Saturday, December 16, 2006

Talk Around The Water Cooler

I'm watching G4's "Attack of the Show", and they tease a segment by saying that coming up they will tell you about what people will be discussing at the water cooler next week. I then thought about my office and it dawned on me that nobody talks at the water cooler.

There is almost no discussion around the water cooler except about the water cooler itself, so while at other offices people are talking about Iraq or Britney's panties, we usually discuss why we go through so many cups. I point out that I have my own cup and then my GM mumbles to himself. Sometimes we talk about the green algae growing in the pan below the spigots and there is speculations as to why it's never cleaned. I leave a note for the night auditor, who's a germ-a-phobe and he will clean it in a panic. Beyond that, there are no worldly or topical discussions that are held around the water cooler. The most urgent conversation we've ever had was when we moved the water cooler and then found that it blocked the calendar, which is a colorful "On This Day In The Civil War" calendar that I bought for $2 on sale last February. We decided to move the calendar to another wall.

So when I hear about people talking around the water cooler I don't know if I'm supposed to be jealous or if I should feel sorry for them because they work somewhere that they can't goof off at will.

December 16th, I Think I'm On My Way

This thing is working.


Yesterday I was late in leaving the house and I wasn't going to have time to make it to my primary sandwich deli. For a good five seconds I was going to hit BK and order something other than a burger (which you know I would have pulled up and ordered one anyway), I could blame stress and time. Yet I did not do this. Instead, I drove to my backup deli (Casa Bodega) and got a sandwich AND a salad. This is uncharted territory for me. Even when I was a body builder there were always cheeseburgers. My dreams are even better now that I've kicked the habit.

As soon as things at home return to normal I will add exercise.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Unless You Are A Doctor , Shut The Hell Up!

Although I'm posting about my kicking the burger habit, I haven't told any of my real-life friends (nobody reads this as far as I know). Here's what I hate about dieting, everybody's a fucking expert. You shouldn't eat those, you should do it this way and all kinds of unwanted, free advice flows my way from well meaning people.

If you really want to help me, shut the hell up.

I'm serious, I could give a fuck what you saw on Oprah and I don't care what your doctor told YOU. Don't tell me what you read in a book or heard on the radio and for God's sake don't tell me what you read on the internet. Shut up. First off, I have spent months talking with a dietition and doing some serious reading on eating healthy and I have to do things my way or I will not succeed.

In short, unless you are a doctor, I am smarter than you.

I'm the guy who has to live in this body, not you. I know what I can and can't do with it. I also have taken an honest look at my life and looked at what has worked and what has not. I lost 80lbs back in 1981 by cutting back on what I ate. I had gotten braces and wanted to keep the dental care to a minimum. That's what I'm sort of doing now. Along with my turkey sandwhich I've got pickles and I'm going to pick up dried fruit to nibble on.

You see, someone has to come along and give their opinion and it pisses me off. Anything that I eat now is 1000 times better than fast food, it's as simple as that. Yes, a pickle has a lot of salt, so the fuck what? Is it or is it not healthier than a #2 (Double Whopper w/Cheese and large fries)? Yes! Yes it is! So either shove that pickle up your ass or shut the hell up and leave me in peace. Don't talk to me about calories, starch or carbs, honestley, unless you're a doctor, you haven't got a clue as to what you're talking about.

Why do you have to be a doctor for me to listen to you? First off, the whole Medical School thing comes to play when a doctor talks to you about health. Doctors are to busy doctoring and playing golf to watch Oprah or read the latest celebrity diet book. So when a doctor gives me dietary advice it's from something he learned in Med School or read in a medical journal, not a tip from Doctor Phil (Yes, Dr Phil Mcgraw IS a doctor, and if I need psychologist he'd be the first guy I call).

When you weigh in with your stupid advice, you undermine me or the person who's trying to loose weight and change their life.

So shut your stupid mouth.

December 13th, Okay I Had One Cheeseburger, Just One!

So it's Tuesday, 12/06, and since I'm going to go for a long walk I figure what the hell and pull into BK and get my usual. Something interesting happened. I didn't enjoy it like I always do, the patties seemed greasy and the french fries smelled funny. So I walked extra hard, in the rain and went home. Today, when I woke up this morning and made my breakfast I felt great and after a busy afternoon I went to my favorite Deli and ordered my Peper Turkey/Pepper Jack sandwich and had that for dinner.

Something about that burger yesterday hit me funny, maybe it was the rendered cooking oil on the fries or just the greasiness of the burger but I think I'm going to be okay. It's like my body is rejecting cheese burgers.

Estimated savings so far - $50!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

December 9, 2006 . Day One Without A Cheeseburger

There comes a point when a guy needs to get his shit together. Today was that day.

I'm just to fucking fat and out of shape and at my age it's hurting me in every way something can. It's effecting my health, my love life and my financial situation. I only eat two meals a day, often both are Burger King and Jack in the Box double cheese burgers. I don't even think about it. It's like my truck is on auto-pilot. I'm pretty sure that if I were to die of a heart attack on the highway that my truck will safely pull into the nearest drive-through.

So today I got up and cooked some eggs. Then I saw a movie and then went to work. There I had a couple of bags of unbuttered popcorn and V8 juice.

It's one day, tomorrow is another one. I will have access to a turkey sandwich tomorrow for dinner.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Axxman’s Solution To Ugly Politics

In this time of ugly and stupid political rhetoric, the time has come for our politicians and the people who cover them to cut the shit. Between the hot-air, grandstanding do-nothing politicians and the know-it-all, everyone who disagrees with me suck – radio and TV talk show hosts the country is sick of political discussion because it deteriorates into a grouse-fest. Nothing is getting done and fewer people vote each year because they’ve had it up to here.

This is why it’s time for a Constitutional Amendment mandating the Duel to resolve political infighting and name-calling. It was the great Aaron Burr who once said “In your face, Beeeyaaatch” as he stood over the dying Alexander Hamilton. The two had taken their political disagreement to its logical conclusion, Burr won. The nation mourned and Congress outlawed Dueling from that point on. This was a huge mistake. The Duel is a valuable too for maintaining civil discourse in a polite society. Here’s how the law would work:

Any person holding political office, or running for political office, who feels their character, has been impugned or that their position has been unfairly represented publicly; can call for a settling of the dispute by a Duel. The intent of a Duel must be announced by a slap of the face of the opponent; by bare hand or by the traditional set of riding gloves in available, striking hard enough to be heard and felt yet not as hard as to cause severe injury.

The Duel must be held within one week.

The Duel can be in a safe, public location or a private location with witnesses.

The Duel will be fought with a snub-nose, .38 caliber pistol. Each pistol will contain eight (8) rounds of hollow-point ammunition.

No ballistic vests may be worn.

The Duelists will be handed their weapons and stand back-to-back. A witness will begin counting out loud the numbers from one to ten (in numerical order). Upon reaching the number ten (10), both contestants will turn and begin firing their weapon. Each may fire their weapon until it is empty. At no time can either contestant approach the other while firing.

The Duel is over when both contestants have stopped firing. A contestant can cease fire after one round if he chooses to do so.

The contestant who is still alive, or has survivable wounds is the winner. If both are wounded, the contestant with the least damaging wounds is the winner. If both contestants are wounded equally the contest is a draw. If both contestants die, the contest is a draw.

There will be no dancing, cheering or celebration of any kind by the winning party.

If challenged to a Duel, it is not mandatory to accept. However, declining to fight in a Duel has consequences:

If one declines to Duel, they must apologize – daily – in public for 30 days.

They must acquiesce to the challenger all points at issue and never again make challenge.

If the one who declines is in the news media or has a talk show, they must remain silent on the challenger except to apologize.

Duels must be fought by the initial parties no substitutions are permitted by either side for any reason.

No limit will be made to the number of Duels that can be called by any one qualified person.

I think that the idea that you might have to face off against Nancy Pelosi or Trent Lott, armed with a .38 might make you choose your words much more carefully.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Damn You, Cruel Brain!

My brain did it to me again. After a long night of dreaming about Nazi Zombie Lizards and hooking up computers to a giant router, my brain throws me this little cookie. Suddenly I’m standing behind the counter of a breakfast cafĂ©’ that I used to frequent back in the 1980s. The waitresses there were all beautiful, which is why I frequented it, and now in my dream I’m back there. I look to my right and to my left and all the girls are there too – NAKED, I’m also naked and they seem to be really happy about the situation. There’s a lot of giggling and hugging and…

That’s where I woke up.

What? No! Not now! Jeeezis , why now? That’s not fair. See, I think it’s the brains way of making it up to you. I’m going to think about this all day, the girls, the giggling and my brain’s amazing recreation of something that never happened. In fact, I lay in bed for almost four minutes trying to remember if that actually had happened to me because it was so real. But no, it was my brain’s way of waking me up in such a way that I couldn’t go back to sleep. Still, I’m a little pissed off because I got three hours of Nazi Zombie Lizard hunting me through the ruins of Stalingrad and then another two hours of the IT problem from hell. Why not seven hours of happy stuff with the girls? Is that too much to ask for? I guess not.

I’ve gotten pretty good at lucid dreaming. I can fix on an image or a person and then dream about them most of the night. The thing is that my dreams still deal with dream stuff (solving problems, searching for McGuffins or standing around waiting) it’s just that Jennifer Aniston is along for the ride and that makes things better. I don’t know if the real Jennifer Aniston is as helpful as the one in my head but if she is she’s got a Nobel Prize coming to her down the road. However, Ms. Aniston is never naked. Maybe it’s my fault, maybe I’m too much of a gentleman(nerd) to take advantage of her in my head. Anyway, some nights it’s her, other nights it’s Cindy Crawford, Shiri Appleby or Brooke Shields. Even on the nights I don’t bring them along my lucid dreaming comes in handy. Take the Nazi Zombie Lizards, they never caught me because I set boobie traps and would counter attack and snipe at them as I made my way to the river. Some nights I just let my brain take me where it wants to take me. Dreams are important because it’s your subconscious’ way of telling you what’s wrong , clueing you into things that you didn’t know were bothering you.

Still, is it too much to ask for the naked waitresses again?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Having An Underground Lair Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be.

It seemed like a great at the time. It was a place to park my crime-fighting jet engine-powered crime fighting car, a place to store my wardrobe and cape and an out of the way place for a high-tech lab and Cray computer. I had fire-pole access from the study and I had a cool hologram to disguise the cave entrance. It wasn’t perfect, the place was always cold and damp; even with the small nuclear reactor I installed for power the place just never seemed to warm up. Then there was the summer when I had to deal with the bat infestation, those little brown bastards shit all over everything. They were hard to get rid off because I had to wait until they flew out at nightfall and then put screens up over all of the entrances. Still, it was a great place, at least until I got a youthful crime-fighting sidekick.

My sidekick, let’s call him Sparrow, talked me into putting in a bar in one unused corner of the Lair. He suggested that nothing would top off an evening of kicking the shit out of evil-doers like a nice cold beer. Well, sure enough, the bar went from a large cooler full of beers to a twelve-keg tap system. Sparrow started spending more and more time in the underground lair to the point where I had to change the lock and lay down the law. The guy was going through a keg every other day; he must have a bladder the size of Kansas. Sparrow promised to behave and after a while I trusted him with the key and he seemed to clean up his act. Then the gang at the Justice…uh, Bowling League finds out about the bar and sure enough they start dropping by and hanging out in MY underground lair. These guys all had their own secret hide-outs and bases, one even had a fortress of…something or other, but evidently none of them had thought about putting in a bar. You have to understand, these guys and gals are well known for high moral standards and ethics, but you’d think they were a bunch of college freshmen when they stop by the lair for a cold one.

Sparrow's busy playing bartender, what he’s trying to do is get in Won..uh, Princess Di’s pants. That ain’t gonna happen, Barry, Clark, Hal and I have all tried, she’s into Army guys. It’s just no fun, I mean these guys all have secret identities, why do they have to hang out at my place? Clark says his hide-out is too cold and nobody wants to go there. Prince Di is from an Island full of hot chicks, does she ever invite any of the league down for some fun in the sun? Hell no, the bitch. Anyway, my underground lair is just cool any more. Even when I’m trying to work, there’s some asshole in tights coming up to me and pointing at the giant LCD screen and asking “Hey, duth zat thing get ESPN?” Dude, I’m trying to solve a crime here, do you mind? Oh, and because it’s an underground lair, everybody thinks it’s just hilarious to pass gas as often as possible. Hal and his “Hey, do you want to know why they call me “Green Lantern?” schtick, you’d think after 159 time that he’d get tired of that but no. Then Clark Kent has to top him with ‘Hey gang, here’s why Krypton was destroyed!” Great, now I have to re-paint my car, thanks a lot, farm boy.

You know, I should have gone with a Penthouse with a secret room behind the book case. Maybe even a big yacht. But no, I had to have an underground lair. Why does everyone want to hang out in an underground lair anyway? At this point, I’m thinking that I should “Leak” the location to a couple of super villains so I have an excuse to shut the place down, but then I’ll end up with the reputation as the League party-pooper. Then it’s ‘Sorry, my X-ray vision isn’t working”, “No, I can’t help you, fight the giant robot by yourself”. You’d think the League would be above politics, the truth is that cape or not, the gang can be as petty as a high school cheerleading squad. My only way out is to talk the guys into initiating a new guy into the League, someone with an even better hide-out. That’s going to be hard though because the Marvel guys mostly live in their apartments or in their secret lab/penthouse.

Does anybody know if Hugh Heffner has any secret powers?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

I Finally Got Around To Avenging My Father's Death At The Hands Of Pirates

I had racked up some serious air-miles on my credit card and was looking for a way to use them when it dawned on me that I had unfinished business with Malakan Pirtates down in Indonesia. They had killed my father. Now it was payback time.I got a sweet deal on Cathay Pacific and Sunday night I made the 15 hour flight to Jakharta. Durring a half-hour layover in Hawaii, I sat next to Kevin Federline at an airport bar and stole his American Express card. Once I got to Jakharta I rented a Vespa and drove south east towards the coast. Along the way I stopped off at my friend, Veeng's home. I'd only known Veeng from the Aha message boards but he's a great guy. He owns a chain of Indonesian icecream parlors and is also a well known international arms dealer. Veeng set me up with a G-36 assualt riffle, free as a loaner but I insisted on paying for the RPG with 20 extra rounds (hey, Federline was payin'). Veeng asked me if I needed any help but I told him that this was something I needed to do alone. So Veeng handed me his HK USSOCOM .45 with silencer as a good luck charm. I thanked him and slipped my yellow Vespa in gear and putted off to my destiny.

An hour later I pulled up above the "Fishing Village" that this band of Malakan pirates called home. It's the rainy season in Indonesia and the ground was too muddy to use the kickstand, so I leaned it up against an out fo the way tree and then made my way down the hill. The heavy rain masked my aproach and as I neared the first hut I saw a Malakan raider-boat pull up onto the beach and six armed me jump from the boat. They were laughing and yelling, they must have come back from a successful raid and I could feel the hatred burn inside me. I unholstered my .45 and enetered the first hut, it was empty except for straw mats and a few pots. I came back out and slowly worked around the edge of the hut and then stopped and leaned to my right to get a view of the beach. Two of the pirates were walking towards the hut, their AK-47s slung over their shoulders as they laughed and joked with eachother. I slipped back inside of the hut and slipped my safetly off. The two pirates never saw me. Two down, fifty more to go (maybe more, maybe less. I'd forgotten to eat anything since I left Los Angeles and I was starting to get loopy).I left the hut and saw that the rest of the pirates had gone to join a large group in a big open long building that must have been like a dining hall. It was a tall structure I assume designed to work with the tide as many coastal indigs build their huts on pilings. There were a lot of them. I scanned with my binoculars and didn't see any children, this must be a professional pirate outfit because many Indonesian pirates live with their families, not these guys. So I began to plan my attack when I noticed that below the wooden floor of the dining hall hut they had stored around 30, fifty gallon drums of fuel. These clowns obviously didn't play many video games, this was ging to be easy. I unslung my RPG launcher and loaded a projectile onto the tube, I then counted to three and then stepped out, aimed and squeezed the trigger. The round was low and actually skipped off of the sand before it slammed into the cans of fuel and detonated. The only thing more satisfying than the ten-story fireball was the screaming of the three pirates that had been blown clear of the hut and lay burning on the sand. I unslung my G-36 and put them out of their misery.I guess I'd nailed them all because there was nobody else around. I sank all of the boats with my remainig RPG rounds and then made my way back up the hill to my Vespa.

The whole operation took maybe 2 hours and most of that was walking down and back. I drove back to Veengs and returned the G-36 and the HK.45. He'd started a bar-b-q and we dined on stake and told stories for the rest of the evening. I then drove back to Jakharta and turned in my Vespa and caught an early flight, I used Federline's AMEX to upgrade to first class. I slept all the way back to Los Angeles. As I drove the 400 miles back to Carmel it was only then I remembered on important thing....

My father had died from Diabetes, not Malakan pirates.Man, what was I thinking? My bad.

[Note: I did not actually kill any pirates. At least as far as anybody knows]

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I'm Sorry I'm Fat.

I'm sorry I'm fat.

I really am, I'm sorry that my fat offends you and you don't want to hire me or be seen with me.
I'm sorry that I wrecked my back. I'm sorry that I had been a body-builder and didn't realize that because I'd wrecked my back that I should have stopped eating like one. I thought I would be okay and that I would bounce back from my injury, but I didn't and I got fat. I'm sorry I'm fat.

I'm sorry I don't have time to cook healthier food. When I hurt my back I lost my job and I racked up a lot of debt. When you have no money you find that food that's bad for you is cheaper than food that's good for you is. Not all of it, but most of it. I payed off my debts, but because I'm fat I still offend people. I'm sorry. I could have made more money but I stayed at my job because I believed my boss when he told me that I would someday be rewarded, so at the age of 35 , I was making $9.50 an hour, even though I would have been paid $25 an hour anywhere else. My reward was a damaged back and a pink slip. I'm sorry I trusted my boss, I will never make that mistake again. I don't trust anybody any more.

I'm sorry I didn't become an alcoholic or a drug addict instead of being fat. People feel sorry for those people, they make excuses for the behavior of those people. They talk about broken families, hard times, lost jobs and pain and say that the alcoholic and the drug addict must be excused for their problems. I used food instead of drugs or booze but people hate me. They don't make excuses for me because I offend them. I wonder why? Unlike alcoholics, I can drive safely. Unlike drug addicts, I've never stolen anything to fence for a cheeseburger. Unlike either one, I've never hurt other people yet I'm the one who offends most people.

Some day I will be thin again. I will be invisible. I plan to return the cruelty I've been shown these last few years by my fellow man. I'm not going to run around with a chainsaw or a high powered rifle, I'm simply going to show the same understanding an compassion I've received.

Then you'll be sorry.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

CNN Manages To Over-Hype A Story Yet Again.

Have you ever seen a small dog dry-hump someone’s leg? He knows it’s not another dog, he just can’t control himself. You usually have to pop him a couple of time on the nose with a rolled up newspaper to get him to knock it off (some dogs will do this even after they’ve been fixed too). Anyway, today a small plane crashed into an upscale apartment building in Manhattan and CNN’s coverage reminded me of a little dog drying-humping a leg. Wolf Blitzer and the various CNN anchors and correspondents all had that same black look on their face that the dog does as he grinds away; that look that says “I know this isn’t the real thing, I just can’t stop myself”.

These stories have become so predictable in the way that coverage develops that it’s almost a comedy. For instance, once it was certain that the plane belonged to a New York Yankees pitcher and the make and model of the aircraft was determined, they spent almost 20 minutes on the fact that this aircraft was equipped with a parachute, even pulling video off of the internet showing the plane over the desert deploying the chute. The thing is that the parachute was never a factor in this crash beyond Lidle’s decision to buy it in the first place. Other than a one line mention for background, the chute should never have rated the valuable airtime that it did. Then they brought out that aviation analysts who then speculate on the cause of the crash; giving long, detailed theory of what lead the plane to crash, then as more information came in they would have to re-evaluate their whole scenario. I’m writing this at 3:23pm Pacific time, I fully expect to see a computer simulation by the 6:00pm flagship news shows.

Meanwhile on FOX and MSNBC, they had moved on to other news stories. This crash wasn’t an act of terror and those newsrooms deserve credit for pragmatism and common sense. Instead of spending all of that airtime dealing with a regional accident, they got on with the job of bringing us the news of the day.

Way to go Fox News and MSNBC!

Friday, October 06, 2006

I Exacted Revenge for 9/11 By Sleeping With Ashley Simpson

I Took Revenge for 9/11 by Sleeping With Ashley Simpson*

In the days and months after the events of 9/11/2001, I was lost, confused and angry like most Americans were. I needed to strike back, the Army wouldn’t take me and after checking various maps it turns out you cannot drive to Afghanistan from California, thus I was shit out of luck. I needed to even the score, to do something to get back at Al Qaeda and the enemies of freedom. I first tried conserving gasoline by driving less and keeping my engine tuned up, I even bought an energy-efficient dryer and bought florescent light bulbs. While I saved about $150 a month on energy bills, I wasn’t sure how that translated into financial loss for the Saudi oil families who contribute to the Madras’s that spew anti-western hate. After doing some math it turned out that my act of defiance added up to a gross loss of .000012 cents to the evil-doers. So I then switched to watching movies and listening to music made by Jews (except Barbara Streisand), I figured that if Jews continued to be popular in the west it would be a total burn on bin Laden and his toadies. I even masturbated to pictures of Torri Spelling and Jamie Lynn Siglar. While I’m sure this kept them awake at night in their caves I couldn’t be completely sure if it was me or the constant bombing by the Air Force. No, I needed to do something that would make a statement, something that would say “I’m proud to be an American” and “Fuck you, bin Laden!” all at the same time. I spent hours locked in the shed, I mean Isolation Tank behind my house, meditating on this most profound of actions. Then one night I was awaked by the neighbor’s cat, which was in heat and caterwauling, I would sleep with Ashley Simpson.

I won’t go into the details of how exactly I pulled this off, only because I now want to try sleeping with Jessica Alba and Jessica Beal and my secret must remain unspoken. I met up with Ms. Simpson at a Howard Johnsons in Muncie, Indiana; and after a nice dinner at the Stucky’s and then finding a killer deal on a case of Mickey’s Big Mouth malt liquor at 7/11 , we went our room to make sweet love. In truth, it was more like a contact sport, Discovery Channel-Baboon type-sex where lips embraced secret places and stuff got poked and pulled in a way that said “God Bless America!” Ms. Simpson was Patriotic too; she told me (just before I did her for the fifth time) that she was also using me for revenge too. She didn’t say against whom, but I’m sure it was against bin Laden too.
A true, loyal American is she.

So, after 12 hours, I blew my last wad of manly essence on her back and rolled off and went to sleep. When I awoke, she was long gone; I was surprised she could still walk. I got out of bed and after checking to see if my nipples had stopped bleeding I hopped into the shower. I stood beneath the hot water, a man reborn in the light of nasty sex and freedom. I had shown them, those cave-dwelling Islamo-weenies, America was still here and still strong. As long as a sleazy dork like me could make rusty-monkey-love to a chick like Ashley Simpson, then the terrorists had lost. There’s your icy cold plate of revenge, Al Qaeda, EAT IT RAW! Not to be out done by Jessica Simpson’s little sister, a few months later Britney Spears not only let some skuzzy looser get to the pink, she went the next step and MARRIED HIM.

Damn it, with patriots like Britney and me, Al Qaeda should just quit right now.

* Author did not actually sleep with Ashley Simpson. However if anybody has Jessica Alba’s number he would be appreciative.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Conspiracy of the Month: Giant Killer Wombats

Dammit! The news is totally ignoring this. Right now, the continued exisitance of mankind is in question. See, a bunch of Giant Wombats escaped from a laboratory in China, where Chinese and south African scientists were breeding a race of Giant Wombats to use in mining operations. They got too big and just tore the doors off of their cages and then they killed the entire staff....developing a taste for human flesh.Now they're loose, and I think they're here.No, I haven't seen one, but I have evidence:Kielbasa prices are at an all time low. Although Wombats are said to be erborial, they're also fanatical Kielbasa eaters. This means that Wombats have stopped eating Kielbasa....what are they eating now? Hmmmmm?New housing sales are at an all time low and housing sales are dropping. Where are all of these people going? What happened to them? I'm pretty sure that if you check the records, right before these individual markets collapsed, a family of giant Wombats moved in. Nobody wanted to say anything because of political correctness, they didn't want to be accused of species-profiling. Now it's too late.Those failing housing markets are in Florida, where they also have all of those sinkholes. Those sinkholes are caused by the burroughing of the Giant Wombats, although I'm the only one who's put 2 and 2 together.Now a few people have tried to link the Giant Wombats to the attacks of 9/11, saying that they'd dug out the foundations of the World Trade Center and then hijacked those planes, and that the government knows this but doesn't want to panic the public about Giant Wombats let alone Giant Wombats that know how to fly airplanes. I don't believe this only because if Wombats had been behind the attacks they would have hit Chicago. This is because everybody knows the best Kielbasa can be found in Chicago. Besides, the Bee Gees have been trying to warn us with hidden messages in their music for the last decade, we just haven't noticed because who the fuck listens to the Bee Gees?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Ex-Studio Guitarist

Be Careful What You Wish For

When I was around 14 years old I decided I wanted to be a rock guitarist. From April, 1978, and through the summer my fantasy life revolved around being a rock guitar god. I’d listen to my records and imagine that I was the guy on stage playing that great music. Then in September of that year I started my freshman year of high school, which started off bad because my fifth and sixth period classes were lagging because I was simply cutting them. I’d just take off at lunch and goof off. So they moved one of those classes to fourth period (English) and they moved a fun class to fifth and that left me with an elective for sixth period. My councilor rattled off a long list of electives: fishing, photography, pottery etc. One class caught my ear – GUITAR – and as soon as he said it bells went off in my head and I actually saw sparks. I told him to sign me up for guitar on the spot. I went home and dusted off my brother’s classical guitar and then the next day I brought it to school and put it in the special locker in the music room. Then when sixth period rolled around I walked into the classroom and met with the teacher, Mr. Henry Avila, who was the music teacher for the high school. I had some music books that were of KISS ALIVE II. I said I wanted to be able to play this stuff. He looked at the music and then started playing “God of Thunder” on his guitar. I was stunned, this old dude was playing KISS just by reading the music, and this was a kind of witchcraft to me. He said that I could learn my music but I also had to learn the class material too. So he handed me a sheet of paper with a bunch of chords diagramed on it and then he handed me the music to Glenn Campbell’s “Gentle on My Mind” and said I had to learn the chords and the song by Friday. I looked at the sheet of chords and molded my fingers on the fret board and played an “F”, sound came out of the guitar. I worked my way down the sheet and backwards back up. I was playing chords with no problem, this was weird because I have mild Cerebral Palsy which slows me down anytime I try to learn something physical. I then turned my attention to “Gentle on My Mind”, which was still one the radio so I knew it. I looked at the music and the chords printed about the clef and I started playing and off I went. About the fourth time through I flagged Mr. Avila down and played the song for him. He asked me how long I’d been playing and I looked at the clock over the chalkboard and said “About 20 minutes!” I don’t think he completely believed me. Yet it was true. Somehow I’d naturally taken to the guitar, a gift from God, who was making up for the short end of the stick I seemed to continually get.

I practiced day and night. I played at lunch and during P.E. since I never dressed out. Then I’d go home and play, and play and play. I got a part time job and saved up some money and then about a year from that day in September I walked into the music store in Monterey and put a down payment on an Ibanez Iceman. It was Paul Stanley’s kind of guitar with sleek lines and smooth action. It took me three months to pay off and my brother actually made the final payment because he was as excited as I was. I then bought a crappy Ampeg 1x 10 30 watt amp and I was on my way. Around this time I was working at a pizza parlor with a guy who was from Los Angeles, CA, which was my Mecca. He was a drummer in a local band that had moved up to Carmel because it couldn’t hack it in the LA music scene. His name was Dan and he taught me all the ins and outs of the music scene and being in a band. Dan had a friend named Curtis Coleman, who was a studio/session guitarist. His claim to fame was playing on Louise Goffen’s album. Curtis had flaming red hair and was the embodiment of the LA-cool look for 1980. Curtis also had worked with Steve Lukether, who most people know from Toto. Dan had made a point of making me listen to Steve’s playing “Break Down” by --- , which isn’t technically hard but the guy had the rhythm locked and that left a huge impression on me. The other thing it did was give me the idea that I could make a living playing guitar on other people’s albums. Steve Lukether had already played on a ton of records by this time and would continue this even to this day. I started to read the backs of records more closely and started to learn names of the session guys and the studio guys [ A studio player plays only in the studio, a session player will also go out on tour with an artist]. I started to admire and read about guys like Waddy Watchell, Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, Stanley Clark, Russ Kunkle, Steve Gadd, Don Airy, Gary Moore and Tommy Tedesco. Most of these guys had a column in Guitar Player magazine and they gave great tips. I learned a little jazz playing, a little country and western playing and lots of rock moves. I was in a band that was a poor man’s Grateful Dead and my playing improved on a weekly basis as I was pushed to play better by myself and the band.

Around 1986 I had met a drummer named Chris, who was doing studio work up in San Jose and Cotati and he started hooking me up on minor session gigs here and there. My first one was up in Cotati and was great. The producer was a pro bassist who was just back from a tour with the Ice Capades and the music I was there to play was cool. It was down hill from there. It’s hard to break into the studio scene and there’s a pecking order and I was the lowest pecker on the list. That meant that I was going to garage studios to play for some guy who thought he was the next Max Norman. I’d play for some guy’s cousin’s jewelry store commercial or some kind of experimental shit. The worst thing was that by 1988 the common garage/crap studio gig was a 13 year old girl who thought she was the next Madonna. It sucked hind tit to the max. There I was, this over-trained guitarist playing seventh-fiddle to a 13 year old girl who’d mommy was sure she was the next big thing. I had to take a break because since these were crappy paying gigs I was still working my day job and commuting up to the South Bay at night. Chris didn’t mind because he was also a Coke-head. It dawned on me that the way things were going I was going to end up being a coke-head too if things didn’t change. The kicker came one night when this shithead plumber/ producing genius decided to tell me how to play my guitar. He was bitching that it didn’t sound right, after a 15 minutes of getting nowhere with Bozo, I suggested that maybe it was my amp. So I twisted the knobs a couple of times and then played the part again and he was happy. I hadn’t changed the settings at all. That was it for me. I was already seeing a therapist about being stressed out and I’d already said I wasn’t enjoying guitar as much as I used to. She looked at me and said that guitar playing had become a job, not a passion and that I should treat it like any other job that people don’t like. I should just quit.

So I did.

The last time I played professionally was in March, 1989 and I’ve never looked back. Or at least I didn’t until a few years ago after I wrecked my back in 2001 and found myself with a lot of free time and started playing again just for fun. Guitar playing makes me feel good, which it didn’t in my studio monkey days. I left the studio around the right time. Digital tracks and sampling and synthesizers were putting guitarists out of work. There was an even smaller entry window in the LA and New York scenes because there were fewer jobs and all the big names got them. In the 1990s guitar playing suffered under Grunge and then Pop music. At night clubs across the country, bands were replaced by canned, digital music and today when you walk into music stores you’ll find turn-tables because DJ-ing is considered equal to actually playing an instrument. I beat the trend.

Today I wonder about getting back into the game again . I look around today at teenagers who are listening to the same music I listened to when I was their age. When I ask them why they’re not into the contemporary music they say that their’s no good guitar and that the guys back in the 80s had it going on. The music industry is drifting from trend to trend with no direction and history says that there is great opportunity at a time like today. I’m a good guitar player. I don’t say this in a bragging way, it’s simply the truth.

I wonder what I could get done today?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

So Your Favorite Celeb/TV Personality/Rock Star's A Dick? Boo Hoo For You, Puss Nuts

Oh for Christ's sakes! I often read on various message boards about some person's encounter with someone famous and how said person was a total asshole. These posts almost always go on and on about how disapointed they are and how so & so was their favorite person and boo-hoo snivel-snivel. First off, I could see if you were a fucking four-year old how you could justify your childish rant, I mean after all your testicles haven't dropped and your skull isn't completely fused. If you're an adult, however, you've got no excuse. First off , all celebrities are narcisists, it's all about them, they're special and they're needy. Normal people are few and far between in the Entertainment industry and those who are on the stage, in front of the cameras or behind the microphone are the least normal. It's a historical fact. Not every one of them is a nice person or even demonstrates behavior consistent with being a human for that matter. Not every one of them is a jerk/asshole/bitch either although on the day you met them they might have well been so.

First off, imagine that everywhere you go people know your name and want to talk to you. Maybe they want a picture or an autograph or a couple of minutes of your time, hey it's no big deal right? Try multiplying that by a couple hundred times each day. Then imagine being watched by strangers as you try to go about your day, say shopping or picking up stuff from the cleaners. I know it's the price you pay for being a celebrity and most of them know it too. However, it's got to wear on a person and even Ghandi told people to fuck off once in a while and the Dhali Llama has body gaurds to keep the faithful at a distance. So it's possible that that asshole celeb you met was just having a bad day. It's also possible that the asshole is YOU.

See, starting somewhere in the mid-90s, people's expectations and boundries changed. It wasn't enough for a quick handshake or autograph, today it's become an ordeal where celebs are asked to sign an inventory of junk, pose for a picture and leave a message on an answering machine. Often the people who call a celeb a jerk was completely out of line all the way. I had to listen to some redneck go on and on about some action hero who was a total asshole because he didn't wait around while said redneck went back to his car to get more stuff to sign. People would interrupt me at work to ask me if I knew where Clint Eastwood's house is located. I did but I wasn't going to tell them where it was. It was none of their business and I told them so, often they'd tell me I was being rude and then I'd ask them if Clint was expecting them to drop by and when they said no I'd ask them why I should tell them? Being a huge Eastwood fan does not give you the right to drop by his house. So often I read where people feel that a star "Owes" them so much more than a reasonable person should ever expect.

What do I mean? Let me explain...

When you buy an artist's new album, you pay your money and you get the CD with the music. Transaction is finished you cannot expect any more from the artist any more than they can call you up and ask you for more money. When this artist goes on tour you can buy a ticket to their show and then you can go see them perform. Again, you paid for your ticket and they came and played a show for you, transaction is completed. When you buy a ticket for a movie, rent a DVD or buy one you have gotten what you have paid for and the artist doesn't owe you anything more. Most celebrities are greatful to their fans and most do not mind the attention that they have to endure, the few that have a problem tend to stay away from places that "Regular People" go anyway. The problem is that today people are unreasonable in the things that they expect from celebs. They are the ones with the problems, not the star. Eddie Van Halen is a prime example of this. Here's a simple guy who happened to be a talented guitarist in a great band who's sort of vanished from the face of the Earth. He fought cancer, divorced his wife and lost his mother last year, this is a lot to go through in the last six years. Being old-school, Eddie's not the kind of celeb who bloggs daily drivel on his website and this drives a vocal minority of his fans crazy for some reason. Most of these fans are under thirty years of age and rage on and on about what a dick Eddie is because he doesn't talk to his fans online and "Share" his feelings or clue them in. They'll demand all kinds of stuff from him because they say he owes them. Then last week Eddie popped up on Howard Stern and filled everyone in on what he's been up to and his plans for the future. Did this satusfy the negatoids? No. They went on and on about Eddie has betrayed them and so on. Eddie hasn't betrayed anyone. Van Halen has been over since 1997 and it's exisited only in the mind of wishful thinkers ever since. That's not the point though.

The issue is that Eddie Van Halen , and every other celebrity for that matter, isn't a real person to these people. He's a puppet, a manequin, raif or a will O' the wisp. The anthrapramorphisize him, Eddie isn't Eddie, Eddie is whoever the fan wants him to be. They fantasize about being Eddie to the point where a part of them believes that they are Eddie or that they understand him because they feel close to him. It's worse for TV stars because they come into our living rooms every week (or if in re-runs, two or three times a day). Jennifer Aniston is a prime example of someone that we think we all know. Guess what? We don't know shit about her. First off, we only know her charactor, Rachel Green, whom Aniston brought to life every week for 10 years. We loved Rachel but would we really love Aniston if we saw the real person each week? Maybe, maybe not, real people a re much more complex than TV charactors. Real people fart, have bad breath and have bad moods, would Aniston be as loved if she ripped a tomato fart and cleared out a room? Here's a woman who's had to live in a walled compound for the last decade and will have to continue living in bejewel fortress for some time to come. All because everyone thinks they think know her and worse, feel that she owes them something.

I met Eddie Van Halen about 20 years ago, he was nice, polite and funny. I didn't get his autograph, I got to joke with him instead and that meant more to me anyway. I have a memory and it's something that nobody else has. I've never met Ms. Aniston and while I hope that she's a nice person if she turns out to be some kind of monster I won't take it personally. See, I don't know her and for all I know she's always been a monster and since I don't know her I also can't tell if she's just having an off day either. And that's the key, we really don't know those celebrities any more than they know us. They've worked hard and gotten lucky to get where they are and we like them because they've entertained us. They've made us laugh, cry and shout. They've song/written songs that we loved enough to play at our weddings. However most of us don't understand that the talent behind that often pollutes other aspects their personality.

If you live your own life, instead of living though other people's, then you won't care about celebrities anyway. You'll watch TV, go to the movies and listen to the Top 40 and enjoy yourself. You won't obsess about the private lives of people you've never met or fret over the lack of personal information on "Official Webpages". It's a kind of freedom that people should strive for in today's world. Who want's to be a slave to a fantasy world anyway?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Confessions From A One-Time Hardcore Football Junkie

"Are you ready for some football?!!"

Oh man, there was a time when those words made my heart race, armpits shower sweat and my testicles withdraw up into my chest cavity in prepairation for battle. I had the beer chilling in the fridge and two large pizzas on standbye. I was ready, I'd read all of the pre-season football mags, the LA Times and SF Chronicle (back when they had a green sports section) and I monitered ESPN (back when there was only one) for every scrap of information. Not just for my team, the Raiders, but for every other team in the NFL. There was a heirarchy, I updated my knowledge of the rest of the AFC West, then the NFC West (cuz I liked the 49ers too) and then the rest of the best. If the NY Giants lost to the Saints, I wanted to know why? If Atlanta's running back had a 100+ yard game, I looked at the highlights and studied the Offensive Line and how they blocked a better defense.

I was all over it.

I used to pile into the car with friends at 4:00am so we could drive 476 miles down to Los Angeles to watch the Raiders play. There is nothing like an NFL game, even in LA, which is nothing like Oakland. A Pro-Football player is HUGE, they are also FAST and the combination is awe-inspiring. The First game I ever saw in person was the Chicago Bears vs the Raiders in LA. It was Walter Payton's last regular season game and we had Marcus Allen and both put on a clinic for the fans. The the thing I'll aways remember is Howie Long breaking through the Bears Offernsive Line and chasing down Mike Tomzak (QB) for a sack, it was something out of a wildlife film where a Lion chases down a Gazzelle. I was already a football nut but this day sealed the deal. By 1989 I owned a number pro-jerseys and my room was a shrine to the Raiders. I had been given one of those special books they give the press for the Raiders that had all of the stats for the team going back to 1960 and the AFL days. I memorized everything, I could recount stats from games played in the 1970s. Every year around Super Bowl time, I cleaned up on radio-station trivia and took home crap I didn't care about. You should know that I never played football, in highschool I was a music geek and not a jock. Back then I liked the Raiders but I wasn't INTO football, I was a guitar player and I was on my way to our version of the big-leagues, the studio session player. The problem was that once I became a studio guy I hated it and I had spent 12 years of my life working hard to be one. I ended up sitting in a theropist's office one day and she suggested that I spend one day doing something else, and then she asked my what else I liked to do. I said I like to watch football and she said I should endulge myself in it. So I did, and it changed my life. Sunday I was up at 8:00am to watch ESPN's Gameday, then the network pre-game shows and this became my routine for the next 12 years. Football got me out of the house and down to the bar, not to drink but to socialize with out football-heads. I was happy and I was having fun.

Then somewhere in the late 1990s I lost stopped caring about Football.

I can't put my finger on it but I think the main reason was the salery-cap that I lost interest in the game. I can't get attached to a player because I never know if he's going to be wearing Silver and Black the next season. Back in the day, I could count on Howie Long, Bill Pickel and Matt Millon lining up for the Raiders defense, Ted Hendricks and John Matuzak before them. Those guys gave fans great football - every game. I can't name anyone on the Raiders Defense except for Warren Sapp and that's because of his great years in Tampa Bay. The guy I have to cheer for was the guy I had to hate last year. I mean I had to be flying drunk before I could root for Elway and the Broncos in that Super Bowl against Green Bay (I hate the Broncos, they're the only reason I can relate to suicide bombers, remotely that is), I would have had a stroke if Elway put on a Raiders uniform. The other thing is that when one of those star athleats gets a zillion dollar contract my cable bill goes up. Each year the NFL bids for TV contracts and then that money is charged to cable providers who have to carry ESPN 1 through 50. Then there's the ever changing network shuffle, NBC looses it's NFL contract to CBS, who'd lost theirs to FOX and now NBC has Sunday Night Football that's crewed by the old ABC Monday Night Football staff because ESPN won the Monday Night rights.

NBC does football the best, even before they did the Sunday Night thing. NBC sports has always had a great group of people. CBS has problems, they once were the NFC venue on television and then lost that contract to FOX. Then NBC lost it's AFC contract to CBS. Instead of covering the AFC, CBS goes back to covering the NFC. Half of each Sunday morning pre-show is devoted to an NFC story. The problem is that FOX is already covering the same story - BETTER. So by the time my Raiders take the field I have no idea what's going on with them. I don't know who runs things at CBS but they're promoting games played on FOX, maybe he should get a paycheck from FOX too.

So between the players shuttling between teams and CBS doing FOX's work for them I just stopped getting excited about football. I'm watching the Cowboys and the Redskins right now. While I enjoy the mechanics of the game I just don't care. In a few minutes I will switch over to Ebert & Roper to watch them review a movie I've already seen and then it's 60 Minutes. I understand that nothing lasts forever but I never thought I'd fall out of love with the game. I still love the old guys and I've found myself watching classic games on the NFL channel. I'll still make a point of watching the Super Bowl and I'll get to at least one Raiders game this season, even though they suck.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

9/23/2006 - A Possible Nightmare

Nightmare Scenario

There has been a lot of hype and vitriol surrounding Iran and its nuclear aims. Clearly most of it is actually coming from Iran, but the western press is taking the bait for some unknown and unwise reason. There have been columns and cable-news talk shows dedicated to “What we have to do about Iran” ; at first they trotted out “Experts” (usually ex-CIA, ex-State Department or officials from former administrations – most of whom are responsible for Iran becoming what it is today) who extolled their wisdoms upon the viewers. It was actually sad to watch Admiral Stansfield Turner criticize the Bush administration over the way it’s handling Iran. It was Turner’s CIA that failed to see the coming Iranian revolution and head it off. That lead to the fall of the Shah and the rise of Shiite fundamentalism in Iran, which lead to the Iran/Iraq war, which lead to Desert Storm, which lead to 9/11 and that lead to us being in Iraq today. The only thing more sad has been watching Democrats jump into the fray and criticize Bush on Iran, even though his handling of the situation has been above average and wise. However, the morons on both sides of the isle are beginning to push Bush into a corner, demanding some kind of action and tougher talk towards Iran and this is dangerous.
Most people have forgotten that Iran is the primary exporter of Islamic terror around the world. They have a global reach that extends to Argentina, Peru, Norway, Moscow, the South Pacific and even the United States. Terrorist groups with ties to Iran have killed people in all of those countries. Iran also has missiles that can hit Saudi and other oil fields in the Middle East that we rely upon for importing. People rant about a first-strike on Iran like it’s going to be a cake walk. They don’t think about what happens the next day. Iran invented the suicide bomber in Lebanon and they have recruited THOUSANDS more over the years. It’s the most effective tactic against the United States; it’s worked against us from the Plains Indian Wars to the Kamikazes of WWII. I want to reveal to you Iran’s perfect “Kill Shot” against the U.S., one that could bring us down in multiple ways and destroy huge sectors of our economy and our society. A simple shot that will isolate us from even our closest allies and make us the target of universal world hate for years to come.


It’s a Saturday, Americans are watching college football, mowing the lawn or out and about on this weekend day. Suddenly T.V. sets go silent, followed by the words “Breaking News” and then respective anchor people appear on the screen at their desks with people running around in the background behind them. They begin to report that Tehran has been destroyed by a nuclear explosion and that the expected loss of life will be devastating. The White House has no comment and the Pentagon is scrambling for information as well. Within hours the streets of the western world become empty as people who heard the news raced home to sit in front of their televisions. As the sun rises in Europe, leaders there demand an explanation from the United States government. As the sun sets in the United States, an emergency session of Congress continues even though none of them know what’s going on. The White House then releases a statement of condolence to the people of Iran, offering aid of any kind. It also says that the event is still under investigation and that the cause of the blast is unknown. In Iran, the emergency government thinks it knows where the bomb came from and on a live broadcast that is carried world wide they blame the United States and Israel. “Who else has this capability?” they ask. “Who else has been threatened by us and in turn threatened Iran?”
The diplomatic phone calls from Europe flood the embassies of the U.S. demanding answers and then demanding an apology. Israel issues an angry statement denying any attack upon Iran. The United States also denies any such action, at first from the Pentagon, the State Department and then finally in a speech from the President himself. He states that specialized US Air Force planes are sampling the fallout cloud that is now over Afghanistan and should be able to determine the source of the Plutonium and therefore the culprit. Iranian officials are on the air immediately to denounce the President. They then run footage of a number of Iranians who claim to have seen a cruise missile streaking low through the mountains, low enough to see the American flag on the tail. The Pentagon is quick to deny this, stating that all of the nuclear warheads in the US arsenal are accounted for and that the UN and the Russian governments are welcome to re-inspect and confirm this at any time.

However, the world doesn’t believe the United States anymore.

In the following weeks, sanctions are put on the United States to demand its total disarmament. Europe cuts off all imports from and exports to the US in support of these sanctions, as does Japan and China and Central American countries. Shelves in department stores across the nation empty as items are sold out that cannot be restocked because they are made over seas. Wal Marts , Target, Macy’s, Circuit City and eventually every major retailer is forced to close the doors of many of it’s stores or cut their staff dramatically because it can find only a few products made in the US. As the United States holds fast, proclaiming its innocence, the sanctions continue to eat away at the American fabric. Computers and other electronic devices begin to fail and cannot be replaced because their components are come from overseas; this affects hospitals, airports, electric companies and water plants. Even though the United States has proof that the nuclear weapon was not American, these claims are followed by footage of desolation in Tehran along with the melted survivors of the outlying city on European and Asian television. They are always keen to show the kids with the melted faces too. The world is deaf to our pleas and the sanctions continue. Within a year, half of the American workforce is unemployed and the other half has had its wages slashed to the bone. Gas is rationed and many small towns have been abandoned by their citizens who’ve been forced to large cities for any kind of assistance.
The 2008 elections are divided along two lines: Disarmament and Standing Tall. The people who want us to disarm believe that the Government is lying about its innocence and that did in fact strike Iran. The folks who want the US to stand tall (alone) ask the question “What if you’re wrong and we disarm? Someone out there used a nuke on a city without provocation, what makes you think we won’t be next?”

I’d love to go on and say who wins but in today’s world I couldn’t even begin to guess. The fact is that while such a scenario would have dire consequences in the initial three years, the long term would be amazing in that Americans would be forced into self-reliance again. In essence we would make our own stuff again. The problem is what would happen in those three hard years? Does America have the balls anymore? Does it have the brains? The answers to those two questions are a frightening as an Iranian A-Bomb any day.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fart therapy, The Smell Of Freedom.

In the 1980s, the United States Air Force conducted experiments in social development using farting to change introverts into extroverts. To be fair, it wasn't actually the US Air Force, but my brother who was IN the Air Force at the time but since he was on their payroll any research technically belongs to the Air Force. Farting, passing gas, cutting the cheese, one-cheek-sneak, pooting and releasing the barking spider has long been a family pastime. Our father was a Zen master of stepping on the duck, he perfected the timing and delivery so that everyone within ear and nose shot could enjoy the event. When my brother joined the Air Force he quickly became a legend at Lackland AFB, where he found that the humid, hot Texas weather only amplified his gift. The "Day of the Four Hour Stink" is still talked about in hushed tones, a day where my brother left an air biscuit in the laundry room that cleared it of all personnel and kept them at bay for almost four hours. He also developed, through sudo-chemical research at Korean restaurants, the ability to stink up an entire 707 airframe.

My brother quickly noticed that his friends and co-workers who emulated him began to change. His roommate was a quite and shy before he met my Bro, and he was shocked by the loud and public farting. Then he started to do it too; here and there at first but then in a short time he was farting loudly at the Pub. In front of women no less. He became out going and and gregarious and quite the lady's man. In the thirteen years he spent in the Air Force he saw the same thing over and over. He also noticed that the new social farters also got promoted faster and more often. It was a form of Gassive Aggression that had been untapped up until then and remains unkown to the world at large even today. Now, it would take at least two years of one-on-one apprenticeship to become a Zen Master Gas-Passer but I'll be happy to share some tips so that you can start to change your life for the better.

1. Time your fart for maximum effect.

2. You own your farts, so release them wisely, you cannot un-fart.

3. Fart loud and proud. It's your God-given right as a living thing and ALL living things release gas.

4. Announce your release creatively, phrases like "Now for a word from our sponsor", or "To quote the bin Laden".

5. George Carlin said that when he was in the Air Force, when someone farted he'd say "Captain who?". A variation of this is always funny, for instance "Oh, you like rap music?"

6. Driving in a car with friends, turn the radio down before you fart so they get the full effect.

7. In a bar or restaurant, stand up and ting your fork on your glass like you're making a toast at a wedding and once the room is silent, let fly. (This is a Zen Master move)

8. Just because you are talking on the phone is now reason not to share with others, in fact if you think you've got a spectacular one brewing you're obligated to call someone. Conference calls will never be boring and you may not have to sit through as many down the road.

9. A woman that freaks out when you fart is not for you, she's obviously a control freak. A woman that fires back is the one you marry. **Note** Pregnant woman farts are pure evil, every "Dutch Oven" she's endured will be repaid in spades, and she's counting them too**

10. Never apologize for farting, even if you made small children cry.

There is more but that should be enough to get you started.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Gateway to Modern Fascism

People ask me how Hitler came to power; they can’t seem to grasp the fact that he was elected by a wide majority of Germans. They cannot fathom a nation that produced Niechze, Freud, Einstein and Mozart could fall into the grasp of such evil willingly.
They didn’t. Hitler was the head of the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (Nazi), a party who promised a socialist worker’s paradise with jobs, schools, homes and healthcare for all. Hitler’s first three years were spent fulfilling this promise with all kinds of civic projects. They had dual purposes, the Autobahn was designed to move troops and tanks quickly across Germany and German industry added workers because the Third Reich mandated that a percentage of their production be devoted to the re-arming of Germany. People had jobs and people were happy. So happy that Austrians and Czechoslovakia begged to be annexed by the Third Reich. In much way, Hitler’s Germany was indistinguishable from Roosevelt’s America. Then came “The Night of the Long Knives”, where Hitler’s S.S. murdered the entire socialist element of the Third Reich, known as the S.A. or the “Brown Shirts”. The S.A. had become more and more critical of Hitler’s massing of personal power, calling it a betrayal of the socialist promises he’d made. In hindsight they should have seen it coming.

I’ve been watching a strange evolution of the onetime-Left since 9/11/2001 that I’ve finally figured out. They’ve embraced fascism, yet they aren’t aware of this fact. Like the well meaning Germans who lined up and gave a heartfelt “Siek Heil” to their Fuhrer, today’s “Left Wing” has become a Pinochet- Maoist style ultra-rightwing fascist movement. They’re most visible in the anti-war movement, where they embrace mass murderers like Saddam Hussein, Che’ Guevara, and wave anti-Semitic banners and signs.
These are supposedly Liberals, yet no other liberals call them on their transgressions, very few anyway.

I wonder why?

Then I looked to the main source of fascism in America, Colleges and Universities.
It’s been forty years since the “Free Speech” movement and “Sit Ins” of the early 1960s; where students discussed Vietnam and Racial Equality. Today, those “Revolutionaries” would be thrown off campus, not by the administration but by their fellow students in student government. University is no longer a place to open your mind and explore possibility; today it’s a place of Fascist indoctrination. Students are pounded into the new conformity by being told that there are words you cannot say, deeds you cannot do, political ideas that cannot be entertained and thoughts that they cannot even have. They are taught history with only half of the facts (if that many), they are taught that science is relative and that belief is more important than fact. Dissent against the government is good but dissent against the dissenters is forbidden. Those who dare to raise an opposing viewpoint on most college campuses are expelled. They are branded with a host of Fascist-Politically Correct labels like Racist, Homophobe and - ironically – Nazi. Gone are they days of the post 1960s freedom and experimentation. I don’t know exactly when it happened but the “Leftist” campus movement quietly slipped to the hard-right and nobody seems to have noticed. Even the average student who just wants to just get a degree and move onto a fruitful life is damaged and permanently handicapped by this Fascist atmosphere.

How? They learn to live with Fascism.

They become comfortable in a Fascist state, they are trained not to resist Fascist ideas and that it’s better for them to go along with whatever insanity is imposed upon them. They become comfortable with being trained like dogs, to sit, to stay and to speak at their master’s beckon call. They are trained NOT to question certain ideas while ridiculing other ideas with equal lack of insight.

What does this mean for the United States?

It can’t be good. Hitler would be very impressed.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hey, Didn't You Used To Be Eddie Van Halen?

Van Halen rules!

Van Halen's first album came out in 1978, my freshman year in high school. I remember the day too, my brother bought it while we were visiting my Grandmother in Modesto and he slapped it on the turntable as soon as we got home. "Running With The Devil" came on and there was this killer guitar sound coming out of our speakers. I'd never heard such power matched with such smooth playing. Then "eruption" came on and my brother and I looked at eachother with our jaws dropped, who the hell is this guy? More importantly, what planet was he from? We wanted to listen to that again but we were too stunned to pick up the needle and we ended up listening to the entire first side, my brother and I had transformed into the apes at the beginning of the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey". Now, I had started to learn to play the guitar this very same year but I wasn't good enough to understand what had just happened. The next most powerful memory was a Monday afternoon guitar class (the is back when they had money for guitar classes in high school). Black Sabbath had played a show up in San Francisco and all of the "Hot" guitar players had gone up to the show. That Monday they didn't play their guitars in the back rooms, instead they brought in their boom-box. Not to listen to Sabbath, not at all, Van Halen had opened the show in San Francisco and these guys weren't ready for it. They sat in the back and listened to "Eruption" over and over and over again. I wasn't cool enough to hang out with those guys but I was lucky enough to be on good terms with Christian Nesmith, Michael Nesmith's son, and Christain had seen Van Halen a few times already. He saw that I was shut out of the crowd and quietly pulled me into a side practice room. He then proceeded to show me the correct way to do the hammer-ons that the "cool" guys were desperately trying to learn in the other room.

I owe a big thank you to Christian Nesmith for that. He'd prematurely ushered me into an exclusive club of uber guitar players. Since I'd learned the proper mechanics, once I'd progressed as a musician I could employ the technique as smoothly as Eddie did.

Eddie Van Halen became my role model, not just because he's a great guitar player but because he was a great guy. My brother and I devoured rock music magazines, every month we bought Cream, Hit Parader, Rolling Stone and Guitar Player Magazine. I found that the great players tended to be cagey in interviews about their music and their technique. The giants of the day, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, seldom did interviews at all and since everyone else idolized them they did the same. Not Eddie, he'd talk to anybody (which he'd later regret) and Van Halen was always somewhere in those magazines every month. The fact that David Lee Roth was a motor-mouth just enhanced the whole thing. Eddie was happy to share his secrets in print and often did just that. Eddie was a family guy too, he was close to his parents and his brother and he wasn't ashamed to say so. He is an all-around good guy and I admired him and emulated him. I loved that his main red & white striped guitar was a beat-up piece of crap [ no, really, he had bicycle reflectors screwed onto the back and it has cigarette burns all over it], while everyone who came before him played expensive name models. I loved that he'd just throw his guitar case into the back of his pickup truck, much to the horror of an interviewer. Eddie was low-maintenance and had a good sense of humor about himself. He was always out ther doing something.

Then he found out he had cancer, it was a tense time. I'd lost Randy Rhoads and I remember how much that hurt and now my hero was sidelined. Thankfully, Eddie'd beat it in a year. Yet today it's hard not to say that we'd lost him. Since the ill-fated Van Halen 3 album, Sasquatch has been more visible than Eddie Van Halen. To be fair, he's had a divorce and he's lost his mother and I know that's got to be hard. It seems that Eddie has become sort of a hermit, staying at home and loosing himself in his studio. In a time when music is so empty, one of it's brightest stars sits behind locked doors playing with himself. I'm not sure what happened, maybe they treated Eddie with Krytonite, but it's hard to believe that he's the same guy anymore. The same guy who'd pop up here and there, special shows and other artist's songs is a phantom, a rumor generator.

A few weeks back, Eddie started popping up again. There he was with Kenny Chesney and a week or so later he's playing new music at a small festival. Music from an upcoming soft-core flick. The Van Halen world was a-buzz in cyber space, some happy and some not, I was happy to see a guy I recognize back out doing what I love him for. He still has a long way to go to live up to the standard he himself had set.

I know he will do it, Van Halen rules!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

JonBenet Ramsey And The News Media's Tablification

I'm a cable news junkie.

Even before cable T.V., I would watch the evening news with my grandfather. I had cousins in Viet Nam and I think my grandfather would watch the news in hopes of maybe catching a glimpse of one of his grandsons. Either way, it became a life-long habit. Along the way I learned that watching the news is an art and a science, there is almost always more to the story and the best reporters know how to tell you what's going on without actually saying anything. I learned that the really important stories were seldom at the top of the news or on the front page, they were presented in the middle of the broadcast in 20 second blurbs or buried in the second section of the news paper in a single-column. This was effective, it allowed reporters to report and readers to get a snapshot of events in the world on a given day.

CNN came along and for it's first decade or so did a great job bringing us the "Breaking News", along with so good analysis. Good enough that the CIA and FBI kept it on 24/7 because CNN would get the news before they did. CNN had some journalistic high points: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Desert Storm and the attempted overthrow of Gorbachev. When you've got the Russian section at CIA glued to your coverage that's just damn good reporting. Other cable news outlets sprang up along the way, MSNBC, CNBC and Fox News stretched the horizon of information that was available at the click of a remote.

Then, in June 1994, a white Ford Bronco lead Los Angeles police on a low-speed chase that lead to the capture and arrest of a Hall of Fame NFL running back for the murder of his wife and an unlucky waiter. Ratings went through the roof at the cable news networks and they scrambled to keep the case at the top of every newscast and featured it throughout their programming lineup. They hired legal experts of every strata of the justice system and stuck them in almost every show, since the accused was an NFL legend even the sports departments got into the act.
They had every aspect of the case nailed down and had convicted the suspect well in advance of the trial. Once the trial commenced, with the recaps we got a dose of "I told you so", which was in anticipation of the guilty verdict. The problem was that with all of the hot air from all of those talking heads they somehow didn't realize that TU jury wasn't seeing the same trial that everyone else was seeing. When the "Not Guilty" verdict was handed down, some of the talking heads were visibly ill.

One would think that they'd have learned their lessons and would have strove to improve their overall quality. Maybe even tone down the B.S. level a tad. Nope, what they learned was that sensationalism was great for ratings. They had also merged tabloid journalism with what used to be respectable reporting. Tabloid journalism has different standards and a pre-set playbook that they apply to specific types of stories, after this merge a story that didn't fit into a specific type of story molded until it did fit or it was ignored. This is how a little things like the collapse of tech stocks and Enron went undiscovered in advance.

Then came December 26th, 1996, and cable news was handed a story that was taylor made for the new "Tablified" cable news networks. The murder of a little girl, the murder of a cute little girl, a cute little girl who's father was a billionaire. The little girl's mother entered her in beauty pageants, and there was lots of video of her singing and dancing while wearing the makeup of a much older person. The machine that had been created for the cable news networks was dusted off and put back to work to cover this case. New experts were hired and the old ones now had their own shows, time was made for special editions where the new experts would argue with the old experts about a case that none of them had first hand knowledge. "Getting it right!" was replaced with "Getting it first" and many mistakes were made in the first days of this case by the local news media, mistakes about basic facts that would become gospel in the later phases of the coverage and are still quoted even after they've been refuted by the local law enforcement. The media would squeeze about a year out of this story, because of the mistakes in the intitial coverage the media had 22222 most people that the parents were the guilty parties in the murder of their daughter. The "Experts" sited case profiles where a parent had been guilty and since it had been true in those cases it then MUST be true with this case. Who cares what the evidence actually was? Yes, the Ramseys didn't help their image but being strange isn't a crime.

In the years since the murder, which is still unsolved, the media has a lot of hand-wringing over their coverage of the Ramsey case. There has been a lot of "Shame On Us" and wrist slapping, many questions of how they got so out of control. I notice that they never have answers for this introspection. The Tablification was complete, you can tell because they cannot tell between right or wrong, any behavior is acceptable in pursuit of the story. Then this week a man is arrested in Thailand and he confesses to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.

It was a sight to see.

The media prefaced this story with an admission that they'd gotten carried away and made a ton of mistakes when the case broke back in 1996. They then spent the next 36 hours doing the exact same thing with this new addition to the story. I have whiplash. He's guilty, he knows only things the killer would know...No! Wait! He said things in his statement that don't match the facts (the real ones, not the made up ones). Has the Boulder DA blown it? Will this guy walk? Who is this guy?

I have an idea, why doesn't everyone shut the hell up and wait until they've done a little backround on this new suspect? Better yet, let the police do it. I don't need to know right now, and I don't want my brain filled up with crap.

Take your time, keep your cool and GET IT RIGHT.