Monday, March 31, 2008

No Rain, No Rainbows

When I went to Hawaii a few years ago, the experience helped me cleanse of negativities I was carrying inside. How can one be so angry when surrounded by one of the most breath-taking spots on this planet?

One of the shirts I carried away with me has a back-side that I rarely pay attention to, since it's becoming older and I've used it as a tie-dye sample, but the advice on the back needs attention to it. I want to share those with you now.

Kimo's Maui Rules

1. Never judge a day by the weather.
2. The best things in life aren't things.
3. Tell the truth--there's less to remember.
4. Speak softly and wear a loud shirt.
5. Goals are deceptive--the unaimed arrow never misses.
6. He who dies with the most toys still dies.
7. Age is relative--when you're over the hill, you pick up speed.
8. There are two ways to be rich--make more or desire less.
9. Beauty is internal--looks mean nothing.
10. No rain--no rainbows.

I love that philosophy: no rain, no rainbows. It's the tagline that drew me to the shirt. Without the bad things that happen to us in life, we cannot grow and learn. The sports team that always wins is most vulnerable. They aren't used to defeat and have not prepared themselves for it. They sit on a high pedastal, and in my opinion, will be the easiest to conquer if you pose a good threat. Without the rain, the bad times, we cannot learn because we haven't been there. We haven't tasted harm; it hasn't been thrown in our faces for us to deal with. But after the rain, we always have a rainbow, a gleam of light which teaches us a lesson. Be it a year, a month, or a day, the rainbow will come. Just be patient.

Do you have any phrases that you live by like the ones above? Which phrase do you agree with the most or do you live by entirely?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Motorcycle Diaries

The blog post should actually be called The Motorcycle Diaries, or Che Guavara. So, obviously, I watched The Motorcycle Diaries, a film adaptation from Ernesto Che Guevara's memoir of his nine month expedition through Latin America.

The plot was extremely interesting, especially because it actually occurred. I found this entirely inspiring: So, Guevara, then 23, decides that before he can finish medical school, where he was specializing in aiding lepers, he must travel South America while he still can to experience and see what he had only read about in books. The road trip experience that everyone wants to take before they get tied down into a job. Well, along the way, Guevara witnesses extreme poverty, ill treatment of the poor, an exiled island of lepers, exploited mine workers, and the demolished condition of the Incan civilization.

At the end of the movie, he says something like "I cannot shake what I have seen these past nine months." And he never did. He gave up medicine and devoted his life to becoming a revolutionary. He decided to live his life fighting and dying for the poor because of all he had seen on his trip. He wanted to see a united Latin America instead of the divisions between countries and classes.

I can't imagine embarking on a trip so powerful that it would cause me to change the path of my life so drastically, so drastically that it would switch my career path and lead to my eventaul death. I was just moved that he was so driven to help people. It's so honorable--so inspiring.

We all know Che Guevara by his picture above. We've all seen it before, but perhaps we never knew who this guy was or what he's done. In a nutshell, during the 1950s and 60s, Guevara was involved in Guatemala's social revolution, Fidel Castro's revolutionary 26th of July movement, and he worked as a prosecutor in Cuba as he oversaw tribunals and executions. At the end of his life, he tried to ignite a revolution in the Congo where, in Bolivia, he was captured and executed. He is now known as an icon for socialist revolutionary movements. I bet you didn't know this guy suffered from terrible asthma attacks either, eh?

Anyway, I wanted to promote the book and movie because I found it inspiring, motivating, and educational. It's one of those pieces that makes you examine your own life and make you hope that you're not taking anything for granted. It makes me want to go out on the road and discover life as it is, not how it's portrayed in books. It makes me want to live for something meaningful. Powerful emotions evoked by this text.

So, has anyone seen the film? What did you think of it? What do you think of Che Guevara?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Soul Mates

I find that there is a lot of controversy in the idea of a soul mate. Some people truly believe in them, others think it's a silly idea. I guess what I want to know is, what do you think?

Are we truly destined for just one person? Do we have a couple soul mates? Does it differ from person to person? Might one person not have a soul mate? Do people have love soul mates and friend soul mates? I mean, how do we define soul mate anyway?

I know some people think it's silly, something people made up to make them feel better when they're either single and trying to be optimistic or when they're with someone and they want that comfort that it's all "meant to be."

I do believe that everything happens for a reason (as I've mentioned about a thousand times so far in this blog), and that includes who we're with. I guess you could call it a soul mate, but I think that a soul mate is someone who connects with your soul. They know you better than you know yourself. They say things that can offend you so that you can take the right path and grow, they are there for us when we truly mess up, they can look into your eyes and see through you, they are ever-loving. Now, I think this can be true for friends and lovers. I think we can have soul mate friends. I know I have two.

This whole question was brought up for me because I am in the middle of reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. She has a passage on soul mates and I want to copy it here:

"Your problem is that you don't understand what that word [soul mate] means. People think that a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it."

Do you agree with this? I mean, I think that some people can live with their soul mates forever and still uncover their issues and help them to grow. That's just my opinion?

What do you think of soul mates? Don't be afraid to be honest.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Stuff White People Like

Stuff White People Like: a hilarious blog that I discovered courtesy of Rolling Stone. Basically, like the title states, the blog is devoted to what white people like. It's really funny. The guy comes up with serious ideas and arguments. I'm sure you could come up with a list right off the top of your head. Here are some of his blog post ideas:

Should children drink wine?
Book deals
San Fransisco
Gay friends
Knowing what's best for poor people
Saint Patrick's Day
Dinner Parties
Outdoor Performance Clothes
Bad memories of high school
Hating corporations
Graudate school
The idea of soccer
Modern furnature
Musical comedy
Bottles of water
Threatening to move to Canada
Difficult breakups
Mos Def
Co-ed sports
Kitchen gadgets
Expensive sandwiches
Indie music
Breakfast places
80s night
Organic food
Being an expert on YOUR culture
Having two last names
Wrigley field
Living by the water
Studying abroad

And the list goes on. I included a hefty list but some were just so good that I couldn't leave them out. Check out his arguments. He's pretty funny. The idea is a really good one too. That would be cool to have a blog like that where so many people flock to it. All it takes is a solid idea like this one.

Check out the website here.

What do you think? Can you come up with any more ideas for this topic?

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Does anyone like Garfield, or did you like reading Garfield cartoons in the newspaper as a kid or even now?

I stumbled across this website in the latest Rolling Stone called Garfield Minus Garfield. Check the website out here. The website features Garfield comic strips with Garfield taken out of them so just Jon is speaking to himself. The purpose is to promote Jon Arbuckle as a schizophrenic, bipolar man and to emphasize the "empty desperation of modern life."

They're actually really hilarious. It's a genius idea, and it's funny to look at, keeping in mind that Garfield is not there, since he's just aimlessly ranting to himself. You look at the comic strip a whole new way. A way that's down-right hysterical.

Garfield was awesome because he was so matter-of-fact and controlling, especially of Odie. He'd be a cool cat to have, given you don't want a lazy cut who cuddles and minds his/her own business. Do you think Garfield really represents the true, average cat though? That could be an interesting debate.

Does anyone remember the cartoon that used to be on in the morning called Garfield and Friends? There was a large cast of animals, even an egg that had feet to walk called Sheldon, that lived on a farm and got into crazy shanannigans. That was a good show. Did you like it/dislike it?

Did anyone see that animated Garfield Movie that came out? I refused to see it. It looked pretty awful. Was I right?

Anyway, what do you think of the website? Do you like the cartoon Garfield? Why/why not?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Walmart Cuts CD Prices

With the release of the new Rolling Stone Magazine comes a new blog post to comment on it. I loved the main article on Chris Rock, an excellent comedian of our time, and on one of my favorite musicians, Adam Duritz from the Counting Crows. Well-selected pieces.

However, I would like to comment on their article "Walmart Demands CD Price Cuts" because I am absolutely stunned by the information. To tell you the truth, I am not that surprised that Walmart pulled a fast one like this, knowing their scheming behavior to rip off who they purchase their goods from, sell them dirt cheap, and then pay their workers almost nothing. We all know this.

My surprise is this: Walmart is demanding that major record labels sell them their products (CDs) for a much lower price now so that Walmart can sell CDs for $5-10. Normally, CDs at Walmart go for about $13.99, give or take, so this drop in sales prices will cost major record labels tens of millions of dollars.

Since Walmart is the number one music retalier in the US, how can major record labels say no to this demand? I think it's disgusting. The music industry is going downhill as it is. Many labels have shut down because they can't profit from music pirating and this new digital world. CD sales have decreased fifteen percent so far in 2008, so how can these labels disagree? Some sale is better than no sale, right?

iTunes is a close second seller. Walmart contains 16% of sold music while iTunes generates 14% of sold music. Seeing that digital music tracks are on the rise, as compared with hard copies of CDs, this poses a giant threat to major labels. What to do?

I know a lot of people hate Walmart for their dirty business strategies. Other people love them because they can buy products for little money. Perhaps some stand in the middle, like me, who understand and dislike what Walmart is doing but simply we cannot do anything about it. I mean, can we? And I, being fresh out of college, enjoy Walmart's low prices when I want to save a buck or two. We just can't win here.

Check out this image I found on Google image search. What do you think of this creation? Is it crazy/accurate?

So, what do you think of Walmart?

What do you think of the new proposal to slash CD prices, thus slashing profits for major labels in this struggling music industry?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Before the Music Dies

Does anyone share this opinion with me?: The music industry is taking a turn for the worse. The industry is more concerned with image now instead of the actual music itself. Music is heading in a wrong direction.


Perhaps my further blogging will inspire you one way over the other. These essential arguments above, besides being my own, also come from an incredible documentary called Before the Music Dies. The documentary is dedicated to a musician who died, and before he died, he stressed his concerns for where the music business is headed. I, too, have the same concern as do other musicians as well.

Nowadays, music is about the image, the video, the single, the performance--not about the actual music itself. Thus, a decline in the quality of music will come. The industry worries about what will sell; what will sell is the image, the superficiality. Can we blame them with the decline of record sales due to Napster and other music downloaders that cut the profits that used to escalate from albums and concerts?

I think we still need to focus on making good music, something that is getting lost because of a terrible, controlling factor called money. Even look at radio stations. Radio stations play all the hit songs just cycling over and over again because they need to attract listeners. They're not going to make any money or stay on the air if no one listens. Then we get over-played songs, mostly pop songs, and the radio is dead. Music is more about money now than the actual art.

Says Bob Dylan, "Music can save people, but it can't in the commercial way it's being used. It's just too much. It's polution."

Besides money, the music business is all about youth and young artists: “Right now this industry is all about youth,” says Eryka Badu, "It’s not about the music anymore. It’s about the video. Video killed the radio star."

A music fan commented saying something similar to this: "I don’t want to hear a 20-year-old beautiful person singing and writing. What have they experienced? I want someone older who has lived. Young people haven’t lived, and if they’re young and beautiful, what’s wrong with their lives? 'At Last?' Bullshit."

Years ago, artists weren't emerging from high school as they are now. They were well-experienced and well-trained musicians. They aren't musicians because it runs in the family (Ashlee Simpson, Jaime Lynn Spears, etc), they were musicians because they wanted to play music. Music now is all about image. What hot stars are going to sell? What lead singer will attract the most girls? What pop singer is hot and will draw a male fanbase? Who will make the hot music video that will be most downloaded? It's a whole new ball park.

On the same topic, Bonnie Raitt comments: “Looks have always mattered, but they really matter in the kind of muscle that gets behind promoting a million dollar seller. You have to have a certain look.” And further, "Sex has always sold, but in the 1960s and 70s you didn’t have to be a George Clooney to perform music."

The problem with today's music, according to a music teacher, is that today's generation is worried about how good they are and where they rank, not on music. It's about image more than sound. It's more about the idea than the actual art. They don't want to put that much effort in and work for it. They see who they have the beat and they want to get there--it's not about making music anymore. It's dillusional.

Eryka Badu categorized musicians today into three categories, three kinds of artists:

1. Artists who hurt. (It hurts for these artists to write and perform. They are more popular than the money they receive. They play from the heart.)

2. Artists who imitate. (These artists imitate other artists and sounds instead of creating unique music. They generate the most money.)

3. Artists who does what someone else wants them to do. (They parrot what their label tells them to do, but they lose their jobs the quickest because they are too alike others competing with them.)

I am just afraid that we're not going to have any artists who are in the first category because it's hard to make it in this industry if you go out on a limb to play good music from the soul. Pop music is in. Rap is in. R&B is in. If you want to be successful, you need a good single, but do artists think of the single when they create? Shouldn't they just create music naturally instead of focusing on profits and singles before they create?

Before I ask you what you think, I have two quotes that stuck out to me from the documentary.

“I would like to ask the music business to look at itself and ask some hard questions. Because there would be no U2 the way things are right now. That’s a fact.”
-Bono (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction Speech 2005)

"There's a lot of dumbing down going on. I don't think we need to panic, we just need to teach our children well."
-Dave Matthews

So what do you think? Is this change inevitable or can something be done? Where is music headed and what can we do? Are these changes good/bad?

Monday, March 24, 2008

March Madness

March Madness is here. It's everywhere, it's strong, and it'd wild. This season has been filled with so many upsets, which always makes one's bracket more interesting. Duke, UConn, Clemson, Pitt, and Georgetown all contributed to the list of upsets which stirs up all brackets. Davidson is just pounding through the rounds. Who knew they would come this far?

Personally, I have the heavy favorite, North Carolina, winning the torunament, but I am looking for that blissful championship game witht the intended team to fit in with it. Tyler Hansbrough is the favorite player of the year, almost tied with Michael Beasley (and can I just comment that if I hear another word about Michael Beasley from the announcers that I'll just spaz into frequent convulsions!) so it makes sense that Hansbrough and the Tar Heels will advance to the finals, especially since they're ranked in first in their division and have creamed all teams in their path thus far.

The point of this blog is actually about the announcers more than it is about the teams themselves. The games have been extraordinarily interesting and nail-biting, especially with all the upsets as I mentioned earlier. Their comments make me wince almost sometimes. They're absolutely comical at other times. I understand that it must be difficult to speak and dictate a game for viewers and they can't have silence for too long, but the things they come up with are just down-right corny and ridiculous. It almost adds another fun element to watching the games. At least Dick Vitale hasn't been anouncing some games. I don't mind him in spurts, but listening to him yell at you for a whole basketball game... I want to rip my hair out.

As I've been watching, I've recorded some of the awful lines the announcers tossed out for our entertainment. Let's see what you think.

"He's going to get votes for governor!"

"And the Saints come marching in!"

"That is discomforture." (Is that even a word?)

"There's Beasley with the left-handed sledgehammer."

"He's in a straight jacket and has nowhere to go!"

"Rejection! It's a block party."

And my personal favorite: "They call him McSteal, but now they call him McThree."

Wow. What do you think of their comments, not even the ones I posted, or the ones I posted?

How are you doing in your bracket? Who do you want/expect to win?

What do you think of 2008's March Madness?

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Is Easter a big deal for your family?

I guess it depends on the religious history within one's family unit. Personally, it's not the biggest deal for my family. We still get together for dinner but I don't attend mass or egg hunts (unfortunately).

What do you like about Easter?

What are your favorite candies to receive in the Easter basket? (Let's say hypothetically if you were a child again, or when you were a child)

How did Easter become egg hunts, dying eggs, pastel colors, and Easter bunnies at the mall? How did this religious holiday where Jesus rose from the dead turn out into the commercial holiday that it is? Does anyone actually know?

I looked up on Wikipedia the only reference they have to the holiday. When you research 'Easter' the website offers religious ceremonies, derivations, everything religion-oriented, yet that's not how most Americans know the tradition or the holiday.

So then, I clicked on Easter bunny. This is the history I researched:

Easter: "In English, the etymology of the word "Easter" comes from an ancient pagan goddess of the spring named Eostre, related to German Ostara. According to popular folklore, Eostre once saved a bird whose wings had frozen during the winter by turning it into a rabbit. Because the rabbit had once been a bird, it could still lay eggs, and that rabbit became the modern Easter Bunny."

Easter Bunny: "The Easter Bunny is a mythological rabbit who brings gifts and candy to children on the Easter holiday, most likely based on pre-Christian customs honoring the fertility goddess Eostre."

"The idea of an egg-laying bunny came to the United States in the 18th century. German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area told their children about the "Osterhas," sometimes spelled "Oschter Haws." "Hase" means "hare," not rabbit, and in Northwest European folklore the "Easter Bunny" indeed is a hare, not a rabbit. According to the legend, only good children received gifts of colored eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter. Jakob Grimm wrote of long-standing similar myths in Germany itself. Noting many related landmarks and customs, Grimm suggested that these derived from legends of Ostara."

Easter Eggs: "The precise origin of the ancient custom of coloring eggs is not known. The Persians paint and decorate eggs as one of the required items for the Persian New Year (Nowrooz), celebrated on the Vernal Equinox, which usually falls on March 20th or 21st. The decorated eggs must be displayed on the "Haft Seen", the Persian New Year table. This tradition has been followed anually for at least 2,500 years. Greeks to this day typically dye their Easter eggs red, the color of blood, in recognition of the renewal of life in springtime (and, later, the blood of the sacrificed Christ). In the Eastern Orthodox Church, tradition says that Mary Magdalene converted people to Christianity with a red egg. This is why her icon often depicts a red egg. Some also use the color green, in honor of the new foliage emerging after the long dead time of winter."

What do you think? Kind of interesting, huh?

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Does anyone like George Carlin?

I could see why he would get a mixed fanbase. Personally, I enjoy watching him, I think he's clever, and at times, he's pretty funny, but I don't like his humor all the time. Sometimes he goes too far, in my opinion, but the stuff he says is offensive, but perhaps it's offensive because it's borderline true.

I just watched his new HBO special It's Bad For Ya which was pretty interesting, as always. I could see why a new group of people, in this case, parents who love their children and spiritual groups, who would dislike the rants he goes on extensively.

As always, I think the way Carlin rants is very sophisticated and intelligent even though his specials are always decorated with swear words. The way he develops his arguments using logic, everyday items, commonplace behaviors, and the way he mocks the people around us is just very wise and really proves his points, no matter how illogical they may seem when he initially presents them. All of his rants all blend into one too, and I can't believe the way he memorizes these long rants. I give him a lot of credit for developing such intelligent comedic speeches all these years and memorizing them to a T.

My favorite rant of his is on euphemisms. It's the first time I ever heard him and he really drew me in. Euphemisms are increasingly growing in this country because everything is becoming dumbed down. We're so concerned about hurting everyone's feelings, putting every kid on the honor roll as not to discourage them. It's just not healthy to be SO positive. We learn from losing and being hurt too. We don't always learn from being a winner or having everything be positive. Do you agree?

Anyway, here is his rant on euphemisms:

"I don't like words that hide the truth. I don't like words that conceal reality. I don't like euphemisms, or euphemistic language. And American English is loaded with euphemisms. Cause Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth, so they invent the kind of a soft language to protect themselves from it, and it gets worse with every generation. For some reason, it just keeps getting worse. I'll give you an example of that. There's a condition in combat. Most people know about it. It's when a fighting person's nervous system has been stressed to it's absolute peak and maximum. Can't take anymore input. The nervous system has either (click) snapped or is about to snap. In the first world war, that condition was called shell shock. Simple, honest, direct language. Two syllables, shell shock. Almost sounds like the guns themselves. That was seventy years ago. Then a whole generation went by and the second world war came along and very same combat condition was called battle fatigue. Four syllables now. Takes a little longer to say. Doesn't seem to hurt as much. Fatigue is a nicer word than shock. Shell shock! Battle fatigue. Then we had the war in Korea, 1950. Madison avenue was riding high by that time, and the very same combat condition was called operational exhaustion. Hey, were up to eight syllables now! And the humanity has been squeezed completely out of the phrase. It's totally sterile now. Operational exhaustion. Sounds like something that might happen to your car. Then of course, came the war in Viet Nam, which has only been over for about sixteen or seventeen years, and thanks to the lies and deceits surrounding that war, I guess it's no surprise that the very same condition was called post-traumatic stress disorder. Still eight syllables, but we've added a hyphen! And the pain is completely buried under jargon. Post-traumatic stress disorder. I'll bet you if we'd of still been calling it shell shock, some of those Viet Nam veterans might have gotten the attention they needed at the time. I'll betcha. I'll betcha.

But. But, it didn't happen, and one of the reasons. One of the reasons is because we were using that soft language. That language that takes the life out of life. And it is a function of time. It does keep getting worse. I'll give you another example. Sometime during my life. Sometime during my life, toilet paper became bathroom tissue. I wasn't notified of this. No one asked me if I agreed with it. It just happened. Toilet paper became bathroom tissue. Sneakers became running shoes. False teeth became dental appliances. Medicine became medication. Information became directory assistance. The dump became the landfill. Car crashes became automobile accidents. Partly cloudy bacame partly sunny. Motels became motor lodges. House trailers became mobile homes. Used cars became previously owned transportation. Room service became guest-room dining. And constipation became occasional irregularity. When I was a little kid, if I got sick they wanted me to go to the hospital and see a doctor. Now they want me to go to a health maintenance organization...or a wellness center to consult a healthcare delivery professional. Poor people used to live in slums. Now the economically disadvantaged occupy substandard housing in the inner cities. And they're broke! They're broke! They don't have a negative cash-flow position. They're fucking broke! Cause a lot of them were fired. You know, fired. management wanted to curtail redundancies in the human resources area, so many people are no longer viable members of the workforce.

Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins. It's as simple as that. The CIA doesn't kill anybody anymore, they neutralize people...or they depopulate the area. The government doesn't lie, it engages in disinformation. The pentagon actually measures nuclear radiation in something they call sunshine units. Israeli murderers are called commandos. Arab commandos are called terrorists. Contra killers are called freedom fighters. Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part of it to us, do they? Never mention that part of it.

And...and some of this stuff is just silly, we all know that, like on the airlines, they say want to pre- board. Well, what the hell is pre-board, what does that mean? To get on before you get on? They say they're going to pre-board those passengers in need of special assistance. Cripples! Simple honest direct language. There is no shame attached to the word cripple that I can find in any dictionary. No shame attached to it, in fact it's a word used in bible translations. Jesus healed the cripples. Doesn't take seven words to describe that condition. But we don't have any cripples in this country anymore. We have The physically challenged. Is that a grotesque enough evasion for you? How about differently abled. I've heard them called that. Differently abled! You can't even call these people handicapped anymore. They'll say, "Were not handicapped. Were handicapable!" These poor people have been bullshitted by the system into believing that if you change the name of the condition, somehow you'll change the condition. Well, hey cousin, ppsssspptttttt. Doesn't happen. Doesn't happen.

We have no more deaf people in this country, hearing impaired. No ones blind anymore, partially sighted or visually impaired. We have no more stupid people. Everyone has a learning disorder...or he's minimally exceptional. How would you like to be told that about your child? "He's minimally exceptional." "Oohh, thank god for that." Psychologists actually have started calling ugly people, those with severe appearance deficits. It's getting so bad, that any day now I expect to hear a rape victim referred to as an unwilling sperm recipient.

And we have no more old people in this country. No more old people. We shipped them all away, and we brought in these senior citizens. Isn't that a typically American twentieth century phrase? Bloodless, lifeless, no pulse in one of them. A senior citizen. But I've accepted that one, I've come to terms with it. I know it's to stay. We'll never get rid of it. That's what they're going to be called, so I'll relax on that, but the one I do resist. The one I keep resisting is when they look at an old guy and they'll say, "Look at him Dan! He's ninety years young." Imagine the fear of aging that reveals. To not even be able to use the word "old" to describe somebody. To have to use an antonym. And fear of aging is natural. It's universal. Isn't it? We all have that. No one wants to get old. No one wants to die, but we do! So we bullshit ourselves. I started bullshitting myself when I got to my forties. As soon as I got into my forties I'd look in the mirror and I'd say, "well, I...I guess I'm getting...older." Older sounds a little better than old doesn't it? Sounds like it might even last a little longer. Bullshit, I'm getting old! And it's okay, because thanks to our fear of death in this country, I won't have to die...I'll pass away. Or I'll expire like a magazine subscription. If it happens in the hospital, they'll call it a terminal episode. The insurance company will refer to it as negative patient-care outcome. And if it's the result of malpractice, they'll say it was a therapeutic misadventure. I'm telling you, some of this language makes me want to vomit. Well, maybe not vomit. Makes me want to engage in an involuntary personal protein spill.

I've had two classes use this, Language of the Media and The Study of the English Language. I think it would be effective to use in the classroom, mind you, to a group of students who could handle swear words. Anyway, I just think his research is dead on and the way he presents his arguments stuns me becasue it's just so effective. But what do you think?

What do you think of George Carlin? Do you like him/dislike him? Why?

What do you think of his rant on euphemisms?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Conan's Characters

For whatever reason, I love watching as many episodes of Conan O'Brien as I can. There's just something about his humor that is absolutely hilarious, real, and constant. It seems like this guy never has an off day. Hanging out with him would be unreal. He can make anyone laugh out of any situation. This guy has talent.

His show can often be seen as kind of strange with odd humor, even labeled as stupid humor. This blog post is dedicated and inspired by the many characters on Conan O'Brien, a list for your pleasure and of course, by a question:

Which character on Conan is your favorite? Why?

Character list:

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
The Masturbating Bear
The FedEx Pope
The Nudist Who Has No Skeleton
The Screetching Raccoon with a Jetpack
Fidel Castro Rabbit DJ
The Vomiting Kermit
The Evil Puppy
Hippie Fire Hydrant on a Skateboard
Cactus Chef Playing "We Didn't Stare the Fire" on the Flute
The Oscillating Air Purifier that Looks like Slash
The Horny Manatee
Nation of Twain
Cloppy the Horse
Pierre Bernard and His Recliner of Rage
Abe Vigoda
The Interrupter
Coked-Up Werewolf
Preparation H Raymond
Pimpbot 5000

Check out some sketches of these characters at this website that has YouTube clips.

His characters are just so silly and original that they're hilarious. Triumph is obviously the most well-known and most hated, perhaps from his crude humor from Robert Smigel. My favorite Triumph skit was when he attended a Star Wars convention and made joke upon joke about how much the attendees were absolute losers. It was hilarious. Watch part of it here. It's absolutely hilarious and well-worth watching.

Where do they come up with these crazy, funny ideas?

So who are your favorite characters? Why?

Who are your least favorite characters? Why?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Indie Films

Juno: a must-see film about American youth culture of the 2000s. This film is so popular--it's been out for months and I'm just seeing it in theatres this week. It's coming out on video in a couple weeks and it's still in theatres. Now that is a popular flick.

Juno is a great movie for teenagers, especially those in conflict, like with the main conflict in the movie, teenage pregnancy. The writers did a fabulous job with conveying multiple attitudes from different age groups and demographics on the taboo topic. I thought it was funny, witty, well-written, and well-produced. Many stars from me.

This movie makes me think of a bigger thought I have: Indie films are just incredible. Sometimes I enjoy watching them more than big blockbuster hits because they're so real, so raw, so true to human life. Some of the big movies are just too cheesy, too sellable, too carbon-copied from an earlier idea. Indie films are free from a lot of that blockbuster garbage--they entertain and tell it how it is.

I would give anything to attend a Sundance Film Festival too. The selections at the festival are so incredible--especially with the stars there, my night would be a dream. It would be complete.

Here is my list of favorite/incredible indie films which makes me such a huge fan of indie over blockbuster hits:

American Beauty
Pulp Fiction
Broken Flowers
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Usual Suspects
American History X
To Kill a Mockingbird
Requiem for a Dream
Reservoir Dogs
Donnie Darko
Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2
The Graduate
The Big Lebowski
Little Miss Sunshine
Before Sunset
The Brave Little Toaster
American Psycho
American Splendor
Garden State
Maria Full of Grace
Napoleon Dynamite
The Butterfly Effect
The Motorcycle Diaries
The Woodsman
Half Nelson
Alpha Dog
The Illusionist
Thank You for Smoking
This Film Is Not Yet Rated
An Inconvenient Truth

Do you like indie films? Which ones are your favorites? Why?

Did you like Juno? Why/why not?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fantasy Basketball League

Interested in NCAA basketball?

I'm starting a fantasy bracket league free on, just for fun to compete with my friends. If anyone is interested, please let me know and I will add you to the list of competetors.

Go to my team's website, The Red Dragons, at this website.

I doubt I will win, but I think it would be fun to harmlessly compete with friends of mine, some of which I never really get the chance to talk to. I bet the winner will be someone who hardly even watches sports, not someone like me who watches constantly.

Don't be shy--I'd like as many people in the pool as possible!

Who do you think will be in the final four? Who do you want eliminated? Who do you think is going to win this whole thing?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Obama in Rolling Stone

I'm always fascinated by the cover selections for Rolling Stone. But this month's magazine is Barack Obama--no surprise there. I'm surprised that Rolling Stone is being this ballsy, selecting and siding with one candidate over the other. I know they've done this before, they did it a few years ago with John Kerry in an attempt to override Bush, and here they are doing it again with Obama.

I'm not upset about it at all. I'm glad that they're writing an article that Americans should read, about a topic that is so crucial to our nation--more crucial than Britney Spears and her many issues.

Obama is everywhere too. I posted pictures here of all the other magazine covers I found online where his face has surfaced. He's everywhere, and using the magazines like he is only draws in more to the youth he naturally attracts. Brilliant campaigning.

At the beginning of the magazine, they made a commentary that in the past, Rolling Stone has backed many democratic candidates, John Kerry, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Jimmy Carter. Now they are behind Obama. This is their reason for backing Obama: "Undoing the damage of the disasterous Bush years will take a leader who can unite a deeply divided nation, and politicians with gifts like Obama's are so rare that it's imperitive for each of us to do our part." Well-said. Agree?

Further on in the magazine, in the National Affairs section, an article surfaces entitled "Hillary's Last Stand" on how she self-crucified herself and is the resaon for her own downfall. After that, two articles and an interview on Obama and his promise for change follow. "A New Hope" his article is called. Hope is the dominant theme throughout the article, as it is in his campaign.

What I did not realize that the article taught me is how much grass-roots organizing that Obama does. He has a training camp, Camp Obama, where organizers meet to be trained on how they can start organizing Obama chapters in their hometowns. A waste of money? No way! Look at how well Obama has been doing in the caucuses. It's incredible. Obama does not just want votes, he wants supporters, supporters who will organize and join in the effort to change this nation into something positive.

In defense, Hillary boasts that he's all talk and no action. She is experience and will bring true change to this nation. Honestly, I don't know who to believe. A lot of people put their trust in Obama, who, in him, they sincerely do trust and believe in his promise for hope and change.

Critics say, if Hillary can't even organize and win a caucus, how can we trust her as president? Look at Obama's organizational skills with caucuses. Now that's who we want as president.

What do you think? Do you believe Obama, that he will bring change and hope to this nation? Or are you skeptical that he will?

I do believe him. I don't think he's bullshitting us, but that's my opinion. I'm more curious to see if others are following him when he promises hope and change or if we back him with this slight skepticism because it's better than any other option.

Who are you behind, Hillary or Obama? Or are you a Republican follower behind McCain?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

You Should Meet This Person

Have you ever received the comment that goes something like this: "You remind me of someone I know!"

Usually you have some characteristic in common, be it a personality trait or even a physical resemblance. The friend or person normally is complementing you on the trait or saying that it's so uncannily similar that the two of you should meet. When you receive this comment, what is your reaction? Do you genuinely want to meet the person out of interest in something so uncannily in common? Or are you offended that someone else has something so similar to you?

Sometimes I wonder what the person looks like or acts like just to see how my actions/appearance comes off to others. What stands out? What makes others think of me?

And if you did meet this person, would you even get along because of something so superficial or similar? Don't people who are so alike not necessarily always get along or the relationship is just uninteresting because there aren't enough differences to make it worthwhile or stimulating?

What do you think? What have you been commented on that qualifies you to need to meet another person? Are you genuinely interested or not? Do you throw the comment out yourself?

Random idea. Random post.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I confess: I'm addicted to Lost. For whatever reason, we decided we would get into a new TV show, and we picked Lost. Now we can't stop watching it.

But, I'm not upset that we started. For those of you who do know the show, it's incredibly witty, intelligent, well-thought-out, action-packed, interesting, and thought-provoking. I mean, imagine being stranded on a desert island. It's such a talked about concept that I'm surprised no one has done a TV show about it before now. And of course, the writers are so smart for the way they plan this show. Every single detail means something later on which is the sign of intelligent writing.

This show is like a long novel or movie, well-planned out by the creator before it started. Every character has extremely meticulous development, alluding the viewer to what events will occur later on on the island. It makes the show more interesting because you can anticipate and understand the characters as they try to survive on the island.

Each character has so many relevant issues too, each spanning different races, genders, nationalities, professions, handicaps, etc. It's mindblowing. I could never create something so well planned as this!

Another thing: even names mean something deeper. Boone: man from the wilderness. Locke: philosopher. Shannon: blonde. Shepherd: one who leads/guides. Sun: source of light. Etc.

I'm on Season 2, so don't spoil anything for me!

For those of you Lost fans out there, what do you love about it? Who is your favorite character?

Personally, I'm a Locke girl. He's so smart--knowing about everyone. If anyone is going to survive, it's this guy.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you miss? Who would you want with you? What do you wish you would have done/said? How far would you go to survive?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hacky Sacks

Call me a child of the 90s, but I like hacky sacks. I'm not the best at playing with them with my feet, due to my lack of foot coordination besides running, walking, and climbing, but I love to toss those suckers around. And, I love their amazing designs. It's just

I looked online, curious for their origination, and look what I discovered, courtesy of this website: "The co-operative kicking sport has ancient origins from China, Thailand, Native America and nearly every country. Hacky Sack or Footbag, as we know it today, is a modern American sport invented in 1972, by John Stalberger and Mike Marshall of Oregon City, Oregon. Marshall had created a hand-made bean bag, that he was kicking around. Stalberger was recovering from knee surgery and was looking for a fun way to exercise his knees. Together, they called the new game "Hackin' the Sack." The two decided to collaborate and market their new game under the trademark of 'Hacky Sack®'."

Interesting, huh?

"Following the invention of Hacky Sack (aka Footbag), different varieties of the sport have evolved including "Footbag Net" where players volley a Hacky Sack over a 5-foot-high net and "Freestyle Footbag" where players stand in a circle and do tricks with the Hacky Sack while passing it around the circle."


Does anyone have any good hacky sackk memories?

I have one here from a good friend, Megan, which I hope to use in the classroom someday. Either that, or someone should teach me some old school hacky sack foot kicking. Bring it on.

What do you think of the hacky sack? Inform me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spitzer Scandal

For all of us here in New York, no one can escape the news that broke just the other day about our governor. It's everywhere. It's in the schools I sub at, it's in the doctors office I visit since I'm ill, it's on late-night talk shows--everywhere. It's inescapable.

Everyone I hear basically bad mouths the guy, and I see why that is. It's just insane. Everyone's making jokes about it. It's history here. I am not going to give much on my opinion or anything, but I just wanted to post David Letterman's top ten phone messages on Spitzer's answering machine. It's pretty funny. Watch it here.

I'm posting more to see your opinion. What do you think of this whole thing?

Monday, March 10, 2008

If I Had Eyes

Jack Johnson music video: "If I Had Eyes." I just found it on YouTube. Watch it here.

A couple days ago, I wrote an extensive blog on Jack Johnson. I'm really into the CD. If you're unfamiliar with Jack or are a fan and haven't heard the single, check out the music video. It's very Jack--black and white with fading color in and out, laid back playing in a small studio, easily produced.

What do you think? Do you like the video? The song? The album?

If I had eyes in the back of my head
I would have told you that
You looked good
As I walked away

And if you could've tried to trust the hand that fed
You would've never been hungry
But you never really be

The more of this or less of this or is there any difference
or are we just holding onto the things we don't have anymore

Sometimes time doesn't heal
No not at all
Just stand still
While we fall
In or out of love again I doubt I'm gonna win you back
When you got eyes like that
It won't let me in

Always looking out

Lot of people spend their time just floating
We were victims together but lonely
You got hungry eyes that just can't look forward
Can't give them enough but we just can't start over
Building with bent nails we're
falling but holding, I don't wanna take up anymore of your time
Time time time

Sometimes time doesn't heal
No not all
Just stand still
While we fall
In or out of love again I doubt I'm gonna win you back
When you got eyes like that
It won't let me in
Always looking out
Always lookin

Saturday, March 8, 2008


moe. concert last night. Ridiculous energy at the Palace. They put on a kick-ass show.

I haven't really seen a jam band perform before (because one could hardly call 311 a jam band), so it was awesome to just be a part of such free-flowing music like that. They're songs lasted way over five minutes a piece--some even being like ten minutes long. The lead guitarist, who I was standing right beside, was so into it. He was jamming like crazy, sometimes playing so long that the lead singer and back-up guitarist and vocalist would make faces that dictated "come on now, finish up buddy." The lights and drummer would try to cue him in to wrap it up, but I think it's so cool that someone can lose themself so much in the music. They just keep playing and playing, trying to out-do themselves, and most of all, trying to entertain the crowd. And let me tell you, my little section in the front was going wild.

They played for a crazy duration of time too. They started playing after 8:00, perhaps 8:30, and played until 10:15. Then they took a break until 11 and played until midnight. Then they took a five minute break or so and jammed until 12:30 for their encore. Unbelievable. I can't imagine the endurance one must have to play for so long. It's such a consuming experience for the performer! But, they must live for this experience so it's not terrible for them.

The only downer of the concert was my brother's friend who got ejected from the crowd on behalf of his drunken state. He refused to leave and we were all trying to dance and enjoy the music, but it was hard when a security guard is trying to throw someone out who's standing directly in front of you. Kind of awkward. I just can't imagine being that out of control at a concert. That's too extreme, because then he ended up missing more than half the concert. He acted up right as the first set was ending, and as the lead singer left, he stopped and watched them drag him out. Some way to get attention.

Anyway, from my hazy memory, these are the songs I recollect them playing, and in no particular order:

"She Sends Me"
"St. Augustine"
"The Pit"
"Down Boy"
"The Road"
"Threw It All Away"
"Time Ed"
"32 Things"
"Bring You Down"
"Queen of Everything" (dedicated to lead singer's wife)
"Spaz Medicine"
"Brent Black"
"Wind It Up"
"Recreational Chemistry"

Encore (2 out of three):
"Raise a Glass" (More than fifty people lead onstage to join in to this Irish drinking song. So cool)

At one point one of the drummers busted out a xylophone and played for a very long time. It was ridiculous to watch him go at it. Him and the lead guitarist/pianist battled back and forth. Definitely a highlight of the night.

I really got into this concert because, beforehand, we were at this kid's house who played us a bit of moe. before we left. He played such a chill, accurate version of "Okayalright." We were so into it. Our friend Tyler, who's very funny said, "Can I book you in my room every Friday?" And it's true. He was so good. Definitely pumped me up for later on.

Four star concert. Right now I'm obsessed with "Bullet" and "Okayalright." Definitely an awesome night. That kind of music just fills you with this positive energy you want to radiate out. I hope I give that effect to others.

Does anyone like moe.? Personal favorite songs? Did you like thim in concert? Tell me about moe.!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Sleep through the Static

Who loves Jack Johnson?

His music is perfect for beautiful warm weather or just for relaxing when you need to mellow down. Well, as you all probably know, he has just come out with his fifth studio album Sleep through the Static which was recorded in his Solar Powered Plastic Plant in LA; thus, this is his first album not recorded in Hawaii. Unlike some of the other albums, this one is pretty slow and mellow. There are not many tracks that are upbeat like "Mudfootball" or "Bubble Toes"--more like "Mediocre Bad Guys" or "Do You Remember" throughout. I'm not saying it's a bad thing; it's just different. Different can be good for music artists.

Since its release, not only has Jack climbed the charts to number one for his album, but he was on the cover of Rolling Stone. It's an awesome picture. He's poking out of the sand, an exact image one would have of Johnson. The article had some very interesting facts, none that were too surprising. Johnson grew up in Hawaii, where he now lives with his wife and child, with a mellow father who taught him to be confident. He literally learned to play around the campfire but he was shy about his singing voice. His mother encouraged him to sing and not be shy. Surprisingly enough, he was influenced by The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Violent Femmes, Bob Marley, and Van Morrison. Such a different sound.

Johnson then went to college in California where he met his wife. He didn't consider to have a career in music for a while. He used it to impress his wife instead. His focus at college was filmmaking; he even helped out on the Foo Fighters' "Breakout" video. Interesting his slight inclusion into the music business, huh?

Then, he abandoned surfing so competitively after he had a major surfing accident. He was turned off by the aggressive competition from other competetors. He still surfs adamantly, often using it as a break tool from the hectic music business. What I like about Jack is that he stops touring when he gets bogged down by entertainment noise and the downs of the music industry. He keeps himself humble, and reminds himself of how wonderful it feels to also walk down the beach--not always surround oneself in the media or entertainment. He says, "You've got to listen to your dreams. That's how I know I need to kick back and get out of the public eye." Hell, he doesn't even have cable TV! Says it's a waste of time. Imagine...

Before he became famous as a solo-act, Johnson played in a band called Soil which opened for Dave Matthews Band until Ben Harper cut him a huge break on tour and his popularity grew from there. Now he's touring like crazy, and he'll be at Bonnaroo when I'm there this summer!! I can't wait to feel consumed by his chill presence with his mellow music.

What I found really interesting about his music-making process is that his music comes in two ways. He either starts singing a chorus, some catchy melody that just comes to him. Then the other lyrics come from another place, something more serious or meaningful. I think that's so interesting.

Jack Johnson on his music: "The songs have power. Sometimes, on tour, I feel like I'm a cover band, and I'm the lucky bastard who gets to sing the songs they want to hear."

Sleep through the Static is filled with tons of love, or broken love. "Angel" and "Same Girl" are for his wife, while the single "If I Had Eyes" implies a broken love. Perhaps this CD has a more mellow, low-key sound because it is dedicated and created for Danny Riley, his wife's cousin, who died recently at 19 from a brain tumor. He was also an aspiring song writer. Johnson says that many of the tracks on the album are about him or his children. Johnson says, "It's about learning to let go of someone you love, watching them swim away."

Such is so with "Go On, a song that is my favoite, and I think encompasses the theme behind this entire album:"

In my review
I watch you watching the twilight
Behind the telephone lines
With nothing to prove, or to assume
Just thinking if your thoughts are different than mine
In my review
I watch you
I give you your life, would you give me mine?

I see you slowly swim away
Cause the light is leaving town
To a place that I can`t be
There`s no apologies

Just go on
Just go on
There`s still so many things
I wanna to say to you
But go on
Just go on
We`re bound by blood that`s moving
The moment that we started
The moment that we started

I see perfect little lives
Watch the shadows of the clouds
And the surface of the ocean out the window of a plane
I get nervous when I fly
I`m used to walking with my feet

Turbulence is like a sigh that I can`t help but over think

What is the purpose of my life
If it doesn`t ever do
With learning to let go
Live *life recklessly* through
You can do the same
It`s the least you can do
Cause it`s a lonely little chain
If you don`t add to it

So go on
Just go on
There`s so many things
I wanna say to you
Go on
Just go on
We`re bound by blood and love
The moment that we started
Just go on
Just go on
There`s still so many things
I wanna say to you
Just go on
Just go on
Were bound by blood that moving
The moment that we started
The moment that we started

What do you think of the new CD? Any favorite songs?

What do you like about Jack Johnson?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Closing Doors

A good friend of mine sent me this article. I wanted to record it here for anyone to look through if you feel like reading something interesting. "The Advantages of Closing a Few Doors" from the New York Times. Where does my good friend find cool things like this?

The article aims to ask: Why do we leave ourselves so many options when we don't need them all?

Why take lessons for things we might not need? Why hold onto items we'll never need again? Just in case. In case for what though?

"Closing a door on an option is experienced as a loss, and people are willing to pay a price to avoid the emotion of loss.”

So true. I am speaking above like it's a silly concept, but I fall under this category. I, too, feel heavy loss when doors close, options terminate, or new chapters start in my life, because that means another chapter is ending. Even if it's a positive move to something new, or a fresh start from a bad period, anything that changes gives me a sense of loss. Am I alone in that?

Even if it's a failed relationship with someone who I am not too keen with anymore. Or someone who just plain bothered you. Any kind of loss makes me feel it. What is it about humans that we want everything we can possibly have? Any sort of loss of anything we have obtained, or could obtain, that is taken away or lost is deeply felt? Or is it only certain people?

Anyway, check out the article. Any comments whatsoever?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hillary on SNL

Alright, so last week SNL started their program with a parody on how Barack favors special treatment in debates; then later on they had a rant from Tina Fey which I listed in a post below. Last Saturday, SNL opened with another parody of a debate between the Democratic candidates, but this time, Hillary came on afterwards for a commentary.

Personally, on her part, I think it's a brilliant political move since she's been trailing lately in the primaries against her component, and with the recent Tuesday elections, it seemed to be a smart move since she won both of the bigger states, Ohio and Texas.

The opening parody was very smart though. Hillary's (Amy Poehler's) speech about pushing and pushing, being that annoying nagging woman, who won't stop until she gets what she wants, was extremely brilliant. Great writing. I don't know verbatim, but it was something like, only someone so annoying, so pesty, so bitchy, so pushy, could really create change. I thought that was very, very smart.

Also, I think it's big of SNL to attract all of these major presidential candidates on their show. It seems to prove that SNL is gaining a positive reputation for portraying political comedies and parodies. Good for them. Guliani even came on during Weekend Update, not that he's running anymore, but the only presidential candidate who did not appear yet is McCain. But, McCain already hosted SNL, so I'll cut him a little slack. He doesn't really need any vote boosting anyway since he's already the leading man for the Republicans.

I was looking up the bit on where Hillary speaks on SNL, trying to find a clip on YouTube. What I did come across really caught my attention. Hillary, in the recent debate that I failed to watch, acknowledged SNL and how she gets asked the questions first. "Does Barack need a pillow?" Wow. I was stunned that she made both comments. It's so bold! Which brings us all back to Tina Fey's comment, "bitch is the new black." Watch the clip here.

In addition, Hillary subtly comments on Tina Fey's speech when on a bus with reporters. Watch it here. Even though it seems they portray her in a negative light, calling her a bitch and making her out to be testy and annoying, I think they are giving her credit for battling back against it, and for even being a good candidate. Do you think SNL sides with either candidate, because their portrayals make me feel like they could go both ways.

So, what do you think of the video clips? What did you think of last week's SNL?

And who do you think is going to take this race after last night's primaries?