"To build and destroy...only you decide which joy." - Last Crack

Thursday, March 31, 2005

It's Not Over Yet

Sadly, Terri Schiavo passed away this morning at 9:05AM , as you will undoubtedly see plastered all over the news today. The inevitable has come to pass and now we can finally move on...nope, think again.

This case has polarized a nation on moral and legal issues surrounding healthcare and guardianship. We will have to endure further television specials and legal battles for weeks to come.

It has become abundantly clear to me that the Schindler family truly loathes Michael Schiavo as they cannot seem to agree on anything. They are already complaining that Michael asked part of the family to leave the room about 10 minutes before she died. It's not like he KNEW she was going to die right then and the Schindler family are the ones that requested separate visits and did not wish to be in the same room with Michael. Michael said that Terri will be cremated...the Schindlers said they don't want her cremated as it is against their religion. Michael said Terri will be buried in a family plot in Pennsylvania...the Schindlers want to bury her in Florida.

Do these people hate each other so much they can't muster a single civil moment between themselves? There are obviously deep personal issues going on in this situation that we don't fully understand. I think I have a hunch though and it has to do with the Schindlers being pissed off that Michael did not share any of the malpractice money he received in 1992 totaling more than one million dollars.

If the Schindlers really want to be mad at someone why aren't they mad at Terri for having Bulimia, which resulted in a potassium deficiency that triggered the heart failure that interrupted oxygen flow to the brain and ultimately left her in a persistent vegetative state for the next 15 years? Were Bob and Mary Schindler always so controlling of their daughter during her life that they won't even relent after her death?

The $25,000 Virus

Evidently some moron thought it would be a really cool idea to hold a contest where entrants would write a virus to infect a MAC OS X system. The contest was cancelled only a few hours after it was announced.

This particular moron also happens to be the CEO of a company that produces accessories for Macintosh computers. After this lamebrain publicity stunt I can't say how much longer he will hold that position. I know if I were on the Financial Board I would be asking for his resignation effective immediately.

After the contest cancellation Jack Campbell, CEO of DVForge, said "I have been convinced that there may be legality issues stemming from such a contest, beyond those determined by our own legal counsel, prior to announcing the contest." What legal advisor could not immediately see MANY problems with inviting consumers to break federal and possibly state cybercrime laws with this type of contest?

Jack wrote some lame garbage he calls an excuse for attempting the contest in the first place. What really irritates me are the comments to the contest cancellation that he posts on his site. They all shower him with praise for "taking a stand", yet there isn't a single negative comment to be found. I realize it is his company's site and he can publish what he wants, but geez, have a backbone and take the good with the bad if you decide to go out on a limb like that. I did find some comments on another site which give a good indication of how the "other side" feels about this stunt.

I'll be blunt...Jack Campbell and his legal advisors are idiots. Better check up on monster.com while you've still got Internet access Jack.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Yet Another Terri Schiavo Post

The Terri Schiavo case seems to be all we hear about these days so I thought I would make my own comments about it.

Terri has been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years now. She's not making any progress and she will never recover. I understand her parents don't want to give up hope, but come on people it's been 15 years! Terri's parents claim that she has spoken to them. I'm sorry, but her brain is as useless as a tit on a shovel and holds no cognitive thought whatsoever. They would have as much success convincing me that their spice rack was telling them new recipes for meatloaf.

More than feeling bad for Terri I feel bad for her family and husband who have endured countless years of litigation and watched their "family" relationship crumble. They are the ones that will continue to suffer long after this ordeal is over.

What I find really frustrating is that what I feel is more of a personal family issue has been blown way out of proportion by the media. Even The President decided to stick his nose in the situation and signed a bill, passed by Congress, to have the case reviewed by a Federal Judge.

A couple of facts to consider:

* Michael Schiavo was appointed Terri's guardian in 1990.
* Bob and Mary Schindler have tried to remove Michael as Terri's guardian and also filed for divorce on their daughter's behalf, but both requests have been denied.
* This is the third time Terri's feeding tube has been removed. Amid legal battles raging since 2000 the tube has been reinserted twice.
* This case has been rejected appeals 9 times by different court systems (3 of the denials came from the U.S. Supreme Court).

The short version is Michael Schiavo (Terri's legal guardian) requested to have her feeding tube removed and the courts ultimately agree with his decision.

I think we should respect the court's decision and move on. The important thing to remember when dealing with a persistent vegetative state is that the subject has no consciousness whatsoever. This means there are no cognitive thoughts or feelings of pain, only reflexive actions which may sometimes be misinterpreted as "communication". We aren't keeping Terri alive by reinserting her feeding tube, we are only keeping an empty shell alive...Terri has been dead for 15 years.

Perhaps Terri's family and husband will finally get some type of closure in this and be able to remember they still have a life outside of this 15-year limbo.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Is That A Banana In Your Pocket?

Hilary Swank has just purchased the most expensive apple and orange in her lifetime (about $163.00 total) when she failed to declare them upon entering a New Zealand airport after a 20 hour flight from Los Angeles.

Doesn't their airport security have anything better to do...like look for bombs or drugs?

Airport Captain: "Did you find anything on her?"
Airport Guard: "Just a pear sir."
Airport Captain: "What?! Have her executed immediately!"

Good thing she wasn't taking a fruit basket to her poor dying grandmother or anything...that could have put her fine in the thousands.

Cross Eyed

So it turns out that if you're on a jury and you consult the Bible or other religious texts that your ruling can simply be disregarded.

Yesterday Robert Harlan, rapist and murderer, had his sentence changed to life without the possibility of parole instead of death, which was the court's original ruling in 1995. This decision was made because the defense lawyers learned that jurors had consulted scripture from the Bible such as "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth" while in deliberation.

It seems to me that they've taken things a bit out of context in order to make this new judgement considering this particular topic is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. Let's take a look at a few verses in whole.

Exodus 21:22-25
"If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."

Leviticus 24:19-20
"If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured."

Deuteronomy 19:16-21
"If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse a man of a crime, the two men involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the LORD before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against his brother, then do to him as he intended to do to his brother. You must purge the evil from among you. The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot."

Having reviewed those verses it makes me wonder why perhaps the most relevant rebuttal to this court dispute was not mentioned.

Matthew 5:38-39 Jesus (Sermon on the Mount)
"You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

If you consider this last scripture then it could be said that the jurors may have been swayed to let the criminal, Robert Harlan, go free. The jurors had one job, to determine if the accused was guilty or innocent based upon the evidence. They found him guilty and he was sentenced to death. The end decision wasn't solely based around a Bible verse but from what the entire jury agreed upon. By rescinding their sentence of nearly ten years ago the court has only opened the door to further disputes if any future juror makes reference to any text or teaching that has influenced their own moral standards. In my opinion you can't make a very effective juror if you aren't able to distinguish between right and wrong and understand how you came to that conclusion.

Perhaps the even bigger question remains if jurors are not allowed to reference the Bible (or the Qur'an, Torah, Tao te Ching, Atharva, etc.) then why does anyone who gives testimony in court have to swear on the Bible? I guess we can swear on it but God forbid we actually read it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I'm Alive

Don't call out the National Guard or anything I am still alive. Sorry that I didn't post anything last week, but as you may have read on Sarah's site I have a new toy. Yes, I did buy an X-Box and she hasn't killed me yet. We've actually been playing together, which has been a lot of fun. With any new toy I'm usually a major addict for a couple of weeks so I'm sure I'll start blogging normally soon.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Purpose Driven Blog

What is your purpose in life?

That's one of those questions that you just can't find a definite answer to no matter how hard you search. The deeper you contemplate the implication that there is indeed a "purpose" for you the more it eludes you. However, I am one of "those" people that believes everything happens for a reason...even the bad things.

I believe that it's no accident you're reading this right now. I know it sounds pretty stupid, but it's true. Maybe you're visiting this site because I'm part of your blog family and you're just being nice, maybe I left a comment on your site and you're seeing what I'm all about, or maybe you were just blog surfing and ran across this or even clicked a wrong link. Regardless, it's no accident and there must be something I have to share with you.

Most of you are probably thinking I've suddenly snapped and begun to make no sense whatsoever, but stick with me for a minute. I'm probably the least qualified person to tell anyone how to live (or improve) their life. I'm 33 years old and still have no idea what my "purpose" is or even what I want to do with my life. I've been a teacher assistant for mentally retarded children, an interpreter for the deaf, a worker at a Christmas tree farm, a movie theater assistant manager, a video store clerk, an operations manager for a multi-million dollar client and the list goes on and on. I've done so many different things that even I get lost trying to trace how it all started. I've been to the top and back down to the bottom again, and I still don't know what I'll be doing next week.

Does this type of behavior make me lazy, apathetic or even indecisive? I don't think so. I take life one day at a time and go wherever the road takes me. Sometimes it takes me on detours that I would rather not encounter, but they all seem to serve a purpose. Every job I've had and every person I've known have taught me some small lesson. In life the key is recognizing and applying what you've learned, otherwise you will inevitably make the same mistakes over and over again.

I realize I've made mistakes and I know I'm not perfect (a fact that I agonize over). I strive for perfection in everything I do, even this blog. I think I must annoy many people just because I am so detail oriented even in the most mundane tasks.

Some people use the phrase "You're stuck in a rut," but I believe I just create a lot of dead ends for myself. To me a rut indicates you're stupid enough to stay put, which I never do. I start a new road each time which eventually leads to a another dead end then I start a new road. I'm not sure if the "dead end" mentality is better or worse than being "stuck in a rut" but I have to believe it is all leading to something. Why do I HAVE to believe that? Because if I didn't, then I wouldn't have much of a reason to continue existing.

I don't think that I have any truly profound point to make or some startling insight to your life. I can only offer the advice to believe in yourself. I've been trying to avoid sounding cliche, but that's nearly impossible with the topic I've chosen. The only way you are going to get anything of value out of this post, or a book, or a conversation with a friend is if you WANT to get something out of it.

Take a minute to reflect on why you do the things you do. If your actions hurt someone why do you continue them? Are you even remotely happy with your life or completely indifferent? Most people don't like self examination because they don't like what they find. My attitude is if you don't like what you find then ignoring it won't make it go away. Evaluate the things you don't like about yourself and make honest, realistic goals for areas you want to change.

Why should you even listen to me? That's completely your choice, but if you've read this far you're either coming with me on this one or just seeing how I get myself out of this mess.

My point to this whole post is not how you can improve your life, but just that you HAVE a life...treat it with the respect it deserves and be grateful for every moment you breath. Life is sorta like customer service - you rarely hear about the successes, but you ALWAYS hear about the failures. Just because you don't get a pat on the back at every turn doesn't mean you have failed somehow. Have enough confidence in your own self-worth that your "purpose" may be just around the corner.

The Letter - Part Two

If you didn't see my previous rant about this incident, here it is.

I am SO furious right now! I just received another letter from the evil service technicians that fixed our A/C unit almost two years ago. Each paragraph of the new letter dealt one insult after another. By the time I finished reading it I was enraged, but felt completely helpless with no reasonable action I could take against the culprits.

The president of this particular company (he's the one that responded to me) obviously has no concept of customer service at all. He took no responsibility for his company and instead blamed everything on our home warranty provider. He also stated we still owe him for the bill in question and if we didn't make payment he would send us to a collections agency and give us a nice mark on our credit report.

If a company's motto is "Customer Service is our Life" and the first couple of paragraphs in a response to a complaint calls you a liar no less than three times, you realize they don't even come close to understanding or embracing that motto.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a voodoo doll to make.

Friday, March 11, 2005

On The Run

How in the hell does someone have a shoot-out in a busy courthouse and get away? It boggles the mind, yet somehow it happened in Atlanta, GA this morning. Brian Nichols, 33, was facing a retrial for rape and kidnapping in an Atlanta courtroom downtown when he grabbed the gun of a deputy and shot her in the face. He held the court hostage for a few minutes then shot the judge presiding over his case and a court reporter.

First of all, as a deputy, that's pretty sloppy to give someone an opportunity to even THINK about grabbing your gun. I know it's pretty ho-hum in the courtroom most of the time, but they've had enough training (one would hope) to know how to protect themselves better than that.

After the three initial shootings Nichols made his way down a stairwell 8 stories to the street where he shot a second deputy. He then tried to carjack at least three vehicles before ending up in a parking garage for the Atlanta Underground where he finally stole a vehicle.

Okay, this is a courthouse crawling with officers yet no one thinks of securing the building? After the initial shot, which I'm sure was heard by someone, it was another few minutes before Nichols fired again. It seems like during this time officers could have been closing off the area to make sure no one got away. I thought this was standard procedure?

A defense attorney, Renee Rockwell, was on her way to the courtroom immediately following the shooting and was pulled inside an elevator by one of the deputies. The deputy started crying and told Rockwell they were held hostage and the Judge had been shot.

I'm sorry if I sound totally insensitive, but why isn't this woman calling 911 or on her damn walkie-talkie instead of crying her eyes out? Everyone that goes into law enforcement should expect these types of situations at some point in their career and they teach you that. In my opinion, and maybe I'm being a heartless bastard, the security and law enforcement personnel at this particular courtroom have either gone soft or need serious additional training.

Right now the first deputy shot is in critical condition, but expected to survive, the other 3 victims are dead. The search continues across the southern states for Brian Nichols, but at the moment he is still at large. I think this whole situation could have been avoided and I guarantee additional law enforcement training for this courthouse will be a hot topic.

Star Wars III

I'm glad to learn that 6th and final installment for the Star Wars series, Revenge of the Sith, will be much darker and more emotional than the previous films. It seems this will also be the first of the films to have a PG-13 rating (all the rest were PG).

I'm really hoping George Lucas can redeem himself with the success of this movie. Attack of the Clones was beautiful to look at but the content was simply horrible with some of the worst dialogue I have ever heard. Maybe after all these years Hayden Christensen has finally learned to act. I'm not gonna hold my breath though.

Someone's Fired

When you're a stenographer for the United States Congress it's usually pretty important that you get the facts straight...especially when you're talking about nuclear weapons.

The Sudanese government became quite upset when a typing mistake indicated that Sudan was a site for nuclear weapons testing in 1962 and 1970. They immediately started their own investigation and demanded to know what was going on.

It turns out that Sudan should have been spelled Sedan (the name of a testing site in Nevada). Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail was relieved to learn the reports were not true.

I know people make mistakes, but when you're talking about nuclear weapons that should be the one time you definitely don't let anything get by you.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Pajama Party

Michael Jackson arrived about an hour and forty minutes late to court today after being rushed to the hospital early in the morning for severe back pain. Judge Rodney Melville did not accept this excuse and issued a warrant for Jackson's arrest stating he would also revoke his $3 million dollar bail if he did not show up within the hour. Jackson arrived about 3 minutes past the judge's deadline wearing pajama bottoms and sandals. He appeared very disheveled and had to walk with the help of his bodyguard and father, Joseph. It is unknown what punishment he will face for this infraction.

I feel this is a pretty despicable media stunt for Jackson to pull, however it is very smart from a defensive standpoint. Jackson's 15-year old accuser was scheduled to take the stand today and had been anticipated to go into detail about the alleged instances in which Jackson molested him. Spokeswoman for Jackson, Raymone Bain, stated that "[Michael] knows the seriousness of this. He’s not play-acting", although the timing of this event is highly suspect.

By using this stratagem Jackson successfully assured that the top headline of today's news stories would be about how he was suffering from a supposed back injury and not about testimony from a molested victim. There won't be a single news program tonight that does not show the footage of Jackson shambling up to the courthouse in his pajamas.

I think it's an underhanded trick, but I have to admire its brilliance. This type of distraction is exactly what Michael and his lawyers want in order to draw our attention away from the accusations against him. Ultimately it won't change the outcome of the case, but it will allow Jackson to avoid further humiliation [today] by burying his accusers testimony under a pile of pajamas, figuratively speaking.

Food For Thought

“One man's poison ivy is another man's spinach.”
George Ade (1866-1944) American humorist

Yesterday, 27 children from the Philippines died and another 100 were hospitalized after consuming roots from the cassava plant, a major crop in Southeast Asia. The roots of the cassava are rich in protein, minerals and vitamins A, B and C. The deep-fried caramelized roots were purchased from a 68-year old female vendor who had failed to properly prepare the treats for consumption. When raw cassava is digested the human body converts part of it to cyanide.

You might wonder why anyone would eat something that is potentially dangerous, but we do it all the time. The Pufferfish is a delicacy in Japan (known as Fugu), but is also highly poisonous, containing Tetrodotoxin. Fugu must be prepared by certified chefs, yet there are still anywhere from 30 to 100 fatalities a year due to improper preparation. There are other foods that you may not even realize are dangerous, such as apple seeds (which contain cyanide) or certain types of mushrooms.

There are still other ways to be affected by food that you may not have considered, like the use of harmful additives. The FDA monitors what they consider to be acceptable levels of these additives, which help preserve food, enhance flavor or provide color, but some consumers may still have severe allergic reactions.

Food poisoning does not just affect humans, but it can happen to your pets as well. The next time you think about giving your dog a piece of chocolate you should reconsider as it could turn out to be a lethal treat. Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. Onions or garlic can also prove fatal to your pet due to the toxin thiosulphate. Onion toxicity can cause your pet to develop haemolytic anaemia, where the red blood cells burst while circulating in its body.

Food can also be dangerous when attempting to eat it in the wrong place...like in your car. There are numerous traffic accidents each year due to someone being distracted by food they're trying to eat or drink. Coffee is the number one offender in food related accidents. According to a survey in 2000 by The Response Insurance Agency food was number 2 on the list of driving distractions (tuning the radio dial was number 1).

I hope you find these facts as informative as I did. Please take a few minutes to educate yourself a little more. I've put all the links in this post at the bottom so you can easily access them. The Philippine incident was a tragic event but hopefully we can all learn something from it.

Cassava Plant
Dangerous Foods
Food Poisoning
Foods Poisonous to Pets
Food Additives
Food Allergies
10 Dangerous Road Foods

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Music Made Me Do It

***WARNING*** This post contains graphic language and violence. If you are easily offended please do not read any further. You have been warned.

This is going to be quite a long topic, but just hang in there with me. I saw an interesting bit on the news last night that posed the question, should we ban violence in music? This is not a new topic in our society and has been a point of discussion for many years. Rev. Al Sharpton is even making a fuss about a recent incident between two rap artists, which I'll discuss more thoroughly in a moment.

First we must ask the obvious question, why would we want to ban music that contains violent lyrics? Most of you may formulate an answer something like, "Because I don't want to expose my child to violent behavior," which is a completely acceptable response. There are others that might say, "Because I don't want my child to be more likely to participate in and accept violent behavior as a way of life". You'll notice that both answers are very similar, yet the second one indicates that violent lyrics directly influence, if not provoke violent behavior. I think that both answers are correct, but there have been no studies which directly link violence in music to violent behavior, although they have been able to indicate that visual and audio media does have a strong effect.

I take that back, there was one report I found, but I don't have a lot of faith in it and I'll explain why. This report deals with young, black girls between the ages of 14-18 in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods. The reason I don't put much faith in the study is because the subjects are young females from a minority group living in the poorest parts of town, all of who were already sexually active prior to the study. One would think they might have several other factors, aside from music, that are affecting their behavior at such a young age. This particular study focused on rap videos and didn't discuss if environmental issues, such as their home life, were factored into the final results. Nonetheless, the study does share a couple of interesting points. There was also an older study that spouted off a lot of statistics, which I found equally fascinating.

Last week members of rap groups 50 Cent and The Game had a disagreement at a radio station and decided that shooting someone would solve their problems. Behavior like this only further compounds the stereotype that if you're a rap artist you always carry a gun and you're ready to shoot the next person that pisses you off (usually another rap artist that disses your "niggas and bitches"). The Rev. Al Sharpton has called for a 90-day ban on radio and TV airplay for any artist that uses violence to settle disputes or promote albums. Hmmmmm, could be a first amendment issue to me, let's take a look.

Article [I.]
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Sorry Al, but I think they've got you on that pesky freedom of speech bit. I understand completely what Rev. Sharpton is trying to do and respect his intention; unfortunately it's just not going to happen. Radio stations will not stop playing music that continues to make them money, regardless of whether or not the artist turns out to be a homicidal maniac. Radio corporations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in surveys just to determine what people want to hear and will continue to blindly do so unless you respond to their surveys accordingly. In my opinion their surveys are terribly skewed and totally unreliable, but that is another post altogether. My girlfriend could explain the process better than I can considering she used to work in radio, which she's ranting about on her site as I type this. If someone commits a violent act a radio station is not at liberty to intervene or punish the parties involved, that's what we have law enforcement agencies and a judicial system for.

I want to take a moment to examine some lyrics from various artists of different genres and discuss the types of violence they portray. Please be aware these are explicit lyrics that I will be sharing.

Jay-Z: Threat
"And I, nigga I'll kill ya, I'll chop ya up
Put ya inside the mattress like drug money nigga"

Ja Rule: Niggas & Bitches
"Niggas! Grip the iron and keep it cocked
Bitches! Work your clit keep that pussy hot
Cause it's all about sex, money, and murder
Bitches that burn ya, niggas with burners
Cocked and let go!"

2Pac: Ghetto Star
"Send they bodies to they parents up north
With they faces they wrists and they nuts cut off
Fuck em all what I scream as I dream"

All of these artists express a huge amount of rage in these passages and all three wave "murder" around so carelessly. An important thing to take note of is the fact that none of them incite the listener to go out and murder someone, they are merely describing the act or using it as a metaphor for life in the ghetto. Rap music is certainly not the only offender, it just gets the most attention because so far they're the only group going out and DOING what they sing about.

Marilyn Manson: The Beautiful People
"There's no time to discriminate,
Hate every motherfucker
That's in your way"

Now here's one instance where the artist is talking directly to the listener, but he doesn't give instructions to shoot up a school or anything. He simply makes a general statement that we should hate everyone. That would make Christmas cards so much simpler, wouldn't it?

Slayer: Addict
"Your fear gets me high
Unbound I'm the weapon made to sterilize
Sterilize all the idiot victims
Anytime, anywhere, anyone I want"

Danzig: Skin Carver
"Pull another face
Rip another hide
Steal the waning moon
From a dying bride
All the world must die
All the world must die
Ripped and skinned alive
All the world must die

These songs also describe murder, albeit in a much more subtle and darker fashion. I find these lyrics more frightening than the rap lyrics because these artists actually seem twisted and cunning where the rap artists just seemed angry.

Tool: Prison Sex
"I have found some kind of temporary sanity in this
shit blood and cum on my hands.
I've, come, round, full circle.
My lamb and martyr, this will be over soon."

Tori Amos: Me and a Gun
"Got a full tank and some chips
It was me and a gun
And a man on my back
And I sang "holy holy" as he buttoned down his pants
You can laugh
It's kind of funny things you think
at times like these
Like I haven't seen Barbados
So I must get out of this"

Both of these songs talk about sexual assault although both have extremely different angles. Neither of these songs mentions murder, but the threat of death (or hope for death, depending on your perspective) lingers on as an afterthought. Sometimes surviving a traumatic experience can be the toughest ordeal of all.

Tim McGraw: Kill Myself
"Just how much I hurt you is hard to tell
This is not some kind of cry for help
Just good bye I wish you well
Because I love you
I'm gonna kill myself"

Toby Keith: The Taliban Song
"So we prayed to Allah with all of our might
And then those big U.S. jets came flyin one night
They dropped little bombs all over our holy land
And man you should have seen em run like rabbits, they ran"

Yep, here's some country music that I actually found violence in. There are definitely more than just these two, they're just harder to turn up because most country music songs in which violence is mentioned are very tongue-in-cheek or have some redeeming moral lesson in the end. The first song does talk about suicide, but to be fair, if you listen to the rest of the song the narrator wimps out and doesn't go through with killing himself. The second song really seems to take pleasure in war, which is very different from being patriotic.

All of the songs I listed here described some type of violent act or hate mentality, but I don't believe for a moment that any of them intend for a listener to act on their lyrics. I think most of these artists are merely expressing their frustration with life and don't expect the world to use their song as an instruction manual for murder and violence.

For once I would like to see parents take responsibility for simply being bad role models, when it applies. I get so tired of people finger pointing at the music industry when the real reason little Timmy shot up his school was because his dad beat him every night, not because he was listening to Marilyn Manson the day he snapped. Music only amplifies emotions that are already inside of us it doesn't change us into murderers. Our environment and surroundings shape who we eventually become, not the radio station or CD we listen to.

If parents repeatedly neglect their children then violent acts comitted by minors are sure to continue. If your child is still a teenager make it a point to know what music they listen to and make good parenting choices. The bottom line is everyone controls his/her own actions and "The music made me do it!" is not a valid excuse. Banning music with violent lyrics will not solve the problem either, but making educated listening and parenting decisions is a step in the right direction.

What If...

In the media it's not always possible, or exciting, to get ALL the facts straight. With that in mind I offer you a sensational alternative to otherwise drab and boring news stories. Feel free to click on the links to find the "real" story I'm butchering. This post is dedicated to Dan Rather and his inability to properly investigate the facts.

* Calista Flockhart was devastated to learn that her new Showtime docu-drama Flat Actress has been dropped in lieu of a touching series about Bessie the Cow and how she's coping with her shocking diagnosis of Mad Cow Disease.

* Jesus was said to have been "very disappointed" to learn that someone else had already filed a patent for the popular new drink Jesus Juice, thereby nullifying months of hard work and testing for The Almighty. He stated "I hadn't even considered the beneficial side effect of crotch-grabbing that the drink could have".

* The wage increase battle has finally been decided. While Democrats originally requested a $2.10 increase the Republicans had urged for only $1.10. Finally, after many heated debates, they met somewhere in the middle and decided on a buck-fiddy increase along with monthly vouchers that could be redeemed for a free cinnamon roll at Hardees.

* White House welcomes blogger Dixie Normous to daily press briefings and insists that they have carefully scrutinized his...er, her credentials before considering admittance.

* Scientists recently scrapped the idea of a particle accelerator in favor of launching Ford trucks at each other instead. "Yeah, once we get those trucks inside this tube we speed 'em up real quick and they smash into tiny bits with metal flyin' everywhere. Yee-haw, now that's good watchin'!" one scientist remarked.

* Recent studies have discovered milk is not quite as healthy as we once thought; in fact it is now attributed to causing cancer in laboratory mice. Many southern schools have already decided to provide the hip new beverage Jesus Juice(TM) to its students. An anonymous source was quoted as saying "It makes the children much more docile and receptive to learning. They're also much easier for Larry the Janitor to coax into the boiler room for show and tell".

I hope you enjoyed this fantastical stroll through otherwise uninteresting news drivel. Contact me to find out how boredom can also work for you!

Bessie the Cow and Larry the Janitor are trademarks of lyrical coma inc.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Get Out Your Dictionary

I learned a new word today.


Feel free to look it up. I did and it doesn't actually exist. Regardless, this is the very word that some upset members of the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) at Harvard University used to describe comments made by Jada Pinkett Smith at a recent event, reports The Harvard Crimson.

Now let me get this straight...er, perhaps a bad choice of words.

Let me see if I understand this correctly, members of a gay organization got miffed (not to be confused with muffed) because a woman, whom they were honoring, made comments that were too heterosexually normal? What, what, what??

First of all she IS a heterosexual, which I'm sure makes Will Smith a very grateful man, and second her sexuality (or anyone else's) was not the scheduled topic for the evening. She was supposedly relating how to be in an effective relationship and quite naturally she approached that from a heterosexual angle.

I don't believe that she meant to offend anyone at all and I find it very annoying that we have become so ultra-sensitive that a person has to censor and edit his/her life stories to make them publicly acceptable and accommodate every possible ethnic and minority group in the world. I say let people be who they are sexually and not make them feel bad about that. Used to people were afraid to admit they were gay, and if we keep this attitude up folks will soon be just as worried about announcing they're straight.

Perhaps in the future we will have an organization I'd like to call the Politically Correct Program (PCP) to send delegates to offer minority and gender sensitive translations for celebrities. If an institute of that nature were around now I imagine Jada's speech would have been heard something like this.

Jada: "...and that is why I love and cherish Will with all my heart."
BGLTSA Member: "Did you understand a word that woman said? Oh, wait here comes the translation."
PCP Interpreter: "When I met my huzband I snatched him up and says Will Smith you is MY bitch now!"
BGLTSA Member: "Uh-huh, you go girlfriend!"

Living...In Prison

After her simply grueling five-month prison term in Alderson minimum security prison in West Virginia, which involved cleaning the administration building and making cucumber sandwiches for former mayors, Martha Stewart has been released back into her natural habitat. She will still be under house arrest for the next five months and will be tagged with a bright orange identifier so all of the Martha-watchers can easily locate her and track her migratory patterns throughout the year. Actually, she will have to wear an ankle bracelet for the next five months, it's just that an orange tag permanently stapled to her ear is more amusing. It would also make color coordination efforts for her wardrobe much more difficult.

I was surprised to learn that most people (now) think that her sentence was too harsh. What a crock of shit. When everyone learned about her little insider trading incident a couple of years ago we were all mad as hell and would have probably marched straight to her house, pitchforks and torches in hand, and burnt it to the ground while she scrambled to save her life's collection of doilies and Tupperware if we hadn't been pre-occupied with marching to Iraq instead. Now it appears that Martha has won the sympathy vote from nearly everyone around as people gush about how she's become a new woman.

Human beings are amazing as individuals and terrifying as a nation. The only thing we enjoy better than tearing someone down is building them back up again. It's true, we love stories of triumph in the face of adversity and the media only serves to supercharge our sentiment, by turning villainess into victim. I have no doubt that Martha will, in fact, bounce back easily from her losses and her company will be stronger than ever. For now some would say she has "paid her dues" and is forgiven her former indiscretions, but has she learned anything from this experience? I can only hope that Martha realizes she's not infallible and should drop the holier-than-thou attitude. If it means she will no longer have an orgasm every time she bakes a cake or plants a petunia I think it's worth it. Her new outlook on life is sure to be addressed in her inevitable book about living in prison, which will include topics like "Bars of soap on a budget", "101 uses for toilet tissue rolls" and "How Martha put the POT back in potpourri".

Yes, Martha is off the hook, until we find someone else to hate temporarily. Hey, who's this Michael Jackson person? Well, Pepsi already tried torching him years ago and that didn't work, better pull out the big guns. I've got it! Martha could find redemption by riding a nuke straight into the Ferris Wheel at Neverland Ranch and finally rid us of three things that plague America today: a crappy amusement park, a celebrity pedophile and an old woman with a better-than-you attitude. Now THAT would be "A good thing".

The Letter

Everything was going fine last week. The sky was blue, the wind was warm and all was right with the world...until "the letter" arrived. Sarah had fixed her first wet coconut cake topped with whipped creme and coconut shavings, of course, and we had just received our first shipment of movies from Blockbuster's online service (comparable to Netflix). We sat down to relax, watch a movie and eat some cake, which turned out pretty darn good for a first effort.

I started to go through my mail, which in itself is pretty odd considering I usually wait until I have a stack of unopened letters about 10 inches high before I even think about checking them. The reason for this is because I have all of my bills automatically deducted from my bank account so all the mail I do receive is usually junk. Anyway, one handwritten letter caught my eye and I opened it first. Upon doing this I discovered that it wasn't a letter from a friend or typical wedding invitation, but instead it was a notice from a company indicating I owed them $130.00. I think I went from zero to bitch in about 0.2 seconds after reading this. Let me back up a couple of years so that you'll understand the depth of my rage for this insulting piece of paper I now held in my hands.

In the summer of 2003 my home air conditioning unit rolled over and died. This was right at the end of July and let me tell you, it gets quite toasty in Tennessee during the summer. I made the standard arrangements with my home warranty company to have someone come out and repair it. Problem solved...or so I thought. After numerous missed appointments and supposedly installing our A/C unit at the wrong house our assigned service technicians finally made the requested repairs...two and a half months later! Yes, it was mid-October before our A/C unit was in working order again, exactly at the point when it was getting too cold to use it anymore that year. I couldn't believe how lousy this company was but I had to use them to be covered under our home warranty.

Now fast forward nearly two years to 2005. The letter I'm holding says that I have 15 days to pay the lame-ass service technicians who replaced our A/C unit in 2003 $130.00 for recovery and haul off fees or the price will increase by 25%. This was the first time I'd heard about this so naturally I was a little pissed off (okay, I was furious). They also sent me an invoice for work completed that I had never seen or signed, which just about sent me over the edge. Now I can understand if they have legitimate fees that they need to collect, but waiting two years to ask for it...honestly!

Normally I can forgive one or two small mistakes from a company but now the gloves were off, this was WAR damnit! I immediately contacted the Better Business Bureau only to discover that the company has already had numerous complaints concerning issues of this exact nature filed against them. Needless to say, within the hour I was busily writing my own "letter" in response to the aforementioned company.

It has been remarked that I have the "pissed-off customer" mentality down perfectly. Yep, the president of their company is gonna have someone to hate tonight. I'm still waiting on a response from them, but if I come home tomorrow and find my home A/C unit missing I think I know where I'll be pointing my finger first.

A Tale of Two Kitties

I love cats. I never realized this until my girlfriend brought home two cats (which she said she got for me, but I think SHE really wanted them).

A couple of years ago she brought home our first kitten, whom we named Spot. She's mostly white with an orange spot on her back and we were watching Star Trek: The Next Generation nearly every night (Lt. Commander Data's cat is also named Spot) so the name just sorta fit. My girlfriend, Sarah was working as a radio DJ and had a remote broadcast in some backwoods hole in the hills of East Tennessee and a woman was giving away cats from the trunk of her car in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The woman said she would just have to drown any kittens left at the end of the day. Obviously she had torched her PETA card when she discovered it wasn't a gift certificate for a free meal at Taco Bell after all. Spot is very quiet and rarely even meows unless she's lecturing her "babies", which are small mice (or anything fluffy) of various sizes strewn about the house. She often times stragetically places them like little landmines on the floor for us to step on in the morning while we're stumbling around still half asleep. Sometimes she arranges them in strange semi-circular patterns and tries to teach them the delicate art of being a cat. In her spare time she has been trying to learn how to use doorknobs, which she frantically paws at. She will also close doors behind her when she wants to be left alone, of course now she just needs to figure how to get back out once she's in. Although she didn't like for us to pet her or have much to say that all changed when we got cat number two.

Bandit, our second cat came from a fellow employee of Sarah's when she was still in the radio biz. I had decided that I wanted a lap cat and Spot was just NOT going to be that cat so Sarah thought it would be a good time to add a new addition to our small family. When we got Bandit he was very small, cuddly...and stinky, which Spot took notice of immediately. On this rare occassion Spot was actually verbal, of course she was hissing, but it was a start. A few cat baths later Spot still wasn't sure what to think of him, but at least he didn't smell like poo. I named him Bandit because he has (or had, rather) a black pattern on his otherwise gray face that looked like a mask. Keeping with the "giving cats names for dogs" theme worked out as a bonus too. Bandit is an amazingly agile cat and he loves jumping up on the banister and walking the length back and forth. He's also quite fond of leaping to the top edge of the bathroom door when it's open and I'm always amazed at how he manages it. I'm convinced that he understands the word "cute" because anytime we use that word he is compelled to show us his tummy, which demands to be scratched. He loves for us to pet him and hold him, to the point that Spot finally took notice and wanted some of the attention for herself. Now that we have Bandit she has become a much more loveable cat and isn't such a snob all the time.

It's strange when you're old enough to have children yet you still don't and you start treating your pets like they are your very own kids. My saddest moment was when we had Spot spayed and she ripped out nearly all of her stitches. They had to sew her back up again and I made a tearful vist at the veterinarian to make sure she was alright...they still remember me in that office just for that simple visit. My happiest day was when Bandit hopped in my lap, just liked I always hoped he would. I talk to both my cats all the time, although Sarah claims they don't understand a word I'm saying, but that doesn't stop me. I never talk to them about anything important, just typical questions like "Have you been good today?", "Are you hungry?", "Spot, is that your vomit on the floor?". The point is that I know what I'm saying and it makes me feel good somehow, like I'm letting them know in some small way how much they are loved and cherished. I guess all I'm looking for is a meow once in awhile.