August 30, 2010

Stone age thinking

Ambulance Driver just posted an interesting link. One of AD's Facebook friends is a gay EMT who has been in a committed relationship for several years. This friend has a blog too, and had posted a message about a recent experience with a Baton Rouge company by the name of Southern Style Granite. From the sounds of things, the owners of of Southern Style Granite are still living in the stone age.

As the story goes, a gay couple entered Southern Style Granite seeking to purchase products for the home. This couple was rudely confronted by one of the owners and told to leave. Southern Style Granite is seems does not do business with "your kind." 

As AD points out, this can't be the best thing for business. Especially for a business selling stone countertops and such... products that might be ordered by interior decorators. One must wonder if this neanderthal realizes how many interior decorators happen to be gay. 

Of course the neanderthal and his (apparently) slightly less rude co-owner/brother have the right to think any way they wish and do business any way they desire. But the public has the right to not do business with neanderthals too.

So... please link to this posting, to AD's or go to the horse's mouth and and link to RJW's blog post. Lets raise this kind of bigotry to #1 status in the search engines. An informed consumer is a wise consumer. 

My intention is to update this post with links to any of yours of which I become aware, so give me a shout.


Dan Savage at The Stranger has linked to the original story

I never doubted the Earth Bound Misfit would get into the act

TOTWTYTR has passed it along

Rogue Medic calls them unAmerican

Adventures of a Drama Filled Mom linked to the original post

Another Louisiana blogger, Tiger  Droppings, has a copy of the CCA email

Care2 linked to RJW's post

Jim at the Supersonic Reflectoscope is brief and to the point

Void Where Prohibited writes a good one

Trommashere has written a poignant letter to SSG

Now Old NFO has commented

Now comes The Wraith

Followed closely by Georgia's Rick O'Shea


Monday Music

Tomorrow is the 41st anniversary of the Texas International Pop Festival. The following home movies are offered without commentary. You should be able to recognize most of the artists without my help.

Only audio for this one.

August 29, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Atheists Having
Watch more comedy videos from the twisted minds of the UCB Theatre at

August 28, 2010

One way to shut down the competition

HOUSTON -- A massive fire Friday destroyed all of Harris County's voting machines and it could effect how people vote in the upcoming election. The (Republican) head of the Harris County Elections Commission is already talking about limiting polling locations. Read the story HERE and HERE.

Considering that Democrat and former Houston Mayor Bill White is mounting a growing threat to Texas Republican Governor, Rick Perry, and considering that political dirty tricks are a tradition in Texas, this smells mighty fishy.


August 27, 2010

Image of toaster appears on Virgin Mary painting

FAIRFIELD, OH - Parishioners packed the Fairfield Church of Nazarene this week as word of the toaster apparition spread throughout the community. The phenomenon continues to prompt waves of intense emotion as people try to comprehend the heavenly message. Throughout viewing hours set up by the church, people can be seen weeping, fainting, and praying.

The miracle toaster appears embedded and glowing within the painting of the Virgin Mary hanging at the front of the church. Many feel the apparition is somehow intended to convey the opposite message of many heavily publicized sightings the Virgin Mary on pieces of toast around the U.S. in recent years.

Church officials report the toaster appears to be a KitchenAid KMTT200OB which is a medium quality four-slice toaster that comes with a one year warranty. The unit generally retails for $69.99.

Church Pastor, Paul Edwards commented, "Although we don't yet understand the meaning of this phenomenon, we do understand the Lord works in mysterious ways. Possibly this is meant to benefit our parish financially. We are considering offering the painting on eBay."


August 26, 2010

Blackwater tries to dodge the bullets

The founder of Blackwater Worldwide has fled the United States, moving to Abu Dhabi to avoid facing up to his challengers. The founder of the infamous mercenary firm, renamed Xe by founder Erik Prince, has become a resident of the United Arab Emirates, reports the New York Times.

The whistleblowers who filed the suit are seeking to corroborate allegations that Prince’s company negligently or wantonly killed civilians, fraudulently submitted false claims to the United States government, and billed the U.S. Army for the services of prostitutes, but to do so they had to travel to Abu Dhabi, UAE and seek permission from the monarchy to depose Prince. Prince explained that he had chosen to become a resident of the UAE because:

it feels a lot like Singapore. Rule of law, a friendly business climate, low to no taxes, free trade and no out of control trial lawyers or labour unions. It’s pro-business and opportunity.”

Blackwater is the target of a Qui Tam lawsuit, which could result in a multi-million dollar judgement against the firm... and our erstwhile businessman Mr. Prince.

August 25, 2010

No need for president to have religion

Tony Norman, Writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, has one of the more rational takes on the "Obama is a Muslim" brouhaha. 

"Two centuries of American democracy has come to this -- a de facto religious test for the highest office in the land. That's why many people, believers and nonbelievers alike, pray for a sincere skeptic in the White House. An agnostic or an atheist would have the latitude and political freedom to tell our nation's ayatollahs to go to hell."

As Norman points out, no President since Thomas Jefferson has been honest on the subject.

Clueless... Part 794

Alan Simpson is a former Republican Senator from Wyoming now serving on the President's bipartisan committee on deficit reduction. Ashley Carson is the Executive Director of the 30-year-old National Older Women's League (OWL). For some reason, Simpson decided to write a letter to Carson. Here is an excerpt:

"If you have some better suggestions about how to stabilize Social Security instead of just babbling into the vapors, let me know," he writes. "And yes, I've made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know 'em too. It's the same with any system in America. We've reached a point now where it's like a milk cow with 310 million tits! Call when you get honest work!"

Now Simpson's foot is in his mouth, and his appointment on the commission is on the line. I don't wonder why.


August 24, 2010

What will the religionists do?

So when we eventually do uncover evidence that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, how will the world change? This is the subject addressed by physicist Paul Davies in his article, SETI's Challenge to Religion. Davies is a cosmologist and astrobiologist at Arizona State University, where he is director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science.

Big Boy's Toy

The Toyota Land Cruiser

When the Japanese occupied the Philippines in 1941, among other artifacts abandoned in the hasty retreat of Allied forces, they found a broke-down jeep. An American Bantam Mk II to be precise.

The American Bantam MK II was one of
the earliest U.S. Army GP (jeep) vehicles 
The Bantam was one of 4,500 jeeps produced under US Army contract, 1,500 of which were produced by the American Bantam Motorcar Company.

The jeep’s design was based upon specifications outlined in the Army’s technical manual for a "... general purpose, personnel, or cargo carrier especially adaptable for reconnaissance or command, and designated as 1/4-ton 4x4 Truck."

The Bantam was taken to Tokyo where Japanese engineers studied it. Very quickly the military authorities recognized the utility of such a vehicle, and ordered Toyota to create something based upon the design.

Toyota’s initial prototype was the ¼ ton Model AK, which was formally accepted by The Japanese Imperial Army. Toyota designers continued working and in 1942, using reverse-engineering from the Bantam, produced the ½ ton AK10. These two vehicles were never widely used by the Japanese military, but they would go on to form the platform for Toyota’s post war success.

The Toyota BJ was inspiration for
the first American release, the FJ20
After Japan’s surrender in WWII, and in an effort to help rebuild the industrial infrastructure of the country, the U.S. asked Toyota to build 100 vehicles to be used in Korea and with a design based on Land Rover and Willys specifications. The resulting vehicle was dubbed the BJ.

Toyota’s first attempt to break into the American market was the BJ inspired FJ20. The BJ design was the genesis of Toyota’s most popular line… the Land Cruiser… the only Toyota model that has been continuously sold in the U.S. since the company came here. The little two-door utility vehicle was introduced to the U.S. in 1958. They sold a grand total of one that first year.

Beginning in the 60’s, Toyota experimented with a number of body styles and models, but the most popular was the FJ40. Thousands were sold from the early 60’s up until 1984 when Toyota dropped the design in favor of the larger FJ70.

The FJ25 caught the attention of Americans
and rekindled the love for off-roading
The sporty little two-door FJ40 sold for less than $3,000. The motor in the earlier models was the 125hp 6-cylinder, 3.9-liter model F, replaced in 1975 by the more powerful 4.2-liter F2 engine. The first model year with the F2 was the last before government emission and fuel efficiency standards were implemented, reducing the power of the engine.

A variety of Land Cruiser models were introduced since the 1958 debut of the FJ20, but none have enjoyed the popularity of the FJ40. In 2006, almost 20 years after ceasing production of the FJ40, perhaps in an attempt to recapture the market lost when the FJ40 was dropped, Toyota introduced the FJ40 inspired FJ Cruiser.

While I am sure the design will be successful, nothing will replace the rugged, durable fun-to-drive FJ40.

Toyota FJ40

1955 FJ20
1954 – A 125 hp, 3.9-liter engine (the Type F) is mounted on Toyota’s BJ inspired FJ20 fire-engine chassis. Toyota’s technical director, Hanji Umehara, names this the "Land Cruiser."

1955 - The Second generation FJ20 appears. Designed with “civilian appeal” and intended for export.

1957 – A  four-door American Bantam Mk II Station Wagon is added to the Japanese line-up. FJ25’s and FJ28’s are exported to Australia.

1958 FJ35V
1958 - Toyota introduces the FJ20 to the U.S. market.  Total sales are 1. The FJ35V station wagon is introduced in Japan. FJ25’s are produced in Brazil… the first Toyota vehicle built outside Japan.

1960 – The FJ20 is upgraded to the FJ40. FJ20 and FJ25 are dropped from the U.S. market.

1962 – Total U.S. sales for the FJ40 top 1,000.

1967 FJ45
1965 – Global production of Toyota Land Cruisers tops 50,000, and the FJ40 becomes the top selling Toyota in the U.S.

1967 – Toyota introduces the FJ55 Land Cruiser Wagon. Predecessor to the SUV. Total Land Cruiser sales in the U.S. exceed 10,000 for the first time.

1968 – Toyota sells their 100,000th Land Cruiser.

1972 – Toyota sells their 200,000th Land Cruiser.

1973 – Toyota sells their 300,000th Land Cruiser.

1974 – Toyota offers Land Cruisers to the world market equipped with the 3.0-liter Type B diesel engine. These were never made available in the U.S. (I would have been the first in line if they did.)

1975 – The Type F engine is replaced by the F2. The FJ55 get front disc brakes.

1976 – The FJ40 gets front disc brakes. In California, the Toyota Land Cruiser Association was formed.

1978 – Total U.S. sales exceed 100,000.

1984 – The last FJ40 rolls off the production line in Toyota City, Japan.

August 23, 2010

Monday Music

The little town of Oak Grove, Louisiana was probably happy when local troublemaker Tony Joe left town. As a youngster Tony Joe started picking up a few guitar licks by listening to some of the local blues and country artists, combining that with the traditional a Cajun music native to Louisiana.

He formed his first band while still in his teens, and it wasn’t long before Tony Joe started playing at school dances, and later in the roadhouses of Louisiana and Texas. That band, Tony White and his Combo, became very popular and once played for an uninterrupted eight-month stand at a club in Kingsville, Texas.

That was in 1964. Later the band evolved, and was renamed Tony Joe And The Mojos, and still later Tony's Twilights. Over the next several years Tony Joe worked small beer joints across the South before giving up the band and starting a solo career, singing mostly his own compositions. In 1969, he was one of the performers at the Texas International Pop Festival. It was there that he first performed for the public what would become possibly his most popular composition.

Tony Joe White wrote the song, but it was made popular by another, somewhat more famous artist of the time.

The song has been covered by many musicians since Tony Joe debuted it in 1969. Here it is performed rather well by another band previously featured in this space… Los Lonely Boys.

Then there was the Blues Brothers version…

…and even late night stand-ups get into the act.

Tony Joe White has had a long-running career, both performing and songwriting. He has hundreds of tunes to his credit, many performed by legendary musicians, and he has produced 29 albums with number 30 due to be released in September 2010.

Unfortunately there seem to be no videos available of Tony Joe playing at the Texas International Pop Festival.

What a shame, since that event was Tony Joe’s turning point.

August 22, 2010

Sunday Funnies