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Monday, October 31, 2011


Everyone loves Halloween. Except bitter old people and killjoys. But screw them. Everyone else loves Halloween. And why not? Happy little kids dressing up, cool decorations, candy, and just a generally "fun" sort of spirit. I know the spirit is supposed to be spooky and whatever, but the idea generally just comes off as fun.

In the spirit of October 31st, I'd like to share a few things. Both about what I see now and what I remember about Halloween.

First off, my house had maybe 6 trick-or-treaters this year. And I was dumbfounded by the utter laziness that all the parents of these children were in turn passing onto their kids. What is this nonsense with driving your kids to every single house? When the hell did that become the thing to do? When I was a kid too young to go out by myself, a parent or two (mine or someone else in the party's parent) would walk with us wherever we were going. There was none of this driving your kid to every single house. Sure, if you wanted to trick or treat in the next town over, a drive is perfectly acceptable. But literally escorting your kid 20 feet, having them run to the door, get their candy, then run back to the SUV and pull up another 20 feet? Not only is it completely lazy, it's a pain. I looked out onto my street when one of these groups of kids came to witness a virtual motorcade of cars and trucks. At least 5, in a line. One car for each kid. couldn't coordinate that better? Come on. When I was a kid, you walked the whole night until your damn feet hurt. And then you walked some more. And you were out there for hours dragging your pillowcase that felt like it weighed 50 pounds, and damnit you liked it. And if it was cold and the only thing you had on was your thin costume material, you sucked it up, cause that candy wasn't making its way into your bag by itself. And at the end of the night, after you got back, you knew you earned every single piece of candy in that bag. Every single piece of candy tasted that much sweeter. Not only that, but it was a bonding experience with your fellow trick-or-treaters and whatever parents came along too. Your parents got to see you having a great time and making sure your safe, (and checking your candy of course), and you were out there trekking with your fellow trick-or-treaters the whole night. And when you passed out in your sugar-induced coma at the end of the night with Hershey's chocolate all over your face, you were happy cause all that candy was yours, and rightfully so.

Now, enough with that. A few more points.

Remember those asshole kids who used to take more than their fair share at those houses with no one home, but they'd leave a bowl out filled with candy? What the hell. That used to tick me off then, and it does even more so now. Move along there, you already grabbed 4 handfuls. That bowl was brimming with all the good stuff before you got your ass up there. Then you'd get up there and there's like 3 Jolly Ranchers, some licorice and some candy I've never even heard of. Thanks, you greedy prick.

Also, what's up with the old people who hand out change? Or even worse, fruit? And why is it always old people? I respect you're trying to get kids to eat healthier or whatever with the fruit, but come on. It's Halloween. No kid wants to go to a door and get an apple after they say trick or treat. Plus, I don't even know where that apple's been, Grandpa. Just buy a bag of Reese's and save everyone the headache.

Where has all the creativity gone with costumes too? I actually did see some decent ones this year, but overall, it seems to be getting worse. And especially for people in my generation. And especially girls. Oh, you're a football player? Really? I thought you were a hooker. Since when do football players wear high heels, fishnets and a football jersey that my cat couldn't even fit into? Well, my cat is insanely huge, but still. You know what I mean. But in general, creativity...come on guys. We can do better than that! Of course vampires, skeletons, ghosts, witches and werewolves and stuff are always appropriate and classic, but that can't be your thing EVERY year. Even if you try something new and it's a monumental failure, hell at least you gave it a shot. This is also from a guy who's dad used to suggest EVERY year to "just be a ghost. Yeah, just cut out some holes in some bedsheets." Thanks, dad. Of course, looking at the cost of some costumes these days, maybe he has a point.

So I guess that's all I have to add. I know this post was a bit disorganized, but hey, it's Halloween. Cut me some slack. Be safe, and thanks for the read.

Awesome new song off I Declare War's new album, out of Seattle, Washington. Brutal. Still one of the freshest, most spirited bands in the current metal scene today. Give it a listen.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More funny cat pictures

I knew you couldn't trust black licorice.

Everyone is Hitler...Not Really

Hank Williams Jr. comparing the President to Hitler

So this story is a bit dated I know, but I'd like to use it as an example for the utter rage I feel whenever one of these stories surface. Hank Williams Jr., a country star (more so because of his dad than anything else, but that's another story.)  and also known as "the guy who does the Monday Night Football" theme  on Fox and Friends on Fox News comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler. Yes, that Obama. And that Hitler. After the appearance, ESPN decided to take his theme song off of Monday Night Football. Now, this wouldn't make news if some guy had said it, but because a "celebrity" said it it made all the rounds.

First thing's soon as this story broke, my Facebook feed and Twitter exploded with "Oh, what happened to free speech, man? I thought this was 'Merica, man!" Well, it is still America. And free speech does not apply to this case. Stop crying like little girls and learn your country's history and at least have a basic understanding of the Bill of Rights, one of the most important documents for our country, and, arguably, the world. The free speech and 1st Amendment apply to persecution by government for something you say. Not to private enterprise. So if ESPN wants to take his theme off of their show because they think his stupid comments are going to hurt their ratings, that's their right. No government official was going to come after Hank Williams for his comment. No agency was fining him. No department was arresting him or restricting his speech.

Second, stop the Hitler comparisons. All of you. And especially you. Not you, you're okay. But you, definitely. Why? Why Hitler? Let's leave Hitler as Hitler, shall we? I'm sick and tired of people comparing anyone they don't like politically to an evil dictator, racist, genocidal, power-hungry maniac who single-handedly started a world war and was accountable for millions of lost lives. The President is not Hitler. George Bush is not Hitler. Scott Walker is not Hitler and guess what? Chris Christie isn't Hitler either. Now, I get it's a comparison. If you were to say, "Stalin, man. He's like Hitler." I'd be like, "Yeah, that's fair. He is like Hitler." Or, "Mao Zedong, man. He's like...Hitler." Ok, also fair. President Obama? No. Not so much. President Bush? Nah...not really Hitler.

I know I harped on that a bit, but I really wanted to get that point across. Please...MODERATION! That's all I ask for. Just a little. I know people are passionate about their politics and the rhetoric is heated and people are mad and the country's going to hell and yadda yadda yadda...but does calling any political figure we like Hitler helping matters? Isn't that throwing gas on the fire? Let's lighten up people.

Oh, P.S. Hank Williams III is 10 times more awesome than Hank Williams Jr. anyhow. Especially in music. Hank Williams Jr. has the Monday Night Football theme song and (I assume) some lame country albums? How about Assjack, a punk metal band? Yeah, that's right. Assjack. Awesome. Here they are, doing Assjack stuff.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The snowstorm not many saw coming...

I gotta say, this snowstorm was a doozy. Growing up a Jersey boy (mostly) I've seen my share of blizzards and snowstorms, but I don't remember one of this scale before even Halloween comes. Not only was it a whopper, with over 8-10 inches having been dumped as I write this, but it was almost completely unexpected. Earlier I had heard some rumblings of a little snowfall over the weekend, but certainly not insane amounts with winds and the cold, and terrible, terrible roads.

As I write this right now, a tree lays on its side about 3 feet from the end of my driveway, and numerous phone lines and other trees came down on one of the main streets around here. I had to be out in the storm, by no choice of my own might I add, and I got stuck at least 6 times. The roads were literally impassable at some parts.

The problem with storms like this being so unexpected is that the small town municipalities get caught completely with their pants down. I'm not blaming anyone, because I hadn't heard anyone predicting this, but the storm was going all day and the first plow I saw out on the roads was around 6:30 at night. And even then they were still few and far between.

Getting stuck in the road causes tremendous frustration. My poor steering wheel in my car was at the back end of many of my angry, frustrated fists as I again shifted to reverse, then drive, then low gear, to make almost no progress at all.

However, as corny as this may be, born out of this frustration and helplessness and desperation, is a cool side of the human spirit that we usually only get to see in awful scenarios. The large majority of people don't even bother, but as I was stuck at an intersection trying to turn, the guy behind me on a snowmobile came up to my window and asked if I needed a push. I thanked him greatly and he gave me a push. Nothing. 2 minutes later, 2 other fellows on a snowmobile came, stopped, and without a word to either of us, got beside him and also gave it their all. And, boom, like magic, my car flew out onto the road. With my left hand I lowered my window quick to give them a generous wave and to shout "Thanks so much" as my car slid unsteadily out onto the road.

Later on in the night, I was able to return the favor to another fellow. I saw him struggling on the side of the road, and I pulled my car up in front of him a ways. I jumped out and jogged back to him and asked him if he needed a hand. He said sure, if I didn't mind, and remarked how he lived literally like a quarter of a mile away. Cruel circumstances. I got behind his car, and in front of his car, and went at it for 10 to 15 minutes. The 5th time I had gotten in back of his car to push when he changed to drive, I pushed as hard as I could, giving it my absolute all. And I felt the car and the restrictive snow start to give way. Gritting my teeth, I threw all my weight into it, felt the wheels dislodge, and fell onto my hands as his car got back onto the road. He pulled up, stopped, and I ran up to him. He shook my hand and thanked me, to which I said no problem, and he was on his way.

As I got back in my car, I had a good feeling. As frustrated as I was with my circumstances, the storm, and getting stuck many times throughout the night, there was still something very heartwarming about the connection of a stranger helping another stranger in your community-not for money, or for pride, or for the word to spread, but simply to help out another. To do a good deed. And though the large majority still just drive by as you shift to drive, and to reverse, and to drive, and to reverse, the small percentage that do stop mean more than that apathetic majority anyway. For they're the ones making a change, and not turning a blind eye to someone else's problem. A problem that could be solved with just a little bit of your time, and a little bit of effort. That's what makes the difference.

John McCain loves his moderately funny joke about Congress' low approval rating. He loves it 27 times on Twitter, at last count.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Interesting take on a poll...

So one of my assignments today for my journalism class was to go out on campus and ask people a simple poll question. The question: If the presidential election were held today, would you vote for Barack Obama or the republican nomination? Then I was instructed to get the names and majors of those answering, or if it was a staff member, their job at the college.

Before I started polling, I thought the answers would be pretty balanced. Morris County is of high, extremely Republican, but I figured Obama as well as the Democratic party appear more appealing to youthful voters, so I figured the answers would be pretty even. The results:

Not sure/No opinion/Apathetic/They're all the same-4

Now I have to say I was surprised by this, that the results were so heavy towards one side. I thought maybe it was just my sample, but this seemed to be the norm for the results my classmates got as well.

So I began to wonder what may have led to this, and whether it was the fact that this was party allegiance (as Morris County is extremely red) passed on by parents, or simply disillusioned youth who weren't happy about the results of the current President. It's pretty clear that most youth out of high school or in high school are likely to follow the same political affiliation as their parents, but is this the determining factor?

It seemed pretty clear that most of the people I interviewed who said they would vote Republican were voting Republican no matter who the candidate was. One quote, from P.J., a business major, "Yeah, I would never vote for Obama in a million years. In fact, I'd take a juice box over Obama." That may be so, P.J., but I'm not sure a juice box can run for office.

Owen, the one staff member I interviewed, seemed to be a bit more thoughtful with his answer. Owen's job at the college, self-described, is he "takes care of the air conditioning." Owen relayed that he would probably vote Republican, but "both sides of the aisle have really disappointed me, and I'm still not certain."

The unsure answers seemed to be the most organic answers out of all of them. Max, a music major, had the best quote out of my polling. When I approached Max, he seemed rather hesitant to delve into politics. But when he saw that I personally wasn't going to cast any judgment on his response, Max went off on his disappointment with the system and both parties, as well as Obama. He concluded his thoughts with, "Voting for politicians's kinda like putting both hands on a burning hot stove and then trying to determine which hand feels better."

With the election still more than a year away, I'm surprised more answers weren't the unsure kind. But from my and my class's sample, the results were very heavily skewed toward the GOP. But, maybe Max is onto something. Maybe we're all just burning our hands, and trying to figure out what feels better. But burning your hands is better than cutting them off, which could be the end result of an apathetic generation of youth.

Funny cat pictures.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just some thoughts on smoking.

So smokers have come under some pretty heavy fire and criticism over the last few years. I suppose it's easy to understand. It's not the most pleasant habit in the world to say the least. It smells, its not pleasant to inhale smoke (unless you are partaking) and, of course, it's not good for you.

With that being said, I have to say what I reject about how unpopular smoking is become is the people who become absolute zealots on the subject. And then, of course, government has to jump into the act too. (Why is that always what happens, by the way?) I still don't understand how it's government's authority, or jurisdiction, to tell a business what they can allow in their business. Unless it's something outrageously illegal, shouldn't this be left up to the owner of the business?

Maybe I'm beating a dead horse, but I really feel like it's stepping on people's liberties and choices. I don't advocate that everyone starts lighting up stogies wherever they go, as you should be mindful of others around you, but on the other hand, let people make up their own minds. We're supposed to be informed citizens here, not obedient disciples.

My school, County College of Morris, passed the most ridiculous smoking ban a couple of years ago. The ban was outright. No smoking on campus. The only time smoking is permissible is in your car, in the parking lot, with the windows all the way up. If you just said WHAT?! really loud, you had about the same reaction I did when I first heard of this ridiculous ban, except followed by THE FUCK after the what. Isn't college supposed to be about teaching us to make our own decisions? To become adults? Not some nanny school where they say, "You're all adults now, you make your own choices. Except for THAT! Are you crazy? Don't you know that that is bad for you?" What garbage. The school, when the ban was passed, said it was to deter people from smoking and for their "Clean Air Initiative." HA! Clean air. This is the same school that pretty much forces all their students to drive themselves to the school, with over 14 parking lots, and yet still has no emphasis or even TRIES for public transportation to school. That's gotta be better for the air...cough, cough. And really? That's bad for you? How much money has been pumped into anti-smoking propaganda and warning labels and taking the tobacco industry to court over every little thing? Too much. If someone doesn't know about the dangers of smoking by now, I don't know what the problem is.

The other problem with the ban is that people DON'T STOP SMOKING. You're not going to get people to stop, nor should you. Just set up designated smoking areas. Then everyone wins. People who don't want to be around smokers won't go near the smoking areas. Now, instead, whenever you come out of Demare Hall you're greeted by 70 kids huddled in a mass smoking cigarettes, and breathe in enough of the stuff to equal about a pack in the twenty steps past the doors. It makes no sense.

My main point is to let people make their own choices. Let's not jump down people's throats for doing something that they enjoy, and if they're doing it respectfully, get off them. Just my thoughts.

Washington's Mt. Rainier casting a unique shadow, as it does very rarely when it blocks the sun.

Earth will have a population of 7 billion's some photos to let that sink in.

Gotta say...looks pretty good. Clint Eastwood directing and DiCaprio is a can't miss his last few. Also, this is funny. Article detailing how the FBI said to the filmmakers that the former director didn't have a crossdressing fetish despite the rumors, and the movie depicts him doing so.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Funny bear

Awesome article on how DNA may carry memory of living conditions in childhood.

Ridicule of protesters goes a bit too my opinion.

I was listening to the Mark Levin show tonight for fun, and about 2 hours into the show he referred to the protesters across the country (starting with Occupy Wall Street) as "losers, has-beens, criminals" and the like. Honestly, don't any of the right-wing pundits see that marginalizing a major movement like the protests is doing the same exact thing the left did to the Tea Party when it first started? By that logic, everyone in the Tea Party is a crypto-fascist racist. Oh, the irony. Please people, all I ask for is a little moderation...
Interesting to see where this goes. A Goldman exec? Insider trading? No way...

Testing the Waters

So I'm deciding to try this out to experiment.  I hope it goes well, and I am hopeful...