The 2014 Annual “Why, NFL, WHY?” Half Time Show Bitch Fest

Dear National Football League:

Katy Perry IS NOT FOOTBALL MUSIC. Remember when they tried changing the opening song in Cleveland with “Roar?” We get that you don’t understand what constitutes real football music, and that you’re afraid to take any chances after the FCC got all boob-headed when JT and Janet bared breast, but you could at least show some effort in thinking about who bores us to death while we get refills on snacks.

On second thought, food refills are good. Nevermind – keep forgetting we have a mute button for a reason.

Signed,

Fans

So, in case you missed the news, Katy Perry is the halftime performer for the 2015 Super Bowl.  As you can read from my status that came immediately after the news, I am not happy about it.

Let’s get a few facts straight:  As someone whose appreciation for music has been growing again, recognizing talent and entertainment in even the people who make the music and works that drive you bat-shit crazy is something I can be honest about.  To that end, although I’ve never heard a single song of Katy Perry’s that I’ve got into, I can recognize why she’s a star, and from what little bit I have seen of her, think she’s cool.  She’s not my type of music, but I think she could do my type of music without a problem.

Is she NFL material, however?  There’s no denying that she, like many of the previous performers before her, could put an awesome, special effects, fireworks-blowing halftime extravaganza, but is her music “Football”- worthy?

That’s why I have the problem.

Football is an aggressive, hard-hitting, violent sport.  It is a battle of two armies in pads, using themselves to drive a ball down to a goal, or to prevent the opposite army (and possibly steal said ball) from reaching that goal.  Although there used to be dancing, most of the action going on is -and should be- brutal.

When I played in high school, we didn’t warm up to the latest pop, dance or country song.  We weren’t listening to family-friendly kid music.  The music, whether it was rock or rap, was aggressive and mean, and it was to get our heads into the game.  We weren’t thinking about making love to our opponents; we were thinking about burying them in the ground.

AGGRESSIVE, ANGRY, SOUL-CRUSHING MUSIC WITH A HEAVY RHYTHM:  THAT’S FOOTBALL MUSIC.

I get that the NFL doesn’t want a debacle:  not only are there going to be millions of kids and old folks watching, there will be situations where aggression is not the best idea.  (For example, many of the local bars and restaurants with TV’s, who will undoubtedly be tuned in to make whatever money they can from it.)  I get that they don’t want to stir things with the FCC, especially after the last major halftime clusterfuck which, coincidentally, also featured music that wasn’t right.  (Because nothing says aggressive like singing about bringing sexy back and baring a boob or two, right?)  They came close a couple of times, getting rock and hard rock bands onto the stage, but they tried staying as safe as possible.

Could they satisfy me by playing what I think is football music without sacrificing their target audience? That depends – considering the halftime still hits when most kids are up, using the “after 9/8 central” rule is hard, if not impossible to do.  (Ever notice at award shows they save the harder-edged risque music for near the last hour and a half?  Why some bands, if they showed up, performed near the end of the show, as opposed to the beginning?  It ain’t just because they’re superstars…)  Bands that will scare the crap out of the baby or grandpa on sight alone wouldn’t work, even if they did fit – so you’d immediately rule out costumed performers like Insane Clown Posse, SlipKnot and Gwar.

You’d also have to rule out any music where there’d be a ton of censoring – after all, the NFL wants to avoid pissing the FCC off.  (Of course, if the FCC would pull its head out of its ass, MAYBE there’d be a little more quality to the programs – Instead of worrying about who says fuck and how much bare skin is on TV, keeping the restrictions up during normal schoolkid hours, where the arguments of why it needs to be there can be justified.)

More likely than not, you’d be limited to those bands currently played already in stadiums – which I can agree with.While the negative is getting someone whose music is already played a million times over – we really don’t need a new version of Enter Sandman, thankyouverymuch – the positive is playing something close to and resembling sports music, while keeping it family friendly and safe.  (If it helps, hire the geniuses who did the Jock Jams and Jock Rocks collections for ESPN in the 90’s- they seem to have a better grasp of what works and is family-friendly!)

So, who would I suggest?

  • Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer (If you can get all four, great!)
  • KISS (a number of their older songs have been stadium staples for some time, so it only makes sense)
  • Linkin Park, Korn, Disturbed (They still have a surprising number of aggressive songs, along with their older stuff, that would work.)
  • Foo Fighters (while a large chunk of their music wouldn’t work as well, if you let Grohl choose the music – and not fucking insist on family-friendly fare - he’d be able to pull a solid show that fits.)
  • Eminem, Jay-Z (Both are experienced in pulling off shows for “family-friendly” settings, and both have hits that would fit that aggressive nature of Football)
  • Sadly, many of the choices played in stadiums are dead or no longer playing, while a few wouldn’t make sense at all. Bands like Queen, which might work for the ending (We are the Champions) would stir the Christian groups into a frenzy (not that my other choices wouldn’t), not to mention most of their popular catalog isn’t that aggressive.

Who do you NOT get?  You don’t get pop, rock, or country bands whose popular stuff involves making love and anything else non-aggressive.

In other words, you don’t fucking get Katy Perry.

Unfortunately, that is exactly the choice you did make, so I’m going to look on the bright side:  While she’s on stage performing, I can use the restroom, refill my food and drink, chat with friends, make fun of her on FB, and still have enough time to flip the bird to the screen as she walks off stage.  (No offense, Katy, but your employers are idiots – look at the number of domestic dispute debacles they’ve had to fight with this year!)

Adrift In Random Chaos: Status Too Big for Status

This was a posting so heavy, I needed to use my blog to share it.  If you don’t like my long posts and don’t have any intention of helping me, feel free to skip.  To everyone else, I’ll put everything in chronological order of importance, saving what has come to pass and is not relevant at the moment for last.

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They’re Thieves, Not “Hackers:” My current take on the celebrity nude photo hack

This article’s long overdue – ever since someone “hacked” (more on this in a bit) into Apple’s iCloud accounts and posted a bunch of nude photos of famous celebs, I’ve been a vocal, unsympathetic activist on Facebook.  Unfortunately, the more time passes, the more things come out, and the real ugliness of this situation comes into focus.  The major takeaway:  People aren’t getting it.

Today Jennifer Lawrence claimed that she was “sexually assaulted” by the people who stole and posted these pictures – and the people who searched for and viewed them.  That’s harsh, even for me – while I understand that she’s the victim, lashing out at people who went to see the end result isn’t going to improve anything.

Let’s try to sort things out, shall we?

1.  WE NEED TO QUIT BLAMING THE VICTIMS.  Let’s suppose you had a storage unit that you paid rent for.  Among the things you decide to store there:  older, private documents you only need to keep around or share with a few people.  (Why they’re stored there and not at home?  Not important at the moment, and we’ll come back to it.)  One day you wake up and find all of those documents exposed all over the front page of a national newspaper such as the Wall Street Journal, along with hundreds of other people who also stored similar documents at the same place, which was once labelled “Most secure place in town.”  Who’s at fault for the break-in:  You, the storage company, or the thieves who stole the documents?

The fact that the sensitive documents, in this case, were naked photos doesn’t matter.  The fact that the storage firm was, in fact, Apple, doesn’t matter.  At the end of the day, a thief broke in, stole your stuff, and exposed it for the world to see.  You were the victim, regardless of whatever bad choices you made to contribute to this – and you’d feel just as violated and disrespected if you had this happen to you.

2.  This was a targeted attack.  Notice something odd about whose photos and accounts were stolen and exposed?  Notice what’s NOT being reported with this?  These thieves may have been targeting the storage company in an effort to ruin their reputation, but they were specific about what they took and exposed to the world.  I bring this up because it’s awfully funny how a friend of one of the victims would get her own moment of victimization when someone threatened to expose the exact same type of documents about her – other than storing at the same place and being the same type of people as the other victims, she became a victim herself by being threatened with the same problem.

These people were the victims.

3.  The criminals who did this were a number of things, but they weren’t “hackers.”  One of the things I am sick of, when it comes to online data theft, is the label that used to mean something good, something not so sinister and evil, that gets thrown around like a used condom at a sex party.  (Yes, I find it that nasty – that’s specifically why I chose that analogy there!)  “Hacking” has always involved information, but there’s been a good side usually:  The opportunity to improve upon or learn from stuff, or modify it for your personal needs.  Someone stealing data to post online, either for cost or for free, isn’t any more of a hacker than the thief that broke into those storage units and stole those personal documents:  The fact that they shared them with people that posted them in the newspaper also makes them bullies and jerks.  Let’s straighten the label out.

4.  We need to learn some things from this.   Clearly, there’s all sorts of things to be discussed here, and most people have one thing to learn:

  • If you don’t want to risk something important leaking out, the safest place is one closest to you.  I used the analogy of a storage unit instead of a home because in both cases, you’re insuring the safety and security of your property to someone else.  Just as people can steal and pass fake ID’s in the real world, people can do the same thing online – it doesn’t matter the firm you’re with or how much you invest into it.  While someone can easily break into a home to steal those documents, you’ll know sooner if it happens, and you can do more to protect and prevent the knowledge of their existence.  If it’s important, store it at home – not online.
  • The fact that someone is rich, famous, good-looking, female, or any other reason IS NOT a good reason to make anyone feel bad.  One of the disturbing things to learn about this was a possible why these women were targeted:  to bully them into being weak by a group of male idiots.  (If you’re dumb enough to believe that anyone should be above someone else, then “idiot” is an appropriate name for you.)  Apart from all of the comments suggesting the victims got what they deserved, there was a lot of ass-hattery surrounding the comments made about this.  At the end of the day, they’re just as human, just as fragile in mind, body and spirit as those of us “ordinary” folk are, and they deserve the same amount of respect we’d treat any other ordinary person.
  • We need to encourage the spread of proper criminal laws designed to treat these criminals as we would ordinary thieves –  and then we need to enforce them!  This is just the latest in a string of various hacks and information exposure designed either to scare, extort, or outright steal what is not theirs, and it’s about time we did something about it.  The international community needs to come together and come down hard on these acts, treating these people as if they’re thieves and bullies – because that’s exactly what they are!  It doesn’t matter if it’s someones credit card or their bare butt, if you wouldn’t go into a store and steal a loaf of bread you shouldn’t be taking what isn’t yours online.
  • Preach responsibility – don’t attack.  Even if you can’t find sympathy for the victims, it’s not hard to teach others how to avoid this (or any other avoidable mistake.)  You wouldn’t say some kid standing on the edge of a road watching a parade go by would deserve to be hit by a drunk driver swerving specifically to hit said kid, would you?  Yes, the parents should have kept a better eye on him, and possibly didn’t know how, but lack of knowledge and understanding doesn’t always mean they “deserve” it.  Let’s encourage others how to avoid this INSTEAD of attacking those victimized for not knowing better.
  • Finally – and this is a suggestion, not something to learn – the victims should OWN THIS.  The major reason I feel bad for these victims right now is the possible motives behind this, and I find the people who did this to be disgusting jerks who deserve shame, not reward.  There’s not a whole lot they can do to attack the villains here, beyond going on the news with their complaints and pestering law enforcement and politicians into doing something.  One thing they can do, especially given the circumstances, is to flip the script:  Turn the photos into art, give them away freely, sell them as a way to donate to charity, etc.  You can’t take back what’s already out there, but you can use those images to your own purposes and get one back at them, if you choose.

I hope something positive comes of it soon, because I’m really sick of the negative.  I hope they catch and punish harshly the criminals behind this, and I hope the victims get justice.

P.S.  I’m sure people are going to call me a hypocrite for what I’ve said, because I was harsher on them than I am now.  The thing is, new information comes in and changes people’s minds, and that’s what happened here.  I still feel strongly that you’re ultimately responsible for your safety and the safety of those things around you, but sometimes you have things that shouldn’t happen regardless of how irresponsible a person is. I’m not going to apologize for preaching responsibility, because that was (and is still) their mistake; I understand the extent of the circumstances involved, however, and can sympathize withe them for it.

A Next Level I Want to Jump to…

Earlier today Microsoft announced some new technology they’re developing.  The idea itself is simple:  combine projectors and Kinect Cameras in such away as to totally cover a room in computer images that you can interact with.  I first read about it and saw the video on Engadget’s website;  however, it was on Maximum PC that I interacted with others.

The first response was to a Microsoft basher who thought the VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift currently in development were better than Microsoft’s unoriginal idea:

“You’re right about those headsets: They’re better with reality right now, and given the cost of painting a room or buying the proper setups, probably a lot cheaper as well. Right now for immersive reality, they’re the best option.

Yet, step outside of what currently exists and ask yourself: What is missing in both cases, and which one has a better shot of pulling it off?

The answer: Touch, or feel.

Currently for a VR headset you still need a controller to interact beyond simple head movement. In this case, you’re limited by what is available, which most likely is a controller or prop, and by no means can you interact with it like an object in the living room. Try touching an object on that VR screen – feel anything real? What if that object were placed in a box with other, similar objects, and you had to find it?

You laugh because how ridiculous and silly this setup seems – this stuff has been possible for a while, but the cost of it, like the Surface touch-tables a few years back, made it impractical for most. I can’t blame you for comparing it to a VR Headset, which has been in development for quite a few years in comparison.

I’m looking at bigger picture, why VR has never taken off, why, for all of the good the Oculus Rift will do for total immersion gaming and Heads-Up Displays for consumers, it will ultimately fail in the long term consumer market – and at the end of the day it will come down to comfort, laziness and ease of use.

To immerse someone in a headset with touch interaction, how would you get them to “feel” the objects they interact with? Right now it’s with controllers, yet were you shot in a COD-style game, only your hands would feel the vibrations of being shot. To do it on a larger, full-body scale would require a suit and a lot of study – and then you’d have to figure out how to keep the user safe in the process, to not die when he is “dying” in the game. That’s not accounting for the perverts who (you know this will happen) will want to be the first ones to cyber this way – and the hope that, when they climax, they don’t short out the suit or fry themselves in the process.

Now let’s re-examine this room setup again. Sure, the texturing’s far from perfect, and there’s little that’s going to make you believe you’re anywhere outside of a projected room, but you accomplished one of the first tasks necessary for something like this to work: Interacting with objects projected onto other objects. If you’re somewhat like me, you can see a number of areas to improve on this: adding more realism to what you interact with, making objects appears as holograms, adding the technical bits of realism necessary, eventually working your way towards physical feedback with interaction. While you’d have to figure out how the body senses and differentiates feelings and how to “project them,” the risk of this route towards anything that can fry yourself is different and has more potential. The solutions to this route, still in its rough infancy, allow for the user to jump in and immerse themselves without needing to change cloths or do anything out of the ordinary to interact with the environment around them.

As I said, beyond playing a life-size “Duck Hunt” through one of the many Windows-based Nintendo Emulators, there’s not much to be impressed about here right now. This being a Microsoft project, I don’t need to explain the bright side (having the resources to see this to a cost point effective for consumers,) but to get to the grander picture I just mentioned, we have to get past the starting points – which is what this video is.”

The second was a general comment, covering two more thoughts associated with this:

Damn – after talking all of the good possibilities with this, I have to remind people of the huge negatives – all of which revolve around the classic story “Fahrenheit 451″ by Ray Bradbury.

First, the idea may be credited to “Star Trek” by reporters, but in the book, which came before the first “Star Trek” TV series, the room in which the main character’s wife Mildred is set up with “parlor walls,” Gigantic TV’s to interact with. Sound familiar?

Thankfully, we’re not burning books or creating only mind-numbing shows – but we may not need to, when you think about it. We already have an obesity problem in the U.S., part of which can be attributed to the total immersion in media we have today. We have so many ways and reasons to sit on our butts and watch screens that we can veg out wherever we like. While the media has improved, producing smarter shows and games in the process, we’re also repeating a lot of “Classics” that are adding little to no value to our culture. While something like this has infinite potential, it will also have a learning curve in which much of what we do will simply be the fireworks factor (“Oooh! Aaah!”) for the next few years. By the time we pull it to the level of current TV, we may be facing that almost-mindless, numbed-to-nothing state.

This mindless zombie state bothers me a little: if you remember the opening parts with Mildred, you’ll remember her trying to overdose – then forgetting about it. While a lot of people could point to the big brother aspects involved with all of this (which are equally disturbing,) the hardest change in life is that which is biological and psychological. The bright side is, should it ever make it to consumers, it should be simple enough to set up and use, and has the potential, as the Wii and Kinect had, of getting people moving. (That Whack-A-Mole Game looks particularly intriguing!) However, with the amount of mental instability and problems stemming both directly and indirectly from the way we use media, we might be creating the very problem we’re trying to prevent the government from having the capability to do.

On a completely separate note – in spite of the big negative I pointed out – I’d love to work on this project. One of my dreams growing up, ever since seeing it in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” is playing on a life size, working Holodeck – it’s one of those things I had kinda hoped would hold off while I finished school to work on. The potential uses and abilities such a device would bring in the right hands could teach the next set of students in a faster, easier, and more forgiving way; it could turn an entertaining experience into an impact-bearing point on life. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

Wonder if Microsoft would allow me to stay in Illinois…

Trust me when I say this:  Today’s announcement is probably one of the most impressive I’ve seen by MS in terms of technology development.  I’m not knocking the Oculus Rift or its competitors that are coming – in addition to perfecting interaction, there’ll still be uses for those devices beyond simple simulations and HUD’s well after such a room is completed – nor am I ignoring the potential harm that could result from it, especially in its current state.  Like most technological advancements, need and cost will determine how far all of these ideas come, but just being at this point, as simple as it sounds, is big enough to be excited about.  Some day – hopefully soon – we’ll be able to hug people from across the world without ever leaving our places.  I look forward to it.

P.S.  While what I described above might sound confusing and complicated, understand that many of these thoughts I’ve sat with since childhood.  Spotting these pieces are easy – trying to get them together?  That’s the real bitch.

P.P.S. I didn’t use links on either of my posts on Max PC, which is a damn shame – if you’ve never read “Farhenheit 451,” I highly recommend it.  Because it’s currently in print, the best I can do for you is point you to the Wikipedia and IMDB pages.  (Yes, they made it into a movie – however, this is one of those cases where, even if the book was worse, you’d still need to read it to get the full implications of things not dealt with or as well in the movie.  And yes, the movie is good.)

An Appreciation For Those Who “Share”

Sometimes you start out with something with no other intention than to complete it:  it’s an obstacle in your way of a larger goal, and there’s not a real way around it.  What you may see as a task to get done, however, is really a key to your personal Pandora’s box, and what you may gain from that experience is greater than what you expect. Continue reading

Abuse in the NFL and the Public: a few thoughts…

As I relax and get ready for a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, I’m going through Facebook and my news feeds, and finding myself thinking in a few different, yet equal, directions.  This seems to be true of the NFL today, albeit in a different, uncool manner:  some situations in the last couple of weeks which has become thoroughly disgusting, yet warrants a lot of discussion.  I’m not going to judge these players anymore than I already have – I think it’s more appropriate for the legal system, as well as their job, to decide that.  (For the record, you can safely say that I’m all for the firing of Roger Goodall, whose lack of caring about the players, their families, and the public perception of football and the NFL leaves him unfit to lead a mouse circus, let alone one of the largest sports industries in the world.)  Read on for my thoughts.

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Voicing an Opinion without Misleading Opinions: My Opinion on Tony Dungy’s Remarks Hassle

Have you heard the latest trend in media reporting?  It seems you can’t not-hire someone who’s black, gay or a woman without it being BECAUSE they’re black, gay, or a woman.  You can’t even voice an opinion giving a clear reason why you’d not hire that person – it has to be about something you’re discriminating against, not about the problems that would be associated with that individual.

The thing making me think this way is the Tony Dungy comments regarding Micheal Sam the last two days.  For those not following the story:  In a comment made to the Tampa Bay Tribune about the recent NFL Draft published on Sunday, Tony Dungy said:

“I wouldn’t have taken him.  Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.”

I first read – and commented – on the issue on the CBSSports.com page – if you want to dig into the 6900 comments to try to find mine, be my guest.  (I should be somewhere between 3700-3900, allowing for responses to responses.)  I did also comment on my facebook page, however, stating:

Just read an article on Tony Dungy’s statements about how he’d not have picked Micheal Sam in the NFL draft, and I can respect his opinion. We’ve come a long way from segregated leagues and racism in Sports, but there’s still a lot of bigotry and bullying going on, as last year’s incident leading to the departure of Richie Incognito from the Miami Dolphins demonstrated. The problem when you break new ground and fight for equality and respect when you’re different than what some can accept is that, apart from the distraction surrounding the player, you have to contend with those who can not accept what you are – something that creates a headache/nightmare for those around you, such as your coach. Dungy already dealt with this once for himself, so I could understand his desire not to deal with it twice. Sometimes what we assume of as bigotry is simply honesty in admitting what you can/can not handle, and I think it’s equally as brave to admit that maybe you’re not the best person for a particular situation than to step up now only to back away later.

My opinion on the matter hasn’t changed – to me, it’s the media making a mountain out of a molehole, blowing something out of proportion.  Dungy gave a clear, simple, honest response about a situation that had no bias or hatred towards Micheal Sam or his sexuality.

Unfortunately, the media’s making something out of nothing – and people are making a big stink of it.

On the one side, you have his supporters, many of whom are either Christian or homophobic, commenting on these forums or as articles themselves.  Their support draws from these two areas, about how homosexuality is a sin against God and is unnatural, and are taking Dungy’s comments as such – not surprising, since Dungy is a Christian.  The worst was probably Rush Limbaugh’s opinion, which (sadly) was somewhat accurate in how the Rams are a social experiment this year but was full of his usual subtext.

Then there’s the other side, who feel that Dungy’s Christian views are getting in the way, or that he is a homophobe.  Much like how there are Democratic supporters who feel that the biggest reason Obama is having problems is because he’s black, there are people who feel that Dungy is bigoted in his views, and that no one can or should voice an opinion of descent against Micheal Sam.  The Fumble is among those voices, arguing against his support of Micheal Vick and Marvin Harrison – both of whose major problems came AFTER they were NFL players.

It’s become so bad, in fact, that yesterday Dungy had to release a press statement (which I read about through FOXSports.com) about his comments:

On Monday afternoon while on vacation with my family, I was quite surprised to read excerpts from an interview I gave several weeks ago related to this year’s NFL Draft, and I feel compelled to clarify those remarks.

I was asked whether I would have drafted Michael Sam and I answered that would not have drafted him. I gave my honest answer, which is that I felt drafting him would bring much distraction to the team. At the time of my interview, the Oprah Winfrey reality show that was going to chronicle Michael’s first season had been announced.

I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL. He absolutely does.

I was not asked whether his sexual orientation should play a part in the evaluation process. It should not.

I was not asked whether I would have a problem having Michael Sam on my team. I would not.

I have been asked all of those questions several times in the last three months and have always answered them the same way by saying that playing in the NFL is, and should be, about merit.

What I was asked about was my philosophy of drafting, a philosophy that was developed over the years, which was to minimize distractions for my teams.

I do not believe Michael’s sexual orientation will be a distraction to his teammates or his organization.

I do, however, believe that the media attention that comes with it will be a distraction.  Unfortunately we are all seeing this play out now, and I feel badly that my remarks played a role in the distraction.

I wish Michael Sam nothing but the best in his quest to become a star in the NFL and I am confident he will get the opportunity to show what he can do on the field.

My sincere hope is that we will be able to focus on his play and not on his sexual orientation.

This statement wasn’t enough to quiet some sites and people – SBNation titled one of their articles, “Tony Dungy should stop talking about Michael Sam.”  Keith Obermann, meanwhile, has commented that Dungy is “The worst person in the world” right now.

Micheal Sam, for the most part, has kept it respectful, according to the Sporting News, while Jason Collins, another gay athlete in the NBA, commented about certain “Code words” in a recent Youtube video.

To me, however, all of this is stupid and wrong on so many levels it’s approaching ridiculousness.

First, just because he supported and mentored Micheal Vick when he was released from jail and returned to the NFL, and just because he supported Marvin Harrison then, how do you know he still would support them today?  Furthermore, how do you know he would/would not draft them where they up for the draft today, knowing what he knows now?  It’s easy to call someone a hypocrite without taking into account that those experiences may have changed his mind about them, or that, while he may/did help and support them as NFL players, he wouldn’t have done the same were they college players.  It’s easy to use the past against someone – it’s difficult to understand what they took away from those experiences, however.

Second, and I hate to break the news to you:  Correlating opposition to same-sex marriage as homophobia or hatred is ignorant and often inaccurate.  There are plenty of people I know who are Christians and have friends who are gay, yet feel that marriage is a unique union that solely exists between people of the opposite sex.  There’s no hatred involved, just a deeper respect in their interpretation of what the Holy Bible says.  Saying that Dungy’s support of an organization against Gay Marriage is proof of his inability to work with gay people isn’t always an accurate way to assess a situation.

Third, and I’ve mentioned this before:  Dungy didn’t say anything offensive.  By Sam choosing to announce he sexuality before the NFL Draft, he opened a can of worms that will create problems – mainly, unwanted attention.  Dungy’s not an idiot:  he knows how this attention will affect the team, both on and off the field, and he knows how he works.  When you’re dealing with proven elements that have shown resilience to such problems as we well as excellent performance in the game, it’s easier to stand by someone and support them – not as easy with someone who’s a relative unknown.  Dungy didn’t mention any hatred or malice:  He stated that he knew what Sam was bringing to the table, and knew he wouldn’t have wanted it.  That’s not bigoted at all.

Furthermore – and I have to ask this – what does his sexuality have to do with the game?  Sure, it might be something necessary and important for the management and doctors to know (if he gets injured or, as the press has shown involving Micheal Sam, the press pesters him about it), but does it affect how he runs, how he tackles, or how he plays the game?   What gay people like Micheal Sam fail to realize, as do the media that makes such a stink about these matters, is that, unlike age or gender which are mostly, if not completely, visible on the outside, THEY DON’T HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING UNLESS SOMETHING MAJOR HAPPENS.  We’ve matured as a society past the point of connecting gay people to AIDS, or have to worry about players like Earvin “Magic” Johnson risking injury to other players who might contract the disease through him.  If Sam were on the Chicago Bears (the team I root for) the only thing that would matter is how he played in the last game – and I’d only want to trade or fire him if his performance was consistently bad.  (I would say “if he sucked” – something I normally say about someone doing a bad job – but in this case the language really is important.)

The thing that concerns me the most, especially with my career and life goals and in regards to this incident, is the perception of what you say to the world versus how it is interpreted.   As a nobody I can say and do as I want, and the only worries I’ll need to consider with the consequences are from my current and future employers and clients.  Were I to be more famous, however, I’d have to be more careful and considerate, as Dungy had tried being here.  Interpretation is important, though, because I shouldn’t have to worry that my choice in firing or hiring someone is going to result in my job security or bank being compromised for it.  Furthermore, I shouldn’t have to worry that someone else is going to interpret my actions as being anything but those actions:  That, if I choose not to hire someone, it’s not because of something that they are, but because I found the best person for the job.  Likewise, if I fire someone, it has nothing to do with anything more than the job itself.  My views as a Christian, a white man, or how famous I am should not matter, nor should any comments I make to the such matter.

I still respect Dungy’s remarks, and feel he was right to say them.  This concept that we need to tiptoe/babystep around everything to avoid offending people and avoid being honest is getting to be annoying and idiotic.  No one should be shamed for voicing dissent on a situation that they know will be ugly, even if you’re a former head coach of the team that beat your team a few Superbowls back.

Song of the Day – The Prodigy, “Breathe”

Welcome back – today’s song is a bit of a different spin, a little electronica from The Prodigy.

The album this is from, “The Fat of the Land,” is one of the few electronica albums I can listen all of the way through, owing to having much of the same energy as a good rock album.  As far as singles released, it’s a favorite of the band – though I wish they’d have released “Mindfields,” which appeared on a couple of soundtrack to “The Matrix,” and “Narayan,” which has an awesome chant towards the end.

I needed something funky and with a beat, of which this song has plenty of.

Song of the Day – Megadeth, “Symphony of Destruction”

Tuesdays and Thursdays are my political science class nights, and I’m really enjoying it.  I don’t feel so invalid, I’m learning about why things are so messed up, and I’m even working on something that may need said system.

Wednesdays – those not wrapped up in tests, as mine is supposed to be preparing for tonight – are usually spent in a PSC “hangover,” giving thought to how to fix the problems and expand the knowledge.  That’s why I chose this song today.

As far as Megadeth songs go, this is one of my favorites:  It’s the first I heard all-the-way-through for them, and even though the main guitar riff sounds simplistic, it’s also beefy and crunchy, in a way that really digs in.  It’s political meanings, along with watching Dave Mustaine (lead singer/guitarist) take a stand on MTV as part of “Rock The Vote” got me involved in politics at an early age.  It’s simplicity is part of what makes it work:  At the time this came out, only their rival Metallica was having luck staying on the radio with the new wave of music called grunge and alternative, not to be confused with the gangsta rap explosion.  Almost everyone doing metal in the 80’s was losing out, and while Pantera was just throwing fuel onto their fire, This songs was one of the few sparks outside of Metallica to really shine.  Sometimes simplicity is all you need.

Song of the Day (Late!!!!) – Tool, “Stinkfist”

Normally, this will appear at noon or, worst case scenario, 6 pm.  Yesterday, like today and tomorrow, I have a pretty busy schedule at school, as I had to turn paperwork in yesterday, take an exam today, and get some homework turned in tomorrow.  Technically, this is yesterday’s post, and the choice of song fits closest to some of the more painful aspects of my day.

I’m not going to waste too much time on the subject of my health right now because I am focused on a couple of complex problems that, for the moment, I can deal with.  I’m stuck in a cycle I am trying to beat on my own, not by choice, but because I am stuck in a few systems that I can’t easily escape.  Rather than whine and cry about those problems (something I do enough of on Facebook), I’m focused on the problems I can deal with, saving those things I need help with for when those opportunities come up.   Some parts of the problem will (hopefully) be resolved soon; some won’t.  Until then, be patient, try to solve the problems when you can, and hope that things work out.

The point is that, even if I hunt at a problem through a song or post, it means nothing.  I know this song’s about masterbation, but there are other places to stink, as well as attitudes (and other objects and ideas) that “stink.”  Without the problems, it’s still one of my favorite tool songs, and the biggest reason why I bought “AEnima.”

Your normal post should be here tomorrow.

Song of the Day – “Jump Around,” House of Pain

Welcome back!  We’re setting the tone this week on another mood-setting Monday (Moody Monday?  I named it last week, forgot what I called it!) with something from back when I was a kid.

Gangsta rap, something that was mainly underground during the 80’s, was becoming mainstream around the time I hit middle school in 1990/1991.  Towards the end of the 80’s and the beginning of the 90’s rappers like MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice were the ones making it cool, while Dr. Dre would drop “Nuthin’ but a G Thang” in 1992.  When you’re a kid, the lyrics don’t matter that much; if it had a cool beat, you danced to it.

This was one of those songs with a cool beat, a simple chorus, and something so simple to dance to that almost anyone can do it:  All you had to do was jump at the right times.  It was one of those songs that had to be played at least once at every school and Boys Club dance, and one where only a few did not participate.

One thing that surprises me, however, is that it’s still popular amongst sporting events:  in some places, such as the University of Wisconsin, it’s a big deal.  As you can see below, the whole student section gets involved all the way through the first chorus.  You can read more about it here:  http://college.answers.com/sports/history-of-the-university-of-wisconsins-jump-around-tradition  .

That’s the kind of mood we need to start the week off with:  Something that’ll make you bounce!

Song of the Day – “Duel of the Fates,” John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra

Since I’m going through the Saga today, I figured I’d share the only song that had a music video.  Have a great weekend!

(Editorial note: The original link was NOT the music video – so I went and searched for it. Unfortunately, as far as I currently know, WordPress doesn’t seem to like embedding stuff from anyplace that isn’t YouTube. For the original video, the first source I could find was at The Daily Motion: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xn7ldo_star-wars-episode-1-the-phantom-menace-duel-of-the-fates-music-video_shortfilms  .   Apologies for the inconvenience.)

Song of the Day – “First Vision,” Yoko Kanno

I’m kicking off a new themed day, Motivational Monday.  Every Monday’s song that isn’t involved in a list will be one to set the tempo of the the week – could be any genre or style, but generally speaking something that feels almost inspirational, that fits the tone for the weeks and (hopefully) sets me off on a good week.

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The Political Definition of Wayne C. Winquist

The more classes I take in college, the more parts of me I tried burying comes out.  I’m used to adapting to others for the sake of hating to fight, only to watch as arguments either degrade to idiocy, or feeling a lack of power or confidence from not having the balls to voice my opinion.  Unfortunately, I’ve found this often pushes people away, as they can’t trust who I am.

At the same time, however, I feel strongly about who should lead the country, who should get my tax payer dollars, and how this country should run.  I don’t care about the inner politics that much, if two big things are true:

  1. The people running the country are doing what is right for all people, only doing for a select group of people when true wrongs were levied against them,
  2. They do the job I voted on them to do.

Last October, to me, was a termination sign, a sign that, were the elected officials working under me, would have been the termination point.  My job wasn’t personally affected – that, I knew, would come later – but so many people were affected that, because of the nature of my job, there were indirect effects.  (By effects:  shortest season ever!)  Our country shouldn’t run like that – we should never get so locked up as to shut down, especially when none of those elected had to pay a penalty.  (Yes, some did – but none of them were forced to.  Big Difference.)

As I gain my degrees and pursue the dream jobs I want, I realize I will have to become more acquainted with politics.  I also realize people need to understand my goals, which is much more difficult.  This post is as much for me as it is for you: a defining point I can come back to and examine to see if I am staying in line with my goals, if what I learn as I go along clashes with these thoughts, a chance to reflect as well as to advertise where I stand.

I’m neither Democrat nor Republican, and there isn’t a party that clearly defines me.

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Song of the Day SPECIAL – Jimi Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner

As we celebrate midsummer (technically early summer) with Fireworks, BBQ, and all sorts of fun water and fire activities, let’s not forget the people – from the original members from the 13 states that signed “The Declaration of Independence” to the brave men and women returning home and currently active – serving our great country.  Without their sacrifices, the accomplishments of so many great and talented people – writers, scientists, leaders, artists, and musicians, to name a few – would not exist today.

Using Jimi Hendrix’s famous guitar solo/salute to the country is cliché, but it’s also the most fitting for this day:  At the height of the civil rights era, at a time where America was facing riots and battles in its own streets for the rights of all citizens, while many were also fighting overseas in Vietnam, a black guitarist, who learned to play the guitar upside down to fit the use of his hands better, takes an already familiar tune representing a country sharply divided on many issues of equal rights and makes that song truly epic.  Musicians have done great things with that song before and after him, but few stand up in either tone or meaning the way his version does.

I won’t be writing again until Monday – I have one more already-finished piece coming out later today, and possibly another before the night is through, but even without the holiday, I want to take advantage of the extra time I have to get ahead with my notes and school work.

Happy Fourth of July!