Something for the Republicans

Okay…as much as I bash Bush on my blog (that was a lot of b-words), I have something to say that’s actually kind of positive. (Shock…disbelief…rioting in the streets…) No…I’m SERIOUS! (Though I should warn that it’s positive, but mixed with negativity and disillusionment…so it’s only so-so…it’s just slightly less mean than usual.)

I actually kind of respect that he stands behind his decisions, even when like 70% of the country is telling him he’s wrong. For example…the Iraq war. Going into it, the UN told him they wouldn’t support it (red flag). France shook their heads and walked away (redder flag). Germany (Ahem–GERMANY) didn’t want to get involved (GIANT red flag with a swastika on it). Ted Kennedy actually spoke as the voice of reason several times before Congress (red flag in a car that doesn’t float). Black was white, up was down…but Bush stuck with it and went to war in Iraq (actually dropping the first bomb BEFORE the designated time to start, thereby committing a war crime…but we’ll ignore that–uhh–apparently forever). It didn’t matter to him that he was wrong…it only mattered that he thought he was right. That’s actually kind of respectable. (Just a pity that it was a horrible idea to begin with.) If the situation had been different and he’d used the same reasoning to get us OUT of Iraq, I would’ve really respected the move.

Then, in contrast, when he’s in a relaxed state, he’s actually kind of fun to watch. I use as my example his un-Presidential-like behaviour at the 2008 Olympics. Let’s be honest–he looked like he was enjoying the best that the Beijing breweries have to offer (though it was probably just jet-lag, since he’s reportedly a recovering addict, assuming those reports are true). Some people berated him for his goofy-attire and casual manner…but personally, I kind of liked it. Honestly, if that’d been the guy we saw on the White House lawn for the past eight years, I probably could’ve lived with it a little bit easier. But until last month, I’d never really seen that side of him. Actually seemed like a guy I wouldn’t mind hanging out with, as long as we didn’t talk politics.

Let’s also take a few of his less-serious bad decisions and put a positive spin on them. We all remember him calling a reporter a “major league @$$hole” on national television. Well…the guy WAS pretty much being a major league @$$hole to him…and he called him on it. Good for him. I can get behind that. Or how about his inability to correctly pronounce the names of other world-leaders? Let’s be honest about it…you can’t either. Neither can I. I can relate to that and excuse it. Or how about him sitting for like 10 minutes in a schoolroom on 9/11/01–y’know when the secret-service agent leaned over and said, “Mr. President, the country’s under attack” (I assume) and he sat reading childrens literature and milking the photo-op. Part of me still thinks it was inexcusable for him not to get up and leave right away, but another part of me realizes that he had to have 8-billion things going through his head…and when I heard about the event, I kept going on about my day as planned and didn’t immediately react either. In those moments, he comes across like a regular dude at his job who doesn’t really know what to do when things go wrong, but does whatever comes to mind and doesn’t feel like he was wrong to do it. Admit it. That’s how your office works, too.

In the long and short of it, the main thing I respect about the man is that who and/or whatever stands against him, he does what he thinks is right (or at least what he says he thinks is right). He has an attitude of “well, if it’s a mistake, it’s MY mistake to make. You’re the ones who voted [sic] me in.” He does what he wants, when he wants, and history be damned.

…in a way, he’s almost my hero.

But, y’know…I’m not going to miss the recession when he’s finally booted out. And I’m not going to hate having a President (who was voted in) that can SPEAK in public. Nor am I going to miss the Iraq War. Nor am I going to miss the fear-tactics. Nor am I going to miss the things that this administration (as a whole) has done that I think are fundamentally EVIL. I’m just saying that if nothing else, I can respect that fact that he stands up for himself…even if it does make him an idiot.

…of course, I’m not going to get to miss that stuff if John McSame is voted into office. So please don’t do that, ‘kay America?

Got a New Laptop

My old laptop is still kind of functional. It just powers down on its own at random. Kind of annoying and at this point not worth fixing since it’s a few years old and technology has progressed since I got it. (It was a gift from my dad when I graduated from college, by the way. Thanks again, Dad.)

So…I went to Best Buy and bought a Sony Vaio in a neat textured white. It’s not top of the line or anything, but it’s got more bells and whistles than I’m used to. 3 GB of RAM, 250 GB hard drive, Dual-layer DVD burner, four USB ports, firewire and some stuff I can’t identify and I’ll probably never use…and it’s made me change my opinion on something…

As some of you may know, I have a computer in my basement/studio/bandroom for recording purposes that came set up with Windows Vista. You also may know that I’ve been droning on and on about how much I hate Vista. Well, it turns out that either (a) I only hate FIRST GEN Vista, or (b) I hate that actual computer, but Vista is fine. Either way, Vista works great on my laptop and things run smoothly and quickly. So, I repent of my wrongdoing in speaking ill of Vista…but not of that particular computer.

That’s it for now…just bragging.

Current Listening:

  • A bunch of Aimee Mann and a little bit of Squeeze. They’re touring together and I’m going to the show in St. Louis on Tuesday. I’m a lot more excited about Aimee Mann than Squeeze. I basically like Squeeze (though I’m not a fan of the production on their albums), but I’m really a big Aimee Mann fan. So…that’s what’s going on Tuesday.

Obama, The Boss, and My Laptop

So, by now you all probably know that Obama picked Joe Biden to be his running mate. I must say, I didn’t think it’d be Biden. I’m not disappointed or anything, I just didn’t think it’d be him. I expected someone a little younger and less of an “insider.”

But, the plus side to Biden being the guy is that it gives Obama the resource of having someone with a lot of experience on the ticket with him (to counter Obama’s relative lack of experience). Biden is fairly unique in that respect, though. Sure, he’s had a long political career and is something of a Washington insider, but he’s never actually LIVED there–which is kind of a rare thing. Plus, I like the fact that the guy speaks his mind–if he’s asked to or not–and is quick at thinking on his feet.

It also seems like poetic justice that Biden would be the VP candidate. After all, it was Biden’s own comments about Obama that pretty much got him booted out of the run for Presidential candidacy. I like that Obama seems to recognize (unlike the rest of America) that Biden was TRYING to pay him a compliment when he said he was “clean, articulate, etc, etc” and that his long memory for a guy saying a nice thing about him paid off.

Which brings me to the following…

I keep encountering pissed off Clinton supporters who are mad that Obama didn’t pick her for his VP (and for some reason, mentioning that Biden has more actual experience than she does just pisses them off more). I raise the following point… Hillary said some really crappy things about Obama in the primaries and hung around in the race for about 1-2 months longer than she should have trying to divide the party and make him look bad. She played dirty politics against someone that was/is ON HER SIDE. Why would he choose her? I like Hillary. I do…but no one anywhere–LEAST of all her–should have expected Obama to give her the nod.

As a voter, I’d like to think that the people I’m trying to vote into the nation’s two highest offices basically get along. I wouldn’t think that on an Obama/Clinton ticket. I’d think Hillary was constantly second-guessing and arguing with him and he’d keep responding with “yes…but I won, so we’re doing my thing.” I don’t want that. I want a Vice-President who LIKES the man s/he’s running with. Biden went on record saying he liked Obama from minute one, and it (along with a poor choice of words) pretty much cost him any hope of becoming President.

…plus, I think Hillary’s probably too proud (or something meaner) to have accepted the offer to be Vice President anyway.

…so it’s Joe Biden. When they introduced him for the first time, the music they played was Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising” from his record of the same name. “The Rising” was the record that got the E Street Band back together, and was primarily written by Bruce in reaction to his feelings about 9/11/01. It’s a compelling listen and the lyrics are poignant and egdy. It expresses a feeling of wanting America to rise from the ashes of 9/11/01 and become a great place again…and that’s something I think we’ve just plain not been able to do under the present administration. Instead we’ve just been adding the ashes of slaughtered Iraqis to the pile Osama Bin Laden began with New Yorkers–and I’m still not sure how that even happened. I like that Obama/Biden are using that song and that concept to support their campaign. We really need to rise. America’s bald-eagle needs to turn into a phoenix.

The thing is, I saw Springsteen on Saturday and he played the song, but he didn’t mention its use earlier that day. I’m wondering if he even knew about it, ha ha. The show was great, though where I sat the sound sucked. Bruce and the E Streeters played for about three and a half hours and played a bunch of songs that were rarities. Fun show. Charged and uplifting. It’s odd that he doesn’t play “Born in the USA” anymore (which is okay, actually, because I’ve never really cared for that one), but maybe he’ll bring it back when/if Obama/Biden win.

In a completely unrelated note, I’m going to buy a new laptop soon. The one I have keeps turning itself off for no good reason, and I’m tired of dealing with it…so I’m going to get a new one. I could have the current one fixed, I’m sure…but I’ve got all my files backed up and it’s three years old and a little sluggish anyway. Let’s just upgrade to something with like 3-4 GB of RAM and a super-big hard-drive. I’m probably going shopping today, in fact.

I think that’s all that’s worth saying for now. I’m going to go do some stuff.

Current Listening:

  • Still on a Springsteen kick…

More Olympic Notes

In case you missed the earlier post, I’ve been keeping up with the Olympics. Been a lot of fun and I’ve been pretty happy with the winners (and losers) since I last posted about it. Shawn Johnson got herself a gold (finally!) that she’s been deserving–and we’re likely to see her again in 2012. (For those keeping track, she’ll be 20 then, and you’ll be able to stop feeling guilty for watching…you sickos.) The women’s US Volleyball duo (May/Walsh) got their gold in an awesome two-set win. …and I stayed up until like 3 a.m. last night watching Open Water Swimming in the Weird Olympics. Good week.

But I’ve got to say that the thing I’ve been enjoying the most is when Bela Karolyi graces us with his crazy, crazy crap. For those of you who don’t remember, Bela is a former coach of the US gymnasts. He was the guy shouting “You can do it!” to Kerri Strug when she won the medal by sticking a landing on one foot, with the other badly sprained. (Incidentally, she grew up to be pretty.) He is perhaps better known now for being the comic foil of Bob “Perfect Hair Forever” Costas, providing commentary in this year’s Olympics on NBC.

Costas has taken quite a few stabs at Bela. He keeps making fun of his ridiculous amount of energy that comes out when he’s watching a gymnastic performance, and keeps feeding him lines to set him off on some weird Olympic conspiracy theory or another–and Bela has PLENTY of them. The best part is, I don’t really think that Bela knows that Costas finds it funny. Clearly he’s having a laugh at the guy’s expense on national/global television, and he’s totally getting away with it! Personally, I’m hoping to see the following exchange on television, just after the closing ceremonies…

———-

*Ceremonies end and the announcers from the floor of the event throw it to Costas back in the studio to wrap up the TV coverage. The sound goes quiet where normally Costas would begin speaking.*

*Brief cut to black.*

*Camera comes on revealing the studio set we’ve been seeing for the past two weeks. Off screen, we hear the following dialogue.*

BELA: “You make fun of Bela? I KEEL you Bobby!!”

COSTAS (running into frame): “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it! Bryant Gumbel paid me to do it!”

*Costas is chased off screen by Bella. Scuffling is heard.*

COSTAS (off screen): “Oh God! Shoot him! Shoot him in the head! …it just hurts so d*mn much!!!”

BELA (also off screen): “I make you scream like WOMAN!!!”

*Fade to black. Olympic theme plays over credits.*

———-

I should say that I wish absolutely no harm to Bob “Perfect Hair Forever” Costas, and I support his right to live and make fun of crazy old dudes. Plus, my friend–and Blue Tattoo guitarist–Chris Teague has met Costas (I think more than once) and says he’s a really nice guy.

…but yeah…that’d totally make my Olympics.

Just for the record…

I occasionally get confronted by well-meaning people who notice that I seem to be a bit pessimistic about the Church (universal). Such has especially been the case since I stopped actively working for one–which is fair. I have been a bit jaded in the past year. It’s hard going from the inside to (more or less) the outside–you get a bit disillusioned.

That notwithstanding, I’ve also just always been of the opinion the the Church (again, universal) DOES have a lot of problems that it badly needs to confront…and in my eyes, the only way to confront those issues is to–uhh–confront them. They need to be discussed and DEALT with. As such, I talk about them fairly regularly…but it occasionally prompts the following question, or some variant thereof, from other Christians (and others, too, I’d imagine).

“If it’s so bad, then why are you a part of it?”

Well…the simple answer is that it may not be in perfect order, but it’s the best we’ve got…and, if I may borrow from the Apostles’ Creed… I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy *catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

(* – “catholic” with a lower-case c literally means “the one holy” and is not necessarily related to the Catholic Church who chooses to capitalize everything while wearing funny hats.)

So…just for the record…I do believe that stuff. Just because the Church (universal) is about 50 years behind on matters of civil and social rights, and sometimes they treat EACH OTHER worse than the “heathens” treat them…that doesn’t mean they’re not right about actual theological issues.

…guess I just wanted to throw that out there, since the new semester has started at the college and there are all these freaking kids running around with their Bibles in hand. 🙂

OOOOOps…

(The five O’s in the title are supposed to be the Olympic rings, but there’s no way to make them overlap like they’re supposed to.)

Someone mentioned to me that I said I’d post “tomorrow” about the Olympics a few days ago, but then I didn’t. Truth is, I wrote the blog and hit “save,” but didn’t post it. My–as the kids say–bad. So, I’m scrapping that and writing from scratch, mostly because a lot has happened since.

First off, I’m not usually the type of guy who watches the Olympics. Don’t know what happened, but I’m really into it this year. I’ve watched stuff I would NEVER watch any time other than during the Olympics. Of course, to be fair, they rarely show competitive women’s BB-gun shooting or Ping-Pong during the regular, non-Olympic years. (I call that stuff the “Weird Olympics.”)

Anyhoo…let’s do the rest of this in bulleted fashion…

  • Congrats to Michael Phelps, who I’m going to go ahead and list as a reader of my blog, even though he isn’t. Part of me is really happy for the guy, accomplishing something completely unprecedented in not only Olympic, but SPORTS history. Then there’s the part of me that kind of judges him. I’ve heard and read online that his diet consists of, “8,000 to 10,000 calories a day…[and for breakfast he has] three sandwiches of fried eggs, cheese, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, and mayonnaise; add one omelet, a bowl of grits, and three slices of French toast with powdered sugar; then wash down with three chocolate chip pancakes.” …I eat like that. Where’s MY medal?
  • Shawn Johnson should have gotten the gold. I’m sorry to the kid whose name I can’t pronounce, but Shawn’s just a better all-around gymnast, and you could tell by watching it that even Mary Lou thought so (and when the BEST gymnast of all time gives you her endorsement, that means a lot). I’m happy for the blonde girl, and she certainly did some really impressive stuff…but Shawn’s just better. But it’s probably for the best. I get the sense that if that girl hadn’t won, her dad would’ve beaten her black and blue. I mean the guy was quoted saying something like “Silver is the worst medal. There’s no medal but gold.” (That’s a paraphrase.) Yikes.
  • Bela is freaking nuts, and I love it. He’s just this freaking crazy old dude. He also has a valid point about the Chinese gymnast from tonight getting unfairly high scores and the US girl getting cheated. I’m not into the whole “USA #1” kick…normally if we lose something, we were just plain beaten and no amount of patriotism can change that…but that girl was robbed.
  • So the US Volleyball ladies. Hot, right?
  • A lot of people are going nuts about George W. Bush’s demeanor during the Olympics. Those who are regular readers are probably expecting some kind of cheap shot or easy jokes at this point…but I’m not doing that. Yeah, there are some goofy pictures of his time there circulating online…and yes, he actually DID say in his interview with Bob “Perfect Hair” Costas that, “I don’t see America having any problems.” (And he was talking about the COUNTRY, not the Olympic competition.) Sure, there’s some legitimate fodder here and I could go nuts…but c’mon. The dude was basically on vacation. I’m not going to fault him for not bringing his A-game when he’s in beach-shorts, sandals, and a henley. Dude’s gotta relax sometimes.
  • I’m not sure what else to look forward to in the games, since I was mostly in it for the swimming and gymnastics. I’m sure I’ll have some fun with the “Weird Olympics” as they continue…and maybe I’ll post some about that.

So, there’s my Olympic post. Hope it was worth the wait. I know Michael Phelps will enjoy it.

———-

Oh…also, I finally saw “The Dark Knight.” My review of this movie is exactly the same as what I said when I first heard that Heath Ledger had died…

Ho. Ly. Sh*t!

GREAT movie. Best reading of the Joker I’ve ever seen (and I really dug both Romero and Nicholson, and Hammil’s read on the cartoon was incredible). I like that Ledger was able to be cartoony at times, but also delivered a really chilling, creepy Joker too. Intense flick with tremendous impact. Almost makes me want to demand an apology from Tim Burton (who I’m also going to say is an avid reader).

Well THAT Ain’t Gonna Work!

I got a “personal message” from a guy on Facebook yesterday. I’ve never met him. I’ve never spoken to him online. I’ve never heard of the guy in any way shape or form, nor had he heard of me, until (I guess) he was randomly poking around Facebook. For those that don’t know, my Facebook avatar is that red, white, and blue portrait of Barack Obama with the word “HOPE” underneath it. The guy, I guess, saw my avatar and sent me the following message

———-

Subject title: you sicken me

Message: obama is the antichrist

———-

…and that’s supposed to accomplish what? Make me vote for McCain?

Let’s ignore the fact that he completely ignored the basic concepts of punctuation, capitalization, and sentence-structure, and just deal with his profile page.

Among the “networks” of which he is a part, he lists lists his college, and also a network called “Lubbock Christian.” He also lists “Independent Fundamental Baptist” as his “Religious Views.” He goes on to say, “I own and operate the number ONE contracting company in (name of township removed to avoid giving him any accidental promotion)!” in his “Description” section. Upon Googling it, I could not find his company on the Internet. Apparently, “number ONE” [sic] isn’t good enough to have your own website.

What fascinates me is that this guy doesn’t know me from Adam, professes to be a Christian, is college-educated, and at least in his own mind is a successful businessman…and based on my AVATAR on Facebook, is filled with enough hatred to tell me I “sicken” him and name another man he’s never met as “the antichrist.” Nice informed, Christian values there, buddy.

I know I sometimes write some really vehement, at times VULGAR things about the man currently sitting behind the desk in the White House. I’ve also certainly made it more than clear that I will not be voting for McCain. However, when I do that kind of thing, I am not personally writing to people I don’t know in things addressed only to them, and I’m certainly not claiming to do it in the name of Christ. I’m basically just writing on my blog, for my enjoyment…and if anyone wants to have a CIVILIZED discourse, I’ll be more than glad to do that (“civilized” meaning listening and offering well-thought-out points of view). I guess this guy just wanted to get under my skin…and I guess he did, but not for the reasons he meant to…he just made me think I’m all the righter to vote for Obama if the opposition is so mind-numbingly stupid.

So…since this is probably as close to his 15-minutes as the guy’s ever going get, I figured the least I could do was give it to him. Hope it feels great to be on a Z-list, non-celebrity’s blog. You’ve hit the big-time now!

———-

Also, I’ve been watching the Olympics, and I’ll post about that tomorrow.