Saturday, September 03, 2005

Rants & Observations (this one's a really long one....)

Lots of stuff running in my mind this week that I didn't blog about, or didn't even write down. Think I'd remember any of it? Of course not. But Rachel took me to dinner tonight, which included beers, so my mind is in prime condition to spew forth its meanderings! It's been a tough week. My best friend is dealing with work changes, buying a house and a mother who probably won't live long enough to see any grandchildren. And I can't do anything to help. Katrina did her thing, and the effects are just now beginning to ripple throughout the country. A 50% increase (or more) in gas prices in the past year is immoral, unethical and unnecessary. And I can't do anything about it. I refuse to get sucked into the debate about federal aid and response. But I think that this whole thing's been an eye-opener on so many fronts. So strap yourselves in--I've got some things to say.... Let the pontificating begin!
  • The big news--Katrina. I have purposely said nothing, partially because there are others much more capable of writing about the good and the bad, and partially because my views might be considered cold and politically incorrect. Let me first state that this was/is a tragedy of epic proportions, and it's very difficult to watch the news and not get a tear in my eye. My prayers go out to anyone either personally affected, or who knows of anyone personally affected. But you know what? These people may as well be tsunami victims in Indonesia. I have no emotional connection to anyone there. I don't personally know anyone who lives there. I haven't been glued to the TV or phone waiting for news about friends or relatives. I feel badly for those who do, but I am detached from the whole event. As wrong as it may sound--these people chose to live in a hole in the ground that was 20' below the sea level all around them. As a society, we have become complacent and arrogant towards nature. If you live in an area where hurricanes blow, things like this are going to happen. Same with Florida. Same with Tornado Alley. Same with the people who build multi-million dollar homes in forest land or at the base of a volcano. At some point in time, Mother Nature is going to give you the finger, and there's not a thing you can do about it. The chances of the US being hit by more major hurricanes this season is 43%, according to some statistic I read. What if this wasn't "The Big One"? I thank God on a regular basis that I have the sense to live in Montana, where all we have to worry about are the grizzlies, the buffalo, a little cold and some forest fires!
  • The looters. First off, there was a thing going around from Yahoo News that showed two different pictures of people who were waist deep in sewage, each making off with items from a store. The captions for both (one black man, the other a white (Hispanic?) woman) were vastly different. Only one said LOOTER. You can guess which that was. Yes, friends, there is a racial bias out there!
    I hope that I will never know what it's like to be forced to break into an unattended store and steal food items. Quite frankly, if I was in the same situation, and no help was on the horizon, I probably would too. For food, clothing, medical supplies. THERE'S VERY FEW OF US WHO HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED SOMETHING LIKE THIS, AND WHO CAN JUDGE THESE PEOPLE!! On the other hand, if I see you coming out of an electronics store hauling a new plasma screen on your back, you deserve any bodily injury you might sustain, including death. I heard that the first busses to drive up to the Astrodome were school busses that were "commandeered". I think these people were doing what they had to do. Except the guy with the plasma screen. Just shoot that bastard.
  • Hurricane fundraising efforts--don't come to me on a regular basis and ask for money. I gave my AB+ blood. I wrote a very modest check to the Red Cross. That's about all I can do. But I'm going to be bombarded for months to give. If I lived in the south, I might actually volunteer to help. I don't know how, but I probably would. But I don't. Don't ask for anymore of my money, either. I can guarantee that a majority of my readers make 2-3 times more money than I do. Don't hit them up either. Go for those who make obscene amounts of money. Withhold baseball salaries for a day or two. Withhold a day or two of wages for the next blockbuster movie. Donate that money. I don't want to see U2 or Dave Matthews or Usher in concert, telling me that they've donated to the cause by performing in a concert for free. I want to see them cough up $50,000 for the privilege of performing, then go down there themselves and pick up a shovel or distribute water or nail a few boards. When I see them do that, then I might be moved to toss some money in the basket.
    Hilary Duff, who apparently has some sort of talent, pledged $250,000 to the relief efforts. Ignoring for the moment the rant about how a 20-ish young lady has the means to do that, compare that to Louisiana native Britney Spears Whatever-Her-Hubby's-Name-Is, who wrote a heartfelt note on her website that she was felt bad for her friends and relatives affected by the hurricane. Hilary--I might even buy your latest CD for what you've done. BRAVA!!! Most of the celebrities/athletes in the US should be ashamed. Where are the Olsen twins at a time like this? They've got zillions. They obviously aren't spending it on Big Macs. What's the total contribution from the Atlanta Braves' bullpen? I'm guessing it isn't close to a quarter of a million. The point being--get the money from those who have more than they could ever dream of using in 10 lifetimes.
  • Speaking of benefit concerts--In Cahoots will be playing on Sept. 11th for a local thing here called Lost & Foundation. It was started by musicians in town to raise money for specific charity cases in town. Eight hours of music on three stages, with 15 bands, auction items, etc. This concert's recipients will be the 3 young boys of a single mother who was brutally murdered by a guy high on meth earlier this summer. Yes, we all play for free. Yes, we all end up buying alot of the auction items ourselves. Yes, there's alot of businesses and individuals who donate time, merchandise and facilities. Yes, I am a thousand times more likely to support this than hurricane relief.
  • Bacardi & Cola commercials. I don't know what I specifically like about these commercials, but I find them hilarious. Must be the 70s flashbacks I occassionally have. Whatever it is--I think they're great! Anyone else?
  • HNT--The numbers continue to climb. Over 140 people this week that I found. With a little international flavor, too! Hope to have a treat for you by next week's post. And don't forget that Dorky Tuesday is next Tuesday, September 6th!
  • On the subject of blog comments--I'm looking for an opinion from the ladies. We're all having fun with each other's degrees of nekkidness. As we should. Certain commenters even go somewhat over the top, and we expect that, and we accept it and love them for it. But subtly, over the past couple of months, I've noticed that alot of comments, whether for HNT or not, have a sophomoric, college fratboy inflection to them. And not in a joking-type manner. From guys who I don't think are of college age. As a middle-aged guy (there, I've actually admitted it), I find alot of them offensive, not only to you, but to me as a guy. I can dismiss the overtly crude--those are obviously intended that way. But there's the second type. The type that Human Resources would call sexual harrassment if they were ever said in the workplace. Two questions: Do these guys think they're original or cute or somehow putting forth their best assets or that they might be lucky enough to get an internet date? Do you, as a female, get that "icky" feeling when you read them?
  • Missing In Action--Two fellow HNT participants seem to have up and disappeared. No blog left behind or anything... Does anyone know what happened to Bez (Musings of a Crazy Cat Lady) or to Skinny Dip (Here For The Party)? If either of you are lurking out there and reading this, know that we miss you and hope all is well. Let us know somehow, OK?
  • A request for some of you. Whatever hosting service you're using to post videos sucks! Castpost seems to be fairly stable, but there's a couple of others that gum up the works pretty consistently. I've had to force quit my browser on numerous occasions because the videos were hung up. Or I get a message saying something along the lines that I'm not going to get the video. I hate that! Anyone else have that problem?
  • Along the same lines--if you're going to post an audio clip or mp3, can you set it so that it doesn't automatically start without my say so? (again, Castpost is wonderful!) Nothing worse to be relaxing to iTunes, and have some poorly recorded death metal or rap mp3 blasting out at full volume without warning, waking every living being within a 2-block radius!
  • Nalley's Dill Pickle Dip. The greatest chip dip out there. Albertson's no longer carries it. I think there's only one place in town that does now, and they tend to jack up their prices. What to do? What to do?
  • Traffic lights--regardless of the route I took to work in the morning this week, EVERY light I came to was a red light. I even took one route that had one light the entire way--it turned red one car ahead of me. The traffic gods have it out for me....
  • Willie Nelson!! He'll be playing in Missoula next Friday. Rachel and I are going to go. If we both don't forget to go...
  • The I.R.S.--just got notice that they want to garnish my wages for not paying my fair share of taxes (1995 & 2001). I may not have reported all my income in those years. That's the bad news. The good news--I make less than their exemption amount! Now I'm just waiting for them to come for my car. That's good for about $125.
  • Busy month for my lips--We have 5 gigs in the next 2 weeks, plus a full rotation of symphony rehearsals, with the concert on the 17th. My lips will be in fine form by then. Anyone interested in confirming that? Didn't think so....
  • U of Montana Alumni--A blogger emailed me this week about a music file she was interested in. Noted that I had mentioned my mentor in grad school (she's a stalker--that was 2 months ago!). Anyway, she works for the alumni office, and asked if I would be interested in a profile on the UM website, where they have a photo rotation of alumni, students and staff. That should be kind of neat!

Whew! That's a little weight lifted from my shoulders! If you made it this far--you need to get a life! I hope I haven't offended many of you with my rants. Don't bother commenting if you're going to try to sway my points of view. I respect your views, and your rights to express them--I just don't want to read them! Have a great weekend! Drink some cold ones. Enjoy the last days of summer. Don't do anything stupid! And be prepared for Dorky Tuesday!!

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