Monday, July 31, 2006

Never Eat Octopus at a Chinese Buffet, and Other Observations

Here's a few fun things I found out over the last twenty-four hours. I hope you can learn a thing or two as well.

1. Never eat octopus at a Chinese buffet. And fried oysters, too. In fact, just stay away from seafood. Yes, I know you LOVE shrimp, but it's for the best. See, I have a weekly ritual of eating sushi every Sunday. My friends, though, said, "Let's go to China Star. It's cheaper, and you can get sushi there." Yeah, what just went through your head went through mine also. But I decided to go with them, and I'd see what they had to offer. Turns out they only had crab rolls, and I'm allergic to shellfish. I did, however, try their octopus and fried oysters. The octopus didn't taste bad, but I could only eat half the oyster; tasted a little too fishy (pun intended). I won't go into details, but things went south around 8 that evening. Guess why I didn't go into work today.

2. Cops is a great show, especially when it takes place in your home town. Let's take a tally of the debauchery thus far: two domestic disturbances; one high-speed chase with shots fired; one possesion of meth, a loaded firearm, and $3500; and two crack deals. I once saw my friend's house across the street during an arrest of a transvestite. I love this town. Funny thing: our mayor, Martin Chavez, told Cops to stop coming to Albuquerque, as we were their most popular town they ever filmed. Apparently he thought it painted Albuquerque in a bad light, but you can't beat that kind of prime-time exposure.

3. The Cubs suck. Although I do have to hand it to the Cardinals. They realized how down Cubs fans must be right now, so they swallowed their pride and let Chicago sweep them in front of their home crowd. Bravo, St. Louis, that was very selfless. Now let's get back to winning.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

With A Name Like Arrogant Bastard, How Can You Go Wrong?

Answer: you can’t.

I’m not afraid to say that throughout college I was a Bud Light drinker. A big one. Every now and then, I treated myself to some Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat. But in general, I was a slave to the fizzy yellow nonsense. Not to say I've become a beer snob, but once I moved to Albuquerque, my friend introduced me to a whole new world of beer. Along with checking out local microbreweries, I discovered Stone Brewery, from San Diego.

I don’t know how many of you have had the pleasure of drinking any of their beers, you’d remember if you had. First, their artwork on the bottles is amazing. You can see that (kinda) in the picture above. Those are all 22oz. bottles on one of the walls next to the fireplace in my house. We found out that God must a Stone beer fan, and made these shelves the exact height needed for a bottle. I’m very proud of it. A real sense of drunken accomplishment came with its completion.

No matter if you drink their Porter, their Double IPA (my favorite), the Russian Imperial Stout (which resembles motor oil), or Arrogant Bastard - their take on brown lagers - you will be overwhelmed by the taste. It’s strong, in both the alcoholic and flavor sense of the world. Check out their website, or just go to a liquor store and ask for their Stone products. This gets the GSA, Greg Seal of Approval. Be careful, though, too many of these can lead to hijinx and/or hilarity. Which leads me to my next post…

Friday Night Adventurisms

Ooh, trickery! You like that? I know you do.

But I digress; Friday night had quite a bit of Stone-induced mischief. After a long work week in the books, I celebrated with a bottle of Ruination, Stone’s Double IPA (remember?). Afterwards, I met up with a friend at Billy’s Long Bar for some happy hour drinks. Nothing too eventful happened. There was the usual ogling of the waitstaff, wondering what fights would break out (we saw one almost start, which my friend had correctly predicted), and general bullshitting.

We left the bar around 10. I had to run back to the house, but I told my friend I’d meet him at the next destination we were going: Horse and Angel. By the time I get there, my friend is in the parking lot talking to an obviously drunk girl, who said she had just been kicked out for fighting with someone else. They seemed to be hitting it off fairly well. I could tell by the way she kept rubbing up on him. They started getting closer, so I took that as a cue to go into the bar and wait for them to have their fun.

Five minutes later, they walk in the bar and tell me we’re going to his apartment to do a little drinking. He drives her, as she’s too drunk to drive. When we get there, I see her in proper light and almost lose it. On top of her near-drunken stupor, she had quite the haggard look to her. I think Josh noticed this, too. He said we needed to go to the store to get alcohol (we did), so we all pile in his truck and go to the closest store. We walk to the liquor section and start looking around. Miss Drunky is being horribly difficult, so Josh takes me to the side and whispers, “Greg, start walking to the truck. I’ll be right behind you.”

Instead of questioning, I start to walk back to his truck. Halfway through the parking lot, I look behind me and see Josh running out as fast as he can. We both run to the truck, pile in, and speed off, laughing, half out of shock (me) and half out of spite (Josh). Remember: her car is still at a bar halfway across town. And rather than calling it a night, we pick up my car and head off to a bar just down the street. There, I steal a shot of Jaeger someone so carelessly left on the bar, drink an Arrogant Bastard, got shot down by a girl who was OBVIOUSLY a lesbian, and almost get in a fight with three guys much bigger than me.

We were leaving the bar, and as I approach my car, I hear someone saying something about the two white guys walking to the green car. Assuming 1) they were talking shit, and 2) the shit was directed towards me, I start to yell about how cool they are they can talk shit to their friends about the white guys, and that when they get home, they should tell their friends and family about how they really showed us. There was more, all of it loud and caustic, but I can’t remember at the moment. Well, they didn’t take too kindly to it and started walking our way. I tell Josh this is our cue to leave, so we part ways, get in our cars, and drive off. As I do, I see two guys trying to scale a chain-link fence that had divided us, followed by a loud CLUNK on the hood. Upon further inspection this morning, they had hit my roof with a rock. Better that than the back window.

So yeah, there’s Friday evening in a nutshell. It’s good to be back. We’ll talk soon, fooligans.

I Live to Pander Yet Again

Howdy folks. It’s been a long deadline week at work; we had to ship all three magazines, which equals no fun for the poor copy editor who had to square up interviews, covers, product reviews, missing features…do I sound important yet? Good. Needless to say, my off-hours creativity suffered, which is why you've looked at Mike Patton all week (not a bad thing). But don't worry, Greggy's back, so the blogging shall recommence. Stay tuned for more goodies.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Get To Know Mike Patton

I heart Mike Patton. I've been looking at a blank screen trying to put into words the depth of my adoration, but I don't know where to start. Sure, I could write things like I think he's a modern-day Mozart, that he's the most dynamic lead singer in rock (headed Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, Tomahawk), that he changes genres like underwear, or that he's a delightfully mischeivous motherfucker (was dubbed a "shit terrorist" for leaving random poops in fun places like hotel driers or air vents), but I'll try to just convey my thoughts through videos. Trust me, I could carry on far longer than the GNR post below, as I own the discography for all three bands in the above parenthetical (22 albums total), but the visual/aural stimulation is much more fun (and easy) for everyone.

You just watched "From Out of Nowhere" by Faith No More, a band in which 99% of you have only heard the song "Epic" (remember the dying fish and exploding piano?). Amazingly well-made, complex, dynamic rock n roll. They toured with GNR and Metallica, a show I would have clubbed baby seals and kicked puppies (like I already need an excuse) to see. Angel Dust is a perfect example of this band in its prime.

The next comes courtesy of Mr. Bungle, a band Mike Patton was in pre-FNM and continued to front because I guess FNM wasn't crazy enough. There's a whole amalgam of genres here: ska, rock, metal, funk, salsa, 50s music (listen to "Vanity Fair"), all mashed together. Keep in mind he was releasing albums with both bands at the same time. "My Ass Is on Fire" is a prime example of the eccentricity of Mr. Bungle. I love the masks, too, combined with the thought that this is probably what a lot of Mr. Bungle shows looked like. I know, it's awesome. Get California, probably the band's most accessible album, and a damn fun one to boot.

Finally, we finish the night with Fantomas, Mike Patton's metal band. This is quite possibly some of the most MANIC music you'll hear. It's everywhere at the same time. Sure, that may be a bit vague, but those familiar with Mike Patton know what I mean. This isn't Sunday afternoon, sit down and relax music. Although The Director's Cut, their take on movie themes, is pure genius. Below, they play a Slayer medley from one of their live shows. Enjoy.

Interesting sidenote: Mike Patton has said he'd love to do the music for a David Lynch movie. Now while I have my feelings against David Lynch (Lost Highway...WTF?), the Mike Patton factor would be enough for me to see it.

Shall I go into Tomahawk, Peeping Tom, Lovage? I could, but this is getting longer than I anticipated. So I'll leave you with two last songs to check (honor system?) by Tomahawk: "101 North" and "God Hates a Coward."

Thanks for humoring me in getting to know a true musical icon. The more I listen to these albums, the more blown away I am by the sheer range with which Mike Patton operates. Now make Mikey proud and play all three videos at the same time. Rock.

Friday, July 21, 2006

You Wanted the Best? Well They Didn't F*@#ing Make It!

So here's what you get, from Hollywood...Guns N' Roses!

Today, faithful readers, marks a huge day in rock history. In 1987, a certain band named Guns N' Roses exploded onto the scene, releasing Appetite for Destruction, one of the most important rock albums of all time, and a Top 5 Favorite Album for a certain Gregory Steven Klein.

With GNR, you had rock stars that looked and acted like rock stars. None of this makeup-applying, spandex-wearing, cocaine-laced anthem rock that saturated 80s rock up to this point. Sure, you had the cocaine (okay, a LOT of cocaine), some of the anthem rock, but GNR was the real deal. They were the kind of band who would play and fit in well at a dingy biker bar, full of broken bottles, blood, and fights (half of which they probably started).

On top of the decadence that Slash, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin, and Steve Adler already brought to the band, you have one Mr. W. Axl Rose. Axl encapsulated everything positive and negative (more the latter) about being a rock star. He was a drunk, an egotistical asshole, a bit prone to violence and impulsiveness, but damn he had a set of friggin lungs.

Guns N' Roses was the reality check rock needed at the time, grounding its glamorized playfulness with a 12-track shotgun blast to the gut. From the start of "Welcome to the Jungle," when the siren and screeching guitars yank you into a dark alley, you're kept captive in their seedy underworld until the epic end of "Rocket Queen." But there's so much in between. You have "Mr. Brownstone," a song about the hold heroin can take on a band and one of the best rock intros to boot; "Paradise City," the quintessential anthem rock song that's the shortest 6:44 you'll ever experience; "Night Train," about everyone's favorite two-buck chuck; and "Sweet Child O Mine," the power ballad that set the ballad bar about five feet higher afterwards (until "November Rain" came along). I won't go into details for each song, I think you get where I'm going with this. Appetite is sleazy, boozy, horribly rocked out, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Say what you will about the band's short life, their overreaching in complexity (strings, piano, a brass section, and backup singers), or Axl's $13 million ever-forthcoming album, do yourself a favor today: set aside the usual scorn you have for my love of GNR, and buy/download/listen to a genre-changing, no-holds-barred, red-blooded rock album.


Big P.S. - Apparently I have a secret spamirer, and she likes leaving silly little coments in EVERY post, not once, but twice. Now while I realize it's hard to find some qualiy blogging better than what you just read above, and flattery gets you everywhere with me, you now have to write "drvvxm" to tell me how awesome I am. Small price to pay. Goodnight, fooligans.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

That's Gubbelicious!

Okay, so it's an older picture, but when one has an excuse to whip out some nostalgia, I say go for it. This is from the black-tie soiree that still ranks as one of my favorite nights. Thanks again to all who made it out, it meant a lot.

But I digress. Yesterday, everyone in the 505 was treated to a certain Mr. Christopher Gubbels driving through for the night after two weeks south de la border with his girlfriend, Trish. It was a fun time had by all, even by the high schoolers who wanted to fight us after we yelled they were driving the wrong way on the street (which they were).

We had a few drinks around town, I showed them the lights of the city, which looks amazing, and we played with their Rey Mysterio lucha libre mask, which turns you into a high-flying badass upon donning it. Sadly (or thankfully?) there was no mischief committed, as the mask-wearing was kept within the safety of my four walls. Yeah, definitely sadly.

I was a poor host in the morning, though; I had to leave early to argue with the bank before I went to work, but it still was great to see them. Godspeed, Gubbs, our paths shall cross again.

And since he's first to vist me since I've moved out here, he's shot up quite a few rungs on the friendship ladder. You all could take a lesson. Not sayin, just sayin.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Format Are Your Friend

Evening fooligans, thought I'd drop you a quick line about this band a friend of mine has told me about. They're called The Format, and they're coming to a town near you (but not to Albuquerque of course). They're some of the most fun you'll have this summer with their recent release, Dog Problems. A big thanks to the Security Chicken for the reminder.

Think a marriage between Shins and Boy Least Likely To, maybe a hint of Jimmy Eat World (if you're Mormon), with the lovechild resulting in probably some of the best indie pop you've heard in a long while. I'm currently trying my damndest to stay seated in my chair while "Time Bomb" plays. Weaker men than I would get up and dance around the room, but I must write on. I hope you appreciate the sacrifice.

Do yourself a favor and check Dog Problems out, it's dancibly delicious! I'd write more about it, but the alcohol is calling me to that big, comfy bed in the corner. I hope you understand. Talk soon, we will. Enjoy the album.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Good Intentions, Better Picture

I know what you're thinking: Greg, you sexy, witty man, how can this picture, which makes me smile just like that hooded thug, be real? It's come from an actual brick-and-mortar political activist organization.

I thought the same thing. But then I swung by the website for the Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership, and my eyes were opened. I had no idea the problems the Chosen People face, such as, "Is carrying a firearm on Shabbat prohibited because it is 'muktzah?'" or "Are gun laws keeping Jews from defending themselves while getting attacked on the street?" Answers: no and yes, respectively. Read the articles to see why.

So visit the website and edumacate yourself not only about the issues affecting Jews and their guns, but also get a healthy dose of some good ole' fashioned fear mongering.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I Miss You More than Michael Bay Missed the Mark...

I was quite excited at work yesterday when a coworker told me about an upcoming live-action Transformers movie. In particular, a scene of a certain Decepticon taking out the Beagle 2 on Mars in a quick teaser trailer. Check it out here. But then I saw what followed and all hopes built up crashed oh so hard to the ground. Director - Michael Bay.

I got shivers. The man who brought us gems like Pearl Harbor or the upcoming Miami Vice now has the reins for this? But I guess if you're seeing a Transformers movie, you aren't going for a good script or believability, but rather two hours of overstylized eye candy. I'll start taking bets about how much overbudget and behind schedule they'll be. Over/Under: $60 million, 3 months.

Finally, Mr. Bay gave me an excuse to play this. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

What waits at the end of the rainbow?

A big, bubbling pot of lies!

After leaving my uncle's work today, I saw a rainbow shining down in the middle of Albuquerque. It actually looked like it touched down around where I lived. So I thought it'd be fun to try to find the end of it, curious of what might await me. No, there was no pot of gold, no leprechaun waiting to grant my wish, and no Scarlett Johansson.

Turns out that rainbows are optical illusions caused by the water vapor in the sky. Sure, I may have known this, but I went ahead anyway. I don't know if this is sad, pathetic, romantic...maybe a little of all three. And where did I end up after driving in vain? Spectators, a local sports bar I was pretty much raised in as a kid. There, I watched the Cardinals beat the Astros in the last two innings.

Then, I went to a bar next to my house and had a few there. Talked with some really cool people. So I guess while I may not have found gold, I enjoyed the night nonetheless. Awww...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Greatest. Cartoon. Ever.

I don't know how many of you watched Looney Tunes as a kid. Me, I was raised on it. Not only did I get up every Saturday morning to watch the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour, but every time I saw it on television, the channel surfing stopped, if only for seven minutes. My sister, my dad, my mom...all Looney Tunes fans. God forbid, if I ever have a child, he or she will also be raised on Looney Tunes.

Looking past the whole slapstick aspect, their expressions, or the fact that most of the cartoons were synched up with a live orchestra, Looney Tunes were incredibly intelligent and so far ahead of their time (they talked to the audience during these cartoons!). Yes, the characters were animated, but they recognized this and embraced it. Their ability to poke fun at everything in popular culture, current events, or life in general was amazing. Plus, the ability to pull a stick of TNT or a sledghammer from behind your back always helps win laughs.

Favorite character: Daffy Duck (although unrelated, Homer Simpson and Eric Cartman follow closely behind). Eccentric, unpredictable, manic, wacky, sarcastic, self-centered, completely off-the-wall...he knew he deserved to be the number one star, but yet he was always the victim, always getting the short end of the stick. Growing up, I saw myself in Daffy, and he was a HUGE influence in my comedic upbringing. While his cartoons with just him are amazing, how he played off characters like Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig (I can't find online links to "Deduce, You Say" or "Robin Hood Daffy," but download them...NOW!) was just priceless. The one you're about to see below is kind of a mixture of the two types. Yes, I'm rambling, but that's okay.

You can't count the shows/movies/comedians/people in general who have been influenced by these cartoons. It's also probably why I own eight DVDs of Looney Tunes (and soon to own four more). So I thought, as a treat to you all (cause I like ya), here is "Duck Amuck," Pandering to Savages' all-time favorite cartoon. How Daffy reacts to the non-stop messing with the environment around him...pure genius. Enjoy, fooligans.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Stroking my 1st Amendment Rights (part 3 of 3): Dubya - The Blog Stops Here

And to finish up, I thought we’d have some fun with words and do a little Dubya acrostic. Thanks for bearing with me these last few days, I had to get some of this off my chest..

P – Phony. In 2000, he becomes one of only two presidents to lose the popular vote and still win. Chief Justice Rehnquist gets two votes for Bush. Second one matters a whole lot more. Quite the auspicious way to begin your presidency.
R – Reelected. HOW?! Okay, so Bush and Co. ran a great fear-mongering campaign and the Democrats were too cowardly to call Bush out on it or anything else he did. Plus, John Kerry couldn’t come up with anything to counter “flip-flop.” They lost the presidency themselves. Check out this video of the RNC highlights.
E – Environment, or his mockery of. Under Bush, EPA penalties against polluters have set a record 15-year low. He’s allowed power plants and refineries to increase production without worrying about reducing pollution. There’s the drilling in Alaska, the selling of public land to timber interests in Oregon, and a third of his appointments to federal courts worked as lobbyists for polluting industries, such as oil, gas, timber, and mining. I could go on.
S –Social Security, and his attempt to privatize it. As if Americans didn’t have enough to worry about, now they all have to become overnight brokers and soundly and intelligently invest their Social Security? Now, the hole we find ourselves in isn’t entirely his fault, but he’s dealing with it the completely wrong way.
I – Iraq, the war that would define his presidency. Well, how has that gone? We all remember “Mission Accomplished,” but since then, we have a thriving insurgency, a country missing the most basic of amenities in many of the regions, 125,000 Iraqis dead, and the ever-looming possibility of a civil war. Bush has said that this will be a problem for future presidents…he’s already passing the buck on his great war! But not to worry: America has built 14 “enduring” military bases, including the largest American military base in the world.
D – Diplomacy. Paul Wolfowitz was appointed as President of the World Bank and John Bolton was appointed as Ambassador to the United Nations. ‘Nuff said.
E – Eloquence, or lack thereof. When you can have a day-by-day calendar of muddled quotes by our leader, I don’t know if it’s really funny or really sad? Probably a little of both. This is the most powerful man in the world, he speaks for our country, and he can’t put together a sentence.
N – Nine Eleven. Looking past the horrible tragedy, 9/11 was a gift-wrapped blank check for Bush to get away with anything he wanted. If anyone questioned his overseas conflicts or his domestic surveillance, he need only refer to the Twin Towers and scare you into thinking it could happen again and call his opponents un-American if they disagree with him. I mean, you’re not FOR terrorism, are you?
T – Tax cuts. When we’re running a record deficit, what do we need? More tax cuts for the wealthy. Hooray! Yes, Bush has rewarded those who have put him in office by convincing you that you’ll benefit from these cuts, while the majority will go to those in the upper income level. Because that money wouldn’t be better spent going back into the system and helping failing programs and domestic issues. Lee Raymond needs to buy himself another Bentley. And you all fell for it. Shame on you.

BBrown, Michael. Sure, there had been jokes of cronyism in Bush's administration, but Katrina really brought it to the forefront. The president of an Arabian horse club is the head of FEMA when the worst disaster ever hits American soil. Egg, meet face. Of course, to be fair, Katrina was a failure on all levels of the government, not just Bush.
U – Underage Drinking. Okay, so this is just an opportunity to showcase the Bush twins and their ability to close down a bar. Who wouldn’t love to go out and party with these two?
S – School neglect. I speak of No Child Left Behind. Because all school systems, rich or poor, are essentially the same, right? And rather than taking the time and effort to go in and evaluate schools, let’s just make a cookie-cutter test students take one day of the year to judge schools and pass out funding that way. Even if that worked, there are still HUGE questions if the funding would be there. This is just further evidence of where Bush places his importance on domestic issues and enriching the future of this country. Sad.
H – History, and how it will shine on him. After reading this, I think we can all safely say it won’t be in a good light.

I’m sure there were many different angles to take this, there’s just too much material to work with. Oh well, now we can get back to the fun stuff, sorry for the three-day buzzkill. Happy 4th everyone!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Stroking my 1st Amendment Rights (part 2 of 3): Congress - The Old Boys' Club

And let’s continue.

Two-party system. Who knew the problems of our country could so easily be cut down party lines? Now while I think this is an outdated system, it’s certainly better than the one-party government we have right now. All hail the mighty corporation.

You haven’t heard? Congressmen no longer serve the interests of its constituents, but rather the lobbyists. Do you fuel their election campaign, or even fuel their jet on their trips to play golf with foreign diplomats? Congress has no more need for the common man when powerful oil/energy/car/pharmaceutical/tobacco companies tell them what’s best for the country. And all they ask is a little help thrown their way. Is that so bad? We’re busy people; we don’t have time to keep up with all the mundane goings-on of Congress. We need people like Lee Raymond from Exxon to help shape environmental policy.

More evidence we don’t matter anymore. Congress recently voted down the minimum wage raise (still $5.15) while giving themselves yet another pay increase, raising their pay $3100, what they like to call a “cost of living” increase. And good for them. Sure, this money could have been better spent on single mothers working two jobs trying to raise a family, but that would have put too much undue stress on the business owner. Forget the fact that the federal minimum wage hasn’t been raised since 1997, isn’t adjusted for inflation, and the relative buying power is the lowest since the early 50’s. I just would have thought with all the voracious spending the 109th has been more than willing to do, those who truly needed it could have received even a little bit of help. But again, what does Poory McPoverty do to help them? Odds are, he doesn’t even vote.

And don't forget about all those great stories coming out about individual congressmen/lobbyists and thier abuse of power. Tom Delay stepped down after charges of conspiracy in fundraising; William Jefferson stepped down from the Ways and Means Committee after $90,000 was found in his freezer; Duke Cunningham is going to jail for 100 months after pleading guilty to tax evasion, mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit bribery (don't worry, he may still receive his pension); Patrick Kennedy was just given a ride home and a wink and a smile after plowing into a barricade (probably driving drunk); and Jack Abramoff, superlobbyist, has pleaded guilty to three counts of buying everything in Washington. These notables just scrape the surface, you get the point.

Of course, to get your mind off this, we have idiotic debates and laws over issues that shouldn’t matter. Gay marriage comes notably to mind, violence in video games ruining our youth, and of course, the hearings on baseball. The media then, in turn, proceeds to fill the airwaves with analysis of these useless issues instead of talking about the problems that face our country. Fluff.

Now we have the immigration issue. Every senator who says he’d like to throw every illegal immigrant in jail I want to hit with a tack hammer. As if our prisons weren’t already full enough with people who shouldn’t be there, now we want to add the millions of illegals to the prison system? Now I’m not saying they all deserve amnesty, that would be completely unfair to those who have waited years to become a citizen legally. But instead of the quick fix (and LONG problem after) of incarceration, wouldn’t a more constructive way be to concede that we’re going to have immigrants coming over the border and offer incentives for them to register themselves for temporary work visas? Let them pick beans here, I sure don’t want to do it, and I’m sure all these ignorant citizens decrying the aliens don’t want to either. Once you do that, then hike up the penalties to employers and aliens not following the laws. Make it so easy for them to register with us that there’s no excuse for them not to. Now the big question is whether or not the cost of this added governmental department and more bureaucracy is higher than just throwing them in jail, but like I said, the 109th loves spending money. Hell, they just raised the debt ceiling. Part of this is the President’s fault, but I’ll get to him tomorrow.

In fact, I've probably carried on long enough, there really is too much to tackle (i.e. Greg's hatred of Bill Frist and Rick Santorum) in one post about the shortcomings of Congress, and tomorrow could get away from me even worse. Stay tuned, have a great Monday.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Stroking my 1st Amendment Rights (part 1 of 3): Gettin Busy with Old Glory

Happy 4th of July weekend, everyone. I hope you're like me and have a four-day weekend off, plenty of time to celebrate your nation's independence by blowing up a small part of it. I thought it'd be fun, since we have so much time together over the next few days, to give you my thoughts about our nation. And first, I thought I'd start out with our beloved flag.

Right now, a flag sits at my computer desk. It's one of those small impulse buy flags that sit next to registers at gas stations. There were a few in a tin while I was picking up a pack of smokes and a pepsi at a Texaco. Out of curiosity, I checked the tag on it, and something funny caught my eye: Made in China. I had to buy it, if not for the irony of it all, but also for the enjoyment I'll get out of watching it burn.

Ever since 9/11, the fashionable thing has been to see who can outpatriot their neighbor, wrapping yourself in the flag to make sure everyone knows you're not a terrorist. Likewise, Congress has also tried to pass amnendments/laws to prove to both constituents and fellow Congressmen that they loves them some America. There was the Freedom Fries thing, and just this week, the Senate recently tried to pass an amendment protecting our poor flag from being burned.

Thankfully it failed. And I'd like to applaud those 34 Senators who didn't get caught up in all this blind patriotic propaganda. Our freedom to dissent is an important right. When I see that our national symbol is being made by a communist country that kills over 10,000 people (at least) a year, that filters the internet with the consent of companies like Google and Yahoo, and is America's second-largest lender, something inside me just doesn't sit right.

There are far bigger ills that threaten our country than people lighting a flag on fire (social security, education, iraq). C'mon people, it's a piece of colored cloth, it's not like a baby dies every time a flag burns. It's a symbol of what our country stands for: freedom and liberty for all its citizens, regardless of color, creed, or political views. I have to cut this short as it's time to go to the baseball game, but we'll keep this going tomorrow. Talk to you soon, fooligans.