Over the next several months I’ll be posting the 1998 CD Chaos Town by my old band, The Practical Man. (The actual files will live on the band’s web site, but I’ll link to the download page here.) I’ll roll them out in the order they’re in on the CD. Everything will be available at 128 kbps MP3 and AAC.
The first track, “Tale of the Tideland,” is now presented for your entertainment, amusement, enjoyment, derision, appreciation, horror, indifference, worship, etc. [The audio ends abruptly. It's supposed to. –Ed.]
Audio of bagpipers during military tribute and presentation of the flag. I’m a sucker for bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace.” Actually, I’m a sucker for bagpipes in general. Also “Amazing Grace.” (As for the completely useless video: you’re welcome.)
What exactly is a power room? A place where you take power naps? A room where you keep your power suits, or have power lunches? (I’m pretty sure those fluff terms left with the 80s, but hey, maybe they’re coming back.) A room from which you wield your dictatorial power over your household? Any room with a circuit breaker box in it? (I hope your house already has one of those, but if not, adding one would certainly be profitable, unless you’re hoping to sell to an Amish family or something.) Or maybe–my preference by far–a media room dedicated to the works of E. Power Biggs?
Of course, then it just turns out to be an article about powder rooms. I’m so disappointed.
What issues do you look forward to hearing about in the upcoming U.S. Presidential debates?
Look forward to? Ugh. I’m not looking forward to any of it.
Participating in our political process—listening to open debate, drawing one’s own conclusions, voting—is an invaluable right and responsibility. But it can be tedious as hell. And I guarantee the lopsided poll numbers for 2008 won’t make the discourse any less tiresome or tiring.
Look. We all know where the candidates are going to stand on the issues after the dust of the primaries settles. Crazy-ass propositions made during the mad scramble for the nomination will get toned down and the candidates will settle into their predefined party roles. Same shit, different year.
But some people will follow every debate, latching onto every misspeak or tic or oddity, blathering endlessly about it all until next November. (Then in January of ’09 they’ll commence latching onto every misspeak or tic or oddity of the new president because their guy lost.)
Some of the shit thrown during the campaigns will stick. Smart folks will know the difference between shit and substance and vote on the issues. Dumb people will vote on sticky shit.
There will be the otherwise polite and intelligent co-workers who suddenly turn into passive-aggressive boors filled with talking points they got from talk radio and the editorials page. They’ll be proud of themselves for taking strong, vociferous political stances—even though it takes no cojones whatsoever, because they know perfectly well most of the people in the office agree with them.
It’s going to be a loooooooooong election. Beats the crap out of tyranny, though.
Do professional athletes make too much money, or do they deserve every penny? Why?
I’m glad you asked.
As a capitalist, I believe professional athletes “deserve” whatever the market will bear, so long as they have not broken the law to bolster their earnings. (For instance, I’m not aware of any direct correlation between athletes’ drug abuse and their profits, except perhaps that reports of abuse disillusion fans and reduce profits.)
As a person with a conscience, I believe consumers spend too much as spectators of professional sports. I would personally prefer they spent more on, say, alleviating poverty by funding immediate aid and self-sufficiency education for the poor. But how we spend is a fundamental right we have in a free market. I spend money in ways that trouble my conscience (and I freely admit it’s easy for me to not give money to professional athletes, because I don’t particularly like sports ). It is up to me, and not “the system,” to move my actions into better alignment with my principles.
A few misguided individuals will say that changing one’s spending according to one’s conscience is “politically correct” and represents unwarranted interference with the free market. Nonsense. It is the free market working precisely as it should. I am a consumer; I vote with my wallet. If I am outvoted, I accept that. Professional athletes will continue making sums of money I personally consider preposterous, but which I also believe they have fairly acquired in the marketplace.
These principles also apply to the tiny minority of mutual funds known as “socially conscious” funds. A few people will object that these funds violate the principles of free choice and free markets, that personal and political values have no place in choosing one’s investments. Such arguments are, of course, bullshit. Again, individuals choosing what to do with their money is the free market working precisely as it should. Whether “socially conscious” funds perform as well as purely profit-driven funds in corresponding categories, and whether any lag outweighs investing per one’s values, is up to the individual to assess.
At least one fund company offers a “vice fund”—investing in “bad” things like cigarettes, gambling, and liquor—apparently in an effort to counteract the insidious influence of “socially conscious” funds and their supposed sanctimonious posturing. Fair enough, if that’s what they believe, but really a “vice fund” is just one more choice in a free (and bulging) fund market. (It’s an interesting idea, too: if times are terrible, will a “vice fund” soar because people turn to escapism and self-destructive behavior? I personally would find such a bet distasteful, but I respect others’ right to try it.) It’s amusing to see such a response to “socially conscious” funds when there are so few of them. The overwhelming majority of funds are already, if you will, “politically incorrect,” investing according to specific financial goals, not whether a particular investment might be seen as good or evil.
Well. That’s quite enough didacticism for one day. Sorry. Runs in the family.
Su Casa quickly became one of my favorite Mexican places. Fresh salsa—oniony, tangy, not overly spicy, free of the gloppy stewed texture of cheap chain salsa. Moist, tender rice that had an almost eggy quality, the perfect complement for the rich ranchero sauce. Soft, melty, white chihuahua cheese instead of the usual Tex-Mex varieties. Fantastic lunch specials, with $5.95 buying a large meal indeed. Among my favorites: huevos rancheros, beef enchiladas, and the dense, compact chicken chimichanga.
I showed up for lunch one day and bam, they were closed. I must have been away for a couple of weeks and missed the announcement. Still hungry for Mexican, I went to Don Pablo's. The less said about that the better.
The good news: a place called Blue Agave is moving in. I'm hungrily awaiting its debut.
I don’t know why this amazing bombastic showpiece of a song never got the belaboring on classic rock radio that other Queen tracks did. I sure am glad, though, because it’s still fresh for me. Every time I hear it I sit there with a goofy grin on my face instead of wanting to skip to something I’ve heard a million times. I got this album not long after it came out. I must not have paid much attention to the second side then. Glad for that, too.
“The tests have shown that the new air-delivered ordnance is comparable to a nuclear weapon in its efficiency and capability,” said Col.-Gen. Alexander Rukshin, a deputy chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, said in televised remarks.
Unlike a nuclear weapon, the bomb doesn’t hurt the environment, he added.
Oh, that’s nice. I feel much better now.
(I could also point out the extraneous “said” in the first paragraph, but I would never nitpick like that.)