Archive for media

Mars Phoenix Rover makes science depressing

So I was looking through my latest Tweets on Twitterfox when I came across an entry for NASA’s Phoenix Rover (yes, I’m a nerd; know why I signed up for second life? SCIENCE FRIDAY DOES A LIVE SIMUCAST THERE AND YOU CAN ASK QUESTIONS TO THE GUESTS!) that sounded like a complete downer. There’s a point in every year when Earth and Mars are on opposite sides of the sun, which means we’re a long flipping ways away from each other.

Now the reason that these Tweets from a robot seem like a downer is because those geniuses at NASA gave it a great personality (of sorts). This is a extra-planetary rover that you’d like to call your buddy. Until he hits you with the news that he only has a few more months to live.

Not sure how long I’ll last before I succumb to CO2 ice. September? October? Time will tell. Lots of work to do before then.

That entry was followed up with this one

In November, even if still alive, I’ll lose contact with Earth due to Solar Conjunction–when Earth and Mars are on opposite sides of Sun.

even if still alive” Oh dear God! Not functioning, not active, alive. If NASA isn’t careful people are going to start developing ideas that these robots are living things and deserve the same rights as humans and then all space and scientific exploration goes down the crapper. Hell, I’m developing something along the lines of feelings for this bloody machine. Who ever is updating their Twitter page is way too good and humanising the rover.

Then….THEN it hits you with the most optimistic, chin-up, stiff upper lip, the-show-must-go-on type message which, I have to say, sounds like it’s straight out of a movie (and if it’s not, would be a really great line in one…Wall-E 2 anyone?)

Knew about the freezing going in. It’s the only way to reach and study the ice. And I was the first touch it! No regrets.

NO REGRETS! Well, for one a machine doesn’t have regrets anyway but going beyond all that….don’t you just want to hug the damn thing now? Hug it and say “Oh my gawd…you’re so brave. That’s right you keep right on testing that soil and you prove you’re the best damn soil tester NASA every sent into space.” all the while sobbing because you know that in the end, the inevitable will occur.

NASA is turning awesome scifi movie fodder into a chick flick. A chick flick with robots, but a chick flick none the less.

I bet LIfetime is going to pick up this story and find some way to make all the men involved evil. Delta Burke will star as the Phoenix Rover, of course.

The Noggin Channel Scares Me A Bit

There. I’ve said it. And if you watched Nickelodian’s Noggin channel (it’s repository for Nick’s Nick Jr. content), you’d feel the same way.

While I do like Noggin much more than Sprout (PBS’s cable/satellite channel for children’s programming), the only show I like on Discovery Kids is Peep and The Big Wide World (I think I like the theme song, performed by Taj Mahal, most) and Toon Disney never finds its way onto my tv screen (Disney = Devil), there are a few shows that either scare me…or make me scratch my head.

I like a lot of Noggin’s programming. Backyardigans is my favorite (mostly because The Kid gets up and dances along with it), and I loooove Little Bill. Maggie and the Ferocious Beast; top marks. Oswald gets a vote from me too.

Then you have shows like Max and Ruby, which features two bunnies of the approximate ages of 3 and 7 (respectively) and their day to day adventures. What’s wrong with this? Max and Ruby have no parents. All their friends have parents, and there are adults who occasionally drop by, but Max and Ruby’s parents are never, ever, around. This leaves Ruby in charge of her little brother Max. They run errands together by catching the bus (I don’t even want to know how Ruby gets bus fare). They do have a grandmother, but she lives on the other side of town, which means taking the bus there too. Now and then Ruby mentions their mother, usually in reference to something else  to explain a situation (i.e. “Mother said we have to spend the day and Grandmother’s house.”). Beyond that, Max and Ruby are on their own. Don’t they have laws against that in their little bunny world?

Then you have shows like Franklin and Little Bear. For the most part, there’s nothing wrong with these shows. Maurice Sendak (Where The Wild Things Are) illustrated Little Bear so, really, you can’t put too much of a knock on it. And I actually do like these shows. The head scratching comes in when they start talking about pets. See, Franklin and Little Bear are largely centered around anthropomorphic animals, though Little Bear does feature two human characters.  I’ve never understood how animal cartoon characters can have pets. Isn’t that sort of akin to slavery? Franklin’s best friend is a snail, yet Franklin has been known to own a fish. Little Bear has a friend named Cat (who is a cat, duh), yet Emily, the human friend, owns a dog for a pet (the dog, unlike Little Bear and Cat, cannot talk).

Then there’s Yo Gabba Gabba. This show…it scares me. I can not express how much it scares me, but it does. If you have seen it, you’d be scared too. It’s like HR Pufnstuf toned down and without the (obvious) drug references.

It featurers five Pufnstuf-esque creatures that are meant to be like puppets manipulated by a “puppet master” named DJ Lance Rock, who is a skinny black guy in a bright orange, and very tight, jumpsuit, with an equally bright orange fuzzy hat and 80’s Run DMC style glasses. Part of me wanted to scream racism when I first saw the show. But I also knew that would be totally false. There’s nothing even minutely racist about the show. It’s just the fact that a skinny black guy clad, head to toe, in bright orange scares me for some inexplicable reason. The show features music, “dancing” (there are people in those suits, you really can’t call hopping from foot to foot while waving your arms wildly dancing…unless you’re white….KIDDING!), the occasional “guest” (Elijah Wood [HOBBITSES!] and Biz Markee have made appearances) and life lessons for the 3-5 year old set (like sharing, and not biting others).

One of their more disturbing skits deals with eating. One or all of the creatures gather around for meal time and start singing “There’s a party in my tummy!” and, out of nowhere, the food on the plate grow faces and respond “SO YUMMY! SO YUMMY!” They then call out the name of each food (or drink) before “eating” it. Once eaten you get an inside view of the creature’s stomach so you can see the food “partying”. I should mention that the food is completely intact, which means it was swallowed whole with no chewing involved. This includes items like chicken legs. The other day, while watching this show (actually I was walking by the tv while The Kid was watching it and was forced to stop and stare…there’s something about that show that makes you do that) I disovered one of the creatures actuall has THREE stomachs.

Inevitably, the creatures leave some bit of their food on the plate, and as they walk away the food begins to cry. The creatures walk back and ask the food why it’s crying only to get the reply “We want to go to the party! The party in your tummy!” (suicidal food?), and they are rewarded by being gulped down in the same fashion as all the other food was.

Don’t believe me? Watch this:

See what I mean? SCARY STUFF! Honestly, who the hell thought this was a good idea?

So, yeah…Noggin programming is scary stuff man.

Flash Back Video – Mr. Wendal Arrested Development

Man I miss music like this. Remember when hip hop was…intelligent?

Black folks, gather ’round. We need to chat.

Now, before I start let me say, I love the black blogosphere. I really do. Intelligent, witty observations, sitting side by side with insightful commentary dealing with everything from world politics, feminism, religion, all the way down to local happenings. I love it.

However…

Some of ya’ll…you’ve gone off the nut this week. So let’s chat a bit, shall we?

The Obama Father’s Day speech. If it doesn’t pertain you, your father, or the fathering style of your male friends..why be upset? Yes he did it while campaigning for President. Yes it reeks of political game playing. But was it really wrong? Was anything he said actually incorrect?

Not from what I heard.

Though I will say, I hope that, after they’re elected, Michelle Obama does a Mother’s Day speech that goes after Baby Mamas the way Barack went after Baby Daddies. In all honesty, it needs to be done. It’s long over due.

Let’s stop deifying single mothers like they’re infallible. Please. I don’t mean all single mothers. As someone who has friends and relatives who are/were single mothers, I can say for certain there are many who deserve nothing short of sainthood.

However the ones I’m talking about are the Baby Mamas. The ones who make good single mothers cringe. The ones who take their child support payments and use it to get their hair and nails did. The ones whose kids spend more time with Grandma than they do with their own moms; not because she’s out working her ass off, but because she’s out shaking her ass at the club. The ones who lie to Friend of the Court and use their children as pawns to manipulate fathers who, otherwise, would be more than happy to be in their child’s life as more than just a name on a check. The ones who spend more time looking for a man to “take care of” them instead of taking care of their children.

These triflin heffas need to be put in check. Being in ownership of a uterus does not give you the right to reproduce just for the hell of it or to manipulate someone.

Forget about the father for a moment, consider the child in the middle of all this. You bring a life into this world for petty and selfish reasons, lie to it, manipulate it, expose it to a parade of temporary daddies and “uncles” but never to its birth father. Basically you treat this life like an object; like some thing with no thoughts, no feelings, no desires, no wants or needs. Just a thing for you to use, and, if you don’t get your way, use against someone. You take a blessing and twist it into a punishment. But then can’t figure why, for the life of you, men don’t want to stay around your triflin ass. Why they’ll screw you but not marry you.

Yeah, these chicks need to be chin checked. Hard.

I love my single parent sistren and brethren who take care of their kids. Seeing you juggle all those responsibilities and wear all those hats give me hope for this sad excuse we call human kind. I love single fathers who struggle to be more than just a Baby Daddy, especially in the face of a Baby Mama who does everything in her power to make it hard for him to be even that much. It’s heartbreaking to hear stories from men who want to be there for their kids but the mothers block access to them unless they play by their rules.

So I say, whoever the next First Lady will be (please God not Cindy McCain…if she can’t be trusted to not lie about a damn cookie recipe, I don’t think she can be trusted to do anything this important), she needs to do a nationwide address calling out Baby Mamas and demanding reforms in the legal system so that it stops leaning so heavily towards the mother always being the victim of some unscrupulous man’s penis.

Drop a dime, get a grand

The Detroit News ran an article today talking about how Crime Stoppers is seeing a jump in tips due in Michigan due to the steadily falling economy and poor job market.

Sumayyah (read the Cast of Characters page), says it stinks of Orwellianism. Personally, if the only thing standing between me and my lights getting cut off is tipping the cops that it was RayRay up the street who robbed someone at gun point…fuck RayRay. You can say I’m a snitch, you can say I’m a sell out, but you can’t say I’m sitting in the dark.

A grand for a tip on a homicide that leads to an arrest. Forget all the moral stuff. Forget doing your duty as a good citizen of whatever city you live in. It’s a grand for making a phone call. Now, that may not sound like a lot to some folks, but that’s rent, electricity/gas, phone and cable with plenty left over for groceries.

So, once again, fuck RayRay.

And while I’m on the subject of crime and criminals: Black people…cut this shit out

(hat tip The Smoking)

WTF kind of Smurf do you skin for hair like that? More importantly, who the hell lied to her and said it was cute? Blue is not the same as blue-black.  Stop this shit now.

Well…he DID say it.

This hasn’t gotten a ton of airplay on the news, but, yes John McCain called his wife (the one he cheated on his first wife with then turned around and married a month after their divorce was final because she was wealthy and politically powerful) a cunt. Granted she’s a recovering drug addict that stole drugs from her own Volunteer Medical Foundation, was subject to a wrongful termination lawsuit after firing the director of said foundation in order to cover up her addiction, and admitted her addiction only to keep an Arizona newspaper from having a field day with the story. And yes, she stole recipes from Food Network and claimed them as her own (who doesn’t? Well…I don’t…I steal them from cooks.com and claim them as my own, but not in a nationally distributed newspaper or on my husband’s campaign website). But even for ALL that…she doesn’t deserve to be called a cunt. A bitch? Maybe. A husband stealing whore? Not so much…McCain had several extramarital affairs so he was more whore than she was.

And even though she gives me the same creeps I get when I see Laura Bush smile (you know the smile…that vapid one that looks forced and dull and gives her eyes this weird lunatic gleam), she doesn’t deserve to be called a cunt.

Hat tip to Post Bourgie for the video below (NSFW)

KUDOS TO JILL SCOTT!

Jill Scott decided to pose nude in the May issue of Allure magazine. Allure has had several notable Black actresses and singers nude in their pages, but none who fit the plus size category like Jill. It’s a tasteful picture (this is Allure magazine…not King) though sweet Jilly from Philly doesn’t look 100% comfortable.

I can’t say I blame her though. They’d have to chain me to a wall to get me out of the permanent fetal position I’d be in once I was standing there naked. I would have liked to have seen her without all the damn flowers though. All of Allure’s other nudes have been without the massive floral display…but then again, all of Allure’s other nudes were women who fit the false, self-esteem crushing, eating disorder inducing beauty standard that HollyWeird and the media at large seeks to impose on women.

You can see the picture, along with the corresponding picture of Gabrielle Union, here.

(hat tip to Liberator Magazine)

NPR/BBC withdrawl and other random tidbits

At home we don’t have cable tv. This is because, for the most part, we don’t really watch tv. Oh we havea tv, plus a dvd and a VCR(the link is there for those of you too young to remember when everything was on VHS and there was no such think as YouTube…oh hell, if you belong to that age group, get the hell out of my blog…darn whippersnappers), but those are mostly so that The Kid can watch PowerPuff Girls(she’s Blossom and I’m Buttercup, H goes back and forth between being Professor Utonium and Mojo Jojo) and Backyardigans over and over and over and over and…while I get some work done. This means I get almost all my information and entertainment online and through the radio.

As much as I love my RSS feeds…I can’t say they hold a candle to my local NPR station(which plays BBC world service all night long *le sigh*), and it just so happens that this week is fundraising week (well until later on today) which means every five to ten minutes my favorite shows get interrupted so the employees of said NPR station can beg for money. But I sit through it, mostly because I feel it’s my penance for being too broke to get that damned totebag for a $150 pledge, but also because it’s my main source of news. So much so that, this entire week at my sister’s house, I felt completely disconnected from the rest of the world until I remembered that she has CNN on her satellite. I just happened to catch The Situation Room as they followed the Olympic Torch around San Francisco for over an hour….talk about a damn slow news day.

My sister speaks spanish fluently (which is helpful because her husband is a citizen of Spain that was born in the Dominican Republic), so she watches Novelas on TeleMundo and Univision. Which means I watch Novelas on TeleMundo and Univision because she works from home (lucky). I’ve gotten sort of addicted to them. Unlike US soap operas, Novelas don’t go on forever and ever. They have a distinct start and end point. This means that you can see an actor/actress from one Novela on a completely different one. They also have Novelas that are targeted towards teens. Like historical fiction? They have Novelas that are set in the Victorian era. I actually sort of like these novelas. I’ve never been a soap opera watcher. I hate them for the most part. Rich, beautiful white folks who make problems for themselves. For some reason I just couldn’t relate to that. Granted a lot of the characters on Novelas are rich and beautiful, but they’re Latino, which means they come in all kinds of shades and colors. And they women are CURVY. Not just big boobs. Thick legs, round bottoms, wide hips.

One of the main characters, the title character in fact, of a Novela called Victoria is a woman in her late 40’s early 50’s who was dumped by her (rich) husband for a younger woman only to find herself as the love interest of a man some 20 years her junior. Played by Victoria Ruffo (the darkhaired one), Victoria is not some super-thin impossible beauty. She is classy, always well dressed, and beautiful. She carries herself wonderfully, and yes, she has a little weight on her, but her character has had three children in the course of a 25 year marriage..no one would expect her to be some twiggy heffa. She’d be unbelieveable and no one would really relate or even feel bad for her if she were some cut and sucked plastic surgery doll. BTW this is one of my favorite shows.

Now, my sister is bilingual. I, however, am not. This means I get a play by play from her after each scene. Not as good as hearing the real thing, but she gives me the homegirl break down which adds a certain amount of spice to it.

As much as I’m enjoying this semi vacation, I kinda can’t wait to get back home. I miss being able to call things mine. Plus I forgot to grab this turkey pastrami that was on sale at Meijer last week and I really want a pastrami sandwich (turkey pastrami is about $3 cheaper than regular). More over I miss H. I need to be hugged and kissed and all that. The Kid does that…but in a completely different way.

We’re taking this weird turn in our relationship. I guess because we got married fairly young (I was 21 and he was 22), so we’re growing and changing and having to deal with those changes. I’m one of those never-say-die types so come Hell or high water we’re going ride this out.

BTW…Lewis Black, Root of All Evil….Best. Show. Ever.

McCain Girls mad that they’re getting mocked

You have to have seen it. The McCain Girl’s video has been spread through the internet like a plague. A plague that makes your ears bleed. A plague that makes gouging your eyes with a grapefruit spoon seem like a really, really good idea.

However, if you have been one of the fortunate few who have (mercifully) missed this video, I offer you the chance to make up for that by viewing it now. I suggest you remove small children and people with heart conditions from the room before hitting play.

Now that you’ve thoroughly lost your appetite for the next week or so, let’s talk about the response to this video.

You know, this is the internet, and on the internet, the only truly appropriate responses to this sort of thing are mockery and snarkiness. Oh sure, there were some mean spirited comments. But you have to admit, the video leaves itself open for it. First is the big scary black chick that is trying entirely too hard. Then there’s the old lady who thought wearing a green shirt in front of a green screen was a good idea. And lastly the “sexy young girl” who lip synced the entire time. Poorly.

Now, even the Obama/Guliani girls got a bit of jabbing their way and they were attractive and the girl singing for them could, well, sing. So certainly this messy hodge podge knew to expect some ribbing for their off key, poorly produced bit of schlock.  But, apparently, they didn’t. At least that’s the vibe I get from the black chick’s video response stating that she doesn’t care about people’s opinions (which, is kind of ironic because she’s responding to people’s opinions in a manner that shows that she’s obviously irritated…so…it kinda seems like she does care…but maybe that’s just my logic).

See? Doesn’t that just scream “Your responses bothered me”? I can’t be the only one who gets that vibe.

And she says there’s more to come. Which means that she’s ready to be ridiculed more. Good for her, I say. That’s the spirit. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and all that good stuff. Plus it’ll give me something to laugh at when I’m feeling a bit down. :p

Kwame gets indicted on 12 counts of perjury

I have to admit, I didn’t think Pros. Kym Worthy was going to do it. But she did. And damn if I ain’t glad. This, my friends, is one fine example of hubris. Take note.

Mike Wilkinson / The Detroit News

DETROIT — Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has filed 12 charges against Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, accusing the mayor of perjury and both of conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office, among other charges in connection with the text-message scandal.

“Our investigation has clearly shown that public dollars were used, peoples lives were ruined, the justice system was severely mocked and the public trust trampled on,” Worthy said. “This is as far from being a private matter as one can get.”

The announcement could take the text-message scandal, once relegated to civil court and accusations of privacy and freedom of the press, into a criminal matter that could send the mayor and Beatty to prison. A perjury conviction can bring a prison term of up to 15 years.

The charges alone could only add more pressure to Kilpatrick to step down — something other politicians, business leaders, pastors and the public have suggested for weeks.

Kilpatrick was spotted leaving the city-owned Manoogian Mansion around 10:15 a.m.

Kilpatrick is the first mayor of Detroit to be charged with a crime while in office. Under the city charter, he can only be removed from office if he is convicted of a felony.

Kilpatrick has repeatedly vowed not to resign; Beatty resigned in February and has been looking for work since then.

Worthy’s investigation stemmed from the aftermath of the city’s decision to settle claims made by three former Detroit police officers, two of whom had won a $6.5 million whistle-blower verdict against the city last September after they claimed they were punished for investigating claims against the mayor and his bodyguards.

Former Deputy Chief Gary Brown said he was fired after investigating claims by Harold Nelthrope, an officer who said he feared for his life after he passed on concerns about the mayor’s bodyguards.

After the trial, Mike Stefani, one of the officers’ attorneys, obtained a copy of the text messages sent and received from Beatty’s city-issued SkyTel pager. He had asked for them during the preparation for the trial but did not receive them.

During negotiations over his attorney fees, Stefani told one of Kilpatrick’s city-paid lawyers that he had the messages and was going to tell the trial judge. That information spurred the lawyers to quickly reach a settlement on the case a little over a month after Kilpatrick had vowed to appeal.

As part of that settlement, the officers got a total of $8.4 million and Stefani was required to turn over all copies of the text messages to the mayor’s attorney — and agree never to talk about them.

When the city council approved the settlement, however, it was not told about the text messages or the secret deal meant to hide them from public view.

Then in January, published excerpts of the text messages strongly contradicted Kilpatrick and Beatty’s testimony that they did not have a romantic relationship and did not fire Brown.

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