Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry....oh, whatever.

I went to see The Golden Compass with my son today, and I can say without reservation that it is the very best movie I've seen this year.

It's wonderful. Beautiful, stunning, compelling, with an engaging story and compelling characters. I loved it.

As for the anti religiosity? Well, it's there, sort of. It is, frankly, critical of things about Christianity that need to be criticized-the silencing of dissent and the squelching of human desires.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Frayed Ends of Simon

December 21, 2007
According to Marketplace, today is “Humbug Day”. For me, every day is Humbug Day.
Listening to smart people talk about business theory and business behavior reinforces for me the idiocy of so much of modern management. It’s really not hard to run a good business-you just have to really want to and really care enough to do it right. It’s much easier to just pretend to do it, instead.

December 22, 2007
Listening to NPR’s “Word for Word”, I was impressed with how good a speaker Chris Dodd is. Overall, I would have no problem at all voting for any Democrat, whereas I would have a problem voting for virtually every Republican.
As if that weren’t obvious.
Benjamin Barber, author of “Consumed”, on Bill Moyer’s Journal:
“Capitalism is producing needs in order to sell us all the goods it produces.”
“Those with bucks don’t have any needs, and those with needs don’t have any bucks.”
The profit in capitalism is supposed to reward risk. With the government bailing out failing businesses like Long Term Capital Management and helping with the subprime mess, where’s the risk? Why does personal responsibility only apply to us and not to them?
Another excellent point-we went crazy about the sale of port security to Dubai Ports World, screaming about our sovereignty and our safety. Guess what? Our sovereignty is gone. China and the oil sheikhs have bought this country, and they can shut us down in the blink of an eyelash. Suppose China decides to stop buying US government bonds? We shut down. Not someday-tomorrow.
Yet the local news leads with ice skating. Sigh.
Another brilliant Dan Carlin program this week: “The problem with America is you.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. I decry our wasteful government spending-yet I’m in hock all the way up to my hair follicles. I know what’s wrong, but I am unable to do anything but whine about it.
The problem with America is me.
Carlin has another interesting argument-waste your vote, or you’re wasting your vote.
I’ll explain.
The current political system is so clogged with special interest money and rank corruption that, if you vote based on one of the major candidates’ beliefs, you won’t get what you want anyway. You may as well cast a protest vote for Gravel, or Kucinich, or Paul, because at least you know those men are honest, and they have a chance, if elected, to muck out the stalls.
And yet…I give money to a national organization that employs lobbyists to protect the interests of my profession, too. I am wrapped in contradiction.
I really am the problem.

December 23, 2007
Two days until Christmas. One day until I get to see Simon. Briefly, given the number of women that will be there.
I learned on “Seven Ages of Rock” last night that Motley Crue’s bass and drum sound on “Dr. Feelgood” was what inspired Metallica to hire him to produce the Black album. Listening to the two back to back, you can really hear a similarity that I never noticed before.
I also learned that Sting sings the intro, “I want my…I want my MTV…” on Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing”. According to my wife, everybody knew that-including dogs, cats, and certain species of fish-except me.
Now listening: Jet, “Cold Hard Bitch”
What a great, straightforward, no bullshit rock and roll song.
Reminds me of the book I’ve been trying to write for 10 years-a story of a guy in a band who gets accused of murder. I can’t count how many times I’ve started it and given up.
Also on last night’s “Seven Ages of Rock”, Michael Stipe told a story I have heard before, that he tried to get Kurt Cobain to come to Georgia to record some music with him, in order to try to get him out of the mental space he was in and hopefully, avert his eventual suicide. Obviously, that didn’t work, but just imagine the work that we missed out on as well….sigh.
Metallica, “Until It Sleeps”
“…And The Hate Still Shapes Me…”
“Frayed Ends Of Sanity”
My ANTHEM in high school.
“Old habits reappear/
Fighting the fear of fear…”
Tesla, “We Can Work It Out”
I forget how much I loved this band.
Metallica, “Bleeding Me”
“I am the beast that feeds the beast…”
Billy Joel, “Light As The Breeze”
(Yeah, I know it’s a cover.) If you don’t want to throw your beloved down on the nearest flat surface and ravish them after hearing this song, then you’re just not human.
Elton John, “Kiss The Bride”
GREAT song. One of the best “girl I love is marrying an idiot and not me” songs. A little bit ironic in light of Sir Elton’s personal preference, but they are Taupin’s words anyhow.
Nirvana, “Oh Me”
I get two sorts of reactions when I reveal that we are closing early tomorrow. Either people expect us to have been closed all weekend, or they are annoyed that we ever close at all.
I think, if you asked someone in charge why we’re open on Christmas Eve and not on Christmas Day, they would say that’s what their customers want. Media gives you the same answer-why the same parade of idiotic reality shows? Why is sports radio a bunch of louts arguing about senseless things? That’s what the viewers want.
I think that’s a load of crap. I don’t think they have any idea what people really want.
Or at least, they don’t have any idea what I really want.
Which is kind of the same thing.
The answer to what people want is everything-people want the shows that they like, being broadcast when they are available to watch them, and the stores open whenever they want to patronize them.