Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fox News Declares Rachel Ray a Terrorist...?

Okay, so I read this story about a Rachel Ray/Dunkin Donuts iced coffee ad on MSN yesterday, and at first I couldn't stop laughing. I mean, leave it to a Fox News political pundit to coin a term like "Hate Coture." I mean, I've seen this type of scarf on many many people, not just radical Islamic Terrorists.

In fact, I would guess that the majority of the people who wears scarves like this are not radical Muslim Terrorists, and of the Mulsim people who wear them, I would bet dollars to donuts that the majority of them are in fact peaceful people of faith, and not Radical Terrorists who hate America. So to say that Rachel Ray (or, to look at some other people mentioned in the article, Colin Farrel, Kanye West and Howard Dean) is a terrorist simply for wearing it is like saying anybody who wears shiny black knee-high boots is a Nazi, or anybody who uses white sheets for anything is a member of the KKK. Sure, some people who wear black boots might sympathize with the Nazi party. Some KKK members likely sleep on white sheets as well as wear them around. And some terrorists wear these scarves. But, seriously? Are we going to condemn everybody? Maybe we should scour the internet for pictures of Michelle Malkin and find out some of her fashion mistakes. Ten bucks to the first person who can link her to North Korea!

But I think the best part of this story is that on the MSN site, the screen capture from the ad in question shows Rachel Ray holding the coffee (like a microphone?) in her left hand while gesticulating, forefinger raised, with her right hand. You will see why that's funny below:

And now why it's funny:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Giving Up the...Golf?

I know I'm about a week behind on this story, but I wanted to give everybody a chance to catch the video before it got bumped down.

So, according to this story on NPR's All Things Considered, our Commander-in-Chimp, the Great Divider (I could keep going but I won't) has made the tremendously heart-warming and self-punishing sacrifice of giving up playing golf in solidarity with the troops fighting in Iraq. According to the original interview with Mike Allen at, Bush stated, "I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.” Hmm...

Geez, you know, Mr. President, if playing golf sends the wrong signal, what about taking time off from your schedule as President of the United States of America to go down to your Crawford Ranch and relax? Is that the right signal? I mean, if we're worried about what it looks like if you play golf...

I mean, geez, if you really wanted to show solidarity with the troops, shouldn't you, I don't know, go overseas and eat only C-rations? Or shouldn't you spend fourteen months away from your friends, your wife, your daughters? At the very least, shouldn't you quit your job to put your life in danger, defending freedom while bullets are being fired at you? I mean...if you want to do that last one, I'll bet your approval rating would shoot straight up.

While we're showing solidarity to our troops by giving up golf, why don't we just show solidarity with the millions of workers who have lost their jobs due to the failing economy by giving up watching movies in whatever gigantic room with a large screen exists in the White House (and don't say there is no such room, there's gotta be)? How about, as a show of solidarity to everybody who struggles to fill the gas tanks on their Honda Civics, you give up premium gasoline for the presidential stretch SUV? How about, in support of the uninsured people in this country, you give up serving Dom Perignon at State Dinners? Yeah. This could be the start of a whole new President Bush...

Seriously. The president is giving up golf. What an inspiration.

Actually, though, this is quite a strategy for setting up a lasting legacy that might illuminate him in a positive light. Imagine that I am president (as a Democrat, or at the very least not as a Republican). Let's pretend that I am elected and war erupts, and American men and women are fighting and dying overseas. That is not to say that if I were elected, I would run is into a war lickety split, but, you know, sometimes, war is unavoidable and even necessary (I am thinking of something on the scale and magnitude of World War II, not, you know, Operation Mission Re-Accomplished Again for the Third Time, or whatever we're calling it now). So imagine I am elected and we get involved in a WWII-style conflict, and I don't play golf, but this is a hypothetical universe, so in this hypothetical situation, I am a golfer. And in this particular hypothetical situation, in which I am a golfer and president during a time of unnavoidable global conflict on the scale of WWII, complete with a Nazi-like enemy who is seemingly unstoppable and ruthless and all of that and only our perseverence and sense that what we are doing is not an offense but purely a defense for all free peoples...wait, I got lost somewhere.

Imagine, if you will, that in several years' time, I am president. The country gets attacked and it hearkens back to Pearl Harbor, there is a global conflict that we now find ourselves entering to defend our freedom. Also, I am a golfer. Here we are in this war, and I go out and play golf. My Republican detractors can look back on the Legacy of Bush the Second and say, "Aha! President Rauscher is not showing solidarity with the troops! Why, the Great George W. Bush gave up golf when he took the country to war!" See? So it is a good move for the Bush administration, at least as far as long-term PR is concerned.

But what signal does this really send? Not to our country, but to our enemies...and yes, I will admit that we have enemies. They exist. We may have created some of them through our country's ridiculous and unforgivable foreign policy, but still they exist and wish to disrupt our every day lives. All they will see is that they have disrupted the life of the president to the point where he no longer plays the silly Imperialist Capitalist Infidel Great Satan game of golf. It's a victory for them, and it's a bit demoralizing on the home front.

Look, I'm not saying that President Bush shouldn't have given up golf, but to think that this gesture is a real sacrifice, to even imply that it's even remotely equal to the sacrifice of our men and women who are putting their lives on the line? No. Absolutely not, Mr. President. My opinion of you would have at the very least stayed the same if you had never given up golf. Now, you've only succeeded in lowering it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

We Are (Almost) Back In Business!

Well, see, silly me and my wanting to maintain a higher video quality...what was I thinking? So, I had to compress it into an mpeg2 (mpeg4 w/mp3 audio was still too big), which is just a suck, but the point is it will soon be posted to Google Video, which means once it goes through review, I can post it on the blog. Yay! A month later!

Right, so, a few new updates to the blog. First off, a new poll is coming for all of you to vote on. And then, there is of course, the updated links list. And in the interest of interesting you all, I am going to go through the links one by one and tell you what they are all about.


If you don't listen to NPR, you should, and if you do, good. My local station KWMU just came under a bit of fire for what their general manager likes to call her management style, but that doesn't change the fact that NPR itself is great. Sure, sometimes it can be a little, um, ear grating (Diane Rehm's voice), some of the hosts can get a bit sycophantic (hello Terry Gross), but all in all, it's a good source of news and entertainment. I like to play the Wait Wait Don't Tell Me online quiz every day to keep up with odd news.

...But I Am a Cyclist

You see, it's funny because I actually am a writer and not much of a cyclist. But there's a small amount of posts on there, I update very infrequently (even moreso than on here) but I get some good rants in on the state of affairs in cycling. There's also a list of links on that blog, but I won't go into them.


Formerly the link read "Gerald Has Returned" but he's been returned for a while now, so I figured I'd retitle the link. Gerald's a designer, into hockey and is probably the most politically liberal of all of my friends, which is no bad thing. He's got a healthy mix of NHL, politics, and Daily Show clips interspersed with other tidbits and hilariousness. Check him out, yo.

Whiskey Tastes Better When You Have Problems

My former roommate from college, Chris and I rioted after the U of MN won hockey nationals in 2002. We also drank cheap vodka (read: he drank cheap vodka and I spent money I didn't have on Smirnoff, which I know, is cheap vodka, but if I considered that splurging, just imagine what he was drinking...), played simultaneous Dark Forces (Chris on PSOne, me on PC), pondered rearranging our room once, and he also took a video of me riding my bicycle down the hallway (at a terrifying-for-indoor-riding 26 miles an hour). But, through all of that, it seems we kind of forgot about going to class every so often, and I ended up leaving and he ended up in a little bit of trouble. But hey, you live and if you're lucky (like Chris and I), you learn and you move on with life and you stay friends and such. Check out his blog, he talks a lot about sports in the Twin Cities. Proving once again that all the sportswriters out there with their degrees in Journalism have nothing against a fan with a dangerous amount of time on his hands and a gift for the written word. Check it out.


Formerly titled "Mo and Kev and Maddy," I liked the simplicity of the look of the mGk, so I went with it. For a while, it was a blog about my sister, her husband, their house and their cat, and then it was about how my sister was dealing with her husband, house and cat while she was pregnant, and then, about a year ago (May 4th, actually, of 2007), it became all about my niece Madeline. She's adorable. Except she watches American Idol, which I just can't get down with. I gotta help that girl out with some serious Good Television Marathons. Mo, Kev, send Maddy over. We're gonna spend the weekend watching Arrested Development.

Idealism Never Goes out of Fashion

A new addition to the list, Becca is another of my Minnesota friends. Memories of her always included either Fiona Apple, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Piggly Wiggly, or her stealing various items from my room and then kicking me in the ding-ding. She's working on her Master's Degree in (appropriately enough) Middle Earth itself, New Zealand. Let's see if I can get this right...she was a clothing design undergrad, and is getting her masters in textiles? Yes? Becca, feel free to correct me if I am wrong (which I almost never am). Her blog is about life in New Zealand, with a fair amount of an emphasis on living a greener life and even, it seems, a bit about clothing design and textiles. Hey alright! Check it.

Auntie Maine

My mother's youngest sister Nora lives in Maine with her husband and two children, and there's not much to do up there in the long winter months, so they find ways to entertain themselves and, sometimes, the readers of their blog. Updates are few and far between, but sometimes you don't need an update, you can just keep reading her old posts and the comments that pop up there from, say, my mother and my other aunt. So click the link; let it never be said that "You can't get theah from heah."

A friend of mine from Webster, Tanya Seale is a fellow writer who is a bit further along in her writing career than I am. But what we both have in common is that we both got plays produced at Surfacing 2008. I really liked hers quite a bit, and I am looking forward to seeing more of her work next semester when we have our fiction workshop together. A word to those with slow interweb connections: her site is a bit of a slow loader because it's got a lot of stuff on it. But check out her blog anyway, she writes the same kinds of things that I do, only, you know, more frequently, like, you know, a good blogger.

JMG Design

Like Gerald, John is a friend from my days working in Retail. Of the four of us represented here (Gerald, John, Colleen, me), John was the first to escape to work on his garden, a passion of his which he has turned into a small business of designing gardens for people. Check it out, he's full of information about what to plant where and when, plus he's got recipes for great dinners and drinks.

These Walls Are Paper Thin...

Colleen escaped the drudgery of retail toil only to experience the drudgery of office toil. But, be that as it may, she still finds plenty to keep her mind occupied elsewhere. Lately, she's been doing the Apartment Cure, which is interesting to read about, because she divulges some secrets about how high off the ground to hang pictures and other strange tidbits you didn't know people wrote books and made websites and did bad reality TV shows about.

Annie Get Your Blog

While the link text is not the official title, I will never change it because it came to me in a moment of clear thought, and to me it seemed clever. But "What I Do Not Understand" is one of my favorite blogs; Annie's got a sweet touch to her writing style that makes me forgive her for being a Cubs fan, which is no small feat. And of the bloggers I've linked to, aside from family members Annie is my oldest friend, seeing as how we've known each other since we were like, twelve (oh my God, Annie, we've known each other more than half of our lives. That makes me feel kind of old). And what doesn't Annie understand? Well, actually, she understands quite a bit. I think it's the fact that we live in a world where so many things are understandable that shouldn't be that makes it hard for her to understand the world. If that makes sense. Also, she claims to be married to Yadier Molina, but I haven't confirmed that with either Yadi or Annie's boyfriend.

The McGrath Family

My uncle Dennis is nine years older than my cousin Brian, who is nine years older than me, and I am nine years older than my cousin Maggie. Maggie is the only one who's never lived in Minneapolis. So you know what that means? She better move there to keep up tradition. But in the meantime, you can check out the blog about Dennis' family, maintained mostly by his wife Laurie. It centers mostly on their two beautiful daughters, Mia and Mazlin, both of whom were adopted from Guatemala. Laurie's posts are often hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking (but the good way, not the bad way), occasionally laced with anger (check out the recent post about Teleflora and the Today Show calling adopting mothers "Non-Mothers"), but always written from that cozy spot in Laurie's soul where she keeps her children. Ask her if she is an innie or an outie.

Post Secret

If you don't know what Post Secret is yet, you will be addicted soon.

Stuff White People Like

Um...let's see, how many items from this list have I mentioned on my blog? Well, just in this one post, public radio, the daily show, bicycling and Arrested Development. Let's see, um, we used to like Jettas but now we like the Toyota Prius (but we do still like Jettas). I think I've mentioned Free health care before. If I haven't mentioned Wes Anderson Films, I should have. Arts Degrees, Kathy and I both guilty (or rather, she is guilty and I will be guilty). Microbreweries, I love those. Writing workshops, had plenty and will have more. Coffee, I've talked about coffee. Oh, I talked about Organic Coffee once, and white people love organic food! I have Trader Joe's bags in my car, that's grouped with Whole Foods/Grocery Co-Ops as well...see? White people love being white.

The System is Down

Homestar Runner Dot Net. "It's Dot Com!" Seriously, you guys gotta check it out. Strong Bad E-mails and Teen Girl Squad are a must. And the absolute musts are Strong Bad E-Mail Dragon, Japanese Cartoon, Rock Opera, and...Tape Leg? Seriously.

Daryl Cagle

Okay, I know there are people out there who only get their news from The Daily Show and the Colbert Report (another thing white people like), but I am not one of those people. I get my news from NPR...and also from Daryl Cagle's professional cartoonist index. See, when you look at over a hundred artists' editorial cartoons, you get to see positions from each side of every major story/issue in a very quick, concise way. It works for me.

That's about it for now. Look for the video in a day or so, just gotta let it load up through Google Video and go through the process. Have a wonderful rest of your week all!

Friday, May 02, 2008

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Because I likes my quality, I uploaded the video to my computer as high quality as I could. So in addition to being seventeen minutes long (too long for youtube or Blogger video), it is also three gigabytes in size (way too large for most video hosts).

I thought I had solved this issue by finding Google Video. They have no file size or length limitations. What they do suggest, however, is to use this thing called the Google Video Uploader if your file happens to be over 100 megabytes. So, I downloaded the sucker. Tried to upload the .avi of my play. More than 48 hours later, it still hadn't uploaded onto Google Video's server from my computer. So, I tried to troubleshoot.

Google Video is telling me I should convert the file to an mpeg-4 with an mp3 audio layer, and that it should not have been shot/imported in widescreen. Suck. But, it goes on to note, it should still work. Only, it hasn't, and there has been no further help. So, for the time being, no video of my play just yet.

But, this whole looking-and-trying-to-find-a-video-host thing got me thinking; I looked at three options; Blogger Video, YouTube and Google Video. Each has distinct characteristics, advantages. For instance, Blogger Video keeps all of my content right there together. The video is not imbedded in my blog from somewhere else like YouTube, it's part of the disk space my blog takes up. For free! YouTube has the recognition, the easily-navigable website we're all very familiar with now, and high traffic for such things to become nice and viral. While Google Video has the advantage of being limitless in regards to file size and length. But the strange thing about this is...all three of these options are owned and controlled by Google. I hate to make this comparison, because I love my gmail and I dig Blogger, but Google is becoming the Internet's equivalent of Rupert Murdoch. In fact...I'm not sure, but...does Rupert Murdoch own Google? Or does NewsCorp have some sort of partnership with Google? I know NewsCorp owns, and I know Google and myspace have partnered in the past...well, that sounds like some research I will never do. Oh well. Anyway, I guess the question I have is this: Why does one company have to offer three different brands of video hosting? It just seems silly.

Anyway, if anybody out there has any suggestions for the video, let me know. Thanks for staying tuned!