Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Okay, let's discuss irony.

I was watching the news this morning as I was getting ready for work when a story about the Mattel Toy company came on. If you've been in the dark for the last few months, Mattel Toys is having to recall millions of toys from American homes and retail stores because of possible threats of lead poisoning.

The broadcast showed plenty of angry parents who voiced complaints about their children's lives being in DANGER!

"Little Tommy loves to chew on things with lead paint on them, and now he might die!"

What frustrates me about this entire situation is how Americans want cheaper products, thereby forcing American Corporations to out-source labor, which in turn send jobs over seas to places like China where CHILDREN work in very dangerous conditions just to pump out shitty toys to lazy Americans. Come on! Am I crazy or does anybody else notice the problem with this situation?

American parents couldn't care less about the Chinese children who lose their childhood because they're forced to work for cheap just so American children can enjoy their own childhood more and their parents can buy the fucking toys for next to nothing.

Excuse me for my lack of empathy, but America is getting all she deserves with this recall situation! From pet food to toys to tires, we are getting our comeuppance. It's our want and "need" to have the cheapest product possible that has treated us to the tragic full-circle of irony.

We make other children, people, and families suffer because we want cheap things, and we're fine with that. So, I say, instead of blaming the government, Mattel, or China for such hazards, we should begin blaming ourselves.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

She Wants a Thesaurus

This link of the 32 Worst Lyrics of All Time has been making the rounds of the intarwebs for the last couple of weeks. It's a pretty good list, and pretty entertaining. The songs they lampoon were all submitted by their users; I wish I'd known about the list beforehand, as I have a doozy.

Theres this band I loathe called
She Wants Revenge. They're one of those new bands that seems to think that 80's New Wave was the be all end all of musical expression. They sound like an even more boring version of Depressed Mode. For some reason the rock station here adores these guys, and plays them at least 5 times a day (which is why I've gone back to only listening to CDs during my commute home). Putting aside the fact that I'm not sure if they actually have a drummer or just use the presets on a circa- 1980 Casio keyboard, and that the "singer's" 3 note range (yes note, not octave) makes him sound sort of like Paul Lynde trying to rap, it's their asinine lyrics that really got me.

(For those of you too young to remember
Paul Lynde from Bewitched or Hollywood Squares, he was the voice of Templeton the rat in the animated classic Charlotte's Web.)

Their first single "Tear You Apart" had juvenile, sophomoric lyrics, but since the song is about a high school love affair I thought it might have just been done on purpose. I thought the song sucked, but it wasnt until their second single that I really started to hate this band.

So, for your viewing displeasure, I present "These Things":

There is nothing to see here people keep moving on

Slowly their necks turn and then they're gone
No one cares when the show is done
(The actual cliché is "nothing to see here, just move along" and it still rhymes you asshats. Also, does your neck actually turn, or would that be your head? I'm just askin'... I dont remember the doctor ever saying "Turn your neck and cough", do you?)

Standing in line and its cold and you want to go
Remember a joke so you turn around
There is no one to listen so you laugh by yourself
(Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you're standing in line, aren't you surrounded by people? How can there be no one to listen? Yes, you could be last in line, but then you wouldn't turn around to tell a joke, now would you?)

I heard it's cold out, but her popsicle melts
She's in the bathroom, she pleasures herself
Says I'm a bad man, she's locking me out
It's cause of these things, it's cause of these things
(This chorus is what really got me. Is she outside in the cold with a mysteriously melting popsicle, or is she inside in the bathroom pleasuring herself? Which is it? Maybe she's in a port-a-potty pleasuring herself WITH the popsicle! While that might be someones idea of a hot fetish, it does not good song lyrics make.)

Let make a fast plan, watch it burn to the ground
I try to whisper, so no one figures it out
I'm not a bad man, I'm just overwhelmed
It's cause of these things, it's cause of these things
(It's 'cause of WHAT things? WHAT'S because of these things?? You're overwhelmed because she's locking you out of the bathroom? She thinks youre a bad man because you whisper arson plots? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY?)

The crowd on the street walks slowly, don't mind the rain
Lovers hold hands to numb the pain,
Gripping tightly to something that they will never own
(Okay, no complaints here, I actually think these three lines are pretty good.)

And those by themselves by choice or by some reward
No mistakes only now you're bored
This is the time of your life but you just can't tell
(What about those by themselves? FINISH ONE GODDAM THOUGHT YOU GODDAM WINDOW LICKERS! You can't start the sentence with "And" and then not go anywhere with it. And you're only entertained when you make mistakes? Does anyone have ANY idea what the hell this song is actually supposed to be about?)

I hate it when bands are so lazy with their lyrics that they throw two lines together for no other reason than that they rhyme. I'm looking at you, Blink 182! (I wrote a note, then tore it up / remember the time that I spilled the cup / of apple juice, in the hall / please tell mom this is not her fault). The song is about suicide, and yet it was important for the narrator to mention that traumatic apple juice spillage.

Now I'll be honest, I find their music so lame and derivative that I wouldnt like She Wants Revenge even if they were poet laureates, but give me a break here folks. I know people who like this band. They're gaining popularity every day. I have friends who sing along with these songs without a trace of irony! If this kind of barely coherent nonsense is really the kind of lyrical content that gets your motor running, I say you should just stop pretending to any vestige of hipness, and just start listening to country.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Movies About Dancing Are Even Gheyer

Have you folks heard the commercials for the "new" movie 'Step Up'? (I used scare quotes on "new" because when this movie came out earlier this year, it was called 'Take the Lead', and five years ago it was called 'Save the Last Dance') Here's the plot summary from IMDB if for some reason you're interested (you know, brain tumor, developmental problems, masochistic tendencies...)

So I don't know if these are national spots or are only being played in my market, but here's the line that almost made me crash my truck into a tree: "Once every ten years or so, a movie comes along that defines the voice of a generation. At recent screenings, audiences have declared that 'Step Up' is that movie". Are you fucking kidding me? A warmed over, pointless, saccharine teeny-bopper movie about a dancing janitor is the voice that defines a generation?!? Sweet bleeding shitballs people, if I were a member of the generation this movie claims to be speaking for I'd be so offended that I'd be out in the streets tipping over cars and lighting fires. Not to mention the fact that no one over 16 probably attended these screenings, and if you show me a teenager who says things like "this movie defined the voice of my generation" I'll show you an adult criminal who's evading the law by pretending to be a high schooler a la Jon Cryer.

But then I really thought about it, and figured maybe they're not far off. We live in a country in which the populace feels a sense of entitlement yet no sense of personal responsibility. Where how you look is much more important than who you are. Where we're all victims. Where individuality is frowned upon and political correctness is held up as the ideal. Where technology has replaced spirituality (and no, I don't mean religion... don't get me started!) So maybe they're right. But I'll tell you something...

If 'Step Up' truly is the voice of this generation, then this generation is a tone deaf mongoloid with a severe speech impediment.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dancing is Teh Ghey

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI was at a party semi-recently, and I ran into an ex-girlfriend whom I hadn't seen in a couple of years. She stopped by my table to say hello, and asked me to save a dance for her later. I have never been good at keeping my face from reflecting my feelings, and the look I gave her must have been extremely telling. She got a little huffy, as I think she took it as a personal offense; it was as if she thought I was rebuking her instead of the act of dancing. "What, you won't dance with me?" she asked. My natural response was "What, did you just meet me??"

You see, I dont dance.

I honestly just dont see the point. I dont begrudge people who enjoy it. For a lot of people dancing is just about the best time that they can conceive. It just holds absolutely no interest for me, and never has. I think the main reason has to be dance music itself.

Although I was a late bloomer in regards to getting into music, once I discovered it for myself it was more than just a passing fad or an enjoyable distraction. Music is important to me. But it wasnt always that way. I remember being on the playground in 3rd grade or so when another kid busted out AC/DCs "Highway to Hell". I looked at the album cover with mild interest, then went off to play kickball. Music was something that didnt appeal to me yet. According to my ex-stepbrother, I knew all the words to Beth by Kiss when I was three years old. I dont remember it, but see no reason to doubt it. But he played them all the time; it's not like I was seeking out Kiss as a toddler. However when my parents divorced, the only music I ever got exposed to was what my mom listened to, and even as a young kid I knew I didnt care for Barbra Streisand or Julio Iglecias. I owned a couple of cassettes (remember cassettes??), but they were generally given to me by relatives and considered innocuous and safe for children: Billy Joel, Abba, the Beach Boys... I think the "rockiest" album I owned at the time was Styx's "Kilroy Was Here".

And then the summer I turned 13 it all changed for me. As much as it shames me to admit it now, the band that changed everything I felt about music was... Motley Crue. My friend Tony came over one afternoon after school, and busted out their second LP (remember LPs???) "Shout at the Devil". I had never seen anything like it. These guys all had long shaggy hair, and crazy superhero like outfits, and there was a pentagram on the cover. I had been a fan of horror since I was about eight or so, and as such I was ripe for something that seemed so, well, dark. So he puts on the record, and the first track is an effects-laden spoken word intro talking about evil and the perils of mankind and whatnot. (Its been over 20 years, cut me some slack.) Then the first song started there was this nasty, almost tribal beat, and heavily distorted guitars, and screaming vocals. I was instantly smitten. It was like a horror movie expressed in music!

Thus started my downward spiral. I spent the next couple of years picking up everything by Motley Crue, Ratt, Twisted Sister... anything that looked like it would scare my mother. A year or so later I finally discovered Iron Maiden, and thats when I realized that not only could rock music be more intricate, but that some bands wrote about more than just sex, drugs and Rock 'n Roll. This was the first time that lyrics started becoming almost as import to me as the music itself.

And then in 1985 there was a bomb threat at my high school, and while everyone was standing around in the parking lot a friend and I decided to ditch. We walked over to the mall, and I went into Sweets and Sounds, the only music store around for miles. My friend pointed to an album that he'd heard a lot of good things about by a band I had never heard of. I took a chance and picked up the album, little knowing that once again my world was about to be rocked (no pun intended). The album was "Master of Puppets" by Metallica.

I can't adequately describe my reaction to hearing this for the first time. It was the loudest, heaviest, dirtiest, angriest music I had ever heard. At the same time, it was beautifully arranged, and as intricate as any orchestra. And the songs were about drug abuse, and religious hypocrisy, and the folly of war... it was as if I finally found real music about real life. Suddenly no other music was worthy of my attention. Thrash metal was the be all end all as far as I was concerned. It didn't hurt any that I was now in my mid- to late teens, so this angry aggressive music held massive appeal for me while I was going through my standard teen angst bullshit (thanks Veronica Sawyer).

For a long time I would listen to nothing but speed metal and a little punk. If it wasn't pissed off and loud, it bored me. I joined a metal band my junior year and was convinced I had found my calling. As soon as I graduated high school I moved out to California (at the time L.A. was THE place for bands to be discovered) and got a job at Tower Records. Obviously the band thing never took off, as I'm not currently a rock star fighting off Hollywood starlets with a pointy stick. Eventually I grew up a little and expanded my musical horizons, and actually took the time to seek out other kinds of music that I enjoyed. I was finally able to appreciate jazz, blues and early soul (before it became cookie cutter R&B pop) and was able to admit that sometimes I enjoyed a song just because it was fun, regardless of lyrics or anger level.

But for the most part I still sought out talented musicianship. It didnt always have to be the fastest or the loudest anymore, but it had to at least be skilled.

And gentle reader, that at long last brings me back on topic: dance music. The reason I see dancing as so pointless and something I will never enjoy is mainly the music. I think the best reason to dance is that the music itself makes you want to move your body. It actually affects you physically. Dance music just doesnt do that for me. And the music that does affect me physically, you cant really dance to. I've moshed. I've skanked. But I've never danced. (Okay, I think I've slow danced exactly twice in my life, and Im 34 years old). I think the music is boring, repetitive and vapid. It seems like the songs that have lyrics are all about love, sex, or dancing itself, and little else. And to me there's very little musicianship in it. Instead we have samples, and computers, and songs generally not even written by the person performing them. It's not music, it's product. It in no way makes me want to move my body, unless it would be to run screaming in the other direction. And dont even get me started on electronica.

One of the main arguments I get is that if I went dancing, it would be a great way to meet women. The problem there is that even if it were true, it would mean I would meet women who wanted to go dancing. Talk about a vicious circle. Okay, maybe I can see the attraction of basically being allowed to dry hump a total stranger in public, but do it at the supermarket like I do, and do your jail time like a man ;)

Now Ill be the first to admit that I'm a music snob. My friends are all probably sick of how often I bitch that almost every band that has come out in the last two years sounds like someone who came out 20 years ago. There's so little originality in music today it is depressing. But what can I say? I like what I like. I like people who write their own songs and can actually play their instruments well. I like socially conscious lyrics. And although I really do listen to a wide variety of music now, I still primarily enjoy loud, aggressive stuff the most. I think dance music is boring, and the music I find interesting you can't dance to. Could you imagine if I went to some hot nightclub and snuck some Tool or Pennywise into the DJ booth? Thered be a riot. Never the twain shall meet, I suppose. Besides, I'm about as white as they come. We're not supposed to be able to dance anyway, right?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I noticed the clock yesterday morning... at 4:20 AM, on 4/20... I thought to myself... I feel a great disturbance in the Force.... as if millions of bags of cheetos suddenly cried out in terror and were silenced.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Suggested new mottos for South Dakota:

Rape? Relatives? Ready? We just don't care!

South Dakota: Where babies are as plentiful as the rights we ignore.

South Dakota: Coat hangers aren't just for closets anymore.

South Dakota: We don't really approve of incest, we just want to see what happens.

South Dakota: You're a whore, and you deserved it anyway.

South Dakota: Clogging the child protective services, one unwanted baby at a time.

South Dakota: The Forerunner for trampling women's rights.

South Dakota: You're gonna push that sucker out.

South Dakota: The Uterus in Chains State.

South Dakota: Civil Rights are for Pussies

South Dakota: No liberty, yet welfare for all.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

No... I was watching porn, I swear!

The other night I got out of school a little early, so while I was waiting for Futurama to start I was surfing the cable channels looking for something to watch in the meantime. I came across Independence Day, which I had watched just a few days earlier in its entirety, and decided to leave it on. This got me thinking about guilty pleasure movies; I freely admit that I enjoy this flick every time I watch, but I admit just as freely that it is basically a giant steaming turd. Although I thought the effects were pretty good, and the concept itself pretty interesting, the story is completely predictable, the dialogue hammy and riddled with clichés, and the acting about as engaging as a scorching case of crotch rot. So why do I continue to watch it when it comes on?

One reason may simply be that to me there is a difference between a film and a movie. Films are artistic and have messages. Movies are fun. That doesn’t mean that artistic message films can’t be fun and movies can’t have messages, but in general I think most motion pictures fit into those two categories. Although I consider myself a movie buff, I’m not enough of a snob that I can’t enjoy a crappy movie purely on the basis of entertainment. This would explain my fascination with 70’s Blaxploitation flicks. In my collection are such gems as Shaft, Blackbelt Jones, Blacula, Coffey, and the Dolemite boxed set. Where else can you find such wonderful dialog such as “Get out the way and let me pass, before I break off my Hushpuppy in yo’ muthafuckin’ ass”? Some movies are just SO bad that they actually end up being good.

Another of my guilty pleasures (and coincidentally another Sci-Fi flick) is Starship Troopers. This movie is bloody awful. The acting is atrocious, the story downright silly, and there’s a plot hole at the end that you could drive a semi truck through. Still and all, I simply love this piece of shit. For one thing, it is incredibly gory, which I didn’t expect upon first view. It also was slightly reminiscent of the wonderful series of books about Ender the Xenocide by Orson Scott Card. It’s another one of those where the concept is pretty damn cool even if the story doesn’t quite live up to the potential. And to top it all off you get to see Doogie Howser playing a psychic colonel with no moral compass. Make no mistake, I would never force or even suggest that any of my friends actually watch this movie, but if I’m at home and it comes on cable, I know what I’m doing for the next hour and a half.

So what are some of your guilty pleasure movies?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Yes, Those are His Real Numbers

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Rock on Raskin, Rock On.

On Wednesday, March 1st, 2006, in Annapolis at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, professor of law at AU, was requested to testify.

At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs said: "Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?"

Raskin replied: "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

The room erupted into applause.