Thursday, April 27, 2017

Barbie, keepin' it real

When last we left Barbie, back in December, she was recovering from her failed presidential run.

What has she been up to since then?

Well, as we learned from this just-released new video, Barbie's once again living in New York, commuting to/from work, doing yoga, and getting her Starbucks like the rest of us....



Will Barbie run again for President in 2020?

"I'm just taking things one day at a time," says Barbie. "Right now, I'm focusing on mindfulness, being in the here and now."

FUN ASIDE: Back in the day -- the day being 1959 -- Commuter Barbie went to/from work dressed like this:



















(Wonder where she fit her yoga mat...)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Stop referring to Trump as a billionaire

Dear New York Times and every other media outlet,

Please stop referring to Donald J. Trump as a billionaire or "billionaire Donald J. Trump." You, and we, the public, have no idea if Trump is a billionaire. And considering the amount of debt he has, and the hundreds of millions of dollars he has lost over the years, it is highly likely he is not a billionaire. 

Sure, Trump would like us to believe he is a billionaire.

And I would like people to believe I am really 5'6". 

But we have no way of knowing if Trump is a billionaire as he refuses to release his tax returns. 

So please, news organizations, cable channels, and bloggers, stop referring to Trump as a billionaire. Refer to him as just a businessman or a real estate developer (or President, if you must). And if he complains, say you'd be happy to re-apply the descriptor "billionaire" -- as soon as he provides the last 8 years worth of his Federal tax returns. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Remember when this was the most annoying ad on TV?

Come with me as we return to a time before ads for pharmaceuticals dominated (or were even on) the airwaves, when the most annoying, or overplayed, commercial on television began with strains of classical music and an elegant, mustachioed Englishman uttering these memorable words....

"I'm sure you recognize this lovely melody as 'Stranger in Paradise.' But did you know that the original theme is from the 'Polovetsian Dance No. 2' by Borodin? So many of the tunes of our well-known popular songs were actually written by the great masters—like these familiar themes..."



Although the ad stopped airing in 1984 (13 years after it began running, and a year after actor John Williams' death), I bet most (all?) of you remember it. (The spouse and I do -- and were quoting it while listening to classical music over breakfast this morning. Hence this post -- and the accompanying ear worm(s).)

For those of you who don't remember or have a fuzzy memory of the ad, it was for 120 Music Masterpieces, a four-record set of classical music excerpts from Columbia House (later Vista Marketing), which contained these timeless classical melodies, "performed by Europe's finest musicians." (And if you acted quickly, you could also get an additional 30 piano masterpieces!)

As annoying as the ad was, though, I would rather be bombarded with ads for classical music than with ads for Humira, Xerelto and/or Viagra. Unlike all of the pharmaceuticals advertised on TV, the only negative side effects of classical music are mild sleepiness and boredom.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Trump translator: What Trump really means

Supporters of Donald Trump say people cannot, or should not, take what he says literally. So how can people understand what Trump really means when he speaks?

To assist you, we here at J-TWO-O have carefully analyzed Trump's most frequently spoken words and deciphered, or translated, them for you in this handy chart.

Now when you listen to Trump, or read about something he said or tweeted, you can understand what he really meant.

THE TRUMP TRANSLATOR
When Trump says…
What it really means is…
Amazing
Not so amazing; ordinary; really bad
Bad people
People who call out Trump’s lies
Best
Worst
Big League (often misinterpreted as “Bigly”)
That whatever or whomever Trump is referring to is screwed, big time.
Crooked
That person is smarter than Trump (and less crooked, dishonest). 
Dishonest
Someone said or published the truth about Trump or one of his advisors or businesses and he doesn’t like it. So he’s trying to discredit the person or organization.
Failing
That person or business is succeeding (most likely in debunking something Trump says), or that person or organization said or did something Trump didn’t like, so he’s trying to discredit it.
Fake News
That news organization is printing the (uncomfortable, unflattering) truth about Trump and/or one of his businesses or associates.
Fantastic
Fantastic for Trump and millionaires like him. Bad for everyone else.
Huge
Small, like Trump’s hands
Loser
That person is more popular or smarter than Trump; a winner
Out of control
Out of my, Donald Trump’s, control
Overrated
That person or organization gets (or got) better ratings, won more awards, than Trump; that person or organization said something (probably true) about Trump that Trump didn’t like.
Really smart
Really dumb
Sad
Bad for Trump
Terrible
Terrible for Trump
They
Bad hombres, non-white males, esp. immigrants, and people who either sued Trump or said bad things about him; also news organizations
Tremendous
Small or tiny, soft (like his… hands); bad, poor
We
I, Donald J. Trump
Weak
I can bully that person.
Winning
Losing; a loss for most Americans

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Obama haters vs. Trump haters (chart)

Why do so many people (still) hate President Barack Obama?

Why do so many people hate President Donald Trump?

Instead of droning on about the various reasons, I have created a table, below, titled "Obama Haters vs. Trump Haters."

Obama Haters vs. Trump Haters
Why people hate(d) Obama
Why people hate Trump
He’s black±.
He’s abused (groped) women (against their will) and wants to take away/limit women’s rights.**
He’s a Muslim*.
He’s biased against African Americans, Hispanics, and Muslims; wants to limit their rights.**
He’s not really American (wasn’t born here)*.
He wants to ban Muslims from entering the United States, except the ones he’s doing business or wants to do business with.**
He thinks he’s so smart (like he’s way smarter than me***).
He wants to deport millions of Hispanics. **
He wants to raise my taxes*.
He’s for dismantling environmental regulations, allowing companies to pollute more, threatening the health of millions of Americans.**
He wants to take away my guns*.
He’s for dismantling healthcare protections, making it more expensive/harder for millions of Americans to receive healthcare.**
He’s anti-family* (supports abortion and gay people marrying).
He’s incited anti-Semitism – and death threats against Jewish community centers and houses of worship.**

He doesn’t support education.**

He and his family are personally costing/will cost taxpayers millions (perhaps billions) of dollars, far more than any previous president.**

He and his family are personally profiting from his presidency.**

He refuses to share his tax returns, which could reveal ties with Russia and other foreign powers (most notably China).**

He is threatening America’s security by proposing to decrease funding for the TSA and the Coast Guard in order to pay for multibillion-dollar border wall with Mexico (which experts say won’t stop illegal immigration or make America safer)**

He and many of his advisors have disturbing ties to Russia – and it’s been proven that Russia influenced the election/favored Trump.**
 ±Though technically he’s 50% white.
*Not true, i.e., false.
**True.
***Probably.
He is irrational, unable to distinguish fact from fiction; constantly lies.**

As you will notice, most of the reasons people cite for hating Obama (e.g., his not being born in America or taking away people's guns) were/are false. Whereas the reasons people dislike or hate Trump are true. Also, many of the things people didn't like about Obama didn't directly affect their well being, as in their health or pocket books, whereas many of the reasons people dislike or hate Trump do or will.

Monday, March 6, 2017

What true freedom looks like

You want to know what true freedom looks like? It looks like this: two American bald eagles, perched atop a cell tower on a beautiful, warm, sunny day in Sanibel, Florida, masters of their domain. Able to come and go as they please. Looking down upon us puny, foolish, earthbound humans.

Majestic, aren't they?

[Click on the photo to get a better look.]























And here's a closeup:























Not sure where their nest is, probably close by. (I'm assuming they are a nesting pair.)

I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to gaze upon and photograph these two magnificent creatures -- and have named them Liberty and Freedom.

This concludes another episode of Mutual of J-TWO-O's Wild Kingdom.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Donald Trump's good friend, Gazoo -- I mean "Jim"

What Trump really said at the CPAC conference on Friday.

TRUMP: "I have a friend, Gazoo — I mean Jim. He's a really, really great guy. Actually, he's an alien from the planet Zetox. But he's a great little guy.

"He loves Bedrock, I mean Paris. For years he would go to Bedrock — Paris. It was automatic with him. I hadn't seen him in a while, and I said, "Gazoo -- I mean Jim, how's Bedrock — Paris — doing? And Gazoo— Jim — says to me, 'Bedrock — I mean Paris? I don't go there anymore. Bedrock is no longer Bedrock — Paris — anymore.'

"That was four years — four, five years, hasn't gone there," Trump added. "He wouldn't miss it for anything. Now he doesn't even think in terms of going there. Sad."

And the moral of this story? No, it's not that "Paris" isn't safe anymore. It's that you shouldn't trust a guy with imaginary friends who only he can see and hear. (Though Trump having Gazoo as his "friend" would explain a lot.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Happy National Brotherhood Week!

As many of you know, I am a big fan of Tom Lehrer, the satirical songwriter and singer (and mathematician) who was active in the 1950s and 1960s. And recently I've been thinking a lot about, and humming, his song titled "National Brotherhood Week*."



And wouldn't you know?! THIS WEEK just happens to be National Brotherhood Week! Or it would be if National Brotherhood Week still existed.

National Brotherhood Week, a celebration of tolerance and respect for all peoples, was created in 1934 by what was then known as the National Council of Christian and Jews (and is now the National Conference for Community and Justice). But it stopped being celebrated in the 1980s, because we had, under Ronald Reagan, totally eradicated bigotry and racism and hate crimes. (That would be sarcasm for all of you suffering from frontotemporal dementia.)

However, as intolerance and racism and hate crimes have been making a big comeback, especially against Jews, it may be time to resurrect National Brotherhood Week.

Now if only someone would resurrect Tom Lehrer's act -- or some younger satirist would take up Lehrer's mantle.


*Here are the lyrics:

Oh, the white folks hate the black folks 
And the black folks hate the white folks 
To hate all but the right folks 
Is an old established rule 

But during National Brotherhood Week 
National Brotherhood Week 
Lena Horne and Sheriff Clark 
Are dancing cheek to cheek 

It's fun to eulogize 
The people you despise 
As long as you don't let 'em in your school 

Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks 
And the rich folks hate the poor folks 
All of my folks hate all of your folks 
It's American as apple pie 

But during National Brotherhood Week 
National Brotherhood Week 
New Yorkers love the Puerto Ricans 
'Cause it's very chic 

Step up and shake the hand 
Of someone you can't stand 
You can tolerate him if you try 

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics 
And the Catholics hate the Protestants 
And the Hindus hate the Moslems 
And everybody hates the Jews 

But during National Brotherhood Week 
National Brotherhood Week 
It's National Everyone-Smile-At-One-Another-hood Week 

Be nice to people who 
Are inferior to you 
It's only for a week, so have no fear 
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Are Trump and his followers demented?

So here's a medical question I've been pondering for a while now*: Is there some gene or something about some people's brains that makes them unable to discern or recognize lies or separate fact from fiction?

And guess what? There is!

According to a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, an inability to detect lies -- and sarcasm -- may well be the result of damage to (or something affecting) the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. It even has a name, frontotemporal dementia, and the condition affects adults at a younger age (typically 40 - 70) than other forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's.

Another sign of frontotemporal dementia? Socially inappropriate and/or compulsive behavior.

Sound like anyone orange you know (or any of his supporters)?

Pretty sure dementia would fall under the list of reasons to enact Section 4. of the 25th Amendment of the Constitution. And an MRI, which, when I last checked, was nonpartisan, would determine if Trump (or anyone else) suffered from this form of dementia.

Sadly, there is no cure for this disease... until 2020.

UPDATED: A big THANK YOU to my mother for sending me this New Yorker article titled "Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds," which scientifically explains the Trump phenomenon -- and why our species may be doomed.

*But especially since Trump secured the Republican nomination for president.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A valentine to nature

Welcome to another episode of Mutual of J-TWO-O's Wild Kingdom.

As many of you, I love nature -- especially birds and shells (and flowers, but that's another post). So this Valentine's Day, I am sharing my love of nature with some beautiful and awe-inspiring photos of birds and shells I took the last few days*, which will hopefully distract you from all the ugliness in the world, albeit briefly.

To quote Jon Stewart, here is Your Moment of Zen...









































































*On Sanibel Island, Florida

Saturday, January 28, 2017

5 ways to fight Trump and make America great again

I, like many Americans, am sickened and angered by Donald Trump and his administration -- and the willingness of the GOP to kowtow to or silently accept Trump's heinous behavior and actions.

Trump has nominated people totally unqualified and/or unfit to take office. And since becoming president (words that are extremely difficult for me to type), Trump has taken actions that threaten women's/human rights, the environment, healthcare, education, and the economy. (Let me know if I left anything out.) And it is highly unlikely that the Republican-controlled House and Senate will do anything to stop the Trumpocalypse, until, perhaps, it is too late.

So what can we horrified American citizens do to try to limit the damage Trump is inflicting on us? Here are some suggestions, which even my fellow introverts can do.
  • Call your local Representative and Senators, who you can find via https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials. Whether you want them to know where you stand on an issue or how you'd like them to vote on an appointment or bill, it's important to call them.
  • Follow your Representatives and Senators on Facebook and/or sign up for their email updates, to keep abreast of the issues, find out where they stand, and how you can help. Chris Murphy, one of my senators, constantly reaches out to his constituents to see where we stand on various issues, with polls and surveys, and I'd like to think my participation helps.
  • Support good journalism/investigative reporting. How? By purchasing a subscription to those newspapers and news organizations that are working hard to uncover the truth about Trump and his administration and those policies and actions that are detrimental to America and Americans.

    I personally have become a big fan of The Washington Post this election cycle (and started subscribing last year), and I'm a longtime supporter of NPR. But there are many fine organizations dedicated to providing good, fair, honest, hard-hitting journalism that could use your support, and you can find a list of them on the PEN Center.

  • Last, but far from least, make sure you are registered to vote and vote in the mid-term elections, which will be on November 6, 2018. The only way to stop Trump -- and Pence, who may very well become President before November 6, 2018 -- is for the Democrats to win back the Senate and the House. Also, consider donating money and/or time to helping the good guys get re-elected or supporting candidates who oppose Trump and will fight for education, the environment, and women's and human rights.

    (Sadly, even moderate Republicans, if there are truly any, have proven that they will not defy Trump, no matter how much they may privately disagree with him. So the only way to put a check on his devastating policies is for Democrats to take back the House and Senate.)
Have any other ideas? Let us know via the Comments.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Madness of King Donald the Trump

Many (most?) of us who have observed Trump over the last year have questioned whether he is mentally fit to be president. However, after watching Trump's recent interview with ABC's David Muir, where he (Trump) told one whopper after another, there can be no doubt that Trump is unhinged. Deranged. Nuts. Psycho. Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

I could go on, but you get my drift. 

As a student of history, Trump's performance brought to mind another deranged ruler of this country, one who likewise lost the goodwill of most of his subjects here -- and caused a political crisis.

Who was this mad man? For those of you who have forgotten your U.S. History, or haven't seen Hamilton, I am, of course, referring to King George III, whose madness was captured in a brilliant 1994 film titled, appropriately, The Madness of King George.*



The similarities between Donald the First (and hopefully the last) and George the Third are striking, from the eccentric, disturbing behavior, to the grabbing of women, to the political tensions caused by his erratic behavior.

The only question is, will Americans rise up against Donald the Trump and kick him out as they did George the Third some two-hundred forty years ago?


*And yes, all you Hamilton lovers, in Hamilton, too. Though I'm pretty sure we won't be back, re-electing Trump... if we survive that long. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

You know what they say about guys with small crowds...*

As has been widely reported, the man Graydon Carter once described as a "short-fingered vulgarian" has been very unhappy about the reported size of his crowd.

Despite photos and facts to the contrary, the Toddler in Chief insists that his crowd was the biggest, bigger than Obama's, bigger than anyone's!

So, per aides, who spoke to The Washington Post...
Over the objections of his aides and advisers — who urged him to focus on policy and the broader goals of his presidency — the new president issued a decree: He wanted a fiery public response [to claims that his crowd wasn't the biggest or bestest], and he wanted it to come from his press secretary.
Yes folks, the man who rose to national prominence by trying to delegitimize America's first black president, his number one concern upon taking office is the fear that his crowd wasn't as big as Obama's. (Though you know what they say about the size of black men's crowds.)

So, unable to grab some pussy himself, he (Trump) ordered his press secretary to go diddle the press corps -- and the American public -- by claiming that his crowd was the biggest, despite easy to find evidence to the contrary.



This, my fellow Americans, is not the behavior of a president but of a spoiled, narcissistic, irrational toddler (or sociopath). And, unfortunately, it doesn't seem like there are any adults in the room who are capable of controlling the Toddler in Chief's temper tantrums.

(I'd say we are well and truly fucked, but considering the size and flaccidity of Trump's, uh, crowd, it may take a while.)

UPDATED: More on Trump's long-standing obsession with ratings and size via The New York Times.


*small hands and small... minds

Monday, January 23, 2017

Propaganda Barbie & Alternative Facts

For those of you who don't own a dictionary or are too lazy to Google it, a fact is "a piece of information presented as having objective reality." That is, something that can be objectively* proven.

An alternative fact, on the other hand, is a falsehood, or lie, something told or written with the express purpose to deceive. Or, as we students of political science and history call it, propaganda, "information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view."

During World War II, there were a handful of women (and men) who used the airwaves (radio) as a means to spread Nazi and Axis propaganda. Two of the most famous, or infamous, were Axis Sally (who was born in Maine but moved to Berlin in 1934) and Tokyo Rose (another American, who broadcast from Japan).

Over 70 years later, in 2016, another woman has joined their illustrious ranks, rising to fame on her ability to create or repeat and spread lies and half-truths over the airwaves. Her name, Kellyanne Conway, or, as she was recently dubbed, Propaganda Barbie.


Back in the 1940s, before there was the Internet, determining what was true and what wasn't could take a little time -- and a trip to the library. Today, though, it is easy to separate fact from fiction, thanks to a number of objective fact-checking sites, such as PoliFact, FactCheck.orgSnopes, and Fact Checker.

Yet millions of Americans are too lazy, or biased, to search out the truth, preferring to hear what they want to hear rather than risk cognitive dissonance. Which, to quote our new Propagandist in Chief, is "sad."

Bonus video: Depeche Mode, "Policy of Truth"



*And for those who don't know what objectively means, it means independently or without bias.

UPDATED 2/3/17: Propaganda Barbie (aka Kellyanne Conway) strikes again! There was no "Bowling Green Massacre," folks, nor did the Obama administration ever "ban" refugees.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The GOP vs ISIS: A Comparison

After reading yesterday that the Trump administration planned to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), as well as privatizing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which is a bit of an oxymoron), ostensibly as part of an effort to reduce government spending (even though eliminating all three of these programs would barely make a dent in the federal budget), I thought to myself, 'Huh, you know who else hates the arts and wants to destroy them? Radical Islamists (aka ISIS)!'

That led me to wondering what else Conservative Republicans (cutting arts funding was the brainchild of Conservative thank tank Heritage Foundation) and Radical Islamists had in common. So I did some research and created this handy little chart. And gee whiz! The GOP and ISIS have way more in common than we thought!

Conservative Republicans
Radical Islamists
Want to subjugate women; believe women should be seen (if they are attractive) but not heard
Want to subjugate women; believe women should be neither seen nor heard
Abhor homosexuality
Abhor homosexuality
Resent the educated, dislike/distrust institutions of higher learning
Resent the educated, dislike/distrust institutions of higher learning
Believe Christianity is the one true religion
Believe Islam is the one true religion
Little or no tolerance for unbelievers or other faiths
Little or no tolerance for unbelievers or other faiths
Disdain the arts, want to defund
Disdain the arts, want to destroy
Will use whatever means necessary (gerrymandering, fake news) to secure their goals/leadership

Will use whatever means necessary (propaganda, bombs) to secure their goals/leadership


Also, while poking around the Internets (looking for a map I saw a while back showing the United States as a bunch of -stans*), I came across these two maps of the world.

This first one shows Ronald Reagan's view of the world, back in the 1980s:

















The second map illustrates Donald Trump's view of the world in 2016:
















Pretty interesting, no?

*If any of you find a link to that map, please send it to me.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Trump inauguration playlist

If I was the music director at one of Trump's inaugural balls, here are the songs I would choose. Feel free to suggest your own via the Comments section.

Meghan Trainor, "Lips are movin":



"If your lips are moving, then you're lyin', lyin', lyin', baby."

Shaggy, "It wasn't me":


But she caught me on the counter (It wasn't me)
Saw me bangin' on the sofa (It wasn't me)
I even had her in the shower (It wasn't me)
She even caught me on camera (It wasn't me)
Thompson Twins, "Lies":



"Lies, lies, lies, yeah..."

Eurythmics, "Would I lie to you?":



"Would I lie to you, baby, would I lie to you? (Oh, yeah)"

Fleetwood Mac, "Little lies":



"Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies..."

And I've always loved this clip from the movie Pillow Talk....



"You lied, you dog. And you'll be sorry. Uh-huh."

Though if someone actually offered me a ticket to attend Trump's inauguration, this would be my reaction:


And I ran
I ran so far away
I just ran
I ran all night and day
I couldn't get away
BONUS CLIP for everyone attending a Women's March:

Nancy Sinatra, "These boots are made for walkin'"



You keep lyin' when you oughta be truthin'
You keep losing when you oughta not bet
You keep samin' when you oughta be a'changin'
Now what's right is right but you ain't been right yet

These boots are made for walking,
And that's just what they'll do
One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you

UPDATED: I really hope they show this clip from From Russia with Love on the Jumbotron at Trump's inauguration...



but I'm guessing they won't. Sad.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Great and Powerful Trump?

I am not the only person to think of the Wizard of Oz (the character and the movie) when watching (or reading about or listening to) the President of Trump (the Organization, who is about to become the next President of the United States.*)

As some of you may recall, Stephen Colbert had a recurring bit on The Late Show in 2016 titled "Road to the White House" (which is where that image comes from), which featured Trump as the Wizard in his Wizard of Oz parody.

But as we get closer to the Inauguration,* and I hear about Trump's various rantings and promises, I keep harking back to that scene from the movie where Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion confront the Wizard....



Tell me if this dialogue seems eerily prescient (or familiar).

DOROTHY:  If you were really great and powerful, you'd keep your promises!

WIZARD: Do you presume to criticize the great Oz? You ungrateful creatures! Think yourselves lucky that I'm giving you an audience tomorrow instead of 20 years from now!

[TOTO PULLS BACK THE CURTAIN HIDING OZ]

WIZARD: Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken!

SCARECROW: You humbug!

DOROTHY: You're a very bad man!

WIZARD: No, my dear, I'm a very good man. I'm just a bad wizard.

Now substitute "Press" and/or "Democrats" for "Dorothy" and/or "Scarecrow" and "Trump" for "Wizard" and "Oz" and "president" for "wizard" (in that last sentence) and PRESTO! It's like L. Frank Baum predicted Trump over 100 years ago!

For those of you who didn't slavishly read every Oz book (like I did), the "Wizard" was actually a humbug, "a willfully false, deceptive, or insincere person," who was blown to Oz in a hot air balloon, and falsely worshiped as a great man and made leader of the kingdom,

However, when the Wizard is finally revealed as not a great man but a humbug, he is sent on his way, back to whence he came from -- succeeded, briefly, by the Scarecrow and finally by Ozma of Oz, the rightful ruler of Oz, a benevolent, compassionate leader, adored by her subjects, who refuses to resort to violence.

So maybe there is hope for us yet.


*I think I just threw up a bit typing that.