Monthly Archives: August 2009

Friday Night Karaoke…

…Happened on Friday Night. This being Sunday, I’m going to be lucky to remember what I sang. High School associate and karaoke virgin(?) Erik (of the Boom Squad) joined us for the evening and a good time was had by all. My cold is clearing up, but not altogether gone. Fortunately my voice survived the night.

  • I Alone — LIVE
  • Stacy’s Mom — Fountains of Wayne
  • Everlong — Foo Fighters
  • Rio — Duran Duran

Obama is going to take your guns away.

I have to give kudos to one group of people for all they’ve done to stimulate the American economy. It truly shows that useful action can come from the private sector. I am talking, of course, about the American firearms industry. With a failing economy in late 2008, these people didn’t simply wring their hands and wait for the new presidential administration to come around and fix it, no! They leaped into action.

Immediately, you’d see signs everywhere. At the WalMart. At your neighborhood gun shop. On the internets. And what did they all say?

This is the brilliant part of the strategy. They didn’t say “buy our guns and ammo, they’re awesome.” Completely unlike a conventional advertisement, they struck at their customers’ most powerful motivating emotion: fear (or…was that racism? No? We’ll go with fear.) The signs said “Obama is going to take your guns away!” These looked like straightforward campaigning from the usual nutball groups, like the NRA and the National Republican Party, but when the election ended and the signs stayed up and the Wal-Marts emptied (of guns and ammo, if nothing else) their true meaning became clear. The purpose of this Big Lie was to sell guns.

Weapon and ammunition sales exploded even as the economy continued to show the strain from nearly a decade of disasterous mismanagement. Prices soared. Slowly the Wal-Marts were re-stocked, and still the ammo flew off the shelves. The idiot population of America was insatiable.

The signs still stand. Every once in a while, a poll drifts across Facebook to scare you into thinking there’s a universal handgun ban coming. And the universal handgun ban? Nowhere in sight. There’s no movement. There’s no bill. There’s no conversation. This just isn’t an issue. The Supreme Court even recently struck down the long-standing DC handgun ban. Obama doesn’t even support federal gun-control, even if he has supported it at the state level in the past.

So thanks to America’s gun-sellers, gun-makers, and gun-nuts for doing your part to stimulate the economy. I can only hope that history looks kindly upon you for your contribution.

In sickness and in… Karaoke.

My brother dragged something home last week, a nasty chest cold packaged with a good bit of chest congestion. For me, it also came packaged with muscle pain and weakness, though that could have just been from all the coughing (or the attempt to supress it.) I started showing symptoms around Wednesday and by Friday I was pretty miserable. I almost didn’t go to Karaoke.

A little psedudoephedrine hydrochloride and a little ibuprofen combined with the realisation that I could still sing (though I’d have to take it easy) got me through (most of) the night (I got there an hour after the show started) and despite a pair of fairly loud party tables, I got in the following set-list. Or at least, so my flawed, squishy biological brain recalls.

  • Runaway Train — Soul Asylum
  • Friday I’m In Love — The Cure
  • It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me — Billy Joel
  • Stupify — Disturbed

And yes, with the exception of that last one, that all counts as “going easy.” Why yes, I am awesome. Thanks for noticing. :P

I am recovering from the cold. Pretty much down to sniffles, a much milder cough, and a general malaise.

In other news, I managed to miss two appointments with my physician in part because of trying to deal with WSU’s bureacracy. Class (which I’m attending because my Mom swore she’d pay for it somehow and not to worry about it) starts….today, and I still have a class I’m not signed up for because of a stupid university policy that I made a successful run around for which I haven’t finished processing the paperwork. God I love bureacracy!


There has been something missing in my life for a number of years now, but I decided that I would not let another summer go past without going for a swim at Richland’s George Prout Memorial Pool. Some years ago, they closed it down for a remodel, and I hadn’t been back since. I was an avid swimmer in my youth but somehow I just got out of the habit. It’d actually been so long since I went swimming that I can’t distinctly remember the last time.

So with few days left in the season, I decided to schlep on down there today and give it a try. It was…weird. I was one of a very few adults (most of which were supervising their kids) in a pool pretty much filled up with kids. I was a little embarassed, but since I consider swimming to be a fully appropriate adult activity, I headed right into the pool.

It was a good workout, I got a good burn going without inflicting pain or injury or really breathing very hard or tiring myself out. Swimming is a more or less perfect exercise. Since the water is both boyant and resisting, swimming is essentially zero-impact and it works all kinds of muscles. I clearly need to do this more often, though I will probably have to pick up a club membership to do any swimming after public pool season.

After an hour or so I was compelled to get out — and I was surprised by my own weight. I don’t think I weighed over 300lb the last time I was in a pool, and transitioning from bouyant pseudo-weightlessness to having to stand up under my full weight was a little taxing, but I managed well enough.


Friday Night Karaoke

Uneventful but fun, here’s last night’s set list:

  • Sober — Tool
  • This is a Call — Foo Fighters
  • Adrenaline — Gavin Rossdale
  • One Night in Bangkok — Murray Head (with Anthony)
  • Killing In The Name — Rage Against The Machine (with Diggity)
  • Dance, Dance — Fall Out Boy
  • Weathered — Creed


So, I’ve been officially reinstated as a student at WSU. Yays. For the moment, I’m limited to 6 credit-hours, and they’re giving me dire warnings about this being me Very Last Chance and me having to be certified for my major in a reasonable amount of time…

…which will be hard at 6 credit-hours.

Of course, they’re also recommending that I repeat classes (I need to do this anyway) only that makes funding a huge issue. Last I checked Financial Aid doesn’t pay to repeat classes that you “passed” (This makes Ds actually suck harder than Fs, since a D is useless and means you can’t get further funding, rather than just being useless,) and isn’t inclined to pay for my worthless ass anyway. Obvioously, there’s no way I’m going to get a job and save up the $5000 or so I’d need over the course of the semester in the week I have until it starts.

So this means I’m going to need to find money elsewhere. I really don’t even know where to look though. My local credit union doesn’t handle this sort of thing (significant loans to people without jobs or credit,) and I really don’t know who else to go to.

So the irony is that reinstatement may not even matter. :/



Karaoke Retrospective

Covering two Fridays here, since I neglected to do it last time.

July 31st was a short night with a long rotation, so I only got two songs in. To the best of my recollection, these were:

  • Bad Moon Rising — Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Back in the USSR — The Beatles

August 7th had some drama. A rare visit from Beth somehow coincided with a rare visit from Matt (who also brought along Autumn, to my considerable surprise.) While this failed to result in the expected Earth-shattering Kaboom! there was almost certainly some personal discomfort on the part of one or all parties. Both wandered off before the end of the show. Highlights of that experience were when Beth and I got together for a half-passable rendition of the apparently obscure Murray Head song One Night in Bangkok, and when Gerald’s rendition of Baby Got Back somehow broke Autumn’s mind. Matt actually briefly considered singing, the first time on record.

As far as I can recall, these are the songs I did in the order I did them:

  • Down on the Corner — Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Stacy’s Mom — Fountains of Wayne
  • One Night in Bangkok — Murray Head
  • Jesus He Knows Me — Genesis
  • Everlong — Foo Fighters

I really need to bring a notebook the next time so as I can actually write it down.

Anyway, toward the end a verbal altercation broke out between one of the singers and a guy who was hassling his girlfriend. Bar staff escorted the troublemaker out, but that was pretty much the end of the night. *sigh*


Call it America

There’s an idea running around out there that it’s somehow inappropriate to refer to the United States of America as “America” or to its citizens as “Americans.” It derives from the fact that the country shares a name with two continents, and I suppose (if you’re a moron) that it might be possible to get confused between residents of the western supercontinent and citizens of the only nation on it that doesn’t have another name, despite the fact that noone ever refers to residents of said supercontinent in that way.

There’s actually no continent named America per se, there’s North America and then there’s South America, and while you will occasionally hear people referring to Canadians as “North Americans” or Paraguayans as “South Americans” nobody EVER refers to Argentinians as “Americans.” Why?

Because there’s a nation named that, and there was a substantial number of decades before the idea of supercontinental identity (which is insane) became popular. To further compound the problem, said nation doesn’t have another name. This may surprise some of you. After all, we’ve been known to refer to it only as “The States,” “The United States,” or a number of related acronyms, which has led to a variety of idiotic conventions to try to plug the nonexistent hole. That’s not really bad, except that “USers” and “USAians” sound really stupid, and could legitimately be viewed as insulting by Americans.

Also, while it’s not a problem, the USA is hardly the only US out there. We’re just the only one that people refer to by our title. Kind of like having only one person you call “Mister” though about half of the people in the room could legitimately claim the title. But being called “Mister” is actually usually diminuitive. Especially if people also fail to attach your name.

National identity takes precedence over (super)continental identity, and so when we were figuring out how to disambiguate with the absurd new concept of supercontinentalism, we naturally preferred to keep our name and force everyone else to come up with something else. “Westerner” might have worked, if that weren’t already taken. The common term appears to be “North and South America” with the people being “People of North and South America.” Is it unwieldy? Heck yes. But it’s actually correct, offends noone, and really doesn’t do anything useful anyway. If you’re using it, you’re probably already doing something wrong.

Because, as I mentioned earlier, the idea of supercontinental identity is insane. Perhaps we should rename our country to accomodate the easy speech of a handful of crazy jackasses who insist on referring to people in terms that don’t make sense. Oh sure, we’d spend millions or billions of dollars in the process, but what’s a few more? We’d get nifty new letterhead. Only what would we call it? Right. It doesn’t have another name. Even unofficially. So we’d probably end up naming it something stupid. Like “Exxonland” or “McDonaldsia” or “Cocacolia.” And I really don’t want to be a Cocacolian. I prefer Pepsi.

Maybe we should rename the supercontinent instead?