Friday, March 22, 2002

No shit, Sherlock: "LA cardinal says abuse by priests damages church".

I can handle blogging enough to command you to read this post by the BC Monkey, if you haven't already.

Wooo, to many cocktails last night. I don't think I can handle blogging today. I smoked two cigarettes last night, one for Steve and one for Megan. Now I feel like I've swallowed three sheets of sandpaper and had a screwdriver hammered through my ear. Happy Friday, everyone. See ya tomorrow.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Just when I was ready to ditch the patch for the Marlboro Man, it's Grasshoppa to the rescue.

I always found something strangely exciting and sultry about smoking; maybe it's the notion of flirting with death.

There's nothing "sultry" about what Grasshoppa has posted.

Thanks, Geoff. You're the best.

P.S. - Thanks to Pejman, too!

I love this: The Amish Electrical Appliance Evilness Ranking Chart.

"Never too old for a pint."

You go, Jeremiah.

The media are more than just a business; they bring information to people that affects their lives. We cannot have a healthy democracy, and women cannot pursue equal rights, if we are uninformed on the issues. The media have a responsibility to serve the public interest and ensure that all voices are heard.

-Terry O'Neill
NOW Membership Vice President, encouraging women to participate in a protest on Friday, March 22 outside the FCC to "demand that the FCC halt further media consolidation and act to preserve the openness and diversity of the Internet."

Am I the only one laughing at the idea that someone at NOW claims to want "all voices" to be heard?

It seems everyone wants to weigh in on quitting smoking. First Stephen Green urges me not to quit. Then Megan McArdle had this to say:

I think the hardest thing about quitting smoking was not the nicotine withdrawal (no more painful than a middling tough diet) -- it's that most of the best things that ever happened to me happened when I had a cigarette in my hand. It's not any particular time of day that I miss smoking, it's the moments: the perfect evening dress, waiting on a windy evening in autumn with your coat wrapped tight around you, and most of all the end of a hot summer afternoon as day trickles into dusk . . . they have lost some of their luster without that little piece of fire cupped in your hand. It's been three years since I had a cigarette and I still can't pass a certain kind of stoop on a certain kind of street without thinking, God, I'd like to stop there and smoke awhile.

That one very nearly had me running for the liquor store. Now Mike Hendrix, blogger's resident rockabilly bad boy, writes:

Seems to me that what we're all addicted to is creating moments wherein we can think of ourselves in a certain light, ginning up a mental picture of ourselves and then trying to make it real. And self-image is always about one thing, and one thing only. Yep, it looks like Mom was right all along, and we all know it: the only reason any of us ever picked up the habit in the first place was because we thought it made us look cool. And you know the funniest part? It works. Consider: Bogie lighting up Bacall, Dino and Sinatra with a martini in one hand and a coffin nail in the other - always, Brando in The Wild One propped insouciantly against the juke, Mitchum in anything, Jackie Gleason 24-7 (I even have "Bang-Zoom" tattooed on my knuckles, and you'd be amazed at the number of times I've had to explain it. At least I hope you would). I've always liked Robert Mitchum, and he had the most amazing way of dangling a smoke from his mouth - looked like the only point of contact was between the last little molecules of upper lip and cigarette, and the only thing keeping it in place was the favor of the Lord. There's only one word for it, and I don't even have to say it; you look at a photo and you already know. Now compare that with what I would say would have to be the perfect image of the non-smoker: Woody Allen.

My will is crumbling...I swear it's a conspiracy among bloggers.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Mathew Engel writes about the death penalty in the Daily Wanker. He makes, er, um...>gulp<, I can't believe I'm saying this, but...some...valid...points (*sigh*. That hurt). Well, except when he writes the following:

Texas is scheduled to execute 13 people over the next three months. Also lined up are: in Virginia, Daniel Lee Zirkle, who has accepted his fate, which is unusual; in Alabama, Lynda Block, a woman, which is also unusual; and in Tennessee, Abu-Ali Abdur' Rahman, very possibly innocent, which is not that unusual.

Not that unusual? Care to make your claim interesting, Mr. Engel?

He concludes:

It would be sensible not to send any more diplomats to lecture the Americans on human rights and justice. It doesn't work. It would also be appropriate if the Americans ceased lecturing the rest of the world on the subject.

Yes, it would be sensible if elitist ninnies from the continent that gave the world the Inquisition, th Holocaust, the Tower of London, and some of the most grisly and inhumane methods of torture the human race has ever know would stop lecturing us because we put murderers to sleep. As far as lecturing the rest of the world, perhaps Mr. Engel is correct in his assertion. How dare we, executioners of vicious killers, speak out against countries like China, running tanks over the heads of protesters who dared to say "Democracy is Groovy" in public? After all, the U.S. allowing the death penalty for convicted murders and violent sex offenders is no different than, say, stoning a pregnant woman to death in the Sudan for cheating on her husband, right?

This is why I think it's time for N.O.W. to become T.H.E.N.:

The National Organization for Women received a series of unprecedented federal grants from the Clinton administration totaling over $700,000 before the women's group fell silent on charges of sexual harassment, sexual assault and even rape in the Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky cases four years ago.

(via BC Monkey)

Three cheers to Jonah Goldberg for today's G-File:

Well, I want to be disturbed. I say: Let's bring back the horror. Let's remind people what started this whole mess. Stop bathing us in the sentimentality of Sept. 11 babies being born and start reminding us why these newborns are without fathers in the first place. Stop the cogitating on what the correct formula for "compensating" victims might be just so that we can all avoid an army of trial lawyers shaking their jars for more money.

Five words I never thought I'd hear myself say: Good for you, Tony Blair.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Michael Moore visited Arcata, California. I'm not surprised. I went to school there. The only thing that makes Humboldt State University distiguishable from Woodstock is that there's more toilets. It was in a political science class at HSU that I first saw Roger & Me, and first realized that just because you get to sign "PhD" after your name, doesn't mean you're not stupid.

(link found via the Professor.)

According to the The Bitchin' Monaro Guide to Politics: FREE BEER IS A RIGHT NOT A PRIVILEGE.

Brilliant. I say REVOLUTION NOW.

And the "bitchin'" description is appropriate, even if the webmaster asks that you "give generously online to the DNC". The site's got the best list of news links I've ever seen, and tons of Mugabe games. But, for some reason, they seem to believe there is such a person as "Senator Clinton"...never underestimate the power of denial.

Today is a tragic day. I've decided to give up smoking. In spite of the fact that it makes my apartment stink, my car stink, my hair stink, my clothes stink, my breath stink, and it's beginning to cost a mini-fortune, I really love smoking. But over the last few years, I've developed a nagging hack that most recently has been accompanied by little globs of gooey things so disgusting, had I not washed them down the sink, they might have had promising careers as props and extras in horror films.

So my new best friend for the next month is Nicoderm CQ, a.k.a. "the patch". I'll either be posting excessively, to keep my mind off of cigarettes, or not at all, because I've been arrested for committing a terrible act of violence.

Monday, March 18, 2002

According to someone named "Arin Da Man", I am a "[redneck] writing on foreign policy with the calculated finesse of a bull mastiff playing with a TV remote."

Considering that this is the same fellow that writes about borgs and how much he misses (she misses?) the Soviet Union, I consider that statement one of the crowning acheivements in my thusfar short blogging career.

Someone googled their way in here looking for "call girl Glasgow". Sorry to disappoint you, buddy.

Ordinarily, I couldn't care less about most of pop culture. But someone forwarded me a message that I thought was worth sharing. Up until this morning, I thought "Limp Bizkit" was something in need of a dose of Viagra. I'm not sure if this is one of those "urban legend" deals, or if it's true. If anyone has any other information, I'd appreciate it if you'd send it my way.

Some of you may have heard about the Limp Bizkit guitarist search. Basically, the band has been "touring" the country visiting Guitar Center stores, holding auditions for a new guitarist to replace the one who left the band.

The deal is this. From 7:00 to 11:00 AM you can sign up for a slot to try out that day. The tryouts are from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. During this time, they take you into a room to play your stuff. At the end of that time, you leave. They call three to ten people at 5:30 to come back to the place and play in front of Limp Bizkit. Out of those people, one is selected to return at 9:00 to jam with the band, and anyone who participated is invited to watch -- a free concert, basically.

So I arrive there, with a copy of our band's full CD in hand. I'm with a friend who wants to try out, so I go ahead and sign up too. We get there at 5:00 AM and we're 83rd and 84th in line. Not incredibly bad. Free Krispy Kreme donuts and coffee, so all isn't too bad.

10:00 rolls around. The line is moving slow, but that's to be expected. We finally get up around the corner of the building to the front of the line at about noon. Current total time there: 7 hours.

Get to the table, and I notice there's a waiver you have to sign. No problem, standard stuff. Then I notice it's a three page contract. This contract basically said that if you play, you must sign the contract. Okay. No big deal here either. So I keep reading it. An interesting note. Anything you play can NOT be copyright, and can be used by Limp Bizkit in audio, video, or recorded form of any sort. Other big words which basically translated to the fact that if you play something, they are fully authorized to steal it and use it on a CD. The artist agrees to zero compensation and zero rights over the track, and will get their name in the liner notes "if possible."

This didn't sit well, as me and the guy I was with were planning on playing something we wrote with Starfront. So we sign it and decide to make something up. An annoyance at the very least, but we'd waited seven hours to get this far.

Then we got to stand in the parking lot for another two hours. We finally get inside at about 2:30, where it's another 30 minute wait for your turn. Current total time there: 10 hours.

So then we get the "rules". They are outlined for us straight out. No guitar solos. No playing cover songs. No playing copyrighted material. No playing Limp Bizkit songs. This effectively means that you're forced to play something that you made up, but don't have a copyright for. You may see where this is going.

Entering the room, there's one guy. He's got a mute button under his foot. His job is to make sure you follow the rules. If you break any, you get muted and kicked out immediately. So I go in, and there's one amp for me to plug into, and the settings are turned to "mud". It sounded awful, and was not pleasing to the ears. And it was loud enough that the awfulness didn't go away for some time. Then comes another fun part.

"You have 60 seconds to play. Starting now."

One fucking minute?! I mean, fucking... okay. So since the thing I'd been planning was two minutes and thirty seconds, I cut most of the parts out. Kept it under time (about 57 seconds), but it still sounded worse than a handful of ass due to that beautiful amplifier (hmm). And I leave the room and the line proceeds. We're told that the winners will be announced at 5:30. And that we are to remain in the front parking lot until that time. No leaving. Period. This makes for unhappy people. We're talking 200+ people here, plus any wives / girlfriends / husbands/ boyfriends / family / friends which accompanied them. But what can you do? We stay until 5:30. Total current time there: 12 hours, 30 minutes.

5:30 rolls around. People are getting ansi. The band management promised "free pizza". It came, and there were two boxes of pizza. Two large pizzas. For about two hundred people at least. No cool points here either. Anyway, the clock keeps ticking, and it's 6:00 before we notice anything going on. Guitar Center management flags all their people and security to come inside to discuss something. They go in there, and the guy in charge walks out with a megaphone. After getting everyone's attention, the guy on the
megaphone speaks:

"This competition has been called off effective immediately and will not be rescheduled. The band will not be performing with nor for anyone. They will not be signing autographs. This is beyond our control, but please exit the area immediately."

The guy then proceeds to enter back inside the huge glass doors, and two armed officers stand behind the door. They lock the building as the massive amount of people head directly towards them. After reaching the building, people start going apeshit. Cops are called in basically a way to clear the crowd. After about an hour, most have gone home or been "taken" home by the police. The radio station is completely screwed, having brought their entire broadcast booths out to cover it. Everyone is very, very pissed. Me and the other guy stayed awhile to figure out what was going on. It's now about 7:30 PM.

FM99 is having a field day with it. They're referring to this as "Fuck Fred Durst Friday", taking calls in from people who went. But unless you've read this carefully, I don't think you understand what happened.

Limp Bizkit now has over 200 guitar parts, written by various artists around here, which are unowned and not copyrighted. Limp Bizkit now owns these riffs. Limp Bizkit just stole 200 pieces of material right out from under these guitarists' noses, myself included. If I'd played something off our CD, I would be ABSOLUTELY pissed. I *am* absolutely pissed. They have completely ripped off hundreds of people, and they're getting away with it because they can. They're on their way to Georgia, and the radio station here has given out request line numbers for the stations down there for us to call and let them know what's happening over the course of this event, to warn them. But people aren't going to buy it. They're going to go and get their shit stolen too.

Someone needs to beat the living hell out of him. He's an asshole, and someone who doesn't deserve to be breathing the same air as a fucking cockroach.

To add insult to injury, Guitar Center ran a contest where the winner would get to watch the band play even if they didn't play guitar. One person and a friend. That person also won an autographed Gibson Les Paul Studio ($1500+ guitar) by the band. She
showed up after a near 200 mile drive to the area. Guitar Center told her that the band refused to acknowledge the contest at this point, and so not only did she drive three and a half hours for no performance (which she took her ten year old kid to see as his first concert), but apparently the guitar wasn't given either. All because the band wanted to be one giant collective asshole.

If any of you know anyone who's considering going to these tryouts, show them this message. If they have any questions they can contact me directly. I'm doing everything I possibly can to make sure this does NOT happen to anyone else. It's not my stuff I'm concerned about -- our CD is copyrighted completely and legally -- but I'm guessing 90% of the local bands who passed Durst a copy of their CD are going to be fucked. Many bands, especially newer local ones, don't have the money or know-how to copyright their stuff, and by giving it to them tonight, they just basically tossed them a new Limp Bizkit CD if Fred wants to do that. I wouldn't be
surprised if he copyrights their shit tomorrow.

It hurts to look around and see hundreds of people get excited at the chance to be able to make something of their guitar work; to have a shot at being in a popular band, making a living doing what they dream of. Fred Durst and Limp Bizkit are taking that dream and fucking it over. And anyone who wasn't there who just caught the coverage at noon and 5:00 on the news just think everything is perfect. Happy Fred Durst in front of the cameras behind the place, fenced off, saying how good the turnout is and how happy everyone seems, and talking about all the great shit he's hearing. That man is the true meaning of a music label representative. He's the perfect salesman and nice guy in front of the media, and turns around and screws everyone involved in the ass without having to take any hit in his overall popularity, and possibly gaining a shit ton of new music in the process that he's ripped from people.

Not many things piss me off, but I'm pissed off. I'm not the only one. All sorts of "this band is playing tonight at this place, and they'd like me to announce to Fred Durst that if you're still in the area and you come to this venue, you will be able to see what a REAL band is like -- right before the real band beats your skull in." This radio station is sick of the shit from this band, and so are its listeners. If this keeps happening, I wouldn't be surprised if some shit goes down somewhere really damn soon. If it does, I'll let you know.

Mondays are always the busiest at work. Don't expect much from me today. Come to think of it, don't expect much from me ever. I might sit down later in the evening and try and post something intelligent for a change. Or I might just go out and get drunk.

And you know, I find it terribly frustrating that I can still remember all of the words to "C'mon Get Happy" from the opening credits of "The Partridge Family" - a program that I haven't watched in over 20 years - but I can't remember where I put my keys five minutes ago.