Monthly Archives: July 2011

LIONEL PODCAST: Pastafarians & The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster — Recognition At Last

I begin today’s piece with some interstitial, introductory discussions on a myriad of topics. And then I discuss my latest hero.

Austrian Niko Alm, is a self-professed Pastafarian and member in good standing of The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Three years after applying for a new driver’s license, he finally received the official laminated card. And the picture infra shows him sporting a pasta strainer on his head, sideways, of course. He insisted upon wearing the headgear as, Mr. Alm assured authorities, it is a part of his faith system and qualified as such as it was “confessional headgear” as contemplated by the EU and Austrian regulations. Accordingly, the intrepid Alm sent his application for a new driver’s license in 2008 along with a picture of himself with a colander, er, confessional headgear on his head. And he waited. And waited. Voila!

Adding insult to considerable injury, Austrian authorities demanded that Alm suffer a further indignity and receive a psych eval to determine whether he was mentally fit to operate an Austrian motor vehicle. He did and passed with flying colors. How many New York cabbies could claim that?

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, according to its website, believes inter alia that “pirates, the original Pastafarians, were peaceful explorers and it was due to Christian misinformation that they have an image of outcast criminals today” and they are “fond of beer.” He now wants to apply for Pastafarianism to become an officially recognized faith in Austria.

How dare anyone suggest what is and isn’t a legitimate source of authentic faith. To me authentic faith is like authentic magic. But my opinion is not what matters nor does the government’s. The bottom line is that we must accept your faith on, er, faith. No matter who utterly ridiculous it is. Amen.

LIONEL FREE PODCAST: Trillions In Foreign Bank Bailouts And Nothing For 9/11 First Responders?!

“You’ve got to be __ing kidding me!” This perhaps crude but honest reaction sums up perfectly my feelings as to the decision Tuesday by federal officials that there is not enough evidence yet to say whether the dust and smoke clouds at Ground Zero on 9/11 caused cancer. This very simple reaction was the refrain of the day from rational, practical Americans who, in the midst of watching their government futz around over debt ceilings and the threat of insolvency, couldn’t fathom why there was any debate on whether first responders deserved our immediate financial help to reimburse health providers for a multiplicity of treatments required. Treatments for dreadful diseases including cancers that these first responders miraculously contracted after 9/11 when they selflessly gave of themselves after they were assured by their government that the coast was clear.

Starting at the end of 2007 during a 2½ year period, the Federal Reserve gave more than $16T in secret bailouts to banks and other companies around the world. It lost $12B in shrink-wrapped bricks of $100 bills sent to Iraq on C-130’s and our government can’t account for over $2.3T in Pentagon transactions. And don’t forget about the mind-boggling $1 Quadrillion derivatives bubble. That’s 20 times larger than the GDP of the entire world.  It is almost impossible even conceive of 1,000,000,000,000,000 dollars. No questions asked. But when asked to pay a de minimis amount by comparison not as a reward or payment but reimbursement for catastrophic injuries sustained by first responders and volunteers, my country balks.

“You’ve got to be __ing kidding me!”

LIONEL PODCAST: Face It, This Country’s Just Stupid. Admit It.

Stop kidding yourselves. It’s OK, just admit it. We’re stupid. Illiterate, untraveled, politically nescient and doltish. Scientifically backward, culturally dimwitted. But that’s OK. Relax. We’ve got great television and great media. Not for news, mind you. But if you want to know anything about Kim Kardashian’s steatopygean ass or her heartbreak of psoriasis, this is the country to be in. We’ve got ADD as to news. But we’re masters of pop culture arcana.

Remember Mohammed Bouazizi? He was the Tunisian feller who in January of this year went Buddhist monk and performed the ultimate in “I’ve had it up to here” symbolism: self-immolation. His death was said to have inspired the great revolution in the Middle East. Young people utilizing their social media yearning for freedom. What happened to that story? Not a peep from anyone, kids. What ever happened to H1N1, West Nile? Mad Cow? Al Gore’s divorce? Dunno. And watch, before you know it the scandal that threatened to bring Murdoch down will be all but forgotten here. But when it comes to certain stories, the American public is insatiable and unrelenting. Had the Casey Anthony trial gone on for two years, we’d have been all over it, never missing a day of testimony with Nancy Grace and her flaring nostrils to guide us. We do have attention spans beyond that of a gnat but for few things.

But don’t feel bad. It’s not because we don’t care. It’s because we’re stupid. And oh, yes, that picture above? It’s our Mt. Rushmore forebears. Hiding.

LIONEL PODCAST: The DSK Case Is Toast Thanks To The “Victim’s” Big, Inconsistent Mouth

This is Nafissatou Diallo, DSK‘s alleged victim, appearing on ABC News. Here she tearfully recounts DSK’s alleged sexual attack on her.

Not buying it. Sorry. For Chrissakes, lady, get your story straight. Rehearse if you have to. Real victims tell the same story the same way each and every time. Without fail and without variation. This woman’s inconsistencies stem from what she told hotel coworkers, hospital staffers, cops, the DA, lawyers, friends, hotel employees and the grand jury. And now, ABC News and Newsweek. Wow. Hello, impeachment. Hello, prior inconsistent statements. DSK’s lawyers will have a field day going through each and every inconsistency and flat-out changed story.

But it finally gives Manhattan DA Cy Vance a way out, an excuse to give to victims’ groups clamoring for DSK’s crucifixion. He can blame it on the Bossa Nova and the victim herself who submarined and destroyed her own case with her own inconsistent and unbelievable words. Can you say nolle prosequi? And after that last debacle with the two cops who were acquitted of rape, he can’t take another loss in another major case. And it doesn’t get any more major than this. Funny, this case sounds familiar.

LIONEL PODCAST: Watch The Norway Massacre Meme – It’s Not Some Not But A Right-Wing Nut

This is what the story’s about. This is what the story’s become. The meme. A meme is an idea, behavior, style or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture or group. More specifically, it’s defined a cultural item that is transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes and was coined in 1976 by evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins in “The Selfish Gene.”

The meme here is that the Norway disaster was committed by a nut, a right-wing nut. That this murderer was ideology-motivated and politics-inspired. This labeling is most dangerous because the meme will be conflated and attributed to any and all positions or policy masters in opposition to the reigning powers. And it’s started already. Just watch. Beware of labels and watch carefully and with great trepidation who gets to label first.

LIONEL PODCAST: Amy Winehouse’s Ghoulish Death Watch Is Over? Who’s Next?

I know, it was a joke. Nobody seriously meant to prophesy or predict her death, right? But this is so emblematic of our social and media culture: we’re both the lynch mob and the crowd yelling for the troubled person on the ledge to jump.

I guess this site will be shelved, but who knows? In this photo you you can clearly see the residue of some powder around the late Amy Winehouse’s nostrils. Our society loves this stuff and can’t get enough of it. We love addiction shows, addiction media whore quack “doctors,” rehab shows, celebrity rehab shows. Shows on hoarding, animal hoarding, addictions, OCD behaviors. Our media are a modern day Roman Colosseum, but unlike the Romans who merely subjected Christians to a horrible death, we seem to delight in the emotional decline and mental evaporation of the victim subjects prior to their demise. Their death is almost a disappointment in that the abject suffering has ceased and thus the entertainment value.

Sorry, folks. Amy’s dead. Who’ll be your next victim, er, subject? LiLo’s looking shaky. The media ghouls were hoping Charlie Sheen would blow his brains out. Courtney Love? Kate Moss? The quintessential media addiction whore (who himself is addicted to media whoredom) Dr. Drew throws us a bone or two with his pathetic celebrity “reality” rehab slop. But that’s a work.

Amy Winehouse’s death has whetted the appetite of the ghouls and death watchers. Amy’s now gained full deathtime membership status in The 27 Club, a fact that the unimaginative media will beat to death without surcease. Expect websites and video montage packages on those talented  young actors “who left this world too soon,” all in perfect synchronized auto-mourn. Now, after we followed their every self-destructive move, chronicled every embarrassing moment secretly and perhaps subconsciously wishing that, like the poor soul on the ledge, they’d once and for all jump, we pretend to lament their demise. We feign surprise. Already, Amy’s piece has been added to the end of the year lineups where we cue the funereal dirge and roll through the roster of dead celebs who’ve departed this world  in 2011 — in alphabetical order, I might add. And we move on. But for now, I’ve recorded my thoughts, not only on Amy per se but the entire issue of drug addiction, the war on drugs and our collective reaction to “entertainment death” and waste.

LIONEL PODCAST: Don’t Be A Kelvin

This is Lord Kelvin. William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (1824–1907). The Kelvin scale is an absolute, thermodynamic temperature scale using as its null point absolute zero, the temperature at which all thermal motion ceases in the classical description of thermodynamics. Absolute zero at 0 K is −273.15 °C (−459.67 °F). A friend of mine and I refer to people with absolutely nothing of worth to say or add to public discourse as Kelvins, i.e. because they’re absolute zeroes. Don’t be a Kelvin.

Today’s disquisition begins with my thoughts about school systems around the country voting to make the teaching of cursive writing an elective and non-mandatory in the school’s constantly winnowed curricula. The reaction has been most fascinating heretofore. The usual old school (literally) camp hates change and the more realistic folks who embrace modernity (me) applaud realistic course adaptation. But the message to be gleaned from this logical exercise is how critical thinking (a constant in my worldview) when applied to the issue of discontinuing Palmer method didactics never incorporates nostalgia into issue consideration. Plus, it makes a wonderful analog to myriad issues presented to the sentient. Enjoy, enjoy, my friend.

LIONEL PODCAST: After Murdoch’s Public Castration Will The Media Pitchfork Vigilantes Now Go After MSDNC For Tossing Cenk What’s-His-Name?

Hell, no. It’s just a snappy title.

Cenk Uygur (English: /ˈdʒɛŋk ‘juːɡɚ/), the moiety of The young Turks (How many are there?), was jettisoned unceremoniously from the Obama/DNC Propaganda Kool-Aid Campaign Network for a number of unsettling reasons, he explained. As the modest Cenk detailed, the matter boils down to this: Cenk Uygur is a tiger, and MSNBC tried to cage him. And this bird you cannot chain. All right, I threw in the Lynyrd Skynyrd reference. Sue me. For anyone in the New York area, this is utterly astounding, i.e. Al Sharpton is his replacement. The Reverend Al’s complete and total redemption from his less-than-illustrious past is simply mind-boggling and without peer.

“They offered, honestly, a lot of money,” Uygur explains in a post heave-ho statement, and offered him a role would have been a much smaller one – contributor or something equally vague. There’s a word for what I think this is, viz. the likelihood of big bucks being offered to have a now thoroughly disgruntled and pissed off Cenk hang around “contributing.” No offense, Cenk, but come on, dude. Don’t push it. But at least you weren’t suspended like the 138 other hosts just this year. I mean, you quit, right? Whatever.

Cenk then explained that an MSNBC exec once told him when he began as host: “There are two audiences– the audience you’re trying to appeal to, the viewers, and management.” Nothing earth-shattering there, I suppose.

But this is the money shot. This is where it all makes sense. Management (allegedly big kahuna Phil Griffin himself) took the Cenkster aside in April, as he explains, and told him to “tone it down” because “people in Washington are concerned about your tone.” People in Washington? Gee, I wonder who those people would be. He did the exact opposite, he proudly boasts. I like Cenk, we were colleagues at the ill-fated Air America radio network and I’ve always liked his verve and conviction.

Alternative media will do for mainstream media news coverage what Kindle and eBooks did for Borders. — LIONEL (Hell’s Kitchen 2010 CE)

LIONEL PODCAST: The Dangers Of Euphemistic Hacking

What Murdoch’s stormtrooper thugs did knows no immediate parallel here in our great country. To call it by the quaint euphemism hacking demeans the severity of the violation and misrepresents the level of its perfidy. Hacking is like no other theft. Prototypical theft involves and assumes a property issue. Hacking for purposes of this discussion involves the breaking and entering and trespassorial accessing of one’s data — phone numbers, emails, love notes, private pictures, email. Nothing is “stolen” per se in most hacking save for the case of identity theft. In the case of Milly Dowler, the 13 year-old UK murder victim whose voice mail messages were deleted by Murdoch’s goons, what was stolen were he parent’s hopes and prayers that Milly might still be alive.

As is usually the case, politicians run to name yet another law after a victim, usually a child. If I may, I’d like to propose an eponymous law: Charlie’s Law in memory of that great American patriot, Staff Sergeant Charley Hacker. (N.B. The discrepancy in the spellings. Do not mistake that for editorial errata.)

LIONEL PODCAST: Jonnie Marbles Loses His And Pulls A Soupy Sales, Wendi Goes Ninja, Rupe Turns Babyface

Today’s appearance before Parliament was classic pro wrestling in spades. It seems that a dude called (Britspeak) Jonnie Marbles lost his and went all Soupy Sales on Rupe the Coot.

The pie-thrower who attacked Rupert Murdoch is a renowned activist who is one of the founding members of a left-wing protest group.
Comedian Jonnie Marbles – real name Jonathan May-Bowles – has been involved in protests in the past, it has been claimed.
Moments before he carried out the attack he wrote on Twitter: ‘It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat’. [Source]

In a split second a reversal took place, perhaps. Rupert and Wendi switched and went face, using pro wrestling parlance. The heel-babyface transition may have been executed flawlessly. Wendi and Rupert’s gal lawyer Janet “Super” Nova went ninja and pummeled this bloke (Britspeak again) Marbles (his Twitter page infra) and the day was off to a glorious start. Had Marbles been in our country, he would have been Tasered repeatedly to the point of cardiac arrest, shot, bound, waterboarded and sent to an East European torture prison via rendition.