Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Christmas, Merry Holidays, Good Night, and Good Luck.

And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain....

If you recognize that line and can attach it to the song and the person who made the song famous — and if you know the name of the buxom woman getting intimate with a happy snowman at left — then congrats, you really are a pop culture trivia hound like the staff of WB.

But now, the founding staff of 78rpm and Litchik have some very big fish to fry in another area, so Wildeboomerz needs to go into cold storage for a bit.

Toward the end here, you've surely noticed that the original emphasis on pop culture was fading away and being replaced by more pressing social and political issues. The Copenhagen climate summit, for instance, and while it's true that pop culture did both reflect and shape public consciousness with the movie The Day After Tomorrow, 78rpm, for one, has lost a little bit of enthusiasm for pop culture even so. Copenhagen was a stunning failure, and half of Americans have no idea where Copenhagen even is let alone what never happened there this month. But by God, they all know who Jon and Kate are.

And while we are saddened by the death of Brittany Murphy, we're more upset about the demise of civility, intellect, accountability, ethics, integrity, honor, discretion, modesty, humility, and a few dozen other formerly bright flowers on the pathway of life.

And so, because of all of this along with a desperate lack of time, after 20,000 very welcome visits by faithful readers, Wildeboomerz is taking a break.

For all of you who've visited this blog over the past year and a half, thanks, and have a wonderful and/or blessed holiday.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Motown Sound — of screaming wallets

WB has been electrically shocked to discover two things in a recent Forbes article about the most expensive American cities to live in. First was the mention of Detroit, where houses sell for $100 — surely that doesn't count as "expensive" cost of living? Second was the explanation:

"[The] Motor City grabs a spot on our list in large part because of the high cost of utilities. Residents pay, on average, $243.56 per month for electricity."

Um... what? Even in winter when days are short and nights are endless, WB's Motown-area total utility bill is about $150 — and that includes natural gas for heat! The electric charge hovers around $80 a month year-round. So, what the hell are those Detroiters doing to get slammed with bills four times larger?

Please understand, you can't run a pop-culture and general rant blog without having lots of computers, TVs, and radios running. And you can't write without drinking plenty of fluids from three refrigerators. And you can't see the controls on the remotes without having a lot of lights on. But —

— you can be smart about all of those. You can stuff the walls and attic and basement rafters full of insulation so that the electric motor on the furnace rarely kicks on. You can check the labels on fridges and computers to make sure they're Energy Star rated. You can replace every lightbulb in the joint with CFLs and LEDs. And then you can plug every cluster of appliances into a power strip with its own on/off switch. Appliances not in use = power strip off.

And... well, that's about it, really. WB headquarters has only done the few things that President Obama started mentioning before he was President: winterize houses and change watt-sucking habits. We did it because we didn't want to pay $243.56 electric bills each month (even though we never came anywhere close to that number before all the changes).

Yep, the CFLs sometimes start out really dim and gradually warm up. Pretty quickly, it stops being a frustrating inconvenience and becomes a harmless quirk. Yep, LEDs cost more — but they're also bright more. Way more. And yeah, all of that insulation can be an itchy mess to install. But a quick shower will take care of that. Sure, it takes time to train yourself to shut off the power strip before walking away from the TV, DVD, Cable Box, Audio Receiver, Playstation, and Wii cabinet, but once trained, it's second nature.

And the net result is, based on the Forbes article, a net savings of $164 each month. Maybe all of the Fox-heads who mocked the President's "green" ideas, and the teabaggers who want government to stay out of their private lives and stop legislating stuff like light bulbs, have that kind of extra money to burn. Around here, we'd rather save it up and use it for something more memorable. But hey, we're just a couple of bumpkins with a blog.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Copenhagen Climate Update: a big "FU!" from North America

Here's a Google Map showing the number of votes that have come in from citizens demanding strong, binding agreements from the "leaders" currently butting heads in Copenhagen.

From Europe, which has experienced killer heat waves: nearly 60,000 people.

From Africa, in the process of being scorched to death: 125,000 people.

From Asia, where coastal nations are likely to become memories: over a million people.

From Australia, in perpetual drought and at risk of becoming a deserted continent: 25,000 people.

From South America, with its glaciers disappearing and many nations having no other water source: 13,000 people.

And from North America, where Fox News reigns in the United States, and where Canadians still see snow out their windows, and where Mexico just wants the drug murders to stop: 7,600 people.

That's roughly the population of New York City back when the United States was being founded.

And that's really all there is to say about this. Climate news is reduced to soundbites, because it's (a) scientific, (b) statistical, and (c) depressing. Therefore, North Americans, currently enjoying all the water they want (unless they live in Vegas, Phoenix, or California), tune out or rant about how Al Gore is behind all this so that he can become fabulously wealthy.

But OMG, have you heard about Tiger Woods? The number of women he's slept with on the side? The color of undies he liked his women to wear? The size of his penis? Hell, there's over a thousand comments about that last detail alone. Run the story for seven days, you've got the same number as the people in North America who give a damn about what's (not) happening in Copenhagen.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

"...and decrease the surplus population"

The Internet, by some arguments, is a wonderful thing — truly a forum for Vox populi, the voice of the people. With everything open to comment, and every comment open to ratings (or metacomments), the pulse of the population can be taken at any moment. Or at least, the pulse of the population that comments and rates.

The Internet is also a place where much more than mere commentary can be found. Whole books are just a search-term away, like Charles Dickens' holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, available here and here and here and here (for starters). It is in this book that we find the classic line where, when told that many thousands of destitute people will die without food and shelter, Ebenezer Scrooge replies: "Then perhaps they should do it, and decrease the surplus population."

Let those words sink in for a moment, before we go back to the Internet.

Okay. Now let's consider a place called Bangladesh, a nation whose poverty was so dire 40 years ago that George Harrison organized a Live Aid-type benefit concert to raise not just money, but also awareness of the people's plight. Harrison also wrote a song about the country:

My friend came to me/With sadness in his eyes/Told me that he wanted help/Before his country dies/Although I couldn't feel the pain/I knew I had to try/Now I'm asking all of you/To help us save some lives

"Relieve the people of Bangladesh
," the chorus went. Five simple words that reveal the compassion and decency of their author.

The other day, MSNBC ran a story about Bangladesh sinking into the sea, about its drinking water turning to salt as ocean water seeps into wells, and about massive humanitarian crisis as crops fail, shelters collapse, diseases spread, and the nation of Bangladesh disappears from history as the first victim of climate disaster. And in response, the first vox populi commenter, Linda from Nebraska, wrote this:

Carbon emissions are not responsible. This man caused [sic] global warming is not founded in science, it is simply a money grab where the few take resouces [sic] from the many.

The second commenter, Douglas from Detroit, added this: "Global warming" is a scientific and academic scam being used by politicians to try to redistribute the wealth of nations. What is going on in Bangladesh is the well known process of economic developement [sic]. But what is going on at the UN is devious, dishonest, deceptive and destructive.

Wave after wave of kindness and compassion followed:

Utter and complete nonsense.... I am sure this country will demand monies form [sic] the wealthy countries, because of sourse [sic] its [sic] our fault....

These folks and their government want money form [sic] America and other leading countries, sad thing is they will get it, where's the supporting science. Unbelievable.

And this one:

These poor people are just contributing to the problem by breathing and using up all the worlds [sic] resources.

Yes, someone actually wrote that. His name is Mike Williams; for some reason, he doesn't give a location. But Gary Roy of Lakeland, Florida, does, and adds this:

The land will not support us and our 36 children, who is coming to save us? The first thing these people need to learn is when you find yourselves in a hole, stop digging. They are reproducing like rodents in a place that is already wall to wall with poeple [sic].

This is what the Internet, and its giving everyone the ability to comment on everything, has created. Ebenezer Scrooge, heartless, greedy, and amoral, is now everywhere. When the story is about dying people, his comments focus on money. He compares the children to rats. And he says, These poor people are just contributing to the problem by breathing and using up all the world's resources

— in other words: They should die, and decrease the surplus population.

Scrooge's heartlessness, his murderous apathy, seeps out of every crevice at YouTube as well. A video simply titled "Katrina Victims" receives this: The problem here is these people will never stop murdering and selling crack. So blame the taxpayer who is paying their way.

The money issue, again.

Another video from a 9/11 documentary, showing a businessman in the World Trade Center desperately clinging to a rope from his office window and then losing his grip and falling to his death, is followed by this:

lol that's what the fatass deserves for eating at mcdonalds everyday lol

There should be numerous "[sic]" notations there. But more importantly, the entire comment is sick.

If you want to see the Internet at its worst, search for the stories about the most terrible, heartbreaking events. Chances are, you'll find this statement at the end of the story: "Comments for this item have been disabled."

It's not because the huge outpouring of grief and sympathy has overwhelmed the system.

It's because the sheer evil of the comments has overwhelmed the moderators.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Yule Log - the Director's Cut

WB is busy with some lots of end-of-semester stuff, so enjoy this special feature-laden version of the cherished Yule Log holiday movie, with commentary from the film's director. Back soon!