Saturday, April 15, 2006

Concerned About Public Safety, the Rest of the Nation Asks Arkansas to Quarantine Itself

Unfortunately the following post is the type of tripe I write when I sit on an idea for a story for an entire week. Sometimes is ripens and becomes funny other times it festers and wilts. However, since this is my main blog now, you guys get both the good and the bad. And yes, I am aware there have been very little “good” posts lately, but then I never claimed to be Hemmingway…

Little Rock, Ark [Juice newswire]

Arkansas governor, fresh off his victory outlawing smoking in most public places, has returned with his newest health initiative: banning public flatulence.

“There is nothing worse than entering an elevator right after someone exited, only to realize they left behind a pair of Arkansas barking spiders just as the doors close shut, “ Gov. Mike Huckabee said during an open air press conference.

The bill comes on the heels of the growing trend of SBDs being laid throughout the Razorback state and a possible link to Parkinson’s disease.

The proposed bill would exempts bathrooms, kybos, Jim Carrey movies and babies smiling for the first time because they are passing gas.

Violators would face fines for misdemeanors like asking someone to “pull your finger” and would escalate to possible jail time for giving someone a Dutch oven.

The legislation would also ban performing a blow-by while in a car with children younger than 6 years old or still restrained in a car seat and placed directly behind an adult.

Bill sponsor Democrat Bob Mathis stated, “It galls me to no end to know that fathers are laying down a burner on the car ride home from the Chinese buffet and there is nothing the poor child can do about it.”

Mathis went on to say it maybe a little difficult to determine who the offenders are, but that the state was hoping people would police themselves. “It has always been my experience that whoever smelt it, dealt it.” Mathis added.

Huckabee said he was inclined to pass the bill if it reaches his desk.

“Believe me, there is nothing worse than turning down the snack aisle at the Winn Dixie looking for the double stuffed Oreos, only to find yourself walking right into some else’s aftershocks,” Huckabee explained, “I mean, come on, it is grocery store for crimney sakes, people have to eat this food someday.”

Side note: In case you were wondering, this is my way of saying I think the Arkansas ban on smoking is wrong. And I hate smoking…

Just Lose It

There is rational discussion and then there is this, this and this.

Someone please explain to me how hateful, vile, fear pandering blogs contribute to the national discourse on politics? Someone please explain to me how wishing cancer on the sitting US President is considered constructive. Explain to me how making a statement like the following quote opens up lines of debate with people of opposing viewpoints?

"It was rather though[t]less of me to compare the most asinine, brutal, criminal, disgusting, enraging, felonious, gross, horrendous, incompetent, jaundiced, kleptocratic, lazy, malicious, nefarious, objectional, psychopathic, quarrelsome, repulsive, sanctimonious, treasonous, unfit, vindictive, wasteful, xenophobic, yahooish, zealotic piece of shit inhabiting the White House and the planet to persons suffering with a neurobiological disorder." – Bill [From both a Washington Times article and the comments thread on My Left Wing, were a poster apologizes for comparing President Bush to those with ADD]

Let me be perfectly clear, if this is how the liberals are going to take back the White House, maybe we could leave the current Republican leadership in power and donate all the money saved by not having any campaigns and give it to some worthy cause. Because people, this type of rhetoric is NOT going to win back the White House. Hateful blog posts don’t vote. Hateful blog posts don’t cause people to vote.

Maybe I am the only Republican hoping for some Democratic victories this fall, but we need some constructive dialogue in this country again. I find myself wanting to learn more about the Democratic candidates and possibly voting for them because I want to send a message to the Republicans that they aren’t representing the values that put them in power.

However, you can’t say things like "Bush Must Be HIV Positive By Now (you can't fuck 500 million people and not get infected) [Maryscott O’Connor-My Right Wing],” and expect impressionable, swing voters to listen. Actually, quite the opposite will happen and they will turn against you. There is a time for preaching to the choir, and that time is not right now.

Now before you start piling on me, and start saying I am just the right wing version of what I am trashing, I caution you to prove it. I admit I take strong stances against some of the politicians and positions of the left, but never have I wished them to die, contract cancer, and I rarely, if ever, use profanity. I am actually looking for discussions with opposing viewpoints, hence the reason I choose to write on Juice for awhile. I found my other blog, In A Word, was heading down the path towards becoming another wingnut hangout. I want to mix it up. I want to write something and have someone tell me I am wrong and why I am wrong, rather than constantly agreeing with me. .

I believe if political blogs could effect elections, then the Daily Kos would have won the 2004 Presidential bid for Kerry, but it didn’t. In fact, you can probably make the case the Daily Kos hurt Kerry’s chances by causing the extreme right to rush to the polls.

It is time for some insightful messages from both parties and their supporters in an effort to move us forward as a nation. We all gravitate towards like minded people as a haven against what is going on the in world, and that is fine. However, to affect change you need a wide ranging and attentive audience, and blogs like My Right Wing, the Daily Kos and the Rude Pundit don’t have that.

It is my fear that those types of blogs are starting to become representive of the Democratic Party, and if so the whole country is in trouble.

Sexual History

When California heard Vermont Democrats were calling for the impeachment of George Bush, the gold rush state felt it was an attack on their designation as the “most liberal state in the union.” In an effort to reassert themselves as the rightful leaders of common sense killing in America, legislature in California introduced a bill to bleach the K-12 textbooks of traditional sexual orientation and family.

Now before you start piling on me like I am some gay bashing conservative blogger, hear me out on this one. Anyone who knows me knows my stance on homosexuality is this: life is too damn short to sit around condemning people for trying to be happy with the little time they have on this planet. Furthermore, I don’t think I am the one who should be deciding right and wrong for other people’s sexual orientation. Homosexuality is one area where I believe people should do what feels right regardless of established public opinion.

However, that said I do not believe we should resort to removing from our school books normal sexual orientation or normal family values. To be honest, when I learned about Abraham Lincoln leading this country out of a civil war and freeing the slaves, I don’t recall any mention of his sexual orientation. Nor do I believe whether he went home to his wife or gay lover has any bearing on outcome of his actions.

I find this bill to be another example of political correctness gone too far. In contrast to CA SB 1437, I don’t believe we need to introduce legislation that supports teaching kids that George Washington loved his wife and they had wild passionate sex. Now, if there was a case in history that held some gay significance, and showed a person overcoming homosexual prejudice and other obstacles to achieve greatest then I would understand. However, most theories on historical figures’ sexual orientation are pure conjecture.

California already has laws protecting gay rights and preventing discrimination based on sexual preference, so I find the recently introduced bill to be overkill. Don’t bleach history to appease the current politically correct movement. I believe this type of legislation to be an affront to be heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, as it tends to send anti-gay groups into frenzy. Thus, once again putting the gay community on the defensive and also does nothing to help us come together as a country on this issue.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime II

If you are like me, then there are music albums that define certain periods in your life. One chord from any song off those albums will flood your mind with memories, both pleasant and strained. Queensryche’s groundbreaking Operation: Mindcrime is one such album for me. Operation: Mindcrime represents the time in my life in which my world was changing, both figuratively and literally. My mother had accepted a job in Houston, Texas I was about to live outside of Iowa for the first time in my life. Throw in the fact I was corn-fed Iowa boy about to endure his teen years in a big city and music became the perfect escape.

Queensryche’s opus was also one of first metal albums I owned and definitely the first concept album I owned. I grew up on the Beatles, Skynyrd, Bob Seger, Journey and Van Halen, but the progressive metal band from Seattle started my evolution to harder music. Granted I would take unfortunate backslides in my musical tastes throughout my teen years [I hate you Def Leppard for stealing hours of my life with Hysteria], but there was always one constant: Mindcrime. The idea that a band would weave a story through an entire album had me hooked.

Mindcrime had it all: a young street urchin turned political assassin, a doctor using drugs to manipulate people’s minds, a hooker turned nun, and a corrupt TV evangelist who helped funnel money throughout the doctor’s crime syndicate. All of these characters play out a murder-mystery story that caused me to go through no less than two cassette tapes and two CDs. I have no doubt that Mindcrime is the album I have listened to most in my lifetime.

Where am I going with story? Well, last year Queensryche announced they were planning a sequel to arguably the best rock concept album of all time and this Tuesday marks the official release date for Operation: Mindcrime II. Through the magic of the Internet I have already had the chance to hear the entire album about 6-7 times through.

I while I am looking forward to picking up the official copy of the album for the lyrics and liner notes, I can honestly say after listening to the album a few times it is a worthy follow up to the original. However, my initial impression of the album remains; it feels “over” produced. The songs on the original Mindcrime were able to stand on their own apart from plotlines on rest of the album. You could listen to “I Don’t Believe In Love” without knowing that it was a link in a string of songs telling a story.

Mindcrime II is more of a musical than a hard rock album. Queensryche’s singer, Geoff Tate, is joined by Pamela Moore as the voice of Mary [the dead prostate/nun] and Ronnie James Dio as the voice of Dr. X. I suppose that is what separates Mindcrime II right away from the first album is amount of duet songs. On Mindcrime Geoff Tate handled all the vocals, save Mary’s lines in the song “Suite Sister Mary.” If I want show tunes, I’ll listen to Phantom of the Opera, but when I put in a Queensryche CD, I want Geoff handling the bulk of the vocals.

Don’t get me wrong; the duet songs are typically well done. However, they weren’t what I was expecting, so it took awhile to get used to them. So, far the stand out songs in my opinion are: “I’m American,” “Hostage,” “The Hands,” “The Chase,” and “Re-Arrange Me.” My initial understanding of Mindcrime II’s storyline revolves around Nikki [the street urchin] getting released from prison and setting out to confront Dr. X and some other demons from his past.

If you are a fan of progressive metal, I can safely recommend Queensryche’s Operation: Mindcrime II. Of course, it doesn’t completely live up to the original album, however it is worthy of its’ own praise.

Now if you will allow me a moment to play the role of a frou-frou blog for a moment, I would like to know what albums, throughout your lifetime, have influenced you the most? Heed this warning though; I will make fun of the first person that lists Huey Lewis and the News or Michael Bolton.