Monday, April 30, 2007

America is Not 400 Years Old

Americans tend to view history relative to us, us, us. Just as the earth revolves around the sun, Americans tend to think the world revolves around the 300 million souls fortunate enough to live in this great country.

I thought of this while glancing at the cover of the most recent issue of Time magazine, which is a report on the Jamestown settlement 400 years ago. The big headline on the cover is AMERICA AT 400.

Such coverage has been a bit of a trend lately. Earlier this year the historians over at U.S. News declared on the cover that the Jamestown settlers were The First Americans, which should come as a surprise to all the people ... who were already here.

These headlines are grade school history at its worst.

The English who immigrated here, free to enter because the Native peoples had not erected a large Lou Dobbs-inspired barbwire fence, were NOT the first Americans.

This "country" had a civilization and a culture well before the English arrived. We had cities on the level of Paris and London right here in 'Merica well before the Jamestown settlement, and predating Leif Eriksson, the man credited as the European "discoverer" of North America about 1,000 years ago.

I think we do ourselves a disservice when we measure the history of this land starting in 1607.

America likes to think of itself as the center of the world. That the 3,000 dead on 9/11 are somehow more important than the 655,000 Iraqis* that a team of epidemiologists estimates have died in Iraq because of the war.

We are all equal in God’s eyes.

If Americans think they’ll enjoy the same insular standard of living come heaven-time, they’re wrong, because inside those Pearly Gates they’re going to be sharing that Jacuzzi-tub not only with St. Peter, but with someone who probably doesn’t speak English.

Oh, and St. Peter didn't speak English either. Just like Jesus, his native tongue was Aramaic, and his skin was dark.


This entry is largely a cut-and-paste from a January entry, when U.S. News ran its Jamestown cover. I wonder if I'll get another opportunity to test my cutting and pasting skills again if the historians at Newsweek ever take a crack at America's 400th "birthday"?

* Here's the sourcing (Washington Post account) for the 655,000 number.

And here are some other 'Mericans whom Time and U.S. News didn't think were worth remembering: here and here.


Quick Question

A friend of mine who lives out of town, whom I have known since I was 16 years old, turned 40 this weekend. Here's a big Happy Birthday shoutout to him.

Someone else in my life, the person ultimately responsible for this blog because she brought me into this world 39 years ago, is almost double this age. She will turn 80 next year.

She told me she got lost on the shopping center parking lot the other day. Five minutes later, she told me the same story again.

Were we ever young?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Things We All Can Agree On


Staph is no laugh.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Wally Speaks

Wally here: After spending two years with Joe, and after celebrating our anniversary last night, I need the world to know something. Watch below, and thanks for listening.

The Sopranos: A Guess About How It Ends

It's the final season for The Sopranos, and the first three episodes have been better than my grandma's spaghetti sauce.

But how will it end?

I haven't bothered to look up any internet spoilers, or to read any of the fan sites on this, but my guess is that Tony Soprano won't die.

I suspect this won't be true of many others, though.

Often, on long-running shows, characters start becoming a parody of themselves. Or the character changes in a way so that you no longer buy it: You start seeing the actor, not the character. Think Fonzie from Happy Days or Hot Lips on M*A*S*H.

Not so for Tony Soprano.

James Gandolfini might be doing his best work ever this season on the show. His performances have been oh so good, better than my Uncle Dino's meatballs.


How will it end? I can see the closing shot with Tony quietly (but not necessarily happily) picking up his morning newspaper, only from a lawn or location far, far away from Jersey.

We'll know for sure in six weeks.


Coming Later Today: Wally's First-Ever Post

I wonder what he wants to talk about? He hinted it may be a video post. I really don't have a clue.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Accent Quiz is On The Mark

I found this "American accent" quiz via Manhattan Chowder. It did not fail to communicate accurate results.

What I learned: American broadcasters are trying to mimic my low-brow Midland accent.

Who knew?
What American accent do You have?

My Results: "Midland"

("Midland" is not necessarily the same thing as "Midwest") The default, lowest-common-denominator American accent that newscasters try to imitate. Since it's a neutral accent, just because you have a Midland accent doesn't mean you're from the Midland.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

No D'oh For American Idol As It Raises ... Dough

Here's a Simpsons cartoon from last night's episode of American Idol, "Idol Gives Back," which focused on raising money and awareness about global poverty. I had to fast-forward through parts since I got home late and had two episodes of Lost to watch, but I thought the show was very well-done in giving Americans a glimpse into just how lucky most of us are.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Things We All Can Agree On


Yesterday began a new series on The Cup of Joe: "Things We All Can Agree On."

The series is an attempt to find things in common that all Americans -- Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, black and white, rural and urban -- can agree on as a way to help heal our divided nation as we begin to approach light at the end of the Rove Tunnell.

My first post attempting to "bring America together" involved our common belief as Americans that babies wearing poop-filled diapers should not be able to swim in the pool.

I didn't get a single dissent or negative comment on this post, proving that this issue seems to resonate among Americans.

But today, as I look for Entry 2 in this continuing series, it's a little more difficult.

But not impossible.

I present Entry No. 2 in Things We All Can Agree On: Burger King is the Home of the Whopper.

Fun Fact: This photo was snapped recently at a Burger King in the
Bahamas. Could this be where Anna Nicole enjoyed her last whopper?

Delivering The Wow

Here's my four-part advice on how the Bush administration can turn things around in its final 21 months.

(Part two is the most important.)

Feel free to liberally borrow from this advice in your own life as you attempt to "Deliver the Wow" 365 a year.

Please Obey All Traffic Laws

This sign should be installed outside the Oval Office, or outside any room where Rich Little may decide it's a good idea to do another impression of Johnny Carson.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

But Can Nora Play Rachmaninoff ?

As of this morning, Nora the piano-playing cat had 2,621,993 views on YouTube. This is compared with:

* Hillary Clinton on government reform: 2,238 views.
* Mitt Romney on immigration and health care: 12 views.
* Barack Obama on education: 354 views

I wonder what Nora thinks about global warming? Oil dependency? Avian flu?

Things We All Can Agree On


America needs to come together. After the last 15 years, under Presidents Bush and Clinton, and two razor-close presidential elections, America has been divided over issues big and small.

But are there truly things that all Americans can agree on?

I believe there are.

This is part one in a continuing series highlighting "things we all can agree on."

My first "thing we all can agree on" is especially relevant, considering that swimsuit season is just around the corner.

Come together, America, right now, over this: "Babies with poop-filled diapers should not be allowed in the pool."

Sanjaya on Letterman

Monday, April 23, 2007


Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cukoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cukoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cukoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cukoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cukoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo. Cukoo. Cuckoo. Cuckoo.

News for Fanjayas

Sanjaya Malakar from American Idol will read the Top Ten List on tonight's Late Show With David Letterman.

He was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno late last week.

How many American Idol contestants can say they were on both Letterman and Leno in a span of just days separating each appearance?

Think about that for awhile. This is Jim Carrey territory.

If I were a producer for The Amazing Race, I'd want this guy racing with his sister. Let's just hope there were no Roadblocks involving ... singing.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


... have invaded Acceptable TV on VH1.

Watch here.

Pulling No Ponches

The first season of the old TV show CHiPS comes out on DVD on June 5, mere weeks after Erik Estrada got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which happened a couple days ago.

I wonder if Larry Wilcox is jealous?

By the way, a movie version of the show is slated for release in 2009 (starring Wilmer Valderrama from That 70s Show.)


Trivia Fun Fact: What former Olympic gold medalist replaced Estrada on the show briefly during a contract dispute around 1982?

Kurt Vonnegut's Movie Cameo

Kurt Vonnegut fans should not miss his cameo in one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasure movies, Back to School (1986), starring Rodney Dangerfield.

In the movie Dangerfield is assigned to write a paper on Vonnegut, and actually gets Vonnegut himself to write it.

He winds up failing the assignment.

His teacher explains: "I'll tell you something else: Whoever did write it doesn't know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut."

The Souls of Folk

When we left for vacation eight days ago, just after the Don Imus firing, there was near-constant talk on the cable news channels about how this was going to start a "national conversation on race."

Are we still talking?

Is this national conversation still taking place?

Is this the same national conversation on race we also were supposed to have following Hurricane Katrina and the OJ trial?

How long did these conversations last, and what came of them, before we stifled ourselves?


"... the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line."
--- W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, 1903.

The (semi-sensical) margin notes are mine, circa 1997.
Some things never seem to change, do they?

The Real World?

In the past my college friends and I have discussed (usually over glasses of sudsy liquids) the question, "Are people basically good or basically bad?"

I truly believe that people, deep down, are good. I see the glass as half full.

Saturday, following seven days of vacation mostly off U.S. soil and far removed from the real world, I was finally able to pick up four of the bigger U.S. daily newspapers and read some detailed news coverage of the Virginia tragedy, the personal stories of the victims, some of whom acted selflessly, and heroically, and bravely.

The real world is not like some Irwin Allen disaster movie, with people trampling over each other to save themselves. People in real life are so much better than this.

As a reader put it in a comment last summer: "People ARE good. To the core, and our goodness is our very humanity. It's not a glass half-full, but a very full glass. Granted, the water can be cloudy with some floaters in it, and some should be under a boil order. But those who drink it in will find it truly refreshing."

Virginia: An act of unimaginable wickedness fostering multiple acts of goodness? I'm not surprised.

May their souls rest in peace.

Noses for News (And Ad Revenue)

While on vacation, I made it a point not to check email, not to read newspapers (no access, really) and to avoid the cable news channels. However, we were able to watch some of the coverage about the tragedy in Virginia.

A couple days after the shooting, we saw a report on CNN criticizing its revenue competitor NBC for airing video of the killer.

We then turned to CNN International ... which was airing video of the killer.

Sorry, Folks, Blog's Open

Wally and I are back from a GREAT vacation out of the United States that was largely free of movies, TV, politics ... and (unfortunately) kittens.

So we are only now finding out about ... Sanjaya.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sorry, Folks, Blog's Closed

... for rest and repairs. The moose outside shoulda told ya.

See y'all in one week.

Where am I? I explain below:

Until I return, here's some of my favorite posts from the last two months.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Pictorial Comment on My Current Mood

The reason will be clear tomorrow.

Ellen's Big Anniversary is TOMORROW

... As in her Time magazine cover. Exactly 10 years ago, April 14, 1997, she came out to the world.

Let's all pause a moment on Saturday night, April 14, and raise our hands to offer a toast to the lovely and talented and wonderful and funny Ellen DeGeneres.

Here's an earlier post I did on this same topic last month.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Five Favorite People on Television

As of five seconds ago. This could change at any moment.

1. Juliet from Lost, played by Elizabeth Mitchell. Complex character, well-written, well-acted. And those deep blue (and Wally-esque) eyes! Just give her the Emmy now.

2. Yau-Man Chan. He plays two roles on this season of Survivor: "Asian guy" and "Old Guy." Smart, crafty, down-to-earth, and unpretentious. In other words, he's unlike 95 percent of reality show contestants. I hope he wins.

3. David Letterman. Today's his birthday. He turns 60. He's been making me laugh for, oh, a quarter of a century now. Thanks, Dave, and happy birthday.

4. Caveman Guy from The Geico ads. I know they're turning this into a TV pilot, which might turn into something absolutely disastrous, but these commercials make me laugh every time. I sure hope they find a cure for his chronic wistfulness.

5. Don't beat me up over this one: Sanjaya from American Idol. This guy gets pooped on in the media on a regular basis. The cruel comments come from the ladies on The View, shock jocks, Keith Olbermann, bloggers ... me. But yet he continues to smile, translating his minimal talent into more media buzz than Donald Trump. I hope he has an agent, cause I'd be looking to get him and his sister booked on the next Amazing Race as well as some sort of shampoo commercial. Cher, Charro, Elvis, Sammy and Sanjaya. Only one name is needed, and isn't that amazing?

BREAKING NEWS: Despite the Whole Kernel Corn, World's Best Cat Litter Turned Out To Be Defective!

Yesterday I wrote about how one of the most charming songs in the history of American musical theater is now being used to help sell kitty litter.

I have an update to this post, and the news is not good.

I wound up having to return the World's Best Cat Litter to Target before my Little Princess could poop over it and, in the process, be made to feel pretty, oh so pretty.

When I opened the box, it was one, big, giant, rectangular and unseparable CLUMP, like a giant Rice Krispy Treat. Well, they did boast on the box about how well it clumps, but I wasn't expecting a marshmallow-like binding agent.

Or maybe it was the corn? I understand the secret to this product is CORN, don't you know.

One more thing: I'm not sure "corn" is the best thing to bring up when talking about pets and poo.

Wally and I Took The Quiz. Did You?

Wally and I have both taken my five-question, potentially revolutionary relationship compatibility quiz, invented over a turkey sandwich yesterday at lunch.

Wally was not familiar with either Real Genius or Weird Science, so he declined to answer this question. But we matched four out of four on the others.

Our answers: The Brady Bunch, The Munsters, Simon and The Flintstones.

And my choice for the remaining question was Real Genius, if for no other reason than a groovy Tears for Fears theme song and a dreamy Wally-esque Val Kilmer in the starring role.

And yes, my use of the words dreamy and groovy were very much inspired by my heroine, Marcia Brady, and my hero, Greg Brady.

Only For Lovers: The Cup of Joe Compatibility Quiz

DIRECTIONS: You and your spouse/lover/significant other should consider taking the following five-question quiz, which I just made up yesterday, and then see how you match up.

1. The Brady Bunch or The Partridge Family?
2. The Munsters or The Addams Family?
3. Real Genius or Weird Science?
4. Randy, Paula or Simon?
5. The Flintstones or The Jetsons?


Five matches out of five: "You are my true love!"

Four matches out of five: "You are my true love! Well, most of the time."

Three matches out of five: "Maybe we should open this relationship up?"

Two matches out of five: "I think we need to see other people."

One match out of five: "I'm not even sure I like you. I think we need to see other people NOW."

No matches out of five: "I want you out of my life NOW. Well, after we have sex."


LATER TODAY: How Wally and I scored.



Wednesday, April 11, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: New Cat Product Spotted Moments Ago During Target Run!

World's Best Cat Litter, Original Strength. Tagline: "It Makes Me Feel Pretty ... Oh So Pretty."

I have absolutely no doubt that any product that can turn the act of pooping into something glamorous has to be the absolute best in the world.

I feel pretty
Oh so pretty
I feel pretty and witty and gay
And I pity
Any girl who isn't me today
I feel charming
Oh so charming
It's alarming how charming I feel
And so pretty
That I hardly can believe I'm real
See the pretty girl in that mirror there?
Who can that attractive girl be?
Such a pretty face
Such a pretty dress
Such a pretty smile
Such a pretty me!

-- MARIA from West Side Story, and now also a universal refrain from cats who poop using the World's Best Cat Litter.

Coming Soon

A simple pop culture test, developed over my lunch break, that you and your lover can take to see if your relationship is meant to be or doomed forever!

Who Gets Your Vote?

Who's the smoothest operator? Sanjaya Malakar from American Idol or medical reporter/neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta from CBS/CNN?

Things I Find In My Basement


Personality Test Results from the middle 1980s indicating that I am VERY SIMILAR to ... ministers. (Fill in joke here.)

My least compatible profession in this category is athletic trainer, even though nowadays I spend more time at the gym than I do inside a church.

Veritas vos liberabit.

My Reaction To The Quality of the Musical Arrangements on Last Night's American Idol

Who could really sound good with arrangements like that?

And was that really Mickey from The Monkeys in the front row?

Roseanne Apologizes

From her website:
I deeply regret that I have offended gay people. I said things that I do not really mean, before I had thought them through... I was wrong and I seriously apologize!

Call me up today and let me have it! I will apologize and try to make clear what I really meant to say... which was that everybody needs to unite right now, and step outside of their own neighborhoods, groups, races and classes to stop Bush's war on our country and our people. I love gays and I hate division. I am just a big idiot with a big mouth sometimes. I will learn to be more careful! Please forgive me, I am so sorry!!!!

Call (909) 888 - 5222 between 5 - 6 pacific time to give me your two cents.

Remember the "then shocking" lesbian kiss from her TV show in 1994? Apology more than accepted. Case closed. I hope.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Gay Genes

Many on the Christian right legitimize decidedly un-Christian views towards gays and lesbians by saying that homosexuality is a "lifestyle choice."

Today's New York Times science section has a story that looks at the "lifestyle choice" question from a biological perspective.

Any Christian who accepts this biology, that homosexuality has a genetic basis, can't rationally also say The Gays are sinners.

Also recommended: Today's Science Times has a number of SEX stories that are worthy of very careful examination.

Did Obama Sink or Float on The Late Show?

Methinks Sen. Obama floated. Watch here

Lacrosse and Roseanne in 2007

Yesterday, Andy from Towleroad via Left in SF ran a quote from Roseanne Barr that was so ignorant and ill-informed and untrue about gay people in general that I will offer no comment on it other than to link to it.

Last night, a reader of this blog sent me the following link, a very sad coming out story about a college lacrosse coach. Keep reminding yourself it is 2007 when you read this.

What happened? A dozen players, including a star, scared away from the team. Slurs written on Facebook. A game referee comparing gays to child molesters. And a new "debate" about whether a gay coach should even be allowed in the locker room.

We have a long way to go. Roseanne Barr's ignorance isn't helping.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Is This The Worst Show in TV History?

Small Wonder, featuring V.I.C.I. (Vicki) the Robot, an emotionless child robot with superhuman strength.

V.I.C.I., by the way, stood for "Voice Input Child Identicant."

I dare anybody to name a show that can eclipse Small Wonder as being an absolute masterpiece and exemplar of truly God-awful television.

The floor is open for nominations, but watch this first:

NBC Hangs Up on Andy Barker, PI

After airing only four times, Andy Barker, PI, the new (and now old) half-hour comedy show from Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter, has aired for the last time on Thursday night.

The final two episodes will be dumped on the air this Saturday in a "nobody's watching anyway" time slot, reports Variety.

Can Men Be Faithful?

At dinner the other night, the topic of conversation turned to the question: "Can married men and gay men in monogamous relationships be faithful"? Half the table answered in the affirmative; the other half did not.

My answer was (and is) YES. I'm not sure this is true of most men, and I suspect that it's not, but it's absolutely true of most of the men that I know, whether they are friends or family, gay or straight.

But is this segment in the minority?

Tom Junod wrote a mini-essay in Esquire one year ago this month titled, "How to Stay Faithful." I love every word of it, particularly these:

The choice, as he [The Faithful Man] sees it, is not between cheating and not cheating; it's between love and the utter desolation and meaninglessness of lies. He has had to draw the line in order to walk it, and he has had to give up some part of his volition in order to keep himself whole."

Here's the link to the full piece.

The "hottie" pictured above, by the way, is Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, who looks a little bit like any number of middle-aged women you may bump into at Walmart.

It makes me thankful that I'm no Casanova.