Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Myspace blogs, Get rid of commercials, Thank You.

I went looking today for Blogs on Myspace that actually say something... thinking that a Blog is actually a journal or diary or something, or even a media in which people actually have some sort of civilized conversations about something... A Blog for all seasons.

I'm probably wrong in the conclusion that there are no people out there that actually have something to say that the world wants to hear. When I looked at the most popular blogs, I saw that people want to hear the words of famous people. So you have to be famous to be paid attention to. In today's society, that makes sense. You transfer to the Internet, a place where everyone is equal and can speak their mind, the heirarchy of fame, fortune, and fortunateness that people have in real life. Sure, there are places on the Internet where the oppressed and the minorities speak. I know of a few of them, but they are also places you must find, seeking vigilantly. And those are the places that the Internet is actually built for. But if you look at MySpace, it is a commerically created format for people who are already famous to "get in touch" with their fans, or for everyday people to put silly photos, call each other names, and interact with each other in the way they would in real life, except for they aren't. It brings about the paradox of the Internet. A new way of communicating, and in effect, it has brought in a new kind of incommunication. And in part, capitalism is to blame.

In the past, each new medium of communication has brought in a wave of capitalistic ventures, that, while effective to some extent, basically it litters the medium with useless, barely tolerable information. Starting with radio (actually, newspapers, but I won't go back that far.) the airwaves are filled with commericals that actually take up more time than the program their trying to pay for. Trying to listen to Steve and Vicky in the morning on Star 94 is a futile exercise, unless I just want to hear the traffic (at 6:45am). Between the endless commericals and the truly awful songs (thank goodness the Fray are still getting some playtime), there's nothing coming out of my speakers but noise pollution. Information that must be weeded out and discarded like so much junk.

Same thing with TV. Commercials on TV are simply time for me to get something to eat or to pee. There are times that the commericals are on I forget what I'm watching and try to find something else on. The only good part about some commericals nowadays is that they are often better than the show that is playing. No one watches the Super Bowl for the game anymore. It's for the commercials.

Another medium invented for communication... the telephone. Enter in the capital venture of Telemarketers.

And then the computer revolution. E-mail particularly is a medium that is awash with uneeded trash from businesses and (often illegal) other schemes to take your money. SPAM. It gets so that people don't want to check their e-mail or even give it out because they don't want their mailboxes polluted with junk. (Which goes for snail-mail as well. I get so much junk mail now, but it all goes into the trash, just like the Spam goes into the Spam folder and then deleted. No problem for me, but others see it as a burden more than Atlas had to bear.)

So the solution for all this? Invent ways to climb over the advertisements.... and charge for it! Make money to get rid of the people trying to contact you to make money. It's a self-fulfilling cycle. For phones, there are those telemarketer zapppers. For e-mail, countless spam programs (some scam ones actually act in the opposite way, telling you to get rid of spyware and spam, but actually, it collects your information and sends you more e-mails and spyware.... ) have been created, and while some companies have free ones, it still doesn't make any sense why we have to put up with it in the first place.

The radio has XM, Cable has HBO and premium channels, programs like Eudora will get rid of advertising if you pay them money. The medium becomes purposefully aggrivating, so that you pay that same medium money to get it to shut up! It's like that Merriachi band in the Mexican restaraunt. They play for your entertainment, but they are also playing for you so that you will pay them money to make them go away!

So where was I... oh yes... back to MySpace. I look at some of my friends pages, and they simply are advertisements for one company or the other, or for some band or whatever, and while I do wholeheartedly agree that supporting the businesses you use is great, the medium of MySpace is supposed to be used for communication with friends, classmates, business prospects...etc. Instead, all you have are advertisements, people sending spam , flashy graphics that have a link to the graphic makers website..etc.. The communication breaks down. The real person is no longer there. Instead, it is replaced by capitalistic nonsense. That's why my MySpace page looks so dull, because I will not have that stuff littering my page unless I put it there myself. I endorse Neopets, and Transformers, and all the music I listen to. They can stay on my page, but that's it. If I want to know what's going on with a band I listen to, I'll go to their page and look. They don't need to send me anything. Obtrusiveness becomes an interruption. Uneeded communcation leads to noise pollution and discarded information.

I look over at my blog totals, and it says that 341 separate looks have been made on my blogs... And while I want people to read it, I cannot help but think that there are programs out there that are scanning blogs for keywords so that they can send an e-mail to my box advertising this or that. I hope that people are reading this... but I don't care whether anyone actually is or not. I'm sharing my journal cause that's what I want to do. No one's ever responded to them, out of 341 people, so what makes me think that any of them are actually reading it. (I know that my friends are, from time to time, so some of them are real, and I greatly appreciate them.) If someone likes what I say, send me a note and say so. That's true communication, that's what MySpace is for. All I see on other pages is mostly junk.


I wanted to say something about Christmas, but since Orson Scott Card has said it so wonderfully on his "blog," and that since I agree with his statements, I'll refer you to his page. That is a blog that is worth reading every week. Amazing insights, and I value his movie reviews above most other critics out there. I can't wait to see what he thought about the Eragon movie. Go see this weeks review at this page, and read some of the rest of it too. His analysis of the Middle East conflict is amazing as well.


On a small review note, you must go to Germany and buy a copy of Declan Galbraith's new CD, Thank You. He takes contemporary classics like Eric Clapton's 'Tears in Heaven" or Art Garfunkel's "Bright Eyes" (a hit in UK, not here) and blends in his spectacular voice. You might be able to pick it up (here in the US) from Amazon or from or Ebay, because they're not selling it yet here. You can download (legally) songs from his first album, or buy it off Amazon as well. I'll put a link of that one here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Selective Hearing

I firmly believe that we are, at this very moment, experiencing an evolutionary event, one that will change the way we think, the way we process information, our very existence....
Well, maybe not, but it's astonishing some of the reports that have come out recently about kids sleeping through fire alarms.

Related situations surround us everyday. My brother, who is a sheriff in Rockdale County, has seen many examples of officers who, with lights and sirens blaring, will not be able to get around drivers because they simply do not see or hear them. He has to use the air horn (which are like those installed in trains) in order to be recognized some of the time.

I realize that sometimes I don't hear people because of my ADD... okay, I don't hear people a lot of the time... but there's a reason for this, and it's the same reason that children sleep through fire alarms.
All sense data that we recieve goes into our brains and are converted to nerve electric messages (or something like that). Everything we hear is converted by the ear and brain and processed. However, there is a very basic difference between the way that anyone born since about 1975 (give or take a decade) processes information from their elders. In this era of noise pollution, with TV, radio, cell phones, constant noise... our brains have to figure out what to process and what to ignore and discard as background noise. Our brains multitask on many different levels. Right now I am listening to the news while doing this, and with most children, they can have a TV on, the computer, radio (okay, IPod), while IM'ing their friends, and all while doing their homework.

The fundamental ability that everyone from my generation on down is learning to do is to filter out unwanted information in an effort to make sense of so much data being shoved into us every day. This becomes selective hearing. We hear what we want to hear. Now, the side effect of this is that children often do not hear their parents because, since usually what parents have to say to children is usually not wanted by the child, they simply ignore it.

Of course, this is exacerbated by the inability of the parent to discipline their child. By yelling at the child, he or she simply ignores the yelling, or for that matter, any noise that is that loud. The child does not want to get up, he learns to ignore the yelling parent that wants them to get up. Thus the fire alarm going off neglects to send the brain the information that you need to get up and get out because the brain as already decided that anything that loud must be discarded as unnecessary information.
This is, of course, why my mom finishes every sentence with "did'ja hear me?" I don't pay attention because I'm thinking about other things, and so my head discards unneeded information, like anything my mom says. Now, that is a lack of self discipline, or an effect of ADD, and I'm wrong for ignoring her sometimes, but you have to understand that with so much information flooding our minds every second, it comes to the point that we have to discard some things while digesting the more important information.

Thus the Sounds of Silence are no more. Because I've actually seen it when, at a concert, that everything goes quiet, and someone has to start screaming, because the silence is frightening to people. A lack of noise, a lack of information, is unnerving to most people my age or younger. It would be like Linus without his blanket. Noise, be it TV or music or whatever, is an essential part of our society. We have to process information constantly, even if it is just background noise.

So, selective hearing is simply an evolutionary adjustment to the changing environment in which we live. It is a method of survival. With children, though, it leads to ignoring parents, sleeping through fire alarms, and leading to a lack of discipline or self control.

Next time you have a chance, try Earobics, which is an education web site that sells software to help children process information in the midst of background noise and distractions. Talk about a hard game... try the advanced online games on the site (check in Game Goo)... it was hard for me to do!
So finally we have an answer to the classic question... If a tree falls in the forest, even if there were people around, they would be too busy listening to their IPods to notice.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bowl Season, Secret Santa, Cybertron.

Well, so begins the Bowl Season for College Football, and tonight the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl was played, and Gerald Wolfe was stuffed at the line of scrimage, and the Quarterback for TCU, Ballard, shows again how great Mid-Major conference QBs are.

I love watching Mid-Major conference games because the talented people coming out of these schools are showcased in remarkable fashion. Ballard rushed for 3 touchdowns, of which the first one had Ballard getting tackled three times and then did a somersault over a NIU player into the end zone. Amazing work! He'll be playing in the NFL for sure, although it might be as an RB, not a QB.

Unfortunately, I'll miss Friday's New Orleans Bowl, in which Rice plays Troy St.


I love the signs put up in the break room at Borders, which tells everyone that all Secret Santa activities are "due" on Friday. Now based on the past blog entries, you know what I'm going to say here. God didn't put a deadline on giving his gift. Salvation wasn't "due" anytime. You give because you want to, not because there's a deadline.


And while we're on gifts, you've got to see , where they have images of the new Transformers Masterpiece Starscream. Amazing work from Takara toys. Also, there's endless information on the toys, the new movie, and anything Transformer related.

Going to bed... post something more meaningful next time.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Book Review: Darkness Visible by William Golding

Nothing major going on here, just the insane business of the holidays working at Borders, so I thought I'd give a book review of one that will be reprinted next year, Darkness Visible by William Golding:

In Lord of the Flies, Golding demonstrated the darkness that lies within all of us, and how it appears when rules go by the wayside. In Darkness Visible, he goes one step further. Born out of dark circumstances, the young and innocent are corrupted by their adult counterparts, and, because there is no one to teach them rules, they become devoured in their own addictions. This is a complex, gothic novel that will stay in the minds of readers for a long time afterwards. It will remind some readers of Orson Scott Card's Songmaster.

Basically, Golding applies the philosophy he set out in LOTF to today's society. The whole idea of what Golding uses here is somewhat confusing. In LOTF, society (the culture and rules that hold the boys together) unravels, turning the boys into feral beings. Only a couple of kids maintain the values that he believes in. At the end of the book (especially the recent movie), Golding paralells this to the wars going on at the time he wrote it. That the few who can keep their values are often overcome by those who are without morals or a system of beliefs. When the system breaks down, cahos ensues.

Now, in Darkness Visible Golding takes this idea and applies it to a society integrated into civilization. The feral subconscious that lies within all of us, the temptations, the obsessions, come out in the main characters. Sex, drugs, crime, each character succumbs to his or her own temptation. And it's the adults who seduce the younger generation with those temptation.

However, there's one important change at the end. The experiment is this: can a person who has succumbed to the subconscious desires within (the darkness) finally control those desires and eventually reappear from that desire. An amazing book--a psychological study, an examination on society, a great novel, and a magnificent work of literature.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Little things that Bug Me...

Everyone has pet peeves, and there are some that just bug the everliving snot out of me.

If I'm in the bathroom, I have no interest to hear another guy come in, talking on his cell phone, while peeing... it's rude to the person talking on the phone, and rude to me because I have to hear this conversation when that is the last point in my life I want to have or hear a conversation! Lynn Truss compares this behavior in her book Talk to the Hand to a bubble of private space that surrounds each and every one of us. To some people, that private space means they can do whatever they want inside of that space, from sing along with too loud music to talk on the cell phone, whenever and about whatever they want. This private space also allows them to destroy books, lay down books wherever they want, and generally not care about things that are not theirs. Although a bit complicated, Truss' book is a great read.

This is a retail thing. If you are going to get change out of a role of change.... take all the change out and throw the wrapper away. Don't take half of the pennies out and leave half a role sitting in the till for someone else to finish emptying! Drives me nuts!!!

Out of date flyers. If your garage sale or event or whatever is taking place on the 15th of November, go back to the advertising bulletin boards and take the flyers down by the week after. I used to go around the college and take out of date flyers down. And don't put five flyers on the same board... we can read one just as well as five.

Chimney smoke in August. I can always tell when it gets below 60 degrees here in Georgia. It hits 59, and every fireplace hearth in the neighborhood is lit up, with smoke pluming out of the roofs. That's what central heat is for. I'm allergic to fireplace smoke, and once people realize that we are living in the 21st century and that central heat (or space heaters) are much more efficient than the firsplace, the better off I'll be. Me and my sinuses thank you (yes I know I used "me" in the sentence wrong. It was for emphasis.

I've already mentioned some in other posts, but these were some that probably wouldn't have fit in anywhere else.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Neil Postman, Gift-giving, other random thoughts.

I don't think Neil Postman went far enough in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death. His idea was that the media (the way in which we communicate) shapes what we communicate. Postman was very much interested in the concept of the News broadcast, where the whole world is given to you in 15 second snapshots, all geared toward the idea that something absolutely wonderful will happen after the next commercial. It leads you through bombings, deaths, fires, rapes, cats in gutters, only to lead you to weather, sports, and then to some insignificant Youtube like video of something really weird happening, as if that were the highlight of the whole hour. So what if the kid is stuck in the vending machine, the hike in gas prices or the threat of nuclear holocost from N. Korea or Luxembourg or whoever wants to annihilate us next is much more important and relevant to our lives.

But that's not what is paramount to the media (see ideas in posts below). My contention is that the media (the way in which we communicate) has become our reality. To rephrase, Postman maintains that the "Medium is the Message." I go further, the "Medium is the Reality." It happened about the same time that TV really started infiltrating our living rooms (and more importantly, our bedrooms. There's no point in having sex until after we've seen the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (bless his soul) or (heaven forbid) Jay Leno.) Why bother living in our reality, where people work for a living and raise children and clean the house, when we can watch endless hours of TV or surf the Internet or play Video Games to our hearts content (or until our arteries clog and we die of heart attacks, either way.). This effects the very manner in which we look at reality. How many times has a worker at the Borders Cafe held up her scoop and asked if I want ice in my Mr. Pibb, and all I can think of is "of Kellogg's Raisin Bran "Two Scoops!"" How many can instantly quote the phone number for Empire Carpets or Safe Auto. I watched Amber and Lee watch TV, and when those commercials came on, they sang the numbers without even looking at the screen or looking up from what they were doing (playing Yugi-oh, I think.) It's been ingrained into the younger generations' minds.

I told a customer yesterday (she was looking for classics to introduce to her child) that children don't seem interested in a book unless the main character has a show on Nickelodeon or Disney or something. Farewell Peter Pan, hello Spongebob Squarepants. And this is the state of reality. Peter Pan would have no one to recruit for Neverland, because everyone would be happy here in their own Private Neverland here in America. Society here is content with no one growing up or accepting responsibility for their actions because people who don't grow up are impotent and easily persuaded by the next piece of candy or the next shiny new something or the other that is advertised. Remove the serious parts of the world, disguise the unfortunate or turn it into hilarious youtube videos, and make all your problems go away with a trip to the mall and the swipe of a credit card and the purchase of an Xbox 360 or the latest purse or whatever. Woe to the world when the children of America take over, because there will be no one to stop whoever from taking over the rest of it.


It seems strange that I would post two blogs about Christianity, since I am not an overly religious person. But I do believe in what I said, and I think that, like all things, one's faith must be carefully looked at and improved, in whatever one believes. I had a strange experience that validated the thoughts I had on Christmas and Gift-giving. I went to Chick-Fila to get something to eat for lunch, and turns out, silly me, that I forgot my Debit card in my pants pocket at home. Well, an older African American gentleman pulled out cash and insisted that he pay for my lunch. What was unusual about this was my reaction to it. I felt bad at first, as if I had done something wrong (which, to some extent, I had), and I didn't want to face this person who was paying for my lunch. But this feeling is exactly the wrong feeling to have. Open hearted giving (he was not in the same line as me, so it wasn't because he was in a hurry. He wanted to help me out), especially in this Christmas season, is a reminder of what I said below, that the giving of one's time, money, services, in an open-hearted, generous manner emulates the act of God giving Jesus to an unworthy peoples. I did nothing to deserve him paying for my lunch, but he did it anyway. We as a human race did nothing to deserve God sending his Son to die for our sins, but he did it anyway. What happened at Chick-fila emulates and validates what happened on the cross, because at first we are ashamed at our mistakes, but then we turn to the giving of thanks to the person (or God) that has generously given of himself. This feeling is what is lost when we fill Christmas lists or do Secret Santa's or expect a gift or a thank you card from friends or family.


It's cold here (my friends in Maine will laugh at me, it's around 25 here.) Thank goodness the cat we take care of is very well furred and doesn't mind the cold. My brother wraps Puddy up in his blanket before he goes to bed late at night. It looks like a Puddy Burrito. Cats are so independent. They can take care of themselves, for the most part, unless they get into the insides of the car to keep warm. Hit the Hood of your car before you get in to start it. That should startle any cat that has gotten in there. It's much better than having cat hair come through the AC.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

"Celebritization of the News"

Conan O'Brian was interviewing Tom Brokaw a couple of nights ago, and Conan came up with an interesting question (which is more than Leno has done in ages). Has the news been infiltrated with what he called "the celebritization of the news"? A masterful question, since it seems that people would much rather hear of the latest controversy around Terrell Owens or Michael Vick or who Jessica Simpson is currently dating than they would about real news that has an impact on their daily lives. This got me thinking, Conans' very right.

This didn't start recently, it began back with the start of news shows like Entertainment tonight and Extra... but really didn't begin until TV and technology made it possible to track a celeb's every move. Cell Phone cameras, Internet ability to transmit video, handheld video cameras. But also there is the effect of the MTV generation, in which attention spans of anyone falls to about a week or two at most when it comes to a celebrity. Brittney Spears must appear somewhere every night so that the news shows will give an update about who, what, where, and why on her daily. She somehow gets on the news because she had her child in her lap while driving, a move that countless normal people have done in the past without getting called by DFCS. TO must find a way to attract the media's attention (well, before he hooked up with Romo and started playing football), even when her despises the media to begin with. It's an ADD world, and celebrities have no choice but to marry the media, even when they hate them.

But what makes all this bad is that often the news of Tom Cruise marrying... Again... overtakes much more serious and relevant news. And it's done deliberately by the media, because they know that people would much rather here about Brittney than Britan, or Simpson rather than Sudan. The media is right... irrelevant news is much more appealling than news that makes a difference, because it is calmly reassuring (ignorance is bliss) instead of putting fear or alarm into someone. That is why, if the world ends, Headline News will be the best news show to watch. We want calmly reassuring, we don't care about the deaths in Africa or the War on terror, because it makes us realize that there is an entire world out there in which bad things happen, and in which we can either do nothing about, or we could do something about it, if we wanted to work hard enough to do it.

We feed on the fluff of the world, and neglect to get down to anything of substance. That is the real issue of celebritization of the news.


I know that some blogs are supposed to be about someone's real life... I've read those... and if something comes up in my life that needs writing about, I'll do that... but for now, opinions, things I think about, those will do for me. It's a place for me to write down my thoughts.


I always watch Whose Line is It anyway from 10 to 11pm on ABC Family... good stuff... as long as they stay away from certain skit games... Scenes from a Hat is the best, Millionaire Game and Helping Hands are atrocious. Makes me wish I had a DVD of it all to get around all the games I don't like.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Secret Santa... the bane of Christmas

I've been very busy with Borders and the insane number of people that are shopping now. Every time I have a minute to do a blog, the amount I want to post is more than I have time to do... so... here's a short one.

My fellow employees started a Secret Santa thing at work. Every business does it. I guess it's because every business wants everyone to feel involved, and let's face it, there are some employees that you'd rather give Arsenic to rather than a gift of some sort. In my opinion, this type of gift giving is directly against the philosophies behind Christmas.

So here's why I declined to do Secret Santa and will never do it:

1) I'm usually broke, and so buying a gift for someone I probably don't know or whatever is pointless. I'd rather buy some penguin something for Bel whom I know will like it than buy some trinket of nothing that will probably get returned.

2) Buying a gift should be an act of thinking of a friend while buying it. There should be a process involved where you find a present, all the while thinking of that person, what he/she would like, and remembering all the good times you've had with him/her. Doing a Secret Santa thing negates all this. It basically says, you have to buy a gift for this person, but that person, in turn, will not know who you are. It's like a Reality TV show for Christmas. Why all the suspense? I like surprises just as much as anyone, but I don't want to have to worry about that while I'm trying to do my job.

3) Linda and Robin Williams (see post below) have a song called "The First Christmas Gift." In it, he basically says that God sent Jesus as the first Christmas Gift. The Lyrics near the end read:

"As we rush through crowded days on hurried shopping trips
As we credit card our way down our Yuletide lists
Let openhearted offerings celebrate the King of Kings
The Fount of Love sent from above
The First Christmas Gift."

I believe whole heartedly in this lyric. Why should I give a gift to someone because of a game? Giving a gift, in this way of thinking, is emulating the giving spirit in which God sent Jesus to Earth to die for our sins. It is part of the image in which he created us. God didn't have to send Jesus down to Earth. He wasn't told to do it, no one's name was drawn from a hat. The first Christmas Gift was given openly, generously, out of love and compassion. So should we give our gifts this Christmas.

This brings me to one final thing. All this week I have helped customers fulfill wish lists as if they were orders sent to the workers at Subway. I remember making the same lists. If I were those parents, I would gladly accept the lists, but I would use it a suggestion, not as precisely what they are getting for Christmas. This too eliminates the pure meaning of giving gifts at Christmastime. It is far more meaningful for me to hunt for a gift that I know is exactly what they want without them asking for it. We never asked for a savior, but God gave one anyway, because it's what we wanted, an escape from Death. It makes me feel good, thinking about the good times I've had with my friends while looking for gifts, or cards, or whatever. That is the true act of Christmas Shopping. Joy overcomes all the negativity and hustle and bustle that seems to ooze from customers. It makes the act of giving a joy, not a chore.

So while you are out shopping for your friends and loved ones, think about them, and buy whatever you think they will want with love in your heart, and with the idea that what you are doing is repeating, in some small way, what was done 2000 years ago in Bethlehem.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Charlie Brown Christmas

More than likely, I'll be blogging about one injustice or another that has taken Christmas (or Thanksgiving) and flushed it down the toilet up until and probably past Christmas itself. But instead of the usually rantings that people have about "taking Christ out of Christmas," I want to focus on little things that irk me, traditions taken away or made unimportant, which is what most traditions do now if they don't make you money.

For instance, tonight after Wheel of Fortune went off (they need to have Jeopardy on after Wheel of Fortune like they did for ages. Make that hour a true family hour like it was for years.) ABC showed the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Which is a wonderful and moving testamony of the true meaning of Christmas. A film that was made in 1965, well before the Commercialism of Christmas took full effect. It's also a paralell of the teachings of Jesus in the way Charlie Brown picks the tree (the outcast, the meek) and blesses it by taking it home, much to the outrage of his friends.

So why am I irked about them showing this masterpiece of Charles Schultz? Because they showed it ON NOVEMBER 28TH!!! I remember when they would show it just before Christmas (the 23rd or 24th...something like that), and it was shown as a Christmas tradition. Now they show it on a Tuesday night in November between the news and more than likely a repeat of Show Me the Money.

Is it because they wanted to show it during Sweeps month? If so, they are validating the Commercialism that Schultz was condemning. Or is it that they are showing it early in the Christmas shopping season so that they can get that tiny squeak of truth out of the way to make room for the Survivor Holiday Special (yes, I know Survivor is CBS, it's called artistic license)? Whatever the case may be, it is time now for everyone to go out to their neighborhood Borders and get a copy of the Charlie Brown Christmas DVD and play it at the appropriate time. Of course, the irony is obvious. So anyway, until I find something else to complain about... I'm gonna go find my copy of the soundtrack for the Peanuts Christmas and go listen to that. You can't have Christmas without the Peanuts music behind it.

It's the End of the World...details at 11.

Imagine this situation: World coming to end (whatever end you like... Ice, Fire... ), and you have to choose which news network you want to watch it on. You could choose Fox News (Conservative, Sensationally pessimistic), CNN (Liberal, pessimistic because it's probably the Republicans' fault) or Headline News (Smiling to the end).

Dean Koontz talked about Headline News in his book the Taking, fakily smiling through the worst of news, deaths, disasters, whatever, hoping that you'll stick around and watch through the commercials. But well, maybe that's the best option. Whenever I go to bed at night, I usually keep the TV on. I used to keep Jay Leno on, but at about 3am something called Starting Over comes on and I wake up to the wailing of women. ESPN is my normal choice, because Sportscenter stays on for most of the night... until they replay the nightly college football game, and that usually wakes me up. So when that happens, I'll turn it over to Headline News, cause I can go back to sleep knowing that whatever they talk about, there will be no invading missiles into my dreams, no switches of setting to Iraq, and no shouting matches between Senators. Just the mind-numbing repetition of news, things that may or may not make any difference to the world or to me, and the smiling anchor that delivers it all with professional detachment.

So I would choose to watch the end of the world with Headline News, because sometimes we don't want to hear the pessimism of the media, or of the news itself. We want to be desensitized and brushed over (like Sensodyne toothpaste), so that we can go about our lives with the blissful ignorance that nothing will ever happen to us here in the US. I don't think even 9/11 changed that. It did for a little while, but the feeling of security is far too strong here. We escape too much into fantasy worlds, and expect the news services to give us a window into reality that we can peer out of once in a while, detached from the realization that anything could ever effect us. Television has become a vacuum where the real reality has been sucked in, sensationalized, and made harmless for those who live comfortably at home with our electronic gadgets. That's why TV has a "reality" genre. We don't live there anymore, so we watch it on TV. So let the end of the world come, and I'll sit back and not worry about it, cause the people at Headline News will tell about it, right after the next commercial.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Just Some thoughts...

Just some thoughts as I go about selling tons of books to tons of people. It's amazing how many times I hear "Happy Holidays" during the December month, and I'm not going to sit here and argue the use of "Holidays" instead of Christmas, or the obvious domination of the commercialized secularization of Christmas and its impact on religion. There are articles, books, and blogs galore on this topic. My observations are more personal.

It seems strange that, among the countless Christmas songs we here played over the Musak systems at the stores, so many of them are about Christ's birth. In a time when we try not to offend anyone by taking all meaning out of anything, we think nothing about including Christian Carols along with the Santa Claus tunes. In particular, one I've been listening to is a bluegrass/folk duo, Robin and Linda Williams, and their album, The Christmas Gift. They perfectly blend the images of Christmas here in America (although, granted, from a uniquely Appalachian (sp) view), and directly relate it to the story of the Nativity. An amazing use of a capella and 3/4 time, old time country singing and nostalgic themes that gives the album appeal. They use no traditional carols, but instead find gems that should be played as much as the ones oft heard in shopping centers.

Another person that has influenced my thinking of late is Mark Lowry, who's comedy and intimate and knowledgeable sermons are mixed perfectly together. He talks on Mark Lowry goes to Hollywood about how God opened up Christianity from just his Chosen people to include the "Gentiles," who would be everyone. Everyone should be allowed to believe in God. No forcing, no exclusion, no inclusiveness. Another point Mark makes is that now, many Christians try to exclude people because of their lifestyles, because of the way they dress or other discriminating factors.
And that got me to thinking.... it's obvious that what people see in Christians is the snobbish, prejudiced people that some are (although, not, in my opinion, everyone.) And I can see that, because there have been some churches I have been to that clearly did not want us there. You could see icicles hanging off the ceiling. Why should anyone look favorably in a religion that is so prejudiced against anyone that is not just exactly like them? Of course, that is not the way things are, but a few people like that can influence the way everyone looks at a group.

God loves the sinner, and hates the sin. We should love the sinner, and hate our own sin. That's what Mark said in his video. And did not God also say to "Love the Lord your God and Love one another as yourselves" (paraphrased, cause I don't have a Bible with me). Nowhere did it say to hate those people who believe differently than you or have a different lifestyle. I agree with Joel Osteen, who says that it is up to God to judge the sins of others, not for us. So if you look at Mark Lowry, and Joel Osteen, they can be very content in their faith, happy and loving toward all people around them. Isn't this what Jesus did as well? Sure, he got mad at some people, but mostly he got mad at the hypocrites, not at the outcast, at the unbelievers. This is the way we should all believe. Let us remain confident in our faith, in our own relationship with God, and love those around us, because it is up to God to judge those who have sinned, not us. We can each individually have a relationship with God, and it is up to us to act as He would have us do, not what a denomination or a person or whatever. And yet we try to govern the morals of other people, through legislation, through the courts, and it becomes a perversion of what people should do.

Republicans are constantly urging for less government involvement in people's lives, until it becomes a moral issue, and then the more regulation, the better. And Democrats believe that they should be able to legislate everything, bending on moral issues whenever their constituents believe it right (in other words, whatever gets them elected). My political belief and my religious belief are the same. Let us not legislate or discriminate based on morals, but let God and the individual work that out. In politics, the individual should know what is right and what is wrong, based on their beliefs and the will of God. Therefore, governmental legislation on the private lives of its citizens should be very minimal. The government is there to protect, defend, and provide for its citizens, not to govern the citizen's private lives. In matters of faith, the church should not be the body that governs the personal lives of it's members, but rather God himself. The individual should know what is right and wrong based upon the word of God and should act according to the relationship that he or she has with God.

So what's my point with all this? The point being, is that, while I was driving back from work with my Christmas Carols playing, I was very happy with myself, with my faith, with the belief that God has put me here for a reason, and that there have been times in the past where if God had not had a plan for me, I wouldn't be here now. And that is enough. Enough that I shouldn't care what churches think about who I am or if they should discriminate against me for any reason. It doesn't matter. I have a relationship with God that is my own, and there is no church that can legislate that relationship. let the churches open the doors to the outcast, to the people of this world, and cease to discriminate against everyone. God has enough love for everyone, and so should we. The church's responsibility should be to provide the material (the Bible) that should guide a person in his relationship with God, and also provide knowledgeable people to help people understand the material in the Bible. There are very few teachers I have seen in church that I would have them teach me in the ways of religion and belief. Why should I have teachers instruct me in the ways of faith when their methods are more of brainwashing and of mere socialization with the students rather than a philosophical and theological examination of the ways of faith and belief.

Anyway, just some ramblings as I attempt to put together this whole Christmas feeling, separate it from the secular commercial Christmas, and define why people believe the way they believe. Especially in this world where terrorists hate the Christians, and Christians hate non-Christians, where discrimination and bigotry remains as much alive now as ever, and that's clearly not the way Christianity should be, especially now, with the peace of Christmas upon us.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Macy's Thanksgiving NBC/Tony's Commercial

Billy Joel wrote a song on The Nylon Curtain, titled "Where's the Orchestra?" I started singing this while trying to watch the NBC Macy's Thanksgiving day parade. But ironically, I never got to see the parade, because the narrarators and the commentators were too busy interviewing each other, or talking about the new NBC TV shows, or advertising the new broadway play. Everything but showing the parade. And whenever a float comes by, someone has to be on it singing. The balloons should be the star of the parade, as well as the marching bands, but you hardly ever see them now. It's now more about Broadway plays and the new shows on NBC.

Thanksgiving has gotten such a bad commercialistic wrap. From Christmas to the narrators that read off their comments ("I'm so happy to be here..l" said without enthusiasm.) And commericals every 5 minutes. With my ADD, I can't concentrate that long. I have to find something else.

Well, I've cooked the Thanksgiving meal (plopped it all in the oven on 375 for an hour), and so now I want to participate in the true meaning of Thanksgiving... Football!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Obligatory Thanksgiving Blog

So what am I thankful for? That's what everyone is supposed to ask you on this holiday. Of course, Thanksgiving is supposed to be the calm before the storm of Black Friday (I guess the Triptophen in the Turkey is supposed to make you sleep so you can get up the next morning and shop.) But seriously, things this year have been much better than the year before, and I do have things to be thankful for.

Actually, there should be more days built in so that you can reflect on what you've done in your life. Not just Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve (cause those are days for football), but days for us to stop and read what we've done. I know, let's make a day where everyone goes back and reads their blogs and sees what they've done over the past year. See where they've been. Blogging Day.

My main thanks is to Amber, who has kept me informed of my family in Milledgeville, and has been so patient through all the stuff they've been through. I only hope I can support her when she needs a shoulder.

And I am thankful to have Lee as a brother and as a friend. I'm always there for you guys, you know that. I recall that Christmas tree that I got you and tried to send to you up at the hospital on the hill, and they wouldn't let me bring it in. I still get a sense of melancoly when I pass by it at CVS. It's been a year since then, and now you've grown up and now have a life light years from that. Be thankful for all you've learned, and for the people who have lifted you up. I'll be there to support you in whatever you do, whatever you become.

I am thankful for my job at Borders, because I have a place here in Conyers where I actually feel like I have friends here. There is nothing that can be better as a workplace than a place where you feel like the perfect pieces to a puzzle. It feels like an episode of Star Trek: TNG during the later seasons when everything gels so well together. And the experience I get there will help me in the future, so that I can finally get out on my own, get a place where I can help those that I love and find my niche in this life. I'm almost there.

I'm also thankful for my Prozac, which helps me on days when I need it. :)

I'm thankful for the Internet sites I go to, like Myspace and Neopets, because it's good to be distracted every now and then. Reality is too harsh for any one person to be surrounded by for too long .

May all of you in the US have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and for anyone not in the US, take the time to do what we do and ask what we are thankful for. Sometimes the world seems dreary and full of bad news, but there is always things to be happy or thankful for. People to love, the joys of living everyday and building upon the successes of the day before.

And finally, I'm thankful for the heater in my room, and the cool pillow in which I am about to lay my head.

Good night.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

We interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcast...

I'm sitting here, watching the news.... it's 5:30, and I'm watching the news... so what's the big deal? Because I'm supposed to be watching Star Trek! Spike TV has been running Star Trek TNG and DS9 all afternoon long (yeah, they took off one hour of DS9 so they could put an extra hour of watching police videos, and I'm ticked about that, but...), but now they decide to have these marathons during the holidays so that people can watch James Bond or police videos, when I want to see Cardassians and starships!!! I have my days all planned out, and when Spike TV decides they're going to change things, then I actually have to do something else, like work, or chores or something. Talk about insensitive!

And while we're on the subject... how come the President has to always schedule his Press Conferences at 11:00am? Is there some written law that the Price is Right is perfectly expendable just because the leader of our country wants to get himself humiliated in front of a bunch of vultures? There is nothing more important than a game of Plinko while I'm eating lunch. I've been watching TPIR since I was born, and there were times when I was a kid that if they broke in with something important (plane crash, police chase, the Governor wipes his nose) I would get SO MAD!!! And it's still true today. I almost expect it. With Bob Barker retiring next year, lets let him get all the air time he can, and let's have Bush do his press conference after lunch.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Natural Talent with Developed Talent./ Review Enigma CD

In an earlier blog, I complained that Mike Vick was not allowed to use his talent and run, to do what he needed to do to win the games. Turns out, I think it's the Offensive Line that's not letting him do anything, cause they're not protecting him at all. Give him the Colts OL, and he'd have time to eat a sandwich before making a play.

But aside from football, everyone should be encouraged to develop and use natural talents in everyday life. On a very basic level, everyone should be able to do certain things by themselves, to use what brain power they have, to build the skills they need to become truly good at whatever they are doing. Much like the job skills in a RPG (see previous post).

Case in point. Go into a Macdonalds, and see how many cashiers can 1) remember exactly what you ordered without looking at the monitors every time they go to get something....fries....drink....Big Mac (hold the pickles, Please!, and 2) can count the change back if the computer goes down and they have to figure out the value of a nickel. How many high school students can do long division without the use of the calculator. Sure teachers will say, "they will have calculators in real life, so they should have them in school." Well, suppose a nuclear disaster occurs and there is no technology to help people with such functions. They will need to do things with just their brains.

Society, however, believes that if they can make a machine to do something, then you don't have to do it. Calculators, change functions on the cash register (let's face it, you should be able to do that in your head), even a machine I saw at my mom's office that automatically folded a letter into thirds to be put into an envelope. They should have a machine that licks the stamps, too. Except they're now stickers. Imagine a generation of people who will never know the joys of licking stamps!!! Why bother learning the skills to do things yourself when you can buy (yeah capitalism!!) a machine that will do it for you. Lets make everyone completely dependent on technology and completely inept to do anything on their own.

Not to brag, but I can instantly look up probably 50% of all books at Borders, know who wrote them, how many we have, what's on order, the plot lines, etc... without having to look it up on the computer. Some of this is natural talent, but some of it is Developed Talent. If you don't have a natural ability to do something... it is very possible to learn the talents that will help you do very well in anything. It takes very little training to do this as well. In my job, taking a look at the books in the back room, stroll through the Tables and the Best Sellers, know what books customers want. It doesn't take that much time or effort. Everyone has talent, natural or developed. Let's all use it for the good of ourselves, and of each other.


I've been listening to Engima's new CD (I'll put a link to it at the end of the blog), and I agree with the reviews on Amazon. It's okay if you like the status quo for Enigma (which is really cool, a blend of spiritual and sensual, mind and body, with a dance beat). But as I've listened to all of Michael Cretu's albums, it's my opinion that he's done nothing truly great since the 4th album (the Screen/Mirror one). the 5th (Voyageur) and the new one both are disconnected, without an overlying theme, and while musically okay, they don't begged to be played over and over like the first 4 albums do. So go get the older ones (at Borders, of course), and download the rest.

Monday, November 13, 2006

and Pooh too... hehehehe...

So after having woken up at, oh, 10:00am (I am a morning person, after all), I turn on TV and find, amongst the drivel that usually fills the channels this time of day (or any time of day, for that matter), I found Disney's old Pooh movie. Which got me to thinking.... think.... think.... well, after all, Pooh is my namesake, so it seems only natural that I should look like him too.

Anyway, I read this book, The Tao of Pooh which takes A.A. Milne's characters and applies Tao teachings to them and does a psychological profile for all of them. But you hardly need a book to point out what's all around you. Everyday I meet people who could be part of the hundred acre wood. Just thinking of Borders, there's Eyeore, and Rabbit, and Piglet, and Tigger (ME!!), and anyway... and maybe that's a good thing, because there are so many different types of people, and to be in a place where everyone gets along as well as the characters in the Hundred Acre Wood.

As for me, I'm half Pooh, and half Tigger, which is an unusual combination, cause the brain does backflips, but the body gets tired. And honestly, there's a little of every character in each of us, but some are a little more prevailant than others. I know an Owl, and a Kanga, some Roos, and quite a few Eeyores

So which one are you? I guess that this whole blog is that one question. And if you don't know the answer, read The Tao of Pooh to find out, or just read Milne's books. I did, during Spring Break one year in College, and they're just as entertaining for adults as they are for children. TTFN!!

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Random Thoughts on my day off

I went to the Oral Surgeon today (Doctor Martin, who works off Eagle Pointe Pkwy. in Stockbridge, the best oral surgeon in Georgia) and got a back tooth removed. Not something I want to go into, and the reasons go back years. One word of warning, always brush your teeth when in Milledgeville. I don't think they have much Flouride in their water. And in Wilkinson county the water burns going down. There are other reasons, too, but it's not worth going into.

Finding a good dentist is much like `finding a good auto mechanic. Which, in Conyers, would be Pro Import Services. But there are so many dishonest, greedy, and run of the mill dentists out there. And while these dentists might be okay, they want money, and they would much rather charge you out the wazoo for every little bit of "procedure" that they go through. While I have dental insurance, it, like most dental insurances, are not worth much. I don't have the money to do what they want me to do, and the prospect of having false teeth is not inviting, its the only choice I have. It is an injustice for the dental community to charge so much for so little. And they don't listen to you when you want them to do something very specific. It would be like telling a mechanic to change the spark plugs and them charge you for a complete transmission diagnostic. Or a doctor to perform an MRI when all you have is heartburn. When America realizes that health and dentistry cannot be ruled by capitalistic mongrels, and medicine and health care is regulated by something other than greed, then we will have taken the first big step toward a more "starfleet" like society.


If you want to read a similar blog, look at the home page of Orson Scott Card, a marvelous writer of science-fiction, fantasy, and other fiction. He can write a story with characterization that is a class in writing. Developed purely through dialogue, people in his stories are so accessible and real. I feel like I'm watching this really good movie in my head, and it's just a book. Everything he's written is good. Go visit ,the official home page of OSC. He reviews everything from movies to books to Italian restaurants in his home town of Greensboro, NC. I agree with most everything he says. His essays on current events and politics are brilliant!!


That's about it for me right now, I'm gonna go crash now.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Materialism and Love or Why Kids Want Candy.

Well, my computer is back up and working swimmingly, so now I can get back to Myspace and everything else.

Everyday I see this scenario play out. Some kid, rattling nosily on the magazine racks next to the registers, suddenly sees the Lindor Balls (which are the food of the Gods, btw. Go to Borders and get a few hundred.) and says, "Mom, I want some candy!" Although more than likely, while saying this the kid is plowing through the candy and squishing them with fingers, effectively destroying what he/she most wants (but that's another post). And whether or not the parent actually gives them the candy (in which the kid quickly eats the morsel which cannot fathom or relish in its high-calorie goodness) or not, in which a high pitch squeal and cry, but no tears, emits from the kid, which the parent ignores or buys the candy just to shut the kid up, it really doesn't matter, because the child doesn't want the candy anyway. After swallowing the candy, the kid then asks if he can have the book right behind him, or whatever.

It's clearly not a case of what the item is, but rather that the child is getting attention and what he considers love from the parent. We live in a society in which love and objects are one and the same. Where this idea originated, it could be argued for centuries to come. Probably it occurred sometime in the 1950's or 60's when that generation realized that the usually harsh raisings that they experienced by the depression generation (my step-dad) was not how they wanted to raise their children. It can be attributed to positive reinforcement, or whatever. Now, to show someone you love them, you buy them something.

And working in retail, that's exactly what we want. Upselling to kids is the easiest thing to do, cause they always want their parents to buy them something, whether they actually want it or not. How many times I have seen a kid get candy at the grocery store, lay it down on the register, and go off and forget about it, usually to look at vending machines and beg their parents for a quarter. As a capitalistic society, this is what we want. We are living in a material world... oh wait, that's too obvious... The makers of things are quite willing to make it manditory for you to buy anything to express your emotions to anyone, from buying candy to that card for Babysitter's day. And you must feel guilty if you don't buy it, cause then they won't get XY or Z and they might feel that you've slighted them, and it'll hurt your precious feelings and you'll have to get therapy again from the psychologists who would like nothing better. It's a vicious cycle, one that puts money in the pockets of everyone except you, and fills the stomachs and toy chests of children.

My suggestion... don't go to the mall, but rather, go do something that will give the kids exercise (look at me, I'm the one to talk), so they can have fun and be with you without needing to be bought something to show love. And go through and donate all that junk to Goodwill (again, you should see my room...), or to any Charity organization that can spread all this junk throughout the world and make someone else happy. This'll teach the kids generousity and philanthropy. And it'll put me out of a job, cause I want you to come into Borders and buy the books and the Lindor Balls (40 cents or 3 for a dollar) and bring your screaming, hyperactive, destructive kids with you, cause they keep my paycheck coming to me. :)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The true meaning of Thanksgiving

So tonight I will spend all night putting up all the Christmas displays for Borders, and soon we'll start playing Christmas Carols and I'll drink egg nog and gain unwanted pounds. And I sort of got to thinking... what happened to Thanksgiving. I'm not really in the mood for Halloween, but that's okay, since I'll be up all night, haunting my bookstore.

Thanksgiving however, is another story. One of the books that has routinely not sold has been Thanksgiving books. No one cares... and if you think about it, Thanksgiving is just another excuse to eat a lot, stay home from work, and watch football. For kids, Thanksgiving is a time to stay home from school, maybe watch the Macy's parade which is mainly about Santa Clause and the balloons, and to start making lists for their parents to go out the next day and buy gifts.

Which is not to say that presents aren't already being bought. Why start the Christmas season at the end of November when you can string it out, balance Credit Card spending, and start Christmas shopping in Early October? HSN already has all their Christmas trees up, and K-Mart and Hallmark have had Christmas stuff up for months now.

My main beef is that students today know nothing about what Thanksgiving is about. I bet you if you go to any Third Grade classroom and ask what Thanksgiving is about, they will give you all of the above. They don't realize that it is partially a Patriotic holiday, and that part of it is a time for religious reflection made by past presidents.

What teachers need to do is to go to your local bookstore (Borders, hopefully) and get the books that will help students realize what Thanksgiving really is. Mario Thomas wrote a wonderful one, Thanks and Giving All year Long, as well as other books that give the real meaning of Thanksgiving, not just Turkey and food and shopping. I don't usually care that much about holidays, mainly because my mom always has headaches and I have to take care of her, but this time, I think Thanksgiving has been pushed aside because of the commercialization of Christmas, and it's not fair for it to be so easily dismissed.

Now I need to retire to bed so I can get up and stay up all night. (Yawn).

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Billy Gilman, Michael Vick, and Christopher Paolini

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If we didn't, those stupid questions wouldn't be asked on interviews, and then we'd all get jobs. Those awkward silent moments when we try to figure that out are probably more job killers than any answer we might give... but anyway... We all have strengths, but whether or not we are successful depends on how we are allowed to develop and use those strengths.

I once taught a student (whose name I forget because the memory block on those days is very much in place, thank goodness) who never did his work, never did a single thing I told him, that anyone told him, and could have cared less if he did any school work or not. But that doesn't mean he wasn't brilliant. He could take a lawn mower apart and put it all back together again. He's gonna make more money than I ever will taking apart transmissions, that is, if he is allowed to develop those strengths. He should have been given tech courses out the wazoo so that when he leaves High school (at whatever age,) he would be able to walk into an auto repair shop and smoke them all.

On a similar note, the same thing goes for artists, sports people, writers, etc... In the real world, it is often the restrictions people have placed on each other, or on themselves, that hamper the natural progression of strengths in a person. Take Billy Gilman for instance. Most known for his song "One Voice." His recent albums, Everything and More and his self titled album, are, to me, disappointments, and a waste of a major talent. The song selections, arrangements, backup vocals, everything, were designed to cover up Billy Gilman's voice. Maybe they thought he needed it cause his voice was changing. There are tracks on Dare to Dream where Billy is given the chance to use his talents to the fullest extent. In other words, let him sing!!! He could be the greatest pop/broadway singer in many years, but he is targeted toward a country music stryle, which, in my opinion, is stunting his potential.

Same thing with Michael Vick. The guy can run!! Yet Jim Mora has consistantly tried to implement a passing game. Sure, Vick might get injured while running around, but if that's the way he is going to win games, then let him do it! It's a suppression of talent that has stunted the Falcons' seasons and kept them from reaching the Super Bowl. Maybe this is the year for them, I don't know.

On the flip side, Christoper Paolini, author of Eragon is a success story. He is the greatest arguement for home schooling in America in many years. He started writing Eragon when he was 15, and his writing style shines! It can easily be placed with major Fantasy works (Tolkien, Lewis...etc.), and he has done this because by home schooling him, his parents have encouraged the development of his strengths. I shutter to think what he would be now had he gone to public school. He would be drastically poorer, that is for sure.

As far as schools are concerned, if children are unique, then shouldn't the education they recieve be the same? Shouldn't the education system augment and develop strengths, instead of giving everyone the same, watered-down version of an education that will do nothing for most people? And why should money matter when it comes to developing an artist's strengths? If Billy Gilman would be the greatest singer in a generation, don't pigeon-hole him into country just because that's where people think he'll make the most money. And as for Vick, just let the guy run!!! And as for me, I'm gonna do what I do, no matter what anyone else thinks, including posting a blog at 3 in the morning. :)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Book Review: _All the King's Men_ - Robert Penn Warren

If anyone were to pull you into the deep side of a pool, and you thought you might drown, but then you found that you could swim and you liked it, that would be the feeling of reading this book. Robert Penn Warren writes of Lousiana politician Willie Stark, in a Lousiana long before Katrina, but not so long before politics corrupted and paralyzed the system. But it's not just about politics, or I wouldn't be reading it. It's about every other thing in this world besides that.

Warren is most known for his poetry, and this long, rambling book is filled with poetic moments, grand gestures of philosophical phrases, and the bombastic arrogance of someone who things he knows much more about life than you, and as it turns out, probably does.

Take a pencil, underline the good parts, watch for the cows, the bugs, the road, the twitch, the clock towers, all the things that mean everything and yet still mean just the cow. Absolutely amazing work! And no movie can come close to fulfilling the poetic wonders that fill All the Kings Men's pages. It's simply one of the best works to come out of the south in the 20th century.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Obesity and Football

And while we're talking about Mcdonalds, it seems to me that obesity is changing many different areas of our culture. In fact, it is my position that the weight gain on most teenage boys (and college guys) is going to cause the end of football as we know it. Granted, the best football players work out and most of that bulk is muscle, but you can't expect most high school football players to be all muscle.

One of the commentators on ESPN gave an opinion on the high number of defensive games that have been occurring in the NFL and in college this year. There is nothing worse than watching an entire half of a football game and have the score be 6-0. No long bombs, no trick plays, just heavy defensive players knocking the stuffing out of the offensive line. No offensive line or TE's or WR's can survive hitting the brick wall defenses that are appearing all over the place. And some people would think that a good defense is necessary to win, and it is, but you have to score points, too. The Bears found that out last year. ND found out last year that without an offense, sooner or later you're going to lose a game.

What is the reason, then, for the decline in offense in football games. I contend that boys in high school, especially ones that are a little overweight and not the fastest in the world, want to knock the stuffing out of someone, and the only legal way of doing that is becoming a Defensive Back in football. It's more than this, though. It's a mental state, where no one wants to catch the ball, or throw it, they just want to hit somebody. In such a violent world, the defensive line can legally knock somebody down and feel good about it. I taught many Defensive players at George Walton Academy, and one of them, Danny Murren, told me that he couldn't wait for the first game because he felt a build up of this desire to hit someone with all his being. That the release of that emotion was the biggest high he could feel.

So you have a combination of the lessening of athleticism in American High Schools because of weight gain, as well as a building need for violence in boys (video games, TV, ??? who knows,). And it permutates upward into college, and eventually (I think it's gotten there now, alas) to the NFL. Games are just no fun to watch anymore. And the play by play commentators have to essentially entertain America while they wait for someone to make a play over three yards. Drives me nuts. Thank goodness for those few athletes out there that are fast enough to run around Grimace and make plays. Thank goodness for Michael Vick or Slayton and White at West Virginia, or Adrian Petersen at Oklahoma (or wherever he goes in the NFL). And thank goodness for the Mannings and Brett Farve who still know how to throw the long bomb.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Mcdonalds, when you absolutely have to pass Go

So the Monopoly pieces pile up beside my computer, and the board game is filled with all the pieces you need except the last one in each monopoly group. Which means I've won absolutely nothing.

Now, I've just spent a month going to McD's, ordering food that was bland (the french fries are getting worse), putting up with customer service that is horrible, eating food that has probably sucked one year of my life away, all to play this game which I have no chance of winning. So why do I do it?

The same reason everyone else does, because Monopoly and McDonalds is an event which draws everyone under the golden arches just to pull off those little tags to see which estate they got. There is no other time that I would go to a fast food restaraunt just because of a promotion. There is nothing in the retail world like it.

And the fact that for years, the whole thing was rigged (see news articles about the security company handling the promotion actually gave the real pieces to their friends), did nothing to keep people away from the game. People are still just as excited about it as they were long ago. I joke that the thing is still rigged, but I do it anyway. Because we have all been herded like cows to this greasy place to eat something that will kill us all eventually. And we mooooo and add to the Billions and Billions served. When I get up to Heaven's gates, I only hope that Peter has $200 dollars for me as I pass Go into the Kindgom.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Blogging... once more unto the breech.

Okay, so the main thing you do with Myspace is to keep a blog, a diary, a journal. Whatever. And the purpose of this is to do what.... let the whole world know my innermost thoughts? But then, who am I kidding? It's unlikely that all but a few would even look here, much less some unknown somebody. Why should anyone even care what I think, or what my opinions are on anything?

Well, for one, I do. I have kept a journal in the past, and I want to be able to express myself. So now, I'll do a blog, I hope, every day or two or three. There are always things to think about. Life does not just let someone stagnate. And if I have the self discipline to sit on my butt and type out these things, instead of doing something more productive, I'll have a new, electronic journal that I can keep going without having to take up space on my bookshelves, which are already overflowing. So for anyone listening, I hope you get something out of it.

Oh, and I just got back home from work, and I wanna sleep, cause I got up at 4:30 in the morning to get to work by 6.