Friday, October 31, 2008

bad economy leads Christianists to idol worship

"He . . . made it into a molten calf; and they said, 'This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.'"- Exodus 32:4 (NASB)

"At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands."- Acts 7:41 (NASB)

A supposed prophet endorsed by Pat Robertson's ministry, Cindy Jacobs, claims God spoke to her, "Cindy, the strongman over America doesn’t live in Washington, DC – the strongman lives in New York City! Call My people to pray for the economy." So, Jacobs called on fellow believers to meet and pray before, of all places, a giant Wall Street bull statue on Wednesday:

(See Wonkette for more pictures).

Of course, the Bible is clear that God dislikes idolatry -- particularly of the bovine variety. So it's no surprise that today Wonkette reports on the repercussions of Wednesday's idolatry: "APOCALYPSE: ZOMBIES KILL FUNDIES, TAKE OVER WALL STREET BULL"

(via City Business Church)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Scary Movie Day 2008 (updated)

I joined Scott and Paula in their annual scary moviethon yesterday. We lounged eating candy and pizza with Paula's puppy and kitties.

As I've said before, horror/thriller movies are not my favorite genre and most of these films had a predictable pattern. Here is what we saw:

  • Session 9: A 2001 psychological thriller starring David Caruso before his CSI comeback. Predictable story about a HAZMAT crew cleaning asbestos from an abandoned mental hospital.
  • The Eye: The American remake of a Hong Kong movie about a blind woman who sees ghosts after a cornea transplant. I can't say it was any better or worse than the original, Gin gwai, but Scott thought the original was more scary.
  • The Pumpkin Karver: By far the campiest movie we saw with bad dialogue and typical scary movie themes (i.e. high school halloween party, mystery killer, creepy old man, etc.).
  • The Strangers: Probably the most interesting part of the story is that it starts off with a couple having to share a remote cabin after a rejected marriage proposal.

Scott pointed out that I forgot about Shattered which we saw right after The Eye. Both movies have similar themes such as women trying to convince others that they saw something paranormal, but are dismissed as irrational and/or overly emotional.

Friday, October 24, 2008

OR mother embarrasses son over hilarious library book

The Book of Bunny Suicides, originally uploaded by claire_da.

The Book of Bunny Suicides, originally uploaded by claire_da.

Unbelieveable. A humorless 33-year-old (my age!?!) Oregon mother, Taffey Anderson, decided to publically embarrass her 13-year-old son by threatening to burn his school library book. After creating a First Amendment backlash with numerous offers to replace the book, Anderson backtracked and now says she will return the book and file a formal complaint like a mature, responsible adult.

The book is one of my favorites, Andy Riley's The Book of Bunny Suicides. I can't imagine anyone thinking this book is inappropriate for middle school age kids -- unless they believe their teenager is somehow deficient in irony.

As with any ridiculous censorship attempt, the controversy has only publicized the book which I had no idea had sequels, merchandise, and even a calendar. (Subtle Hint: These sure would make great gifts from a certain person who always asks what I want for Christmas).

(Hat Tip:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Galactica bitter revelation

I keep re-watching the mid-season finale of Battlestar Galactica. Bear McCreary's score (which he details on his blog) is so optimistic for a such a dark show.

OBVIOUS SPOILER: If you haven't watched the first three seasons then this will be a major spoiler since it's about the fleet finally arriving at Earth:

It's a little less than three months until the final episodes start beginning airing on January 16, 2009.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

W.: C

"W" Cast, originally uploaded by cifra2 a.k.a Jesus Alonso.

I dragged Scott to W. ( on Saturday. I loved Oliver Stone's other biopic of a fatally flawed US president Nixon so I really wanted to like W., but I have to admit that half-way through the movie I felt bored.

It is very ambitious to make a movie about a sitting president, but without the distance of time and nostalgia, it seems a little pointless to reminisce about on-going events. I'm not sure why Stone felt the need to rush this movie's production before the November 4 election since it's doubtful Republican voters will see it. It definitely could have used more interesting editing, casting, and writing.

Not that the movie was terrible or without its moments. It was interesting seeing the many faults of the current president presented from his beginnings as a privileged, directionless pre-political drunk repeatedly bailed-out by his father, to his religious conversion, to his overly simplistic and ignorant presidential decisions. There is a terrific, eerie and blatantly symbolic scene where he and his cabinet become lost on his ranch while discussing plans for the Iraq invasion. And Josh Brolin's version of Bush Jr. was the best performance of the often parodied president.

The casting of the supporting players was the most disappointing aspect of the movie -- especially using actors too familiar to be believed. James Cromwell's portrayal of President George Bush Sr. seemed liked any other stiff, old guy Cromwell often plays. Richard Dreyfuss' lurking, smirking Dick Cheney was fun to watch, but too much like a SNL skit. Jeffrey Wright's Secretary of State/General Colin Powell sounded silly -- like someone trying to talk in an adult voice. But the most distracting performance was Thandie Newton's Condoleezza Rice. I have heard criticism of Rice for being a feeble National Security Advisor unable to reign-in Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld during Bush Jr's first term, but I've never heard anyone describe Rice as a feeble, geriatric woman as Newton portrayed her. Newton's performance was probably intentional, but unnecessary.

W. indulges our (Americans') suspicions about the Bush Sr-Bush Jr relationship by portraying Bush Sr as a disappointed patriarch and Bush Jr as a guy with daddy issues. The movie may be unfair in its psychoanalysis, but it does raise reasonable questions about what Bush Sr. and Barbara Bush must be pondering about their family's political legacy.

Most surprising is how restrained Stone was on Bush Jr. My generation's Nixon is not a self-conscious, conniving, political tactician. Rather, Bush Jr. is a simple-minded, over confident, rube who believes his own rhetoric. On second thought, the timing of the movie does make sense. Name recognition, Christianist branding, and (supposedly) average Joe approachability are not sufficient qualifications for any leadership position -- let alone the presidency.

My 2008 Voters' Guide

I've filled-out my ballot and mailed it in so the 2008 election is basically over for me. I understand that campaigns are able to tell that I've submitted my ballot, so I will hopefully receive fewer campaign solicitations.

Here is my voters' guide for the Portland, Oregon ballot and some of the endorsements that contributed to my decision.

results & polls

me↓ newspapers PACs & orgs
WW Merc J.O. TheO Trib Skan LWV↓ EMO↓ BRO↓ NARAL↓ Sierra↓

WW: Willamette Week | Merc: Portland Mercury | J.O.: Just Out | TheO: The Oregonian | Trib: Portland Tribune | Skan: The Skanner | LWV: League of Women Voters of Oregon | EMO: Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon | BRO: Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC | NARAL: NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon PAC | Sierra: Oregon Sierra Club

US President:


Obama 353EV McCain 185EV


Obama 375EV McCain 157EV 6EV
Obama-Biden Obama-Biden Obama-Biden ? Obama-Biden ? Obama-Biden N/A N/A ? Obama-Biden Obama-Biden
US Senator (OR):

10/30, 500 "likely" OR voters, +/-4.5%, (Rasmussen Reports):

Merkley 49% Smith 46% 4% 1%

10/28-10/30, 1,424 "likely" OR voters, +/-2.6%, (PPP (PDF)):

Merkley 51% Smith 43% 4% 2%

10/25-10/26, 672 "likely" OR voters, +/-3.9%, (SurveyUSA):

Merkley 49% Smith 42% 5% 4%

10/10-10/20, 499 OR voters, +/-4.39%, (Riley Res. Assoc.(pdf)):

Merkley 36% Smith 35% O/U 29%
Merkley Merkley Merkley Merkley Smith Smith Merkley N/A N/A ? Merkley Merkley
US Representative (OR 1st District):
Wu Wu ? Haugen Wu ? Wu N/A N/A ? ? Wu
OR Secretary of State:

10/28-10/30, 1,424 "likely" OR voters, +/-2.6%, (PPP (PDF)):

Brown 51% Dancer 40% 9%

09/11-09/14, 500 OR voters, +/-4.4%, (DHM-Tribune):

Brown 33% Dancer 25% Undec. 38%
Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown N/A N/A Brown Brown Brown
OR Treasurer:

10/28-10/30, 1,424 "likely" OR voters, +/-2.6%, (PPP (PDF)):

Westlund 47% Alley 41% 12%

09/11-09/14, 500 OR voters, +/-4.4%, (DHM-Tribune):

Westlund 34% Alley 22% Undec. 40%
Westlund Alley Alley Westlund Alley Westlund Westlund N/A N/A Westlund Westlund Westlund
OR Attorney General:
Kroger Kroger Kroger Kroger Kroger ? Kroger N/A N/A Kroger Kroger Kroger
OR BOLI Commissioner:
Avakian ? Avakian Avakian Avakian ? ? N/A N/A Avakian Avakian Avakian
OR State Senator (District 18):
Burdick Burdick Burdick ? Burdick ? ? N/A N/A ? ? Burdick
OR State Representative (36th District):
Nolan Nolan Nolan ? Nolan ? ? N/A N/A Nolan Nolan Nolan
Multnomah County Sheriff:
Skipper Skipper Skipper ? Skipper Skipper Skipper N/A N/A ? ? ?
Portland City Commissioner, Position #1:
Fritz Fritz Fritz Fritz Fritz Lewis Fritz N/A N/A green light:
Fritz & Lewis
green light:
Fritz & Lewis
OR Supreme Court Judge (Position 7): (unopposed incumbent)
Walters ? ? ? ? ? ? N/A N/A ? ? ?
OR Court of Appeals Judge (Position 4): (unopposed incumbent)
Sercombe ? ? ? ? ? ? N/A N/A ? ? ?
OR 4th District Circuit Court Judge (Position 18): (unopposed incumbent)
Ryan ? ? ? ? ? ? N/A N/A ? ? ?
OR 4th District Circuit Court Judge (Position 21): (unopposed incumbent)
Bushong ? ? ? ? ? ? N/A N/A ? ? ?
OR 4th District Circuit Court Judge (Position 27): (unopposed incumbent)
Stuart ? ? ? ? ? ? N/A N/A ? ? ?
West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District Director, At Large 1: (No Candidate Filed)
(None) ? ? ? ? ? ? N/A N/A ? ? ?
me↓↑ WW↓↑ Merc↓↑ J.O.↓↑ TheO↓↑ Trib↓↑ Skan↓↑ LWV↓↑ EMO↓↑ BRO↓↑ NARAL↓↑ Sierra↓↑
OR Measure 54: Removes 21-year-old voting requirement:
Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Neutral ? ?
OR Measure 55: Allows Legislators To Finish Term After Redistricting:
Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Neutral Neutral ? ?
OR Measure 56: Removes Property Tax Double Majority Requirement:
Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes
OR Measure 57: Increases Sentences and Addiction Treatment:
Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes ? ?
OR Measure 58: Limits ESL Teaching To Two Years:
No No No No No ? No No No No No ?
OR Measure 59: Creates Unlimited Oregon Income Tax Deduction:
No No No ? No No No No No No No No
OR Measure 60: Determines Teacher Pay By Undefined "Classroom Performance", Removes Seniority Pay:
No No Yes No No ? No Neutral No No No ?
OR Measure 61: Creates Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Some Crimes:
No No No No No No No No No No No ?
OR Measure 62: Allocates 15% of Lottery to Public Safety:
No No No ? No No No No No No No No
OR Measure 63: Exempt Homeowners/Farmers From Building Codes:
No No No ? No ? No No No Neutral No No
OR Measure 64: Penalizes Public Employee Unions For Political Purpose:
No No No No No No No No No No No ?
OR Measure 65: Top Two Run-Off Election System:
Yes Yes No ? Yes ? Yes Neutral Neutral No ? ?
Portland Measure 26-94: Renew $70M (0.04026%) Children's Investment Fund:
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ?
PCC Measure 26-95: $375M (0.03290%) Bond to Expand Facilities :
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ?
Metro Measure 26-96: $125M (0.00900%) Zoo Improvements:
No No Yes ? Yes No Yes ? ? ? ? ?
me↑ WW Merc J.O. TheO Trib Skan LWV↑ EMO↑ BRO↑ NARAL↑ Sierra↑

WW: Willamette Week | Merc: Portland Mercury | J.O.: Just Out | TheO: The Oregonian | Trib: Portland Tribune | Skan: The Skanner | LWV: League of Women Voters of Oregon | EMO: Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon | BRO: Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC | NARAL: NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon PAC | Sierra: Oregon Sierra Club

other races I'm watching:

US Representative (OR 5th District):

10/27-10/28, 668 OR 5th Dist voters, +/-3.9%, SurveyUSA:

Schrader 55% Erickson 31% 14%
me WW Merc J.O. TheO Trib Skan LWV↓ EMO↓ BRO↓ NARAL↓ Sierra↓
N/A Schrader ? Schrader Schrader Schrader Schrader N/A N/A ? Schrader Schrader

US Senator (MN):
I'm a fan of Franken and think it's great that a critic is actually running for office. It would also be great to win back Paul Wellstone's seat.

10/30-11/01, 699 "likely" MN voters, +/-3.9%, SurveyUSA:

Coleman 44% Franken 39% 16% 1%

10/28-10/30, 1,050 "likely" MN voters, +/-3.0%, PPP (pdf):

Franken 45% Coleman 40% 14% 1%

10/28, 500 "likely" MN voters, +/-4.5%, Rasmussen Reports:

Coleman 43% Franken 39% 14% 4%

10/22, 500 "likely" MN voters, +/-4.5%, Rasmussen Reports:

Franken 41% Coleman 37% 17% 5%

US Senator (NC):
Admittedly as a partisan, I think it would be sweet payback that Dole would lose Jesse Helms' seat after only one term. Unfortunately, Hagan has refused to issue a statement regarding LGBT issues (see: Pam's House Blend).

10/31-11/02, 2,100 "likely" NC voters, +/-2.1%, PPP (pdf):

Hagan 51% Dole 44% 3% 1%

10/30-11/02, 682 "likely" and actual NC voters, +/-3.8%, SurveyUSA:

Hagan 50% Dole 43% 5% 2%

10/29, 700 "likely" NC voters, +/-4%, Rasmussen Reports:

Hagan 52% Dole 46% 2%

10/18-10/20, 627 "likely" NC voters, +/-4%, SurveyUSA:

Hagan 46% Dole 45% 5% 3%
WA Governor:
I favor the Democratic candidate for governor of the neighboring state.

10/30-11/02, 663 likely/actual WA voters, +/-3.9%, SurveyUSA:

Gregoire 52% Rossi 46% 2%

10/26-10/27, 630 likely/actual WA voters, +/-4%, SurveyUSA:

Gregoire 50% Rossi 48% 2%

10/18-10/26, 600 WA reg voters, +/-4.0%, The Washington Poll:

Gregoire 51% Rossi 45% 3%
WA Initiative 1000: Right To Die:
Law is similar to OR's physician assisted suicide which I support.

10/30-11/02, 663 likely/actual WA voters, +/-3.9%, SurveyUSA:

Yes 55% No 40% 5%

10/26-10/27, 630 likely/actual WA voters, +/-4%, SurveyUSA:

Yes 54% No 37% 9%

10/18-10/26, 600 WA reg voters, +/-4.0%, The Washington Poll:

Yes 56% No 38% 6%
CA Proposition 8: Anti-Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment:

10/29-10/31, 637 CA "likely" voters, +/-4%, SurveyUSA:

No 50% Yes 47% 3%

10/18-10/28, 966 CA "likely" voters, +/-3.3%, Field Poll (pdf):

No 49% Yes 44% 7%

10/12-10/19, 1,186 CA "likely" voters, +/-3%, PPIC:

No 52% Yes 44% 6%

10/15-10/16, 615 "likely" CA voters, +/-4%, SurveyUSA:

Yes 48% No 45% 7%
AZ Proposition 102: Anti-Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment:

09/25-09/28, 976 reg. voters, +/-3.1%, Cronkite-Eight Poll:

Yes 49% No 42% 9%

10/21/2008 UPDATE: Although I already voted, I added The Skanner because it's a local paper that published a comprehensive endorsement list.
10/27/2008 UPDATE: I added the other races I've been following.
10/30/2008 UPDATE: Added a couple more of
The Portland Tribune's endorsements. Oddly, for a "daily" publication, the Trib has been very slow to issue its recommendations. More disturbingly, it hasn't endorsed a presidential candidate, but its Smith for Senate endorsement presumes an Obama presidency.

Friday, October 17, 2008

perils of updating a Facebook profile

MailOnline: Husband hacked wife to death with meat cleaver after she changed Facebook status to single

Yikes. This is an awful and tragic story, but it does remind me of the time Scott seemed to have inadvertently ended our relationship for several hours on Facebook.

A few months ago after we had set-up our Facebook profiles officially confirming our relationship, I noticed Scott's profile suddenly listed him as "single". At first I assumed it was a mistake -- especially since everything seemed to be fine with us after three years. But then I began to wonder and thought, "Gee, that would be a perfect subtle, non-confrontational way to dump someone -- something I certainly would not be above doing." Fortunately, Scott re-assured me it was a mistake and no meat cleavers were needed, but I still check occassionally. :)


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vancouver-Victoria weekend

Scott and I had a great time in Vancouver and Victoria last weekend. Here are Scott's pics:


We explored Downtown Vancouver. Scott found the Vancouver Public Library which we were mainly interested in because it was shown in Battlestar Galactica. Unfortunately, we didn't see "Helo".

IMG_7119.jpg, originally uploaded by sweber4507.

The waterfront near the site of my first trip to Vancouver, Expo 86.

IMG_7209, originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Scott swears this was the view from our room at the Empire Landmark Hotel, but still don't remember it.

IMG_7216, originally uploaded by sweber4507.


Early Saturday morning, we scouted out Vancouver's old town, Gastown.

IMG_7272.jpg, originally uploaded by sweber4507.

We had lunch on Granville Island where Scott took this photo:

IMG_7839, originally uploaded by sweber4507.

In the afternoon, we rented bikes and toured Stanley Park:

cp1_1011081400.jpg 1011081447.jpg
1011081519.jpg downsized_1011081608.jpg


We caught the ferry to Vancouver Island. Victoria is beautiful. We'll definitely plan on spending more time there on our next visit.

IMG_8828, originally uploaded by sweber4507.


We caught a ferry back to Washington. I underestimated how long the ferry crossings took, so next time we'll plan more time.

IMG_9179, originally uploaded by sweber4507.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Betty White on McCain-Palin

My favorite Golden Girl:

Happy Thanksgiving and vote, eh?

Scott and I finally took our long talked about trip to Vancouver and Victoria, BC, this weekend. We didn't realize it when we made our plans, but yesterday was Canada's Thanksgiving Day, so we had an early turkey dinner Sunday night.

We were not able to escape the constant barrage of campaign ads since today is Canada's federal election day, so we saw and heard numerous campaign ads throughout the weekend. Interestingly, the red and blue color scheme is reversed with Conservatives (Wiki) in blue and Liberals (Wiki) in red. The US was mentioned in their campaign ads and we even saw a Obama For President billboard outside of Victoria.

Behind The Scenes At Mythbusters

IMG_8488, originally uploaded by jdong.

Scott and I saw Mythbusters' Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage at the Schnitz the weekend before last. I didn't notice until after I bought the tickets the disclaimer: "'Behind The Scenes At Mythbusters' does not include experiments or explosions.". Mythbusters is one of my favorite shows so I probably would have bought tickets regardless, but a small 'splosion would have been nice too.

Adam Savage is definitely the showman and pretty much led the show. They did show a few clips and some unaired experiments. The highlight was an unaired high speed footage of Savage lighting his fart.

The talk was in the middle of a Sunday afternoon so there were a lot of kids (and child-like adults). The talk was interesting, but sitting in a stuffy, sold-out concert hall with a bunch of (sticky) kids got old quickly. (Well, I have no evidence of the stickiness, but I'm sure some were.)