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Monday, November 30, 2009

The Facebook Freeze

I've noticed that a few of my friends on Facebook...that is to say, these were my friends even before Facebook existed, not friends met ON it...a few of my friends have announced via their status lines that they will be "freezing" their FB accounts. It turns out that this is happening not because they're being stalked, or they think it's stupid. Their basically disconnecting because they feel they are spending too much time on it. In other words, they feel as if they are so addicted to the Book of Face, that they have to quit cold turkey.

We've seen all of this before. It happened in the 80s with bulletin boards, and in the 90s with chat rooms. I remember reading an article in the 90s about something called "techno therapy", for people who were so immersed into their online lives, they neglected their real lives. And it's not just social networking or chat rooms. Remember when World of Warcraft was in the news all the time? I remember those same stories of people who just got so involved in this stuff, that it took over their lives. Much like this young man:

I get it. I mean, whenever anything new comes out, I think we all have a tendency to spend a little more time with it than normal. I remember killing a bunch of times in chat rooms back in the day. But after about 2 weeks, my frequency of usage had dropped considerably. I still used chat rooms, just not all the time. Same things with stuff like video games. Yeah, when GTA: Vice City came out, my PS2 was running ALL THE TIME. But again, after a few weeks, after you get used to the new and exciting, you get on with your life.

Same with Facebook. When I first signed on to it, I'm guessing about 2 years ago, it was interesting. I had only sign onto it because some friends were into Scrabulous, and I wanted to play with them. Then, as more people signed on, and more people started playing "Dope Wars", and sending you Ice Vampire attacks, it was fun! And you could update your status, and read what everyone else was doing, and see pictures of yourself posted by others, and videos and get totally into it. But then, like everything else, it either outlives its usefulness, or you integrated as another tool. And I guess that's where I am with Facebook. I like it to check in on friends, old and new. I like playing Scrabble with one of my best friends who lives in Seattle (and I NEVER get to see). And I can put up photos of my little girl so friends and family can see how much she's grown over the years. And it's a great place to point people to my blog. Useful, effective, and yes, even fun.

I don't know addicted my friends are to Facebook. But I doubt they're as bad as a lot of other people out there. How about this article from CNN, about a woman who wouldn't even help her daughter with her homework, because she was too busy using Facebook. Now, if you're neglecting your children, or your job, or friends for Facebook...I think Facebook is the LEAST of your problems; it just happens to be the vehicle of choice to manifest your deeper issues. But I'm no shrink...

Here are some more articles on FB addiction: 1, 2, 3

Monday, November 23, 2009

...give 'em their own rope...: Or, "A Nation of Morons Can't Be Wrong!"

I first want to say that I love Sarah Palin. I love her, and I love her supporters.

Because of these people, we may see some REAL change in our country-- change that we so DESPERATELY NEED!

Have you ever heard the expression "The dumb leading the blind"? Well...

Look, I'm not really making fun of these people. They're not bad, after all-- not even evil. Just easily manipulated and totally ignorant to the issues. Everything that these people are complaining about has ALREADY BEEN HAPPENING over the last 8 years. But now that Barack Hussein Hitler Stalin Obama has taken office, they are all scared. Yes, there is a natural feeling of racial paranoia that these folks have; it's just their way of acknowledging that their ancestors have done some wrong in the country...but that's about as close as anyone will get to a concession of the racial manipulation and propaganda of white America. Now they fear that everything that's been done to black folks will, in fact, be done to them. And I must say...I find that very funny.

Sarah Palin, and her ilk, are coming. This book tour is only the beginning-- the NEW beginning...of the end of an era. You see, unfortunately, the people that follow her are merely looking for someone to represent them. But when you are uneducated-- when you are ignorant to the issues and have a general lack of intellectual curiosity, you can never really win. Sure, you may win some battles...but you'll never, EVER win the war. The ignorant always fall. The uneducated ALWAYS get left behind. Just like those poor people following Tom Cruise and HIS cronies. It feels good to be in the "In" crowd. It's awesome to hang with the popular kids. But it gets old...REAL quick.

Plain stupid.

Mother is an ad agency, with offices in New York and London. They are one of the shops that does "high concept" advertising. And their latest commercial spot is definitely for the "high"...

It's an ad running in UK theaters for an organization called "Plane Stupid", who's goal is to limit the expansion of the aviation industry to help curb carbon emissions. The "concept"? To visualize a statistic that says that even a short flight can cause as much carbon monoxide as an adult polar bear. So, they decided to drop polar bears from the sky. Could be a cute idea, but...

Completely unnecessary. You don't turn people on to an issue by turning them off, and grossing them out. The only thing this commercial is doing for this message AND the organization AND the ad agency that put this out, is making people sick. It's this kind of "high concept" stupidness that makes me hate most of the ad industry. I could imagine the clowns in THIS pitch meeting-- a bunch of self-important "artists" who think they can productively convey a message by being "shocking"-- forcing their artistic relevance on people, much the same way that those morons at DDB Brazil did:

To World Wildlife Fund's credit, they did not approve the creative above for publication, but DDB took it upon themselves to submit the ad for award consideration.

I don't understand how these dolts can keep themselves in a self-imposed bubble, and not allowing themselves to be aware of what people can and will respond to. If you want to be an "artist", go buy some canvas and paints, and sit in a studio. If you want to appeal to people, GET TO KNOW PEOPLE!

It's good to know, however, that there are some agencies out there that can be clever AND get an important issue across to people, in a way that they will enjoy (and pass a link to their friends, and family!):

"Who's got the rubbers?": American Music Awards, 11/22/09

I haven't seen the AMA's since the 80s. Maybe Michael Jackson was on, or Madonna, or INXS-- whoever was big at the time. And it was okay-- you know...good, clean, family fun. Now, maybe I've become a bit old fashioned in my 37 years, but I have to tell you...I can't believe what I saw on this show last night. Not that I was necessarily shocked by what I saw...I was just shocked that they showed it on a major network during prime time!

I didn't watch all of last night's American Music Awards-- I have absolutely no interest in anyone on it. I know WHO was there, and WHO was performing...but none of these people really do anything that would prompt me to spend 3 hours watching it. But I'll tell you, there were a couple of things that I happened to catch that were surprising.

The television was on. I was not watching, only listening. I hear Seth Green introduce Eminem and 50 Cent. They come on, and produce some noise with people shouting over it. But then I heard them shout "Where's the rubber? Who's got the rubbers?", which forced me to stop what I was doing. "Did they just say 'who's got the rubbers?' On national television?" Not only that, but you couldn't really hear the rest of the song, because the network kept cutting the audio because of the cursing and/or whatever other crap they were saying. I'm sure there were some horrified parents listening to their kids fill in the gaps of audio with "shit" or "bitch" or "nigger"-- whatever it is that they cut out.

And then there was this Adam Lambert kid-- looking like an extra from one of those Twilight movies. Okay, kid-- you're gay, we get it. You're not ashamed of it, we understand. But you make kids music. For kids. I don't think simulating a blow job during prime time is the kind of thing you need to be showing your audience. Yeah, I'm sure there are some 20 and 30 year old Chelsea boys that dig you...but that's not who's buying most of your crap. I mean, the flipping the finger...yeah, you're a tough guy. The making out the guy on stage...yeah, you're a rebel, I understand. But come on...! And hey, if it was a straight guy doing it, I'd be pissed too. Maybe another one of these pop goons DID do some simulated crap on stage-- I don't know, because I didn't see it all. IT'S A FAMILY SHOW! In PRIME TIME!!

I guess it's because I'm a dad now (with a 4 year old) that I'm noticing stuff like this. And look- I REALLY, TRULY do not care that they do this shit-- I have no real moral argument against rock and pop starts doing crazy shit on stage (I grew up with Michael Jackson grabbing his balls). BUT...on a family show...I don't think that's right.

I mean, aside from that, I think the show sucked. The "gay guy" and the JLo fell, Rhianna wore bondage (like she has for the last 4 months), and Kate Hudson's nips almost fell out-- those were big stories. Other than that, well...the stuff that passes for popular music today is pretty dreadful. These people sing off-key (where's your robot-voice NOW?!), they can't really dance, and all the songs sound EXACTLY THE SAME. I guess it's like it's always been-- if you want the REALLY good new music, don't look to the mainstream.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Trimming the fat...literally.

"It's a strange world." -- character Jefferey Beauxmont, from David Lynch's Blue Velvet

I thought I heard it all. But NOPE...

Pishtacos is a legendary creature of Andean mythology. It's a creature that is known to behead their victims, eat their flesh, and remove their fat. It's said to replace the chupacabra as the "boogie man" of choice in certain South American cultures.

According to a story run by the Associated Press, police in Peru have made arrests of gang members that have been killing people and extracting their fat to sell on the black market for use in cosmetics. This gang, whose members are still at large, are said to have killed their victims, beheading them, removing their organs, hanging their remains from trees, and heating them until their fat drips a George Forman grill.

Police arrested two of these gang members at a bus station. They were found with a full liter soda bottle filled with an amber-colored liquid, which lab tests revealed was human fat. The suspects claim that they could make $60,000 from the sale of human fat, although there is no evidence of this. Supposedly, it is believe that the use of human fat, as part of a skin care regimen, can reducing aging.

This is apparently not the only gang doing this. In fact, it's said that the leader of the gang in question, a 56 year-old man named Hilario Cudena, has been doing this for over 30 years.

It's bad enough that they're killing people (more than 60 people have been reported missing), but the roasting the remains to get the fat drippings for something that, according to dermatologists, is not only useless, but could be a health hazard.

As gross and horrifying as this story is, I think it could be of some use. Imagine what we could do for the obesity problem in America, if we told the obese that they needed to lose weight, or else the Pishtacos would get them. They'd probably think that you said fish tacos, and get all excited. Oh well, it was a thought...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cyborg Civil Rights...EVENTUALLY!

Now here's an interesting article, from The Telegraph, making a case for robot civil rights. They say that there could be a time when robots start to demand equal rights along with humans.

I dunno-- my geeky side says that this is a very interesting debate to be had. If robots do get to a point when they start thinking for themselves, and possibly even look like us, and interact with us, either at work, or even sexually (inevitable), could they or should they be treated as humans are treated? Or are they to be treated like objects, or merchandise.

However, my realistic side says who the hell cares. NO ONE reading this right now will be alive when this happens. I mean, we're talking AT LEAST 300-400 years from now. We live in a world where blacks had to fight for their civil rights less than 60 years ago. And gays are denied the right to marry. Not to mention the civil rights violations happening all around the world.

While this is interesting fodder for a sci-fi allegory, it's kind of a silly debate. But I think we can have an irreverent geek-out every now and then. Why not. Smoke 'em if you got 'em. And discuss.

The GOP's H.N.I.C.

Whenever my late grandfather would hear about a black person given a role of responsibility, he would always jokingly say "Oh, he's the H.N.I.C.!", which is an acronym for the phrase "Head Nigger In Charge". It was his smart-assed way to say that no matter the title, you ain't in charge of shit. That's one of the many thing that I think of whenever I see Michael Steele on television.

The image above is from his so-called "victory lap" after winning two gubernatorial positions during off-year elections...and losing New York's 23rd district (with a candidate HE endorsed) for the first time since the Civil War. He is supposed to be assuming the "Heisman" pose, which looks like this:

Now, I'm not sure what geriatric-palsiated position he has himself in, but it really doesn't matter. It's just the latest example of the coonin' and shining that causes any self-respecting black person to absolutely cringe.

This is almost as embarrassing as the redesign of the GOP's website, that he personally supervised. Just look at this:

Who are those people? Stock art, I'm sure. But, according to Mr. Steele, these are the "Faces" of the "new" GOP. What new GOP? But that's not the funny/embarrassing part. He started a blog on the site:

"What up?". He called his blog "What up?". Do you understand me, he F**KING called his blog, HIS BLOG on the GOP's WEBSITE....he called it "What up?". He actually had the intelligence to take it down, but...HE CALLED HIS BLOG "WHAT UP?"!

I'd like to take this moment to address Mr. Steele personally:

Dear Michael Steele,

I know you must have been thrilled at the so-called honor to be chosen as the leader of the Republican Party. I'm sure you and your immediate family were very excited. But there are some of us...hell, there are A LOT of us who are as well...but for entirely different reasons.

As the GOP's highest Affirmative Action hire, you have done a great deal to not only make them look completely and totally have also managed to make every educated, self-respecting African American (well, me, anyway...) sick to their stomachs.

Every time I see you trying to be what you would call "hip" or "urban", you make it very difficult for anyone to take you seriously. You're like a minstrel show in a suit. You have managed to take white American caricatures of black folks, and used them to try to reach out to broaden the appeal of the GOP to attract more of us to join you....with "fried chicken and potato salad." (I shit you not, watch the clip).

I'm not sure if you really, truly know what you are doing or saying. It's bad enough that you would marginalize your own people, but when it comes to the real issues, you make it clear that you haven't got a CLUE. Pick a topic-- Health Care, the economy, foreign policy...every time you open your mouth, you set black folks back AT LEAST two decades.

The last thing I really want to do is to get all belligerent, but you just bring it out of me: You're a clown. A GODDAMN joke. And I hope you remain the head of the GOP for as LONG as HUMANLY POSSIBLE. Someone like you could do a lot to destroy the party you represent. The only downside is that you'll give those white folks MORE of a reason to exclude black and brown folks from their organization. Maybe that's not a bad thing, maybe it is. The only bad thing that I know of FOR SURE in this equation is you.

In the end, when you walk away with egg on your face, humiliated and disgraced...when Rush, and Cantor, and Beohner, and McConnell, and the rest turn their backs on you (and they will), don't look to any of us to feel sorry for you. There will be no empathy. Remember empathy?

By the way, THIS is how you assume the Heisman pose:

Sincerely, Charles

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nailin' Palin

Okay, I really wasn't going to write anything about this person. I go. Don't worry, I'll keep it short.

As everyone and their mother knows, the GOP spokesmodel's book was released this week. And with the release comes a flurry of criticism about it's apparent liberties with the facts. As if that's a real surprise to anyone. I'm just in awe at how she has completely captivated the attention of the entire media sect. It's like rubber-necking a car accident-- it's so shocking, you just have to hold everyone else's thirst for information on REAL ISSUES, while you gawk and stare at this hot mess.

You can probably guess by my tone that I have no interest in reading her book. I figure if I'm going to kill braincells, I'd rather do it via something more breathing in exhaust fumes. The excerpts and clips of her Oprah appearance were all that I needed to get an idea of what this person's up to. It's a pity, really, that she had a perfect opportunity to do something smart with this book. Here she is, with the attention of the ENTIRE COUNTRY on her, and what does she do? Writes a screed about being a victim. A victim of the McCain campaign. A victim of "the Media" (..."in what respect, Charlie?"). A victim of her own breasts and vagina. It's because she's a woman, after all, that she has been unfairly treated. It's because she's a person with breasts from Alaska that she has not been taken seriously. Yeah...that's exactly it. It's not because she doesn't understand the issues. It's not because she's nothing more than a local politician who bit off more that she could chew. It's not because she has absolutely NO intellectual curiosity whatsoever. It's not because she is smug in the face of her own ignorance. NO. No. It's because...she's a woman.

I watched a few of the clips from the Oprah interview, and I have to tell you...I think Oprah's body language said it all. She looked at this woman running her mouth like a sheep-a-shittin'...and she was over it. Sarah Palin is an attractive woman-- a former beauty queen, with a pretty face and nice legs. Imagine if she looked like this:

Or this:

Would people buy her book? Would they invite her on talk shows to run her mouth? Would GOP pundits and representatives be touching themselves at night thinking about her? Would we pay attention to ANYTHING she had to say? Of course not. But for me, when I hear Sarah Palin talk, I see nothing but those two images above. And I'm not diggin' it.

That's all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Like Asian Chicks? Grab a Pencil...!


Leave it to a numb-skulled white guy to show you the way!

I mean, this is just so stupid. What's even worse is the earnestness with which he employs his "skills" to draw something that looks like one of those horrid "Bratz" dolls. But really, I think this is some really sharp insight into the mind of a racial fetishist. I'm surprised he could contain the drool from dripping onto the page. I'm impressed that he at least said "Asian woman" as opposed to "oriental".

Please, someone make a "How to Draw a Caucasian Douchebag" video.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Are you a single woman, looking for a man? BUY THESE SHOES!

If you are a straight, heterosexual man-- and when I say "straight" and "heterosexual", I mean you LOVE women. You adore them. You think they're great, wonderful, sexy, beautiful, yummy-- all of those things. In other words, if you had a choice between watching a ball game or hanging around with a group of ladies out at a fancy lounge all dressed up and junk...or even just hanging out in a pair of jeans and a a ball game...I'm talking to you, and to the women that love us. I believe that these shoes, these Christina Louboutin pumps, can help bring us together in much happiness and joy. Why, do you ask? Because the woman that wears these pumps, ANY WOMAN that wears these pumps, will be deemed FIERCE. And the fellow that sees the woman wearing these pumps will want to get to know you...and whatever's underneath your clothing (wink-wink).

Do I have a foot fetish? No, not really. But there is something about a sweet pair of shoes (and a tasteful leopard-skin top or skirt) that does something to me-- call me a freak, call me a weirdo...but that's just how I feel.

So, to all of my single lady friends (and you know who you are), and to the ladies that wanna show off a little to your man...if you have an extra $700 bucks laying around...or you can find some fellow/rube with some extra cash...BUY THESE SHOES.

You're welcome ;)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Brothers Wojahn

Keeping up with the music theme that I seem to be running here from the last few posts, I've come across the creators of some of the best advertising jingles I've heard in years. They are called Wojahn Brothers Music. Founded in 1990, these are two twin brothers that, according to their bio, decided to quit their day jobs and do something they love: creating music. They've managed to carve our quite a niche from themselves over the last 18 years, creating some of the most memorable music in commercials today. They're most famous for this song they created for the XBox 360 video game Mercenaries 2:

Here are some of their greatest hits. Enjoy:

Monday, November 9, 2009

How Many More Beatles Remix Albums Do We NEED?! Okay, maybe one more...

On September 9th, 2009, a man who wishes to remain anonymous (but calls himself "James Richards") was involved in an incident. While chasing his dog, he fell and was knocked unconscious. When he woke up, he was in a strange room, in a home occupied by a man named Jonas. Jonas was interdimensional travel agent from an alternate universe, who found our anonymous friend while exploring, and brought him back to his the alternate universe.

Long story short, "Richards" and Jonas talk about the similarities and differences between their realities, and "Richards" comes to discover that in this parallel universe, The Beatles had not only not broken up, but all members are alive and well, and touring. Before "Richards" returns home, he snags a tape of one Jonas' Beatles' albums (because apparently CDs don't exists in this universe...he mentions this "fact"...) and returns home. And now, he has posted this "unheard Beatles album" for you, called EVERYDAY CHEMISTRY.

I have to give this guy an "A" for creativity, that's for sure(!). And the album itself is VERY well mixed and chopped up. Basically, taking The Beatles' solo stuff and mashing it up. Noteworthy here are the tracks "Days Like These", "Jenn", "Anybody Else", and "Sick to Death". It's enjoyable, and has a fun back-story. Can't beat that...

Bruce Springsteen @ Madison Square Garden 11/8/09: Or, How I Got a Hug from The Boss (that's right-- A HUG)

If a time traveler approached me a year ago and told me that the title of this blog posting would apply to me, I would have laughed in their face and offered to buy them another drink. But facts are facts, and that's the way it was.

Now here's what I know for sure. When it comes to The Boss, there are two types of people: those who don't really know anything about him, and those WHO LOVE HIM. Springsteen fans are the most devoted, obsessive, and fanatical I've ever seen (next to KISS, in my experience). I mean, these people KNOW this music, and KNOW this band. I was born in Philadelphia, and grew up in New Jersey, so it's not like I was totally unfamiliar with their work. Bruce Springsteen honestly didn't show up on my radar until 1985 when "We Are the World" came out. Even though "Dancing in the Dark" came out a year before that, I was steeped in Michael Jackson land at the time. My parents listened to mostly Motown and classic soul music, so I really wasn't exposed to it. And most of my peers at the time listened to Bon Jovi, or Madonna-- stuff like that. It wasn't until I met my girlfriend last year that I got a real introduction. She is one of these FANS. And I would come to know that not only were she and her friends fans, but they KNEW Bruce and the band...and they know THEM. So, earlier this year, she and her friends promised me that this year I would not only get to see them live, but I would actually meet them. And that is what happened last night.

Bruce and the band played two shows this weekend; we went to Sunday night's show. These were special shows for a couple of reasons. Firstly, this was one of the last shows of their current tour (they have 7 more after this weekend). Secondly, they decided to do something a little different. Each night was devoted to a different album, played in its entirety. Again, being unfamiliar with their work, I had no idea what to expect. The album that we got to hear, however, was one that I was familiar with: The River. Released in 1980, it was supposed to be a single album, but he felt that he needed to add more material to it, building it into a double album. I knew a couple of the songs because of a mixed CD my lady made me, but the one song I had known since I was a child was "Hungry Heart"-- a great song in and of itself.

The show was really outstanding. I mean, these guys REALLY put on a show! They played for well over 3 hours without a break. Their energy was undeniably strong. And for a man that was, earlier this year, on the cover of AARP's montly magazine, The Boss really tore it up! They started out with a new song (don't ask me what it's called, please). Then went into The River in its entirety-- and as my first BS&ESB album, it was excellent. Then they did a few encore numbers, including the Sam Cooke number "Sweet Soul Music" (great rendition). The show concluded with their big hit "Dancin' In The Dark," which some Springsteen fans joke that he plays so that the "real fans" can beat the traffic. All-in-all, I had a really great time. These are incredibly talented musicians that know how to entertain.

But now, let's get back to the headline of this entry. As I mentioned earlier, my lady and her friends actually know Bruce and the band. So when we showed up, we did not use the normal entrance. We entered through a side door, and were given a special badge (shown above) and a couple of other pieces of ID. Then we went up a freight elevator, and down a hall, to a room that was labeled "Hospitality". There, we were treated to drinks and fruits and cheeses and things (yum!). And then we got the call that the show was about to begin. We walked into a hallway to wait. When I first stepped into the hallway, director Mike Nichols walked by (damn!). I looked to my left, and there was Elvis Costello (holy SHIT!). I am TOTALLY NOT a star struck person...and I couldn't even speak. I made a joke at one point that he snickered at(!), but I was so stunned that I still couldn't speak to him (LAME!!). Then I turned again, and Max Weinberg walked by, looked at me and said "Hi". I said "Hi" back (shite!), then he stopped to talk to Elvis, and the rest of us, about the evening's set. Meanwhile, I was jabbing my thumb into by girlfriend's back, whispering "That's Max Weinberg talking to ELVIS COSTELLO!"

Then we were ushered out into another hallway, a few feet away from the stage. I saw a golf cart, dressed up like a purple pimp-mobile, with the words "Big Man" written in gold on the front. This chariot was for Clarence Clemons (get the FUCK out of here!!!), who needs transport due to his incredible back pain. After he passed by, we were escourted to our seats. I was sitting in an aisle, about 3 rows away and on the right side of the stage. On the left of our group, Chita Rivera sat next to one of our friends. On my immediate right was the aisle, and in the following seat was John McEnroe. Then I felt my lady grab my arm. She leaned towards me and said "Oh my God, it's Jon Stewart!" And lo and behold, sitting right behind McEnroe was Jon (I AM FREAKING DYING RIGHT NOW) Stewart, with his little boy. Well, that was it for me-- I was stunned. STUNNED. So stunned, that I didn't say a word to him.

But it was after the show that was a true stunner. We went back to the hospitality room for about 10 minutes. In that time, while everyone was talking about the show, and what songs they performed that night for the first time ever, and the fact that they hadn't played this or that song since 1999, and other stuff that only a true fan would know...I just sat there, listening and watching-- taking it all in. This was already, for me, an unforgettable moment. Everyone was nice and totally chill. And I had seen what was, undeniably, one of the best concerts I had ever seen in my life. Then, we got the call: "He's ready." We all got up, and were escorted into the dressing room of Bruce and the band. On the way, I saw Little Steven (LITTLE STEVEN!!), who said "Hi" and shook my hand(!). And when we got into the dressing room, there he was. Just hanging out and chatting. My lady introduced me to Patty (godDAMN!), who was very sweet-- and seemed genuinely shocked that I had never seen on of their shows before. And on the couch, across from her, sat Bruce, Elvis, and Jon. Just...talkin'. Hangin' out. My GOD if only SOMEONE had a camera to capture that image, I'd hang it on my wall for all time.

We had spent about 15-20 minutes with them in the room before we realized how late it was. We had a bit of a drive to get back home, so we called it a night. And as we were saying our goodbyes, Bruce got up and approached me. My lady's friend introduced me. I reached out to shake his hand, and I said "Hello, Mr. Springsteen!" (I am such a DORK). He reached out and took my hand and said "Hey, man-- how're you doin'?" Then he pulled me in for a hug. And I hugged back, all the while thinking "He's gonna hug me?!" My lady's friend told him that this was my first show, and he was also genuinely surprised. I told him that I loved it, and that the album was spectacular. He was very kind and very gracious. And, with that, we walked out.

My lady wrapped her arm around mine, and smiled at me from ear to ear. All I could say was "Did Bruce Springsteen just hug me?!" She laughed, and said "Yes he did!", and told me that I should have done my impression for him. Uh, NO...! 'cause it's not that good, really-- more silly, than anything else. But man, let me tell you. I spent 20 minutes in a room full of legends. It was without-a-doubt one of the most unpredictable and exciting things that has ever happened to me. And I want to give a VERY SPECIAL thanks to "E" for making it happen.

So, did it take meeting the men and women of this group to make me into a fan? Maybe. All I can say is that I'm ready to take it all in. And "The River" was a great place to start.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Sittin on Tha Toilet"

It's rare...EXTREMELY RARE...that I see something on the internets that make my brain, soul, and skin ache, all at the same time.

Less than 5 minutes prior to this entry, a friend of mine IM'd me the following video:

This video was posted by someone with the screen name "alonzochadwick". The caption on this video reads: "The Ultimate Revenge!!! This is Payback Nonnie.... Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ".

Okay, this is a revenge showing. I get that part. But what I want to know is...WHY? Why did she shoot this video? What was going on through her mind? When she first got the sensation to use the bathroom, what was that little "nugget" of brain matter that convinced her to grab her cell phone, or Flip camera, or whatever she used, to capture this moment...and then SEND IT to someone?!

Now, I realize that people do some weird stuff, but...I dunno, maybe it's because I have an aversion to things of a scatological nature. I hate seeing shit and fart jokes in movies, and I hate them EVEN MORE in real life. Yes, it's a natural thing, and we all do it. Hell, anyone who's had to clean their baby's diaper can deal with it.

Aside from the toilet-y nature of this THING, it's the general image itself that sickens me:

So, to the asshole that posted this video, I say "thank you very much". You just gave the tea-baggers another protest poster. Just picture Michelle's head 'shopped over that montrosity. Seriously, I don't know what I hate more; dumb white racists, or moronic black folks. As a black person myself, the later bothers me more.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


It's hard to believe that this time last year was the first day of the rest of our lives...or so it seemed. The election season went on for over two years. Remember when the front-runners were Rudy Guiliani and Hillary Clinton? Good times...! Well, not that good-- mostly stressful and panic attack-inducing for a lot of people. But that was a year ago. Now, it's time to reflect on the first year of the Obama presidency. And, as it turns out...people are still pissed.

This is what I just don't get: It seems to me that it took one of the worst presidencies of modern times to get people to FINALLY take their heads out of their asses, and start paying attention to the people who are running this country. Americans allowed a truly corrupt and incompetent administration run this country into the ground for 8 YEARS...and NOW you want to speak truth-to-power?! Now you want to express concern?! I guess the suspension of Habeus Corpus and Posse Comitatus, outting a CIA agent for political purposes, 9/11, Katrina, "Mission Accomplished", torture, wiretapping, deregulation, tax cuts for the rich, bail out of the airlines, energy policy, "The Bush Doctrine"...none of these things are really all that important.

Republicans love to bitch about the response to their obnoxious and unfounded criticisms of the president by pointing out that George W. Bush was often times unfairly criticized and judged by the left. And that's true...because HE GAVE EVERYONE SEVERAL REASONS to criticize him! Barrack H. Obama was in office for 2 MONTHS before people started attacking EVERY MOVE HE MADE! Two months in, the Bush economy was his, and both of Bush's wars were his. Meanwhile, our country was attacked on Bush's 9TH MONTH IN OFFICE, and NO ONE BLAMED HIM or his administration for dropping the ball! This country was attacked on THEIR WATCH! They received warnings 1 MONTH PRIOR from not only our intelligence agency, but from France, Germany, UK, and Russia! And THEY STILL DID NOTHING!!! But everyone forgot that, didn't they? No one remembers the WMD lies? No one remembers the disenfranchisement of black voters? No one remembers the Katrina response? The immigration "debate"? "No Child Left Behind?" Anyone? Bueller?

So now, it's one year later, and everyone's pissed. Gays are pissed. Progressives are pissed. Republicans...well, you know. American is "being taken away" from some...apparently. Not that it wasn't already, but now...Now that Barack Hussien STALIN-HITLER Obama is in's ALL GOING TO HELL!! Good-bye America! And you were SO GOOD there for a while....! But now that "the Muslim" is in office, it's ruined.

I have honestly never seen such short-sighted, ignorant, immature, hyperbolic rhetoric in my 37 years of life on Earth (or, technically, my 15 years of following politics). How many ass-kissing Republican jack-asses can cry on television, or scream empty-headed monologues into an inanimate object (Rush and the "golden dick" he mouths at every day) before people can really see what's happening here? Quite a few, by my estimation. And you know what? It's okay. Really, I think it's okay. I am all for people showing their "true colors". I believe that people really are upset, and confused, and angry-- I see that! I feel that. Hell, I was unemployed for 8 months of this year myself, so I get it. But is that Obama's fault? No. The economy started going down hill in 2007. You'd never know that, however, to hear some of the criticism out there. But by their logic, can I now give Obama credit for the fact that I just got a new job?

Was the War in Afghanistan Obama's fault? Not really. It was started 8 years ago. Now he has to clean it up. But how do you end a war that's been going on for nearly a decade? Pull out? But then what? Reduce troop levels? Up troop levels? But then what? Lots of opinions, LOTS of options-- plenty of Monday Morning Quarterbacks out there. It's easy to criticize when you're not the one making the decisions. President Obama has to deal with it. Who the hell knows how his decisions will affect that region, but I'll tell you this: I trust a smart and thoughtful man like him to deal with it.

I guess my point here is that I'm not ready, after only one year, to judge Barack Obama's presidency. He hasn't even completed his first term yet, people! Just imagine if we had held President Bush to the same standards that we are judging President Obama. Maybe then John Edwards wouldn't have slept with that woman (dumbass).

Mind-reading computer can replicate what you think!

Wow, how about that science!

A professor from the University of California has developed a system that actually recreates images produced in your mind! Research subjects were wired to an MRI, which was connected to a computer. While watching a video, the brainwaves were analyzed by the software, and was then able to make loose renderings the images they were watching(!).

The applications for this technology, according to those conducting the experiments, could be used to help solve crimes by reading the witnesses brain waves and recreating the events as they remember them. However, seeing that people tend to add their own spin on what they remember, this could backfire in ways. I mean, it's unclear how this machine would work in that way-- would it draw an honest image regardless of the subject's spin? Or would we be watching the video playback, then all-of-a-sudden see a dragon flying by...?

They are still in the early stages, and have not yet released a paper chronicling their research, but it's still pretty amazing to see stuff like this. Soon, we will all be living in the sci-fi movie we've always wanted to!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Soft robot technology

iRobot, the people that make the Roomba, are among the robotics companies on the forefront of new technology. Just look at the video for their newest creation; a "soft robot" using something called "jamming" skin:

It's kinda gross-- looks like something Rob Bottin made in a bad 80s horror film. The applications are somewhat imaginable, although my brain can't get around how they will be able to keep this thing from being so slimey-looking. But, then again, that's not my job. Mine is just to look at this thing and say things like "That's...interesting." Or, as Homer Simpson would say "What an amazing time we live in!"


They say that James Cameron's new film AVATAR cost over $300 million dollars to make. I've seen all of this man's movies, and he is practically one of the only directors out there that spends a ton of money on his films, and ALL OF THAT MONEY appears on screen.

Looks like we have Giovanni Ribisi in there, and Michelle Rodriguez...and Sigourney Weaver(!). And Sam Worthington is in there, too (Terminator Salvation). I'm not familiar with the rest of the cast at first sight, but I'm sure they're all just fine.

If this trailer is any indication, this will be another groundbreaking moment in cinema. Remember how The Abyss and Terminator 2 moved CG to the next level?