It seems like forever since I’ve fired up the Toaster and cranked out some slices. Today is the perfect day for it. Got a few small chores to do, nothing major, and a whole bunch of stuff – both read and unread – queued up in Instapaper and Google Reader that’s share-worthy. Might even be some stuff in my own brain. Ya never know!
Just saw an ad for a new reality show called Secret Millionaire. It’s like Undercover Boss, only they’re going to have a millionaire couple go slumming, literally living in a poor neighborhood and getting to know the “real heroes” who live there and then, presumably, giving them money. Am I wrong to find this premise incredibly repulsive, even by reality-TV standards? (Also, will they use this as the theme song?)
Neil Sinhababu, who I used to love reading over at Cogitamus but lost track of after he moved over to Donkeylicious despite the fact that I’m friends with him on Facebook – a situation I finally remedied today by adding said blog to my RSS feeds – posted an amusing riddle about butts last week in honor of the nineteenth anniversary of the release of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”:
You are curious whether your butt is big or small. Unfortunately, you lack the ability to accurately assess the size of butts. Fortunately, there are three rappers before you. You are of their preferred gender, so they are willing to collectively entertain exactly one yes-or-no question from you, to which they will each give an answer.
One rapper likes big butts and cannot lie. One rapper likes small butts and always lies. One rapper likes all butts but shares your inability to assess butt size, and will answer yes or no at random if asked whether a butt is big or small. You do not know which rapper is which. All the rappers know all other facts relevant to the situation, including everyone’s identity and butt preferences.
There’s more, so be sure to read the final, important twist before answering. I swear, I was on the right track with this and would have gotten it had my ADD not kicked in and sent me to the comments instead. (Hint: Read the descriptions of the rappers’ preferences very carefully.)
PZ Myers gets some seriously deranged email. You really do have to wonder about people who presume – or should I say “take it on faith” – that morality must proceed from some unseen supernatural force. I wouldn’t want to be around any of them if their faith in God were to be shaken for some reason.
Jonathan Cohn has a first look at the House GOP’s budget proposal, which seeks to slash funding for Pell grants, Head Start, the USDA’s food inspection program, and Title I grants which help fund school systems in poor areas. House Appropriations Committee chairman Hal Rogers described these cuts as targeting “excessive, unnecessary, and wasteful spending” and said that “hard decisions” were necessary in deciding where to cut. (Wait, if this shit’s truly excessive, unnecessary and wasteful, why was the decision hard?)
The important thing, of course, is that the rich got their tax cut extension. Nothing excessive, unnecessary or wasteful about that.
(BTW, my cousin-in-law Tom sent me an interesting newsletter by an economic analyst he’s a fan of. I’m only part way through it right now, but it reads kind of like James Kunstler’s pieces on Peak Oil, only if the subject were instead the public debt of developed nations and the crisis it portends. It’s important to remember that, while Republicans are a bunch of evil whores who use fear-mongering about the federal debt as a cudgel to achieve their political ends, there are plenty of others who, analyzing the situation in good faith, see it as a truly serious threat. It’s an unfortunate fact that the latter unwittingly give cover to the former, but there it is. And no, I’m not sure if I buy the alarmist interpretations of the debt crisis. I tend to think we could solve most of our problems by just letting tax rates return to their Clinton era levels. But what do I know.)
Roger Ebert, who I started following on Twitter a few months ago, posted a link yesterday in honor of Darwin Day to this outstanding (and lengthy) takedown of Ben Stein’s pro-creationist crockumentary Expelled that he wrote in 2008. It’s a great read. Two thumbs up. (Sorry.)
I recall seeing Ebert’s name a while back on a list of “famous atheists” and thinking “Huh. That’s cool. Always liked his movie reviews.” What I’m finding out is that the dude is about way more than just film criticism. He’s actually a bit of an intellectual bad-ass. (And yes, Furious, I dug up the Esquire interview you mentioned. Looking forward to it.)
And that’s all for this edition. Time for dinner. Gotta get all fueled up so I can live-blog the Grammys…