Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fox News Photoshopping

I watch Fox News occasionally to get alternate slants on the news, but to me it is more like a bizarre carnival show than a primary source of objective information.

When it comes to the Fox opinion stars, like professional knuckleheads Glenn Beck & Sean Hannity, I am on the complete opposite wavelength. Alot of the views being propagated from this 'news' entity are seriously skewed.

As a professional designer, I consider myself an expert in digital imaging. Therefore, I was partly dismayed & partly amused to see that the Fox News website is accepting submissions from the cesspool of image editing ability. As put it so well, "Fox News Encourages Old Poor People to Try Photoshop."

Predictably for Fox News, most of the laughably primitive digital renderings are from the 'conservative' range of the political spectrum.

There is overwhelmingly just bad cut & paste jobs like this:

To be 'fair & balanced', there are some funny ones...

I really admire Dennis Kucinich, but this had me laughing out loud:

Student Loan Reform

Besides the health insurance industry, the cost of higher education in this country has also been growing to increasingly ridiculous levels. They are both basically scams that are more like casinos than public services.


I still have about $15K left in student loans to pay off after being out of school almost a decade. Thankfully I have a good job as a result of my graphic design degree, but the amount of debt can feel like being in indentured servitude, & for what?... taking some classes that may or may not result in finding a career in that field. That's why it's comparable to a casino.

Despite the grumblings of Boehner the Orange, President Obama has signed a significant bill regarding student loan practices & terms. Though it may not affect the actual cost of college, it may make it a more viable option for people & save taxpayer money.

Christian Science Monitor:
I for one am glad to see the Obama Administration & Congress moving on things like this, whether or not is an ideal solution. Issues like health care & education are fundamental to society's progress.

It's good the Democrats have a sense of urgency about these issues, in case the American people decide they need right-wingers back in power to finish their regressive rampage.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Heroes of the Stupid

The Daily Show:

As the Health Care Bill passes & civilization continues, national attention has been directed toward the phenomenon of the Tea Party. It is clearly is a movement of many concerned but well-meaning citizens. Unfortunately they are being represented by the most vapid & cynical misinformation peddlers outside of televangelism.

The artist in me tends to prefer the idea of free expression. I also understand the importance of the 2nd amendment as a means of self-defense for citizens. Therefore, it's hard for me to advocate shutting down every 'militant' group just because they are anti-government or full of nutty creeps. Even irrational hate groups like neo-Nazis and the robed hillbillies in the Klan should regrettably be allowed to have marches & spout their crappy ideologies. If anything, it lets the rest of society see how twisted they are.

However, when individuals or groups cross the line into directed threats of personal violence toward others- then, they becoming criminals.

This is what so many people find distasteful about Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. They are national figures, influential with a *highly* suggestible segment of the population, who are subtly suggesting militant insurrection against the government & it's officials. Palin especially likes to give off the impression that's she'd proudly display Obama & Pelosi's heads as hunting trophies. Unfortunately, many Tea Party protesters who are rightly concerned about government are being overshadowed by the facetious hysteria being whipped up by these know-nothing buffoons with TV shows & Hand-O-Prompters.

Just like the 'far-left' activists Code Pink recently trying to arrest 'Turd Blossom' himself, Karl Rove, the freaks of the right-wing are going to cause the biggest commotion. By not outright denouncing the wackiest elements like The "Birthers" & the Glenn Beck Revolutionary Guard, the GOP & entire conservative philosophy is being defined by the most unreasonable fringes of the movement.

Sarah Palin is a personality who is as fascinating as a horrific car wreck. If there is one person who the intelligentsia of this country would overrule free speech to put a muzzle on, it is "Mooselini" herself.

Here is a quick IQ test. Do you find the clip below to be inspiring?......

If yes,
Congratulations! You're an idiot!

If God decides to be a total jerk & damn me for Eternity, that is the voice I'll hear in an endless loop in Hell.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Health Supplement Infographic

Speaking of Health, I saw this very interesting & easy to understand infographic linked on BoingBoing. It shows the viability of different nutritional supplements.

Information is Beautiful
has an interactive graphic that is continually updated:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

2010 Health Care Bills- H.R.3590 & H.R. 4872

After a year of dramatic struggle and far too little factual information, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: H.R. 3590 has been signed by President Obama. The final reconciled amendment bill H.R. 4872, has been passed by The Senate & The House again, and will be signed by The Long-Legged Mack Daddy tomorrow.

Now that the bill is becoming law & the sideshows of the process are over, actual details regarding the legislation are becoming better known:

As someone who follows current events & national politics constantly, my views on the whole Health Care Reform situation are as complicated as the process itself. I'll start by saying I'm a political Independent. While I try to transcend labels & polarized thinking, like "conservative" vs. "liberal", it is an unavoidable aspect of human society to rally around political ideologies that reflect one's own Reality Tunnel.

Having said that...
Now it's time for polarizing labeling & name calling!!! Wooo-hoo!!!

When it comes to the circus surrounding Health Care, I think the obvious carnival barkers stirring up the crowd who are vehemently against it are the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and the other "conservative" personalities. Most neutral observers would agree that their deliberately incendiary misinformation is mistaken for truthful patriotic passion by their listeners, whose collective mental functioning is centered in their amygdalas.

Just one year into his Presidency, anytime someone begins ranting about Obama's Tyranny of Socialism! or his love of Karl Marx or Saul Alinsky (whoever the hell that is) you can be sure the are being fed their B.S. from the Master himself, Glenn Beck. Personally, I can't watch his show for a whole segment. He is just a total turd. There are some things he touches on that deserve scrutiny, like The Fed. Top film director James Cameron was correct, though... like many extremist right-wingers he's basically an asshole, or a pompous jerk, if 'asshole' offends you. I can't understand how any self-aware person can take a man seriously who said that a multicultural, mixed-race Obama is "a racist" with "a deep-seated hatred for white people." That is somehow more astoundingly retarded than anything even Sarah Palin has ever said!!! Listening to that self-righteous doofus long enough could probably warp anyone's mind.

Speaking of the Alaskan dingbat herself, Caribou Barbie (aka Sarah Palin) has proven herself firmly in the violent right-wing reactionary camp during this 'debate'. Forgetting her ridiculous lies about "Death Panels"... recently her blatantly threatening euphemisms to 'reload' and 'target' Democrats seems to be the dividing line that separates the extreme right from the extreme left in politics.

So-called Liberals and The Left couldn't stand the walking disaster George W. Bush and understood what a horribly destructive administration he ran. The difference is the majority of negative reaction wasn't about killing him, hanging him, & acting out physically against him. Yes, people compared him to Hitler etc., but mostly there was a desire to see him and Cheney held legally or at least politically responsible for their obviously destructive agenda. Activists like, Code Pink & Cindy Sheehan weren't threatening bodily harm or death toward members of the Bush Administration.

Now, alot of Republicans are stamping their feet saying this Health Care bill is treason! & criminal! & blah blah blah! There's a bit of a difference between trying to reform the Health Care system & waging unnecessary war, killing millions of innocent Afghani & Iraqi people while sacrificing our soldiers under false pretenses.

So, because regressive Republicans ran the country into the ground for 8 years & were voted out, it is now the Democrat's turn to pursue a progressive agenda for the country. Although I don't consider myself a Democrat, I personally agree with many of the Democratic initiatives- as opposed to the Republican agenda which has been tax cuts for rich people & unfunded war spending.

Of course, conservatives and the Republican party in particular will cry & scream over the coming years as Obama and the Dems try to clean up their decade-long mess. Unfortunately, this health care battle is just one of many to which Republicans seem ready to cross their arms and say "HELL NO!" like a bunch of impotent babies. The current crop of dreadfully uninspiring dolts in the GOP leadership should be enough to turn any reasonable person away.

It's okay though, because through the whole process, backing the Republican Party line, cheerleading the Tea Party, demonizing the legislation, and enabling the woefully uninformed masses has been the Fair and Balanced Most Trusted Name in News™, Fox News. However, to be 'fair & balanced' on my part, there has been a general incompetence of ALL the news media in informing the public about important issues like the health care debate. Fox News pundits just routinely cross the line into outright distortion.

Things seemed to have turned the corner for Obama because of this historic victory & now he has the wind in his sails as the Republicans scramble to be relevant in any meaningful way:

Plan A was "Kill the Bill!" which failed.
Plan B is "Sue the Federal Government!" which will also fail.
Plan C is "Win back Congress & REPEAL!" which will (of course) fail... due to a little thing called 'Presidential veto'.

The GOP must think failure on all fronts will somehow get them elected come November.

Not for the sake of the Democrats, but for the sake of the people who need it & are getting reamed by the insurance companies, I hope some of these measures start having noticeable effect on the system soon.

The funniest thing about all the buffoons screaming about 'Socialism!' & 'Communism!' is that Obama is way more conservative than his base would like him to be! Many of his supporters would have preferred to see Obama push for a truly socialist Single-Payer System. While he's at it, he should have also signed an executive order banning health insurance companies completely! This is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. As Congressman Anthony Weiner argued below, why do they even exist?

Americans are so used to their shitty way of doing things that they can't imagine a better way. I think Obama is an intelligent, competent leader who can help our country to a better way of doing things. That's why I voted for him over Grandpa McGrumpy & The Snow Queen. I don't regret my decision one bit.

Technical Difficulties... & Monkey Sex

Unfortunately, for some reason my home cable & internet are out. :(

Hmmm, Comcast must've known I was planning on writing about the Health Care Bill & the Teabagging nitwits who are convinced that it's some kind of anti-American Socialist manifesto...

So, until I can get online there with time to craft my inherently superior opinion on these matters, I leave you with South Park's profound look at our animal nature from their new episode- about the absurd Tiger Woods 'sex addiction' fiasco, called "Sexual Healing":

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ode to Spring

I hate the cold weather.

That's why this weekend of pleasant weather was perfect to usher in the Spring season. Especially after a unusually harsh Winter on the East Coast, having Spring Fever feels especially good.

As I was cleaning my house today with all my windows open, I could also hear everyone else in the neighborhood- working outside, vacuuming from inside their houses, and hosing stuff down. It's great to be able to enjoy the fair weather again.

It's easy to see why all cultures throughout history have regarded Spring as a mystical time of rejuvenation & new life.

I've found some links explaining the historic importance of the Vernal Equinox, which marks the beginning of the Spring season:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

'Ghost Recon 2' Review & Video Game Violence

I recently finished the PS3 game Ghost Recon: "Advanced Warfighter 2" that I borrowed from my brother.

It was a cool game, my only complaint is the ending was kind of abrupt. The idea is that you are an elite modern soldier equipped with a virtual heads-up display that gives you all kinds of real-time control over battlefield intel & other units.

Although it was engaging, it didn't blow me away or anything, so I'm not gonna spend alot of time on it...

• The Monkey Buddha's official rating: 7.5

The interesting thing about games like Ghost Recon that use 'augmented reality' tech is that it's an extrapolation of the information delivery systems that are already being developed. My friend recently lent me the intense space horror, "Dead Space," which also conceptualizes the practical applications of personal augmented reality devices.

Just like sci-fi literature, video games & simulations can be an incubator for development of new ideas.

On the other hand, one of the biggest criticisms of video games throughout their history- the use of violence & other 'objectionable' material. I saw this link on BoingBoing to the audio documentary about the history of military games:

I've played some 'violent' games over the years from Contra to Doom to Wolfenstein 3D to Mortal Kombat to Hitman to the greatest offender of all, Grand Theft Auto. Despite participating in these arguably 'corrupting' experiences, I have always been a total pacifist & of a sound mind (right?, right?, right?). Granted video games are designed to manipulate one's emotions & mental state, but what immersive fiction isn't- whether it be books, movies, or games?

5 Creepy Ways Video Games
are Trying to Get You Addicted.

The danger is someone who is already mentally unbalanced- but such a person could be set off by any negative stimulus. If video games really affected normal people's behavior, there would be many dozens of killings, crimes, & generally crazy things going on in every town, every single day.

Conflict, sex, & survival are fundamental elements of human life, so as long as we inhabit our physical bodies, we will continue incorporating them into our games & other forms of creative expression.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mayan History Quiz

I was reading a National Geographic article about a tomb that was recently discovered beneath a mural in ruins of Bonampak. This was an ancient city of the classical Mayan culture of Central America.

In this article there was a link to a quiz about the ancient Mayan world that proved to be pretty tough. I have read quite alot about ancient civilizations & the Maya in particular, but I missed 8 out of 12 questions- for a 60% on this quiz. >:(
It was very informative, though.

"Quiz: Maya Rise and Fall"

Me, at the base of the Temple of Kukulcan
Chichen Itza, Mexico

Also, I just came across this virtual panorama of Chichen Itza at

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patty's Madness

This weekend, I visited my college roommates & crew in North Jersey. A house full of people got together for our annual Irish-fest that kicks off in the wee hours of the morning. We all celebrated heartily all day despite the St. Patrick's Parade in Morristown being completely rained out.

It's one of life's great joys to meet up w/ old friends & continue to have fun times.

Here are a couple pics, & there are some public photos on my Myspace album.

Me, my former roommate Andy,
& Melanie - our missing roommate Joe's sister.

Part of our crew getting ready to leave to go into town.

In between 2 of my college roommates, Andy Smooth & Jon,
out on the town.

Music Musings

I listen to any & all types of music... except for country.

The reason I love Sirius satellite radio is that I can switch between artists as widely varied as The Beatles, Notorious BIG, Norah Jones, Armin van Buuren, Radiohead, Marvin Gaye, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc, etc.

I often have particular songs playing over & over in my head for any given period of time. Recently a few songs have been on a repeating loop in my mind.

I was a teenager in Middle School when 'grunge' music was the big thing. I bought Nirvana "Nevermind" the day it it came out (on cassette tape, ha!) Pearl Jam's "Ten" was also a favorite album of mine at the time. I heard this recent Pearl Jam release from their album "Backspacer" over the weekend & can't get it out of my head:

I also love jazz & R&B, and Sadé has long been one of my favorite female artists. She has so many great songs & is still amazing at 40.

She performed the new song "Soldier of Love" on TV recently & since I heard it the song has also been stuck in my mind. The video is a little crazy, but Sadé is simply one of the best recording artists, period.

Moving onto the hip-hop front, I like the new remix Snoop Dogg's "I Wanna Rock" w/ Jay-Z. However, the "Green Remix" of the song is horrible.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Don't Believe Your Eyes

Working in Photoshop & other visual media gives me some perspective on the manipulation of imagery.

Whereas many people passively consume news & entertainment media, I find myself constantly analyzing the content as well as the presentation of any production: lighting, graphic treatments, visual effects, etc.

I also find endless amusement from the explosion of humorous Photoshopped pictures on the Internet. It really is a Renaissance of the Absurd.

Some problems can arise because some imagery can be so convincing that it fools or deceives people into believing what their seeing. Throughout history, image manipulation has continually improved ahead of the public's ability to discern the created content from reality.

This is a excellent timeline of photographic fraudulence:

Sometimes, though, the artist can still come up short:

Modern Hollywood production is continually advancing the latest arts of visual trickery. Despite my discerning eye, this video I saw linked on revealing the green screen elements in TV shows kind of blew me away.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Secret of Kells

On The Teleomorph I saw the trailer for an animated film that appears to be about Celtic culture and the famous Irish illuminated gospel known as The Book of Kells. I noticed it was nominated for at least one Oscar last nite. I think it looks pretty cool, but at the rate I watch movies, it may be a few years before it see it.

I saw this image on the movie website. It is a great illustration of the vibrancy of Celtic attitudes toward the natural world intertwining with the artistic sensibilities of the medieval Irish monks.

The image at the top of the page is another graphically playful example of this interaction between nature, the mind of man, & artistic creations...

I have an Italian last name, but 3 of my grandparents were Irish, so I've always had a sense of pride & interest in the historic culture of Ireland.

When my sister took a trip over to Ireland she brought me back some nice art prints that I have framed. She got me a copy of the Irish Proclamation of 1916 & a couple pages from The Book of Kells at Trinity Library.

Specifically, one of the posters is this iconic Kells illumination of the authors of the 4 gospels:

Here is a link to a good image that shows more detail of these intricate designs:

Monday, March 08, 2010

Atlantic City Car Show 2010

Last weekend, I went with Big Paul and my brothers to the car show at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

I've gone there with my Dad for the past several years & it was nice for all the Micarelli dudes to make it again.

The photos I took of the cool (and not-so-cool) cars are in my Google Picasa album:

• Cool Car:

• Not-So-Cool Car:

• The Monkey Buddha & a fellow primate:

Liz Cheney "Daughter of Dracula"

Chris Matthews can be a jackass sometimes, but aren't we all? Overall he's got a decent show for people interested in politics.

The last couple nights I caught his show he made me laugh out loud with his comments on the family of The Emperor himself, former Shadow President Dick Cheney.

There was recently an inflammatory paid commercial that Liz Cheney's group put out concerning Dept. of Justice lawyers who defended terrorism suspects. Chris Matthews was talking about this fiasco, spontaneously calling her "The Daughter of Dracula" which I found extremely fitting & amusing.


Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tonight I caught another great Cheney jab on his show. He was comparing Liz Cheney's public defense of her father's legacy to young Kal-El (Superman) being sent by his father, Jor-El, to Earth to continue the legacy of Krypton. At the end of this hysterically ridiculous analogy he asked, "What's goin' on with this family?"
Good question.


Chris Matthews
"Taking Charge of GOP"

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Mocking Dr. Evil himself more than makes up for Matthews' inevitable boneheaded comments & interruptions.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Krofft Saturday Morning Madness

The Krofft brothers were know for their insane kid's shows. The only one I remember seeing when I was little was "Land of the Lost".

Around my birthday in '78, there were several Krofft creations on the air. This is the strange, ridiculous decade that I was born into:

Then there's the legendary Krofft show H.R. Pufnstuf that I never even heard of till I was in my 20's:

H.R. Pufnstuf:
"The Magic Path"

Lidsville was another production that I've never heard of either until looking up these other segments. The wacky 70's star Charles Nelson Reilly was featured as a green-faced dastardly villain.

"World in a Hat"

Bob & Dave from "Mr. Show" made a hilarious spoof of all these Krofft characters that I saw on their HBO show back in college. This one one of their countless genius skits:

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Daily Show vs. Fox News- Fair & Balanced?

I watch the Daily Show every night because Jon Stewart is consistently on target with humor that covers the entire spectrum of politics & current events.

Sometimes though, he smashes a home run with ruthless, irreverent commentary about a deserving target.

Last nite he tore into the unashamedly right-wing propaganda outlet that is Fox News. The specific victim was Fox 'news' anchor Megyn Kelley and her lack of 'fair & balanced' reporting.

The Daily Show:

Personally, I think they should leave the hot chick alone, & just continually hammer the biggest knucklehead on television, Sean Hannity and his esteemed colleague: The Minister of Misinformation, Glenn Beck. Those two ideological jerk-offs make Bill O'Reilly seem like a voice of reason. However, I have to admit that I do sometimes try to watch Fox News programming. It's like watching a documentary on a serial killer- it is fascinating in a disturbed sort of way to see the warped sense of the world that is portrayed.

Although I'm more philosophically aligned with them, I also usually have trouble watching liberal MSNBC hosts Keith Olberman & Rachel Maddow when their hyperbole and self-righteousness skew the objective reporting. The difference between myself and the average Fox News viewer, however, is that I'm informed from a wide enough range of regional, national, & international sources to know when I'm being fed B.S. by someone with an agenda. Someone who only watches Glenn Beck's Clown Show for 'news' is wallowing in a toxic pit of ignorance in which 'The Government' is a insidious force of evil & President Obama is a Socialist Tyrant. I believe there should be voices of opposition to any government or administration, but the debate should be based on facts, not hysteria. Fox News has made manipulating the misinformed opinion-making for the American sheeple into an artform.

Anyway, the Daily Show's other topic of predictable amusement was the one-woman traveling circus, Sarah Palin.

The Daily Show:

On a side note, I'm linking to Hulu video while I still can, since Comedy Central's video embedding code is still crap & I don't feel like figuring it out.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Monkey Comic Cover Gallery

On, there was a priceless gallery of comic book covers featuring monkeys in any number of insane scenarios.

It's hard to pick out a favorite, but this one is special, an issue of Strange Adventures featuring "Challenge of the Gorilla Genius".

You just can't go wrong combining monkeys and comic books. Even when it's stupid it's awesome.

The archive of crazy comic covers,, has a dedicated category called Everything's Better With Monkeys. It's a genre all its own.

For the record, I've previously pointed out such brilliant comic monkey character studies as Gotham's Bat-Ape and Superman's hairy harbinger of chaos, Beppo The Super Monkey.

Here is a rendering I made a few years ago of the hypothetical encounter between the exiled Beppo & Curious George in Space.
That Beppo's a real rascal...