Saturday, January 31, 2009

Aww, who needs old war heroes anyways? We want rappers!

Somehow I managed to miss this one on International Day of Change, or as you people called it, Inauguration Day. The newly coronated Messiah President opted not to appear at what should have been one of the most important Balls on his agenda that evening, and that was The Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball.

The Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball was begun in 1953 for President Dwight Eisenhower's inauguration. The event recognized recipients of the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award. There were 48 Medal of Honor recipients in attendance, who were undoubtedly disappointed by the Commander-in-Chief's failure to show. Over the past 56 years and 14 inaugurations, no President has ever out on skipped this event - until now. As most of the medals are awarded posthumously, to have 48 recipients in attendance was a rather amazing thing.

The ball is sponsored by the American Legion, and co-sponsored by 13 other veteran's service organizations, including those such as the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Military Order of the Purple Heart. You know… the people who keep America free so that politicians can run amok.

Instead of attending this ball honoring our nation's heroes, Obama was busy making stops at 10 other official balls. Obama and his wife's first stop was the Neighborhood Ball. From there they went to the Home State Ball for Illinois and Hawaii, the Commander-in-Chief Ball, the Youth Inaugural Ball, and the Home State Ball for Delaware and Pennsylvania. They finished off the night with brief appearances at the Mid-Atlantic, Western, Midwest, Eastern, and Southern regional Balls.

Celebrities were a plenty at the balls, with Stevie Wonder, Shakira, Mary. J. Blige, Faith Hill, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine, will. i. am, Sting, Mariah Carey, Ray Romano, Jamie Foxx, Vanessa Williams, Queen Latifah, and Leonardo DiCaprio in attendance at the Neighborhood Ball. In addition, the other nine balls also featured a star-studded lineup including Kanye West and Kid Rock at the Youth Ball, Marc Anthony at the Western Ball, and Cheryl Crow at the Western Ball.

Young Jeezy and Jay-Z’s freestyle rap about the Bush Administration at a concert the night before the inaugural was simply inspirational poetry indeed. Proud Americans...

“I don’t want no more Bush
No more wars, no more Iraq
No more white lies, my president’s black.”

Jay-Z, Obama Inaugural Concert, January 18, 2009

“And I wanna thank the muthafucker overseas who threw the two shoes at George Bush.
And I want to thank… Listen! Listen!
I wanna thank the muthafuckers who helped them
move their shit up out of the White House.
Keep it moving bitch.
Because my President is muthafuckin’ black, nigga!”

Young Jeezy, Obama Inaugural Concert, January 18, 2009

Oh yeah. His Obamaness was at the parties with all the celebrities and Beautiful People. It was the party without all of the celebrities that Obama skipped. The very people who he sought to have support him during his candidacy and campaign, who have fought to protect this country, were snubbed in favor of publicity and the opportunity to rub shoulders with the Hollywood elite.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Everything's Gone Green....



Had you there for a second, didn’t I?

To say that the weather conditions here in sub-rural South Carolina are often wettish is putting it mildly. The humidity is legendary, especially in the summer months. And what likes to manifest itself in warm, wet environments? Mildew and mold, of course.

And it simply flabbergasts me how many times a day I pass by homes growing green with a delicious humidity-induced salad up the exterior walls.

Now, I’m a homeowner, so I can say I more or less stand in similar shoes as the people I’m calling out here. I assure you, nothing is growing on the sides of my home. In fact, damn near nothing is growing at my house except crabgrass and a small patch of greenery over my septic field. But you lazy slack-asses who come home day after day to a moldy-assed domicile? You should be kicked in the nutsack.

I’m not talking about single-wide trailers here, either, although I pass several in my usual travels that look like camouflaged pillboxes in a triple-canopy Vietnamese jungle. No, I’m also talking about 2-and 3-level houses as well. There’s a home in my mom’s neighborhood in a really nice North Charleston subdivision that is probably about a $250,000.00 home, and it’s got salad everywhere. And it’s had that salad on the exterior walls for at least 2-3 years now. Of course, they also have a non-running Jaguar convertible covered in grime dry-rotting in place in the driveway, too.

I pass a house almost every day on the Edisto River, an absolutely gorgeous home that’s gotta be a $350K to $400K crib, and it’s green all up the front. Sure, it’s along a swampy-assed river, constantly exposed to spores of various fungi, but I feel that if you care enough to own an ostentatious abode in a conspicuous locale, then at least maintain it. The second house at least has the excuse of living far away enough from town on private acreage to not catch hassle from the neighbors over it, but I’m amazed that the first house mentioned has managed to get away with it for so long without catching shit for it from the Yard Nazis of the homeowner’s association.

Speaking of Yard Nazis, please don’t lump me in with that crowd. The typical Yard Nazi in my experience is some nosey old bag of a bitty who cruises the development at 5 mph in her 83 Buick reporting on the activities of her neighbors when the grass gets too long or they leave the garage door open all day. The Grass Gestapo wants “alles in ordnung” in the Stepford Cookie Cutter Communities. They dime you out to the HOA, who in turn dictates to you that you can’t park your boat in front of your house for more than 15 minutes, or you can’t have more than 2 carloads of visitors at a time parked on the street. The price you pay to live in a hastily-built identical cracker box 8 feet from your neighbors.

I’m just saying that you really should have enough pride in your environs to at least keep it from looking like a loaf of bread left in the sunshine for a week. Are you lazy, or just a pig? If you can’t afford to get it pressure-washed professionally, then at least get thee to Home Depot for some de-molding solution. Hose it down and use a street broom to scrub it off. A home with ivy-covered walls looks quaint. A home with mold-covered walls looks like a block of old cheese.

Of course, by now you must think I live in the Taj Mahal, right? Nope. I have a small, modest home, nothing ostentatious or grandiose. However, the grass is cut, there’s no mold on the walls, and no collections of deceased automobiles, piles of beer cans, piles of debris waiting to be burned, or half-destroyed trampolines. I do have a couple of ratty lawn chairs behind my trees that need to be offloaded in the spring but I assure you, no crops are growing on my home.

If you let the outside of your house look like something that was found in the back of the fridge wrapped in a foil cocoon and approaching sentient status, then I shudder to think of what the inside looks like. Enough dirt on the outside of your home to allow spores to attach and grow. Fungus, dude. You get fungus on your toes, you treat it, right? Same with ball fungus. You don’t just let those fungal infections fester, do you? You see mildew in the tub, you scrub it I hope. You don’t let your shower become a Third World rainforest do you?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

As we look at closing Gitmo, another terrorist is going free

In 1973, a young man named Khalid Duhham Al-Jawary entered the United States through Canada, flying from Montreal to Boston and on to New York, and quickly began plotting an audacious attack in New York City.

He built three bombs powerful enough to kill, maim and destroy and put them in rental cars parked along New York City's Fifth Avenue. The explosives were set to detonate at noon March 4, when Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir would be visiting, but a circuit within the bombs failed.

The plot failed. The explosive devices did not detonate due to a faulty circuit, and Al-Jawary fled the country, escaping prosecution for nearly two decades, until he was captured in Italy in 1991, tried in the United States in 1993, convicted of terrorism charges in Brooklyn and sentenced to 30 years in federal penitentiary in Louisiana.

"A test detonation of one of the bombs produced a fireball approximately 25 feet in diameter, which rose to a height of 50 to 75 feet," the CIA reported. "Experts state that if the bombs had exploded in the trunks of the cars, the magnitude of the explosion would have been much greater. They further stated that anyone within 100 yards of the blast would have been fatally injured."

In less than a month, the 63-year-old Al-Jawary is expected to be released. He will likely be deported; where to is anybody's guess. The shadowy figure had so many aliases it's almost impossible to know which country is his destination.

Government documents link Al-Jawary to Black September's murderous letter-bombing campaign targeting world leaders in the 1970s and a botched terrorist attack in 1979. Former intelligence officials suspect he had a role in the bombing of a TWA flight in 1974 that killed 88 people and a slew of other bombings and attempted bombings.

So, this dude is certainly no Boy Scout. He’s had 15 years of Louisiana hospitality to ponder ways to kill us all. Why he’s getting out 15 years early is beyond me, but it’s complete bullshit. You’d think we’d learned our lesson on keeping terrorist scumbags under lock & key, but no. So this turd is gonna get cut loose, and wander off to some Third World cave where he’ll get a hero’s welcome from Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Quaeda, the Taliban, and a dung-heap of other terrorist organizations, and he’ll be right back to doing his level best to kill you, me, and everyone else around us. Great.

Y’know, old Uncle Khalid claims to have been born in Palestine in 1947. At the time that area was held under British control until the bulk of it became Israel in 1949. So, we may send his ass to England, where the local Muslims will treat him like the Hand of the Prophet and chauffeur him to Osama’s cave. I say we ship his ass to Israel and let them handle his re-adjustment to polite society. Yeah, that’s the ticket. I bet the Mossad will love to have a guy with ties to Black September….the group that killed those Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics.

You’re welcome to him, Israel. Give him the return to Palestine he so richly deserves.

Sure, Khalid, these guys can't wait for you to come back to Israel.

How trashy...

Heaps of plastic bottles, food wrappers, soda cans, and newspapers, which blanketed the National Mall Wednesday morning, were a stark contrast to the stateliness and splendor of President Barack Obama's inaugural ceremony a day before.

I was under the impression that all of you ObamaZombies were pro-environment ? If so, then why did you leave over 100 TONS of trash on the Mall in Washington?

In comparison, 40 tons of garbage was collected in New York City's Time Square on New Year's Day 2009 -- after one million people attended the celebration -- according to the city's Department of Sanitation.

C’mon…..a million and a half reverent followers of Obama watching a solemn ceremony leave over twice as much trash behind as a million drunken revelers where confetti and ticker-tape is bound to fly?

Just sayin’…

Hats of to DC Sanitation workers who had it all pristine again by breakfast the next morning. Way to go, gang.

America in the grips of NIMBY Syndrome

And we’re off to the rodeo…

Barely three days into the Obama presidency, and the un-Bushing of America has begun. President Obama has suspended the ongoing trials of terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay and declared that the facility will itself be closed a year from now.

Well, okay. This just begs the question: What the hell are we gonna do with our Muslim cousins being held in stasis for trying to kill us all? Do we just set the buggers loose to go back to setting off truck bombs and flying airliners into skyscrapers? Or do we simply house them elsewhere, moving the operation to another exotic overseas locale? Barring that, do we just ship the sunzabitches stateside to some secure facility here?

You send them overseas to somewhere else, and you run into the problem of security and trustworthiness of the host nation’s government and general populace. Certain of our supposed allies I wouldn’t trust to co-sponsor a frikkin’ bake sale with us, let alone hold onto our most dire enemies without letting them loose “accidentally” to rejoin their brethren.And you know they will.

A Saudi man who was released from Guantanamo after spending six years inside the camp has joined Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen and is now the terror group's No. 2 in the country, according to a purported Internet statement from Al Qaeda. Documents released by the U.S. Defense Department show that Ali al-Shihri was released from the facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in November 2007 and transferred to his homeland. The documents confirmed his prisoner number was 372. An alleged travel coordinator for Al Qaeda, Al-Shihri allegedly traveled to Afghanistan two weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, provided money to other fighters and trained at an urban warfare at a camp north of Kabul. Seems that once you let the little turds go, they trot right back to Bad Guy Land and do Bad Shit all over again. So, setting up shop again overseas is definitely problematic.

The bigger problem though is America’s steadfast adherence to NIMBY. That means Not In My Back Yard, as in, go ahead and build what we need, just not near me. Sure, a landfill? Great, but I don’t want it in my back yard. A nuclear waste dump? Not in my back yard. Three hundred sworn enemies of America who want to kill us all? Sure, put ‘em in jail, but not in my back yard.

Everyone wants ‘em put away, but no one wants the facility anywhere near themselves. I even heard one erstwhile genius exclaim, “Put them over on Alcatraz. No one escaped there.” Great, Einstein. An abandoned jail that closed in 1961, where several buildings are fire-damaged and everything’s suffered 75 years of salt water damage.

So far the only guy who said to put them in his back yard is Representative Jack Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who chairs the defense subcommittee for appropriations, renowned for his ability to steer earmarked dollars to his district. He’s looking at this as an opportunity to snag an instant stimulus package of jobs and federal money to build a new prison in his district, since all of his local prisons are already full and his voter base needs jobs.

A stream of congress members and senators voiced concerns about where the detainees would go. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), said he's been "pleading" with Obama's staff not to bring them to Fort Leavenworth in his home state -- something he believes is being considered. Leavenworth is a multi-prison complex comprising a federal penitentiary and the military’s Disciplinary Barracks.

Welcome to South Carolina, Achmed!!! Naval Brig Charleston, baby!

Locally, our own Congress-creatures are pissing and moaning the NIMBY argument too. I’m honestly not sure if they aren’t doing it just to toe the Republican Party line and balk at Obama’s policy or if they just figure that NIMBY will keep them in office. See, one of the facilities being discussed other than Leavenworth is our own Consolidated Naval Brig over in the Charleston suburb of Hanahan. Representative Brown said he hasn't been briefed on any plans to close the facility at Gitmo, but he questioned the need to make a change. Brown said he isn't worried so much about escapees but rather about how their presence would make Hanahan and the surrounding areas more of a potential target. Also, it could require security upgrades that could inconvenience people who live or work nearby. Senator Jim DeMint sent out a press release warning the move would endanger Americans. "And if the new administration tries to move these known terrorists to South Carolina, they should be ready for a fight," he wrote.

Brown said he hasn't heard much feedback on the issue. "I think once people focus on it," he said, "…they'll realize that's something they would not like to see in their neighborhood."

And that proves my point.

People, the federal government owns those prisons, regardless of what state they happen to be in. And if they wanna house federal prisoners in their federal prisons, suck it up and deal with it. The brig in Hanahan held convicted terrorist Jose Padilla, who is now is the ADX Supermax Prison in Colorado, for over three years quite safely & securely. It currently houses Ali Saleh Al-Mirri, a purported enemy combatant who allegedly was tapped by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheihk Mohammed to plan more attacks in the Los Angeles area. Al-Mirri has been a guest of Lowcountry hospitality for six years, and 99% of you had no idea he was even here.

Several of my friends are current or former cage-kickers; i.e.: military correctional specialists. I myself worked at an Army correctional facility for two years. Do you people have so little faith in the soldiers and Marines who keep these prisons secure? Personally, I have implicit faith in the professionalism and ability of the men & women of our military’s correctional units to keep 245 dirtbags under wraps.

Hell, we could always send them to Maricopa County, Arizona. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is known worldwide as the toughest sheriff in America. He houses inmates in a rudimentary tent city in the desert, only feeds them twice a day (bologna sandwiches. I kid you not. He says it costs 40 cents a day to feed an inmate, and it costs $1.40 a day to feed a guard dog) and makes the inmates wear pink undies. Then again, would it be such a hardship for these assclowns to be held in the desert after half of them have spent a lifetime in Arab deserts or living in caves?
Go ahead and close Gitmo. It never should have been opened in the first place, because those cretins should have been shot on sight as vermin instead of sucking up taxpayer dollars to give them 3 hots & a cot, a new Koran and a new prayer rug, and all they have to do it sit on a tropical island and talk to Allah.

Chillin' at Club Gitmo with Khalid and Richard. Shoe bombs, anyone?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Church & State and the gray area in between

As reported by the Associated Press, a federal judge has ruled that a state law requiring a moment of silence in public schools across Illinois is unconstitutional, saying it crosses the line separating church and state.

"The statute is a subtle effort to force students at impressionable ages to contemplate religion," U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman said in his ruling Wednesday.

The ruling came in a lawsuit designed to bar schools from enforcing the Illinois Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act. It was filed by talk show host Rob Sherman, an outspoken atheist, and his daughter, Dawn, a high school student.
As passed by the Illinois General Assembly, the law allows students to reflect on the day's activities rather than pray if that is their choice and defenders have said it therefore doesn't force religion on anyone.

Gettleman's ruling comes as no surprise, as he’s already ruled in favor of Sherman in two previous decisions. To me, that smacks of a biased judge who seems to get a favored plaintiff on his docket on a regular basis.

The "teacher is required to instruct her pupils, especially in the lower grades, about prayer and its meaning as well as the limitations on their 'reflection,'" Gettleman ruled. "The plain language of the statute, therefore, suggests and intent to force the introduction of the concept of prayer into the schools," he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union says the law is a thinly disguised effort to bring religion into the schools. Adam Schwartz, senior staff counsel of the ACLU, said the organization was pleased with the decision "to strike down a statewide law that coerced children to pray as part of an organized activity in our public schools."

Get real, you liberal socialist fruitcake. While there may be a part in the Constitution that talks about the separation of church and state, that’s better off being looked at as a method for keeping us from becoming a religious state like, say, Iran or Saudi Arabia, where clerics beat you on the street with sticks for supposed trespasses against Allah.

The truth is, there really is no complete separation of church and state in the United States of America. It’s a matter of practicality. This nation was founded upon the bedrock of freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Like it or not, America was founded by devout Christians as a Christian country, with allowances made for the freedom and tolerance of others to practice their religious customs without fear of persecution.

I’m not a religious person by any means. But if that’s your bag, I’ll gladly respect your right to worship (or not to worship) as guaranteed by the Constitution which I swore an oath to uphold and defend, against all enemies foreign and domestic, at 18 years of age. Almost 22 years later I still take that oath seriously. But I’m also a pragmatist. I know full well that Americana and Americanism is chock full of God references.

You ACLU lawyers are in court enough to know that when you’re sworn in, you generally place your hand on a Christian Bible and end with “so help me God”. And I know damned well that you have no problem making or spending American money festooned with “In God We Trust”, which coincidentally is the motto of our great nation. The Pledge of Allegiance that your ilk keeps seeking to suppress lists us as one nation under God. I’d be willing to guess that a judge’s robes trace their origins to priestly robes, back during medieval times when lawyers retained the tunic worn by men as a sign of learning until the middle of the 14th century. Of course, during those days, the vast majority of the people were uneducated an illiterate, and the only learned scholars were the clergy.

You fought for, and won, the right to burn the American flag under the auspices of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression, and I as a former soldier have spent my entire adult life biting back my personal distaste for such a disrespectful and despicable act, and now you want to strip away some more of the foundation of the country that gives you both a home and a living. Now, if it was some Muslim group trying to push Islamic teachings and prayer rugs and foot-wash basins into the schools, you ACLU douchebags would eat your own young to force-feed that to the public.

And by no means whatsoever do I advocate forcing religion down the throats of school kids. But a moment of silence to think and reflect isn’t going to undermine the universe. No one is saying that you have to pray. You can ponder the periodic table of elements. You could think up an excuse for why you skipped out on your homework to play World of Warcraft. You could memorize another word in Spanish since English no longer applies. You could entertain impure thoughts concerning that chica with the hootchie top on from your 6th period History class. class. I’m forced to be tolerant of some assclowns burning the very symbol of my nation, so maybe your snot-nosed brats can be forced to sit there with their festering gobs shut for all of 60 seconds while their fellows think whatever thoughts they privately may.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Commemorative Obama Porta Potty!!!

You’ve seen the posters. You bought the t-shirts. You got the coffee cup, the buttons, the commemorative plates (including the design with Obama’s face reversed so his mole is on the opposite side), the commemorative coins, the silver-plated $20.00 Liberian bills, the special-edition newspaper headline issues, and a life-sized cardboard cutout Obama standing in your living room.

You’ve got all the commemorative Obama crap…except the Obama Crapper.

For a limited time only, we’re offering the actual Porta-Potty toilets used on The Mall in Washington, DC during Barack Obama’s inauguration! Own a piece of history with one of these amazing Obama Porta-Potties, in gorgeous pastel purple and smelling of roses. Each potty has the battle-cry of “CHANGE” over the entrance, and an image of President Obama greets you at the door. Millions saw the coronation of America’s new leader, but only a select few can own such a tremendous souvenir of the occasion.

Limited to just the first 5,000 buyers, once they go they’ll be gone for good. You may not sit on Obama’s throne, but you can have your own throne that’s been shared by thousands of your fellow members of Obama Nation. Call now and get your Commemorative Obama Porta Potty today!!!!

Each Commemorative Obama Porta Potty has been verified, cleraed, and double-checked by US troops, recently recalled from Gitmo to pull security at the Inaugural, making the security forces in DC larger than our troop concentration in Afghanistan.

special thanks to Rog at and to Todd Schnitt

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Like, oh my GAWD! International Change Day is Tuesday!!!

Tuesday marks the beginning of the Reign of the Messiah Barack Hussein Obama, and what better way to kick off the Great Change by spending $50 million dollars on what amounts to a grandiose party attended by Queen Oprah of Chicagoland, Beyonce, Tiger Woods,and dozens of other luminary figures?

The official theme for Inauguration Day is "A New Birth of Freedom," in honor of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. However, we all know damn well that the words "change" and "yes we can/yes we did" will be thrown about like "Deutschland Uber Alles".....

Speculators say that $40 million to $50 million is the estimated cost of the 2009 inaugural parade, balls, opening ceremonies, and other expenses for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, and thee inauguration will also cost the District, Virginia, and Maryland a fair amount for security, cleanup, etc. The DC Police dropped $360,000on 12 new motorcycles for the events. Since it’s supposed to be about 29 degrees or so, I’m assuming those $30,000 bikes have awesome heaters.

There isn’t a hotel room to be found in a hundred-mile radius. Estimates run at between 1.5 and 2 million people are showing up to clog the city and mill about in the freezing cold, fighting traffic, fighting crowds, fighting lines, and fighting each other for some sort of asinine bragging rights and the ability to say they witnessed “CHANGE” first-hand.

You dumbasses. Unless you’re up there on that platform, you really won’t see shit. You could have saved yourself hundreds of dollars that you’ll need as the economy circles the drain and stayed home where it’s warm, and seen it much better from your La-Z-Boy recliner on TV. At least from your living room you’ll actually see it, instead of the back of some schmuck’s head in line in front of you. Make sure you stimulate the economy with an assload of shitty souvenirs, chum. We need the commerce.

The U.S. Secret Service is overseeing a security force of more than 40,000 people, including 7,500 active duty soldiers, 10,000 National Guard troops and 25,000 law-enforcement officers.

That surpasses the 31,000 troops serving in Afghanistan. So while units hunting down the Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists may or may not have enough troops to do the job right, the District of Columbia will be in a virtual lockdown. Bridges into Washington and about 3.5 square miles of the capital's downtown will be closed Tuesday. My heart goes out to the poor working stiffs who have to try and get to work and go about their business Tuesday in this clusterfuck.

The security effort goes into full effect when Obama starts making his way to Washington from Philadelphia by train Saturday. Thousands of officers from 40 police jurisdictions will line the 137-mile route. Crowds are expected to gather at numerous spots along the way, including overpasses, parking lots and commuter train stations, ust to say they saw the train go by.

Security is a nightmare. The Metropolitan Police Department will deploy 4,000 officers, and it will have help from an additional 4,000 officers from 99 federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies across the country. Frozen snipers, God bless those hardy professionals, will be positioned on rooftops and balconies along Pennsylvania Avenue, ready to drill you in the forehead for reaching in your pocket for a tissue in a threatening manner. Nondescript boxes that can detect the airborne releases of chemical or biological weapons will be scattered among the crowds. Imagine the stampedes if one of those alarms goes off?

Every one of the 240,000 people attending the actual swearing-in ceremony will be screened by walk-through or hand-held metal detectors, and every one of them will have to be scanned 6 times because they’re carrying change and nail clippers and metal belt buckles and other shit that sets off every metal detector in every airport worldwide and people still insist on carrying. You think a line at Atlanta-Hartsfield Airport is insane, try that with 239,999 other people.

Air Force fighter sweeps will be loaded for bear overhead, looking for any stray Cessna straying off course. Imagine the grief from shooting down some assclowns trying to fly over for a glimpse of the Blessed Event, with flaming wreckage raining down on a million-strong throng of pilgrims seeking the new Messiah? That’d be some change, indeed.

Dude, I hated being in the crowd at WalMart on Black Friday so depositing me in a crowd of a million members of ObamaNation out in the cold is a moot point. I’m sure I’ll see the highlights on the evening news when I get home from work Tuesday.

Gee, I hope I don’t miss too much change in between the swearing in and when I get home…I’ll have to make sure I tune in for all the Inaugural Ball updates.

The actual schedule:

•Obama and his family ride the train from Philadelphia to Washington, stopping in Wilmington, Del., for Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his family. Train will stop in Baltimore for speech before heading south. A feeling of impending change will envelop everyone within earshot.

•BET Honors, an awards ceremony, at the Warner Theater.

•People's Inaugural Gala Celebration at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

• "Yes We Did" concert.

•Concert with Mary J. Blige, Common, and Nelly at nightclub Ibiza.

•Obama will kick off inaugural activities with a welcome event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday afternoon. The event begins at 2:30 p.m. Beyonce, U2, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Usher, Shakira, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban and James Taylor are among the musicians scheduled to perform.

•Presidential Inaugural Luncheon and Fashion Show at the Ritz-Carlton. Nothing says "presidency" and "world leader" quite like the frivolity of a fashion show.

•EMILY's List Inaugural Luncheon with scheduled guests including Cabinet appointees Hillary Rodham Clinton and Janet Napolitano, Senators Kay Hagan and Jeanne Shaheen, and North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue.

•African-American Church Inaugural Ball at the Grand Hyatt Washington.

•2009 Latino Inaugural Gala with Marc Anthony at Union Station.

•Aloha Inaugural Ball, organized by former Obama campaign workers, held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel at 7:30 p.m.

•National Day of Community Service event: To honor Dr. King's legacy, Obama, Biden and their families, joined by Americans across the country, will participate in activities dedicated to serving others in communities across the Washington, D.C. area.

•Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball, sponsored by the Texas State Society, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.

•Green Inaugural Ball at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. Ball hosted by former Vice President Al Gore.

•Huffington Post preinaugural ball at the Newseum.

•Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball at the Harman Center for the Arts. Hosted by the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, Russell Simmons, LL Cool J, among others.

•A children's evening concert at the Verizon Center honoring military families. Event hosted by Michelle Obama, who will attend. Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers are among the entertainers.

•Obama to attend three private dinners to honor former secretary of State Colin Powell, Biden and Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, for their public service. Dinners at the Hilton Washington, National Building Museum and Union Station.

Gates to the Inaugural Ceremony open at 8 a.m. The inaugural festivities are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. They will include:
•Musical selections of The United States Marine Band, followed by the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.

•Senator Dianne Feinstein provides call to order and welcoming remarks.

•Invocation by the Reverend Rick Warren.

•Musical selection by Aretha Franklin.

•Biden will be sworn into office by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

•Musical selection of composer/arranger John Williams, with Itzhak Perlman, (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Gabriela Montero (piano) and Anthony McGill (clarinet).

•Obama will take the Oath of Office, using President Lincoln's Inaugural Bible, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts. Scheduled around noon.

•Obama gives the inaugural address. Change begins immediately as the entire world’s problems are instantly solved.

•Poem by Elizabeth Alexander.

•Benediction by Reverend Joseph E. Lowery.

•The National Anthem by The United States Navy Band "Sea Chanters."

•After Obama gives inaugural address, he will escort outgoing President George W. Bush to a departure ceremony before attending a luncheon in the Capitol's Statuary Hall.

•The 56th Inaugural Parade will then make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. Masses will adore the Messiah as Change occurs in front of their eyes.

Later that day, the Presidential Inaugural Committee will host 10 official inaugural balls:
•Neighborhood Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

•Obama Home States (Illinois and Hawaii) Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

•Biden Home States (Pennsylvania and Delaware) Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

•Midwest Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

•Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

•Western Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center.

•Commander in Chief's Ball at the National Building Museum.

•Southern Inaugural Ball at the National Guard Armory.

•Eastern Inaugural Ball at Union Station.

•Youth Inaugural Ball at the Washington Hilton.

Unofficial balls include:
•Congressional Black Caucus Inaugural Ball at the Capitol Hilton.

•Creative Coalition Inaugural Ball at the Harman Center for the Arts.

•Recording Industry Association of America's ball for Feeding America.

•BET's Inaugural Ball at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

•Africa on the Potomac inaugural celebration at Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va.

•American Music Inaugural Ball at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

•Inaugural Purple Ball at the Fairmont Hotel.

•Human Rights Campaign's Equality Ball at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel.

•Inaugural Peace Ball at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

•Impact Film Fund ball.

I’m sure MTV will have a ball too. After all, Obama’s a rock star, right?

Ahem...I said Enough With The Obama shirts, got it?

A short while ago I clambered atop my golden soap box and said “Enough with the damnable Obama t-shirts already!”.(

Well, apparently, someone wasn’t paying attention. Some company called Yellow Cake Designs (oh, how cute. Named for a concentrated form of uranium used in making fuel rods…and weapons) is selling these overpriced rags because they’re trendy and supposedly fashionable.

I’m sure as hell not gonna pay $38 to $44 for an onion-skin thin, see-through tee with a shitty silkscreen of Obie-Wan the Messiah on it. I’d be loathe to pay anything over 25 bucks on a concert shirt from a band that I’ve loved for 20-plus years, let alone the President. Two years ago, I parted with 30 bucks at the last Erasure concert for a rather thin shirt that has miraculously not shrunk to the size of a wash cloth after a run through the laundry, and I honestly can’t believe that the shirt I bought in Montreal at the Depeche Mode show in 1998 is still wearable.

But I digress.

If you’ll drop that kind of scratch on a Gap reject rag with a Rorschach blot on it that looks like Obama in much the same way that wrinkle on a potato chip looks like the Virgin Mary, then you deserve to have your wealth redistributed.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What's a little torture among friends?

Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder Jr. declared Thursday that waterboarding is torture, forcefully breaking from years in which the Justice Department deftly avoided the sensitive question about U.S. interrogation methods. It was the latest signal that Barack Obama plans a sharp 180 degree turn from the Bush administration. As recently as last week, Vice President Dick Cheney defended waterboarding, saying it provided valuable intelligence. The CIA has used the tactic on at least three terrorism suspects, including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Holder reiterated Obama's promise to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay but said doing so would be difficult. Many detainees could be transferred to other countries, he said, and some could be charged in U.S. courts. The big question, however, is what to do with dangerous terrorism suspects who cannot be charged in civilian courts.

"We're going to have to try to figure out what we do with them," Holder said.

Well, no shit there, sunshine. That’s an obvious understatement. What countries are gonna want to take these assholes in? It’s the hottest potato on the planet. It verily invites ill will from terrorist organizations and even some of our staunchest allies can be complete jellybacks when dealing with Islam. (Yes, England, I’m talking about you, and your constant acquiescing to Muslims.)

You know what? I don’t care if they close Gitmo. It’d save us millions of dollars in operating expenses, and in fact those scumbags never should have made it to Gitmo in the first place. They should have been shot on sight, or quickly interrogated by any and all available means, and then killed on pay-per-view, with proceeds going to fund the war on terror.

Is waterboarding torture? Maybe. But it’s about the most innocuous form there is. You strap a dude down, and pour water up his nose so he feels like he’s drowning. Yeah, I know, it sounds nasty and I wouldn’t want it done to me. Panic sets in and most people break pretty quickly. In March 2007, after four years in captivity, including six months of detention at Guantanamo Bay, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to masterminding the September 11th attacks, the Richard Reid shoe bombing attempt to blow up an airliner over the Atlantic Ocean, the Bali nightclub bombing in Indonesia, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and various foiled attacks. He is also thought to have had, or has confessed to, a role in many of the most significant terrorist plots over the last twenty years, the Operation Bojinka plot, an aborted 2002 attack on Los Angeles' U.S. Bank Tower, the failed bombing of American Airlines Flight 63, the Millennium Plot, and the murder of Daniel Pearl. I heard Mohammed broke in under 90 seconds; some say 3 minutes. The number two guy in Al Qaeda broke in less time than it takes for me to enjoy a dump. Hell yes.

Riddle me this, dear reader. If we have a terrorist in custody, and he has information that relates to preventing an attack on our country, isn’t it imperative that we find out about it post-haste? Now just imagine if the attack was to be on a school…your kid’s school…your child is at risk of being blown up, or shot, or raped and then shot, and this one guy can talk and prevent your precious child from a horrible death…would you then say that we can’t trickle some water up this dude’s nose to find out how to stop your baby from dying?

I’d turn that faucet on myself, and keep it flowing till my loved one was safe. And you know what? You’d do the same damned thing. Don’t bullshit me and say that you wouldn’t. If you can sit there and say “Boo hoo, we can’t waterboard that man because it violates his rights and if my baby has to die to secure his rights than so be it…”, then you’re seriously one sorry bastard and I pity your kids for having a spineless parent who wouldn’t defend their lives to the fullest.

As a military police soldier I had an opportunity once to participate in a fascinating 3-week training exercise involving units performing their wartime missions, units including the 10th Special Forces Group and the 511th Military Intelligence Battalion. My own unit was operating a mock prisoner-of-war camp, and I guarded the “prisoners” during lifelike interrogation sessions, mostly done in other languages. There was a lot of sleep deprivation and yelling and the occasional solitary-light-bulb-in-a-darkened-tent scenario stuff. I was cool with it, because I know damned well that if I were to ever be captured, that unfriendly forces would do a lot worse than wake me up every couple hours and scream at me.

I loved the fact that we parked our asses in front of the Vatican Embassy in Panama blaring music at enormously loud levels all day & night until Noriega gave up. We still play loud raucous music to disturb the guys at Gitmo, and if I were a musician I’d be stoked to have my stuff being played to help break down the will of terrorists, instead of bitching about it like Trent Reznor, who needs to grow up a little and realize that if he insists on making loud angry music, it can help the common good rather than just lining his wallet with crisp green paper.

Oh, and by the way, Liberal America, water drizzles and loud music are a far cry from what goes on in other countries…and the Rendition Policy of moving prisoners without due legal process to countries without strict human rights protections, or more rather outsourcing interrogations to third-party nations, was pioneered not by GW-Bush, but by his predecessor, your hero, Bill Clinton. Gosh, we can’t torture these fellows, so let’s contract Egypt to interrogate them for us….or let’s get it done in Morocco or Saudi Arabia, or Jordan. Don’t blame Bush…Slick Willy did it first, as early as 1995.

Do I condone torture as a general rule? No. I’m not a frikkin’ sadist. I’m not talking about taping electrodes to someone’s genitalia and flipping the switch. I’m not talking about repeated bludgeoning with a short length of rubber tubing from the Lawn & Garden aisle at Ace Hardware. I’m not talking about bamboo slivers up the fingernail beds. I’m talking about giving someone the sensation of drowning for a short while until such a time as they opt to divulge useful intelligence of terrorist activities that endanger free societies around the globe.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shootout at the Valero-K Corral

Yeah, that's our car. Three payments made and already ventilated.

A while ago, I thought it was somewhat amusing that you could buy stickers to adorn your car with that looked like bullet holes. They look tacky on an actual car no matter how cute it seems in the packages, but I’m not really amused by them anymore. No, not now that I have an actual bullet hole in my wife’s car.

Without going into too much detail, since it’s all still an open case and all, but if you want, go here: for the first story that came out about it, although there was a seventh arrest not mentioned in that article. Half the people arrested were juveniles. The short form of the story is that on Tuesday night, filling up with gas, we got caught up in the middle of a dispute between two supposed adults who have had a beef with each other since middle school, shots were fired, and like the good Military Police soldier that I used to be, I had my driver un-ass the A.O. most rikki-tick. (Translation: we got the hell out of there.) See, I was taught that when you encounter a sniper/ambush, drive through it instead of stopping in the kill zone like a good little target and becoming a casualty. Once clear, you then flank the enemy & mount a counter attack. Since I don’t have my concealed-carry permit yet and my trusty .45 was at home like a good, legal handgun, the option of self-defense and return fire was not available.

Later on, we discovered a pretty good-sized bullet hole in the front right quarterpanel of the car, where a round sprayed blindly by some assclown had hit on an oblique angle and shattered against the wheel-well splashguard, missing the tire, and more importantly missing my right kneecap by about 8 inches.

It’s awkward enough calling your insurance company on a busted windshield, deer hit, or a fender-bender. Imagine how awkward it is to call your insurance company with a claim over this? It’s not like every day you get a claim for small-arms fire. I don’t live on the Gaza Strip or in downtown Fallujah. I thought I lived in a quiet sub-rural town. Many states, ours included, mandate free glass replacement coverage in their insurance coverage due to a constancy of need (Hell, we went through three windshields last year) but stray small arms fire seldom occurs around my vehicle. I mean, I don’t carpool with Plaxico Burress, Suge Knight, or Dick Cheney.

I’m grateful that we’re both safe, and that the damage isn’t any worse than it is. But the damage to our piece of mind will take a little while to repair.


Being a parody of a Johnny Depp character, who itself is a parody of Kieth Richards, is not clever. Without that LAUGH or APPLAUSE sign flashing overhead, I honestly don't think anyone would get his shtick enough to actually laugh. Douchebag....

It's all in the name....

click the pic! It gets bigger!

“Life On Mars” star Lisa Bonet and her husband, “Stargate Atlantis” actor Jason Momoa, welcomed a baby boy toward the end of December, and his name’s a real mouthful — Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa.

It’s Lisa’s second child with husband Jason, following the birth of their daughter, Lola Iolani, in July 2007. Lisa has a 20-year-old daughter, Zoe, with ex-husband Lenny Kravitz.

Why? Why do you people insist on doing this shit to your kids? It was tough enough to go to school with a ten-letter Polish last name, but at least I had a pretty regular first name. The name Steve doesn’t really cause you to be ridiculed or get your ass a beat-down on the playground at recess.

Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin saddled their kids with the names Apple and Moses. Sting named one of his kids Fuschia. Bob Geldof and the late Paula Yates screwed their kids up with the names Pixie, Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa, and Fifi Trixiebelle, and then Paula had a kid with the equally late Michael Hutchence that they burdened with Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily. Spice Girl Geri Halliwell spawned a Bluebell Madonna. Shannyn Sossamon, for some bizarre reason, named her kid Audio Science (what the fuck?) and Jason Lee named his kid Pilot Inspektor (double what the fuck?).

Jermaine Jackson and Alejandra Genevieve Oaziaza (previously married to Jermaine's brother Randy) were ballsy enough to name their kid Jermajesty. Nicolas Cage had a momentary lapse of sanity and named his kid Kal-El, which was Superman’s birth name. Noted strange comic thing (whatever he is) Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller gave his kid the name Moxie Crimefighter, the dumbass. Back in the day, Frank Zappa’s hazy consciousness led him to name his kids Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, Moon Unit, and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. Bruce & Demi gave us Rumer Glenn, Scout LaRue, and Tallulah Belle. John Mellencamp loaded his kids down with Hud, Justice, and Speck Wildhorse.

Let us not forget the newest ones, like Suri (Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes), Jagger Joseph Blue (Soleil Moon Frye & Jason Goldberg’s daughter, as if mom’s name wasn’t a warning label of its own), the various names of Angelina Jolie’s brood (Shiloh Nouvel, Pax Thien, Maddox Chivan, Zahara Marley, Knox Léon, and Vivienne Marcheline ) , Gwen Stefani & Gavin Rossdale gave us Kingston, and then gave us and even better name with Zuma Nesta Rock, and then Ashlee Simpleton and her Pete Oh-So-Emo Wentz had to one up the Beckham's pretentiousness by naming their kid Bronx Mowgli. Sweet Jesus. Why not Hoboken Beelzebubba Rooty Tooty Fresh and Frooty?

Stop the fucking madness, people.

And back to Lisa Bonet…chickie, you used to be hot. When did you become a fucking bag lady?

Who The Hell Dressed You?

Click the pic to make it bigger!!!!

When I become President, I will put forth a law that states that every home in America will henceforth be equipped with a full-length mirror so that people can make sure they don't look like a homeless wino before they leave. That way, we could avoid catastrophes like Bjork's swan dress, Lara Flynn Boyle's tutu, and now this bag-lady fuckup by Tom Cruise's prisoner, Katie Holmes Mopather. Granted, this wasn't a red-carpet event that you were headed to, Kate, so I'll cut you the tiniest modicum of slack for that.

Hey Hollywood,you filthy rich bastards,you have access to the world's best designers (for free), millions of dollars worth of jewels (for free) and a team of makeup artists and stylists (you guessed it, for free), and still some of you insist on looking like Helen Keller picked out your clothes after downing a jug of cheap wine. Being avant-garde is just another way of saying TOOL.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Best of 2008: What You SHOULD Have Been Listening To

Okay, call me a slack-ass. I meant to do this blog a couple weeks ago when I was on Staycation during the Christmas holidays. However…I was busy. Anyways, here we go, without further adieu, the Best of 2008.

I think by now we’ve established that I listen to a lot of music. That’s a given.

I heard an awful lot of crap last year. I also heard an awful lot of stuff that I could stomach, but only so much as to listen to it as background noise, and even then only until something decent came on.

Sad to say, I only heard a few things that really got me pumped & primed this year. Some of it never made it to your local radio stations, and the stuff that did make it was pretty much overlooked mostly, in favor of prepackaged utter gobshite.

In no real particular order, here are the things you SHOULD have been listening to these past few months.

Carolina Liar—I’m Not Over (acoustic:
Take a guy from Monck’s Corner, SC (just a short drive from me)and team him up with five Swedes, stir, and you get a great rock track. I’ve played this song over & over & it just doesn’t get old. You also need to check out their track “Show Me What I’m Looking For”. Not to boast, but I’ve emailed back & forth with singer Chad Wolfe a few times, and he truly is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to run across. And yes, this song is heard in the Ashton Kutcher/Cameron Diaz film “What Happens in Vegas”. And speaking of Vegas…

The Killers—Human ( )
Yet another absolutely brilliant track from the best thing to come out of Las Vegas since “CSI”. The lyrics may not necessarily make sense immediately, but so what? Singer Brandon Flowers says that the lyrics were inspired by a disparaging comment made by Hunter S. Thompson about how America was raising a generation of dancers. Don’t be a perfect little porcelain doll dancer…go out and be imperfect and be human.

O.A.R.—Shatterred ( )
The pride of Montgomery County, Maryland, despite what everyone in Columbus , Ohio may think. The band hails from Rockville but met while students at Ohio State University. The first couple times I heard the song I thought that singer Marc Roberge sounded a lot like David Gray (“Babylon”, one of the best songs of 2001...go look it up. Now.) A slow buildup much the same way that Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” builds up to a nice truimphant finish.

The Veronicas—Untouched ( )
Hands down, my 2008 Dance Track of the Year. Ordinarily I’d pass off these twin sisters from Australia as a bubblegummy adult version of Aly & A.J., but this track is more infectious than a 2-dollar crack whore off Spruill Avenue. The production work is great, with a rip-stomping beat and synthesized strings that’ll have you driving 75 in a 45 before you know it. I defy you to play it in the car and not have your speed go up by 10 mph before you’re 30 seconds in.

Pit Bull featuring Lil’ Jon—Krazy ( )
What’s this? Steve likes a Latin Rap song? Dude, I think I’d listen to The Barney Song if Lil’ Jon was involved. The man’s a walking party to go, and a rather good producer as well. And, he likes hockey. This gets my award for Crunked Up Party Song of the Year. It makes you wanna roll the windows down, jack the volume up, and invite everyone else in traffic to bounce along with you.

Album of ther Year Runner Up:
The Cure—4:13 Dream

“The Only One”, live in Rome:
Throughout its myriad incarnations and lineup changes, Robert Smith and Company are still one of the best acts ever to play a song. February marks the 30th anniversary of the release of their first single, and it gladdens my heart to see that a band I grew up on is still making viable, relevant music that’s better than 99% of the stuff record labels feed us these days. My only real beef with The Cure’s curent sound is that without the inluence of departed keyboard guru Roger O’Donnell, the guitar-driven songs of this album (and their self-titled 2005 album) lack a certain lushness and luster. Still, this is a damned good record.

Album of the Year
Shiny Toy Guns—Season of Poison

“Ricochet!” ( )
Finally, the long-awaited second full album from STG. After self-releasing two diferent versions of their incredible debut album, “We Are Pilots”, the band released a third version on a major label and the rest is history. A slight lineup change with the departure of Carah Faye Charnow and the addition of Sisely Treasure, and a slight change of sound, from synths complimented by guitars to a role reversal of more guitars complimented by synths.

“When Did The Storm Begin?”, the album’s opening track, is a vicious look at domestic violence that lets you know that this ain’t the same STG you listened to last year. It segues into the brilliant “Money For That”, a great piece of remeniscing for us 80’s kids having our late-30’s epiphanies. The first single, “Ricochet!” , and “Ghost Town” (the next single) are brash and in your face, while “I Owe You a Love Song” and “Turn To Real Life” are perfect pop gems deserving of ample rotation and club play with the proper remixes. I’d love to hear Jacques LuCont and Paul Oakenfold play with them.

Song of the Year Runner Up

The Airborne Toxic Event—Sometime Around Midnight

Ever gone to a bar to have a drink and forget about the girl who kicked you in the junk and fed your heart to a pack of rabid squirrels? Ever have her show up at the bar, looking better than ever, and have her come over all non-chalant and ask how you are? Ever watch her leave with some new asshat, knowing full well that he’ll be mattress-backing her in less than an hour, and you just snap inside? Then you’ll absolutely love this song. It’s got the raw emotion and loss of a Smiths song, the melodies of Echo & The Bunnymen, the depth of a Cure track, and the catchy hooks of New Order, and yet it still has a new, fresh sound all its own. From the opening strings to the ending notes tapering off, it’s damn near the most captivating five minutes you’ll experience any time soon.

I heard it a few times in the car but couldn’t really concentrate on it but made a note to check it out, and when I finally did, I just sat there in awe. I was dumbstruck at how cool this track is. Please…go listen.

This leads me, finally, to…

Mirror, featuring Dave Gahan—Nostalgia

Okay, I’m biased. Everyone who’s known me more than six minutes knows that I’m a huge fan of Depeche Mode. Hell, I have three different DM-related symbols tattoed into the flesh of my right arm. And of course, Dave Gahan is the singer for the aforementioned Mode.

MIRROR is the multi-media audio and visual project of cinematic film-noir electronic pop put together by Vancouver-based Thomas Anselmi, featuring Gahan, Joe Dallesandro of Andy Warhol’s films, David Bowie pianist Mike Garson, and introducing chanteuse Laure-Elaine and teen actress Frances Lawson.

Given that lately I’ve been a little tweeked at the prospect of turning 40 in a little over 5 months, and I’ve recently gotten in touch with several of my old Army buddies and high school friends, “Nostalgia” really struck a chord with my current state of being (See “Money For That” by Shiny Toy Guns).

It very well could have been a Depeche Mode track, it’s that good. The instrumentation and general feel is very DM, but not quite as, well, um, shall we say, brooding or quite as dark. (I personally don’t find their music dark but that word gets used a lot in describing it.)

Dave’s voice has never sounded so clear and pure. It’s a lot like the soaring vocals on their 1993 track “Condemnation” but less forceful and much more melodic. It’s like the older Dave Gahan gets, the better he sounds.

"I think he sang it as a love song, but I think he was also aware of the other aspect of the song," Anselmi says, "where it's less about the end of a love affair and more about the end of everything."

The song is melancholy but beautiful. Please go listen to it. You will NOT be disappointed.

For the reason of Dave’s excellent vocals, and for the reason that his bandmate Martin Gore has been buying up loads of old synth gear on eBay, I’m calling the as-yet untitled Depeche Mode album that’s slated for release later this year to be the most highly anticipated album of 2009.

So there you have it. There were other songs I liked this year here and there, but they unfortunately got so overplayed that I now cringe when I hear them on the radio (sorry, Katy Perry). Go take a listen and see for yourselves what wonders I have found….

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

An Open Letter To The People Of Illinois

To the people of the State of Illinois:

Hi, there. Right now I’m sure you guys are all just a little perplexed at what’s going on with the politicians in your state. You’re currently about one Senator short, what with Congress not letting Roland Burris, who was sort of appointed by your troubled Governor Blagojevich to replace Barack Obama as one of your Senators. Seems that no one trusts your Governor’s decisions any more, not that anyone can really blame them.

Now, Mister Burris might be a decent fellow. I don’t know, since I’ve never met him. However, Blagojevich selected him, which automatically taints him by association. I have a solution for you, however. Allow me to serve as your Senator.

Yeah, I know, I don’t actually live in Illinois. But hell, a Senator spends so much time in Washington that he/she may as well not live in their respective home state anyways. I did make a trip to Illinois once, in late 1990, and spent a night partying in Schaumberg with an Army buddy and a guy he went to high school with. At least I’ve actually stepped foot in your state.

To be a member of the US Senate, you have to be...
• at least 30 years old.
• a U.S. citizen for at least nine years at the time of election to the Senate.
• a resident of the state one is elected to represent in the Senate.

Now, since you’ll be appointing me and not electing me, I think we can loophole the last one. I’m 39 years old, so I’m old enough but still young and energetic. At age 71, Mister Burris is significantly older than me, and may require naps & what not. I’ve been a citizen my entire life, so that’s covered too. I’d like to think of myself as pretty articulate and bright, despite being a college dropout, and I currently have a regular blue collar job, so I’m pretty well-rounded to represent all aspects of Illinois citizenry. I can name at least 5 members of the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, and I own a Rockford Ice Hogs jersey.

I served as a military policeman for four years in the US Army, so I’m already more qualified to be Commander In Chief than Barack Obama, and he got elected President despite being about as qualified politically as I am. I spent the Christmas holidays on vacation like the President-elect, only I stayed at home instead of jetting off to Hawaii, just like you all stayed home too I’m sure. See? I’m a decent choice to be your Senator. And, best of all, I have never even met Rod Blagojevich.

So, what do you say, Illinois? Senator Steve, at your service. Help me to help you…

Thursday, January 1, 2009

On Frozen Pond...

The Chicago Blackhawks, led by Captain Jonathan Toews, roll in on the puck in the Detroit Red Wings' defensive zone.

And another Winter Classic is in the can…

If it’s January 1st, then it must be time again for the NHL to play the now-annual Winter Classic, a hockey game played the old-fashioned way: outside. Almost every pro hockey player grew up spending their winters out on a frozen pond or a home-made backyard rink, and excitement over the opportunity to play in the Winter Classic is huge among players and tickets come at a premium for the fans.

Last year, over 72,000 fans packed the stands of Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins win over the hometown Sabres in a dramatic shootout. There was snow, sleet, wind, and temps in the low 20’s, and fans ate it up.

This year, the game was hosted by the Chicago Blackhawks at Wrigley Field against the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Detroit Red Wings. As an homage to hockey’s roots, the teams wear vintage-design throwback jerseys. The Wings wore sweaters with a design from 1926, their first year in the NHL, when they were known as the Detroit Cougars. The ‘Hawks wore black sweaters combining designs from their 1936-37 and ’37-‘38 seasons.

There was talk of holding the game at Soldier Field, but the Chicago Bears bitched about it because there was a chance that they might need the stadium to play a playoff game 3 days later and there’d a be a hassle in getting all the specialized equipment and miscellaneous gear out of the arena in time to prepare the field for football. Wishful thinking won out when the decision was made back in July to hold the game at Wrigley. The Bears didn’t make the playoffs, and the Blackhawks were 9-1 in their last 10 starts before today’s puck drop. This limited attendance at the game to just under 41,000 fans.

Putting the rink together at Wrigley Field

At the end of the first period, Chicago led 3-1. After that, it was pretty much all Detroit as the Wings scored five in a row over the next two periods. Down by three with ten seconds left, Chicago’s Duncan Keith scored to make the final 6-4, a slightly less painful loss for the home team but a loss nonetheless.

This year the big sponsor was Bridgestone; last year it was Amp Energy. No word yet has been leaked on next year’s matchup, but I have a couple ideas. Hockey is a Canadian invention, and it’s only fitting that a game be hosted in the Great White North. The precursor to the Winter Classic was the November 2003 Heritage Classic, which featured the Montreal Canadiens playing against the Oilers in Edmonton in front of 57,000 hardy souls. Perhaps this is why Montreal was overlooked for this year’s game despite the Habs’ celebrating their one hundredth year as a hockey franchise. I think a Toronto-Montreal game would go over like gangbusters, but I have a feeling that it could very well be a Toronto game against the New York Rangers instead. It needs to be hosted in Canada again to keep things fair to Canadian fans, but I really want to see the Bruins host a game at Fenway Park (because you know that Patriots ain’t gonna let anyone use that stadium during the playoffs…oh, wait; the Pats are currently done for the year, too…).

Notable players at today’s game included Detroit’s Father Time, Chris Chelios, playing in what may have been his 9 millionth NHL game. Actually, the league’s oldest player (he’ll be 47 in about 3 weeks) is in his 25th season, tying Mark Messier as second only to the great Gordie Howe for the most NHL seasons in a career. A Chicago native, Chelios is also a former Blackhawk. Also playing for the Red Wings was goalie Ty Conklin, who played netminder for last year’s Winter Classic winners, the Pittsburgh Penguins. Conklin also played in net for the Edmonton Oilers for the Heritage Classic, making him the only NHL player to have played in all three recent outdoor games.

Celebs is the stands included actors Vince Vaughn ("Wedding Crashers," "The Breakup"), William Petersen ("CSI"), Jeffrey Donovan ("Burn Notice"), Thorsten Kaye (“All My Children”), and George Stults ("7th Heaven"); actress Joan Cusack ("Working Girl," "Sixteen Candles"); Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan; "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak, film director/writer John Hughes (“Sixteen Candles”, “The Breakfast Club” and almost every other movie I saw in the 80’s) and CBS Sports football analyst and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason.

I can’t think of a better way to start the New Year than to watch hockey in its natural surroundings. After floundering for a few years, I’m glad to see the NHL doing it right.

Just another outdoor game for this guy...Ty Conklin, veteran of three outdoor NHL games.