Saturday, October 24, 2009

God, Guns, and free market economics...?

The Tea people are at it again. They are planning the next round of being crazy, looking crazy, and making sure Fox News documents their craziness everywhere they decide to murmur in tongues.

How did organizers get people to defend the very corporations that raised their credit card payments, put them out of work, screwed their retirement, and rejected their health care claims?

Well, because, God said so, of course!

I wonder if I am going to get an angel audit soon. Then again, I never got a Sega Saturn which I prayed for when I was 9, so I have seen no positive use of our holy tax dollars.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Straight, not Neanderthal

Let's take a moment to celebrate the expansion of the hate crimes laws to include gays and lesbians.

Some people have been rather confused about my die-hard allegiance to the gay rights movement, since I am heterosexual. Some people even doubt that I am straight considering my outspokenness. Heck, close friends and family have doubted it since I wanted to do ballet as an 11 year old (its because I thought the ballerinas were hot, and in hindsight, had I decided to be a heterosexual in the ballet world I would be more popular than a rockstar.) I love the cable channel Logo; Logo and I have a very positive and constructive Twitter relationship (in fact, they "RT: @"ed me a few days ago, thanks @Logo! Now back to #MyBlogTopic)

But the sad, boring truth of it all is that I am really just part of the sexual status-quo, a "breeder" from "Mars." There is no subtext to my political activity, I am an XY only interested in an XX. It's not my fault, this is how I was born, a statistic on the meaty part of the bell curve.

Then why would I be so aggressive about LGBT rights? Some may ask. Well, two main reasons. First and foremost, although I am a self-described atheist, there is still the matter of right and wrong. And in a modern, educated society, we know that discrimination and ignorance are very much wrong. Putting this discrimination and ignorance into law because of discriminatory and ignorant people is not only wrong, it's troglodytic. It's not a hetero or homo thing, its a human thing. And its time we evolve.

The second reason is pretty clear, it is because I AM straight. The law is on my side, I live without fear of discrimination, and I have absolutely no internalized fears of actually being gay. I feel like it is not only an opportunity, but kind of a necessity, to speak out on behalf of those who can't because they would lose their family or their community. I am in the camp that feels a lot of homophobia is a reaction to one's gay insecurity. The "ew thats gross, time to lift some weights!" syndrome. Is it really shocking that the most hetero-centric institutions like Frats, football teams, and the military always seem to get in trouble for hazing that seems just a bit...homoerotic?

Really in the end, we want a set of laws and a moral code that represents the fact that it does not matter. There should be no need to fall into camps, to associate only with specific communities based purely on identity (or mutual bigotry.) To seek a universal empathetic place to be as non-categorical as we want.

--The fight is far from over, if you have time or a dollar to donate, protect Maine's marriage equality by going to --

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Old products we wished were back for nostalgic purposes

Crystal Pepsi

Its Pepsi, but CLEAR! Perhaps a deconstructionist statement on the illegitimacy of soda ingredients?

Pogo Balls

Someone came up with the idea to let kids straddle a ball and jump around staircases leading to approximately 12,000 skinned knees.

Ecto Cooler

Because nothing quenches a thirst like the paranormal corn-syruped plasm of crushed ghosts.

Inside Out B.U.M. Equipment Sweatshirts

I scoured the internet looking for an image of these things, but they are practically forgotten out of existence. The B.U.M. inside-out sweatshirt was made to LOOK like you were wearing their equipment INSIDE OUT! The fuzzy label put all Champion shirts to shame in 1989.

OK. Soda

With their melancholy AD campaigns and a taste that resembled week-old coffee filters mixed with doctor pepper, OK soda sought out to be the carbonated beverage for Gen X. And much like Gen X, it sat around feeling misunderstood, did nothing but mope and crave attention (it even wanted you to call it at 1-800 I FEEL OK for emotional reassurance.)

Garbage Pail Kids

The fucked up, reactionary response to the Cabbage Patch Kids phenomenon. And they are still far more tasteful than those skanky "Bratz".

ROB The Robot

Nintendo caught on quickly that those obsessed with video games will eventually find themselves lacking of friends. So, why not make a friend to play games with you when you have no friends left? ROB the robot was that non-judgmental gamer buddy who wouldn't dump you for that kid with a pogo ball. To bad he had a tenancy to explode.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Seriously, Someone should sue Fox News.

Thomas Friedman struck a chord with the RNC when he wrote this article about the dangerous rhetoric used against Obama, the proponents of which are obviously associated with 24 hour news cycles, but now seem to be seeping into the floor of the house itself. Friedman argues that the bipolar climate is similar to that which existed in Israel on the eve of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination.

On the forefront from the media-side of the attack is no doubt Fox News. If you haven't seen Glenn Beck's ridiculous ranting, you are probably just waking up from a coma or just very very lucky. In this maniacal monologue, Beck essentially is telling his viewers to "drive a steak" through the bloodsucking government.

"What kind of madness is it that someone would create a poll on Facebook asking respondents, “Should Obama be killed?” The choices were: “No, Maybe, Yes, and Yes if he cuts my health care.” The Secret Service is now investigating. I hope they put the jerk in jail and throw away the key because this is exactly what was being done to Rabin." Friedman writes.

And a valid point. After 8 years of George Bush, it is not only appropriate to distrust government, but mix that cultural sensitivity with a resurgence of old-school McCarthyism and latent racism and you have a recipe for the kind of anger that makes people protest health care reform wearing loaded guns.

Many will argue that these are the "fringe." Moderates, fiscal conservatives and intellectuals may disagree with the government on issues from time to time, but certainly do not wish death upon our leaders. But what we are seeing here is a fringe that is becoming more and more pinned to their firearms listening to every word Glenn Beck tells them.

Let me say first and foremost that I am a strong supporter of the first Amendment. It is important to protect everyone's right to free speech, no matter how utterly ignorant it can be. Our constitutional freedoms are not made up by the good guys, it was the assholes that secured our rights (re. Brandenburg V. Ohio.)

I do not think Fox News should be censored. Simply sued by its customers for providing false information. To Say "Fox News" is a misnomer is giving it too much credit, its false advertising in the most dangerous degree. And people who only watch Fox News are getting a slate of crap sold to them as news, creating a self-contained informational divide. If you are watching a news station that tells you everything you want to hear to validate your ignorance, why would you choose to pop that perfect little bubble?

Lets say Fox created a channel called Fox Health, the mission statement being to provide Healthy tips to Americans. 50% of the time they may say the right thing (get your cardio, weight training, walk instead of drive etc.) The other 50% of the time they fill the airspace with pundits who are "health experts" who claim you need to "Eat your McDonalds, because you need protein!" Or "Don't trust your Doctor, all cholesterol is 'good' cholesterol." Hell, lets even give it a corporatist throwback: "Smoking was never really that bad for you, it was just the whiny liberals who made up those lies, just like global warming!"

This channel would be breaking so many ethical rules, and also may eventually be blamed for the deaths of the 15% of Americans who only get their information from Fox Health. Sadly, this isn't far from what Fox News is doing. It is irresponsible, unethical, and essentially false advertising. Journalism with a bias is almost unavoidable, but this bias shows a deliberate attempt to manipulate the truth for its own political agenda. It cannot rightfully be called a news channel*.

for more on intentionally distorted truths, go to

*Other cable news networks also need to up their game responsibility wise, irresponsibility is symptomatic to news-for-a-profit structures. But when it comes to intentionally distorting facts for viewership, FOX far outweighs its competition.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Right to Life vs. The Right to Live

Thank whatever divine being you worship, that this health care debate is almost over. I have had it up to my recently-drained veins with insane "townspeople" and nasty comments made from reform opposition. I feel like our country has devolved into a 6th grade classroom and somehow the bad kids were getting all the attention. Obama's most recent session before a joint congress seemed more like a teacher giving a lecture to a misbehaving classroom than anything else (Joe Wilson's heckling only fit this dynamic perfectly.)

The fact is, we need health reform badly. Whatever reform we get would not be enough to please me. I am a fan of a single-payer platform. As far as modern democracies and industrialized economic power-houses go, the United States comes in dead last for life expectancy. Yet we hear from reform opponents that "when someone in Canada has a medical problem, they come to the U.S." and cite a few examples to prove their point. Sure, the United States does have amongst the best hospitals in the world, but only the wealthy and insured have the luxury to visit them.

What this comes down to is the opposition saying, essentially, that only the wealthy and economically feasible citizens have a right to live. Everyone else, those who have lost insurance due to recession-based downsizing, their children, the poor and working class; they do not have a right to live, according to the reactionary anti-reform dogma. Unless of course, they were willing to go Bankrupt, which only dilates the rich-poor gap.

The worst part of this though, is that these people who refuse to help the struggling, the republican representatives and their incredibly loud and obnoxious "tea-party" allies claim to be "Christian." Or is this form of Christianity only willing to abide by the teachings of their lord and savior until their taxes are put on the line?

I never understood American "Christianity" in the political realm. You have Joe Wilson trying his damn hardest to make sure the children of undocumented immigrants cannot get penicillin for their strep, and yet this very same Joe Wilson is "pro-life."

I suppose he only supports the life of a child when it is inside a woman. Once it pops out, it is no longer a child in need, it is a vile lazy welfare-brat looking for another government handout. Very Christian of you Joe, indeed.

Speaking statistically, of course, if Joe Wilson and his "christian" counterparts really wanted to lower the abortion rate, it probably would help if those who are stranded in tough economic waters could get the health care they need. The "right to life" is an irrelevant stance to have if you do not believe in the right to live.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Body language in text: How the new millenia will send and percieve a social yawn

"You need more exclamations!" My friend said "more. That will prove you are decidedly friendly." She was right, I needed more exclamations. Otherwise, my purely business-related "thanks, you're the best!!!!" would be seen as dismissal, if not outright passive-aggressive. And, if its as simple as an assistant receiving a package, we have obviously begun to (whether we like it or not) pay attention to specific social cyber-cues.

It is true, I believe, that emotional intelligence is a genuine genre of interactive intellect. Some people are amazing at making machines work, but have no ability to comprehend their neighbor's obvious boredom. Some people are the exact opposite. And while my friend advises me to add an extra "!!!" to my email, I begin to come to terms with the fact that our generation has become super-sensitive to vague social cues.

The internet, once again, the culprit. Take the emoticon for example. If someone ends their email with an ":)" they are either: being friendly, being flirtatious, making up for something their fault or, trying to send a more subversive sentiment.

Indeed, the subversive sentiment, the one we choose rarely to recognize. The smile that exists predominantly as the "eye roll" or the under-your-breath response.

It is If I wrote "its ok, I have a few other people who are willing to donate a kidney :)"

It is the emoticon of the martyr syndrome.

But whether we like it or not, these obviously expressive sentiments have become standard.
:) "i like you" [rarely used in heterosexual male friendships, used all the time in platonic male-female friendships]
:-O "you have a new cat?!";
:D "I like drinking"....;
;p "I wink and stick my tongue out at the same time because i don't take myself seriously, and people like that about me"

and let us not forget the:

[sentence]!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! aka "Most assuredly"

Passive social cues have become a bit more extreme over the internet, due mostly to the restrictions of text-related interactions. It used to be that social cues were set by the upper class, that is, after all, how etiquette came to be. The etiquette of old is changing. People are becoming *very nice* face-to-face but more specific on the internet.

When a republican family member wants to take advantage of my left-leaning facebook status, he does so. But at thanksgiving dinner, he might not bring it up or even challenge my philosophy. On the internet though, he feels much freer to express himself. No wonder I have to include a million exclamations to thank a coworker....

So we have become indoctrinated in specificity. Anyone who does not send a specific emotion is either being elusive or socially ignorant. Point is, next time your friend replies to your apology email with a series of abbreviations "it k, talk tmrro?" You should probably come to terms with the social eggshells about to crack under your toes...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

About my Tattoo

So what happened on the tour became all very jumbled. We went from one coast and then back to the other. I have seen, heard, and witnessed unspeakable banalities. What is a good tour though, without a good tattoo. And if, after questioning, I am led to explain the story of my tattoo I get to say "I got it on tour" which translates into "I had an interesting life once upon a time."

So I kind of want to explain what it is and why it is, and all things related to permanent life decisions. What I got was this:

on the back of my right arm. Well not the whole thing, just the cello-man hybrid. What that is from, is Roy Lichtenstein's Cubist Cello. I liked the idea of a cello, its one of my favorite instruments that I do not play. The cubist element combines the perfect angle of art and logic -- mathematical yet emotional. It's bit of a yin-yang in its own existence.

But more importantly, it kind of solidifies myself and my musical career through the spirit of Roy Lichtenstein. We have some similarities. He was a pop artist, often criticized by his use of popular culture to make contemporary art. But instead of seeing popular culture as a consumer product, he saw it as a pallet from which to draw new ideas from existing social memes.

I'd like to think that good art doesn't rely on shock value, networking, or sexiness, sometimes its just a more accurate mirror.