Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I Love ESPN

My, this channel (or family thereof) is becoming quite an annoying amalgam of useless characters and components. They've long since grown too big for their respective britches. The cast, and its assets:

Stephen A. Smith
A loud, abrasive, Malcom X type personality (to use the term loosely), that insists on yelling every opinion as a commentator. If he took the cork out of his ass, he'd possibly crack (pun intended) a smile or two and keep his commentary below the level of "fist in the air" anger. Tiresome, negative, too opinionated, and rarely adding much to sports commentary.

Skip Bayless
The white equivalent to Smith, a loud, irksome commentator that simply collects his checks from whatever show the wizards at the network decide to call it at the time. All he wants to do is to yell his sports opinions into the camera, create needless arguments, and act self-ingratiated based on what was left of his career as a thankfully quieter sports columnist. He should go back to full time journalism, rather than persistently live off of these "guest commentator" roles that have become all too tiresome.

Chris Berman
Another one to avoid if you have a headache. His overzealous reviews of the day's football games are replete with his stupid sounds, like "woop!". Or he'll scream "he...could...go...all...the...way!" during a punt return. Turn the volume down.

Kenny Mayne
At last, someone that I like. This commentator has so manys screws loose, I doubt there's a prescription out there to help his distorted mind. He's posed great quips like "On paper, the Rangers should beat the Bruins every time, but then again, ice hockey isn't played on paper...it's played inside your television set." He also routinely refers to highlights of the NFL as "tackle football". He is truly strange, and oddly refreshing.

Stuart Scott
Another one, who's so painfully black with his "street" aphorisms, it belies the underlying demographic of middle aged white males. He's obsessed with taking everything to the Apollo Theatre, with his "yo dog", "big ups" and "boo yah!" phrases. He's obsessed with taking a mainstream broadcast and turning it into an ebonics-laced disaster of oppressive slang and mysterious utterances.

ESPN Classic
An offshoot channel that used to run games from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Now they're running "classic" bowling matches from 2 years ago, or college football games from last week. Classic stuff; I remember when... And even when they run a bowling tournament from 1985, do we need to be reminded of all the bowlers named Wes, Hal, Stu, Russ, and Earl? Doubt it. I don't even want to watch *current* bowling tournaments, let alone old ones. This channel is on the brink of turning into the likes of MTV and VH1, running corny reality shows and allowing its programming content to brazenly stomp on the original intention of the channel.

ESPN2
This channel should just be renamed "The Poker Channel". Ok, they do show some college games, but I'm not too immersed in a contest between East Carolina and Central Florida. Wow, the magic! Since there's already blackjack being televised by the likes of the Game Show Network, I'm waiting for the "sport" of professional Craps, Roulette, Toss Across, and Gnip Gnop. Hell, they've already televised spelling bees, domino tournaments, and Scrabble competitions.

Already Whined About...
The same stupid back announcer is used for all of their dumb commercials, he's got an irritatingly piercing voice while spouting the phone number for ordering whatever product the commercial had been hawking. Then there's my beef about the Monday Night Football commercials - with "Is it Monday yet?" as the tag line. Oof, that is such an annoying campaign. Borders on Geico commercials.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Spam Review - Part 1

I thought it would be an interesting idea to delve into all currently rejected messages in my "spam" folder and see what interesting works of marketing genius had been thrust upon myself and countless others. Surely there will be more to come. I've done my best to remove web addresses, but didn't bother with the email addresses, as they are faked anyway. Giddyup...

From: mingfeng Podszebka mingfeng.Podszebka@jetcut.fr
Date: Nov 27, 2007 1:16 AM
Subject: nubijiti

we cannot keep up with the xmas rush, have you brought
yours yet?


I haven't brought my rush yet, I tried it against the Packers a few weeks ago, and Benson was stopped.

From: Noel Hinkle dterrell@gubermangarsonbush.com
Date: Nov 19, 2007 9:53 AM
Subject: stimulate a cosmic shaft Allan


The subject header is a great piece of spam there. I believe that was a very early Pink Floyd instrumental, like from 1968.

From: griffy sheela miguel@p5com.com
Date: Nov 14, 2007 3:42 AM
Subject: [news #84015]

Want the degree but can’t find the time? WHAT A GREAT IDEA! We provide a concept that will allow anyone with sufficient work experience to obtain a fully verifiable University Degree.Bachelors, Masters or even a Doctorate. Think of it, within four to six weeks, you too could be a college graduate. Many people share the same frustration, they are all doing the work of the person that has the degree and the person that has the degree is getting all the money. Don’t you think that it is time you were paid fair compensation for the level of work you are already doing? This is your chance to finally make the right move and receive your due benefits. If you are like most people, you are more than qualified with your experience, but are lacking that prestigious piece of paper known as a diploma that is often the passport to success. CALL US TODAY AND GIVE YOUR WORKEXPERIENCE THE CHANCE TO
EARN YOUTHE HIGHER COMPENSATION YOU DESERVE!


Ok, Michael, where did you earn your Ph.D?
Well, that's not important, as the degree is - verifiable.
Yes, that is fine, but where did you attend school to earn this degree?
Um, I need to take a call, here... can I step outside for a minute?


From: Galia Kozina Kozina@arnold-insulation.com
Date: Nov 10, 2007 11:54 AMSubject: moyencha
Now im not shy in the public toilets
mor-tsop moquegua
morinace
mpetible


Hey, that's dynamite, good for you, Galia. Some people just can't make #1 when people are around. Good for you. And morinace mpetible to you too, dear. It's only slightly less consternating that this message came from an organization called "arnold insulation". Finally! Someone has successfully tied peeing in public to insulation. That's just magic.



From: Teshigahara benjamin@connecthouston.com
Date: Nov 10, 2007 4:56 AM
Subject: [5]:

We offer the software for downloads only. It means that
you do not receive a fancy package and a printed manual that actually aggregate the largest part of the retail price. And one more advantage of OEM Software is that you don't need to wait for delivery. You can download and install you software at once after paying for it.



Gee, which part of inner China is this coming from? I think it's called "counterfeit" in my country.

From: Liban Konekeo
Konekeoxdcj@commercialappraiser.com
Date: Nov 5, 2007 4:32 AM
Subject: hidakayu

How's tricks? mikeydhh
you know she wants a bigger pen1s so why not give it to
her?


Hey, Tricks are for KIDS. And it's damn delicious, with all its sugary, imitation fruit goodness. And my pen1 is just fine.

From: Rolando shalosky shaloskyhgcol@thatchamcars.com
Date: Nov 5, 2007 5:44 PM
Subject: gleichsp

hello stranger mikeydhh
if you think sex will get
better, your wrong, so you need to enlarge it
Rolando shalosky



Hey, if you think your grammar will get better, you're wrong. And my wrong isn't your wrong, or something like that. And yes, you correctly addressed my alter ego, the "stranger mikeydhh", not the normal one that helps old ladies across the street and rakes leaves.

From: metehan morrone metehanmorrone@iblea2000.com
Date: Nov 4, 2007 5:26 AM
Subject: etteteci

hay you mikeydhh
love your new size and use it
fully when you take MANSTER
metehan morrone


Aw, c'mon, don't hay me! Last time someone did that to me, it was in a barn somewhere in central Illinois. I was buried to my neck in hay and various insects. It's like those old days of "whitewashing" someone with a ton of fresh snow. Glad you love my new size, I believe it's 32 for the waist.

From: Munif kinnaird Munif_kinnaird@shoulder1.com
Date: Nov 9, 2007 5:34 AM
Subject: metsefhc

Bigger schlong = more enjoyment for partner!

minities mihsakan
miotaxis metamere



Schlong, huh? Spelled that way? Must be the German enhancement. What about
Big butt = more cushion for the pushin'
Big belly = bigger shed for the tool
A (squared) + B (squared) = C (squared)
Say hi to Minities or Miotaxis for me.



From: keri gpsfnji@albanianpilot.every1.net
Date: Oct 29, 2007 5:32 PM
Subject: is it you?

keri here Do not ignore me please, I found your email
somewhere and now decided to write you. Let me know if you do not mind. If you want I can send you some pictures of me. I am a nice pretty girl. Don't reply to this email.



Do not ignore me! But don't reply to this! Nice pretty girl. How about a pretty nice girl? Can't wait for the pictures.


From: zoran Slawsky zoran517@adult-sexnet.com
Date: Nov 2, 2007 2:53 PM
Subject: noohs

whatz craken mikeydhh
confront your insecurities and do something about that tiny cock
zoran Slawsky


Hey, now don't start breaking bad on my pet bird. Little Larry sits in his cage all day and keeps me company. Sure he's small, but he's a good buddy. And what is "craken" with you? What the hell is "craken"? Are you stupid? Larry uses better language, dipshit.


From: Terry Barber gwall@xlztst7.com
Date: Oct 29, 2007 1:37 AM
Subject: ja5hd
To: mikeydapinkdon@gmail.com

Yet, even when set face to face in this way, some
persons, because of obscurations from bad karma, and from pride, although the hook of the rays of grace [striketh against them], flee from it. [If one be one of them], then, on the Third Day, the Bhagavan Ratna-Sambhava and his accompanying deities, along with the light-path from the human world, will come to receive one simultaneously.
Repeat thou these [verses] clearly, and remembering their significance as thou repeatest them, go forwards, [O nobly-born]. Thereby, whatever visions of awe or terror appear, recognition is
certain; and forget not this vital secret art lying therein.
According to one's good or bad karma, the vital-force floweth down into either the right or left nerve and goeth out through any of the apertures [of the body]. Then cometh a lucid condition of the mind.



This is the most bizarre one of them all, thus far. It turns out to be spam for more counterfeit software. Talk about having no morals!

From: Leticia Raymond hywoqotjr@compuskills.com
Date: Oct 29, 2007 9:42 PM
Subject: Timepieces by Zenith

Brand new 2007 Replica models Express Worldwide shipping
Available. Unbeatable Quality at Unbelievable Prices. 25% discounts & more!


Ooooh counterfeit Zenith watches? What else do you have to offer? Imitation Tandy computers? Fake Goldstar VCRs? Fake Broksonic stereos? Keep in touch. Would love to use that 25% discount to knock the price down to 8 dollars, and keep some money laundering organization in Moscow afloat.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Television Is Still Stupid!


I'd been waiting for enough stupid commercials and irritating aspects of television to pile up. Certainly it doesn't take a long time.


Volume
I thought this tactic went out of style with the pet rock, but apparently not. Certain commercials invariably bellow through the television's speakers with ear-splitting volume, easily twice the amplitude of any other "programming" on the prostitution channel from which the loud advertiser is buying time. Obviously, companies are paying extra for their spots to be broadcast with additional volume, because of course we'll all instantly purchase the brilliant product because of loudness.

Volume, Part II
Don't fall asleep with either ESPN or Nick-At-Nite tuned in. You'll be rudely awakened by screams, howls, squeals, and the like. Nothing quite matches up to the joy of being jolted out of bed by the yelps of "whoop!" from ESPN's overweight, steak-eating Chris Berman. The big fat idiot should retire while the going's good, and save his hollering for the oxygen he'll need when he's in an ambulance. On the same note, sometimes I watch Nick-At-Nite, which shows old reruns, but shows idiotic cartoons in the morning. Don't fall asleep to this one either, lest you wake up to "woop! gleep! zinkle zoop zoop!" and other completely idiotic, obnoxiously loud sound effects that create nothing but eerily assimilated dreams and worse moments of subsequent consciousness.

Grammar

For the last damn time, those idiots that peddle their "brain training" or "vision training" programs for the portable Nintendo system: You can't do something IN 10 minutes a day. It's a grammatical impossibility. With 10 minutes, perhaps. People don't know how to write a simple commercial copy.

Service!? Egads!
There's an adorable ditty, its concept clearly ripped off from previous Red Lobster spots, where a few guys play instruments and sing their song. The song's content involves the fact that if this guy had
freecreditreport.com to check for identity theft, he wouldn't be so "pathetic" as to be working as a server in a seafood restaurant. How dare they? What right to they to insult the thousands of hard working waiters, waitresses, and the like, as if the penalty for a stolen identity is - oh no - working in a restaurant! It's a sweeping insult to many hard working people in the service industry. I wrote them the following:

Hi
I usually don't write "crazy old man" letters to complain about things,
but I write a fairly popular blog about general observations on things. As such, I had to write about my problem with whoever decided upon the most recent advertising campaign, in which a waiter at a restaurant is bemoaning his misfortune of identity theft, and the penalty of which was to be "forced" to work at a restaurant. Being a server at a restaurant, or working in the service industry in general, should not be deemed as a "penalty" and is a rather crude insult to the thousands of hard working people out there that work tirelessly for their tips and meager salary. If your organization would rather not disenfranchise all that serve us food and drink, endure plenty of irritable customers, and go home with sore legs, it might be best to retract that commercial.



The Announcer
There's a new guy that always back-announces phone numbers and the like for myriad commercials. His voice is like a knife through the head. He's often heard in product ads on ESPN and similar cable channels. Is there really such a monopoly on this area of work? It's the equivalent of that movie announcer guy "In a world..."


The Holiday Sales
Some stores, the day after Thanksgiving, opened at 4am. 4am? Come on, this is a bit extreme. Now we're faced with a savory combination of 300 pound women with screaming babies in their carts, a bevy of surly, poorly rested cashiers that would rather be in an iron maiden than at Kohl's at 4am, and a sprinkling of plastered wanderers that merely have intentions to purchase whiskey, drugs, and prostitutes. Sorry, Gummo, the pharmacy doesn't open until 6; don't lose your forged valium prescription. But there's a mechanical singing Santa in aisle 4 if you want! He doesn't put out.

Contradiction
I love various cable channels and their predilection toward running ads for NutriSystem, various cholesterol conscious products, or weight loss items, only to contiguously run a spot for the quadruple meaty, fatty, sloppy, icky, new pizza for only 10.99. Be healthy. Watch that enlarged prostate. Here's a pizza offer with 21 pounds of pepperoni! Dig in!

That Word
Almost purely out of defiance, more companies have since adopted the word "melty" into their advertising vernacular. It is NOT a word. Just about every fast food chain has now used that infamous word in an advertisement which highlights their latest deathly unhealthy product. For God's sake, I had enough problems with the use of the word "chocolatey" but this is going too far. It almost seems like a Madison avenue incursion upon my predefined senses of proper speech and language usage.

Swallow That?
I love the federally mandated litany of potential side effects that have to follow the pitch for a new anti-depressant/prostate drug. You may lose your hair, your kids, your hands, and your life. Oh thanks, sign me up. Maybe we'll just stick with self loathing, excessive slumber and bathroom trips.

No It's Not Monday
ESPN runs these tiresome spots for their upcoming Monday Night Football game of the week, or as their genius match-ups have proven, game of the weak. Their ads are capitulated with the catch phrase "Is It Monday Yet?" Who the hell wants to be alive on a Monday? Just for a crappy, uninteresting game between two untalented NFL teams? Nobody is looking forward to Monday, ok? It's one game, a boring game, on the worst day of the week. Any idiot that actually looks forward to a Monday night should be strangled by his/her own shoelaces. Is it your suicide yet? Monday Night Football has all the appeal of an 8am appearance in traffic court with a menopausal judge yelling at you for your intention to contest a questionable moving violation.

Of Course There's The Food Network
Would I let you fine readers down by skipping past the Food Network? They're still working steadily with these "American Idol" type shows like "The Next Iron Chef" and "The Next Food Network Star". All reality based, with tense moments of elimination and competitive ire. Ooooh the startling drama that developed when contestant #4 was told that her pancakes weren't very fluffy. Ouch! The tears. Again, this stupid channel tries to equate cooking to brutal "survival" ethos. Wow, cue the dramatic violin music when the judges inform the contestant that his soup was too salty. Yow! Razor to the wrist! This commercial-hungry, irritating channel has become so self-important, self-ingratiating, and redundant, it's hardly worth further criticism. Hopefully the money slut executives that claim to "run" things might change direction some day, but I doubt it. There are plenty of fish wives out there that still will subscribe to that pablum.

Sears
Of course, Sears is still trying to hang on for dear life by, at this point, spouting this "Grant a Wish" campaign for the holidays. One spot involves their boasting of a Craftsman toolbox that has an MP3 player embedded as well. What the hell is this? Are we marketing to Snoop Dog the blacksmith? Demographics, kids, demographics.

Man vs. Wild
Finally, I am amused at the resurgence of the show "Man vs. Wild", featuring a British idiot named "Bear". It had been previously discovered that, instead of surviving out in the wilderness on his own for a period of time, he was occasionally whisked off to a cozy motel with the crew when things became too itchy, so to speak. Now the show emblazons a wordy disclaimer at the program's outset, attempting to make excuses for times when he would need "support" or something like that. Then the impetuous Brit zips off to some stark region, eats live animals and repeatedly mentions his accomplishments. Yippee for you, um, Bear. We'll leave the light on for you.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Songs I Play When Down

This isn't really reflective of my current frame of mind, but I did want to procure a list of songs that I found helpful when jilted by a relationship, job or friend. Sometimes it's nice to thrust one's fist up in the air and get some anger management out of sufficiently angry music. While certain bands might come up more than once, it isn't because of preference, but rather that those song writers generally had the same situation. Some songs are there for your sense of empowerment, others to console.

- Red Hot Chili Peppers - My Friends
The phrase "Ex girlfriend called me up, alone and desparate from a prison phone, they wanted to give her seven years for being sad." Speaks volumes to those that didn't have anyone to which to turn except their own devices. Punishment for loneliness, and the like.

- Pete Townshend - The Love Man
A song for the lost girl, it talks of his losing his love to someone else. This was in the context of finding out he was the victim of infidelity - the 2:40 break speaks "Tickle me, don't let me hear him singin', dance for me, don't let me see his face, sing for me don't answer any questions, love me don't love him, don't leave the race". He was somewhat pulling away into devotion to an Indian guru at the time, but it is a fascinating statement of pain and loss.

- AC/DC - It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock And Roll)
Frustration, but a lot of empowerment in there. Bon Scott speaking of the toughness that we all require to put up with the b/s and survive in our respective callings. More of a "mad at my job" song than anything.

- Soundgarden - Outshined
Played this one to death (pun intended) after bad breakups - you know, those that one cannot control. It's loud and angry sounding, but it really just bespeaks of the typical Chris Cornell darkness in being unsettled, unhappy, and all the other "un's" that provide his songwriting prowess.

- The Archies - Sugar, Sugar
Just kidding.

- Aerosmith - Seasons Of Wither

A good one for being especially mopey. Sometimes it's just nice to hear mopeyness as per the "misery loves company" factor. Hell, who wants to hear Katrina and the Waves singing how they are "Walking On Sunshine" when feeling spurned?

- Pink Floyd - Pigs
For some reason the darkness and expansiveness of the song seems to fit the occasion. Not sure how it's immediately relevant (shut up you) but it's intonations and strangely positive, almost victorious finale works wonders for the mood sometimes. Five years ago I was in Seattle, 2000+ miles away from a sick friend. Helpless and powerless, all I could do was play that song repeatedly for about 48 hours straight. It probably helped me from going crazy.

- Van Halen - In A Simple Rhyme
The only genuinely touching song that took a serious slant, in a period (1980) when most of their lyrical content involved screwing, drinking, or being otherwise stupid. Lyrically it spoke of losing that girl, or feeling as such, and finally being honest about things, pulling the proverbial pants down, and saying "ok, I don't care about pride, I want you". It was oddly touching for such a relatively nihilistic band with little lyrical content other than words to bracket Eddie Van Halen's guitar playing.

- Black Sabbath - Wheel Of Confusion
Geared more toward the times when one feels like a failure in the world, this one hits home rather well.
"Soon the days went passing into years, happiness just didn't come so easy; Life was born of fairy tales and day dreams, innocence was just another word - was it illusion?"

- The Who - I've Had Enough
Yeah, this classic track from their Quadrophenia release has plenty of elements of failure, unhappiness and a sense of giving up altogether.

- Smashing Pumpkins - Muzzle
The song that reminds me of who I've lost...

"My life has been extraordinary - blessed and cursed and wild - Time heals, but I'm forever broken, by and by the way. Have you ever heard the words I'm singing in this song? It's for the girl I've loved along. Can a taste of love be so wrong? As all things must surely have to end - great loves will one day have to part..."
- James - Laid
Makes me cry sometimes. Speaks of past relationships, and its lyrics hit very close to home in every way. This song kills me for various reasons, as do others.

- The Who - Another Tricky Day
Previously cited in my "greatest songs" list, this was a song that helped me realize that things could always be worse. He was crying for help in this track, and it felt much like there was a sense of "misery loves company" conveyed through those hi-fi speakers. A song that spoke to me and countless others, specifically for when idiots like us were down, suicidal, upset, or just feeling jilted.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Relationship Injustice Part 8 - Commitment


It's funny when one ages into the infamous "thirtysomething" demographic plateau; to find that some things never change, and others tend toward premature closure, or lack thereof. I, in my middle thirties, would not be considered by the old coots as to be old, but still see those relationships, personae, and cliques, tend to find their untimely demise without anything more than a stutter and a wave of the hand from a disinterested observer. I'm now finding that marriages, those of which I stood up for or helped engender, are now dissolving into an abysmal cauldron of legal specifications, meetings, and turmoil. I, who never married, still find myself embroiled within various relationship issues, be it mere bickering, serious arguments, or legal proceedings.


I've realized that as we grow older, we don't grow wiser - we merely endure the ramifications of the misjudgements we made in the earlier years, be those years from the early twenties, mid twenties, late twenties, or early thirties. Regardless, it eventually becomes obvious that our past intentions were not long lasting, and most of the strong willed people out there take it upon themselves to resolve the imbalance and recognize that it might be time for a new phase of existence, rather than many couples who find themselves bound by their past union, offspring, and perceived "household".


I understand that it might be unfortunate to be in the mid thirties and unmarried, without a family, two car garage, picket fence, gun rack, etc; but is that any worse than those that married at 22, are bound to the family, and only feeling as such out of obligation? Hey, I can't count how many times I've heard males/females who married young, saying "hey, I love my kids...they are my world..." Hey fine, but never anything about the spouse - or general happiness. It is then when I realized that there is a single form of energy put forth by, say, a guy. In bachelor days, this energy goes toward finding a hot girl, then it's toward a wife - but then it's expended toward the children - and that defines the proverbial icebox under the bed once a couple had been married 10 or 15 years. Just like classic rock bands, once they lose that pervasive venom, all becomes, well, gray.

Marriage and settling down is certainly the ideal for any couple. Some couples are destined for each other, and one of the pair might have already been committed to marital vows. I'll divulge a personal scar by saying that the greatest girls in my experience were those that were already obligated to another. At times, I am sure they might have soured at the notion of committing too soon. I wish they hadn't, but it taught me a lesson in being sure who one should devote a future to, and the importance of the true meaning of commitment. I've heard the "if I weren't married..." phrase all too often, from people that just were purely wonderful partners in crime, so to speak. Too easy to be afraid of anything - guys don't fear commitment - people do.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Stupid Stupid Commercials

The Nintendo Brain Training thing. I don't get this whole George Takai cartoon character creep for those creepy commercials when he goes "quick, what's the (blah blah blah)". Then the creepy Takai character comes on and says "If you didn't know the answer, then you might need some brain training." Well, whoever drew that arrogant computerized Japanese character might need some art training. I've seen more realistic looking faces in the arcade game "Frenzy".

I don't need to hear that obnoxious DiTech commercial anymore. The ass-kissing phrase "people are smart" is repeated over and over. People aren't smart, you pinheads, otherwise people wouldn't be dumb customers of yours.

It's richly ironic that the only commercials Phillip Morris and related cigarette companies can air these days are commercials offering help to stop using their product. Ah, the government. Can't wait until they force McDonald's to start campaigns saying "Please stop eating Big Macs".

Lest we forget the obnoxiously loud Billy Whats-his-name for Orange Cleaner this, and Oxy-Cleanse that. It's bad enough that Directv can't purchase a 30 dollar limiter and equalize all the channels' volumes, but as I'm straining to discern what was said by nimrod Skip Bayless on ESPN2, bang! Those commercials spout out at you with easily 5 times the volume. Duh, ya think it wuz intentional? You know, I wouldn't have ordered this product normally, but since its commercial was incredibly loud, I'm sold!

ESPN keeps plugging their coverage of Monday Night Football with elaborately staged advertisements and cleverly posed scripts. Regardless of the creativity, it still is capitulated with the idiotic slogan "Is it Monday yet?". Oh yeah, thanks for drilling the abysmal notion of a Monday into all the workers out there who treasure the weekend. No, by all means, Mondays are suddenly great now! I love the idea of watching a football game at 8pm, featuring two overhyped teams that nobody cares for. Whoopee! Is it tax deadline day yet?

Fortunately, the virgin doofus owner of EHarmony has taken his tattered visage out of his commercials, be they far too frequent. Now it's just that wacky background music and a few chunky, codependent couples talking about love and what it's like to be a dork.

Hats off to Geico, my most hated company for their past ad campaigns. Now they are doing some funny commercials with the likes of the Flintstones, etc. Well done. You're all partially off the hook.

Those retarded pivoting handles that are being sold for use during push-ups, please! This crap is usually peddled on ESPN and similar "macho" networks. Worst of all, they say that one can firm up "in as little as 10 minutes a day...". No!!! You stupid idiots. It's with 10 minutes a day, not "in". People are stupid. Oh wait, people are smart.

What's with these Visa commercials promoting how quick one can pay with their Visa card? As if that magic "wave over the device" method worked at every merchant. Originally they had a song plodding away, while everyone dutifully paid with their Visa card, then the music was disrupted by a crusty check writing shopper. Now, a series of commercials are hauling off on some shopper paying cash. Cash! Um, idiots - cash needs no authorization process, electronic transmissions, etc. It's CASH. The fastest way - yes, faster than your stupid card. Throw the check writers under the bus, but leave the cash people alone. Leave it to assholes at Visa to think they could revolutionize a 10,000 year old system of currency with a passively safe card and a bunch of childish commercials, meant to heap guilt on those that actually believe in carrying paper currency. You arrogant jerks. Oh yes, the history of currency in the world...Mesopotamia, origins of barter, trade, tokens, etc - then ope - Visa! Yeah, makes sense. Let's all do what Visa says. I'm glad they've taught me that I shouldn't carry cash any more, but just carry this fancy Visa Insta-Identity-Theft cash card. Will help me lots when I'm at a toll booth, or at a payphone, or at a mom & pop store in northern Mississippi at 2am. How about vending machines in the middle of nowhere? Those machines that are at a rest stop, and have a package of aspirin you need? Ooops! Machine's not hooked up to "the Visa World". Darn. Us luddites and our cash. You suck.

GO CUBS!!! SHIP IT!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Relationship Injustice Part 7 - Fidelity

It's a damn shame that so much deception, strategy, and maneuvering is prevelant in stale relationships, be they marital or otherwise. The world of the big city, bars, meeting places, adult playgrounds, and the like, are always monstrous pillars of temptation for those that might sense disquietude in their current relationship. There are always those married couples that hide away in the remote suburbs, avoid contact with anyone that isn't family, and play things safe. Good for them, and for many, this is a satisfactory existence. I find it a bit too codependent, insecure, and over-protective, but it isn't for myself or anyone else to judge. My company line has always been, regarding commitment, "Don't buy the car if you can't make the payments". Some people want it both ways - the security of a spouse, but also the impetuosity of pursuing urges, recognizing them, and caring little for any subsequent ramifications.

Then, there are those that go out without the significant other, hit the bar, drink, maybe cheat, and no single step or moment singularly defines a problem with the relationship. Clearly being out on one's own, without the other person in tow, is a sign of some type of distress. Social environments like bars are so brutal as "adult playgrounds" with the bevy of stripped inhibitions, partially dissatisfied couples, solo artists, and leeches.

With the steadily growing divorce rate, people have less and less (here's a funny) faith in fidelity, as there had been so many divorces and broken homes in the previous generation. Everything seems like a pyramid scheme; as one couple divorces, then the generation below them seems inclined to divorce or cheat, and so on, and so on, etc. It's exponential. It truly seems that one day in our lives, marriage will be an anachronistic rite, preserved within isolated sects and regions that seek the old ways. Why marry someone if there's still a chance you'll carry a torch for someone else, take the spouse for granted, or otherwise taint yourself with thoughts of another person?

The very definition of marriage has long since been bastardized by the very nature of people's zest for personal gratification. Forget the vitamins, I want the candy bar. Forget the long term plans, I want the quick fix. I have no idea how the upcoming generations will turn out, given the broken homes and split households that pepper modern society. Odds are good that in a few years, the institution of marriage will be a distant memory, and couples will merely mate, part ways, and leave the offspring to the ills of unconventional wisdom, thus only to replicate their parentless upbringings in their own adulthood.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Songs That Trigger Memories

So many of us know that certain songs instantly conjure up a distant time and place, just from hearing a passage from a song or similar melody. I figured I'd be selfish and share my own little favorites:

The Who - "Shakin' All Over" (live, from Live at Leeds)
As I drove down to my college graduation ceremony in 1993, I remember constantly playing the little section after the second chorus, when they broke down into their own little improvisation, and it was so powerful to me, and I have no idea why. To this day I love that little section because it reminds me of driving down the expressway toward IIT and feeling validated, empowered, and arguably at the top of my game.
I had a steady job I loved, had no girlfriend, wanted no girlfriend, didn't drink, go out, or care. Just was happy.

The Doors - "Love Her Madly"
Takes me back to when my insane brother was playing this album on his "hi-fi" and I was a mere victim of his wildness. I couldn't have been 5 years old when I knew most of The Doors' catalog. It distinctly reminds me of my brother playing records in his room and otherwise torturing me. Not necessarily a bad memory, just a distinct one.

Styx - "Lady"
I remember this from the local am station W.I.N.D. back when I was like 3 years old. This was debuted on WLS in 1972 and I swear I heard it there too. Part one of the throwback to innocent days...

Led Zeppelin - "Whole Lotta Love"
Oy - I was soooo young when I fell in love with this song - I believe I was singing the riff at my brother's orientation for high school, which puts the date around 1973! But I distinctly remember, as a toddler, making a little divey sort of motion with my hand as to emulate the descending chord after each chorus of "wanna whole lotta love" (neeeeaaah). Yeah that was probably my first song that I fell in love with.

Wings - "Band On The Run"
Wow, in the day, one of those additional song memories that take me back to that innocent time of early childhood, hearing the song on the radio (WIND, AM 560 with Clark Webber) back around 1974 or so. I distinctly remember the acoustic guitar break before "well the..." lyrics. I reflect on that innocent time of childhood fondly, and miss it. I still actually sometimes cry when I hear that acoustic guitar break, just from the memories of being a kid and otherwise unencumbered.

Simon And Garfunkel - "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
Another childhood reflection. As my mom would tatter about the house on her day off, she'd play the "Greatest Hits" on an 8 track player made by Lloyds. Most of those songs take me back, again, to that innocent time of being 4 years old, free to play with my little toy trucks, and devoid of all the complications that growing up would eventually deliver.

Van Halen - "Unchained"
I heard it while I tuned in the LOOP (fm 98, Chicago station) in 1981, while hanging with my friends in our shed on a hot summer day. Being almost 10 years old, I stopped and remarked "who is this?" and nobody knew. Once I found out, I was hooked. Takes me back to that summer day - and summer always, for kids, is usually a great time.

Journey - "Don't Stop Believing"
Similar to the above, was a youngster in 1981, goofing around in my basement with a friend. The song came on while myself and a friend were building a fort (who didn't at that age?). After moving to Los Angeles in 1982, I bought the single (it always skipped during "South Detroit") and was prominent because during a birthday party, we all played capture the flag. There we all were, running in the streets at 11pm, and I couldn't stop hearing that song, with the passage "shadows, searching...". Pretty cool.


Van Halen - "Panama"
Ah the days of puberty - this song was on during my first, well, make out session, and whatever else you might want to attach to that scenario. Ah to be 13...

Tommy Tutone - "867-5309"
Yes, I called the number. It was a time when I was listening to the local rock stations way too much and getting into the music of the time.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Best And Worst Live Bands


First, the worst:

1. ZZ Top
They stand in one place for an entire show, fail to cater to the fact that they might be in a large arena, and have nothing visual to offer. The renditions of songs are unfortunately so faithful to the original studio recording, that nothing special comes through in the live performance. One could put a poster of them up on a wall and blast the stereo to replicate the live show.

2. Jefferson Airplane
Wow, constantly out of harmony, staring down at their guitars like they were teenagers in a garage somewhere. I'll never understand how they garnered a following in the late 1960s by performing live, as it was nothing to write home about. Sloppy, stoned, and impersonal.

3. Van Halen (1990s)
Wow, whatta disappointment. Eddie lost all his vigor and acrobatics due to his ever disintegrating hip, advanced age, and laurel resting. There was a time in the 1980s when, alcohol and related substances be damned, they were a beautiful train wreck in the making; Michael was drunk, Dave was drunk (at least when I saw them in 1984), and the brothers were just amped or wired or whatever. There was something special about seeing a live act be stupid on stage and still pull off fist pumping versions of "Everybody Wants Some". Once Sammy came along, everything became a Disneyworld attraction.

4. John Lee Hooker
Yeah yeah, God rest his soul, but come on; he sat down the whole time, was way too old to be still playing live shows, and just mumbling/phoning it in. You can't just put on the trademark hat, sit in a chair, and twang occasional minor chords and call it a performance - that it wasn't. I was rather annoyed by shelling out the 40 bucks just to see a museum piece.
Buddy Miles sat in on drums for that show, and he made so many oblique references to having known Jimi Hendrix, the name dropping alone made me sick.

5. Aerosmith
Speaking mostly of the 1970s, Tyler was a mess, hardly singing at all, falling over, keeping his back to the audience, and caring little of putting on a good show. As with the Van Halen reference, I mentioned a type of interesting train wreck, this was simply a sad train wreck.

And The Best:

1. The Who
Forget it - off the map. I saw many many concerts, featuring bands old and new, and in 2000, I saw the best ever. These people weren't kids anymore, but Pete was on fire, Roger was intimate with the crowd, and it felt like we were right next to them on the stage. Now I'm not even bothering to mention how they were between 1968 and 1973 - having seen the footage, absolutely the best live act ever during this period. The Who performed on a film called "Rock and Roll Circus" that was produced by the Rolling Stones and was meant to feature them as the headlining act. They literally kept that film in the can for years because the Who outplayed them beyond recognition. They are the only band that ever blew Led Zeppelin off the stage, as Zeppelin once opened for them in 1969. Everyone in Zep even admitted how they were outplayed that night, and they were used to crushing every other band in a particular bill.

2. Led Zeppelin
Well, of course they were bound to pop up on the list. Excepting 1977, they played great, long, unique shows, employed visuals, and otherwise tried to deliver something special to each crowd, each night. They were fined for playing too long at a particular venues, and didn't care - they truly loved the interaction and shared communication with the fans that they valued. Some cities (Seattle, Los Angeles) were treated to extra special shows with rare song performances and encores that sometimes lasted over an hour. Great stuff, and a band that truly saw the value of the live audience.

3. Guns n' Roses
In their day, fantastic stuff. Performances were unique, energetic, and forceful. After a while, surely it became annoying when they'd show up late, Axl would be an idiot, etc, but there was a punk ethos to those shows that made each one an event, rather than a mere show.

4. Motley Crue
Ranked as the loudest show I ever attended, and it was nasty loud. Loved it at the same time. They consistently poured everything out to the audience and occasionally did something special, at least when I was there. They filmed the video to "Same Old Situation" at a show I attended at Alpine Valley, and I am fairly certain my arm is in the video's final cut. Don't bother looking for it, but I had a black shirt (who didn't?) and my arm is outstretched. Fun stuff and just wacky rowdy.

5. AC/DC
Can't miss with these boys. Angus always works up a good sweat, they employ all types of visuals, and the set list is generally unplanned. That appeals to me - the uniqueness and specialness of any particular show. For a bunch of old farts, relatively speaking, they do a pure show and never disappoint.

Honorable Mention:
Jane's Addiction

I loved the desire and insanity of the shows I witnessed. One thing I'll never forget, when Perry Ferrell said "One thing I want you to all do some time soon - rage..." They were all rather messed up, but that was the beauty of it - the artistic element. The drumming was fantastic, the performance quality was oddly precise, and being a Dave Navarro fanatic, it was a moment to not be forgotten. They subsequently went a bit tame after 1991, but the original memories will always linger.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Tribute To Summer

I live for the summer months - it's when I want to be outside, get my much needed sunlight, and feel more in touch with the outdoor world. The smells are good, the air has that density to it with the looming thunderstorm, and just the mere moisture in the air is good for the soul. People go outside and do things. They play softball, golf, take walks, just generally do healthy, happy stuff, rather than sit in bars or munch chocolate in front of the TV when it's 20 below outside. The environment is simply better for everyone. Since we don't have a natural fur coat (well, most of us) it's logical to assume that we are designed to live in temperate climates. I just don't get the Eskimos, or those tribes that live in the desert. What are you thinking?

I get completely annoyed when some people, usually fat people, start extolling the virtues of "sweater weather", that is, the autumn months when the weather is "crisp" (hate that term) and it's constantly 51 degrees outside. You know what, fatso? You don't need the sweater. Let your piggish blubber insulate against the chilling, death-laced winds of autumn. Sorry that you can't stand up from a seat without your fat, leaky butt sticking to it, or your monstrous thighs adhering to anything that can't fight back. If summer is too hot for you, then move to Canada. They started a country and nobody showed up, so head on up there - it's always "sweater weather" up there - then in winter, it's "death weather". Have fun fighting the seals for salmon. I'm not a fan of winter, if you couldn't tell.

As a heterosexual male, it's also very nice to see the ladies dressing skimpy during this season. Everything becomes a bit more pleasant, like waiting in line at the store, riding a train, whatever, when there is eye candy involved. Thankfully, most of the time, the unshapely people know better not to dress themselves inappropriately in public, though the occasional Cleopatra (Queen of Denial) pops up, and eyes are easily averted. We can all prevent sight pollution if we keep a little sense of dignity in mind.

Yes, I love the hot humid days, but I also have air conditioning. I understand, and have survived, the true abysmal hell of trying to sleep in a 90 degree room with high humidity and miserable conditions in general. So in a sense, I may be jaded there, but I've played golf in 110 degree heat, pitched a complete game in the same heat, and with enough water, all is fine. Just being sensible about the heat is all it takes to survive. A little sweat never killed anyone. People pay to sit in saunas and steam rooms for this type of cleansing, where during the summer months, mother nature is providing it free of charge.

It's a scientific assertion that the more we are in the sun, the more it positively affects our brains, helps supply vitamins, and is, ultraviolet rays notwithstanding, beneficial. So get out and take a walk. Don't bother complaining when there is the ugliness of winter waiting.





Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Philosophy Corner : Souls?

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, tempations, 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 evolutional 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 individual's 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 possibly, 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.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More Commercials!

Ben Stein for Alaska Seafood
Ok, first of all, I can't imagine any natural "shoe in" for being a representative for selling crab, but I suppose Ben Stein is as good as any. Just a generally haunting scene, as Ben sits adrift some placid, yet remote, body of water while extolling the virtues of Alaska crab and their intrepid fishermen. But when he says "so grab a fork, there's plenty more out there" he's just plain lying. The genius that wrote that line should do some reading about overfishing. How about "go ahead and kill a giant panda, there are plenty more out there..." or "go ahead and farm the amazon, there's plenty of room..." Stupid asses. I have to find out if this commercial comes from the same genius mill as...

The Cave Men!
Do I have to organize a write in campaign to have this tiresome campaign terminated? Protests? Bans? Is this what it will take? I can go there. Geico sucks with this caveman crap. I've complained before, but as long as it continues, I shall continue to complain.
Update (6/2007) : Pleeeeeeeeeeze tell me that ABC isn't really launching a TV show devoted to the cavemen. Pleeeeeeze.

Rachael Ray/Dunkin Donuts
Now Dunkin Donuts is exploiting Rachael Ray's success for radio commercials; sooner or later someone would get to her, like dogs to a carcass. The premise(s) involve Ray being too busy and "on the run" to spend much time saying anything valuable or reasonably promotional for the products in question. Surely she's too busy divorcing her cheating husband and being blandly asexual.

Cingular
Kudos to Cingular/AT&T commercials characterizing dropped calls. I love them.

Avis
They have this irritating commercial in which the customer and worker stupidly open their mouths to project segments of Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock". All to promote the bond previously formed with ITunes. Oooh, you're all about two years late.

US Army
To hell with this campaign. Directly targeted toward parents that don't (logically) want to send their children into the hopeless void of Iraq, and now the recruiting effort claims that the Army will make "real" people out of those that are sent to service. The commercials allege that anybody of college age that doesn't join the army is not as tough or world-ready as those that have. It's misleading advertising and it pisses me off. Don't imply that an intelligent kid will be merely trained and educated in a technical discipline when there is a desperate need for more recruits. The kids that are dumb enough to believe that they'll simply be in a computer center, performing engineering tasks, well, they deserve the consequences of joining up and believing those ridiculous commercials. Your slogan is "There is strong, and there is Army Strong". Oh don't even try. I know people that were imprisoned for years, fought and worked to support a family, battled the streets, etc, and pulled through. These people have been shot in the streets from gang battles, found jobs, raised children, and stayed alive in tough urban environments. Shove your "Army Strong" phrase; I know stronger people. Take that elitist attitude and stick it.

IPhone
Those Apple people are showing off that new IPhone and it looks sooooooo cool. Damn they done good...

Still Thinking Of A Number
That idiot from freecreditreport.com is now cocky and performing sequels, like he has established some type of fame. I know I'm not the only person that wants him disemboweled. Think of this number - the date of you being run over by a garbage truck.

Las Vegas Tourism
This whole bit about "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas..." is just stinking of infidelity, hedonism, and rampant benders. Who decided that this was a tactful campaign? Isn't it amusing that the commercials routinely employ women who are apparently married or otherwise involved with a man back home. Certainly, I'm not arbitrarily claiming that men are universally faithful, honest, or predicated toward a domestic, home-based lifestyle. Conversely, why is this tourism bureau trying to lure women (and only women) into jetting off to Las Vegas for naughty excursions, with no regard for honesty or commitment for their respective significant others? It just bespeaks of the message "Hey gals, men are slutty pigs, so get even and come to our town." Very nice message. There are many other attractive aspects of Las Vegas that can be advertised rather than this crude, R-rated pitch. Grow up, kids.

Orville Redenbacher
OH MAN - you just know I wasn't going to let this disaster escape unharmed. The geniuses over there have now created (through makeup and prosthetic magic) a newly animated Orville, long since dead. The first commercial was moronically scripted, as it ended with the fake Orville saying "or my name isn't Orville Redenbacher." Um, it isn't. So they ditched that and patched together another commercial with supposed "bloopers" that was about as funny as plant food. So they shall carry on with this horrible campaign, sans the "or my name isn't" ending. Good luck to them and their tasteless greed for reanimating poor old Orville. I liked it much more when they were playing an old commercial from 1976. Should have stuck with the classics, not a tasteless impersonation of the departed.

CIA
Are these guys done now? Have you seen these commercials, where the CIA is pitching for people to apply to their organization for job openings? Does anybody from the public sector want anything to do with something as creepy as this bunch? Promote from within, get some of those military folks who are dying (literally) to get out of Iraq.

I Hate Driving (part two)


So it's been two and a half years since my first "I Hate Driving" entry. I preemptively subtitled it "(part one)" with direct intentions of producing another bowl of keen observations and disparate complaints. Perhaps I drained most of the good material, but let's see what happens.

Gas Prices:
Gas prices are typically ridiculous. It just doesn't pay to drive anywhere. Seeing "$4.00" on a gas station sign is just damn frightening. To make matters worse, I drive a fuel inefficient Mustang, which eats gasoline like, well, a horse. Ok, horses don't eat gasoline (except for the retarded ones) but be a little creative with my similes here. Didn't we send myriad people off to Iraq to die for that country? Can't we tap the two zillion oil wells out there, just as some type of payback for liberating them? Come on already. And the cost of absolutely everything goes up due to that famous phrase "rising fuel costs".

The Cabbers:
Once I was asked to pay homage to those that just don't drive. I call most of them the "cab people". Ever notice that the types of people that take a cab everywhere seem a bit more bossy and managerial than most? One might conclude that they just like ordering a driver around. "Driver, take me home." "Driver, stop here." "Driver, let me vomit in your goat skin man-purse."

Asynchronous Stoplights:
Oh, this one gets to me. I swear that some lousy suburbs and villages, those that thirst for traffic ticket revenue, purposely ensure that a motorist will have to stop at every damn intersection, regardless of the time of day. No cross traffic? So what. Red light. Slick roads? Too bad, red light. I've spent 3 minutes staring at a red light at midnight, waiting for a sensorless traffic light to turn green, even though it's merely the exit to a shopping mall or vacated factory. I truly advocate a need for an unwritten rule of pragmatism here, so that in such cases, moving through a completely deserted intersection would be legal. It should be. Invest in sensors, you cheap idiots.

Cameras:
Now the transportation geniuses have come up with cameras to take a snapshot of a car's license plate if the car appears to run a red light or break a speed limit. Now you, the vehicle's owner, can be ticketed for a moving violation even if another person was driving the car. The insurance related ramifications for a moving violation are sometimes rather harsh, and now you, the car owner, are responsible for any infractions incurred by someone who borrows your car? Stupid, stupid idea. Nice in concept, but try the old fashioned system...pull people over in person, none of this automated garbage.

The Stereo People:
I hate these guys. They have those bassy audio systems that vibrate the entire car, and literally shake all windows and vehicles in a one block radius. Who needs a system this loud and, well, violent? These systems trigger car alarms, seismographs, building alarms, etc. The vibrations are such that a neighboring car can literally shake all my spare change out of my dashboard. I know I've lost paint and hubcaps from my car due to these idiots. May just one of them be deaf by now.

Purple Headlight Guys:
More bozos, similar to the stereo ones. These dopes drive with obnoxiously bright purple headlights (illegal in many states). For what reason, I don't know. It doesn't seem to help anyone, including the driver, who is likely stoned and barely hanging onto the road to begin with.

Flag People:
More dorks that I want to see wrapped around a telephone pole. On various "independence" days, I'll see a bevy of Puerto Rican flags, or Polish flags, or Mexican flags, sticking up from the car as it swerves about its route. It's almost as if they are just driving around to have the little flags wave in the air more. You know what I haven't seen yet? American flags. That either says something about immigrant defiance or true American reserve.

Bike Riders:
Ok, I understand that it's nice to be friendly to the environment and ride a bike to work, the gym, or wherever the yuppies are headed. I also recognize the roads that offer a separate bike lane for those that need it. But when they are assimilating themselves into the "real" traffic and taking up an entire lane, puttering along at 15 miles per hour, it's irritating as hell. Then there are the ones that decide to use the standard left turn lane, as though they were a regular car. You're not a damn car! See? Engine. Vroom vroom. Car. Car go fast. You pedal, ringy dingy honk honk. Get out of the way. Take your little bell, your little basket, your little horn, and get the hell off the road.

Road Construction:
Well, here we go. I'm surprised I didn't whine more before, but what the hell. Here in Chicago, it's a strange, intimate, sweetheart deal between the unions and the city which predicate excessive, often unnecessary projects to fulfill quotas and contracts funded by state and federal governments. While often working in the late hours, I thought I'd be able to skirt the inevitable congestion that is engendered by such extraneous construction. Um, no. Coming home late one night, I noticed the increased frequency of closing lanes for construction during overnight hours. On a local expressway, I saw the sign "right 3 lanes closed ahead". That was consternating to me, as there were only 3 lanes to begin with. Ho ho boy, nothing like a long backup at around midnight.

Stupid Pedestrians:
Why are they always stupid? Maybe that explains why they aren't driving, and I should be grateful. I'll be trying to make a left turn, get the arrow, and dum-dee-dum, dum-dee-dum, dopity doe, limpity doo, some idiot is already crossing the street to which I am attempting to turn. The signal clearly says DON'T WALK. I thought morons were only good at not doing things - so they can't NOT walk? For a few seconds? Invariably, a mild traffic impasse occurs, and I'm left in the middle of the intersection, seeing my left turn arrow disappear, while Otis the drunk finishes his stumble across the street. Just around this point is when the "WALK" sign lights up, and I look like a jerk for driving in front of the sporadic few that actually understand the signs.

The Charity Collectors:
We all know them. They patrol the intersections and off ramps, waiting for cars to stack up at a red light, then pounce upon their prey. It's bad enough to deal with the creepy homeless guys who hold up cardboard signs and nag the unfortunate drivers for cash. But then we have to deal with the "sanctioned" collectors, purportedly representing some legitimate organization, who feel entitled to collect from everyone, lest they be banished to Hades for refusing to donate. Recently I was riding along with a couple guys in a county truck, and this kid strolled up wearing a "Kiwanis Peanut Day" blaze orange vest. He wasn't a part of that organization at all, it turns out - he was representing some ministry and hassling us for money while dishing out these comical "How Do I Get To Heaven" pamphlets with illustrations reminiscent of the comic strip "Drabble". I just wonder how many gangs, shady outfits, and enterprising groups have made hundreds of dollars from trapped motorists by donning a blaze orange vest and appearing to be from a legitimate charity.

Traffic Blockers:
We've seen them enough times. These are the people that are so self-important, they must begin their tenuous left turn by pulling into traffic and blocking everyone, so they can wait for the remaining traffic to clear up and thus complete their turn. I love these people, they have no respect for safety, other people's schedules, or road etiquette. Worse yet, I've seen the situation in which the passenger gets out of the car, stands in the road, and halts all traffic, so the driver may proceed unimpeded and make it to his/her massage therapy appointment.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Greatest Rock Riffs

These are in MY opinion but based on power, shelf life, accessibility, and originality. With the exception of my citation of "Eyes Without a Face", these are musical riffs and patterns that define songs to which we always groove. Most importantly, these being "riffs", I limit this listing to only obsessive passages played on guitar.

"Whole Lotta Love" (Led Zeppelin)
What more can be said - bluesy, ballsy, and simple. Makes anybody want to purse their lips and get dirty.

"Yours Is No Disgrace" (Yes)
Rumbling and simple. For a jazzy song and a jazzy, progressive rock band, the opening sequence is very basic. Steve Howe plays this raw, nasty chord progression, and it is all the more impressive when versed against his delicate jazz solos later in the song.

"Smoke On The Water" (Deep Purple)
Everybody's favorite first riff to play when learning guitar and trying to impress that significant other of the time. Simple enough, but sort of clever in its use of fourths (musical term) with the chords.

"Layla" (Derek and the Dominoes)
While I somewhat detest Clapton, the opening sequence is the stuff of legends, and can't be omitted from the list. Defines a generation in a sense.

"Sweet Emotion" (Aerosmith)
Now we get to pay tribute to a great bass riff, one that sets the tone for a great song from a great era by a great artist (at the time).

"Xanadu" (Rush)
Holy smokes, I was blown away by the double tracked effect of this gorgeous melody as it screamed through my "hi fi" stereo speakers back when I first heard it in 1983 (ok it came out in 1977)

"Eyes Without A Face" (Billy Idol) - Solo/Bridge - The obesessive pattern from Steve Stephens that kicks in at 2:15/2:24 (depending on the version) is the stuff of legend. The contrast of this hard rocking sound against the softness of the rest of the song further impresses its power upon us.

"Johnny B. Goode" (Chuck Berry)
Who can forget the opening guitar passage here? Chuck Berry, being a bit of a slug in his personal life, still defined rock music with this moment. Hell, his stuff was included on the Voyager space probe.

"Messin' The Blues" (Robin Trower)
Brutal blues riff that obsessively repeats itself over the course of a rather long jam-based song. Regardless, one that leaves you humming it later.

"Paranoid" (Black Sabbath)
What else can you say? Brutal.

"Highway To Hell" (AC/DC)
One can't list great rock riffs without mentioning AC/DC. Angus Young always stayed fairly simple with his guitar playing (except in various solos) but they still appealed to millions in their infectious simplicity. Songs like "Back In Black" and "If You Want Blood" also qualify.


"Summertime Blues" (Eddie Cochran)
Defined rock music for years to come. Good beat, easy to dance to. All that stuff.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The TV Shows I Hate To Love


I tend to haul off about TV stuff, the idiotic commercials, programs, channels, and the like. But, I do find myself hooked on a steady rotation of shows, all being contained within the genres of documentaries or scientific types of shows. I have a steady rotation amongst this core gang of programs, and regardless, I will still find things to scrutinize about them. Why scrutinize shows I like? It would be uncharacteristic of me to act otherwise. Giddy-up...

MythBusters
A show devoted to scientifically proving, or disproving, myths, urban legends, wives tales, and the like. The show is hosted by two nerdy, though clever, people who had worked in the logistics area of special effects production. The stoic one, Jamie, is a doddering mad genius with an overgrown moustache that I smell through the TV, compounded with an annoyingly ubiquitous and idiotic beret. With very little personality but lots of ingenuity, he seems to be very clever and in charge of the show, despite the fact that his disgusting moustache and stupid beret detracts all credibility from his analyses, just because of looking stupid. The other guy, Adam, is this loquacious sprite of a dork, complete with horn rimmed glasses and earring. He embraces this irritating San Fransiscan niftyness and sexual ambiguity that places him in every struggling art gallery and coffee house on the west coast. While clever enough to construct "rigs" for experimentation, he is the typical dopey kid with intelligence but no common sense. Can calculate angular velocity on a whim, but is too stupid not to touch the red hot piece of iron. A member of the supporting cast is a girl named Kari Byron. Wow, just that perfect "girl next door" type. Cute and always with an amazing smile. Not a stunning model per se, but one of those types of girls that everyone would love to take home to mom. Then take home to yourself. She'll be an underground celebrity - well, she already is. This show apparently has a huge budget. When they need a bunch of guns to test a theory, they don't borrow them, they buy them. Then in a later episode, if they need guns again, they don't reuse anything, they just buy them again! Wish I had that flexibility.
Anyway, it's proven itself to be an interesting show, and the two lead bozos tend to stick to the "scientific method" as it were. Hell, they blew up a cement truck with a few hundred pounds of dynamite. Too cool.

Most Haunted
One of two popular ghost hunting shows, this is the one people have accused to be fake. Haven't figured out the bottom line about it, but these British folks explore hideously old houses and castles and film their activities. The host is this wonderfully scaredy-cat type of personality, literally one who would be scared of her own shadow. She's a real pip. Annoying to the point of detracting from the veracity of the other members' research. There's an overzealous medium named Derek who is very convincing, however.

Ghost Hunters
On a related note, another ghost hunting show featuring a team of people that are led by a couple of off-duty Roto Rooter guys with lots of equipment and assistants. Good show, but with too much dialogue and little action. I suppose that's the reality of such ghost hunting efforts, but things could be compacted down a bit. They constantly have a bed of scary sounds/music behind moments when the crew claims to hear a noise, and one is left to discern if the odd bangs and booms are from the soundtrack or from the actual footage.

Deadliest Catch
A fascinating show about crab fishermen in the Bering Sea, it always captures my interest and reminds me that things aren't all that bad. They document a bunch of fishing boats during the brief crab fishing seasons, amidst horrible weather and long hours. While a very risky job, the deck hands always cash in on a week's work with twenty thousand dollar checks.

How It's Made
A creepy, creepy show that shows how things are assembled and produced. Apparently this show is based out of Canada, like the French Canada area. All the products shown are products nobody every heard of. They abruptly cut to commercials, and the scripts are written for a second grade audience. But damn it, I have to know how bricks are made.

David Blaine Specials (various)
Blaine is a great street magician (are there many?) and his on-the-scene segments are fun and truly spontaneous. I love when he is in New York City and he flashes a wild trick to a bunch of wandering crackheads, as they invariably run away out of fear once the trick is completed. That's the real magic - making the crackheads disappear. Keep him handy... maybe for a sawbuck he'd do tricks just so the creepies run away.


Iron Chef America
Yes, a Food Network product, I have to admit. It's fun to see chefs sweat and struggle, despite the irritating and ubiquitous commentary stemming from Alton Brown. Two competing chefs are required to develop five unique dishes based on a "secret" ingredient. I also enjoy watching the odd moments when the cocky judges are forced to sample creations such as squid ice cream. Some day the producers of the show should come up with a truly challenging secret ingredient. Forget mushrooms, halibut, tofu or kobe beef. How about things like cork, bleach, scalp, or Beetle Bailey clippings.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Relationship Injustice Part 6 - Your #1

So who is your number 1? Your #1 is the person with whom you were close to, shared tender moments, and something underlying proved a spiritual connection that far exceeded the bounds of the relationship itself. Perhaps he/she was just a friend - most likely that person is one with whom you hardly communicate, but that person is the one you'll never stop thinking of, caring about, or missing. Everyone has their own #1, and in rare cases - very rare cases - that #1 ends up the spouse in one's life. Most of the time, however, it is the person we all think of, wonder about, and miss.

As I've said before, this person is the classic definition of a soulmate. One who defines ourselves in a sense, but we'll never spend our lives with. I hated the "soulmate" term so much, I had to define and invent my own, hence the notion of the "#1". The reality of the world is such that we will probably never be with an ideal partner, and perhaps, in the context of a crappy environment such as our daily lives, it isn't meant to be. Most of the time, the ills of modern real life are what estranges us from our true #1's. In Buddhist beliefs, that #1 (our soulmate) can only be joined with us in the afterlife, and without the spoilage of the world in which we exist, that bond will be reformed upon our ultimate passage to the beyond. Who knows, that may be wishful thinking.

For most, that #1 will be someone that never leaves the mind or heart, though doesn't impede upon one's current relationship. That person doesn't destroy marriages or close relationships, because the #1 is just a memory or thought - not an active temptation.
I've done a ton of interviewing to discuss people's #1's - and generally it was not that person's spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend.


An interesting aspect of my interviews - I asked all subjects the following : "If your #1 came back right now, would you leave your current relationship?". 80% of the time the answer was "no". The reasoning was sensible; people change, grow, learn, etc. What everyone's #1 person represents is largely a snapshot of a wonderful era, and that era can certainly not be preserved when people move on and learn. Clearly our memories of the past will always be selective. We tend to remember the good times. As such, the memories of our #1's tend to exclude the ugly times, and consequently that selective memory process, by trimming the fat away, makes the times with that person seem more hallowed and heavenly. Our #1's will always seem better in hindsight - but it's the person we are with now that matters. While you might think of a particular person from the past, never forget that memories of the past are involuntarily heavily self edited, and the present is what matters most.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Requested Ghost Tales

Many people had asked about past experiences with ghosts in times when we lived in a "troubled" house back when I was young, as well as slightly more recent encounters. Here is a summary.

We moved to a house in Edgebrook (a swanky, suburbanesque cove of Chicago with big houses) in 1977, back when I was 6.
Shortly thereafter, many strange occurrences plagued my impressionable self. To preface things, my mother was very psychically "connected" and receptive to seeing strange things, my brother slightly less, and myself about the same. To wit:

Around 1980, things started getting weird. My mother was seeing strange things, such as shadows and flashes of light. My brother started coming home and seeing the lights in his own room turning on and off. We all went on a ghost tour and the group was encouraged to take a clump of dirt from this girl's grave, as good luck. I refused, felt bad vibes, but my mother and brother took some dirt for themselves. Within a week, my mother's car was crushed between two large trucks, and my brother was in a bad accident. They disposed of their "lucky" grave dirt immediately.

In 1981 we were poised to move out west to start a new business that my dad sought out. My mother swore that her mother was visiting her as dreams, advising against it. Ultimately, it turned out to be a bad business venture.

While sitting alone in that Edgebrook house, in my room, I started seeing curtains move, shadows zip by, etc. Once, while reading a book at 11:00pm during the summer of 1981, I saw (and heard) a white figure run by my doorway, in the dark hallway. As I ran out to see, I smelled ozone (that lightning, post thunderstorm smell). The next day there was a permanent "burn" on the carpet that was in the same area.

Shortly therafter, all the buttons on my mother's blouse were found to be now sewn to the opposite side.

During these encounters of 1981, I eventually heard more stories from my brother and somehow stopped being scared of things. As I tried brushing my teeth, like a good boy, the water from the faucet suddenly tapered off to nothing, like the faucet was being shut off on me. I got mad and smelled ozone and knew something was up, so I said out loud "Leave me alone you moron, I'm too tired." and the water pressure was restored. I never saw anything again.

The night before the discovery of the reversed buttons, my window shade rolled up and my radio turned on and off repeatedly. I unplugged the radio and it still turned on about 3 hours later.

Shortly after all these episodes, my parents independently found home made pornographic material that had been hidden by the previous owners of the house. Upon its disposal, nothing further occurred.

Subsequently, when I was 15, we ended up in a house in Skokie, and my mother and I smelled perfume at the time of year when the previous owner would have died. We set up a camera with a motion-activated shutter, loaded with infrared film, and left it for the 3 days we all were out of town. With all external light blocked off, the whole roll was subsequently, automatically exposed. We've yet to develop that infrared film.

Recently I wrote an article about why Ouija boards weren't that big a deal, and immediately became plagued by shadows and strange episodes. No further updates. Some shadows floating around were dark (which supposedly are bad) and some were gray (which supposedly are lost). One thing that helped me, for all you poltergeist infested folks - our energy can beat up others fairly easily. If you have odd dark shadows around, putting a cross in the room may not do it. Might have to get "spiritual" (not to sound weird) to knock out the bad spirits.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Relationship Injustice Part 5

If 2006 was supposed to be the year of tragedy, failure, and sadness amongst myself and those around me, then 2007 is shaping up to be the year of unrequited love. HORDES of my close friends have, like me recently, been confronted with the realization that the love of his/her life is not going to be the person that he/she spends life with. These days, everyone around me has a strong, enduring passion and hope for that one person they want forever, but are either moving on or otherwise bound to someone else. I may have mentioned it before (I'm too lazy to do the research) but THESE are soul mates. People you never marry or whatever, but still you ache for, think of, and subsequently all their character to define your own spiritual nature. In a spiritual world, surely the bond with your "#1" is ideal and predestined. But unfortunately the defects of human nature, selfishness, and "sin" intercede and preclude such an idealistic bond in our pesticide-ridden planet. Fear not, as some ancient religious disciplines (those that correctly define "soul mate") do acknowledge that in the world beyond, you will be with your "#1".

Point taken, before you silently protest: there are classic cases of the dopey Nebraska boy marrying his high school sweetheart and with ignorance being bliss, they make lots of babies and live happily ever after. That's a great thing to hear of, know of, and be aware of. It, however, further illustrates the tendency of the complicated world, such as urban life, to taint honest relationships and create those divisions which separate such aforementioned sweethearts. The situation in which high school sweethearts marry and live together forever? Mostly happens in rural areas, less likely to be spoiled by the ills of modern society. Don't get upset, country boys, but those areas are a bit of a throwback to a simpler time. I recall an episode of MASH (set in Korea) asked the snobby Major Winchester what time it was in Iowa. He answered "1882". Fairly accurate, but not, in my mindset, in a demeaning way. Simple is best, and clearly the most accommodating environment for fostering natural relationships that are clearly meant to be.

What plainly stinks about ultimately being paired with that "#1" person is the fact that there is little one can do in the big city. Too many other people get in the way, other people intercede, yet others pose temptation for infidelity, and the natural bond that was once meant to exist and prove itself true and unblemished is suddenly tarnished, dented, bruised, tested, and contorted. That's why there are far fewer love stories of high school sweethearts seeing things through and marrying in the context of the big city. Out in farm country, the high school sweethearts always end up married and productive, as there is little to harm its progress. Ignorance is bliss, in a sense. Place a similar rural couple in an urban environment and I'd give their relationship two months at the most.

It's basically an anthropological fact that humans need connection with nature, and when in urban environments, humans lose their natural sense of, well, being human. Perhaps in the city, all couples are doomed to implosion with the various rigors therein. Such issues might account for the ridiculous divorce rate amongst national statistics.


I've seen countless relationships blossom into marriage from within the city. What did each couple do as a result? Moved away into the distant suburbs. As such, they're all fine. I'm elated for each couple that is smart enough to remove themselves from the fray of the city and relocate to distant regions. I am similarly saddened by the doom and overwhelmingly negative odds imposed upon a strong relationship that must endure the urban temptations and emotional dissatisfaction a complex, unnatural environment of a city may impose. In the end, nothing ever seems to have a happy ending within the context of the city. Just run away and find someone that is unaffected by the ills of the urban world.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Functuation Part One

We used to do this in high school, but it's so stupid and silly. Just some creatively inserted quote marks and the like, dry text becomes quite dirty sounding. With creative insertion of quotation punctuation, to indicate dirty nuances, anything is funny. I'll start with an example that seems so impossible to make "dirty", so to speak - the Gettysburg Address, after that, the Declaration of Independence. So here goes. This is way off the map, I know, but some will laugh, I think...

Four score and seven years ago our fathers "brought forth" on this continent, a new nation, "conceived" in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are "created equal".
Now we are "engaged" in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are "met" on a great battle-field of that war. We have "come" to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether "fitting" and proper that we should do this.
But, in a "larger" sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The "brave men", living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor "long" remember what we "say" here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the "unfinished work" which they who "fought" here have thus far so nobly "advanced". It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take "increased devotion" to that cause for which they gave the last "full measure of devotion" -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, "under" God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Now, watch how quote marks can spin dirty thoughts into the something so solemn as the Declaration of Independence:


When in the Course of "human events" it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have "connected" them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which "impel" them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are "endowed" by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the "pursuit of Happiness". — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, "laying" its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and "Happiness". Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of "abuses" and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to "throw off" such Government, and to "provide" new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be "obtained"; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the "accommodation" of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together "legislative bodies" at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into "compliance" with his "measures".
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with "manly firmness" his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People "at large" for their "exercise"; the State remaining in the mean time "exposed" to all the dangers of "invasion" from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the "Administration" of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has "erected" a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and "eat out" their "substance".
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has "combined with others" to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering "large bodies" of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from "punishment" for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our "Trade" with all parts of the world:
For imposing "Taxes" on us without our Consent:
For "depriving us" in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be "tried" for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and "enlarging its Boundaries" so as to render it at once an example and "fit instrument" for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our "seas", ravaged our "coasts", burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting "large" Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the "Head" of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken "Captive" on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to "bring on" the inhabitants of "our frontiers", the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every "act" which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to "extend" an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have "appealed" to their native justice and "magnanimity", and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our "connections" and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in "Peace Friends".
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, "Assembled", "appealing" to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with "a firm" reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.