Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And Here’s Why I Love Keith Olbermann

The key statement:

Let me make this utterly clear:

What you see on Fox News, what you read on Right Wing websites, is the utter and complete perversion of journalism, and it can have no place in a civilized society. It is words crashed together, never to inform, only to inflame. It is a political guillotine. It is the manipulation of reality to make the racist seem benevolent, and to convict the benevolent as racist --even if her words must be edited, filleted, stripped of all context, rearranged, fabricated, and falsified, to do so.

What you see on Fox News, what you read on Right Wing websites… is a manipulation. Not just of a story, not just on behalf of a political philosophy. Manipulation of a society, its intentional redirection from reality and progress, to a paranoid delusion and the fomenting of hatred of Americans by Americans.

And nearly every last word of it is never, in any tangible sense, true.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

More Examples of Why I Love Rachel Maddow

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Indiana’s Holocaust Observance and My Closing Remarks (update)

On April 13, 2010, I posted my closing remarks from Indiana’s Holocaust Observance. The video of the event has now been made available. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a way to embed the video, so you if you want to watch the event, please click here. (If you just want to see my closing remarks, they start at about 46:00 (I spoke just after Cantor Janice Roger).

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Wallack Family 2010 Summer Vacation: My Twitter Travelogue

As some of you may know, I just returned from a family vacation (Hilton Head Island). Hence the lack of posts over the last little while. Anyway, the vacation started off inauspiciously and I started tweeting about it. The tweets started slowly, but once I got going … well, it turned into what my wife described as a “hilarious” (her word, not mine) travelogue. So, in the interests of sharing, I’ve compiled my travelogue tweets (I’ve excluded non-travel related tweets) for my loyal blog readers. Enjoy. (Note that for some reason, I can’t find the time for some posts…)

Thursday, July 1


Vacation started at 7am. So far we've made it almost a mile from home! At this rate we should be in Hilton Head before election day...


We're 10 miles south of the middle of nowhere. Hope to be in East Nowhere by dark.


Only made it about 15 miles before the 82nd bathroom stop of the day.


From @DougMasson: Your drive is cracking me up. I've made the trip to Hilton Head & back about 15 times, so I feel your pain.


I can almost smell East Nowhere.


@DougMasson Did I mention that my mother-in-law is driving and my 89-year-old father in law is traveling with us too?


From @bmk: You're a regular Clark Griswold. Watch out for that girl in the red Ferrari, though.


@bmk Oh, if only. But at this point I might settle for a crone in a SUV.


We've reached Asheville and our stopover for the evening. East Nowhere proved to be a traffic jam in the mountains. Just what we needed.


Somehow in North Carolina 2 bedrooms AND a pullout means 2 rooms, one with a pullout. This should be fun with 6 people after a sweaty ride.


Unloading the car and a bug nearly ate my suitcase. He has become one ... or more ... with his maker.

Friday, July 2


The phrase "Quality Inn" suggests ... um ... quality? Maybe that word has a different meaning here in North Carolina? Like "horrid & icky"?


From @DougMasson: On the upside, at this pace you probably only have another 3-4 days of driving!


New example of "quality": Try to flush the toilet and the handle breaks off!


@DougMasson I think I now have a cause of action against you for intentional infliction of emotional distress.


From @erked: I interpret Quality in the name of a business roughly as I interpret People's or Democratic in the name of a country.


On the road aga... No, sorry. We stopped at Subway so my inlaws could have second breakfast (as a hobbit might call it).


From @DougMasson: What about elevensies? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn't he?


7 miles down the highway before the irresistible lure of McDonald's called to my son.


Maybe there will be a Dunkin' Donuts at the next exit!


From @DougMasson: #FF @MSWallack because I'm really enjoying his account of a road trip with his octogenarian in-laws. [For Twitter newbies, #FF stands for Follow Friday and is a way of suggesting (on Fridays) interesting people to follow.]


I'm taking bets on how far we can drive before our next ... sorry, we already have a winner.


@DougMasson My mother-in-law isn't an octogenarian yet, but I may be by the time we arrive.


The car now smells like an interesting blend of McDonald's, Subway, Hot Tamales, & Wint-O-Green Life Savers. So why does my wife feel ill?


The girl with the dragon tattoo who played with fire and kicked a hornet's nest has kept me company. Too bad she didn't drive fast, too.


Bathroom break time! Should I be worried that this gas station is playing the theme from "Deliverance"?


Traveling without stopping seemed wrong so we took an obligatory bathroom break. Not like we're trying to get somewhere, are we?


11 minutes ago we stopped for a bathroom break at a restaurant. Now, back on the road, my mother-in-law is ready to stop for lunch. Aarrgh!


The discussion between my inlaws is about when my mother-in-law's birthday is and how old she'll be. Somehow this is worth arguing about.


Only half a tank of gas left. Time to stop for gas, potty, & lunch. Maybe we can play a round of golf, too.


From @erked: I hear at those sorts of bathrooms, you don't have leave a nickel on the tank if you got a Real Purty Mouth.


From @erked: Questions: Does your wife read your tweets? Does she respond? Does anyone else ask what you type? Do you repeat these out loud?


The GPS and iPhone agree on how to get there, but my mother-in-law knows better. Let's look at this old map, she says!


@erked Sometimes. No. Sometimes. Often. Though she has been reading and laughing at my Clark Griswald posts.


Good. Now we're behind a truck doing 30 in a 50. I think he can hear our kids asking are we there yet?.


We've made it to the island. Mother-in-law wants to stop at the grocery before we go to the hotel. I think my children will kill her.


We're here!


Vacation time! (@ Marriott Barony Beach Resort) [posted via FourSquare]


What kind of wine do I pair with small, fast-moving lizards?


I know! Now that we're here, let's argue about how to load and unload the luggage cart. What fun!


Hmm. The quiet pool is full of teenagers. My daughter is embarrassed. My son is (unfortunately) clueless.


This can't be good: "Daddy, we're bored." Time: 15 minutes after arrival in pool.


Seems like soccer needs a goaltending rule like the NBA. I feel bad for Ghana. Especially because the players now have to go back go Ghana.


The poolside grill closes at 5pm. On Friday night? Seriously?


Old school tweeting. [It says “This is an Old School Tweet”]



Might the kids possibly be winding down? The fact that the girl is singing (screaming, actually) in the shower suggests not.


From @annwallack [not a relative!] I love this travelogue. My kids are too old to travel with us. Enjoy it while you can.


@annwallack I do enjoy it, but it can, as I'm sure you remember, be exasperating. I'll need a vacation to rest from my vacation.

Saturday, July 3


The kids want to go to the beach NOW NOW NOW. Mom & Dad, not so much. But, Daddy, we're running out of time! Yep, only 6 days left.


OK. Time for the ocean. If I'm not back in a few hours, call BP and tell them I found a major oil reserve. I'm sure they'll come quickly.


Big step: I've convinced the mommy to let the kids go down to the hot tub (that's right below our balcony) on their own. Freakout averted?


Uh oh. The dreaded teenagers (some with boobs, even) have also arrived at the hot tub. How will munchkins handle the intrusion?


Thought we'd lost the credit card. Would that have been good or bad?


I want the best swordfish steak available on Hilton Head. Suggestions?


The quiet pool is very quiet now. That's what happens when someone vomits in it.


Just finished The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Depressing to know that we won't (probably) get to read more about these characters.


Next I'm going to read @bradthor's new book. Will it be a good story or is he going to preach to me about his political beliefs?


I love using the Internet to communicate with authors of books I enjoy; too bad I can't chat with Stieg Larsson.


Anyway, if you like a book find an email or twitter address and tell the author. If you don't like the book, let him/her know it and why.


From @erked: I agree about Hornet's Nest. A great finale to the trio. Wonder if they'll release any of his articles / essays in English?


When we called The Crazy Crab 15 minutes ago, we were told that there was no wait. When we got here we were told 40 minutes. Hmm.


Ah, they're using the old lots of people came in at the same time defense. A likely story.


Apparently the CVS on Hilton Head fills prescriptions for young whites before elderly blacks (who are told to come back at closing time).


Dinner tonight (yes we were finally seated) was ... um ... interesting. Slow, wrong, fussy, argumentative. Another day in the ol' park.


One kid (unfortunately, the wrong one) seems to have fallen asleep. If the other one follows suit, I'm going to suggest the adults escape.


From @DougMasson: Crazy Crab in Harbor Town or another? I still like the restaurant.


The one near the bridge to the mainland. Just one of those nights.

Sunday, July 4


My wife went down to the pool at 5:30 to reserve pool chairs. Apparently the hotel only let's some people reserve; they moved our stuff.


And now I'm the bad guy because there aren't any pool chairs close enough and the water's too cold and the sun's too sunny and the music...


I just captained our beach tug-o-war team to an important victory. Now time to sleep. Wake me when the margaritas arrive.


Is food at 4:00 dinner or lunch?


From @susanNell3 It is linner!


@SusanNell3 Welcome to the wonderful world of Twitter!


Dinner at the Skull Creek Boat House was really good ... until my wife got really sick and we had to make an expedited exit.


From @SusanNell3: oh no!


Sat on the beach (1st with just my daughter, later wife & son, too) with fireworks being set off all around us. Very cool; only a bit scary.


We tried holding the camera in front of us to take a nighttime family portrait. Don't look for the results on Facebook anytime soon.


While watching fireworks, my daughter and I talked about life, the universe, and everything. I was proud of her questions and told her so.


I told my daughter she should grow up to be a scientist. But that's boring. I want to grow up and be famous!


Me: There are some famous scientists. Daughter: Daddy, please.

Monday, July 5


Wife still not feeling great and doesn't want to spend the morning in the sun. She suggests shopping. The kids are not enthusiastic.


Finally moving today. Slow going is OK by me, but the kids are frustrated, angry, and 10. They'll survive (though they don't think so).


Just ate a rare island double quarter pounder with cheese. I think it was caught in the leeward side of the island last night.


Finally headed to the beach. I'm told that we're building a massive sand castle. I wonder if anyone delivers castle-side margaritas?


Jimmy Buffet is playing on the pool's sound system now. I have no booze. Something is seriously amiss. I'll try to remedy that soon.


From @DougMasson: Vacation, warm weather, pool, Buffet, & no booze? The planning on this mission seems less than spectacular.


@DougMasson Add in the presence of my inlaws and you should understand that this was essentially a suicide mission.


If you own a store selling crap to tourists on Hilton Head are you required to be surly and completely unhelpful? Odd business model.


Earlier watched a couple making out on their balcony. I was going to tell them to get a room before I realized they had a room. Hmm.


My kids told me I was COOL: Constipated Overweight Out-of-Style Loser. I resemble that remark. Now you see why I love them so much.


Finally escaped for an hour! Bought a couple of bottles of vino to make the next few evenings more relaxing. Wedge of manchego looked good.


My friend just saw the fetus kick for the first time. I suggested he go watch Alien.

Tuesday, July 6


So where are FAST pedestrians expected to cross?



Anybody know what this little fellow is? It was about 2 inches long.



Lily and I just won an important intranet-family shuffleboard game. Kicked Mommy & Ian's proverbial behinds!


Oops. That should have been intra-family. I'm not familiar with intranet-family shuffleboard. Maybe I should invent it.

Wednesday, July 7


Forecast is for 92• today and 96• tomorrow. That should be relaxing.


Nothing like a bunch of college kids AND THEIR PARENTS playing so violently in pool that young kids have to get out so they don't get hurt.


The kids (not mine) just broke a clock. So I chose to have words with the father. He could kick my ass, but I basically dared him to try.


Ah, now the hotel manager is talking to Mr. Irresponsible. Why do I doubt it's the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.


I was right. Mr. Irresponsible explained that it was an accident. Another guest and I decided to go full asshole and offered the real story.


Why do I bother? There is right and wrong and part of civil society is having the community take responsibility to ensure civility.

Thursday, July 8


To those who've been following my travelogue, I apologize for infrequent humorous posts. Too hot to be funny (& hard to tweet from a pool).


But we head for home Friday morning, and I expect the idiocy to resume promptly. I'm wondering if I can hide so they'll leave without me.


Cranky family going out for breakfast even though nobody wants to go out for breakfast. This should be fun or maddening; take your pick.


My daughter wants to be famous. She'd like to be Sarah Dakota or Riley Wyoming. Any tweeps out there who can give her any help with that?


Apparently that joke went right by everyone. I was suggesting she'd like to be the next Hannah Montana.


Massive menu with just about everything. Even the kids found food. (@ Hilton Head Diner w/ 2 others) [via FourSquare]


From @DougMasson: Hilton Head diner is pretty good. My folks & aunt and uncle go most mornings when we're there. I usually just hit Starbucks.


When the water in the pool appears to be boiling, should I take that as a sign that it's hot out?


Anybody have experience driving 12 hours with boiled children? And what wine pairs best with boiled 10-year-old?


From @bmk: would imagine any cheap boxed wine. You're gonna want to go for quantity here, not quality :)


I think the law requires us to eat here & buy t-shirts. (@ The Salty Dog Cafe) [via FourSquare]


From @erked: You must also acquire one of those white oval vacation stickers for your vehicle. Or for the back of an in-law's head.


From @erked: Boiled 10-year-old is delicious with a baby-marrow hollandaise, and a glass of lightly chilled Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier.


WiFi at Salty Dog T-Shirt Factory is WiFiDo.


@erked: How do I connect it to the back of my inlaws' heads? Ooh, I have an idea!


@erked Too hot for a hollandaise. Need a lighter (quieter?) preparation.


The (not-so-good) magician just chose my mother-in-law to help with a trick. Will he make her disappear? If so, he's better than I thought.


Too bad. My mother-in-law bowed out so the magician could work with a PYT. Good for him; less so for me.


During tonight's family shuffleboard throwdown, my son mysteriously scored 43 points (a mathematic impossibility) to achieve a tie score.

Friday, July 9


Time to go home. Checkout was at 10:00. My mother-in-law started cooking breakfast at 10:15. An auspicious start!


Within 30 seconds (literally) after leaving the gas station (5 minutes after leaving the hotel), my son announced he needed a bathroom.


So my mother-in-law found a grocery for him ... and announced that she needed to get a few things as long as we're here.


We've been driving aimlessly around the parking lot. My mother-in-law has gotten lost in the parking lot. Seriously.


And now my son is having a tantrum. We haven't even gotten off the island yet. How many hours until we're home?


It's your fault!

No, it's your fault!

Un uh.

Uh huh.

My life in a nutshell.


Oops. Almost forgot this classic: It's no fair!


We've decided (actually, my mother-in-law decided) to pull off the road until the kids stop arguing. We might never get moving again.


Hey, it's a McDonald's! I think we're obligated to stop to get food or use the bathroom. I mean, we've been in the car for over an hour!


This was as expected. The drive through line was so long my wife decided we should stop and use the bathroom. I can walk home faster.


We only have 9/10 tank of gas left. Better refill.


Now my son won't eat his burger because a piece of lettuce touched the outside of the wrapper. Death by a thousand little cuts.


"Stop it!"

"No you stop it!"

"You stop it first!"

Then, simultaneously: "Mommy!" & "Daddy!"



From @erked: If only you could summon Large Marge from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. She'd learn 'em the rules of the road.


Bathroom time! We wouldn't want to miss any of these small towns, would we?


I tried to joke with the cashier, asking her, are we there yet? Her response: Honey, right here, you ain't nowhere?


My father-in-law wants dinner at 4:00. That way we'll be sure not to get into the mountains until after dark. Good plan.


It' s ha rd to typ ew hen my mot her-in -low keeeeps jer king teh carr all ovur de rood.


4th or 5th stop and we're still in South Carolina! I was trying to be funny when I said I could walk faster. Guess I may have been right.


My mom-in-law found a nowhere exit and eschewed any restaurant or gas station you've heard of. But when the place she found only had ...


... a single (occupied) toilet, we had to pile back in the car to find alternate accommodations.


Between stops, my father-in-law had to freak out over the route suggested by the GPS, the iPhone, and AAA. "You're all crazy," he tells us.


How should we go, I ask him?

I don't know, he says. What does the map say?

We're following the map.



My daughter is doing her best to act as a replacement for radio Disney, but her repertoire has more songs in the playlist rotation.


Now my father-in-law wants to know the "purpose" of today's drive. Um, to get home? That answer is somehow unsatisfactory.


Beginning to wonder if either he forgot to take his meds or if my mom-in-law sabotaged him to screw with us. Maybe she gave him Tic Tacs.


It's raining. My wife doesn't like driving in inclement weather so we're stopping early. Now we need to kill several hours until bedtime.


From @DougMasson: I see a new reality show: "The Journeys of Wallack."


@DougMasson I'd vote myself off if the island.


Thought about trying the fried gator tail appetizer but wife said that was mean. But a gator is more likely to eat us than a cow or tilapia.


From @SusanNell3: I am sure a nice juicy hamburger at the Nell house would have suited Debbie's taste buds.


Just as dinner was served, my father-in-law realized he left his teeth at the hotel and sent my mother-in-law back to get them.


@SusanNell3 Nah. She'd have gotten sick on the drive.


New movie has a character named Kitty Galore (a cat). I tried to explain the whole Pussy Galore reference, but I don't think they got it.


By the time the teeth arrived, the kids were finished. My wife somehow kept them from destroying the restaurant while my inlaws ate.


This hotel doesn't have pay-per-view. It may be a loooing night.

Saturday, July 10


The last day if driving is about to start. Of course we need to find a Subway and McDonald's first. And the closest McD's is too "dirty".


My inlaws decided to have 1st breakfast at the hotel; then we'll go to Subway for 2nd breakfast. They'd make a hobbit proud.


So we're sitting in the car ready to go ... but the inlaws are still inside enjoying a luxurious Holiday Inn Express breakfast.


Not like there's reason to hurry. I mean MapQuest thinks our drive time will only be 8:41 (not counting hourly 1/2 hour stops). Good start.


Inlaws don't want to follow GPS, son having a massive tantrum, daughter angry at the world, wife wants to kill her mom and 1 kid. Ah, fun.


Of course it may not technically be another stop if we never really got started again in the first place.


On the road ag...Bathroom!

Just kidding.


Now the kids are arguing about a movie to watch:

Your movies are crap.


Shut up.

It's gonna be a long day.


First stop of the day. Somewhere north of nowhere today.


The cashier at this Burger King just explained that southern milkshakes are different because they use ice cream. In the north it's just ...


... milk and sugar that is shaken together. That, she explained, is why it's called a milkshake. Good to know.


Son got a milkshake (with southern ice cream). Daughter says they're gross; wants candy instead. Son wants candy, too, if she gets some...


She says he can't have candy cause he got a shake. He says not fair! She could have gotten a shake too! But they're gross! Aaaaahhhhhh!!!!!


Ah yes. Another hour (less, actually) and another cry of "bathroom".


There's a bus full of boy scouts here with a woman scout leader. Why is a woman BOY scout leader OK, but not a gay scout leader?


Thankfully my father-in-law made it into the bathroom before the bus full of boy scouts. That could have been a disaster.


Down to 1/2 tank of gas. Time to fill up.


We tell my father-in-law that his door is not shut. So he starts banging on it. See, he says, it's shut!


My wife asks my mom-in-law if we're going to keep stopping every hour. My mom-in-law says, Fine, next time you want to stop, I won't stop.


Tartar sauce sandwich with a little filet o' fish on the bun. Yum? (@ McDonald's) [via FourSquare]


We pull up to McD's and ask the kids if they want lunch. No response. So as we leave McD's (still in parking lot), Lily says I want fries.


So we pull into the Wendy's next door. Lily claims (wrongly) that nobody asked her. And mom-in-law did try to refuse go stop again.


Just 55 minutes later, my mom-in-law is stopping again. Apparently we stop whenever she wants to stop.


And I just learned that my 10-year-old daughter speaks fluent Starbucks. Frightening.


I suspect that my mom-in-law has secretly decided to make this a 3-day drive.


Now that mom-in-law is back in car, dad-in-law wants tea, but wants to wait for it to cool off. Wants cool hot tea, not iced tea. Aaarrrggh!


Every 1/2 hour or so my dad-in-law searches (& ransacks) the glove compartment apparently to see if anything interesting has appeared.


Maybe he thinks it's a magic box or some kind of Star Trek transporter.


11 minutes after using the bathroom at Starbucks, Ian announced he has to go again. I think our collective groan was heard on space station.


And of course once we're back in the car (but before leaving, thankfully), Lily decided she needed to go. Then dad-in-law decided to go too.


Unimportant warning light comes on. Total freakout and argument ensues. Mom-in-law wants to stop in Lexington to find a Honda dealer.


From @erked: I'm trying to decide whether your journey would work better as a remake of Dante's Inferno or of Homer's Odyssey. Any cyclopses?


@erked Definitely The Inferno. Not enough hot babes or whirlpools on the trip. And the heat is definitely Hell-like. Mom-in-law as Satan.


From @SusanNell: are you hoping to get home by the end of the day? You don't have to work until Monday....


So close to home I can smell it, but mom-in-law is going to stop to use the bathroom. Only 1/2 tank of gas, so she might want to fill up.


@SusanNell3 I think we're going to stop for the evening in Greenwood (or Castleton if we're making good time). [For those not familiar with Indianapolis, Greenwood is a suburb on the south side of the city; Castleton is about 10 minutes from our house.]


Yep. She wanted to stop for gas. I told her I think 1/2 tank will get us home or at least a lot closer.


We've arrived (at the inlaws, first).


Home. Home. Home. Home.


Somewhat hard to believe I survived that drive (and vacation) without killing anybody (self included).


From @DougMasson: Congratulations on making it home!

And there you have it: The Wallack Family 2010 Summer Vacation Travelogue!

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