Saturday, January 23, 2010

Addicted to fun.

Tiger Woods is in sex rehab. He's in some sort of facility that is supposed to "cure" him of his alleged addiction to sex. It's interesting on many levels, not the least of which is that one can say he is addicted to sex and get a pass on all that junk he did in the name of medical science or psychiatry.
We gleefully sell drugs to give men a longer lasting erection to the point that we put the ads on when kids are watching TV, then have the nerve to call sex an addiction.
The other thing that is interesting about Tiger's stint in the joint is that while he is in there he is to be celibate. No activity of any kind, with himself or others, while he is undergoing his treatment. I find it fascinating that we choose to treat one extreme condition with another. How does that teach moderation? I wonder what the recidivist rate is at this place?
He is supposed to emerge a new man, free of all his womanizing ways. I suppose he'll come out with some "one day at a time" line or whatever drug addicts say when they've cleaned up. Is Tiger supposed to feel guilty every time he has sex? When alcoholics are treated they can't have even one drink for fear of going back to their old ways. Isn't this the same thing?
Usually, drug addicts or alcoholics turn to God and become pious preachers, proclaiming that God has transformed their life and that they have dedicated their lives to spreading the Word.
It's trading one habit for another, and I think most of us have some habit or other that we habitually do. I've been exercising and lifting weights for over 25 years. If I go two days without it, I feel bad and I have to find a way to make sure that I get back as soon as I can. Am I addicted to it? Maybe I should go to rehab.
No, it's only the bad things that we seek treatment for. Or the things that people tell us are bad.
tiger woods likes sex.
it's fascinating, really.
doesn't everyone?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Random obtuse thoughts following a coherent one.

Sometimes I post something that I think is weak, and I can't wait until the next time I get a coherent thought so I can post something new and put the ugliness behind me. Other times, I post something that I figure I could die the next day and have it be the last thing I say and be happy with it. Such was the case Monday. Now, I find myself in the unenviable position of having to post something equally as interesting today. It ain't gonna happen.
I got a Tweet from Paula Creamer. I know, big deal, but with 3,800 followers, to pick me out to thank "for being such a great fan" was pretty cool to read. She's so awesome, it's hard to explain.
Big Daddy Graham posted a link to the rant I did about music a few days ago. Also pretty cool.
A web site called Shine (from Yahoo) offers tips on "How not to be humiliated when dining alone" as though it is humiliating to be dining alone. Humiliated? Really. We are supposed to be offended somehow when we are asked "Table for one?" and we respond with "yes," as though it is a crime against nature to have to eat out by yourself. Take a book, they say, so you'll appear to have something to do. Then, they tell us to eavesdrop and get involved in others' conversations. Sure, that's always a great idea - butt into someone's private conversation and act like they were talking to you. That's a sure way to end up in a fist fight in the parking lot.
Here's my advice for dining alone, as I have done it hundreds of times: Fuck the world and eat your damned dinner.
Meanwhile, it is once again tax season, which unlike duck season or rabbit season, cannot be solved merely by shooting something. You have to fill out forms and go through the rigors of filing your taxes. A recent article on Yahoo suggested that it will take the average filer 34 hours to complete their tax forms, which includes organizing paperwork and filling out the forms. That is way too much time, if you ask me - and you didn't.
American taxpayers are burdened with the chore of filing a tax return when they should be off doing other things like eating out or getting Tweets from Paula Creamer. But we buy the software and pay the tax preparers hundreds of dollars (tax deductible) to prepare our taxes. A TV commercial from Jackson-Hewitt proclaimed that 9 out of 10 people who have their taxes prepared by Jackson-Hewitt will get a refund. How can they make that claim? I've had to pay every year since I have been declared single, so if I wandered into a J-H store and asked them to prepare my taxes, would I stand a 90% chance of getting a refund? Methinks not, but since we are slaves to TV ads, the masses of (asses) tax filers will storm in thinking a similar fate awaits them. You might as well cheat on your own and save some money.
See, I told you it wouldn't be as interesting as Monday.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What price freedom?

Today was Dr. Martin Luther King Day here in the United States. Perhaps the most unobserved observed holiday ever.
There was no mail delivery, schools were closed and most banks were closed. Otherwise, most of us worked all day, which is pretty much the same as when it snows.
As some of you remember, the holiday as it was originally proposed drew some harsh criticism from folks in those southern states where Dr. King was roundly criticised during his activism and still to this day is the subject of some hatred. Time wounds all heels.
Some of us are old enough to remember signs that said "Negroes may buy here" and "Whites only" drinking fountains. What is lost on the youth of today (and some legislators) is that the country was a much different place a scant 40 years ago - some 2 scores in Lincoln's language.
The interesting part of the Doctor King holiday is that some people are worked up over the fact that a man of color (Barack Obama) has been elected president, and somehow, Dr. King would be proud. What they fail to realize is that Dr. King wasn't all that interested in a legacy of elected office as he was in the overall advancement of civil rights, which sadly, is still lacking. He was more interested in the progression of "the movement" than in politics. Otherwise, he would have run for office, but I suspect he felt he could do more without the burden of political pressure - and he was right. Sadly, his movement still has some work ahead of it.
Salaries are still lower for minorities in this country and the rate of unemployment is still lower than it is for white people. Those things haven't changed much in the 40 years since he "had a dream" and I suspect that they won't change much in the next 40 years either.
The real problem is that we are of different color, and that visual perspective has a bigger influence on people than any legislative policy or created policy would have or will have. That's the sad part - that the influence of our ancestry will preclude any law.
We can legislate behavior but we cannot legislate morality, and the morality is that the behavior will not change. Sad but true. Certain people will always have certain beliefs because they are of a certain moral lineage.
"You are a white. The Imperial Wizard. Now, if you don't think this is logic you can burn me on the fiery cross. This is the logic: You have the choice of spending fifteen years married to a woman, a black woman or a white woman. Fifteen years kissing and hugging and sleeping real close on hot nights. With a black, black woman or a white, white woman. The white woman is Kate Smith. And the black woman is Lena Horne. So you're not concerned with black or white anymore, are you? You are concerned with how cute or how pretty. Then let's really get basic and persecute ugly people!"
In some respects, we haven't come that far in race relations than we had in the 1950s. Sure, we have passed Civil Rights legislation and instituted laws requiring employers to embrace color-ignorant hiring practices, but if it were left to individuals, I suspect that we would still be in the dark ages (pun) with regard to employing people of color (there's that phrase again) and minorities, to the point that they would be petitioning their local and state governments to change the way hiring and employment practices are carried out. We give more respect to animals than we do of humans sometimes. Ask Michael Vick about that.
So, we have this holiday that some of us observe but do not actively participate; and others observe but ignore. You won't change ideas but you can change behavior by making certain things illegal.
What most people of this generation don't know is that those ideals of "whites only" don't apply to them because they have no perspective on it. If they had gone through it as a race they might have a different perspective and maybe the world would be a little different now. The fact is that if a white man is seen in public with a black woman he will still get a stare reminiscent of the racist treatment of his ancestors. Those things will probably not change because we will always be different colors, and that's too much for some people to take.
Does that make a change in America or does it merely change the way people are forced to do business?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A sad state of affairs.

Recently, a friend asked me why I haven't written much about music. I'm always good for a rant, and music usually provides a spark. Lately however, the spark has fizzled. Why? Take a look at the artists who have the "Top Albums in the Region" as listed by the Inquirer today:
Ke$ha, (yes, she spells her name with a dollar sign) Susan Boyle, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Alvin & the Chipmonks soundtrack (what year is this?), Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna and Justin Bleber.
It reads like a list of TV contestants and gimmicky singers with more looks than talent.
It seems like the industry is built around TV shows, and if you aren't a winner on American Idol or some other such program, you don't have a shot.
I miss the days when I could go to a record store and listen to new music. Tower Records used to have a listening bar with headphones where new CDs would play. I loved the store on Broad & Chestnut. I'd always come home with something new and interesting. Now, there isn't even a music store in the local mall anymore! Radio plays the same old crap, and I've never been into pop music, and I don't watch those TV shows, so people like me are left in the dust. Now, I have to find something by accident, where I used to be able to hunt them down.
People like William Hung, Susan Boyle and that "pants on the ground" guy are signing recording contracts, while talented bands can't get their music on the radio. I can't explain that. I guess that part of it hasn't changed much, but the idea that you can show up for a TV show and win (pre-determined, if you ask me) suddenly vaults you to stardom. It seems like a lot of reward for no work - which is probably why it's appealing to the masses. The musical lottery.
The most interesting band I've heard in a while is Umphrey's McGee. I've seen them a couple of times at the Electric Factory, and they're coming back in February. Lots of jazz influence and a little like those old prog-rock bands of the 70s. You don't hear them on the radio, and Simon Cowell would probably kick them out of the room, which to me is a badge of honor.
Either way, it beats the Hell out of Ke$ia or Taylor Swift.