Friday, November 28

The Friday Hot Sheet

Ah, better days. Sure they might seem hard to remember, but it really wasn't that long ago when your team was a little more competitive in the games that mattered, your bank account seemed a little more balanced, and the Hot Sheet actually arrived within a day or so of the day of the week it was named after.

Thanksgiving with all it's extra time off and sleep-inducing meals is admittedly sort of a crappy time to try to get back on track with the blog, but sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and, you know ..try to maybe get to it sometime Monday morning.

So while I microwave the leftover stuffing -- here are this weeks risers and fallers, and the buzz as it looks from here.
ThanksgivingDespite several kind offers from friends, I decided to spend the holiday alone. Things have been kinda down lately, so it just ended up being one of those times where I sorta felt like I needed a little space and didn’t really want to be a bummer for anyone else. I had a bunch of movies I wanted to watch, and there was football on the TV, so it figured to be a pretty lazy day. Unfortunately -- both NFL games were near-unwatchable blowouts, and the movies I had weren't much better. So aside from Cartoon Networks live Rickroll at the Macy's parade there was a dire shortage of distractions, and I started to get really restless. Eventually I hit the one grocery store that was still open and picked up enough ingredients to whip myself up a mini-turkey dinner, and buried myself into the preparations for that for a few hours. The eats turned out pretty good, and I happened upon a few entertaining bad movies on cable that took me deep enough into the night where I was at least laughing at the screen when the tryptophan finally kicked in and put me under.
 
U-571Despite my love for submarine movies (especially ones with U-Boats in them), I avoided U-571 like the plague when it came out -- largely because of it's star, Matthew McConaughey -- who was really just starting to go douche at the time. The movie also got a lot of press because it was Jon Bon Jovi's big screen acting debut. These two things alone were enough to keep me from watching it -- but late Thursdayt night I was flipping channels and happened upon a WWII sub movie scene that went on for like 5 minutes before McConaughey showed up and I realized what I was watching -- at which point I was too invested in the plot to quit. It also didn't help that the cast included Harvey Keitel, Bill Paxton, David Keith, and Jake Weber -- all great character actors that I love watching. So I'm thinking to myself, "What could go wrong?" Five minutes later there's a scene where basically everyone I just mentioned gets killed at once, leaving us with basically nothing but McConaughey for the remainder of the film. Of course when you make a movie about submarines it sorta doesn't matter who's in it anyways, because the real stars are the same as every other U-Boat movie ever made -- the submarine itself and the depth charges that try to blow it up. Like a lot of guys out there, I don't ask a lot from my U-boat movies. Give me a sense of impending doom, a bunch of guys holding their breath with every sonar ping off the side of the hull, and a lot of near-miss torpedo action leading up to that one perfect kill shot at the end and I'm usually pretty happy. On that front the movie more or less delivered, but even I couldn't get past some of the glaring plot holes and far too easy to spot CGI sequences. Then I did some reading online and found out that the movie was so blatantly inaccurate in it's historical facts that President Clinton actually had to write a letter of apology to the family of one of the original British sailors who took part in the actual mission the movie's utterly American plot was based around -- a fact that I can't help but find endlessly hilarious. I mean, can you even imagine what that letter must have looked like? "On behalf of the United States of America, I would like to apologize for Matthew McConaughey's acting.."
 
Florida 45
Florida State 15
You sorta saw it coming, but that really didn't make it sting any less. My beloved Seminoles have played their hearts out this year, but right now Florida's just a better team -- and by halftime it was essentially over. Tim Tebow will probably split for the NFL soon (although I still have doubts about his viability at the next level), which will leave us little chance for revenge against this particular squad, which is a shame -- because I really like the direction FSU is headed in, and suspect next year we'd be able to put up a lot more of a fight.
 
Journey to
the Center
of the Earth
I had my son this weekend, but with money troubles and cruddy weather rampant -- it turned into sort of a videogame/movie marathon, capped Sunday night with a pre-bedtime screening of the recent remake of the Jules Verne novel starring Brendan Fraser. The film was originally released in 3-D, but the DVD we rented didn't have that option, which kind of sucked -- because it was one of those movies that has a lot of scenes where the actors would like purposely stick things right into the camera, which you just knew would have looked cooler with the glasses on. Still, not bad for a family film. My son was definitely more interested in the "Center of the Earth" part than he was in any of the "Journey to" sections, but once he took the bait he was all the way into the story, which was really fun to watch. The coolest part for me though was checking out the special features -- which offered a short documentary about the history of Hollow Earth theories, which many believe started with Edmund Halley (the comet guy), and even spurred the formation of a religious cult (here in Florida, no less) that spent a number of years developing tools and technology to help prove their theory that not only was the Earth hollow, but that civilization was actually living inside of it already.
 
ValkyrieSo let me see if I've got this straight: On December 25th, Christmas Day -- a new movie will open where Nazis are the heroes!? Nevermind the fact that Tom Cruise (of all people) is playing the lead, did anyone give any thought to the timing of this at all? What, was Rosh Hashanah all booked up?
 
Rock of
Love Bus
So let me see if I've got this straight: For the 3rd season of Rock of Love -- the admittedly addicting train-wreck of a reality show where 20 rock skanks compete against each other for the right to be dumped by a washed-up rock star two weeks after he declares his "love" for her -- they're gonna take the whole thing out of the house and put it on a tour bus that drives around the country. Is this an improvement, or a budget cut?
 
Scream Queens                 Speaking of reality shows, my current fave is called Scream Queens, where 20 would-be starlets compete for the chance to play a bit part in the upcoming sixth installment in the Saw movie franchise. I admit that on the surface, the thing looks kind of stupid -- but there's something about it that's actually pretty cool. I think VH1 would rather the show follow their normal formula of catfights and skank-drama, but the whole thing has sort of turned into an actual competition. There's no fake love interest, no unbelievable life-changing opportunity at the end of the tunnel. For once it's a reality show that's exactly what it advertises itself as -- an extended audition for an under-five in a studio picture. As such, the focus is on the acting talent (or lack thereof) of the contestants, all of whom are hot enough to be in a movie (especially a cheesy horror click), but aren't actually talented enough to get into one without help. As a result -- a big part of each episode is dedicated to acting classes and scene work, turning the whole thing into a theater workshop -- which as a former theater major and drama coach brings back all sorts of memories and provides tons of opportunities to armchair quarterback. All that being said, despite my legitimate reasons for liking the show, there's no real way to deny the camp/T&A appeal of the whole thing -- especially when they pull crap like this:

[Listening to:  Sevendust - "Crumbled" ]


Wednesday, November 26

Actually Spoken During the Course of My Day

"She died the same way she lived -- ruining everyone else's Thanksgiving."

[Listening To:  Coal Chamber"Big Truck" ]


Tuesday, November 25

Yūgure

Once upon a time, I dated a Mormon. Actually to be honest, one time I was setting up sound gear on a stage and this smoking-hot blonde with the tightest little body you ever saw came up to me and gave me her number. It's sorta funny thinking back on it, because even though I (not-so) secretly loved the fact that doing that kind of work provided me with a patchwork quilt version of the rock and roll lifestyle I'd always dreamed of living, I still kinda hesitated a bit before calling her because I was worried for some reason that she wouldn’t like the fact that I was a college drop-out.
Turned out to be no big deal, seeing as she was still in high school at the time.
I was only a year or two past graduation myself, and she was incredibly hot – so despite the initial "Oh crap I'm going to jail" moment of shock that came when I discovered that her age in no way matched her looks, I was all over that.
Or at least I tried to be.
We had a lot of good times -- but our schedules were really different and her dad (whom I made the critical error of actually meeting at one point) didn’t like the look of my long hair at all, which probably played a part in her not always being available when I called.

Eventually I decided to go back to college and moved to Tallahassee. It seemed like that would be the end of it; and for a while it was –- until I got a call one day telling me she had transferred to FSU and wanted to see me. So we started hanging out again and things were going pretty good –- but my young hormones found themselves frustrated at times by what seemed to be an invisible line that we continually approached, but never seemed to cross.

I’m sure a lot of it was on me (my game’s never been that slick) but a lot of it came from painfully clear nonverbal signals from her that while some things could happen, a lot more simply weren’t going to.

We went around for a while like that until things started unexpectedly developing with the girl I would eventually marry (and later divorce), causing whatever Kelley and I had to fade away -- leaving nothing behind but a series of hungry memories, photographs she took at the Groove Puppy show, and a rather embarrassing 10-second personal note I had left for her in the middle of a Radio One mixtape that I never got the chance to give her (which ended up being my own personal copy that I played in my car and continually caught crap for from the guys whenever the music was suddenly interrupted by the mushy message of affection I had hidden in the middle of a Whitesnake song).
I still think of her from time to time and the good times we had.
I actually heard from her a while back – she found me online and sent an email asking how I was. She’s married now with a child of her own, happy as a clam, and doing very well.
Still really hot, too.
The point of all this is that had we not been playing out our own little chaste version of Twilight –- it’s very possible that my life might have taken a very different path. There's a lot more subtext in that statement than I'm really willing to go into in detail right now, but what all of this boils down to is that as much as I'm sure that I wouldn't really enjoy Stephenie Meyer's popular novel series if I took the time to read it -- I can easily relate to the concept of fearing the consequences of drinking the blood you want more than anything (especially when it seems like a lifetime since your last taste) -- and what happens when eventually you throw that caution to the wind and in the process willingly blind yourself to the neck that those veins are attached to.

Not her, but you get the idea.I can’t regret the choices I’ve made (regardless of consequence), because without them I wouldn't have my son, be in the places I am now, or had the opportunity to connect with the people that I've found since walking past those woods on a snowy evening – but it’s hard not to glance back once in a while and wonder what might have been if I had played things more aggressively.
Life’s like that sometimes.
Especially when you’re dating (apparently) a sparkly vampire.


[Listening To:  Sneaker Pimps"Post-Modern Sleaze" ]


Monday, November 24

Talk of the Town

I'm feeling oddly jazzed about the fact that I just received my first official rejection letter from The New Yorker.

It's technically not the first time they've passed on writing I've submitted -- however this time they actually burned calories composing a two-sentence email instead of just doing nothing and letting me figure it out a month or so later.

[Listening To:  Imogen Heap"Daylight Robbery" ]


Sunday, November 23

Programming Note

Friday wasn't so hot.
The Sheet will return next week, but as for right now -- the quarterback is toast.

I'm working on stuff for this week, and I'm certainly not gone -- but at this point talking about the cool things from last week seems well, kinda last week, you know?
Anyways, all apologies.
See you real soon. Why? because we like you.

PS - Whenever I saw this part of the show as a kid (in re-runs, I'm not that old) I couldn't help but think the friggin world was ending. I swear to god this is the single most somber kids song in the entire world.

[Listening to:  Ida Maria - "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" ]


Thursday, November 20

Money Power Respect

Hexacorde so broke, his bologna has no first name.
Hexacorde so broke, he can't pay attention.
Hexacorde so broke, he can't even afford attention.
Hexacorde so broke, he gotta put Krystal burgers on layaway.
Hexacorde so broke, he gets 3 cents a day from some kid in Ethiopia.
Hexacorde so broke, he chases a garbage truck with a shopping list.
Hexacorde so broke, he goes to KFC to lick other people's fingers.

[Listening To:  Stevie Wonder"I Wish" ]


Wednesday, November 19

Two Things

1) I have cats. I also have a Roomba, and I can assure you -- this never happens.
2) Guess what I'm doing when I get home tonight?

[Listening To:  A"Nothing" ]


Tuesday, November 18

28 Dollars Later

..Seriously, that's how tight things are for me right now.
I'm certainly not the only one in the world with money problems, and there are plenty of people out there who are much worse off than me -- but that doesn't mean it's not incredibly frustrating to try to work the numbers over and over and not see any daylight at the end of the tunnel.

The worst part of course is that I have no one to blame for this but myself. I'm the one who over-extended things, and I'm equally the one who didn't start filling up sandbags when the heavy rainclouds started to form on the financial horizon -- but it's amazing how something like this seeps into everything else.
It's an astounding moodkiller.
Luckily, it's one of those rough patches where the bills are (mostly) paid and there's just nothing really left over. As a result, I've been staying in a lot and catching up on Netflix stuff that's been growing moss on top of my DVD player for no apparent reason. The results haven't been all that great, but sometimes it's more about the journey than the destination -- right, Josh Hartnett?
Yeah, bullshit on that. As far as I'm concerned you owe me five bucks, pal.
The thing about being really broke though, is that it's a good time to assess your own financial weaknesses. You get to sort of see first hand the things that get you in the most trouble -- because those are the things you know you can't really buy, but you want more than anything, especially when there's really no petty cash to be found.

Of course when you look back through history, you get the chance to find out just how much I don't really know what broke is. Sure I can't afford a tank of gas right now, but it's not like some of the hard times this country has seen in the past.

A fact that sometimes gets lost when you look back at some of the entertainment of the times. I was thinking about this the other day when I was going through some of my classic cartoon DVDs, many of which were made in the 30's and 40's -- created by artists who grew up through the great depression. But when you think of the jazz and the movies and the absolutely fantastic cartoons of that time -- it's interesting to realize just how much of it was lighthearted and optimistic, even in the face of everything that was going on in the world at the time.
A couple of notes on this short:
  1. The Henpecked Hoboes was banned for a while and then later broadcast in an edited version because of a quick gag based on negative stereotypical imagery that shows up about halfway through. Certainly it's not the most sensitive thing in the world, but even as a child (when I didn't know what it was supposed to imply) I always thought these jokes were more about the explosion than anything else. This YouTube clip includes that bit, which I hope you'll see through the eyes of history as a representation of some of the outdated cultural ideas that were prevalent when this cartoon was made (1946), and not as anything mean-spirited or insulting.


  2. Every time I watch these old Tex Avery shorts, there's always a second where I wonder whatever happened to expressions that start with the words "Leave us." I know it's kind of old school, but as far as I'm concerned "Leave us not get excited" is a phrase that should have never gone out of style.


  3. If I ever get the chance to sit down and talk with a cartoon historian like Jerry Beck or John Kricfalusi, one of the fanboy questions I would love to ask is about just how deeply John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men was ingrained into peoples minds in the 40's. Sure it's s a great book and all -- but when you start to consider just how many of those golden era cartoons were riffs on that idea, you get the impression that it was a pop culture favorite of perhaps Star Wars-level proportions. Or to put it another way -- if Kevin Smith had been born in the 1930's, it's possible all of his increasingly-lame jokes would have been about George Milton and Lennie Small.


  4. Speaking of "Mice and Men" -- cartoons like this always serve to illustrate a point that I've been making for years about John Steinbeck novels -- which is: Not enough ass-kicking. The Grapes of Wrath especially is a novel that could have really benefited from more scenes where people told their partners to "bend over."
Back in college being broke was just sort of a state of being, which looking back -- made it sort of a bonding experience for the people who you hung out with, who usually ended up (whether they wanted to or not) being your safety net.
..Not so much of that happening when you screw up the books in your mid-30's.
Not that I'm looking for a couch to crash on or a handout, but it's just weird to
think that the last time I was in a hole like this, it seemed like a lot more fun.

[Listening To:  Blackstreet"Don't Leave Me" ]


Sunday, November 16

New York London Paris Munich

I'm a music snob. Have been for a long time. As such, I generally prefer my songs to be musically complex, my lyrics esoterically referential, and my time signatures not to be divisible by two. But there are times when even I cannot resist the charms of a catchy little pop song.
This would be one of them.

         -originally seen @ Glark.org.

[Listening To:  The J. Geils Band"Insane, Insane Again" ]


Friday, November 14

The Friday Hot Sheet

It's been a weird week. Somewhere between all the money troubles and odd mixture of emotions that have arisen with recent news about my grandmother's failing health -- which, despite our bad personal history has hung over the past few days like a cloud on a sunny day have put me in a place where the days have run by faster than expected, even though they've been filled with little more than just going through the motions at work and staying home most nights in an effort to save money.

I don't mean to sound like a downer -- because there have been bright spots this week as well, but have you ever gotten into a mood where it seems like the things in your life, while certainly not perfect -- are in some sense steady (which should be a good thing) -- making you pine for the chaos and action that comes from needing to have a problem to solve or an endorphin rush to chase?

All week long, for whatever reason I feel like I've been pushing the elevator button for the floor I wanted to get to over and over, but the doors to the thing for some reason wouldn't close, and the resulting impatience for the next thing to happen has created this sense of frustration that's sorta spilled onto everything else and left me in a weird sort of personal limbo where stories get stuck in the middle, the workday seems interminably long, and I keep checking the fridge every 10 minutes or so in search of something to eat, but after looking through the things I have on the shelves cannot seem to find anything that I really want to have.
I'm hoping that the upcoming weekend with my son helps punch me out of this mood.
So before we head out to catch Madagascar 2 -- here are this weeks risers and fallers, and the buzz as it looks from here.
Quantum of SolaceI'm really torn about this new Bond film. On the one hand, I'm a huge Ian Fleming fan who read the original novels several times over and always enjoyed the action, spirit, and naughty attitude that made up so much of the original films. I liked Casino Royale (I actually watched it again the other night), and really appreciated the way the script and especially Daniel Craig's performance worked to take the aging franchise in a much-needed new direction -- but all the way through that movie I couldn't help but feel like something was missing. The gadgets were largely gone -- which I was kinda happy about because of the way the whole "Q" sequence had become a cliché, and I love the way Judi Densch has finally embraced the role of "M" and really made it into a living, breathing character -- but now that we have a brutal, vengeful Bond who's been given in some ways a purpose to his violence -- it's sort of shined a harsh light on villains who seem just as paper thin as always. Casino Royale's bad guy was by far the most boring character in the film. Sure his storyline drove some of the action along the way -- but why were we supposed to hate him, again? I've been reading some of the preview stuff for this new Bond film and it seems like is that the villain is sort of unimportant to the story itself -- which from what I can tell picks up right where the last movie left off, focusing more on Bond's quest for personal revenge than any need to win the day. If that's the case, then why have a bad guy at all? What I'm saying is that the plot in this new film feels tacked on as an excuse to let Craig continue to redefine the character. I like the new version of Bond, but if the whole point of this thing is him learning to take mother M's advice while she learns to trust in his dedication to his job -- then I'm not sure I'm gonna be quite as interested as I was when there was a GIANT ROCKET THAT ATE SPACE SHUTTLES flying around.
 
Jennifer
Anniston
I really don't know why Anniston irks me so much. I'm not even really sure why I care about her over-publicized personal troubles at all. But there's just something about her whole deal that bugs me. Maybe it’s because a big part of her fame is based off a haircut. Maybe it’s because as annoying as the whole Brangelina media personality can get -- their whole deal is about what they do now, and not still blabbering on about the past. Seriously, how long ago did all of that mess happen? And you’re still going on about it? Maybe it sounds mean, but if I was Angelina Jolie -- I'd be doing whatever I could to bed John Mayer by the end of the week.
 
Arm CirclesRemember back in school when you’d be in PE class and you’d kind of sleepwalk your way through the calisthenics because they never really felt like work? Part of this P90X workout I’ve been doing lately is a warmup to get your heart rate up before you dig in to the exercises. Ok, no big deal – couple of jumping jacks, some stretching – I can handle this. Oh and what’s this? Arm circles? Oh come on, are you kidding me? What is this, kids stuff? All right, I’ll play along – hold your hands up like you’re washing windows and spin for 20 seconds -- doo dee doo, these are easy. Oh what’s that? Reverse directions? Oooooh, scary stuff. Ok now what? Turn your palms downward and do two more sets? Piece of cak.. HOLY SHIT MY ARMS ARE ON FIRE!! The trainer says they’re supposed to burn, and you can see the people in the video straining – but there’s still something sorta embarrassing about struggling through what seems like such a simple warmup exercise.
 
Nationwide Outrage
over Prop 8
One of the reasons I was worried about Obama’s election chances all the way up to election day (even with all of the polls saying he had a commanding lead) was this idea that everything I see isn’t necessarily everything that's visible. It happens to everyone in this media age, where the sources you get your information from can’t help but be a little biased in their reporting. In other words, if you tend to watch more Daily Show than you do Fox News Channel (ideally you should watch both, but you know how it is), you sort of can’t help but see the glass as half-full. It’s sort of like taking a college class in a volatile subject, like ethics or genetics where the actual facts are still in flux, but the professor sees things (and presents them) a certain way –- which not only skews the way you get the information, but means you have to buy into their viewpoints and opinions a bit to pass the tests, because their opinion sorta becomes part of the curriculum? I think I was like a lot of people out there – not only in thinking that it would be ridiculous for Prop 8 to pass, but more specifically that Californians of all people would never be the ones to take such a hard stance against gay marriage. A similar ban was on the ballot here in Florida –- and it passed easily, but having lived here most of my life it wasn’t such a surprise, because despite our flourishing gay population, it’s still for the most part a socially conservative, religious-minded place. So after prop 8 passed in California, it made me start to wonder if I had only been seeing the struggle for homosexual civil rights (which I had thought was making strides) through a narrow lens. All of the news sites, columnists, and radio shows that I subscribe to supported gay marriage, as did all of my friends who live in California. So how the hell did it pass? Was it a case of me seeing things the way I wanted to see them, and not as they actually were? Over the past week, as some of the anger over the vote has calmed and the Anti-Prop 8 movement has in some ways realized that they were outspent and overmatched when it came to marketing their position to voters, what I’ve been relieved to see is not only a national tide of shock and anger over the passing of the proposition, but what appears to be a renewed and more unified drive to get it repealed. Not that there isn’t still opposition to the idea of gay marriage (because there is) -- but that perhaps parts of this nation are more equipped to become trailblazers to help others see what it means, and what it doesn’t. This Saturday there will be nationwide rallies protesting Prop 8. If you feel strongly about this issue and want to help out, please take the time to be a part of one, as I intend to.
 
Star Wars:
The Clone
Wars
People are getting tired of Star Wars. The disappointing box office and nearly unanimous critical panning of the awful awful Clone Wars movie that came out earlier this year were fairly strong indications of that. Of course when I say people, I mean you and me – and not so much the kids who haven’t been around to see it driven into the ground over the last 20 years. Which is why my 8 year-old son not only enjoyed the movie, but was really excited for the release of the companion animated TV show as well. We’ve been watching it over the past few weeks, and although it’s still got lame points – I dare say that on the whole it’s ..not that bad (!?). First off, they took out all the things that made the movie so horrible – the fart jokes, the baby, the gay Jabba the Hutt cousin – and replaced it with storylines that (for a kids show) were surprisingly crisp, and action that was not only believable -- but slightly more violent (and as a result exciting) than I was expecting. It feels like you’re watching one of those old WWII TV shows, with the one true unique point being that most of the characters that are important to the plot do not exist in the bigger release movies at all, which means you know they’re going to die at some point in the series. It adds a little bit more suspense to the thing that I have to say kinda works in it’s favor. At the same time it’s hard not to wonder if the thing works simply because it’s marginally better than the crap that’s come before it. It’s almost like The Clone Wars is the TV equivalent to a really good McDonalds hamburger. You know the one where you bite into it and go, "Wow, for a crap meal this is actually pretty good!"
 
Getting
Greedy
Last night while watching the latest episode of the aforementioned Clone Wars TV show with my son and thinking about how I was pleasantly surprised at how good the series had been considering my low expectations for it – they played a preview commercial for next week’s episode, featuring a storyline centered around ..Jar Jar. Why you gotta be like that, Lucas? Here I was saying all these good things about you, and here you go fucking it up all over again! You know what the problem is – you got greedy.
 
Get Your
War On
                
One of the few bright spots that came from my former subscription to long-past-it’s-prime/needs-to-be-put-down music magazine Rolling Stone was discovering the brilliance that is Get Your War On. With its sly wit and short panel length, it always managed to get a laugh without feeling too preachy. The good news is it’s turned up again in animated form as a regular feature on 23/6, just as fearless and funny as ever.

[Listening to:  Sylvian/Fripp - "Brightness Falls" ]


Thursday, November 13

No Country For Old Men

Last night was the CMA's, which I burned exactly zero calories on. The Hollywood-if-ication of Country music is annoying for many reasons -- the least of which is the way it's vanilla-fied the vast majority of the music. The genre is probably more successful than it's ever been -- so get used to it, but there's a certain loss of character that's come with the move towards overproduction and crossover star-making that's turned the whole thing into something that's more like pop music without soul than anything that could ever show up as background music in a biker bar scene in a Lance Henrikson movie.
Country music may be many things, but lately I feel like it's not really very country anymore.
A big part of this for me comes from the fact that while growing up, I got to hear a lot of my dad's music, which was mostly old-school country singers. Artists like George Jones, Kenny Rogers, and Jim Reeves. But the other part of my longtime quiet fandom of country music is the tragic result of being a little kid in the late 70's/early 80's -- which was the staging ground for country music's other assault on the mainstream, the one they try not to talk about anymore now that the new effort is working so well.
And yet both styles found a way to somehow still feel more authentic to the non
city-slicker lifestyle than anything that's come out of Nashville in the last decade.
See, when I was a kid country music was still deep into it's hillbilly/redneck shuck and jive stage, featuring scores of boozed up guys in cowboy hats who toured like crazy and only got played on AM stations that you'd hear at auto repair shops or convenience stores. But what a lot of people seem to forget is that it was also a time when a small number of more palatable country music stars had a strange little hold on Movies and TV as well.

Back in the day, there was this sort of rift between supposed real country artists like Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Merle Haggard -- scary long-bearded guys who drank too much and switched between being wildly successful, losing every penny they had, or putting out nothing but doom and gloom Corinthians chapter and verse-inspired gospel albums (not the "Jesus Loves Me and Everything's gonna be GREAT!" variety -- but more like "There's a man going around taking names" type of albums that scared the crap out of anyone who had the bad luck to hear them) -- and good time country artists who were just as comfortable co-starring in movies with Burt Reynolds as they were donning sequined jackets and doing prime-time network variety shows like Barbara Mandrell or the Statler Brothers.

So what you essentially ended up with were all these old-school Gangstas wearing the black hats who would do hour-long sets on Austin City Limits where they hardly looked at the cameras and every song they sang had to do with a woman leaving them and living at the bottom of a bottle -- and then you had this whole other camp of producer-made pretty faces that wore jackets with fringe hanging off the sleeves and sequins all over the place who were at the forefront of the whole "feel good country/pop music" thing that overloaded the genre with clean-cut guys in button-down shirts and vests and women who sang with a little twang in their voice but still talked about relationship issues that other people could relate to.

Most people remember The Dukes of Hazzard, but people don't seem to talk too much anymore about all those other TV shows featuring the Gatlin Brothers or the Mandrell Sisters -- that were essentially just re-treads of earlier variety fare like the Osmonds or Sonny and Cher, except with a country music mood to them.
It made for a country music scene that honestly bears a lot of
similarities to the hip-hop/rap scene we've got going on right now.
Dolly Parton does not equal Reba McIntire. Sure, they're both superstars, but artistically they're about as different as Mary J. Blige is from Mariah Carey. All these dudes in the hats and the pooka shell necklaces that you can't tell apart anymore? The Rascal Flatts and the Kenny Chesneys owe a lot more of their success to acts like Alabama and Eddie Rabbit then they ever would to say, the Outlaws.

What the contemporary country music industry has managed to do (much like the overlords who control mainstream hip-hop are attempting to do with their artists right now) is to curb the edges. Take out the extremes. Toby Keith will get a little preachy now and again about what he thinks you should do if you don't love America -- but he's still got Ford trucks to sell, so he can't really go off the Charlie Daniels deep end to the point where you go to a show looking to hear "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" and end up about halfway through the thing worrying that you'd somehow stumbled into a Klan meeting.

In a similar vein -- gansta rap was an important piece in the development of hip-hop, but it's hard to find anymore. There are still angry songs -- but the days of anti-police anthems are kinda gone. There's still a lot of room for talking tough about what you'll do to someone if they get out of line, or whatever -- but the edge is sorta different now.
Much like it is in country music.
Now what it seems like you have in country music are the people who the super saccharine-y pop artists and the guys who grew up listening to Southern Rock and AC/DC, but have taken that background and turned it into a more lite-rock variant of the new country sound.

Not that one version is necessarily better than the other (I might argue that one is more authentic), but that there's a lot less fragmentation now that there used to be. Country music's edgier moments work well right now as a contrast to it's ballads. It's not like you have to start a whole new country music station to put all the Keith Urban stuff on so it doesn't drive away the people waiting to hear Carrie Underwood.
Which is something you simply can't do with rock and roll, alternative, or hip-hop right now.
That's not to say that underground country artists don't exist, or that there aren't fresh new voices in the genre -- but that you won't find them at the CMA's, or on any of those radio stations. As far as I can tell, college radio stations are the only source for the bands working to stretch the country music envelope, which tends to make them feel less like country acts and more like alternative bands featuring a "down-home sound" (Wilco or The Kings of Leon, for example).

But the point I'm really trying to make here is that as Country music has worked to elevate it's mainstream image to the point where it now wants to have awards shows with red carpet entrances and Hollywood production values, what you get is less and less room for the characters that always made the genre so endearing.

Every style of music has it's heartthrobs and pin-up girls, but what always separated Country music from the pop acts that lived in the world around it was the way that the songwriting mattered. The way that certain country songs tend to stay with people, and end up kinda living forever.
Even the bad ones.
Of course, it may be just me. I tend to dislike any musician telling me how to live my life. I'm more about relating to the stories that singers have to tell, finding emotional connections to lyrics and music that resonated with my own experiences and feelings. But the one thing that I used to appreciate the most about the country music I grew up with was the way it used to make me laugh -- something that I don't think works quite as well anymore, unless it's Rodney Carrington or something like that.

I don't know -- maybe I'm in the minority here, but I miss the days of goofy country songs. I miss the days where it was sort of like a more upbeat variant of blues. What I mean by that is a blues guy would write a song about how blue he felt when times were hard, when love was lost, or when it was time to ramble. Always emotionally stirring, but to be honest -- sometimes kind of a bummer.
Where as the country artists I enjoyed the most were more like,
"Wanna hear about this time when I did something really stupid?"
Which is something I can totally relate to.

[Listening To:  Mudvayne"Do What You Do" ]


Tuesday, November 11

Monday, November 10

Baller, Shot Caller, Twenty Inch Blades On the Impala

While watching football the other day something occurred to me that I'd never thought of before:
A lot of these guys weigh about the same as me.
Maybe it was because the teams that were on my TV weren't that entertaining, but I found myself for the first time in a while paying attention to anything else but the game itself, which made me realize a few things. First off, despite the fact that I am a longtime fan of The Fixx, I've pretty much decided that whatever a-hole it was at Toyota who greenlighted their insipid "Saved by Zero" campaign (that doesn't even use the real song, btw -- just some studio hacks recreating the chorus) that they play during every football game on TV needs to be strung up by his ankles and fed to a pack of hungry wolverines.
I actually got into one commercial break where they played this spot followed by a
"Free Credit Report.com" commercial and I thought my head was going to explode.
But once the game came back on -- they did that sorta flashcard thing they run whenever someone makes a play that shows their face without the helmet, lists the college they went to, and their height and weight.
And I started to see some numbers that looked pretty familiar.
I've been struggling with my weight lately, which has led me back into regular workouts and trying to change my eating habits. I've also been using another blog I contribute to as a weight loss journal, which I think has been helpful in keeping me mindful of where I'm at -- but as I was looking it over the other day has also sort of turned into a big "bash myself" party where essentially I run myself down for not making more progress on a daily basis.

But here on my TV suddenly were a bunch of guys running around supposedly in tip top shape and half of them weigh 30, 50, and in certain cases like 100 pounds more than I do.

So it got me to thinking -- because a big part of the issue for me has been my body frame. I'm a wide shouldered guy who comes in just under six feet in height. The kind of thing they used to call "stocky" back in the day. Had I been less of a nerd and gone to a high school that actually had sports, I might have easily gone out for football. No way to know if I'd be any good at it or not -- but it certainly would have been something I would have been interested in.

True story -- when I was going to college in Tallahassee, my then-girlfriend/future ex-wife's dad was a teacher at FAMU. This was around the time they'd gotten this new football coach named Billy Joe (not a nickname) who actually went a long way towards turning their long-suffering football team into a winner for the first time in years, which garnered them a lot of local news coverage. Anyways -- there was this day where we were at the local mall shopping for something or another and I was wearing some of the FAMU swag her father had given me, and a guy wearing a FAMU hat actually stopped me in the store and said,
"Hey -- Great game last Saturday!"
Neither of us knew what he was talking about, so we asked -- and he proceeded to gush about my apparent poise in the pocket against Bethune Cookman.
I had no way to tell at the time if he was actually being serious or not -- but eventually I
decided to take his assumption that I was actually a member of the team as a compliment.
Of course the truth of the matter is that I'm way too short to play quarterback at any sort of collegiate or pro level. But it got me to thinking -- as much as I'm struggling with my weight and fitness level right now, this isn't the heaviest I've ever been. Perhaps instead of spending time on the other blog running myself down all the time maybe what I really need is to take a moment to see how I stack up against America's most famous and well-payed fat guys.

So I went on the web and did some looking (sources on this were actually more scarce than I was expecting them to be), and what I came up with was this: There's a bunch of dudes in the NFL that are my exact same height (which I was surprised by), but when you start trying to pair up that height with my average weight lately what you get is a much shorter list.
In fact, according to my own (admittedly limited) research -- there's only two:
Patrick KearneyMeElvis Dumervil
Essentially if you stood me next to these guys, I'd supposedly fit right in. Sure they're both about 10 years younger than me, obscenely rich, and in fantastic shape -- but for some odd reason learning that at my current weight (in some alternate universe) I would be able to play fullback or defensive end in the league made me feel kinda good.

Not good in the "Get Drew Rosenhaus on the phone right now!" sort of way -- but that even though I've still got a ways to go before I feel like I've achieved my fitness/weight goals, I'm maybe not as far off the track as had I originally thought.
Which in my mind is cause for some celebration --
Can a brother get a hug?
[Listening To:  L7"Pretend That We're Dead" ]


Sunday, November 9

The Pancakipedia

Pancakes are quite possibly nature's perfect food. They're hearty, yet sweet. They fill you up, but taste light. They take external flavoring like syrup, butter, fruit, or powdered sugar with ease -- enabling people to personalize them to taste. A pancake is like a donut you need a fork to eat. It's like a big cookie. They warm your belly after you eat them, promote snuggling if you're able, and somehow have the intuition to know when to help wake you up (weekday mornings), when to give you a second wind (after-club Denny's/IHOP recharges), and when to help fill your morning need for food without cancelling out the all-important desire to take a nap/go back to sleep after a long night of partying.

The ability to make a good pancake breakfast is not only a primary dad skill and a boyfriend powermove, but it's also a unique way to make the people you care about feel special.
Because as easy as they are to make, it's only a select few who know how to make them right.
Of course, right for a pancake varies from person to person -- the thickness of each cake, the depth of ingredients used in the batter, the need for some of them to look vaguely like cartoon characters (not just anyone can make an Optimus Prime-cake on command). It's also important to have the restraint it takes not to overwhelm your audience.
A short stack is an expression of love. Expecting someone to
eat 50 silver dollars just because you made them is showboating.
It's weird how much pancakes have been on my mind lately. Partially because I'm kinda broke, and they were pretty much the only thing I had to eat in my house this weekend -- but also because they remind me of j, and the times that I cooked them for her and how much I miss those mornings together.

But oddly enough, the memory that comes to mind the most when I get on a pancake tangent is of the time my grandmother fed me so many homemade blueberry pancakes that I actually got sick and became convinced that I was allergic to them.

The truth of the matter was that I ate like 15 pancakes in one sitting -- which is simply too many for anyone to live through. But my love of pancakes is so pure that I simply wasn't ready to accept the idea that something as perfect as the pancakes themselves could have had anything to do with me puking my guts out -- so I chose instead to blame the blueberries.
And I basically refused to eat them for like 5 years after that.
It's strange though -- because it's one of the few good memories I hold of my Grandmother. The truth of the matter is that when I was a young child, my grandmother was one of my favorite people. I lived in a different state -- so visits were rare and special, and as a kid from suburban Colorado, her involvement in various Nature Conservancy groups and the nature hikes, rowboat trips, and craft fairs that came along with it seemed like the coolest things in the world.

She had this dock in her backyard that looked over a pond that she would let us fish off of. She made her own ceramic molds that she fired herself in the kiln she kept in her garage -- leading to years and years of handmade ornaments as Christmas presents, and there were two things she cooked that absolutely ruled -- these little mini-pizzas that she would make one at a time and serve to parties (people would line up for them on Saturday nights) and pancakes.

I think it's important to note that you don't just cook 15 blueberry pancakes for a hungry 9-year old kid. You make him like 4, and then when he asks for more -- you make him 3 more.
Anyone who sticks around long enough to cook 15 truly does love you.
My grandmother is very sick right now, and to be honest -- the outlook isn't so good. She's well into her 80's, and has led a rich and full life. It's no secret that she and I have not had the best relationship in recent years -- but it hurts my heart to think that she might soon be gone.

I don't know -- I've spent a lot of time on this blog running her down for her racist views and her history of hateful comments to her children, grandchildren, and their spouses, friends, and families. A lot of bad blood has passed over the years between us, and it's left it's mark on our relationship. All that being said, she is my grandmother and I hate to think of her suffering in a hospital bed, and I can only imagine that I will be more concerned with her welfare than our spotted personal history when I go to visit her this week.

You can't choose your family. But sometimes you have to look at them through the total lens of history. As a little kid, my grandmother was a magical presence in my life. In fact I think if you were to talk to my cousins, uncles, or even in remembrances from stories my late mother would tell -- Lorraine Clarke has always loved young children. She's certainly always had a special place in her heart for my son in the time she's known him.
But children grow up. And things don't always stay the same.
What I forget sometimes when I think back on some of the scars we've incurred is that somehow the same person who told my mother to "quit faking" her cancer was the same one who taught me the difference between pine and oak trees, the best way to catch crab on the Intercoastal, and sponsored me in her garden club so I could go to summer camp all those years when I was a kid.
The same woman who made the best blueberry pancakes I've ever tasted in my life.
So in memory of the good times with Mama Rainey (and there were a few), I thought I'd take a moment to discuss the various genus and phylum that you can find in the pancake universe, and the importance of each one. Not only because you need to know how to recognize them in the wild, but because when that time comes when you meet someone -- whether it's a beautiful woman you never want to be apart from or a child who's laughter warms your heart more than any ray of sunshine ever could, you need to make them pancakes.

Here's what to keep an eye out for:
  1. The Fish Pancake -- If at all possible, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a dedicated pancake pan/skillet. I know sometimes the cookware you have serves multiple purposes, and that's cool -- but if you really want the flavor to sing with each bite, you need to cook them on a surface that's reserved for pancakes ONLY. Because if you don't, you'll always have to deal with the fish pancake. Simply put, the fish pancake is the first pancake you make on a multi-use surface. It's the one that picks up all the minute traces of flavor that have been left over from all the other things you've cooked recently. You can clean cast iron all you want -- it's gonna keep just a little bit of whatever you fried up in it last, and nothing ruins the flavor of a good pancake quicker than the taste of porkchop. Luckily, the fix for this is easy. Pour a smaller than normal pancake out, and when you flip it -- try to make sure you get it into as many parts of the pan as possible. The cake will sop up the old flavors like a sponge, and leave your skillet fully prepared for the pancake goodness that is to follow. (Note: my dad sometimes called this the "dogcake" -- because that's who always got to eat it).


  2. The Steak -- A lot of people like to make same-size pancakes when they cook them, which is fine. But if you're making a stack, you need a good base. Which is why most people subconsciously make that first one a little bigger and thicker than the rest. The steak pancake also gives you a good visual reference for the others in the batch. I'm of the camp that staggers the size of each pancake, which enables syrup poured on the top to drip to the others below, which makes the steak an essential component. Try not to make too many of these though, because they increase your risk of unwanted leadpoint (see below).


  3. The Twins -- If you're making multiple pancakes at once, you'll always risk batter-touching. Batter touching instantly turns two perfectly sized pancakes into one elongated sort of crappy shaped one. Its not an oval, it's not a circle -- it's more something in-between. People screw this up a lot, because they try to separate them while the batter is still wet. This is a mistake, because the batter will stick to your spatula and dry there -- which increases the chances of tearing other pancakes when you go to flip them. The proper call here is to let the new mutant-cake cook to the flip point (bubbles on the surface), and then cut them apart after the turn. What you'll end up with is two mouse-ears with flat edges -- perfect for eating.


  4. The Waif -- I'm not really a fan of thin pancakes. There's such a thing as too thick -- but a skinny pancake is #1) a crêpe; and #2) more about the syrup than anything else, which is just WRONG. Seriously, I'm cooking you pancakes here, not creating some flimsy excuse for you to drink maple juice. The flavoring you add to the top of a meal should never be the meal itself. So if that's all you really wanted from this relationship, then get your purse and leave -- because I won't be making any more of these for your hoochie ass anytime soon.


  5. Leadpoint -- Leadpoint isn't technically a pancake as much as it is the result. Leadpoint is that unique moment where suddenly you realize that you don't want any more pancakes. It almost always happens when you're chewing a mouthful, and it starts to feel like work. A good pancake chef will recognize the possibility of leadpoint before it hits, and cut off the supply early enough to avoid it. Technique is essential, because really thick pancakes tend to bring this on faster than midsized ones do. It's sort of the opposite of the waif, where syrup rules the flavor -- because once you start getting close to leadpoint -- no amount of syrup will help. There's simply too much cake to work through, and it starts to feel like you're eating bread.
Like good loving, good pancakes should leave you wanting more. You never want to leave a pancake eating experience saying something like "I'll never eat those again." the way you do with say, tequila. A great pancake meal says, "Stay with me, and I'll make these again sometime." It's a power that should never be abused.

Or to put it another way -- I may not ever be able to forget or forgive some of the hateful things my grandmother has done or said during the time that I've known her,
But if she was somehow able to make up another batch of those
blueberry pancakes right now, I'd be the first one at the table.

[Listening To:  Ra"Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" ]


Friday, November 7

The Friday Hot Sheet

Remember Tuesday? Doesn't that seem like it was an absolute lifetime ago? All the hype leading up to the 4th had emotions running high on either side of the equation -- but I was still unprepared for just how tense I felt watching the numbers roll in while pundits and holograms prattled on about what it all meant. Which of course, is absurd -- because I'm not sure any of us can even begin to comprehend what this election really means for this country, our nation as a people, or history itself just yet.

And yet, as with all victories -- there were casualties along the way. And perhaps most importantly, there was a call for caution and patience from the very man who we all empowered with our excitement for a quick fix. A man who seems to understand much more about the gravity of the position he's inherited than many of us who helped get him there.
All that being said, it's hard to remember a single moment where I've
felt more hopeful and excited for this crazy little country we call home.
So before reality returns to politics -- here are this weeks risers and fallers, and the buzz as it looks from here.
ObamaI was nervous. I'll admit it. I knew the numbers, I'd seen the projections. Like almost everyone else, I'd overloaded on the little details to the point where everything seemed assured, and yet there was still this something inside, this little worry that somehow it still wouldn't happen. Was it cynicism? Was it doubt? I don't know. But the thing I remember most about filling in that bubble on my ballot was the amount of nervous excitement I felt. A tension that carried over into the early returns, even as the electoral numbers started to skew Obama's way. A big part of that I think was living in Florida, a state I couldn't help but think was going red (given recent history and perhaps my preconcieved notions of the place). When Ohio went blue, I should have felt better -- when Olbermann started doing the math and tried to get people to realize he was calling it without taking the Dan Rather-ish risk of actually calling it on TV until it was certain, I should have started celebrating -- but it was like I still didn't know how to process it. I knew it was real when NBC declared, but it wasn't until I saw Jesse Jackson standing at Grant Park, overwhelmed with emotion -- that it really struck me. The sheer power of the moment. The realization that history was happening right before my eyes. And then, outside the window -- shouts and cheers, people I didn't even know unable to contain their joy. The phone calls, the text messages. It was just an amazing feeling, one that I've still had trouble putting into words, even now.
 
The Obama PresidencyA campaign platform is not a policy. A speech is not a law. There's a lot that has to be done, and despite the overwhelming mandate Obama was given, it's not all just going to fall into place overnight. Worse yet, some of it might not have a chance to fall into place at all. 4 years can be a very short time if you're not careful -- so it's important to watch these next few months carefully. I voted for his policies and his dedication, but now I need to see him do it. But as Barack Obama said many times (including at the rally when I saw him speak) a lot of it will fall to us. A fact that I think will be the trickiest part of these next few years. He's going to work to change things that have kept many of us from being able to dig out from under our debts -- but he never said he was going to pull us out himself. That part is up to us. And lets not forget something here -- he's still a politician. There's going to be compromises, and there's going to be costs. And we're not going to like all of it. But if we're going to make a change -- if we truly are going to shift the direction of where we're headed as a nation, then we're going to have to take some hard steps, endure the criticisms and the "I told you so's," and worst of all -- the doubt we ourselves will surely feel as we take this new path. It's a time to stand together, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep our eyes open as we do.
 
Prop 8I was shocked when this passed in California. Pissed off is probably a better way to put it. And yet -- even as I voted against passing a similar measure here in Florida, I didn't feel a similar anger when I saw that provision pass easily here in my home state. It's a contrast that I've been trying to process for a few days now, as part of a story I'm working on about it. Why am I so pissed at California and yet so unsurprised and ambivalent about Florida? The surface answer is easy: California was a state that had previously allowed gay marriages, had plainly seen people elated on the steps of their City Halls exercising that right. And then it was all taken away. In a literal way, that's very different than voters in this state continuing to deny a right that has yet to be granted. But when I thought more about it, the more my feelings on the matter confused me. Happiness is happiness. Whether you're a homsexual living on the East coast or the West shouldn't matter. If you can find and maitain a relationship that strong, why shouldn't you be allowed the rights that others can have? Because it's morally bothersome to some people? It's such a complex combination of issues and ideas that there's really not enough room for me to discuss it here (which is why I'm still working on the story for later) -- but here's the point that I want to make. The discussions and anger that's come in the wake of the passing of Prop 8 in Californa has largely been aimed at the religious groups that funded a number of the anti-gay marriage media campaigns and the ethnic demographics who are generally (and perhaps stereotypically) being blamed for the homophobic vote behind it's victory. The fact that such marketing seemed to be successful offers a foreboding message about the actual state of unity in this nation, regardless of who won the battle for the executive branch. But what concerns me the most is that here in Florida where a ban on gay marriages passed with an overwhelming majority -- I can't recall seeing a single commercial, flyer, or rally asking people to support or oppose the legislation at all.
 
The GymThe good news is that it's still there. The better news is that I know this fact because I've been back in there, trying to undo all the damage I created when I almost gave up on the whole process in frustration last week. I've still got a long ways to go -- but at least I was able to get past the anger I was feeling so I could dig back into it. I've got a new workout plan, new equipment at home, and a fresh resolve. I still need to get better eating habits, but hey -- baby steps, right?
 
NonpointJust saw a new concert calendar listing telling me that they added a show at Jackrabbits for late November -- which is awesome (it will be the 3rd time I've seen them this year), epsecially considering the fact that it won't conflict with my plans to drive to see Skindred play the Orlando House of Blues in December. Not quite as good as seeing them together on the same stage like I did a year earlier -- but still enough to get me saving my pennies for a chance to hear 2 of my favorite bands go at it again.
 
Being BrokeI've never been rich, but lately things are just tight. Usually I have a little more breathing room at the beginning of the month after rent gets paid, but right now it's just not there. And it's not like I can blame George W Bush for making things this way, or get angry at Barack for not waving his hands and fixing it three days after the election. No -- this is all my fault for spending more than I could afford without creating the kinds of personal safety nets that had protected me in the past. Plus it's that annoying sort of financial hole where the bills are paid and there's enough in the budget for gasoline and groceries, but that's essentially it. That sort of day-to-day living where any pack of gum, egg mcmuffin, or unforseen need for an extra bottle of laundry detergent could bring the whole thing crashing down on top of my head. I'm notoriously bad with money, but it was something that I had really been improving upon over the past year. Now I'm scraping by, and it's hard not to feel a little dissapointed in myself for letting it happen again.
 
Sniping
at Sarah
Palin                  
Honestly, it's a little low class -- especially since the majority of these new revelations are apparently coming from sources inside the Republican campaign. I mean sure, she may have been a mousy diva with closed-minded views about womens rights and reproductive freedom who was utterly underqualified to lead this nation, but didn't the election results sort of express that sentiment for us? I mean, is it really necessary to keep taking shots at her now?

      ..yeah, yeah it is.
            

[Listening to:  Mudvayne"Severed" ]


Thursday, November 6

Awwwkward

                           -found via This Isn't Happiness.

[Listening To:  Skunk Anansie"Yes It's Fucking Political" ]


Wednesday, November 5

Actually Spoken During the Course of My Evening

"Obama's gonna win this -- Oh my god we did it!!"

[Listening To:  Jimi Hendrix"Star Spangled Banner" ]


Tuesday, November 4

He's a Card Player, Gambler, Scoundrel -- You'd Like Him

Regardless of who you choose to vote for, it's never been more important to get out there and do it. By this point it's probably pretty obvious how my ballot will be cast -- and while I make no apologies for supporting Barack Obama, I've also really appreciated the discussions from all sides that have sparked up in the comments during the past year or so. Regardless of how this turns out -- the most important thing this country can have is open discussions and debates about the issues that can lead us to making the right decisions for our country and our future.
Besides, all of those negative attack ads on TV were really starting to get old.
Seriously, get out there and vote.

[Listening To: Kings X"Dogman" ]


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