Letters from the Lunar Outpost

Rest not! Life is sweeping by; go and dare before you die. Something mighty and sublime, leave behind to conquer time.
- Goethe, German Poet, Dramatist, Novelist, and Scientist (1749-1832)

Monthly Archives: November 2012

Here’s the person who took offense to my tweeting a link to my last post mentioning . . . CONDOMS! *gasp*

And here’s the screenshot of the browser window I opened just before making that tweet as I carefully checked to make sure my tweets were only going out to followers, proving that @PutPetsWithVets was indeed following me when I made the tweet:

Blocked and Suspended by a Twitter Follower

(click above to enlarge, showing full browser page . . . )


Here’s my email to Twitter contesting the suspension:

I was suspended right after a FOLLOWER named @PutPetsWithVets tweeted this:

and then blocked me.

Attached is a screen shot of a browser screen I had opened (just to make sure I was tweeting only followers) proving @PutPetsWithVets was indeed a follower before I tweeted them.

So now I’m on such thin ice that ONE TWEET to one of my 2,300 FOLLOWERS can get me banned if it upsets their prudish sensibilities.

This will make for good stuff at my blog, but it is so unfair that I am on such a super-sensitive, one-step-from-suspension status with Twitter.

Meanwhile, my wife tweets how I was suspended for tweeting a FOLLOWER and by mentioning the word “follower” she receives over a dozen unsolicited tweets from people with links to sites claiming they can get you 5,000 followers in a day.

It’s totally unfair. I’m getting suspended for a tweet one follower finds offensive while spammers are running wild.

How do I get out of this terrible situation where I’m always one tweet away from suspension, even if it’s a block from a follower who didn’t like what I had to say?

yours truly,

M i k e   C o r n e l i s o n

Almost as bad as the fact that I’m now getting suspended for tweeting a follower who was offended by my “vulgar” tweet, is the fact that this @PutPetsWithVets person describes themselves like this on their Twitter bio:

Luv Military-WORRY bout Veterans problems.Luv animals & HATE neglect/abuse.Will combine Vets & Pets.Vets help 2 rescue/heal pets & in process will heal selves.

Thank you for the work you do @PutPetsWithVets and so sorry for tweeting YOU, who had followed ME, something YOU considered “vulgar.”

You tweet about saving dogs “on Death Row” and I can appreciate that because my wife and I have rescued two dogs from euthanasia at the pound, but when you also say you “Luv Military” and worry about the vets, you may want to consider the fact that you are showing total contempt for the concept of FREE SPEECH, perhaps the most important freedom those vets have fought for and died for.

For the love of all that is good, stop following people and then blocking and complaining and getting them suspended the moment they post something you consider “vulgar.” Be an American, respect free speech and if you don’t like what you’re reading, change the fucking channel!

Here’s the post which @PutPetsWithVets delicate sensibilities to the point of getting me suspended.

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condomI found a pretty funny website in the final hours of my post-Thanksgiving turkey haze, it’s called The A(n)nals of Online Dating.

While I’m no longer active in the online dating scene, I still found quite a few good laughs reading through some of the posts there.

You can think of the blog as a “what not to do” for men and online dating. Here’s a one-line example of the creepy, piggish messages some men send to women at online dating sites, the post title and the commentary at the end from our helpful blogger.

Is this your patented “Three-Second Slam” I’ve heard so much about?

I wouldn’t mind putting a rubber on and slamming you from behind.


+4 for safety first!

+2 because “rubber,” really? Are you going to shag me with a rubber before we smoke some dope? DAD GET OFF THE INTERNET.

+7 for his sexy offer to “slam” you. From behind. What vagina doesn’t get a little smiley when it hears it’s about to get “slammed”?

+3 because this guy is for sure awesome in bed. If he’s busy tonight, I’ll just lay face-down in a construction site and ask one of the workers to set a jackhammer on my back. Basically the same thing. Ladies love it.

+4 because this will be such good brunch talk with my girlfriends the next day (INSIDER INFO: Girls love brunch). When we go to brunch after fucking guys like this, we always say things like, “It was just so sexy when I was staring at the ceiling while he humped away like a deranged rabbit” and “It was SO ADORABLE the way he blew his load in three minutes and then asked, ‘Did you come?’ as if that was possible in any universe ever.” Boys! Gotta love ‘em!


source: The A(n)nals of Online Dating

I love her scoring system.

The part that really got my attention though was her second line in reply:

“rubber,” really? Are you going to shag me with a rubber before we smoke some dope? DAD GET OFF THE INTERNET.

Oh wow, are you kidding me? Because I’m wracking my brain here and “rubber” is the only word I can think of for it other than “condom”, and that word only gets used on news reports or in sixth grade sex ed classes.

That really drives me nuts though, because now I’m thinking, I’d hate to be so old that there’s some other popular term for a rubber now that’s going around and I’m totally oblivious to it. I’m being serious too, because while I’ve opted out of the teen / 20-something, cutting edge of pop culture – I’ve never seen a Twilight movie, if you asked me to name as many American Idol winners as I can, I could only give you maybe two (Carrie Underwood? Ryan Seacrest?) and when I’m at Daily Mail reading political articles, I only recognize about half the celebs on the gossip links on the right-hand side – but lingo is a different thing! Lingo is my language! Language is my life!

So if I’m telling some story about my younger days and if I say something about going to the liquor store to by some rubbers, is that really dating me as much as if I were talking about “shagging” and “smoking dope”? Sure, I’m old enough to be a dad, but I don’t want to sound like one.

I’m wracking my brain here . . .

I remember my cousin had been in a band that toured the world and when I first started playing in a band that had a good following, he gave me some advice on groupies and life on the road:

“No glove, no love.”

Four simple words and very good advice, but outside of that context, I don’t think anyone goes around saying, “Do you have your glove on?” or “Oh shit, I ran out of love gloves.”

Help me out in the comments on this one, because for the life of me, I can’t think of any other word for it than “rubber” and it’s driven me to distraction.

UPDATE: Check out how this post got me suspended on Twitter.

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Almost as crazy as the video is the guy who uploaded it, calling the video “Walmart Black Friday Fighting Over Phones During 2012, White People At Like Animals.”

There go those white people again! See how they “at” like animals?

I guess all the Blacks, Hispanics and Asians I saw in the scuffle were simply my imagination. (What a nutjob!) Checking out his other uploads, he’s just another typical Obama lovin’ racist.

If the video’s still playing above, there should be a YouTube link in the bottom right of the player if you want to go to YouTube and let the uploader know what you think about his characterizing this video as “White People At Like Animals.”

Some of the money quotes from the website I found it on:

Comments on Crazy Black Friday Video

Source: WOAI Radio

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What better day than the day before Thanksgiving to salute a series on Hulu about a small-town group of Muslims, right?

What, you say???

Well, actually it’s about of small-town group of Canadian Muslims.

What the heck does a bunch of Canadian Muslims have to do with our blessed American holiday of Thanksgiving, especially when Canadians don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving in the right month?

Well hear me out.

Didn’t America start as a country where people came so they could practice their religions without persecution? And wasn’t Thanksgiving established as a meeting of two cultures between the long-time inhabitants and the newcomers to the continent? If you look at it in those two contexts, plugging the show “Little Mosque” the day before Thanksgiving makes perfect sense, because the show focuses on a group of Muslims who are mostly new immigrants coming to a country to practice their religion and prosper, while struggling to co-exist with the people who can lay claim to having been there a bit longer than they have. [*note]

If you don’t have Hulu by now, you can read my post on why you shouldn’t live your life without Hulu or you can just trust me on it and believe me when I tell you that, along with Netflix, Hulu is the best $8 a month you can spend on entertainment.

Little Mosque is available exclusively on Hulu and can be enjoyed only as a great TV show should be enjoyed these days, on demand, at your convenience, from the first episode to the last.

[mp3j autoplay=”y” track=”http://losalamoslabs.com/mc/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/little-mosque-theme.mp3″]

Let’s start with the characters:

01-little-mosqueLittle Mosque – I’m watching the first episode and it’s about a little mosque out on the prairies, and I’m wondering why the heck they didn’t make a play on “Little House on the Prairie” with the title. Too obvious, maybe? Turns out, the program is indeed listed at IMDB as “Little Mosque on the Prairie!” You then have to guess that when it went from originally airing as a Canadian show to being imported for a largely-American audience on Hulu, a concession was made so as not to offend fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder or the classic American TV Show. Wow, right off the bat, we see a little bit of the culture clash in the powers that be feeling it necessary to go with the more generic title of “Little Mosque” so as not to upset some American sensitivities. Boo to that decision, but probably understandable.

02-carlo-rota-as-yasirYasir – He’s the guy who pulls his small band of Muslims from meeting in his basement to a chapel which can use the rent money as its own congregation is dwindling. Yasir could be said to be more focused on his business than his religion (as could be said of many Christians if we’re honest) as his primary motivation in landing the chapel space for the mosque often seems to be the free room he gets in the deal as an office for his construction business, but despite his dedication to worldly success, deep down, he’s a true Muslim and it’s often funny to watch his converted wife and his more devout daughter struggle with their different levels of faith, with him caught in the middle, a manly man who just so happens to be a total pushover for both women.


03-zaib-shaikh-as-amaarAmaar – He flies in from Toronto, a young imam ready to accept the meager pay for his first position as an imam at a humble little mosque. Amaar’s greatest challenge is in finding a balance between the traditionalists in his tiny congregation and the more progressive / feminist element – that and his lack of a beard, which causes some *cough* Baber *cough* to question his legitimacy as an imam. He’s a good guy, no doubt about it, he takes pride in his little mosque and he’s handed a healthy helping of humility in just about every episode.




04-sitara-hewitt-as-rayyanRayyan – She’s the daughter of Yasir and his converted wife, Sarah. She’s smart and beautiful, a doctor and a very devout Muslim, but while she wears the hijab with pride, she is also outspoken in believing that women should have a stronger role to play in the faith and a more visible role in the mosque instead of being segregated behind a barrier during prayer. Of course, this leads to some inevitable clashes with our friend, Baber.





05-debra-mcgrath-as-mayor-popowiczMayor Popowicz – Like any politician, the mayor of the small town of Mercy is always looking at the political angle of things, such as how to deal with the newly visible Muslim community and keep the town folk happy while a talk show host is constantly on the air, stoking the townspeople’s fears. She’s a bit shallow and detached from her duties as mayor, which is probably good because she doesn’t take anything too much to heart unless it affects how she ends up looking politically, but working closely with her assistant, converted Muslim Sarah (Yasir’s wife) the mayor shows herself to be very much an example of someone who believes in “live and let live,” even if it’s only partially because she’s liberated and partially because she just doesn’t care enough to get caught up in any of the drama.

06-manoj-sood-as-baberBaber – Isn’t it funny how sometimes the character you would expect to like the least becomes the one you love the most in a show? Baber is like the Muslim version of Archie Bunker, always talking about the infidels and the evils of Western culture. Baber is old school, traditionalist, militant in his beliefs, sexist (or just the opposite of feminist if we’re charitable) but watch hilarity ensue with Baber, like the scene where he suddenly finds himself teamed-up with one of the beer-swillin’ yokels he despises as they both bring pickets to protest a gay marriage in their small town.




07-derek-mcgrath-as-reverend-mageeReverend Magee – His parish is growing older and the ranks are growing thinner, but there are perks to his job as reverend, such as preaching for free meals at senior centers, retirement parties and AA meetings. While some evangelicals may gasp at his willingness to marry a gay couple along with renting out his chapel to a group of Muslims, you can feel for this man with the dwindling flock and say what’s a guy in that position to do but try to embrace everyone with open arms. His friendship and comradery with Imam Amaar is one of the highlights of the show.




08-neil-crone-as-fredFred – When they created the show, I’m sure they said, we need some Rush Limbaugh-type guy spewing a bunch of fear-mongering over the Muslim “incursion” on the airwaves of the small-town radio station. This could have been a disaster for the show if the guy wasn’t so over the top as to make honest comparisons to right-wing talk radio laughable (laughable to anyone outside the #StopRush nutjobs who see Limbaugh as the boogeyman) but Fred is the perfect foil on the show for being the one white guy you don’t want to be – ignorant, reactionary, an inciter of fear. Fred’s character works because he’s a bit too far off the handle to be wholly offensive, yet there’s enough of a kernel of truth in there to make him funny.


09-arlene-duncan-as-fatimaFatima – She’s the African Muslim owner of the local cafe on the show and her character gives us some interesting contrasts between an African Muslim and the Muslims of the Middle East. Though they are united in their religion, Fatima brings her own unique culture and traditions to the group. She’s quick witted, sharp-tongued and gets some of the best lines on the show. Just make sure you know where to go to buy the proper Muslim swimwear for women if you take her to the women’s pool class and the lifeguard happens to be a male.




10-sheila-mccarthy-as-sarahSarah – I guess you could call her a MINO (a Muslim-in-name-only) because she likes playing her lottery and bingo and she only wears the hijab when she goes to the mosque, but in her love for her husband Yasir, her conversion as a white woman to the Muslim faith itself is quite a step of loyalty (even if she can’t make good on a bet to pray five times a day for thirty days.) Her relationship with her daughter Rayyan and Rayyan’s devoted attempts to help her converted mother become a better Muslim is another entertaining dynamic in the show.




11-created-by-zarqa-nawazZarqa Nawaz‘s show succeeds on a lot of levels. While there may be a couple inner jokes only those of the faith might catch, for those outside the religion who might not encounter Muslims on a daily basis and for whom maybe ninety percent of what they hear about Muslims has to do with wars and suicide bombings, this show does a great job of humanizing a religion which may be very foreign to a large portion of America.

We Christians should remember that we live in a little sliver of history where’s it’s the Muslim faith that has an infection of radicalism running rampant in its body, but before we get too high and mighty about it, we might want to remind ourselves that there have been many other periods in history where it was the Christian religion which had that infection of radicalism, starting crusades, burning witches and slaughtering natives “in the name of” Christianity. Most Christians would be quick to tell you the murdering and the pillaging wasn’t perpetrated by true Christans, and guess what? Most Muslims will say the same – those aren’t true Muslims.

The show has some good laughs, but as you continue watching, I think you’ll also grow fond of many of these characters, the kinds of characters you might not have the chance to meet on a daily basis.

After watching Little Mosque, you end up with a warm feeling and a hope that we can all coexist in this life while staying true to our faiths and leave it up to God to sort things out when our lives on Earth are done.


* Note: It’s true that the Native Americans were here maybe a hundred generations before the Europeans came, while the white people of Canada have only been there a handful of generations before the Muslims came, but the analogies are still pretty striking: Muslims immigrating for the freedom to practice their religion and prosper just as the Europeans immigrating to America did; the celebration of Thanksgiving as a meeting of two cultures with hopes of coexistence, much as the core of the hopes in “Little Mosque”. [return]

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Well wouldn’t you know it? Just as soon as I finished creating a helpful public service announcement on what will and won’t get you suspended on Twitter, I end up getting suspended that very same day.

What was my offense? Well, there were six people whose tweets I featured in that post, so I sent off a single tweet to let them know about their being featured at my blog. It seemed only fair to inform them of their newfound fame, but somehow, there must have been enough crying and complaining between the six of them to where I was given a Twitter timeout.

Twitter is quite fair about it with your first suspension, all you have to do is read the relevant bit of their Terms of Service Agreement and sign off on your understanding of the rules and you’re automatically reinstated. In the process, however, you go from your Twitter starting point of being on probation to being on double-secret probation. Now you’re just one more suspension away from looking at some serious time in the TwitterGulag.

Considering how many millions of tweets are sent daily by people hoping to catch the eyes and maybe even a reply from a celebrity who certainly doesn’t follow them, unsolicited tweets abound all over Twitter, so it’s a pretty nebulous thing to try to define which should be punished, but I think there’s an even larger problem with Twitter’s report spam feature itself, which can be seen as a perfect example of a case where the cure is often worse than the disease itself.

The process of suspensions for spamming is automated and the algorithm does factor in the type of the account that’s being reported so the hammer will come down a lot quicker on a newly created account with no followers than it will come down on an account with a healthy ratios of followers, but the fact still remains that the process is automated, making it rife for abuse and it can only be appealed to a human being after the suspension goes into effect.

And just as surely as every dictator in the world is leftist, so are all the little despots on Twitter who band together to abuse the report spam feature to suspend and silence the voices of those with whom they disagree. The worst of it is, they don’t even feel the need to be clandestine about it, tweeting it out openly as they call on their minions to all pile on with a deluge of false spam reports. They collaborate on these campaigns right out in the open, as they did most famously against Chris Loesch, who was guilty of nothing more than defending his wife against some vile and disgusting comments.

The problem is widespread enough and has gone on for so long as to bring some conservatives to the point of debating whether they should “go nuclear” and use the same tactics of false spam reporting against liberals. Let’s hope conservatives never descend to that level, however. Free speech should reign and TwitterGulag is full enough as it is.

It’s annoying to see tweets on your timeline with links peddling herbal weight loss remedies or MLM / get rich quick schemes, and I think most people appreciate that Twitter has a mechanism for dealing with it, but in my book, a bunch of cybergeek thugs banding together to silence dissent is far more abhorrent than having to skip your eyes over the occasional spam. If there’s a hammer for the spammers, there should be a hammer for the false-flaggers as well.

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Currently Listening To:

Team of Rivals
Doris Kearns Goodwin