Thursday, December 30, 2004
U2 as MilestonesWhile waiting in the auto service center today, I picked up a SPIN magazine, and saw that U2 turned 25. I've been a U2 fan since they began. Yes ... before they were even famous. Back when my buddy Dave Austin gave me a casette tape with "Boy" on one side and "October" on the other in 1982, I was hooked. Every album release since then has been punctuated the various different period of my life. When the "WAR" album came out, I was a single, rabidly Christian, sexually frustrated, 21 year old boy. I remember hearing "New Year's Day" on the radio (over and over again). The thoughts in my head weren't quite human. I was more like a cat. (I'm looking at Frida.) Yes. I was like a cat. I basically sat and blinked. When the "Unforgettable Fire" came out in 1984, I was a bit closer to human. I was probably a llama. I was starting to find good friendships, and was learning that I was in serious conflict with myself. I was 22, dating a cute girl and working for her dad. I wasn't supposed ot have sex with her. Really, I wasn't. I remember standing on the roof of one of our client's homes (an evangelist), while we were working on his house. Looking out over his cul de sac, listening to "A Sort of Homecoming" thinking "Life is good." That didn't last long. In 1985, concurrent with my first exodus from Christianity, U2 released "Wide Awake In America," which I listened to intensively. It was an LP that had some remixes and live versions of songs from "Unforgettable Fire." I was in a deep well of angst--practically suicidal over the cognitive dissonance I had put myself through. That album spoke to me. I think that album helped me evolve into ape-hood. Then came the halcyon days of "Joshua Tree." In order to cure all the problems I was having, I got married to someone who was my exact opposite. (Note: do not try this at home.) When that album came out in 1987, I was working three jobs and going to school full time. I had no sense of self whatsoever, I actually devolved from ape back to a sheep. But I still liked U2. Rattle and Hum reminds me of all the girls in college I couldn't have sex with because I was married. Elizabeth Wood comes to mind. So does Toni F. and Howie, who I actually did have sex with later. I liked the movie "Rattle and Hum," too. Three years later, "Achtung Baby" came out. On the day the album was released, I was serving Jury duty in Hollywood, and working as a writer for Disney at the time. I remember driving down Hollywood boulevard and seeing Howie. I honked at her and she pulled over we chatted a bit. I thought I'd never see her again after that. Much changed by the time "Zooropa" came out. I remember winding through the suburban streets of Colorado Springs listening to it. Life was good in an odd way. I had a job after a long, devastating period of unemployment. I had a new daughter. I had a house. Life seemed to be taking shape. It was like the calm before the storm. "Pop" was the sound of my head exploding. I hated the album, and I hated my life at that time. I was divorced, miserable, finding my footing as an agnostic, back in L.A. with no friends, and I weighed 132 pounds. Bad, bad times. "Pop" sucked, but I was at least edging closer to human-hood. I think I was a baboon by then. "All that you Can't Leave Behind" came out three years later. I was now dating Howie seriously, life was as happy as that album made you feel. Life was *really good.* I was now a full-fledged human, working at Warner Brothers, smoking lots of cigars, and kicking butt. And now "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" must represent some new phase in my life. It's definitely different. I live in a different place, different girlfriend, kids are older, different client. But the place you are in now can't be defined until you leave it. And there you have it. Jim's life story as told by U2 Album releases.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Death of a MetaphorThis came to me from defective yeti, where I meet all my dysfunctional sasquatch needs. Unfortunately, one of my favorite metaphors from nature--a metaphor that I always thought was true--has turned out to be a Hollywood fabrication. --Jim kicks a pebble and looks glum-- Lemmings, my good friends and readers of TMOTM, do not commit suicide. At least the linked story paints a very compelling picture that they do not. The entire time I was reading that article, I was thinking in the back of my head "wait a minute, I've seen film of lemmings running in droves off of a cliff!" But alas, the end of the article describes how Disney fabricated this image in order to horrify generations of children the world over. As much as I loved that metaphor, I can't use it anymore. I guess when humans act like what we *thought* were lemmings, we aren't. In fact, when lemmings chat with each other, they say things like "you're just following the crowd like a human."
Burn the Witch!Suddenly, out of nowhere, the majority of Americans think the Iraq war was a mistake and that Donald Rumsfeld should be fired. Well, I quite agree. But why not fire the President instead? After all, it was his war, not Rumsfeld's per se. But Bush was elected by a majority of votes just seven weeks ago. Statistically, that means that some of those people who now feel Rumsy should be fired, also voted for President Bush. THOSE people should be fired. Of course, I'm assuming that the war was the only factor in their voting. I guess to some there are issues more important than thousands of innocents dying due to an "error in judgement" by the United States. Am I dissenting against the President during a time of war? Yes. Am I aiding the enemy? What enemy? The only enemy in this war is ourselves.
Monday, December 20, 2004
How Sick is Jim?Jim is soooooo sick, that when I cough, I actually feel pain in my kidneys. Now ... I'm not saying that to be pathetic, because I actually think it's kind of funny when I read it. And I don't think it's my kidneys; it's probably my ribs or some such. I haven't slept (much) for the last four nights. I'm coughing uncontrollably. I even went to the Doctor yesterday and I am not one stitch better. I mean c'mon. It's almost 2005 for Pete's sake. Not only do we not have flying cars, we can't even cure a flipping cold. And the pure joy I hold tightly to my breast is that I get to fly out of town tomorrow for work. WaHOO! I've coughed fourty-seven times while writing this post. You won't hear me whine like that much longer, though, because it's getting close to New Year's and my resolution will be the same it was last year: NO WHINING. I made it until December 20th. Not bad eh?
Friday, December 17, 2004
How do you say "Cool!" in Portuguese?For a mere $300k, you can buy a 3k sq. foot apartment in the city of Curitiba, Brazil. And here's the fun part: the round apartment revolves 360 degrees. The owner can control how fast the revolutions happen, and in which direction. The slowest spead is one revolution per hour. You could use your entire home as a clock. "Oh! There's the corner of 3rd and San Juan! Wait, where am I? In the dining room? Uh oh, time to go to work!" My house in my run-of-the-mill neighborhood costs about the same, and it revolves exactly ZERO degrees every hour. What a rip-off! Note to self: consider Brazilian retirement plan.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
The Butcher Will be Back in 5 MinutesSorry for not posting. I've been busy as hell at work, having to travel and such. I haven't even been able to work on my novel. Plus, the government has poisoned me with Dioxin. OK, just kidding. But the first part is true. Be back soon.
Monday, December 13, 2004
ImagineI meant to do this last Thursday, which was the anniversary of John Lennon's death (24 years ago now). So here it is late: Imagine Imagine there's no heaven, It's easy if you try, No hell below us, Above us only sky, Imagine all the people living for today... Imagine there's no countries, It isnt hard to do, Nothing to kill or die for, No religion too, Imagine all the people living life in peace... Imagine no possesions, I wonder if you can, No need for greed or hunger, A brotherhood of man, Imagine all the people Sharing all the world... You may say Im a dreamer, but Im not the only one, I hope some day you'll join us, And the world will live as one. -John Lennon, 1971
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Baseball, Apple Pie, Mom, and DissentHow long has it been since I've ranted? A day? Hmmm, too much time. Must rant again. I read over at POPS' BUCKET(my latest new link. He's worth checking out!) that he's perceived three instances of ideological thuggery in recent days. I agreed with everything Pops said, and offer up high-fives to him in whatever particularly cool way that 30-year-olds do. But Pops got me rethinking about something that really had my blood boiling this past election. It's a concept that is creeping like an intruder into the boudoir of American thought: “Dissent is Un-American.” I have heard implications of this SO many times in the past year. I believe my readers are of a high enough caliber that I don't need to explain why this thought is wrong. Dissent is part of the fabric of the American persona. I think you all know this, but if I have to I could get out of my chair and go get my copy of deToqueville's "Democracy in America." I’d really rather not though, because I used the book to defend myself in a home invasion and it's still got blood on it. (Not really, but it's a funny thought. It’s a huge book.) So now we’re beset with ideas like “dissent is un-American.” Do concepts like this always nip at the heels of democracy? And have so many Americans always been willing to soak them up like a Brawny paper towel? I’ve been tempted to say that we’re suffering from a paradigm shift—from the rugged independent pioneer to the passive, pliable rube. But then I think better of it. For every man who led his family across the Rockies, there were 10 more who saw the Rockies and said, “Wow, Denver sure is gorgeous.” The fact is, that the leaders in thought and in action have always been in the minority, and today is no exception. People who imply that dissent is un-American are not leaders; they are just rabid followers. On the other hand, people who DO dissent are creative and courageous. They are people who look at the status quo and say “I can do better than this.” Then they do something about it. These are true leaders. They’re not always right, mind you, but everything that is right probably started off with someone who was a dissenter. So any time I hear some pseudo-intellectual who implies that we should all just “go with the flow” and that dissent is somehow “bad” … I just smile and nod and know that I am dealing with someone who does not have what it takes to lead this country anywhere worthwhile.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Glo-Bull WarmingMichael Crichton has a new book out. It's a book that implies the entire "global warming" theory is a hoax. Before anyone reads it, I want you all to know that I thought of it first, and that Michael stole my idea. (If Michael's lawyer is reading this, I'm JUST KIDDING. But I did think of it first.) I've never thought that "Global Warming" was a legitimate condition, and have scoffed at it for over a decade now. My friends have called me a lunatic--how could I be so opposed to a fact that is accepted by everyone? To this I usually say something sarcastic like, "Ummm ... widespread, popular belief makes this theory credible ... how?" I've never seen any compelling facts that lead me to believe that global warming is even remotely real. Here's a little "bullshit alert" system I use that helps me know which popular "scientific" beliefs might be suspect: 1. Does it create fear? 2. Do the facts come from a human-based, (rather than geologically based) timeline? 3. Are there some scientists who will profit by the wide-spread belief in this theory? 4. Is the theory gaining impetus and becoming disconnected from the original facts that lead to the theory? 5. Do the vast majority of *real* experts give credibility to the theory? The answer to all these questions has the global warming "bullshit scale" pegged all the way over to "steaming and smelly." 1. Yes 2. Yes 3. Yes 4. Yes 5. No Granted, these answers are certainly no proof that global warming is patently false, it merely states that the theory is suspected of being false. I have, however, explored the facts and read enough that lead me to believe that my suspicions are true. The bottom line is that in my opinion, we're not all going to get baked to death like earthworms on the sidewalk. And the "hole in the ozone" theory fits the same suspicious criteria as well. Good news! We're going to live! Well okay, actually we're not. But it won't be due to global warming or evil UV rays.
Monday, December 06, 2004
Hokey HolidaysFor many years now, the Holidays have seemed to me like an unavoidable car crash. Each year, as I draw near to Thanksgiving, I get a sense of dread, like that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you've entered a rear-wheel skid and there's a cement truck coming the opposite way. Slamming on the brakes is futile. This is going to be ugly. Kind of like my feelings about "The Jesus," I don't mind the meat of the matter in the Holidays. Thankfulness and giving. These are cool things. I do truly enjoy buying gifts for my loved ones, and the family time on Christmas. (We usually play card games. It's a hoot.) No, it's all the bullshit that surrounds the heart of the message that I despise. Case in point: Last weekend I wandered into Home Depot and the holiday music was playing so offensively loud that I would have left if it wouldn't have let down my girlfriend, who was waiting at home for me to return with the goods. Here's a note to all stores, especially Home Depot: You will get me to stay longer, and enjoy my stay more, and possibly even buy more if you turn OFF the DAMN HOLIDAY MUSIC. I mean ... what are you trying to prove? Do you think it's fooling me into thinking that Home Depot is just so excited that we can now celebrate the politically correct joy of the religiously ambiguous season? Do you really think that I think you care? We all know that your Christmas music is the direct result of years and years of market research. The rubes buy more crap if you play it, so you play it. The question is this: Would you rather I vomit in the lighting fixtures section, or the paint section? Here's a promise: if someone can find me a store that does NOT have any holiday decorations or holiday music, I will do whatever I can to do all my shopping there. Deal? Deal. This holiday seasion will be the first one in 10 years that I actually erect a tree. I'm edging a few inches further away from Scrooge-ville every year, but stores like Home Depot send me scurrying back with my tail between my legs.
Friday, December 03, 2004
We love you! Now give us back our baseball team ...Earlier this week GWB went to Canada to smooth over some rough feelings. Today it was announced that the Montreal Expos are moving to Washington D.C. Coincidence? Perhaps ...
Blue MoneyYes, the election is over, but guess what? We can keep voting: with our dollars. I got this from my dear friend Lori. It was such a great idea I thought I'd pass it along: CHOOSE THE BLUE "If each American who voted for John Kerry spends $100 in 2005 on a Blue company instead of a Red company, we can move $5 Billion away from Republican companies and add $5 Billion to the income of companies who donate to Democrats. This will be noticed!" RED: Target, WalMart, all gasoline except Shell... BLUE: Shell Oil, The Gap, Costco, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Barnes & Noble SPENDING LIBERALLY "We will direct our collective spending power so as to punish corporations that make the government work against the public interest." Starting with targeted sanctions against sponsors of Fox News: FOX SPONSORS: WalMart, Target, Ford, Sharper Image... NEVER SURRENDER This includes a list of"Worst Corporations" LISTED: GE, WalMart, Disney, DKNY, Monsato ... So, to wrap it up: Shop at: Shell Oil, The Gap, Costco, Bed Bath & Beyond, Barnes & Noble Don't shop at: WalMart, Target, Ford, Sharper Image, WalMart, all gasoline except Shell, Disney, DKNY, Monsato
Thursday, December 02, 2004
Poker at Jim'sYesterday I went to the mall (more on that later), and purchased a beautiful poker set. A 500-chip set (9 ounce clay chips) with two decks of cards in a beautiful stainless steel case. All for only $70. So now I have to earn my $70 bucks back. I'm going to hold a semi-serious-but-mostly-fun night of no limit Texas Hold 'Em at my house. Anyone who reads this blog and will be in the L.A. area on the day I decide to hold it will be invited. I will probably do it on a Friday or Saturday night sometime soon. Here are the rules: - Everyone buys in for $50 and gets the same amount of chips (determined by how many people show up.) - The game will be limited to probably six people, maybe eight if I get that many responses. - Only people who have a basic knowledge of poker should play (newbies can come but kiss your $50 goodbye unless you're really lucky.) - 2nd Place gets $75 - 1st Place gets the rest - Everyone else gets to have fun! - Standard World Poker Tour rules for no limit Texas Hold 'Em will apply. - Big and Little Blinds will be determined that night, based on consensus. - I will supplies the drinks If you're interested, reply in the comments! I'll be sending out invitations to my real-life friends as well (yes, I actually have a few!), because I don't expect too many responses here.