Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The thought occurs ...

... the most bacteria-infested place on earth is the handle of those hand sanitizers. Thousands of people with dirty fingers are pushing that plunger.
... that, and those pneumatic-tube money carriers at the drive-in bank. Think of the fingers on those things. Ick.
... when the story about the ambulance carrying someone out of Tiger Woods' house surfaced on Tuesday morning, how many of you thought it was either Tiger or his wife, having been bludgeoned by a golf club?
... when it turned out to be his mother-in-law, how did you feel about that? Some things are impossible to live down.
President Obama proposed a new program Tuesday that would reimburse homeowners for energy-efficient appliances and insulation, part of a broader plan to stimulate the economy.
The administration didn't provide immediate details, but said it would work with Congress on crafting legislation. Steve Nadel, director at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, who's helping write the bill, said a homeowner could receive up to $12,000 in rebates.
How about those of us who just finished replacing every appliance in our home? Where's my rebate? If I had chosen to deal with that balky dishwasher or refrigerator a few more years I could have cashed-in on this money, but I wanted a stress-free life.
It's the same as when you subscribe to a magazine or newspaper, and three months later they're offering a big prize for "new subscribers." How about us "old subscribers?" Nada.
... I'm waiting for a "Cash for Celibates" where people who don't bring needless children into the world are rewarded by not having to pay taxes for three years. There's a program I could support. More parking spaces for you.
... how many more Viagra and Cialis ads are we supposed to endure while putting up with the sex scandal news stories? Either you want us roaming the earth with woodies or not. Make up your mind.
... Gentle Giant. Most under appreciated band of the 1970s ... or ever.
... Danica Patrick has signed-on to race in the NASCAR circuit. Either she'll fail or succeed, and none of it will have anything to do with the fact that she's a woman.
... does anybody care about the "White House dinner crashers?" I'll be in D.C. on Friday. Should I try to have lunch with the Obama's?
... one of my condo neighbors was recently found face-down after a tryst with a hooker. Makes me wonder, how long would I lie here before someone found me? Until the place started stinking, I'd guess. I could only be so lucky to have it happen after a tryst with a hooker. My fortune - it would happen a la Elvis on the toilet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What is this "Christmas" you speak of?

Sometimes we do what we're told whether or not we have given it much thought or considered the alternatives. Christmas is one of those times.
Holidays in general get me to thinking, and as regular readers know, getting me to thinking is both dangerous and purposeful.
Since we were children, we've been indoctrinated with the so-called Spirit of Christmas and all that it entails, including massive debt, some guilt and an overwhelming feeling of obligation. Merry Christmas.
But we go along to get along, and if we eschew the tradition (a.k.a. obligations) of the holiday we are committing social suicide and risk being a cast out in our social circle, such as it is. Peer pressure is a huge part of most holidays, and none more than Christmas. It's the reason I can't fault drug addicts and compulsive gamblers for falling in with the wrong crowd. We've fallen in with the wrong crowd too, only our crowd is called Society and we rationalize it because the mob mentality has made it right.
We do a lot of things without thinking, including several that are against the law, because "everybody does it" and if we do it too, we're not considered oddballs, merely social. That's a problem.
How many of our parents used the familiar quote, "If Johnny jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it too?" when asking us if our reasoning for doing something based on the popular choice was right.
So, why as adults do we suddenly claim immunity from doing what everybody else does and stop thinking for ourselves?
We feel obligated, and if we don't get something for somebody who might also buy us a gift we feel guilt. It's the world's biggest Pyramid Scheme.
Admittedly, it's too late to change mankind's behavior, and the retailers know that. They've started earlier every year, selling us on "that special gift for that special someone" while ignoring the fact that there may be other times when we have given gifts to special people in our lives, but now is the time when everybody does it - so you should too.
It's an awful lesson to teach.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Art as sport.

Suddenly, it dawned on me. I'm a little slow, so you'll have to bear with me.
Television has turned music into competition. No kidding. It started with the nonsense known as American Idol, transformed into such other nonsense as Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance and the grammatically incorrect America's Got Talent.
I was innocently watching Sunday night's football game when I saw NBC promoting a program called The Sing Off (no jokes please) where I assume singers face-off in a competitive talent competition that is probably to be decided by viewer votes (via telephone for money) with a two-hour premiere next week.
It is hosted by Nick Lachey (we're supposed to know who he is) and judged by Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman and Nicole Schwerzinger. Go ahead and Google them, because I'm pretty sure you only know Ben Folds because his name is on a group that he fronts.
The web site asks us who do you think will win (also grammatically incorrect) and we are left with 8 choices, eight of whom we have never heard of - presumably until we see the show in 8 days. I'd be curious as to whom is leading the vote totals with a week left to view the program? Hmm ... can anybody say pre-determined?
I voted for Beelezbubs (because it sounds like the producer) and when I clicked SUBMIT, I found that 34% had voted for Maxx Factor, 22% for Face and 32% for Voices of Lee. But how can that be, when the program has not aired? I wondered quietly to myself.
Beelzebubs got a scant 4% of the vote, which came (one figures) from his family and friends.
If you can read this and know who any of these people are, you're either lying or directly involved with the show, and have probably voted a few hundred times.
My problem comes in having television as a competition in so-called artistic endeavors. What happened to The Sculpt Off or The Paint Off? Why is it confined to singing? I'd guess it's because the rabble (i.e. TV viewers) are not sophisticated enough to carry off a program devoted to sculpting or painting. That's why we are given shows about baking cakes, home redecorating and singing. We all have an opinion on that.
Meanwhile, television has become a competitive field for music and other arts that would be best left to public opinion outside of TV. We did quite well when musicians were popularized by things like record sales and public appearances. We don't need TV shows to foist music on us. I guess I'm old fashioned. Or maybe I'd prefer to wait until I've actually heard someone sing, dance or bake a cake to determine whether or not I think they've got talent.
Whom do I think will win? NBC, that's whom.