Saturday, March 24, 2007

Who's Your Pal?

Why do I have to put up with this?
It's another in a series of continuing e-mail's from various customers telling me that either I have purchased something or have added a new e-mail address to my PayPal account. Then, brainless slug [me] is supposed to click on the LOG IN button on the e-mail and type in his personal junk, so that, Viola! You are transformed into Morty Seinfeld, running around your house screaming, "My wallet's gone! My wallet's gone!"
In the words of the late-great Alice Kramden, "Every day, it's some crazy hairbrained scheme."
I suppose there's some research someplace that gives the precise percentage of suckers per capita in the United States. For this kind of crap to work, it has to be at least 10%. I suppose it is based on some panic-enduced lack of common sense. People see a $700 charge to their PayPal account, and get all assed-up and start clicking on shit. Stop clicking.
Too late. Your wallet's gone.
It could also be based on some marketing research saying that the typical PayPal user is a brainless fig, who will click on anything attached to a dollar sign. Can't be talking about me.
Here's an idea: An e-mail telling me that I have won something, then when I click on it, I find that I have actually won something.
That must be against the law.

Friday, March 23, 2007

New Music ... well, kinda. Hey, it's new to me. Give me a break.

Don't you get sick of the same old, same old? Guitar, drums, bass ... blah blah blah. Wouldn't it be nice to listen to a mix of drums, baritone saxophone and 2-string bass? Sure it would. No? Well, did I mention that both bass strings are tuned to the same note? Now, what? I thought so.

Sometimes, I'm a little late to the party. But, better to be late than not to get invited at all. So, forgive me if you already know who I'm talking about. It's Morphine. The late, lamented avant-garde trio from Boston. I heard "Thursday" on local radio, and just as it was when I used to watch the Three Stooges, I thought it was new. It sounded new, since I had never heard it before. Not only was it about 13 years old, but the band had already broken up, immediately after singer Mark Sandman passed away in 1999 after suffering a heart attack onstage in Rome. So, geez ... I guess if you're going to be late, you may as well show up really late. No cake left, what's left of the food is cold and all that's left is some macaroni salad and a few stale rolls. Chow down.

So, here's my advice. If you have never heard Morphine, come late to the party with me. We'll still be cool, just to each other. If you like your music in the old beatnik style of the 50s, with just enough humor to keep it interesting and a slick sound that you'll be humming to yourself all day, do yourself a favor and download or, God forbid, go to your local music emporium and pick up a CD. I started with The Best of Morphine, but you could just as easily start with their first CD, Good, even though none of Good's tracks are on the Best of CD. Do what you want.

From Wikipedia:
When asked by reporters to describe their music, Sandman labeled it "Low Rock". One critical appraisal suggests that "Morphine immediately established a minimalist, low-end sound that could have easily become a gimmick: a 'power trio' not built around the sound of an electric guitar. Instead, with sly intelligence, Morphine expanded its offbeat vocabulary on each album."

So, ask yourself how often do you get to hear something truly original? Not manufactured by TV or industrialized for your protection. Real music. With feeling and style. No kidding. That they are no longer around, and one is gone forever and we can still enjoy their heart work is the joy of music. It doesn' t matter if you're late. It just matters that you're here.

If you're not into the adventure, check out Honey White, Thursday or Buena or one of Honey White live. I sincerely think that it is impossible not to like this music. I challenge you to get through the first 15 seconds of Honey White without starting to nod your head or tap your foot. Or both.
You'll see what I'm talking about. Click on the links to see videos and get the idea.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What's On TV?

The treadmills in our gym sit in front of a bank of televisions, tuned to various channels. Almost always, one is tuned to Fox News. Tonight, on one of their stupid shows, the host was interviewing some kid who started crying for one of those American Idol contestants. Supposedly, the one she was crying for didn't get eliminated [I'm piecing this together from closed-captioning] and everybody figures it's because of the kid. Apparently, the kid is some sort of cult figure, because she was sitting there with her mom, literally inhaling their 15 minutes of fame, and the stupid host was gushing over the kid (I could tell by the way he was gushing) and the kid was giggling and the mom was looking as though she couldn't be more proud. Then, the host said something and the kid started to giggle, then the mom and the host started laughing because the kid was being so darned cute.
It was at that precise moment that I started to squirt my water bottle directly into my nose. It was the only way I could think of that I could take my life before the interview was over. Really. It is supposed to be a news show [right], but it turned into a big promo for their other stupid network, which was a major break from the one-sided political coverage. I'm not sure which is worse. Fox, hide your shame.

Then, I tire of the banality and cast my gaze over to the next TV, tuned to the boobs who run that Pardon the Interruption show. Boob Tony Kornheiser was talking to another guy about the NCAA tournament. The guy was picking Texas A & M to go to the Final Four, and he asked Tony what his pick was. Tony said, "Don't ask me, I had Louisville coming out of that quadrant." Quadrant? That's something that the girl at the laundromat who plays the pool because she wants to pick the school her brother went to says. They're called Regions, dunderhead. He gets paid to talk about sports. The girl at the laundromat gets paid to wash shirts. One of the two is overpaid.

So, the NCAA tournament re-started tonight. I'm watching the Kansas/Southern Illinois game (at home, this time) and the commentators are Dick Enberg and another old, white guy. The other old white guy couldn't wait to tell us whenever it was a "one possession game" every time the scores were 3 points or less apart.
Then, he tells us that "the longer Southern Illinois has the ball, the more Kansas will be on defense." Brilliant. What time will my shirts be ready?

Next up is Brilliant Observation #2. "Kansas has no rhythm at all offensively. That's because of the defense Southern Illinois plays." Insight.

Later, their attention turned to Jamaal Tatum, a player with Southern Illinois. They said he was a great student, and "his only C came in African-American Studies", then they chuckled, because he's African-American, and everyone knows how ridiculous it is to think that a black student would do poorly in African-American Studies. That's right. No white kid ever got a C in American History, so it stands to reason. Idiots.

I can't figure out why I enjoy television so much.

The Man With the World's Smallest Horse

Thumbelina, a five year old dwarf miniature horse, slides underneath the pasture fencing at Goose Creek Farms in St. Louis, MO on Fri. October 3, 2006. At 17.5 inches, she is the smallest living horse in the world, and holds the record for the smallest horse in history.

Great. Finally, I have something to offset that World's Smallest Penis post I did that has all the Google searchers googly-eyed. Jesus, you sick mothers. Although, I have to admit, it is up for a Bloggie Award under the category of "Strangest Post with a Penis Tie-in". Keep your fingers crossed. Now, try searching World's Smallest Horse Penis and see what you get. Twisted losers.

Or, I could post this...

World's Smallest Penis and Biggest Dick

There's a Google search for ya.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Back When I Used to be Able to Stay Up Late

Calvert DeForest

1921 - 2007

NEW YORK - The balding, bespectacled nebbish who gained cult status as the oddball Larry "Bud" Melman on David Letterman's late night television shows has died after a long illness. The Brooklyn-born Calvert DeForest, who was 85, died Monday at a hospital on Long Island, the Letterman show announced Wednesday. He made dozens of appearances on Letterman's shows from 1982 through 2002, handling a variety of twisted duties: dueting with Sonny Bono on "I Got You, Babe," doing a Mary Tyler Moore impression during a visit to Minneapolis and handing out towels to arrivals at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

"Everyone always wondered if Calvert was an actor playing a character, but in reality he was just himself — a genuine, modest and nice man," Letterman said in a statement. "To our staff and to our viewers, he was a beloved and valued part of our show, and we will miss him."
"It was the greatest thing that had happened in my life," DeForest once said of his first Letterman appearance.


When Comment Moderators Attack

It could also say, "Comment moderation has been enabled. Your eyes no longer work as designed."
I particularly love when the p's, q's and g's are right next to each other. Here's an idea: throw a couple of 6's in there. Bastards. Sometimes, when I'm really drunk I can read it, but I'm too drunk to type it, so I'm still screwed.
Usually, if I nod my head up and down real fast the letters start to jump together. I can read it, but then I get dizzy and pass out, so I'm screwed again.
BLOGGER: I'll take LIKE AN ANAL PROBE for $300, Alex.
ALEX: The answer is: The average number of times that an English-speaking person has to type those letters in before the comment is enabled?
BLOGGER: What are 4 anal probes?
ALEX: Correct. Continue.

Thanks. Hey, I ain't complaining [well, yes ... a little] because I understand why you do it. My gripe is with the Blogger guys, who can't figure out a better way to do that. At least the Ticketmaster one I can read. I still don't think a lot of them are real words, but Who GaF, as long as I get my Fiona Apple tickets.

Is it me, or do the rest of you think about the weird Google hits you're going to get when you write about anal probes, drunk and still screwed or Fiona Apple tickets? Maybe you don't write about anal probes, drunk and still screwed or Fiona Apple tickets as much as I do. I can't say I blame you. It just seems to pour out of me.
Then, it makes sure you choose an identity. As Bloggers, we have identities. I do like the idea of choosing my identity, though. That would be pretty cool right about now. I could be Anna Nicole's baby. Just until I'm 18, then I am so outta there.

OK ... I just said that to get some cheap Google hits. Really, I'd like to be Jessica Simpson's armpit hair. Britney Spears up-skirt no panties. Or, Cher's tattooed thigh. That last one doesn't get too many Google hits anymore, but it was hot once.


Older Child Seeking Adoption by Middle-Aged Couple from New Jersey

Just so you'll know, the other $390 million winning lottery ticket was unearthed on Monday. Locals, of sorts - from Cape May County - or what we here in the more densely populated areas of New Jersey refer to as The Sticks.

The Messner's. A nice couple in their late 50s who will receive $116,557,083 before the 25 percent federal withholding tax. A shade over $29 million goes to the money launderers in Washington, and the other $87 mil goes to the winners.

Their prize amount is half of the largest jackpot in the history of Mega Millions and in the history of North American lotteries. The largest single-ticket win in New Jersey Lottery's 36-year history, however, was claimed by Harold and Helen Lerner - the sole winners of a Mega Millions jackpot of $258 million on September 16, 2005.

Seriously, should the government be handing out such large sums of money to people over gambling? Wouldn't it be better if the prizes were smaller but there were more winners? I know, I'd rather see 8 people win $11 million than I would see one win 87.

It's already strange enough that the government runs a numbers game - for profit - you would think they would be interested in helping more people.

Wait ... I said government, didn't I?


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Happy 4th Anniversary?

In my musical days, I ran a soundboard for a friend’s band. The band played rock music with a Christian message. In essence, they were preaching the gospel through music. It was a noble, yet misguided venture. We used to play in churches, Coffee Houses, Christian youth centers and other places where young Christians gathered to listen to people tell them what they already believed to be true.

Part of the reason I don’t do that anymore is because I used to ask a lot of questions. “Why are we playing in church? People here already believe. Shouldn’t we be playing in bars or homeless shelters, where people need to hear a different message?” They heard me, but they desired the built-in acceptance of people with whom they shared a common belief.

However, I felt that by playing for Christians, we were essentially wasting our time, similar to re-reading Moby Dick to a literary group. We were reinforcing an already held conviction. We were popular, but why wouldn’t we be? Preaching to the assembled choir, as it were.

Now, I am reading about protests surrounding the fourth anniversary of the War in Iraq. Some bloggers are fighting outrage fatigue and seem to believe that if they are not being heard, they should scream louder. The issue is twofold. (1) The format here is so insignificant as to be rendered almost useless in the fight, and (2) we are holding meetings in our “church”.

Consider three recent stories to come out of the White House:

"It can be tempting to look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude that our best option is to pack up and go home," Bush said. "While that may be satisfying in the short run, the consequences for American security would be devastating."

In the past week alone, the White House threatened to veto House bills dealing with presidential records and protection for whistle-blowers and a defeated Senate bill that would have set a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq. The White House also warned that a war-spending bill the House will take up this coming week would face a veto because it contains Iraq withdrawal language.

Amid bipartisan calls for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in the wake of a scandal surrounding dismissals of eight federal prosecutors, the White House said Monday, "We hope he stays."

So, they whine, moan and complain in this tiny format. The White House is steadfast and the protests will cause you both emotional pain and lost time from work. If you do it until you fatigue from it, then the gun has backfired in your face and the people you were shooting at will be laughing at you as they get further from your range while you re-load. It may not be worth the blow to your emotional well-being to fight people who are not listening or willing to debate. Not to mention the fact that rage and anger are not socially enhancing forms of behavior. They turn beautiful people ugly and generally cause more problems than they solve.

But, like drug addicts and alcoholics, they persist in spite of the detriments. They protest, blog, scream, yell, grow weary, rest and start again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Meanwhile, the biggest change has taken place in the voting booth, which appears to be the only place we can find a captive audience. Keep voting, and stop yelling so much. It took an election to get us out of Vietnam, because the last guy from Texas didn’t listen and the one from California didn’t listen until he heard the voters in 1972.

If the other party is not listening, you are yelling at each other. Here, we are preaching to the choir, while the people you seek to reach are deaf to it or ignorant of it. They do not want to hear and will not listen.

Either way.


Monday, March 19, 2007

And it Begins

Today marks the official beginning of the annual ritual known as The Week of the Persistent Question.What's the question, you ask? (glad you asked).
It is any variation of: "How's your bracket?" or "How you doin' in the brackets?" or "My bracket sucks, how's yours?"
This takes first place by a slim margin over The Week of the Persistent Statement.
"I'm kicking ass in my bracket pool." or "[Insert name of overrated team] killed my bracket." or "I'm out of my pool."
It's one of those times where a we hear a single word so much that it wears at us. Bracket Pool, Bracket-buster, Bracketology, bracket - bracket - bracket. It's quite a racket, this bracket - in more ways than one.

A big TV event and the illusive lure of gambling make for a great Pool-related sporting event. Like the Super Bowl, it finds fancy with people who would otherwise not give a crap but for the availability of gambling. Betting on something in which you have no interest or knowledge is apparently fun in our culture. Who'd-a-thunk it?
Nobody wants to be left out, and if your harebrained selection winds up winning, you don't want to be one of the people who wishes they had filled out a bracket. But which type of pool to choose? If you are among more sophisticated types, the choices are far-reaching.

If we put half the energy into solving real problems that we put into devising new and different bracket pools, the world would be a better place.
Sweet 16 Pool
Pick 8 Pool
Confidence 16 Pool
Survivor Pool
Seed 8 pool
Big blind-draw pool
Spread pools
Square Pool
I heard a radio host try to explain a complicated bidding pool he was in, and how it worked. I almost drove off the road. You pick a team, and if they win and beat the spread, you apply that point total to the spread of the next game. If they lose, the points go toward the winning team, and you can bid on them ... Cancer research is less complicated.
At the office, everybody donates ten dollars, and the winner is the person who correctly identified the fiercest bird mascot, picks their home state or determined that blue beats green and red beats yellow.
As for me, I'm out of my pool, and I refuse to annoy people with stories of the odds-against winners and how a match-up ruined my chances.
I'm going to say that I didn't fill one out, when in fact, I filled out three. It's a lie we can all live with.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Last Train to Blogsville

Armpit hair. Gross and disgusting. Needless, yet exposed. Perhaps I'm the only person who took a confusion about armpit hair from my viewing of the NCAA basketball tournament, but what did you expect, knowing the title of the blog and all? All those arms in the air. It's distracting sometimes.
What's the point of the armpit hair? We have hair on other parts of our bodies, presumably to keep us warm, or give us an excuse to modify our appearance, but hair in our underarms? The only function I can ascribe to it is that it produces an odor. Where are my evolutionists to help me explain this?

Can you tell I'm weary of the blogging experience? Next week will bring one year to a close, and now more than ever, thoughts of closing it down occupy my sick mind. I feel as though I have covered almost everything of interest to me. A simple blog search will confirm that I've gone from the proliferation of storage sheds to the permeation of the military on our recreational activities. There ain't too much left.

Artistically, I should be at a peak, since great misery brings high art, but at this point I am questioning my function here. I have taken a creative punch to the stomach, and I'm a little doubled-over right now. Stunned, but not weary. Others have found that screaming so loudly has made them tired.
At this level, blogging is the equivalent of baying at the moon. We could send out e-mail's and accomplish similar results. If we rant, it accomplishes little more than a minuscule amount of sympathy and some mood leveling, which has value, but occasionally the energy expended does not equal the return. On a political level, we would be better off talking to twelve people in a bar than we are here and should not expect more than some personal satisfaction. I think we expect more. That is where the fatigue sets in, I suppose.

When I run to the Stat Counter, I find that the overwhelming majority of people who stumble onto this are here out of some ill-conceived Google search. Web searching is an art, and if you find my blog because you have done a search for West Deptford Little Miss Contest, perhaps your search criteria need some honing.

Blogging is time-consuming (everything is, literally) and perhaps the time could be spent in such a way that would bring in the same form of satisfaction that writing 800 words about the relationship between happiness and ignorance, but I'm not sure what it is.

I played music for a while, took some really nice photographs when so inspired, and I can ride a bicycle 100 miles in less than 6 hours, but none of those things produces the same inner satisfaction that a finely crafted essay does, and I can tell that this one will not give me the shivers.
It is a struggle for me to be interesting. Left in a room with only one other person, the burden I put on myself is staggering. Sometimes, I want to point at something behind them and run. Anything to keep me from feeling as though I have to be entertaining. I should put more pressure on the other person, but I'm the type that takes responsibility for stuff. That's why I'm more comfortable in groups of three.
How do you deal with the lack of motivation? Most of you have been at this longer than me. What keeps you at it? Do you find that time away speeds the healing process, or does it make you think that maybe you didn't miss it as much as you thought you would?
I'm thinking that if I picked up the camera, I would have less time for this. However, I might want to start a blog to post my photos.
I'm conflicted.