Time to kill...

What the hell. Might as well clutter this blog up with tons of these MySpace Q&As. God knows I've got nothing better to offer right now...

1. What is your occupation

2. What color are your socks right now?
Oh, I have several pairs of socks. Some are white with grey heels, some are just grey, some are black...then there is that one pair of pink socks that I lost the last time I was at the Habana Inn.

3. What are you listening to right now
The constant ringing in my ears.

4. What was the last thing that you ate?
Spaghetti (Wal-Mart brand with some old Prego sauce I found in the refrigerator that didn't look like it had any mold on it yet). Buttered bread (wheat with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter). Pepsi. (black sugar water)

5. Can you drive a stick shift?
"Stick Shift"...that's kind of funny.

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
If I were a crayon I wouldn't care what color I was. Crayons are inanimate objects, dummy!

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
Mr. Wells Fargo.

8. How old are you today?
I am exactly the same age as I was yesterday. I fear I will remain this old until my birthday in April, but I'm trying to find a way to change all that.

9. Favorite drink?
Toilet water's under-rated.

10. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Political debates (especially the ones that end in bloodshed).

11. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Once a month I mix a few grey spots in, just so I'll look my age.

12. Pets?
I've got a dog and he has fleas, so yeah, I've got a lot of them. Not to mention the cooties.
...oh, and the lice.
...oh, and the ringworms.

13. Favorite food?
The edible kind.

14. What was the last movie you watched?
Old Yeller

15. Favorite days of the year?
None. I hate 'em all.

16. What do you do to vent anger?

17. What was your favorite toy as a child?
A dead cat.
Hey, I didn't kill it.
It was like that when I found it.

18. What is your favorite fall or spring?
My favorite fall is the old standard pratfall, you know, like the one Chevy Chase used to get so many laughs with. As for my favorite spring... my box spring mattress.

19. Hugs or kisses?
I don't like either of them. Just spit in my eye and we'll call it even, okay?

20. Cherries or Blueberry?

21. Do you want your friends to resend this?
I don't give a shit what they do with it. I doubt any of them will even READ it, let alone resend it.

22. Who is most likely to respond?
The first responder.

23. Who is least likely to respond?
Everyone who has a MySpace account.

24. When was the last time you cried?
I'm crying right now. Britney Spears just came on the radio (and now I gotta clean it up).

26. Who is the friend you have had the longest?
Rosy Palm

27. What did you do last night?
Stalked a cheerleader, went on a joyride, baked a cake, requested sex from a cheerleader (rejected), watched "E.R.", stalked the same cheerleader again, downloaded some really sick porn off of the Internet (which I e-mailed to my mother), went on another joyride, stalked some more, answered a lot of questions for the police, took one last, long, loving look at my dream girl then spent the rest of it in a holding cell until my wife made bail.

28. Favorite smells?
I have way too many favorite smells to mention. I will say, however, that I don't mind my own smells but I hate others smells.

29. What inspires you?
Brute force, threats and the physical stamina of the one doing the threatening and the wielding of the brute force.
...oh, and God.

30. What are you afraid of?
Turning 44.

31. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers?
Hell, I'll take all three! but I swear if you give me onions again after I've told you to hold them I will personally scrape them all off...you got that, Mr. Short Order Cook? Consider yourself warned.

32. Favorite dog breed?
Ball Park. Sometimes I'll get Hebrew Nationals if I'm burned out on the Ball Parks. But they gotta be BUN LENGTH and they damn sure better be BEEF. Don't you go trying to feed me none of these "2 for $1" specials. I don't go for that nasty mechanically separated chicken.

33. How many years at your current job?

34. Favorite days of the week?
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday , Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday!
...no, wait. Scratch Thursday. I hate Thursday.
...but then again, I guess Thursday's not all that bad. How about we scratch Monday instead? To hell with Monday!

35. How many states have you lived in?
Let's see, there's the catatonic state, the psychotic state, the comatose state...that makes 3.

36. Ever driven a Motorcycle or heavy machinery?
I once got pulled over and busted for speeding while driving some heavy machinery. Those suckers are dangerous toolin' down the interstate at 85 MPH. I tried to drive a motorcycle one time, but I fell off.

37. Who's your favorite NFL team
Los Angeles Rams.

38. Do you have a house phone that is NOT cordless?
My house phones are all cordless. My cell phone, however, does have a cord.

39. Do you like finding out more about people in your life?
A lot of the people in my life lead boring, predictable lives. Finding out more about them would be just about as exciting as watching rain turn into snow. There are, however, a few who are just too interesting for their own good. I know more about these particular people than they know about themselves, so no, I don't care to find out more about them.


XM Complaints

~~~It is an unwelcome surprise when I turn to Deep Tracks and hear Tony Bennett singing. Nothing against Tony...I like him well enough...but if I want to listen to him I'll go to High Standards. Deep Tracks is supposed to be a ROCK channel. And whenever this happens I know it can be only one thing...Bob Dylan's show is on. Don't get me wrong, I love Bob Dylan. I've been a fan ever since I first began to seriously listen to music. But I HATE his radio show. A little bit of that old-timey stuff goes a long, long way with me, and there's just too much of it on the "Theme Time Radio Hour". I was excited that Dylan had been given a show back when I first heard about it...but words cannot adequately describe how disappointed I am with it.

~~~FRED, the classic alternative channel, play Midnight Oil to a degree that is wildly disproportionate to the level of success (or importance) that they ever achieved in their career. During the first couple of years that I had XM the channel did the same thing with Oingo Boingo. No, I don't care for either of those bands, but that makes no difference. It's not about whether I like 'em or not, it's about using that air time wasted on such meaningless rotation to feature other artists who were important to that genre. Not that they don't play a good representation of those bands, but I'm sure I could, if given some time, think of a few others I haven't heard much there (Teardrop Explodes, Cowboys International, Magazine, Pere Ubu). They DO play a lot of good stuff...I could just do without so much Midnight Oil, Echo & the Bunnymen, Siouxsee & the Banshees...

~~~One more complaint about Deep Tracks...you'd think that Eric Clapton held a controlling interest in XM stock as much as they play that guy's music. No one can dispute his greatness, but I'll let the casual fans in on a secret...a lot of the stuff he's done that could be considered "deep tracks" just plain sucks.

~~~This may seem like a trivial complaint, but if you listen to Audio Visions as much as I do you will most likely concur. It's great that there are no commercials...they would ruin whatever atmosphere the channel manages to conjure. But the staton ID tags are stupid and there are only about 7 of them that they rotate. "Audio Visions: a place filled with peace", "Audio Visions: this is the land of the dreams", "Audio Visions: follow me through the looking glass", "Audio Visions: the best way to travel", "Audio Visions: the earth in stereo"...that's 5 of 'em...there are probably a couple more that I'm fortgetting. I've had XM for 3 years now and nothing has changed there. No new slogans, nothing. Oh well, I do like the music a lot. It has it's place. I'll try not to go crazy when these tags are played.

~~~I love Beyond Jazz, but I do have two or three problems. First of all, the term "MoJa" is just plain stupid. I dearly wish they would stop using it. Next, and this is just a personal hang-up, I really wish they wouldn't play so much vocal jazz (and the same goes for the Real Jazz channel). Not that they play an excessive amount of it, but once every few hours is more than sufficient, IMO. And finally, this is another case where the station ID tags get on my nerves. Especially the one with a processed female voice saying, in a sultry voice that echoes from left channel to right, "Beyond Jazz: it's a brave, cool world". Come on, now. Is there ANYONE listening to this channel who doesn't think that's just the dumbest thing in the world? Then there's the tag for Friday's fusion line-up. "Beyond Jazz: listen to the lords of fusion"...LORDS OF FUSION??? Who thinks up this stuff?

~~~They never should have changed "Hank's Place" to "Willie's Place" and every time they play a song that came out after 1975 I get a little miffed. XM10 America should have a lock on that stuff. Furthermore, and this irritates me even more, is when they play a brand new song by a brand new artist just because they think it fits the format of the channel. I want to scream it from the rooftops: IT'S NOT ABOUT FORMAT! It should be about a place to hear all that good old classic country and honky tonk songs from that era, the stuff that you can't hear anywhere else because it's too outdated to be played on the radio. I hate Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, but I guarantee that if I DID like 'em I'd rather hear their original song and not some version by Asleep at the Wheel. And don't think I can't tell the difference or spot the new crap immediately. Those old songs just didn't have the same sonics, the same fidelity as the new ones, and that, IMO, is one of it's charms.

~~~They pulled the progressive rock & jam band channel from the regular line-up and banished it to XM Online. The XM Music Lab had it's faults (WAY too much Frank Zappa and Primus), but it was one of the few channels in the rock stable that was really interesting. I hope they bring it back. Maybe lose Ethyl or Lucy, give it one of thier slots. Those two channels are, from what I've heard of them, pretty much interchangeable.

~~~3 techno style dance channels and no straight electronic music channel. I know there's enough IDM, drum and bass, other non-dance electronic music out there to justify such a channel. Personally I think they should kill Chrome, the late 70's early 80's dance channel that primarilly focuses on disco. But then again, I can see how Chrome is appealing. Nevertheless, an IDM channel would be nice.

Oh, I'm sure I could come up with a few more complaints, but the truth is that these are actually minor when you take into consideration all the really good stuff that's on XM. It offers too much good stuff to let these relatively minor gripes become anything more than minor inconveniences. It's been one of the best entertainment investments I've ever made...I knew it would be when I first bought it about this time 3 years ago.


I like modern country...WHAT????????

I don’t know if this happens to everyone as they get older, but my music tastes have gone through a metamorphosis. It’s not that they’ve necessarily “changed”. I still love just about everything I’ve ever loved, with only a few minor exceptions. And I’m still open to interesting, challenging new sounds.

But the interesting & challenging new sounds no longer seem, at least to me, to be coming from the pop-rock genre. Every new group I hear these days does absolutely nothing for me (the extremely notable exception to that rule being Sigur Ros). It’s easy for me to detect every influence that these bands are working. Every band has their influences, true, and this has been the case long before I ever started listening to music. But now the influences are all artists/bands that I grew up with and, to be honest, I’d rather listen to the originals than bands that sound like them.

I’ll concede that there are some decent acts working in the indie circuit, but I’m talking about the stuff that gets played on mainstream radio these days. I can’t site any names without looking at the charts, but trust me, I have heard enough to know that I don’t like ‘em.

Which all leads up to this startling confession: I have come to really like country music. Not just the good old stuff, but something I’ve always despised: Modern Country. Dad always said I would come around to a love for this music, but I think he probably thought I would forsake all the loud music I had grown up with (I didn’t forsake it, but I do turn the volume down a lot these days).

Of course I haven’t come to this unexpected proclivity in any sentimental attempt to fulfill any prophecy. I came around to this music for exactly the reason I stated above…because I’m always open to interesting, challenging new sounds.

Okay, I can hear you saying, “What in the world is challenging about modern country music?”

I’m not saying that there’s anything inherently “challenging” about the music itself. In that respect it’s a nice change from the hard work of appreciating other kinds of music that I enjoy (IDM, classical, free jazz, among others). There is a simplicity to country music that makes it easier to take in the lyrics and the vocal stylings (which are the hallmarks of the genre).

What’s challenging, for me, is overcoming the snarky, anti-country bias I’ve always nurtured. Even when I came to appreciate classic country, there was still the whole mind-set that dismissed modern country as nothing more than soft rock with a steel guitar thrown in the mix. Cowboys with a taste for the Eagles or else, at the other end of the spectrum, rowdy rednecks who grew up with Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, et. al. None of that stuff ever meant much to me, the guy who, as a child, prided himself for liking the Stones more than the Beatles. The man whose enthusiasm for punk & new wave culminated in the dark and depressing soundscapes of Joy Division. There were times, later on, when I veered dangerously toward “jazz & classical snob”. The point being that modern country never gave me what I thought I wanted in music.

I don’t know what made me change my mind. I could may well trace it back to Toby Keith’s “Love Me If You Can”. Which was a strange thing in itself, as I always loathed Toby. But the song made me realize that modern country is, just like the classic country I already enjoyed, driven by 3 things, and very likely in this order: lyrics, melody, vocal stylings.

I guess I always loved the good old rock and roll songs because I could identify with what those guys were singing about. A little rebellion, a bit of mischievousness, an exuberant, free-for-all attitude that the kids emulate and the young at heart fondly recall.

And I am young at heart. I do like to kick back and bask in the comfort of cherished nostalgia. I’ve been known to play “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” a few times in recent years, and it still sounds good to me. It helps me remember the week it came out in 1977, how I rushed out to buy it (at Wal-Mart of all places) and how I would flip that record over time and time again. I must have played that thing 50 times in the first couple of days I had it. But even more, I remember how the music smashed it’s way into the part of me that was disgusted and fed up with everything I thought was bullshit (and when you’re a teenager, that list is a long one).

But I am an older man now. I’ve seen things, done things, dreamed things, experienced things that cause me to look at life from a different perspective. And the truth is that the majority of modern country, for all it’s attempts to be “hip” to the younger audiences, is very much in touch with this more mature point of view. Maybe it IS music for old folks…well, we all get old. I’m there, if you’re not, well, I’ll keep a light on for you, maybe I’ll see you when you get here.

I’m not saying that everyone is going to like this kind of music when they pass a certain age. I would hope, however, that even those who despise it now would keep an open mind for later, because modern country really does have much to offer.


Update: 11/28/07

Since writing this piece I have posted it on my MySpace blog. I got a comment from a friend and I responded in a couple of comments. I thought I'd post them here as well, as the exchange is mildly amusing.

Justin: So let me get this straight here...

Songwriting by committee, based on results from focus groups to appeal to the broadest (lowest common denominator) cross section of society, featuring jingoistic bumper sticker philosophy is a good thing?

Gross overproduction utilizing Antares Autotune to stamp out all subtle nuances until every record sounds like a robot singer leading a robot band is good?

Payola is alive and rampant, Clear Channel Communications rules the airwaves with an iron fist and (thanks to pro-corporate policies within the current administration) is able to influence legislation to increase their monopoly while decreasing outlets for music fans to encounter anything new or different.

There are a lot of reasons why I stopped listening to the radio years ago. If there's anything worth listening to, it'll eventually find it's way to my ear.

Did you ever listen to the CD I gave you? Neko Case is incredible and very much worth your time and attention. You'll never hear her on the radio because she refuses to play the corporate game. She turned down HUGE recording contracts from Nashville because she didn't want to be the next Shania Twain.

ME: (firtst comment) I did listen to the cd. I guess I'm a corporate robot because I didn't like it.

"Jingoistic bumper sticker philosophy"? You can't be serious. Love songs? Ruminations on life? A sliver of positivity? God help us all from "bumper sticker philosophy", eh? Sorry, but all the nihilism wasn't working out for me. A genuine sense of humor? No doubt such a feat *requires* a "songwriting committee" in this day and age.

It's best just to agree to disagree on this one, but I think it's sad that you would dismiss very good music just because it doesn't fit into some strict set of guidelines you've constructed to reign in your own musical taste. You're entitled. Still I think your words are a little harsh and hardly fair.

It would seem to me that any music that resonates within a person, makes them laugh, makes them cry, moves them, makes them think...I would think that such music has succeded despite how it was made or promoted. Why the hell would I dismiss ANY music that has that power?

So it does nothing for you. That's great. But don't expect me to buy this bullshit about why I SHOULDN'T like it for all these reasons you give that mean absolutely nothing to me. I suppose I could offer up a bevy of reasons why I don't like Neko Case and/or the Handsome Family (though I do appreciate your generosity in giving me the CD), but there is really only ONE reason that seals the deal: it did nothing for me.

"Letter From Me" by Brad Paisley does something for me.

"Don't Blink" by Kenny Chesney does something for me.

Even the songs I'm not crazy about usually have lyrics that I find interesting.

Jingoistic bumper sticker philosophy? Whatever. I guess I've been consumed by "the machine". I'll have to remember that the next time I play one of my Sonic Youth CDs.

ME: (second comment) Furthermore, Clear Channel Communications' "iron fist" pulls no weight at XM Satellite Radio, which is where I listen to about 99% of the country music I like.

You may have a valid point about "overproduction". I don't think of it as "OVERproduction", it's just part of the genre. You could say the same thing about modern jazz...and I'm not talking about "smooth jazz", which I'd say probably IS 'overproduced', but then again, that's part of what it's all about. Surely you'd agree that there are plenty of bands who CONSCIOUSLY shoot for an "UNDERPRODUCED" sound, right? They do so because that manner of production suits their style. By the same token, modern country's style is elaborate production. No one's doing anything here that they don't want to do, country star or indie noisemaker.

I personally find a lot of depth to the production I hear on these songs. Lots of nice stuff going on that reveals itself with repeated listenings. But even so, as I said in my original post, though the music is good, IMO, it's much more about the singer's voice and style. It's obvious you don't even give this music a chance, because no one with an ear to hear would call these guys "robot singers".

As for Neko Case not wanting to be the next Shania Twain...I don't blame her. Shania Twain sucks. There's a fine line between the music that has substance and the commercial swill. I think I've been listening to music long enough to tell the difference between the two, and I assure you that it's not possible to reign in the whole of modern country and categorize it as the latter.


What's on your mind...besides Georgia

What the hell...nothing better to do.

from MySpace (as if I needed to tell you that):


1. Im tired of: stupid tv commercials that use classic rocks songs (and basically tired of tv commercials in general)

2. I am listening to: the dog barking (an all too common noise)…I was listening to Highway 16 on XM but the wife turned it down when her sister showed up

3. Maybe I should: break down and go with my wife and son to the Thanksgiving festivities, but I wouldn’t want to break such a long standing tradition of staying home by myself

5. Chocolate is: too sweet and over-rated

6. I don't understand: the meaning of life

7. I have lost my respect for: the current state of popular music (which only means that I’m getting old)

8. I last ate: a Payday candy bar

9. The meaning of my display name: my name. it used to be “jimbo”, which is what most of my best friends call me, but I didn’t want my daughter to think of me as “jimbo”

11. Someday: I’ll read all the greatest classic books of all time

12. I will always remember: every band I ever played in, the best of times and the worst of times, the day my son was born and the years spent watching him grow, finding my daughter on MySpace after almost 20 years

13. Love is: all you need

14. MySpace: is the greatest website on the internet (see # 12)

15. Today: Thanksgiving, and yes, I’d rather be on the internet than eating turkey or watching football (I don’t like turkey, not to crazy about football, and I’m well known for being a hermit)

16. Tomorrow: is not guaranteed and it never knows, furthermore it’s only a day away.

17. I get annoyed: easilly

18. Parties: aren’t parties unless someone gets belligerent or throws up, therefire I prefer to attend “gatherings”

19. Simple kisses: I don’t know…I would think that the complicated ones are the best.

22. I wish: I was 10 years old again.


01. Is your hair wet? Why would it be?

02. Is your cell phone right by you? Cell phones…okay, I give up. Is it a mandatory law these days that you have to own one? Then I guess I’m an outlaw.

03. Do you miss someone? Yes. I miss the man I was 30 years ago.

04. Are you wearing chap stick? I always hate simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers.

05. Are you tired? Yes I am always tired. Staying sane is a tiring job

06. Are you wearing pajamas? I don’t wear pajamas, although I think Hugh Hefner wears them well and who knows but that I might take the cue from him one of these days.

07.are you mad? No, I think I’ll celebrate this thanksgiving by switching off my “mad” button

08. Are you upset?: Yeah, I am as a matter of fact. I got the Highway 16 rolling again on the XM Online, and they’re playing the new Trisha Yearwood song, which I hate. That kind of little stuff is what upsets me.


01. Recently done anything you regret? Besides turning on the XM Online while Trisha Yearwood is warbling? Oh yeah. I regret a significant portion of my days on this planet.

02. Ever stuck gum under a desk? Yep. Ya gotta leave a little something for the poor kids to chew on

04. Ever tripped over your own feet? No, I have not. I have tripped over someone else’s feet.


01. Have you cursed? You know, it’s strange…I usually spit out a curse 164 times a day (in private, of course), but I don’t think I have done it today. I must correct that. *%&$!!!

02. Have you gotten mad at someone? Does the dog count?

03.Is there one person on your mind right now? Trisha Yearwood.

04. Do you have any siblings? I have one brother, four brothers from another mother and two sisters from another mister.

05. Do you want children? I already have a couple and I don’t want another. I’d hate to show up at his/her graduation in a wheelchair equipped with a colostomy bag

06. Do you smile often? Only when there’s no one around to see me

07. Do you untie your shoes every time you take them off? Never, but I hardly ever wear any shoes

08. Do you like your handwriting? I don’t mind it. Why should I if I can read it? It would be pretty senseless for someone to develop a cmplex about their handwriting, wouldn’t it? “Oh, God, I just HATE my handwriting!!!”

09. Are your toenails painted? Yeah, I’ve got a perfectly rendering of the Mona Lisa on the big toe of my right foot. Cool, huh? You should see the Warhol on my left foot!

10. Are you a friendly person? Actually I am, though my wife would tell you otherwise.

11. Whose bed other than yours did you last sleep in? I don’t know “whose” bed it was…it was just a mattress laying in the floor of what used to be Jason Tillis’ bedroom, which I got about 3 hours of sleep .. quitting a “gathering” at 4:30 am…

12. What color shirt are you wearing? Blue shirt, blue is the color of desire. I made that up.

13. What were you doing at 2PM yesterday? I think I was listening to Highway 16 on the XM, but I can’t be sure because they didn’t play that wretched Trisha Yearwood song.

14. What can you not wait for? The big money

I have come to realize that...

Not quite the same as the internet Q&A meme, more like Esquire magazine's "What I've Learned" feature...I don't know why I didn't juat call it "What I've learned", but what's done is done. May you all benefit from these priceless pearls of wisdom I've learned the hard way.

~~~I have come to realize that...rock and roll has been dead for many years and that there are few who mourn it’s passing.

~~~I have come to realize that...cops ask a whole lot of questions.

~~~I have come to realize that...some regrets aren’t worth the trouble of holding onto.

~~~I have come to realize that...true friends always cut you more slack than you ever cut yourself.

~~~I have come to realize that...Jim Beam’s closest friends will always let you down.

~~~I have come to realize that...my dad had better taste in music than I ever gave him credit for.

~~~I have come to realize that...only about 5% of what the media considers “news” means a damn thing to anybody.

~~~I have come to realize that...politics is a fools game.

~~~I have come to realize that...you have to be careful downloading ANYTHING from the internet.

~~~I have come to realize that...the only logical answer to the “eternal questions” is “I don’t know”.

~~~I have come to realize that...taste in music does not change as you get older, it just expands.

~~~I have come to realize that...caller ID may well be the greatest invention of the last 25 years.

~~~I have come to realize that...you can only do so much.

~~~I have come to realize that...anyone who thinks country music is “corny” just doesn’t get it.

~~~I have come to realize that...God is too big to fit between the covers of any book.

~~~I have come to realize that...most televangelists are more concerned with your pocketbook than your soul.

~~~I have come to realize that...the number of people in this day and age who have never heard of Linda Blair is growing at an alarming rate of speed.


The longest Q&A ever...kill some time

I filled this Q&A out over at MySpace and I'll be damned if I'm gonna waste that much time and not put it here, too.

If at all possible. enjoy:

Body: 1. where is the last place you held hands?
on the bow of the titanic

2. If you were drafted into a war, would you survive?
no. I’d be just like one of those guys stepping off of those barges at the beginning of “Saving Private Ryan”.

3. Do you sleep with the TV on?
No, I prefer to sleep with the calming sounds of classical music on the radio.

4. Have you ever drank milk straight out of the carton?
Yuck.I don’t drink milk period.

5. Have you ever won a spelling bee?
I came very close to winning one when I was in junior high, but I threw it because I felt sorry for the guy who was just behind me. I know that sounds like a load of bollocks, but it is the truth..

6. What was your longest fight with one of your friends?
7 years.

7. Are you a fast typer?
I’m getting there. I only just taught myself a few months ago…considering that, I would consider myself a pretty fast typist..

9. Do you like someone right now?
no I hate everyone and everything. But that’s just “right now”…I’ll probably straighten up in a couple of hours

10. What ended your last relationship?
extremely potent prescription medications, the possibility that I may have been irresponsible which I maintained was a result of said medications but which my ex-wife insisted was simply a character trait I had recently developed and which she was unwilling to put up with, a fight that was very likely of my own initiating, my ex-wife’s decision to never speak to me again, and finally, SO finally, a divorce decree

12. Do you have a friend thats more than a friend?
no. I may be a heel but I would never expect that from a friend. And so far none of them have asked me to be “more than a friend”, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to have a friend whose more than a friend until one of them asks me to be a friend that’s more than a friend to a friend that’s more than a friend that’s more than a friend to a friend that’s more than a friend to a friend that’s more than a friend…

13. Are you drinking anything right now?
Dr. Pepper. It’s down to the last 1/4th so I imagine I’ll go get another one soon

14. Do you think you're smart?
As smart as I need to be, not as smart as I wish I was…

15. Have you ever eaten a bug?
not intentionally

16. Do you miss someone right now, and do they miss you?
Hey, this was on the last Q&A I filled out. I would not miss anyone who didn’t miss me.

17. Who is currently irritating you?
I am all alone right now, so no one is irritating me. Sometimes when I got OKC to visit my friends there are people who show up seemingly just for the purpose of irritating me, but right now it’s all good

18. Do you know the muffin man?
Actually I do. His name is Paul M. Jerkins. He confided to me that the one thing that pisses him off more than anything is to be called “the muffin man”.

19. Do you talk in your sleep?
no I do not talk in my sleep. It’s a good thing, too.

20. Do you remember your 1st crush?
I tried to kiss Starla Ring in kindergarten…she screamed and ran away. It scarred me for life, implanting a fear of rejection that was crippling

21. Have you ever flown a kite?
A few times. It’s really fun to fly a kite while relaxing in waist deep water at the lake.

23. Do you consider yourself successful?
success is relative. Still, NO..

24. How many people are on your contact list of your cell phone?
How many times do I have to tell you people, I DON’T HAVE A CELL PHONE! Now leave me alone about, okay?

25. Have you ever asked for a horse?
Horse…isn’t that street slang for heroin?

26. What did you do this past weekend?
killed time, got online, killed a little more time, read a book, killed a little more time, listened to some music, killed some more time, realized that getting online, reading books and listening to music were also considered by most people as ways of killing time, and so between trips to the bathroom and a couple of meals I came to the decision that a good 98% of last weekend was spent killing time. Time is a dead man when I’m around

28. Miss being at school right now?
I miss everything about school but the work necessary to graduate

29. When's the last time you told someone you loved them?
today. Every day, baby. Might not get the chance tomorrow. But I don’t recommend saying “I love you” to the bouncer at the Watering Hole. Trust me on that one. Especially you guys.

30. Do you want to be single?
Naw, it’s too much of a hassle and besides, trolling the personals online is kind of pathetic, don’t you think?

32. Who's your hero?
Foghorn Leghorn

33. Have you ever been expelled or suspended from school?
No. Only from my first marriage. (ha ha)

34. Who was the last person you kissed?
My wife. If you can call the little “peck” I gave her a “kiss”. Kisses are over-rated.

35. If you could be stranded with one person for 24 hours, who would it be?
24 hours? Jeez, I might as well sleep.

38. Can you handle the truth?
I can handle it, but sometimes it takes a while for me to incorporate it into my fantasy world.

39. Do you like green eggs and ham?
I don’t like eggs or ham of any color

40. What 3 things do you always bring with you to places?
my wallet, my keys, my brain

41. Any cool scars?
you can’t see ‘em anymore…I guess that makes ‘em “cool”. .

42. Are you missing action?
No, I just talked to him on the phone yesterday

44. What's your deepest secret?
That I actually like a couple of Sugarland’s songs.

45. How often do you talk on the phone?
As rarely as possible

46. Do you believe in love?
Do I believe in love? What kind of stupid ass question is that?

47. Is there something you want that you can't have?
A normal life

48. Three things about the preferred sex that you first notice?
eyes, hair, bank account

49. When was the last time you cried?
a couple of days ago when I first heard T Pain

51. Do you get along with your family?
Sure I get along with them, I just don’t go to see them very often

52. Where is your cell right now?
Good God, you’re really testing my patience. Oh wait a minute. I didn’t understand the question. Mine is the third one from the south entrance of cell block B of death row

54. Favorite color?
Is there really any point in having a favorite color?

55. Last movie you saw?
”Reign Over Me”

56. What song are you listening to?
I’m not really listening to it, but they’re playing that new Rascal Flatts song on XM’s modern country channel. I am not impressed. The last song I REALLY listened to today, that I REALLY liked, was “What Kind of Gone” by Chris Cagle. Damn, that’s a good song!.

57. What do you want?
another chance. One more day. Chili for dinner

58. Favorite car?
I like my Saturn just fine.

59. What T.V. show are you watching?
None at the moment. I watched “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment” earlier.

60. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
my wife. Before that it was Jerry Redd. Those two are about the only ones I ever talk to on the phone

61. Have you ever thought about getting your lip pierced?
who hasn’t? Thought of it for about one millionth of a millisecond and then moved on to more important topics like what brand of toilet paper I would buy regularly

62. Does a kiss make you feel better?
no. nothing can make me feel better if I’m in the mood where anyone might think that something could feel better

63. Have you ever passed out on the bathroom floor?
Actually I have. Actually I was draped over the side of the bathtub having filled it with puke but I wound up falling to the floor directly in front of the commode so I’d like to think that counts

64 Do you start the water before you get in the shower or when you get in?
uh…let me think…

65.What did you do today?
killed time, watched it come back to life, killed it again

66. Have you had more than 3 boyfriends/girlfriends at the same time?
I was lucky to have one girlfriend

67. Would you rather be in a permanent relationship or play the field?
it’s a little too late to ask me that.

68. What color is your shower curtain?
a lovely combination of flower prints and mold

69. Have you ever had stitches?
stitches, that’s another one of those funny words, like LUNCH, or BANANA

70. How long ago did you hug someone?
I hugged my son this morning. He did everything in his power to escape my embrace and yet I persisted to the point where tears fell from his eyes.

71. Did you believe that boys/girls had cooties?
Of course. Everyone loves chocolate chip cooties, don’t they?

72. Do you know how to use chop sticks?
Axe or hatchet?

73. Do you like the Red Sox or Yankees?
I like my socks white and I sure ain’t from Dixieland

74. What are you doing tomorrow?
loadin’ the gun and killing some more time

74. Who was the last person that made you look twice?
the man who was sprawled out by the side of the road, covered in blood, screaming, “Hey! Lookee here! I’m hurt!”. I hit the gas and tore down the road before I could look at him a third time.

75. Have you ever given money to a homeless person?
No, but I’ve taken money from people when I was homeless. That was back before panhandlers gave begging a bad name

76. Have you ever run over an animal?
Not intentionally. Though that might change if our Pomeranian were to wander out into the street as I pulled out.

77. What is your favorite cereal?
count chocula…anything that would throw a diabetic into shock

78. Have you ever had an Oreo with peanut butter?
Is that supposed to be tasty? I’ll have to try it sometime.

79. What are you doing right at this moment?
saving the world

80. Do you think its right for straight guys to get their tongue pierced?
Only crooked guys should get their tongues pierced

90. Where's your favorite place to be?
in bed, floating in the ether of a good dream

91. What's your favorite song?
Anything from Sigur Ros’ albums “( )” and “Takk”

92. Are you more of a coffee or alcohol drinker?
My shrink tells me I’ll flip out if I drink too much alcohol, and I am no longer so adventurous that I would take that chance. So coffee it is, and decaffeinated at that..

93. Have you ever thrown shoes on a telephone wire?
no. I learned my lesson the night I threw ‘em on a power line

94. Have you ever been skinny dipping?
no, but once, late at night when my family was asleep, I went outside, took off my clothes and laid down in the little swimming pool we had out there. I was lucky there were no snakes in it. I was not exactly in a normal state of mind, if you catch my drift, and I thought it would be cool to look at the stars from that vantage point. It was a little too cold, though, so I didn’t stay there for long.

95. Have you ever climbed up a water tower?
No, that’s crazy. My brother did, though, once. He’s crazy.

96. Do you dream in black and white?
no. psychedelic, fluorescent, neon, all that stuff

97. Do you talk in your sleep?
I just answered this, didn’t I? Maybe it was the last Q&A I killed time filling out

98. Do you snore?
I am told that, yes, I do snore. It never wakes me up, though.

99. funniest thing you heard all day?
Nothing today, but yesterday I cracked up from a line in BTO’s “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”: “She said I had it coming to me/But I wanted it that way”…God, that’s hilarious.

100. Have you ever gotten a mosquito bite on your face?
I think that is the one place that I have not been bitten by a mosquito

101. What are you afraid of?
Losing it again

102. What does the 14th text message in your inbox say?
text messaging is a waste of time. Hey, there’s this great invention called the TELEPHONE, people!

103. What does the 3rd message in your outbox say?
”Satan is your master”

104. Do you like someone?

105. Do they know you like them?
No one knows if I like them. I hide it pretty well.

106. Can you recite the alphabet backwards?
let’s see…A B C D E F G H U S I P W B R…oh, wait? You want it BACKWARDS? Sorry, no can do.

107. Whats your middle name?
Arthur…as in KING Arthur

108. What's your profile song and why?
I don’t have a profile “song”. I have a Project Playlist thingymabob, and it is loaded with some of the greatest music you could ever hope to hear. Check it out sometime. Or don’t.

109. Need to get something off your chest?
Excess hair

110. How do you feel about your life right now?
heart’s still beating, all senses intact, lungs still taking in and expelling air, plumbing relatively intact, now if I could just get my brain to work right I’d be in business


My wife's eulogy

My wife's college professor had a strange assignment for his class. They were to write their own eulogy. We both felt this was kind of a strange request, and so I volunteered to write it for her. This is what I came up with:

Throughout the course of history there have been a handful of “world shakers” whose impact on society, significant and immeasurable, has forever changed the face of western civilization. Akhenaton, originator of the first monotheistic religion---Alexander the Great, whose valor and courage in battle brought victory and conquest to the Macedonians--- Socrates, Plato & Aristotle, whose brilliant minds and inspired thoughts forever changed the worldview of millions---Martin Luther, whose Ninety-Five Theses nailed to the Wittenberg Door forever divided Christ’s Church into two factions---Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, the champion of the oppressed---

Each and every person on that short list has proven themselves to be amongst the bright and shining stars in the vast heavens of humanity, The passing of these legends into the vast mysteries of the afterlife was met with inconsolable grief and the kind of sincere mourning that has been known to shroud entire societies in a dark cloak of national depression.

They live on, in perpetuity, in the collective mythologies of every culture under the sun. History books, in addition to a thriving oral tradition, will ensure that their names and their deeds will live on until the end of time (or until mankind annihilates itself, whichever comes first).

These are the heroes of each and every generation to spring up in their wake. Only a small, tenuous step away from being named “idols”. The temptation to elevate them to the level of godhood is tempered only by the fact that they, like all men, eventually succumbed to the selfish greed of mortality.

On this day, November 15, 2007 in the year of our Lord, another name has been added to that prestigious list. Another life book-ended with accomplishments both private and public, to be placed on a pedestal for the admiration and imitation of the entire population of the planet. Here was a soul that knew no beginning and no end, only the conscious thriving desire to be a “world-changer” in the most lofty sense of the word. To live in the moment---that was her goal---to somehow guide that moment to a positive and fruitful end. She instinctively comprehended the hard lessons of the past. She prophetically divined the course of a future she insisted was worth living for…and dying for. But it was within the transcendental “present”, firmly ensconced between the horns of the MOMENT, that she made her dwelling.

If forced, against fervent protestations, to describe her in only one word, that word would be LADYBUG.

For beneath her regal exterior, under the surface of her monumental status as a reformer of the collective consciousness, Stacie Casey had a passion for ladybugs.

On the walls of her house hung artistically rendered paintings of the pesky insect. On her countertops and tables, scattered amongst the books she so dearly loved, were finely crafted figurines that could be mistaken for nothing else but ladybugs. On the tank of her the toilet in her bathroom, that bright and shiny chamber housing her porcelain throne, was a stuffed lady bug rendered, with a human face all too real in it’s bizarre glory, to resemble a sleeping baby.

Many of her acquaintances tell of how Mrs. Casey’s obsession with ladybugs fueled a passion that overflowed into the streams of her remarkable genius and her penetrating insights into the eternal questions of the ages.

But her husband guarded a secret that she begged him never to share until the day---this sad day---of her passing.

It seems that Stacie Casey, hero to men and women across the shores of the seven continents, was firmly and unswervingly convinced that one particular ladybug was actually speaking to her, offering Oprah-style advice on every subject from psychology to physics, from mathematics to taxidermy, from Jungian symbolism to cooking and cleaning (by the way, her husband tells me that the ladybug, though it may have expanded Stacie’s base of knowledge, was completely inept in the instruction of home economics).

She even claimed that this ladybug had a name, which it had been unwilling to divulge to her until the flame of a butane lighter was applied to its hind quarters. At the point where the searing heat became unbearable the lady bug confessed that its name was Sparky.

Stacie Casey kept Sparky in her shirt pocket at all times. Wherever she went she was accompanied by this lovable harlequin patterned insect. She once confided to her husband that it was this brightly colored beetle that was responsible for each and every word of wisdom that she ever spoke. Sparky, she said, had been the sole inspiration for every monumental deed and compassionate act of benevolence that she ever performed.

And so we are gathered her today over the grave of this vaunted woman, taken from us tragically at the age of 37 as a result of an accident involving wet pavement and a Caterpillar bull dozer. And it is not enough to shed our tears for the enormous soul that the Lord has called back home to illuminate and instruct His Holy angels, but we must also pay tribute to another, smaller yet no less significant soul, Stacie’s mentor, Sparky.

Now, before this service ends and we all return to the family’s house to gorge ourselves on turkey, dressing and numerous vegetables, I have been asked by Mr. Casey to play this excerpt from a tape he had secretly made on a day when his wife had been involved in particularly heated discussion with Sparky. He does this, he claims, so that all here will know the truth, that he is not telling lies to make her look like a crazed goofball at her funeral (as she expected he would). He does, however, wish to remind the congregation that Sparky, though as real a ladybug as ever flew into a fire to burn to a cinder, had a voice that only Stacie could hear, so the conversation on the tape is, as would be expected, somewhat one-sided.

So, without further ado, I will play the tape.


“What do you mean? You want me to write my own funeral sermon? What makes you think I’m going to die any time soon? Even if I were to die tomorrow I wouldn’t know what to say. Those remembrances and recollections are for others to offer, for those who viewed my days from a point-of-view untainted by my own opinions and biases, unsullied by my self-esteem and self-image, which would surely make me out to be something more or less than I actually was.

“What’s that, Sparky? You say I’m going to HAVE to write it because it will be an assignment for one of my college courses? What kind of twisted mind would expect a woman in the prime of her youth to sit down and eulogize herself? It’s sick, I tell you. It’s in terribly bad taste. I won’t do it! I can’t! I’ll have to take a failing grade. It depresses me to even think about it.

“What’s that Sparky? You say it doesn’t have to be a lengthy affair? You mean I can write it as long or as short as I want? I don’t know. I still think I’ll pass. No doubt it will bring me bad luck to write it. It could very well jinx me.

“Okay, fine. Cool it with your cruel threats. It hurts me so when you get hateful with me. Okay, I’ll do it.”


I want to thank you folks for coming to my funeral. I hope it didn’t ruin your day. Don’t feel obligated to attend the graveside service. I won’t hold it against you. I never liked riding in those long funeral trains myself.

Thanks for everything. I’ll see you on the other side.


Another MySpace questionairre

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you:


Q: Kissed someone on your top friends?
Yes. A few of them. A couple of 'em even kissed me back (then again, a few of them slapped me).

Q: Been arrested?
Once when I was like 16 or 17 years old. Ahh, the feel of cold steel handcuffs...I'm tempted to do something illegal again and hope I get caught.

Q: You like someone?
Uhhhh, no, I'm a total sociopath and I hate everyone. OF COURSE I like someone. Then again, I guess that's a "teeny bopper" question, which makes me feel like an immature moron for filling this thing out (okay, I don't just FEEL like one, I AM one).

Q: Held a snake?
Yes, I have. Back in high school. It felt pretty cool, but nearly as cool as cat's tongues. And dog's noses when they're dry.

Q: Been suspended from school?
No, but I took a few licks for bringing a couple copies of National Lampoon to school. Got a couple more for kicking a bus door in an attempt to get in and beat up the guy who locked me out.

Q: Sat on a roof top?
A few times. As far away from the edge as I could manage.

Q: Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes on?
Not that I can remember. Anyone who could have done that to me is stll alive, so it's a safe bet that I haven't.

5. Went to the mall with? The wife and my son. I don't really like malls, but the closest bookstore is in the Shawnee. Most of the time I'm just not up for a drive to OKC , though Barnes & Noble is my favorite store. Plus, it's easier to hide bombs in the mall.

6. You talked to on the phone with?
My wife. She told me I was an insensitive brute and not to expect her to come home for at least 3 months. She called me several names that you wouldn't normally think a wife would call a husband. Then she told me not to forget to give the dog his medicine.

7. Who was the last person to call you?
My wife. She told me she would never forgive me. She called me a cad and claimed to have photographs to prove it. She said she was sorry she ever knew me and that if she had it all to do over again she would have never gone to that Air Supply concert where we met 18 years ago. She said I could keep the stereo but that she wanted the television and the VCR. She said she was packing up and moving to Wyoming and that if I ever wahted to see my son again I'd better buy a bus ticket. She said she had taken "those videos" with her so I should not even think of blackmailing her (but the joke's on her...I had a couple of them hidden that she didn't find...ha ha). She said her heart was broken and her soul was crushed by the spiteful, heartless things I did last weekend. She suggested that I dig myself a large hole in the back yard and crawl in it. She said I was crazy if I thought she was going to pay the bill for my stay in the Habana Inn last weekend. She said there was no way in hell she was going to shed one tear for me on the day when I was out of her life completely. In fact, she said, she would likely celebrate that event by having a few wine coolers and taking her girlfriends out to Sherlock's for a night on the town.

9. You messaged on myspace?
My daughter. Lengthy messages at that.
10. You commented?
Jerry Redd. He is a phenomenon.

11. You spent the night with?
Actually I slept alone last night. See #7.


1. Eat or drink?
Be merry.

2. Be serious or be funny?
I want to be serious but I wind up being funny (at least I THINK I'm funny...people laugh at me).

3. Drink whole or skim milk?
Skim milk is not milk, as far as I'm concerned. I don't drink milk anyway, only put it on cereal (peferablely Count Chocula, Cap'n Crunch...anything with enough sugar to rot my teeth).

4. Die in a fire or get shot?
Put it in the back of my head while I'm not looking...don't let me know you're there, either. Have you seen "American Beauty"? That's my choice over dying in a fire, which, frankly, is on the long list of ways I DON'T want to die.


1. Sun or moon?
Moon, baby! Viva La Luna, sweet cheekers! The sun only makes me hot. Not only that, it often burns my skin and it makes life on this planet possible.

3. Left or right?
You don't have to wait for the light to change to make a left turn, so I'll go with "left".

4. Sunny or rainy?
I am the Rain King. I don't care what Adam Duritz says. He ain't no Rain King, cuz I am. If you wanted to know I could show you that when it rains or shines it's just a state of mind.

7. Do you want to get married?
I guess if I were a Mormon I would want to get married again. Don't know what the wife might think of that, though. (Oh...I forgot...see #8...it still hasn't sunk in).

8. Do you twirl your spaghetti or cut it?
I cut that sucka. Straight through like a knife through butta. Twirling takes too much time and has much greater potential for being messy. Plus "cut" sounds a lot more masculine than "twirl". "Twirl" is something pom-pom girls do with batons. "Cut" is something convicts do with shanks. You get my drift?

9. Do You Cook?
I wouldn't call what I do in the kitchen "cooking". There's not much skill required to make sloppy joes, spaghetti, chili, hamburger helper, etc...

10. Current mood?
I find that filling out these questionairre tends to anaesthetize my moods, so the answer is NONE (although I really should be sad or depressed...see #7 in the last batch of questions)


1. Kissed someone?
That depends. Does kissing someone's ass count?

2. Been hugged by someone and who?
I thought I told you I've been alone for the last couple of days. No? I didn't tell you that? See #7 in the second batch of questions.

3. Held hands with someone?
No. No. No.

4. Felt stupid?
Just this moment. when I realized that the time I spent filling this thing out could have been better spent trying to talk my wife out of the course of action she has stubbornly pursued. I could have changed her mind. She would have forgive everything and come back to me. She would moan and groan about it, but eventually she would pay that bill from the Habana Inn. If I would only call her back and beg her not to leave me.

But alas. I thought it was more important to make sure you all know whether I prefer to twirl my spaghetti or to cut it. Surely the future of my marriage takes a back seat to you wanting to know if I've held hands with someone in the last 48 hours. And one should never underestimate just how excited my MySpace friends become when they learn that I have, indeed, sat on a roof.

Yep, marriage may well be a viable alternative to remaining single, but I've got a bad, bad feeling I'm about to find out if that's truth or myth.


I've been listening to...

Everybody disses Chicago...but they were'nt always the sappy middle-of-the-road adult comtemporary band they turned into. "Chicago VII" is rife with tasty jazz licks and some really good soft rock songs. My favorite Chicago song is on this one... ("I've Been) Searching So Long"...and their collaboration with the Beach Boys on "Wishing You Were Here" has always been one of their greats.

In my opinion, even though their first 10-11 albums yielded some very good music, "Chicago VII" was their best.

I'm on a Patti Smith kick after seeing her name in an issue of Art Forum International magazine. I realized that I hadn't given nearly enough attention to her stuff, and I have almost every one of her CDs. I mean to correct that oversight. "Easter" is the only one I'm very familiar with (one of the great albums of the late 70's...I think the title track of that album is very likely her finest moment).

Her merging of edgy rock music with spoken word poetry is not something that you hear a lot of artists do...and especially not as good as she does it.

There's not a moment on this entire CD that does not have the power to move me, to pull me into it's heavenly sound world and make me want to stay. I think it is certain that Sigur Ros will remain my favorite band until the day I die. Seriously, I have never loved a band more than I do this one.

But thats' no surprise...you all knew that.


Genesis: "And Then There Were Three"

I sort of remember being half-way dissapointed when this came out...probably becauseI was pissed that Steve Hackett had left the band. It was bad enough that Peter Gabriel had absconded, but I thought they still had something going, especially with the more prog oriented songs that I loved so much.

So "And Then There Were Three" got a lukewarm reaction, even though I do recall playing it quite often. About half of the album is filled with the kind of sappy love songs that characterized the band's later work as well as Phil Collin's solo career. The only one here that I think hits saccharine rock bottom here is "Snowbound". The others really aren't all that bad.

But the other half, the pseudo-prog songs, is actually quite good. The opener, "Down and Out" is solid...you know you're listening to Genesis before the first chorus comes around. Collins has always been a very good singer within the context of the band's sound...On this and some of the other songs he is a dead-on ringer for Peter Gabriel, and I don't think he's trying.

Phil also tries to inject some humor into the usually dead-serious prog genre, with "Ballad of Big", the story of a cattle rustler with a hot temper. "Scenes from a Night's Deam" also has a playful air about it, both lyrically and musically.

"Deep in the Motherlode" is another heavy prog outing, probably the most "proggy" on the album. This is the kind of stuff I've always wanted from Genesis, but unfortuanately they drifted away from it somewhat after this album. "Duke" may have shared a few similar elements with this version of the trio's music, but with the success of "Misunderstanding" it was inevitable that they would veer towards more mainstream sounds (though they did revisit the "good old days" in a powerful way with "Driving the Last Spike" from "We Can't Dance").

So basically "And Then There Were Three" marks the end of an era and ushers in a new sound for Genesis, one that would send them to the top of the charts and cement their reputation as primarilly a pop act. And a good one, even us old school fans have to admit.


That's my boy!

I just had to post this picture of my son.

It's just too cool not to share it!

Quack preachers live high on the hog fleecing sheep.

I read this morning that former presidential candidate and “700 Club” quack Pat Robertson has now endorsed Rudy Giuliani. Ouch. Personally I think Rudy should tell him, “Thanks, but no thanks. This is hard enough as it is.” I mean, I don’t think even the conservative Christian right claim Robertson as one of their own. He’s put his foot in his mouth too many times. Surely the 700 Club’s viewership is not substantial enough to make any real difference in Giuliani’s campaign?

There’s also a story on CNN.com about televangelists extravagant lifestyles being probed. Before the webpage with the story had even loaded I knew I’d be seeing Benny Hinn. Oh, yeah, that one was easy enough. Just as obvious as the five other TV preachers under investigation were just as obvious (including Creflo Dollar, Paula White & Kenneth Copeland).

I really think the “prosperity doctrine” preachers are nothing more than the snake oil sellers of olden times. They take the gospel and they pervert it’s words to mean what they need them to mean in order to fleece the sheep.

It’s so obvious, I really don’t know how anyone can fail to see it. They’ve turned religion into a big, weird self-help seminar with greed at it’s core.

Sure there are people out there who believe this stuff and have become successful, and it’s cool to give the glory to God. But they believe that their blessing was a direct result of something THEY did (“planting that seed of faith”). I just don’t think that’s how it works.

Even if it IS, I don’t think a “seed of faith” means MONEY. You don’t have to listen to these ministers for long to realize that cash is exactly how they define it. And for every one of the successful seed-planters reaping a harvest...from their own hard work, btw... there have to be a hundred seed-faith believers who work every bit as hard but whose circumstances prevent them from rising so high on the “blessing ladder”. The hardcore seed planters will say, “Oh well, your faith isn’t strong enough. Your seed was not sown in faith. You held back that extra little bit of seed that would have won your blessing” (even if that “extra little bit of seed” was a car payment or food for the kids or something that you absolutely needed…it sounds impossible that anyone would think that way, but I have seen and heard these televangelists suggest exactly that).

For the most part the main people who are prospering with the “prosperity doctrine” seem to be the purveyors themselves. Jesus was homeless, but most of these charlatans have mansions…I’m not saying that God wants us to be homeless. But surely there must be a limit to the extravagance of "ministers" whose fortunes are made from the sincere offerings of people who could only dream of having such wealth. Not to mention that everything they own was purchased with tax-exempt money, taxes that have to be made up by the tax-payers in general.

Prosperity preachers twist the words of Scripture to mean what they want them to mean. If you can’t see that, then maybe you deserve to be scammed. If I tried hard enough I could probably twist the words of Scripture to the point where they seem to advocate Satanism. All you have to do is pick out a few verses and twist them out of context.

I guess I do have a strong opinion about something other than the arts. Ha.

I don’t know why, but I’m fascinated with these televangelists. I scan the religious channels and it almost scares me that I recognize and can usually name almost every one of the main ones. Steve Munsey, Benny Hinn, Jesse Duplantis (whose “preacher/stand-up comedian” routine is hilarious, but it’s not his jokes that are funny), Rod Parsley, Paula White, Paul Crouch, T.D. Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Marcus & Joni Lamb, it goes on and on.

Usually I hear these guys babble and it pisses me off to hear them speak truth one minute then dilute it with bullshit the next. And some folks say, “well, yeah, there are some quacks there, but there are a few legitimate ones, too”. I agree, but you can probably count the “legitimate” ones on the fingers of one hand. The preachers who can buy huge blocks of air-time on TBN have probably already worked the prosperity angle with their own congregations enough to afford it. And there’s so much of the bogus junk on the network that the legitimate ministers stay away. They rightly want to distance themselves from the con artist superstars.

But what can be done about it? It’s very hard to…errr…”deprogram” someone who has been convinced that these guys are not only on-the-level but actually speakers of the truth. Very likely the best you can hope for is that they eventually see the light when all the seed they’ve planted fails to yield the desired harvest. Then maybe someone will blame them for not having enough faith one too many times, and they'll say FUCK IT.

It’s just so much fucking bullshit, and I’m sorry if that offends anyone, but it does bother me a lot.

And now I must prepare for my required monthly trip to Oklahoma City.

Love and peace to all…


New Sigur Ros.

The new Sigur Ros album came out yesterday. “Heim/Hvorf” it’s called, I think. I can’t believe that I didn’t scrape up enough money to get a copy.

I was planning on doing some wheeling and dealing with a friend who owns a used & new CD store. I’m pretty sure I had more than enough to trade for the Sigur Ros album. If the trip to his store wasn’t such a long drive I probably would have gone (“long drive, to me, is anything over 30 miles). But it wasn’t just the drive that discouraged me…

I had been under the impression that “Heim/Hvorf” was going to be a CD/DVD set. I don’t know where I got that idea, They DO have a DVD coming out on the 20th so I probably got confused, thinking they’d be packaged together.

The release of a Sigur Ros album is a much anticipated event as far as I’m concerned. But I really had my heart set on watching that DVD. So the plan is to wait until the 20th and get the CD and DVD together.

The only reviews I’ve read so far are on Amazon.com. I should check out some REAL reviews soon. There were only two of them posted as of yet. The first was a glowing, enthusiastic, positive one. The second had good things to say about the music but bemoaned the fact that it’s a 2 CD set but is almost short enough (short enough?) to fit on one. He also complained that some of the songs were not new material. I’ve heard the album in it’s entirety on MySpace and it’s true that there are a few songs from their other albums. However they are different versions, outtakes and what-not. I don’t mind that, especially since what I heard of them sounded really good. I’m excited about the live acoustic material, too.

I’m excited about the whole album, to be honest, and even more anxious for the DVD. So I guess I’ll be scraping up a little more cash for the 20th…



About a week ago I posted here that I thought I might have found my daughter, Aubrey,on MySpace. I have not seen her in at least 20 years, on MySpace. I think I mentioned that I was going to send a friend invite to her and hope that it really was her.

It really was.

I was ecstatic beyond words when she accepted it and added me to her " friends list". Since then (about a week ago) we have communicated via MySpace messages and IM. It's been great catching up on her life and blabbing to her about some of my memories. Of course I want to be a part of her life, but it will be slow process, I know that.

For now I am just glad that I've found her. It's good to know that I've got grandchildren.

Yesterday she sent me a list of her likes & dislikes, so of course I wrote my own list. And it's only natural that I'd want to post it here:

I had a lot of fun filling out this "Likes/Dislikes" list.



Right now my favorite band, hands down, is Sigur Ros. I've come to the point where I think there's good stuff as well as junk in every genre (except Broadway Showtunes---that's ALL junk). There's a long list of bands/artists that I love on my profile but if I had to narrow it down to three I suppose They would be Sigur Ros, Mark Kozelek (and his bands Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters), and Autechre. I would burn you a CD of stuff I like and send it to you , but I really don't think you'd like much of it. I don't know...you might.


With each passing year I seem to watch less and less TV. I hardly ever watch sports. I watch a lot of news and news commentary shows, though I get bored when they don't have anything new to offer."Survivorman" is cool. Sometimes I watch re-runs of "All In The Family"...I didn't "get it" as a child when it was first aired, but now I do and I think it's hilarious. I like a few country music videos. I've probably seen every eposode of "M*A*S*H" at least 10 times but I still enjpy the re-runs. Not a whole lot else.


I like movies that are intellectually challenging and/or emotionally powerful. "Reign Over Me" was the best movie I've seen in months. "Stay" (that one turned me into a Ryan Gosling fan), "Magnolia" (NOT "Steel Magnolias"...I really don't like "chick flicks") , "Memento",
"Frailty", "Sin City", "300"...I know they're pretty "rough", but I like Quinton Tarrantino's movies. And just about everything directed by Cameron Crowe (especially "Vanilla Sky" and "Almost Famous"). "Radio", "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", "Good Will Hunting", "Crash"...Ingmar Bergman's films.


The Bible, of course. I also like to read the Hindu holy book Srimad Bhagavatam. Currently I'm on the third installment of Robert Jordan's 11 book "Wheel of Time" fantasy series. I love anything by Charles Dickens (I think "A Tale of Two Cities" and "David Copperfield" are probably his best). All of John Irving's Books are favorites (especially "A Widow For One Year" and "A Prayer for Owen Meany"). "The Brothers Karamazov" by Fyodor Dostoevsky. "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers. I like a lot of Stwphen King's books. John Irving's "Rabbit" books. "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis, "Be Here Now" by Ram Dass. Books about bands and artist biographies. And I'm quite proud to say that I have read "War and Peace"!!! I may even try to read it again someday.


Mexican is my favorite. I like it at nice restaurants and I like "fast food Mexican" even better. Soft tacos at Taco Mayo drenced in their Taco Sauce is the best. Italian is real good, but I mainly stick to the standards---Pizza and Spaghetti. When it comes to pizza I like just about any topping except mushrooms, anchovies and pineapple. Cheesburgers and tater tots from Sonic. Whoppers from Burger King. Schlotskys Original sandwiche. Ruffles potato chips with french onion dip. Frito chili pies. BLT sandwiches. Lots of salad ( favorite dressings are Italian and Catalina...I'm burned out on Ranch, but the Ranch they have at Pizza Hut is delicious and I always eat that when we're there.

And finally here is the list of THINGS I CANNOT STAND:

Condescending people & snobs
Aggresive drivers
Far Left-wing politics
Far Right-wing politics
Phony people
Religous zealots
Excessively rich TV preachers
The cult of celebrity
Hollywood actors who think I care about their poltical opinions
Red tape
Radical Islamic militants
People who delight in bashing the president
Disney/Pixar movies
Morning-show Radio DJs
Dean Koontz's books
Long drives
Shania Twain
Howard Stern
Viagra commercials on TV
Just about ANY commercial on TV
Reality shows
Gangsta Thugs
Pierced noses, tongues, nipples and belly buttons
People who don't think for themselves
Drunks (especially beligerant ones)
Politics and/or excessive patriotism in the pulpit
The obsession with sex in out society
Body odor
Bad breath
Insufficient funds
Parents who don't take care of their kids
Kids who disrespect their parents
"The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart
"The Colbert Report"
Hominy, squash, eggplant, asparagus, black-eyed peas
High gasoline prices
Compulsive liars (and lying in general)
Bars and "clubs"
The popularity of NASCAR
Gratuitous sex and violence in movies and on TV
Computer "Errors"
56K connections
Greedy people
People who are too concerned with other people's sexual orientation
Diet soda
Romance novels
Fights and brawls
Junk e-mail and spam
2 % milk
Garrison Keiller and "A Prairie Home Companion"
Soap operas
Benny Hinn
Senator Ted Kennedy
Nancy Pelosi
Michael Moore
High stakes Texas Hold 'em poker tournaments on sports channels (it's not a SPORT)
"Girls Gone Wild"
Having to tune my guitar


Alice Cooper: "Welcome to My Nightmare"

They played this Thursday night on the local classic rock station. They've got a thing they do called "The Classic Rock Album at Midnight", in which they give the listener a break from all the commercials usually so pervasive and play an album in it's entirety. Most of the time it 's something banal (Foghat, Ted Nugent) or a record you already have memorized ("Led Zeppelin IV", "The Wall"). But last week, with Halloween midway through, they played some "scary" themed albums, and you can't do that without at least one Alice Cooper album.

Now. personally I would have chosen "Killer" or "Love It To Death", but I guess I can see why they picked the one they did, with the "Nightmare" motif already embedded in the title.

"Welcome to My Nightmare" is not one I listen to all that much anymore. I'm sure I spent plenty of time with it back in it's day, but anymore I prefer the harder edge rockin' Billion Dollar Babies-backed songs to the more ornately theatrical Bob Ezrin produced extravaganzas. Those epic conceptual pieces grew tedious and musically deficient before too long, but maybe Alice was just so happy to finally be solo that his enthusiasm transferred to this one, which really is quite good.

My favorite tracks here have always been "Devil's Food" and the "Steven" trilogy. "The Black Widow" still sounds great, and Cold Ethyl" is funny. There's only one song that I don't like. "Some Folks" is the kind of Vaudeville crap that has always grated on my nerves. Even so, it's kind of cool to hear him do his "crazy man rant" at the end, which he hasn't really done since "The Ballad of Dwight Frye".

"Welcome to My Nightmare" will probably never be one of my all-time favorite Coop albums, but it's a good 'un and it sure sounded good on the trip from OKC to my home (since I don't have a CD player in that car).