Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Compare and Contrast: The Damned

Back in 2007, I had a little feature called "Compare and Contrast," which would should the strange evolution of certain popular bands. Like all of my old work, it was both critically acclaimed and immensely popular. The original C&Cs include Kansas, Chicago, and Heart (don't bother clicking on those links if you want to hear music; none of the videos still work).

What was true with all three is that they started out as rough and tumble rock and roll and wound up as glam or glitzy pop. The same could be said of today's featured act, The Damned.

1979


1985


Although thematically related (elements of goth appear in both), musically the band drifted quite a bit, losing much of its hard edge.

These extreme examples play into a theory of mine, and perhaps thousands of other people as well, that the vast majority of rock bands (and all artists) lose their edge over time. Even bands in extreme genres of music tend to lose their raw intensity or even their originality. At the very least, bands are usually only influential in the early years of their career. Nearly every metal band can trace influences back to Black Sabbath or Judas Priest, but they're not going to cite the later years. By the time Judas Priest hit its commercial peak in 1982, the next generation of bands were already releasing their debut records and the innovative early work had settled into a more workable (yet still enjoyable) "formula" of sorts.

You take a young rock band, they write about what they know, and they tend to pay homage to their idols, the bands and artists that came before them. After a few years of success, the dirty and grit of the street has been replaced with limos and champagne. All of a sudden they're artists, creating music as a science and not as a passion...generally speaking. I'm not saying established bands stop making good music, but they tend to soften up or mature with age. There's a difference between being a 20 year old with anger and testosterone, sleeping in a van and playing gigs of 50 people, to being a 40 year old with a wife and kid and a posh bush that takes you to arenas of 50,000 people.

Perhaps, then, the bands that never make it big are the ones that retain the greatest bite, playing just to survive. Of course, the youthful force is gone, but the hardness remains.

If you think about other art forms, the similarities abound. Without going into too many details, rattle off some actors and contemplate their best films. Older actors tend to gravitate to family friendly movies, animated flicks and whatever lazy big budget affair that will pad their wallets. Again, not all of them, but a large enough number to satisfy the trend.

Older bands (and other artists) can still be creative, and I hope they do. Artists don't lose their creativity, it just evolves. I guess the dilemma is still producing stuff that not only appeals to the creator, but also to the audience as well. The piquancy of youth can never be maintained forever, but one can remain entertaining and imaginative. If success, wealth, and fame make you complacent or pacified, then you're done.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What's going on in the world of America?

The people who run the United States are looking to do what's best for our children, so they suggest that we let kids work part time as janitors and meet their nutritional requirements by counting tomato paste as a vegetable.

Some of you may think that this is ridiculous. I say, sir, that you are ridiculous. Why do we cosset children? Because they are small? Spud Webb was small, and he won a slam dunk contest. Is it because they are inexperienced? Well, how do you learn if you don't dip your dick in a whore (I believe that is a common expression in Belfast). Is it because they are vulnerable? You can't toughen 'em up if you mollycoddle 'em.

If we're going to have children working and learning fractions, we can't have them wasting time trying to eat carrots and broccoli. Move the goalposts to make it easier. Hell, let's just say that if you're under 250 pounds, you're officially considered skinny. We already have vanity sizing, wherein clothing size is a lie, so why not just go whole hog? If you don't jiggle when you walk, you're un-American. Teach kids that in school, and maybe they'll get an education worth having.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bavarian Creme Facial



Cooking shows are highly sexual anyway, with the moans and savoring. In fact, cooking itself can be a sensual experience, and ofttimes food is incorporated into the moments leading up to the sexual mamba. Archeologists believe that cooking is what led to the modern sexual experience, where instead of clubbing women over the head, we go clubbing in the hopes of getting head. Bad joke? Clearly, but the facts are not in dispute - our evolution has turned the basic primal functions of defecating and fornicating into much enjoyed and sought after pleasures.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Penn State Top Rate Child Rape

The coverage has not died down since the news of Jerry Sandusky's years of child rape broke through to the national media. For those of you who don't know, Sandusky was an assistant football coach at the Pennsylvania State University. He is accused of molesting children, going so far as to butt raping someone in a shower like some kind of warped prison fetishist. Rather than dealing with the problem, Penn State officials went into full Catholic Church mode and covered it up. Some officials have been indicted for lying to a grand jury, while university president Graham Spanier and football legend Joe Paterno (head coach since 1966) have both been fired.

Much press has been given to the legacy of the school and of Paterno, the sickness of Sandusky (allegedly!), the players, the community, people with degrees from the college and students working towards degrees. Probably the least amount of time has been paid to the children, which is fine. Do you know how many times I was raped in the ass as a child? Zero, because I knew better. I'm not saying that these kids deserved to be sexually assaulted, but they probably enticed Sandusky (allegedly!) into the rape. As a 2005 poll showed, 1/3 of British citizens think rape is 100% the woman's fault. Children are just smaller, dumber women.

The focus should rightly be on me and my kind. I went to the Pennsylvania State University and graduated many moons ago. Where is my sympathy? There are concerns that my degree may not be worth as much. The Penn State pride has been tarnished. There has been a lot of hate directed towards Penn State alum. This is not right. I demand an apology, not just for the real and imagined damage to my degree, but also to the fact that I even have to listen to people talk about the Penn State community. America's love affair with college football, sex scandals and child molestation has created the perfect storm of a news story. Like a child's post traumatic stress, it will not go away, it will not diminish, IT WILL NOT DIE.

Should the University reimburse me for the damages I have suffered? I think so. My television, radio and newspaper time has suffered due to excessive Penn State coverage. My educational reputation has taken a devastating hit, as now everyone will think I majored in Non-consensual Ass Fucking with a minor in Scandal Cover-Up. Worst of all, the hurt of these raped children (allegedly!) has rocked me to my core, and I am suffering a crisis of faith and love; I may never be able to trust again. Would $300,000 be enough to get me through my grief? It's not really about money, although that is a start.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I haft un videos to sharing with you



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This humachine



As science marches on, a Japanese scientist has created a robot with autonomous thought. These machines can learn, evolve, and become self-aware. They...oh, wait, the article says the the robots can "look around their environment and do research on the Internet, enabling them to 'think' how best to solve a problem." That's it? The Japs made some mechanical teenagers who will loaf around looking at porn and write reports using Wikipedia as a primary source. Bugger that. Humans are so lazy even our robots are lazy.



Panasonic is helping along this laziness, creating robots that can wash your hair. This machine has 24 fingers to massage your scalp, but I've found ten human fingers to be sufficient. The odds of my own digits crushing my skull are much more in my favor than an android. I don't even think the robot is malicious, but judging on how lazy they are, the one doing my hair will get distracted by the football game on the television and jab a finger through my eye.



In the future war of man versus machine, it may end in a tie.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What's news? Anything!

After logging out of my Yahoo! brand internet account, I noticed that one of Yahoo's highlighted stories was about Netflix's ten most rented films in its history. That hardly seems like compelling journalism, thought I, but I clicked on the link to check out how they handled this. To my surprise, they did one better than a mere article. The presentation was a slideshow. In other words, to find out what the most rented movies off Netflix are, I would have had to click something ten times, in addition to the already barely earned one click. That, my good sirs, is ten clicks too many.

Next up: the five most ordered ice cream flavors from Baskin Robbins.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Life on Roars

Dinosaurs, like cowboys and astronauts, are the fascination of many a little boy, and more than likely some girls, as well. It's an acute interest that may diminish but never disappears, and so we have dinos in movies and television shows, from Gertie the Dinosaur in 1908 to The Lost World in 1960 to Jurassic Park in 1993, a plethora of paleontological prowess.

Tonight was the premiere of Terra Nova, a show about people who travel back in time and encounter dinosaurs. Think Land of the Lost but poorly written and not that interesting. I bring this up not to discuss the episode any further, but to point out that Jason O'Mara stars in the program. He was Sam Tyler in the US remake of Life on Mars, a fair if not lesser series than its predecessor. *cough* spoilers *cough* The American Life on Mars ended when Sam woke up in a space ship in the future. He was put into a deep sleep and supposed to be given dreams of the decades of the naughts, but due to a glitch was sent thirty years further back to the 70s.

I really hope this program ends the same way. I want O'Mara to wake up on the same spaceship and people are telling him he had a bad dream. In fact, every television program he does for the next ten years, I want them all to end the same way. It would be an amazing thing to behold.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

No hero gunman

Oftentimes we hear that gun violence can be prevented if people were allowed to freely carry around firearms of their own. For example, after the Virginia Teach shooting, it was asked whether allowing students and faculty to carry concealed weapons might have resulted in fewer deaths. Well, while not dispositive, we have a real life example in which a man with an AK 47 killed four and injured eight:
Witnesses and authorities described a frantic scene in the bustling business district, in which the shooter pulled into the large complex of retail stores and shops just before 9 a.m. in a blue minivan with a yellow "Support Our Troops" sticker on the back. He got out and immediately shot a woman near a motorcycle, a witness said.

Ralph Swagler said he grabbed his own weapon, but said it was too late to stop the shooter, who charged into the IHOP through the front doors.

"I wish I had shot at him when he was going in the IHOP," said Swagler, who owns Locals BBQ & Grill. "But when he came at me, when somebody is pointing an automatic weapon at you — you can't believe the firepower, the kind of rounds coming out of that weapon."
Surely Swagler wouldn't argue that automatic weapons should be banned! It seems more to the point that not only should everyone be able to carry a concealed weapon, but they should be allowed to carry a concealed automatic weapon, like, say, an Uzi.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

1971

A while ago, I shared some "proto-metal" bands from the early 70s. Well, here are some similar tracks which were released 40 years ago.



Possessed - Darkness, Darkness



Jeronimo - End of Our Time



Pluto - Down and Out



Felt - World



Speed Glue & Shinki - Stoned Out of my Mind

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cars that go boom

Learning of the event too late to find a Bunny to accompany my Tygra, I was unable to attend a special function which had replica Batmobiles on a boardwalk and a showing of the 1989 Batman film on the beach. You can imagine my disappointment, almost like that time Mr. T was at the mall.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Allure of Amour

My deepest love is always in my thoughts, even though our moment has passed and she has moved on. Even now I still crave her touch, yearn for her warmth, to have her scent linger in my nose, if even for an instant. As all heartbroken poets have done, I took pen to paper and expressed my anguish in verse:

Went to the bathroom and took a poo,
I saw the shape and thought of "U"

Monday, July 25, 2011

PONPONPON







Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wurzel, gone!

Michael Burston, better known as Würzel and a former guitarist in the band Motörhead, ist kaput. He died of a broken heart, or more accurately, ventricular fibrillation. He was 61 years old, so he was my mom's age.



My mom is still alive, though.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Infomania is current no more

The last episode of Infomania will air July 15th. That's a damn shame, because it was a fine show. Oh, well. That's life.





Sunday, June 19, 2011

Oops

You gotta have faith:
In recent years, [Clarence] Clemons had been slowed by health woes. He endured major spinal surgery in January 2010 and, at the 2009 Super Bowl, Clemons rose from a wheelchair to perform with Springsteen after double knee replacement surgery.
[...]
Clemons said in a 2010 interview with The Associated Press then that he was winning his battles - including severe, chronic pain and post-surgical depression. His sense of humor helped. "Of all the surgeries I've had, there's not much left to operate on. I am totally bionic," he said. "God will give you no more than you can handle," he said in the interview. "This is all a test to see if you are really ready for the good things that are going to come in your life."
Clemons died yesterday.

Did someone die?

I thought I heard someone died. Weird.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Crumbling metropolis

Devastation comes in all forms:
America’s attention has been focused on the towns in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma that have been decimated by severe weather, and rightly so. The resulting death and heartbreaking scenes of utter devastation should move anyone with a shred of humanity.

Yesterday, as severe weather continued to pummel the heartland of America, I drove through Detroit taking photos of a different sort of devastation – the economic calamity that has destroyed entire neighborhoods in a once thriving city. What’s striking about the photos I took is their similarity to the images coming out of Joplin, Mo. and other towns struck by the recent rash of deadly tornadoes.
* * *
What’s the difference if a city is leveled by the weather, or by economics? What’s the difference if such destruction occurs gradually over time, or in a single horrific event? Why does one tragedy elicit sympathy and offers of financial assistance, while the other tragedy is the source of jokes and callous indifference?
That's an easy question to answer, I think. When a tornado or some other natural disaster hits, it is out of our control. When the destruction is caused by our own decisions, by the very system we live in and concede power to, then it's our own fault. We don't want to take responsibility, so we laugh it off, or blame others.

As the gap between the classes continues to grow, Detroit will not remain an isolated problem. Let us treat it as a warning.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Taking a dump in a dump is not as fun as you'd think



Many tenants in New Jersey find themselves living in rental units with unacceptable problems. The most common problem I see is mold, but there are all kinds of issues, ranging from insufficient heat to sewage bubbling through the front lawn. I swear that some areas like Browns [sic] Mills in Burlington County were built on top of underground shit springs, waiting to spew little fecal eruptions. Browns Mills also has more mold per inch than Roquefort cheese. In fact, Browns Mills is a place I would probably avoid. In any event, problems that affect living conditions are called "habitability issues," and New Jersey tenants have the right to have those problems corrected.

Unfortunately, most tenants do not know what to do. I am hoping that maybe by sticking this out there on the Internets (all of them), people can locate this guide through one of several tubes that connect to their computer. I'm not here to advise people what to do, but hopefully the information can warn people if they are about to do something damaging rather than helpful.

Traditionally, tenants decide not to pay the rent because they are tired of living in a craphole. The landlord responds by filing a Complaint for Eviction on the grounds of non-payment of rent, and the tenants are flabbergasted when the landlord is successful. "Doesn't anyone care?," they wonder. "I had to live in terrible conditions!"

The Judge would care...had they followed the right procedures.

The first thing tenants need to do is notify the landlord. Invariably, the landlord will not adequately address the problem if they even attempt to fix it at all. The next step is to send a letter to the landlord.

The traditional way to send a letter is to type something and mail it. If you've ever seen a professional letter before, it has such things as letterhead, the date, names, a signature, etc. The letter to the landlord should also have these things. It should have the tenant's name and address, the landlord's name and address, the (correct) date the tenant sent the letter, and an actual signature. The tenant's signature.

The next step is to make a photocopy of the signed letter. The tenant should keep this letter.

The third step is to send the original letter via certified mail, return receipt requested. The tenant should keep the certified mail receipt (with the date stamp) stapled or paper clipped to the photocopied letter. When the green return receipt is sent back to the tenant, that should be put with the letter and the first receipt. The tenant should keep these. These are important. DO NOT LOSE THESE. If a tenant was thinking of losing them, that would be a bad idea.

I imagine that if someone is reading this, they may make a query. "Can I send an email in lieu of a letter?" Sure, the tenant could send an electronic message via Yahoo or Gmail or other email service, and it will save the tenant a few of the above steps, but the tenant will still need to print a copy of the email. The tenant also runs the risk of the landlord claiming he or she never got the email (spam filters can be voracious, you know). If it was me, I would send an actual letter. I know it can cost around five dollars to send a certified letter with return receipt requested, but as Edward Topsell wrote, "if by covetousnesse or negligence, one [doesn't cough up five bucks], he shall be penny wise, and pound foolish."

As for the content of the letter, the tenant needs to specify what the problems are and that the tenant would like them fixed as soon as possible. Keep in mind this is not a manifesto. This is also not a declaration of all the harms the tenant has suffered at the hands of the landlord, real or imagined. The tenant is just describing the problems and asking that they be corrected. Proper spelling and grammar are beneficial but not required. However, poor writing makes people sound like idiots. It also may hurt credibility.

After a reasonable amount of time (1-2 weeks unless the problem is severe and a major detriment to health), if the landlord still has not fixed the problem, the tenant is facing three options. The first is to let the issue drop and live in the company of squirrels or take a shower that sprays brown water. The second is for the tenant to make the repairs herself and deduct the cost of repairs from her rent. The third is to start withholding rent.

If the tenant decides to make the repairs himself or to hire someone to make the repairs, the tenant needs to keep all of the receipts. This is critical. Once the repairs are finished, the tenant should send another letter via certified mail (yes, again) explaining what was done and including photocopies of the receipts. If the landlord takes the tenant to Court, the aforementioned documentation will be the difference between victory and eviction. Keep in mind, however, that the tenant can only deduct for serious repairs. If the tenant clogs the toilet with used tampons and she then buys a plunger, that's really on her. If the tenant has to buy a new fridge because the old one was from the first Bush administration and it died of old age, then the tenant is probably justified. Of course, it will ultimately rest with the judgment of the, uh, Judge.

Moving on to the third option, if the tenant decides to withhold rent, he needs to send a letter to the landlord before the rent is due stating that the tenant is withholding the money until the repairs are made. This next piece of information is vitally important: the tenant must not spend a single cent of that money. The tenant MUST keep it. All of it. It doesn't matter if the tenant needs to make a repair to her car or the tenant needs to bail his son out of jail. I make my clients turn their money over to me to put into my firm's client trust account. That may, I can verify the entire amount of money is withheld. The reason for this is that if a tenant is sued by the landlord for non-payment of rent, the only way the tenant can get a habitability hearing is to post the full amount of money. If the full amount, every cent, is not provided to the Court to hold pending outcome of the trial, then the tenant will be evicted, even if rats come out every night and bite toes. It doesn't matter even if the rats bite the cute piggy toe.

On the plus side, if the Judge rules in the tenant's favor, then the tenant may get a rent abatement. That means the tenant may get to keep some (or all) of the withheld rent money as compensation for the terrible conditions the tenant was living in. Some people might save that money for a rainy day, but others will spend it on booze and tattoos. It's all a matter of personal preference.

Withholding the rent money is usually a better idea for most tenants than the option of "repair and deduct," as repairs can be costly. Tenants are also not always suited to do the repairs or hire the right people to do the repairs. Furthermore, if a Judge determines that it is not a habitability issue, the tenant still has the money to pay the rent and avoid eviction.

If you read the above (and live in New Jersey) and you think you may have a habitability problem, you have the right to consult an attorney. Every county has a Lawyer Referral Service, and if you are low income, you can always contact a legal services program. Important: none of the above should be seen as inviting or encouraging an attorney-client relationship between you and I. Every case is unique, and I am only presenting general information. I am NOT presenting legal advice. I don't know anything about your case, nor do I care to know anything about your case (unless you find your way to my office, that's a different story). I'm serious here - I am not making any promises that if you follow the above information perfectly that you will be successful. In the same way you shouldn't operate on yourself after reading WebMD, you should probably consult a legal professional.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Barely literate



Nudity is quite popular with the masses. Ever since Adam and Eve covered up their porcelain white skin 6,000 years ago, humans have been trying to uncover the forbidden fruit hidden beneath our fabric fortresses. I recently learned about Naked Girls Reading, which is exactly what you would expect it to be based on the name.

I enjoy voyeurism as much as the next pervert, but something about these nude projects seem off. I mean, do I want to see naked women? Sure. Does seeing naked women paint in the nude make painting more exciting? I'd argue no. I would much rather see a pro covered than an amateur naked, whether it be tennis or barbecuing.

There is a Canadian-based program called Naked News which involves anchors and reporters stripping down to the buff while reporting on actual current events. I was very intrigued when this first came out a number of years ago, but I quickly realized it wasn't all that exciting. If the women could have sex with each other and still tell me about the declining American dollar, that would be impressive.

Some of these nude tasks encourage consumer participation. For example, there are nude hairdressers, naked bakers, and topless housekeepers. My problem with these entrepreneurs is that if they were not only qualified but good at what they do, they wouldn't need the nude gimmick. The people that have to do their work in the nude need it to make up for the fact that otherwise, they just aren't good enough to draw regular business.

I don't need to strip down to do my job. In fact, I think they pay me extra to keep my pants on.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bad Sandwich



Growing up, Weird Al Yankovic was my favorite musician. Unlike most people, I was not particularly interested in music growing up. I listened to the radio and had a few LPs, usually children oriented (presumably some chipmunk travesty). I also remember my first CD, which I got in 1993. It was Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. After that, though, it was a string of Weird Al albums. At that point in my life, I was more interested in humor than music.

When Weird Al does well, he really nails it. In some instances, I prefer the reworking better than the original. Sometimes, though, Weird Al just missed the mark.

There was some controversy regarding Yankovic's cover of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," in that Lady Gaga initially did not approve. Weird Al essentially requires that the artists approve his work, which helps assure that it will never be satirical. In fact, Yankovic's parody of Gaga's song is essentially a tribute, neither funny nor clever, just a lazy description of what Lady Gaga does.

I though I could take ten minutes and do a better song, so I gave it a go with "Bad Romance":

I want pastrami
I want cheddar cheese
I want American
And maybe some brie
and pimento loaf
(Loaf loaf loaf pimento loaf)

I want gorgonzola
A slice of some ham
I want your olive-studded meat made with spam
I want your loaf
Loaf loaf loaf
I want your loaf

You know that I want it
And you know that I need it
I want it bad, your bad sandwich


I had to stop for two reasons. One, I was basically rewriting "Eat It" and "The Rye or the Kaiser." Two, the lyrics to the original song are terrible. There's nothing to parody because there are hardly any words, and they repeat ad nauseam.

Maybe it is hard to parody a Lady Gaga song. Maybe Weird Al gave it his best shot. If your best doesn't cut it, though, then it's time to say no.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A terminated lease on life



New Jersey Landlord Tenant law is governed by The Anti-Eviction Act. Under the Act, a tenant can only be evicted for one of the reasons specifically stated (some people do not fall under the Act and thus can be evicted for other reasons, such as if the landlord lives in the same house with three or fewer renters). There are various reasons, but one of them must be met. You can't evict someone because she is ugly or because he likes Ke$ha.

You also cannot evict someone just because the lease ends. In fact, leases automatically renew in New Jersey. This created a puzzle. Why does a landlord have the ability to terminate a lease with the appropriate amount of notice (usually 30 days) if that is not one of the ways a landlord can evict someone under the Act?

Like a robot attacking a Rubik's Cube, I used mathematical precision and cold, unfeeling logic to come up with two answers. The biggest reason a landlord would want to terminate a lease is that he or she can then offer a new lease, and if all of the terms and changes are reasonable, then the tenant has to accept the new lease. One of the legal grounds to evict someone is for failure to accept reasonable changes to a lease when the existing lease ends. As such, if a tenant refuses to accept "reasonable changes," then the landlord can file for an eviction. However, it is worth noting that even after an eviction is filed, if the tenant accepts the changes and pays any money owed, that tenant can still avoid an eviction.

The other reason I could think of is that if the owner wants to move into the rental property and live there, a notice must be sent to the tenant at least two months before the eviction suit is filed. However, this notice can only be sent after the lease expires, hence why a landlord may want to send notice to end the lease. That would shorten the process. Why a landlord would want to move into a rental property is beyond me, since the landlords never make any repairs or upkeep and the tenants live like diseased rats, gnawing on walls and spreading small plagues with their filth. In fact, the vast majority of landlords would consider it some kind of punishment to live in the properties they maintain, similar to Joe Pesci in The Super.

Regardless of whether it is done by a landlord or a tenant, sending notice to terminate the lease does not require the tenant to move. Without a new lease or other notices, the tenancy agreement simply becomes a month-to-month tenancy. Hopefully with this information, you are now ready to create and end leases in New Jersey. Good luck!

Monday, May 2, 2011

For Quynh

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A royal bore



Britain's upcoming wedding between Prince Whatever and his fiance has dominated the American news, and of course this brings up comparisons to Princess Diana's wedding to Prince Chuck. That means we get to hear about two weddings when I really only wanted to deal with none.

Although the United States seemingly cut the cord to Great Britain way back in the 18th century (although a quarter of Americans don't know that), we seem to have a striking obsession with England's royals. It has to do with our celebrity obsessed culture in general, something we share with the Brits.

I don't care much about celebrities. It doesn't matter to me who they date, what they eat, where they drink, how much drugs they consume, where they buried the body of the transvestite hooker. I don't need to know anything about Matt Damon's personal life or Derek Jeter's dating habits to be able to enjoy their movies or their athletic performances.

With the royal family, though, it's much worse. Royalty are the world's first reality stars, famous simply by virtue of being famous. Yes, they had a purpose back in the day, ruling over lands and armies by dictate of God (read: by virtue of birth or conquest). Today, though, they're useless. Does the United Kingdom need a royal family? No. It's archaic. Many English would argue otherwise, such as this bloke in comments:
It baffles me that people are seriously considering getting rid of the Monarchy.

This is why Britain has gone more and more down hill in the last few decades - because people never do things "for Queen and Country", it's all me me me; "Where is MY taxes going?"
* * *
It also astounds me how people can so carelessly consider abolishing the Royals when we as a nation are growing increasingly frustrated at the way so many traditionally British things are now gone after things, such as the rise in immigration, have pushed them aside or had them banned.
It's sort of funny to me that Britain stuck its finger in so many foreign lands, and then there are folks who complain when the foreigners poke back.

The British allot 7.9 million pounds towards the monarchy, but true overall costs are estimated to be significantly higher. Maybe the English should take that money and get better production values for the next "Doctor Who" series.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Accept the differences

My friends, we have been apart too long, nearly a month. Even my Twitter account has been mostly dormant. Life has kept me busy, but not always fulfilled. Fortunately, I was able to catch two concerts this month, and I love me some music.

Regular readers (hello to my followers at Rockview State Correctional Institution) may be surprised, but I went to an all acoustic show last week. It was delectable, and featured Paul Dempsey opening up for Colin "Men at Work" Hay.

Dempsey was a surprise but a treat, with a gorgeous voice (except when he tried to do falsetto) and pleasant guitar skills. I enjoyed his acoustic version of Ramona Was a Waitress (video not from the show):



Everyone was there for Hay, who has a unique voice and a remarkable sense of humor. Here's a song from the show I was at, although I note I had much better seats:



Hay performed at the Keswick Theater, which is an old performing arts venue outside Philadelphia. It's cramped and designed for people under 5'5", which made it uncomfortable, but the evening was fun nevertheless. I could see myself buying some of Hay's albums, but I am hesitant to say it would probably be to help me relax when I go to sleep.

Much more exciting, though, was my trip to the Trocadero, another run down theater right on the bubble of Chinatown in Philadelphia. Performing live were none other than the German metal legends Accept, with new host what's-his-face from the band T.T. Quick. He has that same gravelly voice as Udo Dirkschneider, so it was a reasonable facsimile.

Accept is like comfort food in music form, the vast, overwhelming majority of their set was classics from the 80s, including gems like "Fast as a Shark" (not from the show):



I wrecked my neck. The audience was small, even by the Trocadero standards, but it was a lively, loud and vivacious audience, which made it good. Wolf and Peter were at the top of their game. It was a thunderous good show.

A few bands opened for Accept, but what caught my ear was Swedish power metallers
Sabaton. Although they've been around for a decade, I was not familiar with them. However, as I told their bassist Pär Sundström after the show, I became a fan. He said, "Oh, yunk you, das oost why ve do ze shows!" No, he didn't sound like that, although I am paraphrasing what he said. It was basically that. I mean, he also had a funny accent, but charming, in the Swedish way.

It was their first time touring the United States, which is nice. They seem a little obsessed with World War 2, and did at least three songs about the war, including a song honoring the Polish resistance and a tribute to the American troops that landed in Normandy. Their singer, Joakim Brodén, said that if it wasn't for the U.S., they'd be speaking German now. The woman next to me turned and said, "Yeah, so would we." Whatever, I can barely speak English.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cherubino's Aria

Turmoil in Libya. Devastation in Japan. Insolvency in America. Current events got you down? Cheer up, my friend. Cheer up.





(related)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

How TV Ruined Your Life

This weekend, I have to move the clock an hour forward for Daylight Saving Time, one of life's many irritants. To be perfectly frank, I'd rather have the extra hour of daylight in the winter. I hate that it's dark at 5 o'clock in December, and I don't really need to still see the sun at 9 o'clock in June. I want the evening to be dark, it makes drinking easier. So thanks for nothing, George Vernon Hudson, you creepy insect collecting bastard (he invented DST in 1895).

Nevertheless, we're stuck with this, and if you don't comply, you won't be on time for work. Perhaps even worse, though, you won't be on time to watch your favorite television programs like "Dancing With The People You Vaguely Remember From Something" and "Kooky Couple Do Things Accompanied By Laugh Track." I always wonder, though, how TV programmers handle this move. Do they just make sure some show or movie is airing during the switch, and then proceed as if nothing happened, or do they make sure the programming has wrapped up at 2 a.m., and then just skip an hour? Do they pretend it didn't exist, like some backwards communist country where friends and neighbors are taken away by the secret police? What about in the autumn when you have to relive the same hour twice, like an abbreviated Bill Murray film? If I was watching something on recordable television and went to rewind once the clocks jump forward, would I create a time paradox?

While you ponder these things, you should watch episode one from series one of a "programme" called "How TV Ruined Your Life."


Friday, February 25, 2011

Touch not the penis, bobbitt glove

A man from Clydebank in Scotland was recently sentenced to 18 months probation. The incident stems from 2008, when the then 21 year old autistic man was playing football with a toddler. He was angry that his girlfriend did not give him a Valentine's day card, and when he went to kick the ball out of frustration he missed and caught the child in the groin.
When he noticed that the child's penis was red and swollen, McBride decided to snap a shop loyalty card and compress it around the injured area.

He then tried to saw at the youngster in a failed attempt to reduce the swelling.

The court heard that when the boy's mother arrived back the accused told her what had happened and she took her son to hospital.

The youngster was examined by doctors and a police child examiner and was found to have bruising, swelling and cuts to his genitals and thighs.

He was operated on and received 10 stitches to one wound and one to another but has since made a satisfactory recovery.
Obviously, we are all shocked by the behavior of the emotionally disturbed autistic man. I am curious what woman leaves her child to play with said man, however. Granted, he does seem resourceful in a pinch, although he may want to avoid medical school.

I'm most puzzled by how someone would notice swelling around the penis. Well, yes, people can see my penis swelling when I pitch a tent in my trousers, but toddlers wouldn't have that ability. Obviously, this guy took the kid's pants off to examine the injury. That may be the worst part of the story, even more than the stitches on his willy.

This is definitely the greatest story I've read this year, but it still falls short of the woman who had a pet chimpanzee that went berserk and ripped a neighbor's face off. The owner was distraught when police had to shoot the hominidae after his attempted homicide.
"I'm, like, hollow now," she told CBS. "He slept with me every night. He combed my hair. Everything in the house is for him."

Herold would frequently tell those who questioned her devotion to Travis that they simply did not understand.

"Until you've . . . eaten with a chimp and bathed with a chimp, you don't know a chimp," she said.
I suppose you don't really know anyone until you've groomed with them, but I'm not sure how many people I'm going to lure into my tub, let alone apes.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Three women

I married April in November but was divorced next September.
I first met May in October but soon after, it was over.
I dated June in January but separated by February.
I thought it through in my head, I should try flowers instead.

Friday, February 4, 2011

E-Jipped

As you may have heard, the Egyptian people have risen up against the Pharaoh and demanded, uh, something different than they already have. Americans are fed up with their government, too, but we don't riot. That takes a lot of work, and I break out into a sweat just walking to the bucket I keep my Ho-Hos in. Besides, it's hard to work up anger when I can browse the Internet on my cell phone. I recently obtained my first smart phone, and I learned two things. As cool as smart phones are, they are basically stupid wastes of time, money, and battery life. I may be a slow adapter to technology, but once I'm in, I'm balls-slapping-against-it in. As much fun as I am having with my Droid, however, it's silly. It's not essential to my life to have instant access to weather and Twitter updates. Do I need to play Scrabble on my phone? No. Do I? Of course, yes, God yes.

The other thing I discovered is that I will no longer judge poor people with nice phones. Yes, certainly poor people spend their money stupidly and without judiciousness, just like most people; the effects are just more noticeable when you have less disposable income, as more and more of us are experiencing. Nevertheless, having access to email and basic web functions is as close to a necessity as you can get after your basics of food, potable water, shelter, and toilet paper. Well, most people who barely earn enough to live can't afford a nice laptop, and for the price of regular internet access, you can pay to have a top notch phone with the same internet access. If people need phones more than computers, it makes sense to put the Internet on the phone. Plus, it's easier to have everyone notice your Beyonce ringtones over your Beyonce wallpaper.

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Oak Tree

Three people were discussing the aftermath of a winter storm. One person observed that the snow from the storm was so heavy, it broke the branches off of many trees. Another member of the group said that many years ago, she had a large, old oak tree behind her house. She would look at that oak tree all the time, during all of the seasons. She gazed at the dew kissed buds of the spring, the luscious leaves of the summer, the crisp colors of the autumn and the spidery architecture of the winter. She loved that oak tree.

One winter came and brought with it a terrible storm. The next day, she found the oak tree split down the middle, dead. She was sad.

The other two people did not say a word, for there was nothing left to say.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Metatron

I don't know if you're familiar with the Transformers cartoon from the early to mid 1980s. It was basically about robots from another planet that, upon arriving on earth, took on the ability to transform into various local vehicles. The good guys, the Autobots, could turn into automobiles (not sure what Auto means on Cybertron). The villains, the Decepticons, could turn into airplanes. There were some exceptions. For example, Soundwave could turn into a cassette player.

The most bizarre Transformer of all time is one of the most popular. Megatron was the leader of the Decepticons. While his men at arms were transforming into fighter jets, he could transform into a gun. Now, there are two problems with this, one logistical and one scientific. Every Decepticon had built into laser blasters. Having a laser gun was redundant. It's like putting a propeller on an eagle. There may be some tactical advantages, but ultimately you don't need it. Perhaps Megatron's gun mode is more powerful than a standard laser, but the regular lasers are lethal, so there's no need for overkill.

Far more baffling, and this was true even 25+ years ago, deals entirely with the realm of physics. Megatron is a large being. He is taller, in fact, that his subordinate, Starscream. Megatron can somehow transform into a gun that fits into Starscream's hand. How does that work?

Somewhere, a group of writers were sitting around in their Lacoste shirts and over the calf socks and saying, "you know what would be awesome?" "What?," someone would ask. "If the leader of the Decepticons turned into a pistol." "Man, that would be great," would come the response, "but how would that work? He's too big."

Then, from the far end of the table, the head writer leans forward, stubs out his Moore cigarette, and says, "Gentlemen, first we take the laws of physics and we destroy them. How can mass disappear? How can his brain shrink and still work? These are the wrong questions. The questions you should be asking is, how fucking awesome is this? How bloody God damn LOUD should the patchoo-patchoo noises he makes BE? THOSE are the questions that should be passing through your lips like a greased up FETUS through the VAGINAL LIPS of a CRACK WHORE."

And that's how Megatron was born. So to speak.



And that's not even touching on how his mouth moves.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eat my tarts?



"This cosmic dance of bursting decadence and withheld permissions twists all our arms collectively, but, if sweetness can win...and it can...then I'll still be here tomorrow to high-five you yesterday, my friend. Peace."

Friday, January 7, 2011

2011

Welcome to another year.