Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Why is it so hard to vote?

You have to admit, our voting system is highly inconvenient. In many other countries, voting day is a national holiday. Everything is closed to produce high turnout. Why doesn't the U.S. have a national holiday for voting day? Is it because our government values economic concerns over enfranchisement? Perhaps. Is it also possible that our voting system deters people who we "don't want" voting? Maybe...certainly, it weeds out the apathetic. If you can't vote by text message or the internet--if you actually have to register and go to the place where you are registered--it definitely rewards those who are driven enough to vote.

However, people who work long or odd shifts can feasibly be shut-out on voting day. Voting via absentee ballot is time consuming and requires significant forethought. I do not count this alternative as a viable choice for your average American. It is far too difficult.

Interestingly, the poorest of society can easily vote--many are unemployed or work part-time. These people have ample time to wait in line and vote. It is the cut above the poverty line--those that support themselves by working multiple jobs or that have assembly-line jobs that are inflexible--who are likely the most disenfranchised by our archaic system.

Think about it...does anything else in today's society require "showing up"? Almost everything has an online or telephone option...you can order food, groceries and other commodities online. You can email instead of mailing a letter...and even mailing a letter, for most, requires simply walking out the door and placing a letter in a mailbox (rather than a trip to the post office). Sure, going to school or going to work is a daily chore that requires transportation...but these staples of society are virtually non-negotiable foundations. There is no built-in mechanism in our schedules that sets aside time to vote. Only a national holiday would provide this outlet. How much higher would turnout be with the day off for everyone? My friend had a conversation with a man who said he didn't have time to vote today, but that he would "vote tomorrow." A national holiday on election day would educate and make aware--who would it help? The poor and the lazy. The non-lazy poor deserve the chance. The others...eh, whatever.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Halloween...at least it keeps the candy industries in business...

So, I'm writing this post as I sit in darkness in my New Jersey house. Why? Because neither I nor my three roommates bought candy for our trick-or-treaters. So, I'm pretending not to be home so that I don't have to answer the doorbell and say, "sorry kids...no candy here. My roommates and I were too lazy."

I'm kind of surprised Halloween hasn't felt the wrath of health-crazed society, which makes up much of LA and NYC. A holiday that is dedicated to giving out candy can't be helping the fight against child obesity. Giving out candy en masse may be near the equivalent to giving out cigarettes. Eating 20 Mikly Ways in a night (and I DEFINITELY did on Halloween) has to be worse for an eight year old than smoking a couple butts.

While I always enjoyed Halloween, I would be in favor of changing the "treats" to more exotic snacks that were better for you. I'm all for the jobs created by the candy industry that are funded from Halloween, but maybe those jobs would exist at the, oh, I don't know, papaya factory if we changed our culture. I'm not saying we should give out raisins...I mean, let's be clear here: raisins suck. Only a complete loser would give out raisins to kids on Halloween (I remember occasionally getting raisins and being livid). But, even as a kid, if I got a coconut for Halloween, I would have thought that was pretty fucking awesome. Maybe the gift doesn't have to be food...'trick or treat' certainly doesn't require that food be the treat. What if people gave out toys? Or small bottles of Jager? I would have LOVED a bottle of Jager as an eight-year old. And you'd win instant street cred with the kids who smoke on the corner.

Seriously, though, I'm doing my social good for the day by hiding in my living room with the lights out and not answering the door for cute, dressed up seven year olds who get a great thrill from getting candy. I always knew that laziness would be my gift to society.

Monday, August 28, 2006



I called this!

Friday, August 04, 2006


The only negative to downloading music...

The only negative that I can think of to the "downloading music for free" era is that I (and many people) have not purchased albums like we did ten years ago. For the first years of the download era, I was happy to be rid of paying for CDs...not that the expense was great, but it was a hassle to go out, buy a CD, get the CD player to work, open that damn case, etc.

But, as I prepare to move out of my Princeton apartment, I discovered that I had actually brought 10 CDs with me when I originally moved to Princeton. I decided I'd give a few of my favorites a listen--first time in ten years for some...

I think I learned many things.

1) My musical appreciation has changed quite a bit in ten years. I remember listening to Phish's Rift when I was 12. Totally clueless...I kinda liked a few of the songs then, I remembered...at least, I thought I liked them...I now realize that the songs I kinda liked, I liked for the wrong reasons...they were catchy and sounded like cheesy pop. I guess I must have tried to relate it to something, but it was so different from anything I'd heard, I didn't know how to register what I was hearing...

Now, listening to it, I realize it's a fantastic album, phenominal from start to finish, very experimental and showcasing the incredible talent of Phish, on a pure instument ownership basis. My only main criticism is that a few songs are bit too Rosenchantzy/Rockapella-ish--I understand the intention, but the line greys for a few songs. Overall, though, it's great--and it's fantastic because one song leads into the next, one mood sets up another...which brings me to...

2) Listening to an entire album, rather than just one single from one artist here and another there, as we all tend to listen to music these days, is an entirely different music-listening experience. A great album is an hour-long song split into a whole bunch of small parts....which brings me to...

3) There is a difference between a great album and a great collection of songs. Rift is a great album...the continuity and fluidity of every song juxtaposed to the next is outstanding. Herbie Hancock's Headhunters is a great collection of songs. Each song takes the listener on a journey, but each song is, itself, its own entity. The transition from song to song is unimportant. There is a definite end to the song. But with Rift, no single song is amazing...but when taken together, the album is amazing.

4) If I added a whole bunch of lingo words that no one has ever seen before to the previous three paragraphs, and take a slightly haughtier tone, maybe one day I could write a music article for a major publication...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


South Park, once again, predicts reality

See my previous post about why South Park should have made Mel Gibson turn into Hitler, and not crazy...and now, he has justified himself in real life. Unreal.

This is a scary situation right now. It really seems like the US, UK and Israel want the war to escalate to mammoth proportions so that "real change" can finally be made, instead of a tenuous peace...but when there are crazy people with nukes involved, is that really what we want? I don't know...but it's kinda scary...

I gotta admit, I'm kinda sick of Barbaro being in the news. Am I the only one rooting for him to die? What, no good? (I'm kidding, please, don't worry...animals, I like...people-eh...)

Friday, July 28, 2006


'Scuse me...while I kiss this guy...[ba dahdah,ba dahdah]

I think that's no.1 on most frequently misheard lyrics...

Anyway, 'scuse me..while I talk politics...

So, the UN wants a 72-hour cease fire so they can deliver aid to northern Israel and southern Lebanon...

If they get this, it really brings up the oddity of war. Both sides can just say, "hey man, I'm tired, timeout, ok?" If the UN convinces both sides to stop, what do the soldiers do in the 72 hours? Rest and relaxation? Day spas and casino gambling? And what are they doing on like, hour 71? Don't you think most of the soldiers, after three days off from trying to be killed, might decide that the poker table was kinda better than intense life-threatening warcraft? "Aw man, I gotta go back to war? Shit. OK, double or nothing on this one..." (side note: how useless is the UN...it's like this organization is being run by Isiah Thomas...'Hey guys! You and I both know that I'm totally ineffectual, but here I am! Still on the front page...").

Also, predictably, it seems like public opinion is pretty much against Israel on his one, save for the U.S and U.K.. A terrorist organization runs wild in Lebanon, Israel gets sick of it, tries to force the country with the terrorist group to get ahold of its criminals, and the world screams at bully Israel to stop with the guns and shit (Biggie reference there, hope you got it). "Israel, cut it out! I mean, it was only the 27th Hezbollah attack...don't you guys have patience? [Anti-Semetic remark mumbled under breath...]." Yup...around the world, anti-Israel demonstrations. Finally, an excuse to band around our common enemy! A feel good event for all!

Is Israel dumb for potentially ruining the Lebanese government, one of the more friendly governments to American interests? Potentially--but reinforcing its "don't fuck with the Israeli military" image is vital to the success of the country. When surrounded by enemies, you can't put up with shit. Otherwise, your neighbors gain confidence.

The Israeli military, by the way, is like the Green Bay Packers. They are members of a small country's army but the team's pride makes it a top contender every year. People drop whatever they are doing to join the Israeli army. It is a badge of honor, unlike any other military organization I've ever heard of (scarily, the Nazis may be the closest I can think of...). I think of the Israeli army slapping the photo of Vince Lombardi every time they get ready for combat.

Perhaps I'm biased beyond reform, but every time Israel is involved in a conflict, it sure seems to me that it's only in retaliation--difficult to get too upset with a country just trying to defend itself. If the response is tough, well, maybe you shouldn't have fucked with the motherfucker to begin with...

Thursday, July 13, 2006


secret to pryor's success

I downloaded four full-length CDs of Richard Pryor's comedy. Why did Prior set the stadard for Black male comedians when others failed?

1) Pryor is damn funny. He is one clever motherfucker.

2) Pryor kinda sounds like a nerdy white guy. I'm serious--have you ever heard another Black man whose voice sounds like Pryor's? No. And this helped Pryor, because White people could easily understand him. Yeah, Pryor's vernacular was not White-friendly--but his "sound" was. Same with Cosby. The only other Black man who I've heard that sounds like Pryor is Cosby. And again, he reached both Black and White audiences...

In closing, we are a far more racist society than people often see on the surface. Our racism is more subtle and more equal opportunity (Whites fear Arabs more than Blacks)...but our Black comedians (Rock, Tucker, Murphy, Cosby, Pryor) who hit both White and Black audiences all have one thing in common--a weird voice. That's what does it for the Whiteys--if you don't "sound" Black, we can accept you.

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