Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Religion Part One

Someone engendered a valuable discussion about being alone and keeping away from the toxic nature of those that might be deemed sinful or harmful to maintaining a wholesome, passionate journey through corporeal existence. It made me think about things a bit more than usual. I hate when that happens.

I understand I've written some rather bitter articles regarding religious trust, faith, punishment, fear, and the like. In the end, it seems clear that we're all, as it were, a part of the "god" that we respect. To be succinct, God is our collective energies as we are born - sinless, without temptation, and without selfish principles. As we are born, we all take a little nugget of energy from the collective God/Heaven pool of energy and walk the earth with it, prone to all the pains, temptations, and selfish whims that other beings, who are no longer quite so pure, might have laid before us. As I've said in previous articles, it's a scientific fact that we contain a significant amount of energy through our existence, and by laws of conservation of energy and matter, when we die, our "matter" dissipates and our energy lingers. That energy is what is considered to be the soul - the little chunk of God that we've taken to the earth for ourselves.
Consider this. I think Satan is a characterization of all the evolutionary tendencies within us, the selfish zeal for survival, and the conformity to the rational theory that animals survived using the old Darwinian axiom of "survival of the fittest". Satan is the selfish, physical, "dog eat dog" nature in us as organisms. God is the inner energy aspect that seeks collusion with others, longs for a replication of that collective energy pool above known as "Heaven". The ultimate battle on earth is for that selfish, inner animal to succumb to the caring, glowing inner aspect of the energy within us. When two peoples' energies mesh in a positive aspect, that's what is deemed "love". Love is merely the meshing of our inner Godly energies without regard for that selfish quest for survival and need to kill or defeat others just for the next meal. Since our own personal portions of energy are pieces of God, when we mesh with another person in a caring way, opposing the selfish Darwinian animal tendencies, that meshing is love, and that substantiates the consistent Biblical notion that "God is Love". If, as I said, God and Heaven are a mass collection of positive energy, and we on earth are able to share that positive energy with another, then we've achieved love - a connection of, well, "God parts".

What do we know so far then? Well, Heaven is a massive pool of positive energy, and is synonymous with the concept of God. Each newborn baby carries a little piece of this energy pool into the world to be tested against evolutionary precepts. Ultimately the goal would be that our unselfish nature and zest for sharing our "love" to other energy bearing individuals would overwhelm the "sin" of animalistic dominance, murder, and deceit. It's our little packets of energy called "souls" versus the physical animal world known as evolution. The energy within us, that is, the soul within us all, has no subscription to a particular religion or dogma - it is part of the great pool of energy that was in force when the material universe was born. I'm not going to delve so deep as to wonder how long our energy pool existed, if it ever didn't exist, or what was here sixty quadrillion centuries ago. Too deep.

Our "souls", or energy packets, have their own characteristics, perhaps thus explaining the notion of reincarnation - that as we were born, our little nibble of energy from the great energy pool might've been from a past human life. Since our packets of energy seem to be recycled, other religious principles of karma and the like make more sense in this context. Looking ahead, there's a goal that this God might seek - that the disparate packets of energy on the earth below might ultimately link into a similar pool of positive energy and that the animalistic tendencies of selfishness are defeated by virtue of all "souls" being joined in an aspect similar to that above.

So to explain ghosts, hauntings, and judgement day... Now remember that I equate a "soul" to that personal packet of energy that each person carries around this big blue marble.
I believe that, with enough saturation and dilution with the animal world, it's possible to lose aspects of the magnetic nature of our energy fields. As mentioned, everyone has an energy field, and it carries magnetic force, to varying degrees. Proven science. But just possible, by some unexplained means, some people lose their magnetism toward a place, person, or setting, and as such don't have the means to be "reattached" to that global pool of energy above upon death, so they stay among us. Some people, like past home owners that haunt, might have stripped away all their life force or energy to the point that it had all been devoted to the location on earth which hosted their corporeal existences. I tend to think that people can, while on earth, attach their energies toward a particular place or thing, and lose that sense of identity upon death, thus never returning to the vast energy pool above, as it were.
As for the Biblical (and otherwise) ideas of judgement day, it's a bit perplexing at best. Within Christianity, it's a mass reclamation of souls based on their "karma" and good deeds. Again, speaking purely from my energy pool theory, it's certainly feasible that there's an ultimate, wise energy force that is the "boss" of the energy pool, that might decide time is up. Frankly, all the fire in the sky, boiling oceans, and the like are telling me that the "judgement day" is some type of asteroid smashing up the earth. Most of the prophetic descriptions seem to align with such a scientific event. With the earth gone, there would be billions of souls looking for a home, and I can imagine that the determination of which ones can rejoin the great pool of energy in the sky might be subject to actions of the past and the like. I can certainly see that if a singular God created the earth and universe, He would have sent an asteroid flying at us long ago, and the timeline will have been set. At that point there will already be a new earth waiting for our inhabitance, and the entire cycle will start over.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Random Stuff and more Food Network

Hey kids. It seems like whenever I get lazy and don't post a new article, I find out I have quite a hearty readership level. Conversely, when I stay fairly periodical (gee, like a periodical - I ha ha I'm crazy) all is quiet on the western front. As I have been relatively reliable with my essays, I haven't heard much feedback. Then again - my next to last article stirred some things in various venues. I got in a fierce debate with mom about the "dangers" (ooooooh) of the Ouija board, and I voiced my thoughts in a prior article. Man, did I get haunted like crazy. Hey, my gears might be slipping in the proverbial clock tower, but I know when ghosts are hanging around, and it was crazy. I had been haunted before (see an article from like 2004, too lazy to link to it) and there were shadows, light fixtures breaking, windows closing on their own, etc. Crazy stuff, so apparently the dearly departed somehow must have internet access, since all kinds of goofy crap happened to me once I published that article about the Ouija board. If you ever wonder if something spooky is lingering around, grab a compass. Spirits are known to exist in confined forms of energy, and they emit their own EMF (electromagnetic field). As such, a compass will act weird when around energy sources (like electrical appliances or scary scary ghosts - boo!).

You know what grinds my gears (to quote Peter Griffin)? In the past, when you'd pre pay for gas and get, for example, 12 bucks worth, the pump would quickly operate until around 11.90, then slow down. Nowadays, it slows down at around 11.60, 11.70, or even 11.50 in some places. Is this some sad scheme to juice patrons out of a few cents by assuming they'd grow impatient and cut things off right there? Sounds like it.

While on the subject of gas stations and gear grinding...
I'm seeing these signs in front of stations that show the gas prices, and often they'll be 20 or 30 cents cheaper than a nearby competitor - so it might seem. Upon closer inspection, below the tantalizing price, one will see the words "with car wash purchase". Jeez, so how many people are getting fooled by these seemingly rock bottom prices without noticing the prototypical fine print? What next?

MILK $1.79/Gallon upon successfully shaving the owner's back

I think this is the first time in ages that the merchandisers and media didn't move forward the onset of the "Holiday Season". There's still hope. It's like a global warming thing though, you have one good year and the next few will be worse. Soon we'll be wishing each other happy holidays as we light our sparklers.

I can't believe that Fox actually pulled off creating the "Reality Channel". Whoopee. I remember the first version of this, when it was called a window.

Onto the main event. Many love how I nitpick about the Food Network. Thanks for the accolades! Here's more:

Well of course they had to run cooking shows having only to do with god damned turkey - for the whole friggin' month of November. Now every cooking show is a hastily hacked together tribute to families and the "holidays". Every single day. All of December. Kill me.
I don't need Alton Brown to ruin my day with his 142 steps involved with baking a ham. And if you get one step wrong, the ham will irradiate your chest and turn you into a can of Shasta.

I've already seen all of Emeril's cooking shows for the first of 8 times. Yeah yeah yeah tis the season, Chelsea Market, look how cute, Doc Gibbs has a santa hat, ho ho ho, zzzzzzz. Can't wait for the obligatory 384th time he has the firemen in the studio, which will be after the 323rd time he has all the black kids in the studio. The show's becoming about as predictable as a Nebraska highway. Yes I know you really do cook on the show, and just don't flip turkeys around, whatever that means. Yes we are with you. Yay garlic. Yay brandy. Yay hot sauce. Hey look, it's special guest Aaron Neville and his 11 ounce birth mark. The birth mark appears happier to be there than him. Thanks for showing a smile or two. Wouldn't explain your never-was status as a singer, would it? I loved that song you once sang, damn, which elevator was I riding when I heard it?

Thankfully the network hasn't exceeded their normal 50/50 commercial/program ratio. Very sweet. 'Tis the season for being generous.

Wow a lot of people don't like Rachael Ray. I just heard my 3rd comment about her. Hey, I'm not exactly going to write fan mail to her and glorify her Camaro sized caboose, but she is a lot more tolerable than most of the other scrotums on that network. Even after the commencement of her soon-to-be-cancelled network talk show, she was nice enough to stick with the gluttons at the Food Network and join in for some lame "all star" Thanksgiving special, as well as going into Kitchen Stadium for the Iron Chef America showdown with Giada, the cutie with 304 teeth. Regardless, I gotta think she was in it for the free food.

Mark my words. As I sit here, on December 1, 2006 - Food Network will try and steal that dippy Australian guy Curtis Stone from Discovery Channel's "Take Home Chef". It's a cute show, where he finds some chick at random and cooks for her and her mate. Invariably he selects some girl who's filthy rich, with a butt ugly boyfriend/husband. Plus Curtis always refers to multiple shrimp as "shrimps", which is still a valid plural, but annoying as all hell. And it's called a paper towel, not "absorbent paper". It's a cart, not a trolley. The girl never knows what you mean when you ask them to "suss out where your husband is...". Northern hemisphere. Toilet flushes in other direction.

Back to the Food Network. If I see one more hour long program covering a cake contest, I'll kill many people.

Yes, I have every reason to believe that Giada is a ho ho "ho".

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Final Thoughts On the Food Network

I've decided the Food Network is so overblown and arrogant at this point. The commercials are constant, and the faux celebrities really have little impact on popular culture, save Emeril and his occasional "Bam" exclamations. Here comes the coattail riding....

Giada, a host of "Everyday Italian" is a normally recognized "hottie" with an oversized head and a knack for creating Italian cuisine under the lights of soft cinematography.
Problem number one - she keeps yapping about her lovey dovey hubbie, and sadly we see him. His personality and charisma rank lower than a dead coal mine canary. This guy is so dry, unpleasant, and prematurely balding, I don't understand how Giada and her 1348 teeth could tolerate such monotony and impersonal feigned affect. Whatever floats your heavily edited boat.

Enough with Paula Deen and her overzealous sons "JAMIE" and "BOBBY" showing up constantly, to the point that the obsequious boobs at the network decided to grant them their own show, show they could constantly announce their names and be southern hicks without any fear of retribution from mom. Fate fed them a heart batch of butter, as they earned their own show called "Road Tasted", in which they travel the country constantly calling each other "brother" and repeating their names. Too much enthusiasm for celebratory nepotism.

Alton Brown is a tiresome, anal retentive joke. Many laud his smartness. Well, mister Gene Genie Genius, the phrase "a myriad of..." is improper grammatical usage. "Myriad" substitutes for "many" so learn the word before using it. Stick with identifying peppers. Oh and thanks for the following:

Ruining any zeal for making southern fried chicken because of
your ridiculous "if you do this and this and this wrong, it's all ruined"
attitude. Simplify things, and keep the processes under 38 steps, uncle Irony. Your anal retention has done more to dissuade potential chefs from trying a dish than anyone. Chill out and leave your disorders at the door. Admonishing people to dry their fried foods on a cooling rack, rather than paper towels, defeats every purpose for being on tv and cooking. You raise holy hell about using this wire-based cooling rack, rather than uncouth paper towels, as if it's a horrible mistake and failure of this detailed recipe's progress. Breaking news, Mister Dolby, we all can't afford cooling racks, and we all are fine with paper towels. We all aren't opening restaurants tomorrow. The obsessive aspect is just sad and not fun. Leave your disorders at the door.

Bobby Flay should never have strayed into that idiotic "Throwdown" series that clearly was a bargaining chip for keeping him on board throughout the summer. Flay thinks he's a celebrity, has nothing but an unfinished, unpleasant, personality. Bobby belongs behind the scenes, not flaunting his self-perceived brilliance in (laughter) "throwdown" matches with hard working amateur chefs around the USA. Hey Einsteins at Food Network - have you ever thought, after Flay's "Iron Chef" brilliance, that maybe it is most honorable to let local, hard working American folks enjoy their recognition as being the best in what they cook? This series was an abysmal concept, and hey Flay, despite your hideous ego, I hope the whole thing wasn't your idea. Are you that obsessed with taking away a person's one crowning achievement, in the interest of television? The series was a sad joke. How DARE anyone, for example, intrude on a local guy's Jambalaya glory, in a private celebration for his daughter's birthday, by shoving trucks and challenges down his throat? These are sweet, affectionate, fantastic Americans that I wouldn't trade for the world. Leave them alone.

Rachael Ray has a lot of humility and wherewithal; I admire it. She earned her own network talk show, and it is well deserved. She's a bit too bubbly but honest about her past and openly admits that she's not a "chef" per se. But Rachael has sincerity and purity that few television personalities can boast.

Tyler Florence is this permanently 22 year-old type guy who talks too fast but hosts a show called "Food 911" where he consoles people in need of advice. Now Applebee's is trying to adopt him into their marketing system. Good luck to him, but I still like his approach to things.

I love the show "Unwrapped", as it shows how various foods are produced. If the show didn't obsess with sweets and ancillary crap like the manufacture of baking tins, it might hold more water.

The show "Secret Life Of..." is meant to show in-depth explorations of some aspect of the culinary world; that's fine. But the host is SO DAMN ANNOYING most people he harasses can't stand him, with obvious negative results in the final cut of the show. He's so irritating, with his dog-barking voice, he's the lone figure from this channel whose name I refuse to remember. Plus the guy seems to have no legitimate culinary experience...click.

Well, that leaves the Emeril phenomenon; and I do respect it. He's developed himself into national recognition by merely being himself. It's the show and the environment around him which now drives me nuts. Hi studio audiences are frighteningly happy, to the point that I'm sure they've all been given doses of librium before the show. Sure they cheer for any reference to garlic, an alcoholic beverage, a "bam", or the addition of hot spices. He seems sincere in all his gestures and words, but the audiences constantly remind me of Jonestown. He could literally snuff out an audience by giving them the Jonestown poison kool-aid. "Drink it down now, BAM you're all dead." I'm so impressed his ego never inflated from the network's inevitable accolades and forced atmosphere of unconditional praise and adoration. His grounded nature is a rarity amongst the situations when organizations overwhelm a person with too much stimulation, praise, and sense of obligation.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ouija Boards - Oh No!

I had always wondered why Christianity founded itself for damnation upon the natural human predilection to communicate, even in part, with a loved one that had passed away. All evidence for indictment into necromancy and black magick seems to point toward early Old Testament texts that bear overt magnanimity to First Commandment restrictions and disregard to the New Testament's transformation of dogma toward an open relationship with spirits, the beloved, and the search for truth.

Most Old Testament demands to avoid any wish to seek communication with the dead (i.e. Deuteronomy, Isaiah, etc) simply restate the pre-Messianic tension that there may be no threats or human mutiny against the harsh "God" of punishment and sacrifice; this all being well before the arrival of the Messiah and His liberating actions, teachings, and human interaction. All of the aforementioned, by Christ's own words, freed us from the stark, cold, and fatalistic doctrine that came down upon the fearful followers of the Old Testament days.

God's indirect message that we not seek communication with the dead simply stemmed from outdated Jewish doctrine - the insistence that we never acquire truth, much like Adam, and desire a shared omniscience that comprised all that was/is God. By damning any interaction with a loved one's spirit, be it upon one's incite or not, is simply a harsh reminder of the sacrificial days before Christ was to, by extraction, be human with us, and share God's love and power amongst us all. The God of the Old Testament was nothing to worship and love - and His countless rules and zest for pain and damnation represents nothing less than an overlord ruling through fear. In my sense, true Christianity sees the warmth and joy of Christ's arrival and realizes that the times preceding it were simply wrought with pain, fear, and punishment. A contrast was being set forth, and the unfortunate meek that faithfully followed such a tempest of a deity must clearly have the highest seats in His Kingdom. Regardless, the countless laws, wrath, threats, and sacrificial gestures with intentions of mild appeasement - they don't sound like a loving God - but rather a strange conglomeration of laws and stories that people - NOT God created, of which I disregard. Am I denying the sovereign nature of the Old Testament? Not as such, just the angry, fearful aspects. That's of the nature of tainted, imperfect Jewish leaders, not God's ideals.

Bringing it all back, no - any Old Testament passages that warn against communication with the dead - they don't stick. Threats of death came forth from this, and its very intent had nothing to do with false religions or occult practices. They are merely outdated laws with fears of idolatry. Well, things are different now - we believe Christ saved our departed beloved, and they are in your Kingdom, because Christ died for them, and ultimately us. They ate pork, they ate cheeseburgers, but nyah nyah, we accepted Jesus. So frankly the god of the Old Testament times should not have been the asshole that tortured and punished so relentlessly, and I don't think that was the case. I think ignominious "leaders" wrote this tripe for personal satisfaction and the only true action of our God was bringing Christ into our midst. So nothing tells me to ignore talking to the departed. They will give me no ultimate knowledge. The God I know is comfortable seeing me explore the spirit world to which I am joining. As such, the outdated doctrine of fear, suppression, and encapsulation isn't worth the paper it was printed upon, nor worth the breath of those that mindless repeat the bitter teachings of oppressive Jewish leaders.
So Why The Bad Reputation?

Let's sling this one back toward home plate now. What's so damn wrong with the Ouija board?

Crowley advocated its use, but he also practiced black magick, did heroin, and had much worse views of life than what might be relevant here. Regardless, the use of planchettes and talking boards predate his useless existence by hundreds of years. Then in the mid 20th century (funny to use that as a retrospective marker), teenagers embraced themselves to the concept and purchased copies of the "game" for their own amusement. At this point, all bets could be thrown out the window - here became alcoholic parties with beer-soaked suicides, random acts of violence, and the like. Whenever such idiotic youngsters thankfully terminated their own lives, a Ouija Board was occasionally found nearby, being no less popular than the pet rock or Rubik's Cube. As such, the board became attributed to death, acts of violence, and by extension, random occult practices that never truly existed, especially in context of this "game".
Sadly, the disgusting decision to create a "game" from this board - well, that gave us plenty of teenage suicides, irrational acts, and the like. This one is on the manufacturers' heads.

Yes, there are evil spirits, holding energy like any other spirit. No, a talking board like Ouija doesn't specifically request a big meanie from the world beyond, but merely intends to channel the entity nearest to the locus of communication.
Talking boards have nothing to do with black magick, demons, Satan, curses, hexes, diarrhea, or otherwise. It's just a means that might or might not work for the person seeking communication. No different from seances, kids! Same drill! It's just a means for focusing people into summoning their energy toward an agreeable direction with hopes of contacting someone, or something, that lingers beyond. It's not demonology you morons! It's a piece of cardboard! Chase those Santeria blokes out in the woods now. Good boy.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Finally - My Top Ten Best Songs

Believe it or not, I've been asked on this topic. Very tricky subject, but here they finally are. My list. Let me say that I will never be happy with my final ten choices, but remember this: Rock and pop music was given to us for celebration and joy. Pure rock songs will be recognized in another one of my widely ignored lists. This list embodies the best of what songwriting could convey - a profound, poetic message within a beautiful framework of melodies and harmonies.

#1: U2 : Bad.
The build-up and lyrical content is majestic. About losing a friend to heroin addiction. Gorgeous and daring. Climactic, emotional, and truly beautiful.

#2: Peter Gabriel : In Your Eyes
The greatest, emotional, passionate, and artistic expression of love. Not just love, but appreciation.

#3: Doors : The Crystal Ship
Arguably the SECOND most beautiful love song ever sung; a gorgeous ode to one's love, made even more profound within the context of The Doors' manic debut album tracks.

#4: Pete Townshend : Slit Skirts
A Pete Townshend gem, detailing his depression from aging, losing his beloved wife, and hating himself for the past excesses that led to his obvious loneliness, sense of dispair, and cries for help. The song was penned right around his true period of bottoming out, and eventual rehabilitation and rejuvenation into the 1980s. So many famous musicians thrived and lived untouchable lives in the previous decade, most of them died around 1980 or simply crumbled into decay. Townshend's document of his feelings of the time showed us a rare glimpse into how many rock stars felt upon entering the decade, and how one dealt with the ramifications of past insanity and self sufficiency.

#5: The Who : Another Tricky Day
Townshend at his lowest - sad and reaching outward for direction. He had a friend help write this track, saying that no matter what, somebody has it worse that you. It's a slap on the back and a slap in the face to all the self-perceived failures out there. "You can't always get it when you always want it...."

#6: Simon And Garfunkel : Homeward Bound
Again, emotional and truly passionate. Music should always express some type of emotion, and this one does it better than ever. They pulled us into the loneliness of being away from home with "I wish I was...". So many elements of doubt and fear, yet hope and passion for Simon's zeal for success.

#7: Suzanne Vega : Luka
Great songs are even greater when they incite awareness, and this song reminded us all of the ugliness of child abuse and the struggles such poor children must face at an age that is supposed to be devoid of worries and fear.

#8: Peter Tchaikovsky : Nutcracker Suite
Rarely has anyone portrayed more emotion and sense of plot than Tchaikovsky's work here. Once properly performed with its legendary ballet act, as well as its brief summary of plot, the final moments are incredibly emotional, beautiful, and rewarding. It's a journey of a girl finding love, fulfillment, and ultimately apotheosis - the ultimate sense of attainment.

#9: Gordon Lightfoot : The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
A 1976 piece which had a memorable melody and extensive lyrics reminding us of the 29 men who died in a horrible sinking within the angry waters of Lake Superior. This great loss would have never been so effectively regarded and commemorated if it weren't for Lightfoot's tribute.

#10: Led Zeppelin : Carouselambra
A shrouded, brilliant document of recent tours, especially that of their 1977 tour. Within its buried lyric track, we find descriptions of the hordes of groupies, the typical excesses of touring, and general exclusion from the rigors of reality. But, rather potently, Plant brings us into the harsh moment of the phone call from his wife in England, telling him that his young son has died. From then on, nothing mattered, and reality ultimately reigned in its harshest manner. In addition, the musical backbone of the song illustrates Jimmy Page's weakness from drug addiction, and his meager, contorted guitar segments speak loudly of his weak condition and painful search for the one thing that was no longer existent - inspiration.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Us Kids of the Seventies

Ah, to talk to people who were kids in the 1970s, that glorious time when it was still safe to go Trick or Treating without fear of being killed or molested. But do us thritysomething types remember all those great, insane, TV shows of the day?

- I'd get up and watch Ray Rayner, then the Bozo show. Bozo had Garfield Goose and Rayner had Chelveston the Duck. Ray would call local weatherman Roger Triemstra for the upcoming day's weather forecast. Ray's dead now, rest his soul.

- Electric Company. Wow, what a show. Airing on PBS in the 70s, it was educational but insane and creative. Who of us can forget Crank? Hey You Guys!! That was Rita Moreno, a well known, Tony award-winning actress of stage and screen. Morgan Freeman got his start here as well, portraying the infamous "Easy Reader".

- Does anyone remember the show called "Big Blue Marble"? What the hell was the point of that show?

- Worse yet, there was always Zoom. Write them at (remember the address?) PO Box 350, Boston Mass, 02134

- Sesame Street (see previous article) was so much more tolerable back then. There was Mister Hooper (Hoopah! Hoopah!) and ethnic diversity wasn't being shoved down our collective throats at the time. Sure, barely anyone (except for Hooper) was a heterosexual white male, but then again, we always had Oscar the Grouch. Remember when the guy that portrayed Mr. Bentley on "The Jeffersons" would be in a white coat and paint numbers on a piece of glass? One or more times he did it with mustard.

- Eleven Banana Cream Pies! (chef trips and falls down the stairs; I think that was from "Electric Company")

- One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twehehehehelve... That cartoon pinball snippet...

- Who can forget "The Adventures of Letterman" from "The Electric Company"? His arch enemy was the Spell Binder. Oh no! Spell Binder just turned a pear, into a bear! Roar.

- Electric Company also had that badassed detective, Fargo North, Decoder. Brilliant stuff.

- "Schoolhouse Rock" was another morning staple. That nostalgia was highly publicized, with the typical references to the conjunction, or how a bill became a law. "I'm just a bill...."

- Worse than the above, on ABC, they had these little spots that either told us "Beans and Rice is Nice" or how to make popsicles using orange juice, toothpicks, an ice cube tray, and a sheet of plastic wrap. It was rainy day fun.

- We all loved watching Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner on Saturday morning, but who decided that those hideous Popeye cartoons were worth continuing? The oldest episodes, in black and white, were just frightening and so outdated it was horrible. For God's sake many of those cartoons came from the 1920s. Kids aren't going to understand why Popeye and Bluto are fighting over this pasty, stringy, homely chick named Olive Oyl, wearing a flapper outfit and turning the crank on the front of a Stanley Steamer. The only thing that stopped the production of these disasters was the stock market crash of 1929.

- Going back to Sesame Street, there was just way too much sexual ambiguity buried within these characters. Ernie and Bert were doing it, that's been a persistent source of comedy for years. Big Bird was gayer than a french horn, no argument there. Bob, the one that married deaf Linda, ok, we already established his pillow biting status. Grover, not too sure about that one either.

- The PBS writers were so hell bent on shoving diversity down our young throats, it was painfully forced. Everyone was either black, puerto rican, with Downs Syndrome, deaf, invalid, gay, fat, retarded, or all of the above. Any normal humans around that part of town? It could drive an average waspy white kid to think he was the exception to the rule, based on all the freaks being paraded in front of the camera on those shows.

- Mister Rogers, oh don't get me started. I have tape recordings of myself making fun of this show when I was 11 years old. He had that stupid stoplight, his outdated kitchen, the unlocked front door, and his persistently starved fish in that tank. What was this show meant to convey to kids of the time? Yeah, great you're my friend. You're a very creepy friend, and clearly way too awkward in social situations around other people. It's NOT a beautiful day in the neighborhood, I live in Chicago. It's gray outside, there are scary gang type punks wandering around, it's cold, and just unpleasant. Don't tell me it's a beautiful day. And who the hell did Mister McFeely work for? Speedy Delivery? His employer didn't even give him a motorized vehicle; he had to ride around on a bike. Which brings us to the neighborhood of make believe...yes many have been waiting for this one...

- Ok, King Friday, he was a puppet. Humans would bow to this puppet. On very rare occasion, they'd cut to a scene inside one of the many rooms in the king's castle. It just wasn't too scale. And everyone feared this puppet king. Here's how you depose the king - pick him up and throw him into a shredder. Coup d'etat completed.

- X the owl lived next door to that annoying cat that would say "meow meow" amongst every rational conversation. Like those two weren't banging.

- Daniel the tiger was this idiotic thing that lived in a grandfather clock. Ok, it's proof positive that you're stupid if you can't find better accommodations than a clock. Then there was Cornflake, who was that hermit queer that lived in the rocking chair factory. Nobody ever bought one of his rocking chairs. The other deviant was Lady Elaine, the lesbian in the museum. Again, nobody ever visited the museum, nor wanted anything to do with her.

- I used to be terrified by the old 1970s weather bulletins that would cut in and be a black screen with terse words. Then this creepy guy would cut in and loudly announce "The National Weather Bureau has issued a severe thunderstorm warning..." Back then it was the weather bureau, not service.

- Speaking of scared, I used to be terrified when tv stations would play the national anthem then go to that solid high pitched tone with a test pattern. Why that scared me, I don't know.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Time To Watch Sesame Street

So I'm watching channel 11 for no apparent reason, checking out today's incarnation of "Sesame Street" and whatever other shows the geniuses at PBS have offered the unsuspecting youngsters of the world. But this whole current incarnation of "Sesame Street" is scary.

Not surprisingly, Ernie, Big Bird, and Kermit all sound very odd and nothing like the way they once sounded before Jim Henson took his dirt nap. I don't know who they hired to take over the job of voice characterizations for the aforementioned, but let's just say that Mel Blanc he ain't.

Grover just introduced a segment having to do with making tie dye shirts. Hello? They are showing footage from Jamaica, as the shirts are dyed. Hello Hello? Can we just show the little tykes out there how to roll a joint? I'm waiting for the next segment, when Grover takes us to a gas station to buy some Chore Boy and glass tubes for constructing a standard crack pipe. Jeez, and they have some Jamaican burnout demonstrating the tie dye process, and if I had the closed captioning turned on, it would've had "((pot smoke)) ((heavy pot smoke))" surrounding each nugget of dialog.

Ok, add "The Count" to the ever growing list of characters that sound nothing like they once had. The Count now sounds like a permanently horny 20 year old misanthrope from Rotterdam who is way too interested in dams.

Oh I hate this muppet/monster/character named Telly. He consistently comes off as the prototypical retarded guy having his first orgasm. Am I peeing? He's that stupid.

Then there's the infamous Elmo. A third of the entire show is devoted to this moron, via "Elmo's World". His bloated, annoying face is posed around 18 inches from the camera and he makes his typical baby talk for the enchanted dozens out there that actually have the attention span to tolerate this disaster's full 20 minute tragedy. This stuff is so idiotic, it's clearly geared toward those children out there who are under the age of zero.

Big Bird, in his feminine voice, began conversing with the infamous "Bob", a real human. Oy, Bob is still on the show. Gayer than a French Horn. I would've thought the Plague would've knocked off this friggin' pillow biter by now. Oh, wait, he can't be gay; he married deaf Linda, queen of sign language and diversity. At least she never hears him scream as he gets walluped by a rent-a-rod named Otis in the adjoining room.

Oh goodie, now they're rolling out all the wheelchair kids. Happy day. Hopefully Elmo get run over! At least the show finally gave up on parading those Downs Syndrome kids like they did in the 70s. They must've fallen into the garbage cans too frequently.

Oscar the Grouch has a wife or girlfriend. It's just Oscar with a shower cap and curlers. Oscar's chick looks like most of the old hags in the post office. Shall we wonder how he met this lovely gal? Are we supposed to figure out how this grouchy thing might've cast such a spell that she'd follow him back to his garbage can for some naughty time? Is he still grouchy when he's throwing a big load on her furry bosoms? Is Grover filming this at the time? I'd happily offer him a sawbuck for that footage. Nah, maybe a fin.

Why can't Elmo at least speak the fucking language correctly? He talks like an overzealous Chinese woman. "Elmo like dance" "Elmo happy!" Elmo grammatically incorrect.

Oscar's pet worm "Slimy" is still the cutest thing in the world. But now they have Slimy whimpering and making noises. NO! Don't screw with Slimy! It is adorable that Slimy has his own little bed now. Damn he's the cutest. Ok I sounded really queeny for a minute, but I do have my softer side. Just like Sears.

They now have a character named "Doctor Feel", meant to emulate Doctor Phil. Both have styrofoam in their heads. Amazingly, I wanted to beat the hell out of the puppet version as well.

Gordon's still bald, Susan's fatter, Maria's fatter, and Mister Hooper is still being devoured by maggots.

At least they modified their cultural strategy. In the 80s, the only things blacker than this show were MTV and a rib joint at 31st and State Street.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Things You Shouldn't Say In a Neighborhood Bar

Things you shouldn't say in a crowded, creepy tavern

- Who likes fraud?!

- I'll give you 3 bucks to manually dehydrate your testicles.

- I hate people with hair

- Hey, bartender, you promised you'd extinguish all the Mexicans for me!

- Gimme a Hitler Martini with a twist of Jew

- Anyone wanna star in a snuff film?

- Can I please collect the cheese from where the fat guys were sitting?

- Hey Frank, that's not a prostitute. That's a vending machine. Ah, nevermind.

- I'll take the Cubs on that bet.

- Does anyone have change for a hundred? (saw that one coming)

- I may have missed the gay bar, but my compass is still pointing north!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Chicago Redux

It's less than endearing to hear radio commercials that are supposedly "local" commercials, geared to Chicagoans. The stereotypical "Tcheh-kah-goe" accent is the order of business for the Los Angeles based character actors who are hastily hired for these idiotic adverts. Car dealers, national pizza chains, merchandising chains, and similar conglomerates are proned to pitch supposedly localized commercials in the mode which we local city dwellers might perceive to be legitimately locally produced and sincerely of local origin.
Invariably, the same pathetic means of localization rear their ugly heads: they mention "Bears, Bulls, deep dish pizza, no ketchup on a hot dog, the sears tower, the Nort Siders, the Sot Siders, blah blah blah".
Here are some tips for you idiots that think you could manufacture a typical Chicago resident.

We don't all talk like the "Da Bears" blue collar thing. It's stupid and I rarely hear this accent from anyone in my daily local pursuits. There may be a few out there, but it's sadly exaggerated, like the typically sham Italian accent, Irish Cop, Chinese "ah so" crap, and the like. Pitching the accent as such is just insulting and uneducated.

Locals NEVER say "Chi Town" or "Da Windy City". News anchors may say "Chicagoland" or just "Chicago area". Most of us just say "the city". It's that simple. "Chi Town" is embarassing and not of local origin, you idiots.

We don't thrive on deep dish pizza. We eat whatever is convenient and good. Is this all you bozos can produce? Pizza? Hot dogs? No ketchup on the hot dogs, yeah yeah.

Chicago actually has white collar workers. It's primarily those who can still afford to live in the overpriced lofts, townhouses, condominiums, and single family homes in the city limits. Taxes and property values are ridiculous, so most of the people that live in the city are more refined, snobby, and successful than any of you moronic radio advertisers that claim to know the character and nature of our residents. This isn't 1923 any more. Move on, dorks.

Again, nobody says "Chi Town"

Sportscasters and the like, when covering a game, like to have their Goodyear Blimp or Outback "Bloomin' Onion" dirigible focus on the downtown skyline of our fair town. Invariably, they mention how it's such a beautiful city, such a great place, etc etc. Jump in my car, I'll show you more of our beautiful city. I'll take you by Stateway Gardens and watch some crack deals. Then off to 47th and State to be shot. Like prostitution? Let's roll. You wanna rent a nice car? I'll show you some pot holes that will absorb that Mustang like a thirsty drunk Polish guy.

I love when PGA golf tournaments are held in distant towns like Medinah, IL, or Long Grove, many miles away, and the broadcasters chirp up "in beautiful Chicago!" If the skyline isn't visible on the horizon, you ain't in town, Mister Costas.

Yes, Chicago as a whole is tougher than New York. We don't want to go to New York, but we'd take you in a fight. We have some bad dudes. I wanna see our worst neighborhoods in a rumble against New York's worst neighborhoods. Oh, see ya. Iraq couldn't defend a couple of our gangs. Nyah.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

TV Show Observations Part One

- Why do crappy shows like "Full House" and "Saved By The Bell" have the token athletic episode where one of the principal characters is in a big game/match? WORST of all, it's invariably broadcast, play by play, on radio. Who the hell is listening? AC Slater's wrestling match? On radio? The Fresh Prince scoring 1000 points? Joey Gladstone playing league hockey? On radio? Please.

- Why do relatives always burst in to "surprise" the main characters? "I thought I would surprise you!" Hilarity ensues.

- In MASH, who exactly was the guy that made all the announcements over the camp's P.A. system? We never saw him.

- In Full House, Jesse (played by John Stamos) is Greek and clearly with jet black hair and dark features. He is the brother of the late wife of Bob Saget's character. All of the offspring are bright blonde and with light features. Huh?

- I complain about reality shows these days, but I shouldn't. It's proof that the viewing audience at least insists on legitimacy. How stupid were people in the 1970s? Fantasy Island? The Bionic Woman/Six Million Dollar Man? Incredible Hulk? These shows all were way too long, stupid, and beyond the scope of realism. And why were all these shows an hour long, with has-been "guest stars" that we all knew were simply typecast as Carol Brady, The Hollywood Squares People, the Dorito Guy, Klinger, Barney Miller, and Reuben?

- Ever notice that every white character injected into "The Cosby Show" was stupid? Even the kids. The token whites, that occasionally might be lingering around a wealthy neighborhood. Cosby's spiteful portrayals in this show sucked all the credibility out of his preachy essence.
And could the mother in that show be any more condescending? I hated her with a passion.

- Norman Lear, much like Cosby, tried portraying a stupid white guy; in this case, Archie Bunker. Everyone loved Archie's quips and for all the reasons that contradicted Lear's guilt based intentions. Oops.

- Three's Company was a great show. It gave kids my age (at the time) lots and lots of fantasies.

- Why were the six main characters of "Saved By The Bell" always the leaders of every club/team/organization/uprising? Did anyone at Bayside find fault with this? Why did Slater's wrestling matches require a cheerleading squad? Of two? Yes, Kelly and Lisa, from the main group. Anybody remember that a significant love interest of Screech's was portrayed by Tori Spelling? That's a shame. Mister Belding was quite a card, though.

- Happy Days... oh man, who though Fonzie was actually cool? Winkler couldn't even ride a motorcycle in real life. Plus he was really old already. Too wholesome a show. All these fights between a character and a bad guy were in the offing, and they'd always be resolved by Fonzie's appearance and his stupid banging of the fist on something. Oh and that harsh language... "Sit on It". Wow, I've seen more ribald aphorisms in the book of Exodus.
Fine, Richie got drunk once, and eventually Joanie started being rebellious, but otherwise the show was almost as flavorless as "Leave It To Beaver".

- Forget about Roseanne. Boy did she drive that show into the ground. Not worth the extraneous typing.

- I'm tired of Cosby's jazz fetish.

- Who decided that "Hogan's Heroes" would be a funny show, given the setting in a Nazi prison camp? How about a new show set at a gas chamber? "Oops we gave him helium first..." (prisoner screams, in a cartoon high voice) "Help meeeeee!" Ok that's funny.

- Why were all the "detectives" on "Barney Miller" always chasing down petty thieves and similar miscreants? Any police officers around the old one-two?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Reduction and Realization

I've been watching tapes of Live Aid (July 13 1985 for the uninitiated) and saw, during Eric Clapton's set, a bit of an epiphany. I'm watching Clapton's current drummer, in tandem with Phil Collins, and am thinking "wow that guy is on so much blow...". Sure enough I correctly guessed it was Jeff Porcaro, a heavy user who died in 1992 from a "reaction" to toxic gardening chemicals but clearly had a weakened heart. Upon confirming the identity of this shaky, over-excited lad with sunglasses, I had nothing but anger and resentment for someone so talented wasting themselves in such a pathetic way.

While hard to write publicly, it's most cleansing to write of my realization why I lost all my friends and/or supporters during ridiculous periods of substance abuse and mental instability. I need not wonder why I, these days, write to the open sky that is the internet, textually shouting the epiphanies therein, with nobody left to receive them or acknowledge them. The circumstances that shroud such hindsight are not hard to understand, but I do wish I had my friends back in my corner; they ran away and certainly should have done so. But lest we forget that a vast majority of the human populace are, unfortunately, victims. As a reformed, loving, caring individual whose phone no longer rings on Friday, I can only ask those that might be hurting their beloved with weakness - don't allow the weakness to breakdown the rarest of all treasures one might find - close friends and caring people. They will support you but not unconditionally.


Monday, August 28, 2006

The F Word (friend)

I'm very very distant from using the word "friend". It took 35 years, but I realized that apart from my girlfriend and my parents, I have no true friends, in the classic sense. That's understandable, and the typical response of "maybe it's partly your fault" is inevitable as well. I admit fault in many ways, but people don't just call to say hi, or call to "shoot the breeze" to use the antiquated colloquialism. So why did such people ever know me in the first place? There were drugs in the golden era, some may have wanted to whoop it up in that context. Some were probably just bored and knew I'd be out to the bars on any given night. Others just were bored. It sucks to realize that most people called me to serve a particular purpose - or to allow me to be a reason to hang out. Once things became tricky for me, like losing a job, the "friends" stopped calling. Most people ran away saying that I had lost my mind. If so, then the good ones would've still stuck around.

I can stand on my ethical pedestal because I am one of the few who actually call people just to check on them and say hi. Sue me, it's a silly concept, but appreciated by many from the old days. A friend should have no ulterior motives and merely care. It's a shame to see how rare such relationships emerge. Treasure them with all the zeal you can muster.

Rule #1: You won't meet real friends in bars, most of the time. There are exceptions, but usually it's pertinent to the situation of having a few drinks and unwinding.

Rule #2 : If you don't hear from someone after a month, they aren't a friend.

Rule #3: People are fickle - the good ones stick behind you and think about you. The rest just turn their backs when it's no longer convenient or entertaining.

Rule #4: Don't rely on others for their approval. To hell with them. Once you separate the truly good ones from the superficial slugs and sluts, it will be far easier to tune out the pathetic opinions of such assholes and merely focus on the thoughts of those that really care.
The ONLY opinions that matter are those of your own and those of the true friends in your life. This is the most important point. Decide who matters, and discard the rest. Most people will belch their opinions to you but it's your job to flush them down the toilet.

Rule #5: If someone doesn't care about you, it doesn't mean you have to be reciprocal. Care about them and hold thy head up high, thus proverbially turning the other cheek. I will always care about some people that now despise me...I just do, and regardless of their resentment, I will help whenever possible. I'll take a lot of abuse, but so what. I'd rather they saw this tendency and changed their direction, than continue being hateful and uncaring.

Rule #6: Help anyone you can. It's hard to help a person you'd since determined to be an "un-friend" but it's just good karma to be there just in case. It's not much of an investment in future payback, but you'll feel like a good person, just for being there and helping.

Rule #7: Don't let others determine who you are. If people hurt you with their opinions and thoughts, it's up to you to maintain self sufficiency and cast aside such idiotic notions. If you intend for the best, aren't exploiting anyone, and just keeping to yourself, then everyone else can rot in hell.-- http://vapidvoice.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Annoying Commercials

I've already ventured into reasons for my resentment toward advertising in general, but various TV commercials these days have taken me to the brink. Here are my most hated commercials...

1) Geico : The Gay Cavemen
You know this one, "Our site is so easy, even a caveman can use it...". Har har. Then we see these two disgusting, obviously gay, cavemen complaining about the advert's insensitivity.

2) EHarmony.com
I don't want to see leftover couples find their "love" based on "deep compatability". I don't want to hear how happy these chumps are. Yeah, that first kiss, I know. "Wow". Most of the guys look like they smell, and most of the associated women look like they always had way too many pets and library books. Glad it took a web site and a modern day Orville Redenbacher to pair these love birds together. Stop telling me how happy you are.

3) Geico - The Gecko
Sure, based on my past rants, this was clearly going to be up in the list. This unintelligible, mealy mouthed, over anglicized "character" is foreign, hard to understand, not cute, and just pointless.

4) The Athlete's Foot Commercials
I don't want to see or hear about it

5) The Prostate Medications
I don't want to hear about peeing too often, enlarged prostate, prostate this, prostate that. How about shut up.

6) Christian Children's Fund
First of all, Pernell Roberts is this commercial's spokesman, he used to actually be a relevant actor and fell off the face of the earth years ago to grow a scary beard, smell bad, and do these commercials out of bad third world locations. I'm tired of being guilted into helping a child get education and food for the price of a cup of coffee (not true, by the way). How about we take care of our own country, first, Trapper? Take a shower, hand out condoms and shut up.

7) Sports Illustrated - Champs of the Month
Sports Illustrated has always been true grease balls with peddling crap to gain subscriptions. These days, they take the champ of the moment and create "commemorative" souvenirs to honor the team's "achievement" as if it's a rare treasure to be collected. Go back to the football phone or lower your subscription rates, you morons.

8) Laura & Hardy
I use the pun, because far too many ads have a fat, ugly husband with a cute slender wife. Too often, and it's obviously intentionally bent upon catering to those same fat losers who are rotting on their couches, eating cheetos.

9) Kraft Easy Mac
The most sickening commercials, now pulled. They were based in a fictitious college called University of St. Arvin (i.e. "starvin") and had disgusting people doing disgusting things. Makes me think of eating. What idiotic logic, to use the term wildly.

10) McDonalds - i.e. MACK Donald's
Ok, these spots are SO black, it's a joke. Just start running these things in ebonics. I stopped going there once the commercials became 100% rap.

11) How's The Career?
Jon Lovitz... Subway...Eat Fresh. Yeah, collect that check, fatso.
John Lithgow for Campbell's Select. See above.

12) Dell - The Dopey Ordering Guy

Duh I'll take a faster processor, more expensive this and that. All along we see this nice, tricked-out machine get put together in an instant, apparently customized as he speaks. Good luck paying that bill. Nice to see there are still people stupid enough to fall for upsells.

13) Applebee's : The Singing Dopes
There are two dopey people singing bad songs for Applebee's, and the songs aren't even funny or pleasant, especially after seeing the commercial for the 89th time. They need to go back to Caroline's or whatever coffee house from which they were hastily plucked.

14) Mobile ESPN
Nobody wants this phone system. It's sad, just sad. Give it up.

15) Talk To Chuck
God oh god, this series is infuriating. These Charles Schwab spots take a dopey "investor", film them talking, then literally cartoonize the whole frame into some type of creepy, ghostly, inked set of motion pictures that just make me not want to eat.

16) All Other Medicines
With all other pill commercials, 80% of its time is spent with the FDA mandated declarations of side effects, contraindications, reasons to avoid it, etc. They always have that rare, stellar, incisive advice saying "talk to your doctor". Gee thanks, Randolph Mantooth. Not to mention the overused joke about the warning "if your erection lasts more than four hours...". Too easy.

17) Wilford Brimley
Still want him dead. I don't care about his diabetes. I care about the poor horse that he's decided to park his big margarine ass upon. Get off the horse and start walking to the bone yard, you cranky old bastard.

18) Venture Whatever.Com
Let's see, there's 28venture.com, 29venture.com, 18venture.com, and 34venture.com. They all made the same four unemployed struggling actors a gig portraying an allegedly successful and wealthy benefactor.

19) Billy (whoever) with His Lame Products
This guy with the beard screams and yells and magically his commercials are always twice the volume of all adjacent programming. He peddles his Oxy stuff, the Orange cleaner, etc. Quiet down, you jag, we get the hint. Try shutting the hell up and shaving.

20) Cutesy Toddler Training Pants
Stop showing kids on the crapper, dropping deuces all over the place and making mommies happy. This is not suitable for television.

21) Lipitor
This commercial shows how genetics may influence high cholestrol in addition to diet, then makes cute comparisons (like fettucine alfredo vs grandpa alfredo). The "relatives" they flash on the screen are all creepy and ugly, so just stop. I would've offed myself long ago had I realized that my ancestry was so hideous. It's time for grandpa Alfredo to take a dirt nap, I'll keep eating cheese.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Relationship Injustice Part Four

As a searcher of kindness and compassion, I never allowed myself to emotionally be distracted by ancillary factors of a significant other, such as race, religion, ethnicity, social status, or most relevant, age. I've since found a strong bond with a girl much younger than myself. I have been with people that were older than myself, and in this case, I cared little for age, and she's half my age. To myself, her mother, or the girl in question, it's of little consequence. We all want each other to find true happiness and know that love is strong, and nothing else matters in the equation.

Enter the gossip hungry social group that sees such a relationship and casts their judgements upon us (mostly myself) with little regard for discerning the true heart of the matter or the emotional fulfillment therein. No, being an older male, I'm apparently some disgusting svengalie, intent upon exploiting wide-eyed young girls for their naiveté and clearly am some type of self-centered ogre in the entire situation. Cast aside the fact that the young lass is an incredibly self-contained, street smart individual, who knows what's at stake and can clearly think for herself without being untowardly manipulated. So, dear readers, the injustice in this episode has to do with negative people who look at relationships through narrow, polarized, glasses and cast their judgements as they might see them from an episode of Jerry Springer, rather than have the intelligence to analyze the situation and give one or both of us the benefit of the doubt. There's a ton of injustice, in this case, from letting one's beloved be negatively influenced by the countless nefarious peckerheads that have little else to do but call me "sick" or "disgusting" for dating someone significantly younger than myself.

Nobody should let this injustice influence the course of a relationship. Nobody - NOBODY should ever have the right to steer a person out of a relationship in which they feel comfortable, happy, and simbiotically complete. People may have their opinions in occasions of disparately matched people, but if that couple is in love and safe, then those that have their negative opinions can shove them up their empty asses.

Monday, July 17, 2006

TV Is Still Stupid

- Am I crazy or has there since developed a 50/50 commercial to show ratio these days? Granted, the Food Network is disproportionately commercial heavy, but now it seems like almost all the channels are leaning toward some type of 10 minute show format.

- Still like the Vonage commercials.

- Still hate the Geico commercials and that God awful gecko piece of crap. And those gay cavemen can just drop dead. Still not funny.

- ESPN has now adopted the whole "Breaking News" thing, plopping that phrase onto the bottom of the screen for anything current. No, there is no "breaking news" in sports. Breaking news is something like the World Trade Center collapsing. It is not the latest strikeout count from Roger Clemens.

- How many more channels are going to attempt their own lame version of "American Idol"? ESPN, the Food Network, etc, have all done this idiotic judge/candidate/elimination garbage and it's just not that damn interesting. I don't really give a shit who the best chef is. Mmmm I love Fannie Mae and their kitchen fresh candies. Sorry, I'm back.

- Man, even the "smart" channels, those final bastians of intelligence left on my little dial, are analyzing the Da Vinci Code as if it were fact. Attempting to track its precession, logic, etc. It's a STORY you morons. STORY.

- Somebody kill the EHarmony.com guy. I'm not interested in hearing about these happy couples, where the guy with glasses meets the girl with the pot belly and they fall in love. Wonderful. I'd rather see a mummified ass than see some of these couples kissing on screen.

- There's a very obscure cartoon called "3 South" that's almost impossible to catch on tv. If you run across it, watch it, it's HILARIOUS.

- How far away are we from seeing an all reality channel? I'd say months. There's literally now a channel solely for babies and toddlers to watch. I'd say that's most of the channels. Reality shows were accidentally a network's golden dream - they don't have to pay for writers, they can just set up a crew and follow some morons around as they build houses, get eliminated from being the next "Gardening Idol" or bust their boyfriend for a sordid affair with the area male nun.

- Let's see, MTV isn't music television any more, VH1 never shows video hits any more, CNN doesn't show news any more. I'm waiting for the Weather Channel to start just showing programs about Armenian exhaust pipe factories.

- ESPN Classic was a great channel in showing old sporting events from the 70s and 80s. Now they're showing "Classic Boxing" from 2005. Boy those were the days.

- In the wake of the now-waning fad of the "World Series of Poker", now there is a "World Series of Darts". I'm a former serious dart player, but the whole World Series prefix seems trite and capitalistic. Here we go with the World Series of Cooking, World Series of Pool, World Series of Curling, World Series of Spelling, and the World Series of Scrabble. Count on it.

- I've given up on the Food Network. Rachael Ray, a spunky, rubenesque cooking show host with a penchant for saying the word "flavor", will have her own network show now. Do these people on the Food Network think they are really that famous? Speaking of which...

- The stupid Food Network needs to get off this Wrestlemania attitude with cooking contests. It started with the damn Iron Chef show, which pitted two chefs in some death match type arena to see who wins the battle of cooking with a particular ingredient. Now that snotty guy Bobby Flay has a new show called (get this) "Throwdown" which pits his skills in cooking against a given expert in a certain type of cuisine, be it chili, pastry, etc. Throwdown? That's a word meaning a physical fight. What's with the adversarial crap going on here? It's cooking.

"Wow, Flay really gave the challenger an uppercut by adding that sprinkle of nutmeg!"

So pathetic.

- The "Trading Spaces" cast got way too popular for a while, that's dying out finally too. Fifteen minutes are up, Genevieve.

- Hey Nick At Nite, I don't consider shows from 1999 as "Classic TV".

- That Taylor guy who won "American Idol" is doing Ford commercials already, watch this be his last foray into popularity. Soul Patrol? We're still patrolling.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Ok One More Poem

Should love fail to find me, I will never blame its sight
The joy I can offer presents its own light
The sweet souls I care for may never feel my glow
From all the latent tenderness that only I might know

Lest nobody benefits from my sweet embrace
And should isolation be my mirror's face
I wish those I loved from afar would warm in my sun
But never be chilled like outcasts being shunned

May those who choose to fly find love within the sky
May those who choose to dive find love in oceans wide
May all who toil be loved for support and drive
And may I be loved again while still alive.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pointless Poetry

When joy knew where to find me, I had a beautiful girl in future's glow
Her radiance quelled the stresses unexpected and self imposed
Not once I took for granted such a dream, oh fortune's dream
And knowing my own future gave the means for her release

When joy knew where to find me, I had cared and given all
My heart drove all my actions and I cared not for myself
Now destitute and helpless I must turn to pointless cries
Though muted and unheard my passion, barely echoed, dies.

When joy knew where to find me I would be the loving arms
To which the tearful ran and found their solace without harm
I can't deny my closure nor can anyone rely
Upon those arms that once could bring such comfort for a cry

When joy knew where to find me, I was good to those I loved
Now I can't see the hurt I've sent amongst their hapless selves
I tell my friends I'm sorry but they don't believe my thoughts
And all I did was anger friends in whom their love I sought

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I Hate Restaurants

Here we are in the local overfranchised restaurant, with the overzealous and overworked server that feigns enthusiasm in the interest of a hefty tip. Here we go...

- Why does every server of mine end up knowing a group from another table personally, and park their ass in their booth when all I want is more water? If I chirp up a verbal request, then I'm an ass for breaking up the emotional reunion.

- Have you ever asked a busboy for anything other than napkins or water? They freeze up quicker than a Gateway computer. Good lord, come on Julio, KETCHUP - el bottle rojo - don't be afraid.

- I hate toddlers. Yeah they suck the most. They run down the aisle and walk up to your table like it's some type of cute restaurant-sponsored form of entertainment. I'm eating, you ankle biter, take your drool and your disgusting bib and go back to the fat mother from which you sprouted. When I'm eating an overpriced dinner I don't want to see a drooling, babbling doofus staring up at me.

- These mandatory fun chains of restaurants need to turn down the dial a bit. I'm not in the mood for fun. I once went into a TGI Fridays after a 15 hour drive and was recommended to smile. I'll show you a vertical smile, Tiffany, now go fetch my fucking burger. I could have just as readily gone to Denny's and have been miserable with poor souls that wander the aisles there.

- At fancier places, after finishing my whole dinner, I've gotten the spunky 21 year old guy who'll then say "good job!" upon seeing my clean plate. Good job. Thanks for your approval. Is this mimbo on the board of directors for the National Clean Plate Club? Can I please join? Shut up and kiss someone else's ass.

- I love when female waitresses write the total on the check and put that adorable smiley face at the bottom. That's another 5 bucks tip. Damn, she smiley-faced me. Who's got a fin?

- More good luck - I'll come in with a girl or something, with nobody in the whole place but one other group - a group of 14 people celebrating someone's car being repainted or whatever. Where do I get seated? Right next door. Can't wait to listen to the roars of laughter, to hear about Aunt Edna's colon, and whether or not the baby made poo poo.

- I've had many occasions where a female friend would be paying for the dinner, but the server puts the check in front of me.

- WELL then there's the birthday crap. Oh do these people look miserable singing that stupid birthday crap to some selfish patron who just wants some free flan and a little attention. That's fine, let's take the entire waitstaff out of their routine so they can ambivalently sing a trite little chorus to a fat guy turning 30.

- Who decided that putting up a "wacky" stop sign or similar road sign on a wall would constitute enhanced deliciousness and a commensurate increase in fun?

- Can restaurants just put "Men" on the men's room door, and "Women" on the women's room door? Outback pulls this crap with "blokes" and "sheilas" instead of something sensible. For shit's sake, we need to pee, we don't need to be playing Wordy Gurdy with the labelling on the bathroom doors. I've literally walked into the wrong bathroom in several places that actually had nothing but artwork on the doors to designate the gender. What's with the obscure emblem obsession? When you open the restaurant, is there a sign that says "Open" or a sign with a picture of a clown with diarrhea? Clarity, please - bathroom moments are not times for decryption on the fly.

- I hate valet parking. I don't want people driving my car, as beaten up as it may be. Plus I feel compelled to clean it up a bit before they jump in and park it in some rotting gravel alley. Letting a stranger jump in and drive it alludes to my sense of privacy and domain, and for most of us, our car is an extension of our house. How many strangers do we just leave in our house? It feels very intrusive and always bothers me as they drive away.

- Seafood restaurants always have the tackiest decor. Swanky or not, they always have the stupid steering wheel thing (for ships), and a couple life preservers hung up somewhere. Then there are the taxidermist-mounted trophy fish hanging above each window; seeing their blank expressions is about as appetizing as a foul-smelling wheelchair. Some places still have the live lobster tank. Do people still select the lobster they want to eat? That's sadistic.
Has Red Lobster ever aired a commercial that didn't include the word "scampi"?

- More seafood restaurant stuff. What the hell is with this phrase "catch of the day"? Like the chef took a rod and reel and zipped out to grab us all a big fat salmon for today's "catch". How about "cheapest fish of the day"? Or "the fish we need to unload today"? And why are these places littered with maps of various lakes and waterways? And the 19th century photos of ships? Just stop it. It's funny how seafood places need to be purposely harsh in its decor, with hastily assembled wooden floors and walls. Yes, whoopdee doo, I feel like I'm on a great clipper ship. Yar matey.

- Steak places. Stop trying to convince us that we're in an old western saloon. We're not cowboys, we aren't asking you to rustle up some grub. How about dropping the harsh old west concept?

- I hate having to sit near old people when they eat, it's like watching an iguana eat a mealworm. They always order some type of sloppy mushy crap, then it's positively digusting watching them shove it into their toothless pie holes. Bleck.

- Restaurant servers have a tough job, I admire them all, I just hate when the wrong ones get into the business.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Finding True Friends

It's inevitable that people around us will have tough stretches of misfortune and everyone is prone to this phenomenon, be it due to astrological factors or simple coincidence. People can just be themselves, maintain their credo and outlook on everything, and things might still collapse around them. The amazing thing is I see this unavoidable period (which we all face) as a cleansing - a cathartic, yet painful ratification of who really is a friend and who had simply been lingering in the fringe for fragmentary, self-serving purposes. True friends will help you through the bad times, yell and scream, but always stick around, rather than those that might further the scars and seek further self-gratification from rubbing salt in wounds rather than making an occasional sacrifice.

It's very easy to be fooled into thinking that people truly care about you, but a bad period in one's life will cleanse all the imitators from the list, and ironically it's a good thing. Much like a forest fire, it's a terrible thing but necessary and a part of nature's cycle and propensity to cleanse itself. Nobody should want a stretch of hard times to be a required device for validating who true friends might be. If there are other means to this end, may they present themselves to us all, rather than letting misfortune rear its ugly head. Many will tell you to be selfish and look toward yourself, and those are the inherently selfish ones. Those that would rather further the hurt to prove a selfish maxim, rather than sacrifice some potential bitter self-gratification in the interest of pure emotional support and loyalty.

Losing "friends" that lingered in a fringe of convenience or self-interest is a diffifult process to endure, but ultimately it gives us the intangible wisdom to learn how to identify character in future relationships and avoid the bad apples that might have snuck past our previously uneducated guard. It's been said that we can count our true friends on one hand, and even if we were four fingered cartoon characters, that axiom would remain accurate and one to remember.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ghosts and Near Death Experiences

Someone asked my opinion about the existence of ghosts recently, as many have, and I have multiple experiences seeing things that I still deem to be paranormal, and don't much care to describe those accounts in any great detail. Do ghosts exist? Definitely. Are they as individualized as various stupid documentary shows might imply? No. Ghosts are provable by the laws of the conservation of energy. Energy, like matter, can neither be created nor destroyed. It carries on, and we all contain energy. When our mortal frames meet their respective demise, that energy simply doesn't disappear; it lingers in some state, somewhere, be it in the vicinity of the body's death or in another location that might hold more significance to the entity in question. I've never embraced the notion of pesky poltergeists or similar spirits that throw dishes around or generally cause mischief, as I find no reason for an extant mass of energy to suddenly find the power to crack back into our dimensions and affect tangible objects in any manner, especially for the sake of merely being a pain in the ass. Sounds of moaning, creaking, and echoed, labored voices might be reported in particularly haunted venues, but perhaps the power of suggestion might be narrating the nature of such experiences to those who expect such hauntings? Why are they always moans and creaks? Are ghosts that uninventive and boring?

Which brings me to those that recount tales of being dead. How can they recount such tales? They're dead. The brain ceases to record. Nobody will convince me that they can remember being dead, because hey dork, you're dead - there's no remembering. Yeah I've heard that the brain continues to function in a limited capacity for a modicum of time, but the lack of adrenalin in the system and similar components preclude one from memorization at the brink of their terminus. While I do believe in heaven and spiritual realms beyond this environment, it is inherently against the will of "God" to allow us to drift into his spiritual world, then report back to the earthly base of operations as if it's like going to Hawaii. Like the proverbial (almost literally) thief in the night, nobody can tell me of the days of rapture and end of the world, and as such, nobody will convince me how the transition into the next world might appear, as to me, the description will simply be a function of their own brains' panic and doomed desperation.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Another Open Letter

So I love the AFLAC duck commercials; they are the best. I hate advertisers, but this series is so cute, it's the best. Well, some poultry rights people have some protest against it, like it negatively portrays a duck or abuses it or whatever. It was at http://www.upc-online.org/alerts/020304aflac_duck.html

Supposedly ducks are being degraded. So I wrote the head honcho the following:

I understand your concern and humane foresight for the portrayal of a duck being abused, but the notion of protesting AFLAC into changing the nature of their duck's portrayal is illogical at best. Why is this a quest of yours, when, as an animal rights conscious citizen, I see so many other injustices in today's society, particularly with poultry, that you waste time with a campaign that I find amusing, creative, and clearly without abuse to a live duck? I despise advertising and their nefarious practices but found the AFLAC duck to be a breath of fresh air and incredibly cartoonish in nature - and most importantly, harmless.
As a supporter of animal rights, there are limits to where protests and contention must extend. When those limits are breached, such activists and supporters of animal rights merely appear overzealous and idiotic with oversensitive protests that carry little effect or gravity in the scope of greater efforts. I sincerely applaud AFLAC for their commercials, as they are some of the few that amuse me, and clearly no live animal is being harmed. Firing shots at this campaign is an embarrassing gesture of oversensitivity and I, as others that have heard of this, strongly recommend you rescind the complaints and seek the myriad other injustices and abuses that exist in the food industry, etc, rather than a mere portrayal. Any such campaign against a comedic character merely strips away credit and respect from your cause, I hope you see that. I am not against your goals, merely pointing out a mistake in logic.

You are welcome to publish my thoughts, despite their dissention. As stated, I support your general cause strongly, but find this protest a bit of a joke and thought better of you to redirect efforts elsewhere. Is there a protest against Daffy Duck being shot up by Elmer Fudd a future campaign? Common Sense.
Mike Caldwell

Sunday, February 05, 2006


With this zany internet, an infinite number of channels are at our disposal for human abuse and exploitation. We invent the camera? Cameras can produce porn. We invent the television? TV can show porn. We invent the telegraph, and people start having telegraph sex. Then phone sex. People would play chess by mail. I wonder if there was ever postal sex? Talk about needing to last a while. But love letters and the like have sufficed in their day. And the girl could spray a wisp of perfume onto the paper, and the guy could fart onto his. So cute and appealing to the many senses. Just remember, there's a real, legitimate postal rule in the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM as it were) that specifically states that if mailing live scorpions, you must write "LIVE SCORPIONS" on the box. Remember that.

As so many means for communicating love and romance have developed, the logical successor to the old "dating service" concept would be the likes of match.com or eHarmony.com. Thankfully match.com's marketing blitz has faded, but eHarmony, and this Neil Clark Warren bozo, holy hell is it getting tiring. Based on the "success stories" I've seen, the slogan should be "where nerdy guys can find girls with fat asses". And the whole concept is bogus anyway - as people are matched on 30 different dimensions. Yeah, but remember that it such a system is still based on that person's self evaluation; about as subjective as possible. This near flawless matching system and evaluation is only as reliable as the lunatics which submit them. Nobody's going to be honest with themselves and fill this evaluation out with the famous 30 dimensions:

"Well, let's see, I'm an asshole - check, I want a big fat person,
check. I like fighting, crime, laziness and anger, check. Hey now
I'll turn this gem into the soulmate-o-matic and grab my princess!"

That Neil guy on all the eHarmony commercials, grumble. Hey, I'm all excited if his site brings people together and they find happiness with this method. But ol' Neil started characterizing the wondrous, amorphous concept of love as a chemical formula; mix some compatibility with chemistry and blammo. It isn't quite so simple, and with the understandable tendency for all participants of such dating sites to subtly misrepresent themselves in favor of a better portrayal, rather than a sanguine, accurate depiction, drives dating "systems" into the flaws of misrepresentation that led these isolated souls to the web in the first place. Such supposedly innovative sites like eHarmony will forever waste obdurate, yet innovative, scientific "logic" on the hasty frameworks of inaccurate, poorly sketched personality profiles, drafted by all who sought to camouflage their flaws within a supposedly multidimensional autobiographical profile.

With my countless essays on romantic injustice and relationship imbalances, it may appear that I suffer from some related pang of unrequited love. In a sense, that impetous might be true, but in truth, it's a combination of common sense and the suffering of those around me which angers me and drives me to comment on our innate zest to find a perfect partner with which to fill egos, build security, and erect an indirect sense of fulfillment. The desperation and hurried approach to finding one's soulmate is exactly what creates embitterment, dating services, and most of all, the constantly rising propensity toward divorce. Finding that one perfect partner is not to be hastily derived, calculated, or arranged. It might happen or might not. Some people are perfectly happy eliminating that goal from their existence, and quite happily pursue a path of independence and self-sufficiency. More power to them.

The point is simple; love is an aspect of fate and otherwordly destiny that transcends any type of human wisdom or scientific processing. Success stories may exist, but meeting a true love will happen as a serendipitous aspect to life's journey, not from a fiendish set of calculated maneuvers through a scientific dating service or similar system. The eHarmony slogan touts the ability to assess compatibility, and that word is so tasteless and harsh - people are not pieces of computer equipment. True emotion, fulfillment, and altruistic peace has so little to do with the objective, emotionless harshness of a statistically crude personality rating system - I'm surprised so many people accept faith in this ironic application of science to such an amorphously soft, mysterious, spiritual concept as true love. While many will find true love and happiness by meeting their beloved in a crude setting like a dating service, I can't see how the concept could ever be true to the heart and soul, as the spirit defies numbers and statistics, and always will surpass these finite inventions of the finite, narrow human mind.

Friday, January 06, 2006

TV and other thoughts

Why do old people keep talking about how things were so much simpler "way back when..."? How simple can the old farts have it now? They get up at 4am, wait for the paper, wait more the paper, get the paper, read the paper, read the paper again, walk to the barber shop/hair salon, then go to bed at 4pm. Pretty tricky stuff, Emil.

I'm very happy the term "surf" has been dropped from associated verbage involving visiting various web sites. Disgusting term, conjured in a moronic context.

The web is 15 years old. It's gone through a "too much porn" phase, then the "dot com" era, then the "everything is a virus" era. But the whole thing wasn't a brilliant invention, it was a concept that needed high speed networking. And the internet didn't change the world, it just fattened us.

What's with these radio commercials that pretend to be a local show, but the commercial portrays "radio people" talking passionately about some garbage lineup on ABC/NBC? Networks have finally pulled back and realized they have no creativity or originality, so they gave us all those painful reality shows. I only watch sports nowadays.

Ah sports. Every swing, punt, injury, etc is sponsored. It's the Allstate Fatal Stock Car Crash of the Week! Thanks. Sign me up.

Speaking of sports, the Super Bowl is done. This whole "holiday" is insane. The pre-game show was 5 hours long. Please. Get a life.

When is Wilfred Brimley just going to die? The guy is just a bitter, fat, useless spokesman for diabetes and old people crap, and he always yells at the viewer through the television. DIE.

Let's just get it over with and take over all the oil wells in Iraq. Maybe we can get rich or something. Otherwise, bail out of there. And don't bother threateninc Iran, that bunch belongs on the moon.

Quizno's uses this stupid talking baby all the time for its ad campaign. It's not cute, and not funny. Enough. I hate babies in advertising.

I LOVE the Vonage commercials where all this crazy stuff is going on in the background as the true spokesperson gives his pitch. Brilliant. Speaking of brilliant, the Guiness guys crack me up.

When did McDonald's commercials shift to only using Ebonics for its primary language? It's 100% Afro-centric and that's fine. Are they saying that the others have figured out how unhealthy the food might be? Fair enough. Just slam out those McRibs to those uninitiated hambones...

Geico just shot themselves in the foot by employing this new, hideously annoying gecko character, straight out of England. While lecturing some tiresome script to a "real" gecko, the genius advertisers decided to employ painfully British vernacular like "bloke" and "chips" and otherwise turn the spokes-gecko into an annoying, indiscernable waste of time. Click. If they haven't figured out that these commercials are impossible to understand, they deserve the profit loss. AFLAC....

Moving along, check out the Food Network. The show "30 minute meals" stars Rachael Ray, an annoying, bubbly cutie that we'd either lust for, or stab. Drink a shot of Tequila every time she uses the word "flavor". You'll be wasted by the ten minute mark. Fun drinking game. And while I'm at it, the Food network runs so many commercials, it smells of old Match Game episodes. It's like 50/50 show/commercial ratio. I am not going to watch your pathetic clientele to see if Emeril made more veal. Get off your high horse, Food Network, show some programming every once in a while.

I will never eat at Burger King as long as that Burger King guy is on commercials. They are already on a big downslide...I'm afraid to eat there now, after the slime I ingested last time. Just go out of business so your existing structures can convert into a Popeye's as usual. It's your own fault you have no clue about marketing. G'nite, has-beens.

I hate how Nike exploited Jordan's legacy, but the most recent ad campaign, in which kids mimic his past achievements, is gorgeous and emotional. It makes one realize how incredible his career had been, so hats off.

Nobody is watching the Olympics. Nobody.

Fuck Sports Illustrated for their opportunistic commercials jumping on the latest team to win something, and peddle their half-assed "collectors edition" book commemorating the team's achievements. Congratulations [CHICAGO WHITE SOX] for winning the [WORLD SERIES]. Can you be more superficial and greedy? Fuck yourselves.

I actually like American Idol. Simon Cowell isn't evil, just honest. It's nice to see people with heads far too big be deflated back to earth. An interesting show and for all his arrogant affect, Cowell deserves accolades.

Bobby Knight's reality show will be aired on ESPN shortly. He coached teams very well. But addressing him now... Hey - you're a basketball coach. You push your kids to prospective greatness (except your pathetic seasons at Texas Tech lately). I saw you in an interview with the show "Cold Pizza" promoting your show on the same network and you were a contentious prick to the woman interviewing you. She deserved no such treatment, and you eventually walked away from the camera like a moron. Hey, dickhead. You can be thick-headed, driven, and harsh in the venue of coaching malleable recruits, but outside of those bounds, you might consider civility as an option, because not everyone is a player under your regimented program. Treat your kids like crap all you want, but when you treat people (even media people) with snotty, demeaning responses and unwarranted attitude, you lose every remaining drop of respect left in my, and others, tank. It helps me conclude that you are a misanthropic, self-centered asshole that I'd just as soon see retire and disappear to a miserable, lonely death, because you have no redeeming qualities as a person. Go fuck yourself, Knight; go abuse your players and enjoy the sadism, because you are not a good person. Can't wait until you're dead.