Friday, May 14, 2010

Get Out of My House.

In 1978, Saturday Night Live did a sketch called "The Thing That Wouldn't Leave," where John Belushi played a house guest that overstayed his welcome to the point of aggravating his hosts. That's what I feel like every time Sarah Palin speaks:
WASHINGTON — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Friday that "mama grizzlies" will help Republicans win this November, sweeping away the agenda of President Barack Obama and the Democrats.
Addressing an anti-abortion group, the potential 2012 presidential candidate also said she understood how some women might consider abortion, citing her own experiences as the mother of a child with Down syndrome and the parent of an unwed teen mother. Last year, Palin said that "for a fleeting moment" she considered having an abortion when she learned of her son Trig's prognosis.
Hmm ... yeah, and then she considered her political future and decided to use her millions of dollars to raise the kid. Nice choice, bitch. One thing that bothers me is when somebody speaks in front of a huge American flag, as though we didn't know which country you represent. Does she have to remind us? Maybe so.
She said Obama is "the most pro-abortion president ever to occupy the White House" and asserted that the health care law would fund abortions.
In fact, Obama's health care law would not allow federal dollars to pay for elective abortions. Catholic hospitals and organizations of Catholic nuns backed the measure. U.S. Catholic bishops and major anti-abortion groups opposed it, arguing that federal dollars could end up paying for abortions.
It's nice the way "in fact" is thrown in to show what the facts actually are. Sarah has never been one to let the facts stand in the way of a good rant.
And what are "mama grizzlies" anyway? Is she making stuff up so that she can get listed in the Urban Dictionary?
Palin said female activists — “mama grizzlies,” she calls them — will help the party “take this country back.”
They'll take the country back all right. Back to the 19th century where they came from. What's wrong with calling them female activists? Why does she have to come up with another pseudonym that screams FOLKSY and tells people that she's "just like you?" She isn't. And she won't leave. It's probably why she vacated the Alaskan governor's chair so quickly after the election.
She wants to be free to roam the country spewing nonsense to the masses of asses who swallow everything she says because she's ... folksy and attractive. Just like Satan would be if he decided to come back. Would he wear horns and a red costume? No, he'd be cute and charming and people would believe everything he says regardless of whether there was any truth to it or not. Watch your back, gang. She scares me worse than Al Qaeda.
You betcha.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shameless self-promotion.

I was interviewed via e-mail (my favorite kind of interview because I don't have to speak) by a web site called Blog A fitting name for a blog interview web site. They claim to be devoted to discovering the most interesting bloggers on the Internet and their reasons for sharing their thoughts with the world. I admit to being interesting, but I'm bad at self-promotion. I have no idea how or why they picked me, but after some soul-searching and scraping about for reasons that they could possibly be scamming me, I submitted an interview.
There's a link on my sidebar to my interview and a place where you can vote for my blog. According to their e-mail: At the end of May we'll be giving away over $1,000 in prizes to the top 15 rated bloggers for the month. To vote you and your readers must come to the blog interview and click on the "Vote Now" button. The top rated blogs are also showcased on the sidebar of the site for everyone to see.
I'm don't know if it's a dollar to 1,000 blogs or something more substantial to 8 or 10, but I suppose the only way to find out is to garner enough votes to put me there. As of today, something called Organized Doodles and The CrazyRev Page are picking up support, so you can be your own judge. I feel a little creepy asking you to vote, since I'm not one for contests and organized competitions. But since I'm not sure how organized this competition is or exactly what the prizes are, I figure "what the Hell."
Anyway, I've noticed that I'm picking up followers. There are 25 of you who receive e-mail updates when I write something new. That's amazing to me, since I don't know 25 people in real life who could sit still to listen to what I say, let alone people who take the time to read this stuff. It's strange to see the numbers growing over the past few months, and I hope that you're enjoying what I'm writing.
So go ahead and vote. Let's see if I can get enough votes to win a prize that would support a drinking problem that helps to create a lot of the interesting content you read every day.
It's a win-win.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Comfortably Dumb.

Roger Waters is on tour. If you're under the age of 30 you probably have to Google him. He's one of the founding members of Pink Floyd, and apparently carrying the mantle for the band as he tours "The Wall," in a 33 city, 38 show tour. The show is coming to the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia on November 8 & 9. To the right are the ticket prices.
The original "The Wall" tour in 1979 lost $600,000 of the band's money, and it seems that Waters is trying to recoup that loss with the current ticket price. From memory, I'd say that a ticket for the original 1979 tour went for about ten dollars. Calculate the inflation on that and complain about gasoline prices.
For the median price of $158, you don't get the four other members of the band or any of the original theatrical elements. What you do get is a 66-year old Roger Waters and some guys who may not have been born when the original LP was released.
I'm not sure who the audience is for these kinds of shows. I'd guess it's old people with a lot of money. I am one but not the other. I find them depressing, and I refuse to go to "reunion" shows or other such events where bands are reunited for the glory of a big profit. Generally, all they are is older, and their voices have dropped an octave so that the notes they gloriously hit in their late 20s are now strained and enhanced with electronics as they become eligible for Social Security.
The audience has to be full of 20-something's who never saw the original band and 50-something's who enjoy living in the past and will likely be disappointed by the new show, but powerless to demand a refund of what for some people constitutes a week's take home pay.
Not only do you have the privilege of paying as much as $253 for a seat on the floor, but you also have the added "fee" of $20.09 (I have no idea where the 9 cents comes from) and an "order charge" of $4. So, it isn't enough that they're raping you for the ticket, they tack on fees that make an already ridiculous $253 ticket cost $277.09. To prove my point, if you earn $7.25 an hour (the federal minimum wage) and work a 40-hour week, your gross pay is $290. Subtracting a modest 28% in income taxes leaves you with the princely sum of $208, which is barely enough for two $78 "Upper" tickets (translated: last 5 rows) for you and your poverty-ridden sweetie. Such is the state of concert-going today.
By contrast, the minimum wage in 1979 was $2.90, making your take-home check worth about $84. That would have left plenty of money to take your sweetie to the show and buy dinner and perhaps even a t-shirt or a program. (They sold programs in the late 70s) Not to mention the fact that a Pink Floyd show in 1979 would be worth a week's pay, as opposed to now when the only thing left of Pink Floyd is a sexagenarian raping the corpse of his old music for retirement money. Such is the state of music today.
Not only that, but in 1979 the music was fresh, the performers were young, the show was in essentially the same building, the sound system was just as large, the band was together and you could say that you had seen and heard something that nobody had seen or heard to that point. Now, not so much.
But it isn't just Waters. Check the concert listings in your Friday newspaper. The pages are filled with old-timers touring with fractured bands with shows full of old songs at ticket prices 20 times what they charged when they were relevant. If it isn't them, it's "tribute bands" who cater to people who seem to enjoy seeing someone who sounds like someone else just as much as they enjoy the actual performer. Most of the tribute bands have been together longer than the bands they are copying. It's sad, and a strange commentary on what we (well, you) find appealing.
Mark Knopfler called it "money for nothing."
When I was a child, I caught a fleeting glimpse
out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look and it was gone.
I cannot put my finger on it now.
The child is grown.
The dream is gone.
"Comfortably Numb" (Roger Waters & David Gilmour)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Go Cats. Just don't change your name to Pussy's.

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – An under-16 Australian Rules football team has come under fire for entering a sponsorship deal with a local Hooters franchise, with critics saying the move could give adolescent boys the wrong message.
Seriously, when are we going to get over this adolescent opposition to a restaurant chain? If it was called Hoots and featured women in t-shirts and shorts, would the opposition be as rampant? Methinks not. But because it's called Hooters, and supposedly features large-breasted women (news flash: Not all the women who work there have large breasts) it's considered dirty and appealing to the prurient interest. Poppycock.
And what is the "wrong message" exactly, that these adolescent boys are getting? Girls are bad? Adults cannot make their own employment choices? Food should be served by men? Women wearing shorts and tank tops is bad? I'm guessing that they spend a good chunk of their day web-searching naked women, but let's not mix football (sorry, soccer) with life.
The Broadbeach Cats team in Australia's Gold Coast were cheered on by two skimpily-dressed staff from the Mermaid Beach franchise of the American restaurant chain during their home game against local side Labrador on the weekend.
"The message these boys are getting -- and bear in mind we're talking 15 and 16-year-old boys - is that ... as a young footballer you have an entitlement to large-breasted women in skimpy outfits bouncing around at your games," women's advocate Melinda Tankard Reist said on an Australian morning television show.
Restaurant owner Morney Schledusch described the criticism as "ridiculous."
It is ridiculous. We (people - you, mostly) have this idea that ones dress dictates their morality. For instance, if you went to the beach and a woman was seen wearing a bra and panties she would probably be arrested for prancing around in her underwear. Put her in a skimpy bathing suit, and she fits right in. Strange, isn't it? Try it sometime and let me know how it works for you.
It sounds to me like "women's advocate" Melinda Tankard does a little too much thinking about "bouncing around" and not enough thinking about what she is actually supposed to represent. Why is it that women's advocates always cry out about women being portrayed as sex objects while they clearly have been making their own decisions about it for centuries? Every day, provocatively dressed women parade around in public because they want to be seen as sexual beings. But put them in a restaurant or in a strip club and "women's advocates" suddenly find the practice objectionable. Put a topcoat on, if that's how you feel. Stop wearing push-up bras, sheer stockings and perfume at the supermarket, you hypocrites.
For one thing, God forbid that 16-year old boys have some interest in women, eh? Perhaps a gay bar should sponsor a team? The Barflies - with men in shorts and tight t-shirts cheering-on the players. There's a sight for you.
Oh God, Hooters is sponsoring a kids' soccer (sorry, football) team. That couldn't possibly be as bad as say, Enron sponsoring one or a church, with whom you may not agree with their politics. It's a restaurant chain that has attractive women waiting tables in skimpy attire. That narrows the field down to about 9 of 10 sports bars in America. What is more important, the sponsor or their field of endeavor?
Suppression of the idea is the bigger crime here, and if kids are going to be given the impression that there is a bad aspect to women's bodies, then they're likely to be as screwed up as past generations were (are) about the notion of women and what their bodies make us think about.
I suppose it's all that double entendre that arouses the protests. Buns and hooters. It's the devil-speak, I tell ya! The next thing you know, they'll start calling it a soccer sphere instead of a soccer ball and the kids will be told to stop using their hands.

Where's my trophy?

Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher in baseball history to throw a shutout, when at 47 years, 170 days old, he threw a two-hit shutout tonight in a 7-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
There are two times in your life when you get a lot of credit for doing something ordinary: When you're very young or very old.
At this point, pretty much everything Jamie does qualifies him as "the oldest pitcher to do [whatever]" and it's a big story because he's 47 years old. If he was 27 and threw that identical ballgame it would have been great, but it wouldn't have been a story on ESPN Sports Center or a big splash on the sports page. And I certainly wouldn't be writing about it here.
Children get a lot of encouragement - some of it overdone - when they get involved in sports or some other activity. Their minor accomplishments are lauded and they get trophies for everything. I suppose it is a way to keep them motivated and reward them for trying. That's nice, but it's a little tiring to see a kid get a trophy for being at every game, even if the team would be better if he stayed home every once in a while.
The cycle of life comes around again when we're old. Every summer there is a story about some 90-year old graduating college. While we're congratulating him, we wonder why he was wasting his time. He gets special attention and rewarded for his "journey of personal enrichment." Meanwhile, he's probably the only old person who can hook-up a DVD player. He should get a trophy for that.
Likewise, every minor accomplishment that a 47-year old baseball player achieves is a headline story. When he faces another old pitcher, their ages are added up and we're supposed to be thrilled to hear that "they are a combined 94 years old." I'm not sure what that means, other than there are probably not enough good young players to push the old ones out.
The two times in our lives when we are coddled we're either too young to remember or too old to realize what's going on.