Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Golden Rules

I think I've finally figured out what makes me feel old. I don't have any gray hairs, I'm in good shape and I'm free of wrinkles and age spots, yet I still feel like an old man sometimes. Do you know why? It is because this month's Playboy Playmate was born in 1987! Twenty fucking years ago! I remember being a youngster and sneaking peeks at my friend's father's Playboy magazines and the women were all so much older and sophisticated. And naked. Can't forget that part. But still, nothing seemed so out of reach than a fresh faced 19 year old girl laying on a bear skin rug or bent over the hood of corvette. Well, now those 19 year old girls are still pretty much out of reach, but for a different reason. I'm old!

OMG! Guess what I'm doing?! LOL
I saw a news blurb debating if sending an email during sex was a sign of 'technology gone awry'. Um, no it's not. It's a sign of sex gone awry. If you're so tuned out during sex that you are sending emails, then it's bad sex. If you're having sex and doing something other than….having sex, then it's not the other activity that's the issue, it's you and/or the sex. Shame on for asking such a stupid question. Slow news day, apparently. I should send them an email right….oh yeah, that's good…oh yeah…that's how I like it…..NOW!

Hung like a dictator!
Whether it's setting themselves on fire like Beavis and Butthead or doing 'Jackass' style stunts with painful results, one thing is clear: children can be stupid, and they love to imitate stuff they see on MTV. But apparently in the Middle East, the execution of Saddam Hussein is playing out similarly. There have been numerous cases of children imitating the mad dictator's demise. According to, "One 12-year-old Saudi boy died after using a chair and a metal wire to hang himself from a door frame, while another in Algeria was found hanging from a tree." There have been numerous other cases of children dying from imitating Hussein's hanging. Now why would this be an issue? Said, "Many were impressed by his dignity on the gallows in the face of insults hurled at him in his final moments and some praised him as a hero" and that way Hussein's execution played out caused some to "momentarily forget his past record." Considering how botched things have gotten in Iraq, it's only fitting that we somehow make Hussein look like a hero in the wake of his execution.

But Hussein's death pales compared to the execution of his half brother whose head snapped right off because the person in charge of determining the appropriate length of rope to use underestimated just a 'smidge.' Are you thinking what I'm thinking? What a job, right? I'm logging onto right now to see if there are any openings! Keywords: rope estimator hanging. Hope my resume is updated! I'm gonna put that master's degree to use FINALLY!

But seriously, it reminds me of the guy whose only job as a mechanic is to change tires, yet he forgets to put the lug nuts on and your tires fall off as your pulling out the parking lot. It's hard to find good help these days!

Golden Rules
The golden rule says to "treat others as you want to be treated." Well, what if you're a masochist? You derive pleasure from pain so you inflict pain on others, as the golden rule would seemingly dictate. But you do so unto those who do not share your affection for pain. So, really you're breaking the golden rule. If you were a masochist, you'd want people to treat you the way you want to be treated (pain) by treating others the way they want to be treated (pleasure). But if someone didn't realize you were masochistic, and they, too, chose to abide by the golden rule, then they would treat you nicely, which in-turn would upset you. Then again, you might like that.

Ok, so where did that come from? I've been doing some thinking about what makes a 'good' person. I'm not a very religious person right now, but I don't believe that I have to align myself with a religious institution in order to be seen as a good human being. I have a little golden rule of my own: Don't be an asshole. In other words, be a good person. I'm sure everyone has their ideas of what makes a good person, and our government has certain laws designed to keep us in line. While some of them are absolutely ridiculous (and should be broken as you see fit), the basics are pretty reasonable, and can be seen as an appropriate measuring stick for 'goodness.' Immanuel Kant said we have a moral duty to uphold that isn't governed by religion or society, but by the will to do good. (Thank you Trine). I've come up with a few "rules" for being a good person. They don't involve God, prayers, church, tithing, goat sacrifice, saying 'candy man' three times in the mirror, or any other sort of religious activity. Let's call them Ryan's Simple Rules for Being a Decent Person, and it's a work in progress. Here's what I've come up with so far:

Treat others with the respect they deserve. But not necessarily the respect that you want to be treated with. Some people don't deserve a lot of respect. That's just reality. But respect is key. If you don't have people's respect, you don't have much.

Be courteous. If someone says "hi" to you, acknowledge them back verbally or even with a wave. There's nothing worse than someone who just ignores a pleasantry. Assholes. On a related note, hold doors for people, and say "Thank you" when someone does something nice, such as lets you cut in front of them at the supermarket, lends you five dollars, or gives you a blow job.

Respect yourself. People can tell a person who has absolutely no self respect. Usually, they just have to watch afternoon talk shows to find these classless people, or perhaps take a trip to your local Wal-Mart. Dress and act like you actually care how others see you. Present yourself in a light that accentuates your good points, which extends beyond the physical. Don't confuse this with letting other people dictate how you live your life. There's not a whole lot of respect in that either.

Laugh. Have a sense of humor. It makes life so much easier. If you really try you can find the humor in almost anything. On a related note, I'm no longer allowed at my local Planned Parenthood. But that's a story for another time.

Cry. Don't let people dictate what emotions you can and cannot have or show just because of your race or gender. Emotions are a fact of life. One sign of being a strong person is to be able to show appropriate emotions, even if it involves crying at the end of 'My Girl' or when Montel Williams reunites the midget hooker with her long lost father. There just aren't enough tissues for that.

Be a good driver. Show some respect on the road and awareness of your fellow human being. Bad drivers kill people. But I've touched upon this in previous blogs.

Find an outlet. Do something for yourself. Whether it's writing, music, video games or sodoku, find something to enjoy to take your mind off of life's everyday hassles.

Like I said, it's a work in progress, but the ideas are sound and I welcome any of you to send your ideas about what makes a 'good' person.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Save the Music

Happy New Year! Let's start the new year off with a bang!

Armed and Famous
When I first heard about this show, I actually thought that it was a reality show about celebrities like Latoya Jackson and Ozzy Osbourne's kid training to become real cops who get to carry real weapons and actually go out on patrol. Then I—wait, are you fucking kidding me? It is? Is it possible for TV to be so terrible that I get nostalgic for the good ol' days of 'Temptation Island' and 'Who Wants to Marry My Dad?' Oh goodness….

This one's for the ladies….

The i-brator
Someone was bound to think of it and I wish it had been me. There is a vibrator called the OhMiBod that actually syncs up with your I-pod to vibrate to the rhythm of the music, thus realizing the fantasy of millions of women worldwide to be able to come to sultry sounds of Lil' Jon and the East Side Boyz. Skeet skeet motherfucker. Sounds pretty hot, right? Please note: playing an R. Kelly song will actually only cause you to pee yourself; A Coldplay song might make you fall asleep before you can climax. You can play U2 and have 10% of every orgasm donated to a starving African kid. That's something we can all feel good about. Just don't get off to a band like 4 Non Blondes: you'll have one orgasm and never be heard from again.

Holy Shiite!
According to reports, people are hung up (pun!) about the manner in which Saddam Hussein was executed. Some call it justice, while others are calling it merely a lynch mob at the hands of the Iraqi government, which makes America look really bad. And to think, we've handled this Iraq situation so well thus far.

Have you seen the cell phone footage? Seriously, what kind of cell phone was being used to capture the execution? Impressive. I know my cell phone doesn't capture video that clearly. Call me tactless, but I see a marketing opportunity here. "Hang on! I have Saddam on the line." Pun city, baby. Pun city.

Between the Michael Richards debacle and the Hussein execution, cell phone video is getting quite the reputation for being on the forefront of today's hard news. I mean, if a cell phone video of Lindsay Lohan's appendectomy surfaces, I think it's safe to say the future of digital media is here! I think that's something even Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump can agree on.

The Police might be reuniting! I have nothing bad to say. I love the Police! Fuck yeah! Songs like "So Lonely" and "Don't Stand So Close to Me" were the soundtrack to my college years! ....There's a joke in there somewhere.

Who nailed whom?
Home Depot CEO Robert Nardelli (haha…Nard) resigned amidst criticism of his performance and the company's stock value falling over his six years as CEO, despite doing well in sales. Sucks right? Pretty sweet job, huh? I wouldn't want to give up that job. Unless of course I could do so with a severance package of, say, $210 million dollars in cash and stock options. But that would be ludicrous and there's no way anyone could get that kind of deal. I mean--Wait, you're fucking kidding me! He did? I give up. What kind of screwed up world are we living in where being bad at your job nets you more cash than everyone else who works for your company combined? Suddenly drug abuse and alcoholism make so much more sense.

Ok, so here's the rant for today:

You know what commercial I hate?! The cell phone commercial where those two guys download The Clash's 'Rock the Casbah' and then spend the rest of the commercial trying to figure out what the lyrics are. The fucking lyrics to 'Rock the Casbah' are…rock the casbah!! I see the point they're trying to make, but it's a terrible song choice. Shame on the marketing executive that came up with that one.

This highlights another point. As someone who actually likes music and musicians, this culture of 'singles' and downloading one song here and there versus actually buying whole albums upsets me. In 20 years, are bands even going to continue releasing full length albums? Why bother? Music as an art form will slowly die away while bands will just be responsible for sitting around with their agents, hair stylists, personal trainers, wardrobe technicians and a team of songwriters all conspiring to make the hit single, instead of exercise any true creativity. And if I sound bitter, it's because I'm a musician who writes original music. I should have brought sexy back! I'm fuckin' Fergilicious! How did I not think of that? I'm probably aiming too high. If you can dance to something, I suppose the lyrics and substance of the song are pretty much irrelevant. While sex certainly does sell, is it too much to hope that creativity and intelligence play any role whatsoever?

I feel like music is barely hanging on as an art form. It's not about appreciating an artist for their music or looking at an album as a whole. It's about creating singles that people can sing and dance along to like zombies. Think Michael Jacksion's 'Thriller' video come to life. The proof: NOW That's What I call Music volumes 1 through 950. People are too busy to come up with their own preferences so they opt to purchase collections of "good" music spoon-fed to them with no thinking required. Sorry to break it to ya, but liking one Green Day song doesn't necessarily make you a Green Day fan.

Don't get me wrong: While I do occasionally download albums off I-tunes, I still love buying CDs and I hope they never go away, despite the popularity of digital music. I love the discs themselves, the artwork and I love the way they look lined up in my shelves. One thing I dislike about downloading music (legally) is that often even when you purchase the music, you are still limited as to what you can do with it. Either you can only burn it to CD a finite amount of times or you can't transfer it to your brand "X" mp3 player because you can only listen to it on an I-pod. On Sundays. Between the hours of 3 and 6 pm.

Save the music!

Enjoy your weekend!!!