“My mom used to say that Greek Easter was later because then you get stuff cheaper.” ~Amy Sedaris
Happy Easter, everyone!
And Don’t Forget, Please!
A Lester & Charlie Programming Note
Everyone over a certain age can tell a story about television test patterns: The insomniac’s best friend, the promise of programming worth watching, the proof that you were slowly being dragged into the digital age.
And everyone under a certain age has no idea what those above a certain age are talking about. Which is because no one has ever written a coffee table book about them that fits in a Kindle!
But we’ve got that covered. Enter “Please Stand By: Lester and Charlie’s 50 Favorite Test Patterns.”
And we’re holding a fundraiser to help offset a few of the costs.
We’d like to thank the folks who have jumped in and donated a few dollars to the cause, and remind the rest of you that there’s still time. Even a dollar helps!
(Quick Programming Note: To find out how you can be part of Lester & Charlie’s new book project, click here: Please Stand By)
America has a tradition of some pretty wacky roadside attractions. Like the Sod Museum in Nebraska, the Twine Ball Museum in Minnesota and Washington D.C.’s very own House Science Committee.
Few of these oddities can hold a candle to Kentucky’s famous Creation Museum. The Creation Museum, if you’re some kind of Neanderthal unfamiliar with it, is the go-to place for any young-Earth scientist in the mood to, say, weep at tear-jerking videos of the Scopes Monkey Trial. Or ogle dioramas showing humans and dinosaurs peacefully co-existing. Or hobnob with like-minded museum employees, all of whom have signed a “statement of faith” agreeing that “no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.”
Founder Ken Ham’s Creation Museum has been called “the Creationist Disneyland.” The UK’s Guardian called it “one of the weirdest museums in the world.” (That’s an impressive distinction, seeing as it’s not only competing with said Twine Ball Museum but also with that museum in Japan that’s dedicated solely to instant ramen noodles.)
Sounds to us like the Creation Museum is the perfect mecca for both Bible thumpers and potheads! That’s why we were shocked to learn that this major, multimillion-dollar facility has suddenly found itself taking a crash course in survival of the fittest.
In other words, attendance at the Creation Museum was down 10% in 2012, continuing a four-year downward spiral and setting a new low. Making matters worse, dwindling revenue is jeopardizing completion of Ham’s next big project, a theme park centered around a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark!
Why is the museum’s attendance tanking? Are the zealots getting all the creationism jabberwocky they need from Michele Bachmann, Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal for free?
We’re betting that there are still plenty of certifiable lunatics willing to shell out $30 for a stroll through the Dinosaur Den, ride a camel through the Garden of Eden and sneak into the planetarium to make sure that Earth is still in the center.
So let’s put our heads together and come up with a few ideas that might get them some welcome attention. If we’re lucky, there’ll be enough cash left over to finish building Ham’s Ark Encounter! And we can all say we did our part building a better, weirder America.
Tell us: What do YOU think are some awesome ideas to sell more tickets to Kentucky’s Creation Museum?
Last week, we assured you that your government is anxiously readying to quell an imminent Tea Party armed insurrection. We wondered if — despite threats from loonies like failed Senate candidate Sharron Angle – gearing up for battle with the musket brigade isn’t just a little bit paranoid.
Perhaps not. As it turns out, our humble HuffPost poll was picked up by something called the Tea Party Command Center, where it was met by paranoid patriots who informed us that, in the event of violent uprising, armed rebels will “NEVER go after Americans, only progressives!” Oh, and Muslims. And that guns won’t be necessary, because “baseball bats are much more painful and pro-long the dying.”
And they learned us that Obama (who wasn’t born, he was “hatched”) is just like Adolf Hitler because — just like Obama! — he was “able to get just about anything he wanted.” (Wow. Really? Obama gets anything he wants? Then how come there’s still such a thing as the filibuster and Hillary Clinton has been allowed to retire?)
Truth be told, we’re not even all that sure what the Tea Party faithful was saying over at their Command Center. It’s hard to read ALL CAPS, and even harder when you’re deciphering sentences like “THSOE OF YOU THAT HAVE SUCH AS HE IS AN EVIL TYRANT THAT WILL DO ANYTHING TO GET HIS NAME IN THE HISTORY BOOKS THE WAY HE WANTS TO BE REMEMBERED.” Well, now that that’s clear. No wonder the Army is bracing for an attack.
Of course, such is the Internet. There’s a place for everybody! Which brings us to our favorite new site of Christian nationalist insanity: America’s Praytriot Pages, a place where Christian shoppers can, for the low cost of $7.77, access to a list of businesses that promise to “keep Kingdom dollars in the Kingdom!”
Yes, this is a thing. There seems to be a movement to keep Christian dollars in Christian pockets while doing the Christian deed of putting everyone else out of business.
Companies that list with Praytriot Pages promise they will never engage in commerce that is “unbiblical, sinful, or illegal.” That’s a tall order. Really! Neither illegal nor unbiblical? So much for Leviticus and any thrifty online shopper looking for the cheapest stone to kill his swearing neighbor.
The main question behind the site is, of course, “Where would Jesus shop?” And don’t just assume he’s at the hardware store buying a nail puller. Because, see, the Bible is really dedicated to what to do with your disposable income. Kind of gives new meaning to a Sunday Circular!
But, since we don’t want to prejudice you, why not check out one of the site’s testimonials? Like the one from Connie, a woman who hopes to someday get her Associates degree and end up working for “a Christian based organization.” (Hey Connie, some advice: skip the applications and become a nun.)
We weren’t quite prepared to fork over our blood money to see what kinds of businesses are listed behind that Christian paywall. Not when our imaginations are free! So we’re wondering: What do YOU think? What business would YOU expect to see on those holy Praytriot Pages?
No, that’s not a picture of John McCain‘s long-form birth certificate. It’s a swatch of a clay tablet inscribed about 3200 B.C. somewhere around what’s now the southwestern corner of Iran.
And nobody knows what it says.
Scholars have been puzzled by this and about 1,000 other pre-elamite tablets that stubbornly refuse to reveal their secrets – none of the tablets is written bilingually, like the Rosetta Stone, so there’s no way to compare texts and crack the code by using known or surviving languages. The people who wrote it had no interest in or budget for art, so there are no pictures or doodles for scientists to use to figure out if the adjacent text is discussing cows, kings or corn. Scholars have figured out from a few numbers they deciphered that this society was comprised of a few wealthy leaders and that most everyone else was a worker kept on starvation level rations.
And recently, scholars realized what might be a key reason they can’t decode these tablets: the society had no scholarly tradition, no interest in education, and the writing is littered with typos that undermine efforts to translate the words.
So, this civilization’s memory and accomplishments, if they had any, are relegated to a room full of dusty tablets that no one can make heads or tails of.
Let’s recap. A nation that eschewed bilingualism, had no place for art and didn’t like education eventually died out, doomed to the quiet room of history.
Maybe conservatives in Louisiana should be reminded of this as they cut education budgets, teach kids “Bible Math” and tell our next generation that Jesus ran with dinosaurs; maybe Ryan should keep this in mind when he says that supporting the arts is a bad investment for the country; maybe Jan Brewer should stop having panic attacks when she sees a bilingual sign; and maybe we shouldn’t let Romney shoot Big Bird, try to make the lower classes pay off the debt and stop feeding the 47% of the country that he thinks are moochers.
Until recently, we imagined that not allowing schoolteachers to molest children would be something everyone — left, right, conservative, liberal — would wholeheartedly agree upon. Then we heard of Vic Eliason.
See, it turns out that it all depends what you mean by “molestation.” According to Eliason, an evangelical clergyman and founder of a popular Christian radio station in Milwaukee, there’s physical molestation and mental molestation. The mental part comes when any public school teacher dares to teach anything other than strict Christian ideology — like, say, that it just might be possible that the earth is more than 6,000 years old. The physical part is what Jerry Sandusky did. And, according to Eliason,the first is just as evil as the second.
After we finally stopped throwing up, we gave Eliason’s words a bit of thought. You know, using that definition, molestation suddenly doesn’t sound so bad! We’re terribly grateful to all the public school teachers who are sick enough to molest us with concrete facts and globally accepted science. Thanks, guys!
Last week, Eliason chatted on his radio show with Colin Gunn, a home-school advocate and maker of a film called “IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America.” (Check out the awesome trailer here.) Gunn and his family travel the country (in an old school bus, of all things) equating public education to joining the Hitler Youth. “We really can’t fix any political issue until we fix the public school system,” says Gunn, “controlling the future of America by controlling the hearts and minds of all the children that are sent there.”
So Gunn wants to control the hearts and minds of all our children… What was that again about Hitler Youth and molestation?
If you happen to be as paranoid and crazy as Gunn and Eliason, never fear! They have a solution to all of this: home-school your children! That way you can avoid all the nasty, inconvenient, science-y things that might contradict your Bible. It might not prepare your kid for a competitive college but — if Mitt Romney gets his way and guts all those Pell grants — your kids probably won’t be able to afford college anyway!
Now, we have nothing against home schooling; public school isn’t right for everyone. But just as we were wondering how all that homeschooling might work out for kids of Christian conservatives, we came across this: a letter to the editor of the New Zealand paper Northern Outlook. The letter was written by a 14-year-old self-identified home-schooled girl. We’ll do our best to summarize, but, really, you should just read the letter, in which the girl (identified as “Jasmin”) worries that, if homosexuality spreads, ducks will take over the world. “I don’t want my children to have to compete with ducks,” she writes, referring, we hope, to children that she imagines she will have someday and not to any actual kids of her own.
We were feeling bad for poor Jasmin – whose letter is contradictory, illogical and preposterously misinformed – until we realized there’s a market for contradictory, illogical and preposterously misinformed ideas in the form of the Mitt Romney Campaign!
After all, Mitt Romney changes his position every day, and we still have weeks to go before the election. Maybe it’s time for Mitt to steal some solutions from Christian conservative home-schoolers here in the U.S. So take our survey and let’s figure this out!
Even though nothing’s come out of Michele Bachmann’s mouth since California signed that bill designating “pray away the gay” as quackery, it’s nevertheless been quite a vocal week for crazy Republicans. Perhaps Mitt Romney’s surprise performance at the first presidential debate has them feeling, well… invincible.
How else can you explain Georgia Congressman Paul Broun helpfully telling us dimwitted Neanderthals what any blind mole can see — namely that the earth is no more than 9,000 years old and that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang Theory are “lies straight from the pit of Hell.” Broun, a Doctor of Medicine (and, along with Todd “legitimate rape” Akin, a member of the House Science Committee — seriously, you can’t make these things up), also believes that his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007 is directly attributable to Jesus Christ. Why, oh why, is it that no Republican has ever attributed his defeat to divine interference? Seems much more likely to us, but, then again, no one asked for our opinion, and, to be honest, Jesus hasn’t returned our calls.
Then there’s Jon Hubbard, Republican from Arkansas, currently running for Congress. This week, Hubbard told the Huffington Post that he didn’t have time to comment on statements made in a self-published book from 2009 in which he praises, of all things, slavery. “The institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise,” writes Hubbard in Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative. “The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth.” Wow. It never occurred to us to ask why those uppity blacks weren’t more grateful. Thanks for pointing that out, Hubbard! The U.S. Supreme Court must wish it could call you as a witness when it hears an upcoming case on affirmative action!
Speaking of the Supreme Court, how could we leave out Justice Antonin Scalia, who, this week, announced to the American Enterprise Institute that some cases before the highest court in America don’t even need an argument — they’re no-brainers. “The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy,” said Scalia, dismissing any idea of impartiality. “Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion.” Scalia didn’t stop there. “Homosexual sodomy?” he said. “Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state.” It was also punishable by death. Kinda makes you wonder why Scalia isn’t running for president of Iran.
What’s going on here? We’ve suspected for a while that conservatives are going nuts, but something has empowered them to open their mouths and prove it. Are they simply emboldened by Romeny’s one good debate? Or have we missed something? One good debate (albeit won by a mannequin) can’t tell the whole story. So what do they know that we don’t know? What’s the secret news running through conservative circles that has them so jazzed up? What do YOU think?
We’d like to highlight just one of the many dramatic moments that has come out of the 2012 presidential conventions — and no, this one doesn’t have anything to with the bald lies and distortions told by the Republicans in Tampa. This one took place in Charlotte, North Carolina. After a haphazard voice vote in which there was no obvious winner, L.A.’s Mayor Antonio Villagairosa declared, to a loud chorus of boos, that a supposed two-thirds of the Democratic delegates had voted both to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to reinstate the word “God” in the Democratic platform.
“God” had been removed from the platform only days before. This wasn’t without precedent. The National Review reports that, as far back as 1988, the Dem platform eschewed the GOP’s “faith in God” and advocated instead for a “spiritually stronger” nation. In ’92, the Dem platform simply acknowledged Americans’ personal responsibility for whatever religious faiths they may or may not care to have. But now, after much controversy (and not a little snark from Mitt Romney), God is back in 2012.
It seems both parties desperately want the God vote. (Can God vote? We thought She was too busy making Pat Robertson say funny things and besieging Florida with wrath-fueled hurricanes.) Nevertheless, the party that has endorsed abortion rights, liberalizing immigration laws and affirming theright of gays to marry has bowed to the religious faithful and embraced the belief that religion has a place in politics. Could someone please cue the ghost of Thomas Jefferson to start poking his eyes out?
But, for all of this hype about the separation of church and state, things are even stranger over where the conservatives hang out. While the Dems are frantically trying to avoid alienating anyone, Republicans are trying something different. The opposite, in fact. In a nation where adult pornography is a 9.4 billion dollar business (most of that money coming from Red States, and Utah being the biggest consumer), the supposed pro-business, pro-base GOP’s 2012 platform calls for pornography’s criminalization, demanding a crackdown on the sexually explicit material typically found in convenience stores and pay-per-view television in hotels in convention cities like, say, Tampa. (And all of this from the party whose delegates were just famously entertained by a Sarah-Palin-lookalike stripper.)
So, to recap: The Democrats aren’t afraid to pander; the GOP isn’t afraid to go psycho and threaten to take away one of its base’s favorite pastimes. It’s as if they had just declared to criminalize the sport of hunting walruses in the Gulf Coast with AK-47s. What could they be thinking? Or, more importantly, what will they think of next?
But maybe that’s the wrong question. Since conservatives seem oblivious of their party’s stated agenda, they may soon find themselves without access to any reliable means of getting their rocks off. So how will they survive in a porn-free America?What do YOU think?
And now, check out Lester & Charlie’s Newest Video!
MITT’S FAMILY FEUD!
Have a private comment that you wouldn’t mind seeing broadcast to an international audience in the next Lester & Charlie Newsletter? Leave it here!
After Mittinsulted the United Kingdom on his magical international mystery tour, and before he went to Poland to insult the press, he made a pit stop in Israel to insult the Palestinians — yet found time to leave a note at the Wailing Wall.
The good people at Mad Magazine (yes, Mad Magazine still exists, even though many of us thought it was absorbed by HuffPo) apparently sent Alfred E. Newman over to the Western Wall to retrieve Romney’s secret letter to God. And here’s what they found:
Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, you might agree that this one is worth a head-scratch.
Yes, that’s right, what you’re seeing in the above picture is an artists’ conception – or misconception – of the proposed International Pro-Life Memorial & National Life Center in Wichita that is supposedly going to receive 500,000 annual visitors (who either need a good laugh or just can’t find anything else to do in Wichita).
The monstrosity you see on the left side of the rendering is a monument allegedly depicting some poor mother named Rachel, who is looking at Jesus, who is holding her lost son. We’re not sure why Rachel’s son is lost, or how he’s lost if she’s able to look at him, but we can guess.
The big thing in the middle is just, basically, big – perhaps a holding room or food court for those estimated 500,000 annual visitors that have to be greeted by on-staff “professionals, councilors [sic], and clergy.”
But it gets better. What you see on the right is an exact replica of the Western Wall, maybe because it’s often called the Wailing Wall, which sounds sad, or maybe because people in Wichita think that the Western Wall is a Holocaust memorial, or … well, maybe just because. And those white dots in the Western Wall replica’s foreground are 60 white crosses representing the so-called “60 million murdered children since Roe v. Wade.”
OK. Lost child, big Jesus, crucifixes representing 60 million aborted zygotes in front of a Jewish monument that has nothing to do with the Holocaust or abortions but should, all sandwiching a party room for half a million people killing time in Wichita. Is this making any sense yet? Not to us, either. It’s like one of those kindergarten puzzles that dares you to find 12 things wrong with a picture but you’re pretty sure you found 23, thereby calling your entire take on reality into question.