Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monkey Tuesday!

That's an ad featuring Koko, the gorilla that knows sign language.

She's just one of the monkeys/chimps/gorillas (the difference? there's a tail there somewhere... get it?) featured in today's Daily Monkey site!

Today, it's "Hotshot monkeys* in science," from CNN via Mental Floss:

It's a common theory that, given enough time (and food ... and ink ribbon), a million monkeys on a million typewriters will eventually bang out the works of Shakespeare. But that only goes for average monkeys.

Round up a few higher-class primates armed with an education and some travel experience, and we wouldn't be surprised if you got a masterpiece on par with Harry Potter or The Firm.

Monkeys in space. Monkeys talking. And, just maybe, the missing link! (Look, two puns in one munkee post!)


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Monkey Monday!

I know, it's Sunday. But Monkey Monday sounded better.

Anyway, I've had a thought.

Now, before you fall over at the notion of two posts in two days from me, hear me out.

As you might have guessed, I've given up on National Novel Writing Month 2007. I'm still going to work on my novel, just more at my own pace.

But I was thinking I really would like to blog more. I should. I enjoy it.

But maybe, I'm thinking, I need a theme. Like Stewie's "30 Days of Joy" for NaBloPoMo.

How about a Daily Monkey blog? Well, maybe not daily. But you know what I mean.

There are, of course, other blogs with such a theme, but hey... do you read them?

But you read mine... or you wouldn't be reading this.

So. Something to ponder. A munkee/monkey of the day.

Let's start here.

This is a story about monkey meat, or "bushmeat," as it's sometimes known. And freedom of religion.

NEW YORK (AP) -- From her baptism in Liberia to Christmas years later in her adopted New York City, Mamie Manneh never lost the longing to celebrate religious rituals by eating monkey meat.

Now, the tribal customs of Manneh and other West African immigrants have become the focus of an unusual criminal case charging her with meat smuggling, and touching on issues of religious freedom, infectious diseases and wildlife preservation.

The case "appears to be the first of its kind relating to that uniquely African product," defense attorney Jan Rostal wrote in a pending motion to dismiss. "Unfortunately, it represents the sort of clash of cultural and religious values inherent in the melting pot that is America."

That's right. Prosecuted for eating monkeys. I think we can endorse that, despite our previous stance on freedom of religion.

Other monkey meat links:
"Yes, we have canned monkey"
Monkey meat, at the "Congo Cookbook"

What do you think? Life on the Rim goes "Daily Monkey"! Discuss amongst yourselves.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Defining rhetoric

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

I've had a lot to be thankful for this year, not the least of which is meeting the love of my life.

Anyway, on the way home, we were listening to my latest favorite song, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' "Ah Mary."

And it had me thinking...

If you haven't heard the song, check it out now, listen to the words as carefully as you can, and then move on to the rest of the post.

Pretty brilliant metaphor, huh?

So I'm at a post-Thanksgiving weekend where I - a conservative Democrat - am about the most right-wing person, and we're talking about politics.

Don't get me wrong, I believe that if we're going to fight a war, we ought to fight to win it. You can't, as I said, make friends with the people you're trying to kill. You win first, then make friends later.

Think of World War II. I had a teacher who once told me the Japanese won World War II forty years later, with the VCR. Know how they did it? Because after they lost the Big One, they basically were banned from having a military.

All those billions of dollars we spend on national defense?

The Japanese spent 'em taking American technology and learning to make it smaller, cheaper and cleaner. That's why Detroit invented the automobile, and nowadays everybody drives Toyota hybrids.

But I digress.

The thing is, you take a song like "Ah Mary" and you listen, you'll find there's a certain love of country in there, to go with the anti-war theme, almost as if you can't help but love her even as she burns you.

And it had me thinking.

The biggest beef I have with the current administration is this: They've turned what defines the country upside down.

The Bush II White House has taken "my country, love it or leave it" to the nth degree. And to my way of thinking, that's ass-backwards.

Openly objecting to the government is, in many ways, the highest form of patriotism.

Wrapping yourself in the flag to hide your faults, on the other hand, is the highest form of treason.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

That's the First Amendment. You know, the one that comes even before the precious right "to keep and bear arms"?

Notice the freedom of speech? Peaceably assemble? Petition the government for redress?

Yeah. You don't like something about America... you're allowed to say so. And isn't trying to make America better really patriotism at its finest? Change, in the name of progress?

But to sweep basic human dignity aside, to sweep aside the freedoms this country is built on, and to justify it by covering yourself in red, white and blue - which is to say, abusing the symbol of those very freedoms, and abusing the memories of all those who hold that symbol sacred, who have fought and died for it, who fight and die for it this very day...

Calling that patriotism is adding insult to very real injury.

Calling that patriotism warps and twists the very definition.

Calling that patriotism is anything but patriotism. It's a mockery of patriotism. It's flat-out offensive to those who really do love this country, and not the high-and-mighty oil dollar or the power of office.

Calling that patriotism is sick. And wrong. And a hallmark of this administration.

So sing on, Grace Potter. Your song is lovelier and more thought-provoking than anything I heard the other night at Democratic debate.

I know I normally stay away from politics, but when I think about all the things I'm thankful for, it always comes back to my living the American dream.

I love my country, right or wrong. I love everything it's done for me, and for my family. But that doesn't mean it can't be better. If we don't move forward, on human rights, on the environment, on patriotism, we're just spinning our wheels.

And that's nothing to be thankful about.

Friday, November 16, 2007

She's baaaaaaaack!

You might recall a few years back, when I officially gave up on "Trading Spaces."

Or maybe you don't. But in any event, I did, back when the TLC reality/design show dumped host Paige Davis in favor of a "hostless" format.

Which also proved "interest-less."

Anyway, somewhere in there, the hit show jumped the shark and eventually, from what I gather, dumped the entire cast, too.

Gone were all the designers the show made famous, and who made the show famous.

In place was...

Well, I don't know. I'd stopped watching.

But today, TLC finally did something that got me to put "TS" back on my DVR:

They brought Paige back.

Starting in January, it's the return of Paige, Doug, Hildi and the gang!

We'll see if it's the return of the ratings, too. But hey, they got my attention.