Slogans

Okay, I’m doing a kind of political post, but I’m trying to make it fair.

As you know, in any election year, there are a bunch of slogans and jokey phrases that get thrown around by the supporters of either side. Usually they’re kind of mean. Since I like mean, I now present to you my favorite jokey campaign-slogans (so far) behind the 2008 election. 10 for the Obama Campaign, 10 for the McCain Campaign. Let’s go.

Anti-Obama/Pro-McCain:

  1. Not as much of a single slogan, but go to http://sendbarackyourbaby.com/.
  2. Tax + Spend = Change
  3. If Barack wins, it’ll be an Obama-nation. (Say it out loud if you don’t get it.)
  4. It’s called the White House… (sic)
  5. JUST SAY NO-bama
  6. Chuck Norris does not like Obama.
  7. Vote McCain/MILF ’08! (Actually, I’m not sure if that’s Pro-McCain or not…but it’s funny.)
  8. Say NO to B.O.
  9. If the Democrats had their way, Bristol wouldn’t have a problem. (Again, I’m not really sure if that’s necessarily Pro-McCain, but it’s definitely anti-abortion and semi-pro-Bristol Palin…so it stays.)
  10. Admit it: You just think voting for the black guy makes you a better person.

Anti-McCain/Pro-Obama (Pro-bama):

  1. John McCain – Four more years (until the nursing home)!
  2. Jesus was a community organizer. Pilate was a governor.
  3. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still Sarah Palin.
  4. Average Life-Expectancy for a male in America: 73.6 years. (More of a statistic, but applicable.)
  5. You can’t spell “maniac” without “McCain.”
  6. McCain: He remembers what “Maverick” is referring to.
  7. …you do realize that she didn’t write that speech, right?
  8. Obama: Because 8 is ENOUGH.
  9. Women should be leaders, not props.
  10. President Palin: A heartbeat away.

If the McCain ones seem meaner, it’s not just because I’m voting for Obama…there’s just more of them out there. There’s more specific stuff to work with on the McCain side, too. Most of the Obama jokes out there are just recycled Liberal jokes with no real focus on Obama. I mean, sure, “A taxpayer voting Democrat is like a chicken voting Sanders” is funny…but it’s not really an Obama joke is it? …and I think the whole Obama/Osama thing was played out before he even had a legitimate bid… But I do want to give a runner up nod to “Obama is the new black.” Thought that was funny. Just kind of depends on your point of view as to who that supports and/or if it’s appropriate. (Also, it’s probably worth noting that I’ve heard absolutely NO Biden jokes, for some reason.)

…but yeah, my official position is that McCain sucks and Palin’s an idiot. There’s just funny stuff for the other side, too.

Something you might not have noticed…

EDIT: Please see the comments section of this post for some additional resources and links that were provided by my friend Jim. He also makes a very valid point about another unfairly, at least seemingly randomly ocurring disorder that also needs research at least as badly as MD/MS.

I meant to write this before Labor Day, but it somehow escaped me. Apologies for the lateness.

You may have noticed a link I have added over on the right. As most of you are aware (if you’re regular readers), I’ve given to the Barack Obama campaign a couple of times this year. You may, however, not be aware that there is another organization to which I regularly donate. I’m speaking of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Many of you probably watched part of the Jerry Lewis Telethon over Labor Day Weekend. I watch it every year. I watched a lot of years before I started giving, mostly just because it’s the cheesiest entertainment on the air, and it’s bound to provide some cheap, unintentional laughs. Recently, though, I’ve started actually giving. I felt guilty about making fun of the show when it really raises some serious money for people doing God’s work. Now, I give to the MDA, and I no longer feel guilty…though I do still make fun of the show.

Diseases like MD, MS, ALS, etc. are one of the few things I look at in life and I think, “that’s not fair.” Let’s face it, a lot of life isn’t fair, per-se, but you can at least figure out some explanation or reason for why something happened or is happening. Not so with diseases like those. They can strike anyone at any age, and for the most part there is no real cure. Treatments have advanced by leaps and bounds, but treatments are not cures. There is no cure for the muscle atrophy that takes place and there is no insurance check big enough to replace the use of your limbs. Other diseases at least give you a fighting chance. Most cancers are fight-able. There are cures to almost all of the major blood disorders. Even AIDS, which is incurable, at least most people got of their own doing–and at least you can pinpoint who to blame for it. The diseases researched by the MDA, though, are almost always random and almost always deadly.

That. Isn’t. Fair.

The telethon’s over, but the need isn’t. I hope and pray for a day where we don’t need the telethon anymore (and I hope it comes before Jerry Lewis dies–he’s 81 and has done this for 50-some years) and that life can be fair for the kids and adults these diseases are as of yet still killing. I hope next Labor Day they throw a celebration because they found the cure, and the next year, they just air the old Martin and Lewis shows in tribute to the work that was done. …but for now, the need goes on.

Please, if you’ve got the time to read my blog, you’ve got the time to visit their site. If you’ve got a couple of bucks you can throw their way, it could be the difference between a kid being diagnosed to die before he reaches 20, and a kid growing up to be a dirty-old-man.

Just thought that was worth saying, unlike 90% of the other stuff I say on here.

Remember…you can put lipstick on a pig, but someone still died from ALS today.

Well that sucks…

I got a call from my friend Dave Knobel today. Some of you will know Dave as the guy providing the drums for my new record. All of his drum tracks are done, and we’ve actually been recording stuff for his band (L.E.O.N.) in recent weeks–and I have no idea what that stands for, by the way. Unfortunately, Dave suffered an accident. He was working with a circular saw at his job when his glove got caught and it pulled his hand into the blade. Severed two tendons and two arteries. He’s lucky he knew to put pressure on it (from his Boy Scout days, he says) or he could have easily bled to death.

The doctors are being elusive about his recovery. They aren’t giving him any real information about what sort of mobility or functionality he can expect to regain. As you can imagine, a guy who has played drums and guitar for most of his life tends to want such answers. All he seems to know for sure is that he’ll need plastic surgery to correct the damage. People around his work have been suggesting that he should also investigate breast implants while he’s in there. That’d be fun. Like, he doesn’t have them do ANYTHING to repair his hand, but suddenly he’s got this SWEET rack, so no one notices. Legendary. (Though I’m not sure how his wife and kids would take that…)

So…yeah…Dave’s incredibly lucky that it wasn’t worse (I mean…that’s basically how Johnny Cash’s brother died, you know), but it sucks that he’s on the shelf as a musician. I only hope the damage isn’t permanent or disabling. He’s too good a musician and person for that to happen to him.

So, y’know, if you could keep Dave in your thoughts in the coming months, I’m sure he’d appreciate it. So would I. I really care about the guy.

On Being "Anonymous"

This seems to be coming up a lot in my life as of late, so I decided to dedicate a full post to it. Whether it’s on the Internet or some jerk calling the cops on your band, there are a lot of people who seem to like hiding behind the facade of being “anonymous.” (This is not aimed at any one person, by the way. Just seems to have been a theme in the past two weeks or so. Been coming up around the office, on my blog, at home, etc, etc…)

Some people do it to say whatever they want to online. Some people do it out of fear of reprisal. Some people do it thinking they will avoid hurting someone else’s feelings if they aren’t identified. Some do it thinking that they will save their own image (or a friendship/relationship, or even JOB) if people don’t know THEY’RE the one being the jerk…but anonymity is everywhere, and unfortunately, the means of hiding behind it are readily available.

In my mind, there are only four reasons to attempt to remain anonymous in any given transaction.

1. You’re someone’s Secret Santa.
2. You can do more good that way.
3. Humility.
4. Cowardice.

I don’t think I need to explain the first one…so let’s just go right to the second. Some people are genuinely able to do good, but are only able to do so if they hide their identity. Think of “Deep Throat” (William Mark Felt, Sr.) who toppled the corruption of the Nixon regime. Or think of the worker who is helping a mistreated staff to organize and needs to keep his/her job to help the union form, so they can’t step forward until it’s safe to do so. Or…actually, those are pretty much the only two I can think of that apply here. (I thought about mentioning Alcoholics Anonymous here, but these days it seems more of a formality than anything else…but maybe back in the day…when it still meant something.) Sometimes anonymity is helpful. Sometimes it allows work to be done that would otherwise be quickly quashed and dismissed. But this is not often the case. Indeed, these days, it is a rarity.

There is, however, a second class of people who use anonymity for at least what appears to be a good purpose–and those are the ones who use it out of humility. The guy who goes out of his way to do a good deed or say a kind word, but when asked, keeps mum about his name (like a modern day Lone Ranger). The person who places a card of encouragement on the desk of a co-worker, letting them know they are appreciated and cared for, but does not sign the card. (Actually that one kind of irritates me, just because it always means more to me to know who’s saying it…but still, it’s a nice gesture.) The benefactor who pays a hospital bill or puts a kid through college expecting nothing in return, and never even gives a hint of their name. The anonymous kidney donor. The one who gives thousands of dollars to the MDA, but doesn’t want their name read on the telethon. These are the type of people that still give me hope for society… Unfortunately, they’re also getting rarer and rarer.

Those in the forefront are the last group. The cowards. They hide behind the no-name to serve their own purposes. Usually intending to hurt someone or ruin their fun. Usually bitter. Often lonely. Always cowards. The Internet has seemingly quintupled their business. Today, it’s very easy to hide behind a screen and keyboard…but honestly, that doesn’t bug me too much, because it’s usually at least basically harmless. Generally just some dude who disagrees and doesn’t feel the need to attach their name to it–and a lot of them probably would have no problem telling you their real name if you asked. No…they don’t bug me too much.

The ones that bug me are the ones who use anonymity to hide their own misdeeds. They CARE what you think about them. They don’t want anyone to know that the guy/girl that everyone thinks is SOOOO great is a whiner at heart. News Flash: No one thinks you’re flawless. No one thinks you’re great. You’re human like the rest of us and are entitled to be grumpy about things from time to time–shoot, you may even be JUSTIFIED. But, we’ll never know if you hide behind the anonymous name. Why? Because nothing can be SOLVED if no one knows who you are. If someone has a problem with me, I’ll be more than glad to discuss it and come to some sort of arrangement…but I need to know who you ARE to do that.

It’s one thing if you’re calling in an anonymous tip on a drug-ring, or you’re anonymously reporting that your roommate has a small militia forming in the garage. I get that people sometimes need to feel like they’re safe when very real danger is in the next room (or down the street). But it’s a completely different thing to be anonymously passive-aggressive. That really gets to me. Those people aren’t worried about their safety; they’re worried about their image…and that just makes me pity them. (And, by the way, I find “pity” to be the saddest of all emotions. It is the piteous who are beyond hope.)

As for me, I usually ignore anonymity. I developed that policy while I was still in ministry. There’s a lot of cowardice that goes on behind the pews. Lots of little notes get dropped into the collection plate (often in place of much needed tithes that keep the church doors open, by the way). Usually the notes are a sentence long. Sometimes less. “It was too loud today.” “I couldn’t read the screen.” “You shouldn’t wear jeans.” “I didn’t like it when you said _______ was a sin.” …or the REALLY nasty ones were anonymously slipped under my office door or into my office mailbox. First place my eyes went was to the bottom of the page, then a brief scan of the penmanship to make note of if I’d seen the handwriting before. 99 out of 100 times, it wasn’t signed and it was in the same handwriting as the previous note…so I threw it right out without reading it. (I should note that this was not a WEEKLY occurrence or anything…but I still know who wrote them.) The ones that were signed got replies–the ones who SPOKE to me got quicker replies. That’s just how life works. If you want to get noticed. Sign your name to something.

Anonymity doesn’t give you any form of power with me. If anything, it just makes me think you’re weak and boring. I know it’s hard to confront someone…but would you rather be uncomfortable or be dismissed? Would you rather be thought of as a jerk or thought of as a coward? Would you rather be someone, or no one? Unfortunately, it’s the current trend in society to be the latter.

Thanks for reading that. It’s always nice to have no one’s attention.

Another Open Letter to Whoever Called the Cops on My Band…

Dear Neighbor,

Look…you’ve known me for 28 years. For at least 15 of those, I’ve played music; and bands have been meeting at my house for about 8-10 of them. This isn’t new. The only thing new is that you’re calling the police…and today was the THIRD time this year.

I’m a pretty nice guy (though, sure, I’m kind of a jerk on my blog…but I come here to blow off steam–we’re talking about REAL life, here). I’m reasonable. I’ll listen to objections. I’ll work with you. But you haven’t spoken to me. You’ve just called the cops. After 28 years, I would have thought you could show me the basic respect of talking to me before sending Florissant’s finest to my doorstep.

That irritates them, by the way. The cop from today spent about five minutes bad-mouthing you. He thought it was ridiculous that you called while the SUN WAS STILL UP (about 6 p.m.) and that you don’t seem to know that the ordinance says we can go until 10:00. He pretty much thought you were a joke. He even called in and tried to get YOUR name so we could walk over there together to talk to you. When the cops agree with the person the complaint has been (anonymously) filed against…there’s a message there. (Anonymity is always always ALWAYS a sign of cowardice, by the way.)

I’m actually pretty sure I know who you are–especially after Glen (one of my neighbors) gave me a friendly wave as I was leaving to go get dinner tonight. I’m putting you on notice. Next time you steal my trash can to use as your own, you’re getting the police called on you. Next time you mow the lawn at six in the morning (when some people ARE asleep), you’re getting the police called on you. Next time you let your dog shit in my yard, you’re getting the police called on you. Next time I can hear you yelling at your wife from my yard, you’re getting the police called on you. Next time you add ANOTHER illegally-high antenna to the roof of your house, you’re getting the police called on you. …if you even BREATHE too loud, you’re getting the police called on you.

And I’ll have the sack to give them my name, too.

Yours,
-Derek–and you know where I live

This struck me as funny…

My assistant at the library stumbled upon my blog today (as she was looking for something else entirely). She ran across a post from 2006 that was a list of stuff I like. I only kind of remember writing it, and all I particularly remembered about the list was that I also included a much shorter list of things I didn’t like and “George Bush” was among them–which wasn’t really the POINT of the list (or this post for that matter), but it was all I remembered.

The thing that struck me as funny was that she pointed out that I listed “Jesus” at #23.

Now, I should say that the list was not necessarily in order of significance…but here’s a brief summary of things I had above Jesus on the list:

Snow
Wine
Steak
Having a blog
The Who

…and some other things that are a little bit more sentimental and don’t make me look quite as weird. But she was right. It is kind of strange that I work at a Bible college, I hold a preaching degree, and I was probably even AT the college (“working”) when I wrote that post…but it didn’t occur to me to list “Jesus” until #23.

Just thought that was funny. No real point to today’s writing.

…oh, except I wanted to mention that I had someone come into the library today and complain that they found the cover of one of the magazines we stock offensive and asked me to cover it up. Uh…no? I didn’t take the photo, the photo cleared every standards board they had to go through, and the issue’s actually been sitting there since JUNE and this is the first complaint we’ve had…so I’m not too worried about it. I’m not going to censor something that’s already been cleared. Plus, I noticed that the person didn’t complain about the nearby issue of a magazine that presented a much less-clad “Adam and Eve” with strategically placed tree-branches…guess when the Christians present nudity, it’s perfectly pure, but when a secular magazine has someone on the cover in essentially a swimming-suit (revealing no nipples, panty lines, or “private” areas), it’s lewd. Odd, the double-standards that pop up from time to time.

…however, it did bring to my attention that I should really find out why they haven’t shipped us a new issue since June. That’s actually a valid concern.

Current Listening:

  • I’ve returned to Ray Davies’ record “Working Man’s Cafe.” Certainly at or near the top of my “Best of 2007” list.