Sunday, July 29, 2012

Coke Bath

Some of you may know that I hate driving.  Anything longer than about 40 minutes annoys me.  First of all, it’s wasted time.  If I’m driving I can’t very well be reading a book or magazine.  I have to pay attention to just the driving.  I don’t have enough time in the day to do everything I need to do and time spent commuting eats away even more of it.  Luckily, I can listen to music at the same time, since that is passive interaction and hearing isn’t usually a sense that is required to devote to driving safely.  I’ve listened to a lot of music since living in this area.  Being able to do that doesn’t save me any time, since I’ve never just listened to music- it’s always been playing in the background during some other activity. 

I also hate driving because I’m sitting down in a confined area for extended periods of time.  It’s like being in prison but I can’t even get off the bunk and pace around my cell.  My butt cheeks fall asleep, my leg starts twitching and I can’t find a comfortable place to put my elbows.  I’m a walker- I like to get up periodically and walk around, find some quick task to do elsewhere before going back to my desk or where ever I was sitting.
The biggest reason that I hate to drive though, is because it means I’m forced to go out in the midst of thousands of other people careening around in two tons slabs of metal while they are busy not paying attention.  Texting and talking on the phone seems to be more important to them than keeping their car in their own lane.  Others seem to have defective cars, because the turn signals on their BMW don’t seem to work because they never are in use when the car slaloms across three lanes so they can cut me off and get to the exit ramp.  Yesterday was a perfect example of this. I’m driving along the Beltway in Maryland to get to my Brandywine office.  Ahead of me I see one of those roadside assistance vehicles behind a broken down car in the exit lane.  There are four or five cars sitting behind it, because apparently they didn’t notice a stationary vehicle in the road until it was too late to go around it. 

I approach this cluster of dumb with mild curiousity and caution.  I notice the car right behind the emergency vehicle starts to pull out so I slow down a little.  Then the nose of the third car in the line starts to peek out at as I’m nearing and then pulls out right behind the first car.  There is no way that car can accelerate quickly enough to get out of the traffic on the Beltway because the first car is still in front of them puttering around the emergency vehicle.  I’m rapidly closing the distance and I can’t change lanes because I don’t have enough time to check if there is anyone already in the next lane so I have to slam on my brakes or hit the car.  I do briefly consider hitting it because the idiot pulled out when there were cars coming instead of during a gap in traffic and of course there was no turn signal employed during the maneuvering.  It would show them the stupidity of their actions and maybe permeate their obliviousness for a moment.  I decide against it though because it will mean my car gets totaled in the process and I might end up flying through the windshield somehow even though I am wearing my seatbelt.  I’m screaming at the car as I’m pressing the brakes and everything in my front seat goes flying onto the floor.  I’m still yelling as I pass the car as it gets back into the exit lane and I see the fat woman in the beater car carrying on like nothing happened, like she didn’t almost kill me. 

A mile or two down the road I finally look at the stuff that got thrown on the floorboards.  Oh shit!  I got a drink at 7-11 on the way and that cup was now sitting completely upside down on top of my CD holder.  I grab the cup and scan the floorboards- nothing on the carpets.  Maybe nothing spilled out?  I lift a CD out of the holder and lots of brown liquid streams off.  All the Coke had flowed through the straw and the hole in the cup and was now puddled in my holder, perfectly contained but also totally immersing my CDs in sticky liquid.  I start screaming at the woman in the car all over again.  Now not only had she not been shown the stupidity of her actions, they actually affected me more than her.  Several of the CDs were purchases, not burns of a digital songs, and they were ruined.  The new one from The Cult, something from Dangermouse, Paul Mauriat’s greatest hits- money was paid for all those and now they were soaked and ruined. 

When I got to work, I took a few minutes in the parking to try to clean them up but they had been soaking in too much liquid for too long to be spruced up with a tissue.  I’m hoping that the stuff I burned onto CD from the CDs in my house to make my monthly mix CDs will be salvageable.  So now I’m spending part of my Sunday rinsing off 3 years worth of monthly CDs and jewel cases in the hope that I can still play them after they dry off.  Do CDs rust? Did I get all the Coke off of them or will I end up ruining my car stereo as well?  Wouldn’t that be ironic- the person who avoids crashing into a dangerous motorist is the one who ends up paying the most for it.  That’s why I hate driving- it takes control out of my hands and puts it into the hands of people less concerned with my safety and my needs.  They don’t care what happens from their actions as long as things turn out okay for them.  I need a chauffeur.  My blood pressure can’t take this every day.  Nor can my numb butt cheeks.  Whew, I needed to get that rant off my chest.  I’d been thinking about this all weekend and needed to vent.  Thanks for listening all you faithful and also non-existent readers.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kristen Stewart Apologizes For Cheating On Robert Pattinson

Wow!  I'm shocked because Stewart's main appeal was her supposed integrity and committment, to her performances and the way she led her life.  Now she's just another hypocritical, self-indulgent, weak-willed celebrity.

(Huffington Post, 25 July 2012)

Kristen Stewart released a public apology on July 25 after reportedly cheating on Robert Pattinson. After incriminating photos of Kristen Stewart with married director Rupert Sanders were splashed in Us Weekly, the "Snow White and the Huntsman" actress has admitted to cheating on boyfriend Robert Pattinson in a heartfelt statement to People.  "I'm deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I've caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I'm so sorry."
News broke on July 24 that Stewart, 22, had cheated on Pattinson, her longtime boyfriend and "Twilight Saga" co-star. The pair quietly started dating after working together on the "Twilight" films, the last of which is set to be released in November.  Us Weekly obtained intimate photos of Stewart and Sanders, her "Snow White" director, and sources confirmed the recent affair to several outlets.

Sources told People, "She wasn't having an affair with Rupert. It was just a fleeting moment that shouldn't have happened."  Sanders, 41, is currently married to British Vogue model Liberty Ross, and the couple has two children.  Ross has deleted her Twitter account, though E! Online reports that the last tweet from the account @RossLiberty read: "Wow."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mainstream Media Invents Gay Marriage Chick-Fil-A Controversy

(By Patrick Hobin,, 24 Jul 2012)

CNN and other left-friendly media outlets are running full speed with an erroneous story that brands the president of the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain a homophobe because he allegedly told a reporter he is “guilty as charged” when it comes to his company being opposed to gay marriage, The Weekly Standard reported.  But the Chick-fil-A president, Dan Cathy, did not condemn gay marriage. CNN and other liberal outlets made their own leap from Cathy expressing support of the traditional family and Christian growth and ministry to making Cathy appear to be condemning gay marriage.  A review of the original interview shows he wasn’t even asked a question about gay marriage nor did he say he condemns it.

The erroneous report caused such an uproar that even Boston's mayor threatened to deny the company business permits, and the Muppets announced the fast food chain wouldn't be able to license any new toys for their kids meals.  For example, CNN said in its story: “But the comments of company President Dan Cathy about gay marriage to Baptist Press on Monday have ignited a social media wildfire.  ‘Guilty as charged,’ Cathy said when asked about his company's support of the traditional family unit as opposed to gay marriage.  ‘We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that,’ Cathy is quoted as saying.”

In the actual interview, Cathy wasn’t specifically asked about gay marriage.  His remarks to the paper were as follows: “We don’t claim to be a Christian business,” Cathy told the Biblical Recorder in a recent visit to North Carolina. He attended a business leadership conference many years ago where he heard Christian businessman Fred Roach say, “There is no such thing as a Christian business.”  “That got my attention,” Cathy said. Roach went on to say, “Christ never died for a corporation. He died for you and me.”

“In that spirit . . . [Christianity] is about a personal relationship. Companies are not lost or saved, but certainly individuals are,” Cathy added. “But as an organization we can operate on biblical principles. So that is what we claim to be. [We are] based on biblical principles, asking God and pleading with God to give us wisdom on decisions we make about people and the programs and partnerships we have. And He has blessed us.”  And here's what Cathy says about marriage, the Weekly Standard reported: The company invests in Christian growth and ministry through its WinShape Foundation ( The name comes from the idea of shaping people to be winners. It began as a college scholarship and expanded to a foster care program, an international ministry, and a conference and retreat center modeled after the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove.  “That morphed into a marriage program in conjunction with national marriage ministries,” Cathy added.

Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family.  “We are very much committed to that,” Cathy emphasized. “We intend to stay the course,” he said. “We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”  CNN and other outlets reported that Cathy spoke words directly addressing gay-rights issues and implied that he delivered anti-gay remarks. said the reporting “raises an interesting journalistic question: Is a defense of one doctrine automatically the same thing as an on-the-record attack on the opposite doctrine? In this case, is it accurate for CNN (and others) to say that Cathy made comments about gay marriage when, in fact, he did not speak words addressing that issue?”
The reporter of the original Biblical Recorder story, K. Allan Blume said, according to, that Cathy was "very positive” and the conversation was not being portrayed accurately.  Many of those reports “turned [the original story] into a negative,” Blume said, according to the website. Blume said the term “anti-gay” never came up in the interview.  “He was not saying ‘guilty as charged anti-gay,’” Blume said. “[Cathy] never even brought up that subject. Everything he stated was on the positive side . . . He never stated anything negative.”

 The Weekly Standard wrote, “To say that Cathy condemned gay marriage is stunningly dishonest. And yet, Cathy's had to endure headlines such as, "Boston Mayor Blocks Chick-fil-A Franchise from City over Homophobic Attitude" — and that headline comes from Time, which is allegedly one of the more responsible media outlets. CNN, Time, and many other news organizations owe Cathy and Chick-fil-A some serious corrections and/or clarifications.”

Chick-fil-A is not without its backers, however, as the backlash of the non-controversy has a backlash of its own, with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee asking supporters to eat at one of the fast food chain's more than 1,500 locations on Aug. 1 as part of an "appreciation day."  "The goal is simple: Let's affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we espouse by simply showing up and eating at Chick Fil-A on Wednesday, August 1," Huckabee wrote on his Facebook page.

Along with the original interview…

In the follow-up to the original article ( ), I was particularly impressed with the following passage:

“It remains to be seen whether the controversy will harm Chick-fil-A, but the company likely will survive and might even pick up some new customers. That's partially because its base is passionate about its food and, for the most part, apparently appreciates its traditional stance…because its base remains in conservative states. Texas has the most Chick-fil-A restaurants at 262. Including Texas, five states have more than 100 restaurants, and they're all in the South. North Carolina, which has 143 Chick-fil-A restaurants, passed a constitutional marriage amendment in May defining marriage as between a man and a woman. By contrast, the entire state of New York has one Chick-fil-A restaurant. Washington state doesn't have any. Neither does Oregon. Or Vermont. This means that many of those calling for a boycott don't have a restaurant in their area to boycott -- and they've likely never been to a Chick-fil-A.

After watching the uproar, Focus on the Family's Glenn T. Stanton, who often debates the issue of gay marriage and takes the traditional side, told Baptist Press, "I'm gonna have to stop by there for spicy chicken sandwiches and a milkshake more often."  "We hear almost monthly of new major companies announcing their support for the gay community, regardless of what most of their customers want," Stanton said. "And here we have the CEO of a clearly on-the-record traditional values company simply saying he supports the traditional family and how tampering with it is contrary to God's will. And the split-second reaction from these activists is to slander him and his company in the press and blogosphere. It just takes one company taking an alternative position to make the gay activists and liberal press hit the ceiling. But that's where we are today."  Stanton said the message by some opponents of Chick-fil-A apparently is, "Speak up for the natural, traditional family and we will come after you."  "If you don't believe this," Stanton said, "just watch how Chick-fil-A will be treated in the coming months. They [Chick-fil-A's critics] are the new close-minded fundamentalists."

My take, in case you were wondering, is that I don’t have any issue with gay marriage rights.  I have several friends that are married to a same sex partner and I’m very happy for them.  In fact, I’m jealous that they found someone and I haven’t.  What I do have an issue with though, is when people get slammed for voicing their opinions.  Being “pro” something doesn’t automatically make me “anti” something else.  I donate to cancer research organizations but that doesn’t mean I’m “anti-polio cure” because I don’t donate to polio research organizations.  If your argument is that traditional family negates the concept of gay marriage, fine.  Then Chick-Fil-A is anti-gay marriage… and they have a right to be. 
If the anti-Chick-Fil-A group got their “genie lamp wish” granted, Chick-Fil-A would go out of business and a differing opinion would be eradicated.  How is that different from misguided people in the 1950’s whose genie lamp wish would be something along the lines of “to have all the queers disappear”?  If the culture of oppression from before needed to change to allow gay marriage to happen, why do the pro-gay marriage advocates want to institute their own culture of oppression?  America was founded on the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  People should be free to say and do what they what as long it doesn’t interfere with my right to do the same.  Being the most vocal doesn’t make you the majority, or even right.  Your voice needs to be heard but you also have to let others speak too, even if you disagree with them.  Being close-minded on either end of the political spectrum is wrong.  That’s why the “Coexist” bumper sticker had to be created. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

“You Have Been Randomly Selected…”

“What is this?”, you may be asking.  That is easy. It is a CD, they contain music and you put them in a player of CDs and the songs on them flow out and surround you and make your spirits soar.  “Why do I have these?”, you may also be asking.  Well, that is a little harder to answer because it involves assumptions, some back story and a little self-pity as well.  But since you did ask, even if it was only after I stated that question for you just now, I’ll tell you the why.  Here’s the back story.  Last year, I wrote up my Year In Music review and posted it on FaceBook and my blog and asked people to let me know if they wanted a copy of the CDs I made.  Many of you did.  I hope you enjoyed hearing them because I enjoyed sharing them with you.   

This year, I wrote up a music review again and posted it on my blog (  I made a batch of CDs in anticipation of sending them out to people again and I asked you to let me know if you wanted one.  That was the assumption part.  Now here comes the self-pity part, which is a little pathetic, I must say, and I don’t look that dignified by revealing it either but I’m going to say it anyway:  No one asked for a CD!  Not a single person.  Granted, the offer was made way down in the fourth paragraph and sounded a little off-the-cuff and casual but still, no one asked.  That meant either they didn’t want one or they didn’t read the blog post.  Both of those possibilities made me feel a little sad.  I might even have teared up a little.  I’m not saying I did, mind you; I’m just saying “maybe”.  (Okay, I did.)  Now I have ten CDs left that are just sitting around, as a constant reminder that I’m not they aren’t wanted.  It’s a little depressing so I have decided to send them out to people and give them a new home, a place for the my own inhabitants of the Island Of Misfit Toys.

You have a set in your hands right now because you were randomly selected from my group of friends and acquaintances because either 1) You asked for them last year and I’m going to pretend that you wanted them again this year but forgot to ask me (Just work with me here, okay?) or 2) You seem to be interested in music and might appreciate hearing some new things.  That is the “Why” and the “What” and now things are in your hands, literally.  These are really good songs, really.  Really.  You might not like all of them but I’m hoping you come across a couple that you like a lot and that get stuck in your head, an earworm that lodges itself so deep that the song comes to you in the shower, or in the car or even when you are dreaming.  Please give these songs a home. For only zero cents a day, you make life better for this CD.  Act now- go put them in your CD playing device and show them that somebody cares.  Then tell me they are in a better place, that they are better off than when they were gathering dust on my shelf.   You can lie to me if you like, I don’t mind.  If just one song is better off than before, I will consider this awareness campaign a success and I will thank you for that.  But I sure as hell won’t pre-make any discs next year.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sleigh Bells Sucks?

(July 4, 2012)

I can’t stand the group Sleigh Bells even though I should love them.  They play fragmented, splintered, noise-core rock music that includes interludes and snatches of melodic pop sounds.  The reason I’m surprised by this is because Skinny Puppy does the same thing and I love them.  Crystal Castles does it too and I adore them.  In fact, disjointed cacophonic pop-rock hybrids are one of my favorite niches: Daft Punk’s first album, Forest For The Trees only album, The Avalanches, half of the things Beck has done, Ministry, all enjoyable.  Sleigh Bells- makes me want to hit the fast-forward button.  I just finished reading an interview with them in Spin magazine in which they discussed some of their influences.  The main songwriter- Derek Miller (I think that’s his name)- name checks Roxette, Chicago, Cyndi Lauper, and Def Lepperd in addition to some hard-core/metal bands.  Frigging Roxette! 
So why don’t I like their band?  Do they actually suck and I’ve just been brainwashed by reviewers trying to convince me that they are awesome?  I had bought their first album and hated it but after reading glowing reviews about their second album including the article I just finished, I started listening to their second album on Spotify.  It sounds just like their first one and every song sounds almost the same as the previous one.  The schtick got old real fast.  I had to switch over to Best Coast, another over-hyped band but at least one that I can enjoy.  So is it just me or does Sleigh Bells suck?