Sunday, August 15, 2004

Golden Enema

A continuation of Concrete Enema

Well its about 5 days until the final exam in this concrete enema o'mine and it looks like I'm actually going to pass this one. If I got 100% on this last assignment, it will mean that I will only need about 66% on this upcoming exam to pass with an A- and keep my GPA to an acceptable level. I'm going for the gold on this one, ladies and gentlemen.

But this class hasn't been a total loss of time and sleep and I'll be darned if I didn't learn something interesting in this class. During one assignment, we were made to write out ten summaries on several essays. I did mine surrounding organizational communication within sports and I came up with something rather interesting concerning people who value athletics over education.

According to this article by Jay Coakley called Socialization and Sport, it says that during the 1960's and 1970's sociologists were trying to determine any kind of personality traits that stemmed from playing sports. They found out that interscholastic and intercollegiate athletes in the United States measured higher on personal and political conservatism and lower on political awareness than their counterparts not involved in sports. (Ogilvie & Tutko, 1971; Norton, 1971; Rehberg & Cohen, 1971; Schafer, 1971)

This explains two parts of American culture:

1. The term "Dumb Jock"
2. Why Republicans are constantly cutting back on education.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

and now.. a little fun

ahh the joys of internet radio. I use LAUNCHcast with my yahoo messenger. I've had it for about a week now and i've already hit the Fanatic level. Its a great way to listen to a lot of songs you would never think of listening to... ever. Its a really basic premise. You start out by ranking out a lot of "essential" artists of various genres (either on a 1-100 scale or with stars) and then you have the option of writing in four other artists to listen to. Then through a process... not unlike how they make cheese whiz... LAUNCHcast goes through its massive library and picks out what songs it thinks you might like to hear, based on which artists, albums and songs, but not neccesarily the ones you rated the highest. The biggest problem with this system is that its main goal is to sell you CD's. With this in mind, it figures that the songs and albums that you've rated the highest must be songs you already own and ergo, it will be rare that you actually hear those favorite songs of yours. Instead, about 75% of the music will be based on an guess of what LAUNCHcast thinks you might like to hear and eventually shell out $12 to buy on CD. Another problem this causes with LAUNCHcast is that if by some chance you remember that one-hit wonder from the 80's and then rate that song at 100%, chances are you will almost never hear that song, but rather every other crappy song by the same artist.

Now this might not be a problem for the typical music fan, but I have very picky tastes. I will NEVER buy a CD unless the music has truly impressed me. For example, I'm still trying to decide whether or not its worth it to buy the Orgy CD with Blue Monday on it and I was VERY impressed with the video when it first came out. See? VERY picky. But I digress, LAUNCHcast goes on its own little tangent quest to sell me music I haven't heard before and on a rare few times its actually done a good job. I never would have found out about DJ Micro or Paul Oakenfold without them but even still, 95% of the time, LAUNCHcast is DEAD WRONG with its guesses as to what I want to hear. This can get very annoying very quickly. For example, I like Jump Around by House of Pain and no other song by them. Instead of hearing Jump Around though, I get every other song by House of Pain which I have to either skip (which you can only do 5 times in an hour unless you pay LAUNCHcast for more) or rate a zero in order to keep them from ever playing it again with the futile hopes that they might learn and not send me any other songs by them other than the one I WANT to hear.

One thing I do like about LAUNCHcast is they do have some nice videos which you can play as often as you like. Unfortunately, they don't have some of my favorites like Tom Petty's Don't Come Around Here No More or Genesis' Land of Confusion. Two essential 80's videos if you ask me. I love videos that play out little movies that actually have something to do with what the song is about. Meat Loaf's I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Wont Do That) is another good one.

They do have the Gump video by Weird Al Yankovic. I highly recommend this one. Watching Ruth Buzzi beating Forrest Gump with her purse was just priceless. Too funny. One more bit of Gump trivia... when Weird Al was playing Gump on a New Year's Eve party live on television, they showed the members of The Presidents of the United States of America singing along with the parody of their song, Lump. Now that's class. Prince could learn a thing or two from them.


Friday, August 06, 2004

Umbrella Salesmen

It seems to me that Mad King George has become quite the umbrella salesman.

The past 3 years have shown Mad King George creating this huge umbrella which he has christened "Terrorism." It started innocently enough as a rallying cry against those who attacked The United States on September 11th of 2001. The sleeping giant had awoken and it was time to take out the trash. Then after a few months of righteous action and war cries, the term "terrorism" turned into a political tool. The umbrella grew and the umbrella salesman was adding more to its size as well as trying to sell this umbrella to as many American people as possible. The Partriot Act and the Iraq war for example were added to keep people afraid of the storm. More recently, upping an already vague terror alert system during the Democratic National Convention was done to keep sell the umbrella again to people who were no longer afraid of the weather. If not for the politically adaptable umbrella, none of these additions would have became a reality let alone been taken as a serious idea.

Then the umbrella became something even worse. The umbrella called Terrorism evolved into a dividing line between who was standing with "Real Americans" beneath the umbrella and those "unpatriotic bastards" not willing to be sold the idea that they needed the umbrella or were starting to put their umbrellas away. The umbrella was no longer trying to keep America safe, it was only trying to keep those still beneath it trapped there. In addition, the umbrella salesman didnt wanted those beneath it to know the storm was over because if the storm was over, the umbrella salesmen would be out of a job.

So the umbrella salesman jeered at those outside of the umbrella's reach. The salesman threatened them to return beneath the safety of the umbrella. But those outside the range of the umbrella's grip knew the current storm was passing and what parts of the storm remained, were not being stopped as well as it should be. Then they noticed the umbrella salesman had paid so much time to the building of large faulty umbrellas that he neglected other parts of his life and ergo loss even more respect in the eyes of his potential customers.

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger." -- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

If you still do not wish to purchase into the Terrorism Umbrella, there are several other Republican models to chose from:

The Traditional Family Values Umbrella
The God Bless America Umbrella
The Faulty Intelligence Umbrella
The Democrats are Stupidheads Umbrella (notice how the word Republican never appears on this page)
The Grand Old Party Umbrella
The John Kerry is a Flip-Flopper Umbrella

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