Proposal: Alternate acceptable way to sing the National Anthem

America’s National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, is hard to sing for most Americans, which makes it not a good choice for National Anthem. Hardly anyone can hit the highs and lows right and those who can are too often compelled to butcher it with by showing off their range in the up and down points.

There is a solution though, and it doesnt involve scrapping the Spangled Banner for a different song: Just sing it differently. I have been in favor of this since kindergarden but in 2015 when Stephen Colbert opened up his new gig as host of the Late Show with exactly this type of re-tuning rendition, all my years of think-singing it differently in my head was confirmed.

In the cold-open to his first show, titled Play Ball, Colbert sings, via multi-location montage from various places and with various people, the Anthem in a way that is goofy for comedic affect, but has a real life implication of accommodating a non-singers vocal range. Throughout the song he is accompanied by singers with talent at singing the anthem in its traditional inflections and the 2 together harmonize wonderfully.

Colberts joke should be the nations reality…

Can you not imagine this being a for-real thing? Each individual in the crowd being able to choose the gifted-singer’s version or the common-mans version and either way – or both together – sounding just wonderful? This should be a thing. I think this should be a legitimate option introduced by official government decree that there are 2 acceptable ways to sing the anthem: the traditional way, and this altered inflection way.

Teacher giving unique handshake to each student is what every school should be

I typically find the common complaint about class sizes being too large to be nonsense because as someone who has been a part of large and small classes and also someone capable of analytical logic, there just doesn’t seem to be a direct correlation between ability to learn and how many people are being taught. More likely it usually sounds like a complaint by the teachers because looking after more students is harder than fewer – and that part makes sense. Couching that complaint in a seeming concern for the children is dumb.

One thing that isn’t dumb though is the possibility  a smaller class opens for a good teacher to connect with the students individually and have an impact on their life by just paying attention to them. It might be the only positive attention they get or it might be one of many but the context of it being an otherwise-stranger who is in a position of personal investment of that childs future is a positive impact any way you slice it.

It’s probably for those reasons that the attention to detail, the specialness afforded to these kids, the celebration of them on a personal basis exhibited in this video just makes me want to never stop crying.

Laugh line from Apple 7 announcement: Courage

Last Apple event the laugh line was when the new stylus for the iPad pro was going to be called “Apple Pencil”. This year, the eyerolling lol moment was when the removal of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 was due to Apples “courage”. Specifically, Phil Schiller said “It comes down to one word… Courage. The courage to move on and do something better for all of us.”

The phrasing of the statement was goofy but the sentiment is not incorrect: It *does* take courage to eliminate a standard in technology and be the one company pushing forward a new format. It could be a disaster. It’s hard to lead and leading, yes, takes courage. The memes teasing Apple imply that unless you’re risking your life, there is no such thing as being courageous – which would be a re-defining of the word away from its standard understanding to mean “that which may be difficult or risky but is done anyway”. Sorry Internet, but that applies to this decision.

Here is Jobs commenting on progress and getting rid of old technology (in 2007 commenting on the iPhone not supporting flash): “Sometimes you just have to pick the things that look like they’re gonna be the right horses going forward”. If it isn’t something that is part of making a great product “we’re gonna leave it out” and “instead focus on *these* technologies”.

Lizards wrestle in the street (VIDEO)

I have zero information on this other than they appear to be monitor lizards (update: found a video that labels them as such and replaced it below) and I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and suggest that this didn’t take place in America (though you never really know… I’m lookin at you, Florida).

Woman Driver steps out onto road, casually strolls while still-moving car glides into oncoming traffic

Driving in souther California is annoying because of the traffic, bad drivers, and illegal immigrants populating the roads as it is but it’s an extra annoying day when people just slow down and exit their still running car, leaving it to continue rolling down the road and over the divider and into the oncoming traffic lanes, hitting several cars in the process. What in the actual balls, SoCal?

The only thing better than the fact that this was captured on video by a dashcam is the haunting foreign language serenade underscoring this bizarre event as it unfolds in real time.

Notice that the woman isn’t running in distress or to the side of the road at all… When she exits she casually continues walking the direction her now driverless vehicle is continuing. Betch needs one of those treadmill keys that cuts the power if you fall off or a surfboard tether or SOMEthing.

No information on why the eff she did this.

The driver of the Hyundai was identified as 22-year-old Jasmine Lacey. She was taken to a hospital for “a non injury-related reason,” according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Lacey was never charged with a crime. The drivers of the two SUVs suffered minor injuries.

The only theories I can come up with that make sense to me are 1- the obvious “on drugs, or suffering from other mental incapacitating ailment” (in which case I guess we need to fight the auto-unions with the same diligence as those do when going after the NRA when drugged or mentally sick people gain access to firearms and do horrible things with them) or 2- she was in a captive situation and assigned a task that would put her deeper in the hole of an already shady situation (like a drug run or some other forced errand) and “getting into a car accident” was a non-“calling the police” way to get law enforcement involved in her plight. In that case – she shouldn’t have endangered other peoples lives and made sure the car was pointing toward something stationary without humans around before pulling the stunt.

What’s your theory?…

Why Adam Carolla is right about Alison Rosen

(Note that this post probably requires reasonable knowledge and appreciation of the Adam Carolla Show podcast for it to be enjoyable. If that doesn’t apply to you, you have permission to skip this one and move on to another post where I comment on something you also have no idea about but actually require the education at least)….

Adam Carolla opened his first show of 2015 with the announcement that his news-girl cohost for the past 4 years would not be a part of the show anymore. He said it was nothing personal and there were no hard feelings but that he thought she was a great talent but not a very good sidekick. He is correct.

I loved Alisons addition to the show and thought the 3 hosts had an awesome dynamic and Alisons contributions were always funny and on point. But Adam is right. Rosen was a poor sidekick. She was a co-host. And in essence, the role of a sidekick is obviously part co-host – but not an equal one.

Alison Rosen is a slightly more attractive Andy Richter. Richter was Conan O’Briens sidekick who aspired to be more and was in the role as sidekick as a springboard to those aspirations, not because he was a team mate with Conan. Richter left to pursue an acting career that didn’t pan out and found himself offered a sidekick role again over what appears to be O’Briens pity and good nature (not because Richter isn’t talented, but because the role is unnecessary to O’Briens show), – which I heard him lament on Marc Marons podcast, stating that he never wanted to be a sidekick and essentially stated how he had got himself stuck in the role that he is now making the best of. Like Richter, Rosen is not in her dream job as sidekicking the Adam Carolla Show in the way that Robin Quivers is in her role sidekicking on The Howard Stern Show.

Rosen was fantastic comedically on her own and in the group and I would have never suggested she would ever need to go, but immediately when Adam used the word “sidekick” I didn’t hesitate for a second to stamp his description of her being “not a very good” one as being correct. As an entertainer with a brand bearing my name myself, I have immediate respect for this decision.

Carolla is the host of the show. It’s his vision of what it should be that is what it should be. While I as an audience member enjoyed Alisons equal-level co-host role in the show, the fact is that it was not a co-host role and therein not what the show should be.

But that’s only why Adam is right about having the power to make the decision to fire Rosen. He was also correct to exercise that right from a branding and product-for-the-consumer standpoint. The brand of the Adam Carolla Show needs a better team player that is more than just independently good but rather is interactively boosting of the team. This also results in a better product for the consumer. I know because I’ve witnessed it before and so have any of you who have been listening to the show since before it was a podcast and it was the morning radio show that replaced Howard Stern on the west coast.

This was the original Adam Carolla Show:

Adam, Danny Bonaduce, & Teresa Strasser

This was a highly enjoyable show. Adam tied the show together, wrangling liberal jewish newsgirl Teresa Strasser and former child star from the Partridge Family, Danny Bonaduce. Bonaduce was my guilty pleasure of the show when I used to listen from 07-on. His stories were bizarre and he told them with an overacted tone that was just self-aware enough in its theatrics to be charming instead of douchie, and his moments from outbursts to opening monologues about his divorce that was ongoing at the time. He was a highlight of the show. But Adam, rightly didn’t like his presence as a sidekick and lobbied the station to have him moved off the show (not necessarily fired). Carolla eventually won, which pleasantly resulted in Bonaduce getting his own show on the same station later in the day, but he had to kick Bonaduce out.

As a viewer, I was initially annoyed that something I liked about the show was now missing, but stuck with it anyway. The ensuing episodes without Bonaduce were quickly the best I had ever heard. Not because Bonaduce wasn’t an entertaining addition – rather he was better off with his own show, which I enjoyed as well (until the station went off the air and he moved to the east coast to host a morning show there). But The Adam Carolla Show with Teresa Strasser and a now more prominent role of the sound effects guy, Bald Bryan, who previously would only chime in occasionally with his actual voice instead of playing sound clip drops in between the conversations going on. The show continued that way into podcasting after the station they were on got replaced with a music station and it got better and better, quickly becoming a favorite I would recommend to others. What made it so much better?

Adam replaced an entertaining and talented but non-team-playing sidekick with a team playing sidekick and it resulted in an inarguably better show that was uniquely an Adam Carolla styled production. Both from the audience standpoint, and the identity of the Adam Carolla Show brand, the switch of the brash anti-improving Bonaduce with the yes-anding Bald Bryan and the show was top notch.

When Teresa Strasser chose to leave the show in favor of a job opportunity in Phoenix, auditions for a new news girl were held and Alison Rosen was chosen. This in effect undid the Bonaduce swap, as it replaced a team player with a player aspiring to have their own team.

Carolla was right to “go in a different direction” from now on.

UPDATE: Rosen confirmed on Instagram that the decision was a surprise to her. Meaning she was shocked to find out she was fired. Also she said she will be “taking her show with her”, confirming that her own podcast will no longer be on Carolla Digital, which in turn confirms that she was fired with intent. Meaning, it was a clear decision to cut ties with Rosen and not simply replace her as her role of sidekick. Unless there was a major incident (which I doubt), this means that Carolla had major problems with Alisons execution of her role and despite efforts, they weren’t being fixed so much so to the point that he let her go.

No, Dogs Don’t Have Souls and No They Don’t Go to Heaven

Sorry the news reports about the Pope’s comment on dog-afterlife got your hopes up. Here I am to dash them: Dogs don’t have souls and when they die, they are gone forever.  As with all the bad news I am duty bound to deliver, I say this not to bum you out, but to make you better prepared for reality. Enjoy your pets while they’re alive. Because the series of algorithms from their genetics and outside stimuli that made them unique is going to be gone forever.

But before I get to the meat of this story, I have to get this piece of clipart out of the way:

There… I did it. The most easy, most obvious hack reference to make on this story: use of the 1989 Don Bluth animated feature All Dogs Go To Heaven.


Now that that obligatory nonsense is out of the way, I can go back to crushing your dreams. First the background:

Recently reports claimed that the current hippie Pope said otherwise. but only kindov. Kindov because Catholics believe the Pope is infallible because God talks directly to him so if he says something then its basically God saying it. But that only counts in official Popey Speeches, of which this was not. So…. this is more “the guy who is the Pope” said it than it is “the Pope said…” if you’re following me here. Then the reports clarified that it wasn’t even this hippie Pope who made the claim but rather the Pope from the Hippie 60s…

The original report claimed that a kid was sad about his deceased pet and the Pontiff made him feel better with something silly. From the New York Times:

Citing biblical passages that assert that animals not only go to heaven, but get along with one another when they get there, Francis was quoted by the Italian news media as saying: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”

Theologians cautioned that Francis had spoken casually, not made a doctrinal statement.

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large of America, the Catholic magazine, said he believed that Francis was at least asserting that “God loves and Christ redeems all of creation,” even though conservative theologians have said paradise is not for animals.

“He said paradise is open to all creatures,” Father Martin said. “That sounds pretty clear to me.”

This is nice to say to children, but not appropriate for adults to believe.

Also, not accurate. As the above text no longer appears on that NY Times link which has been correct-edited (corrected+edited). It now reads:

Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, analyzing the pope’s remarks, concluded he believed animals have a place in the afterlife. It drew an analogy to comforting words that Pope Paul VI was said to have once told a distraught boy whose dog had died: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”

This is PETA nonsense. If animals have souls then killing animals is murder. And Surprise: PETA of course feels validated. From the same NYTimes piece:

Sarah Withrow King, director of Christian outreach and engagement at PETA, one of the most activist anti-slaughterhouse groups, said the pope’s remarks vindicated the biblical portrayal of heaven as peaceful and loving, and could influence eating habits, moving Catholics away from consuming meat — which she asserted had already been happening anyway. “It’s a vegan world, life over death and peace between species,” she said. “I’m not a Catholic historian, but PETA’s motto is that animals aren’t ours, and Christians agree. Animals aren’t ours, they’re God’s.”

Whether the pope’s remarks will prove to be a persuasive new reason not to eat meat, a potentially worrisome development to the multibillion-dollar beef, pork, poultry and seafood industries, remains unclear at best. But they did cause discussion.

Gotta love the hippie bias of the Times rubbing its hands over how multibillion-dollar industries might be negatively affected by this non-news.

How did this fable spread across news sources and social media as fact? tracks its spread:

Part of the answer may be the topic of the pope’s talk to the crowd that day, which centered on the End Times and the transformation of all creation into a “new heaven” and a “new earth.” Citing St. Paul in the New Testament, Francis said that is not “the annihilation of the cosmos and of everything around us, but the bringing of all things into the fullness of being.”

The trail of digital bread crumbs then appears to lead to an Italian news report that extended Francis’ discussion of a renewed creation to the wider question of whether animals too will go to heaven, and what previous popes have said.

“One day we will see our pets in the eternity of Christ,” the report quoted Paul VI as telling a disconsolate boy years ago.

The story was titled, somewhat misleadingly: “Paradise for animals? The Pope doesn’t rule it out.” It wasn’t clear which pope the writer meant, however.

The next day, Nov. 27, a story in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera by veteran Vaticanista Gian Guido Vecchi pushed the headline further: “The Pope and pets: ‘Paradise is open to all creatures.’”

Their full following of the false story is worth reading for insight of how news and false news spreads across sources, alone. But the fact is that to our scientific and religious knowledge, animals don’t have souls.

If you think that only dogs have souls then you’re letting your personal attachment to something rewrite your religious doctrine (or dog-ma).

Don’t blame the messenger, kids….

Watch And Learn All 10 Commandments

As the biggest moral advancement in human civilization, the 10 Commandments are a historically big deal regardless of your belief as to whether they were actually written by a deity that created the universe or not.

In a special segment of his fantastic Prager University 5-minute-courses on important subjects, Dennis Prager has explained all 10 Commandments of the Bible to you in easy to understand videos that you all need to watch.

INTRODUCTION / Still the Best Moral Code

Humanity has everything it needs to create a good world. We’ve had it for 3,000 years. It’s the Ten Commandments; ten basic, yet profound instructions for how to lead a moral life. If everyone followed the Ten Commandments, we would not need armies or police; marriages and families would be stronger; truth would be a paramount value. Dennis Prager explains how the Ten Commandments led to the creation of Western Civilization and why they remain relevant to your life today. This video course introduces a ten-part series.

1- I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD / God Wants Us to Be Free

Although the First Commandment (“I am the Lord your God”) appears simple at first glance, it actually set into motion the most revolutionary idea in human history — ethical monotheism, the belief that there is one God whose main wish is that people treat each other decently. Dennis Prager explains that without this commandment, the following nine mean little. With it, the Ten Commandments becomes world-changing.

2- NO OTHER GODS / There Are More Idols than Ever

Today, the idea of idol worship feels ancient and remote to many people. Thus, the Second Commandment, “You shall have no other gods,” doesn’t seem applicable in modern society. But the opposite is true. We have more false gods than ever — art, education, fame, money, to name just a few. Over the past century the worship of false gods has led to massive evil; Communism and Nazism are just two examples. On a personal level, the worship of false gods leads to unhappiness.

3- DO NOT MISUSE GOD’S NAME / The Worst Sin You Can Commit

Not all sins are equal. Some are worse than others. The worst of one of all? Committing evil in the name of God. This commandment is often misunderstood because it’s mistranslated. It’s not concerned with saying God’s name “in vain” like “God, did I have a terrible day at the office.” It’s about using God’s name in the commission of evil. We see this today when Islamists invoke God’s name while they murder innocent people.

4- REMEMBER THE SABBATH / Don’t Be a Slave

Setting aside of day of rest each week was a revolutionary concept when it was first introduced as the Fourth Commandment. But this Commandment does more: it extends that day of rest to slaves and animals and thus set in motion the slow process of ending slavery and the compassionate treatment of animals. As Dennis Prager explains, the power of the Fourth Commandment to change your life is no less real today than it was for our ancient ancestors. Just ask the spouse of a workaholic how she would feel if her husband took off a day each week to spend with family and friends.

5- HONOR OUR FATHER AND MOTHER / Even if You Don’t Feel Like It

Children owe their parents one thing. And no, it’s not love. The Fifth Commandment understands that sometimes it’s difficult or even impossible to love your parents. But it’s almost always possible to honor them. Dennis Prager explains what that means and why it’s so important. And consider this: if your children see you honoring your parents they are much more likely to honor you.

6- DO NOT MURDER / You Can Kill, but You Can’t Murder

If asked to state this Commandment, most people would say “Do Not Kill.” This is understandable because the classic King James Bible translates it this way. But the English language has changed since 1610. Furthermore, Hebrew has two words for killing just as English does. The correct translation, as Dennis Prager explains, is “Do Not Murder.” Once you grasp this, the meaning of the commandment changes entirely.

7- DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY / The Best Way to Protect the Family

Why do the Ten Commandments single out adultery as particularly harmful? Because adultery can destroy the foundational unit of a society — the family. If exposed, adultery leads to sense of betrayal. If hidden, it forces the offending spouse to lie. Children are often the unintended victims. This may be one of the most difficult Biblical laws to follow, but it’s also one of the most important.

8- DO NOT STEAL / Keep This and You’ll Keep Them All

There is one commandment that, if followed by all of humanity, would instantly create a peaceful world: Do not steal. The Eighth Commandment implicitly prohibits murder (stealing a life), slavery (stealing a person’s freedom), adultery (stealing a spouse), humiliation (stealing dignity), and so many other sins laid out in the Bible. If there is one Commandment that summarizes the other nine, this one is it.

9- DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS / Lying is the Root of Evil

The most important ingredient to building a moral society is truth, both inside and outside a courtroom. The prohibition against “bearing false witness” does not only demand that truth reigns supreme in a trial, but that it is a societal value throughout the culture. Bad things happen when people believe lies. With truth, we can build a decent society. Without it, even the other nine commandments won’t help.

10- DO NOT COVET / The One Thought You Should Never Have

There is only one Commandment that prohibits a thought, and it is this: “Do not covet.” Why does the Bible, which is preoccupied with behavior, legislate a thought? Because to covet, to want what belongs to someone else, is the root of the preceding four commandments and often leads to evil. Before someone murders, steals, lies, or commits adultery, the desire to take what is rightly someone else’s usually comes first.