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Saturday, Dec 20th

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Digging Deeper into the Cosmic Stuffing

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Atheists, agnostics, and religionists can all agree on at least one thing at Thanksgiving: The staggering, blinding, on-target brilliance of the phrase "mixed blessings."

We mere mortals can only stand in awe, slack-jawed and agape, at the stunning mind that spotted that shared genetic trend-line, and first put that blunt, apt description into play.

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(This is as good a time as any to remind myself that my screenplay -- there are now nine people in the country, by actual count, who are not working on a screenplay -- Slackjawed & Agape would be a fine name for a law firm of hapless lawerly bunglers -- or maybe a pair of washed-up private detectives who drive around in a souped-up muscle car, exploring catch phrases, cornering escaped grammarians, arresting suspicious syntax...

... except that a lot of people would think that I meant the other agape -- the outbursts of spontaneous, altruistic love... the love of a deity for its people... the meal that early Christians shared in brotherly love...  Well, there's nothing like Thanksgiving to shake that whole concept loose for another year.)

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Greetings From Planet VeeGah

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It’s been over a month since we watched Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret and turned ourselves into veganistas. And It’s been … um … interesting.

On the culinary front it’s been a pretty easy ride. Y’see, right after we watched the movie we didn’t march into the kitchen, swing wide the doors to the refrigerator and freezer, and toss all our meat, dairy, and eggs into the garbage. That’d be crazy. We spent money on that stuff!

But soon … there went the last of the butter … hello, Earth Balance Buttery Spread. Not bad at all. After the last egg had been scrambled, I found a recipe for a great breakfast hash made from mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, garlic, fried potatoes and tofu. Yeah … tofu. I have been making fun of tofu for years. But when it works … it works.

Since I do the cooking around here the challenge was to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner just as satisfying as before.  Food isn’t just fuel … it has to be fun too. All our good intentions would slide right out into the street and get hit by a bus if the food doesn’t taste good. So far the transition from animal based meals to vegetarian to vegan has been fairly smooth.

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Aping Nuclear Wisdom with Monkey Business

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The fun thing about humanity is that there's always something brand new to deliver ground-breaking terrors right to your front door.  Sometimes it's a concept that rocks the boat or quakes the bedrock beneath us,  Other times it's left to inventions, products, and gizmos to break the ground out from under us, pitching us into our self-made quagmires and quicksand.

As a bonus, we comfort ourselves by reassuring our consciences that there's never any direct charge for free delivery of such nightmares and broad-daylight terrors.  Some part of us knows the delivery price is always worked into the cost, and then, we hope somebody else pays the cost -- and also pays the price.

These are the kinds of soil-yourself situations that come along when we decide to become suddenly, stupidly schizophrenic, and believe in the power of magical thinking, misplaced optimism, and a kindly, benevolent, self-correcting Fate Fairy. However, to keep ourselves from really panicking, Nature provides us instincts -- to kick in and silence our nagging sense that nobody's minding the Ye Olde Species Store & Sanity Shoppe.

And nobody is.  There's jobs for all kinds of stuff, including keeping track of passing, near-Earth objects in space that might whack into us... jobs tracking the more than half-million pieces of space junk whizzing around in orbit...  jobs tracking the search for extraterrestrial life -- but no jobs called Species Watcher, or Humanity Survival Insurer, or People in Charge of Making Sure We Don't Off Ourselves.

When it comes to not blowing ourselves into star dust, we have to rely on -- and here's a letdown -- ourselves.  And, Hoping For The Best is not a comforting nuclear policy to maintain -- unless you have access to ample stores of drugs and alcohol, and an underground bunker stocked with crates of canned chili and room freshner.

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It May Even Rain Later On This Year

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As predictions go, here's an easy one:  I predict things will get factually bumpy where politicians are concerned.  I also predict you'll detect today's Mystery Guest on Spot the Weasel, the game show that offers fabulous conundrums the longer you play!

Are you ready?  From the time tunnel of 2009, Clue Number One:  "Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term."  In case there was any confusion about the issue, there was additional clarification right away:  "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

Is that Slope of Truth Morsels not slippery enough?  No guesses yet?  Here's another helping, from just this week:  "Just because we have a two-party system doesn't mean we have to be in perpetual conflict."  This was said at the same time along with an admission that representatives were sent to Washington "to fight all the time." Puzzled?  Here's one more clarifier:  "Gridlock in Washington can be ended."

Tick, tick, tick.... BUZZZZ.  Have you Spotted the Weasel yet?

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Popping My Cork in Celebration

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Funny-peculiar (not funny-ha-ha) how often we humans get what we most fear.

Well, it's official, not that there was much doubt:  A majority of the nation's voters are freewheeling into full-blown psychosis, handing off a fixing of the Senate to those who broke it in the first place, to those who moved heaven and earth to sit on their hands and do precisely nothing for years on end, save work on their skills with barricades, stalls, quashes, and stone-walling.

The pieces of our political system, the Senate-sized ones, be assured, will be pummeled and smashed into finer and finer bits -- the political version of road-gang prisoners making small rocks out of the big ones.

There is no analogy I know of that completes the full conveyance of political imagery and what-nextedness, which would be the quasi-governmental quarrying of taking those first rocks and chipping them into flagstones, then grinding those into gravel, and then pulverizing them into sand, and then blasting the sand into talcum powder, and then disintegrating the powder further, in order to negate them for any purposes of human usefulness, and morph the powder into subatomic particles.

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Armageddon Out of Here

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Money makes decisions Sanity never would.  Fear, too.  This adage applies to an awful lot of things, most of them pretty awful -- like politics and Ebola.  These are awful and also awe-filled, but not in a good way.  The critical difference between politics and Ebola?  It's possible to somewhat survive devastating, ignorant decisions by the country in politics, even Bush-league decisions.  Ebola, on the other hand, starts at death, and goes downhill from there.

Both are bad systems, way out of control.  Both operate in a wide range, anywhere from figuratively to literally lethal.  Both score lower than body lice in approval ratings.  Both clog up your TVs and radios.  Plus, there are more similarities at fighting the two than you might first think.

Tell you what I mean:  In my part of the world, when 19 snowflakes, by actual count, have hit the sidewalk around a local TV broadcast studio,  an official Snow Emergency is declared, and live, round-the-clock coverage begins.  The TV station's graphics department is alerted, and, inside of the time it takes to track and catch one snowflake in your mouth, a new, screen-blasting piece of artwork is created for broadcast, as a backdrop for the usual dizzy and ditzy, On the Spot, Eyewitness Action News-You-Can-Use, Eye-in-the-Sky anchor team.

Invariably, the graphic is muted and demure, modestly trumpeting out something like Snow Apocalypse Trauma Center Update Action Desk or something similarly boneheaded and jarring, sporting gigantic fonts touched up with icicle appendages for that chilling, but cutesy, You Are There feeling for the news anchor set.

Behind the scenes, as they are scrambling to get the character generator fired up and hail the Message Crawler Crew back from the tavern across the street, the crack marketing team is warming up in the playpen for a flurry of Snow Emergency calls to area businesses.

Their flaky pitches, of course, are all about the sudden bonus round of nearly endless local advertising time now available, falling like frosty manna from heaven, now that the station has dumped all network programming in order to run Snow Apocalypse coverage until further notice.

This is all done in the public interest, naturally.  Sure.

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This Is Worse Than That

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Stop me if you know the answer to this one, “What is the one single industry destroying the planet more than any other?

We all know the answer to that one … Right?

The fossil fuel industry, of course. And we feel completely helpless to stop the Drilling and the Fracking and the Mining. No matter what we do - we know Global Climate Change is here. It’s going to get worse, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We can leave all our cars in the driveway, take shorter showers, change out all our light bulbs, get a low-flow toilet, recycle every scrap, think globally and buy locally, and it won’t make any discernable difference at all. Personal change won’t save the planet as long as the energy barons are calling the shots. Billionaires are buying the politicians hand over fist, while suppressing the vote and simultaneously lying to voters on a minute-by-minute basis with the full cooperation of the media. Go ahead. Take shorter showers. Control of the “system” has been systematically taken away from us. There’s nothing we can do so we might as well crack open a beer, sit on the porch, and watch the sun go down on all of us.

This is a pretty typical “Moment With Bob” isn’t it? In one paragraph I can suck all the air out of the room and replace hope and optimism with despair. What can I say… It’s a gift. But hold on to your socks, buckle up, and make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position, because we’re about to make a full 180 … Right Now.

Personal Change Can Save The Planet. But we’ve got to hurry.

I just found this out a couple of days ago and I’m still kind of overwhelmed. I never imagined this could happen, but it did. I watched a documentary That Changed My Life. After an event like that, of course I’ve tipped over and become evangelical about it.

Everybody Must See This Film: "COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret"

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