Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Wishes...

...To Everyone

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Random Epiphay

What is more important?  Who Obama selects to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, or who he selects for his cabinet?  

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Definition Of Heartlessness


Everybody Hates Rick, Ctd.

The more this guy talks, the worse it gets. Obama really messed this one up.

Rick Warren, you are still a fucker.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Way Over My Head

If Mr. Rogers and Bill Nye The Science Guy ran off together to the UK and gave birth to a lovechild, this is what you would get.

Heh.  Cool.  

Everyone Hates Rick

I used to think the news that Obama had selected Rick Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration was amusing. In one move, Obama managed to piss off the right and the left, and I thought that was rather impressive. But now I just saw the video below with an interview of Rick Warren airing tonight where he is asked about his stance on gay marriage. He answers with an incredibly homophobic and misinformed response. Then, when flat-out asked if he is homophobic, he has a huge laugh, as if to say "Preposterous!"

His nerve is appalling.

It is also nice to know that opposing someone's civil rights is okay, as long as you give them doughnuts while you do it.

Rick Warren, you are a fucker.

Why is Bill O'Reilly Such An Idiot?

Because he cannot hear anything beyond what comes out of his mouth. Case in point:

[Bill O'Reilly smackdown at 3:50]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh No

Please, someone tell me this article from The Sun newspaper in the UK is totally fake. The article supposedly announces the cast for the next Christopher Nolan Batman movie.

The big announcement? Eddie Murphy is going to play The Riddler. Now, I personally cannot see the Nutty Professor taking on the role of The Riddler, but I also remember a lot of skepticism about Heath Ledger playing The Joker, so I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

But the big surprise for me? What am I praying is not true? Shia LaBeouf is slated to play Robin. Into how many movie franchises is this kid going to stick himself? Can we please make one big Hollywood movie that does not have this guy? Seriously.

Dear God, please don't let it be true.

Sounds of the Season

I love Christmas music. But there is one Christmas song that annoys the hell out of me (well, this song and then everything from Mannheim Steamroller... god they suck). It is this:

I do not know why, but it is just wayy too saccharin for me (and that is saying something).

Personally, I do not think there should be any new Christmas songs written. We have a glut of music already, and if it was not possibly sung by Bing Crosby, I do not want to hear it. Let's just please stick with what we already have.

Like this tune. This is Christmas:

You're Getting Warmer

Hey climate scientists and all you communist Al Gore-lovers out there! How do you explain stuff like this, huh??

That is snow. In Las Vegas. Hell may not be freezing over, but Sin City is.

Obviously, global warming is a bunch of silly liberal paranoia.

... Wait. What is that respected NASA scientists?

The year 2008 was the ninth warmest year since instrumental temperature measurements began in 1880, and all of the nine warmest years have occurred in the past 11 years, NASA reported on Tuesday.

The new data from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and other government agencies on Tuesday adds to the evidence scientists have been observing about a warming Earth as fossil fuel burning emits heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.

NASA also reported that the January to November global temperature was 0.76 degrees Fahrenheit above the average for the 20th Century.

NASA also noted that the past year was cooler than any since 2000. Scientists note that global warming is a steady trend, but within it there are natural variations.

Oh. Nevermind.

Hot Hot Heat

The Yahoo! homepage has a story about the most dangerous places to live in the country when it comes to natural disasters. Here's the map they show:

I have had more than a few conversations about the dangers of living in California. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and the probability that the state will slide into the Pacific are very real dangers, people say.

But I would like to bring everyone's attention to the shade of California on that map. Light Grey.

See! California is totally safe. The reason?

"According to our results, the answer is heat," Susan Cutter and Kevin Borden of the University of South Carolina wrote in their report, which gathered data from 1970 to 2004.

"I think what most people would think, if you say what is the major cause of death and destruction, they would say hurricanes and earthquakes and flooding," Cutter said in a telephone interview. "They wouldn't say heat."

"What is noteworthy here is that over time, highly destructive, highly publicized, often-catastrophic singular events such as hurricanes and earthquakes are responsible for relatively few deaths when compared to the more frequent, less catastrophic such as heat waves and severe weather," they wrote.

The most dangerous places to live are much of the South, because of the heat risk, the hurricane coasts and the Great Plains states with their severe weather, Cutter said.

The south central United States is also a dangerous area, with floods and tornadoes.

California is relatively safe, they found.

"It illustrates the impact of better building codes in seismically prone areas because the fatalities in earthquakes have gone down from 1900 because things don't collapse on people any more," Cutter said.

"It shows that simple improvements in building codes in high-wind environments like hurricane coasts, and the effectiveness of evacuation in advance of hurricanes, has reduced the mortality from hurricanes and tropical storms," she added.

And for all of my friends and family living in the dark, dark grey state of Colorado: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Tough Economic Times...

... Call for creative measures. Ladies and gentleman, I present the great Dan Gao:

Because nothing says cheap like sneaking your free refill from El Pollo Loco into an Italian restaurant.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let's Get Some Shoes

George W. Bush sat down with a report for ABC News to talk about the "shoe heard round the world" incident over the weekend in Iraq. (I should say for the record that I do not think it is nice to throw your shoes at a world leader... However... the metaphor, meaning and implications to Bush's legacy in the Middle East are too massive to ignore. We reap what we sow.) Here is a part of the interview that entirely captures why we are getting shoes thrown at us:
BUSH: Clearly, one of the most important parts of my job because of 9/11 was to defend the security of the American people. There have been no attacks since I have been president, since 9/11. One of the major theaters against al Qaeda turns out to have been Iraq. This is where al Qaeda said they were going to take their stand. This is where al Qaeda was hoping to take ...

RADDATZ: But not until after the U.S. invaded.

BUSH: Yeah, that's right. So what? The point is that al Qaeda said they're going to take a stand. Well, first of all in the post-9/11 environment Saddam Hussein posed a threat. And then upon removal, al Qaeda decides to take a stand. And they're becoming defeated and I think history will say, one, the world was better off without Saddam, two, along with the Iraqi troops we have denied al Qaeda a safe haven because a young democracy is beginning to grow, which will be an important sign for people in the Middle East.
So what? So what? Are you kidding me?

First of all, Sadam Hussein did not pose a threat in the post-9/11 environment. Sure, he was a bad guy, but he was not a threat to the U.S. Can we all finally agree on this? Great. Moving on.

To shrug off the fact that the botched invasion of a sovereign nation that you orchestrated based off of cooked intelligence is the reason terrorism now exists in that country is appalling.

So what?

The willful ignorance and entire lack of responsibility in those two words makes me sick.

More U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq than Americans on 9/11. The Iraqi death toll is somewhere in the hundreds of thousands. The country was thrown into such disarray that they cannot even gather an approximate estimate about how many people who have been killed since the U.S. invasion. Our government has given itself permission to commit war crimes and torture other human beings. These actions in the Middle East are creating an entire generation of young men and women who are more likely to give themselves over to extremist religious groups aimed at killing more Americans. And to top it off, Osama bin Laden is still out there!

So what??

I love my country, but I am not blind to the horrendous mistakes of its leadership.

And you know what I am going to do about it?

I am mailing a pair of old shoes to the President.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Have you had a solid "What The Fuck??" moment today? No? You haven't?

Then I have just what the doctor ordered:

Click here.

[safe for work]

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"God Bless America, That Is Funny"


Did anyone have any idea that the flute was the most awesome instrument ever??

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Public Transportation Wet Dream

I don't know if this is possible, but just thinking about that much rail transit in LA makes my heart skip a beat.  

Friday, December 12, 2008

I Have An Inexplicable Need To Start a Slow Clap

The most inspirational video on the internet: 

"They may take our lives, but they will never take... our Independence Day!"

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!!

From a wall of letters to Santa at a mall in Manhattan Beach, CA... I think this kid needs to be on a watch list.


[Click here for full size version]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

FMI (For My Information)

I am posting this video not expecting anyone to to actually watch it (it is nearly an hour and a half long), but it is a fantastic interview with Sam Harris covering all the bases of science, religion, thought, society, the brain -- everything. He has such a poetic way of stating his position on things, I just want a place where I can watch it again.

Huckabee Goes Down

My friend, Spencer, mentioned to me the other day that the best and most productive way to debate someone about an issue like gay marriage is to merely ask the right questions. Arguing will get you no where, but calmly asking follow up questions just makes the other person's circular talking points fall flat.

Case in point, this brilliant interview Jon Stewart did with Mike Huckabee. Huckabee keeps trying to change the subject and quickly pull the "well let's just agree to disagree" card, but Stewart hammers it home. So gratifying to watch.

Jon Stewart's best line I need to commit to memory (discussing redefining the word marriage): "semantics is cold comfort when it comes to humanity." Awesome.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Happy Holidays Merry Christmas

The other night, my friend remarked about my relationship with the holiday season: "Travis is an atheist, but I think he is more into Christmas than most people I know.  Isn't that funny??"  Well, that is not the exact quote, but you get the idea.  

But it is true.  Right now it looks like Christmas vomited in my living room.  Last night I was inspired by the decorations in a bar, and I want to copy their ideas in my apartment.  But to prevent my living spaces from being overtaken with a total lack of tact, I will refrain (mostly because my ceiling isn't high enough).   

But overall, there is nothing Christian about Christmas that I celebrate.  

I agree with the Bill O'Reillys and Pat Robertsons of the world that the holiday season is over-commercialized.  I agree that there is a "spirit of Christmas," but I do not think it has as much to do with Jesus as it does with Santa Claus.  I may as well be celebrating the Winter Solstice, just a few days late.  

I bring all this up because I just came across a fun article from a few years ago talking about the relationship famous atheist writers have with Christmas.  An excerpt:
“It seems to me to be obvious that everything we value in Christmas — giving gifts, celebrating the holiday with our families, enjoying all of the kitsch that comes along with it — all of that has been entirely appropriated by the secular world,” [Harris] said, “in the same way that Thanksgiving and Halloween have been.”

Mr. Dawkins, reached by e-mail somewhere on a book tour, was asked about his own Christmas philosophy. The response sounded almost as if he and Mr. Harris — and maybe other members of a soon-to-be-chartered Atheists Who Kind of Don’t Object to Christmas Club — had hashed out a statement of principles. Strangely, these principles find much common ground with Christians who complain about the holiday’s over-commercialization and secularization, though the atheists bemoan the former and appreciate the latter.

“Presumably your reason for asking me is that ‘The God Delusion’ is an atheistic book, and you still think of Christmas as a religious festival,” Mr. Dawkins wrote, in a reply printed here in its entirety. “But of course it has long since ceased to be a religious festival. I participate for family reasons, with a reluctance that owes more to aesthetics than atheistics. I detest Jingle Bells, White Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and the obscene spending bonanza that nowadays seems to occupy not just December, but November and much of October, too.”

He added: “So divorced has Christmas become from religion that I find no necessity to bother with euphemisms such as happy holiday season. In the same way as many of my friends call themselves Jewish atheists, I acknowledge that I come from Christian cultural roots. I am a post-Christian atheist. So, understanding full well that the phrase retains zero religious significance, I unhesitatingly wish everyone a Merry Christmas.”
While I partly disagree because there is a solid portion of the population that celebrate the holiday purely as a religious celebration and reject its secularization, I would argue they are in the minority.  The word Christmas will always retain some religious significance because... well... it has the word Christ in it.  But if you name me one religious aspect to Christmas, I will name five secular ones that have nothing to do with Jesus' birth.  

As corny as it sounds, this time of the year is ultimately about reconnecting and reaffirming your appreciation for family and friends.  It is a time of year to remind everyone to try to be a little bit nicer.  That giving can be more gratifying than receiving.  

If those are the ultimate goals, then Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.  

Friday, December 5, 2008

What The F***???

What do these three pictures have in common?





The most over-the-top and ridiculous music video the world has ever seen.

If you have ever wanted to see a dragon attacking a horse-drawn carriage, a battle in an ice palace, and stock footage of a crocodile, your day has finally come.

[note: different sizes of the video can be seen here]

Shameless Self Promotion

I uploaded some clips from my documentary, "Next Exit, Main Street," onto YouTube. Feel free to... you know... watch them.


Salt Lake City, Utah

Lake Zurich, Illinois

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Lost Springs, Wyoming

"L-L-Let Me Finish"

For me, it will be difficult to look back on the past eight years of Bush's presidency and not cringe. I just stumbled across this 10 minute interview with Bush that claims to be banned in the U.S.:

After having followed Obama's speeches and campaign for nearly two years, I think I am only now beginning to fully understand the true incompetence and arrogance of our 43rd president. It is such a relief to usher in a leader and a style of government that does not model itself after a playground bully.

And another point, is it just me or does it feel like the media here in the U.S. never was as gutsy as the woman in the YouTube clip above. And even though Bush's reactions make her out to be rude and disrespectful, I'd argue she is being really nice. Compare Bush's handling of difficult questions to Obama's handling of a much more difficult interview:

Geez, the difference in the mental and thought capabilities in each of these men is stunning. Watching them one after the other really puts everything in perspective.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How Could I Not Post This??

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


There are instances when a film's release is so perfectly timed and in tune with the happenings of the world that you would second guess whether or not some studio execs have psychics on staff.  Walking away from just watching Milk and trying to comprehend the timeliness (and ultimately timelessness) of this story is stunning.   Since previews always give away too much, here is Harvey Milk in a quick nutshell:

While the movie altogether is fantastic, there was one aspect that I cannot shake.  There is one scene with Harvey Milk having a meeting with a bunch of established rich gay guys, debating a mailer ad for a new piece of gay rights legislation Milk is pushing.  Milk is furious: "You don't mention the word gay on here once!  You've got to have at least one old queer on here somewhere."  The old-school stodgy gays response: This is what works.  But for Milk, the ultimate solution was visibility.  If people's awareness is raised to a level above the religious bigotry and fearmongering, their minds will be changed.  Simple, yet brilliant.  

But visibility, courage, and speaking up always has negative repercussions amongst the most insecure in our society, and Harvey Milk fell victim to those repercussions.  

For today's gays, the passage of Proposition 8 will probably be viewed as the most positive setback for equal rights.  Plenty of fingers have been pointed seeking blame for our loss against Prop 8, but no one can argue that we displayed enough visible during the campaign, whether it was in our commercials or in our organizing.  

"You've got to have at least one old queer on here somewhere."  

"But this is what works."  

No, not anymore.  

The gays of the 70's had decades of severe discrimination and harassment motivating them to become visible, and Harvey Milk helped them organize.  Now, the gays have Proposition 8 to thank for their motivation.  And now, with this film, we have a renewed figure -- our own martyr -- helping to show us the way... again.  

Monday, December 1, 2008

Random Thought

It takes some gall to come back into CVS pharmacy and demand back the one dollar you accidentally donated to St. Jude's Children's Hospital when going through checkout.

Bah Humbug much?


For those Californians who were opposed to Prop 1A, a huge bond to create a high speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, chew on this:

I-5, which stretches from the Bay Area down to the 405 just north of LA, was gridlocked yesterday with holiday drivers. Gridlocked.

That is 400 miles of road.

That train will not get here quick enough.