Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Hey all,

It's New Year's Eve and I'm sure many of you are taking a moment to reflect on the past 365 days. If you're like me, you may even have taken some time to jot down your thoughts. Here are some of mine:

2007 was a rollercoaster year for me. Most notably, my health has deteriorated to the point of needing a liver transplant. I've already detailed my issues in past blogs so I'll keep this brief. I was hospitalized in July and have been battling liver failure ever since. I was listed for transplant on December 6, 2007. The past few months have been some of the hardest ever where my health is concerned. Thankfully, I've been feeling pretty good over the past couple of weeks. I hope that feeling continues up until the point I'm transplanted. We shall see.

My illness has been quite an ordeal, but I can't forget about some of the other notable happenings in 2007.

In December 2006, after almost 26 years of living with my family, I finally moved out of the house and was truly supporting myself. I had a decent job, a great apartment with a really cool roommate and had some great times, including many Patriots and Red Sox games on our killer high definition TV.

Speaking of New England sports, 2007 also saw the Boston Red Sox win the World Series for the second time in 4 years! Last night, the New England Patriots completed a perfect 16-0 season! It's a great time to be a New England sports fan.

2007 Fun Fact: I bought my first ipod this year.

In addition, my relationship with Trine grew and what started as a friendship between two people with similar (but different) health issues grew into something much more significant and special than I'd ever imagined. What began as a visit in December 2006 has become a loving relationship, partnership and, most necessary of all, a supportive friendship. I'm writing this blog from Miami, Florida, where most of you know I moved to a few months ago to be with Trine after nine months of phone calls and plane rides. I quit my job in Hartford and was in the process of moving down when I received a phone call and a job offer that I'd been hoping for, making the transition to south Florida a lot easier. Earlier in the year, my mother got a new job in south Florida so my mother, her boyfriend and my brother also moved to south Florida. Having family around has been great, especially given my health issues.

2007 Fun Fact: I ate four buffalo chicken sandwiches in a single sitting.

In August 2007, Trine and I bought Niles, an awesome puggle puppy (his mother was a beagle and his father was a pug). Niles is the sweetest, friendliest and most loving puppy you could ever want to meet. I've always wanted a dog and Trine helped make that dream a reality. Niles is now six months old and doing well. See my pics!

2007 Fun Fact: Alicia Keys' hit song "No One" is awful. Just plain awful.

Also, in 2007, my best friend, Beau, and his wife, moved away to Michigan so he could pursue his career. Though I was already planning to move to Miami, this has put a damper on our 13 years of songwriting. Our acoustic group, Championship Vinyl, is currently on hiatus, but I have no doubts that he and I will collaborate musically again in the future.

Shortly after Beau's move, I played my first solo acoustic show. It had been something I'd wanted to do for a long time, if simply to know that I could. I did and it was a lot of fun. It boosted my confidence in myself a musician. I've only played a couple shows since August due to both my move and illness, but one of my goals over the next year is to play out again.

2007 Fun Fact: Trine gave me the Nintendo Wii for my birthday. Thankfully, no blood was shed in the process.

With all the positives, I can't quite say I'm happy to see 2007 go, but I do have high expectations for 2008. Obviously, I hope to be transplanted in early 2008 and on my way to recovering and getting my life back. One of my favorite passions, weightlifting, has been put on hold until I am transplanted and recovered. I know it's going to be a long road to recovery, but I'm hoping 2008 will hold a lot of positive things for me health wise. I hope to write more fiction, blogs and music. I hope to both record and perform more in 2008.

2007 Fun Fact: This year was 60 minutes shorter than it should have been. I do not account for the hour I wasted watching the Soprano's finale.

Also, I have some friends getting married this year and hope to be healthy enough to attend their weddings in the summer. Sadly, I've already had to cancel my attendance at one wedding due to my health.

Trine is currently applying to medical schools so there may be a move in our future, but we're committed to each other and to making the relationship work. I think 2008 is going to be a very exciting year for us.

Happy New Year!!!

To 2007: It's been swell, but the swelling's gone down. Welcome, 2008.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas! (And some other stuff)

Hey everyone,

First off: Merry Christmas! This will probably be the last blog before the holiday, so I hope it's a happy one for you all and that you enjoy your brand new cars and expensive jewelry, which are evidently the true symbols of the holiday this year.

Seriously, do people really buy each other cars for Christmas? What kind of gift is it really? If you buy your loved one a $30,000 car, do you pay all $30,000? Or do you put down the initial amount due at signing and the rest is up to them? "Happy Holidays, baby. I put $2,000 down on a brand new car for you. Now you're saddled with an extra $350 per month car payment plus your insurance premium will also go up. I love you!"

Joking aside, I really am looking forward to the holiday. It will be different than previous Christmases, but change is good. I'm grateful to be spending the holiday w/ my girlfriend Trine, our half-insane puppy Niles, Trine's family, my mother, her boyfriend and my brother. I know there are a lot of people that I normally spend the holiday with, or at least see at some point, and though that's not happening this year, rest assured you're in my thoughts. With my health being less than stellar this year, family and friends seem all the more important. I'm usually not so sentimental, but I've posted the video of "Better Days" by Goo Goo Dolls on my page. I think it warrants a listen.

Even serial killers are cute at some point
Recently, CNN ran a story about a five year old Arkansas boy who killed a 445 lb bear. Now, my first reaction was 'wow, this boy was attacked and somehow managed to not only escape, but kill the bear. What a feat.' Alas, I gave him too much credit. Turns out the boy shot and killed the bear from a tree stand. Hey, that's pretty darn impress--…wait, what the fuck is a five year old doing with a rifle?! What kind of parents are raising this kid? Am I the only one who is a tad concerned? While this news item fascinating enough to make headlines, did anyone stop to realize that a 5 year old is handling a deadly firearm? And if I remember correctly, most serial killers start off killing animals as children. Let's keep an eye on this kid.

Experimental plane crash kills 1 (actual headline from
Ok, maybe this is being nitpicky, but what exactly was the experiemental part? The plane? Or the crash? "Listen Jimmy, we're trying out a new experimental way to crash this plane. It involves chickens, a grease fire and the complete first season of Gilmore Girls on DVD. You in? " Ok, so I realize the real meaning of the headline, but it doesn't take away from the fact that it's poorly written. I just thought I'd point that out, considering these people are supposedly professional writers.

If I'm offended, it must be bad….
I'm not above a tasteless joke, bad humor or pushing the envelope. You've read my blogs, you know what I'm capable of. I've blogged about school shootings in the past, including the Virginia Tech shootings, but my scorn, anger, rage, etc is always aimed at the pathetic loser who commits the crime and I never intend to poke fun or make light of the victims. That being said, there are some pictures circulating on the internet via Facebook of some college kids (in Pennyslyvania, I think), including one very obviously drunk girl, dressed up as Virginia Tech victims for Halloween, complete with V-Tech shirts, bullet holes and fake blood. What's even worse is that the kids admit that they're being disrespectful assholes. In fact, their intent was to shock and disgust fellow party goers and they showed no remorse when the pictures surfaced. This really pissed me off.

First off, you skank, you wanna shock someone? How about not having to do the walk-of-shame home the next morning with vomit and some guy's dong stains in your hair.

Secondly, I wholeheartedly support any threats of violence and retaliation on the part of current Virginia Tech students who are saddened, angered, outraged and disgusted by this display of utter disregard for the victims. Some people, regardless of gender, just need to get a good, old fashioned ass-kicking.

Lastly, the more I hear about what goes on on Facebook, the more credibility Myspace gets.

Anyhow, I hope you all get what you want for Christmas and that Santa Claus tickles you all in the right spots. Have a Merry one!

Next blog: Looking back on 2007, Looking forward to 2008.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

To All My Friends

Hey everyone,

Thank you in advance for reading this blog. This is particularly important because it's one of the more serious entries I've ever written. I've talked to some of you on the phone so this may not be a surprise to everyone, but for those of you whom I have not been in contact with in the past month or so, this is the best way for me to keep in touch at the moment.

Those of you who know me, or have kept up with my blogs, remember the situation this past summer where I wound up in the hospital with severe jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes due to bile in the bloodstream a.k.a bilirubin level), elevated liver enzymes and an intense headache. Most of you also know that I have had Biliary Atresia, a rare liver disorder, since birth. I've gotten 27 years out of a damaged liver and am grateful for every moment.

Up until July, I had been the picture of good health. I watched my diet and worked out 4-6 days/week. In July, I spent eight days in the hospital. The doctors ran all sorts of tests (spinal tap, liver biopsy, CT scan, X-rays) but all they did was rule out diagnoses. I was released with a "wait and see" discharge plan. The doctors had attributed my illness to an acute toxic injury, possibly due to a weight lifting supplement I had been using, and were confident that with time, and a low fat, high protein diet, all would be well. They were wrong.

Since my hospitalization, I've continued to battle elevated liver ezymes and decreased liver function, resulting in jaundice (bilirubin 10 times my normal range), itching and general discomfort. For example, most people have a bilirubin of less than 1. I've always been between 2 and 3 because of my Biliary Atresia. As of my labs last week, my bilirubin was at 28. Sometimes my episodes would coincide with me eating a meal high in fat or protein, most notably pizza. Things would level off, then spike again. I spent weeks trying to figure out what in my diet/environment could be causing me to get sick. Dairy? Fat? I was not getting the answers I needed. The 'wait and see' mentality was getting me nowhere. I was aggravated because I'd never dealt with this before. I'd been so healthy that I was quick to take my docs word and didn't always know what questions to ask, or think that I should doubt the diagnosis. I could not deny, however, that my liver was still acting up.

In the midst of all of this, I made the decision to quit my job and move to Miami, Florida to be with my girlfriend, Trine, and our puppy, Niles. Trine assured me that the doctors in Miami were amazing and would get to the bottom of what was making me ill. Just before I left, I had another episode of jaundice. I had labs done, my bili was very high and the doctors wanted to bring me in for tests to determine if there was a blockage in the bile flow. I was supposed to leave on September 24 and they wanted me to come on in on September 27. Against doctor's advice, I opted to leave for Miami anyway. Despite the labs, I was feeling good. I got one last set of labs and left the morning on September 24 as scheduled. Later that day, I found out my labs indeed looked a lot better than the previous week. Another piece of good news came the following day as I was traveling through North Carolina; I got the job offer that I had been waiting for, complete with benefits (medical insurance!) starting immediately and a base salary beyond what I was expecting. Life was good.

I got through about a week of life in Miami before I got sick again. My skin became jaundiced and itchy again and I was throwing up every so often. While I knew I needed to see a specialist, in the meantime I made an appointment with a general practitioner in order to get labs done and found that my liver functions were once again elevated. After keeping a food log, together (though mostly Trine's idea) we concluded that my liver could no longer handle large amounts of protein. As someone who has always enjoyed a high protein diet, this was a hard realization. I'd only worked out a handful of times since July, lost a lot of weight and, while I still had some muscle tone, my muscle mass was reduced. This was hard enough, but cutting out protein, the building blocks of muscle, was tougher still. I started a very low protein diet (vegetarian, for the most part) and I did see improvement in both appearance and the way I felt overall. I realized that this was only a band-aid solution. My general practitioner would be good for getting labs and a check-up, but I needed to see a real liver specialist. Trine, whose love and support (and connections at the hospital) have been invaluable to me during this time, was able to get me an appointment with one of the best hepatologists in the country, Dr. Eugene Schiff. We faxed him my medical records and, before I even saw Schiff on October 23, he had made up his mind: I would need a liver transplant.

While I wasn't expecting to need a transplant, I was grateful for answers. The doctors up north had provided none. To my relief, my health issues weren't due to anything I was doing; not the creatine supplement, not the fat, not the protein. I was finally becoming symptomatic of the secondary biliary cirrhosis caused by my liver disorder. My family did not seem surprised by this and always knew that transplantation was a possibility.

Overall, there's a feeling of optimism between myself, my family, Trine and the doctors. I'm young, relatively healthy and will get through the transplant, and subsequent recovery. I will feel better than ever; better than I did on my healthiest day pre-transplant. The liver is the body's engine. When it's on the fritz, everything suffers. I'm finding that out firsthand. But I'm getting a new engine and my body is going to feel unlike it ever has before.

While I'm 110% optimistic about the transplant and recovery, it's the waiting that's got me feeling anxious. I'm in the process of getting various tests and procedures done so they can place me on the list for transplant. If all goes well, I will be on that list by early December. Then I wait. Trine's mother said she would be surprised if I was waiting for more than a few months, but I must try to prepare myself to wait as long as necessary and hope that I can maintain a good level of health until then.

In the interim, I'm doing my best to just live my life. My new job is going alright. Sometimes it's hard to concentrate and stay focused when I'm feeling uncomfortable. I'm still training and getting acclimated, but it's pretty much the same job that I had up in Hartford so I know what to expect and have the experience to do the job. One thing I did not expect, however, is the guy who masturbates in the men's room during his lunch hour. I kid you not. It's easily one of the most disturbing things I've had the unfortunate experience of hearing (on two separate occasions). Yes, there's a stall door separating him from other bathroom patrons, but it's pretty easy figure out what's going on. Gross. Should I contact someone? What do you do in this situation?

Moving on...

To my delight, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series and the New England Patriots are demolishing every team in their path. I spend a lot of time walking the puppy, taking him to the dog park, watching TV/movies with Trine, and reading. Trine got me the Nintendo Wii as an early birthday gift so that's been a lot of fun as well. I haven't been playing nearly enough guitar lately, but I aim to start writing music again soon. I bought a new toy for recording over the computer so hopefully I'll have some new music in the near future. A couple weeks back, I met up with some high school friends in Atlanta for our annual football excursion. Despite me not feeling 100%, it was still a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to the holidays and experiencing my first Christmas season in the south.

The hardest part has been dealing with my current symptoms: jaundice, severe itching at times, low energy and a general 'blah' feeling. I have a new job, new living situation, new responsibilities, not the least of which is an extremely high energy puppy, and it's really tough coming home from work feeling like I just want to sleep.

Sadly, I've had to sacrifice some plans that I was really looking forward to. Trine and I had a trip to Maine planned for Thanksgiving. I have been advised that it would be a bad idea to be so far away from the transplant center in Miami. I was really looking forward to seeing family up there, but I realize that my health is 1 right now and I don't want to be in Maine and have something go wrong. Thankfully, my mother, her boyfriend and my brother also live in south Florida now so they will join us for the holiday. It will be a while before I am able to travel again.

This is very hard for me. So much has changed in so little time. I haven't had a lot of energy lately. I don't exercise regularly right now and miss it. There is a gym in our building and if I feel up to it, I might try and do light workouts in the coming weeks, but I will be not working to build muscle for quite some time. I enjoy being down here, but miss my friends and family back home. I am saddened that visiting with them is no longer as simple as booking a flight and spending a weekend in Connecticut.

Visitors are always welcome and the support of Trine, my friends and my family is going to be especially important in the coming months.

If you've read this to the end, thank you.

Sincerely, Ryan

Monday, October 29, 2007

Commercial Failures

Hey all,

Ok, first up. The freakin' Red Sox did it again!! World Series champs for the second time in four years! Curse? What Curse? Perhaps that Yankees will be dealing with their own curse now that their golden boy A-Rod has decided to seek employment elsewhere. I'm stoked to see what the 2008 season has in store. In the meantime, I'm perfectly happy to watch the Patriots destory everything and everyone in their path.

Halloween is almost here and I've yet to watch any horror movies lately. I will be fixing that by checking out Saw IV tomorrow night after work. Otherwise, it'll be a low key Halloween for Trine and I. Since we live in a gated apartment complex, I'm not expecting many trick or treaters. I have no clue how many kids live in the building. I don't think I've actually seen any. I was tempted to repost my blog from Halloween last year; the one that's actually about Halloween. This one, as you'll notice, is not. Please check it out and comment if you like. Or keep reading. Or both. Yes, do both. Thanks!!

Please, No Moshing
Being a musician, as well as fan of music, occasionally I go to concerts. I used to go a lot more when I was younger, but now it's tapered off quite a bit. Concerts really haven't changed since I was a lad, but I've grown less tolerant of the whole atmosphere. I've noticed that the younger the audience, the more ridiculous they are. For example, over the past two weeks I've seen New Found Glory, a pop-punk band who sing primarily about girls, and Nonpoint, a pretty awesome metal band, headlining the Great American Rampage Tour. Now, judging from those two shows, which one would you expect to be more violent? I think you see where I'm going with this.

The New Found Glory show had the most fights and disrespectful people in the audience than I've ever seen. While the Nonpoint show spawned a couple of altercations, the average age of the audience was a few years older, more adept at handling their liquor, and generally more mature. Now, this theory has its limits. I've yet to hear of any brutal fist fights occurring at a Wiggles show. Though, I could be wrong.

Another thing about concerts is that crowd surfing is nowhere near as cool as depicted on television. On TV or in the movies, when someone decides to crowd surf, it's team effort. The person is lifted up over the audience and the crowd actually carries them to front of the stage. The person is smiling and the crowd loves it. All in all, it looks awesome. In reality though, the crowd couldn't give a fuck about the person crowd surfing and wants nothing more than to drop their nasty ass on the floor. Basically, the main goal is to get the surfer's sweaty crotch away from your face. Most people get dropped in the middle of the crowd before they even reach the stage. If you do make it to the front of the stage, you'll most likely be manhandled by one of the bouncers hopped up on steroids and anti-depressants stemming from the realization that their job consists primarily of putting high school kids in headlocks.

But before you even get to the concert, you have to buy the ticket, and with the ticket purchase come convenience fees. How else do you pay $64 for two $20 tickets? The ticket outlets charge outrageous fees. I don't like the term 'convenient.' Yes, if I sit on my butt and order the tickets via the internet, that is convenient and, though I don't like it, I understand why I'm paying the fee. But how do they justify calling it a convenience fee when I have to get in my car and drive to a local ticket outlet, stand in line and wait for some high school drop out to finish his Orange Julius and get me my tickets? Really, folks, it's a psychological thing. Do I mind paying $30 for a concert ticket? No. What bugs me is when the ticket is $20 with an additional 50% tacked on in bullshit fees. I wish they'd just plug the fees in to the cost of the ticket.

Commercial Failure
Is it just me or do there seem to be an extraordinary amount of stupid commercials on TV. Maybe I'm just more observant, or more pissed off, but I'm noticing more and more ads that just annoy the hell out of me.

Here's a few:

I'm downright sick of Taco Bell. The Cheesy Beefy Melt? Seriously, could Taco Bell any less creative? And then there's the commercial where the older brother schools his younger brother on some of life's little rules, i.e. never buy a lapdog, never date a girl with a dragon tattoo and always put chili on your Nachos BellGrande. Then his girlfriend with the dragon tattoo comes by and puts this small fluffy dog in his lap. What the hell is this commercial saying? Obviously, the older brother is a hypocrite and cannot live by his own advice. So should one NOT put chili on their Nachos BellGrande? I'm honestly not sure what the message is. I think the wise thing to do would feed the nachos to dog before his awful Taco Bell farts scare his tattooed girlfriend away.

And here's an AT&T commercial I'd like to see:

"Hi. I'm Ted Bundy. I'm a serial rapist & murderer. I began killing women in Tacoma during the early 70's. I went to law school in Salt Lake City. I escaped from a court house in Aspen and then slaughtered and brutalized college co-eds in Tallahassee. So I need a network that will work where I live, rape and murder: A place called TacoSaltAspAssee."

AND this commercial for the Chevy Malibu where the woman is running along and just WHAM! smacks into the car. Then they have a second commercial where the stupid tart gets right up and runs SMACK right into the car again, revealing some sort of mental defect or abuse at the hands of a lover. Anyhow, the point of the ad is that she ignored the "brand x" car, whereas the Chevy Malibu is a car that cannot be ignored. Not unlike the idiocy of this ad campaign.

And speaking of stupid car commercials: how about that pompous Mercedes commercial where they brag how they spent seven years and 14,000 test crashes just so the doors could handle the weight of a couple fat middle-aged men. Hey, if you kick back by sitting on your car doors, chances are you don't drive a Mercedes. Probably more like something with Yosemite Sam mud flaps. Not to mention that this Mercedes C-class can slow from 80 mph to a complete stop in mere seconds. Yeah, that's fucking safe, especially for the cars behind you.

Mercedes' new slogan should be: You're Not the Only Driver on the Road, but You Can Act Like it.

Happy Halloween!! - Ryan

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Guys with Dolls

Hey everyone,

it's been about a month since I last posted a blog. A lot has happened in that time. The major life change is that I relocated from my home state of Connecticut to sunny Miami, Florida to be with my girlfriend and our awesome dog. Secondly, en route to Florida, I got the job offer that I was hoping for so I'm pretty excited about having work down here. Settling in has been a huge (albeit fun!) adjustment and not having to worry about job searching is an enormous relief.

As of Thursday, I am officially a Florida resident. Time to let the sun go to my head! I can't wait to vote! Where's the Armani Exchange?! I have a hankering to pay $90 for a form fitting t-shirt that says "punk rock" on it and looks like it was designed by a Ritalin-laced 8 year old with a Bedazzler.

Unfortunately, I'm still dealing with health issues stemming from my hospitalization in the summer. The past few months have been pretty hard on me. I've had to deal with a lot of jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin), itching and other side effects.

Aside from my initial surgeries as a baby, I have had no complications up until this past July. Liver disease is finally rearing its ugly head. I've lost weight, had to adjust my eating habits big time and haven't been working out the past month or so. It's been tough to put my passion of weightlifting on hold until I can get healthy again. The upside is that I am in great hands. Besides having a very supportive base down here (my family, Trine and her family) I am also surrounded by some of the best doctors in the field. I am confident that they will be able to figure out what is wrong with me. The doctors in Connecticut were less than proactive and seemed a little too comfortable to just wait it out. I'm done waiting it out.

Kids are Stupid
In Leesburg, Florida, 12 year old David Cody Hudson was found on the floor of his bedroom with a belt around his neck. He died a day later The police originally thought his death a suicide due to the karate belt wrapped around his neck. However, it turns out David and other students had been playing something called the "choking game." This "game" involves reducing oxygen to the brain to create a euphoric feeling. Wow. So is this what kids do in between the latest Playstation and Xbox releases? Is childhood really that boring?

Ok, sooooo…. if it's a choking game, my question is: did David win or lose?

Does He have a kung-fu grip?
In Knoxville, Tennessee, an 11.5-inch tall Jesus doll has created a controversy since some WalMart stores have decided to test market the doll in various locations. The doll is one of several faith-based toys created by One2believe that are being sold along side other action figure toys. Others include 'Tickle Me' Judas and Rock Em' Sock Em' Cain and Abel.
First Baptist Church's senior pastor, Bill Shiell said, "To reduce Him to a doll purports to say that we somehow know what Jesus looked like and that we can play with Him as a figure much like we could play with any other object like Bob the Builder."

Oh come on, we have pretending to know what Jesus looked like for ages: white guy with shoulder length brown hair and a beard. Let's not pretend this doll has anything to do with that. Truth is that Jesus probably looked more Middle Eastern than a member of the Allman Brothers band.

Susan Tatum, First Baptist's minister to preschool and Children, agrees that Jesus isn't an appropriate for a toy. Says Tatum, "Jesus is not an action figure, a fantasy or make-believe doll," she said. "I think it is important for children to know to draw that line between fantasy and reality."

Yes, people, I repeat: fantasy and reality. So which one does the Jesus doll fall under? People need to realize that reality is not the same for everyone. When you look at it, there are really a select few around the world who actually believe in Jesus Christ and Bible. There are numerous religions with varied beliefs and different Gods, and it is arrogance that leads people to believe their faith is the one true way. Sorry folks, you can't all be right.

I have no use for organized religion. I believe that faith and religion should be a personal thing. If you find some likeminded folks to share your beliefs with, great. But keep it quiet and stop pushing your beliefs on everyone else. Simply having faith is the important thing. By the time you find out if there really is a God (whichever kind you choose to believe in) you're long gone from this earth. It's having faith and believing in something (anything) that provides solace and peace to you while you're alive.

But people take it too far and try to run each other's lives based on their personal beliefs and that's where things get messy. You've heard of Separation of Church and State (despite Bush's attempt to abolish it)? Well, maybe we should just broaden the definition of the State. Maybe there'd be a bit less hatred and intolerance in the world if people kept their religion to themselves. Don't preach to me, don't try to change me and don't sell me any dolls.

The best part of the article is where Sheill advises parents thinking of buying the doll to spend the money feeding the hungry or helping out the poor. I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Remember Osama bin Laden (?)

Hi everyone!

Each year on September 11, we take a special moment to remember the horrific tragedy that occurred on that clear blue Tuesday morning in 2001 and mourn those killed in the attacks. It goes without saying that it's not far from our minds the other 364 days of the year either. I hope that we always remember and pay special tribute to those who lost their lives that day. Except the hijackers. Fuck al qaeda, their jihad and all their camel fucking friends.

That being said, I would like to propose another holiday. I would like September 12 to be known as Remember Osama Bin Laden Day. I think we should have at least one day out of the year where we take a moment to remember and disdain the man who was ultimately behind the worst terrorist attack on American soil in this country's history. We need one day where we stop killing Iraqis, one day to stop stuffing our faces with triple cheeseburgers and blaming McDonalds for our weight issues, one day to stop making fun of Britney Spears, and remember that someone was responsible for September 11 and they've yet to be captured and held accountable. Osama bin Laden was this country's prime target….for about a week and half. Then George W. Bush remembered that Saddam Hussein was mean to his daddy and would be a much easier target to take out than Osama Bin Laden. He could possibly even get him re-elected in 2004. Everybody wins! Oh yeah, except for the American people.

Yes, we need to remember Bin Laden. He remembers us. He even sends us videotapes! "Hi, it's Osama. I'm doing OK. This cave is cold. Al Qaeda is doing well. I urge the youth to rise up and be martyrs for the cause. I can't wait for the new American Idol to begin. Praise Allah" and so forth. So why don't we, as Americans, vow never to forget Osama Bin Laden. Maybe our president has, but those of us with an IQ above that of a brain-dead monkey can probably manage to wipe the oil out of our eyes and see past the debacle that is the 'War on Terror' in Iraq. Let's take this moment to remember Osama Bin Laden: the man, the terrorist, the forgotten fugitive. Let us hope that one day he pays for his crimes against this country. Because if he doesn't, some other country will.

Live like there's no tomorrow!
We've all heard that saying. People like it because it sounds good; it sounds positive, like you're living life to its fullest. Sometimes people may use it as a reason to do something new, adventurous, daring, reckless, or downright stupid. But all in all, it seems like a good bit of advice to get one through the day. Right? Don't be so sure. Living like there's no tomorrow seems like one of the worst pieces of advice you could get.

I agree that one should try and treasure every day like there's no tomorrow, but to actually live your life like that? If taken literally, this could have dire consequences. Think of all the drug use, the murders and wonton disregard for human life that would take place if everyone just lived like today was the last day they would be alive! It's actually a very selfish way to live. It'd be really hard to accomplish anything positive. No one would show up at work because who wants to knowingly work the last day of their life? Not me, bub, not me. All in all, everyone would be caught up in their own little worlds, trying to satiate their basest desires and life would pretty much suck for everyone. So don't live life like there's no tomorrow, but rather enjoy each day as it comes.

Join the Club…
On Oprah, David Letterman joked that his 3 year old child 'doesn't get' his jokes. Well, I'm 26 and I don't get his jokes. On second thought, I just don't find them funny.

VMAs: Vomit-Inducing Musical Abominations…
Ok, so I hate to admit it, but I watched a bit of the Video Music Awards this past Sunday. I knew that Britney Spears was going to be opening and I figured I couldn't lose. Either she'll look really hot or she'll be a total train wreck. Either way, this guy is entertained! And yes, I certainly was! Her performance at the VMA's was atrocious, and that is being nice. The media ripped her to shreds, and rightfully so. Her performance was soulless, uninspired and looked as if it were choreographed by a 12 year-old girl.

One thing I disagree with, however: Britney Spears is not fat. Sure, B-Fed doesn't have the body that she had a few years back before she had kids. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say she was fat. Her outfit certainly didn't compliment her body the way it would have years ago. If you're a girl parading around my bedroom in that outfit, go for it, but on stage, it just looked like an awkward ill-fitted bra and underwear, as opposed to a sexy dance get-up, and just added to the visual wreck that her performance was. I liked how at the end she just gave up lip synching all together.

Kanye West Sucks
Of course, the only reason MTV asked Spears to open the show is so that Kanye West would feel shafted once again. We all know how hard it is for a black hip hop artist to get any recognition on MTV these days. Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with this guy? If Kanye's music sucks as bad as his attitude, then he deserves to be snubbed. What a douche bag. Hey, there's a thought: His musical rival, Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson, has been shot 9 times. Wanna make this a real rivalry? I think West has some catching up to do.

Murder is bad! Go To Jail…for Seven Months
I'm sickened, truly disgusted, by Mary Winkler, the wife of Tennessee preacher who was convicted of murdering her husband and served a whopping 7 months in prison. Wow, that'll teach her! And she's not even a celebrity!! This isn't a fucking unpaid parking ticket; it's murder! According to Winkler, she suffered many years of abuse at the hands of her husband, which led her to murder him, i.e. shoot him in the back with a shotgun. This was not self defense; it was cold blooded murder. Apparently, she never told anyone about the abuse because she was a weak woman and was too concerned about their image as a perfect couple to seek the help she needed. And yet, somehow, she gets sympathy and is now a free woman.

I'm not defending her husband's actions, if he indeed abused her. There's no defending physical abuse, but….we'll never know now, will we? How convenient. To me, it just seems to set a dangerous precedent. If the supposed abuser is murdered before it's proven he was an abuser, what kind of accountability do we bestow upon the allegedly abused party? It's in our nature to sympathize with the abused and take their word for it, but we're treading dangerous waters and this is a very good example of the type of injustice that can occur.

Happy Wednesday

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Miami or Bust!

Hey sports fans!

Football season is upon us! Go Patriots! They're playing their first game of the regular season against The Jets. I can't stand The Jets. You know why? The New York Jets don't play in New York. They play in New Jersey at Giants Stadium. They don't even have their own stadium in their own state. They're barely a real team. Blecch!

Ok, big news all! Beginning on September 24, I will be leaving Connecticut and driving down to Miami for good. Currently, the job situation is up in the air but I have some positive things happening and hope to have something lined up very soon. If not, then I will accept that challenge and meet it head on. I'm very excited about the move, albeit a bit scared. I'm leaving my comfort zone and pretty much the only home I've ever known. However, I've wanted to move south for so long and I've found an amazing girl willing to let me share her apartment and life, as well as help take care of our awesome puppy, Niles. I will be closer to some members of my family as well. This is a huge deal and I'm thankful the have the love and support of friends and family. If you want my new address, please message me!

Next Saturday night, September 15, I will be performing for the last time at Javapalooza. It's a solo acoustic show and I'm very excited. My first solo performance was a couple weeks back and was an incredible experience. Thank you to all who came out for it. My best buddy Beau is off in Michigan and due to my hospitalization, we never had a final show. I will dedicate this next performance to him. Actually, I dedicated the last performance to him as well. He's been a great friend and songwriting partner for the past 13 years.

Ok, let's get ranting…

Now, I'm not a parent but I still feel particularly qualified to make the following demand: Stop leaving your fucking kids in the car when it's hot outside! I don't know what chapter of which parenting book covers this, but I can't believe that parents still neglect their kids in this fashion. Apparently, this is why you should be able to order malt liquor over the Internet. These fools shouldn't be allowed to procreate, let alone leave the house when it's hot outside. There certainly are ways to show the world you're a shitty parent that won't land you in jail or kill your child. Just look at Britney Spears.

Character Assasination!
Every office has its characters, some more common than others. There's the office clown, the slut, the kiss-up, etc. However, there are some characters that are a little harder to pick out, but can be just as amusing, if not more so, than your clichéd cast of characters. For instance:

There's the guy who pees way too long. I walk in, he's in mid-stream. I begin to pee, he's going. I finish up, he's going. I wash my hands. Still going. I slowly dry them, thinking "Good Lord." I go over my grocery list for that evening. In Spanish. Twice. He's still going. I walk out the door, and he's still pissin' away. He's like the Energizer Bunny….if the Energizer Bunny was taking a leak. If you have to use one of your alotted 15 minute breaks to take a piss, perhaps it's time for a check up.

On a related note, every office has a guy who doesn't wash his hands, even if there are other people in the bathroom who will take notice. Do not shake hands with this man. There is urine on his hands.

On yet another related note, have any of you men have ever walked into a stall and saw that the toilet seat was covered in piss? What do you do? If all you have to do is urinate, then you can do so and walk away. However, if someone walks into the stall after you, they're going to assume that you're the one who left the soiled toilet seat. This happened to me a number of times when I worked in a smaller office and the bathroom was unisex with a single toilet. I'm certainly not going to clean up some other guy's mess. But if you get defensive and say, "I didn't do that," people are going to assume that you did. It's really a no-win situation, but I still believe it is better just to remain silent.

Ok, next you have the guy who is only there until something better comes along. He will let you know over and over that this is not his life's calling and therefore he's usually too good to be bothered with certain tasks that the job entails. He's only working his particular job till he lands the big executive spot making double the money with half the responsibility. "Yeah, we know. You've been saying that for eight years now. Go photocopy something, ya douche."

Then there's the guy who makes jokes, but is really creepy. One morning you're gathered around the water cooler (does anyone actually do that anymore?) and talking about your new puppy and how he pooped on the rug last night. Then Mr. Creepy Jokester comes along and says something like, "I totally would have stabbed my puppy if he did that." Then he laughs. And you do, too, nervously; not because he's funny, but because you totally believe he would.

Then there's the woman who can't stop talking about her kids. I'm not a father so maybe this one isn't fair. When I'm a dad, maybe all I'll want to talk about is my kid. Yet for those of us who don't think a three year old putting his clothes on backwards and then crapping his pants is cute, this person can certainly get on your nerves. Sometimes I just wanna turn around and scream, "THAT'S NOT NORMAL!! YOUR KID HAS PROBLEMS!"

Finally, there's Chelvis. Wait, don't tell me you don't have a Chelvis!! A big, fat Chinese guy with dark hair and sideburns? Chinese Elvis; Chelvis. Chickety-Chelvis, the Chinese Elvis!

On that note, have an amazing weekend!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Barry being Barry

Hi all,

So it's been a few weeks since I was let out of the hospital. For the most part, things have been going well. I had a bit of setback on Saturday night, which resulted elevated bilirubin levels and I once again have a bit of a yellow hue. However, I'm on the mend. It's just going to take some time for things to return to normal. My liver functions are either the same or better than they were when I was released. So, slowly but surely, I'm getting back to my old self. I've gotten back to the gym a few times. I've lost a considerable amount of strength, but retained a decent amount of muscle tone so it shouldn't be too hard to come full circle once I'm back at the gym on a regular basis.

In other news, I've booked my first ever solo acoustic show for Saturday, August 25 @ Starbucks on Hebron Ave. in Glastonbury, CT. As many of you know, my acoustic group Championship Vinyl was supposed to have an awesome final show about a month back, but due to my illness, we were unable to perform. Beau has since moved to Michigan and on to the next adventure in his life. I'm incredibly happy for him. Meanwhile, I'm hangin' in Connecticut till I find a job in Florida. I'm really excited about playing this show and hope that people in the area will come out and join me. I'll be playing some Champ Vinyl tunes, some covers and a bunch of new tunes I've written. I'll have copies of my CD available for sale (cheap!).

Ok, onto the fun stuff!

I Doesn't Like Sara Lee!!
I really dislike the slogan for Sara Lee, the popular dessert maker. Like me, many people probably think the slogan is "Nobody Does It Like Sara Lee," which would actually make sense. It's actually "Nobody Doesn't Like Sara Lee," which just plain obnoxious. Why not "Nobody Doesn't Not Like Sara Lee?" or "Sara Lee is Not Not Liked by Nobody." If you're going for the confusing, take it all the way!

To Be Blunt…
This needs to be said. It's been a long time coming and I've kept my mouth shut, but I can't any longer. James Blunt is terrible. His song "Beautiful" is downright atrocious. I know there are some women reading this thinking, "But, it's such a sweet song!" No, it's not. The guy sings like a chick to chicks and somehow chicks eat it up. His lyrics indicate a musical partnership with a lovesick 12 year old boy. I recently read that his new record is going to "revolutionize soft rock." It doesn't take much to revolutionize soft rock. When a white guy with a jerry curl and a saxophone that looks like a flute can revolutionize soft rock, the bar isn't set very high to begin with. I saw an interview where Blunt said that he doesn't care about people criticizing him or "Beautiful" because that song has gotten him laid a ton. To that I wittily retort: Enjoy your bounty. You still suck.

Oh, Henry!
Well, it's done. Baseball's taint, Barry Bonds*, finally broke the homerun record. Congrats to Barry and his chromagnum forehead. Hitting 756 homeruns: So easy a caveman can do it. Sorry, Henry 'Hank' Aaron. It's a bittersweet moment in baseball history; well, mostly bitter, but I suppose there are a lot of Barry fans out there.

I know some Barry supporters argue that steroids can't make you hit a ball. I agree with this wholeheartedly. I'm not saying Barry isn't a good ball player. He has an eye for pitches that allow him to make good swings and connect with the ball. After all, you can't get a home run if you don't hit the ball in the first place. I won't deny that the guy deserves a lot of credit. That being said, while steroids don't help Barry hit the ball, I'm sure having that chemically engineered power behind the bat helped fuel some of those homeruns that might otherwise have stayed inside the park. It's a tainted accomplishment any way you look at it.

You know who should have to take steroids? Golfers! It might make that game watchable on some level. How I'd love to see Tiger Woods with 'roid rage; throwing around his clubs, splashing in the water traps, tossing handfuls of dirt at people from the sandtraps. Hell, I'd just like to see him crush a golf ball so far it leaves the course. I bet it'd be tough to hit a putt with a syringe of anabolic goodies coursing through his system. Oh can dream!

Enjoy your Wednesday

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Past Two Weeks...

The following is a pretty in-depth account of the past two weeks. I wanted to get it down in writing the best I could.

The past couple of weeks have been a blur. I started a normal weekend on July 7 and by the next night was suffering from abdominal pains and severe headaches. Eventually, through the urging of my girlfriend (because I'm very stubborn) I saw a doctor for the pain and eventually wound up in the ER and, ultimately, admitted to the hospital for eight days.

Though the headaches were the catalyst, something else was very wrong. I had turned yellow practically overnight and blood tests showed that my liver functions and levels had gone through the roof, some as high as 10x higher than normal. I was put on heavy pain medication, though that was not enough to keep the headaches away. The pain meds would wear off way before I was due my next dose and I was miserable. Meanwhile, I was extremely jaundiced, hooked up to an IV because I could barely keep food and liquids down and having incredible vivid hallucinations and nightmares due to the pain medication.

Doctors performed CT scans, MRI's, facial X-rays, a spinal tap and, finally, a liver biopsy, along with drawing blood every day. The liver biopsy was by far the strangest of the tests. Because of complications, they had to go 'trans jugular' which, as it implies, means through the neck and jugular vein. I was medicated, but only so that I did not feel pain. I was awake and aware. I could actually feel the needle pulling the tiny slivers of my liver.

While the root cause of the headaches was never fully determined, doctors ruled out aneurysms, various forms of meningitis, liver cancers and other diseases associated with my liver disorder. While I am in the process of getting other opinions, the liver biopsy shows no blockages or signs of my original surgeries going awry. It shows an acute injury of some sort due to a toxin, which could possibly be the weight lifting supplement creatine that I've been on for some time. As I said, I will be getting a second opinion.

After about five days, the headaches began to subside and I was able to go off the pain medications, though, admittedly, I wanted to be back on them if only to help me sleep. Having never stayed overnight in a hospital since my initial surgeries as a baby, I had no idea how hard it is to sleep in a hospital when not heavily medicated. I had a series of roommates, all of which were admitted to hospital at approximately 4 a.m., thus ruining any chance at a full nights' sleep. Even the quiet nights were too quiet and sleeping medication did not do any good.

What helped me through these eight days (along with pain meds!) were the love and support of friends and family members. Everyday was a parade of various people coming to keep me company, even on the days where I was barely able to hold a conversation due to the medication. People brought me Gatorade, snacks, magazines, CDs, cards, flowers and various odd toys like bubble makers, a toy guitar, and something called the 'Grossinator,' which is highly entertaining and emits declarations such as "I'm going to make a big gross fart" at a volume that's too loud NOT to be hilarious.

During all this, I thought about those people stuck in hospitals for longer periods of time with no family or friends. I've only had a handful of friends and family members in the hospital, but I never fully realized how much it means to have that support when you're the one laid up. It was truly humbling and I know that if a friend or family member is ever in the hospital, I will make every effort to visit if only for a short time. It makes all the difference. I cannot stress that enough. My girlfriend has been incredibly supportive through all of this. She was only physically able to be with me for a short time during my hospitalization, but she helped run interference between the doctors, myself and my friends and family, and even kept friends on an online support message board for liver disease patients informed of my progress. I am incredibly grateful and appreciative of her, even if I had difficulty showing it at times. My mother flew up from Florida and my brother, father and aunt were with me practically every day at some point. Once again, I cannot stress the difference this made to my mental well being during this ordeal.

I've always known that I've had a liver disease, but I've never really felt like I had one. The past couple weeks showed me that I am not above getting sick, despite my being so healthy over the years. I eat well, exercise constantly and do almost everything in my power to stay healthy, though I know it's not always enough.

When I was let out of the hospital, I was happy, but more anxious than I thought I would be. Perhaps it's the way a prisoner feels when let out of jail; happy to be free, but with the question of "now what?" looming over. It's been great to eat real food, even if things haven't tasted the same. Hospital food is truly disgusting and I get a bit queasy even thinking about what passes for nutrition. In addition, sleep has still been hard to come by, though it's getting easier each night.

I'm currently out of work, but plan on returning in one week. I certainly need the rest. My color is getting better, but I'm still a bit yellow; my appetite is strong, but things still taste a little 'off'. Sadly, Championship Vinyl had to cancel our final show at Javapalooza last Saturday night, which was pretty hard. We were both really looking forward to it and had an amazing night planned. I don't know if we will be able to reschedule, though we will be discussing it.

My health is my number one priority right now. Things have been improving and the doctor is optimistic, as am I. Once back to 100%, I aim to resume heavy job searching and make the move south. I'm also hoping to play an acoustic show or two, whether on my own or with Championship Vinyl. There are so many changes ahead; it's both exciting and scary.

To anyone and everyone who visited me in the hospital, called to follow up or wish me well, or simply read this blog all the way through: Thank you.

Friday, July 6, 2007

My Favorite Things

Minor Inconveniences
In Enid Oklahoma, a pair of pre-teen sisters (ages 12 and 10) were arrested for abducting their neighbor's one year old son and demanding $200,000 for his return. They broke into the home, stole the baby and left a note reading, "If you want to see your son again then you won't call police and report him missing and you will leave $200,000 on the sofa tonight and we will return your son back safe." It was signed "the kidnappers." The girls' identities were not divulged because of their age.

See, this is what burns me. I think the community has a right to know who these freakshows are. Fuck their age. If they're old enough to commit a felony, they should be old enough to deal with the repercussions. This isn't Africa! You can't just go around stealing babies! I am so sick of hearing about criminals coddled and protected because of their age. Kids are in such a hurry to grow up and do "adult" things like take drugs, have sex, murder people, and now apparently abduction-for-ransom schemes, so why not make them accountable in the same way that adults are?

Meanwhile, in Orange Beach, Alabama, police chased a drunk driver for miles along a highway at speeds up to 100 mph. For a resort town like Orange Beach, a drunk driver is nothing out of the ordinary. However, the real surprise was that the person at the wheel was an 11 year old girl. Oh, and that Alabama has a resort town. Who knew? Of course, her name was not released because of her age. Her BAC was higher than .02, the legal limit for minors. I didn't realize that minors had a legal limit. I thought drinking was illegal if you were a minor. I stand corrected. Again, citizens need to be aware that this bitch is on the road. Her name should be plastered all over the news. She does not deserve protection. Those who violate the rights and safeties of others should not have their rights protected to such a degree. Am I the only person who thinks of this stuff? The world is lucky I have no desire to get involved in politics.

My favorite things….
As you know, I write a lot about things that piss me off, but rarely do I blog about things that actually make me happy. So, for a change, I've decided to compile a list of things that bring a smile to my face, a warmth to my heart and a tightening to my pants. Get it? Here goes nothing:

· I like watching a speeding car get pulled over by the police
· I like it when a celebrity goes bankrupt
· I like it when a celebrity checks into rehab
· I like it when an unfit mother loses her parental rights

Ok, I know those things are kind of mean, but I need to ease into this whole "I like" stuff….

· I like going to sleep next to my girlfriend, Trine
· I like waking up next to Trine
· I like jokes about your mom
· I like it when a shark attacks a bear. (Doesn't happen often, I imagine, but how cool would that be?)
· I like (am fascinated by) all things related to the sinking/discovery of the Titanic
· I like blue whales. (They're so fucking huge!)
· I like the Boston Red Sox
· I like walk off home runs!
· I like the New England Patriots
· I like Special K Chocolatey Delight cereal
· I like Harry Potter books
· I like books on CD
· I like Family Guy
· I like stand-up comedians
· I like piano pop
· I like lifting weights
· I like Tetris (Thank you, Russia).
· I like when the rest of an album is better than the radio single
· I like old WWF wrestling videos from the 80's and 90's
· I like the words "nipple" and "breasticle"
· I like 80's metal bands where the dudes all looked like chicks
· I like fart jokes
· I like when I don't see a good friend for a while and then we get together and it's like nothing has changed
· I like the "c word"
· I like physical comedy
· I like sex first thing in the morning
· I like sex last thing before bed
· I like sex pretty much anytime I can get it
· I like diner breakfasts
· I like maple syrup on EVERYTHING
· I like when people leave comments on my MySpace page
· I like beef jerky
· I like heavy metal guitar solos
· I like acoustic guitar music
· I like performing with Championship Vinyl
· I like writing music
· I like when a reality show gets cancelled
· I like Three's Company
· I like when two girls at a bar kiss to get attention (and free drinks) and no one cares
· I like having a totally ridiculous conversation with Beau that ends with the both of us in hysterics
· I like Hawaiian pizza (w/ ham as opposed to bacon)
· I like sushi. (Ok, I love sushi)
· I like that first spoonful of peanut butter from a brand new jar
· I like movies with happy endings
· I like massages with happy endings
· I like it when overly sensitive, politically-correct people get offended
· I like it when the daughter of some stuffy politician turns out to be gay
· I like the when someone asks someone else, "What's the capital of Thailand?" And then says, "Bangkok!" and punches that person in the nuts. Funny shit!
· I like movies about freakishly huge and out of control animals.
· I like when a girl bends over and her thong shows (assuming that she has any business wearing a thong). This is called a 'whale tail", and no, it has nothing to do with the girl's weight

I also like the weekend!! Enjoy yours!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Do NOT Feed the Strippers!

Breaking News: Bush commutes the prison sentence of Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, thus refuting the idea that rich, old white men just cannot catch a break these days!

Speaking of Bush, I know I crack on him a lot. There's always someone who says, "You may not agree with Bush, but at least he stands by what he believes in." This is a stupid way of looking at it. You know who else stood by what he believed in? Hitler. And Charles Manson. And Osama Bin Laden. Standing for something and standing for something good are two different things. This follows that same idiotic logic as the 'playing God' argument I wrote about in my last blog. Hey, you may not agree with me, but at least...nah!

The big news of last week was the double murder/suicide involving WWE Superstar Chris Benoit, his wife and their seven year old mentally disabled son. True story: I ran into Benoit in the airport in Atlanta last year as he was coming out of the rest room. I said, "Hi Chris," he said, "What's up?" and kept walking. I can honestly say I saw no indication that he could commit such an act of savagery.

First off, I get antsy about the media's liberal use of the word tragedy. Tragedy is a word people love to use to dramatize everything. Benoit murdering his wife and child is certainly a tragedy; however, suicide is not a tragedy; it's a coward's way out. Though, I will say that it's tragic that Benoit's life got to the point where he felt like murder/suicide was only solution.

Another thing that pisses me off how people say things like, "There's no excuse for killing a seven year old," as if killing his wife was excusable. I know it's an attempt to seem empathetic, but I feel it just comes across as stupid and callous. Barring self defense or extenuating circumstances, there's no excuse for taking a human life, be it a seven year old child or a 43 year old woman. I don't agree that either of the murders were any more or less horrific than the other and the enormity of Benoit's crimes should not be skewed because there was a child involved.

Lastly, we all knew the media was going to blame steroids. Why not? We need to satisfy the "why" question and legally prescribed steroids were found in the house. But from what I've read, I do not see steroids as being the culprit. His latest test for steroids was negative and the murders did not appear to be the product of rage, but rather deliberation. He placed Bibles next to each of the bodies; however, no one's bringing up the ludicrous idea that he sacrificed his family to appease God. Right, because that sounds idiotic. Steroids are an easy target given the industry he was in. I do not condone steroids. They have a bad reputation, and deservingly so. I'm not saying I don't think the guy juiced; I'm sure he did. We'll probably never know why he killed his wife, child, then himself, but I'm not buying 'roid rage as a viable reason. There were bigger issues involved.

Wait! Any possibly way to blame heavy metal music? No? Ok, carry on.

Does this make me cynical?
When I saw the news articles about Jessie Davis, the pregnant woman who went missing in Ohio and then was eventually found dead, the first thing I thought was, "Wow, she's made national headlines. She must be pretty."

Shut up and strip!
A judge in Salem, Oregon ruled that lap dances are covered under free speech, thus overturning a city wide ban on "prohibitive touching," or "sexually exciting physical contact for pay." I've never really thought of lap dances as being 'free speech' though if you look at dancing as an art form, then yes, dancing of this nature should be a first amendment right. I mean, if stripping is legal, then obviously lap dances should be as well. Thinking of lap dances and free speech in the same sentence don't always sit right with me (unintentional pun!) I actually think less speech should be involved in a lap dance, and stripping in general. Personally, I don't like it when strippers make conversation. Is it because I don't value them as human beings? No. Single mothers and psychology majors need to make a buck just like anyone else. I just think that when providing a service, a fantasy, talking about their boyfriends or law school ambitions only ruins it. Honestly, I'm not good at playing along. I know the reality is that this girl would not be looking at me if I did not have dollar bills in my hand and I'm Ok with that; however I'm not OK with the stripper trying to get to know me or telling me I'm handsome. I know I'm handsome! And I'm willing to bet my appeal goes up with every dollar bill I stuff into her thong.

Truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of strip clubs in general. Yes, they're a fun night out for bachelor parties and the strippers with bullet wounds, mullets and/or lazy eyes always make for a good time. But the clubs can be creepy. Here's what I mean: Often, there's at least one guy, mid to late 60's, sitting at the front of the stage w/ a wad of singles placed upon it. As is her duty, Lola (or Candy, Bambi, Sherri, insert sexy stripper name here) is squatting down writhing and showing off the goods, while this guy just stares at her bare vagina, mouth agape with an expression on his face like he's doing complex math in his head. The crippling fear of being ever being that guy is enough to keep me away from strip clubs aside from special occasions.

Happy 4th of July

Thursday, June 21, 2007


As expected, President Bush vetoed the stem cell research bill, once again letting his religious and moral beliefs affect his ability to do any good for this country. Said Hillary Clinton: "This is just one example of how the president puts ideology before science, politics before the needs of our families, just one more example of how out of touch with reality he and his party have become." Amen Sister! Where's your Myspace page? I'm sending you a friend request as I write this. Oh, how cute. Barak Obama left you a picture comment.

Bush claims that putting an end to a human life for research purposes (as opposed to oil, right?) is one line that he will not cross, yet he comes from Texas, a state that takes pride in how many criminals they kill. Apparently, once you commit a felony, you're no longer a human being in the eyes of the law (and the religious right). Hey! Why not conduct medical experiments on convicts? Or Iraqis! Wouldn't that solve everyone's problem? Holy crap! I could be president. Ok, I digress.

Calling a stem cell a human being is like a calling a cocoa bean a Hershey bar. There is a long way to go before totipotent cells (embryonic stem cells) even think of becoming a fetus. Most of the research being done can be conducted on pluripotent or multipotent cells, which are not embryonic stem cells. Also, do not confuse totipotent, pluripotent and multipotent cells with fluripotent cells, which I completely made up.

(Thanks to Trine for helping me straighten out some facts. In hindsight, "Who gives a flying fuck about embryos" isn't the most coherent argument.)

Within this debate, I often hear the term "playing God" thrown around by people who like clichés and don't like thinking for themselves. Well, you know what? The entire field of medicine is "playing God". I would not be here if my doctor hadn't played God 26 years ago, nor would my girlfriend or countless others who are not lucky to be genetically perfect. Medication is 'playing God.' Whether you're popping pills to keep your cholesterol down or your dick up, you're playing God. Those Christian Scientist fuckbags have a point; the difference is that I am not insane. I actually value human life so I say, "Bring it on Doc. Play God!" If you want to bring religion into this argument, one could argue that God gave us the technology to be able to use for the greater good, i.e. saving human lives and making sure that I can still rock a 3 hour and 59 minute long erection when I'm 70 without having to consult a physician.

Say What Now?
I recently read that a brand new video game called 'Manhunt 2' was banned by British censors for depicting 'casual sadism.' What is that? Torturing someone while wearing jeans?

You know what I love? Walk off home runs. Baseball season is a wondrous time of year. Go Sox!

Bruised Apple? Pilot Inspektor to the Rescue!
An intervention is needed. Celebrities are in crisis! It's common knowledge that many celebrities treat their kids like trophies, which is awful enough. Even the celebrities who do not adopt still find ways to let the world know they're selfish assholes. This is evident in the names celebs give their children. For example, Apple Martin, Pilot Inspektor Riesgraf-Lee, Suri Cruise and Coco Arquette are all real names bestowed upon celebrity spawn. Sly Stallone named his kid Sage Moonblood. I shit you not.

No kid is going to enjoy being named Apple or Coco. That sounds more like my breakfast than suitable names for a child. When Kal-el (Nicholas Cage's son) is getting beat up on the playground, the kids aren't going to care that his dad is famous, nor are they going to care that Kal-el is Superman's birth name. When Apple is being teased by the other kids, they won't care that her father makes boring music. I'm not saying everyone needs to be named Jessica or Joseph. There is certainly room for creativity and originality, but…come on. People are so fast to use the cliché "think of the children" so for fuck's sake, think of the children!

Grand Finales

Life doesn't always give you closure. Life doesn't always have neat tidy endings with clear and concise explanations as to what happened and why. So that's why we turn to TV! But sometimes, TV decides to fuck with our heads and give us a symbolic 'what does it all mean' ending that provides more questions than answers and just pisses us off. So we ask ourselves why we devoted the past 6 years following this television show (Sopranos!) just to have some artsy fartsy ending make us wonder if the power went out. Sometimes the pressure of it all can go to a script writer's head. David Chase knows he can't please everyone, so he opts to please no one but himself. Does Tony die? There are various signs that point to yes. That guy in the diner in the final scene happened to be the second cousin of a guy that Christopher 'whacked' back in episode 4 of season 3. What? You missed that episode? Damn, if only you'd had DVR back then. I haven't felt so empty by a series finale since Seinfeld. Then again, how do you end a show about nothing?

In all honesty, I'm over Sopranos. Some call the ending genius; others feel like they got 'whacked' in the end. But due to the fact that I've attended two wakes the span of six days, I can't help but think of finales. I began to ask myself how I would write the final day (episode) of my life I knew it was the end. Sometimes I picture an action packed episode with crazy explosions, fire fights and a climactic final scene! Perhaps even a topless scene. Hell, let's go full frontal. It's my last day! Other times, I think I'd opt for a dialogue driven, thoughtful and artistic ending with lots of symbolism, meaningful dialogue and, of course, a tastefully done full frontal nude scene. I'd go out with a simple final breath as the credits begin to roll; one final inhalation and then no more. It's an interesting thought to ponder and I'm honestly not sure how I would write it. All I know is that I would not let David Chase anywhere near the script!

By the way, one of the best, saddest, yet most satisfying finales I've seen was for the HBO show 'Six Feet Under.' Utterly amazing.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Why I Blog

Recently, I was called to task about something that I wrote in one of my blogs. It wasn't so much a critique of my blog, or a particular comment, but a personal attack, which also involved some very harsh comments towards my girlfriend, whom this person does not even know. This all started because my religious beliefs and lifestyle choices do not match those of this particular individual, including where religion is concerned. While I do not aim to belittle anyone's religion, the fact that I was attacked because my beliefs (religious and otherwise) did not sync up with those of this person only emphasized the fact that many hide misplaced anger, hatred and narrow mindedness behind the guise of religion. Growing up, I was taught to believe that religion was about tolerance, acceptance and love of all human beings, but what I have seen throughout my life, including this person's email, does not coincide with those teachings. I often picture God up there shaking his head in utter disgust saying, "This is not what I had in mind." On the other hand, I've known plenty of religious folks who are good, kind and decent people and who do live motivated by love and acceptance. Anyhow, the events of the past few days have got me thinking about why I write these blogs, besides apparently securing myself a spot in Hell.

My prime motivation is to get my thoughts and feelings down on "paper." I am a writer. There's always been a part of me that needs to express itself through words and music. I also happen to have what I'm told is a pretty good sense of humor; therefore I aim to make people think and laugh through my writing. If you can't agree with me, at least you can laugh while disagreeing. The fact that I've gotten lots of hits and comments about my blogs (most of them very positive) keeps me motivated and extra vigilant. My mind doesn't stop, though sometimes I wish it did.

Sometimes I get angry and I use my blogs to vent. Angry? Me? Haha…Ok, I may not always research facts or put together the most coherent arguments. Sometimes it's just stream of consciousness writing; venting my frustrations. I use my writing to blow off steam, much as a radio host might use the airwaves (oops! Bad example given recent events ) or as a boxer might use a speed bag. Think of my blogs as my personal punching bags. The downfall here is that by committing those words to print, they have a way of being taken as concrete.

Often, I say things to get a rise out of people. I've written some pretty outlandish things; things I don't even believe, but I find humorous. I once wrote that I didn't like bananas because they are selfish for turning brown if you don't eat them after 2 or 3 days, like a kid who cries if he's not the center of attention. It was a dumb joke, and it seemed funny at the time. The truth is, folks, I love bananas. When they turn brown I just toss in em' in the freezer and use them in protein shakes for good post work out carbohydrate boosts. My point is that not everything I write is meant to be taken seriously. Do I really care about Oprah's book club? Not really. I just wanted to fill the space and it was fun to bitch about.

Lastly, I write about controversial issues and I do state my opinion. Yes, I'm pro-choice, and no, I have nothing against gays getting married. Have at it. I'm a very open minded person, I'd like to think, and while we may disagree on things, I would hope that we can co-exist and even have civil conversations and good natured, intellectual debate. If you don't agree with my opinions, perhaps you appreciate the approach I take, the humor I infuse in my writing, or my use of language. If none of those things move you, then you do not have to read my blog. But I will continue to write.

Deja Vu!

Greetings and salutations!

Hold Your Applause!
In Galesburg, Illinois strange things are a-happening. Caisha Gayles graduated with honors last month, but she is still waiting for her diploma. Why? She and four others are being denied diplomas because their friends and families cheered too loudly for them as they crossed the stage at their graduation ceremony. I shit you not. This is yet another example of how our society is so ultra politically correct that they'll take absurd measures in order to avoid making anyone the least bit uncomfortable, whether it's those students who don't have lots of people cheering them on or other graduates' families. To the families: If people are cheering too loudly, too fuckin' bad. If you're the ones being obnoxious, perhaps try and keep your cheers at a respectful level. Graduation ceremonies are celebrations and should be treated as such. I think too many people forget what it was like to be young. And to students: If you have a group of people cheering for you, then good for you. If you don't, then get the fuck over it! The real world doesn't have a cheering section. Consider yourself ahead of the curve.

Regardless, it's not the fault of the graduates. If someone is acting inappropriately, then make them accountable. Often, a well placed "Shut the fuck up or I'll kill you in your sleep" can diffuse such a situation. If not, remove them from the ceremonies. Do not make the graduates suffer during what should be a memorable occasion. What kind of fucking idiots are running these events? Oh, that's right: the very same people responsible for educating today's young people. Interesting….

What a Pisser!
In Columbus, Ohio, the ACLU is fighting to have the identities of executioners revealed for public scrutiny after a number of botched executions. For instance, Christopher Newton's execution by lethal injection last month took 90 minutes and at least 10 stabs of the needle for the execution team to find a vein, which isn't so different from the people who set up blood drives when I was in high school, judging from half-dollar sized bruises they left on students' arms. The funniest part is that the execution took so long that they stopped to let Newton take a bathroom break. Seriously. If swabbing the arm with alcohol before the lethal injection isn't funny enough, this has to cause some laughter. In fact, I might need a bathroom break. What Mr. Newton may not have realized is that when a person dies,, how do I say this? They involuntarily void their bowels. So any embarassment he was hoping to save himself was rendered pointless upon his death.

Hit the Road, Jack

Jack Kevorkian, lovingly known as 'Dr. Death' was released from prison last week. He walked out of Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, Michigan with his attorney and 60 minutes' resident octogenarian Mike Wallace. Kevorkian's stance on assisted suicide hasn't wavered, though he now vows to use only legal channels to try and get legislation changed regarding the controversial topic. In the meantime, Kevorkian has found another way to legally help people commit suicide: working at McDonald's.

Just Plain Creepy
Couples meet in all sorts of ways. I met my girlfriend online in a message board for people with liver disorders. Woody Allen met his wife when he married her mother. Some people even meet through classified ads in the paper, which is basically the old school version of online dating. However, the Hartford Advocate runs a feature called "Déjà Vu," by far the creepiest form of classified ads I've ever seen. This is an actual ad:

"Valentine's Day: Stop and Shop. 3:30 p.m., you were busy with a purchase. I noticed the warm energy radiating through you and felt as though it was directed to me. You seem like a strong, quiet, loving person and I felt very attracted to you. I like to dance and dream and ski. What about you?"

Basically, this freak show didn't have the balls to approach this person so they placed an ad in the paper taking the chance that the object of their desire was equally as lame and desperate. Not to mention that was Valentine's Day and it's now June, which gives the other person ample time to forget about the creep staring at them from check out counter. And before you ask, the reason I know about these types of ads is because a woman I used to work with told me she was mentioned in them on three separate occasions. My question is: how do you know? What prompts someone to even look in this section, let alone place an ad? What kinds of people are turned on by someone who doesn't even have the guts to approach you in person? If two people actually do find love (or lust) through these ads, then good for them. They deserve each other.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

This Month in Life...

Hey everyone,

To paraphrase Alvin and the Chipmunks, it's been a while but I'm back in style.

Sick on a Plane!
In Atlanta, Georgia, a man infected with the extensively rare and drug-resistant form of Tuberculosis known as XDR TB (whoa! Badass) knew he was not supposed to travel overseas but did so anyway. Go figure. The man is currently quarantined at an Atlanta, Georgia hospital. He claims health officials had said they "preferred" he not travel, but knew about his plans to go overseas for his wedding and honeymoon. Legallyl, he could not be stopped from flying. Ok, let me get this straight: They "prefer" you not fly with a highly infectious form of TB, but they absolutely will not let you on the plane w/ more than 3 ounces of shampoo. Our post 9/11 world is a strange place indeed.

Tubby Majority
Jerry Falwell, the evangelical minister and founder of the Moral Majority, the Christian right political movement, died a couple weeks back at the age of 73. He had a history of heart problems, which is no surprise, what with all the gays running around getting married and them women folk getting the abortions. Of all the important things that Falwell accomplished in his lifetime, which include founding a university, he will mostly be remembered his anti-gay rants aimed at Tinky Winky, the purple Teletubby from that creepy kids TV show. I'm sure God would be proud.

Sofa King What?
Angelina Jolie plans to take a year off from acting to spend more time with Brad Pitt and their little trophies…err, kids. I'm not much of a thespian. I can't even act like I care.

Paris Hilton is "emotionally distraught and traumatized" over her 45-day jail sentence, said her psychiatrist. Hilton was sentenced due to violating terms of her probation stemming from an alcoholic-related driving incident. Does anyone really feel bad for Paris Hilton? Seriously? You know what makes me emotionally distraught and traumatized? The fact that I live in a world where people are so enthralled with a fugly anorexic socialite whose only real claim to fame is that her parents fucked.

Once a Cheetah, Always a Cheetah!
New research shows that female cheetahs in the wild are very promiscuous and nearly half of their litters are made up of cubs with different cheetah baby daddies.

The Zoological Society of London said, "While the serial infidelities of the females does ensure a broader genetic mix to help the survival of the endangered species, it comes at a cost."

Multiple cheetah sexual partners mean more risk of parasites and various Cheetah STDs, such as Cheetah herpes and Cheetah AIDS.

Plus, after the female cheetahs get freaky with all the male cheetahs in the immediate vicinity, they have to travel further to find cheetahs who they haven't done the dirty cheetah deed with, leaving themselves open to attack, meanwhile their cubs are left home alone without a cheetah father figure to look up to and they end up getting into all sorts of trouble, such as vandalizing trees and raping elk.

Lights out!
In New Zealand, a utility company cut off power to the home of Folole Muliaga, a woman connected to an electric oxygen pump, causing her death. The company insists it was not aware she was dependent on the machine. The family claims the company is calling them liars. The electric company then said: "Yeah, whatever, as if."

The 44-year-old mother of four died two hours after a contractor working for Mercury Energy cut power to the house over an unpaid bill worth 168.40 New Zealand dollars, which is $123 U.S.

Ok, so not to sound like a total asshole, but putting aside the issue of whether the power company knew of the woman's condition or not, if you were on a machine that was dependent on electricity, wouldn't you make it a priority to pay your electric bill? Or at least get a back up generator or battery? The electricity can go out for a variety of reasons and I'd want to be sure that if I needed electricity to live, I'd be well protected in case of inclement weather or any other circumstance that could render me without power. Regardless, her death was not in vain; it will make a great "Ripped from the Headlines" Law and Order episode! Dun-dun!

This month in life…
Though I haven't been blogging much in the past month, a lot has been going on. I've made about four trips to Miami to visit my girlfriend, whom I plan to move down to live with in the next few months. She's a great girl and I've always wanted to move to warmer climate. Recently, Miami was given the distinction of having the worst road rage of all major metropolitan areas. So I'll fit right in, except I'll actually be a legal resident with valid U.S driver's license.

Coincidentally, my mother, her boyfriend and my brother will also be moving to Florida this summer, which is great.

While on the topic of relationships (sort of), sometimes you do things for those you love that you normally wouldn't do. For example, last week I watched my first ever episode of So You Think You Can Dance, or as I prefer to call it: So You Call That a Camel Toe? Seriously, watch the show. You'll see what I mean. Oddly enough, I enjoyed the program. It's like American Idol, but entertaining.

Also, I recently announced that Championship Vinyl, the acoustic group that I've been a member of since 2003 w/ my best mate Beau, will be disbanding this summer. This is a bittersweet turn of events. Both Beau and I have plans to leave the state and move on to new phases in our lives, which is awesome, but it will also put a 13-year song writing partnership on hiatus. I don't want to say it's the end, because Beau and I will certainly be writing music and, technology permitting, new Champ Vinyl music is not out of the question.

In the meantime, we will be uploading new music (new songs, as well as live cuts from recent shows) and playing a couple farewell shows in Middletown. For more details, please check out Championship Vinyl's myspace page ( and add us as a friend if you haven't already.

I aim to keep writing music and even playing some shows. I may or may not try and find new people to play with once I move to Miami, but for now I'm thinking the solo route may be the best way to go. That way I can get famous and check into rehab when the pressure of it all becomes too much for me to handle.

Also, I've been keeping up with my writing. Check out my CD reviews on, a kick ass music site.

Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Virginia Tech

As I'm writing this, it's April 20th; eight years to the day that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris massacred 12 classmates and teachers at Columbine High school, and only four days after Seung-Hui Cho nearly tripled the body count during his rampage on the campus of Virginia Tech. The news is running with the stories and asking the questions that are on everyone's minds: What could have been done stop it? Who was Seung-Hui Cho? Why didn't anyone see the warning signs? Pardon the cliché, but hindsight is 20/20, and it's easier now than ever to go back and put together the pieces that we didn't even know were part of the puzzle.

There are plenty solutions to curbing this kind of violence; from the pointless zero tolerance rules, which only really infringe upon students' rights and piss everyone off, to the insane, such as one Hartford Courant writer advocating for the arming teachers and faculty for protection. (That in itself deserves an entire blog devoted to it. Stay tuned). The problem here is this is not the Sci-Fi movie Minority Report. You can't look into the future to who will commit what crimes and lock them up accordingly. You can't lock up every kid who wears a black trench coat, every boy who thinks guns are cool, and every kid who feels sad or who doesn't have many friends. You can't even take away people's rights by not selling a gun to someone who doesn't look wholesome. The warning signs are there, but these tragedies keep happening and it seems like only afterwards does it become clear just how dangerous these individuals were. Hell, even Cho went to therapy and was and labeled 'an imminent danger' and declared mentally ill by a Virginia special justice.

The easy solution to end this kind of school violence, in my opinion, is not possible. I believe the solution is to just ignore the violence. As I said, it's impossible. It'd be a real disservice to the victims and their families if we as a society (media included) just glossed over the incident and moved on without analyzing why it happened, who the victims were, who the killer was and what drove him to perpetrate what is now the worst school killing in history. On the other hand, all this attention is what these kids crave. Yes, the victims deserve to be recognized and memorialized. It is necessary and comforting to the families and friends. These 32 victims were not just nameless casualties, they were human beings with their own lives, own problems, and their set of better honed tools for dealing with those problems; tools that didn't included automatic weapons. They were friends, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, girlfriends and boyfriends. Yet, ultimately these moving tributes don't do much to dissuade future school shootings. This information will probably only validate our nation's future Cho's that killing is the answer. After all, if the victims didn't matter, then what would be the point? To me, it seems like a Catch 22; damned if you do, damned if you don't. Again, pardon the clichés.

I can't help but feel like this just plays into the killer's designs. He was a coward, a weak man who obviously couldn't handle life. Perhaps he just needed help and didn't know how to ask for it. More likely, he was offered help and didn't take it. What he did take were the lives of 32 other people.

In between rampages, Cho mailed a package, a "multi-media manifesto," to NBC. It contained videos, pictures and documents all detailing his motives and reasoning behind the violence. It gave America a glimpse into his psyche; if you've seen the news lately, you'll know that this was one fucked up kid. It almost serves as a warning to potential victims. 'Hey jocks/rich kids, you better watch out who you make fun of. They could be harboring homicidal tendencies.' Perhaps by explaining himself, Cho thought he could make people see his point of view and shift some of the blame onto the victims.

Ultimately, Cho is getting what he wanted. The world, especially the families of those 32 people, will remember his name. They may curse it, but they'll be remembering it. He's getting the recognition in death that he failed to in life. All this probing of his life, especially in the few years leading up the shootings, will only serve to validate that this shit stain somehow made a difference in this world. So until someone comes along and shoots up at least 33 fellow classmates, then Cho's name will forever be synonymous with the worst school shooting this country has seen.

It's a vicious cycle. While the media has the obligation to inform the public, I really believe that they're also playing a small (or perhaps not so small) part in creating the next massacre. Somewhere out there is the next Cho, perhaps sitting down in front of the TV right now, watching the news coverage and relishing the idea of having his name up on the screen one day. If attention and infamy is what you crave, shooting some classmates is pretty much guaranteed to provide it.

Let's just hope Bush doesn't consider the attack on Virginia Tech an act of terrorism and an excuse to send more troops overseas. Ok, I had to try and lighten things up a bit.

Parent of the Year….
In England, a mother forced her two year old son and three year old daughter to fight while she videotaped them, along with three friends, and shouted gay slurs at her son. They four women were given one year suspended sentences for child cruelty, which in layman's turns, means jack fucking shit. It's sickening to think that parenting is a right, while it should be a privilege. Just because you're biologically fit to be a parent doesn't mean you have any business being one. This is utterly fucking disgusting. I really can't think of any other way to put it, except that it makes Alec Baldwin look like father of the year.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

'Shock jock' fired? Shocking....

Good morning, all! Just a little news for ya. In addition to my blog, I am working on writing my first CD review (since college) for a kick ass website called I will let you know when it's posted so you can check it out. In the meantime, feel free to check the site out for interviews, concert and CD reviews as well as cool photos of some great bands.

Now the fun stuff!

Brutal Honesty
We've all heard the term 'brutal honesty.' In theory, it's not a bad thing; sometimes sugarcoating the truth does more harm than good. Iraq war, anyone? That being said, I'm sick of people being tactless and using 'brutal honesty' to back up their words. There is a time and a place for no-holds-barred honesty; however, there is a difference between brutal honesty and just plain being an asshole. You know the type; the kind of person who'd say something heartless and without tact and then follow it up with, "Hey, I'm a brutally honest person." No, you're not. Don't try to bestow any kind of virtue upon yourself and use honesty as an excuse for hateful words. You're not brutally honest, you're just brutal. Brutal honesty is best appreciated when it's given in a sincere form. It doesn't always have to be kind, but it doesn't have to be malicious.

"Conversate" is not a word. Sorry folks. You can make conversation, you can converse, but you cannot conversate.

Also, when a father and son go on a fishing trip, that's called bonding, not bondage. Bondage may involve fishing wire, but....well, let's just stop there.

This may all seem obvious to you, but I've heard people misuse the above words enough times to warrant a little space in my blog.

Urine Trouble!
A new study has found that niacin, the B vitamin popular for its rumored abilities to flush one's system of toxins and provide clean urine for drug testing, is not only ineffective, but has been linked to various health complications, such as rashes and even liver failure. Oops! So not only is there no real scientific evidence that niacin works, it might be worse for your body than the drugs you're taking in the first place! Listen, Cheech, it might be worth it to lay off the grass for a while if you want to get that job at Jiffy Lube.

Here we go again….
What a debacle this whole Imus ordeal has become. Radio personality and 'shock jock' Don Imus, called the Rutgers' women's basketball team a bunch of 'nappy headed ho's.' Well, the backlash has been pretty severe. I mean, calling someone a ho outside the context of a rap song? What kind of world are we living in?!

The latest is that CBS has cancelled Imus' radio show. It's a sad day for freedom of speech. The good news is that the Rutgers women's basketball team have accepted his apology; after he was fired, of course. No reason not to now. He's been made an example of.

First off, since when is calling a woman (of any race) a 'ho' worthy of this kind of attention or shock? You ever listen to rap music? Calling someone a ho is actually a term of endearment, or at least it is used as such. If you want to stop this kind of verbal abuse towards black women, and women in general, you have only to look towards rappers, most of whom are also black. This is one area that I actually agree with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson about. I'm not an advocate for censorship, but I feel there is a double standard that exists that needs to end.

I've heard the audio of the remark. I believe Imus when he says he was making a joke. Granted, it was in very poor taste, but our culture is extremely two-faced when it comes to what words, and in what context, we will and will not accept. It's also dependent on who is saying them. Let's stop pretending it was the words that were really the offensive part and focus on the fact that it was an old white guy saying them. He gets labeled a racist and misogynist, whereas if he were black, he'd be…well, a hip hop superstar.

Imus is one of those types that is hired and gets ratings because of his controversial views, yet society acts appalled and shocked when he actually says or does something controversial. Should he have thought harder before he spoke? Probably. Do his words deserve the media attention they're getting? Not by a long shot.

By the way, has anyone even brought up the fact that the guy Imus was speaking with called the women's basketball team 'jigaboos?' That seems a lot worse than anything Imus said. Oh well....

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Am I the Only One: Part V: Lord of the Rants

Am I the only one sick of music reviews, critics, and most of all, fans who think they're critics? Seriously, log onto sometime and read through user reviews. Every fucking music review should just read "(insert band)'s latest release is not as good as their last one." It's not even worth reading them anymore. Go online to I-tunes or and listen to music clips. Make up your own mind. It pays off. Listening to a bunch of tweenagers complain that My Chemical Romance's latest release just doesn't speak to their generation like the last album did is enough to make one sterile. Seriously, if I read the words "overproduced" and "sell out" one more time, I'm going puncture my ear drums with a screwdriver. To all bands: you cannot please your fans. Stop trying. Make music for yourselves and yourselves only. In fact, you're probably better off putting out a debut album, getting great reviews (nothing to compare it to of course) and then breaking up and reforming under a new name. Blame the fans for it, too, just to make them feel bad.

Am I the only who doesn't give a shit who the father of Anna Nicole's baby is? I'll admit I was once curious, but no more. I know that I'm not the father, and that's good enough for me. The only possible way to get me care about this is if it turns out her son was the baby's father. But, I don't think we'll be that lucky.

Am I the only one sick of reading about kids having sex? I don't care if it's with each other, or with teachers, animals, or trees. It's just getting obnoxious. I'm sick of reading about awkward pre-pubescent sex romps in our nation's schools. Though I suppose if they're old enough to do drugs and kill each other, then sex is probably the least harmful thing they could be doing; but only after they finish their geometry homework. I really hope their parents are firm on that rule. Regardless, I don't need to hear about it. I'm only concerned with the sex lives of two individuals: myself and my girlfriend. Can you see why I wouldn't make a good catholic? Ok, Ok, I'll stop. No more religion jokes today.

Am I the only one who is more than a little disturbed by people who admit to being bad drivers? Not to sound like a sexist, but I've heard this from a lot of girls. They think it's just hilarious that they are totally frightened to drive on the highway and that merging just about causes them to void their bowels. Yes, we get it. You need a big strong man to drive you home from work. Enough of that rubbish. You wanted your driver's license, so act like a responsible adult. There's nothing funny about poor driving.

Am I the only one who doesn't care about Oprah's book club? Seriously, the woman's busy. Between opening up all these schools, her TV show, her magazine, and her line of sex toys, her construction company, and her zoo for black orphans, do you think Oprah actually reads these books? I don't. I'm willing to bet someone on her staff writes up recommendations for Oprah to read aloud and pretend that she actually has read the book. Maybe she even has the author on to talk about the book. Who knows? I've never watched her TV show. All I know is that Oprah's Underpaid Staff's Book Club doesn't quite sound as exciting to those diligently waiting for directions. Some of you might disagree. Possibly Oprah does read the books herself. So what? Seriously, go to a library. They have plenty of books, many of which I'm sure are better than anything Oprah or her staff can come up with. Don't be afraid to think for yourself. It might be a little scary at first, but it's quite rewarding.

AM I the only one psyched that it's baseball season? Fuck yeah! Go Red Sox!

Am I the only one annoyed by rolling briefcases/bags? Seriously, when did this start? Why does everyone at work look like they're on their way to the airport? If you're just going to go upstairs and sit all day long at a computer (like me), it wouldn't kill you to exert your body a bit. And never mind the fact that anyone walking behind one of these jetsetters can't get by them without practically tripping over these stupid bags. Seriously, folks, a 10 lb laptop computer and a half-frozen Lean Cuisine do not necessitate rolling luggage.

I know I said no more religion jokes but….

Am I the only the one who wonders why we have no chocolate Jesus' on Easter? Seriously, Jesus, bunnies, eggs and chocolate are the big Easter icons. We have chocolate bunnies and chocolate eggs. Why no chocolate Jesus'? Perhaps nailed to a delicious wafer cross? A peanut butter filled Jesus would be delicious. I got it: Reese's Jesus. The marketing pretty much writes itself.

On that note, Happy Easter!!