This week in race relations

From big city

Dov-Hikind-facebook-cropped-proto-custom_28A veteran New York Assemblyman on Monday stood by his decision to wear blackface makeup, an Afro wig and a basketball jersey to a costume party in the face of criticism he called “political correctness to the absurd.”

Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind wrote on his blog Monday that he doesn’t understand the criticism swirling around Albany and doesn’t know why anyone would be offended by the costume he wore to a party he recently held at his home in Brooklyn to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim.

… to small town America …

north-dakota-kkk-hoods-cropped-proto-custom_28A North Dakota high school principal says appropriate action is being taken after three students briefly donned Ku Klux Klan-style white robes and hoods Friday night during a state hockey semifinal game.

The photo caused an uproar on Twitter when it was posted by 19-year-old Shane Schuster, who was seated with some friends at Ralph Engelstad Arena when something in the student section across the rink caught his eye.

“I thought, ‘Are those KKK hoods?’ I couldn’t believe it,” Schuster said. “I was shocked.”

… some folk just need to be slapped into next week, as my Big Ma used to say. (From TPM)

How to become pope

Pope Benedict XVI retires at the end of the month, the first time a pope has resigned in about 600 years. So the job’s open. Do you qualify?

If I remember correctly, the last guy to become pope without being a cardinal or bishop was, depending on what country you’re from, Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca or Patrick McKenna from Italy or Northern Ireland. But he was a fictional character in a Dan Brown novel.


Sally Field: Will the Oscar like her again?

The Academy Awards are tonight. I’ve seen a lot of the movies and actually posted on the Best Animated Short nominees, and saw all of the Live Action Short nominees, which were fascinating, especially “Henry” and “Death of a Shadow.”

And this was a pretty good year in movies, so I don’t have any real favorites for any of the major categories.  Except for one.

Anne Hathaway is considered the shoo-in for “Les Misérables,” but I really would like to see Sally Field win for “Lincoln.”

Field is a great actress. We old people remember her when she was “Gidget” and “The Flying Nun” on TV. We remember that weird romance with Burt Reynolds that ended up with her in those bad “Smokey and the Bandit” movies in the ’70s. We’ve seen the weird Hollywood treatment of actresses of a certain age; how in 1988, she played the love interest of Tom Hanks in “Punchline,” and six years later, she played his mother in “Forrest Gump.”

We also remember when we realized she was a great actress, with the performance as the woman with multiple-personality disorder in the TV movie “Sybil” in 1976. Then she went two-for-two in Best Actress Oscar nominations, winning for “Norma Rae” in 1979 and “Places in the Heart” in 1984.

But when she won her second Oscar, she was unfairly ridiculed for this acceptance speech:

We hear a lot of snark about people being phony and insincere in moments like these, but here we have someone who is truly moved that her peers acknowledge her work, and she speaks honestly. She lets the world know how she feels. And the result was she got ridiculed, for years afterward, with the “You like me” jokes.

So I want to see Sally Field win the Oscar tonight. I want to see her walk up on that stage, hold that golden statue, look over the crowd and say, “Wow! Looks like you still like me!”

Guns don’t kill people. Ovens kill people.

Another one for the gun nut file:

An 18-year-old Florida woman was only slightly injured this week when she was shot by her friend’s oven, police said.

Aalaya Walker was visiting a friend in St. Petersburg Monday when they decided they wanted some late-night waffles, The Tampa Bay Times reported. So Walker began preheating the oven — unaware that her friend, JJ Sandy, 25, was storing a magazine from his .45-caliber Glock 21 in the oven.

The magazine exploded about 9 p.m. ET, spraying casing fragments at high speed and striking Walker.

She didn’t die, but had to go to the hospital for minor injuries. But I can’t figure out …

First: Why do you put a gun magazine in an oven? Does he like the feel of hot lead?

Second: Why do you preheat an oven to make waffles? Don’t you use a waffle iron or a toaster? Surely if you can afford a gun, you can afford an appliance.

Third: Why doesn’t she dump this clown? Sounds like he’d leave a stick of dynamite in a microwave.

The next thing in technology: OK, Glass

There’s been a lot of coverage about Google Glass the past week. It’s wearable technology that let’s you do all the things you do on your smartphone through a pair of glasses (get research, directions, take photos, take video among other things).

I thought when the iPhone came up with Siri, that was a big deal. Now, Siri is, “So 2011.”

But Google Glass has a hefty price tag. Up to $1,500. Probably will be available for Christmas. For a few people.

You see, Google’s pulling one of these limited release marketing scams, having “a few” people write a brief essay on what they would do with the technology, and if it likes the answer, that person gets a pair. For $1,500.

The old “only special people can have this” routine. Which means it isn’t going to, let’s say, the 90% of America that can’t afford an expensive tech toy.

Here’s the deal (Yes, this now makes me an unpaid advertising shill for Google):

How to apply

We’re looking for bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be a part of shaping the future of Glass. We’d love to make everyone an Explorer, but we’re starting off a bit smaller. We’re still in the early stages, and while we can’t promise everything will be perfect, we can promise it will be exciting.

Using Google+ or Twitter, tell us what you would do if you had Glass, starting with the hashtag #ifihadglass.

  • Your application must be 50 words or less

  • You must include #ifihadglass in your application

  • You can include up to 5 photos with your application

  • You can include a short video (15 secs max)

  • Be sure to follow us on Google+ (+ProjectGlass) or Twitter (@projectglass) so that we can contact you directly

  • You must be at least 18 years old and live in the U.S. to apply

    What happens next?

    The deadline for applications is February 27th. If you are chosen, we will reach out to you with an invitation to become a Glass Explorer (please remember to follow us so that we can contact you directly). Explorers will each need to pre-order a Glass Explorer Edition for $1500 plus tax and attend a special pick-up experience, in person, in New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles.

  • For more details, please see our full Terms and FAQ

So, you have to write an essay. Send Google $1,500. Then, if you’re one of the chosen few, you get to fly out to NYC, SF or LA, on your own dime, to pick up your glasses? For something that in a couple of years is going to come down in price about 60% and will be available at the Mall at St. Matthews in the Louisville suburbs?

I can wait.

The Republican Savior

Here we go again. Another instance where I am slapped back into reality.

I heard someone say recently that a magazine had Marco Rubio, the Tea Bagging Republican senator from Florida, on the cover calling him the Republican savior. And I thought it was a joke, because of his GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech, where he did this:

Like, WHO DOES THAT??!! I’m not a public speaker, but I’ve been around television to know that when you’re giving a major speech, you don’t reach clumsily for a bottle of water that’s outside the camera’s field of vision because … well, take a look at the clip again … that’s why! That just shows the guy isn’t ready for prime time.

But I’m on mass transit this morning, and there’s a woman with a magazine in her hand, and the cover is this:


Really? Why is he the “Republican Savior?”

Because he turned water into whine.