Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry belated Christmas to all!

Of course, as I pointed out to Ben yesterday, historians have never been able to accurately pinpoint the precise date of the birth of Jesus Christ. Most of the non-religious aspects of the holiday now celebrated as Christmas (the tree, the yule logs, etc.) have their roots in the pagan winter festivals of yore.

It is for this reason that I have never (and will never) stop saying "Merry Christmas" to everybody, regardless of religion or creed. For those who do not observe the date as the birth of their Lord and Savior, I am merely wishing that they have a happy December 25. And so now, after the fact, I am wishing belatedly that you all had a good 25th day of the former tenth (current twelfth) month of the calendar. And really, I guess I extend the wish to the other 364 days as well (365 on leap years). I'm sure cool people were born on all those days.

Song lyric of the day:
"And I'd love to see it but it's something you just feel
And I'd like to feel it but it just isn't real
And God is whoever you're performing for
Why can't you empathize with Jesus' point of view?
What are you gonna do?"
- Built to Spill, Untrustable/Pt. 2 (About Someone Else)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Today's "No Shit" moment

Today's "No Shit" moment, or "well duh", if you prefer, is brought to you by the wonderful people at CNN, who I believe form the core of Team Obvious:

95 percent of Americans had premarital sex

Gasp! What a shocker there (no pun intended).

Armed with this new information, which you pretty much knew already, you may now resume with your lives.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

An announcement

In the spirit of my friend and colleague Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack*, I would like to officially announce my candidacy for the office of Cookie Recipient for the year 2006. (Pause for applause. In the likely event that none occurs, wait for the token distant cough before continuing.)

I recognize that this will be an uphill battle, but anyone who has followed my career knows I have a history of longshot victories. When I entered the Mr. Universe competition in 2003, no one gave me a chance, but I proved them wrong finishing 5,493rd out of 5,494, instead of the predicted last. Once again, I am faced with hefty competition; my opponents are worthy, but I shall prevail. Let not my modesty fool you, I am way way way better than them.

Of course, I know all the voters out there are curious as to what my plan is to earn my victory. Well, I assure both my supporter and detractors that I do have a plan, but I will not be rushed into revealing the specifics. Nay, it shall be unveiled in the new year, under the tentative title, "The New Way For Mike to Get Cookies".

Okay, you twisted my arm. There are several steps to my plan for victory. First, I shall relate the amusing story of having to awkwardly explain to a 40-year-old co-worker why I found it so funny that one of the members of a televised panel on abortion and pregnancy was named April Hymen (I shittest thee not). Second, I will reveal my long-awaited dissertation on the many indispensable uses of the word "kumquat", particularly as it relates to current situation in the Middle East. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I will eschew a negative campaign in favor of a slew of "that's what she said"s. Sarcasm will also likely be prevalent.

The blogosphere needs a Cookie Recipient who is bold and assertive. As your Cookie Recipient, I will push for a timetable for withdrawal. ("That's what she said.") I will stimulate growth in the market ("that's what she said"). I will take things as they come, and when needed, I will take charge, get right on top of things, and make sure we all arrive at a satisfying conclusion ("that's what she said"). And when a joke gets old and increasingly forced, "stay the course" will not be my policy. ("That's what... oh, wait. Damn.")

Ladies and gentlemen, I assure you the American dream is alive and well. Only in a country as wonderful as ours can any man rise above the cookieless stratum into which he is born to new confectionary heights. Through hard work, sacrifice, and untraceable cash bribes, we can create better, more corpulent lives for our children.

As my manifesto is coming to a close, I should probably offer the confused among you, a.k.a. all of you except for this guy, a link explaining (sort of) what the crap I'm talking about.

In conclusion, Goth Pigeons. God bless you, and God bless America!

* Note: Technically speaking, Governor Vilsack and I are neither friends nor colleagues. But I know a girl who lives in Iowa, and I watched "Field of Dreams", and dammit, that should count for something.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Open your mouths

In the film The Last Supper, a twisted yet entertaining flick about a group of intellectual liberal grad students who decide to start inviting people who disagree with them on fundamental issues to dinner and then poisoning them, one poses the following question to a conservative talk show host, played by Ron Perlman: if you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you? The grad students have all determined that they would, because the death of a single young art student would be a worthy sacrifice to save the millions of lives lost during the Holocaust; in fact, such is the very justification for their murderous rampage. However, the Perlman character says, simply, "No. I would talk to him."

In Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore's intriguing pseudo-documentary about the school shootings at Columbine High School, the most reasonable voice comes from none other than shock rocker Marilyn Manson: when asked what he would say to the Columbine killers, he replies, "Nothing. I would listen to what they had to say, because that's what no one did."

In the real world, the one in which we live, the White House has refused to engage in discussions with Syria and Iran about the increasingly daunting quagmire its actions have created in Iraq. You know we're living in strange times when the President of the United States makes Marilyn Manson seem reasonable.

It's possible that Ron Perlman's character may not have succeeded in convincing Hitler not to slaughter countless innocents. It's possible that Manson listening to the Columbine kids would not have altered their course of action. And, of course, it's possible that talking to Syria and Iran will not help us to find common ground and to move forward in stabilizing the reason. But that doesn't matter: to not even try is simply UNCONSCIONABLE.

What sort of nation do we establish ourselves to be if we will only communicate with others after they have already sided with our way of thinking? Problems are not solved by only including people with the same opinion in the solution.

All is not lost until we refuse to acknowledge ideas that may be contrary to our own. The Bush administration would do well to remember that, because right now, it is starting to feel like all may be lost. It's time to rescue it from the depths. Open your mouths. Talk to Iran and Syria. It's amazing what can be accomplished when you're willing to simply engage somebody.

Song lyric of the day:
"I’m so scared about the future
And I want to talk to you
You can take a picture of something you see
In the future, where will I be?
You can climb a ladder up to the sun
Or a write a song nobody has sung
Or do something that’s never been done"
- Coldplay, Talk

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oh shit...

Just when you thought the blogosphere couldn't get any crazier, he who calls himself "Other White Meat", or OWM for short, has just gotten bored. Yes, sports fans: Aaron has started a blog.

This can only lead to bad things. I suggest we all hide.

Song lyric of the day:
"Sound from sources hits close to home
Everything that we've found says make your own destiny
But you're unaware that you should be scared
Maybe you'll learn from mistakes that we make"
- Get Up Kids, Close to Home

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

If Tom DeLay says it, it must be true

Uh oh, according to esteemed former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Barack Obama is communist. My respectable former Congressman says the Illinois Senator, who may be mulling a run at the presidency, has the Senatorial vote record of a Marxist. Coming from Mr. DeLay, who has never taken action for pure political gain, you know it's an accusation worth investigating.

Oops, pardon me. A brief visit to revealed that some of my above words were mistaken. Apparently, "esteemed" does not mean "corrupt", "respectable" does not mean "currently under indictment in the state of Texas", and "never" does not mean "only". My apologies.

Message to Tommy Boy: there's not that much clear air to spare as it is. Please stop polluting it with your blatantly partisan nonsensical drivel. Thanks. And rest assured that, since Senate votes are a matter of public record, if Obama is really the leftwing nutbar you claim, rather than the slightly-left-of-center reasonable human being I suspect him to be, it will be found out in due time.

Song lyric of the day:
"I don't want you to try and save me
No, I don't want you at all
If you talk too much, my head will explode"
- People in Planes, If You Talk Too Much (My Head Will Explode)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Aaron told me about this yesterday, and though my search for sources was mostly unfruitful, apparently it is true: in Michigan, a man can now go to jail for leaving a pregnant significant other.

The title of this post really sums that one up, so I'll reiterate: "Um..."

Do I really need to comment further on the stupidity of this?

The best part is there's no way to vote against this bill. If you do, you're anti-family values and pro-coercive abortion. Brilliant!

Song lyric of the day:
"One way or another
I just wish I had known
To go out walking in the sun
To find out if you were the one"
- Counting Crows, All My Friends

Friday, December 01, 2006

Concert review: the Hold Steady

Anybody who has talked to me in the past two months knows I don't go long without mentioning a little bar band called the Hold Steady. Their blend of bluesy hard rock and beat poetry hooked me in from the moment I streamed their new album Boys and Girls in America.

Last night, I got to see them play live at the Orpheum in Ybor City, which is one of those great concert venues for outside-the-mainstream bands. In my case, it's particularly nice, because halfway back, there's a step up to the bar about eight inches higher than the main floor. By positioning myself on that platform, I can actually see (which is rare for me at concerts).

From the moment the Hold Steady took the stage, I knew I was in for a hell of a show. I have never seen a group of guys look like they're having more fun on stage, and I've been to a lot of shows. In particular, lead singer Craig Finn just oozed joy from the opening riff of Stuck Between Stations to encore closer Killer Parties, during which the band started pulling people from the crowd up on stage with them. These guys love their audience because, in a way, they are their audience. Listen to them and you'll see what I mean.

Performance highlights include:

  • Finn's introduction to Chips Ahoy ("Like every good song, this one is about a guy, a girl, and a horse")
  • The cathartic yell of "Ybor City!" when it was mentioned lyrically during Cattle and the Creeping Things and Killer Parties
  • The 100 beer salute that greeted Party Pit's "gonna walk around and drink some more" coda
  • Continually crescendoing "whoa-oh-oh"s during Massive Nights (the band was particularly exuberant during this part)
  • Finn describing the awkwardness of trying to explain an album about sex, drugs, and drinking to his mother (a story told before closer Southtown Girls, which is actually one of the tamer songs along those lines)

Unfortunately, they missed First Night, but that may have been due to confusion caused when the drunken crowd chanted for "Last Night" toward the close of the show. Amazingly, even though it's my favorite song on the album, I didn't really miss it. Besides, it's a ballad anyway. The Hold Steady showed up last night to rock from start to finish, and they did.

Song lyric of the day:
"I got bored when I didn't have a band
So I started a band"
- the Hold Steady, Positive Jam