January 1st, 2007

Loon

OK, so we can start the New Year off with a quiz ...

This one's been floating around my F.L. this morning, and thought I'd take it. Most folks have been expressing surprise at the results, and I'm a bit surprised myself, but think that the break-down (the percentage list) is pretty accurate.

You scored as agnosticism. You are an agnostic. Though it is generally taken that agnostics neither believe nor disbelieve in God, it is possible to be a theist or atheist in addition to an agnostic. Agnostics don't believe it is possible to prove the existence of God (nor lack thereof).

Agnosticism is a philosophy that God's existence cannot be proven. Some say it is possible to be agnostic and follow a religion; however, one cannot be a devout believer if he or she does not truly believe.

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agnosticism

75%

Satanism

67%

atheism

63%

Buddhism

58%

Paganism

58%

Islam

58%

Hinduism

46%

Judaism

33%

Christianity

17%

Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with QuizFarm.com


I'm just hoping that 2007 is going to suck less than 2006, 2005, etc. That's not asking too much, is it?


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Bears

Oh, yeah ... this bit of unpleasantness ...

So, maybe it was a "going away present" for Mr. Farve ... but the Packers pretty much reversed the score on The Bears from the season opener (which we won 26-0). As noted previously, I was out at the Zoo for most of the evening, so didn't catch up with this stinker until half-time, when all the damage (it was 23-0 at that point) had already been done. I guess I'm lucky that the half I watched went 7-3 for the Bears!

  PACKERS     26  
  BEARS           7  

This is now four weeks in a row that they've stunk up the field against "lesser" teams, which is not a good sign going into the playoffs. After being "Good Rex" (or at least "OK Rex") for the past several games (with no turnovers), Grossman was back to his "Bad Rex" ways, throwing 3 interceptions and coughing up a fumble in the first half. Needless to say, it will be a short and ugly post-season if we don't see "Good Rex" back behind center!

Anyway, nobody's gonna bitch about a 13-3 season, although it would have been very nice to have beaten the Packers and swept the conference! The Bears get a week off before their first playoff game, which will be home against the lowest-seeded of the survivors of the Wild Card games (Seahawks, Eagles, Cowboys, or Giants), so hopefully they will get some of the dinged up D back, and work on the QB issues enough to not embarrass themselves like last year.


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Loon

A very good book ...

O.K., so I know that my Liberal readers are already feeling their panties knot up, so let me at least throw them a bone before getting into looking at this book. It is possible to lay the blame for everything that has gone bad with the media over the past 30-some years at the feet of the "evil corporate executives" running the companies that own CBS, NBC, ABC, etc. ... one of the first things I bookmarked in this was a story from the early 70's where a "good news/bad news" report was being made at a staff meeting at CBS ... both of which were that the CBS News division had made a profit for the first quarter in its history, and everybody in the room knew that once that happened, it would be expected to continue to happen.

In times of fast-breaking events, even the most slanted news vehicles can rise to the occasion and actually report the news as it happens, but in a profit-driven corporate culture, the "if it bleeds, it leads" school takes over, sensationalizing and "spinning" every story. What long-time CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg points out in Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News is that the people managing what shows up on the air (and, to a large extent, in the newspapers) are not only "sensationalism" driven, but live in a "liberal bubble" world where middle-American conservatism is never seriously considered (a great quote in there was from a New York reporter who was shocked by Nixon's election, carrying 49 states, saying "nobody I know voted for him!").

Goldberg touches on a lot of very "dangerous" topics in the course of this book, from looking at "racial quotas" on what sort of faces get on videotape (not showing videotapes of looting in Haiti because there were no White looters to show in a 98% Black country!), to demands of "minority" voices being sources for every story run by many newspapers (with the frustration of reporters to find a black Jew to interview for a Hanuka story in Oklahoma, or this one Asian lady who was interviewed numerous times a month on widely divergent topics, just because she was a "non-white" in her community). On this level, Goldberg is almost more "sad" than angry ... but it borders on the bizarre when the producers demand "attractive white middle class faces" when dealing with stories about Alabama chain gangs, crack houses, and homeless families.

This last topic is of particular interest, as Goldberg shows how a "social issue" can pretty much disappear over-night depending on who is in the White House. From standard studies showing head counts of a few hundred thousand homeless, the media drove up these figures to as high as 19 million (in a Charles Osgood feature, no less). Then, suddenly, the "homeless problem" seemingly ceased to exist ... for eight years it dropped off the radar of the major media. What happened? Did homelessness simply go away? Not exactly, but the answer lies in the chapter "How Bill Clinton Cured Homelessness" ... simply by not having a Republican in office to bash with whatever issue was at hand, the question of homelessness was suddenly not a "useful story", until about three weeks into G.W.B.'s Presidency, when suddenly, all these homeless were back in the news. Tied into this is a look at how the Mainstream Media will print virtually any press release from extreme Left "activist" groups (no doubt where that 19,000,000 figure came from) without even a gesture of fact-checking {Earth calling Dan Rather}, but will blatantly disregard anything coming from a source more to the Right than their own insular opinions.

Goldberg is, if anything, easy on his old colleagues, he understands "where they're coming from", and had been a long-time Liberal stalwart himself. In fact the entire trigger for the events detailed in Bias come from an opinion piece he wrote about a story on CBS when Steve Forbes was running for the Republican nomination. The news story was sneering, nasty, and belittling of Forbes' (very good) Flat-Tax platform, and Goldberg wrote his piece chastising his fellow CBS employees for providing a serious disservice to their viewers in simply slamming the man an his ideas, rather than examining them. It is amazing to see how quickly he was being painted as being somewhere to the right of Rush Limbaugh!

Of course, Goldberg runs the risk of being compared to Ann Coulter when he starts quoting Lexis/Nexis figures for news coverage. The Left always screams bloody murder when Ann points out the hefty Liberal slant on stories appearing the media, and I'm sure this is likely to rub off on anybody else pointing out the transparency of the emperors' suit. However, Goldberg backs up his assertions with solid facts and figures, and I can only imagine the lefties sticking their fingers in their ears and going "nah, nah, nah, nah, I can't hear you" to avoid these uncomfortable truths.

Needless to say, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Bernard Goldberg's Bias! It is still in print (in both hardcover and paperback), so should be available through your local store, but it can also be had via the Amazon new/used vendors for as little as a penny (I picked up a virtually pristine copy of the hardcover for 1¢!), with "new" copies starting just under a buck!

Again, this is one that I think everybody should read ... even the Liberals, who might get some sense of why when they open their mouths the rest of us look at them like they need to put in a rubber room!


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Loon

Those goofy spammers ...

I have a mailbox full people wishing a "Happy NW (name)" ... I'm used to pretty bizarre spelling in spam, but you would think that N(ew)Y(ears) wouldn't be too much of a stretch ... but over and over and over again there NW is again ... I mean, if NorthWestern was in a bowl game, maybe, but this is just so oppressively stupid!


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Photo

Well, since some folks have been posting New Years Eve pics ...

As noted previously, we headed up to the ZOOLIGHTS thing up at the Lincoln Park Zoo, as we have for probably the past 4 or 5 years. Because this is a New Years' "tradition" for us, we tend to forget that the ZooLights stuff runs pretty much from Thanksgiving on, but I'm not sure how much "activities" are available on other nights (I know that the hats, leis, masks, and noisemakers are only there for New Years' Eve).

One thing that seems to be on-going is the ice-carving ... here's the "2007" sculpture they made last night. It was in the mid-40's, and most of the carvings they made started to loose form quickly, but this one looked good for at least a couple of hours. In previous (colder) years they've done funky things like a fireplace of ice in which they'd then start up a firelog! Much fun ... The Girls are fascinated by the process (a lot of chainsaw, some drill, and even an iron are involved in the sculpting).

Most of the "craft" activities are free up there (making reindeer hats, etc.), but there are also fee-based ones like the "decorate a gingerbread man" thing ($4 a pop). Given that the event itself is free, it's easy enough to justify that and a few other activities like the train or the carousel. The Girls wanted to do the carousel this year and we got there just in time to watch the early fireworks down at Navy Pier. It wasn't the ideal place to watch them (being several miles away and somewhat obscured by trees), but probably the best available up at the zoo (being up on a raised plaza).

We got up to the Zoo around 5:30 and ended up leaving about 8:30, and came home for a late dinner. They did change some stuff around from previous years (they gave up on doing "real" smores, for instance, but added egg nog to the concession menus!), but that at least keeps it new. It also seems that they've opened a new building since the last time we were up there ... the building that used to house the Elephants (I'm convinced that they were poisoned by PETA activists) and the Giraffes is now something like "The African Adventure" with various mini-habitats for assorted critters, much like the "small mammal" building on the other end of the zoo.

Anyway, given the lighting conditions and what was available to shoot, this was the only pic that I thought would be of interest to anybody!


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