."

I looked up to see a tracking shot of speeding convertible. After a few seconds, it became obvious the tracking vehicle was a helicopter, perfectly matching the speed of the auto. I slowly became aware that there weren't any edits... this was one long honking aerial shot.

It runs for a total of 79 seconds, an eternity in a filmed television series. I couldn't find many details. The episode, "Glades," was the ninth in the series' first season. It originally aired on November 30, 1984; I apparently caught the rerun on June 21, 1985. The show was directed Stan Lathan (who would later go on to direct 122 episodes of "The Steve Harvey Show"), and the director of photography was Duke Callahan, who was also the D.P. on the motion picture Conan The Barbarian. The helicopter pilot and cameraman were uncredited.

The segment starts on the west side of Miami and continues along the Tamiami Highway. My guess is the director told the stars to drive themselves to the location that day, and he told the DP to grab a camera, get a helicopter, and get him some filler because the episode timed out short.

Or, it could have been a deliberate attempt to create a shot so impressive an old fart like me would remember it nearly 30 years later when he accidentally encountered it on the web.

Here's the link to the full song.


Categories: Classic, Cleaning off the desktop, Music, TV, Video, YouTube


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It's all in the delivery
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Published Wednesday, March 19, 2014 @ 5:24 AM EDT
Mar 19 2014

YouTube video: This is Neil deGrasse Tyson:

YouTube video: This is Neil deGrasse Tyson, slowed down.
Cosmos for stoners!


Categories: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Video, YouTube


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Idina nails it
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Published Tuesday, March 04, 2014 @ 12:25 PM EST
Mar 04 2014

Forget the Oscars. This is the best version.

(YouTube video: Jimmy Fallon, Idina Menzel and The Roots perform "Let It Go" on classroom instruments!)

The song as it appears in the film was undoubtedly assembled from multiple takes and enhanced electronically- a necessity when you're planning to exhibit it in huge IMAX venues with several thousands watts of audio amplification.

(YouTube video: Idina Menzel performs "Let It Go" in "Frozen.")

Frankly, her Oscar performance wasn't her best... having John Travolta mangle her name didn't help. Think about it- you're following Bette Midler, you're the last musical performer of the night, singing what everyone expects to win the Oscar for Best Song, the live orchestra is in a recording studio over a mile away, and "Let It Go" (which its authors say was specifically written to be "Idina's Badass Song") is the Power Ballad from Hell, ranging from F3 to E♭5.

Go ahead... follow along...

(YouTube video: Let It Go arranged by Larry Moore)

Anyway, it was nice to see her actually enjoying herself with Fallon and The Roots.


Categories: Frozen, Idina Menzel, Jimmy Fallon, Music, Video, YouTube


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Cleaning off the desktop
(permalink)

Published Sunday, February 23, 2014 @ 7:58 AM EST
Feb 23 2014

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"Some people, when they're slightly feverish and taking strong antibiotcs, have exotic dreams. I dream of digital rights management."

"Sounds exciting."

"Not the way we implement it."

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They used a text-analysis program to measure the tone of articles in USA Today between 2007 and 2009, and found that especially positive articles predicted a downturn in the Dow Jones Industrial Average between a week and a month later. The researchers also analyzed all twenty-one U.S. Presidential inaugural addresses between 1933 and 2009, and found that Presidents who waxed optimistic about the future saw a rise in unemployment and a slowdown in economic growth during their terms in office. It’s perhaps too strong to suggest that positive thinking, alone, produced these large macroeconomic changes, but the staggering results in this most recent paper are consistent with more than a decade’s worth of studies in Oettingen’s lab. (The Powerlessness of Positive Thinking)

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Just a reminder- Abe Vigoda's birthday is tomorrow. Get your party supplies today.

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When the next crisis happens, and by the nature of markets, it will happen again, the government will do the only rational thing it can, and once again step in and save the institutions with taxpayer money. The economy will again be wrecked and the average family will again pay the costs.

The bankers won't suffer much, not personally. That's the real stupidity tax, and we are all paying. The Powerball lottery: Is it really a stupidity tax?.

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(YouTube video: a great Vivaldi/Disney mashup.)

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Beware the meeping angels.


Categories: Cartoons, Cleaning off the desktop, Music, YouTube


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Remembering Sid Caesar
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Published Thursday, February 13, 2014 @ 12:00 AM EST
Feb 13 2014


Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar
(September 8, 1922 – February 12, 2014)

(Richard Drew/Associated Press)

Sid Caesar, a comedic force of nature who became one of television's first stars in the early 1950s and influenced generations of comedians and comedy writers, died on Wednesday. He was 91.

Mr. Caesar largely faded from the public eye in his middle years as he struggled with crippling self-doubt and addiction to alcohol and pills. But from 1950 to 1954, he and his co-stars on the live 90-minute comedy-variety extravaganza 'Your Show of Shows' dominated the Saturday night viewing habits of millions of Americans. In New York, a group of Broadway theater owners tried to persuade NBC to switch the show to the middle of the week because, they said, it was ruining their Saturday business.

Albert Einstein was a Caesar fan. Alfred Hitchcock called Mr. Caesar the funniest performer since Charlie Chaplin.

Television comedy in its early days was dominated by boisterous veterans of vaudeville and radio who specialized in broad slapstick and snappy one-liners. Mr. Caesar introduced a different kind of humor to the small screen, at once more intimate and more absurd, based less on jokes or pratfalls than on characters and situations. It left an indelible mark on American comedy.

'If you want to find the urtexts of 'The Producers' and 'Blazing Saddles,' of 'Sleeper' and 'Annie Hall,' of 'All in the Family' and 'M*A*S*H' and 'Saturday Night Live,' ” Frank Rich wrote in The New York Times when he was its chief theater critic, 'check out the old kinescopes of Sid Caesar.'

A list of Mr. Caesar's writers over the years reads like a comedy all-star team. Woody Allen and Mel Brooks did some of their earliest writing for him. So did the most successful playwright in the history of the American stage, Neil Simon. Carl Reiner created one landmark sitcom, 'The Dick Van Dyke Show;' Larry Gelbart was the principal creative force behind another, 'M*A*S*H.' Mel Tolkin wrote numerous scripts for 'All in the Family.' The authors of the two longest-running Broadway musicals of the 1960s, Joseph Stein ('Fiddler on the Roof') and Michael Stewart ('Hello, Dolly!'), were Caesar alumni as well. (Click here for the full New York Times obituary.)

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Comedy has to be based on truth. You take the truth and you put a little curlicue at the end.

If I don't believe it, I don't care.

In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.

New Year's Eve we got five dollars for the evening- but that was from eight to unconscious.

The best thing about humor is that it shows people they're not alone.

The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was a genius.

The remote control changed our lives... The remote control took over the timing of the world. That's why you have road rage. You have people who have no patience, because you got immediate gratification. You got click, click, click, click. If it doesn't explode within three seconds, click click, click.

The trouble with telling a good story is that it invariably reminds the other fellow of a dull one.

When I did comedy I made fun of myself.If there was a buffoon, I played the buffoon. And people looked at me and said, 'Gee, that's like Uncle David', or 'That's like a friend of mine'. And they related through that. I didn't make fun of them. I made fun of me.

You gotta come down to go up.

You have to be prepared for luck. You have to work with luck.

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YouTube video: Mel Brooks on working for Sid Caesar

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YouTube video: Sid Caesar reminisces with Barry Mitchell.
ABC World News Now

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YouTube video: Sid Caesar Interview Part 1 of 6
emmytvlegends.org


YouTube video: Sid Caesar Interview Part 2 of 6
emmytvlegends.org


YouTube video: Sid Caesar Interview Part 3 of 6
emmytvlegends.org


YouTube video: Sid Caesar Interview Part 4 of 6
emmytvlegends.org


YouTube video: Sid Caesar Interview Part 5 of 6
emmytvlegends.org

>
YouTube video: Sid Caesar Interview Part 6 of 6
emmytvlegends.org


Categories: ABC World News Now, Quotes of the day, Sid Caesar, Video, YouTube


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Cleaning off the desktop
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Published Sunday, February 09, 2014 @ 5:53 PM EST
Feb 09 2014

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I can communicate through a series of short & long groans & sighs. It's called 'morose code'.
-Robb Allen, @ItsRobbAllen (h/t David Kifer, alt.quotations)

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Somewhat alarmed to discover some teens don't recognize "Uncle Sam," I checked with my daughter about my soon to be 11 year old granddaughter's status:

KGB: Does Lea know who Uncle Sam is?

Sara: Oh, I think she would.

KGB: Ask her when convenient.

Sara: She said yes, it's the guy pointing and saying "I want you."

KGB: Excellent. Our nation is in good hands.

Sara: She said "Yes. Yes, it is."

Can't argue with that...>

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"I give them a year."
-Ray Bloch, musical director for "The Ed Sullivan Show," on the Beatles, when they made their first live appearance on American television 50 years ago.

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"Ah, hell. Let's call Froot Loops what they really are: Gay Cheerios."
-Bill Maher

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Those who feel that humans are essentially good and altruistic have never read the comment sections on YouTube.

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I actually used to date a girl named Christie Benghazi, so it's funny for me now when I flip between those two channels.
-John Fugelsang

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The Star Trek Facepalm collection, although I don't think Spock actually qualifies.

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“If we came from monkeys then why are there still monkeys?”

Let me ask you this: If you came from parents, why are there still parents?

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"Fortunes have been lost underestimating Jay Leno."
-Lorne Michaels


Categories: Cartoons, Cleaning off the desktop, Harrison Ford, Jay Leno, KGB Family, KGB Opinion, Linked In, Michael Collins, Miscellany, NASA, Star Trek, YouTube


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Elvis!
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Published Wednesday, January 08, 2014 @ 6:17 AM EST
Jan 08 2014

Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 - August 16, 1977) was an American singer, musician, and actor. One of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as "The King of Rock and Roll", or simply, "The King". Presley is one of the most celebrated musicians of 20th century. Commercially successful in many genres, including pop, blues and gospel, he is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music. He was nominated for 14 Grammys and won three, receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. He has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.

Don't let your head get too big, it'll break your neck.

Don't criticize what you don't understand, son. You never walked in that man's shoes

I believe the key to happiness is: someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.

I don't feel I'll live a long life. That's why I have to get what I can from every day.

I don't know anything about music. In my line, you don't have to.

I have no use for bodyguards, but I have a very special use for two highly trained certified public accountants.

I was training to be an electrician. I suppose I got wired the wrong way round somewhere along the line.

I'd never do anything vulgar before an audience. My mother wouldn't permit it.

Music should be something that makes you gotta move, inside or outside.

My voice is ordinary. If I stand still while I'm singing, I might as well go back to driving a truck.

Rhythm is something you either have or don't have, but when you have it you have it all over.

Singers come and go, but if you're a good actor, you can last a long time.

Talent is being able to sell what you're feeling.

The image is one thing and the human being is another. It's very hard to live up to an image.

The Lord can give, and the Lord can take away. I might be herding sheep next year.

The only thing worse than watchin' a bad movie is bein' in one.

There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.

Those movies sure got me into a rut.

Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away.

When things go wrong, don't go with them.

When you're a celebrity, people treat you nicer. The bad part is, they also tell you what they think you want to hear, which ain't always the truth.

You only pass through this life once; you don't come back for an encore.

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Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century. He introduced the beat to everything, music, language, clothes, it's a whole new social revolution- the 60s comes from it.
-Leonard Bernstein

We're the Axis of Elvis.
-John Lileks

America is Elvis Presley- the most beautiful, talented, rebellious nation in the history of Earth. And now, you're in your Vegas years. You've squeezed yourself into a white jumpsuit, you're wheezing your way through 'Love Me Tender' and you might be about to pass away bloated on the toilet. But you're still the King.
-John Oliver

He was a unique artist… an original in an area of imitators.
-Mick Jagger

A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man's music, when in fact almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis.
-Jackie Wilson

On a scale of one to ten, I would rate him eleven.
-Sammy Davis, Jr.

Before Elvis, there was nothing.
-John Lennon

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Categories: Elvis, Music, Video, YouTube


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Welcome to my existence...
(permalink)

Published Tuesday, January 07, 2014 @ 5:12 PM EST
Jan 07 2014

(YouTube video: art imitates life.)


Categories: KGB, YouTube


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A Festivus for the rest of us!
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Published Monday, December 23, 2013 @ 4:54 AM EST
Dec 23 2013


(Photo: The Grey Lodge Pub)

Festivus, a well-celebrated parody, has become a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 which serves as an alternative to participating in the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas holiday season. Originally a family tradition of scriptwriter Dan O'Keefe working on the American sitcom Seinfeld, the holiday entered popular culture after it was made the focus of a 1997 episode of the program. The holiday's celebration, as it was shown on Seinfeld, includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum "Festivus pole," practices such as the "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats of Strength," and the labeling of easily explainable events as "Festivus miracles."

(YouTube video: "Seinfeld")

"The tradition of Festivus begins... with the airing of grievances!"


Categories: Dan O'Keefe, Festivus, Holidays, Seinfeld, Video, YouTube


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Quotes of the day: Saki (H.H. Munro)
(permalink)

Published Wednesday, December 18, 2013 @ 6:45 AM EST
Dec 18 2013

Hector Hugh Munro (December 18, 1870 - November 13, 1916), better known by the pen name Saki, and also frequently as H.H. Munro, was a British writer whose witty, mischievous and sometimes macabre stories satirized Edwardian society and culture. He is considered a master of the short story and often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. Influenced by Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll, and Kipling, his work influenced A.A. Milne, Noël Coward, and P.G. Wodehouse. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

Saki was one of the authors presented by my high school English teacher, Ira Handelsman. He had a wonderful method of insuring his students were familiar with the material: he read the stories, aloud, to the class. I vividly recall his presentation of Sredni Vashtar, which, at least in my memory, was as riveting as this performance by Tom Baker:

Ira did not have an English accent, but he had precise diction and a voice perhaps best described in contemporary terms as serious NPR announcer-ish. Even the densest of jocks in the class fell silent as the story continued. At its conclusion, Ira received, if not applause, several grunts of approval.

Thus began my appreciation of H.H. Munro.

And my dislike of ferrets.

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A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation.

A woman who takes her husband about with her everywhere is like a cat that goes on playing with a mouse long after she's killed it.

Addresses are given to us to conceal our whereabouts.

All decent people live beyond their incomes; those who aren't respectable live beyond other people's; a few gifted individuals manage to do both.

Children are given to us to discourage our better emotions.

Confront a child, a puppy, and a kitten with a sudden danger; the child will turn instinctively for assistance, the puppy will grovel in abject submission, the kitten will brace its tiny body for a frantic resistance.

Every reformation must have its victims. You can't expect the fatted calf to share the enthusiasm of the angels over the prodigal's return.

He is one of those persons who would be enormously improved by death.

His socks compelled one's attention without losing one's respect.

I always say beauty is only sin deep.

I hate babies. They're so human.

I hate posterity- it's so fond of having the last word.

I love Americans, but not when they try to talk French. What a blessing it is that they never try to talk English.

I think she must have been very strictly brought up, she's so desperately anxious to do the wrong thing correctly.

I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.

In baiting a mouse trap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse.

Never be a pioneer. It's the Early Christian that gets the fattest lion.

People talk vaguely about the innocence of a little child, but they take mighty good care not to let it out of their sight for twenty minutes.

People vote their resentment, not their appreciation. The average man does not vote for anything but against something.

Poverty keeps together more homes than it breaks up.

The fashion just now is a Roman Catholic frame of mind with an Agnostic conscience: you get the mediaeval picturesqueness of the one with the modern conveniences of the other.

The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened.

There is no outlet for demonstrating your feelings towards people whom you simply loathe. That is really the crying need of our modern civilization.

Think how many blameless lives are brightened by the blazing indiscretions of other people.

To be among people who are smothered in furs when one hasn't any oneself makes one want to break most of the Commandments.

To have reached thirty is to have failed in life.

Women and elephants never forget an injury.

You can't expect a boy to be vicious till he's been to a good school.


Categories: H.H. Munro, Ira Handelsman, Saki, Tom Baker, Video, YouTube


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The Dream
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Published Wednesday, August 28, 2013 @ 5:57 AM EDT
Aug 28 2013

As long as there's a man alive on the face of the earth, this day will always be remembered the world over.
-Dick Gregory

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(YouTube video: NBC's "wrap-up" of the march on Washington.)

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(YouTube video: Peter, Paul and Mary perform prior to Dr. King's speech..)

On August 28, 1963, I was a few weeks short of nine years old and spending most of my time at the Ninth Avenue Playground across from the Homestead Police Station. It was the Wednesday before Labor Day, the end of summer vacation and the beginning of the fourth grade. I was on my way back out to the playground when my grandmother stopped me. She called me into the living room and told me to sit down and watch the television. Lots of people were in Washington, DC talking about something.

As a nine year old desperately trying to wring enjoyment out of the last week of his summer vacation, the last thing I wanted to do was watch a bunch of adults I didn't know give boring speeches about things that didn't matter to me. But She Who Must Be Obeyed wouldn't take no for an answer; she wasn't even swayed by the knowledge that the reason for my urgent trip to the playground was to retrieve a pot holder I had made for her before the lunch break.

She had been originally attracted to the newscast when she heard Mahalia Jackson singing. My grandmother claimed to be a Baptist (although I'd never seen her in a church in my life), and loved to listen to black gospel singers. I remember her sitting on her chair with her soiled apron, clutching a dishcloth and watching the screen intently.

You listen to this," she told me. "This is important."

I plopped down on the floor and watched as a black guy I didn't recognize approached the microphone. He was standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and there were more people there than I had ever seen in my life.

Then he spoke.

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I am happy to join with you today, in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

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Even as a nine year old, I knew I had witnessed something special. Years later, it occurred to me that the first political speech to which I had ever paid attention turned out to be what most agree was the finest example of public oratory delivered in the 20th century. In fifty years, I've never heard anything that remotely approaches its perfect composition and delivery.

I looked over my shoulder and saw something that really disturbed me... my grandmother was crying.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

The unschooled old woman, born in the hills of West Virginia, shook her head. "Nothing, Kevie," she said. "You just remember what that man just said. You do what that man said, and everything will be all right."

It's been 50 years, and things still aren't "all right."

Perhaps my grandchildren will finally realize the dreams proposed on that hot August day.

America's democracy is still unfinished. The effort to create a more perfect union is a never ending one.

We must remember that. Thankfully, many do. And their efforts, like the situations they strive to correct, will never end.


Categories: History, Martin Luther King, Jr., Video, YouTube


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Bunny dash
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Published Monday, July 29, 2013 @ 3:34 AM EDT
Jul 29 2013

(YouTube video: Bunny Dash)

It's probably because 15-year-old Lucy's vision, hearing, and sense of smell aren't what they used to be, but I like to think she doesn't mind sharing the yard with the bunny that lives in the tallgrass stand. After the rabbit ran away, Lucy took no notice; she just continued her twice daily inspection of the back yard and reported in that everything was fine, and that it was time for me to carry her upstairs to watch television on the couch, and to wait for her 9 pm cheese-and-phenobarbital treat.


Categories: Animals, Dogs, Video, YouTube


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You are being watched. Might as well enjoy it.
(permalink)

Published Friday, July 26, 2013 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jul 26 2013

In light of the Edward Snowden/NSA scandal, CBS' science fiction series Person of Interest now more closely resembles a reality show:

While not quite as memorable as "Space... the final frontier," the series' opening voice over provides a pretty good summary of the premise:

"You are being watched. The government has a secret system: a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I designed the machine to detect acts of terror, but it sees everything... violent crimes involving ordinary people. The government considers these people 'irrelevant'. We don't. Hunted by the authorities, we work in secret. You'll never find us, but victim or perpetrator, if your number's up... we'll find you".

From the Wikipedia article on the show:

John Reese (Jim Caviezel), a former Green Beret and CIA field officer, is living as a derelict in New York City after the death of the woman he loves, and is presumed dead. He is approached by Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), a reclusive billionaire computer genius who is living under an assumed identity. Finch explains that after September 11, 2001, he built a computer system for the government that uses information gleaned from omnipresent surveillance to predict future terrorist attacks. However, Finch discovered that the computer was predicting ordinary crimes as well. The government is not interested in these results, but Finch is determined to stop the predicted crimes. He hires Reese to conduct surveillance and intervene as needed, using his repertoire of skills gained in the military and the CIA. Through a back door built into the system, Finch receives the Social Security number of someone who will be involved in an imminent crime, at which point he contacts Reese. Without knowing what the crime will be, when it will occur, or even if the person they were alerted to is a victim or perpetrator, Reese and Finch must try to stop the crime from occurring.

They are helped by NYPD Detectives Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman), a corrupt officer whom Reese coerces into helping them, and Joss Carter (Taraji P. Henson), who in early episodes investigates Reese for his vigilante activities. Although Reese arranges for Carter and Fusco to be partners in the NYPD early in the first season, neither learns that the other is also working with Finch and Reese until season two.

Periodically, the team also enlists the aid of Zoe Morgan (Paige Turco), a professional "fixer" who applies her skills to particularly difficult tasks. The series features several subplots. One significant story arc involves "HR", an organization of corrupt NYPD officers in league with budding mob boss Carl Elias (Enrico Colantoni); in the course of this arc Fusco is forced to go undercover. Another important storyline revolves around Root (Amy Acker), a psychopathic female hacker who is determined to gain access to the Machine; she asserts the device is actually God, and that she has been summoned by "her."

Ah, The Machine...

The Machine is a mass surveillance computer system programmed to monitor and analyze data from surveillance cameras, electronic communications, and audio input throughout the world. From this data, the Machine accurately predicts violent acts. Under control of the U.S. Government, its stated purpose is the identification of terrorist and their planned assaults. However, the Machine detects future violent acts of all kinds, not just terrorism. Unknown to Finch, his partner, Nathan Ingram, installed a routine called "Contingency" prior to delivering the system to the government. The covert software causes the machine to also act on non-terrorist crime. Finch is appalled that Ingram has the data sent directly to him. After Finch fails to prevent Ingram's computer-predicted murder, he further modifies the system so that "irrelevant" non-terrorism data is transmitted to him in the form of social security numbers, via coded messages over a public telephone.

Over the course of each episode, the viewer periodically sees events as a Machine-generated on-screen display of data about a character or characters: identification, activities, records, and more may be displayed. The viewer also sees a Machine-generated perspective as it monitors New York. Commercial flights are outlined by green triangles, red concentric circles indicate no-fly zones around tall buildings, and dashed boxes mark individual people. The Machine classifies the people it watches by color-coding the boxes: white for no threat or an irrelevant threat; red for perceived threats to the Machine, red-and-white for individuals predicted to be violent; and yellow for people who know about the machine, including Finch, Reese, Ingram, Corwin and Root. The white-boxed "irrelevant threat" targets include the Persons of Interest that Reese and Finch assist.

As the series progressed, a wider governmental conspiracy emerged. Known as "The Program", it revolves around the development and utilization of the Machine. Apparently led by a mysterious figure known only as "Control", an unnamed official (Jay O. Sanders) from the Office of Special Counsel begins eliminating key personnel who are aware of the Machine's existence by deploying teams of Intelligence Support Activity (ISA) operatives who believe they are acting to eliminate perceived terrorist threats on the recommendation of a department known as "Research". The members of the elimination teams are classified by the Machine using a blue box.

Person's producers have hinted the third season of the hit series, which moves to a new day and slot (Tuesdays at 10 pm, premiering on September 24) will attempt to be more, er, science fiction-y. Like all television shows, Person does have some reality-bending elements, but the suspension of disbelief level required is remarkably low. The bad guys are still lousy shots, and the key characters make miraculous recoveries from concussions, lethal injections and various forms of physical trauma, often before the show's end credits roll. But hey, it's episodic broadcast television, right?

Where the show excels is in production values and technical accuracy. While Mr. Finch's technology boasts features which are a couple software releases in the future, the indulgences can be forgiven. The show's cellular phone networks, computers, and other devices work at blinding speed. But when you have to shoehorn a rich narrative into 40 minutes of actual episode time, you really don't want to watch systems execute communication protocol negotiations in real time; trust me.

Particularly impressive is the effort the show puts into elements that have perhaps a second or two of screen time. Thanks to high definition and digital video recording, I've been able to freeze frame some of the monitor shots- and it's obvious these guys have some real-world Unix and TCP/IP knowledge. A one-second blip of a phony newspaper article reveals someone actually wrote a faux news story and, apparently, follows The AP Stylebook.

Other one-hour drama series spend eight days or less to film an episode. Person of Interest spends nine and a half, with more camera coverage, extensive location shooting, and substantial post-production work.

They spend money on this show, and it's all up on the screen. The episodes have a decided theatrical motion picture feel.

So... when planning your television viewing for the upcoming season, give Person a shot. Like certain other Warner Brothers shows, the studio hasn't made it available for free, on-demand viewing- you have to buy the DVDs or download the show from iTunes. Update: During the third season, the show became available on the CBS website.

Just type CBS Person of Interest into Google and you'll find hundreds of useful fan sites and video clips from key episodes.

One caveat- the series is produced by J.J. Abrams of Lost fame, which means there's a chance that at some point the whole thing could take a sharp turn into stupidity. But, based on the first two seasons, it's worth the risk.

And, the regular cast includes a dog:


Categories: Amy Acker, CBS, Computers, Dogs, Edward Snowden, Enrico Colantoni, George Orwell, Google, Internet, James Clapper, Jay O. Sanders, Jim Caviezel, Kevin Chapman, Michael Emerson, NSA, Paige Turco, Peggy Noonan, Person of Interest, PRISM, Ron Wyden, Science Fiction, Signs of the Apocalypse, Taraji P. Henson, Technology, Terrorism, The Machine, TV, Video, YouTube


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Stay tuned...
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Published Sunday, July 21, 2013 @ 2:04 PM EDT
Jul 21 2013


(YouTube video: ComiCon trailer for "COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey," a 13-part docu-series debuting in 2014 on FOX.)

The original 13-part Cosmos: A Personal Voyage first aired in 1980 on the Public Broadcasting System, and was hosted by Carl Sagan. The show has been considered highly significant since its broadcast; Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times described it as "a watershed moment for science-themed television programming". The show has been watched by at least 400 million people across 60 different countries.

Following Sagan's death in 1996, his widow Ann Druyan, the co-creator of the original Cosmos series along with Steven Soter, a producer from the series, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, sought to create a new version of the series, aimed to appeal to as wide an audience as possible and not just to those interested in the sciences. They had struggled for years with reluctant television networks that failed to see the broad appeal of the show.

Seth MacFarlane had met Druyan through Tyson at the 2008 kickoff event for the Science and Entertainment Exchange, a new LA office of the National Academy of Sciences, designed to connect Hollywood writers and directors with scientists. A year later, at a 2009 lunch in NYC with Tyson, MacFarlane learned of their interest to recreate Cosmos. He was influenced by Cosmos as a child, believing that Cosmos served to "[bridge] the gap between the academic community and the general public". MacFarlane had considered that the reduction of effort for space travel in recent decades to be part of "our culture of lethargy". MacFarlane, who has several animated shows on the Fox Network, was able to bring Druyan to meet the heads of Fox programming, Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly, and helped to get the greenlighting of the show. MacFarlane admits that he is "the least essential person in this equation" and the effort is a departure from work he's done before, but considers this to be "very comfortable territory for [himself] personally". He and Druyan have become close friends, and Druyan stated that she believed that Sagan and MacFarlane would have been "kindred spirits" with their respective "protean talents".

(Full Wikipedia article)


Categories: Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan, Cosmos, Fox TV, National Geographic, Neil deGrasse Tyson, PBS, Science, Seth McFarlane, Steven Soter, TV, Video, YouTube


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What might have been...
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Published Thursday, July 11, 2013 @ 7:51 AM EDT
Jul 11 2013

Gary Kildall could have become a household name and, possibly, the richest man in the world.

In 1980, IBM approached Bill Gates at Microsoft to license a BASIC interpreter for their soon-to-be-released Personal Computer (PC). They mentioned they also needed an operating system, and Gates referred them to Digital Research, Gary Kildall's company.

For various reasons, things didn't work out, and IBM went back to Microsoft. You know the rest.

There are various accounts of what actually happened, and the Wikipedia article on Kildall offers what appears to be a neutral report.

I used DR-DOS. I used GEM. And I wish more people remembered Kildall's contributions.

(YouTube video: Remembering Gary Kildall)


Categories: Bill Gates, Computers, Gary Kildall, Video, YouTube


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Going boldly... insane
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Published Wednesday, July 03, 2013 @ 7:22 AM EDT
Jul 03 2013

After John Larroquette played the Klingon crew member "Maltz" in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) and before Brent Spiner went on to play Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), the pair appeared together in a half-dozen episodes of NBC's Night Court. Larroquette won four Emmys as assistant district attorney Dan Fielding; Spiner played Bob Wheeler, a Yugoslavian immigrant with a West Virginian accent and incredibly bad luck.


Categories: John Larroquette, Night Court, Star Trek, TV, YouTube


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Current events
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Published Saturday, June 29, 2013 @ 12:36 AM EDT
Jun 29 2013

The Family Research Council is either adorably oblivious,
or their PR outfit is just plain evil.


Variations on a theme:




When this man smiles, a fairy dies:


Speaking of smiles:


(YouTube video: formerly captive ducks see water for the first time).


Categories: Animals, Cartoons, Church and State, Politics, Religion, Supreme Court, The New Yorker, Video, YouTube


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