Monkees Davy Jones Dead, Mormons Mum on Proxy Baptism


Monkees lead singer Davy Jones has taken the last  train to Clarksville, and for fans of the iconic 60s band, it’s become an un-Pleasant Valley Wednesday as news of the singer’s death at age 66 from a massive heart attack hit Facebook. The Monkees were formed in 1966 as for-television version of the Beatles. Though a created band, the group–which included Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith, and Peter Tork–fought for the right to control the music put out under their names.

Though the Monkees series only ran for two seasons on television, the band continued to record and perform through 1970–at one point the Jimi Hendrix Experience was the group’s opening act–and making the commercial flop/cult favorite movie HEAD with Jack Nicholson, and their songs left an indelible impression on young fans and generations to come, with MTV and Nickelodeon spawning an outbreak of Monkees fever. The group reunited and toured as recently as the summer of 2011.

No word yet if the Mormons plan to baptize Jones.

Bandmate Michael Nesmith posted this on his Facebook page:

All the lovely people. Where do they all come from? So many lovely and heartfelt messages of condolence and sympathy, I don’t know what to say, except my sincere thank you to all. I share and appreciate your feelings.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. While it is jarring, and sometimes seems unjust, or strange, this transition we call dying and death is a constant in the mortal experience that we know almost nothing about. I am of the mind that it is a transition and I carry with me a certainty of the continuity of existence. While I don’t exactly know what happens in these times, there is an ongoing sense of life that reaches in my mind out far beyond the near horizons of mortality and into the reaches of infinity.

That David has stepped beyond my view causes me the sadness that it does many of you. I will miss him, but I won’t abandon him to mortality. I will think of him as existing within the animating life that insures existence. I will think of him and his family with that gentle regard in spite of all the contrary appearances on the mortal plane.

David’s spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us.

I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels.

Mormons Posthumously Baptized Slain Reporter Daniel Pearl

The Mormon practice of baptizing dead people who aren’t Mormons has just hit a new low.  Last week it was revealed that Anne Frank was posthumously baptized for the  ninth time, and now the Boston Globe reports that Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped and slain by Islamic terrorists in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2002, was posthumously baptized in June, 2011. The proxy baptism  was conducted in a Mormon temple in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Pearl’s family was not notified of his forced afterlife conversion at the time, and only learned of it from the Globe. Pearl’s widow Mariane said the baptism showed

lack of respect for Danny and a lack of respect for his parents

while his mother said,

As a matter of ethics, I think it’s wrong.

Mormons are technically only supposed to proxy baptize family members into the faith, one of the main reasons for church’s maintenance of detailed genealogical records.  According to church officials, Pearl’s baptism was a

serious breach of protocol

because it was not performed by a relative.  Anne Frank’s ninth baptism occurred in the Dominican Republic. It seems unlikely that any of her relatives were involved in the ceremony, which involves teenage Mormons taking the name of the deceased before being dunked in a pool supported by carvings of twelve oxen which represent the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The purpose of proxy baptism is to allow the souls of the deceased to meet up with their kin in the afterlife and populate that family’s specific part of heaven on their own planet. Mormon’s claim that

the baptized can choose in the afterlife whether to accept salvation and join the church as Mormons,

but given the unknown geography of the afterlife, it is unclear how and if the deceased would be able to express their opinion, and where they would go if they chose not to live in Mormon Heaven with their adoptive family.

In response to Mormon proxy baptism, a website has set up to convert all dead Mormons to gay, and conservative talk show host Stephen Colbert proxy converted all dead Mormons to Judaism by performing a bris (circumcision) on a hotdog.

The increasing exposure of the Mormon addiction to dunking dead people against their families’ wishes could cause a Mittstorm for  GOP hopeful Willard Romney, who is a staunch adherent to Mormonism, since posthumously baptizing people without their families’ consent looks selfish and creepy, and raises questions about imposing one’s faith on another.



Late Night FDL: Cats, Kittens, Mittens and Santorum


Let’s face it, we know the Internet was invented to showcase cats, and we may have reached the absolute end of the Internet with this latest entry into politics. However, Hank the Cat may face some obstacles in his Senate run, because well, you have to be (technically) human to be elected. Rombot: Barely human.

However Hank is unlikely to cough up a hairball over the separation of church and state, something that makes Rick Santorum throw up. What else might make Santorum spew puke? But now, like a dog, Frothy Mix Rick wants to eat the words he vomited about JFK, telling Laura Ingraham:

I wish I had that particular line back.

He went on to say:

I think we need to have a free exercise of religion in this country and it’s important for those First Amendment freedoms to be alive and well in America.

So that means he’d be cool with an endorsement from Druids, Wiccans and Aleister Crowely’s Ordo Templi Orientis? What about the Temple of Set and the Church of Satan? Just checking. ‘Cause you know, free exercise of religion means freedom for all religions to exercise. And some of them exercise in the nude.

Meanwhile in Michigan, Democrats have been voting for Santorum against Romney in the primary. Good strategy or bad?

Boring, Free: Kid Rock Shows Up for Mittens in Michigan


While Megadeath frontman Dave Mustaine’s endorsement of Santorum sounded like an elaborate troll with the punchline of

Who doesn’t  like anal lube in their feces?

sadly it was not.  But there’s no need to wonder about Kid Rock, whose song “Born Free” has been used by Mitt Romney as a rally opener. Kid Rock showed up on stage at the Royal Oak Tree Theater for a Mitt Romney event and was introduced by the GOP candidate.  Unfortunately Mitt didn’t quote the lyrics of the song to describe Kid Rock as

Wild like an untamed stallion

or vice versa which would have been mildly amusing. Nope, Mittens simply called Kid Rock

“a guy who makes great music…a guy who introduces me by DVD everywhere I go

The musician performed an acoustic solo version “Born Free” and walked offstage without offering any commentary. Zzzzzz.

Live Blogging the Oscars 2012!

Are you ready for your close-ups? We’re live blogging the Oscars, and over at The Dissenter, Kevin Gozstola has a great analysis of the Oscar contenders, who should win and why.  The new Academy rules about the number of Best Picture nominees have gotten even weirder this year with nine instead of ten nominees, though I much prefer the original five.

How much fun will this be? Are the Oscars a relic of a different time? It used to be that only nominees and Academy members were allowed attend, but those rules have been relaxed in favor of building ratings with celebrity faces. Speaking of  grabbing attention–Sacha Baron Cohen, anyone?

The speeches, the clothes, the jokes, the winners, the

It is an honor just to be nominated.

drinking game (substitute bon bons or cookies, if you feel so inclined), FDL is here with Oscars through the grand finale, live blogging, dishing, discussing the nominees and winners, and even goofing on the commercials. I’m alternating between two gorgeous pairs of silk mules–Oh wait, here it comes! Buckle your seat belts, it could be a bumpy night!

First winner:

Robert Richardson, “Hugo”

And we’re on the way:

“Hugo,” production design: Dante Ferretti; set decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

Mark Bridges, “The Artist”

“The Iron Lady,” Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

“A Separation,” Iran

Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

“Hugo,” Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

“Hugo,” Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

“Undefeated,” TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

“Rango,” Gore Verbinski

“Hugo,” Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning

Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

“The Artist,” Ludovic Bource

“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets,” music and lyrics by Bret McKenzie

“The Descendants,” Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash

“Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen

“The Shore,” Terry George and Oorlagh George

“Saving Face,” Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg

Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”

Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”

Meryl Street, “The Iron Lady”

“The Artist,” Thomas Langmann, producer

FDL Presents: Live Blogging the Oscar Pre-Show

And so it begins, the red carpet arrivals of stars, celebrities, and showbiz luminaries as they stroll down the Oscar red carpet. Due to Kodak filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the Academy is

dropping mention of the venue as the Kodak Theatre at the request of the landlord, the CIM Group.

Kodak had paid approximately $72 million over a 20 year period for the rights, and dropping their name from the marquee–approved by a judge just two weeks ago–saves them $3.6 million annually. (Full disclosure: I own 100 shares of Kodak stock which I bought last month to show my support of this once great American company).

So now with the bejeweled and tuxedoed entering the Highland Hollywood Center, it’s time to see if anyone slips up and says “Kodak.” And just as importantly to prepare our bowls of cream for catty clothing comments and dish on the denizens of Hollywood.

Do you have your tiara and tails readied? Is the bubbly flowing and the caviar chilled? Let’s begin!

Late Night FDL: Any Early Bets on the Oscars?

Tomorrow we’ll be live blogging the Oscars beginning with the Red Carpet at 7pm ET (4pm PT) –a hard choice E! or ABC?– and then at 9pm ET (6pm PT), when the show starts. FDL is especially stoked this year as three of the five nominees for Best Documentary have been part of Movie Night –Hell and Back Again; If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front; and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.

So what nominated films have you seen? What have you seen that you think should have been nominated? Who do like for Best Actor and Actress? And for the supporting slots?

Will the French sweep their categories with The Artist? And then there’s the American battle of the heavy-weights: Scorsese vs Allen for Best Director, with three strong contenders in Terrance Malick for Tree of Life, Alexander Payne with The Descendents and The Artist‘s Michel Hazanavicius.

Oscar contender–and ten time nominee (making him the Susan Lucci of the Academy)–Martin Scoresese has made a list of 85 films you need to see in order to know anything about film. I’ve seen over half of them, thanks in part to my amazing high school teacher, the amazing Jim Hosney. I sat in on his classes in 7th, 8th and 9th grade, and then was able to take them for credit in 10th–and I did every semester.

Shepard Fairey Pleads Guilty in “Hope” Poster Case

Shepard Fairey (photo: christianrholland/flickr)

Shepard Fairey pleaded guilty to one count of criminal contempt for manufacturing evidence, destroying documents, and other misconduct in his case involving his “Hope” poster of Barack Obama. Reprehensible that he did behave so badly. It makes him look like a spoiled little rich kid who was trying to cover his ass when he got caught doing something wrong.

Last year, Fairey settled with the Associated Press over the misappropriation of (former) AP freelancer Manny Garcia’s photograph of Obama, which was snapped in 2006. Fairey originally claimed Fair Use, but a settlement was urged by a judge in the case.

As part of that settlement, which included an undisclosed sum, Fairey agreed to license any AP photos he may wish to use in future art work. Additionally, both the AP and Fairey will share the rights to create merchandise based on the image–and that means the profits from those items. At the time of the AP filing suit against Fairey, Garcia said according to his contract with the AP he owns the copyright to the photograph, and that he is proud of the image and happy what Fairey did with it. However,

I don’t condone people taking things, just because they can, off the Internet. But in this case I think it’s a very unique situation.

Fairey faces up to six months in prison, a year’s probation and fines of $5,000 in the criminal case. The hand painted version of the “Hope” poster that Fairey created on canvas as a commission hangs in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Gallery.

Georgia State Rep: “Ban Vasectomies!”

Georgia State Representative Yasmin Neal is so concerned about the unborn, that she’s concerned about sperm dying, and thus proposed a state bill banning vasectomies:

Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies.

Rep. Neal, a Democrat, proposed the law as a response to a ‘fetal pain bill’ proposed by Georgia Republicans, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks (only 1.4% of abortions in the US are performed after 21 weeks) Says Rep Neal:

It is patently unfair that men can avoid the rewards of unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women’s ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States…It is pnly fair that the General Assembly debate the men’s right to choose as well

Yasmin Neal: She trolls deep.

For those of you in Georgia interested in attend the General Assembly where this bill and the “fetal pain bill” will be discussed, here the info:


Late Night FDL: Happy Mardi (Foie) Gras


I loved Bea Arthur, one of the funniest women in comedy. Maude, her 1970s era sitcom spin-off from All in the Family was groundbreaking. Golden Girls made her an icon. And as the below (semi-NSFW) video, her last performance shows, she never lost her stride.

The day after her death, on April 27, 2009  a letter was released by PETA, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, from Bea Arthur to acclaimed chef Curtis Stone, pleading with him to stop using foie gras. That was, according to PETA, her dying wish. Arthur was an honorary director for the animal rights group.

Arthur also campaigned to get foie gras banned in California, and that ban will take effect in July of this year. Chicago tried the same thing in 2006, passing a law than forbade the sale of fatted duck liver. The ban lasted four months. During the verbotten time, foie gras was neither gone nor forgotten: Chefs simply got around the restriction by offering expensively priced salads and entrees with a gratis garnish of gras. Which is exactly what a couple chefs I’ve spoken with in Los Angeles intend to do.

The California law, signed by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would not prohibit the sale of foie gras but also its production. There are  only three farms, all USDA certified,  that fatten ducks in the United States, two in New York, the other is in California.

The most dire affect of the ban will be on Sonoma Valley’s Sonoma-Artisan, that will be forced to stop production completely by the date the ban goes into effect. Currently, Sonoma-Artisan supplies about 10%–15% of the domestic foie gras market, according to Guillermo Gonzalez, co-owner of the business with his wife, Junny. Sonoma-Artisan is a family business and the couple’s daughter, Helena, is now involved, as well. The Gonzalez family has been in Sonoma County since the 1980…The last 10 years have been increasingly difficult for them and their business. While sales are stable, the cost of grain continues to rise faster than conceivable increases to the sale price of foie.

And because I can! And because this headline writer did:

They just write themselves, don’t they? Maybe for Lent I’ll give upmake poop jokes….nah.

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