New Blog Carnival Showcase Extravaganza No. 2

The following are all brand-new blogs -- except for a few that aren't really brand new, but are still kinda new, so I've included them in this showcase anyway, 'cause I like 'em.

Please, check these sites out; be kind and give a couple of them a link or blogroll 'em; and email them some comments and suggestions while they're still young and impressionable.

(Hint: If you'd rather not leave Celebrity Cola while looking at the various blogs in the showcase, simply hold down on the SHIFT key on your keyboard while clicking on any of the links below. That way, the blogs will open up in a new window.)

And now, let the showcase begin! This is all good stuff:

Arizona Perspective and Junk covers news and events, uniquely Arizona info, and other interesting things (such as science, culture, cooking, and the arts).

Bobo Blogger rants about a lot of stuff, including the recent suit filed on behalf of Tsunami victims.

Catoptrophobe Nightmare is the online journal of a NYC law student, with the usual roundup of news and rants.

Circadiana is a blog dedicated to the study of biological timing, including circadian (and other) rhythms and clocks, as well as the biology of sleep.

Don't Touch the Feet is a mixture of personal rants, musings on celebrity culture, and "things about my friends that make me laugh" -- all sprinkled with appropriate doses of outrage and humor, and tended to "with the care of an orchid gardener."

Flaming Duck is the home of a Virginia-based, Republican, ex-navy nuclear submarine sailor, who is now working in local government. The blog comments on global, national, and local news and politics, while explaining why the U.S. political system is better than anyone else's.

At Haiku 4 You, Mr. Haiku writes a new poem every day (in the epigrammatic Japanese verse form of three short lines, of course). The haikus document everything from personal events to the death of Hunter S. Thompson, with useful links embedded in the verse.

HerWryness attempts to find "fulfillment and the forbearance of faith while living with Fibromyalgia, Fatigue and Arthritis." Also, discover why she is "tired to death of the word journey."

Hill Country Views is composed of ramblings from the Texas hill country, from a self-proclaimed "liberal conservative." Read his article on the "Surprising and Unreported Trend In Family Size."

Komputa Muso (The Musings on a Theme of "Sod Themes" Sorta Theme) is from some funny Irish bloke who does go on about anything and everything... including the urination habits of men in public bathrooms.

Liberty Cadre is a United Kingdom-based libertarian site that offers positive, practical suggestions on how to help the U.K. Libertarian cause, as well as focusing on liberty issues in
and the world beyond.

Lockjaw's Lair writes about politics and current events, including the difference between the "Mainstream Media (MSM) and the Blogosphere."

Maggie's Farm is an eccentric, idiosyncratic blog concerning news and politics, written from the perspective of "skeptical, politically centrist" humans and animals.

My Meandering Thoughts explores love, politics, and personal musings in an attempt to "start a dialogue with people from other countries and cultures." covers topics important to atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists ("the world's fourth largest belief system with 850 million people") in a format that seems to be part blog and part traditional website resource.

Dean Abbott's Notes and Meditations is devoted to pop culture, travel, science, religion, technology, the arts, and history -- but Dean also gives a thorough analysis of what Debbie Gibson appearing in Playboy really means.

Pratie Place doesn't "write about Iraq or kitties," opting instead to cover such diverse topics as religion in Transylvania, strange verbs in England, and the demolishing of the Great Wall of China.

Quid Nimis ("something in excess") is a political blog with a dash of humor. For instance, the site wonders if a woman wearing a short skirt can really be called "torture."

Slipshod and Simple chronicles the whims and opinions of a frustrated writer living in East Hampton, NY. With a bit o' wit, he drops info on everything from TV to technology.

The Sorest Loser answers questions such as "Should Steroids be Illegal?" and "Is Our Military Targeting Journalists?" with thoughtful, original essays.

Stupid Beautiful Lies is the "outlet for a twenty-something musician hidden deep in the nation of Canada," tracking such diverse topics as a scientist finding God (this story appears to be a fake, hoax, or misleading meme) and why Mediocrity Sells.

Technudge is an "irreverent smack at technology with sprinklings of puns and humor" from the former writer of the old Hard Edge column at Computer Shopper (as well as being the Bill at, which was written with Alice Hill from Real Tech News).

Universal Acid is about biology and politics and covers such topics as the non-existent link between the MMR vaccine and autism, the reasons one might have for opposing reproductive cloning, and the Larry Summers "innate gender differences" and science controversy.

Witnit takes "humorous analysis of relatively inconsequential things to a hyperbolic extreme."

And, finally, WuzzaDem keeps a close and satiric eye on the world of politics and the political media, with posts such as "Eason Jordan's Checkered Past."


New Blog Carnival Showcase Extravaganzas have been or will be hosted by the following blogs in 2005:

Feb 14 - Simon World
Feb 21 - Lucas Brachish
Feb 28 - Karin
Mar 7 - Sadie
Mar 14 - Josh Cohen
Mar 21- Snooze Button Dreams
Mar 28 - Mookie
April 4 - Disintegrator
Apr 11 - Ogre's View
Apr 18 - Nerf Coated World
May 9 - Baboon Pirates

For updates to this list, or to sign up to host a future showcase, visit Munuviana's showcase headquarters. To enter your new blog into the showcase, choose the week you'd like to be featured, and then visit that week's host for more details.

Related Post: The New Blog Showcase entry rules (for the Celebrity Cola edition of the above showcase) and a proposed “slightly older blogs that people need to read” showcase.

When Sitcoms Make You Weep

I just received a strange and poignant email from a close friend of mine who’s known in certain circles as Johnny K. Thunder. He has never, ever sent me a chain letter or a mass-email or asked me to commit to a pyramid scheme. But now, after a decade of friendly, personal emails, he has discovered a New Lord Almighty. And so he’s deemed it necessary to share the faith:

Greetings everyone,

I don’t usually do the mass email thing, but I’m asking for a simple favor—a sad, mournful plea—please take some time every Sunday night and watch the Fox show “Arrested Development.” I know there are more important things out there in the world, but when it comes to Television, quality is eroding more and more each season. It’s getting to the point that you have to turn to premium cable to find good television, such as HBO’s “The Wire” and “The Sopranos,” but last season we were given a gift on Sundays and that gift was “.”

This show became the Great New Sitcom and it couldn’t have come at a better time. When we’re not being bombarded with low-rent reality shows, we have to deal with hackneyed sitcoms that star has-been comedians or shows that have an overweight slob married to some gorgeous woman who in real life would be way out of his league. We know everybody loves Raymond, we live in the world according to Jim, we accept that Damon Wayans has a wife and kids. Been there done that— but then along comes a thing of beauty floating through our screens on Sunday nights.

If you haven’t seen “Arrested Development,” it’s simple: It’s brilliant. It gives you everything: highbrow lowbrow, lowbrow highbrow, and lowbrow done in highbrow style. It’s not hard to pick up the deceptively simple storyline (they explain it in the opening credits), but you’re rewarded if you continue to watch additional episodes, with clever references to past episodes hidden snuggly away in every new script.

After a few weeks, you’ll pick up on the thousands of little jokes—and each episode is worth repeated viewing because you discover a cornucopia of subtle inside jokes you missed the first time. All this, and yet each episode stands on its own.

But now, in its second season, it’s threatened with cancellation once again.

I like the “The Simpsons” and all, but it’s the sitcom of the 20th century. “Arrested” is the 21st century sitcom. “Arrested” is new, different, better. Tell all of your friends about the show, and force them to watch it (at gunpoint, if necessary) because in order to save it, we need viewers. You can also go to the Fox website and petition them to keep the show, but I recommend you do it after watching a few episodes—that way, your message will be more heartfelt.

Also, rent or buy the first season DVD collection. Trust me: You won’t be disappointed. The DVDs are real cheap compared to most DVD sets, and the show works even better without commercial breaks. Get it in widescreen digital if you can find it. And with your purchase you’ll send a message to the suits out there in TV land. A memorandum that we’re tired of seeing has-been celebrities living in a house and trying to figure out the grocery bills, we’re tired of karaoke singers trying to get multimillion dollar music deals, we’re tired of hunks building houses for kids with no bones. We’re tired of rich debutantes mocking us simple folk. We’re also tired of Ryan Seacrest. Wait; maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’m the one tired of Ryan Seacrest.

“Arrested” might get cancelled, but we can at least try to save it. Let’s do it! You and me, together. Like old war buddies, reliving the glory days. Even if you're downloading this show commercial-free via illegal BitTorrent sharing, make sure you spread the Good Word of the "Arrested" Gospel. And if you're part of Nielsen Media Research's worldwide lab-rat TV sample team, leave your damn remote firmly pointed at this show, and this show only.

This crazy little sitcom makes me forget I live in a trailer with a three-legged, one-eye dog with the cutest eye patch you’ve ever seen. There I said it. Please, I beg you: Don’t abandon me with bad TV.


Johnny K. Thunder

An awkward moment for Will Arnett as
George Oscar 'Gob' Bluth II, in banana costume.
In the air. With crane.
(You had to be there. It was funny.
I swear: It was, it was.)


Now, trip down memory lane with Mitchell Hurwitz as he discusses the down-and-dirty details of working on sitcoms— including his creation of the absolutely staggeringly brilliant "Arrested Development"—with The Onion A.V. Club.


The Apocalyptic Battle Between Science, Religion, Republicans, the Environment, and Those Dreaded Neo-Hippies

A tiny segment of the global population has been waging an effective war against environmental awareness for years, warping hundreds of millions of otherwise sane individuals into believing that pollution is little more than a liberal, left-wing bogeyman.

This most recently came to light with the publication of Christine Todd Whitman’s new book, “It’s My Party, Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America” (Penguin Press, 2005), in which the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency (and a former favorite politico among scores of conservatives) describes how the Republican-led U.S. government has systematically gone about crippling the EPA’s usefulness. Whitman was not loved by Democrats or environmentalists, but she makes a strong case for herself as being the lesser of many evils. In fact, under the pressures of an anti-environment administration and powerful corporate lobbyists, she stood her ground until forced to resign.

On Sept. 15, 2003, best-selling fiction author Michael Crichton, with his prestigious Ivy League anthropology and medical degrees in tow, did his part to confuse the issue. In his speech before the Commonwealth Club, he stated that pro-environment thinkers are steeped in mythical beliefs, that “second hand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was” and “evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents would ever admit.” He goes on to equate environmentalists to a fundamentalist religious cult (which, not coincidentally, is also the theme of his anti-global-warming-theory novel, “State of Fear”)

The comparison of environmentalism to other religious systems is valid—particularly the idea that modern environmentalism contains aspects of age-old mythic structures, even variants of Judeo-Christian concepts such as of Eden and Judgment Day. I wouldn’t consider pulp-writer Michael Crichton the most literate authority on these matters, but he notes an abundance of interesting parallels between religious and environmental beliefs.

And Crichton’s base argument is also sound—he wants to take the politics and myths out of science and environmental conservation, in an effort to have people from all aspects of the political system participate in scientific studies and practical conservation efforts. Regrettably, right-wing industrialists have latched onto Crichton’s philosophical thoughts and science-fiction paranoia to bolster their case against environmental conservation in general.

Christian writer Regis Nicoll vehemently attacks environmentalists in “The New World Religion: Environmentalism and the Western World” using Crichton’s words as proof positive. He takes the concept a step further by implying it’s thoroughly un-Christian to care about the environment too much. After all, if the world is a polluted wasteland, it’s a just punishment for mankind’s Original Sin: “According to the biblical worldview, things like our planet’s wellness are the way they are not because man has broken shalom with creation, but because he has broken shalom with his Creator.”

Nicoll’s argument—like Crichton’s broad summarizations and unfounded conclusions—stoops to setting up straw men to easily knock down. For instance, claiming that most environmentalists believe the Earth was once a utopian paradise that man has destroyed gives the author an easy target. He sets the straw afire by pointing out the untruth of pre-industrial utopia: a high infant mortality rate, prehistoric massacres, plagues, etc.

But few environmentalists believe in “Edenic utopia”—it’s the Judeo-Christians that tell tales of Eden. The environmentalist commoner is instead fighting to keep the environment stabilized; perhaps revert it to optimum conditions. Sending the masses out to live in the woods on idyllic grower co-ops is not the standard pro-environment message. No one’s saying that eating organic food is going to keep society at peace. In reality, Crichton and Nicoll are both attacking some 1960s-based Earth Goddess fringe element that they see as an enemy. But they couch their arguments to include the entire mass media (paranoia?) and any non-Christian that likes organic veggies and dislikes second-hand smoke.

Has environmentalism truly become a new religion? Maybe for a very small sect of people, but not many. A more valid argument would be this: Science has replaced religion. Science is the new religion. That’s why there’s been such long-standing animosity toward science by the major world religious structures. Environmental “beliefs” (some might even say “facts,” but lets go with Science as religion analogy here for moment) are a meager piece of the science puzzle. Any fundamentalist attack against environmentalism is likely a covert attack on science itself. This is understandable, of course, since religion and science both attempt to explain the same thing (the meaning and cause of life, the universe, and everything), and their conclusions are in constant conflict.

Did Christianity replace Greco-Roman beliefs in gods and monsters because Jesus was “true” and Zeus was “false”? No. The story of Jesus was more believable, his conclusions and teachings were more sensible and relevant, and the New Testament applied to a broader range of individuals than the Old Testament or Hellenic belief systems. There’s a limited amount of fact propping up all religions, so what it all boils down to is how well the story is told, how many people the story applies to, how much of the universe the story explains, how hard it is to prove the story absolutely false, and how warm and fuzzy it makes people feel (or scared shitless, so long as a warm-and-fuzzy alternative path to redemption is available).

Modern science—with its empirical evidence, evolving arguments, and careful studies—has all mythic/supernatural religions beat, hands down, in most of those categories. It tells a damn good story, it changes like a chameleon every time an aspect of it is proved false, it attempts to explain everything that’s asked of it, it grows and develops with time instead of depending on winged creatures and men walking on water in far off times and lands, and it tells a more believable and immediately useful tale than anything found in the tomes of old. And every religious person and institution knows in its secret heart that if science (or a competing religion) makes more sense and is more provable than itself, then eventually the moral support system being propped up by the religion will fail and people will be momentarily devastated and the institution will loose its power and go broke.

So every religion has to fight for its survival, even if it means mocking all of its competitors senseless, and chief among modern religious competitors is—don’t doubt it for a second—science. Regrettably, science fails in the key category of offering individuals a warm-and-fuzzy alternative path to redemption, which is why religion keeps crying checkmate and trumping the fearsome intelligentsia. Religion provides humanity with a purpose, salvation, and a moral structure; science is more existential, and simply reports the facts and makes careful conjectures, without offering immediate hope for heaven and the afterlife. (God is your daddy; science is your well-read uncle. The problem is, dad hasn't actually visited in at least 2,000 years, and your uncle is paying all the bills.)

The environment might not be as hot a topic as, say, evolution, and most Christians have managed to rationalize large chunks of modern science—especially in the realm of medicine (other than Christian Scientists)—but at a time when the right-wing political ideologues have scooped up the Christian vote thanks to moral issues, it’s to be expected that right-wing crusades will likewise gain precedence in Christian thinking. So suddenly we’re reminded that God made the Earth, and therefore the left-wingers in America must be crazy for wanting to do God’s job of protecting the Earth. This has nothing to do with multinational corporations trying to save millions by not having to properly manage waste, no. It’s a religious issue!

By the end of his article, Nicoll does come around by saying, “Unarguably we must be world stewards whose actions are responsible and sympathetic to the environment.” But he does so grudgingly. It’s not because of science, he’s saying, that we should protect the environment, but instead “because the cosmos and everything in it is a product of divine intention” (i.e., God probably doesn’t like toxic waste, either, but let’s not get worked up about it, because he hates gays more).

Crichton, being a better storyteller, begins his speech by saying “I believe it is important to act in ways that are sympathetic to the environment, and I believe this will always be a need, carrying into the future. I believe the world has genuine problems and I believe it can and should be improved.”

Both men, however, then go about setting up alarmist scenarios that hint at crazy, environment-based religions trying to mind-wipe the world. Crichton seemingly does this to attack the entire left wing of world politics, but his arguments are inventive and wide-ranging enough to be justified and appreciated as a Devil’s Advocate perspective; also, he’s right in believing that wrapping the environmental movement in only one political ideology and sprucing it up with myths is a dead end.

But Nicoll has his own end: to attack science in general and all non-Christians. It’s also important to note that Nicoll worked for the nuclear power industry for 30 years, which sheds a varying light on his biases.

However you look at it, there's only one simple verity: Unless the Christian Judgment day comes within our lifetimes, fixing the environment must be a priority. A cleaner environment, coupled with modern medicine, will allow everyone to live longer, healthier lives.

If you don’t believe in the benefits of a cleaner atmosphere, try sitting in a locked, air-tight garage with a running car for a few hours (you get bonus points if you have a friend emitting second-hand cigar smoke beside you), then sit by a river in a National Park, and then tell me which experience made your lungs feel better.


And now, just for fun . . .

Check out
"What Was God Thinking? Science Can't Tell," in which Nobel-prize winning physicist Eric Cornell discusses why the sky is blue and where and when Intelligent Design ("ID"), religion, and evolution should be used in the classroom. (This essay was originally published in Time Magazine, adapted from a speech Cornell gave earlier while accepting a prestigious science award).

Read “Methods Muslims use to attack Christianity.” It's a great piece, because with some simple twisting of the author's logic, you can use his arguments to defend any belief against anything...

And wallow in the popular-media-ignored dirt (the mud, filth, and veracity) on lovely, kind, soon-to-be-sainted Mother Teresa, courtesy of Free Inquiry magazine. The conversation between Christopher Hitchens and Matt Cherry quickly evolves into a freeform discussion on secularism, worldwide humanism, and religion in America. ("American fundamentalism has one huge problem," says Hitchens. "Which is that the United States is nowhere prefigured in the Bible. It worries them a lot, they keep trying to find it there, they try to interpret prophecies to refer to the United States, but they can't succeed—even to their own satisfaction—in getting it to come out right.")


The Atheist Handbook
"Calling all Pagans: It's time to fight back!"

The New Blog Showcase



On Feb. 21, 2005, Celebrity Cola hosted the New Blog Carnival Showcase Extravaganza No. 2, and I think it turned out rather well.

The New Blog Carnival Showcase Extravaganzas are only intended to feature blogs that are three months old or younger. If your blog is too old for the showcase, you can always trying begging, and if that week’s host is kind, they may let you into the showcase anyway. If not, never fear...

I’ll be hosting a showcase for slightly older blogs at some point in the future; so if you'd like to be included in my “slightly older blogs that people need to read” showcase, drop me an email at brachish [at] However, it might take me many, many months before I actually ever get around to putting that together, so you should definitely give the New Blog Carnival Showcase Extravaganza a shot first.

The general rules and need-to-know links for entering the New Blog Carnival Showcase Extravaganza (aka, the New New Blog Showcase) are below.

To enter my proposed “slightly older blogs that people need to read” showcase, the rules will basically be the same: email me the name of your blog, a brief description of your blog, and links to a few of your favorite posts. Include brief descriptions along with these links, as well. Also, provide a link back to Celebrity Cola and/or a link back to this New Blog Showcase page on Celebrity Cola. Read on . . .


Celebrity Cola hosted the Feb. 21 edition of The New Blog Showcase Carnival, a roundup/contest for new, up-and-coming, and unexposed blogs. (The Feb. 14 edition was hosted by Munuviana.)

For the Feb. 21 Showcase, the following rules applied:

Email brachish [at] and put the word "Showcase" in your subject line. Also, briefly describe your site and why you should be included. We encourage you to send us links to your favorite posts instead of just your site in general... So, if you have particular posts you want us to look at or link to, include the URLs.

You must provide a link back to to be considered for the Feb. 21 roundup . . . The idea being that if everyone links to us that week, we'll get more visitors, so everyone in the showcase (including you!) will get more exposure. Also, it'd be cool if you linked to the Showcase's permanent headquarters, so new bloggers will be able to find it in the future.

And if everyone could quickly link to (or blogroll) a couple of their favorite blogs from this showcase, it'd also be excellent. So share the wealth -- everyone will end up getting more traffic and a better search-engine ranking if they share links with these quality sites (well, I'm hoping we get some quality entries, anyway).

There will be no voting or fighting for "best blog" or anything like that. The Feb. 21 Showcase will simply list off a bunch of Celebrity Cola's favorite new blogs, along with excerpts from, descriptions of, and possibly opinions on the entries -- and anyone who wants to leave comments will be free to do so. If we get a lot of submissions, we'll organize the blogs by category.

I don't have any great prizes to hand out, other than linking to your site in the Showcase article itself, but a few lucky Showcase participants will probably be given semi-permanent links in my sidebar/blogroll. And I have a couple of Gmail accounts to give out ... so if you'd like to compete for one of those, include a note in your submission, and I'll randomly choose some winners.

To volunteer to host a future New Blog Showcase, visit

Get ready! And good luck . . .