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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Another Rant Against the DMV

The more I think about my DMV experience of last week, the madder I get. I know that this week, I'm going to have to go back and it's incredibly frustrating knowing that once again, I will more than likely spend another couple of hours waiting for something that literally takes a few minutes. I mean, this is how simple it is: take my check, print out the little paper that says "Permit" on it and hand it the fuck over. This is not rocket science and doesn't require an interminable wait to accomplish.

And by interminable, I mean interminable.

Consider I spent two and a half hours there on Wednesday and accomplished precisely...nothing. That's the DMV.

In other arenas, you can accomplish quite a bit in two and a half hours.

A few weeks ago, surgeons managed to drain a hematoma on my brother's eye ball in less than two and a half hours.

When I closed on my house, I looked over and signed 50 or so documents. It took less than two and a half hours.

You can fly from Denver to Los Angeles or from Dallas to Denver in less time. You can drive from Denver to Cheyenne, Wyoming and back in less time.

You can watch The Godfather in it's entirety.

But what you can't do, apparently, is get a fucking drivers permit from the fucking DMV.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Great Moments in Guitar Solos

I didn't have high expectations for Metallica's new record, Death Magnetic. In fact, I panned what little I had heard, and to be honest, I expected to hear a bunch of paint by numbers songs with little heart, the last gasps of spoiled millionaires trying to remember that it used to be about the music and not the market.

But instead, I find a candidate for solo of the year --Nay, solo of the decade-- in Unforgiven III, which is still a stupid song title but a pretty kick ass song.

Take a listen here.

Soundwise the file sucks (clipping anyone?), but Kirk Hammett has rarely recorded a better solo. It's organic, tied in emotionally and musically to the rest of the song, and the best part is that it's Kirk Hammett unleashed.

His role in the band has always been the ripping solos, but the Ulrich/Hetfield super-ego always seemed intent on making him know his place. Twenty, thirty seconds per song and he could shine, oh shine on you crazy diamond, but when the spotlight went off, he was supposed to step back and follow the other guys.

Not this time. Hammett seizes the moment, snatching it in all its pentatonic finger-blistering glory and he won't let go. Even after the next change, he's still ripping it, sometimes playing along with the riff, sometimes commenting on it with something else. But he doesn't give an inch, doesn't step back and hand the song back to Hetfield.

He owns it with every fiber of his being. And that's why it's a Great Moment in Guitar Solos.

Our Next President

Is the one wearing an American flag pin on his lapel.

Our Next President

Hurricane Hubba Hubba

Dear Weather Channel,

I noticed that you have Stephanie Abrams reporting on Hurricane Ike from Galveston, but she's wearing a red shirt. I said white shirt.

And what the hell, man? She's clearly wearing a bra! Can't you people follow simple instructions?

Death Magnetic

EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT!

After acquiring Metallica's new record, Death Magnetic, yesterday and giving it a respectable number of spins, I can now declare....

That I was wrong!

Death Magnetic does not suck. It, in fact, rocks quite a bit. (Although it does appear that they decided to lead with the weakest song on the record as the first single, "The Day That Never Comes.")

More later, with examples!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sarah Palin's No Dick Cheney

Rick Warren is famous for his purpose-driven life stuff and, most recently, dipping his toe into politics with his Saddleback forum a few months ago. I remember seeing him at the forum posing for pictures with a big smile on his face and an arm on both Barrack Obama and John McCain. It was almost as if he were saying, "Whoever comes away with this thing, either way I win."

And if Rick Warren is to be believed, his flirtations with politicians didn't end there. Sarah Palin's been ringing him up for advice.
After co-host Kathryn Milofsky tried to get Warren to imagine what question he would ask Palin about "her faith, her politics," Warren at first let out a belly laugh, perhaps signaling his unwillingness to step into the political fray. "Actually, she called me yesterday," Warren said, adding: "The question I asked her was, "How can I pray for you? ... She asked me to send her some bible verses on how do you deal with all of the unfair, unjust attacks and the mean-spirited criticism that comes in."
Excuse me.

This woman is running for vice president. Not of the Beanbag Club, but of the United States. There will be unfair, unjust attacks and mean-spirited criticism and if she can't deal with those, maybe she's not right for the job. Can you imagine Dick Cheney decrying all the mean-spirited attacks he gets? "Help me, Pastor Warren, you're my only hope."

Forget it. He'd say something like, "Join me, and together we can end this destructive conflict and rule the galaxy as father and son!"

He is Darth Vader, after all.

The DMV

I have a confession to make. I'm an unlicensed driver. I had a drivers license, but I misplaced it many years ago and it has since expired, so no license. I know, I'm a horrible person...

But anyway, I decided this week would be a great time to rectify that and to do that, I must jump through all the hoops again. Take the written test, get a permit, then take the driving test, and get the actual license. A huge pain in the ass, no doubt, but certainly not insurmountable.

So I go into the DMV a little before 9 on a Wednesday, thinking "Oh, man, I'm early, I got all day, it's Wednesday. A couple hours and I have my permit. Tomorrow I can take my driving test and by the end of the week, I'll be licensed again!"

Boy, was I wrong.

The test took me about five minutes. It's an easy test, multiple choice about basic driving stuff, stuff that I know already from over ten years on the road. At that point, it was just waiting for my number to be called. My number: 482.

The number they were helping? 419. They had eight stations, but only two were open.

An hour goes by. They're at 426. I start to hear grumbles from people who were there before me about how slow they are.

I go out to smoke, come back in. Still 426.

I brought a book, so I read. Another hours goes by.

They're at 439, and that's mostly because most of the 30s already split.

I go out for another smoke, decide to buy a hot dog from a vendor outside instead. I eat the hot dog and then smoke.

Go back inside. They're at 442. One lady at a station closes down and announces she's going to lunch.

So I go to the guy up front who steers people in the right direction. He's reading the paper, but I ask him what's the deal? Two and a half hours for 20 numbers. At that pace, I'll have to be there for another five hours. And some lady's going to lunch?

He tells me they're short-handed. No shit.

What about tomorrow?

He doesn't know about tomorrow. Someone's still out on vacation tomorrow.

What about next week? Well, maybe...

Yeah, probably not next week. Something tells me it's not a short-handed problem. More like a stupid problem.

Political Loyalties, Not Principles

Seriously?

I'm astounded how people can be upset about Barack Obama using a colloquialism that John McCain used several months ago, but NOT be upset by Sarah Palin lying on a daily basis about her pork-busting bonafides.

Is this really the world we are living in? The inane is outrageous, while the outrageous is ignored.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Gullible

MSNBC shows off it's liberal bias:
John McCain and Sarah Palin criticized Democrat Barack Obama over the amount of money he has requested for his home state of Illinois, even though Alaska under Palin's leadership has asked Washington for 10 times more money per citizen for pet projects.
But she's a reformer and don't you forget it!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Wisdom Culled From the Internet

I contend we are both atheists; I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. -- Stephen F. Roberts

Fantasy Football Update

So far in this morning's games both of my starting wide receivers, New England's Randy Moss and Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe have scored touchdowns. So did my back-up, Jericho Cotchery.

My running back, Pittsburgh's Willie Parker, has rushed for 138 yards and scored three touchdowns.

I will have to pick up a new kicker though. From a fantasy perspective, there's not much difference between kickers. But I picked the kicker from St. Louis, and judging from their first game so far, that was a mistake.

Fools

Most of the crap on this website is written by fools.

Exhibit A: The Coming Civil War in America: Blue Vs. Red The tag: "Two radically different world views and two completely separate cultures."

By now, I'm completely exhausted by the culture war and culture war rhetoric, especially when there is an intelligence vacuum in the discussion of it.

"Two radically different world views?" What are you talking about, lady? Different, sure? "Radically different?" No. For all our differences, most people would agree that we share the values of free speech and thought. We like a representative Constitutional government, where the rules are set and apply equally to all. We like the idea of property and trade. We dig fair elections. That some think the government should compel you to bear a child you don't want but not provide you any healthcare (or provide you healthcare but say nothing about abortion) does not qualify as "radically different."

You know what's "radically different?" China. Somalia. Venezuela. You know what's not? The political factions in the United States.

That "two completely separate cultures" bullshit is offensive. There are many cultures in this country, but very few of them are "completely separate."

A single example: Today is Sunday. Millions of Republicans and Democrats will be sitting on their couches watching football and drinking beer. "Completely separate..."

In your own fucking mind!

(Updated: I did manage to think of some "completely separate" cultures in these United States. The Amish, commune-living hippies, polygamist communities in Utah and Arizona. Can anyone think of others? Are they any less fringe?)

Fools. No democracy for you!

Stuff

Some great stuff on the internets this morning. (With link fixed and right video updated.)

Hilzoy on why lying politicians are not compatible with democracy:
When politicians lie...They might as well add: I have no respect for democracy. In a democracy, citizens listen to what each side has to say and decide who to vote for. To work, it requires that what each side says bears some resemblance to the truth. If I cared about democracy, I'd respect those limits -- maybe stretching the truth every now and then, but generally maintaining some sort of relationship between what I say and reality. But guess what? I don't care about democracy! If winning requires that I make things up out of whole cloth and hope that I'm successful enough to frustrate the popular will, then that's what I'll do. Don't like it? Think democracy is a good system, one that we should cherish? That's just too bad.
He also basically calls Palin a liar, which she is.
Sam Harris wonders why there is such a desire for putting average joes in positions of power. Call it the anti-anti-elitist argument:
Americans have an unhealthy desire to see average people promoted to positions of great authority. No one wants an average neurosurgeon or even an average carpenter, but when it comes time to vest a man or woman with more power and responsibility than any person has held in human history, Americans say they want a regular guy, someone just like themselves. President Bush kept his edge on the "Who would you like to have a beer with?" poll question in 2004, and won reelection.

This is one of the many points at which narcissism becomes indistinguishable from masochism. Let me put it plainly: If you want someone just like you to be president of the United States, or even vice president, you deserve whatever dysfunctional society you get.
I guess the rest of us just have to deal with that dysfunctional society because that's democracy!

Here's an account of the RNC from the perspective of one of the rent-a-cops providing security. The whole thing is pretty good, but this part I thought was hilarious:
The right-wing youth resurgence is taking shape here before my eyes and it has a strong erotic undercurrent. For the first time in American politics there is a strong alpha woman with whom mothers identify, and after whom sons lust. The GOP is playing the Oedipal card. And it could mean bloody war, fought house to house.
The "Oedipal card." Classic.

And finally, there's this clip about the RNC from the Daily Show.

The delegate in the cowboy hat gets truly owned. He could, if we took off the hat, be a pretty good spokesman for the gay rights crowd. No special rights based on what type of sex you have, hetero sex included.

Also, Andrew Sullivan on Sarah Palin's lack of press availability:
This is a pitbull with lipstick? More like a cowering chihuahua.