Bullets hurt really bad I would guess

My mother has a bunch of interesting quirks but one that sticks out to me from my childhood is that I wasn’t allowed to have toy guns. I’ve always wondered if she had some sort of trauma that involved a gun or if she was just crazy and thought that me shooting a plastic gun meant I was gonna join a gang and become a gangster. Actually, I’m not sure I want to know the answer to that question.

But, of course, my mom not allowing me to have toy guns created a morbid curiosity with these simple devices. To this day I’ve never shot a gun. I held one, once, because this crazy bitch I knew used to carry it around with her, and it struck me with fear and power all at once. It was intoxicating.

There is a little bit of my mother’s fear still in me also about guns. When I was 17 I had a gun pulled on me, something that would be scary to anyone. A couple of dudes from the (small) city (where I now reside) decided they wanted my coat and they weren’t gonna ask politely for it. A cop drove by on an adjacent street and they took off running and I got to keep my coat. I really liked that coat, it was green.

At some point in my life I am going to shoot a gun. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m gonna aim at some piece of paper with some sort of racist outline of someone and shoot at it and it’s gonna totally rock. If I have my way I will also at some point shoot some heavier firearms, m-16s and the like. I’m not sure if I’ll ever want to keep a gun in my house, but I’m not against the idea either.

So this torrid love/fear affair I have with guns was further piqued by the HMB lens “Want Less Crime? Add More Guns!” This is an argument I’ve heard before and on a basic level I agree with it. Take the wild west in the old days (when everything was in black and white), everyone had a six shooter on their side and you would assume they people didn’t mess with one another unless it was really worth killing over. I get that basic argument and in alot of ways I agree with it. If a criminal knows I have a gun in my house he isn’t gonna break in because he doesn’t want to get shot at and stealing my meager belongings probably isn’t worth him shooting me for. I also think if people were armed walking the streets there would be less street crime and the sort.

But, and it’s a rather big but, everyone having guns raises the stakes to a level I’m not completely comfortable with. For one thing alot of criminals are crazy or on so many drugs that crazy would be an improvement. So if you take a guy that is tweaking out HARD and he needs to get out of dodge in a hurry he is going to do it whether we are in a gun free or gun filled world. So if it were to happen today he would run up to me and wave a gun in my face and throw me out of the car on my fat ass and he would run away. If he were to do it in an age where everyone has guns he would approach me from an angle where i can’t see him and he would shoot me in the head before I even knew what was going on. So, obviously, in cases like this I think the idea of everyone being armed raises severity too high.

Then there is the whole “I thought he had a gun and was threatening me” when in reality it was a snickers bar and he wanted the time but you are a scared racist and shoot first and ask questions later. You know, like the cops sometimes do. Actually you don’t hear too much about the cops killing innocent people anymore, that’s kinda cool. Good job cops. I do like cops, don’t take my sarcasm wrong, my point is that if everyone is at a heightened point of paranoia because everyone is armed accidents out of not-needed self defense will happen. But then again, right now it swings the other way where criminals are killing innocent people… so either way innocent people die.

When it really comes down to it we aren’t ever gonna get rid of guns in the way all these hippies talk about. “Just get rid of the guns, man, outlaw them.” Yeah, that’s a good frackin’ idea, lets make it so the only person who has a gun is CrackHead Jimmy. So I accept that we live in a world with guns, which is fine with me because I think they are cool and want to shoot pictures of terrorists and stuff with them. If there was a vote tomorrow that had to be totally black and white “Do you vote to outlaw guns or do you vote to let everyone carry firearms everywhere” I would vote to let everyone. I’m not 100% in this camp, but my shades of gray do slightly deviate into that realm.

On the whole though I think most gun legislation is fine how it is. No one needs an Uzi to hunt or a bulletproof window piercing sniper riffle… at the same time, if someone wants a handgun to protect their family that’s cool. And there is a bit of mystery to it for the robbers and outlaws and pirates (with their laser guns), they are never quite certain what they are gonna get into, which in itself must reduce some crime.

What do you think about gun control? Tell those monkeys “are you lookin’ at me?”

Crazy Absurd Extremist Ramblings ooooooh scary!

I am a pretty passive observer these days when it comes to politics. I love politics, don’t get me wrong, but the last eight years have pretty much burned me out. It’s not all Bush Fatigue or whatever, it’s the whole system, just when you think it couldn’t get any worse it does. And the media coverage just makes the stomach acid approach my throat even faster.

I should admit to having Obama-mania. And it’s not just to impress my black girlfriend either (especially since she LOVES John Edwards… come on, fight the power girl!). But I am really taken with Obama. I know it’s been beaten to death but I imagine the way he makes me feel is the same general feeling that JFK had long before my time. And I also like the fact that he doesn’t have alot of experience, something his chief rivals bring up as his downside.

*Tangent alert: Level Orange*

I always thought it would be cool to have a physicist and engineer have a baby, and then raise that child in an environment that doesn’t have any cars. Never teach the kid about cars! And then when he has matured enough and has spent his life studying all sorts of scientific design, ask him to design a cheap box shaped thing to move people from one place to another that they control themselves. I bet it would be way better than cars that are out today.

*End tangent alert: Level Orange*

That’s the reason I like Barrack. I know what Hillary will do when she answers the phone at 3am, there is comfort in that, but it’s also too easy. I think if Obama was to get that call he would have the thinking of someone that thinks outside of just purely being a politician. Politics needs this, in my opinion, because politicians are terrible, terrible people. I think we can all agree on this.

So this brings me to the Pastor Wright hubbub that has sprung up over the last few weeks. I stayed away from it, in fact this blog post is the first time I’ve ever shared my feelings on the subject. Partly because they may seem shocking and because I would need alot of time and space to explain exactly what i mean, something you can’t really do in most political conversations with people. Another thing that has held me back is you never know what’s gonna stick in the political game, sometimes something like this blows over, sometimes it will dog someones career till the end of time. I’m still not sure where this Pastor Wright stuff will end up, but so far it’s sticking around to some extent.

I came across this lens on HMB tonight that argues that it will hurt Obama. In fact the writer seems to take quite a bit of joy in the fact that it will hurt Obama so it’s probably not the most fair and balanced *cough* thing on the Internet, but the beauty of HMB is that you can get right on his page and tell him why he is wrong.

I don’t think that Pastor Wright’s comments are a big deal and I also have zero issue with Obama going to that church. The thing about what Wright was saying is that it isn’t as “radical” as the media has made it out to be. This is the anger that alot of people in this country feel, from all races. It may not be a majority of people, but it certainly isn’t a fringe group either, and right or wrong we can’t just ignore that people feel this way. Wright basically says that this is a country run by rich white men (duh) and that poor people need to rise up and take the power back. How is this different that John Edwards (and his perfect hair my girlfriend loves so much…) said during his last two campaigns. There is alot of anger in this country from us poorer folks and we would like to not feel so helpless.

That said, I do not agree with Pastor Wright. I think he is off the mark, putting his anger where it really isn’t warranted. But we can’t ignore that this anger exists. I LOVE that Barrack knows that this anger exists, I love that he had a man so close to him that probably talked to him about it all the time. Being a politician we safely assume he is surrounded by yes men and fancy speech writers and stylists in the background filling him with all of this hope and everything is cheery and stay away from the bad people and smile at the camera etc etc etc etc. I love the idea that he went to church and heard some real anger about the world we live in, even though personally I don’t agree with the anger. Does this make any sense?

Do you think George Bush ever paid any mind to someone with the views of a Pastor Wright? I highly doubt it. I think maybe Hillary did in her earlier years but she left it all behind for her professional politician world. I certainly wouldn’t vote for Pastor Wright for president, but I do hope to vote for a man that atleast heard and felt a taste of that rage. I also hope he has people close to him (and in his cabinet if he is elected) that are far on the other side of the spectrum. Maybe Obama should sit down with Pat Robertson and George Bush should sit down with Pastor Wright. I think both men could probably learn alot.

Isn’t it time we elected a president that doesn’t brush these people off as extremists? I think deep hidden in even the most hideous of people there is a nugget of truth to be learned. Obama certainly isn’t Pastor Wright, he doesn’t think like Pastor Wright and he won’t be Pastor Wright as president, to think otherwise is really silly. But atleast he listened to him and maybe can figure out by including everyone a way to ease the rage that alot of poor (and mostly black) people feel.

I dunno, maybe I’m an extremist too or something. But, I also really, really love John McCain. He is one of the few politicians that I don’t think is full of shit and even when I don’t agree with him I know where he is coming from. I also love that he is willing to work with people all over the political spectrum to get things done. So I don’t think I’m a left wing nutjob, but who knows. I know my father thinks i am – haha.

Do you think that Obama deserves to be looked down upon for going to a church run by Pastor Wright? Let the world know what you think.

Close the blinds

A subject I touched upon in my first post was how the two best things the Internet offers is porn and arguments to get in. So it’s pretty perfect that I stumbled up Tera Patrick is the New Queen of Porn on HMB. I must say, if you are my mother, you should probably stop reading now.

The idea to me that people still watch commercial porn is completely alien. I mean, we have the freakin Internet! Of course it’s all a matter of taste, and maybe I can see having some weird fetish for giant fake tits and too much makeup and really bad acting and horrible, horrible music. But I would think that like most fetishes it would be a rather small group of people. But according to this HMB Lens Tera Patrick’s film company is worth 20 million. TWENTY MILLION!?!? I mean seriously people, learn2google.

This laziness sickens me. If you want to see a girl get drilled on top of a bear she just shot you can, for free! God bless the Internet. I am really disappointed in the world right now that they are still buying this fake ass porn. Disgusted! Two girls one cup anyone? Dumb drunk girls that flash random strangers and then said random strangers post the video on the Internet. I mean these chicks are always emailing me “wanna see my pics?” Um, yeah i wanna see your pics! CLICK CLICK CLICK! Credit card? Sure, take them all! I don’t care! GIMME PICS!

Seriously… and obviously… the idea of arguing about which pornstar is the greatest is pretty hysterical to me. Join in the fun.

Why does Jenny Craig want to keep me a fatty?

Here I am at 4am stumbling around HMB and I came across this great debate that really got me thinking. A squid named Writertiff does a fairly persuasive job of arguing that Diet Companies are setting us up to fail. The basic premise is that by keeping us all fat we keep coming back and buying their products and the products they cross-promote with larger food companies.

I’m not entirely a conspiracy theorist but if there is one place I’m more likely to believe them it’s with corporations. When the bottom line is the dollar people tend to do whatever they can to get as many stacks of bills as they can. And Writertiff does an excellent job of outlining his argument with facts and outside sources. I can’t say I really disagree with any of it specifically, but I do disagree with the overall point.

Dieting is definitely an industry, no doubt about that, and everyone overstates their effectiveness and tries to become the next big thing with tricky marketing, untrue books, and other more sinister viral marketing. I get all of that. My issue is, though, that you can hop on Google and search for “diet” and blindly pick one, follow it and lose weight. Diets all contain the same basic shell:

1. Eat healthier

2. Eat less

3. Exercise

We all aren’t the same, results will vary, some will get stuck at a certain weight, others may have medical conditions, and the majority of people will cheat and give up and revert back to what makes them fat in the first place. Now, before you think I’m some sort of skinny elitist, I’m not. I’m fat. Obese even. It’s not pretty. I’m still cute though, and sorry ladies but I’m taken. Enough about me though, sheesh! My point is that if you follow any diet it will work. If it isn’t medical in nature you are probably fat because you ate too much. Or, like me, you drank too much beer *and* ate too much. I’m the reason I’m fat, that much I’m certain of. And also I’ve tried some diets and I’m still fat so obviously they didn’t work out… but not once was it the diet’s fault. The fault lies with me, I would feel weak or sick (which happens when you change what you eat, no matter what), I would cheat on it and then within a few weeks i was eating as much as I used to and I would be back to my old weight again… or worse, I’d be heavier.

So, I don’t think the diets are trying to keep me fat. I think I am trying to keep me fat. I made a decision a few months back to really stick with a diet, and so far it’s been amazing, and I’m holding out hope that I changed my eating habits forever. But if I don’t it’s not the fault of some company and it’s not because they want me to be fat. Atleast not in my opinion. The bottom line is that losing weight is just really freaking hard.

Also, if someone comes up with a diet that is truly simple to shed pounds, that person will be rich beyond their wildest dreams, and getting rich is the bottom line for these companies, right?

Agree? Disagree? Go post your thoughts on Writertiff’s lens. It’s a wonderful argument that isn’t black and white. And I think as a nation (or world, even) we need to have more conversations about why we eat the way we do and why we let ourselves go. The insights that come from that would be more valuable than most would imagine. That’s where the true pain is though and it isn’t easy to confront. So where better to do than on the Internet?

The heavy becomes light again

So it’s Easter Sunday and I just got back from a family gathering. Family gatherings seem fairly heavy to me, they always have, I’m not entirely sure why. But one thing that struck me looking from about twenty feet away I saw my grandfather sitting next to my grandmother. The bizarre thing is that my grandfather died when I was around 17 years old, 13 or so years ago. So I sorta blinked my eyes and looked again and it was my father. I mentioned it right away to my mother and sister who were standing near me and they both agreed that he was starting to look a lot like him. It got me thinking.

My grandfather died fairly quickly to a fight he couldn’t win, cancer. It affected me greatly. My grandfather was this bigger than life character to me. He was strict without seeming like an ass, he was very handsome, always well groomed, he just sort of took command of a room when he walked into it. He held a lot of power in his body in a way that I still long to do all these years later. I found out more about him after he died than I knew before and all of the stories just bolstered what I already thought, the man was quite simply amazing.

So I thought this blog was supposed to be about arguments and Heymonkeybrain.com and all that, Mort! It is, don’t worry I’m getting there. As I was driving home I was spacing out, my body took over autopilot for the car and I thought a lot about my grandfather. It’s a short drive, so it’s not like the deepest stuff ever, but it was good. And then my mind wandered, as it usually does, and I started thinking about Kurt Cobain. Kurt Cobain existed in our universe for such a short time but made such an impact while he was there.

The first verse in a wildly quoted Neil Young song goes like this:

MY MY, HEY HEY (OUT OF THE BLUE)

My my, hey hey
Rock and roll is here to stay
It’s better to burn out
Than to fade away
My my, hey hey.

Is it? I mean is it really? I’m still not sure of the answer. So I decided to make it my first debate on HMB and see what everyone else thought. Kurt Cobain definitely burned out, he burned out on drugs, he burned out to a (supposed) self inflicted shotgun blast to the face. He made 3 proper albums and tons of b-sides and other (at the time) unreleased stuff, but by comparison to other bands who have such an impact on music he was just a blip. But he wasn’t, and anyone who was a music lover in the early 90s like I was know that Nirvana “Nevermind” changed music forever. Even at the time I was into his underground influences, but it didn’t matter, what Nevermind sounded like was almost alien, it took everything great about underground punk and indie and added what may be one of the best songwriters of my generation.

At the time all the kids like me got swept in the whole Seattle scene and lumped the bands all together… but there were only two favorites to have, either Nirvana or Pearl Jam. Now, most of us loved both, but we had to have a favorite, right? Almost 20 years later we realize the music was quite different, Pearl Jam is for all intents and purposes arena rock and Nirvana melded pop and punk, but they were the same ilk back then.

It makes me think about what Nirvana would sound like in 2008. What would happen when Kurt lost his edge, when he wasn’t so mad at the world, when he cleaned up off drugs, when his life as a rock star would be approaching the length of his life not being a rock star. What if their music went to absolute shit? Would Nevermind still be Nevermind? I mean obviously people would still like it, there have been many bands that have made brilliant albums and then made terrible albums (cough cough Aerosmith cough) and it doesn’t make their old music any worse. But Nevermind is different, it defined a generation, it changed the face of music. Would Nevermind still define me if Kurt Cobain was alive making terrible music? Would I let it in that case?

So it comes back to the Neil Young quote, is it “better to burn out than to fade away?” In the case of Nirvana the answer sadly seems to be yes, but it’s absolute conjecture. I mean maybe Nirvana’s 2008 release would redefine music again and bring us all to a completely different place. But the fact of the matter is that Nirvana wasn’t allowed to wreck what they created. Kurt made sure of that.

This also harkens back to the age old question of Beatles vs Rolling Stones. The Beatles’ career is obviously much more succinct and is filled with many, many highs and very few lows. Even though the majority of the band went on, the idea of the Beatles stops with their last album. The Rolling Stones on the other hand are still trucking and have a monumental career of amazing highs and some fairly embarrassing lows. But there is so much more of The Stones than there is of The Beatles, you can spend nearly a whole day listening to great Rolling Stones songs without ever having to repeat one. But is their reputation sullied by sticking around this long? What if The Beatles were the band still going and Stones stopped after Exile on Main Street? What if John Lennon wrote some corny stuff during the 1980s?

So I’m not sure yet, Neal Young, I’m not sure where I stand on your seminal lyric. I know my grandfather checked out early enough to keep his air of invincibility, to remain this mythical figure in my brain that I think about a considerable amount all of these years later. I also, unfortunately, have other relatives whose memories are fading and are becoming shells of their former selves. It’s difficult to watch, and obviously this is much deeper and more intricate than a silly pop culture argument… but the basic outline is the same.

I miss my grandfather, I wish I could have chatted with him on this Easter Sunday (as I did my father) about politics or the market, interests I only have because of those two men, but I can’t. Maybe Kurt Cobain and my grandfather are sitting on a cloud right now discussing my life up to this point and the decisions I’ve made, I think Kurt would understand me better but it’s my grandfather who I would want to listen to. Likewise, and not so heavy, I’d rather sit down with John Lennon right now than Mick Jagger.

I think I just figured out my feelings on the subject, if you want to leave your own please check out http://www.squidoo.com/isitbettertoburnoutorfadeaway and let the world know what you think. This argument is devoid of the personal stuff with my grandfather, of course, so if anyone wants to chat about that aspect the comments section is just below the post title.

I sure do like these internets.

A long time ago I decided to start a blog. I like to think I’m funny and entertaining and my IQ at least breaks 85 so it seemed like a natural extension. I was just a young fool with a limited attention span so it was short lived. Why am i bringing this up? Well, I’m starting a new blog, duh.

One thing I wrote on that blog relates to what this one is all about. I was watching Cspan, because I’m a nerd, and because I love their call in shows. They are pretty brilliant, and i use the word brilliant all the time so you know it’s meaning is heavy. There is a chain of events that happen with most callers that happen like clockwork, almost as if it’s scripted. It goes like this:

1. The host reads a headline from the morning newspapers and instructs callers to call in on the proper line to share their views. There are three lines, one for Democrats, one for Republicans and one for Independents.

2. A crazy, crazy, crazy old person decides to call in and tell the world how they feel.

3. The host picks up and asks the caller to speak.

4. The caller starts soiling himself because he/she is on national TV.

5. The host repeats the request.

6. The caller mumbles, very quickly mind you, through their insane point of view on any given subject.

Now there are a few other type of callers… but none of them are entertaining. There are the know it all usually liberal types. There are the idealist kids. There are a few just regular people type people.

But anyway, my handy list sets the stage for one of the best callers I’ve ever heard. The subject was from some small headline from I don’t even know what paper. Hell at this point i don’t even remember the headline. But I know it had to do with the concept of rounding up all the Islamic people in our country and putting them in a camp. I’m guessing it was gonna be a summer camp or a fat camp, but my memory fails me so who knows, right?

So this caller who called in on the Independent line had a very short but sweet opinion on the subject. He offered in a nervous mumble “I think we should round up all the Islamic people in the world and put them on a boat and then we should nuke the boat.”

It’s hard to detect irony in a speedy mumble but I’m pretty sure this guy was dead serious. I cracked up as I always do but it sorta stuck with me. I mean why nuke the boat? Conventional weapons aren’t enough? This guy, obviously pissed off about 9/11 wasn’t satisfied with the mere death of his new arch nemeses… they had to feel the POWER of his hate. Damn the nuclear fallout on whatever ocean this boat is in, damn the costs – I mean conventional missiles have to be cheaper, right? Also, do they make boats that big?

Disturbing? Um, yeah. Hysterical? I thought so.

The greatest part of humanity, in my eyes, is our disagreements. No matter your race or religion or where in the world you were born we are all of the same prototype. We have heads with brains in them, we have the same number of fingers and toes, we walk with legs, we digest food with stomachs. Now, of course, there are exceptions to the rule, beautiful little differences like the shape of things and the varying degrees in which how well our parts work. And then there is the kid with 8 toes or the soldier whose life was dramatically altered by an IED. But that’s getting way ahead of myself, my point is that we are all born of the same mold and then everything become insanely different.

For years I thought a good use of my evening through early morning hours was to intake alcohol in rather large amounts, flirt with girls, talk music with friends, play video games, have drunken freakouts about crap out of my control. There were other people at that time that thought it was a good idea to write poetry, clean up the world’s messes, volunteer to help the needy, other liberal guilt type things. Now what happened to make me into one person and another person into something completely different? Well, we all know and would still probably argue. Nature vs Nurture, environment vs brain chemicals, etc etc. There are trillions of reasons why we are different. It’s an exceptionally easy question to answer, but impossible to answer completely.

It’s these reasons that I love arguments. They are mostly futile, I’m not gonna convince George Bush Jr that Iraq was a bad idea and he isn’t gonna convince me that it was a good one. And at the same time I’m not gonna convince someone on the far left that we can’t just pull out now because we have created too big of a mess. All of this stuff has so many layers and we argue until we are blue in the teeth about them. It’s wonderful.

Every once in a while though something breaks through. Someone brings up a point so compelling that it makes you stop and reevaluate how you feel. So even though I’m some white guy in Connecticut it’s possible for some teenager in China to give me a perspective that I never thought about. Again, it’s wonderful.

And then there is the absurd. The crazy old bastard that wants to nuke boats. The person who doesn’t understand the first thing about the subject that is talking about items completely unrelated. T3H PPL TH4T TRI 2 MAIK POINTZ TYP1NG LIEK TH1S. This is far beyond wonderful.

So that’s where the Internet comes in. I mean whats a better use of it than to verbally smash someone into the ground because of their opinion on what brand of peanut butter is better (clearly Jif).

This is also where HeyMonkeyBrain.com comes in. It’s amazingly simple and totally brilliant all at once. And I don’t use the word brilliant lightly! Neither do i use exclamations lightly? Nor do I know where to put question marks and where to put periods.

Man, I keep digressing, sorry i do that. Anywho, HeyMonkeyBrain.com is simple web application where you use a very easy to use template to create an argument and then it does all this Internet magic and it makes this very clean and brilliantly laid out page that gives your argument more weight because we all know presentation is half the battle. The problem is that some dude who goes by the name of FlipFlap has the opportunity to respond to the argument, on your page no less, and it also looks all clean and awesome. Before you know it 30 people have chimed in about your simple and poetic hypothesis and each are split up into columns either supporting or RAGING AGAINST your argument. And these people… these people… they can post links to sites supporting their views, they can link videos right into the page for those who like the moving pictures.

It captures everything that is great about us. Namely, our differences. And it includes everything i listed way up above like 9000 words ago. People will be bullish, people will be poignant, people will make you change your mind and then someone will change it back. And some people, my favorite people, will want to nuke your jar of Jif because Skippy is the king of all peanut butters.

So that’s what this whole blog is all about. My undying love of the arguments that make us who we are and the unparalleled level of awesomeness that HeyMonkeyBrain.com brings to the table.

Also, I would like to add that I just used the spellcheck built into this blog and it didn’t know what the word blog was. Classic.