Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Rock the Casbah

25 years ago, a little band called the Clash heard about Iranians being flogged for listening to western music (which was banned in Iran) and wrote a song about it. Sadly, the more things change, the more they stay the same. This one goes out to the citizens of Iran. Should any of them come across this blog (if it isn't already a forbidden website) I strongly encourage them to fight back against their oppressors. Your reform movement was going strong for so long. Don't give up the fight.

And a big "up yours" to anyone, anyone, who chooses to censor any form of free expression. In one of my last discussions with my father, I remember him saying, "I can't understand how you can put a limit on freedom." Me neither. Probably because you can't.

"Rock the Casbah"

Now the king told the boogie men
You have to let that raga drop
The oil down the desert way
Has been shaking to the top
The sheik he drove his Cadillac
He went a-cruising down the ville
The muezzin was a-standing
On the radiator grille

The shareef don't like it
Rock the Casbah

By order of the prophet
We ban that boogie sound
Degenerate the faithful
With that crazy Casbah sound
But the Bedouin they brought out
The electric camel drum
The local guitar picker
Got his guitar picking thumb
As soon as the shareef
Had cleared the square
They began to wail

The shareef don't like it
Rock the Casbah

Now over at the temple
Oh, they really pack 'em in
The in-crowd say it's cool
To dig this chanting thing
But as the wind changed direction
The temple band took five
The crowd caught a whiff
Of that crazy Casbah jive

The shareef don't like it
Rock the Casbah

The king called up his jet fighters
He said you better earn your pay
Drop your bombs between the minarets
Down the Casbah way
As soon as the shareef
Was chauffeured outta there
The jet pilots tuned to
The cockpit radio blare
As soon as the shareef was outta their hair
The jet pilots wailed

The shareef don't like it
Rock the Casbah
The shareef don't like it
(He thinks it's not kosher!)
Rock the Casbah
The shareef don't like it
(Fundamentally he can't take it!)
Rock the Casbah
Rock the Casbah

Monday, December 19, 2005

Another note to radio stations

In two previous posts, I have made pleas to radio stations to not needlessly edit songs and to stop constantly playing songs that were megahits 10 years ago but have since been ridiculously overplayed. For the latter case, I specified that it's not that I never want to hear those songs, but merely that they should probably be played with less frequency.

Now, thanks to my radio experiences this afternoon while shopping, I would like to specify some songs that I truly never want to hear on the radio. Hopefully someone out there is paying attention:

  • Meredith Brooks, Bitch - ooh, look, she said the b-word! How edgy! I know you say he wouldn't want it any other way, Mer, but if he wasn't sick of you being a bitch by now, I guarantee he is sick of this damn song.
  • Alanis Morissette, Crazy - in this category, I would also like to include Faith Hill's Cry, Melissa Etheridge's Breathe. These songs were done better the first time, by Seal, Angie Aparo, and Greenwheel, respectively. Play those versions, rather than giving heed to these artists trying to keep making it off the brilliant compositions of others.
  • Sheryl Crow, Good is Good - does anyone else want to scream "lightning comes before thunder!" every time they hear this song. Really, Soak Up the Sun is also fairly annoying.
  • Staind, Right Here - Richard Marx, anyone? If you simply replace this song with the much better follow-up single Falling whenever you want to play it, I'll be satisfied.
  • Anything by the Beastie Boys - okay, I will allow Girls and Fight For Your Right on rare occasions. But in general, no, the Boys are banned.

As always, I'm sure there's plenty I missed. Additions are welcome.

Song lyric of the day:
"If music is my lover
You are just a tease"
- Rogue Wave, Kicking the Heart Out

A letter to the White House

Dear President Bush,

I am an American citizen who has frequently been at odds with some of your administration's policies. For example, I do not believe it is economically sound to cut taxes and increase government spending. I also do not believe it is the federal government's place to define marriage, nor to tell a woman what she can do with her body, nor to reveal the identity of secret agents simply because their spouses voice opposition. In addition, I disagree with pretty much your entire education platform, from No Child Left Behind (which, by withholding funds from poorly performing schools essentially ensures their continued poor performance and harms their students) to abstinence-only sex education (which will certainly not aid in your efforts to end abortion) to school vouchers (which, were they ever instituted, would turn private schools into public schools and leave us with the same problems). And of course, there's foreign policy - but we won't go there.

In spite of these radical ideas, I would like to humbly request that you not put any wiretaps on my phones or surveillance equipment anywhere in my house. I request this not because I am doing anything illegal that I do not want found out, but rather because I simply value my privacy, and I also value that little Constitutional amendment that protects American citizens against unauthorized search.

You do remember what the Constitution is, don't you? Or perhaps you skipped class that day because you were too hungover. Regardless, it's that little document that says, among other things, that it's your job to serve the American people, not to spy on them. Just thought you might could use the reminder.


Michael Mott

P.S. The word is pronounced "nu-cle-ur", not "nu-cue-lur".

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bush actually tells the truth and other political news

So, naturally, the pace of this blog has dropped off somewhat, as I've been rushing to finish up my master's degree, scrambling for a job, and dealing with other life-changing events. But I'm trying to pick it back up, slowly but surely.

The Houston Chronicle and countless others reported on President Bush vehemently denying accusations of racism. This is one instance in which I agree with Bush implicitly and completely. Sort of. I firmly believe that a) there was nothing racist about the federal response to Hurricane Katrina and b) Dubya is not a racist. This is a man who has counted prominent African-Americans Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell, as well as Hispanic Alberto Gonzalez, among his closest advisers. Actions of a racist? Hardly.

No, I don't believe George W. Bush is a racist. Rather, he is a classist. The response to Katrina failed not because those it affected most were black, but because they were poor. It is an unfortunate truth that, in this country, the two are so often inextricably linked. I know not the causes of this, and expect they are as numerous as they are complex. But I contend that our president is hampered more by his inability to understand and account for the have-nots than by any kind of racism. Take that, Kanye! (As I typed this, I knew the argument sounded familiar, and in fact I discovered I was pulling much of this from an old Leonard Pitts article that likely lingered at the back of my mind. Oh well, I've had this opinion for a while, so what the hell.)

In other exciting news that may become irrelevant for me if I end up leaving Texas, another Chronicle article reports that the Supreme Court is going to review the ridiculous, relentless gerrymandering sponsored by the likely-soon-to-be-federally-indicted Thomas Q. Delay. This sort of corrupt politics is what makes people so cynical about our political process. I'm still unclear how this blatantly political maneuver got by public opinion (though the conservatism of Texas probably helped). I hope the Supreme Court strikes it down 9-0.

That's all for now. I'm gonna try to resume daily blogging, so keep checking back.

Song lyric of the day:
"Flies in the vasoline we are
Sometimes it blows my mind
We keep getting stuck here all the time"
- Stone Temple Pilots, Vasoline

Sunday, December 04, 2005


I never did play any of my songs for my father. I'm sure he heard me when I was composing them upstairs, but I never sat down and just played them for him. I think he would have liked that. But at least I take some solace in the fact that he's probably listening all the time now.

In a post from last month, I mentioned a song I was working on called Catharsis. defines "catharsis" as "a release of emotional tension, as after an overwhelming experience, that restores or refreshes the spirit." Well, overwhelming experiences have been 2005's mascot, culminating on November 19, when the song Catharsis officially became defunct.

But I am still waiting for my catharsis. So I figured what the hell, I'd finish it anyway. I debated changing the happy ending I had already worked out to reflect reality, and such an alternate ending does exist, but I've ultimately decided to release the song this way. I wrote it from a place of hope, and even if optimism isn't always rewarded, well, I'm not sure what I have left without it.

So without further ado...


I'm still waiting for my catharsis
'Cause I'm becoming so lethargic
And now I have to find a way
To make it through each day
And still come out sane on the other end

And I'm still wading through my confusion
Was all my happiness an illusion?
And is there a master plan?
'Cause if so, then where I am
Must make sense to someone

But I've shut myself down
I've been flying on autopilot
And now everyone's so far away

Well I want to feel again
But I know I won't
And I want to live my life
'Cause I know I don't
And I just want to be happy for once
But I know, I know I'll be half-dead
Until I peel myself out of this bed

Then March came roaring like a lion
I thought I'd purge myself through crying
But even though I saw her lame
The tears tried but never came
As I touched her for the last time

And that's the first time I saw you shaken
I wonder if you think you've been forsaken
'Cause although you can barely talk
Sometimes I still hear you call out to God
But it seems He ain't listening

So we have to shut ourselves down
And keep running on autopilot
I hate that I can't take your pain away
Like a thief in the night
It came along and stole all our smiles
And there's nothing left to do but pray

And I wanted to feel again
But I know I won't
And I want you to enjoy life
Right now you don't
And I want us to be happy again
But I know, I know we'll be half-dead
Until we get this curse out of your head

The months have been rolling by like snails
And everything we try is to no avail
So what they said was an easy cure
Is what you now have to endure
And I feel like I can't do anything

And no one knows 'cause I won't say it
I keep my fears all held in abeyance
But when we get this damn thing beat
I'll go out dancing in the street
And everyone will stare
And I'll realize I don't care

No I don't care
I know what's really important now

'Cause I just want to feel again
Someday I will
And I want you to live your life
You'll get your fill
And I know that we'll be happy again
'Cause I know, I know we're not half-dead
We're gonna get this curse out of your head
I know we will get this curse out of your head
I know we will...

But we're still waiting for our catharsis
'Cause you can't help but be lethargic
But I swear we'll find a way
To make it through each day
'Til we get this curse out of your head