A few interesting links…

Don’t have much to say over this holiday weekend.  Feeling sick again for the 2nd time in a month.  Ever since I started taking public transportation…BAM I’m sick twice with a goddamn cold. (Yeah I said “GODDAMN” so what)

Here are a few links I found funny or interesting the last few days.

 

Lewis Black on The New Testatment:

 

Comedian Bo Burnham gives a ranting Atheist Rap.  Pretty good!

 

Nicholas Cage losing his shit!  He’s insane but I like him anyway.

 

Breakfast at Gingers

 

You Can’t Trust Science – The Thinking Atheist

 

America is England’s Fault by Greg Proops

 

Sherlock Holmes and all his Pale Imitators

I finished watching the new BBC series Sherlock this afternoon and I thought it was brilliantly done.  It is a modern rendering of Mr. Holmes complete with computers and cell phones.  However the main character remains true to Sir Arthur Conan Doyles creation,  super smart and extremely arrogant.  He does not cater to fools lightly and has no time for foolishness other then his case of the moment.  When he is not engaged he is bored and more then likely goes back to the only other thing he seems to find of interest…drugs.  He is not affected by people nor sex with either gender.  He is a walking, talking computer.  I think this series gets him just right.    While I don’t consider myself an absolute expert on Sherlock Holmes I have read all the stories and watched most of the films made of them.  My personal favorite being the BBC series starring Jeremy Brett.   But this current one has jumped very high towards the top of my list.

American television frequently attempts to bring the feel of the Sherlock Holmes stories to it’s bland detective shows.  Currently there are a few starting with The Mentalist.  I watched about half of the first season and I just couldn’t take anymore of it.  It’s protagonist is an ex-Mentalist of the con man variety who purport to read minds and talk to the dead in other words a psychic but who is now retired and helping the police solve crimes.   It is a show in line with the rest of the so called detective series on CBS which means it’s extremely boring and cookie cutter bland more in line with Murder She Wrote then Sherlock Holmes.  The episodes I saw were simplistic and had the Ken Dollish Mentalist doing parlor tricks in order to solve murders.    The smirky Mentalist at the end of each show explains his tricks and renders the California Bureau of Investigation astonished.  Awful dreck!

Another TV show that follows the Sherlockian path is  Bones on Fox.  I must admit I couldn’t get passed the first episode.  The constant hilarious banter between the good looking cast members just didn’t hold my interest.  I wonder how many forensic scientists the makers of that show know?  I would bet that most science nerds who go into that field are not extremely funny nor fashion model beautiful.  American TV is chock full of TV shows with blonde & beautiful cops gritting their teeth and making arrests as their hair is blown just so for the cameras to get their good sides.  It’s ridiculous but Americans love them.

The only show that comes closest to the consulting detective is the consulting diagnostician Gregory House, MD.    From his name House/Holmes, the numbered address of his apartment 221b to his closest friend  Wilson/Watson, the producers don’t go thru too much trouble to hide the fact that the Vicodin addicted House was patterned after Sherlock Holmes.  Yes I know the show is not perfect…the rest of the cast are mostly beautiful and the show caters to American audiences used to simplicity but the main character continually stays true to the Sherlockian pattern.  He is arrogant, super smart, dislikes most people and is a walking/talking computer in his field much like his doppelganger British counterpart.  I’ve watched every episode of this show and continue to not because the show is so interesting, every episode is practically the same as the last, but I stick to it because of the main character.  He is uncompromising and is played brilliantly by the British actor Hugh Laurie.

Which brings me to my conclusion.  I think the British do this sort of thing much better then their American counterparts.  Currently they have a couple of  mystery series playing on BBC America that are just terrific.   On Friday nights Law & Order: UK, yes I know it’s patterned after an American series but it’s extremely well done.  (I am a fan of the Law & Order franchise as well)  The other series which is much closer to Sherlock Holmes is Luther starring Idris Elba.  Both of these show boast very good acting, smart plots and consistently play up to an audience instead of down.  Tune in sometime  to either of these series or Masterpiece Mystery on PBS and tell me you don’t see a difference in quality from the so called mysteries that play regularly here in America.  There is really no comparison.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Sunday Morning Coming Down by Kris Kristofferson

I don’t drink anymore but I really love this song by Kris Kristofferson.  I was never a big drinker to begin with, I never acquired the taste for it but I love the imagery this song conjures up.  My favorite kind of country music is of the sad, heartbreak variety.  I don’t like the modern pop country, give me the Outlaws…Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson and throw in the great Hank Williams & Roy Orbison and I’m happy.  That’s the country music I love.

Another example of the Country Music I love:

I haven’t written too much lately because I’ve been recovering from busy season that ended on October 15th.   This year was really stressful for some reason.  I didn’t over do it with hours, only worked past 8PM  once, but the stress really got to me this time around.  I must be getting old but this pressure is getting to be a pain in my rear end.   Some people who shall remain nameless for this post  make things far worse then they should be.  After 27 years of doing this kind of work there has never been a season where we didn’t get every tax return out that should get out but some of these so called professionals seem to act like this is their first tax rodeo.  The panic that they exhibit brings us all down.  I wish they’d just chill the fuck out already or how about retiring.  (They’re nameless but I just gave away a big clue as to who they are)

I made the mistake of attending a tax conference sponsored by NYU this past week right after the 15th, 3 days of relentless tax talk.  One thing that struck me as the monotone voices droned on is the political editorializing that went along with it.  I realize accountants are conservative by nature but they seem to want no rules and no taxes on top of that.  The dumb thing about it is that if there wasn’t a tax code or a complicated income tax system we’d all be out of a job.  Some of these guys can barely tie their own shoes and I wonder what they would do if a flat tax was suddenly signed into law?  Pump gas?  The behemoth tax code is what keeps us employed so accountants should stop their bitching and hope it never gets easy.

The following post is of President Obama participating in the It Gets Better Project.  As director Rob Reiner said on Real Time with Bill Maher the other night, one day we’ll look back on this time and wonder why it took us so long to give every citizen equal rights regardless of their sexual orientation.  I know President Obama has disappointed some regarding the slowness of repealing DADT but it will eventually get done.  The alternative would have been far worse.

Talking about President Obama I wonder when his administration or the Democratic party for that matter is going to start crowing about some of his accomplishments?   In 2 years he has accomplished more then any other Democratic President in a comparable time.   For instance I’m sure the majority of people don’t realize he gave tax cuts to 95% of the population.  Ask someone and they will tell you he raised taxes…not true.   Read the following post by Rolling Stone Political correspondent Tim Dickenson and then try to figure out why this administration has been so bad at getting this story out.

The Case for Obama by Tim Dickenson for Rolling Stone Magazine
For those of you who think Obama’s poll numbers are oh so important take a look at this clip regarding the Republican Messiah Ronald Reagan’s poll numbers at about the same time during his administration.

Take a look at this incredibly insidious ad imploring Latinos to sit out this election because Democrats have not made good on their promise to fix the immigration problem.   It never mentions the fact that Republicans have filibustered any attempt at bringing this problem to the forefront.  Someone asked me this week if Democrats have taken for granted Black and Latino voters why should they continue to vote for them?  First of all I don’t think they’ve been taken for granted but even if it were slightly true what is the alternative?  The Republicans declaring all Latino immigrants suspect like in Arizona?  This ad was created by Latinos for Reform an operation run by conservative Republican Robert DePosada, a former director of Hispanic affairs for the Republican National Committee.  This ad shows contempt for the Hispanic community by the Republican Party.    I don’t care who you vote for even though I don’t think Republicans have the best interest of the Latino community at heart… everyone should vote.  If you are registered please VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!

From the NY Times: Demonize, Then Demoralize

I leave you with a few music clips that I  enjoyed this past week.  They say one never hears better music then the music one hears in their teens.  I think some of that is true but I think my musical tastes have evolved through the years.   Rock & Roll is still my favorite type of music but I have all sorts of musical genres in my Ipod.  These clips are all from my younger days. Enjoy!

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John Lennon: October 9, 1940

He’s always been my favorite Beatle and every year when his birthday or the date of his awful death rolls around it still chokes me up.  Everything has already been written about him and his life so I don’t think I can add anything except my heartfelt thanks for his art and the life he led.  For me, as with so many other people, his music and that of The Beatles is the soundtrack to my life.  I never tire of it.  The thing I try to keep in mind is that he was a human being with everything that entails, warts and all.  He wasn’t a god, he wasn’t Jesus he was just John and that’s all.  You had to accept him as he was and if you couldn’t then he advised that you “go jack off to the Rolling Wings”.  That’s one of the aspects that I love about him, he was honest, wickedly so…especially in his music.  Today I probably will walk over to Strawberry Fields in Central Park and join the throngs that I’m sure will be there.  I’ll remember the music and the joy he gave me.  There is nothing more to it.

Remember…think peace, act peace and imagine peace

NYC, 10/9/10

Roger Waters’ The Wall

Last night I attended Roger Waters’ current staging of his brilliant piece The Wall at Madison Square Garden, NYC.  It was without a doubt one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended.  The 31 year old piece (yeah I can’t believe that either) has now evolved from Waters’ personal statement to a more broader and powerful indictment of war and corruption.  From actual inflated flying pigs that hovered over the audience to flashing photos of soldiers and civilians who have died on account of the many wars this country has been and is involved in, the concert was a multi-media event.  At 67, Waters has not lost his voice or his power to entertain and amaze.  A great night!

Here is Pink Floyd performing Comfortably Numb from The Wall at Live 8.  Enjoy!

Update: From Last Night’s Show…Roger Water’s Performing Comfortably Numb at Madison Square Garden, NYC (10/6/10)

I Don’t Believe

I’ve decided to dedicate my latest blog to Religion and it’s untruths.  For many years I doubted the existence of God but was fearful to say so out loud.  Coming from a family of believers, as we almost all are,  to state unequivocally  that you don’t believe in God is a difficult thing to come to grips with and ultimately admit.  From childhood I was taught that there was this invisible Being who no matter where I hid was watching over me.  That this Being heard all things and saw all things and here is the main teaching…punished all things.   As I got older I tried to believe.  I went to church, took communion, I read the incoherent and nasty stories in The Bible, I studied the various teachings of religious men but to no avail, I could not feel anything but a void.  The dark void that Mother Teresa confesses she herself felt when praying to this invisible Being.  How she could continue to foolishly believe in something that she knew not to be there is beyond folly.

My personal revelation came when a friend took me to see a lecture by of all people, Deepak Chopra.  In this lecture he spoke about the big bang, the seemingly chaotic force of nature that created all around us.  His focus is mainly to explain God in a much different way from the Judeo Christian view of a father figure presiding over humanity & the world.  His idea is that nature itself is God.  I was still at that point claiming to be a believer and I came away from that lecture a little upset that he could claim that God was chaotic in nature.  How is it possible that a God that created a perfect rose can be chaotic?  What about our own bodies and the perfect symmetry that is our eyes, ears and nose, placed in exactly the right place on our faces.   Wait…I then began to think it’s perfect only because we don’t know any other design for our faces.  If man had evolved with a nose on top of his head we’d think that was perfect as well.  A rose is perfect only because we as humans find it aesthetically so.  Complexity & beauty in nature is not due to a designer but in the evolutionary process.   Slowly I began to think that maybe Chopra had a point.  In fact going further then he maybe the chaos in nature really has no thought, nor rhyme or reason.  Mind you these thoughts and revelations didn’t come to me over night or in a matter of days.  This took some time to simmer in my mind.  My clumsy writing here can’t describe the many nights I spent trying to think this through.

One morning I was showering and thinking about religion and The Bible and the story of Abraham and how God spoke to him.  I wondered, why didn’t God speak to someone in China?  How about India? Why the Middle East and how did he come to choose these people and make them his own?  Skeptic that I am it came to me that this was all one big con job.  Oppressed people discover the one true God and not only does he choose them to speak to but he makes them his people.  This idea can be misconstrued to be Anti-Semitic but I’d like for you to think of it more as anti-religion.  You can think of me what you will but I believe all of religion is one big con.  Like Christoper Hitchens, I believe it has poisoned everything it touches.  It’s evolved into a way of controlling people, situations and bending nations to the whims of a few men.  It’s all one big lie.

There is more I want to say but this is where I will stop today.  I post some videos and links below that I find interesting regarding this subject by people who are far more eloquent then I am in discussing it.  Enjoy!

The Best of Christopher Hitchens

The Humanist Society: http://www.humanist-society.org

American Atheists: http://www.atheists.org

Atheist Media Blog: http://www.atheistmedia.com

God is Imaginary: http://godisimaginary.com

The Thinking Atheist: http://www.thethinkingatheist.com

The Richard Dawkins Foundation: http://richarddawkins.net

Skeptic: http://www.skeptic.com

I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time. ~ Isaac Asimov, Free Inquiry 1982

What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. ~ Christopher Hitchens

George Carlin: Religion is Bullshit!

God – John Lennon, Atheist

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Monday Morning Awesome

B.B. King, Eric Clapton & Phil Collins, The Thrill is Gone.

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