Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Adele Gets Emotional

This performance was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall, in England, and Adele sang one of her biggest hits and best songs, Someone Like You.

She also talks about what the songs means to her, which is just as touching as her performance.

Adele in 2008

I just stumbled upon this old clip from SNL of a very young Adele singing a couple songs from her first album, 19.


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Queen of Ireland Has a Message for the World

Sometimes you find wisdom and wits in the unlikeliest of places:

Humans Can Be Real Monsters

I read this article and couldn't even make sense of it. How does something like this come to pass?
Police in Searcy, Arkansas are looking for the person — or persons — who killed 57  dogs in a remote wooded area using guns and poison, KY3 is reporting. 
Authorities say that two workers from a local lumber mill were scouting in the area looking for timber stands when they stumbled upon the killing ground, littered with dozens of dead dogs. 
“This is my first in 25 years of law enforcement. I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Sheriff Joey Pruitt. “Systematically just start shooting and just leaving them lying and not even making sure that they’re dead? You know, I just can’t imagine somebody doing that.” 
Saying he didn’t believe the dogs were stolen pets, the sheriff explained they have recovered evidence and that they’re still processing and that he believes the dogs were fed poison before being shot. According to the sheriff, the person or persons responsible for the massacre could be facing felony charges and he is asking locals for tips. 
At the humane society, where they are taking care of several recovered dogs who were only wounded or escaped, staffers are in complete shock. 
“They could have found homes for these dogs. Why? Just why?” said Jean Passmore as she burst into tears.


Clearly this/these individuals are mentally sick or just plain deranged.

Linked from Rawstory.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Steve Grand covers "All I Want For Christmas Is You"

And it's a beautiful rendition and a wonderful video that made my heart well with emotions.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Humans' Cruelty

When I read this news I was angry and saddened in equal amounts (emphasis is mine):
Police Chief Andrew Spencer resigned this week after it was revealed that he shot and killed an innocent dog that was in a cage and meant no one any harm. To make matters even worse, he took the puppy to a firing range and killed it there because he did not want to deal with finding its home
Spencer found the dog and managed to get it into a cage using a catcher pole. He then wrote in his report that he had planned to take the dog to a shelter where it would be “destroyed,” but then he got another call about a car accident so he decided to do it himself
The report said that he had planned to go to “the cheapest vet to destroy the dog at the cost of the city.” However, the report continued “Due to the higher priority call and the imminent destruction of the dog, I decided it was best to destroy the dog and respond to the accident.” 
After the fact, Spencer claimed that the dog was charging at people in the neighborhood. However, he said that he did not believe that the dog bit anyone, otherwise he would have had it taken to the vet and tested for rabies. 
Also, at the time the dog was shot, it was in a cage and thus not a threat to anyone. If Spencer just had a little bit more patience and compassion, he would have found that the family of the lost puppy was looking all over the town for him. Owner Elizabeth Womack said that her puppy Chase was extremely peaceful and friendly animal.

How on gods' earth does one have so little respect for a small puppy who's already been restrained?

And where does he get the right to make a decision on just killing the dog because he doesn't feel like dealing with it? Sounds to me like another example to police brutality and indifference to life, even though I don't want to imply that African American lives are the same as a dog. #BlackLivesMatter

Just sickening. This guy should be evaluated for mental deficiencies, but all in all I think he's just a total asshole.

There's more to read at Rawstory.

W's Most Lasting Legacy: ISIS

Oh I know, I can already hear the wingnuts screaming I'm just a brainwashed liberal, but the damning accusation comes from someone Bush himself put in charge and who was in a special position to know what he's talking about:
The former commander of U.S. special forces in Afghanistan and Iraq admitted that strategic blunders by the Bush administration had led to the rise of Islamic State militants. 
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn told the German newspaper Der Spiegel that Americans allowed their anger of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to lead them into disastrous military policies that failed to address the root causes of terrorism — and actually helped create new and more brutal terrorists. 
The misunderstanding was so great that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who now heads ISIS, was freed in 2004 from a military prison after a U.S. military commission cleared him as harmless. 
“We were too dumb,” Flynn said. “We didn’t understand who we had there at that moment. When 9/11 occurred, all the emotions took over, and our response was, ‘Where did those bastards come from? Let’s go kill them. Let’s go get them.’ Instead of asking why they attacked us, we asked where they came from. Then we strategically marched in the wrong direction.” 
The U.S. invaded Iraq after administration officials — including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Colin Powell — presented false intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and alleged links to al-Qaeda. 
“It was huge error,” he continued. “As brutal as Saddam Hussein was, it was a mistake to just eliminate him. The same is true for Moammar Gadhafi and for Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to go into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind with that decision.”

From Rawstory.

21 is the greatest album of all time

That's what Billboard magazine determined based on chart position:
Adele's Grammy-winning 2011 release "21" was deemed by Billboard magazine the greatest album of all time based on chart position and the soundtrack of the 1965 Julie Andrews movie "The Sound of Music" came in second. 
The British singer racked up the most weeks - 24 - for an album by a woman atop the Billboard 200 album charts and saw 78 weeks in the top 10, Billboard said in a ranking released this week based on chart positions dating to 1963. 
The Billboard rankings used a descending point system that awarded the highest value for weeks that an album spent at No. 1 with consideration for changes in chart-ranking methodology over the years. 
Despite having a record 19 No. 1 hits, The Beatles placed only 54th on the all-time great album rankings with "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," which spent 15 straight weeks at the top in 1967.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The 2016 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Nominations

The winners will be announced on January 30, 2016

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
BRYAN CRANSTON / Dalton Trumbo – “TRUMBO” (Bleecker Street)
JOHNNY DEPP / James “Whitey” Bulger – “BLACK MASS” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO / Hugh Glass – “THE REVENANT” (20th Century Fox)
MICHAEL FASSBENDER / Steve Jobs – “STEVE JOBS” (Universal Pictures)
EDDIE REDMAYNE / Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe – “THE DANISH GIRL” (Focus Features)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
CATE BLANCHETT / Carol Aird – “CAROL” (The Weinstein Company)
HELEN MIRREN / Maria Altmann – “WOMAN IN GOLD” (The Weinstein Company)
SAOIRSE RONAN / Eilis – “BROOKLYN” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
SARAH SILVERMAN / Laney Brooks – “I SMILE BACK” (Broad Green Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
CHRISTIAN BALE / Michael Burry – “THE BIG SHORT” (Paramount Pictures)
IDRIS ELBA / Commandant – “BEASTS OF NO NATION” (Netflix)
MARK RYLANCE / Abel Rudolph – “BRIDGE OF SPIES” (DreamWorks)
MICHAEL SHANNON / Rick Carver – “99 HOMES” (Broad Green Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
ROONEY MARA / Therese Belivet – “CAROL” (The Weinstein Company)
RACHEL McADAMS / Sacha Pfeiffer – “SPOTLIGHT” (Open Road Films)
HELEN MIRREN / Hedda Hopper – “TRUMBO” (Bleecker Street)
ALICIA VIKANDER / Gerda Wegener – “THE DANISH GIRL” (Focus Features)
KATE WINSLET / Joanna Hoffman – “STEVE JOBS” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
IDRIS ELBA / Commandant
THE BIG SHORT (Paramount Pictures)
CHRISTIAN BALE / Michael Burry
RYAN GOSLING / Jared Vennett
MELISSA LEO / Georgia Hale
JOHN MAGARO / Charlie Geller
BRAD PITT / Ben Rickert
RAFE SPALL / Danny Moses
JEREMY STRONG / Vinny Peters
MARISA TOMEI / Cynthia Baum
FINN WITTROCK / Jamie Shipley
SPOTLIGHT (Open Road Films)
BILLY CRUDUP / Eric MacLeish
BRIAN D’ARCY JAMES / Matty Carroll
MICHAEL KEATON / Walter “Robby” Robinson
RACHEL McADAMS / Sacha Pfeiffer
MARK RUFFALO / Michael Rezendes
JOHN SLATTERY / Ben Bradlee, Jr.
STANLEY TUCCI / Mitchell Garabedian
PAUL GIAMATTI / Jerry Heller
TRUMBO (Bleecker Street)
LOUIS C.K. / Arlen Hird
BRYAN CRANSTON / Dalton Trumbo
ELLE FANNING / Niki Trumbo
DIANE LANE / Cleo Trumbo
HELEN MIRREN / Hedda Hopper
MICHAEL STUHLBARG / Edward G. Robinson
ALAN TUDYK / Ian McLellan Hunter

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
IDRIS ELBA / DCI John Luther – “LUTHER” (BBC America)
BEN KINGSLEY / Grand Vizier Ay – “TUT” (Spike)
RAY LIOTTA / Lorca/Tom Mitchell – “TEXAS RISING” (History)
MARK RYLANCE / Thomas Cromwell – “WOLF HALL” (Masterpiece/PBS)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
JON HAMM / Don Draper – “MAD MEN” (AMC)
RAMI MALEK / Elliot – “MR. ROBOT” (USA Network)
KEVIN SPACEY / Francis Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
CLAIRE DANES / Carrie Mathison – “HOMELAND” (Showtime)
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham – “DOWNTON ABBEY” (Masterpiece/PBS)
ROBIN WRIGHT / Claire Underwood – “HOUSE OF CARDS” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
LOUIS C.K. / Louie – “LOUIE” (FX Networks)
WILLIAM H. MACY / Frank – “SHAMELESS” (Showtime)
JEFFREY TAMBOR / Maura Pfefferman – “TRANSPARENT” (Amazon)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
UZO ADUBA / Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren – “ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK” (Netflix)
EDIE FALCO / Jackie Peyton – “NURSE JACKIE” (Showtime)
JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS / President Selina Meyer – “VEEP” (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
HUGH BONNEVILLE / Robert, Earl of Grantham
LAURA CARMICHAEL / Lady Edith Crawley
JIM CARTER / Mr. Carson
TOM CULLEN / Anthony Gillingham
MICHELLE DOCKERY / Lady Mary Crawley
KEVIN DOYLE / Mr. Molesley
LILY JAMES / Lady Rose
ALLEN LEECH / Tom Branson
ELIZABETH McGOVERN / Cora, Countess of Grantham
LESLEY NICOL / Mrs. Patmore
JULIAN OVENDEN / Charles Blake
DAVID ROBB / Dr. Clarkson
MAGGIE SMITH / Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham
PENELOPE WILTON / Isobel Crawley
ALFIE ALLEN / Theon Greyjoy
IAN BEATTIE / Ser Meryn Trant
JOHN BRADLEY / Samwell Tarly
EMILIA CLARKE / Daenerys Targaryen
BEN CROMPTON / Dolorous Edd
LIAM CUNNINGHAM / Ser Davos Seaworth
STEPHEN DILLANE / Stannis Baratheon
PETER DINKLAGE / Tyrion Lannister
TARA FITZGERALD / Selyse Baratheon
BRIAN FORTUNE / Othell Yarwyck
JOEL FRY / Hizdahr Zo Loraq
AIDAN GILLEN / Littlefinger Petyr Baelish
IAIN GLEN / Ser Jorah Mormont
LENA HEADEY / Cersei Lannister
MICHIEL HUISMAN / Daario Naharis
DANIEL PORTMAN / Podrick Payne
IWAN RHEON / Ramsay Snow
OWEN TEALE / Ser Alliser Thorne
TOM WLASCHIHA / Jaqen H’ghar
HOMELAND (Showtime)
CLAIRE DANES / Carrie Mathison
NINA HOSS / Astrid
MARK IVANIR / Ivan Krupin
MIRANDA OTTO / Allison Carr
MANDY PATINKIN / Saul Berenson
DEREK CECIL / Seth Grayson
NATHAN DARROW / Edward Meechum
MICHAEL KELLY / Doug Stamper
MOLLY PARKER / Jackie Sharp
KEVIN SPACEY / Francis Underwood
ROBIN WRIGHT / Claire Underwood
SOLA BAMIS / Shirley
JAY R. FERGUSON / Stan Rizzo
BRUCE GREENWOOD / Richard Burghoff
JON HAMM / Don Draper
JANUARY JONES / Betty Francis
KEVIN RAHM / Ted Chaough
JOHN SLATTERY / Roger Sterling
RICH SOMMER / Harry Crane
AARON STATON / Ken Cosgrove

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
MAYIM BIALIK / Amy Farrah Fowler
JOHNNY GALECKI / Leonard Hofstadter
SIMON HELBERG / Howard Wolowitz
KUNAL NAYYAR / Rajesh Koothrappali
JIM PARSONS / Sheldon Cooper
MELISSA RAUCH / Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz
KEY & PEELE (Comedy Central)
KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY / Various Characters
JORDAN PEELE / Various Characters
JULIE BOWEN / Claire Dunphy
TY BURRELL / Phil Dunphy
AUBREY ANDERSON EMMONS / Lily Tucker-Pritchett
JESSE TYLER FERGUSON / Mitchell Pritchett
NOLAN GOULD / Luke Dunphy
SARAH HYLAND / Haley Dunphy
ED O’NEILL / Jay Pritchett
RICO RODRIGUEZ / Manny Delgado
SOFIA VERGARA / Gloria Delgado-Pritchett
ARIEL WINTER / Alex Dunphy
UZO ADUBA / Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren
MIKE BIRBIGLIA / Danny Pearson
DANIELLE BROOKS / Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson
LAVERNE COX / Sophia Burset
JACKIE CRUZ / Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales
LEA DELARIA / Carrie “Big Boo” Black
BETH FOWLER / Sister Jane Ingalls
ANNIE GOLDEN / Norma Romano
DIANE GUERRERO / Maritza Ramos
VICKY JEUDY / Janae Watson
SELENIS LEYVA / Gloria Mendoza
TARYN MANNING / Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett
KATE MULGREW / Galina “Red” Reznikov
EMMA MYLES / Leanne Taylor
MATT PETERS / Joel Luschek
LORI PETTY / Lolly Whitehill
DASCHA POLANCO / Dayanara Diaz
RUBY ROSE / Stella Carlin
NICK SANDOW / Joe Caputo
YAEL STONE / Lorna Morello
SAMIRA WILEY / Poussey Washington
JAY DUPLASS / Josh Pfefferman
KATHRYN HAHN / Raquel Fein
GABY HOFFMANN / Ali Pfefferman
CHERRY JONES / Leslie Mackinaw
AMY LANDECKER / Sarah Pfefferman
JUDITH LIGHT / Shelly Pfefferman
HARI NEF / Gittel/Gerson
EMILY ROBINSON / Rose Boymelgreen
JEFFREY TAMBOR / Maura Pfefferman
DIEDRICH BADER / Bill Ericsson
ANNA CHLUMSKY / Amy Brookheimer
GARY COLE / Kent Davidson
KEVIN DUNN / Ben Cafferty
TONY HALE / Gary Walsh
MATT WALSH / Mike McLintock

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
“EVEREST” (Universal Pictures)
“FURIOUS 7” (Universal Pictures)
“JURASSIC WORLD” (Universal Pictures)
“MAD MAX: FURY ROAD” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
“HOMELAND” (Showtime)

52nd Annual SAG Life Achievement Award

The 2016 Golden Globes Nominations

The 2016 Golden Globes Nominations follow. I've been watching less TV of late, pruning my list of shows down as much as possible, and I haven't set foot in a movie theater in months, but that doesn't mean I don't follow the industry anymore.

A couple comments:

  1. From what I've heard of The Martian, in what galaxy far, far away can it be considered a Musical or Comedy? #OnlyattheGG
  2. Lady Gaga nominated for Best Actress? Really? Really? They couldn't let this one go? I've been watching the current season of American Horror Story: Hotel just like all the previous iterations (it's one of my favorite shows), but this season is by far the worst of the bunch. I guess I miss Jessica Lange's talent and range, or maybe I just don't really feel the new season, or maybe I just can't get over the fact that Lady Gaga asked Ryan Murphy for a part (likely intending a cameo) and got the leading lady part. I can only imagine how royally pissed off Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Sarah Paulson (to name just a few) must have felt to have been passed over in spite of their combined talents just because of Gaga's name recognition. I mean, I get it, you want to increase ratings as much as possible, and Gaga will undoubtedly help you in that regard, but couldn't they just create a good part for her and promote one of the regulars? Regardless, my point is that the role was tailor-made for her and although she does a good job, it doesn't mean that she has actual range or acting talent. Oh well, here's to hoping that one of the other 4 pulls it off, but I wouldn't count on it. If the GG nominated Gaga, she probably has so much support among the voters she might want to prepare a speech.
Best Motion Picture, Drama
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
The Big Short
The Martian

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Rooney Mara, Carol
Saiorse Ronin, Brooklyn
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Melissa McCarthy, Spy
Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van
Lily Tomlin, Grandma

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Will Smith, Concussion

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Paul Dano, Love
Idris Elba, Beast of No Nation
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Jane Fonda, Youth
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hateful Eight
Helen Mirren, Trumbo
Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Director, Motion Picture
Todd Haynes, Carol
Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott, The Martian

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Steve Carell, The Big Short
Matt Damon, The Martian
Al Pacino, Danny Collins
Mark Ruffalo, Infinitely Polar Bear

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture
Emma Donoghue, Room
Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer, Spotlight
Charles Randolph & Adam McKay, The Big Short
Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs
Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Best Original Score, Motion Picture
Carter Burwell, Carol
Alexander Desplat, The Danish Girl
Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Daniel Pemberton, Steve Jobs
Ryuchi Sakamoto, The Revanant

Best Motion Picture, Animated
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

Best Original Song, Motion Picture
“Love Me Like You Do,” Fifty Shades of Grey
“One Kind of Love,” Love & Mercy
“See You Again,” Furious 7
“Simple Song #3,” Youth
“Writing’s on the Wall,” Spectre

Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language
The Brand New Testament
The Club
The Fencer 
Son of Saul

Best Television Series, Drama
Empire, Fox
Game of Thrones, HBO
Mr. Robot, USA
Narcos, Netflix
Outlander, Starz

Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy
Casual, Hulu
Mozart in the Jungle, Amazon Video
Orange Is the New Black, Netflix
Silicon Valley, HBO
Transparent, Amazon Video
Veep, HBO

Best Television Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
American Crime, ABC
American Horror Story: Hotel, FX
Fargo, FX
Flesh and Bone, Starz
Wolf Hall, PBS

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Drama
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Wagner Moura, Narcos 
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Musical, or Comedy
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Gael García Bernal, Mozart in the Jungle
Rob Lowe, The Grinder
Patrick Stewart, Blunt Talk
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Idris Elba, Luther
Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero
David Oyelowo, Nightingale
Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
Patrick Wilson, Fargo

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Damien Lewis, Wolf Hall
Ben Mendelson, Bloodline
Tobias Menzies, Outlander
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Drama
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
Eva Green, Penny Dreadful
Taraji P. Henson, Empire
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Joanna Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Regina King, American Crime
Judith Light, Transparent
Maura Tierney, The Affair

Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel
Sarah Hay, Flesh and Bone
Felicity Huffman, American Crime
Queen Latifah, Bessie

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy
Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queens
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie 

From EW.

The Dangers of Eating Processed Foods

I think it should come as a surprise to anyone with a modicum of intelligence and knowledge that eating foods that have been heavily processed cannot be healthy in any way.

Now, the WHO has finally gone on record by denouncing certain kinds of foods as dangerous to your health:
The World Health Organization said Monday that eating processed meat such as sausages and ham causes cancer, while unprocessed red meat may also be carcinogenic.

The WHO's cancer research unit now classifies processed meat as "carcinogenic to humans" based on evidence from hundreds of studies, and linked it specifically to colon, or colorectal, cancer.
The report outlined that simply eating 50 grams of processed meat each day -- the equivalent of two slices of ham -- can increase the risk of such cancer by 18%. However, the authors say the risks are relatively small to begin with. 
The organization defines processed meat as any type of meat that is salted, cured or smoked to enhance its flavor or preserve it. Processed meat generally contains pork or beef, but may also contain poultry. 
The WHO now classifies processed meat in the same category as smoking and asbestos, based on its certainty of a link with cancer, but stressed that did not mean they were equally dangerous.
Unprocessed red meat such as steak and lamb shanks is classified as "probably carcinogenic."
Something to ponder on your next trip to the local deli or barbeque.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

When Mass Shootings Become the New Normal

Mass shootings have been a reality of life in America for many decades. Because of the NRA’s incredible economic heft, no law is ever changed (not for long anyway) and no politician has the power or will to go against it, for fear of losing their seat at the next election cycle.
So we’ve become desensitized to all the death and mayhem shown on TV screens with increasing frequency. How frequently? The New York Times reports:
More than one a day.
That is how often, on average, shootings that left four or more people wounded or dead occurred in the United States this year, according to compilations of episodes derived from news reports.
Including the worst mass shooting of the year, which unfolded horrifically on Wednesday in San Bernardino, Calif., a total of 462 people have died and 1,314 have been wounded in such attacks this year, many of which occurred on streets or in public settings, the databases indicate.
There’s a lot more interesting information in the article. Definitely worth a read.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

When We Were Young, by Adele

Another great song from my idol:

And a live version of her smash hit, Hello, which, together with her album 25, have dwarfed pretty much every record in the music books:

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Dogs Are the Best

Get your tissues ready before watching this video because it’s one of the most heart-melting and heartbreaking stories I’ve ever seen:

The Simplicity of Evolution

I honestly cannot believe that in 2015 there are still people out there who proudly proclaim not to believe in the Theory of Evolution, but rather in Creationism, aka “Intelligent Design.”

The best reply to someone who says something that stupid to you should just be, “Please, bitch,” but here are some helpful videos in case you need more evidence to convince them (via Rawstory):

And if they’re still unconvinced, just tell them to listen to the expert, Bill Nye:

Now, if at this point they’re still trying to spew their bullshit, then just walk away. They’re a lost cause and likely are ashamed of their position but feel like they cannot change it and “evolve.”

No pun intended.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Dogs Help Keeping Babies Healthy

That’s the takeaway from a recent study about the connection between having dogs around when you have children. Unless someone has an allergic reaction of some sort, the best thing is to have them in the home:

Babies who spend time around pet dogs have fewer ear infections and respiratory ailments than those whose homes are animal-free, said a study released on Monday.

The study, published in the U.S. journal Pediatrics, did not say why but suggested that being around a dog that spends at least part of its day outdoors may boost a child's immune system in the first year of life.

Cats, too, seemed to convey some protection to babies, though the effect observed was weaker than with dogs.


Overall, babies in homes with cats or dogs were about 30 percent less likely to have respiratory infectious symptoms -- which included cough, wheezing, rhinitis (stuffy or runny nose) and fever -- and about half as likely to get ear infections.

"If children had dog or cat contacts at home, they were significantly healthier during the study period," said the study led by experts at Kuopio University Hospital in Finland.

The most protective association was seen in children who had a dog inside at home for up to six hours a day, compared to children who did not have any dogs or who had dogs that were always outside.

"We offer preliminary evidence that dog ownership may be protective against respiratory tract infections during the first year of life," said the study.

"We speculate that animal contacts could help to mature the immunologic system, leading to more composed immunologic response and shorter duration of infections."

The improvement was significant, even after researchers ruled out other factors that could boost infection risk, such as not having been breastfed, attending daycare, being raised by smokers or parents with asthma, or having older siblings in the household.

In addition to having less frequent ear infections and respiratory infections, babies near dogs tended to need fewer courses of antibiotics compared to those who were reared in pet-free households, it said.

Men Hairstyles Evolution

Another cool video showing how styles change over the decades.

The eye candy doesn’t hurt Winking smile

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Adele finally released her new single, Hello, and I LOVE IT!!!!

Her new album, titled 25, will come out soon, and I can’t wait. Judging from the first single it’ll be fantastic.

The video is beautiful as well, so enjoy:

Sam Smith, Writing’s on the Wall

I’ve always enjoyed the James Bond movies’ anthems and Sam Smith’s new one for the latest installment, Spectre, doesn’t disappoint.

I’ve actually come to really like Smith’s vocals, style, and sounds. So here you go:

PS: I didn’t watch the video myself because, as customary, it contains scenes from the movie that I will eventually watch, and since I don’t like spoilers, I could only listen to the song, but I love it anyway!

Friday, October 02, 2015

Still Alice

Still AliceThe Gist: A renown linguistics professor suddenly discovers that she carries a genetic marker that has doomed her to develop early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Both she and her family will have to face the consequences of her degrading mental abilities and loss of memory and awareness.

Still Alice is a movie that inevitably will tug at your heartstrings. Julianne Moore is absolutely fantastic in the lead role, for which she finally earned her first (gasp!) Oscar.

She’s flanked by Alec Baldwin (just average), Kate Bosworth (good as the icy, entitled daughter), Hunter Parrish (so nice to see this impossibly handsome actor again), and Kristen Stewart. I was a little wary about her at first because she seemed completely devoid of talent in the few Twilight movies I unfortunately watched, but she’s actually pretty good as the more rebellious daughter who ends up being the most understanding of her mother’s issues.

Some might argue that the pace of Alice’s illness development is too fast, but I found it acceptable given the constraints of film.

The Bottom Line: Still Alice is a really good movie and a powerful exploration of the dramatic and heartbreaking changes such a rare form of this terrible disease brings about in one’s life.

Grade: 8

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Inherent Vice

Inherent ViceThe Gist: A private investigator who regularly operates under the influence of a lot of drugs is pulled into the investigation on the disappearance of a former girlfriend who was linked to a married, rich developer, who also disappeared.

I was looking forward to this movie for two reasons. First, it stars Joaquin Phoenix, whom I admire highly as an actor. Second, it’s directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, a director whose work I’ve admired since he first burst onto the scene with the very original Boogie Nights. He followed that with Magnolia, which wasn’t universally well received, but I liked it very much. Then came Punch-Drunk Love, which was so good it made me appreciate Adam Sandler, and There Will Be Blood, which is artistically impeccable and a good story overall.

I haven’t seen The Master yet, his follow up, but his latest, Inherent Vice, shook my admiration for Anderson to the very core.

Flanking Phoenix is a sprawling cast of marquee names (actors like Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Owen Wilson, Reese Whiterspoon, Martin Short, Martin Donovan, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, and Jena Malone) and a well written screenplay (hell, it was nominated for an Oscar!!) and yet I found it to be the best cure for insomnia…

Perhaps the material it’s based on is complicated to adapt into a movie and/or would not impress me either, or I just didn’t understand the subtleties of the period. All I know is that I constantly found myself rewinding because I had dozed off, even though I wasn’t tired and was looking forward to watching a movie. That rarely, if ever, happens to me, so it’s never a good sign.

The Bottom Line: I found this movie boring, needlessly complicated, and tough to get through. In spite of my admiration for the director and several of the actors involved, I would definitely not recommend it to anyone. Unless you have trouble sleeping…

Grade: 2

Night Will Fall

Night Will FallThe Gist: Towards the end of World War II, the Allied troops finally gained access to the Nazi’s concentration camps and the magnitude of the horrific deeds perpetrated against the Jews was revealed. The footage recorded at the time was never distributed widely because of political reasons, until now.

This is the only documentary attributed to Alfred Hitchcock, who helped putting it together.

The Bottom Line: Another damming condemnation of the horrific acts of the Nazis following Hitler’s orders to round up and annihilate the Jewish people. While there isn’t a lot of new evidence regarding the scope of the brutality, a reminder of what happened only a few decades ago is always a good thing. It’s also interesting to see how much the German people were (or tried to be) oblivious to what was going on just outside their doorsteps.

Grade: 8

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tales of the Grim Sleeper

Tales of the Grim SleeperThe Gist: This documentary follows the investigation into notorious Los Angeles serial killer the Grim Sleeper , who is suspected of killing over 100 women in the city’s South Side.

It was shocking to see how poorly the police handled the whole investigation and how the killer was pretty much allowed to carry on killing without much interference.

The documentary really resonated with me because of all the attention institutionalized racism has gotten in the last few months thanks to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Before police’s brutality measures, ingrained racism, and total disregard for the lives of minorities in general and black people in particular were brought to the general public’s attention I would have thought a lot of what is said to be fed by paranoia, but now I know better. 

Unfortunately, black people are right to be afraid of interacting with the police in the US, and I would definitely give our kids the same kind of advice, to call us before they call 911.

The Bottom Line: A very interesting documentary that efficiently shines a light on how differently the authorities would have treated this case if the victims had been white women instead of black women. I’m not giving it a higher grade simply because it ends rather abruptly, without letting us know the current status of the trial against the killer.

Grade: 7

Monday, August 17, 2015

Churches Scamming the Poor and the Believer

I know it’s a bit long, but you have to watch this video by John Oliver about the mind boggling scams that American (tele-) evangelists perpetuate on the public by abusing the trust people put in them.

And on top of that, they also scam the rest of the population by taking advantage of the ridiculous (and very lax) rules that exempt religious organizations from paying taxes.

It’s jaw-dropping shocking:

And it’s all real.  And it’s all legal.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Gays Are Imposing Slavery on the South

That’s what one Bryan Fischer opined in relation to the effort to overturn Mississippi’s gay adoption ban:

“Ladies and gentlemen. That is just a form of tyranny. When you compel people to do things contrary to their will, contrary to their conscience, that’s slavery as well as tyranny. So you think about it, who’s bringing slavery back to the south? Who’s bringing slavery back to the Confederate States of America? It’s the homosexual lobby. When you compel people to provide services against their will, that is involuntary servitude, that is slavery. I submit to you that it is the homosexual lobby that’s single-handedly bringing slavery back to the Confederate States of America.”

If you can stomach it, Towleroad has the video of the crazy rant.

Revealing One’s Real Thoughts

In the last few months a string of racial incidents have come to light all across the US that have made crystal clear that the country has not yet overcome its past and its differences when it come to whites and minorities, especially African Americans.

I came across this article on Rawstory and was blown away by how messed up, inappropriate, outrageous, and just plain wrong what this journalist had to say was:

A white Chicago Tribune columnist is sparking outrage after writing a Thursday column expressing “envy” over Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history as the anniversary of the storm approaches.

Katrina, which made landfall on August 29, 2005, killed almost 971 people in its direct aftermath. According to Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals, the majority of the victims were elderly black people.

“Envy isn’t a rational response to the upcoming 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina,” Tribune editor Kristen McQueary writes in the column originally titled, “In Chicago, wishing for a Hurricane Katrina.”


I find myself wishing for a storm in Chicago — an unpredictable, haughty, devastating swirl of fury. A dramatic levee break. Geysers bursting through manhole covers. A sleeping city, forced onto the rooftops,” McQueary wrote. “That’s what it took to hit the reset button in New Orleans. Chaos. Tragedy. Heartbreak.”

McQueary apparently yearns for Katrina-scale death and destruction in Chicago because New Orleans city leaders used the storm as an opportunity to furlough and fire city employees, and convert the public school system into a private venture.

“Chicago is so good at hiding its rot,” she writes. Its gravest issue — more than crime, education and poverty? Overspending.

“You’d never know it by the casual approach of government, both at City Hall and Chicago Public Schools, toward spiraling debt, and our elected officials’ continued practice of the risks that got us here,” McQueary writes.

One commenter on Twitter had the perfect retort:

"I wish the Enola Gay would fly over Chicago and drop its payload. That's what it took to hit the reset button in Japan." -Kristen McQueary

It just seems incredible that someone could say something like what McQueary said.  But the most worrisome thing is that these people really do feel and think like that and occasionally their insanity, hatred, and racism bubbles up.  But it’s always there.

An even scarier thought? These people live amongst us. And they vote.

Friday, August 07, 2015

How Safe Is It To Be Out in 2015?

Apparently not that much if you’re looking for a job.  Watch this:

From Towleroad.

Men’s Fashion Through the Years

Another very interesting and cool video with the same handsome model featured in my last post:

Men’s Swimwear Through the Years

Warning, the following video might induce salivation and/or dry mouth symptoms:

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Dorothea Lange

An influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration:

“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.”

Glaciers Melting Unstoppable for a Long Time

That’s the conclusion of a new study reported by ThinkProgress:

The observations show that “the rates of early 21st-century [glacial] mass loss are without precedent on a global scale, at least for the time period observed and probably also for recorded history,” according to the study from the World Glacier Monitoring Service, based in Zurich.


The melting is speeding up. Glaciers are now losing mass twice as fast as they were in the period from 1901-1950, three times as fast as in the period from 1851-1900, and four times as fast as in the period from 1800-1850, the researchers found.

And the glaciers will continue to recede, even if global temperatures stabilize, the study’s lead author, Michael Zemp, told Climate News Network. “Due to the strong ice loss over the past few decades, many glaciers are too big under current climatic conditions. They simply have not had enough time to react to the climatic changes of the past,” he said.

In other words, the Earth’s glaciers are melting to keep up with temperature changes that have already occurred.


“It takes time for the warming to whittle down the ice sheets,” he said. “But it doesn’t take forever. There is evidence that we are likely seeing that transformation begin to take place now.” Carlson told ThinkProgress that “we are nearing one degree Celsius warming,” and that the “worst case scenario is what we are already on.”

Are we doomed because of the inability of our political class to say “Enough is enough” to the powerful Dirty Energy industries?

Fighting the Real Enemy

I read this article on Rawstory and it was an eye opener.  This paramedic from Texas is amazed by how easily common workers are manipulated by those in power to fight against each other while they reap all the benefits:

“Look, if any job is going to take up someone’s life, it deserves a living wage. If a job exists and you have to hire someone to do it, they deserve a living wage. End of story. There’s a lot of talk going around my workplace along the lines of, “These guys with no education and no skills think they deserve as much as us? Fuck those guys.” And elsewhere on FB: ‘I’m a licensed electrician, I make $13/hr, fuck these burger flippers.'”

He continued, “And that’s exactly what the bosses want! They want us fighting over who has the bigger pile of crumbs so we don’t realize they made off with almost the whole damn cake. Why are you angry about fast food workers making two bucks more an hour when your CEO makes four hundred TIMES what you do? It’s in the bosses’ interests to keep your anger directed downward, at the poor people who are just trying to get by, like you, rather than at the rich assholes who consume almost everything we produce and give next to nothing for it. ”

Pretty solid argument in my opinion.

The Idiocy of Anti-LGBT Bigots

Watch this video from The Daily Show.  It perfectly puts in perspective how ridiculous the religious right’s arguments that they are persecuted by LGBTs are and shines a light on their desperation for predominance over a culture and a nation that is (hopefully) slowly leaving them behind in the past:


If you happen to hear some fervent believer railing against marriage equality and how the LGBT minority is victimizing them, point them to this excellent video:

From Towleroad.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The death of an icon

I reported yesterday about the loss of the beloved Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe by an arrogant American dentist from Minnesota (one Walter Palmer, may his name live in shame for eternity).
Fortunately, he’s being vilified in the media and hopefully he will suffer legal and financial consequences that will curtail his ability to visit more death upon innocent animals unable to defend themselves from his coward attacks.
Unfortunately, I also found this out today:
“The saddest part of all is that now that Cecil is dead, the next lion in the hierarchy, Jericho, will most likely kill all Cecil’s cubs so that he can insert his own bloodline into the females.”
This story just keeps getting sadder and sadder.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Shame! Shame! Shame!

Any Game of Thrones fan will recognize that to be the call, repeated over and over, that follows Queen Cersei back to the Red Keep for her penitence.

I propose that kind of treatment for this insensitive, immoral, and appallingly inhuman individual:

A Minnesota dentist has taken down his website after a British newspaper identified him as the American hunter who killed Zimbabwe’s most famous lion.

Walter Palmer, a trophy hunter who operates River Bluffs Dental in Bloomington, is believed to have paid about $55,000 to bribe wildlife guards July 1 at Hwange National Park, reported The Telegraph.

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force confirmed that Palmer — who has been previously fined for illegal hunts — spotted Cecil the lion at night and tied a dead animal to his vehicle to lure the famed cat out of the park.

That tactic is known as “baiting” and is used by big-game hunters to justify their killings as legal.

Investigators said Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow, and he and a companion found the wounded and suffering cat the following morning and killed it.

Palmer then removed the cat’s skin and head and left its carcass near the outskirts of the park — where hunting is prohibited.

“He never bothered anybody,” said Johnny Rodrigues, the head of Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. “He was one of the most beautiful animals to look at.”

The 13-year-old big cat was known to the park’s visitors and seemingly enjoyed human contact, according to reports.

The 55-year-old Palmer, of Eden Prairie, said the reports were inaccurate.

Sure they were.  SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

From Rawstory.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Vogue’s 25th Anniversary

Just typing that header gave me pause.  Madonna’s Vogue is one of my favorite songs of all time and its accompanying video might just be the best I’ve ever seen.  I just can’t believe I was 18 years old when this song came out!!

Now, a previously unreleased collection of outtakes from that shoot opens a window onto a mysterious world that we rarely get to see.

Whether you like Madonna or are a music video fan in general, this is a must-see.  For me it was an eye-opener mostly for the amount of work, tenacity, stamina, creativity, passion, and talent that goes into these 4-5 minute videos that quickly come and go even when a song is successful.

I mean, think about it.  A movie or even a television show, in which the same kind of work goes into, when they’re good, they become classics featured on end-of-the-year top movie lists à la Citizen Kane, they get re-released in theaters à la Star Wars, they get extended cuts and anniversary editions, or they go in syndication.

A music video, especially now that MTV isn’t what it used to be anymore, can find a lot of play while a song is fresh, but after that, even if the song itself is included in countless compilations, the video tapers off, only to be occasionally replayed by some hard-core fan or a newbie.

Just seeing how many times a scene had to be repeated, always giving it your all, always acting the required part, always hitting the same notes and moves, was humbling.  Especially for the star of the video, who doesn’t get as much downtime as the rest of the crew because she’s literally in every scene.  That’s who people want to see.

We only get to see the finished videos, and they always seem effortlessly made.  They might look like they cost a lot, but one has no idea of the amount of planning, time, and work that went into the shoot.

Anyway, I know it’s long, but it’s worth it.  Take a look.

And here’s the final, impeccably polished product, which was directed, a fact I wasn’t aware of, by David Fincher, who’s become one of my favorite movie directors.

Via Towleroad.

The Worsening Climate

Rawstory reports on a Telegraph article about the likelihood of an upcoming Maunder minimum between 2030 and 2040, which might result in something like a Little Ice Age for the northern hemisphere:

A study by researchers at Great Britain’s Northumbria University say that competing physical cycles within our sun will cancel each other out in the next solar cycle, resulting in a “mini Ice Age” like one that gripped the Northern Hemisphere from 1645 to 1715.


“[In the cycle between 2030 and around 2040] the two waves exactly mirror each other — peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the sun,” she explained.

“Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other,” she said. “We predict that this will lead to the properties of a ‘Maunder minimum.'”

The Maunder Minimum is the 70-year period from 1645 to 1715 when North America and Europe experienced very cold winters due to lower solar temperatures and minimal sunspot activity.

“In England during this “Little Ice Age,'” wrote the Telegraph’s Dan Hyde, “River Thames frost fairs were held. In the winter of 1683-84 the Thames froze over for seven weeks, during which it was ‘passable by foot,’ according to historical records.”

Check out the link above for a cool video explaining the phenomenon in more detail.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Theory of Evolution

Watch as the always impressively clear and approachable Neil deGrasse Tyson explains the history of the Universe to the common mortals:

Allison Steinberg

A spokeswoman for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), which advocates for LGBT rights and religious liberties, on why the right-to-discriminate bills popping up all over the country, and in the US Capitol, are wrong and unconstitutional:

“Open for business means open for all.  A public serving business owner can’t turn someone away because of their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, nor should they be allowed to deny someone service because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Economic Inequality

Another mind-boggling article from Rawstory, this time about economic inequality and the widening chasm between rich and poor, both in America and the world.

A sampler:

1. In 81 percent of American counties, the median income, about $52,000, is less than it was 15 years ago. This is despite the fact that the economy has grown 83 percent in the past quarter-century and corporate profits have doubled. American workers produce twice the amount of goods and services as 25 years ago, but get less of the pie.

2. The amount of money that was given out in bonuses on Wall Street last year is twice the amount all minimum-wage workers earned in the country combined.

3. The wealthiest 85 people on the planet have more money that the poorest 3.5 billion people combined.

5. Italians, Belgians and Japanese citizens are wealthier than Americans.

6. The poorest half of the Earth’s population owns 1% of the Earth’s wealth. The richest 1% of the Earth’s population owns 46% of the Earth’s wealth.

9. The slice of the national income pie going to the wealthiest 1% of Americans has doubled since 1979.

12. The top 1% of America owns 50% of investment assets (stocks, bonds, mutual funds). The poorest half of America owns just .5% of the investments.

13. The poorest Americans do come out ahead in one statistic: the bottom 90% of America owns 73% of the debt.

14. Tax rates for the middle class have remained essentially unchanged since 1960. Tax rates on the highest earning Americans have plunged from an almost 70% tax rate in 1945 down to around 35% today. Corporate tax rates have dropped from 30 percent in the 1950s to under 10 percent today.

15. Since 1990, CEO compensation has increased by 300%. Corporate profits have doubled. The average worker’s salary has increased 4%. Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage has actually decreased.

16. CEOs in 1965 earned about 24 times the amount of the average worker. In 1980 they earned 42 times as much. Today, CEOs earn 325 times the average worker.

18. In a study of 34 developed countries, the United States had the second highest level of income inequality, ahead of only Chile.

20. The average white American’s median wealth is 20 times higher ($113,000) than the average African American ($5,600) and 18 times the Hispanic American ($6,300).

25. Union membership in the US is at an all-time low, about 11% of the workforce. In 1978, 40 percent of blue-collar workers were unionized. With that declining influence has come a concurrent decline in the real value of the minimum wage.

26. Four hundred Americans have more wealth, $2 trillion, than half of all Americans combined. That is approximately the GDP of Russia.

28. Despite massive tax cuts, corporations have not created new jobs in America. The job creators have been small new businesses that have not enjoyed the same huge tax breaks.

29. More than half of the members of the United States Congress, where laws are passed deciding how millionaires are taxed, are millionaires.

30. Twenty five of the largest corporations in America in 2010 paid their CEOs more money than they paid in taxes that year.

34. During the Great Recession, the average wealth of the 1% dropped about 16 percent. Meanwhile the wealth of the 99% dropped 47 percent.

35. Between 1979 and 2007, the wages of the top 1% rose 10 times more than the bottom 90 percent.

Slavery and Racial Discrimination

Rawstory points us to this eye opening illustration of slavery in America and what its connection is to today’s racial inequalities.

A must see:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Pluto Was Ready for Its Close-Up

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sailed by Pluto on July 13, after travelling 3 billion miles in 9 years, on its way to the Kuiper Belt and its mysteries, but not before relaying back this wonderful image of the dwarf planet among many others:


I love that image so much.  Knowing that Pluto is so far away and all alone at the edges of the Solar System, it just looks so melancholy and beautiful.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Jake Gyllenhall

Incredibly handsome, famous actor, and straight ally of the LGBT community, when asked “if he felt the ‘perceived risk’ of playing a gay role as a leading man in Hollywood has changed since 2004,” the year he played a gay role in Brokeback Mountain:
JG“Oh definitely it’s changed. I think playing a role and living a life are two very different things. I think telling stories, and all different stories, is what makes acting so great. It’s why I was really proud of Brokeback Mountain and everything it had to say. And it was an interesting journey to go on to learn about that world.”
And these are his thoughts about the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality nationwide:
JGBeard“When I heard about the news I thought, wow, how far we’ve come in a decade. And how far we have to go in so many things. But I think hopefully something like that in terms of—the resistance of society and seeing that it’s possible to change was such an amazing thing. I remember thinking, my mom sent me the decision. And how it was written, I thought it was so beautiful. And she said it’s all about love. My brother said to me a few weeks ago, all we leave behind is the wake of our lives, that’s all we have. And to know that [love] wins out sometimes is an inspiration to me.”

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Title VII Covers Sexual Orientation

That’s what the EEOC (Equal Election Opportunity Commission) ruled last week and it’s a big fraking deal.  From Towleroad (emphasis mine):

The EEOC’s job is to stop employment discrimination and to hold companies accountable when they do discriminate.

On Friday, in a 3-2 party-line ruling, the Commission held that discrimination against gay persons violates Title VII’s ban on discrimination on the basis of sex. This is potentially groundbreaking: until Friday, there was no federal law protecting gay workers if they are discriminated against because they are gay, and although only the Supreme Court can issue a definitive ruling on the subject, the EEOC’s view is given substantial weight by [federal] courts. Plus, the decision may influence state courts on the matter, as well. Still, this huge step forward is unstable: We still have work to do to ensure that sexual orientation discrimination protections are codified in both state and federal laws.

And this is the very simple explanation for the logic behind the ruling:

Title VII, part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, bans discrimination “on the basis of sex.” An employer cannot, for example, treat women different than men. Nor can they allow people to behave in a way that creates an environment hostile to women because they are women.

How discrimination “on the basis of sex” also covers discrimination of gays is pretty simple: discrimination against gays only occurs because of the victim’s gender. That is because the status of someone being gay or lesbian is defined relative to the person he or she loves. I am gay because I love a man; if I were a woman, I would be heterosexual and, thus, not the subject of anti-gay discrimination. Consider this example: Sam works for Big Corp. Last Sunday, Sam married Patrick and their announcement was in the New York Times. Today, Sam is fired because Sam is short for Samuel. If Sam were short for Samantha, he wouldn’t be fired. […]

Notably, this interpretation of Title VII is on top of a decades-old interpretation that Title VII bans gender expression discrimination. […]

And since the EEOC is the agency in charge of interpreting and implementing Title VII, the experts in the field, so to speak, its rulings are generally given significant deference by any court of law.

This is very good news and a good start, but it really only applies to federal employees for now, and gays and lesbians can still be discriminated against in areas like housing and education.

What we really still need is comprehensive anti-gay discrimination legislation at the federal level, but with the GOP in control of Congress that won’t happen anytime soon.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

An enlightened young man

Here’s vlogger Joe Santagato’s reaction to the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide and why our opponents are just dead wrong:

Given his sexual orientation (he’s straight – sigh) and his age, it’s easy to understand why our opposition is growing smaller and more desperate with the passage of time.

Equal. At Last.

As anyone not living under a rock knows by now, the US Supreme Court declared on June 26 that gay and lesbian American citizens have a constitutional right to marriage like any other American citizen protected by the US constitution.

The ruling, hailed by all human beings of sound mind and willing to see the injustice of treating a segment of the population differently for no reasonable cause, was vituperated by the 4 justices in dissent and by those religious fanatics who love to cherry-pick what parts of their religious texts should be followed to the letter and which can be partially or fully ignored.

Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the 4 justices that make up the liberal wing of the Supreme Court and in so doing wrote the last chapter of his legacy regarding the defense and recognition of all gay and lesbian people.

From his ruling:

Kennedy“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.”

Read this passage again: “Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

I cannot see any flaws in his entire logic and I want to thank Justice Kennedy for rallying once more to our defense and giving us, finally, the equality we so desired and deserved.  Thank you Sir.

From Vox:


A few passages from Towleroad’s Ari Waldman:

The Supreme Court’s opinion guaranteeing the freedom to marry for gay persons is a Kennedy-esque take on Mary Bonauto’s brief. It vindicates almost every argument the marriage equality movement has been making for some time and squashes the grasping anti-equality rejoinders. It is a complete victory for the LGBT community, and one that reflects the jurisprudence of the man that is the undisputed leader of gay rights at the Court.

It is not a matter of gays wishing to marry other gays. It is a matter of “a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons … to define and express their identity.”

As Justice Kennedy stated later in the opinion when discussing the history of marriage jurisprudence at the Supreme Court, previous cases were all about marriage, generally:

Loving [v. Virginia] did not ask about a “right to interracial marriage”; Turner [v. Safley] did not ask about a “right of inmates to marry”; and Zablocki [v. Redhail] did not ask about a “right of fathers with unpaid child support duties to marry.” Rather, each case inquired about the right to marry in its comprehensive sense, asking if there was a sufficient justification for excluding the relevant class from the right.

Obergefell was just the next case in that long line of cases that recognized the importance of two persons joining together in a powerful, mutually and socially beneficial enduring union of love.

The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.

Gay persons may not have been at the forefront of the Framers’ minds, but the Constitution that they wrote is as applicable to gays as it is to the men of 1789.

The marriage right is fundamental because the two-person marriage union is unique, essential, and “important to committed individuals.” It would be unfair to let the liberty of gay persons stop at Lawrence, which only guaranteed a gay person’s right to express himself intimately with whomever he chooses. That case decriminalized homosexuality in practice, but turned us merely from “outlaws to outcasts,” unable to enjoy the full benefits and liberties guaranteed us under the Constitution as gay persons. Those liberties ensure that we can do more than just have sex with someone of the same sex. They ensure we can marry the one we love.

In teasing out these lessons, Justice Kennedy vindicated almost every substantive argument from the marriage equality side. Marriage, he wrote, was not about children, but rather “through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality. This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation.” Gay persons are the same as everyone else when it comes to wanting the same fulfillment out of the institution of marriage. And, therefore, preventing gays from marrying is both a violation of a fundamental right to marry–as evident from framing the question in the case as about a “right to marry” and the many Supreme Court cases that followed–and equal protection.

Essentially, Kennedy has erected a form of heightened scrutiny without the group classifications: marriage is a fundamental right under the Due Process Clause; gays are banned from it, but gays are equal in the eyes of the law; there is no justification for discriminating against a similarly situated group on such an important, essential guarantee.

When violations of fundamental rights are at stake, individuals need not wait endlessly for votes and legislatures to deign to grant them the rights the Constitution has always guaranteed them.

Finally, a moving recap of the path to equality from Freedom To Marry:

And the White House reaction:


Thursday, July 09, 2015

Lady Gaga, “Imagine”

Another great, more lyrical, performance by Lady Gaga after her impressive performance earlier this year at the Oscars.

Given that I enjoy vocalists a lot, I appreciate her new artistic choices and the fact that she’s thinking outside the box and stretching herself as an artist.

She’s also proving to the world that she’s a good and talented singer and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that she went down this path to put some distance between her and Madonna, given that she was constantly (and negatively) compared to Her Madgesty.

If that were the case, then she’s achieving her goal I think, because she can clearly hold her own on a stage and because there’s no way Madonna could compete in this arena.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Passage of Time

This video provides one of the coolest time lapses I’ve ever seen.  I always wonder, whenever I look at a landscape, how it must have looked a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand years ago.  This video provides a likely view:

Simply fascinating.

And the appearance/disappearance of one of the Twin Towers is pretty eerie.

Madonna’s Latest

Here’s Madonna’s video for her “Bitch I’m Madonna.”  The song certainly has
an interesting hook, but I’m not totally sold.  It seems like she’s just trying
too hard here to be one of the cool gals newly emerging.

Share your thoughts in the comments below:

Thursday, April 23, 2015


FoxcatcherThe Gist: The heir to one of the wealthiest families in America sees it as his duty to the country and history to sponsor the best American wrestler in order to help him compete and win on the world stage.  Mark Schultz, a former Olympic gold medalist, will be his first champion, establishing the legitimacy of Team Foxcatcher.

Aided in no small part by impressive makeup prosthesis, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo give us great performances, but we shouldn’t forget Channing Tatum, who proves he can act on top of looking good.  Carell also proves he can do drama as easily as comedy.

The Bottom Line: Aside from the performances there wasn’t much here for me to cheer about.  The movie is very slow (which isn’t necessarily bad) and a bit too long, but the director is skilled at creating a sense of foreboding.  The passing grade is really only earned by the shocking ending that I never saw coming.

Grade: 6