Monday, January 31, 2005
The Brass Knuckles of Democracy, Pt. II
An Iraqi woman shows that she has just voted. I'll tell you what, it's hard to argue with the images coming out of Iraq right now. I must admit I'm filled with mixed emotions. Aside from the fact that 9 billion war dollars are unaccounted for, I've never been a fan of our campaign in Iraq. And frankly, I'm not terribly trusting of the US's media correspondants in Iraq either. And I still think GWB is a big stupid jerk. But wow, there is so much that I like in the news of Iraq these past few days. Lots of images of people voting with tearful joy. Old men and women getting carted to the polls by their grandchildren, and by their donkeys. And the women are voting! The woman in the picture held up her index finger to proudly show her ink stain. I feel certain that she also held up her middle finger as a subtle message to her erstwhile misogynistic controllers who are convulsing with fear over the fact that she is now allowed to have a voice in government. That's all good. It's great in fact. Still, it's hard to imagine such deeply entrenched paradigms in the Arab world could be toppled in just two short years. I must remind myself that all these images are taken of the people who braved life and limb to vote. There were lots of Iraqis who sat at home and didn't vote. Some were protesting American influence. Some were women who listened to their husbands instead of their conscience. Some were Sunnis who didn't couldn't bring themselves to vote for a Shiite or a loser. Some were just afraid of getting blown to bits. And meanwhile, the rest of the Arab world is scoffing. Some of the accounts I've read imply that they scoff out of dread. Maybe so, but hopefully their democracy won't come at the price paid by Iraq. This is all very huge. Time will reveal all. It's too soon to determine. But it's not too soon to hope.
Friday, January 28, 2005
A Message to America's "Little Guy"
President Bush to America's Little Guy: "Don't Run! We are your friends!" President Bush is your friend. He says so frequently, so it must be true. He has lowered your taxes. He is pre-emptively attacking our enemies to make sure they don't attack us first! He is tough. He is your protector. He can make a decision when a decision is called for. He can make a decision at the drop of a hat! Little guy: you can feel safe knowing that George W. Bush is in the White House. Forget about what those whining Democrats tell you. He is not going to increase your tax burden--hell, didn't you get a refund check in the mail? Your children and grand-children do not need to worry about the record-high deficit in our budget. You know why? Because the economy is going to improve now that George is in the White House! That deficit will be gone in no time, once we patch up a few glitches in the economy. After all, Clinton balanced the budget and all these economic problems are his fault. Those Democrats might say that it's preposterous for the President to unify Large Oppressive Big Business with the Little Guy (that's you!) who is generally oppressed by those large oppressive big businesses, but he has, hasn't he! Democrats think that your interests are not the same! They obviously don't know that you work as a meat packer at Hormel. As long as your paycheck doesn't bounce, and as long as you have one hand free to cover your nose--that's all you're interested in, right? That and Gay Marriage--we gotta make sure the sanctity of marriage isn't soiled. The Democrats have no clue what you really care about! They claim that they are looking out for your best interests, but you know how they'll do THAT: tax increases. The Republican's, however, THEY know the score. So stay true to President Bush! Do it for our boys in Iraq!
Thursday, January 27, 2005
The Color of ComedyAnd here is the part where Jim risks being called a racist. For a Christmas present, my girlfriend bought me an awesome stereo for my car that plays XM Radio. Yeah! Lately, as things have been a little tough for me at work, I've been needing a laugh during my commute, so I've been tuning into the comedy channels on XM. (Parents take note: This stuff is NOT for kids!) I've noticed a curious thing. From among the sample of stand-up routines that I've vbeen hearing on XM Comedy, I've noticed that almost ALL of the routines delivered by black comics have to do with "being black." And these routines are just not that funny, either. Here's my advice to black comics: I don't care what color you are. Make me laugh, dammit! You're a comic, not Martin Luther King. You don't need to "represent" when it's your job to purely and simply make me laugh. Now, if you make fun of me for being white--that's cool, as long as it's funny! If a joke or two has to do with you being black--that's cool, as long as it's funny! But to give your entire stand-up routine about the "black issue" is counter-productive to funniness. Racism isn't funny. In fact, if you make us laugh about those issues that are common to all people, black or white, you will possibly make some in-roads into those thick-skulled neanderthals we affectionately call racists. That is all.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
The Well-Mannered Ape
Here is Jim at work, resisting the urge to throw poo. I rarely talk about my work on my blog, but today is the day at my corporate job that I get to turn in my "self-evaluation." Can I just say this? In a million years, when the epoch of human history is listing out those major influences, "Human Resources" and "Corporate Management Style" will not be listed. Our ability to make money has been finely tuned to such a specific manner that we have forgotten that human beings are basically apes with big brains. I am being measured (verily, I am measuring myself) on the basis of how well I follow up with customer issues. While I'm a good person and I care about select individuals that I work with, this ape has no concern whatseover for "customer issues." I fear I am destined to remain in middle management for this deficit in my corporate personna. I am smart enough to run an entire company (oh yes, I am) but I am incapable of squeezing my big furry ape legs into that well-tailored suit. It just doesn't fit me. I tend to eat my bananas and throw the peelings at whatever seems to be the funniest thing to hurl it at in that moment. As of now, I am "Meeting Expectations."
Monday, January 24, 2005
"If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead." -Johnny Carson 1926 - 2005
Friday, January 21, 2005
"Four More Good Years"
A photo from Thursday's Inauguration. Yesterday, hours after the inauguration, Rev. Lou Sheldon "This is the beginning of a good four years," said Sheldon, "Religion and morality. That's what is happening--that fusion of religion and morality and public policy has now come about."
An Open Letter to Brick-And-Mortar Music VendorsI listen to lots of unusual music. If I were to buy all my music online, this post wouldn't be happening. Online music sellers know how to position their product, and the virtual world lets a CD be in more than one place at a time. I'm the kind of guy who usually buys only one thing on impulse, and that is music. I get a bug up my butt and suddenly I think "Oh my God, I need to buy William Orbit's Pieces In a Modern Style RIGHT NOW." So I go to Tower Records. Or any number of other brick-and-mortar CD vendors. And here is where my frustration begins. A few years ago, probably when they started competing with CD-Now and Amazon, stores like Tower Records started taking it upon themselves to "classify" music on a much more granular level. Artists are now "Folk Music" or "World Music" or "Electronica" or "Trance" or "Popular" or "Classical," etc. The problem is, William Orbit could be any one of those classifications. He is all of them. After searching alphabetically under 16 different sections, where did I find his CD? Under "Dance/House." Anyone who dances to William Orbit's "Adaggio for Strings" is probably on qualuudes. Here's a hint for Tower Records and their competitors: we live in a post-modern world. That means that the lines between everything are blurry. Name any two categories of music and I can name someone who bridges the gap and falls smack dab in between them. Tom Waits is Folk Music AND "Popular / Rock." Johnny Cash is Country AND "Popular / Rock." There's probably someone who plays Digereedoo music in a jazz format. Stop trying to classify everything! There are only two classifications of music any more: "GOOD MUSIC" and "BAD MUSIC." There might also be one tiny section in the middle called "Music that is so bad that it is kinda good." People like Tom Jones go there. Trust me Tower Records. Just put it all in alphabetical order. Most people don't browse music and pay $20 for a CD because it's in the jazz section and the cover looks cool. They have *heard* what they are buying, and you're only making it harder for us to find it.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
The Meat of the Matter Turns 1One year ago today I wrote my first post. It's been a much better year than it would have been with out this blog! Well, for me anyway. To honor my birthday, I'm going to give a guest post to the lucky person who sends me a screen shot of my 10,000th hit. Photoshopped submissions not allowed. (You know you were tempted.)
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
How Should You Protest? First, Use your Brain ...Tomorrow is Inauguration Day. There are LOTS of grass-roots methods of protesting that have gained momentum via the web. I'd like to discuss a few: 1. "Not a damn dime day." This is the one where people won't spend ANY money tomorrow. Ummm, okay, but who are we hurting here? Probably no one. Everyone who didn't spend on Thursday will spend twice as much on Friday. Any vendors who find a dip in sales won't blame Bush for it, and if anyone is hurt it will be a smattering of all people, Democrat and Republicans alike. This is just a silly foot-stomping tantrum. 2. "Turn Your Back on Bush." People are being asked to attend the inaugural parade and turn their back as he passes to show their disrespect. This just seems childish, and it seems an unpatriotic statement, rather than a criticism of the man himself. Besides, whether or not we like it, Bush is now our President. I'd take a bullet for him. I won't turn my back on him because we need our President. It's unfortunate that our President is one step up from an orangutan, but we still need him. 3. "Black Thursday." Just stay home and don't do anything. Don't go to work. I'm guessing the people who latch onto this one would latch on to it with equal vigor if it was to protest cruelty toward lima beans. 4. "The Bush Blackout." Turn your blog black on inauguration day. I've thought about this one, but wouldn't the Bush Administration love that? Finally, all his critics are silent. I gotta say no to that one too. Besides, tomorrow is the 1-year anniversary of TMOTM! 5. There are several local protests all over the country. These aren't a bad idea in that at least it's not counter-productive. And it's probably a good way to rub elbows with other Bush critics. Hell, maybe some folks will get laid. It won't really accomplish much of anything that I can think of, however. 6. "Choose the Blue" is still my protest of choice. I would link to it but blogger's link engine is busted. Here it is: http://www.choosetheblue.com/main.php This form of protest is a serious way to help get a Democrat elected into office in 2008. Please spend your money with companies that support a more rational approach to Government!
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
A Question for ChristiansToday a Georgia schoolboard voted to appeal a judge's ruling that made them remove stickers from a textbook that said "Evolution is a theory, not a fact." I hate sentences like the above, because I have to deconstruct what basically constitutes a quasi-triple negative. Basically, there were these stickers that the school board liked because the school board didn't like evolution. The judge told them to take off the stickers, and now the school board is saying "please let us keep our stickers." So here is the question I have: Why do Christians react so negatively against evolution? What threat does it pose on the Christian world view? Evolution is a fact. (Sorry, but it is.) But that fact doesn't necessarily negate the Christian creation theory. Just because humans evolved from simian creatures doesn't mean that God didn't have his hand in it. After all, if Christians are trying to gain acceptance in the world's eye, don't they have bigger fish to fry? If they stopped looking so silly when it comes to the evolution issue (which is no threat to them), they might get more credibility with issues that require a bit more gray matter, and would weigh in as a heavyweight on their issues list. Can any Christians chime in and fill me in?
Monday, January 17, 2005
Early Morning, April Four ...A shot rings out, in the Memphis sky. Free at last, They took your life, But they could not Take your pride. In the name of Love. "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward Justice." -Martin Luther King, Jr.
Friday, January 14, 2005
HBTMI'm back to being a prime number, and am now older than Elvis was when he died. There are seventeen prime numbers left in my life after this one. Seventeen is also a prime number. That makes this year a very good one. 47, 51, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89, 97, 101, 103, 107, 109, 113 Then, at 120 years of age, I shall shuffle off this mortal coil and retreat gracefully back into the land of non. The year will be 2082. I would like my ashes to be scattered on Mars, please.
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Christmas Comes EarlyReally early. Not once, but twice this year, I have been pulled over by the police, only to be given a warning. Never in my life--never--have I been shown mercy by L.A.'s Finest. What means this?
Monday, January 10, 2005
What is the sound of one whip snapping?It sounds remarkably like the sound of my alarm going off at 6:00 AM this morning. Ha-CHA! BACK TO WORK! Hundreds of e-mails in my in-box, including E-mails from my boss letting me know that I must "hop to it." So I guess I better.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Happy New YearI've written this post several times now, with depressing references to Tsunamis, elections, etc. But let me sum it up this way: Thank God that's over. For me personally, 2004 was not a good year in that I lost a few friends. Each loss gave me a blow, like the old one-two-three punch. I used to think that when you lost friends that you lost a little bit of who you are. But here I am, the same old stubborn cuss. I also gained a few friends, which may in time prove out to be of great value. In fact, I'm counting on it. Sorry for not blogging much lately, but I've been on a blessed vacation after an over-the-top busy holiday season. I've been laying about like a blown-out tire and loving every minute of it. But, I'm back and full of more piss and vinegar than you could imagine. Look out 2005.