Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Someone needs a good talking to! And it ain't Miley.

First things first: Miley Cyrus is allowed to express herself in any way that she deems fit. Her performance at the VMA's wasn't much of a much to me, despite the obvious drug references (dancing bears, the lyrics), the appropriation of hip hop culture, the twerking, the tongue. Her being a grown up is as it should be, can we all get over the sexuality part of this event? Freaking prudes! It's a personal thing but her music doesn't do anything for me, though 'Party in the USA' is a fairly catchy pop hit and my kids like it. Therein lies the irony but that's a talk for another time.

The thing that gets me is that I suspect Miley decided she wanted to make a huge break from what she was and declare to the world
I am not Hannah Montana!
I get that, she's been doing that for a while. I imagine that for the youngsters my kids watch on Disney Channel, becoming 'real' after being disneyfied (or Hollywooded in the broader context) is much akin to Pinocchio becoming a real boy. the transition must be difficult, confusing, and at times heart-breaking. Some do okay (JT, the Harry Potter crew). Some do not.

So, Miley decided that given this venue she was going to make a definitive statement. She did! The problem I have: when a 20 year old decides to anything definitive, in public, including my son and daughter, they should have someone who is watching out for their best interests (friends, parents, life-coaches, whatever) along for the ride. Someone whom they trust who can say "I see what you're trying to do here, but lets rethink going on the VMA's completely tweaked" (I know there's no proof, but come on!). "And listen, I know you're not Hannah Montana, but kids still love you, so maybe there's a more subtle way to let the world know you're an adult." And then they could come up with reasonable strategies to do just that.

Instead, this was as many have said a calculated P.R. decision to advance Cyrus' career. Fine! But, in this case, what is clear to me is that the people who facilitated this decision of hers (and it was her decision) aka the people who make money off her career, don't give two shits about the fact that with one dirty dance, Miley Cyrus may well have gone from being a talented young singer with a lifetime ahead of her, to next Season's reality trope. For the folks who run the entertainment world that means maximum cash on the front end, and another life in the toilet after three seasons. Miley Cyrus is surrounded by the same people that are responsible for your local radio station. That boys and girls is what makes me a bit angry. I'm not saying Miley isn't responsible for her decisions. I'm saying everyone needs an editor.

Miley, 20-year olds are stupid. They should be! I was. But, thankfully, I didn't get the approval of enablers who were making sweet stacks off of my stupidity. I had friends who watched out for me, parents who believed me, and a million teachers who taught me. Find a few, but quick.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I've had it. I've completely had it. I've had it with beards! I've had it with acoustic guitars! I've had it with singer/songwriters who've never lived off campus or held a job. I've had it with waifish, warbling vocals. I've had it with the fact that the word "I" is the most popular word in music these days.
I've had it with the entire indie music scene. I've had it with the well intentioned incredibly talented musicians who spawned what has come after: a horrific, hellish, musical mash-up of mediocrity (I'M LOOKING AT YOU THOM YORKE, DECEMBERISTS, I'VE GOT MY EYE ON YOU).

The entire world is going to hell in a hand basket!
Unemployment is rampant, corporations are people, Political parties have abandoned any notion that they are representing the people, and the only crap I hear is acoustic, saccharine, England Dan and John Ford Coley late 70's beard music.
I hate to drop this bomb, but we are reliving 1972.
Here's the proof:
Lady Gaga = David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust.
Every other waifish acoustic crap band = Gilbert O'Sullivan and Nillson (chart toppers of 1972 with "Alone Again" and "Without You" dis-respectively).
The entire hip-hop community = Studio 54 disco baloney.
It's horribly self indulgent, post-ironic, new-millenial, emo, clap trap.
Finally, Katy Perry = Abba (I gave this analogy papal dispensation, so sue me).

Where's the rage ladies/gentlemen? Can you all just for a moment stop whining about your feelings and turn it up... Where's this generations "Career Opportunities" Where's "London's Burning?", where's "God Save the Queen?" Where's "Blitzkrieg Bop?" Where's "Lust for Life?"

I may be dating myself but there was a time when music, just for a moment, made the bastards scared. When something as powerful as the marriage of melody and words was not completely controlled by the same corporate/government entities who are denying the parents of hungry children an extension of unemployment benefits. Once, music had the power to win hearts and minds. Now it all sounds like a hallmark card.

Music reflects the time, and times are tough. Why isn't music?

This about sums it up for me...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Who eats plastic? Well evidently we all do


Whew, I was wondering where I put that (today's must read)


Student finds universe's 'missing' mass

Friday, May 20, 2011

Are we poisoning our own people?

Not saying yes or no, just that this story needs to be investigated.

Why Journalism matters

How Fuzzy Math really works.


So illuminating. And yet, so depressing.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Loving... no wait, hating... Washington

Anyone who lives and works in D.C. who keeps a clear head about things will soon develop a certain love/hate relationship with the city. I suspect it's like that for anyone who makes a large metropolitan area their home. On one hand there are the wonderful opportunities a big city provides, and DC has them in spades. Museums! The Zoo! Art! You can literally spend a lifetime trying to take advantage of all the free stuff the nation's capitol has to offer.
And then there's the downside, and that almost always involves all the other folks who insist on living here.
Here's the latest, my son has just lost his training wheels. He's a great kid, but a bit tentative and learning to ride on a two-wheeler has proven a bit problematic for him. But to his credit he's game to practice every afternoon when I get home from work.
One of the problems of course is working to find a suitably safe area to practice in a big city. And so yesterday I stumbled upon what I thought was a great idea: to use a small stretch of the GW Parkway bike trail. It's flat, straight and bordered by tall, soft grass in case we need to bail out.
As I said, it seemed like a great idea, but after trying it for 30 short minutes, I can tell you that putting a tentative kid on the GW Bike trail felt like trying to merge onto 95 riding a moped. People were whizzing down that path at breakneck speeds. For those of us who frequent the trail that's normal, and okay, until it's not, then the unwritten rules suggest we slow down, announce and pass.
Silly me. If I had a nickel for all the frustration that was vented at my boy when these guys were forced to slow down for us, we'd have a fair amount of nickels. After repeated passive-aggressive shakes of the head, or insane helmeted mutterings we decided it wasn't worth it. So we played soccer, got a Slurpee and went to the park.
So here's the question: was it unreasonable for me to ask that people make room for a dad using one lane of the bike trail to teach his kid how to ride his bike? Should I have more respect for the super-commuters who use (I'm being generous) their ride home to blow off steam from a rough day? I honestly don't know. My wife says I was brave to even try.
In any case, for those fellas who grumbled at us, there's no chance I'll ever do this again. It's simply not worth it to try and 'take back the trail' from the type A'ers who make it their own personal Indianapolis 500. You scared my kid.