Saturday, December 26, 2009


The Brain is now on Facebook! If you're a fan of the blog, you can follow us on FB now too.

Alternate Brain

Promote Your Page Too


I put the Facebook badge in the right sidebar so you'll have it when this post works down the page.

Note: Click on the "Discussions" tab. I intend the page to have some healthy debates going on there.

Comments ...

Doing the changover from Haloscan to Echo now. Please pardon any glitches or slowdowns until it gets all sorted out. Thank you.

That is all.

Quote of the Day


Don't throw the artificial tree in the wood stove!

Saturday Emmylou Blogging

Headin' fer my little slice of heaven today, with or without Jesus's help. Either way, credit him or blame him, he never cops to it. Enjoy this pretty song you godless commie infidels.

Emmylou is introduced by the late John Hartford and the ubiquitous Jerry Douglas plays dobro.

Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings ~ Further Along

Thanks to WellExxxcuuuseMeee.

If you didn't think ...

Air travel could get any worse, some moron just assured it would.

A Northwest Airlines passenger landing in Detroit on Friday tried to blow up the flight but the explosive device failed, two U.S. national security officials said.

The passenger, who was traveling on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam was being questioned Friday evening, according to one of the officials, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing.


One of the reasons I like cruise vacations. Generally, I only have to fly one way. Can't deal with all the security bullshit anymore.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas From The Family

Robert Earl Keen

Thanks to RTannamal.

Celebrating the birth of history’s most famous liberal

The Last Chance Democracy Cafe, in toto and without comment, links at site:

The woman was as guilty as sin of the crime of adultery: the penalty for the offense, death by stoning, was clearly established. So what was Jesus Christ’s response?

“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.”

Talk about a bleeding heart liberal!

Now, to be fair to the alligator brains out there who have somehow managed to construe words like these to constitute an endorsement of intolerance, vengefulness and greed, I should probably note that there’s some controversy over whether this particular story belongs in the Bible. It wasn’t in the earliest versions of the Gospel of John, apparently having been added later.

So, perhaps the alligator brains are relying, instead, on less disputed examples of Jesus Christ’s teachings. This for example:

Matthew 25:33-40:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Let me see if I’ve got this straight. The test of being a good Christian is generosity toward the underprivileged. Strange. I mean, what’s that got to do with the prosperity gospel?

Come to think of it, wasn’t this the same man who overturned the money changing tables, declaring: “Get these out of here! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”

Hasn’t he heard of the divine right to unfettered and unregulated markets?

You know, if I didn’t know better I’d have to say the man sounds like a card carrying . . . liberal.

Wow. Whoever would have thought there’d be a whole holiday set aside celebrating the birth of history’s most famous liberal?

Merry Christmas.


I find it odd that we're going to have a big ham today to celebrate the birth of a Jew.

Once again ...

Jews will outnumber Christians at the Fixer house for Christmas this year. Being a godless infidel, it ain't about the religion, it's about the family (and the food).

Happy Christmas all!

Follow the drinkin' gourd, oops, wrong star...

Everybody likes Christmas songs and this is a very pretty version of this old song. I'm not asking you to suspend your disbelief, as Mary's mother and Joseph must have done on that 'immaculate conception' shit Mary thought up to cover her ass, which story you wouldn't have tried on your mother and fiancé in your wildest dreams, but which for better or worse has lasted longer than if she said she caught it from a toilet seat, so just take it for what it's worth. Jesus was just a baby, after all. He didn't cause any lasting trouble until long after he was dead and that wasn't really his fault anyway.

We'll get to the PR stunt the world's been paying for for two thousand years come Easter.

The Judds ~ Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem
Thanks to LovingPinkLibra, Canuckistan.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Click to embiggen

Taken at 4:55PM, December 24, from Margo Dodd Park, cliffside in Shell Beach CA.

Twelve Days Of Chrishmas...

Fixer's right. Pull all the alcohol stunts ya want to and enjoy your Christmas, but remember two things:

1. Everybody has a video camera these days. You cannot escape!

2. Take a cab or use a designated driver. Don't try to walk home. Somebody'll step on yer fingers. Don't ask me how I know this.

Every family has a crazy uncle at the Christmas family get-together. I fulfill this function for Mrs. G's family by being the only sane one. Everything's, er, relative, I guess. Heh.

Thanks to tiffanyann5152

Happy Christmas

To all our friends, readers, and commenters. Be safe and happy this holiday season. If you've gotta put one on, make sure you have a ride home or stay over. We want you back in one piece.

And a recommendation: If you're in the NYC area this Christmas (especially if you have kids), go see The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center.

Tchaikovsky - Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy

All the best from the Brain family.

Thanks to Montag for reminding me about The Nutcracker.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

See Yas

We're headin' out for the coast today. In case I don't see you, y'all have a Happy Christmahanukwaanzakah or just take comfort that the sun appears to be heading back this way again.

If yer stuck for a gift idea for me, I need some brazing rod. It's been very cold here and I need to do a little repair work on my brass monkey.

Just to show that I have the proper Xmas spirit, here's some lovely carols:

And you wonder ...

Why we all have attitude?


At the other end of the scale, last in happiness – is New York state.

As if to illustrate the problem, residents attending a meeting Wednesday in rural Queensbury unleashed their anger and cynicism at a state government they described as corrupt, self-dealing and too quick to increase taxes. It was a tirade that had one lifelong resident saying he was ready to flee "this stinkin' state."


I'm going to fucking work ...

The best Christmas present ...

New Yorkers could get. No more Rudy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Relief For Airline Passengers


Reacting to nightmare stories of passengers trapped on planes with no food, no water and overflowing toilets, the U.S. Transportation Department told airlines Monday they will soon have to allow passengers on domestic flights to get off if their planes are stuck on the tarmac for more than three hours.

Violations will bring a fine of $27,500 per passenger, the department said.

The new federal rules, which take effect in 120 days, will also require that airlines provide food and water for passengers within two hours of a plane being delayed on a tarmac and to maintain working restrooms.

The airline industry said, without enthusiasm, that it would comply with the new rules. It said one unintended consequence could be more canceled flights.

"The requirement of having planes return to the gates within a three-hour window or face significant fines is inconsistent with our goal of completing as many flights as possible. Lengthy tarmac delays benefit no one," Air Transport Association chief James May said in a statement.

Shorter: What?! Food? Water? Toilets? For fucking passengers? Who the hell are they? Damn those Liberals!

Liar of the Year

After a long year hallmarked by bare-knuckle politics and a bevy of experimental attacks against a freshman president, a lone voice has resonated more than others in the war against reality.

Go see, but I bet you can guess.

Headline of the Day

Obama signs Franken’s anti-rape amendment into law.

That's good, but one wonders what other amendments might be in the catchall Defense Appropriations Act of 2010 that might not be quite as good that they're not talking about very loudly.

What the Current Attitude of White House Towards Progressives Seems to Be

Verse-Case Scenario by Tony Peyser

"Yeah, you helped get us elected and
We've compromised lots but buck up.
This is the way politics really is. If you
Don't like it, please shut the f!#k up."

When you don't like something is not the time to STFU. It's the time to pour it on.

Lie of the Year

Telegraph, UK

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has won the dubious honour of telling the biggest political lie of the year.

A panel of experts ruled her claim the Obama administration was planning to introduce "death panels" was chosen as the most misleading statement of 2009.

See the list of candidates here. The Repugs and batcrap right lie so much I'm surprised it wasn't a lot longer.


Greatly expanded post on the ramifications of the 'death panel' lie.

Shorter: The bitch has no shame and her easily misled people believe that shit and she knows it.

How quickly ...

We forget.

Diane Sawyer and ABC News this week:


"Respectable lady," [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad said, "this approach has failed... raising the stick of sanctions and then saying let's negotiate. It has failed. It's over. It's not repeatable." Ahmadinejad rejected evidence that Iran is working on a neutron initiator, a device which has no civilian uses but is the trigger for a nuclear weapon. It was first reported in the Times of London which cited an internal Iranian document. The plans for a neutron initiator has been described as the "smoking gun" that allegedly proves Iran's nuclear program is intent on building a bomb.

When Sawyer asked the Iranian president if he wanted to see the document, he waved it away.

"No, I don't want to see them at all. I don't," he said. "They are all fabricated bunch of papers continuously being forged and disseminated by the American government." White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod told ABC News the accusation that the U.S. fabricated documents was "nonsense."


You see, Diane, waving around a piece of paper purporting to be 'evidence' doesn't mean shit. Were we (the U.S. and U.K.) still in control of the moral high ground, it might mean something, but after this:

The Niger uranium forgeries refers to forged documents initially revealed by Italian Military intelligence. These documents purport to depict an attempt by the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq to purchase "yellowcake" uranium powder from Niger during the Iraq disarmament crisis.

On the basis of these documents and other indicators, the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom asserted that Iraq had attempted to procure nuclear material for the purpose of creating what they called weapons of mass destruction, referred to as WMD, in defiance of the United Nations Iraq sanctions.


Any credibility we might have had was flushed. Any 'documentation' we produce now has as much worth and use as toilet paper.

Let me posit this to the folks who now claim Iran is the next big, bad, bogeyman: Were there a limited (while destroying the better part of a city is a horror, in the big scheme of things it is nothing compared to what the Soviets could have done) nuclear detonation in the U.S. (or some other western nation, Israel included) by a terrorist group, don't you think, if Iran's (or North Korea's) complicity was determined, Iran (or North Korea) would be a smoking hole in the ground? Don't you think all those ICBMs we have stashed underground in the Dakotas and Montana and SLBMs on subs would be on their way minutes later? We kept the Soviets in check for 50 years with that threat; do you think the Iranians don't understand that little fact of life?

Listen to me, it's one thing for some retard on the street to blow himself up in a bus or in a market. There are more than enough of them to go around but do you think the Grand Ruling Council of Iran, or Mr. Ahmedinejad himself, are willing to martyr themselves? Of course not; they enjoy their power too much. If they gave a nuke to a terrorist, there would be nothing left; no nation to rule over, no holy sites, and certainly no Council. Don't you think we have their GPS coordinates programmed into at least one missile crew commander's console? I'll bet a paycheck they aren't willing to risk that, just as the Soviets weren't.

Iran's nuclear ambitions are just another tool used to scare the population into compliance, as 9/11 was, as Iraq's yellowcake was, nothing more.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Quote of the Day



Democracy. You're getting soaked by it.

Bipartisanship ...

Who knew we could get there?

Hell has officially frozen over. After more than a decade of hyper-partisanship and knee-jerk, reactionary opposition to the other, the entire political spectrum of Meet the Press's roundtable panel--Markos Moulitsas, Joe Scarborough, Ed Gillespie and Tavis Smiley--all agree on one thing: the health-care reform bill sucks. There's the vaunted bipartisanship Obama sought.


Heroes of the Big Storm

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds"

The 'order in' must get through!

From Slate

Surreal Headline of the Day

Israel admits harvesting Palestinian organs


Headline of the Day Zwei


Police said early Monday that they have found the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign that was stolen on Friday from the gate of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz.

Headline of the Day

McCain hits Obama for failing to reach out to Republicans, while Snowe praises Obama for it.

Video too. Go read the comments.

It's past time for McSoreloser to retire to Arizona and rock on the porch. His wife has enough money that he can afford somebody to change his drool buckets.

A Prayer God Probably Didn't Appreciate

The Last Chance Democracy Cafe

It’s fashionable, at least among polite company, to break Republicans into two groups: first, the fringe-nutcase-teabagger-birther types and; second, the "establishment Republican Party." There is increasing compelling evidence, however, that this separation is wholly artificial.

Last night Tom Coburn provided the latest — and perhaps most obnoxious yet — example of this:

At 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon — nine hours before the 1 a.m. vote that would effectively clinch the legislation’s passage — Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) went to the Senate floor to propose a prayer. "What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight," he said. "That’s what they ought to pray."

It was difficult to escape the conclusion that Coburn was referring to the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) who has been in and out of hospitals and lay at home ailing. It would not be easy for Byrd to get out of bed in the wee hours with deep snow on the ground and ice on the roads — but without his vote, Democrats wouldn’t have the 60 they needed.

If there is a God who hears the prayers of his flock, one suspects he wasn’t all that happy with Coburn’s suggestion. I mean, imagine you’re God, and prayers are flying in, one after the other, at the speed of light:

From Jessie in Mobile: "God, my wife . . . I’m sorry to be so emotional, but we have a son . . . he’s only eight. Anyway, she needs an operation for cancer and she’ll need lots of expensive medicine. The thing is . . . my wife and I both have other medical problems and we couldn’t get insurance after I was laid off. I don’t know what we’re going to do. Please God . . "

From Senator Coburn’s followers: "Lord, please let Senator Byrd die so there won’t be 60 votes for health care reform."

Yeah, I bet that last one was well received.

In some respects this bill stinks (e.g., no public option). But man the opposition to it on the right stinks so much worse.


Whatever you think about praying, praying for the demise and suffering of others is despicable. And typical of phony religionists.


Windy City Watch, with video:

I call on the distinguished gentleman from Illinois, Senator Durbin to take his foot out of Sen. Coburn's ass

Today the pride of Springfield, Illinois, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), called out Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) on the United States Senate floor for asking that the American people pray that a US Senator not be able to make it to the late night/early morning vote on health care reform. Despite Durbin's request that Coburn come out on to the Senate floor to explain his comments, the cowardly Senator from Oklahoma went into hiding.

Oh, the irony...

Ironic Times

Massive Snowstorm Paralyzes East Coast
Forces millions to stay home and watch it all on their 72" HDTV flat-screen TVs with surround sound and maybe order a pizza.

"Snowed in" ain't what it used to be. Heh.

By 2050, Whites Will Be in the Minority
Country expected to become less uptight.

Historic Healthcare Bill Nears Passage
For first time in history insurance companies will be required by law to accept billions in new profits.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the shameless sellout.

Teen Attitude on Harmful Effect of Marijuana “Softening”
Experts blame facts.


For the last day of Zappadan, I present a short little ditty that I've always loved:

Frank Zappa - Excentrifugal Forz

It passes ...

US healthcare reforms backed by Barack Obama passed a vital vote in the Senate , clearing the way for a bill to be passed before Christmas.

In the early hours a procedural measure to block Republican delaying tactics was passed in a 60-40 vote, with unanimous Democrat backing.

The vote all but assures the passage of healthcare reforms through the Senate, a feat that eluded generations of Democrats.


Well, the Senate passed something, more or less. Let's see what happens to it in conference with the House.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Either use it ...

Or lose it. You'll see a change in the commenting system here over the next few days. Haloscan has been sold to Echo and I'll have to upgrade to it or lose close to 47,000 comments that have been archived. It kills me to have to pay for this shit but I can't export them into the Blogger commenting system (I think it's by design but that's just my paranoia coming out) and I really don't want to lose them, nor to I want to enable word verification and moderation (it's a pain in the ass for both me and commenters but the Blogger system is notoriously spam-vulnerable). It's a shakedown, but it's worth it to keep the comments from over the last 5 1/2 years.

Killing The Blues

From "Later With Jools Holland" Oct 2008. Rowland Salley song.

Alison Krauss & Robert Plant ~ Killing The Blues
Thanks to 1000Magicians, UK.

This ain't supposed to happen ...

On Long Island. This is more snow than we get the entire winter. I thought I woke up at Gordon's house this morning. Heh ...

Ritz-Carlton brings luxe life to the forest

The ironically named Spud Hilton reviews my town's latest hotel. I put this in here because Mrs. G got taken to lunch at Manzanita the other day [she had a cheeseburger ("Want pommes frites with that?")] at sixteen bucks. She said the 'molten chocolate cake' dessert was divine! She said the service was terrific - they even had a kid who came all the way from New Zealand to brush the crumbs off the table in between courses! "Whadja do in the States, mate?" "I was a crumb-brusher for rich folks."

At first blush, dropping a Ritz-Carlton in the middle of the Tahoe National Forest - the land of mountain bikers, ski bums and "Hoss" Cartwright - seems a lot like wearing a ball gown to a country barbecue.

Not really. The R-C is at Northstar-at-Tahoe, a very upscale ski area and community. My first winter job here was as a bus driver over there. I learned how to drive in snow with 36 passengers. If they only knew. Heh. The driving instruction was pretty much "Don't scrub the ski racks off and try to hit something cheap". I remember dropping people off at their (mostly) second homes, which today go for about a $million dollars, which they call 'cabins'. I've always wondered what those folks did to other people that allowed them to have second homes that cost as much as my whole block. I swear the traffic light there is rigged to take precedence over the traffic on SR 267 when a rich person wants to go somewhere.

Oh, the mountain bikers there pay to use the ski lift to ride up, the ski bums there are the employees, who are also used as guinea pigs in ski school ("Point 'em downhill and go. The rest of you watch what not to do." Do not ask how I know this. The ski lessons were free.), and Hoss is dead.

The hotel chain is the poster child for swanky (take a wild guess from where the word "ritzy" originated) and is typically associated with people who order from menus without prices and who never open a car door for themselves.

Ain't life a bitch! Sigh.

Enjoy the rest of the article, but here's the money shot, at least to me:

If the roads are good, drive back into Truckee for less Disney-fied nightlife, including live music. Watch the ice.

It's a slippery road from the lush life back to reality.