December 8, 2006
Thanks, Rev. Falwell!
Stories like these are, to me, what the holidays are all about.
A group of Pagans in Albemarle County, Va., was recently given permission to advertise their multi-cultural holiday program to public school children – and they have the Rev. Jerry Falwell to thank for it.
The dispute started last summer when Gabriel and Joshua Rakoski, twins who attend Hollymead Elementary School, sought permission to distribute fliers about their church’s Vacation Bible School to their peers via “backpack mail.” Many public schools use special folders placed in student backpacks to distribute notices about schools events and sometimes extra-curricular activities to parents.
School officials originally denied the request from the twins’ father, Ray Rakoski, citing a school policy barring “distribution of literature that is for partisan, sectarian, religious or political purposes.”
A Charlottesville weekly newspaper, The Hook, reports that Rakoski “sicced the Liberty Counsel on the county,” and the policy was soon revised to allow religious groups to use the backpack mail system. Liberty Counsel is a Religious Right legal group founded by Mathew Staver and now affiliated with Falwell.
Some local Pagans who attend Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church, a Unitarian-Universalist congregation in Charlottesville, decided to take advantage of the new forum as well. They created a one-page flier advertising a Dec. 9 event celebrating the December holidays with a Pagan twist and used the backpack system to invite the entire school community.
December 6, 2006
The King of New York
A reminder- and I feel many of these will be coming over the next few months- about the career of a man whom otherwise intelligent people seem to think could be President of the United States.
If you haven't bookmarked Gilliard at this point like I did in, oh, let's say 2003 or so, you should. I've got a feeling he's pretty much going to be the point person on reminding everyone how awful Giuliani really is until his ludicrous potential candidacy lies charred and lifeless at the foot of the Silly Season calendar. And God bless him for it.
December 4, 2006
Best Friends Forever
This is an atrocity. I understand that Disney's got to make them big bucks, but a spin-off story to The Fox and the Hound? Are they freaking kidding me?
For the uninitiated, The Fox and the Hound remains one of Disney's riskiest animated features, mainly for being only one of a few films they made that has a tragic ending. It's a story about a fox and a bloodhound who are best friends as infants and as they grow older begin to understand the natural order of the world and that it's impossible for them to be together anymore. It's one of the most beautiful metaphors ever made for how children are taught prejudice, never born with it, and I am goddamn shedding a tear right now thinking about the last five minutes of it.
So now they're making a direct-to-video story that takes place when they're still young in which they form a band and sing country songs. I did not make that up. I had to get up just now and come back, sit down and read it again just to see if it was still there. Why are you allowed to do this with animation? You can't make, for example, a TV movie depicting an untold chapter in the life of a then-12-year-old Scarlett O'Hara when she saved the local rodeo from forclosure by competing in the bull riding competition.
Why was it necessary to use this story for crap like this? Was it really worth the few extra grand Disney saved by not just creating a new set of characters and plotline to bastardize a classic story in their vaults? The Fox and the Hound didn't have singing, dancing, humanistic mannerisms in the lead characters. It was about a fox becoming a fox and a hound becoming a hound. That was the point of the goddamn movie. And so, logicially, in their youth they must have sung songs while playing musical instruments. Jesus.
In conclusion, another moment of August J. Pollak's sage family-rearing advice: if you buy this for your children, you're a shitty parent. No arguments will be accepted contrary to this.
"Señor Bueno's Taco Hut"
As if some unseen force wanted the strip to not return, the power at my house spontaneously went out for about three hours tonight, creating the potential for delay in this week's installment. Luckily, it got all better. And for that I am glad, because today's strip involves a man in a taco suit, for crap's sake. Those things are important.
So, yeah. The host of the Today Show is calling Iraq a civil war now, which I believe magically stops a dozen people a day from dying over there. I am hopeful today's offering properly conveys the extent of my enthusiasm toward this amazing proclamation. Perhaps later we might actually stop getting loads of people killed. Dare to dream.
December 3, 2006
Because of personal connections I tend to avoid topics that involve the New York Times, but seriously, this is just inexcusable. I know, for a number of significant reasons, that the Times does in fact have editors. I have met people who work there as fact-checkers.
I think there needs to be a new classification of stupid called "Googlestupid." Googlestupid is definied as any act of stupidity that would have been avoided by using Google for less than five minutes. Googlestupidity should be a firing offense at major newspapers.