Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Wave" Bye Bye

You know how something can be so inoffensive, so bland, so nondescript that it winds up offending, grating at you and standing out like a sore thumb? The guy in the cubicle next to me has a radio just barely at audible level which plays "The Wave" all day.

I'm not sure you know what "The Wave" is. It's a "smooth jazz" format station. In Las Vegas, where I just was, they call it "The Oasis." I suppose in Alaska they call it "The Hot Spring." They playlist tends heavily toward R&B with something that you might define as jazz every couple of hours. For example, that remake of TAKE FIVE that someone cleverly arranged in 4/4.

Remember PICK UP THE PIECES by the Average White Band? That's odd. The Wave does! Not only do they play it on a daily basis, they also play a plethora of inexplicable covers by series of faceless saxophone artists. I'd have never imagined that there was a PUTP subculture out there. This daily basis thing is important - they play EVERYTHING on a daily basis. I know I'll hear two Anita Baker songs in the course of a work day, and about nine versions of Pick Up the Pieces, and a little Steely Dan, and some Hiroshima, and yes, Kenny G. It's like a country music station playlist, only more limited. It's not like there isn't enough material to fill out the genre - oh how I wish that were the case! - it's that the programmers have decided that familiarity breeds comfort. They've smoothed jazz to the point that you can skate across it.

They don't play any Miles Davis or Chet Baker or Ornette Coleman, perhaps out of fear of attracting the late greats' attention and causing unnecessary grave-spinning. My feeling is, for god's sake, let the spinning begin! I'm weary of David Sanborn. I'm no longer enamored of Enya. Maybe my problem with the station is that when I listen, I perpetually feel like I'm about to get a massage that never comes.

When I get home tonight, I'm going to pack the iPod with speed metal.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Photo Proof of Liberal News Bias!

{irony}Warner Todd Huston is right! Look at this news photo of Barack Obama!  I think there is a very clear message being sent by those rays of light shining down upon him from a higher source. Photo courtesy of The Washington Times. {/irony}

The Washington Times, of course, is the ultra-right-wing tabloid run by Sun Myung Moon.  Today's edition seems especially kind to liberals. Sample headlines: SEX ED FOUND TO PROLONG TEEN VIRGINITY; LIBERAL AND PRO-US? WHO KNEW? (a review of "Charlie Wilson's War", a movie starring Tom Hanks; PROGRAM LENDS HAND TO POOR INDIAN TRIBES. There is a CLINTON NEIGHBOR ARRESTED IN NY KILLING, but that's off the wires. 

What's up with the paper today? Spirit of Christmas got a hold of 'em? Or is the regular editor off for the week? If so, do I buy a condolence card for the guest editor now or wait until he meets with a freak accident around New Years?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Thanks For Asking

And since you ask, I've simply been too busy hanging around with people to write. I've found this is a much more effective way of tamping down the Seasonal Affective Disorder than simply brooding, which is my usual strategy. Go figs!

Went to my office Christmas party last night, which was held at a swanky bowling alley in Hollywood. I was gunning to win a flatscreen HDTV in the raffle. Didn't quite make it, though I did win a wind-up generator portable TV with a lantern on it. And a memory foam pillow. And a DVD player. And a wind-up flashlight and radio. And LED stick-on laps for under-lit places. And a SEX IN THE CITY trivia game, which I gave to the waiter as a tip. 

The reason for all the prizes was everyone was given 5 tickets at the beginning of the evening, then more tickets were awarded to our bowling teams using an arcane selection of rules - how many strikes, how many combinations (3 / 7 split? You win!) and so on. I didn't understand it, but I got another 50 tickets. 

Another guy won two telescopes. Give him a little duct tape, and he's got the best damn binoculars ever.

What I found tremendously disappointing about the evening was this: Nobody, I mean nobody got embarrassingly drunk. The golden age of the office party is clearly past. I remember just a little over ten years ago going to one where a marriage broke up, somebody fell off a bar stool, and a women I barely knew came at me out of nowhere and french-kissed me.  I miss being around that kind of madness. A couple of years ago I was a the Christmas party of a mortgage company and it came pretty close; but since we had all just been laid off it was mighty bitter drinking. Embarrassing but no fun.

You are going to ask me about my plans for Christmas. I know you are. Well, I'm going to Vegas on Friday and I'm staying in town until Christmas day. There are few places more Christmas-immune than Vegas, baby. The Noel is pretty weak sauce in that town. You'd barely know there WAS a holiday except it's half deserted and the dancers in the Rio sky parade are wearing Santa hats.  If I don't write before then, just re-read this post until I get back.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Right is Never Wrong (Especially When They Are Wrong)

I have long marveled at the ability of Republicans to "stay the course." They out stake a piece of ideological territory and never, ever give it up. In a lot of ways it's their strength because it makes them appear solid and reliable. However, it also frequently backfires on them because in real life people change their positions in the face of new data.

You might think I'm talking about the latest N.I.E. concerning Iran's nuclear program, but the President is only now starting to dig in his heels on that one and insist that they have one anyway. That issue just isn't ripe for pickin' yet. Instead, I'm going to give the example of a l'il comment war over at WAMK.

The esteemed Madeline's Dad wrote a post called WORDS MATTER. If I'm not mistaken, the point was that Democrats are too quick to label some of the excesses of our country in this time of war as, well, as he put it:
Senators and Congressmen using the words "torture" and "atrocities" to describe events that are unseemly, but hardly worthy of their definitions.
Fair enough, a matter of opinion. Or rather it would be, if it wasn't for that "Senators and Congresmen" passage. Something about it bothered me, and I asked for an example of a Senator or Congressman actually using the word "atrocity" to describe events. MD was kind enough to provide links to an editorial by ABC News, another one by the Washington Post, then CNN and then the Independent in the UK. No Senators, no Congressmen. He also posted a YouTube clib of Sen. Durbin in which he used neither word, but condemned our practices using less inflammatory language.

In the next 15 responses, I asked repeatedly for some proof that one of our elected officials had used "atrocity." Responses included:

I guess the search engines at Puffington Host don't cover traitorous statements made by US Congressmen.

Ted Kennedy never clamied that Saddam's torture chambers had "reopened under US management".

jOn caRrEy never acused US troops of "terrorizing innocent Iraqi families" during the night. Or that that's something the Iraqi military should be doing themselves instead.

Barack Obama never said that the US is carpet bombing Iraqi cities.

John Murtha would certainly not say that US Marines had murdered innocent Iraqi's "in cold blood".

(Preceeding courtesy of Ameridann, who missed his chance to call Barack Obama "Osama". You're slipping, Ameridann!) These are all legitimate quotes (probably) and also, they are all attempts to avoid saying "no, I can't prove that a Senator or Congressman used the word 'atrocity.'" Mad's Dad insists that he has heard it said, even though he can't find proof.

What fascinates me is, even if they think they have a legitimate larger point, they refuse to give up ground on the parts that don't matter. It makes Republicans less like statesmen and more like bulldogs, I think. I love bulldogs, but I don't consider them electible. They're ***king dogs.

Then again, when Mitt Romney revises his opinions based on the facts, I find him untrustworthy. Double-edged sword, the nuance thing.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Another Front In The War On Christmas

I am outraged! It's Saturday afternoon, and there isn't a lot on TV for adults - it is thus that I landed on KSCI Channel 18, which is a local foreign language station. Today they are running a Hindi-themed show in English, SHOWBIZ INDIA. It was pretty enjoyable until I came across this commercial.

It was for some long distance service, and get this - they were saying you should sign up in time for "this festive season."

This Festive Season!

Obviously the War On Christmas has filtered down to the smallest stations! There is no time to lose. We must now do... well, whatever we do to preserve our treasured Christmas traditions. Call your local Hindi station now and demand that they directly refer to Christmas when they talk about this time of the year. 

While your at it, don't let your Jewish friends off the hook.