Sunday, August 26, 2007

Read a book!!!

Disclaimer: In no way is this blog post intended to be a racist statement or a condemnation of any particular racial group. It’s merely an observation of things that I just have trouble fathoming. Maybe I’m just getting old?

Last weekend whilst flipping through the dial on the radio in yet another vain search for non-suckity music, we stopped on a local hip-hop station as it was transitioning to a commercial break. The first commercial was for a “Shorts and Stilettos Party” and any lady who showed up wearing the theme outfit of hootchie shorts and stiletto heels (always a classy look) got in for half-price. Then they said that anyone working for OST or Comcast Cable got in for half-price. And anyone with a Motorola phone got in for half-price. And the capper: anyone driving a “baby-mama Honda” got in for half-price. I suddenly felt extremely white, wondering what a "baby-mama Honda" was. I guess if a Comcast employee showed up in a girlie Civic talking on a Razr and wearing the hootchie outfit got in for free?

The next commercial really floored me. It was beckoning the youth of Charleston and the surrounding metro environs to come on down to their establishment and get their new gold teeth for back to school... Whoa. Full stop. New…gold… Since when has a ridiculous grill of gold/silver/diamond teeth been a back to school necessity? New pants, sure. New shoes? Of course. Maybe even a new backpack. But a mouthful of freakin’ fake teeth? What the hell kind of priority is THAT?

A few months ago I was having a serious intellectual discourse with my friend Eric about how odd I found it that folks would put 8 grand worth of stereo gear and giant spinning wheels on a $500 car, and pay to have someone wax that $500 car every Friday afternoon to a glossy shine that rivals their gold teeth. It’s as if to say “I may live in a cardboard box but I have a fly-assed ride!” To which Eric, who many times has jokingly called himself “The Blackest Man In Walterboro” just shook his head and said to me “ A lot of us black folks have seriously messed up priorities”.

Back in 2004, Bill Cosby (who holds a doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts) was both criticized and praised for his scathing and controversial critique of his observations of the parenting skills and personal values of low-income black people given during a speech delivered at the NAACP's May 2004 commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. Cosby stated “They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English. I can't even talk the way these people talk: 'Why you ain't,' 'Where you is' . . . And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk." And further went on to say “Ladies and gentlemen, listen to these people. They are showing you what's wrong. People with their hat on backwards, pants down around the crack. Isn't that a sign of something?”

And while listening to the Rusty Humphries show on talk radio, there was a heated discussion going on about a song that started off on YouTube and MySpace, and migrated to BET, by a man called Bomani Armah, a self-described “poet, not a rapper”. The song is called “Read a Book” and is marketed under the pen-name D-Mite. Picking up where Cosby left off, the song is a blistering attack on the priorities of the African American community, admonishing listeners to read books ("not a sports page, not a magazine"), "raise yo' kids", drink water instead of 40-ounce malt liquors, buy land instead of spinning wheels, use deodorant, and brush their teeth, in a satire of Lil’ Jon’s crunk-style songs which advocate a more "gangsta" lifestyle, set to a loop of an excerpt from Beethoven's 5th Symphony. The animated video is available here, and I urge you all to please watch it. Never in my life had I heard such a withering satire against one’s own community: .

Of course, us white folks can have some interesting priorities too, such as the non-stop wearing of Mossy Oak camouflage on everything from hats to shirts to boots to undies, and that dammnable “GIT R DONE” plastered everywhere. I see all manners of messed-up living just a couple miles from my own front door. Driving along one local road there’s a section I call The Compounds. Each compound (there’s 3 or 4 along this stretch) is an area of about 2 acres where several ramshackle trailers and sheds are placed close together at seemingly random angles, with yards strewn with debris, detritus, dead cars, and several dogs. All that’s missing is a banjo. And a mile or so down the road from The Compounds is this little single-wide on a very small lot with a Lexus SC 430, a Hummer H2, a Chevy Silverado, and a 24-foot pontoon boat parked out front. About $150,000 in hardware in front of a $20,000 tube. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find a set of truck-nuts somewhere in that menagerie.

If all your priorities are locked up in outward appearrances and trying to impress everyone around you, people who don’t pay your bills or feed your family, and when you can barely speak or write proper English, let alone read an actual book, then maybe it’s time to take a good long look at your priorities. And here’s a link to the New York Times best-seller list so you, too, can READ A BOOK:

Oh, them Fun-Lovin' criminals

Wow…more hard-time prison stories for celebrities this week, kids.

Noted criminal mastermind Lindsay Lohan will get to spend an entire day in jail as part of her sentencing on her third DUI, a whopping 18 months probation, and 10 days community service. Get this…she has until January 2008 to serve her jail sentence. That’s not a sentence; it’s barely a freakin’ COMMA. Her felony cocaine possession charge was dropped due to the small amount she was carrying. Awwwwww...

Again, if I was busted for coke and a third DUI, I’d be getting felt up by some sweaty freakshow named Otis in an overcrowded cell for several months, because I’m not a celebrity.

And even better….five months pregnant by Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden (this dude must really like bony chicks, since he used to bang Hillary Duff), Nicole Ritchie was sentenced to four whole days in jail for her DUI, plus 3 years probation and a couple grand in fines……and served 82 minutes in jail. Yeah…82 minutes, as in one hour and 22 minutes. Less than 2 episodes of The Simple Life.

So if we take the Big Trifecta of Criminals,(Paris, Lindsay and Nicole) we end up with barely 3 weeks of jail time for like 6 DUI’s, a couple of coke charges, leaving the scene of an accident, driving under suspension, etcetera.

Next, we need to focus on that other great Menace to Society, Britney Spears.

wut kollidge lernt me

Whilst flipping through the radio stations in search (vainly) of non-suck entertainment, I came across a commercial advertising this tutoring system designed to prepare your kids to get into the best colleges. It got me to thinking…what makes a college a “good school” or one of “the best schools”?

Seemingly, the main criterion for being a Good School is a hefty price tag.

Last time I checked, a school must be accredited in order to operate and to bestow a degree upon its graduates. And since all these schools receive the same accreditations, in my eyes that makes all of these schools equal. I mean, a BA in Communications from Boston University is the same BA degree that you can get from the College of Charleston. You can have a degree from Harvard Law and still be a shitty lawyer, while a really great attorney could just as easily have a degree from the University of Maine.

Personally, I hated college. I started college at the ripe old age of 24, after loafing for 2 years after a 4-year enlistment in the US Army. I chose to major in Criminal Justice, since I’d been a Military Policeman. To me it made sense; go with what I knew. Little did I realize that I’d be so bored sitting in classes with immature, unworldly 18 year olds who cared for nothing more than partying, cheap beer, and even cheaper dope that I’d come to hate college as a waste of my time and money. I also hated the System, too, for many, many myriad reasons. Aside from learning how to plan out 24-hour patrol coverage by precincts in my Police Management II course, and how to write a brief on a legal precedent in Constitutional Law, my course load was a joke, full of shitty filler classes that they claimed were required, but were really just designed to take my money and fill the university’s coffers. A basic math refresher course, a useless English class on creative written expression that saw me getting graded A+ on FIRST DRAFTS (let alone a finished project), a dry-as-toast Technical Writing course that the professor swore would make us able to write grants to scam money to fund our world travels, and a speech course that turned an entire class against me because I was already adept at public speaking and they could barely form a coherent sentence on paper, let alone memorize it.

So what did I learn in college?

1. All they cared about was whether you paid your bill on time.
2. Unless you were an athlete helping the school make money, you were a second-class citizen.
3. If you were on the “commuter campus” taking a 2-year degree program and not a 4-year money-maker, you were forgotten about.
4. If you lived off-campus and weren’t paying exorbitant rates to live in a concrete-walled dorm cave and using a meal plan to eat shitty cafeteria food, you didn’t matter. Sorry kids, but after 4 years of barracks life and Army chow, there was no way in Hell I was gonna live on campus.
5. My education was obsolete the second I took a final exam. When I tried to sell back an overpriced textbook at the end of the semester and was told that the book was obsolete, I then asked if my education was also obsolete and could I please be refunded my money for the course? That garnered a seriously dirty look from The System.
6. One of my “research” papers fetched an easy 20 bucks for about an hour’s worth of work. Would have been 30 minutes but I had to dumb-down my writing to match the girl who paid me to do it.

How many people do you know actually use their degrees? I know a guy with a degree in business management who has a CDL to drive a fire truck in his volunteer department and operates a robotic machine in a paper mill making toilet paper. Another friend has a degree in electrical engineering and drives a milk truck. Another person I know has a degree in elementary education and has never taught, instead staying home and squirting out babies to avoid working. I knew a girl in the Army with a degree in Political Science who drove trucks all day transporting M-1 Abrams tanks around Germany.

When I was in high school everyone thought that going to college was the end-all, be-all. Well, 20+ years ago, not everyone could afford college and having a higher education was a big deal, and it generally was a boon to getting a higher-paying job. Somehow that all changed about the time I ended high school. Now, so many people have degrees that there’s a huge (and I mean MASSIVE) surplus of recent college grads with degrees that they can’t get jobs in because of the competition for the few jobs available. Fully 25% of Americans have a degree by the time they’re 25, according to some sources. A university degree was a rarity in the United States as recently as the 1940s — only 10 percent of Americans had even gone to college and 75 percent hadn’t even finished high school. And those lucky or privileged enough to attend university actually left school with real knowledge and skills.

Nowadays, you have guys with Masters Degrees working at Wendy’s. Sure, certain professions require a degree, such as being an attorney or a doctor, but again, most people I know with business degrees or ones in English Lit or History are doing nothing even remotely close to what they studied for several many thousands of dollars. Money well-spent, indeed. And I won't even talk about Art History. I’m not saying don’t go to college. But don’t think that college is gonna solve everything or guarantee you a decent job, either. Go for the right reasons, and go with open eyes as to how bad the system is gonna screw you.

President George W. Bush has a history degree from Yale and an MBA from Harvard, and yet, well to listen to him you’d think he dropped out of junior high. Jeffrey Skilling has a degree in applied sciences from Southern Methodist University and during his admissions interview for Harvard Business School, he was asked if he was smart, to which he famously replied, "I'm fucking smart." Skilling earned his MBA from Harvard in 1979, graduating in the top five percent of his class. It seemed to have turned out well, since he is currently doing 24 years for screwing hundreds of his Enron employees out of millions of dollars. Pretty fucking smart, Jeff.

A 2005 study by the U.S. Department of Education showed that only 25% of college graduates were “proficiently literate,” that is, “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.” So 75% of today’s college graduates are just sitting in certain classes for a certain amount of time, and paying an ass of money for a piece of paper that says they’re smart, when they can barely read & write literate English.

I dropped out of college carrying a 3.67 GPA. That's pretty much an A average. I recently wrote a term paper for a dear friend who needed a hand with a pain in the ass professor, and never having taken the course in question and not having stepped foot in a classroom since about 1995, my paper got my friend an A. Not bad for a rusty old dropout, if you ask me. Some of the smartest people I know and with whom I carry on the most intellectual conversations are also college dropouts. My buddies John and Chris are, like me, college dropouts, and I’d put their intellects up against just about anybody’s.

Einstein sucked at math. Bill Gates is a college dropout and it looks like he kinda did okay for himself. Richard Branson, who owns the rest of the universe that Gates doesn’t, dropped outta high school, not even college. Other notable dropouts include Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, and a guy named Anton van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutch guy who was the first microbiologist and who discovered little things via his microscopes like bacteria, blood cells, and sperm cells.

It seems I’m in pretty decent company after all.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tell me why....again

Once again, dear readers, as I do every couple few months or so, I need to ask why…

Why do illegal aliens get in-state tuition in California, but I can’t? Oh wait; I'm an American citizen. If you’re going to let illegal non-Americans get in-state tuition, then you better do away with out of state tuition for American citizens.

Why is it the city council of San Francisco is looking to stifle the First Amendment rights to free speech for a private citizen, namely talk-radio host Michael Savage? When illegal aliens in San Francisco said they were going to fast in a hunger strike until they got special treatment, Savage said that they could go ahead & starve. So now all the liberal assclowns on the Left Coast are calling for the government to censor the free speech of a private citizen that they don’t agree with, calling it Hate Speech.

Why are any government officials even paying attention to these aforementioned illegals and granting them rights and privileges reserved for CITIZENS instead of declaring them persona non grata and deporting them?

Why is it a hate crime for the College Republicans at San Francisco State University to stomp on paper copies of flags from terrorist organizations but any asshole can burn an actual American flag and be protected under free speech & freedom of expression? At a small anti-terrorism rally in October 2006, several members of the College Republicans stomped on pieces of paper they had painted to look like flags of the radical Islamic organizations Hezbollah and Hamas (both known terrorism sponsors), copying the designs from images on the Internet. They weren’t even REAL flags. A few days later, a Muslim student filed a complaint, on the grounds that the Arabic script on the Hezbollah and Hamas flags contained the word “Allah.” The university pressed charges, accusing the "blasphemers" of “incivility” and creating “a hostile environment.” Perhaps Muslims ought to have a beef with terrorists who put Allah’s name on their flags, not with people who stomp on paper copies of those flags.

Why is it that my buddy and “adopted” little brother Steve is on his third combat tour in Iraq in 5 years when we seem no closer to resolving that fucking goat rope than we were a couple thousand casualties ago? The ‘war” in Iraq has now lasted longer than our involvement in World War Two; enough is enough.

Why do we venerate Al Gore as the official spokes-doofus for the environment when he’s not even a fucking climatologist? He’s not even a meteorologist, nor even a geologist. His degree from Harvard was in GOVERNMENT, and he dropped out of law school (and divinity school) at Vanderbilt before becoming a career politician. Real climatologists and geologists have been saying for years that Gore’s Global Warming Apocalyptic Armageddon Psychobabble is a crock of shit full of more flaws than the Titanic, but people like Oprah think he’s gonna drive us all to a greener tomorrow in the back seat of a Prius Hybrid. Eat me.

Why is it that suicide rates in the Army are at the highest rate in 26 years? Why are America’s best & brightest & bravest taking their own lives in combat zones and back at home after returning from these combat zones, and why is PTSD swept under the rug like some dirty little secret? A country that forgets its veterans will itself be forgotten.

Why are all the touchy-feely types claiming that America’s government separated a mother & child after the illegal alien mother was sent back to Mexico and left her American-born child here in the States? No one forced her to leave him behind. That was HER choice, amigos. She could just as easily have taken her kid back with her to Tijuana. This, after she holed up in a church for the past year claiming religious sanctuary. Elvira Arellano, 32, arrived in Washington state illegally in 1997. She was deported to Mexico shortly afterward, but returned and moved to Illinois in 2000, taking a job cleaning planes at O’Hare International Airport. She was arrested in 2002 at O’Hare and convicted of working under a false Social Security number. She was to surrender to authorities last August but instead sought refuge at the church on Aug. 15, 2006. So……WHY are background checks at one of America’s biggest & busiest airports so lax that an illegal immigrant had a job cleaning airplanes there?

And why, when I can’t seem to drum up more than a mere handful of people who actually read what I write, is Dog The Bounty Hunter on top of the New York Times best-seller list? I have nothing against Duane Chapman; he seems like a decent fellow. But #1, and I can't get more than 15 readers? That’s just wrong.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

An hour of my life that I'll never get back...

People often ask me why I listen to the music that I do. I don’t really listen to a lot of new bands, and by “new” I mean bands who have surfaced in say the past 5 years, such as Coldplay or Snow Patrol. I mostly listen to music from bands I’ve listened to for 20+ years who are still producing excellent music. Bands like Depeche Mode, Erasure, and The Cure. Trust me when I say when given the choice between listening to 99% of today’s Top-40 gobshite and say, the 1982 Depeche Mode song “The Sun & The Rainfall”, I’ll gladly take a trip 25 years down memory lane. The classic Smiths’ song “What Difference Does It Make?” still sounds better-crafted and more relevant than today’s pre-programmed, polished & shiny dreck, and it was released 23 years ago.

So, every so often, I donate an hour of my life to Purgatory and listen to Top-40 radio just to remind myself why I generally listen to talk radio instead. Some people waste life-span by smoking crack, some waste it in strip clubs… and me, I waste it listening to pointless crap in hopes of finding something that’s pretty good. Sometimes I even succeed.

So…here’s the results from another hour of my life that I’ll never get back.

1.Bubbly, by Colbie Caillat. This sounds to me like the perfect chick-song accompaniment to that overplayed “You Had a Bad Day” , by Daniel Powter, that was plastered all over American Idol’s loser send-offs. Sugary to the point of insulin shock. My teeth hurt when I hear her whisper-croon about crinkling her nose, etc.

2.Thnks fr th mmrs, by Fall Out Boy. We’re so cool that we can leave out the vowels in our song titles. Less emo than previous outings, and still by far less pretentious than those dickheads from Panic! At The Disco.

3.Bartender, by T-Pain. Sounds way too much like his other song, “Buy You a Drank”, with vocal processing stolen from Cher’s “Believe”. Sounds like he spends too much time in bars. How can you argue with brilliance in lyrics like “She made us drinks to drink, we drunk ‘em, got drunk.”? I mean, that’s fucking poetry, man.

4.Rehab, by Amy Winehouse. The Brits think this chick walks on water. Me, I think she merely floats because she doesn’t weigh enough to sink. I saw an old picture of her & she was well-fed & had a nice frame & face. Now she’s loaded down with very big tattoos, this giant beehive on her head, and she has that scrawny emaciated heroin-addict look . It’s like watching Mariah Carey morph into Nicole Ritchie overnight. How fitting that the song is about rehab. The jazzy 60’s Motown backing music is great, but American audiences aren’t used to hearing something without a hip-hop beat anymore, so the new radio-remix has some guy tossing a hastily-recorded rap over the top of the bridge that adds NOTHING to the song other than dumbing it down to pander to American ears. Click the picture above for a better view.....

5.Beautiful Girls, by Sean Kingston. This song is unescapable. It’s everywhere, from car radios to public toilets. The production, much like Winehouse’s song, is great, stealing its backing music from Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me”. Without the slick production, neither song would be worth a damn on their own. I find it hard to not laugh when he sings the line “It was back in ’99, watching movies all the time, when I went away for doing my first crime…” Hey, boyo, you’re barely 18. So, they sent you away at age 10? Fut the whuck?

6.Party Like a Rockstar, by Shop Boys. Aside from the annoyingly repetitive chorus, I really can’t understand 90% of anything these fucks are saying. Possibly the most repetitive thing I’ve heard since that Laffy Taffy crap from last summer. Totally, dude.

7.Potential Breakup Song, by Aly & AJ. More catchy than a case of crabs off a truck-stop toilet seat, this song has decently produced music mixed with some of the most bubblegum-simple lyrics since Avril Lavigne’s “Skater Boi”. They have nice voices, but something tells me their Hello Kitty shit wears thin by song 4 on a full cd.

8.When You’re Gone, by Avril Lavigne. Speaking of Avril, here she is with another ballad that sounds just like her other ballads. Oddly enough, her fast songs all sound about the same too. Instead of the faux cheerleader bop of “Girlfriend”, now it’s a somber and sad ballad from the all grown-up and newly-married Avril. Nice song, but ditch the raccoon eye makeup. It’s hard to take you seriously with that much eyeliner on.

9.4 In The Morning, by Gwen Stefani. I love her to death. She could use a couple pounds on her, but I still love her to death. I like her stuff more so without her No Doubt bandmates as of late. She’s got great pop sensibility and a great voice to boot. Not exactly manly-man music, but we’re all allowed an occasional guilty pleasure.

10.A Bay Bay, by Hurricane Chris. Okay, I take back what I said earlier; THIS is the most repetitive pile of goat shit I’ve heard since Laffy Taffy. By the end of the first 30 seconds I wanted to slit my elbows.

11. I Don’t Wanna Be In Love (Dance Floor Anthem), by Good Charlotte. These guys keep surprising me by re-inventing themselves each time they get played out. This is a great song. A good mix of rock swagger and synth riffs that gives me hope for Top 40 music to not suck so much. Poppy punk with a safe feel.

So, an hour of my life gone, and like I figured, most of it wasn’t worth the listening. I think I’ll go and listen to some Erasure or Depeche Mode now to soothe the pain in my soul. I urge you to do the same.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Choke-On-Me Elmo

Sooner or later, China is gonna kill us all. Maybe not militarily or overtly, but kill us they will, covertly and through cheap-assed consumer products.

Earlier this year, there was the Pet Food Crisis, where a plastics-byproduct poison, melamine, was found in contaminated wheat germ from China.

Then there was tainted toothpaste made in China, sold to luxury hotels. Nothing like diethylene glycol engine coolant to brighten the smile, no?

And let’s not forget the 450,000 tires made in China recalled at the end of June because of a pesky little problem of…hmmm…the rubber tread separating from the rest of the tire?

Now we have about 9 million toys being recalled for such things as little magnets that fall out that ca be a choking hazard or can be ingested and block a child’s intestines, and the lead-based paint that the USA outlawed in the early 70’s. This follows a previous recent recall of over a million toys for the same lead problem in the paint.

And how do the Chinese deliver their weapons of masses-destruction? Through greedy-assed American businesses like Wal-Mart and all those Dollar Store/Dollar General/Deals for a Dollar/Dollar Days type stores, who buy cheap-assed Chinese goods in bulk for mere pennies and pawn them off on the American public at exorbitant profits. American companies don’t bother to inspect or baby-sit their suppliers overseas so long as they get paid.

In fifty years, America will be devoid of life. After we all die from tainted products, or eat ourselves to death with HFCS and other sugary crap, China will walk in and colonize the cities to deal with their population problems. Then again, they may keep a few of us alive as slaves to work the toy factories….

If it's Tuesday, Wal-Mart still sucks

Wal-Mart still sucks ass. Just thought you should know.

I bet you were unaware that your local Wal-Mart has no control over their air conditioning, huh? That’s why when it’s 7000 degrees outside, it’s about 6000 inside the store. The a/c is controlled from The Mother Ship in Bentonville, Arkansas. That’s right. Some wonk at corporate HQ looks at the local temperature and arbitrarily decides whether or not to use the satellite control box to adjust the temps inside a store he’ll never set foot in.

The same goes for determining how many cash registers are open on any given shift. Ever wonder why there are 25 registers and only 5 open? That’s because some other wonk arbitrarily determines how many checkouts can be open at any given time based on sales.

Last weekend was Tax-Free Weekend here in SC. That means that there was no sales tax on clothes, computers, and school supplies…your basic back-to-school stuff…so it was almost as big a shopping weekend as you’d get around Christmas time. The Wal-Mart I was in was one of the newest ones in the area and located in a very busy suburban area, with 20 checkouts, plus 8 self-checkout lines. How many were open? Five. I shit you not. Probably a couple thousand customers rolling in & out of this store, and lines 30-bodies deep, and only 5 lanes open. I skipped it & asked the girl at the jewelry counter to ring me up, and there was still 3 people in front of me in THAT line. And yeah, it was hot as balls inside the store.

The same thing happens at my local Wal-Mart in Walterboro. We have 25 checkouts and I do believe a further 8 self-checkouts, which are preferable for quick purchases. Well, those close down by 8:30 PM in a 24-hour store, and after 10PM there’s only 2 checkouts actually open. And of course, at midnight they change out the money in the registers, so there’s another 5-10 minute delay with lines 10-15 deep. On Saturday nights it’s an utter joke, because all but like 3 counties in SC are dry on Sunday (those are the counties that cater to out of state tourists who are allowed to drink any time). You could get in line at 11:30 and be stuck there holding a 6-pack for 30 minutes waiting in line for the sole register, or two, to ring up the 25 people ahead of you, and if you happen to get to the register at 12:01, you’re screwed. They won’t sell to you. The registers won’t even scan it in after midnight. They don’t care that you were stuck in line for 30 minutes. Tough shit, pal.

Taking something back for a refund or exchange at night is a treat too. Customer Service is already long since closed. There’s no greeter to give you a dirty look like you’re stealing something (our greeters don’t greet you. They face into the store to watch you like a hawk as if everyone walking out has a DVD player in their pants. They fired the little old lady who used to be the greeter. She was too friendly.) Since there’s no greeter to give you that lame pink sticker that does nothing other than show you passed a checkpoint, you just get in line at a register (read: THE register. The one.) and hold up the people behind you trying to buy beer before midnight while the cashier fumblefucks around and has to call for a CSM (Customer Service Manager, in the red vests, who avoid all contact with customers if it can be helped) in order to give you your refund. Or if it’s an exchange, you wait in line, state your case, and then go get your shit and wait in line again to finish the debacle.

Oh yeah…Wal-Mart Uber Alles. We will bury you.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Mojosexual Haircut

Okay…Like I said before, it’s my intention to give a few lifestyle tips to you fellas out there, guys who may be a little more high-maintenance than the average schlub but don’t want to be a priss. You guys are, like me, Mojosexuals.

I’m a blue-collar guy with white-collar sensitivities. I like to take care of myself without being a fop, and definitely without spending oodles of cash. I think if you pay more than 15 bucks for a haircut, you should be punched in the throat for being blatantly stupid, especially if you’re finicky about your hair (like me) and get it cut often, and by often I mean more than once a month. Perhaps we’ll start with hair, then.

The only people who pay more than 15 bucks for a haircut are Hollyweird types and Presidential-wannabe John Edwards, who twice let the Democratic National Convention pick up the $400 tab for his haircuts. New York “stylist” Orlando Pita charges $800.00. In Manhattan, a moderately-priced snip can be $125.00. I recently read where the average price of a haircut in America is $45.00, according to the Professional Beauty Association. That’s freakin’ nuts. It’s HAIR, people. It grows, you cut it, end of story. I average a haircut every 5 weeks or so, which on average would mean 10 haircuts a year. If I was a dolt who paid 45 skins for every snip, that’s $450 before tips. That’s just about one haircut shy of the cost of a full-game season-ticket package to the South Carolina Stingrays. See? There are better things to spend your ducats on than haircuts.

Now, I’m sure than not many of you keep your hair as short as I do. By personal choice, I generally keep mine at ¼ inch on the sides and ½ inch on top, or what’s left on top. Personally, the easiest way to accomplish this is to lean over the sink while my wife shaves my head with a set of clippers. Total cost: free.

However, were I to be still paying for haircuts, I would certainly not be dropping 45 a trim. The Mojosexual Male doesn’t frequent mall salons like The Hair Cuttery or Fantastic Sams. I have nothing against those places, but face it, the real reason that you pay that much isn’t because you’re getting some extra-special haircut. There’s the Shampoo Girl, and a stylist with a succulent ass and hair teased up to the rafters selling sex as well as a haircut. Then there’s Sports Clips, preying upon the idiot male psyche by advertising that you can get a haircut while you watch sports. Please…how fucking insecure in your own manhood must you be that you require a salon full of cheerleaders cutting your hair surrounded by sports paraphernalia on the walls and mountains of TV’s playing non-stop sports. Oh, plus they do steamed towels and a neck/shoulder massage too. Gee, how much for a Happy Ending? A trim and some trim? You’re there for a 15-minute haircut, not a 4-hour football game.

You’re getting a haircut, not getting your coif styled. No bangs, no feathers and wings, and sure as hell no mullets. Look in the phone book and find a good, old-fashioned barber shop, full of old-school professionals who were cutting hair when you were a tadpole. There’s a lot of wisdom to be gleaned from a conversation with a barber while you’re in the chair, kinda like a bartender but safe to drive home afterwards. If you’re in the Charleston SC area, I highly recommend Uncle’s Barbershop on Dorchester Road by the Air Force base. That was my official barbershop before Crys started cutting mine.

Look, you don’t need some chick washing your hair before it gets cut. Wash it yourself, snapperhead. You’re paying for a haircut, not a feel-up with bewbz in your face. Go buy a lap-dance, you desperate perv. And if it’s still so long after being cut that it requires blow-drying afterwards, then you didn’t get it cut. Try again, Fabio.

As far as taking care of your hair goes, short Mojo hair requires very little maintenance other than a decent shampoo. I suggest using something with a built-in conditioner, but should you require the occasional extra dose of conditioner, Fructis makes a really good one that comes in what looks like a wee green baseball, called Fortifying Deep Conditioner.

Do I have suggestions for hair gels and goops and other such nonsense? Not really, since Mojosexual Males aren’t THAT high-maintenance, and my hair hasn’t been long enough to gel in about 7 or 8 years anyways. However, if you insist on spiking up whatever hair you have left after a manly inexpensive haircut, try Bedhead Manipulator, Abba Forming Polish, or Loreal Crystal Wax.

Maintaining a good haircut shouldn’t break the bank. There’s more intelligent things to spend your dough on and you don’t wanna look like you just stepped out of a Winger video from 1990. That's not a good thing.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Open Line Friday, my ass...

As I’ve said before, I’m convinced that no human being alive today is quite so enamored of the sound of his own voice than the self-proclaimed “America’s Anchorman”, Rush Hudson Limbaugh III. Not since the bombastic orations of Nikita Khrushchev and Adolf Hitler has so much politically-charged hot air been expelled upon the masses.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure as hell no Liberal, and I’m not a Democrat, either. I tend to lean conservatively in my views. But Rush is so far to the right that he borders on fanaticism. Shoe-banging, gesticulating fanaticism…

I listen to his show on occasion, and while I agree with many of the things he says, a lot of his rhetoric is 100% pure anti-Democrat propaganda, as if the Republicans can do no wrong whatsoever. During the Clinton years, he’d open his show with “Under Siege: America Held Hostage Day XXX “, and referred to House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) exaltedly as “Mister Gingrich”, like he was royalty for being a Republican. Current Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is just called, you guessed it, Nancy Pelosi,or just Pelosi, with no honorific. Hey, didn’t ol’ Newton Leroy Gingrich have an ethics censure, and wasn’t he involved in numerous adulterous affairs on his 3 ex-wives? Then again, Rush had a very public drug problem… But don’t act like Republicans are above moral and ethical reproach, pal.

As far as he’s concerned, all Dems are evil and all Republicans walk on water. Typical partisan-politics bullshit, which is why the Federal Government (I mean, Feral Gummint) can’t get a fucking thing accomplished, but that’s a blog for another day, yet to be written.

Back to Limbaugh.

Each Friday he has what he calls, “Open Line Friday” which sounds like a great idea on paper. He pontificates about how Monday thru Thursday the show goes his way, with callers and discussions being solely on topics of his choosing, but on Fridays he “takes the huge risk” of letting us, the audience, the ignorant rubes, “control” the show by taking calls on whatever the listeners want to talk about.

Oh, bulllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllshit.

His call screeners have tighter assholes than Himmler’s SS stormtroopers. All week long they spoon-feed him an adoring public who kiss his ass like it was the Pope’s ring and then make some pro-Republican propaganda statement, after which Rush patronizes them and then makes as if to ask the opinion of his producer/Goebbels figure, a Mr. Snerdly. While I’ve never heard this Snerdly fellow on the air, I imagine he’d sound like other noted sycophant sidekicks like Ed McMahon and Paul Schaeffer.

Rest assured, dear readers, that his phone Gestapo rigidly controls Open Line Friday. If I were to call (and by some miracle actually get through) and tell the call screener that I wanted to tell His Conservativeness about Dubya being the Second Coming of The Messiah and that Hillary & Obama are the spawn of Satan, I’d be patched through post-haste.

But if on Open Line Friday I called and said I wanted to discuss the lack of decent TV coverage for hockey, I’d spend the next 3 hours on hold and then get disconnected. Oops!

It’s Open Line Friday so long as you toe the party line. Otherwise, you languish and get dropped.

I much prefer Glenn Beck’s parody, Closed Line Friday. Less rhetoric & pontification, and more intelligent discourse. Hooray Glenn Beck!

Get on Deez Nutz!

Living as I do in the middle of the Deep South, I see a wide variety of strange shit when it comes to the decorating of that ubiquitous mode of Southern transportation, the pickup truck. Folks just loves to be decoratin’ their trucks.

I have no problem with pickups that are used for their intended purpose, which is hauling oversized cargo, and believe it or not I actually don’t have any problem with pickups caked with mud to the doorjambs and loaded down with gear, because at least the guy is using it as it was intended. But when it has giant oversized tires and a lift kit and chrome everything, you know it’s all for show and that it’ll never see anything even remotely close to a muddy trail. That dude’s a poser. A poser with too much money.

A word to the wise: chrome brush guards and bumpers, and a bootleg cartoon Calvin pissing on something like a Chevy symbol or a number “24” just looks stupid. So does a giant window decal stating “Corn Fed”, “Cowboy Up”, “Redneck Rebel” and, of course, “GIT R DONE”. I eat corn too, but I don’t advertise it on my back window. If you truly go off-road, black brush guards make more sense, no? And lowering a truck is just plain fruity. Why take away the ability to carry anything heavy by making it sit 3 millimeters off the ground? It’s so much fun to watch those clowns crawl over a speed-bump at the mall.

It gets better.

Just recently I discovered something new and supremely ridiculous to decorate your truck with. As if there wasn’t enough already to bolt onto it, now you can give your truck nuts. Yep…TRUCK NUTS.

A cast-aluminum dangling ornament made to look exactly like a bull’s scrotum, designed to give your truck the uber-lame appearance of possessing a set of balls hanging under the trailer hitch. Truck Nuts (or Bumper Nuts) come in a variety of colors to match your vehicle’s paint scheme. I’ve seen white, red, black, and, of course, blue balls. I’ve seen chrome balls. And…..yup, you guessed it…..the obligatory BRASS BALLS. I about did a spit-take a sprayed Pepsi all over the windshield the first time I saw this phenomenon.

So, if you’re feeling testicularly-challenged, fell free to get on Deez Nutz. All the cool kids are doing it.