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  • Kenny 7:19 am on December 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Christmas Time! 

         One of the truly great things about Christmas is that it tends to put things into perspective for many.  This may be difficult to believe when you see people practically ready to tear each other’s throats out in stores while searching for the gift that someone just “has to have”.  Here’s what I mean when I say that it puts things in perspective. 

         Earlier, I was on Facebook, thinking to myself, “Man, people do love to complain about their lives!”  Now, this may sound hypocritical, because I probably complain more than almost anyone on there.  However, I rarely complain about my own life … I complain about other people!  This does not make me innocent, but I really try not to complain about life.  When I’m done here, it is my hope that you will understand why.

         I wake up most days for work about about 3:45am.  I must commute to work, driving nearly an hour each way, with half of my trip down a busy and potentially dangerous highway.  Today, I actually needed to be there early, and thus rose at 3am, to arrive here at 4am.  Does this suck sometimes?  I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t.  I’d also be lying if I said that I wasn’t very fortunate to have a job that allows me to support my family. 

         I think that Christmas really does help us realize our good fortune, or at least I’d like to believe that.  Personally, the only thing that I do not love about the holidays is traffic.  I don’t tend to have problems in stores, because I’ve found that people really are nice to you if you are nice to them.  If not, you can always run them down with your car. 

         Every year, I fret at least slightly about how I am going to afford to get everyone as much as I’d like, before I remember that this is not a bad problem to have.  There are people around the world, and in this very country, who will not have HEAT for Christmas, let alone Christmas Dinners, trees, cookies, presents, or that elusive Lexus with the big red bow around it. 

         With this wonderful month of December upon us, my advice for those of you who are stressed to the hilt is as follows:

    If there are things about your job that bother you, remember that there are people out there that would kill to do what you do. 

    If you’re stuck in traffic and really “need” to be somewhere, really think about how much you “need” to be there exactly on time, and then realize how fortunate you are to have a motor vehicle. 

    If you end up complaining that your children do not appreciate anything that you got them, then next year spend more time with your kids educating them on the truer meanings of Christmas.  (ie:  not just about opening presents and receiving)

    If you have to deal with family members that you do not particularly like, remember exactly how many lonely people there are out there that have absolutely nobody to spend this wonderful time with.

    If money becomes tight, remember how many people do not have it at all. 

    If you cannot quite get everything that you wanted to get, remember that it is the moment that you will cherish in your memory, not the items.

    If your home seems unusually cluttered with wrapping paper, decorations, gifts, trees, etc, remember that there are people that will be sleeping in a box covered with newspaper tonight. 

    If you kids misbehave due to their extreme excitement, before you yell, think about how it would be to have your child very sick in a hospital on Christmas. 

    These are just a few suggestions for the holiday season.  This whole thing probably sounded quite preachy, but really, the older I get, the more I appreciate the things that I have, and the less I try to dwell on the things that I don’t.  We all have so much compared with others, and many times, we have been fortunate to have been born in the right area, to the right people, etc. 

    Again, if this sounds preachy, it is not meant to.  All of these things, I’ve found out or come to realize because I’ve been stressed, selfish, or just plain caught up (not in a good way). 

    If you don’t like Christmas, I honestly feel sorry for you (unless, of course, you celebrate something else).  It is a wonderful time of year, and it’s a wonderful time to be alive.  Get caught up in it in a good way.  You might just be glad that you did!!!

     
    • Lisa 8:09 am on December 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Very well said, Ken! I’m guilty of many of those things, but I do stop to think and re-evaluate. I LOVE Christmas and most everything about it. And everything you said above is pretty much true for daily life as well. :o) Merry Christmas to you and your family ❤

    • Kenny 9:10 am on December 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Lis. Merry Christmas to you and your family as well!

    • Karen 11:36 am on December 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Kenny, very well put! What you said can apply to the rest of the year too.

      I have these moments where I check myself too. The other day, I was cleaning a heap of dishes and, in the process, struggling with the layout of the kitchen of our new house. (The open dishwasher blocks access to cabinets and other nitnoid things.) It took one look at the compost pail, filled with the scraps of our fruit and vegetables, to remind me to be grateful that we can afford to eat well and that we have a kitchen where we can make good food.

      Christmas or no Christmas, those who have fortune need the reality checks.

      • Karen 11:37 am on December 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Oh, and Merry Christmas to you and yours, Kenny!

    • Kenny 12:00 pm on December 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Karen. We do all need the checks, which is why I wrote that. I’m sure there are people out there that would think this preachy, but when I write this kind of thing, it’s because I’m guilty of it too. I hope you guys have a wonderful holiday, my friend!!!

    • Karen 11:49 am on December 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      You had me thinking about a British documentary I watched some time ago. It was about women who really wanted to give birth to daughters and how empty they felt because they didn’t have girls. The only woman on that show I felt for was the one who was pregnant with her 4th boy. She genuinely realized she was blessed to have healthy children and that she just needed to work through her emotions to get to a point to where she could be happy without a girl.

      The other women really pissed me off. There was one who would not marry her then-fiance until he “gave her girls”. (She ended up having fertility treatments and gave birth to twin girls. I feel for her poor sons because she did make it plain and obvious who the favored ones were.) The husband pissed me off too because he is allowing all of this bullshit.

      They did profile an American couple who was having gender-selection fertility treatments too. The wife was the driving force. They already had 3 healthy sons. The couple put in thousands of dollars for several rounds of this to no avail. The way she retreated to her bedroom to sulk after the last treatment didn’t work made me want to kick her in the teeth. That money should have gone to therapy for both of them.

      I guess they never learned that you can’t get exactly what you want all the time. Maybe they should be reading your post. 🙂

    • Kenny 11:55 am on December 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hokey as I’m going to sound when I say this, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. If you have boys and no girls, it probably means that you’re not supposed to have girls. When Cathy found out that Donovan was going to be a boy (about 2 weeks before he was born) she didn’t tell me out of respect for my not wanting to know, but she told me later that she cried b/c she had wanted a girl. However, it wasn’t long before she reminded herself how lucky she was to have a healthy child. Thank you for posting that!

      • Karen 12:02 pm on December 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Hey, my pleasure. It’s my blog too, even though I haven’t been on here nearly enough. Thank you for starting it back up!

    • Kenny 11:56 am on December 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Honestly, I could not be more thankful that I do not have a girl. If she were to look anything like her mom, I’d be arrested for murder by her mid teens 🙂

      • Karen 12:00 pm on December 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Ain’t that the truth. I have seen John sizing up guns at Dick’s Sporting Goods. 🙂

    • Kenny 12:04 pm on December 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Already?

      • Karen 12:07 pm on December 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        We found a drawing in her backpack that had a heart with “M + E” written inside. Maddy was the one who drew it, but that didn’t matter.

  • Kenny 7:48 am on January 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    My Son, My Hero! 

    I know that every parent out there thinks that their child/children are the greatest, and if they think that, then they are right … at least to them. My son, Donovan, was born on August 3, 2002, and every day since then, I could not be more grateful to the powers that be for blessing me with this amazing person that I totally do not deserve.
    I’m sure that most of you received the parent curse when you were a kid … at least you probably did if, like me, you were a demon dressed in human skin. The parent curse goes something like this, “I hope that, for your sake, when you grow up and have kids, that they act just like you did so that you can understand what I’ve had to go through” … or at least something to that effect. Not only have I not been hit by that curse, I’ve managed to be fortunate enough to have a child that has all of my good points and none of my bad. Donovan’s talent in life is as a person. I’m constantly being told what an amazing little boy he is by parents, teachers, and pretty much everyone that comes into contact with him. He is empathetic beyond limits and is, at 8 years old, more purely good than any PERSON I’ve ever come across. I am reminded daily of this, but every once in a while, I am bestowed with a new example of what kind of person this young man is and has always been.
    Donovan was not “involved” in anything before joining the Cub Scouts this past fall. He is too small and frail for sports (and doesn’t get into them anyway), and his mother and I do not believe in pushing meaningless structure on him when … #1. He’s already got to deal with that all day at school … and #2. We have this crazy notion that a kid should be allowed to be a kid. It was, however, important to us for Donovan to feel a part of something, as he is a very shy and reserved child until he gets comfortable. When he came home and told us that he wanted to join the Cub Scouts, we figured, “Oh, perfect. Scouting is a terrific activity that is pretty much all positive, and his size will not work against him.” This has been true, and he really enjoys it, and really lights up when he feels included by the other boys in his den.
    This past weekend was our Pack’s “Pine Wood Derby”, which, if you are not familiar with scouting, is a series of races for which the scout builds his own car out of a block of wood …

    …. or at least, they’re supposed to. What happens, more often than not, is that the dads end up doing 90% (or even MORE) of the work because it’s just so important to them to win these races … sometimes … most times, I think it ends up being more important to these dads that they win. You know the type of dad I’m talking about. The kind that does EVERYTHING for their child with good intent (most of the time), but in actuality, probably is not doing right by the child, because they’re not preparing the child to be self-reliant.

    Now, I’m not going to tell you that my little 8 year old boy cut and carved the car himself, BUT aside from dad sawing the car into the shape that he desired, and screwing some weights onto the bottom, Donovan did that entire car by himself. Before this weekend, I tried to keep reminding him that winning was cool, but that he should be so proud of himself because he did more work on his car than probably every other boy … largely, becasue I figured that our car … NOT having been designed by NASA … didn’t have much a chance for winning.
    Unfortunately, I could not have been more correct. Almost every car looked as though the child had absolutely nothing to do with it’s construction. Perhaps the child came up with the idea, but then it was ALL dad (and NASA) … I can just imagine the kid trying to hold the car and the dad not letting him touch it … meanwhile, my son’s taking his car and playing with it … as, I think, it should be. Well, we under-weighted our car, and it was kid-sanded and kid-painted, which, when the kid is 8 years old and not a future Rembrandt, is pretty evident, so when the first heat with Donovan’s car came, he came in last … by a LOT … the next heat came … and we came in last … by a LOT … about 3 more heats followed, with the same results … pretty much to the point where his mom and I were just hoping that they wouldn’t put his car in there anymore. I looked over at my son, who was visibly saddened and upset, but held firm with true class and grace. I called him over to me, gave him a few big hugs and kisses, and told him how prould I was that he did so much of that car by himself. It wasn’t that we lost … it was that we REALLY lost … but again, I could not have been more prould with the way that boy handled himself. Later in the day, as they began to hand out trophies, Donovan heard his name announced for 2nd place in the “Best Scout Built” category (pretty much, the “we can tell that you did most of this yourself” category). Well, he turned around with a huge look of surprise on his face, and I swear it was all I could do to keep myself from crying … big “tough guy” that I am …
    At the risk of sounding completely sappy and corny, it was one of the best moments I’ve ever had as his father, in an amazing 8 year lifetime of very proud moments. When he came to show me his medal, I gave him a huge hug and told him, “you see? THAT’S what you get for doing your own car”, and he nodded and gave me a big hug.
    Some parents have children that are talented in school. Some have children that are talented actors, artists, athletes, or writers. I believe myself to be the most fortunate of parents, because my son’s talent is that of being a great person, one without selfishness of any kind and one who always cares about his fellow human beings. Normally, this space (at least for me) has been reserved for my negative rants of misanthropy, but as I said to my wife yesterday when she mentioned that, with two shows with my band on Friday and Saturday night, “You didn’t even HAVE a weekend”, I replied “My whole weekend was in that 1 moment when my son’s face lit up”, and I’d trade every weekend’s extra hours for those types of moments. I’m not a perfect parent, and my son is by no means perfect, but he is as wonderful and pure a loving person as exists in the world, and I wanted to take a moment to say that. Thanks for reading and listening.
    Kenny

     
    • Lisa 8:51 am on January 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for posting this, Ken :o) Your son is truly a sweetheart and has a big heart. He sounds like he is the type that will keep on trying and perservering in life with heart and determination and you have taught him well. You are really a great daddy too. I cried just reading your story….but I’m not a “tough guy” like you…hee hee :o) Iknow your eyes were just watering…hee hee.

      • Kenny 9:03 am on January 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Lisa! That’s very sweet of you … and yes, they were!

    • Karen 10:12 am on January 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      There is always room on this blog to be a proud parent, Kenny. I enjoyed reading your entry, and it is obvious Cathy and you are giving Donovan a great foundation without treating Donovan as a mere extension of yourselves. That is cool.

      • Kenny 10:18 am on January 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Karen! Yeah, definitely wouldn’t treat him as a exKension. He’s his own person, and though he does have some of my better qualities, he’s just SO much better than I am as a person. He gets most of his pure, unadulterated goodness from his mom 🙂 Thanks for reading and for the appreciation. I hesitated to write the story, but I had to share it.

    • chipc 9:18 am on April 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Kenny – that’s a great story! Scouting was very important to me growing up, and I hope my 3 year old boy embraces it as well . . . You did a great thing for your son, and I’m sure he learned some great lessons with you letting him build his car – I wish more Scout dad’s did that. Cheers!

      • Kenny 10:03 am on April 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Chip, thanks so much for reading and for the reply. We obviously haven’t done anything new in a while and must get on that.

    • Lois Parker 3:14 pm on November 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I know this was posted ages ago but just followed a link from an old log of mine…lovely article and I so agree that enabling children to realise their ideas is important. One of my favourite all time moments was my four year old grand-daughter sitting on my knee and telling me how to draw a five foot high horse on a white board – she combined a plan and side view in a way I would never have thought of. I felt there was a direct link from her imagination to the pen through my arm. Just wish I had taken a photo.

  • Kenny 3:26 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    A message to all the “followers” out there … it’s called THINK FOR YOURSELVES!!! 

    I was watching a documentary on Sunday, entitled “My Trip To Al Quaeda” (If I remember correctly … that was one of those days in which I was using my liver as a high output 100 Proof Vodka filtration device 🙂
    I watched the filmmaker struggle to make sense out of the entire Middle East “situation” … for lack of more appropriate terminology. He tried to make sense of our attitudes, he tried to make sense of their attitudes … basically, he tried to make sense of something that is extremely difficult to make sense of … hate.

    I really tried to hang in there with this doc, as I have the desire to understand as well, especially THEIR point of view … but in the end, I became too depressed, and with many a “sip” in my belly, a bit impatient as well. But I wanted to bring up a few points here.

    I think that the general attitude in this country is that all Arabs, Middle East People, or whatever term you’d like to use to lump them all together are bad, evil people … outside of, of course, Israel. I’m sorry folks, I just don’t see it that way. It would seem to me that, on both sides, the people causing all of the damage here are the extremists that see things only in their very parochial spectrum of their own ideas of black and white. Did George Bush really consider an entire multi-country area the “AXIS OF EVIL”? Good lord, man. Do all muslims see what is essentially white America as just plain EVIL. Well, if we’re ALL evil, then’s what’s all the fighting for?

    I believe that one of this biggest problems in this world is that people so often just swallow up the things that they are fed by their so-called leaders. Think about Hitler in ’30’s-40’s Germany. Hitler was a bad guy with a lot of really fucked up ideas. ANYONE who would attempt a genocide is quite-obviously misled by his/her own ideas and ideals, or by those of another. I don’t mean to make it sound like he wasn’t a flat-out evil motherfucker. BUT, BUT …. what would he have been if not for those that FOLLOWED his lead? Personally, I believe he just would have been another raving lunatic in the street. As Americans, I think that WE think that we’re above that. Surely WE would never follow the lunatic into committing a genocide, or anything even close to that, right? All I can say to that is this: How do any of us know who the good people are, or who the evil people are? How do we know if there even IS a good or an evil. Maybe we’re just groups of people who just can’t find an understanding for each other. We see the Muslim men and their relationships with their women and we consider it to be a stone age type attitude. But do we actually 100% KNOW what that really means to them? They see us and our ways of typical American overconsumption, and they hate us for many of the things that we do … but are WE evil, or are we just vastly different from them in many ways?

    I’m sorry, but I really don’t believe ANYTHING at face value when it comes to our wars and our government trying to force-feed information that I really think serves only to fuel their own agendae. For this reason, and others, I have said in the past, and present, that I do NOT support our troops, a statement which fuels hate toward me from those who just simply follow to consider themselves loyal Americans. Well, I love the country to which I was born. I really do. But I’ll not sit by, and follow an unjust war that is about money and power just to be a good American. AND, I’ll not support anyone who goes to fight an unjust war because they just blindly believe what the powers that be tell them. I am a child, step-child, nephew, and grandchild of veterans from Vietnam, Korea and World War II … some of whom went against their will and beliefs to fight a war, and I will say this much: not one person has been drafted for these Middle East wars, they are there by choice. Perhaps it is a choice that a horrid economy with fewer and fewer jobs by the day that they feel they were forced to make. The way I see it, the only soldiers that I do support are those that were already in the military when this whole thing started. I do not support anyone who blindly follows somebody simply because they say somebody else is evil. Hitler said that the Jews were evil. Many today say that all Muslims are evil, and many devout Muslims say that Christianity is evil. Just like September 11, 2001 or November 22, 1963 to name just TWO, nobody but a very chosen few REALLY and TRULY knows what happened, just as nobody knows who the real good/bad guys are. Here’s an idea, maybe NOBODY is really flat out good or bad, EXCEPT for those who are trying to control your minds! So we’re just supposed to eat what somebody else tells us when it comes to wars and hate? This is simply NOT something that I can do. And I know there are those of you who lost a friend/family member in 9/11. These were victims, without a doubt, much like many victims in Iraq that had no quarrel with us whatsoever. So do you hate an entire people for the actions of the worst of them? My LORD, if one took that logic, one could find a case to hate any and every people on the planet, because every culture/religion has had those who were lunatics and caused great pain. All I can say is that I am very fortunate not to have lost a loved one on September 11, 2001. VERY fortunate. I feel unbelievable amounts for those who have, I truly do. I would like to think that if I HAD lost a family member to 9/11, that I would do everything in my power to find out who was responsible before I started hating outright, and that I wouldn’t just listen to someone telling me who was responsible. I’d like to learn that for myself, thanks. And personally, I’d rather NOT know than to just blindly believe someone who wants me to belive them solely for the purpose of having his/her country support his/her personal agenda!

    It’s not just the foreign things either. They do it to us on a daily basis in this country, constantly trying to get those of us in “gen pop” to hate each other based on our differences. It’s an age old philosophy that the rich and powerful have employed to make sure that they are not overthrown. Distract those that TRULY run the country … you know, those of us who WORK, by accentuating their differences and keeping up the tension and hate!

    What do I try to do about this. Aside from ranting like a complete lunatic? I just try to do my own part to support my theory. I ask myself, “Why is this person trying to make me feel one way or the other? What does he or she have to gain by making me feel a certain way? And what other possibilities could exist?” Try to apply that to 9/11, and yes, maybe you’ll come up with 911 different conspiracy theories, but maybe you’ll come to the conclusion that I have, which is I DON’T REALLY KNOW ANYTHING FOR CERTAIN. So how can you hate when you don’t really know. How do I know that those Arab people are just so inherantly evil because their culture is so vastly different from my own. I don’t know. And neither do any of you! So stop fucking swallowing every damned thing that those in power would have you believe. If we’d stood up back in 2002 and said, “uh, yeah, something just doesn’t seem right here”, then maybe quite a few lives would not have to have been lost over the last 7 years … not JUST American lives … HUMAN lives!

     
    • Jon 5:35 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      This post makes so much sense that it’s bound to infuriate people.

      Categorizing someone as “evil” is an easy way out of trying to understand someone doing something or having a specific attitude that we ourselves deplore. How could someone possibly eat meat? They must be evil!

      Also, as Karen mentioned at the onset of this blog, “stereotypes are a real time saver”. Why should we try to recognize the differences between people not like us when we can just stick them all into one neat, convenient category? Why should we try to get rid of the political nutjobs in the world when we can just indiscriminately “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”? There’s not enough time in our busy lives to try to see the good in people, so it’s easier to just assume we’re on our own and everyone’s out to get us.

      One thing that interests me is how appalled many are in this country at the treatment of women in other countries, when in fact, were it not for the actions of a brave, select few, we would have the same conditions here. I would not be surprised if in 30 years the war mongers in this country are trying to justify overthrowing some dictator oversees because refuses to recognize gay marriage.

      The bottom line is that too many people are lazy, arrogant, and driven by emotion rather than trying to think logically or putting themselves in someone else’s shoes. As you said, the least we can do is try to do that ourselves.

      Great post, Ken!

      • Kenny 10:54 am on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, man! A bit more than kind of controversial, and yes, when I bring it up, I most-definitely infuriate many, some of whom get less infuriated when they hear my reasons, but everyone is entitled to their opinion, which is partially my point here. As long as it’s YOUR opinion and not the regurgitation of something fed to you by someone else, tell me whatever you want … well, almost anything 🙂

    • Karen 8:01 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Jon, I’m not infuriated. Does that mean I am senseless? 🙂

      Since you brought Nazi Germany into this, Kenny, I have my own point to make. The advantage of being a History major is that I had to read all sorts of books that no one except History majors and diehard Hitler Channel watchers read. One of those was “The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town 1922-1945” by William Sheridan Allen. The title explains the premise. In the executive summary, the Nazis initially played on the fears of people in this town by presenting themselves as providing the viable opposition to Communism through crude, yet compelling marketing campaigns and lectures. This threat of Communism felt huge with Moscow (and the turmoil within the Soviet Union) being only 1000 miles away from Berlin and German property owners wanting to hang on to what they worked so hard to build back up after WW I. This is a huge chunk of the reason why the people in this representative village of Northeim were initially willing to overlook the rough-around-the-edges party. They felt they needed this party to protect their interests. Eventually, the intimidation tactics, violence, and other methods of silencing the opposition reared their heads once key party leaders gained powerful positions, and we know the rest of the story. (Forgive me if I am being reductionist. Of course, there is more to it than this. This book is definitely an academic work, but worth reading if you are interested in this subject.)

      The Germans learned that the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend, and you can be overthrown using your own democratic process.

      Being sheeple did not help in this case, did it?

    • Karen 8:05 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      One more thing that bears repeating…

    • Jon 10:41 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Another thing that bothers me: the belief that people in other countries dislike us because they’re jealous of our freedom and prosperity. No, I don’t hate the rich kid because he has things I wish I had; I hate that he has those things because he’s such an arrogant prick about it.

      • Kenny 10:50 am on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        That’s a good point, Jon. I don’t get bothered by others having what I am not able to have. What does bother me is the “I’m better than you because I have money attitude” that many have, they “All for me, none for you” attitude also bothers me, like those that don’t want everyone to be able to have healthcare … why? I still don’t understand that!

    • Kenny 5:27 am on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      It’s not a popular attitude, especially when I bring the “I don’t support our troops” part into it. Anytime I have that conversation, either someone agrees with me (quietly … looking at me as though I’m going to get myself killed for saying it) … or they get absolutely livid with me and talk about how I must not appreciate our freedoms, because those guys are fighting for me and for the American way of life. Well, perhaps that’d be true if we WERE fighting on our shores, as George Bush kept threatening would happen (“we’re fightin’ them over there so we don’t have to fight ’em here!”) Yeah, George. When exactly was the last time a major offensive was launched on our shores again? Even in WWII, nobody had the balls to do that. Yes, we’ve had two gutless “sucker punch” attacks on our country in the past 70 years, but nobody’s bringing their armies to our shores, no country is that stupid. And so, when I hear that these “killbots” are fighting for my freedoms, I cannot drive that theory into the ground enough! Whatever these people are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq for (IMO, I’ll just say that the three biggest reasons rhyme with foil, honey and shower), they are certainly not fighting for me or my rights and/or freedoms … if that is the case, I’m a pretty big boy and can certainly fight for my own, thanks. I don’t need anybody doing it for me. On another point, and I know some people (obviously not the informed, intelligent people with whom I perform this blog) but SOME people actually consider me naive for thinking that not all Muslims are evil people. Hell, I think that MOST of them are not. Just like any other religion, I truly belive that MOST of them are at least trying to live a decent life and trying to do the right thing. And they will as long as they are thinking for themselves!
      PS – This post may begin to tarnish my reputation as a misanthrope …

      • Karen 10:09 am on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        The “support our troops” is a double-edged issue for me.

        On one hand, I do agree with you. To think what we are fighting for is a noble cause right now is naïve at best. To join a combat unit is beyond comprehension. And there are plenty of people who have that motivation when they first enlist/get commissioned. I admit that serving my country was a small part of the reason why I enlisted in the Air Force after high school, even with my brother in a tank in the middle of Iraq during Desert Storm. Looking back, on the surface, it wasn’t one of my brightest ideas, and with the state of the military and the world right now, I would not want my daughter to make the same decision I did.

        However, I definitely saw my share of the human side of the coin. I was a chaplain’s assistant, and the chaplain corps is the heart of the services. It is the one place where military personnel and their families can go and be themselves without the repercussions that come in other parts. You can get counseling in confidentiality. You can openly emote. And even though I was a lowly assistant and did not have the confidentiality restrictions that the chaplains had, it is amazing how people can spill their guts when they see that dove above your name badge.

        From what I have seen and heard, I can say this. There are usually far more complex personal issues that motivate people to join the military. It was a way of getting a distant father’s approval. It was a roof over your head and a meal in your belly. It was a personal test of courage. It was a way to get out of Dodge. It was for that college money that your mom drank away. It was just wanting to belong somewhere. It was usually a combination of many different things that made people join. I certainly was no different.

        If the personal drive to join the military is that strong, the political climate or wars being fought will not stop a person from signing up. It will just be something you have to do to get from point A to point B, and you hope you can handle whatever comes your way. You learn to live with the internal conflicts as best as you can. And you truly do not understand what you are in for until you have a guy in a Smokey the Bear hat loudly questioning your sexual orientation in very creative ways. And even then, you have a lot to learn.

        So, when someone sends “Support Our Troops,” I see the people who are trying to make a life for themselves in a very tough environment, especially since most personnel are in supporting rolls (aiding and abetting) and the vast majority are not “killbots”. I see the personal struggles they made to get to the point where they are. They may not have made the best decisions, but I can understand why they did what they did. It leaves me with a very mixed bag of feelings. 😦

        • Kenny 10:47 am on September 15, 2010 Permalink

          Well stated, Karen. I kind of thought that I’d get a mixed reaction from you, at least slightly knowing/understanding your military background. Honestly, that was well thought out, and I will absolutely admit that I do not see that side of it. Perhaps I too am doing a bit of the “black and white” thing as well. When I look at it, I see (granted, what I think) George Bush & Dick Cheney’s evil dominate the world for their own benefit plan (again, just my opinion), and the soldiers who, by choice, are part of the problem and not part of the solution. Again, a leader is only a leader if he/she has many a follower performing the dirty work, or at least much of it. But I never did consider a lot of the things that you have brought up. I certainly agree that this America is a tough one for young people, especially those interested in employment. And many of the possibilities you brought up, I had not considered. Make no mistake, I still think what I think, but apparently I have been at least slightly hypocritical here, which I actually do like to have pointed out.

        • Karen 11:13 am on September 15, 2010 Permalink

          Thank you, Ken. I never thought you were being hypocritical. I just thought there were factors you hadn’t considered, and I just wanted to lay them on the table.

          No arguments there, mate. “Just following orders” is never an excuse for doing the dirty work. We, as a nation and individually, have to be more thoughtful about the commitments we make. We also have the responsibility of not electing people who just tell us what we want to hear and make these goober choices in the first place. But I guess that is beyond our grasp at the moment.

          It was hard enough being in the service under Clinton (Desert duty, Somalia, Bosnia, cutbacks but more commitments), and I was lucky not to be picked for those assignments. I can imagine the hell of having to serve now. No, thank you. I am glad I have been long since done with my military obligations.

          When I am brave enough, I will post something about how I ended up in the Air Force and my career. It would mean writing about my senior year, and how it sucked monkey balls. I am getting emotional thinking about it, so it’ll probably be a while before I can do that.

        • Kenny 11:25 am on September 15, 2010 Permalink

          You’re right in that I had not considered everything, which I normally try to do (and, most of the time, fail miserably … no reason for me to stop trying)
          You post that when you’re good and ready. It took me quite a while to post this one, because I know that my opinions on the subject make people want to support whoever comes to kill me!

      • Karen 11:33 am on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Well, one of my jobs was to be the chaplain’s bodyguard. (You know, the Geneva Convention thing about barring people of the cloth from carrying weapons… Minor conflict of interest.) I would certainly help if anyone comes gunning for you, although I would hope I would be able to get to you before they did.

        As a side note, I can honestly say there were only two chaplains I would have taken a bullet for. The other ones? I would have shot them in the legs to leave as targets while I made a break for it. 🙂

  • Karen 8:57 am on September 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Karen and John’s 10 Worst Popular Songs with Women’s Names in the Title 

    Because turnabout is fair play.

    The Hubster had some fine contributions to this one, so I had to give credit.

    10. “Mandy” – Barry Manilow

    I’m sorry, Kenny, but I am not doing this because it is de rigeur to slam Barry. You have to admit that the lyrics are sappy crap shit dung.

    “Well you came and you gave without taking
    but I sent you away, oh Mandy
    well you kissed me and stopped me from shaking
    And I need you today, oh Mandy”

    He’s confusing love with the DTs.

    9. “Stacy’s Mom” – Fountains of Wayne

    Forget the Jerry Springer theme of the tune for a moment.

    Just look at the commercial it inspired…

    I rest my case.

    8. “Gloria” – Laura Brannigan

    I always change the first line in my mind to “Gloria, you have the runs now.” It was a coping mechanism left over from my childhood from having to HEAR THIS DAMN LONG OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

    MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY!

    7. “Delilah” – Tom Jones

    Why, why, why record this, Tom?!?!?!?

    6. “Annie’s Song” – John Denver

    Yes, Kenny, I am a soulless bitch.

    5. “Barbie Girl” – Aqua

    I know they were trying to be funny, but the product just came out annoying. It’s the Right Said Fred effect.

    4. “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” – Herman’s Hermits

    You wonder why the girl broke up with the guy when he kisses up to her mom and says things like, “Girls as sharp as her are somethin’ rare.”

    3. “Iris” – The Goo Goo Dolls (Can’t get link to work, sorry.)

    I can figure out many other ways to test if I am alive besides bleeding.

    2. “God Save the Queen”

    The worst national anthem ever. Pass the Prozac, people.

    John quoted Wikipedia’s entry about national anthems, “A national anthem (also national hymn, song etc.) is a generally patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation’s government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people.”

    He followed up with, “If that’s the case, this country (the U.K.) is dead!”

    Check out the video. People were standing, cheering, waving flags…and then the anthem comes on. The ultimate in party pooping.

    1. “Clair” – Gilbert O’Sullivan

    John introduced me to this horrendous heap of notes this morning. This song is the musical equivalent of water torture with its drip-drip beat. But that is not the worst of it.

    It lulls you into a false sense of security. The tune starts out as standard love drivel, but it is revealed later on that he is singing about his niece!

    AAAAAAGGGHHHHHH! Freak out! Gross! Puke! Gag!

    (Huddles in fetal position and shivers in corner of the room)

    Thank you for letting me pass on my mental scarring.

     
    • Jon 5:41 pm on September 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      “Stacy’s Mom” sucks as a commercial, video, song, or concept. I think the thing that angered me the most is that Stacy herself was pretty hot, yet the stupid kid wanted to promote some lame pop/pseudo-punk song so he fell in love with the mom.

      “Barbie Girl” is really bad, too, but I find it funny that Mattel is actually using a take on it in their Barbie commercials.

      “Mrs. Brown” is actually decent, if for no other reason than it allows me to throw the obligatory curve ball:

    • Kenny 6:18 pm on September 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I would only disagree w/ the late John Denver and the late Laura Branigan. Otherwise, I pretty much agree with everything.
      Interesting footnote (actually anecdote) about Herman’s Hermits:
      It was probably 5-6 years ago, and a Saturday Night at the ‘Ho. I was working and brought out some spaghetti to eat at the bar. Well, two men and a woman came into the bar, and sat … you guessed it … right next to me, which I’ve always found annoying unless the rest of the bar is full. One procedes to get up, and go to the jukebox. I then hear “Mrs. Brown”, followed by “Something Tells Me I’m Into Something Good”, and I was just about to say “Who the fuck is playing this Herman’s Hermits bullshit!?!?!”, but I didn’t, and it’s probably a good thing, because one of the men, I found out later, was Peter Noone. Apparently, he was playing at the Zoellner Center, but I still always thought to myself, “What kind of famous musician goes into a bar and plays his OWN SHIT?!?!?!?!?!?!?”
      That’s my Herman’s Hermits anecdote … just a fun little story!

  • Karen 4:40 pm on September 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bad, men, names, pop, rock, songs   

    Karen’s 10 Worst Popular Songs with Men’s Names in the Title 

    My dear friend, Kenny, on his rogue blog listed the 20 best songs with women’s names in the title. To read and comment on this creation, I refer the Right Honourable Readers to the link here.

    http://top10byken.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/top-20-songs-with-a-womans-name-in-the-title/

    I suggested to Kenny that he write a list of songs with men’s names. He countered that I should do it here at Le Salon Blanc. Of course, since I am a contrary little shit and would rather judge what’s bad than what’s good, I composed a list of the worst songs with men’s names in the title.

    I am sure I will be ripped to shreds for some of my choices. To that, I say, “BRING IT ON, MOFOS!”

    10. “Mickey” by Toni Basil

    The problem I have is that I know the song is horrible, believe with every bone with my body that it is horrible, and would stake my life on the horror of this composition.

    But that does not stop me from actually listening and singing along with it, if it pops up on the radio or VH1. Damn you, Toni Basil and the 40-year-old cheerleaders in the video!

    9. “Tom Sawyer” by Rush

    Overplayed on MTV the Early Years, overplayed by my brother on his boom box, overplayed whenever anyone mentions the band, Rush. Especially sad since Rush has put out much better stuff, but this is the song everyone knows with its monotone drivel and the beat that puts you to sleep. Bleah!

    8. “Rasputin” by Boney M

    The reason why I do not have this song higher on the list is the lyrics are so awful that they are marvelous.

    The chorus:

    Ra-ra-Rasputin
    Lover of the Russian queen
    There was a cat that really was gone.
    Ra-ra-Rasputin
    Russia’s greatest love machine
    It was a shame how he carried on.

    I studied Russian history in college, and I never heard the story of Rasputin put so eloquently and thoughtfully. Thank you, Boney M, for filling in the cracks of my knowledge with such poetry.

    7. “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero” by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods or Paper Lace (Pick your poison.)

    This anti-war song was not “Waist Deep in the Deep Muddy,” was it?

    I was glad when Billy was shot.

    6. “Ben” by Michael Jackson

    A bear. A fucking bear.

    I am thoroughly convinced that having to sing this song over again turned Michael Jackson into the man he became. Child abuse, people, child abuse.

    5. “Robert DeNiro’s Waiting (Talking Italian)” by Bananarama

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDXtM8XaSKw

    This is another one of those songs that I want to slash my wrists over because I obviously like it on a subconscious level. It torments me.

    Really.

    It does.

    4. “Simon Says” by the 1910 Fruitgum Co.

    I have fantasies of the Who beating up this band backstage someplace. Keith Moon really should have given the lead singer a swirley in the men’s room.

    Hell, they only could get two people to watch their video. And judging by their dance moves, they were obviously doing it under threat of familial execution.

    3. “Louie, Louie” by the Kingsmen

    Yes, it was funny when the Delts sang it in Animal House, but that was it. It was the 1960s version of the white-bred “let’s get up and party song”. Any tune that your dad would dance to at a wedding reception deserves to be on this list.

    And I personally do not care what the real lyrics are.

    2. “Danny’s Song” by Loggins and Messina

    Kenny Loggins should be detained from making music, but that is not my beef.

    Nothing wrong with writing a song about your wife and kid, but to make it that sappy and schlocky is only good as an ipecac. Let me put it this way…don’t write a song that Anne Murray would feel compelled to cover.

    And for the worst song…

    1. “Angelo” by Brotherhood of Man

    I think very few people would argue with me about this one. “Fernando” by ABBA was bad enough, but to make a ripoff of it (and chart #1 with it in the U.K.) is absolutely inexcusable. This band also won the Eurovision song contest with their song, “Save Your Kisses for Me”. This only rests my case that nothing good ever comes from that competition.

    I dare anyone to watch the video link to the end. I double-dare you! I triple-dog-dare you!

    Please feel free to tell me what I have missed. I am sure there are some hideousness that I blocked from my brain in the name of self-preservation.

     
    • Karen 4:41 pm on September 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I would apologize for not getting the Bananarama link to work, but I am really doing you a favor.

    • Lisa 5:08 pm on September 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Nicely compiled list Karen…and it made me laugh :o) I really do like Danny’s Song, but do agree that it is sappy, and Mickey was way over played, but yes, I will still sing it and listen to it. Now, as far as Tom Sawyer by Rush….I do not like Rush so I am right there with you. It didn’t really matter what Rush song you put there (I know this was 10 worst songs with male names) but Rush was never a favorite.

      There might be more Top 10 best than worst 😀 I could list many that I really like…but it would definitely be matter of opinion.

    • Jon 8:30 pm on September 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      And some of (what I think are) the best, in no order:

      And here are some of the best (in no order):

      • Karen 8:02 am on September 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I can always count on you, Jon, to throw curveballs into any thread about music.

    • Kenny 1:48 pm on September 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Well, you know what a fan I am of ’70’s wuss-puss, so I have to say that I really like “Danny’s Song”, and “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero”, and I’m a male, and a music nerd, so of course I like RUSH, though I do agree that there are much better songs than “Tom Sawyer” … I won’t go on and on on what I don’t agree on, but I must say that I could not possibly agree more on the “Louie Louie” pick. There are so many music critics that give this song WAAAAYYYYYY too much credit, like it was the beginning of punk rock or something. I’ve never looked at it a much more than a barely intelligable “good time” early ’60’s tune. I mean, really, if it were such genius, why weren’t The Kingsmen anything more than one hit wonders?!?!?!?!? I’ve never agreed with the assessment of that song by so-called experts! Good and fun list, Karen!

      • Karen 5:34 pm on September 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Ken! I don’t mind if you go on and on. It’s your blog too!

        Remember, we are serious about the blog.

    • Kenny 1:56 pm on September 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Also, I’d like to nominate “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?” simply because I hate it when people say it to me!

      • Karen 5:33 pm on September 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        At least people aren’t beating you up while they are saying it.

        I wanted to add that to the list, but I didn’t because of my R.E.M. loving husband. The lyrics are pretentious rubbish.

  • Kenny 9:50 am on September 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Parents, open up your child shelter, if even just a bit! 

    I remember my first Philadelphia Phillies baseball game. It was August 15, 1979, against the eventual World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, and it was my 6th birthday. There are a few things I remember about that night. I remember a collision between the left and centerfielders of the Pirates (I believe John Milner and Omar Moreno), I remember the Phillies losing the game and being upset about it, and I remember how Philadelphia fans were. People like to say “passionate”, but really they were flat-out intense, angry and downright profane. I heard words that night that I wouldn’t hear until, well, the next Phillies game. This really isn’t about baseball, it’s about “pussification”, a word made up by my (and sometimes Karen’s) late, great hero, Mr. George Carlin. Today, in Citizens Bank Park, you don’t even have to swear around someone with a child, you can just be too loud, and they’ll send security around to give you a talking to. One of the rights you used to be given along with a baseball ticket, at least in South Philly, was the right to openly, verbally, and VERY loudly, express your opinion. The funny thing is that, in 1979, at age 6, I didn’t think about it in any other way than, “man, these guys really care and get upset about a ballgame”.

    My point is that as time has progressed through the ’80’s and ’90’s, parents really seem to overprotect their kids. So to those parents, I say this: your child will eventually be exposed to the things you’re so feverishly trying to protect them from, and in many cases, it’s best to expose and educate rather than to just shelter and pretend that such things don’t even exist. If something is bad, like, say, bad language, do you want your child to know WHY such language is inappropriate, or do you just want to say “no”. It’s like saying no to a child, and when they ask why, you simply say “because I said so”, the biggest and laziest copout that any parent can spew.

    Now, before I get attacked by super-sensetive parents who want to defend their ways of raising soft, weak human beings, I’m not saying that you should have your 3 year-old watch “Scarface” or anything, or put your baby’s crib in front of the television to watch MMA. What I AM talking about it gradual exposure and explanation for the sake of understanding. The more taboo something is, the more a rebellious child will later turn to it as a f-ck you to parents. Just an opinion, but I truly believe that sheltering a child to the point of having them watch Elmo when they’re 8 years old (unless, of course, they want to) is doing a disservice to said child. My son, admittedly, has heard literally THOUSANDS of bad words. He is VERY aware of their existence, and is also VERY aware of all bad words. If he hears one on television, he turns to me, and says “bad word”. Even words that are not technically “swear words”, but are considered inappropriate in settings like school, I try to teach my son about. “Dad, is that a bad word?” “No, but you don’t want to go saying it at school.” “Why?” “Well, because it’s just not a really nice thing to say to someone, and you could hurt someone’s feelings by saying it to them. At the very least, you’ll get in trouble. Thusly, why would you want to use a word, when nothing good will come from it”, and yes, all you wise-asses out there, he understands this. And guess what? He doesn’t go around saying any of these words, because he knows them, and he knows that they are not appropriate. EXPOSURE! BUT … exposure with information.
    Thoughts?

     
    • Karen 10:25 am on September 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Kenny, do you really picture me sheltering my kid like that? She was the one who just admonished me yesterday because I called an idiot driver a douchebag.

      Kids understand a lot more than most adults give them credit for, especially if that child is unfortunate enough to have our genes. 🙂 Lots of people go with the “bad word” label when they are too lazy to bother explaining the concept of context.

      As a side rant, I am sick of people who say people who curse are lowbrow and have a limited vocabulary. They just don’t know how to use the words properly. It takes a special person to be fucking eloquent.

    • Kenny 11:31 am on September 4, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I have always tried to mix my fifty cent words w/ my blue language. I suppose it’s a combination of my many jobs, growing up as a 2 morning route paperboy, who read a lot of the delivered material, and a 13 year old contruction worker during summer days, then going from being a music major in college to DJing/managing a strip club (where profanity is only acceptable if it is at the apex of “piggish”) and running a bar, playing in many bands, and now writing for a living … shit, I don’t even remember where I was going with that. I’ve always liked to swear in the middle of my rants for 3 separate reasons: 1. I do it so well, most people don’t even realize I’m swearing, 2. I like to hold onto my working class roots, and 3. I don’t like to sound like a snob when I use big words, and many people tend to think that you’re TRYING to “talk over their heads”, when you do … Honestly, I really DO try not to speak the same way around my son that I do at pretty much all other times, but occassionally, a “filth-flauren” will slip out …
      Karen, as much as I like to debate topics with you, I like it better when we agree (much like a double barrel shotgun), and I kind of thought you would on this topic. I really wanted to go on further, but I figured I’d only be paraphrasing myself, and I hate to repeat myself, even in different media. And, I would go with “douchebag” (an absolute fav in Pennsylvania), as one of those words that aren’t really “cusses”, so to speak, but also NOT something you want your kid calling his/her teacher. The funny thing is that, between George Carlin and Family Guy, Donovan hears profane and rude language on the proverbial regular, but is always nothing but polite and well-spoken around people that aren’t in my classy version of “Malcolm In The Middle” family!
      As another side note, I mentioned “filth-flauren”, which is an over-the-top, obvious reference to Bill Cosby, WHO, has always been so high and mighty about being a “clean” comic, but would openly talk about he and/or his wife, beating the shit out of their kids! Yeah, Bill, swearing is bad, but racism and child abuse are ideals that really should be taught between Math and Science at school, you fucking hypocrite!!! I wish I could have met George Carlin and asked him, honestly, how he felt about Bill Cosby … off the record, of course!

      • Sharon 11:22 am on September 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I probably have no place commenting on this blog….having no children, I will be the first to say that I have no idea what it is like to give birth, raise and support a child. Having been a big part of my godchildrens lives and being a teacher for children of all ages was one of the most awesome learning experiences I have ever encountered. I lack the “overprotective” bond or trait that most parents have unconditionaly for their own, and I imagine it can be challenging at times trying to find a balance between the two extremes, (too sheltered or not sheltered enough) especially in the world we live in today. You both are admired, 😀

        Reading the blogs, I was reminded of a ballet student I had years ago…She was only about 7 or 8 ( I think…. ) very inquisitive, and sociable (at least when she was not being told to shut up) Anyway, she had this mother who wouldnt let her speak, and almost everytime this child spoke or questioned what was on her mind, the mother muted her and said “(childs name) your embarrassing me!” I had never heard that before….a parent telling her (pre-teen) kid to shut up because she or he was embarrassing the parent by just….talking! (Let it be known, that most of what she said was pretty general basic 7yr old talk, and she never interrupted)

        My first thought was that this mother must have a low self esteem and it was surfacing on her child? At the end of the season, we took the girls on an Ice Cream outting and while I was sitting with her, as she talked away, (which I have to point out, she was a very interesting and funny little kid) I looked into her eyes to establish very confrontational, yet non threatening eye contact…and out of the blue with a smile I said to her “you would never embarrass me, remember that.” nothing else. Until this day, I hope she never forgot those words. I remember the 7 yr old sort of being taken back by what I said, but at the same time she shook her head and said “ok” with a crooked confused smile. I think and hope I made her feel good about herself if only for just a few minutes.

        Her mother would have probably had me fired at that point, I mean I was contradicting her idea of parenting! You know, kind of like “Who the hell do you think you are” “How dare you say something positive to my kid” “You dont have kids you have no idea what it is like to raise a child” and she would have had every right to say it, however, at the time, I thought the circumstances called for…..something.

        I figured, well, what I said to her may have been sort of a positive seed and when I think about it now….I would have probably made the exact same choice, only now I would probably write a friendly, yet informative letter to mom, telling her what I think of her and how she may be putting her daughters self confidence on a path to destruction.

        Ok, so thats my wee story for you. As far as cussing and sheltering, Im pretty much in agreement with Ken and Karen….Im just not going to type all of it, off to class! Enjoy your day all!

        xoxox

        • Kenny 1:55 pm on September 7, 2010 Permalink

          You have every place to comment, Shar. It’s like music. Every time someone gives me an opinion on music, they start out with, “well, I don’t have a music degree, and I don’t play … but” … every opinion is valid, even the ones that suck, and yours simply does not suck. Your story was a great one, very touching. It makes me sad when parents do that sort of thing, because they just don’t realize that they’re screwing their child up. Things like that stay with a person for eons! I’m not saying I’m remotely close to being a perfect parent. I raise my voice to my son, who is about the closest thing to an ideal kid that you can get … I know, sounds like I’m saying that b/c I’m his dad, but really, he is. I hear nightmare stories from parents, and I think to myself, “Wow, I’ve never experienced anyting close to that!” I’m very fortunate, b/c Donovan is such a terrific kid, but still I yell at him probably more than I should and I’m on him like a hawk about having class & manners and such, and REALLY on him to be appreciative and to always consider other people in any venue … and sometimes I think he wants to shoot me … but that just makes him a sane person. You were right, IMO, to do what you did, the way you did it, and you probably made the kiddo feel good, if even for that moment. You never know, she may remember that for life!
          When I started this post, it was with the intention for more, and I did not come through originally, but you guys have taken it and made it actually mean something. Thank you!

        • Karen 6:30 am on September 8, 2010 Permalink

          Your opinion is valid, Sharon. I am always happy to see your posts here because your genuine kindness always comes through. It provides a nice balm to the cantankerous gits that frequent the joint. 🙂

      • Jon 8:54 pm on September 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Ok, there has now been Disney AND Bill Cosby bashing in this blog by the other two members of the Axis of Evil. It’s a wonder I’m still here.

        • Karen 6:26 am on September 8, 2010 Permalink

          Ooooh, somebody has his knickers in a twist!

        • Karen 7:15 am on September 8, 2010 Permalink

          If we are the Axis of Evil, I want to be Iran. You can get saffron cheaply there.

  • Kenny 2:52 pm on August 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    “Clock Punchers”, Kenny’s had enough of you!!! 

    Now, there may be some people out there will disagree with my percentages, which are, admittedly, rough estimations and perhaps a bit over the top (no, not you, Kenny), but it’s difficult to debate that these people exist … and in droves! I call them “clock punchers”.
    To me, a “clock puncher” pretty much refers to those at your, or any, job that are almost solely at said job to punch the proverbial clock and collect the paycheck. Some of the behaviours that are regularly exhibited by these individuals are as follows: spreading out their work so as to not be given any more … actually PRETENDING to be working (are you fucking kidding me?!?!?!) … saying those lovely things, such as “that’s not my job” and “not in my job description” … or “I don’t get paid for this” … OR “I don’t get paid ENOUGH for this” …. actually telling those that are working to slow down b/c they’re making them look bad … “I’m not working hard anymore, fuck this” (usually said by someone who did not work hard to begin with) … one of my favorites “this place would fall apart if I left” … and there are many more, but I sense I’ve given enough examples for the time being.
    I must express my extreme disdain for such people, who, I believe, make up approximately 85-90% of the workforce in the United States. It is, admittedly, more than likely a smaller percentage in other countries, as we Americans tend to be the kings and queens of attitude problems in the workplace. It just happens to be my distinct opinion that most people in general are so short-sighted that they could not possibly care less about the financial well-being of the company that is good enough to keep their useless asses hired! It is also my distinct opinion that a minute percentage of the population actually takes pride in what they do for a living. I’m not saying that you have to love your job and/or career … although if you hate it, you should probably find something else to do, as life is too short to be miserable for a few extra bucks. And that’s my point. Life is short … sorry, Chris Rock, but life is NOT long. It seems that certain days and weeks are never-ending, but as I’m about to turn 37 years old, I look back on my life as a blur (and no, it’s not ALL about the drugs I did), and when I’m looking back on my life as a whole, I want to be able to say that I didn’t intentionally do anything half-assed, and that I actually took pride in my work, because it adds up to about a third of my life … maybe for you fortunate 40 hour workers, it’s a quarter, but it’s still a huge chunk of your life … do you want to look back and say that you just skated by and didn’t do even close to your best? It’s taken my years to learn the valuable lesson that your job or career is NOT your life, but it is a significant PART of it … as most of us cannot live the rest of our lives without our income. But WHY wouldn’t you want to do your best in EVERY part of your life. Hell, I’m here, I might as well give it my best shot … at everything! Does that mean that our performances are always top-notch? Come on, of course not. Sometimes I feel as though my best effort was actually WORSE than no effort, but I don’t regret the exertion.
    Which brings me back to the clock punchers. As you can probably deduce, I work with quite a few of these useless individuals who make it harder on those of us who take pride in what we do. And to you, and all other clock punchers out there, all I can say is this: do you really want to look back on your life and say that there wasn’t one aspect in which you gave it your all? Personally, I don’t want there to be even ONE of those aspects in my life. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those “work hard, play harder” jack-offs that has a boat, jet skis, a crotch rocket, 6 muscle cars, a hang-glider and all of those other “adult” toys, but I do not want to look back at my life, and regret anything that I did or did not do … or, for that matter, HOW I did or did not do something.
    Sorry, clock punchers, but you’re most-certainly NOT “worth more than that” if you don’t prove it. Simply being a living, breathing person does not make you better than your current station in life and career. We all get crap in life, and we’re all presented with varying degrees of bad luck. If you are working at Dairy Queen at 42 years old, chances are you did SOMETHING to wind up there!

     
    • Lisa 4:02 pm on August 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Extremely well put, Ken!!! It has always been my motto that no matter what your job in life, do it, do it well, and take pride in what you do…put in 110%. Unfortunately, there are people who think that something isn’t there job, so they just won’t do it, or help you do your job.

      This is precisely why I quit my job in May. I was hired as a legal secretary, with the idea that I was going to move up into a paralegal position. As a few months went by, I decided to go back to school to get my paralegal degree because I actually liked what I was doing. Seems that my goals didn’t jive with my employer’s. A year after being at that job, the office manager/paralegal I worked with seemed to not do anything anymore, FaceBooking most of the day, if she wasn’t out with the boss, and yet, I still gave it my all, hoping things would improve. I started becoming more of a file clerk than a secretary, yet I didn’t let it get me down and was the best, overpaid file clerk there could be.

      I do believe that this office manager/paralegal did not do her best, or do anything to motivate us as a team and am still trying to figure out how she keeps her position there (which is probably under the boss’s desk more than at her own), but as you very well said it, life is short and I made the decision to get out and be happy. And right now, I am doing my absolute best to be the best mom/wife/student I can be until I find a paralegal job that I WANT to be at, not that I need, and when I find it, I will be the best damn paralegal I can be.

      Hang in there…I have worked with the “work hard, play harder” jack-offs for the past two years….attorneys are a blast…LOL! They don’t treat their employees very well for the most part (there are the rare few, but few and far between). If you work hard, the reward should be self-satisfaction.

      Wow, I actually had more than two words to say this time…ha ha 😀

    • Jon 4:46 pm on August 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      A big problem is that so many people in America think they are getting the shaft in every aspect of life that they adopt a “why should I do more than I need to?” attitude at work. I’ve heard it all before, too. “Why doesn’t X ever work any extra?” “Why does that team get to do that, and we can’t?” “I’m not doing any extra since the company’s not doing anything extra for me.”

      Well, maybe if you DID put forth a bit more effort, the company WOULD do more for you. I don’t like doing extra work any more than the next guy, but I realize that it’s in everyone’s best interest and I actually take pride in going that extra mile. All too often, if these underachieving complainers just shut up and did their jobs, it WOULD get recognized and they would benefit from it.

      I try to take the attitude that I do what I can and follow my values and work ethic, and if others don’t, it will all sort itself out in the end.

    • Karen 4:58 pm on August 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The way I see it, if you have that many issues with what you are being asked to do, then maybe you should take Lisa’s cue and look for something that suits you more.

      We have all been in armpit jobs and felt like we weren’t appreciated enough when we were there. But there are ways to transition out of the bowels of employment that do not have to leave a sour taste in the mouths of everyone who comes into contact with you. And just because a job doesn’t suit you, it doesn’t mean that someone else can’t thrive and do well in the same position.

      Unless you work for complete douchebags.

      • Jon 10:23 pm on August 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Fortunately, I fully believe that my immediate superiors can see through the BS and recognize those who put forth an honest effort without complaining about it. I know for a fact that some others have felt spite towards me because of some real or perceived sense of favoritism shown towards me, but damn, shut up and work hard and you can get that, too.

  • Karen 11:15 am on July 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    On the Fringe, but Just as Valid 

    I am not here to debate evolution.  What interests me is why extreme faith-based beliefs get a larger amount of weight within American society.

    In the good old U.S. of A, a person or group could put out a myriad of empirical evidence in favor of an explanation of a natural occurrence, and all you have to say is, “I have faith that you are wrong because (Insert Deity) said so.”  And Constitutionally and theoretically, both parties have equal weight in the discussion.

    What got me on this line of thinking?  A conversation with my husband and the following article:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060810-evolution.html

    To summarize, it was about the results of a survey regarding belief in evolution and a comparison among industrialized nations.  In the U.S., this survey stated that 14% of Americans thought that evolution was “definitely true” while 33% rejected the idea.  Only Turkey had more naysayers, percentage-wise.  (There is a bar graph that tells you were your country ranked.)

    The researchers attributed these results to 3 factors:

    1)  The prevalence of fundamental religious belief

    2)  Evolution is an issue that is more politicized in the States.

    3)  I am going to directly quote the article, because it puts the idea in a more diplomatic way that I would.  “But, the authors say, studies in the U.S. suggest substantial numbers of American adults are confused about some core ideas related to 20th- and 21st-century biology.”  Once again, our educational system is doing wonders for our public image.

    I think there is a historical root to this acceptance of the extreme.

    Of course, I have to bring the Constitution into the discussion.  I mean, our Founding Fathers (and, according to the Onion, Founding Creepy Uncles) did not want a state-sponsored religion and all the problems that stem from that.  With this openness and tax exemption, the power of religion in government took the back route through its congregants as officeholders and constituents.  To make a sexist analogy, it basically turned organized religion in the political arena into the stereotypical housewife that is convincing her husband that her ideas are really his.

    My husband also pointed out the nature of human beings to take shortcuts and to try to get others to pay for things.  We all do it, and the people who are in organized religion are no exception.  So what we see are fundamentalists who are trying to get their teachings into the public school systems because of evangelistic reasons AND to avoid having to fund their own schools.  Yet another back route to get what they want.

    Regardless of how it came about, it leaves us with a huge problem.  How can you come to some sort of consensus, if you can’t agree on the bases of the arguments?  Research and experimentation versus faith?  One speaks Esperanto, and the other speaks Swahili, and there are people in the middle trying to translate both when they know deep down that they don’t have THE definitive answers, despite of what they tell themselves and the world.

    Going back to my point about the faith-based counterargument, I think what really bothers me is that “(Insert Deity)” could be replaced with “the voices in my head” in the above sentence, and there is no way to gauge the credibility.  At least the standards of science are more concrete and can give us better educated guesses.  Unfortunately, with standards comes liability when science guesses wrong.  The fringes of organized religion seems to be immune from that sort of liability, so I don’t see why they should have this vicarious power without any corporeal accountability.

    Of course, the person of this kind of faith would say that he/she has to be accountable to God, but judgment does not come until you are dead.  That leaves you plenty of time to keep screwing up without earthly consequences.  Doesn’t seem right to me in the cosmic scheme.

    For more food for thought, there could also be some tangible negative consequences in trying to create a more theocratic society.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article571206.ece

    Religion is such a personal thing.  To use it to control a society can lead to many unintended harmful effects.  Most people get that, but I worry about the ones that don’t.

     
    • John 11:31 am on July 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      We could take this in a different direction. Because a group of people have decided that the consumption of meat and animal products is wrong should we:
      a) Tell them that they are wrong and need to eat a cheeseburger
      b) Defend their right to make a personal choice
      c) Tell everyone else to become vegan
      d) Ignore them and hope they get better?

      Almost everyone will pick (b). However, swap this around and make it a religious subject and suddenly
      (a) and (c) become the most important. Religion is a very personal thing, and as much as I should not go around telling everyone that they should believe as I do so they should reciprocate.

      Somewhere we lost that. We think that to be religious means that unless the person down the street does exactly as we do, our live is meaningless. Why?

      As long as I get to eat my juicy steak on Shabbat… it doesn’t bother me what you believe, except that you are doing what you want to do and not what someone else is telling you to do, including me.

      p.s. Concerning evolution… doesn’t it make God a more powerful entity if he used evolution and natural disasters over 4 billion years to create us than a 1-day magic trick with a pile of dirt?

    • Kenny 2:53 pm on July 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I believe that religion, like crime, is more pious when it is NOT organized, and rather based on need. At least I can explain the intent (or lack thereof) better when it is that way.
      In all seriousness, I can personally say that I think that personal religion is a wonderful thing when it resides in one’s heart, soul and mind. I consider myself to be a pretty damned intelligent individual, and yet I do believe in God. Maybe not the old man with the long beard who sits on a cloud in the sky and watches everything that everyone does … actually, I definitley don’t believe that. I believe that there is something incredibly powerful out there, and, for the most part, accept that fact that I’m not to understand it all … at least not now … and I’m sure I’m making myself look like quite the idiot with this reply, BUT it is what I believe. I also don’t happen to believe in the “vengeful” God of the Old Testament, but that is just me. Now, with a desire to see logic in things, and … perhaps somewhat ironically, a belief in God, I tend toward some (not all, but some) of the … let me try for the right word here … “ideals” brought forth by the “intelligent design” theory, which kind of goes against everything, including logic. I guess that’s just my way of saying that I don’t know … evolution sounds right to me, for the most part, but I’d like to believe that there are things that cannot be explained, and personally, I like the idea of science with God behind it pulling some imaginary strings (like Freddy Krueger in Nightmare On Elm Street, Part 3) … and having said that, I’ll shut up and brace myself to get slammed!
      LK

    • Kenny 2:55 pm on July 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      What my point was, essentially (and I realize that I didn’t make it very well upon rereading my post) is that religion only seems to get annoying when they try to invade other areas of life! I don’t want to hear organized religion’s view on anything that doesn’t have to do with them, and that’s the problem. These busy-bodies believe that EVERYTHING is their business!

    • Jon 4:28 pm on July 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      What I don’t get about people using religious beliefs to back up their arguments is that it often focuses on ideas from thousands of years ago and dispels any notion that these ideas may have evolved since then.

      Taking the most obvious example to us, the Bible: Why don’t all Christians believe the book of Mormon? How is it any less believable than the book of John? And if it’s not truly “legit”, how do we know what is? Did God conclude his teachings by telling us that he was going on radio silence for the rest of eternity? How can the Book of Genesis be taken as fact, but David Koresh discounted as a lunatic?

      If you are truly taking the Bible at it’s word, the notion that nothing changed since it was written is contradictory to what you believe in. Didn’t God admit that he was wrong to think that flooding the world would prevent the evil in mankind and proclaim he’d never do that again? If that’s the case, is there really no chance he came to the realization since the Bible went to the printers that gay marriage really isn’t that bad? If he did, how would we know? If it’s in a book somewhere, that book’s since been discounted.

      Another thing I don’t get is how the religious purists, be it any religion, don’t see the injustice committed against people born in other parts of the world. How is it fair that a person born and raised in Argentina needs to recognize Muhammed as the prophet to get to heaven? Doesn’t it suck that they didn’t get the benefit of having Muslim parents to show them the way?

  • Karen 12:46 pm on July 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    My Favorite Shooting Death Scenes in Film 

    I’m an American, so I love gratuitous violence as much as any of my fellow countrymen, especially when guns are a-blazing and ketchup splatter runs rampant on the Big Screen.  Of course, I have some scenes that I prefer more than others. After all, it takes a masterful person to thin the ketchup to the right consistency.

    Just let me add a disclaimer here, there will be spoilers.  But I will start each entry with he name of the film.  If you want to see the movie, don’t read the entry.  If you read it anyway, don’t blame me for your lack of self-control.  Got it?  Good.

    The Godfather – Who did not enjoy Sonny Corleone (James Caan) getting riddled with bullets at the tollbooth?  As much as a hotheaded asswipe that he was, it only doubled the pleasure of seeing his body wriggling around as if he were being pecked to death by giant chickens.  In fact, adding killer chickens would have been the only thing that would have made the scene better.

    The Dirty Dozen –  Victor Franko (John Cassavetes), upon exclaiming that they made it, was gunned down by German fire.  The most brilliant thing about the movie, to me, was Cassavetes’s performance.  I did not realize how attached I became to his character until his untimely demise.  It only made all the more heartbreaking.

    Scarface – Have to love Tony Montana (Al Pacino).  Not only did he grab the biggest gun he could find to fend off Sosa’s men, he didn’t even take cover to reload his gun…all while spewing the colorful language that the movie is known for.  With all his bravado on the balcony, a small part of you kept thinking he was going to make it…at least some post-mortem residual firing of his neurons could have taken down about 5 more guys.

    The Wild Bunch – Look at the final shootout in context.  The slo-mo bullet hits and stylized body slumping may look trite now, but back in 1969, no one had ever seen a scene like this.  Every director who has ever filmed a shootout since has probably drawn some inspiration from what Peckinpah did in this film.  John Woo pales in comparison.

    Raiders of the Lost Ark – Think of the Arab swordsman.  He trained for years to become adept with his saber.  Now, he has a chance to use the skills he spent so much of his time cultivating.  Of course, he has to demonstrate his prowess to intimidate his opponent, Indiana Jones.  But one bullet from Indy ends all of his dreams of being the master and victorious.  My vote for the funniest shooting death on screen.

    So what scenes stand out in your mind?  Come on, let us know!

     
    • Kenny 2:46 pm on July 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You got me thinking about an omission in my greatest westerns. As soon as I saw your title here, I thought “Wild Bunch” … and immediately afterward, I thought “Bonnie & Clyde”, as well.
      I agree with the Cassavetes. That scene almost makes you believe that nobody else will get killed, and then he … pardon the expression, takes it from behind. Jim Brown’s killing was a good one as well, as he was shot doing what he does, or did, best in real life!

      • Karen 3:33 pm on July 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I never saw “Bonnie & Clyde,” so I will take your word for it.

        I thought of another one.

        The train station scene in The Untouchables. The tension build-up plus the baby in the pram gave the scene more depth than your average gun fight.

        • Jon 4:35 pm on July 27, 2010 Permalink

          Does “shooting” imply bullets?

          Weird Al as Rambo hitting the guy with an exploding arrow from 3 feet away in UHF has to qualify as a classic.

        • Karen 4:55 pm on July 27, 2010 Permalink

          Hey, I’ll include it. I was being guncentric, and I hang my head in shame.

          And I feel like a schmuck for forgetting the Russian roulette scene in “The Deerhunter”.

    • John 8:40 pm on July 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Most of my favorite shooting scenes don’t involve blood. The end of ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’, the cemetery scene in ‘The Good. The Bad and The Ugly’. All great shootings, not much blood.

      For blood then you either have to go to Japanese or American movies. Fargo when Steve Buscemi gets shot in the jaw. The wood chipper is also quite fun. The ED-209 test in Robocop is always good for a laugh. Most of the scenes in Predator are nice additions to the list, I think they included most ways to croak.

      For blood but no guns, most Japanese Samurai movies are good. Zatoichi in the gambling house is pretty good. But for an all time classic you either have to go for the Black Knight in the Holy Grail or the Play in The Addams Family.

      • Karen 8:43 pm on July 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Once again, you answer around my question, Dear. 🙂

    • John 8:46 pm on July 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I am just answering the question which you meant to ask, not the one you actually did. Like when you asked me if I was OK, when in fact you should have asked me if I were a complete nut-job.

      • Karen 8:48 pm on July 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        If you know what I am thinking, why aren’t you going to the grocery store and buying me Double-Stuf Oreos?

    • John 8:53 pm on July 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Because I also know what you will do with them:
      http://nozama.typepad.com/.a/6a00e54ed05fc2883301053714a9b3970b-pi

      • Karen 8:54 pm on July 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        A girl can dream…

      • Lisa 8:13 pm on August 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Nice!! 😀 I can see Karen definitely doing that…me too! And I agree with you John…the Black Knight in the Holy Grail is quite the classic!

        Another movie that had quite a lot of violence that comes to mind is the “Reservoir Dogs.”

    • Jon 7:58 pm on August 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Even better than Scarface:

  • Karen 9:49 am on July 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    The Numbers Game 

    ESPN got me into this line of thinking.  There was a story about Chris Johnson, running back for the Tennessee Titans.  (An American football team for our international readers.)  They were discussing how he was on a trend to align himself with Earl Campbell and Eric Dickerson based on a comparison of all three of their stats at the same point in their respective careers.  As far as running backs go, this is great company.

    However, the story is basically inane drivel.  How can you extrapolate a Hall-of-Fame career based on data from 2 seasons in the NFL?  What kind of team is giving him support?  How many knee injuries is he going to suffer?  Is he going to do something stupid off-field to compromise his NFL career?   Or will he channel the powers of Brett Favre and have to leave the NFL with record-breaking stats and a stake through his heart?  Don’t know, do we?

    Of course, where I am going with this is the tangible versus the intangible.  Have we come to a point where we weigh the tangible (statistics and facts) over the intangible (unknown factors that can’t be measured)?  I don’t mean just in sports.  I mean in an industrialized society.

    Which leads me to another example…university degrees.  Let’s say some corporate weenies, unlike my dear husband :),  read articles about how getting an MBA leads to a significant salary increase.  Based upon this publicized information, more people decide to go back to school to get their MBAs.  Now the MBA pool is watered down, and these new graduates are not getting the salaries they expected.  Of course, they don’t.  The numbers they read were based on HISTORY, but they automatically assume that the same trend will continue even with more MBA graduates coming into the workforce.

    And these are the people who want to work in business but do not know how to interpret data.  No wonder we are having the problems that we do.*

    This is not confined to MBA degrees either.  I have a question for those who attended university.  How many classmates did you have that did not belong there at the time but were sold the idea that college was a step they had to take to make a good living?  There are so many teens who need time in the workforce or doing something else before college.  There are some who should never go to college at all.  But there they are.  I think part of the reason is the perception that career earnings/quality of life is directly correlated to the degree.  Unfortunately, the analysis stops there.  The tangible wins over the intangible, and I truly wonder why, considering I live in the intangible side and would not know how to play with Excel to save my life.  Anybody else have a clue?

    *I opted for the liberal arts major, so I knew my bachelor’s was going to be worthless anyway.  But I am such a well-rounded person now.  🙂

     
    • The English Little Sister. 11:01 am on July 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I totally get your point about the graduates. It really cheeses me off that going to University, that was once considered a mark of success became a right of passage for so many of my contemporaries. Rather than going to university because they wanted to better themselves, and their opportunities in life, they went to university because it was an excuse to stay drunk and have no responsibility for 3 years, and the government gave them a loan to do it with. So they all graduated, flooded the market and the good graduate jobs were fiercely competed for, and started paying peanuts – because they could! It’s the nature of economics- if something isn’t scarce any more, the price drops.

      Due to my parents being old farts, I wasn’t allowed to consider doing a liberal arts subject at university. I have no idea to this day how one of my siblings was able to sneak “Media Studies” under their liberal arts radar. What I would love to have done is an arts-based degree, or maybe something vocational with a trade (plumber, electrician, joiner) because that’s where my talents lie. I am much better at doing things with my hands than I am at reading books and writing cogent arguments, and citing references. Whilst my degree subject (linguistics) fascinated me, you never see an advert for “Linguist Wanted”. I sometimes wish I hadn’t been academically capable enough to go to uni so I was forced to do something else. Instead I am left with the feeling that I have “wasted my life”.

      I do know how to do some things with Excel, but I leave the hardcore Excel geekery to my husband who has to do it at work. 😉

      I often wonder that if I knew where I would be in my life now, and how much relevance to a degree in Linguistics my career has had (please read sweet FA) whether I’d do a degree at all. I think I probably would, if only to prove that a girl working in a shop, or as I am now, a stay-at-home-Mum, shouldn’t automatically be labelled as intellectually inferior. I remember a wise person telling me when I met my then 11-month-old niece for the first time, that being a parent tests every ounce of your intelligence, your creativity and your strength. She was right.

      What I probably wouldn’t saddle myself with is the £12k of debt I am now in that I haven’t a hope of ever paying off.

      I remember when I was a waitress (I was about 17), a vile family coming in one August and belittling me because I was clearly a “career waitress”. They were celebrating their son’s GCSE results (General Certificate of Secondary Education, exams sat at age 16). They treated me like absolute scum. I hated it. His parents made reference to me being thick in front of me! I decided to cost myself a tip, and asked what his results were. They were worse than mine had been, and I said it was “such a shame he missed out on the top grades, wasn’t it?”, and said which college I was off to in September. They looked embarrassed and had what’s known in England as a “face like a smacked arse” 😦 after that. They showed me a little more respect too. Not my finest hour, but frankly, it wasn’t theirs either!

      • Karen 1:43 pm on July 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        But how many of your classmates were groomed for that path, regardless of what they wanted? I am sure some of the loafers were just saying, “Fuck you,” to their families. Of course, I am sure there were plenty who used college as an excuse to party too.

        When you show academic aptitude, it is hard to persuade those around you that going a non-intellectual path is the best thing, especially when you are an insecure teen who does not know what she wants nor had the opportunity to explore her true talents. Learning who you are what you can do is never a wasted life, even if you have to make some huge mistakes along the way. At least, that is what I keep telling myself. 🙂

        To be honest, if John could do it over, he would have told your dad to piss off and read geology or botany. (There is a lot of Buller in him.) But he is keeping open the option of going back to school and doing what he really wants when there are less fiscal constraints. Translation…it’s never too late.

    • Kenny 2:36 pm on July 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      This is a really great topic, and I’m not just saying that because I have a chapter devoted to it in my book. In essence, I’m paraphrasing myself, but then, none who read this have ever read my book, so maybe I’m not, BUT, I remember absolutely NOT wanting to go to college out of high school, but not having a choice in the matter. My only choice was WHERE I was going, which ended up being Syracuse, as Syracuse had the #1 rated Communications School in the country (The Newhouse School Of Public Communications). Graduates from this school can (or could) pretty much write their own ticket when it comes to Broadcast Journalism. I wanted to be a baseball announcer, so when Syracuse put my in the Speech Communication major, I figured that was eventually going to get me into the real school. A couple of years later, and a year at Temple AS a communications major, I was still not allowed in this particular college, so the best way I found to keep fucking off and get the degree that was required was to switch to a major, on which, my talent would totally get me by …. so now, I’m Kenny Spaulding, BA Music, Syracuse University … as they say in New York, “That and $2.00 will get you a ride on the subway” … here’s the fucked up part: NOT given a choice as to whether or not to go to college, BUT I had to pay for it (and will be until about 2029) … builds character, I suppose, but as Harvey Keitel said in “Pulp Fiction”, “… because you ARE a character, does not mean that you HAVE character” …

      • Karen 7:01 pm on July 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        What were the conversations about college like in your house? How did your folks put their collective feet down?

    • Kenny 2:41 pm on July 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      What’s my point here? Education, as you guys were saying, is like so many other things. Scarcity breeds value! The more there are of something, the less that something is worth. It really isn’t our parents fault that so many of us were EXPECTED to go to college. When our parents were in their 20’s, a MUCH smaller percentage of kids went off to college, so of course there were jobs waiting with big fat fucking bows around them for anyone with a sheepskin … well, now EVERYONE has a sheep skin … making these degrees worth very little in comparison (in fact, I think they’re so cheap now that they’ve switched from sheep skin to latex, but at least it prevents the HIV virus!)
      I actually, and oddly enough, consider myself fortunate that I even have the little income that I do from my band, because at least I’m making SOMETHING to supplement my income from “my field” … the funny thing is that I may have gone to school for music, but I know LOADS more about baseball, and I have my job due to that knowledge … strange the roads we take to where we are, but as I am very fond of saying, whatever I’ve done, for better or worse, has led me to here … and so there are no regrets or laments!

    • Kenny 2:43 pm on July 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I will say that, for an NFL running back, the career expectancy is extremely short … Earl Campbell only really had a few “Earl Campbell-like” years before the overwork murdered his career, and put him in a wheelchair before age 50, to boot! Just thought I’d throw that one in there, b/c I’m an ASSHOLE 🙂

      • Karen 6:59 pm on July 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        “I use public toilets and piss on the seat
        I walk around in the summertime saying, ‘How about this heat?’.”

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