Oct 29, 2010

A rare moment.

The tabloid site Gawker has released an anonymous story concerning a failed attempt at a one night stand with Christine O'Donnell. When I say failed I mean the guy saw that modern personal grooming wasn't her forte and completely lost interest in going any further with the conservative candidate.

Now it should be of no surprise to anyone that I'm not of fan of O'Donnell's politics or personal beliefs, but I find this story to be disgusting. First off we have no idea if it's true, but I'm kind of willing to bet it is. I don't know many men admitting that they didn't sleep with a girl, but then again it's anonymous so who knows. If a guy is truly against intercourse with a woman who won't make her nether regions to resemble a six year old girl I have to call into question his status of having a gotcha interview with Chris Hanson.

Fact or fiction it's really low to publicly talk about someone's sex life without their consent. Sure if it is true a lot of you will balk at her hypocrisy, but it's not like she'll be voting on one night stands on the House floor. Politics be damned their personal moments should remain just that, personal. Sure she's made her views on sexual matters public, but we should not judge her based on an anonymous email made to a tabloidish website. Her record speaks for herself and one should already have their mind made up whether she's competent to hold the seat she's running for.

Yes I'm in the rare position of defending Christine O'Donnell, or even siding with NOW's statement on the matter. Oddly I feel the need to shower with Clorox.

"And I'm asking for your support because I want to defend America, as I've said before, from becoming a socialist nation." - Christine O'Donnell

Oct 28, 2010

Thursday Music

As everyone of my generation I loved cartoons as a kid. Every day I came home from school KPTV played the GI Joe/Transformers hour which was normally the highlight of my television watching. My father and I were big Looney Tunes fans and I'd watch them every chance I got. As I got older I enjoyed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and various others that were nothing more than toy commercials.

My father was a huge fan of Uncle Scrooge comic books when he was a lad. These stories were normally centered around the rich Scrooge McDuck taking his nephews around the globe in search for more ancient wealth. My dad kept these stories and my sister and I read them as children. They were normally based around ancient myths, such as lost cities of gold, Atlantis, the fountain of youth, etc. They were great tales of adventure and I loved them.

Disney then produced Duck Tales, which were all based on the old comics and I loved the series. It lasted quite a while given that most cartoons back were broadcasted for maybe two seasons. What I really liked about the show was the theme song was really cool, for a kid at least. Most of those theme songs were really cool for that matter.

So today I bring you a creative fella who used his talents to perform 28 cartoon theme songs in seven minutes. Join with me a journey down memory lane:

"I don't think cartoons are only for kids, but I think kids will love anything as long as it's visually interesting." - John Kricfalusi

Oct 27, 2010


I know I'm in the minority on this, but I love political commercials. I know most complain about campaigns and feel they've become too dirty, but really those people know little of our nation's history when it comes to running for office.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson's friendship is well known, but what isn't is how brutal they were to each other when they both ran for President. Each call each other hermaphrodites on numerous occasions and never held back in their mud slinging.

Theodore Roosevelt also had a similar ugly campaign with his best friend William Taft. Granted Taft was a horrible President, quite possibly one of the worst ever, but these former friends were so harsh that William once broke down and cried in front of the press at how he missed his former comrade as a result of their political ambitions.

Nowadays politics is more congenial as the public will allow only so much, but that doesn't keep people from complaining about how dirty it's all become. It's like they feel politicians of yesteryear always acted like gentlemen and spoke in prose that was polite and sensible. I wish that were true, but most of us would like to romanticize our past. I like dirty campaigning. Yes you read that right. If someone running for office stoops to a real low as blasting someone personally well I know best how to cast my vote. Plus I think it's fair to attack an opponent's record if it doesn't correspond with one's political ideology.

Yes I do find some of the ads comedy gold. If any of you have been following Christine O'Donnel's commercials you know what I'm talking about.

"And I'm asking for your support because I want to defend America, as I've said before, from becoming a socialist nation." - Christine O'Donnell

Oct 26, 2010


Project Prevention is a charity that attempts to help the needy. Their methods include giving $300 to drug addicts to go through sterilization or long term birth control. This has been met with some success in the US and now Barbara Harris, the woman who leads the charity, is taking her philanthropy to the UK.

This has been met with controversy of course, but I ask you is Project Prevention doing a good thing? Is this an appropriate method to keep addicts from giving birth to children who they're not able to take care of or is this some twisted form of eugenics?

I'm actually torn about this. Most addicts are completely out of their gourd and will do anything for a quick buck including giving up their reproductive ability. Then again if they clean up and change their lives and want a family they can always adopt. Sure I may be biased when it comes to adoption, but it's a good alternative as many children need a good home. If these drug addicts stop having children the state may save loads of money and society in turn benefits.

It's hard to argue that drug addicts should have children, but should we coerce them to put an end to breeding with cash that'll probably be spent for their next hit?

"If I had enough money, there wouldn't be any pregnancies for drug addicts." - Barbara Harris

Oct 25, 2010

Overrated films part 27

A friend of mine who has little interest in politics or history read the famous biography "Che", about the legendary revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, for her book club. We talked about it for a spell, but it was years since I read it. She then pondered why he was such a beloved figure amongst many as the book paints him as a sadistic tyrant.

I didn't have a good answer for her. I admit that I love the myth of Che if not the reality. Since his martyrdom many have seen him as an inspiring figure in the struggle against imperial colonialism. While he claimed to fight for social justice upon closer examination of the facts one may found a man who cared little for basic human and civil rights, not the iconic revolutionary who many think should be the model for our collective conscious. Yes I do find it ironic that his legacy is largely lived through sweat shop produced tshirts and posters that are sold in Hot Topic and the like. Hardly the want of someone so against capitalism, but maybe he was that narcissistic.

I'm sure there are many like me who want to admire the bullet point history of Guevara and that's the only explanation I can think of when I see positive reviews for "The Motorcycle Diaries". I watched this yesterday wondering if it would give me further insight behind the man that helped shaped Cuba's future, but I was largely left to question why it, like it's main character, was so well regarded.

It's a simple road tale of Ernesto Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado who set to travel South America from Argentina to Peru on a motorcycle. They're friends because we're told they are, but we never feel that they should be. There's no real chemistry between the two and there's little dialogue that would suggest they even enjoy each other's company. They seem to share the same political philosophy, but even that is glossed over. It becomes little more than a travelogue, a poor one at that.

Across the landscape they meet important figures in shaping their beliefs and witness first hand the oppression at the hands of capitalists and religious figures, but again these moments are few and almost work in a montage sequence when the camera's not focused on the landscape. The poor are shot almost in still life fashion in black and white, mean to represent how they are a memory, a somewhat fleeting one as they are the victims of powerful landlords, corporations, etc.

It's an interesting concept, but it made for a poor film that does little more than make one wonder why Che became such a brutal thug. Perhaps if the downtrodden in this film were given more character we could imagine him becoming the extremist he was in his later years, but the viewer is left to ponder that for themselves.

This film failed me in two respects, one as a buddy road film and the other as a social commentary. What turned Che into the absolutist who even lobbied for Kruschev to launch at the US is still a mystery to those who view it. It's a long and often time tedious look into the world that begged to be saved from it's masters.

That's not to say the film is completely without merit. The visuals are lush and beautiful, the acting is much better than it's dialogue, and maybe if I spoke Spanish I'd understand the fish out of water aspect of the travels of it's protagonists. When the end came gave Che credit for creating the revolution against the Batistas I felt I wanted more.

"For a movie, this feels inadequate, despite its splendors and, later, its social dismay. It does, however, have the makings of a grand postcard." - Wesley Morris

Oct 22, 2010

This morning the wife and I signed what must've been 47 documents at the title company and as a result we're now homeowners. As we speak she's packing up our new dwelling with non-essentials. She's so excited to move that for the past month or so every day I came home after work she'd have a few boxes already packed. Our dining room is stacked with stuff and it takes the skills of an acrobat to walk through it.

I have to admit I'm excited as well. While I shall mourn my bank account I can't wait to see our home unpacked, the same house I'll be raising my family.

I hope to make it a happy home.

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." - Robert Frost

Oct 21, 2010

Thursday Music

When I was a kid we had a neighbor who played music so loud the entire road could hear his musical tastes. Genres varied as he played Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, and Led Zepplin, but one day as I was out playing in the field he decided to put on a an album by The Doors.

I had never heard them before, but I was mesmerized by the music, from the pop-ish tunes (Light My Fire, Touch Me) to the haunting melodies (The End). Having already taken to jazz I loved the rhythms as well as the strange lyrics and the keyboards. I became an instant fan and every time my neighbor across the road played The Doors I would sit quietly and listen.

I found myself a loner in the fact that I enjoyed them. My friends were more into Michael Jackson and the soundtrack to Footloose. For years I only had the chance to listen to them when I was alone. My parents hated them and called them devil's music. Early on they knew their child was weird.

Finally director Oliver Stone released 'The Doors', his biopic of Jim Morrison. Suddenly everyone was a fan for at least eight months. People would accuse me of becoming a fan only because of the film, which I wasn't, but I didn't see why that would matter. It's not as if radio stations were playing them so most of my generation's first exposure to them was through the movie. Regardless it was nice to hear people enjoy the music that I loved as a kid and as a benefit I got to hear it more.

While the movie may not have been entirely faithful to history I enjoyed it. Of course it portrayed Morrison as a megalomaniacal self destructive sociopath, but I didn't care. I was only interested in the music, songs that I would never stop enjoying no matter how old I get.

"Violence isn't always evil. What's evil is the infatuation with violence." - Jim Morrison

Oct 20, 2010

I don't get it.

I enjoy sports. No I'm not a fanatic, but I love sitting down with friends watching a good competition whether it be football, UFC, or even hockey. It's a fun way to pass the time, but I'm not hardcore about it as some would argue. I don't care whether my favorite team wins or not, as long as they play a good game. I want to see quality competition, but other sport fans think otherwise.

When observing other sports fans I notice a large discrepancy between them and myself. Below are but a few things you'll find common amongst enthusiasts:

1. They'd rather see their favorite team dominate their opponent than watch a game where equals meet on the field. This confuses me, but may explain why college football is so popular. I'd rather see my favorite team lose by a few points than having them win by a large margin. I hate seeing sloppy play by spoiled celebrities.

2. Sports fans insist you root for your home team. Why? What if your local sport team sucked? Why should I sit there and consume a poor product simply because it's local? I'm not saying they have to win all the time, but I at least want them to preform to a standard I expect. I don't go to a bad restaurant simply because the owners live in my town, nor will I listen to a shitty band because they're based in my area.

3. When a fan of a team that has beaten yours discusses the game with you they always say 'We beat you.' It's as if that person felt they had something to do with that particular outcome.

4. Hardcore sports fans think there's a difference between their fandom and those who enjoy comic books, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc. You're all geeks. Accept it and be happy.

5. As noticed with the recent scandal involving Tiger Woods and Brett Farve, fans are disappointed to see them have character flaws. It's as if they're shocked rich famous men may try to sleep with everything they see. I don't admire these people as human beings, I admire them as athletes. I'm sure if we found out the details of many of our celebrities, or even have a chance to meet the pampered lot, we'd hate them with every fiber of our being, but none of us should be surprised that these folk feel their lives are without consequence. All of their whims are catered to and they'll act accordingly.

6. Some truly believe they can coach better than the professionals. Yeah. Playing Madden doesn't make you an expert pal.

"When your arm gets hit, the ball is not going to go where you want it to." - John Madden

Oct 19, 2010

Our state fair is a great state fair...

This weekend I attended the cultural mecca of the Republic of Texas and that is the State Fair. In my days in the Northwest we looked upon the fair with wonder. It was known as the Disneyland of its kind filled with cheesy rides, weird food, and livestock as far as the eye could see.

Upon entering the gates I was amazed at how large it truly is. Sure everything is bigger in Texas, but the scope of this fair can take one's breath away. In Washington they have the Puyallup fair, which is large, but the one here in Dallas dwarfs it.

We wandered around and took in the sights and sounds. Fairs are great places for people watching. We saw all kinds of mullets, people with bizarre fashion sense, and everything associated with multi-cultural trash. Still people were there to have good clean fun and fun they had.

The three of us decided we would eat our way through the fair. We started with the world famous Fletcher's corn dogs. I'm not a fan of those, but these were better than the ones I remember eating in middle school. We then ate some deep fried tamales, which were bland and something I swore to never consume again. The highlight was the chicken fried bacon. Yes you read that right. It was truly an experience that can best described as awesome.

There were other foods we decided to try. The pork chop on a stick tasted like a pork chop. The fried margarita was a sham at best. The deep fried beer was disappointing and the sweet jalapeno fried shrimp was interesting. I guess I had higher hopes for the cuisine, but maybe next time I'll be more discriminating.

There was a large elaborate car show where manufacturers showed off their newest models for everyone to sit in and possibly buy. What was strange about this is that they offered them at a price higher than the MSRP and even advertised that fact just in case you felt like spending more on a car at the fair then at your local dealer. It was cool seeing the latest in automotive engineering, but really I got an overall 'meh' feeling as we eyeballed the vehicles.

Oddly enough the three of us walked by what looked to be a television crew filming an event. Upon closer inspection it was none other than Larry the Cable Guy taking part in a fried PB&J eating contest. Yes I got to see the hero of the mouth breathing white trash community. Kelly even got a picture of him interacting with his fans.

After watching a dog show and making our way through the crowds the girls decided they've had enough of the state fair. I wanted to see a bit more to see if there was something I missed, but that thought quickly left my brain as I reasoned there was little that would be of any interest. After seeing all the merchandise being sold so far I assumed it would be best if we left and digested all the deep fried goodness.

So my first trip to the fair was less than stellar, but I'm excited to go back one day and ride one of the world's largest ferris wheels. Perhaps when I have kids it'll be more fun as well.

"You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas." - Davy Crockett

Oct 18, 2010


Last Friday I rode public transportation here in Dallas, otherwise known as the Dart train, to travel to the state fair. It was a cheap and efficient way to travel as we didn't have to fight traffic nor pay out the nose for parking. Since I mentioned this on my blog you know we couldn't have arrived without incident.

Jackie and Kelly were sitting in front of me holding Jackie's wee one behind the doors. A homeless man was standing in the doorway minding his own business when a couple of young punks entered. They had all the look of thugs complete with pants that went down to their knees, a fashion trend that will not die for whatever reason. The youngest, who may have been all of fourteen, held out a lighter and started flicking it. He started lighting it around the homeless man's long beard and messing with him.

To be expected the homeless man didn't take this well and shoved the young gent. The older of the two got angry and started talking through his braces about how he was going to kill the man if he pushed his brother again. In thug fashion he described his hypothetical violent outburst until the guy decided to dissolve the situation by moving to the front of the train leaving the thugs to belittle him even more.

The punks went on about how they would attack the man and give him what for. A dude behind me was laughing about the whole thing encouraging the disrespect. The girls were freak out by the incident, but I was angry at myself for not doing anything. Sure it may have ended up with me getting stabbed or shot, but I couldn't help but think that these two punks needed a lesson taught in manners. Picking on an old homeless person is low, but I guess survival instinct got the best of me as it was reminded to me that intervening would have ended very badly.

I wish the worst for both of those punks.

"I was planning on my future as a homeless person. I had a really good spot picked out." - Larry David

Oct 14, 2010

Thursday Music

The wife and I are trying for a wee one so she took me to a baby store to look at items that the industry deems we need to raise a healthy, happy baby. When wandering through the clothing section I noticed a clearance section for onesies.

They had all kinds of clothing for little tykes, mostly with a theme. Some had The Beatles logo as well as AC/DC (which I've bought already), but there was one that really caught my eye. It had the Godfather text complete with the marionette cross and string.

"Honey," I said. "We need to get this."

"Babe," she replied. "What if we have a girl?"

"That's ok," I answered. "My girl will know and love The Godfather."

"Honey," she said. "I have never seen The Godfather nor do I have any interest."

"But..but..it's The Godfather."


We reasoned for a bit more, but I told her if my children don't like The Godfather I have certainly failed them as a father, pole be damned. She wasn't buying it. That's ok though. I can't expect our young one to appreciate an American classic film as I do. Still I'm buying it, whether they wear it or not.

Part of the reason I'm such a huge fan of the film is soundtrack, from it's haunting score to it's love theme. There have been many covers of the tune that carried Michael Corleone through Sicily, but below is my favorite:

"I loved the Godfather. I thought that was the best interpretation of our life that I've ever seen. Godfather I and Godfather II - the other one stunk." - Sammy Gravano

Oct 13, 2010


Most of you are fully aware of Krystal Ball and her run for a Congressional seat representing Virginia and it's not for her stripper-esque name. I'm willing to bet none of you paid any attention to the race until last week when a right wing blog released photos of her at some sort of Christmas party doing highly sexualized acts, such as sucking a red dildo on her then husband's nose.

Naturally this launched her into the national spotlight and I found myself questioning whether this was intentional by her campaign. Of course that moment was fleeting as I couldn't understand how this could possibly help her career in politics.

I never learned anything from the photos about Krystal herself. I wasn't aware of the issues she stood for nor did I understand why in heaven anyone would name their child that. I did; however, learn a lot about myself.

When I first saw the pictures I passed her off as some kind of dumbass who obviously doesn't take a career in politics seriously. I figured she was a joke who treated her candidacy as such, but I was misguided in my thinking.

Looking back at my younger years before the age of Facebook, cell phone cameras, etc I engaged in activity that I'm thankful was never documented on film. I'm sure all my friends would agree that we all can breathe a collective sigh of relief that our families will never see us in compromising images that are made for public consumption. We narrowly escaped the social networking scene and our stupidity, or even harmless fun that looks like Satan's work, remains largely in our memories if not in photos.

Krystal Ball did nothing wrong by attending the party and having it documented. Our generation is a highly sexualized one and you'll just have to accept it. Women are often more assertive in that respect and that should not be victimized because of it. We've all done things we're certainly not proud of, or at least have moments you wouldn't want to share with the public. If I chose to go into politics to serve my community, state, and/or nation my sexual history should not hinder that. She never made herself a moral candidate and can hardly be called a hypocrite. If you think she's a whore and somehow not capable of having a seat in Congress then you're definitely holier than me, or most of us for that matter.

I finally read her statement regarding this issue and I suggest you do as well. I found her to be articulate as well as reasonable, something lacking in politics today. If she loses the race I hope she runs again and again. The country could use more straight shooters like her. If I lived in Virginia she'd probably have my vote.

The generation following us will be under much more scrutiny if they want to go into public service and for that I pity them.

"I don’t believe these pictures were posted with a desire to just embarrass me; they wanted me to feel like a whore. They wanted me to collapse in a ball of embarrassment and to hang my head in shame. After all, when you are a woman named Krystal Ball, 28 years old, running for Congress, well, you get the picture. Stripper. Porn star. I’ve heard them all." - Krystal Ball

Oct 12, 2010


There are those who believe enlightenment equates to reason. I agree, but there are many who think otherwise, who believe the state of being is more spiritually based. Maybe so. I really can't argue that, because it's subjective and takes faith.

Recently a pastor at Mars Hill Church, who I've attended on a few occasions, decried the practice of Yoga as being demonic as he claims it's based in pagan roots. All over the country people have gasped over such remarks defending it with vehemently as if it was its own religion.

Now let me be clear that I don't know much about Yoga. I've attended a couple classes and I found it to be a great workout, until I read more about it and noted that the idea of holding stretch longer than 30 seconds doesn't give you any physical benefits what so ever. Sure stretching is great exercise and Yoga does that in spades, but you could get the same benefits without paying a large fee for someone to tell you to bend over for long periods of time. It has no harmful effects that I'm aware of so I won't condemn anyone for believing in it's tenets, at least the physical notions.

Yoga is a lot like the martial arts in the fact that when asked about it's roots most practitioners will give you different answers. It's commonly accepted that it's an ancient philosophy developed in India, but the background doesn't matter. What's interesting is both of these faiths, the followers of Mars Hill and those who buy into the fact that Yoga leads to spiritual enlightenment, are at odds with each other. I don't know Yoga to directly contradict Christianity, at least in my limited experience, but so many people practice both so differently I'm sure I can find contradictions in both.

Still I don't get Yoga and it's wild popularity. Sure it's trendy, but when looking at the facts people get far better workouts hitting a heavy bag, running, or lifting weights. That being said can it really connect body, mind, and soul like so many believe? Many think so and I'm hard pressed to argue this simple precept as it takes faith to do so, but of course I'm skeptical. Many people just find it a fun way to get a great workout and feel better after they're done. Good for them. The Mars Hill pastor sounds like an idiot anyways.

I'm sure heroin is awesome and can connect me with my divine soul as many believe. I should try it by injecting large amounts into my testicles. If that doesn't make me see God nothing will.

"Should Christians stay away from yoga because of its demonic roots? Totally. Yoga is demonic. If you just sign up for a little yoga class, you're signing up for a little demon class." - Mark Driscoll

Oct 11, 2010


I've met many a football fan here in Dallas and as no surprise I still have yet to come across anyone who doesn't claim loyalty to the Cowboys. Unlike my fair weather fans back home people down here treat their beloved NFL team as a religion. Football is very serious business in the state of Texas as it is the land of Friday Night Lights.

In talking to sports fans in the Dallas area I find a lot of differences between them and those who love their Seahawks. A few of them are:

Cowboy fans get upset when they see a poorly stacked defense against an 'I' formation.
Seahawk fans don't what a play-action or a 3-4 defense is.

Cowboy fans love their long history of great football.
Seahawk fans don't remember who Steve Largent was.

Cowboy fans enjoy the schematics of a great defensive game.
Seahawk fans would rather see an entire game consist of their opponent getting a bunch of false starts rather than see real action on the field.

Cowboy fans are hospitable to their opponents and can admit defeat.
Seahawk fans blame everyone for their loss besides the actions of their players and coaches.

Cowboy fans enjoy great BBQ with friends during a game.
Seahawk fans have little understanding of how to properly grill a burger.

Cowboy fans recall the days of Tom Landry and Roger Staubach fondly.
Seahawk fans are still bitter about Brian Bosworth.

Cowboy fans find it unfair that people around the NFL hate them for the branding of America's team.
Seahawk fans are upset people often forget their team exists.

While I'm a fan of neither team I find football culture in Texas to have a far more passionate fan base than what I'm used to in the Northwest. Granted it's hard to get people in Seattle passionate about anything.

"Today, you have 100% of your life left." - Tom Landry

Oct 8, 2010


Yesterday the Supreme Court heard arguments concerning a lawsuit that was slapped upon Fred Phelps and his clan by a grieving parent of a fallen soldier who's funeral was picketed by the infamous church. Early reports find the justices feel for the family of Matthew Snyder who were faced with the indignity of Phelps being present spewing his hate filled nonsense while they mourned their loved one. Still the court will probably side with the Westboro Baptist Church given the fact that they are normally prone to upholding free speech regardless of how disgusting and offensive their protests may be.

Phelps is clever in his protests as he always seems to comply with law enforcement when they ask his group to do their attention whoring out of sight of the family. His cult is well versed in law as most of them practice it, so they make sure that they comply with the local ordinances.

Obviously many aren't happy with the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church and for good reason. His family's volatile protests are disturbing and inexcusable. Many veterans groups are taking sides with the Snyder family and giving support for their legal battle. Some, including Matthew's father, argue that no soldier died for the Phelp's right to protest in such a manner. I see many people in the Facebook community pontificating how picketing a veteran's funeral should be illegal.

I empathize deeply with the Snyder family and anyone who's ever come across Phelps while trying to bury their loved one; however, I must side with the 1st Amendment in this case. The Supreme Court has throughout their history sided with ugly messages, such as neo-Nazis marching through Jewish neighborhoods, in the mindset that free speech means that we must uphold unpopular rhetoric to protect us from the tyranny of the majority. The Bill of Rights should apply to all and not just those we find distasteful.

My friend Alec brought up a valid point, that the Court should find the speech obscene, which isn't covered in the 1st Amendment. This isn't the Court's responsibility. They will uphold community standards of obscenity; however, so if every town council decides to deem the Westboro Baptist Church under this manner, then and only then should the justices side with the grieving family. Still I'm opposed to sacrificing the dangers of liberty for the safety of tyranny.

I hate myself for even thinking this, but if one of Phelp's children dies in a horrific manner I sometimes fantasize about picketing their funeral calling their loved one a whore and whatnot. Still that will do no amount of good as he's stated that if any of his family die and go to hell he will be thankful, because he loves God's wrath more than anything. They are that twisted.

"It’s really a question of if the government is going to cut down this public speech because it’s vile, then what’s next?. The Methodists? Is it newspapers? The blogs? The Republicans?” - Dan Winter, ACLU

Oct 7, 2010

Thursday Music

When it comes to popular music often times I feel as if I'm late to the party. Maybe it's because the stations I do listen to (yes I'm one of the few who still listens to terrestrial radio when commuting) play music that's less than fresh. The FM dial is certainly littered with diverse music, but the only DJs that broadcast up to date artists are only interested in broadcasting Justin Beiber and the like.

I was sitting with a few colleagues last night at happy hour and all of them candidly admitted they never actually pay for most of the content they consume. I understand this mentality, but I never got past the moral aspect that it's theft, plain and simple. Plus I feel I should support the artists that may or may not enrich my life with their work so they keep producing things I enjoy.

Timing is everything in art and kids rule the market when it comes to music. They buy the most, so it makes sense that the industry caters to them first. Take a trip down memory lane with me, when music was more interested in targeting the young adult market, when people still bought CDs. We had a more mature sound, lyrics that were a bit compelling, and songwriters were actually interested in producing great albums and not just singles.

Sure a lot of the music back then was silly, but I found popular music was more diverse then. Perhaps if consumers actually cared about the humanities we'd find more art that was directed at us.

So today I bring you Candlebox for those who like to reminisce:

"People think life on the road is a dream. It isn't. It's lonely and oft times, troublesome. If it weren't for the fans and their energy, I'd just as soon stay home. But that's what feeds the gypsy soul. That connection." - Kevin Martin

Oct 6, 2010


Last night I spent my time browsing the intertubes doing nothing of importance when my 11 year old half sister-in-law decided to IM me. She asked if she could ask her sister, my wife, a question. I told her to fire away.

She was inquiring about what to do if she told a friend that she likes a boy, who in turn told said male, which made the little gent directly ask her about her crush via text message. I was relaying this to my wife and she said to be sure to tell her to ask the boy straight out. My sister-in-law indicated that she hinted around at it, but the wife and I agreed that men don't read into things. They need their news to be explicit.

"What?", Kelly (wife) asked me. "You don't use words like 'explicit'. She probably doesn't know what that means. She's 11."

"If she's confused," I said. "She'll ask."

Apparently the apple of her eye replied that he kind of likes her, which was good news. I told my sister-in-law to tell him that if he's mean to her in anyway to her brother-in-law will whoop his butt.

Kelly reminded me that if we have a girl I'll have to deal with a lot of this. She then hearkened back to her youth where her mother drove her past boys' homes and she giggled in delight as she saw the dwelling of her crush. I expressed shock at this revelation, but she told me this was normal and that every girl does this. I now wonder if any girl has done this to my home.

See being a shy one I never openly expressed my affection for the opposite sex even though I had a childhood crush that lasted for years. At the time I was sure I was going to marry that girl, but when she straight out asked me if I liked her I nervously laughed it off. Having no older siblings and parents who would just tease me I had no one to go to for honest advice about childhood dating. I kept my personal feelings to myself.

Considering I never got married until just recently, am I the right person to go to for advice in these matters? Perhaps not, but being uneducated in certain subjects has never stopped me from expressing an opinion on them.

"I don't remember having a crush on a boy when I was a girl. I don't even remember my first kiss." - Maureen O'Hara

Oct 5, 2010

Overrated Films part 26

I'm a sucker for comic book films. While I'm unfamiliar with a lot of their source material I enjoy seeing a good super hero romp. They often appeal to the child in me, one who marveled at the idea of superhuman beings fighting the good fight. I'm sure many others feel this way and it's why the genre continues to be a success.

Still they are sometimes a hard sell. Directors often time have difficulty trying to please both die hard fans and moviegoers alike, and sometimes the finished product ends up being enjoyable to no one (Ang Lee's 'Hulk', 'Daredevil').

The overwhelming critical and commercial success of Iron Man sparked my curiosity. The character isn't a house hold name like his other superhero counterparts, such as Batman, Spiderman, or Wonder Woman. My interest did peak though and on strong recommendations I finally spent the time and money to sit and watch what was so beloved by my friends.

I felt as if I missed the party. Sure there's a lot to like about Iron Man. Rober Downey Jr's performance is impressive as expected. The film does have a great sense of humor even if a few of the jokes fall mercilessly flat, and Tony Stark's alter ego is human after all and easy to relate to.

That being said I was completely underwhelmed. What makes a really enjoyable comic book film is not necessarily it's heroes, but it's antagonists. So often do orgin stories sacrifice a compelling villain for the sake of setting up the background and Iron Man is no different. While others may disagree, it is possible to have a great bad guy help set up the arch of a super hero's set up (Batman Begins, Superman, X-Men) and this film disappoints highly in that respect.

The other issue with this story is the character arc, which was largely resolved in the first act and was less than stellar. The action sequences, which were good at times, didn't have the majesty of flight and sound like so many other superior films. In other words this had a feel of paint-by-numbers film making.

I had hoped these small flaws would be corrected in the sequel, but sadly the script called for little more than setting up the stage for an Avengers film.

While I was sometimes bored by the events that took place on screen I did enjoy the film. Still I have no interest in seeing it again.

"There's a slightly depressed, going-through-the-motions feel to the entire show." - David Denby

Oct 4, 2010

Celebrate good times.

I sat there with my sinuses aching ready to hammer a turkey baster into my nose. I was beat tired from running errands and spending a long day preparing, but I could not take time to rest for it was time for me to entertain. I needed strong drink.

The wedding reception went off surprisingly well. Many folks showed up to partake in good food and delicious cake. Some I've known for a while and some I've met for the first time. The extended family appeared with open arms and warm greetings. All seemed very nice and none of them gave me the sense that they listen to 'Goodbye Horses' each morning as they throw hand lotion into a well. A sigh of relief came over me as I know there's no one in the place that I fear having my yet to be conceived children sit on their lap.

Kelly's father brought cigars, which were welcome after an evening spent making small talk. I puffed on mine and pondered the evening's events, from speeches made to food consumed to debating with a four year old on who the coolest Star Wars character is. It was a good night, but I missed my old friends and family from the Northwest. After the majority of them spending a year's savings flying out to the Bahamas for our nuptials I didn't expect, nor blame them for not coming to Texas for an evening.

The night ended with cleaning and packing up all the goods. Kelly and I have lots of wedding cake, ham, and a pony keg of Heineken to consume before it all goes bad. We opened our gifts and were overwhelmed with the generosity so many have bestowed. It truly was a good evening.

"A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it." - John Steinbeck

Oct 1, 2010

Bad Movies I Love part 28

My mother was a huge Tony Curtis fan. She thought him to be one of the most handsome men ever and as a consequence we watched a lot of his movies multiple times. I can still recite dialogue from 'The Great Race', 'Operation Petticoat', and 'Some Like it Hot'. One of his films impacted my life greatly.

"The Viking's" is an old story set in medieval Europe and tells the tale of a Nordic tribe that's engaged in barbarity that one would expect. A noble befriends the Vikings and forms an alliance with them to overthrow the Northumbia crown.

Erik (Tony Curtis) is an English prisoner of the vikings who was captured as a wee lad in one of their raids. He actually is the product of the leader of the pillagers forcibly taking the Northumbia queen, who was recently widowed. He grows to be ridiculed by his adopted family, but early in the story he escapes with the help of the god Odin and the nobleman. Of course there is a love triangle with the viking prince Elinar (Kirk Douglas) and a recently captured princess (Janet Leigh). Erik saves the princess from Elinar's less than gentle advances and flees Scandanavia. Of course there's a climatic scene where the vikings attempt a final regime change in Northumbia which is complete with a 'moment of truth' scene, but it ends on a note I didn't expect.

While it's a corny swashbuckler 'The Vikings' has great charm. Sure it dealt with dark material, but how can you not when the story's centered around European history's most terrifying group of people? The acting is better than it should be considering the dialogue is not exactly Shakespearean. The movie quickly unravels in the third act, but that doesn't matter. Seeing Kirk Douglas do the oar run without the aid of a stuntman, the Orson Welles narration, and the stellar cast is just a few of the reasons I love this movie. It's a sweeping spectacle that entertained me highly as a young lad and still does to this day.

As you may have already guessed I'm named after Tony Curtis' character in this film.

"As the massive battle scenes and convoluted political machinations paraded across the screen, I thought, “This was the Braveheart of the 1950s!” and I was right." - Scott Wienberg