Friday, February 05, 2010

It's Tea Party Time in Tennessee!

It's being called a political convention there in Nashville this weekend, a "Tea Party" political convention, but they're selling tickets to the deal where you'll hear The Alaskan speak. Local press is banned from attending, but The Alaskan's speech will be shown live on FAUXNews, along with other events from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.

A jumble of political anger, ambition, and alienation, the "convention" was to include West Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, but she bailed last week, declining her chance to introduce The Tundra Temptress (aka The Alaskan, aka Sarah 'youbetcha' Palin) who makes FAUXNews talker Chris Wallace hot and randy.

Hilarity ensues.

(Note to Rep. Blackburn - when you are the third member of a trio including Palin and Michelle Bachman, you are entering Kookytown.)

I totally support government reform. Perhaps after this convention, I'll know what this group seeks to achieve. Other than make money, which I also support, but I tend to spend my time making it for me and not for The Alaskan. As for politics - it makes fools of us all:

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

"Lost" Starts to End

I have watched the show "Lost" on ABC since it began, though I did drop about half of season two, when they corrected course and decided to aim towards wrapping up the story and not tacking on useless side plots. A five-season run for a TV show as unusually story-centered, meant to actually conclude, is a good experiment I hope is repeated. Three and five season (or just one story per season, as "24" has done) shows should be a staple in network TV and not an exception.

(And yes, I know there are enough side-plots in "Lost" to coat the wide side of a rhino. There's still a main story here of plain old sci-fi time travel and mythmaking, so shut up.)

Here's an image of one character, John Locke, who is now really dead but some other very old and nameless thing now is mimicking him and wants off the island they are all trapped on.

Poor John Locke, the real one, is still alive in another (apparently) parallel time line but is back to being in a wheelchair and looking very unhappy. Yes, there are two of everyone ... or most everyone. I think.

While there will surely be much talk of this last season, folks not yet acquainted might like to start watching old episodes. Here's a few thoughts as to why:

-- The show started in the waning days 2004, end of the first term of president George Bush. Terrifying images of a plane crash begin the show and chaos follows on the beach, one person even is sucked into a still-roaring jet engine which then explodes. Violent stuff - especially for a country still reeling from the sheer shock of four plane crashes in September 2001. The characters don't get along, often fighting about what the next step should be or shouldn't be. They've struck a strong cultural tone on the aftermath and recovery from disaster.

-- Beyond the tone, though, have been fascinating character stories, with an ingenious blending of time used as a narrative device. Ingenious because time travel is at the heart of the mysterious forces on this island. There have been some of TV's best acting and writing here, and it's been pretty smart and complex too. We should have more smart TV shows.

-- And it is fun too, despite all the seriousness. It's almost pulp fiction - jungle intrigue, romance, weird science experiments, psychopaths, ghosts, crime, nuclear bombs, even pirates, enough to fill three or four TV shows.

If you have read this far you're either a fan, or just curious about the show. So allow me to geek out with my current list of questions which might perhaps shape the final outcome of the show:

Can you "sideways flash" through time?

Why does the 'time-door' open into Tunisia?

If, as the current season opens with a shot of the island now underwater, why was there also a genetically engineered shark from the nefarious Dharma Initiative, created on the island now under... wha???

I want more time traveling pirates, because that's just good entertainment.

Monday, February 01, 2010

ET Leaders Want Redlight Cameras Protected By State

Even as the state was promoting a moratorium on new "redlight cameras", leaders in the Tri-Cities told legislators to leave their cameras alone.

Tri-Cities governments asked Northeast Tennessee lawmakers Friday to oppose legislation hindering development of red light/traffic enforcement cameras.

The request, called the “fun topic of the day” by Kingsport City Manager John Campbell, was among a number of legislative policy marching orders given to lawmakers by elected officials representing Kingsport, Johnson City and Bristol, Tenn., during a presentation held at the Millennium Centre.

After the presentation, lawmakers indicated that doing nothing about the cameras is probably not an option this year.

“There are a lot of bad actors out there, a lot of smaller municipalities which are installing speed cameras solely for the purpose of operating their general functions of government. ... These cameras should not be used for revenue enhancement,” said House Majority Leader Jason Mumpower, R-Bristol. “I think potentially, at the very least, we may put a moratorium on the operation of any new cameras before the end of this session.” Mumpower has already filed a number of pieces of traffic camera legislation."


"Two lawmakers on the House Transportation Committee, state Reps. Tony Shipley and Matthew Hill, have been dead center in the middle of the traffic camera debate.

Shipley, R-Kingsport, is seeking new attorney generals’ opinions on the constitutionality of the cameras.

“It’s not so much the camera. It’s the process and procedures (used by local officials),” said Shipley.

Said Hill, R-Jonesborough: “No one has ever said ‘We’re not for safety.’ The issue comes down to just respect for our citizens. ... We have to find a balance between those two.”

The state is looking into ways to make use of cameras meet the same criteria statewide. A common suggestion is that by extending the time of a yellow caution light, accidents will be greatly reduced. But the Tri-Cities folks want that left alone too.

Complaints and concerns remain as well since these projects are clearly a privatization of a law enforcement function, and once we are comfortable with such practices, then expect more to appear.

Michael at No Silence Here outlines the legislative issues regarding the use of these cameras from Rep. Shipley.

I'm pretty sure if the state can figure out a way to get steady income from cities and towns using such cameras, then expect their use to spread.

Paris and Prince, Dangerous Words and Weird Things In Coffee

I have great sympathy for kids today as they negotiate their way into our strange and sometimes dangerous world. Often the childhood years are intertwined with horrors - ask the kids growing up in Haiti or Ethiopia who face nothing less than starvation and slavery.

And last night I took note of two kids who's lives appear to be part of a bad American novel. Named Prince and Paris, the children of Michael Jackson spoke briefly to the crowd at the Grammy Awards when the group handed out a Lifetime Achievement honor to Jackson. Their lives are going to be tough and likely gain a visage too weird to predict. Might be different if Prince were named, say, Bill or Frank. (And who can blame the child named Blanket for not making an appearance. Blanket?)


Kids in school in one California school district must be attempting to puzzle out just what the deal with adults is.

One week, adults ban a dictionary because one could learn a definition of "oral sex" in said dictionary. Now, the dictionary is back on the shelf, but students must have a parent's permission slip to look at the dictionary.

A couple of points here - if the dictionary is dangerous, then the Internet must be the center of Hell itself.

And why just ban a dictionary? Every dirty word and perverted idea is usually expressed by just a few letters in the alphabet, so why not ban them too?


One blogger has created a task few would dare -- put weird things in coffee and see how it tastes.

This is Putting Weird Things In Coffee.

Recent entries include: Eggspresso, Bacon in the Coffee, and putting Salmon in Coffee.

The blogger says "
The only rule is that the things I put in coffee must be things that I would tolerate eating on their own. So no, I will not put dog poop in coffee, but you’re right that it would be very weird."