Cold As Ice

icebucketidiots

Let’s talk about that stupid fucking ice bucket challenge. Yup, I called it stupid. I really cannot stand this whole thing. This is one if those things that sort of took off, because we’ve become a total meme culture that has to follow something because someone (usually their favorite celebrity, because nothing matters more to so many people these days than what the celebs “care” about) else does it. Think about what this thing is. You’re nominated by someone and either donate $100 to an ALS charity or you dump a fucking bucket of water and ice on yourself. Basically, it’s a bully move dressed up as philanthropy. I thought this started as a whole “wouldn’t you rather give us some money rather than be doused in ice cold water? Come on, buddy, you know you want to stay dry ;)” until it took off as this whole “Haha look at me. I was up to it. Aren’t you?”

Fuck all of you. I am so turned off by this, because it’s a whole social bullying thing now. Aren’t most if your friends on Facebook berating anyone who thinks that the challenge is dumb, or complains about water being wasted, or whatever? I’ve seen more than a few of mine do it. This is philanthropy at its absolute worst.

I ow my opinion on this is unpopular. I also know that ALS is a serious disease. I am also sure that the ALS charities are better charities to donate to than a charity like Susan G Komen. I’m sure these charities do important work. But this peer pressure campaign rubs me the absolute wrong way. Let me choose where I want to donate my money. Or, better yet, let’s take some of this energy and use it to pressure world governments to actually pony up their money and resources to try and cure this disease. Until then, take your ice bucket and fall in it.

Photo Credit: MSNBC

Gimme Shelter

MISSOURI-master1050

I started writing this on August 14th. I let it go for almost a week, but, nope, the anger still hasn’t bubbled over.

See those guys in the full tactical gear up there, standing in front of an armored vehicle? That looks like it should come from a report in Iraq, or Syria, or Gaza. We’ve seen so many of those images over the past 13 years that we’re pretty immune to them, I think. Except, this is not any of those places. This is motherfucking Missouri. MISSOURI for Christ’s sake. The middle of our own damn country. This is the fruition of 13 years of fear and loathing in the wake of 9/11. We’ve officially descended into a police state.

Why do townie cops in suburban towns need full tactical gear, high powered rifles, gas grenade launchers, and armored vehicles? Are they the NYPD? Are they trying to prevent another 9/11? Hell, we could have a whole other argument about whether the NYPD really needs to be a junior division of the US Army, but that’s for another time. Life in a lot of these places isn’t all that crazy. There aren’t a ton of major crimes like in a big city, or on the Mexican border, and etc. And this generation, shit. Think about this. You have a generation of kids who grew up playing Halo and Call of Duty and such, and now they get to do it for real. That line of thinking isn’t just me generalizing. I think it’s encouraged. Becoming a cop isn’t just about protecting your town and doing some good. It’s about being the hero and saving everyone. And we wonder why some of these responses aren’t proportional?

Even more troubling is how the local police are handling this. Hiding the identity of the cop who shot the kid? Hiding the investigation? Realizing that hiding the cop doesn’t work and doxing him only to frame it as “the kid was a robber, so he totally deserved to get shot all those times”? Sending out your idiot cops in full motherfucking tac gear and armored vehicles, having them fire tear gas and flash bangs, and expecting less? This is all from the “Holy shit, here’s how to do it as wrongly as possible” manual. This is not motherfucking America anymore. This shit has gone to the gonzo zone. And the worst part of it is, even as more and more facts come to light, continuing to hide the police report about the shooting just makes things look worse. Maybe the kid did come at the cop in a threatening way that caused the cop to defend himself. You would think, though, that if that were in the report, they would have put that shit out the day it happened, and this likely would have blown over more quickly.

Let’s not forget the real stew that has bubbled over and then some. Ferguson, MO, is predominately black. Its power structure and police apparatus is predominately white, and pretty obviously racist as fuck. This really isn’t news. Minorities all over this stupid nation have to deal with the presumption of being guilty just because of the color of their skin. Keep that shit happening and it turns into a powder keg. A powder keg that exploded the minute that kid got shot. Don’t let anyone dissuade the happenings here. The race problem runs deep in this shit. Like it does when so many other minorities get done in by the strictures of power that are meant to protect them. The sad part is that so many white people can’t figure out why these people are angry. How do you think they feel when these protestors are met by an army — a real live fucking army, like they’re in the third world or some shit.

Lastly, for those of you who don’t get it. Who think the cop is the one being persecuted. Who think the kid “deserved” it. Step your white asses back and check yourselves. And for the love of fuck, don’t cry the fucking blues about how white people are being persecuted. You wouldn’t know persecution if it hit you in the balls. I know I don’t and I’m not even white. Seriously, check yourself.

This has been a fucked up week. It’s not really looking any better on the horizon yet. Maybe, one day, we’ll be able to learn from things like this and not let them happen again. A man can dream.

Header Photo Credit: The New York Times

Natural Blues

Christina Ricci and Moby

2014 marks some the anniversary for some absolutely fantastic albums, so I thought it would be fun to write about some of my favorite albums that came out a gulp long time ago. This is the first post of a multi-part series.

Eminem may have been right that no one listens to techno anymore, but for one glorious moment in 1999, a bald headed vegan techno DJ became a big deal in the music world, almost by accident. If you think about it, it’s kind of amazing that Moby had such a blip of success. When Play came out in May of 1999, he was a has-been DJ. After getting a major label deal in the mid 90s, he put out Animal Rights, a punk record that turned off both critic and fan alike. There were low expectations for Play, and it was slow to take off once it was released. Yet, history has a funny way of making something of nothing, and now we regard Play as the high point of Moby’s career, exactly at the point he thought he was washed up and was ready to get out of the music business all together.

It’s funny how it happens too, because Play is an album that’s really all over the place. Everyone remembers the Alan Lomax stuff, and for good reasons. “Honey”, “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?”, “Run On”, and “Natural Blues” are all phenomenal songs. To be frank, “Natural Blues” is still my all time favorite Moby song. Yet, there’s a lot more going on here. There’s a lot of wonderfully ambient stuff on this album. Most people remember “Porcelain”, which while not being one of the best ambient songs Moby’s ever done, is quite good. There’s even some more rock sounding stuff on here. If there’s one thing people really remember, it’s the video from “South Side”, and mostly because Gwen Stefani was in it. She wasn’t even on the album version of the song. Apparently, she was supposed to be, but something happened and they couldn’t get her on it, but she’s in the video (and in subsequent pressings of the CD, they include the version with her in it, so you’re something of a fan if you have the original one with just Moby singing on it). That was the thing that really launched Moby out there.

Well, that, and the fact that Play was the first album that had every single one of its tracks licensed for a commercial, movie, or TV show (this is a pretty good telling of just how that happened. Tanking your career with an album that everyone hates makes for some interesting ideas on how to market your next work). It’s only happened twice since apparently. You may not remember hearing that song on the radio, but you sure heard it on every other commercial you saw on TV between 1999 and 2002 or so. It’s one of those fantastic things that happens to come together and serendipitously make an album that was expected to do nothing in sales actually do several million sales and become the album everyone remembers you for.

Of course, what goes up must come down, and it didn’t really take Moby all that long to come back down. The albums that followed have never generated the same level of buzz and Moby has retreated to being a niche artist these days, but I still love him. And for a brief moment 15 years ago, so did everyone else.

I Can’t Drive 55

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/aDKLBS

So let me explain something about driving on roads in the great state of New Jersey. If your license plate looks like this:

NY License Plate

Or this:

PA License Plate

You need to understand a key concept about driving on our highways. Do not just sit in the left lane and go at or under the speed limit. It’s that simple. First of all, doing that is actually illegal. Maybe you’ve never noticed these signs on the highway, but they have an important meaning:

keep right except to pass

It means don’t get in the left lane and just drive 65. People want to get by you. You can get a ticket for that shit. Yet none of you goddamn out of state drivers learn this shit. Maybe it’s the third lane most of our highways have. Maybe it’s the fact that our roads actually move, unlike any highway in the City. I don’t know. Either way, get out of the left lane and let the rest of us go by.

(Header photo credit: Dougtone on Flickr. Licensed under a CC by-sa license)