Daily Archives: March 15, 2011

16 posts

Masterpiece Twitter: Chris Weingarten and Justin Bieber

By Danzig and Dancing Queen

During its nearly five-year storied history, Twitter has remained steadfast in its commitment to bringing the best…or just bringing 140 character expressions from individuals around the world. The Twitterverse is filled with eclectic characters and contemporary celebrities who have filled the ether with their random thoughts on life, love and luxury.

In this weekly series, Danzing and Dancing Queen will risk brain cells and credibility scouring the Twitterscape to bring you the best of Twitter. We will then perform dramatic recitations of these tweets for your listening pleasure. Please, enjoy.

This week we feature music critic Chris Weingarten and naturally, Justin Bieber. Chris is a freelance writer (Rolling Stone, Popmatters, Vulture, etc.) who used to play drums in an indie rock band called Parts & Labor (he recently had a “twitter beef” with them as well, though it turned out to be in jest). He is a solid, well-read critic, and outspoken about a lot of things. Here’s a talk he gave at a Twitter-centric conference on music journalism in the digital age. In this particular set of tweets, Weingarten is engaged in a “Twitter beef” with generally insufferable music blog Gorilla vs Bear.

Justin Bieber owns the hearts and minds of the entire world’s female population from the ages of 4 months to 40 years old. If you deny it, it only means you secretly like him. Here’s his video, Baby, which has only been seen over four hundred and eighty-eight millions times (488,214,503 as of 9:26 p.m. PT on March 14, 2011).

Chris Weingarten, as performed by Danzig:

Justin Bieber, as performed by Dancing Queen:

*Danzing and Dancing Queen are not professional actors, but do play actors on Crasstalk.

Is Earthquake Insurance Worth It?

The recent tragedy in Japan has many people in earthquake prone areas of the US wondering if they should purchase earthquake insurance.  Let’s look at the likelihoods, costs and benefits.  We’ll look at California because data is readily available and Cthulhu’s wrath has been predicted to be focused on the San Francisco Bay Area.

Source conservation.ca.gov
How Likely Is an Earthquake?

“Probabilistic seismic hazard maps… are typically expressed in terms of probability of exceeding a certain ground motion. For example, the 10% probability of exceedance in 50 years maps depict an annual probability of 1 in 475 of being exceeded each year. The maps for 10% probability of exceedance in 50 years show ground motions that we do not think will be exceeded in the next 50 years. In fact, there is a 90% chance that these ground motions will NOT be exceeded.”

But, a smaller amount of ground movement is more likely and is almost certain to happen at some point in the next 30 years.

The red ares of this map are the highest level of ground movement and line up with large population areas.  The conclusion is that shaking will occur, we don’t know when and we don’t know how bad it will be.

That gives rise to the need to mitigate the risk of property loss when an earthquake does happen.  But what exactly does earthquake insurance cover and how much does it cost?  Those factors are driven by coverage levels, structure replacement value and location.

What  Does Earthquake Insurance Cover?
  • Repair, or in the event of a total loss, replacement cost, of an insured home when damage exceeds the policy’s deductible, up to the policy limit.
  • If you cannot live in your home after an earthquake, you may be eligible for additional living expenses up to your policy limit.
    After the deductible has been met by covered damage to your home, the policy will replace personal property such as furniture and household items, up to your policy limit.
  • Your policy will pay up to $10,000 (as part of the dwelling limit of insurance), including engineering costs, to replace, stabilize or restore the land that supports your home.
What Does Earthquake Insurance Not Cover?
  • Detached garages and most other structures that are not part of the dwelling itself
  • Land damage, other than $10,000 in coverage for land stabilization
  • Swimming pools and spas
  • Awnings and patio coverings
  • Fences
  • Certain decorative or artistic items such as mirrors, chandeliers, stained glass, or mosaics
  • Landscaping and irrigation systems
  • Antennas and satellite dishes
  • Patios, decks, walkways, and driveways not needed for pedestrian or disabled access to your home
  • Plaster, to the extent that the repair cost exceeds the value of drywall
  • Exterior masonry veneer (with the exception of stucco, which is covered)
  • Damage caused in whole or in part by causes other than earthquakes, such as fire during or following an earthquake (in most cases, fire damage is covered by your homeowners insurance policy); water damage resulting from floods or surface water; power failures; explosions; or non-seismic land sliding
  • Certain categories of personal property, including glassware, crystal, porcelain, artwork, motor vehicles, boats, and trailers
How Much Does Earthquake Insurance Cost?

The cost depends on many factors but a rough estimate is that it is going to be in the same annual premium range as the existing homeowner’s policy.

For example, using nice round numbers, if a home is completely destroyed and costs $200,000 to replace the structure then the out of pocket expenses would be $30,000 plus the cost of all the items that the earthquake insurance does not cover.

If an earthquake strikes 10 years from now and a homeowner pays $1,500 per year then they’ve put in $15,000 in premiums, $30,000 in deductibles and several thousand more for uncovered items.  The 10 year cost is close to $50,000 in this scenario with total property destruction.  If your property damage is less than $30,000 then the policy pays nothing.

All of this does not apply if your home is destroyed by a tsunami resulting from and earthquake.  For that you’re going to need flood insurance, but that’s a different article.

What If You Don’t Have Coverage?

Then you’re out of luck.  You now own a pile of rubble with a mortgage.  In some cases the government will provided federal disaster grants but those are usually less than $15,000.  At this point you should just turn the useless keys over to the mortgage holder and rent an apartment.

Obviously if you’re lucky enough not to own a home then you can ignore this whole thing and just get renter’s insurance which is far less expensive.

Important Note: Crasstalk is not an insurance professional and should not be used as a replacement for one.

Coverage information source: CEA.

What No One Told You About The Gift of the Gab

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, this started out as a diatribe about how everyone who drinks green beer is going to a special hell. However, I realized, why not actually use this as a time to inform everyone of the things that I find great about my culture! That seemed much more constructive then yelling at you kids to get off my lawn. So, let’s start out with the part that I’ve always loved: folklore, legends and myths. Of which there’s a lot, so I’m gonna give you the Cliffs Notes version of what are referred to as the Three Sorrows of Storytelling, high edited and condensed by a partial, prejudiced and ignorant storyteller.

The Fate of the Sons of Tuiren

The father of the sun God, Lugh, was walking down the road and came across three boys who didn’t like him, like boys do. So they stoned him to death. Lugh found out and was pissed, and demanded a blood debt. He asked for three apples, and the skin of a pig, and a spear, and two horses, and a chariot, and seven pigs, and a dog’s whelp, and a cooking-spit, and three shouts on a hill, and then proceeded to mock them saying that if they were too weak, he’d take some of it off. The boys quickly fell into the trap, and accepted, only to find out that the apples were from the Garden of the Hesperides, the pig skin was a magical skin that could heal any wound, the spear was a poisoned spear belonging to the King of Persia, the horses can travel on land and sea . .  and I think you get the idea. The boys set out and actually went made good on their promise.  Adventures were had, until they got to the hill, where they fought the warrior who was set to make sure NO ONE shouted from the hill, the boys were gravely injured, though still managed to yell off the hill. They brought the stuff to Lugh, and asked him to heal their wounds. He told them that it would be better for them to die a heroes death, now that they’ve acquired all this swag for him, and let the boys die. When their father heard that his sons had died, he died of grief as well. Fin.

The Children of Lir

Sometime after this, the tribes were trying to decide on who should be High King over Erin. The God Lir realllllly wanted it, but they went with some other guy. In return, however, he got to marry the guy’s daughter, Eve. For a while, the two were happy, and Eve bore Lir two sets of twins, but died giving birth to the second set. The High King felt that no man should be alone, so he sent is second daughter, Aoifa, to console her sister’s widow. However, as Sondheim wrote, you can never love someone else’s children the way you love your own, so Aoifa started getting jealous, and eventually turned her step-children into swans, and cursed them for 900 years. When Lir found out, he turned her into a demon of the air, even though she was REALLY sorry for what she did. The four kids had to stay at a pond near their father’s house for 300 years, which was cool, cause they could talk and sing, but eventually, they had to trek out to the sea between Erin and Alba and spend the next 300 years there. Afterwards, they came back to Erin, happy to see their family, only to find out that everyone went and died on them, and that Christianity took over everything. The pond they were at was near a church and the priest befriended them. They became somewhat famous, and finally a pricness of the North married a Prince of the south, and wanted to do it in the church of the swans, which ended up breaking the last part of the curse. The 900 year old children were restored to their humanity, only they were 900 years old and died on the spot. The priest buried them and everyone was sad.

Deirdre of the Sorrows

A man and a woman had a beautiful daughter. She grew up in peace and happiness, but her parents knew she was doomed to fuck some shit up. Eventually the king saw her and fell in love, and took her back to his castle to foster her, and as soon as she became legal, get it on. She had it in her mind that she’d only love a man with hair as black as ebony, and skin as white as snow and lips as red as . .. well, I think we’ve heard that elsewhere, and you get the picture. There was only one such man, named Naoise, and he had two brothers. They met and fell in love, and the three brothers ran away with Deirdre. Furious, the king followed them, disrupting their happy life and what I would imagine would be the two other brother’s sexual frustration. He eventually caught up with them, and there’s a bunch of different version of how, but eventually everyone dies. (no, seriously, there’s a bunch of versions. In one, the brothers die by tripping on poisoned rocks and Deirdre dies from grief. Another, the boys die in battle and she dies after the king insults her after forcing her to have sex with another man.)

So, there you have it! Think of the long tradition of Irish storytelling this weekend, while you’re downing your green bud light, or your car bombs, or trying Guinness for the first time. And as Londonderry Aire (aka Danny Boy) plays for the 500 millionth time, and the drunk next to you starts singing the wrong worlds to When Irish Eyes are Smiling, think back on these stories, and on the Ireland that was before all the shamrocks and leprechauns.

How to Taste Wine for Free

Put down that glass of Franzia, Yellow Tail and Gallo.  There is never, ever, a reason to drink White Zinfadel unless you are in high school.   Life really is too short to drink that cheap, nasty wine.  That doesn’t mean wine has to be expensive  — it does have to taste good.

So how to tell if wine taste good takes a lot of trial and error, which means a lot of drinking.  BONUS!  You need to figure out not only which varietals you like, but what level of sweetness, oak, acid, tannin, etc.   The easiest and cheapest way is to go to your local wine shop and become friends with the shopkeeper.  I don’t like going to the big warehouse stores because I like the personal service I get from my small little shops in town.

Find out when they offer free tastings and go each and every week.  While at the tasting, talk to the manager or employees while your drinking the wine.  Tell them what you like and dislike about the wine.  Some of the best wines I’ve ever purchased were based upon recommendations after chatting with the manager about what I didn’t like about the wine that was being offered for free.   Don’t feel bad if you don’t purchase the wine being poured.  Generally the free tastings are free not only to you, but the store as well.  Sales reps like myself are generally the ones eating the cost of the wine in trying to lure you into buying their wine.

Wine glasses for tastingsOk, so you go to a tasting at a wine shop.  Now what?  First of all, these are very casual affairs.  You won’t find people putting on airs, but you often see people who know their shit about wine there.   Most stores will give you a small plastic cup to taste the wine.  Frankly, this is my pet peeve as I hate drinking good wine out of a plastic cup.  When I do tastings at a wine shop, I bring 40 or so glasses, real glasses to taste the wine.  It is not unheard of for customers to pull out their own tasting glass.  Here is a picture of my tasting glass that I carry with me. I personally like it because of the lack of stem which can break when lugged about.


Whether you bring your own glass or drink from the plastic one, the person will pour a small mouthful or two of wine into your cup.   First take a look at the color and while your doing that ask about the wine varietal, wine maker, area or anything else you want to know in general about the wine.  Each varietal has its own color variations which often reflect differences in taste. Don’t be shy about asking questions.   A good wine rep or store manager loves to teach.

nose in wine
This is PERFECT! Stick your nose in deep
keep the pinky down
This is wrong... and keep that pinky down!

Ok, it is swirling and smelling time. This is the often mocked part of tasting, but it so important. There is over 600 different aromas in wine. Everything from grass, berries, chocolate and even kitty litter are acceptable aromas, depending on the varietal. I prefer to swirl with the base of the glass on the table. It can be messy if you hold the stem of the glass or plastic cup in the air. After 10 seconds of some good swirls stick your nose into the glass. I mean really stick it in there are far as you can without getting it wet. Breathe deeply and note what you smell.


Now, take the cup and bring it to your mouth. You want to gently slurp the wine into your mouth so that the wine sits on your tongue for a bit.  It is ok to make bubbly noises with the wine as you bring air into your mouth to gently aerate the wine without swallowing.   Really, it is ok to make those noises.   How I do it is I make a small well on my tongue by putting my tip of tongue on my front teeth and raise the back of my tongue to the roof of my mouth; I purse my lips slightly and gently suck some air in which aerates the wine.  After you have the wine on your tongue for a while — 5 to 10 seconds is cool, particularly if it is a meaty red — you now have the choice to spit or swallow.  I’m a swallow gal.  Spitters are quitters.  However, most stores will have a spit bucket for those who’d rather. (Edit: do not Google image search spitters are quitters)

What you like or don’t like is really a matter of taste, except for White Zin. I’d suggest keeping some brief notes about what you liked about that wine along with the estate, varietal and location. After enough free tastings, you will get a sense of what you like and don’t like. For instance, I hate oaked chardonnays with a passion — no matter the location. I detest any red blend that has over 30% Merlot in it. I love classic Willamette Pinot Noirs along with their French cousins despite the differences in style. I prefer the big bold Paso Robles Cabernets versus their more elegant counterparts in Napa. Oh and I love, love, love, love a bone dry rose on a hot summer’s day– it is the essence of summer for me. Those opinions took time and a lot of drinking and experimenting. Most of that experimenting was done for free at my local wine shop. Be sure to buy a little something to show some love though.

Now that I’ve showed you how to get buzzed for free, why not show a little love for Crasstalk and buy some wine to support it? I’ve pre-tasted all the wines so I promise you they are high quality wines at great price points. Go to winedreamer.com and remember to pop the coupon code FEEDTHEBADGER. Crasstalkers will get 10% off the wines and 10% of the proceeds will go to Bots and crew to keep this website running. No code = no discount = no support for Crasstalk.

Meat getting his drink on
Two eyebrows up! This is some good wine.

I had the pleasure of meeting our overlord Botswana Meat Commission last Wednesday where he imbibed the Martellotto Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from Paso Robles available for purchase at winedreamer.com. Meat gave it two eyebrows up!

For detailed videos of wine tasting check out this broad. She has a ton of them about color, aromas, flavors, etc…  Feel free to email me with any wine questions at feedthebadger at gmail  or you can simply post them below.

Why the iPad 2 is like the Cabbage Patch doll

So the iPad 2 was released Friday, and people have gone completely apeshit-bonkers. For some it appears to be literally like divinity in 9.7-inches. You would think no other invention in the last 200 years has rivaled that of the iPad 2, I’m talking electricity, television, Nick Cage’s hair system…nothing. And like the flock of sheep we are, people slept outside for days braving torrential downpours in some areas, and waiting for hours with lines wrapping around entire city blocks in others — some not deviating from the plan even when the moderately priced iPad 2s sold out, undeterred, they proffered up the big bucks and paid for the more expensive versions — all to say they “got it,” like Veruca Salt clutching desperately to her goose with the golden eggs.

According to CNET, there is an art to waiting in line, and it has become a business. There were “runners” from other companies who were paid to stand in line and procure one of the hot items, as well as a group who planned to buy the devices for a single individual who would then sell them on the “gray market,” where they would be sold at a premium and in places where the device is not yet available. Nifty? Cheating? Both?

And all this for what exactly?

The iPad 2, which CNET has given a four-star rating in its review, is a refinement of the first-generation device. It’s thinner, it’s got a faster processor and better graphics chops, and it’s the same price. It’s also got new features like dual video cameras and compatibility with new accessories like a neat cover that attaches to it with magnets and an AV cable that can mirror whatever you’re doing onscreen to anything with an HDMI plug.

For many buyers though, this second-generation device is something they were waiting for before pulling the trigger on the original iPad. That’s what many buyers CNET talked to mentioned as being one of the big attractors. They know Apple’s cyclical product release schedule by now and were counting on a refresh of a few key things, even if they didn’t necessarily need them.

There are things Apple could have added, but didn’t. Though with lines like this on opening day, it seems the revamp offers enough.

Um, okay. If you read the review you’ll find something incredibly interesting. The new features, the front and back facing camera, its one-third thinness, the additions of FaceTime video chat, and a slightly faster processor, don’t seem to be huge leaps and bounds ahead of the first generation iPad. Sure, if you really want that camera than, yes, that’s an improvement, until you find out “the iPad’s screen resolution hasn’t budged, [and] photo quality is mediocre.” So, yeah, you could actually probably take better pictures with your smartphone, or just use your newest model digital camera, and you wouldn’t have to hold up a 1.3 pound, 9.7 inch device to take a photo.

Otherwise, with the exception of the faster processor on a device that was already eons faster than most similar options, “the iPad stays the same: size, price, capacity, and features all carry over.”

So, why all the fanfare? Is it just about being at the top of the tablet heap? Probably. Apple knows that every tech company is working their collective asses off to come up with something that could rival the iPad. And competition could be a very real thing. The Motorola Xoom, while pricier than the iPad at a $799 price point, and run off of the Android system, is the closest contender. It has new software, formidable hardware, 3G, dual cameras, HD video capability, and 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 32GB of internal storage. In short it’s a rising little monster.

For now, though, nothing is beating the iPad in sheer notoriety and “must have” credibility — exactly the way Apple wants it. You’d be hard pressed to find the device stocked anywhere, despite more Apple retail stores, and a handful of retail partners on board to get what is likely to be more units out the door in a shorter amount of time. Oh, you crafty Apple-dudes. So, you actually want us to never, ever, get one, until well, you’re good and ready to release more, eh? And they also really want you to walk into one of those stores and pony up the money in person, since online sales were non-existent until the day it went on sale, increasing the hype. All of this in itself is a perfected marketing ploy — and quite genius in its maniacal madness. We are all so screwed.

Apple is leading us by the nose, and we, yes, we are eating it up! Helpless, we are. Utterly helpless. But let’s keep one thing at the forefront, shall we?

All in all, despite all the filler, and a land full of Apple streamers and celebrations, it’s a functional upgrade. And if we think about it hard enough, an upgrade that could have been released for the original iPad months ago — or perhaps now, but realistically called the iPad 1.5 instead. So get your iPad 2 if you must, but if you decide to forgo it and continue to enjoy your first-generation iPad original-sauce — you’re really not missing all that much.

They think we’re all children. Yes, seriously. They think all we do is wait around looking for the best new toy, like we’re perpetually stuck in 1983, and if we don’t stampede that store, Mary-Beth the hawk-eyed PTA president with the bad perm and clogs will get the last Cabbage Patch doll. We can’t let that happen. No sir. That manufactured marketing bastard of a dumb toy will be ours. There’s really no other option. It will be ours or people will have to die. They will all just simply bend to our will or fooking disintegrate, because not to have the newest and latest is a fate worse than listening to Gilbert Gottfried say Aflac. We will have it dammit, and you can’t stop us.

[Photos via: CNET, Technorati]

The Bachelor Finale: Yep, We Watched It

(Clockwise from top: Brad, Chantal, Emily)

by DahlELama and The_Obvious

Hey guys, remember Brad? The Bachelor contestant that all of America somehow thought was a total D-Bag for not proposing to anyone he didn’t want to marry? Well, after a few therapy sessions, he returned for round two of consequence-free polygamy, and last night, in Cape Town, South Africa, he finally shed the rest of the sister-wives and nabbed himself a bride. We won’t bore you with the details of the whole season, as you’re probably familiar with the drill–guy gets a harem, guy kicks girls out of harem one by one, guy is left with two options, one of whom will get the boot and the other of whom will get the rock.

This season’s two final ladies with the best cleavage personalities were the bubbly brunette Chantal O. (yeah, there were two Chantals) and blond Southern Belle Emily. On last night’s finale, the two contestants met Brad’s family, including twin brother Chad (ha, no, seriously), Chad’s superhot wife Dylan, would-be-considered-attractive-in-any-other-family brother Wes, Wes’s wife/first cousin Prima, and Brad’s mom, who did her best to blend into the South African surroundings by dressing like a cheetah.

First up to meet the genetic lottery-winning family was Chantal O. Face, who immediately charmed Brad, Chad, Thad, and Vlad by proving that she was scary-obsessed with their brother/son. Mom and Chantal got better acquainted with some one-on-one time, and after 15 minutes of O. Face discussing how much she loved abs Brad, Mama Womack decided Chantal would make hot grandkids with her son and signaled her approval with a wink and a squeaky noise. The romantic afternoon ended with Brad announcing that he could definitely imagine proposing to Chantal… and couldn’t wait to introduce his family to Emily, the other woman he could also definitely imagine proposing to, maybe.

Before Brad’s family could meet the other love of his life, the Belle Who Never Wore Bottoms, host Chris Harrison stepped in, instructed all of them to look at the flashing light, and told them all they were all there because Brad won a trip to South Africa for his 250 word essay on why pull-ups are superior to chin-ups.

With all memories of Chantal erased, it was time to bring in BelleNoBottoms Barbie. Emily’s meeting was not all bubbles and rainbows, and the awkward getting-to-you-know took a serious turn when she revealed her tragic past. Emily was eighteen when her fiance was killed in a plane crash, and a week later, she discovered she was pregnant with her now-six-year-old daughter, Ricki. Once everyone was done having trouble telling Brad and Emily apart from Chad and Dylan, the questions began as to whether or not Brad was really ready to be a father. However, after he assured everyone that he would make a great dad because he had seen Three Men and a Baby twice, it was determined that Emily was the woman he was meant to be with.

Now, before Brad could decide which woman he wanted to sleep with for the next 3-5 months before publicly breaking up, it was time to take them each on one more unrealistic date. Again, O. Face went first, and Brad abandoned all pretense of affection by literally throwing her to the sharks. Chantal was a good sport, though, pulling off the ‘oh no, this wet suit won’t zip over my boobies!’ move with charm and grace before joining Brad in the cage from which they romantically watched the sharks fin-fiving and doing the ‘that’s-what-i’m-talkin’-bout’ nod as they checked out Chantal’s ample cleavage.

Later that night, Brad and O. Face bonded again, this time over the vomit-inducing kindergarten art project Chantal passed off as some sort of Crayola-and-paste monument to their love that she’d worked on allll night while Brad and BelleNoBottoms got their sexxx on. You see, Chantal had created a map, noting all the places she and Brad had been together, like Kamchatka and East Africa, because she traveled the world with him! And that is super meaningful! Because no one else traveled the world with him! Everyone else just played the board game version of The Bachelor and boned him over Skype while she alone traveled to Anguilla and South Africa! Except not. Anyway, their clothes stayed on the whole time, and that’s when we knew that we’d seen O. Face’s o-face for the very last time.

Then it was Emily’s turn, and because she has a kid and the producers actually care if she lives or dies, her final date was a picturesque helicopter ride. Fortunately for everyone, Emily had left her pants in the other helicopter, but Brad, good sport that he is, didn’t seem to mind. Later that night, however, Brad and Emily got into their first fight, which sounded something like this:

Emily: “Will you take my child to the hospital at 3 am because she sleep walks?”

Brad: “Yes I will. And I will be her true Father.”

Emily: “What does being a father mean to you?”

Brad: “Vague thoughts and ideas I’ve seen on television shows.”


Brad: “Listen! Listen! Listen! Vague thoughts and ideas I’ve seen on television shows.”

Emily: “Brad, I just want to make sure that you understand that kids are not fun and go to the ER every day.”

Brad: “So, am I her dad yet?”

Then he walked out, and no sex was had in Africa that night.


The time had come for Brad to make his choice, leaving one woman inconsolable for at least two hours. It was going to be a tough one. On the one hand, he and Emily had sort of gotten into a fight the night before. On the other hand, he didn’t really like Chantal at all. But on the other hand, no bottoms. But on the other hand, boobs. Drama!

The first limo pulled up, and out stepped Chantal, wearing a shiny black dress with a mess of feathers on one shoulder for luck. Brad did the honorable thing by dragging the dismissal out for a few minutes by listing all the things he loved about her before the big “but,” and to her credit, Chantal didn’t so much as smudge her makeup, probably because she didn’t seem to understand that she was being dumped until Brad finally yelled, “I WANNA BANG EMILY.” He then politely escorted her back to the limo where she was greeted by a nurse who inserted a 99 Bananas drip directly into her arm. As the limo pulled away, the raven on her shoulder could be heard quothing “Nevermore, nevermore.”

Emily’s limo pulled up next, and to make up for a season of pantslessness, she stepped out wearing a modest dress designed by the 15th Duggar daughter. After a bit of stammering and nonsense, her finger was suddenly shiny and we realized they were engaged. In the distance, the faint sound of Toto’s Africa could be heard. Mazel Tov!

Epilogue: Every night Brad sets up the Sony handheld on a tripod before slipping back into bed. He tells Emily it is to help with his withdrawal from not being on camera anymore and she is none the wiser. They are still not married. Fin.



DahlELama and The_Obvious met when she took a bus from Iowa to California and discovered him behind the bar at a Burlesque club. She is now a star, while he wears too much eyeliner and still hasn’t finished a song or appropriately dumped his fiance.

Sister Wives Recap: Reality Television Results in Surprising Lack of Privacy

Sister Wives season 2 premiered and I for one was darned glad to catch up with Kody and his concubines. They’ve had a little exposure to the Planet Earth since we last saw them. Not only are they being stalked by the paparazzi, they ended up on the receiving end of a police investigation.

They seemed genuinely puzzled by some of the public’s reaction to polygamy. Most people in Utah are very familiar with plural marriage regardless of whether or not they support it. I think before Big Love aired, most Americans had given polygamy about 3-10 minutes in their entire lives. During the polygamy compound raids, the concept of plural marriage still needed a lot of explanation for most people. I’d bet money that most TLC viewers were stunned to see actual polygamists with stylish hair and normal clothing.

The first part of the show was devoted to the Today Show interview, the first season and the initial fallout. There was quite of bit of press stalking the house although the wives quickly learned the art of evading the press. There were many, many comments made online and on TV. Then, there was the law enforcement reaction. Some of the feedback was not positive and this caused some stress. Robyn cried; Meri made unhappy faces; Janelle was resigned and Christine had a red nose.

Honestly, though, if you offer yourself up to reality television, you have to be prepared for the beast to bite back. It can offer a measure of fame but it opens you up to lots and lots of judgment which can be unpleasant. The viewing public is everywhere and they don’t necessarily agree with or even like you. Many of them will make this quite clear if they meet you in real life. Then, of course, there’s the issue of internet buzz and bloggers who like to snark about people with more interesting lives.

The kids started public school for the first time. This seems like a lot to handle in combination with the media blitz, but what do I know? (No one has offered me a reality show). They only went to one day of school so it’s hard to tell yet how the year will play out. The other kids at school were on their best behavior. They didn’t throw rocks at the self-named Plyglets and no one had a “You have Shirley Temple hair” intervention with the daughter that spent 1.5 hours on her hair. There are lots of kids in the family and they may have some safety in numbers.

There was a controversy over the school’s emergency contact forms (this is who they call when your kids get caught huffing glue in art class). Christine sees the publicity as an opportunity finally to be honest and adds her sister wives as “Other Moms” on the form. Janelle labeled the sister wives as “Aunts” which betrayed six generations of polygamists.

I have a question about Christine and her red nose. Does anyone else think she’s taking a nip here and again? Is she a real life Barb Hendrickson? I will devote the last two paragraphs to a Big Love/Sister Wives narrative analysis for fans of both shows, but I definitely think Christine has a hot toddy once in a while.

I love it when the cameras move throughout the family’s house(s?). I’m obsessed with catching glimpses of their style and taste. Christine is a fan of decorating by hanging dried flowers upside down and taping them to the wall. Next to decorated hats on a wall, this is my least favorite form of décor. I also saw some borders adorned with geese and flowers. In the background, I caught a glimpse of the ice blocks that the family stocks up for some religious cult tomfoolery called ice-blocking.

There are just so, so many things to talk about. I’m going to wind it down, but here is a quick Big Love/Sister Wives analysis for fans of both shows:

There are several interesting parallels between this season’s Big Love (the fictional polygamists) and The Brown Family on Sister Wives. Both families opted for public exposure at the end of last season. Both have a narcissistic patriarch that I’d sort of like to punch. Both families also have a wide variety of children that I find difficult to keep track of (excepting Ben and Sarah on Big Love).

I got into some serious analysis on this and here’s my Big Love to Sister Wives conversion. Kody is obviously Bill. Janelle and Christine combine to equal Barb (We need both Jenelle’s common sense and Christine’s management skills to equal one fictional polygamy first wife). Meri is Nikki. I know she’s actually the first wife but I felt there was a better parallel between Meri’s chronic sourpuss and Nikki’s self-interested and judgmental approach to almost everything. Robyn is obviously Margene. No explanations needed there.

How to Survive the Coming Obamacolypse

America is doomed. The signs are everywhere. The economy is collapsing, America is declining in international influence, and the president is, um, ethnic. These are desperate times for Decent Americans© and desperate times call for desperate measures. Fortunately for you, I have scoured the internet to find out the tips that will help you survive the Hobbesian hellscape that will soon be America. Please print this article and post in it your bunker, rumpus room, or wherever it is you plan on riding out socialist/nazi/progressive Armageddon.

We don’t know exactly how America will go down, but let’s look at some of the more likely scenarios.

  • Chinese Take Over. Obama will sell out America to the Reds and we will all be forced to read The Little Red Book. Note: this will be more than most of us have read in a decade. We will be all forced into slave labor and uncomfortable uniforms. I’m not sure what is supposed to happen after this, but it involves foreigners, so it can’t be good.
  • New World Order. Obama will sell out America to rich, shadowy elites. The economy will be gutted and true patriots will be forced into concentration camps. We all get forced vaccinations and tracking chips. However, it looks like they will keep reality TV and beer flowing to hypnotize the masses, so it might not be that bad. Bonus, the government might finally get rid of your irritating cousins in Missouri.
  • Economic Peak Oil Anarchistic Collapse Thingy. Obama will sell out America to foreign economic interests. This is the fun one. Part Mad Max, part Wall Street Journal; this is the one that separates the men from the boys. Expect highwaymen, biker gangs, and (god willing) cannibals. This is a very ammo intensive scenario, and you will be able to barter your daughter’s virtue for 10 gallons of gas.
  • The Tribulation. Jesus is back and he’s totally pissed at Obama and all you commies who voted for him. Rivers of blood with patches of locusts are likely, unless you are raptured up at the beginning (you won’t be, whore). Guns aren’t particularly useful, but you might want to brush up on you Leviticus, because it’s probably going to be more of an Old Testament kind of deal.

What does one bring to the End Times? While it depends a little on the specific dystopian conditions you are facing, but there are always some key supplies useful for any fighter in the Army of the Righteous.

  • Guns, guns, and more guns. Buy ammo now because Hillary Clinton is conspiring to take you guns away. You can never have enough guns, and keep them unlocked and loaded so you can get to them right away when the thugs from the teacher’s union come to take you to patriot detention.
  • At least two years worth of overpriced, crappy dehydrated food. Put this in your basement in an area where it will inevitably get moldy and attract ants. This will piss of your spouse but they will thank you when martial law comes, if you are still married at that point. You can also grow a survival garden, but you will have to protect it from the hordes of marauding drug addicts that have fled the major cities.
  • That Glenn Beck book about the revolution. I guess the sex scenes are pretty lame, but a good way to pass the time until Rand Paul and Michelle Bachman can establish a new territorial government in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
  • Gold, gold, and more gold. Sure, gold is just another arbitrary symbol of value and has no intrinsic worth, but the lady on the shortwave told me I need some. However, you do get some kind of Twilight Zone hubris points if you starve to death in you basement surrounded by 50 pounds of the stuff.

Now you know what’s coming and you have your supplies. Let me give you a few tips

  • Stay away from FEMA! Even though they have the food, medicine, and shelter, somehow they are the bad guys in this and they will make you into Harry Dean Stanton in Red Dawn.
  • Your neighbors are the enemy, and must be dealt with accordingly. A crisis is no time for community cooperation (fucking progressives). This is every patriot for themselves even if it would be more beneficial for everyone to work together. Someone has to be the asshole on the block that suggests executing the Jenkins kid, be that asshole.
  • Shoot first; let the grand jury sort it out later. Look, maybe you got a little carried away, but the power had been out for 4 hours and there was no air conditioning. A jury of your peers will totally understand that you had to shoot Bob and take his cooler to survive.
  • Plan for the worst so you don’t have to put in the effort to make the best. We could probably avoid a social meltdown if we would all work together in a spirit of compromise and shared values, but who has time for that? Genuine efforts to make America a better place are so boring and non-violent. It’s a lot more entertaining complain about being the victim and troll your neighbors at a city zoning hearing by wearing a side arm.

So now you’re ready. If anyone tries to force you to gay marry or serve on a death panel you can resist just like Patrick Henry, if Patrick Henry had been a crazy, self-centered bastard. Be strong America. President Palin is only a couple of years away. Courage.