It's nice to be back from Europe. I had a great time, but I love getting back home. Anyway, last night I went to dinner w/my parents for my dad's birthday, and going down to Broad Ripple on College Ave. right after the White River Bridge and Park Tudor, there is that stupid sculpture in the road median. I'm sorry, but that's just not art. It's like a giant yellow Gumby. This sculpture, along with the following, are things which I do NOT consider art. Art is a masterpiece painting. Throwing a bunch of metal together, getting strung out and throwing paint and other liquids around over it is asylum-worthy, BUT NOT ART. Art is NOT:-any work by Jackson Pollack. I feel sorry for the man. He was an alcoholic and Ed Harris is one of my favorite actors. But Pollock was no artist. Anyone can throw paint on a wall.-the majority of works from the Weimar period in Germany.-Yoko Ono's works-artwork in road medians-Andy WarholThe following IS art (and masterpiece art at that):Any work of Mapplethorpes. What a genious!
out for 2 week
I will be out of comission for two weeks starting today. So if any of you look forward to reading my blog every day, I apologize. I'll be sure to post a new message when I return.
Starbucks, Mussolini and Ethiopia
Why are there so many Starbucks? There are three different Starbucks within a 2-mile radius of my house! It's amazing how many people are willing to pay $6 or more dollars for coffee! This is ridiculous. I can't stand going into a Starbucks. I hate their little trendy ways, like the names they use for the different sizes of cups. Of course simply using sizes such as small, medium and large would be too bland and dare I say, even gauche. Hence, they refer to their three sizes as tall, grande and venti. I'd received a few Starbucks gift cards for my graduation last year, and I went in a couple of days ago to get some sort of a beverage. I asked for a medium coffee. The reply: "Sorry sir, that's not one of our sizes. Our sizes our listed above." I looked at the sizes, scoffed sarcastically under my breath, and answered, "I'll have a grande coffee." The three or four little artsy-fartsy nerds working behind the counter all giggled together. I had made perhaps the gravest of grave Starbuckian faux-paxs. In my down to earth Hoosier accent, I had erroneously pronounced grande as "gran-day". The little pests informed me that "it's actually pronounced "grohn-day". I'm sorry, I didn't know that when I walked into a Starbucks I was expected to act and speak as if I was a French bigot with my thumb under my nose and a baguette up my backside.The little wiesel gave me my coffee. I went to sit down, where I was to behold yet another startling surprise. The other patrons weren't drinking coffee. They were drinking whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles which happened to be lightly laced with a slight trace of a coffee-like substance. I always thought that a cat hair-stylist would be the worst job for me, at least until I saw all this whipped cream. I now know that the absolute worst occupation for me would be working behind the counter at Starbucks, having to lightly and ever so delicately dust the beverages with those cute little adorable chocolate-mocha sprinkles and make puffy, light whipped cream. I think I would go postal within a week.And what the hell is "venti"? Seriously, what is SOOOO wrong with just calling it large. Or even extra-large, jumbo, gigantic, or some other name I, as a normal American, would recognize. But no, at Starbucks, we must be different and trendy. You're just a square if you don't get what we're talking about. "Venti" is Italian. And no offense to Italians (I love their women, food, and music) but we defeated them in WWII, thus I think we have earned the right to call our drink sizes by their ENGLISH/AMERICAN names. I am NOT going to refer to drink sizes in a language whose people were completely embarrassed by the humble Ethiopians in an attempt to invade them. The Ethiopians and Emperor Haile Selaisse were not pathetic. That's not what I'm suggesting. I'm just saying that as much as Mussolini glorified Italy's strength, power and influence in the world, he should have been able to successfully invade a smaller country. Venti? Grohn-day? No thanks, I'll stick with my large, small, regular, medium, XX large and juniors. Starbucks can take their little trendy phrases and place them somewhere which would not be appropriate to refer to in a public blog. Folger's and Maxell House unite! Stop the spread of Starbuckianism before it rules us all!
Jim kisses Pam!!! "The Office" Season Finale
What a way to end this season of "The Office"! Jim finally told Pam that he's in love with her, and he kissed her! Now we all have to wait the whole summer before the next season begins! Hopefully, Jim and Pam will end up together and she'll break off her engagement to that dumbkraft Roy. Who knows. But it was great to watch.
Papelbon, Godzilla, and a Gay Comedian
Yes the Yankees lost tonight. But what was up with Jonathan Papelbon (I really don't care if I've mispelled the name) celebrating like I would if Paul Lynde came back from the dead? It's not even the midpoint of the season yet. It's one game. On second thought, maybe he should be celebrating, because the BoSox aren't making the playoffs this year. Nah, they'll be watching the Yankees win it all from the sidelines.Matsui is injured. NO GODZILLA FOR THREE MONTHS!!!! Hopefully the Yankees will be able to cope.
Yankees win 9-3....and why "Big Papi" can't win the MVP.
Great game last night for the Yankees. It's the mark of a champion when a team can come back after a bad loss and win convincingly the next day. A-Rod has finally started to get on a roll, which is bad news for other teams.Last year's race for AL MVP between A-Rod and David "Big Papi" Ortiz (am I the only one who thinks Big Papi is a rather homoerotic name?) was not even close in my opinion. True, I am biased because the Yanks are my favorite team. But seriously, Ortiz DOES NOT PLAY DEFENSE! He can be a fat slug all he wants, because he needs no stamina whatsoever. Rodriguez, on the other hand, plays arguably the hardest position in baseball: third base. Hard-hit balls rocket down the third base line, and you have to have incredibly fast reflexes to play the position well. He's won the gold glove multiple times as well. And third base isn't even his original position. He was a great shortstop before coming over to New York, where he volunteered to switch to third as the Yankees already had a great shortstop, Derek Jeter. Some Ortiz-sympathizers may argue that pitchers don't play the whole game either. True, but it takes a hell of a lot more stamina to pitch 75-100 mph pitches through several innings than it does to bat. I'm not saying batting is easy. I still believe hitting a baseball in the major leagues is the hardest thing to do in all of sports. But it's a question of eye-hand coordination, not physical. Ortiz is a great hitter, but until he gets up from the bench and joins his team in the field, he should never even be considered for MVP.
Top 25 Greatest Songwriters of All-Time
The top 25 Greatest Songwriters or Songwriting Teams are, in order,:1) John Lennon/Paul McCartney (The Beatles): A no-brainer for number one. Bands from that point on had to write their own songs to have any sort of success. Obviously, this partnership was the main reason for the Beatles success.2) Pete Townshend (The Who): The most underrated songwriter. Many still don't realize the true impact of "Tommy". The fact that he was talented enough to not only write great songs, but fit them into a story and a plot must be appreciated. Plus, he's my favorite guitarist of my favorite band.3) Joe Strummer/Mick Jones (The Clash): Also an overlooked duo. Strummer's powerful lyrics combined with Jones's hard, pulsing chords made it impossible for people to ignore listening to them.4) Bob Dylan: I'm not crazy about his voice or even his music, but I can admit that he is one of the greatest poets of the past century.5) Bob Marley: He put reggae music on the map. The greatest protest singer in history. Died far too young.6) Chuck Berry: The founder of the rock n' roll sound. That's enough right there.7) Mick Jagger/Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones): I can't stand the Rolling Stones. But the fact that they have millions of fans worldwide to this day says something about the popularity of their songs, which this duo has written.8) Jim Morrison (The Doors): If not for his early death, he'd surely be higher on this list.
9) Brian Wilson: Soaring harmonies and an unmatched skill for composition (just see Pet Sounds) made him one of the greatest. 10) Robert Plant/Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin): Ultimate hard-rock songwriters. Incorporated several different styles. (The Rest of the Best)11) Ray Davies (The Kinks)12) Johnny Cash13) Noel Gallagher (Oasis)14) Kris Kristofferson15) Marvin Gaye16) Charles Ridenour a.k.a Chuck D (Public Enemy)17) John Lennon (solo)18) Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr. (U2)19) Don Henley/Glenn Frey (The Eagles)20) Roy Orbison21) Sting (The Police)22) Paul Weller (The Jam)23) James Taylor24) Jim Croce25) Jacques Brel
The Top 25 Greatest Albums Of All-Time (must purchase!!!!)
The 25 Greatest Albums of All-Time are (in order, with commentary on the top 5):1)"London Calling" (The Clash): The only album I've ever listened to (out of thousands and thousands) that does not have even mediocre song on it. Every single song on the album is amazing. The pinnacle of the Strummer/Jones partnership.2)"Who's Next" ( The Who): Townshend's original project, Lifehouse, was too ambitious, but this album which came out of the failed project was the greatest album of the 70s. My absolute favorite song of any genre is on this album, "Won't Get Fooled Again".3) "Revolver" (The Beatles): Solid throughout. Harrison shows his own talents at songwriting, a nice addition to the already solid Lennon-McCartney songs.4) "A Love Supreme" (John Coltrane): Absolutely beautiful and spiritual album from the greatest Jazz saxophonist ever. A triumph in every sense of the word.5) "Exodus" (Bob Marley and the Wailers): Time magazine voted this album the greatest of the 20th century. Songs like "One Love", "Three Little Birds", and "So Much Things To Say" help make it the greatest reggae album of all time. Numbers 6-25 don't have commentaries. That would take too long.6) "Pet Sounds" (The Beach Boys)7) "Rubber Soul" (The Beatles)8) "Plastic Ono Band" (John Lennon)9) "Live at Folsom Prison" (Johnny Cash)10) "What's Going On?" (Marvin Gaye)11) "Tommy" (The Who)12) "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back" (Public Enemy)13) "Live at San Quentin" (Johnny Cash)14) "The Joshua Tree" (U2)15) "The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars" (David Bowie)16) "Magical Mystery Tour" (The Beatles)17) "Their Greatest Hits: 1971-1975" (The Eagles)18) "The Beatles (White Album)" (The Beatles)19) "The Clash" (The Clash)20) "Burnin" (Bob Marley and the Wailers"21) "Quadrophenia" (The Who)22) "Kinks" (The Kinks)23) "All Things Must Pass" (George Harrison)24) "Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" (The Beatles)25) "Imagine" (John Lennon)
Congrats on win #1000 Joe!
The Yankees win today in Texas marked the 1,000th victory for Joe Torre as Yankee manager. When he took the position in 1995, the Yankees were, to say it kindly ,lackluster. One year later, however, he took the Yankees to the World Series and defeated the favored Atlanta Braves. He won three more championships in the 90s. No manager in the game today has even come close to the amount of success Joe Torre has had. Yes, he has had some fantastic players on his teams. But sometimes those superstar teams are the hardest ones to manage and succeed. Look at the Lakers w/Kobe, Shaq, GP and Karl Malone. What a disaster that was! Something must be said for Torre's gift of managing. Congrats Joe on number 1000!!! And by the end of October, you'll have a World Series ring for each finger!ps: RED SOX SUCK!
A Kennedy in Rehab? Why am I not surprised
Some interesting news today: Sen.Ted Kennedy's son, a congressman from Rhode Island, has announced that he's entering rehab. He was in a car crash a couple of days ago, and blamed the crash on pain killers. Hmmm, who else was a famous pill popper? Ah yes, like uncle like nephew! Uncle JFK sure knew how to consume all sorts of pills and invigorating substances while he was in the Oval Office. And good old Dad has had plenty of experience dealing with the law (like the time he got drunk and drove into a lake, killing his female companion).I can't stand the Kennedys! Granted, they've had their share of bad luck. Several tragic deaths. JFK's legacy though is kept honorable today only because he died young. He was not a great president, and people would have found out in time about all of his different affairs with underage girls, questionable substances, etc. Oh, and how he and his brother both got a little too intimate with Marilyn Monroe and then had had enough and decided to kill her. Joseph Kennedy, the father of JFK, was a crooked, spoiled, anti-semetic, dishonest, and dishonorable man. He made his fortune bootlegging during the Prohibition period. He cheated on his wife and bragged about it. He lied about his upbringing, saying he was an underprivileged boy who had to work his way up to success, but in reality, his father was one of the most influential and wealthy men in Boston. I'm sick of the Kennedy's ability to avoid all the horrible things they've done by hiding behind their good looks and tragedies. JFK Jr, JFK, RFK, Michael....all died far too young and it's very tragic. But these tragic deaths can't hide the fact that the Kennedy family has been full of crooked and dishonest men. It's disgusting as far as I'm concerned.
If I was GM of the Pacers...
I just returned from the Pacers game tonight...which turned out to be their last game of the season. Like last year, what started out as a very promising season ended up in disappointment, largely because of Ron Artest. I made a mistake in thinking Artest would be a changed man this season. He wasn't. It was also disappointing not to have Peja for most of the playoffs, since he was the guy we got for Artest in the first place. Here's some suggestions/predictions/etc for next season:-Get rid of Jamaal Tinsley. Get rid of Jamaal Tinsley. Get rid of Jamaal Tinsley: Anthony Johnson has proven that he can play and more importantly run the team efficiently. Tinsley has shown flashes of brilliance throughout his career, but that's not enough. We need consistency at point, and Tinsley doesn't give us that. -Play Jasikevicius more: Sarunas played very well for most of the regular season, and then for some reason, Carlisle stopped playing him as much. Yes, Sarunas struggled these final few games, but anyone would if they're not seeing consistent playing time. He's our best shooter, and he needs to have AT LEAST 15 minutes each night. -Cherish Danny Granger and protect him with your life!: This guy is a special talent, and the Pacers's future success depends on him.-Change the offense: Besides the end of this season, I like Coach Carlisle. But we need to change the offense. The slowed-down, half-court offense has not worked well enough. I'm not saying we need to become a fast-break team. But something needs to change.
Moussaui gets life in prison
I was pleased to see that just a couple of hours ago Zacarias Moussaui was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 9/11 attacks. Many wanted to see him get the death penalty, and until recently, I would have agreed with these people. But as a Christian with a pretty firm pro-life stance, it just wouldn't make sense for me to wish for the death of another, no matter how terrible his acts were. Forgiveness is perhaps Jesus's most important teaching. I don't have any direct relations to any of the 9/11 victims, and I'm sure some of their family members are sore and wished Moussaui would have gotten capital punishment. I sympathize with them, and I really can't imagine what it'd be like to be in their position. I just really can't see any benefit which could come from sending Moussaui to die. It satisfies our need for revenge, which to me is disgusting. If someone can prove to me that killing a murderer can bring back the victims or make up for their absence, let me know. Until then, I'll hold firm to my current view. I can't see how someone like President Bush can be such a strong advocate of the death penalty, and yet call himself a devout Christian. Neither do I understand pro-lifers who advocate for the death penalty, and likeise, pro-choicers who oppose the death penalty. It just doesn't make any sense. Revenge can be an extremely powerful emotion, but as a Christian, I think it's critical that this vice does not inhibit one from making a Christian decision. This is one of the few serious posts I'll have on the blog, but I just wanted to comment on it.
Where has the great pop ballad gone?
Listening to the Beatles yesterday, I couldn't help but realize that there is no great pop balladeer or melody writer in today's music (tell me James Blunt is and I'm liable to smash your face unrecognizable!). Joking aside, it's really kind of disheartening. Paul McCartney was the ultimate pop balladeer. "Blackbird" is pleasantly haunting with just his guitar and smooth voice. "Let It Be" is one of the most well-known Beatles tunes. But my favorite of all is "The Long And Winding Road". The combo of his voice, the lyrics and the violins is simply stunning. McCartney's Beach Boy counterpart Brian Wilson was just as good of a balladeer, except with his mulitiple problems, his career has not been as successful. "Pet Sounds" however, is the ulitmate ballad album. Wilson had (and still does) an uncanny ability to arrange and compose the most beautiful pop ballads. They weren't cheesy either; they were very introspective.I doubt we'll ever see the likes of a McCartney or Wilson again. Noel Gallagher of Oasis wrote a few great ballads, but he steers his band into an electric rock direction most of the time. I hope I get proven wrong. Our music today desperately needs a balladeer.
Gays make the most addictive music
I have long held firm to my belief that homosexuals make the most addictive music. Regardless of your views on homosexuality, you'd have to make me a strong case to convince me that gay people don't have an innane talent to make catchy, addictive music. Consider some of the following examples (which are just a few of many)-Wham! (The 80's duo of George Michael and that other guy Andrew Ridgley: "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" is perhaps the most addictive song ever! The music video is great, with George wearing multi-colored spandex shorts, gloves, and a shirt that says "Choose life" (who knew George was an anti-abortion activist?)-Boy George and the Culture Club: If it wasn't for George's unfortunate dabbling in heroin and cocaine among other things, this group might very well be putting out hits still today. "Karma Chameleon" and it's subtle, discrete innuendo along with the amazing music made them a household name. The notorious trumpet intro in "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" is one of the most recognizable intros of any song, and the mellow, melancholic introspection that are "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?" make me cry every time I hear it. (well, not really, but at least the song's catchy).-Queen: I'm sorry, but I just can't agree with music critics who rate this band as one of the all-time greats. I just can't take a band starring a yellow jumpsuited Freddy Mercury seriously. That being said, they made a few catchy tunes. "Radio Ga-ga" is great, and everyone recognizes the famous bass line from John Deacon's "Another One Bites The Dust". There's also the anthemic "We Will Rock You". Yet, I must add that "We Are The Champions" is perhaps the most annoying song I've ever heard, and I wouldn't be disheartened at all if I never had the priviledge of hearing it ever again. Queen wasn't a serious, influential band. They were just a great gay band.-Petshop Boys: One of my favorites. "West-End Girls" and "Opportunities" are surprisingly deep in their lyrics. Of course, the tunes are catchy as well.-Devo: I'm not sure if they're gay, but I really hope they are, because that's the only excuse I can find for their questionable attire and queer-like music videos. Everyone knows "Whip It" from the first note.-Gary Glitter: Not only is he gay, but a pedophile as well. Thank God he's in prison, where ALL pedophiles belong. That being said, his "Rock and Roll Pt.2" is the anthem at all sports stadiums everywhere. -Soft Cell: "Tainted Love" was revolutionary in the emergence of the 80's synth-pop sound. You can tell by their voices that they're flaming gay. And British.-Kraftwerk: One of the most underrated bands of all time. Their influence on future bands can't be ignored. I count them as gay merely because of their album photo for the cover of "Man Machine" where all the members are wearing red lipstick and slicked back, feminine hair. "Neon Lights" is my favorite of theirs, with "The Robots" coming in at a close second, followed by "Trans-Europe Express".-A Flock of Seagulls: How can they NOT be gay? "I Ran (So Far Away)" is one of the songs I used to pump myself up after a hard day or when I'm feeling down. (not really). But it's gay, and it's addictive, so it's on this list.-Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Their video for "Relax" was banned in the U.S. and for good reason. It's disgusting, and would make Sodom and Gomorrah look like Salt Lake City. But the song's got a great beat and gets everyone dancing. Just don't try and listen to the lyrics. They'll disgust you (unless you're a promiscuous, club-hopping homosexual, then I'm sure you'll enjoy it).-Rip Taylor: Not a singer, a comedian. But he sings a song on the intro to his webpage www.riptaylor.com, so he makes the list. -Europop in general: If I was an acid-popping, cocaine-snorting, leather pant-wearing man, I would be in Europe right now club-hopping with the rest of the boys to all the great addictive Europop hits. But since I'm not, I just settle for listening to them in my room. It's good enough, and it's less likely I'll die from AIDS, a drug overdose, etc.Thanks for reading. Until next time.
Some Miscellaneous Rants
A few random thoughts:-Why is Senator Ted Kennedy on the Senate-Judiciary committee? It disturbed me that someone who killed a woman because he drove drunk can question a U.S. Supreme Court Candidate on morals and law-related issues. -I wish most of the musicians of today would just shut-up, especially Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson, Kelly Clarkson, James Blunt and The Shins.-Why the hell don't the Pacers play Jasikevicius more?! Johnson's been playing great at point, but Carlisle needs to give Jasikevicius more playing time off the bench. He provides a spark everytime he comes in, plus he's a crowd favorite. Tinsley also needs to leave. He's had 5 years to prove himself, and besides occasional flashes of promise, he's just been an out-of-shape, non-chalant, brick-shooting waste of a roster space.-Who the hell does George Clooney think he is? Good Night and Good Luck was a good movie, but like Springsteen, he needs to realize that he's an actor, and no more. Leave the humanitarian stuff to the humanitarians. It's a cheap way to try and get attention and praise, George. And your Oscar acceptance speech this year was pathetic.-Why did Paul Lynde have to die? We need his comedy more than ever today. Luckily, Rip Taylor is still alive and doing great. www.riptaylor.com-The Who are going on tour this year! -What the hell was up with the Texans passing up Reggie Bush in the first round?! If nothing else, they needed to pick Bush to gain fan support and attendance after a pathetic season last year. Mario Williams will not do that. Williams padded his sacks up last year in blow-out wins at NC State as well. Reggie Bush is a player that comes around about once every 7-10 years, and the Texans will dearly pay for this. Mark my word: The Saints WILL make the play-offs this year, and actually advance in them as well. GM Charlie Casserly has written his own death warrant in Houston.-No, I don't feel comfortable allowing Iran and its psychopath president to continue on with their nuclear program. Yet it does feel strange that we, who have nuclear weapons, can tell others not to build them. There was that famous answer Bush or one of his aides gave when a reporter asked why they support Israel having a nuclear program and not Iran: "Because Israel is a non-Arab state surrounded by hostile Arab nations". (for those of you who don't know, Iran, though Muslim, is NOT an Arab state, and has faced it's fair share of hostility from its neighbors as well).
Yankees will prevail
So the Yankees lost tonight to their disgusting arch-rival, the Red Sox. Besides the fact that it spoiled Johnny Damon's return to (over-rated and run-down) Fenway Park, I'm not really worried. Damon's bat is finally hot, Giambi's back to his MVP form, Jeter's hitting .400 and A-Rod will pick up in no time. Hideki's in a bit of a slump, but he'll snap out of it too. Good news as well that Sheff's collision with Hillenbrand over the weekend vs. the Jays isn't serious. Pitching-wise, Moose has been fantastic, with one of the lowest E.R.A.'s in the game right now. The Big Unit always intimidates opposing batters, Chacon's put together consecutive good outings, and Wang pitched a decent game tonight despite the loss. The big loss this year is Flash Gordon at set-up. Hopefully Farnsworth can pick up the slack, and as always, if the Yankees have the lead in the 8th, the game's over, because Mariano is money and in, my opinion, the most dominating player of his generation. And if any BoSox fans wanna get into an argument, two words: Twenty-Six. Trust me, the Boss isn't going to let another year pass without a World Series title. The Sox won't even make the playoffs, as they're only the 3rd best team in the AL East as the Jays have grabbed the 2-spot. And for all those Cubs fans who say this is the year, keep telling yourself that. You've been saying that for almost a century, and we all know what's happened. I really believe Sosa will curse the Cubs just like the Babe cursed the BoSox. Go Yankees!!!
In just one year at college, I've drastically changed my political views. I came into Wabash as a pretty staunch conservative. But now, at year's end, I'm a champagne socialist. Lenin made a lot of sense after reading him last night. I've always said Marx was crazy, but he did point out that there is injustice among classes in the world, and nowhere is this injustice more prevalent than in our country today. I think Marxism is stupid and impractical, but Lenin's NEP makes sense. Conservatives in this country worry too much about issues like gay marriage. I'm not a vocal supporter of gay marriage. But it's not one of the more important issues today. I wouldn't really call myself a liberal though. I'm pro-life (except in extreme circumstances) and I hate their economic policy. I do wish Clinton was back in office, but he really didn't control the economy, just like Reagan really didn't in his years when the economy was booming. People need to understand that the president really has no control over our economy. We really need a third political party in this country.
Sick of Springsteen
I'm getting real sick of Bruce Springsteen. He's one of several musicians today who feels like he has to give his political opinion on everything. He's part of the reason I was turned off by the democrats in 2004. I get insulted when someone like him tells me how to vote. Plus, he hasn't done a hardcore electric album in a while. Devils and Dust was pretty good, but the new one of Pete Seeger songs? Come on Bruce! Pete Seeger?! Get back to your "Born to Run" roots, and stop it with this acoustic crap. You're no Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash.