Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My apologies

I've been too busy or too tired to post anything for couple of days. I promise I'm not going on hiatus again for another year.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


UPDATE: Friday Wright interview = Good; Monday Wright interview = BAD

I still encourage reading the Street Prophets post in the link below despite the bilious statements that Wright word-vomited yesterday at the National Press Club.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Put yer thinkin' caps on...

...and go read this right now. It's an example of how some in the media can provoke thought, rather than promote controversy.

(i.e., what you won't hear on MSM in re the Reverend Wright/Bill Moyers interview)

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Social Relevance of 'South Park'

There's a very good article from the LA Times on 'South Park' and its insight on popular and political culture. For those who can get through the bathroom-humor and the annoying voices, you see that the show offers a wonderfully satirical and thought-provoking look on our society. The article has great audio interviews with creator Matt Stone, as well.
(Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for the link.)

Random thoughts Friday

I don't have time for a whole post right now, so I'm just scrawling some things down that I intend to write on at some point.

- First is a series of "Conversations with C"....I've had some pretty interesting discussions with someone that usually sounds like a FoxNews junkie. You know someone who usually spouts off soundbites straight from Hannity or O'Reilly, and sounds like little thought has gone into finding out actual truths. The difference between 'truth' and 'truthiness.' We discussed Obama, capital gains tax, and climate change. It was a pretty interesting back-and-forth, so I'd like to publish some of the conversation.

-My trip to Savannah last weekend, and how I'm a ghost hunter. (Ghost detector, rather)

-Communitarian? Is that what I am? Food for thought.

-Thomas Merton & "Success"

-The hilarious juxtaposition of an "America End Your Evil Ways 'Cause Jesus Is Coming" billboard next to a billboard for "Uncontested Divorces $499" and "Package Store Next Exit" billboards.

-The awful, awful prospect of switching to some uber-crunchy 'alternative' diet to combat my body's faltering nervous system. No caffeine??? No tomatoes? No gluten?? No alcohol??? YIKES! Sounds pretty hi-maintenance and unenjoyable. I love food. I love coffee. Although, I hate being in pain. Dr. Weil's anti-inflammation diet sounds a little more do-able. I'm not good at follow-through, though.

On that note, I must go fill up my pain-inducing but necessary coffee cup.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Give back! Support your local indie record store!

This Saturday is "Record Store Day," celebrating independent record stores throughout the country. Too bad I won't be anywhere near my favorite store of all time ear x-tacy, or a close runner up from c-bus -- Used Kids Records.

"I've always enjoyed the record shops....they gave me a reason to leave my house." - Pete Yorn
I remember a time or two during my college years at Capital when I skipped class and headed off to High Street. I always ended up at Used Kids perusing the used CD racks and vinyl bins. Back in those days Used Kids was a tiny subterranean bunker of sorts, crammed full of treasures just waiting for me to discover. I even had my car towed once while I lingered endlessly in that shithole of a store. (Damn McDonalds parking lot...) Just another sacrifice made to the indie rock alter, i guess...

And ear x-tacy has profited a bit from me over the years, too....I usually went in for one thing....or just out of sheer boredom...and came out with 10 CDs in hand. How I ever afforded it, I don't know. But hey, I guess gas was a little cheaper then.

I know it's easier to download music these days, and that whole gas-price-thing doesn't help your budget either. But if you're near your local record shop on Saturday, stop in. Linger a little. Browse the bins. Give back to the peeps that gave you a refuge and a soundtrack to go with it.

Now on to what's REALLY important...

I don't think I need to say anything else. This video says it all:

What he said...

More on that ABC debate/debacle:

Matt Yglesias writes:
I'd forgotten that for months now Charlie Gibson has been asserting that $200,000 is a solid middle-class income, blissfully unaware that just 3.4 percent of U.S. households have an income of $200,000 or more. You could be richer than 96 percent of your fellow citizens, but still just folks to Gibson. Obviously that's not on a par with being bad at bowling or anything on the "out of touch" scale, but it's still disappointing to learn that even our salt of the earth working class multimillionaire television news personalities aren't utterly infallible.
[emphasis was mine]

Gibson made that same kind of editorial remark while asking a similar question during the New Hampshire Democratic debate back in January. He drew laughter (astonishment) from the audience during that earlier debate when he made a remark about teachers/professors making $150,000-$200,000 a year. HA!!! If only that were the case, but sadly it's not.

He also erroneously stated that the govt. lowering the cap gains tax in the late 90s and again in 2003 actually raised revenue. Hey, yourself some embarrassment and stick to substantive questions. Less of that editorial crap.

A great moment for political journalism.....NOT

The hecklers at the end of last night's Democratic Presidential debate on ABC kind of summed up my opinion of the event.

For an elaboration, though, here is the comment I left on ABC's debate wrap-up website. Mine is one of almost 17,000 comments (and probably still counting) on the site:
This was the worst excuse for a presidential debate that I've ever seen. There was no "debate" to it at all. A debate is supposed to be viewpoint vs. viewpoint between two or more competing candidates. All this was was a question/answer session for moderator vs. candidate(s). WHERE WAS THE DEBATE ON THE ISSUES?!? This was a TOTAL disservice to the voters of Pennsylvania and the other upcoming primaries, and it was an embarrassment to the entire process -- not to mention to journalism itself. If I wanted to hear questions such as the ones that were posed by Stephanopolous and Gibson, I would tune into the Sunday morning pundit shows or "Fox & Friends"--- THIS WAS NOT THE RIGHT FORUM. This is the opportunity for voters to hear where the candidates stand on issues such as Iraq and other foreign policy concerns, the economy/jobs/housing market, the Yoo torture memos and executive privilege, education and their plans to correct the system, healthcare, etc!! Where were the issues?!?!?! If you want to know why people in PA and the rest of the country are "bitter," it's because you have allowed politics to turn into a "game" rather than its real purpose -- a system that supports the people of this country. I hope you look back at this debate and feel ashamed of the the end product.

I know the phone lines and email inboxes at ABC have been flooded all day as well. If anyone feels like calling and letting ABC know how he/she feels about the lack of substantive journalism in last night's debate, here's the number for the ABC Switchboard: 212-456-7777.
(Thanks, Atrios )

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dept. of random thoughts

This post is dedicated to my old Captial gal pals and our 'random thought' notebook.

Some random thoughts:
- is it April 24th yet? I'm ready for more Lost.
- i'm using apple cider vinegar to get rid of a 4-yr old, indesctructable, plantar wart-- and as kooky as it sounds, it's actually working...and it's free since i have vinegar and bandaids readily available. Although, I smell a little like fish and chips when I go to bed at night.
- i'm not sure i can live without coffee, and now i have scientific proof that it does in fact sustain my life
- did you know i can 'whisper' to many types of animals? even sting rays. yep, that's right.
- the shrimp had no choice to listen after i bopped it on its head
- i do love animals; don't call PETA
- i have to wake up at 4am on saturday for a work thing and i'm not happy. why do charities feel the need to hold their functions at ungodly early hours? i'm far more generous after 8am.
- i understand people's want to protest china's treatment of tibet, but do we have to get in the way of the olympics? the athletes don't deserve it. they are not china....they're just citizens of the world that have worked for this goal for their whole lives. please disrespect china, but not the athletes. i'm related to an athlete whose career was changed when the US boycotted the Moscow Olympics, and i just hate it that the accomplishments of this year's athletes may ultimately be overshadowed by foreign politics.
- is it friday yet?
- better yet, is it next friday yet? (i'm headed off to savannah next weekend for crab-eating, shark-fishing and shrimp-bopping. hooray!)
- i seem to be rather impatient this morning, eh?

that's it....random thoughts ran out because my coffee cup is empty

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

i did my civic duty... regards to the "Anti-Archuleta campaign for the betterment of society" -- AACFTBOS.
[see post below]
Last night's votes went to Michael, Carly, Jason and Brooke. Carly and Brooke were weaker last night than normal, but they're still far better than others.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Good reads for midweek

I encourage you to check out this Street Prophets post on the importance of narratives, and the need for new racial narratives. I found it to be right-on and a good call for our society. It also reminded me much of the idea of one's 'grounding' or ethos, back from my days in Skrade's Ethics class at Capital (a rather enlightening and life-altering class, if there ever was one).

While you're over there also scroll down and read the "Obama and Intelligent Design" post. Another post in which I second the notion. As my mother explained to me at a somewhat early age: "Evolution shows us how the world was created while creation stories show us why."

It's not one or the other. It made perfect sense to me as a kid, and it was all I really needed to know. I just never really understood--after hearing this in the most simple, yet profound way-- why this debate carries on with such ferocity.

Anyhoo...i'm tired and am off to bed. Nighty-night, world. (and by 'world' I mean the 2 people that may read this post...)

Friday, April 4, 2008

More on the 'Mindless Menace of Violence'

Yet another man that died too young.

In Memoriam...

In memoriam of a great man who had the audacity to hope and to break silence, to speak out for those with no voice and against what was wrong. I memoriam of a man who showed that life lived in contradictions is no contradiction at all, but rather the way we're supposed to live. A man who loved America yet challenged it to become more perfect, a man that was both revered yet deemed a traitor to his country. A man that showed us that dreaming and questioning and challenging is the way to the truth.

It is our duty to not just listen to one speech, but take the man in the full context of his life. To listen to all that he had to say. Read the letters and the speeches that don't make us well up with pride. Be both moved and agitated by what he spoke. Realize that truth is found most often by words and actions that shake us to our core...those that challenge what we thought we knew.

"God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war. . . . And we are criminals in that war. We've committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world, and I'm going to continue to say it. And we won't stop it because of our pride and our arrogance as a nation. But God has a way of even putting nations in their place...[God will say:] And if you don't stop your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power." -(MLK, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Feb. 4, 1968)

True patriotism comes supporting your country when it lives up to its values and challenging it when it does wrong. True faith comes from this same pattern of awe & doubt.

"Let no one hope to find in contemplation an escape from conflict, from anguish or from doubt. On the contrary, the deep, inexpressible certitude of the contemplative experience awakens a tragic anguish and opens many questions in the depths of the heart like wounds that cannot stop bleeding. For every gain in deep certitude there is a corresponding growth of superficial ‘doubt.’ This doubt is by no means opposed to genuine faith, but it mercilessly examines and questions the spurious ‘faith’ of everyday life, the human faith which is nothing but the passive acceptance of conventional opinion.“ - (Thomas Merton, From New Seeds of Contemplation 1949)

It is our duty to question our actions, challenge our superficial 'faith' and conventional wisdom, strive to become better people and a better nation. Too often people cannot accept this challenge and they seek to strike down those who make us uncomfortable. Too often 'the good die young.'

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Anti-Archuleta Madness

I don’t know if any of you out there watch American Idol -- as a joke, in serious, or just in passing because nothing else is on TV right now. But if you do, I really need your help. I really, really, really don’t like that David Archuleta brat, and I know I’m not the only one. See, I think he’s an over-produced stage kid with no soul to his voice, no honest connection to the songs he’s singing, and an almost-manufactured sound...a bi-product of pushy parents who "wanted their kid to be a star."

Yes, he can sing. I DO acknowledge that fact. And he’s even had a few great moments on the show. I also appreciate what he overcame with the physical strain to his vocal chords, and that he’s even able to sing at all. However, the real thing here is that he is 17....his parents pushed him that hard that he strained his nodes before the age of SIXTEEN. You do know that he was on Star Search and won, right?? He isn’t an ’up-and-comer’....he’s been doing this so long (or someone has pushed him to do it so long) that he almost lost his ability to sing before even graduating high school.

What bugs me is that his voice lacks any soul and/or connection to the songs he sings. He sounds as inauthentic to me as one of those bad Christian pop bands. (On a side note, I am a deeply spiritual person, a life-long Christian, so that was NOT a slap on Christianity....just that entirely UNMOVING, UNSPIRITUAL, UNINSPIRED shite that is spewed on Fish FM’s across the country....But that’s another topic for another time.) The point is....HE DOESN’T STIR THE SOUL. He’s cute, he’s got that sweet "look-at-me-I’m-so-shy-and-gracious-you-just-want-to-pinch-me" look that so many people are swooning over. BUT HE DOESN’T DO ANYTHING NEW.

This season is different in that it has several contestants with great talent, fresh approaches, and sounds that show that they’ve lived a little and are bringing that experience to their song. But with the hysteria around this "cute David Archuleta" people are forgetting that it’s supposed to be about the song. We’re supposed to be picking the next big ’star’.....The world has TOO MANY "David Archuletas" -- manufactured stars that peak too early before they truly find out who they are. Case in point, BRITNEY SPEARS. The poor girl was crafted by her parents, managers and record execs, and never had the chance to make silly teenage mistakes until she was a grown woman. And look how well that turned out.

Let’s start some sort of a viral web campaign to 1) Help save the sanctity of song from any more uninspired CRAP that is bound to come from a David Archuleta AI album, 2) Help give people like Michael Johns, Carly Smithson or Brooke whats-her-name (who I really think is cool even though i forget her last name) a REAL fighting chance to make an AI album then BREAK AWAY and create some good stuff on their own (like Fantasia did), and 3) Help save this David Archuleta freak from his parents and the AI machine that will break him later in life.

VOTE FOR EVERYONE BUT DAVID ARCHULETA. Post ANTI-David Archuleta stuff wherever you can. I know many of you will say, "why don’t you just stop supporting American Idol? Turn it off. It’s just glorified-karaoke anyway." To that I say, AI is a machine that is not yet ready to break. As much as you may want it to, it won’t break yet. So, if you can’t beat em, join em. See that there IS some good within AI -- for example, the 3 people I listed above -- and see that you can do something to raise up that good. If David Archuleta wins, your previous assumptions about AI are correct. And nothing changes....the machine keeps going. You can either do nothing, keep the machine, and get shitty Archuleta albums and an inevitable True Hollywood Story about him and his demise 5-6 years from now. OR you can vote for someone different. ALTER THE MACHINE. MAKE IT BETTER. If you’re going to have to live with it, let’s at least make it produce something decent.

HELP ME START THIS VIRAL ANTI-ARCHULETA CAMPAIGN. Vote him off. Save him. Save music. Save the world. :)