Saturday, October 30, 2010

Play Counts Count

I'll admit, I'm quite the nerd.  Some people would call it OCD, but I would say SOCD, which is Selective Obsessive Compulsive Disorder... I don't obsess about much, but I'm very picky about what I obsess about... its almost like, I know whats important to me, how important it is to have things done the way I want the done... but only about certain things that sometimes no one else cares about.

Case in point... iTunes. 

iTunes has this thing called a "play count", which is both a blessed and cursed thing.  In my mind, once I play a song, I want it counted.  Once I listen to a song, I want it noted... it truly doesn't mean a hill of beans to anyone in the entire world that I've listened to "Everything You Want" by Vertical Horizon 34 times, or that I've fired up the original "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley 8 times. 

But its important to me.  I dunno why, and I really am not sure I care to psycho-analyze, but that's just one of those quirky, nerdy things about me.  We'll come back to this, but first I have to give a bit more exposition, then tie it all together at the end like a good little storyteller.

Yesterday, I finally purchased a portable hard drive.  We've owned a regular external hard drive for about three years, and backs up most of what is on my, and The Lovely Steph Leann's, computers.  For me its music, audiobooks and pictures, for her its mostly pictures and Creative Memories back-up files... but the problem is, its so clunky and bulky.  In the Casa de Pesos apartment, it wasn't a big deal, because our place was so small, we just kept our PC and the back up drive and such altogether, and even when we got laptops, they mostly just stayed in the guest bedroom.  I could write and blog and do whatever, and with a television in the room, I could still watch whatever, or play a movie or anything of the like. 

When we got The Cabana, though, it was harder, because we kept the back-up drive upstairs, and the laptops stayed downstairs mostly, so I didn't back up much stuff, just every now and then.  With my growing love (and ear) for audiobooks, I finally had to move them off of my laptop because I had gotten to the point where I had less than 10gb of space (off of 300gb).  It took almost 2 hours, but I moved almost 80gb of audiobooks onto the harddrive, plus a few movies and some other space-taking items. 

Now, for anyone who owns an iPod, you'll notice that if you try and sync your iPod, and you've moved some files, a little "!" will appear by those files.  And when those files are on an entirely different drive altogether, its even worse, because you get a hundred or two of those "!" when they are audiobooks.  So, I now have a set up on our dining room table, this external hard drive to my left, cords and USB cables running everywhere and anywhere, and like, four things plugged into the nearby outlet.  Thus, the need for a portable hard drive.

So I'm currently moving, from the external to the portable, over 100 audiobooks, encompassing 32,000+ files (the Harry Potter series alone contains at least 1,500 tracks), which makes up about 140gb of space.  I have another 60gb of pictures to move over.  And at some point, in the future, I'll move over all my music from my laptop to the portable hard drive.

And now, we get back to play counts.  See, when I move over the music, I have to reload all songs back into iTunes.  And when I do, all play counts go back to zero.  Everyone.  So me listening to Nilsson's "I Guess the Lord Must Be In New York City" 29 times?  Its like it didn't happen.

However, don't think I haven't considering recreating all the playcounts.  Easy, really... click on a song, click "repeat" twice (which makes the song repeat) and then click on the end over and over.  It will advance from beginning to end, then start over.  Yes, this is a really stupid, useless thing to do.  Yes, there are far better uses of my time.  Yes, I've thought about it.  We'll see.

Play counts are a funny thing... it kinda tells you and the world what you truly like.  My official Top Five list of songs are: (1) "Possession" by Sarah McLachlan... (2) "I'd Die Without You" by PM Dawn... (3) "Piano in the Dark" by Brenda Russell (ft. Joe Esposito)... (4) "Not the Only One" by Bonnie Raitt... (5) "Head Over Heels" by Tears for Fears.  Coming in a close 6th is "Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson.

Other songs that have wandered their way in and out of my Top Ten including "Let Her Cry" by Hootie and the Blowfish... "A Thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton... "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney and Wings... "Hazy Shade of Winter" by The Bangles and "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John....

But you know what?  Out of those 11 songs I just listed, none are in my Top Ten of the Play Count List, and only one is in the Top Twenty, at 19th.  So, I thought it might be fun to list my Top Fifty Songs on the Play Count List, the songs that have been played the most.  Bear in mind, too, that I listen to a ton of podcasting and audiobooks, so music isn't my top priority most of the time, but sometimes, you just wanna hear Timberlake, or Flo Rida or Billy Joel or Bill Withers...

So, here we go...  Song, artist, and (play count)

There is a huge six way tie at 50, featuring...
50-tie.  Running From an Angel by Hootie & the Blowfish (34)
50-tie. Clarity by John Mayer (34)
50-tie. 3AM by Matchbox 20 (34)
50-tie. Everything You Want by Vertical Horizon (34)
50-tie. Welcome to Delaware by Watermark (34)
50-tie. White & Nerdy by Weird Al Yankovic (Video) (34)

All the way down to #40 is another tie or two, featuring the only song that appears twice in our countdown, in both audio and video versions.  Also, The Dixie Chicks make their first of three appearances.
48-tie. Cowboy Take Me Away by The Dixie Chicks (35)
48-tie. Sunday Afternoon by Joel Blount (35)
40-tie. ...And Our Feelings by Babyface (Video) (36)

40-tie. Only the Good Die Young by Billy Joel (36)
40-tie. Close of Autumn by Caedmon's Call (36)
40-tie. The Trolley Song by Judy Garland (36)
40-tie. Taylor, the Latte Boy by Kristin Chenoweth (36)
40-tie. B.O.B. by OutKast (36)
40-tie. Light My Candle by Mimi and Roger from The Cast of Rent (36)
40-tie. You Mean the World To Me by Toni Braxton (36)

The next set of ten, down to a four way tie at #31...
39. I'll Be Okay by Amanda Marshall (37)
36-tie. Ain't No Sunshine by Bill Withers (38)
36-tie. In the Light by dcTalk (38)
36-tie. Possession by Sarah McLachlan (38)
35. Snow (Hey Oh) by The Red Hot Chili Peppers (39)
31-tie. Full Moon by Brandy (40)
31-tie. Callin' Baton Rouge by Garth Brooks (40)
31-tie. The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson (40)
31-tie. The Remedy (I won't worry) by Jason Mraz (40)

The next ten are all older songs, anywhere from five to fifteen to thirty...
26-tie. Let's Stay Together by Al Green (41)
26-tie. Still Not a Player by Big Punisher with Fat Joe (41)
26-tie. The Story by Brandi Carlile (41)
26-tie. My My My by Johnny Gill (41)
26-tie. Chains by Tina Arena (41)
24-tie. You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift (41)
24-tie. Say It Right by Nelly Furtado (Video) (41)
23. Season of Love by The Cast of Rent (43)
21-tie. Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawio'ole (45)
21-tie. The Light In Your Eyes by Blessid Union of Souls (45)

And our teens part of the countdown gives us another helping of The Chicks, an obscure but incredible song by Jill Paquette and of course, Cool J.
19-tie. My Favorite Mistake by Sheryl Crow (46)
19-tie. I'd Die Without You by PM Dawn (46)
17-tie. Tortured Tangled Hearts by The Dixie Chicks (47)
17-tie. Drops of Jupiter by Train (47)
15-tie. Sin Wagon by The Dixie Chicks (48)
15-tie. Lift My Eyes by Jill Paquette (48)
13-tie. Crazy by Gnarls Barkley (49)
13-tie. I May Hate Myself in the Morning by Lee Ann Womack (49)
11-tie. Loungin' (who do you love) by LL Cool J (50)
11-tie. If I Ever Lose My Faith in You by Sting (50)

Before we get to the Top Ten, I wanted to give you a list of ten songs that, were I to do this same column in a year two, you'd probably see some of them appear in this very list, maybe because they are new and I listen to them frequently now or because they were just outside the top fifty and have gotten some recent love from my playlist... they include "Hey Soul Sister" by Train... "Travelin Soldier" by The Dixie Chicks... "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" by Elton John... "Relator" by Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson... "You Give Good Love" by Whitney Houston... "Better in Time" by Leona Lewis... "Right Round" by Flo Rida... "I Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum... "Everything Zen" by Bush... and, of course... "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus

Now, here's the Top Ten... a little eclectic, but a little predictable all the same...
10. Collide by Howie Day (53)... I cannot even name another Howie Day song.  But I love this one.  I told The Lovely Steph Leann if I played guitar and could sing, this would be part of my set.

9. ...And Our Feelings by Babyface (54)... This is a perfect song to sing while driving.  My vocals get nowhere near the level of Babyface, but that doesn't mean I don't try.

7-tie. How to Save a Life by The Fray (55)... This and their other big song, perhaps one of the biggest, most awesome one-two song punches ever. 

7-tie. You and I Both by Jason Mraz (55)... Its a great video, its a great song, and its also fun to sing.  And the lyrics are easier to learn than "The Remedy".

6. My Boo by Usher (ft Alicia Keys) (56)... I was a little surprised when I did this list how far up this list that "My Boo" ended up.  But I'm perfectly okay with it.

5. Wildwood Flower by Reese Witherspoon (57)... I bought the "Walk the Line" soundtrack, and I'll be honest, I listened to this song non-stop.  When I first got my iPod, I remember this song being the first one to 20 plays ever. 

4. Fergalicious by Fergie (Video) (58)... Fine.  I'll admit it.  I like this song, and this video is fun.  I would venture to guess that 40 of the plays were done within a year of it being released.

3. Love Song by Sara Bareilles (59)... If I could use the Billboard Charts term "with a bullet" on my own little list, than I would use it here with this song.  I wouldn't be shocked to see this become number one in the near future, because I am completely addicted to this song.

2. Rock Your Body by Justin Timberlake (61)... What can I say?  Timberlake is cool.  The song is cool. 

1. Over My Head (Cable Car) by The Fray (63)... Again, I'm not entirely sure how this song got so high, number one in fact, but I make no apologies.  It is a song that I could listen to non-stop (and have) and not get tired of (I haven't).

So what about you?  Does your list of favorite songs and your actual play counts tell two different stories?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

To Hell With the Democrats

Stumbled upon this, from a liberal, Hillary lovin' site called, aptly,  The editor in chief, Kevin DuJan, sent a letter to Rush Limbaugh, who proudly has proclaimed it on his site... and reading it, its fascinating.

I just finished a book called "Gamechange", which is the behind-the-scenes story of the 2008 presidential election, and over half of the book is spent on the relationship, and lack thereof, of He Who Must Not Be Re-Elected and She Who Thought She Should Have Been Elected.  She was the heir apparent and deserved her shot--Bob Dole in 1996 comes to mind, though nobody had a shot against Slick Willie back then, so Dole was put up just as a "here's your chance, you earned it, enjoy your failure".  Hillary, however, thought... no, knew she had a show, so much so that she already had her transition team in place BEFORE the primaries started.  Thats "transition" as in, transition to the White House.

Well, I'll get to that book later, I've been meaning to review it for a few days now because its the best book I've read all year, but in reading this article, it confirmed a few things that I had learned in the book.  Not only was Hillary blindsided by the media attention that was given to Obama (media love that was formerly for her and her alone), she was shellshocked that that same media would overlook anything and everything when it came to He Who Must Not Be Re-Elected, but then would turn around and pick up the tiniest little detail on the Clintons and broadcast it via negative ads and stories... she learned what Republicans deal with all the freakin' time. 

Understand I have no love for Hillary, and thought she'd be a terrible president too--Hillarycare was also in the works, resurrected from the early 90s when it bombed, so Obama isn't alone in his tomfoolery, but I would have taken her over what we have any day. 

I also recognize this is an opinion piece, an open letter to Rush and his listeners, but its fascinating nonetheless. 

By the way, when I read "To Hell with the Democrats", I immediately thought of Stryper in tight, yellow and black striped pants yelling "To Hell with the Devil!!", though in some cases, I don't know that the two are much different.  Anyway, Kevin DuJan writes:

Dear Rush,

It’s my great hope that some of your listeners find a way to get this letter to you, or that it makes it to “Snerdley” and finds its way into your hands. I don’t think even you understand just how much damage Obama has done to the Democrat Party — to the point where formerly lifelong Democrats like myself, and everyone here at, are actively working to expose the party and literally burn it to the ground for the good of the country.

Sez the Author (pictured): When Obama and the DNC
.attacked Hillary and her supporters, they permanently
alienated tens of millions of us from the party.
I know for a fact I am not the only guy with a picture
like this on his wall who is working every day to
bring down the Obama White House and Democrat Party.
Not for Hillary, though I love the woman, but for
America... because I love this country even more.
None of this is being reported in the media, but a Civil War in the Democrat ranks has been raging since May 31st, 2008…a date every Hillary Clinton supporter knows well, because that was the date of the Democrat Rules & Bylaws Committee Meeting where Howard Dean (then-DNC Chair), Donna Brazile, and scores of other Kool-Aid slurping Obama flunkies took off their masks and revealed the full extent of the Leftist coup that had taken over the party. This was the day when the DNC took delegates Hillary Clinton won in Michigan away from her and handed them to Obama (despite the fact he wasn’t even on the primary ballot in that state, because he removed his name when his campaign realized he’d come in third in that race).

May 31st, 2008 was a day when Hillary “babes” (as you call us sometimes) like us flew to Washington in large numbers to stand outside the Marriott near the National Zoo, where this Rules & Bylaws Committee Meeting was held, to shout for the DNC to count all the votes and operate the nominating process fairly — but they refused. The anger over that day has never abated. In fact, it’s grown considerably since then.

This was the determining factor in millions of us leaving the Democrat Party for good. This was the day when the P.U.M.A. movement began — in response to Donna Brazile’s calls for “party unity” following the Rules & Bylaws Committee Meeting, we “Hillary babes” said “Party Unity My A$$” (or People United Means Action, depending on how you want to phrase it). Exit polls showed 8 million PUMA voted Republican for the first time in our lives in the fall of 2008…casting ballots for McCain/Palin (and in truth, mainly for Palin, whom we support, and not to a small degree because she receives many of the same attacks lobbed at Hillary Clinton all these years).

You seem to know most of all this, so I’ll end the history lesson by noting the people alienated by the Democrat Party during the primaries in 2008 — where it was clear the party and the media colluded at great lengths to push Obama while hammering Hillary Clinton into the ground — never came back to the Democrat Party.

This is also when most of us stopped using the term “Democratic Party”, since there’s nothing “democratic” about these people. They are the “Democrat Party”, and even that is hard to acknowledge because they really and truly have proved themselves to be enemies of real democracy.

I’m still registered as a Democrat here in Chicago (because the Cocktail Party GOP establishment so disgusts me I can’t will myself to party-ID Republican, and there’s no Independent option here in Illinois) but I can’t imagine ever voting for another Democrat again, as long as I live. To Hell with Democrats. This was solidified for me on Christmas Eve of last year, when Democrats rushed Obamacare through the Senate in the dead of night, through various secret channels, and every single Democrat voted for its passage (even supposed moderates like Evan Bayh in Indiana, who quickly realized his vote would cost him re-election…so the coward retired rather then face angry voters over what he did). I just don’t believe Democrats should be given elected office by voters because they cannot be trusted to even read bills before they vote on them, not even when said bills seek to permanently alter the entire American economy. This is reckless and reprehensible to the point of treason.

I was a Democrat for 32 years before the heavy-handed push for Obama alienated me from the party…and I borrow what Hillary Clinton said about Republicans once, back when she was a Goldwater Girl, and will paraphrase by saying that I didn’t leave the Democrat Party, the Democrat Party left me.

After it beat me to a pulp, called me a racist, berated and insulted me, and used Alinsky Rules to hit me with everything it had. Not just me, but all Hillary supporters.

This is the part I don’t think you understand because I don’t know if you and your listeners paid much attention to what the Obama campaign and DNC did to malign and assault Hillary Clinton’s supporters during the 2008 campaign. None of this has been forgotten by any of us.

If you have not seen it already, Rush, you need to watch Gigi Gaston’s documentary “We Will Not Be Silenced 2008″. I’m featured in a segment on the voter fraud that was committed in the Iowa Caucus back in January of 2008. While I was always aware Democrats use unions and other means to cheat in elections, I never knew the Democrat Party was capable of the large-scale, aggressive, unapologetic fraud it committed on Obama’s behalf all through 2008. In Iowa, I watched Obama’s ACORN and SEIU goons push and shove old people, bully them, and intimidate them when they wanted to vote for Hillary Clinton. I saw scores of Illinois license plates fill the parking lots outside caucus locations, with Chicagoland Obama supporters illegally entering the Caucus sites to vote for Obama and game Iowa for him. Having planned ahead, Obama supporters actually RAN those caucus sites, and held the doors open for all these fraudulent voters to walk right in, without being asked for IDs, where they then took control of the caucuses and bullied the Iowa residents into supporting Obama — lest they be called RAAACISTS! out in the open in front of their friends and neighbors in those open-air caucuses.

The media has never talked about this. I don’t remember ever hearing you talk about it. But one of the biggest reasons the Democrats are in the trouble they’re in right now is because of how frequently the Left and the media (one and the same, really) called anyone who opposed Obama a RAAACIST. If you supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries instead of Obama, you were called a RAAACIST. If you were someone like me who fundraised for Hillary, who hosted events for her, who put yourself out there and wrote columns advocating her or did media spots talking up her candidacy, you were aggressively targeted by the Obama campaign and his supporters…relentlessly attacked as a RAAACIST! and assaulted with the Alinksy Rules for Radicals in hopes of breaking your spirit, terrorizing you, and making you abandon Clinton for fear of having these people destroy your life, ruin your business, and make you an absolute pariah in your community.

This is what the Obama campaign, the media, and the DNC did to DEMOCRATS.

For almost a year, the Obama zealots and the Left waged all-out-war not just on Hillary Clinton, but on lifelong, loyal, dyed-in-the-wool Democrat voters like me. This came straight from the top, from Obama himself. Both he and his wife Michelle called the Clintons racists. Obama’s surrogates like James Clyburne, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, John Lewis, and others called Geraldine Ferraro, Madeline Albright, and others racists. The Obamas toxified the South Carolina primary, in particular, with foul race-baiting and turned North Carolina and Indiana into racial powder kegs by ramping up accusations that anyone not supporting Obama was a vile racist that needed to be pounded into the ground.

Stephanie Tubb Jones
Stephanie Tubbs Jones, my former Congresswoman back home in Cleveland, was a black Hillary Clinton supporter to the very end — and she was called a “race-traitor”, an “Aunt Jane”, and all manner of worse names as she was bullied, berated, and verbally assaulted by the Obama team…because she was black and dared to stand with her friend Hillary Clinton, the person Tubbs Jones knew would make a better president than “The One”. To her dying day in August of 2008, Tubbs Jones was threatened by the Obama campaign and told she’d be primaried in 2010 and kicked to the curb for being a “race-traitor”. She died of a brain aneurysm while driving her car, and Obama supporters filled Daily Kos, DemocratUnderground, and other George Soros-supported sites with lies about her drunk driving, doing drugs, and other slurs because even after she died these people wouldn’t stop hating her for daring to be an outspoken black woman who would never abandon Hillary for Obama.

This is similar to the grief that I’ve received here in Chicago for being a gay Hillary former Democrat in Boystown who never drank any Kool-Aid, never stopped speaking out against Obama, and who recently fully came out as a conservative — in the face of the same kind of Alinsky-grade, identity-based, “traitor” hectoring that Tubbs Jones got for being a black woman who didn’t kneel before the Obama altar.

Well, Rush, let me just tell you, from personal experience, that the tens of millions of people relentlessly abused and hounded by Obama supporters (remember that back in 2008 he urged his followers to “get in their faces” and “confront their neighbors” if they weren’t drinking his unicorn-pumped sparkly Kool-Aid ) will NEVER EVER FORGET what the Obama campaign directed at them, in terms of all this Alinsky bullying.

To quote Jeremiah Wright, the man Obama spent twenty years eagerly listening to at Trinity United Church of Christ: somebody’s chickens have now come back to roost.

In this video of America's Pastor, here's the context of "America's chickens have come home to roost"... apparently, he was using a quote from Malcolm X, but whether he added to it or quoted directly, there's little doubt as to his agreement with the sentiment.  Also, he quotes former US Ambassador Edward Peck, but Peck said later he was taken out of context. 

During the campaign, Donna Brazile famously said that the Democrat Party no longer needed the people Obama once described as “bitter, religion-and-guns-clinging, Midwesterners”. Brazile took this further and said, outright, that the Democrat party did not need blue-collar white voters, the Jacksonian voters, the Hillary voters, because the party was “Obamafied” and would win elections for generations with the Obama coalition of blacks, Leftist elites, Hispanics, low information gay voters, and self-hating Jews.

This is all the Democrats have left, Rush.

Speaking from personal experience, as someone who has worked in fundraising for over 10 years and who has been a part of every presidential campaign since 1992, the Democrats have permanently alienated tens of millions of people who normally turned out reliably every year not just to vote Democrat, but also to write checks and otherwise participate in campaigns.

No more. Never again.

Here in Chicago, just about everyone who was part of Team Hillary efforts with me on the ground has completely divorced themselves from the Democrat Party. Being called a racist repeatedly and hearing from Donna Brazile that we are not needed will do that to a person.

But in a bigger sense, Democrats, by being so shameless and aggressive with the voter fraud in 2008 have opened too many eyes for us to ever go back to pretending that fraud and corrupt practices aren’t the hallmark of the Democrat Party.

There was a show on ABC a few years ago called Alias starring Jennifer Garner in which she played a woman working for a company called Credit Dauphine…which she was told was a front for a CIA organization called SD6. Garner’s character, Sidney Bristow, carried out her missions for SD6, overlooking different things the organization did that she might not have liked, because she thought she was doing what was best for the country. And then, one day, Sidney learned SD6 was actually an enemy of America…that it’s real mission was to destroy the country…that everything Sidney was told about SD6 was a lie. The mask came off SD6, and Sidney Bristow realized she had to work aggressively to take the whole enterprise down.

Rush (and his listeners), please hear me on this because you will not read this in the media — but just about every one of us from the Hillary 2008 campaign is a Sidney Bristow today.

Those of us who worked Democrat campaigns in the past put up with union associations and the other unsavory aspects of being a Democrat because we were told this was the only way Democrats could win…with union muscle. But, in 2008 the Democrats revealed themselves to be an SD6 conglomeration of every force in this country that wants to bring America down, tank our economy, usurp our Constitution, and lay waste to the American way of life.

Democrats took off the mask. The DNC reveled in being fully Leftist-controlled. Crazy people unapologetic in their Communist admiration took over positions of great influence not just in the DNC, but in our state and federal governments as well.

I’m horrified by that.

Hillary supporters are horrified by that.

And we have not sat back quietly to allow this to happen without a fight.

I know for a fact that people I worked with on the Hillary 2008 campaign have been actively working against every single Democrat who supported Obama’s nomination. Everyone who backstabbed Hillary Clinton is being undermined and sabotaged by people who might still be registered as Democrats but have no more loyalty to the party. Sometimes, conservative sites try to make this into a “sour grapes” sort of “Hillary’s revenge” meme — and there might be a taste of this in what’s going on — but the real driving force is that we former Democrats saw just how insane these people really are and we are now doing everything we can, behind the scenes, to use everything we know about the Democrat Party to collapse it from within.

If you think about it logically, there is not enough energy to sustain a years-long drive to remove Obama supporters from office just because people are still upset Hillary Clinton was not the 2008 nominee and is not president today. Sometimes, I think even you believe this is what this is all about. Your “Reverse Operation Chaos” initiative seems predicated on this, but that belief is apocryphal in that it misses a few big marks.

This is and it isn’t about Hillary.

What it’s really about is what the Democrat Party did to Hillary that alienated tens of millions of Jacksonian/Clintonian/middleclass Americans from the party permanently — and this includes what the party and Obama campaign did to Hillary’s supporters themselves (ie, calling them racists, telling them they weren’t wanted, calling them bitter clingers, etc.).

For the first time in our lives, so many of us former Democrats were given an Alinsky taste of what the Democrat Party really stand for…what it really believes…and how it really feels about America, our Constitution, our economy, and our way of life.

Howard Dean, Donna Brazile, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Obama took the mask off the Democrat Party…and the Leftist gorgon that lurked beneath is something America-loving, middleclass, Jacksonian/Clintonian Democrats want nothing to do with.

As part of your “Reverse Operation Chaos”, you really need to emphasize something the media just won’t talk about — and that’s the simple fact that even if you called yourself a Democrat for 32 years, the way I did, because everyone you grew up with and everyone in your family was a Democrat, that in 2010 it’s time to ask yourselves what that really means.

Do you want to be in a party that calls people racists for stepping out of line and voicing opposition to the socialist lurch of the current administration?

Do you condone voter fraud and the shameless, undemocratic tactics employed by Democrats?

Do you wish to associate with the likes of ACORN, the SEIU, the Black Panthers, and all the other thugs, goons, and degenerates the Obama campaign and White House employ as the DNC’s muscle on the ground?

It is crystal clear that being a patriotic American who loves this country is intellectually incompatible with being a Democrat. If you love America and want it to prosper, the Democrat Party is at absolute odds with everything we need for a thriving, successful economy.

Hillary supporters realize this.

We received a heaping helping of Alinsky assaults to wake us up to this reality.

The reason so many of us support Governor Palin is not just because we see the same Alinksy assaults being waged upon her…but the woman is pitch-perfect in outlining exactly why Obama and the Left are wrong, and why Democrats under Obama are dangerous to have in elected office.

I know you talk about a “Hillary 2012″ but Rush, as much as I love Hillary Clinton, and as much as I worked my heart out for her in 2008, there’s no way that even she can repair the damage Obama has done to the party. Certainly not by 2012. MAYBE the Clintons and their supporters can purge the Obama lunatics from the party by 2016…but I doubt even that will happen. Just like with the Leftists Carter infected the Democrat Party with, Obama legacy hires will be in the DNC for a generation to come…and it might not be until the 2030s before the Democrats can remove the taint Obama and his Leftist agenda have put on the party.

Democrats have made themselves synonymous with anti-Americanism, anti-capitalism, and anti-democracy. Obama and his acolytes decidedly upped the ante when it came to their aggressive push towards socialism…and this Center-Right nation is resisting it in what I am certain will be an epic refudiation (to borrow the Governor’s term) next week.

Claire McCaskill, D-MO, looking at He Who Must No
Be Re-Elected with the love that much of the country
looked at him in 2008... but not so much now.
On November 3rd, no one I know will be resting on any laurels. November 3rd starts the 2012 campaign…and not just the presidential race (where we’ll back Governor Palin) but the drive to knock people like Claire McCaskill out of office, continuing our work to take down every last one of the Obama supporters who backstabbed Hillary Clinton and helped install this socialist into the White House back in 2008. When you hear talk of a Hillary “enemies’ list”, or just “The List” as we call it in HRC supporter circles, this is very much real…and we are truly committed to making sure the Claire McCaskills out there get everything that is coming to them for all their service to Obama and his agenda.

Hear that, Ben Nelson…voters will be coming for you.

You and everyone like you.

Every last one of you.

If you voted for Obamacare, you are politically dead but may not know it…and it is your own fault. Being intensely stupid is no defense. If you were a YES vote on anything related to Obamacare you are going to be defeated…if not in 2010, then in the primaries in 2012. If you survive those, you will be taken down in the 2012 general election. Your political career is over…dummy.
Hope your time on the Obama Kool-Aid bandwagon was worth ruining your life over.

We will not forget those Obamacare votes. We will not forgive being called a racist because we don’t support this terrible man and his awful agenda. We will not be silenced.

We will not give up.

It’s going to be years, if ever, before the lamestream media ever catches up to any of this, and realizes that a large swath of people who used to be Democrat loyalists are now doing everything they can to destroy the party. Some of them are out and open, like me and my friends here at HillBuzz, but many are doing their part quietly. They just stop writing checks. Or maybe now they write checks to Democrat opponents. They might continue to attend events and fundraisers, but now they call up Republican sites and give them all the dirt on what they heard in those meetings. The Democrat Party alienated so many people who are now working to bring it down that I could go on for pages and pages more on this topic.

It’s very Sidney Bristow, Rush. And if you watched that show Alias, you’d know she not only won in the end, but looked damn good kicking ass while doing it.

THAT, El Rushbo, is what your “Hillary babes” are up to.

Here in Boystown, and in every town, because the Civil War Howard Dean, Donna Brazile, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Obama started on May 31st, 2008 is raging without end until the Democrat Party is no more.

Tell your listeners to count on that.

Kevin DuJan
Hillary “Babe” in Buzzquarters, Boystown
The original article is found here.  Keep in mind that I copied and pasted the article exactly, but ALL italics for emphasis, links and video were added by me... in addtion, the first picture of the article, with DuJan and Hillary, and the text of the caption were the authors, all other photos and captions added by me.  Thanks...
...oh, and why not just give you the link and let you see it for yourself?  Cause I want you to spend time on my site, not somewhere else.  Duh.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finding Nemo (The Dave100 #98)

You take a story about an ocean, and a fish named Nemo with a gimpy fin.  Let him have an extremely overprotective father, let Nemo go missing, and let that father meet up with a short-term memory blue fish named Dory while in the hunt for Nemo. 

Then let your main voices be veteran actor Albert Brooks and talk show host, former American Idol failure and America's Favorite Lesbian Ellen DeGeneres. 

Toss it all in the hands of Pixar, and you've got a magnificent movie.  There is so much to love about "Finding Nemo", but perhaps the thing you have to appreciate, even if you find the story unappealing, is the visual aspects.  On HD, its absolutely glorious.  The colors are vibrant, the animation is superior, and taking away any Toy Story movies, this might be Pixar's crowning achievement.

As with all Pixar films, I saw this in the theater, then watched it off and on through the years, but I really began to dig and appreciate "Finding Nemo", beyond the normal "Yeah man, I like that film!" earlier this year. 

At The Happiest Place in the Mall (RIP), we had this big screen at the back of the store that showed stuff like Hannah Montana previews, Jonas Brother videos, random film clips from "Beauty & the Beast" and "Little Mermaid" and "Cinderella" and movie trailers for "G-Force" and the upcoming release of  "Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs" and so on... and we had to play these 30 to 45 minute videos all day. 


...every now and again, we'd break the rules.  We'd break the rules by popping in a DVD, and sometimes, many times, it was "Finding Nemo", and we'd watch it while we doled out the magic.  And we'd quote the lines... and let me tell ya, all of us there, we all knew those lines.  We knew those lines..

"You know, for a clown fish, he really isn't that funny"
"He touched the butt"
"That's a big butt"
"Fish are friends, not food"
and of course... "Just keep swimming."

On a related note, "Finding Nemo: the Musical" is a must-see show/attraction when I go to Disney World, no question.  Sandy Plankton agrees.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Gospel According to The Bee Gees

John Lennon once sang, "Nobody told me there'd be days like these, strange days indeed..." and I believe it.  Its kind of a catch phrase, or something you say to someone to tell them that its been "one of those days"... you know, when you ask someone, "You ever have 'one of those days'?"

I want to preface this by saying that my "one of those days", when put into perspective, is diddlypoop... my friend MZ had her husband struck in the face by a car last weekend.  Painting in a parking lot of his restaurant, he was hit by a car.  I won't go into details, but I will say he's beat up pretty bad.  I saw both of them today and she's exhausted, having spent most of her week at the hospital, and he's in constant pain from what the doctors are having to do.

Then you have Kristi, the wife of Andy, who is the middle school pastor at Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship, natch).  Kristi's brother was hit by a car in Tuscaloosa a few days ago.  And this morning, they took him off of life support. 

So... my issues and daily grumblings mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.

But truly, Mr. Lennon, no one told me there'd be days like these... well, that's not true.  Anyone who's read Scripture will tell you that there are always days like these.  Strange days indeed.

Because of MZ's absence, I've been at work by 435 in the morning every day this week, but I'm not complaining... usually that puts me off of work by mid-afternoon.  Well, Tuesday morning, I woke up a little later than I wanted... I am out of the shower and walking out the door at 430, but this day I woke up at 430.  I did that "disoriented, staring at the clock, trying to figure out what is going on and what time it is and what I'm supposed to be doing" thing when you wake up at an abnormal time.  Skipping my shower, I didn't get to work until about 450, almost 5am, and it threw me completely off.

I spilled coffee grounds all over my sandwiches.

I dropped my tray of sandwiches all over the floor.

One of our registers went down.  Again.

One of our girls got her schedule mixed up and was really late.

I got confused on the order I was supposed to be putting in.

And I really, really, REALLY wanted a shower.  Seriously. 

So, I'm standing at the bar, making drinks, steaming some soy to go into a venti no water no foam 6 pump soy chai, and contemplating.  Well, I guess I wasn't contemplating, it was more of a "well, this is just great, this day is turning out to be a real winner, gee whiz..." in the most mental sarcastic tone I could muster. 

The music that plays in the cafe is hard to hear when you are behind the bar.  Sometimes you hear it, sometimes the noise of steaming pitchers mixed with blenders mixed with the general ambiance of a Starbucks cafe at drive time can prevent you from hearing anything happening out in the cafe, regardless of the fact its a few feet away.

Well, on this morning, I heard something.  Namely, I heard The Bee Gees.  Starbucks has this "Opus" series, which for each artist represented, is a collection of their most famous, best and sometimes most powerful work... I actually own the Marvin Gaye Opus, and its quite good ("Can I Get a Witness" is remarkable).  Currently, we are selling The John Lennon Opus and now, The Bee Gees Opus, and to support it, there is a Bee Gees playlist with "Stayin' Alive", "More Than a Woman", "Islands in the Stream" and the song I heard overhead at this moment... "How Deep Is Your Love".

And for some reason, it made me think of God.  It made me think of our Creator, the One who loves us.  Me.  And as the chorus played, and I thought about my morning as a whole, it suddenly didn't seem that bad.  I thought to myself, "God, how deep is your love, how deep, is your love, how deep.... is your love.  I'm living in a world of fools, breaking me down, when they all should let me be..."  The "na na na nana" played, though that didn't seem as fitting.

How deep is Your love, God, how deep is Your love,
How deep is Your love.
Cause we're living in a world of fools, breaking us down.
When they all should let us be.
I belong to You, not me. 

I believe in You. You know the door to my very soul.  Your the light in my deepest darkest hour, Your my Savior when I fall, and though it may not seem that I care for You, You know deep down inside I really do.  And every day You show... How deep is Your love, God, how deep is Your love...

And somehow, through the shrill voice of Barry Gibb, things were a little better.  Sometimes I just need a reminder.

Strange days, indeed.  Strange days indeed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Movie That Defined a Youth Part II

Here's introduction and part I...

7.  "Gremlins"... When I first saw this film, it gave me the creeps.  I mean, I was like, 8?  9?  when it came out, and it scared me that there might be things wandering around apartment 320, where we lived in Austin, but it became a special movie to me. 

Its in a protective sheet, in a box upstairs.
A little worse for the wear, but I have it.
When I saw the Gremlins parody in MAD Magazine in 1984, I asked my dad for three dollars, so I could go to the 7-Eleven and buy it.  He did, and I did, and it was my first MAD Magazine ever (I bought about two or three dozen over the years, and still have that same one.)

Never good figure out, though, at one point can you feed the Mogwais?  I know not after midnight, but like, is midnight to 1am the bad time?  When its 4am, is it okay?  Do you start with light crackers and maybe some ginger ale around 5am, gradually moving up to some fluffy eggs and maybe a piece of toast around 7am?  Full sandwiches at lunch? 

6.  "Full Metal Jacket"... Hollywood studios are notorious for doing the whole "Hey, that studio is making a movie about this random subject, we'll do it, and we'll do it better!"   Case in point, "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon", or "Dante's Peak" and "Volcano" or even "Wyatt Earp" and "Tombstone" (the latter of each of those films are the superior of the two). 

So, back in 1987 and '88, the Vietnam War had been technically over for 12 years... and not only did we have two Vietnam films, we had several... first, "Platoon", which won the Academy Award for Best Picture but I think is a bit overrated, followed by "Hamburger Hill", the aforementioned "Good Morning Vietnam" and finally, "Full Metal Jacket" (the listing here is no indication of when they were released).  And to me, the last film on this list if by far and away the most brilliant of all.

Its a film in two parts, with the first hour taking place in basic training, watching the mental and physical breakdown of a Vietnam bound recruit at the hands of his overbearing, somewhat crazy drill sergeant (introducing us to the fantastic R. Lee Ermey), and the second hour taking us to Vietnam.  Matthew Modine's Pvt Joker played a supporting role in the first half, but leads the second, showing the rigors and violence and even the inhumanity of that war, and maybe war in general.

It was my first taste of a true war film, and I'm not sure there have many better since, and thats covering any war. 

5.  "Poltergeist"... There are some things a 7 year old should never experience.  And one of those is Poltergeist.  Oh, in this world of torture porn like "Saw" and "Hostel" and zombie flicks and supernatural frightfests like "Paranormal Activity" and "Drag Me To Hell", something like a simple ghost story would seem just that--simple.

But "Poltergeist" is exactly that. A ghost story.  A creepy, scary, frightening ghost story with ghosts that live in the walls and skeletons that pop out of unfinished pools and chairs that slide across the floor on their own power and trees that come alive, oh dear goodness, that tree that reaches in and grabs that kid and... wow.

Watching it now, that effects look a little dated.  The ghosts seem a bit cheap, and the face-peeling scene looks extremely fake.  But the story stands up, and is solid. 

I don't know how I ended up watching "Poltergeist" for the first time, I just remember being 7 and at my sister's house.  The movie was on the TV, and as I was wont to do, I saw something cool on television and sat down to watch.  At the mercy of someone else for a ride, because not only did I not have a car, I was SEVEN, I watched the whole thing. 

See, there's this scene where the kid is a little scared of this clown doll that is sitting on a chair across his bedroom.  Before he goes to bed, he has a stare-down with clown, and even attempts to throw a jacket over that clown so it will quit watching him so it will quit watching me I throw the jacket and it misses, it just grazes the clown and it falls away and that clown is still staring at me and I'm going to go sleep now because its just a clown it just a stupid toy a stupid old toy and tomorrow I'm going throw that clown away go to sleep time to sleep....

  This is one of the, if not the, most frightening scene in all of moviedom (except for that scene in "Lucas" where Lucas tries to kiss Maggie, but thats another story).  There is a scene with a chick in her underthings, but she's being assaulted by a ghost, so trust me, there is no "she's hot" moment in this. 

And then awakened by something some movement some noise awakened where's the clown I'm going to glance up at the clown and see the clown in the chair and it will scare me but its okay, its a clown a stupid toy clown right and it will still be there and I look and the clown isn't there... its not there... its supposed to be there it was right there but its not there did it move did it fall off the chair did my jacket toss make it almost fall off and it fell off while I was asleep no it moved I know it moved I know it got up and moved and where could it be right now where could that scary horrible clown be where (the bed) where could it (under) where could it be (under the) could it be (bed) and what if... its... under the bed...

So he looks.  And we know how this turns out.  And you'd better believe when I got home, I made sure not a single finger or toe stuck out not even a fraction of an inch over the side of that bed.  From the time I was 7 to about age 14 or beyond, I would not dare even glance under the bed. I still get the heebs when I do it now. 

Its a brilliant film, though.  Just not for seven years old.

"Don't nobody leave this stage without singing the blues"
4.  "Adventures in Babysitting"... Amongst my boyhood crushes of Hollywood, you'll find the likes of Nancy McKeon (you never forget your first), Alyssa Milano, Debbie Gibson, Tracey Gold and of course, a young Elisabeth Shue.  Already made famous by her turn in "Karate Kid" as the cutie patootie Allie, she comes out as 80s hotness in "Adventures in Babysitting".  You know how some movies just make you happy and make you watch over and over?  This one was like this.

The plot is ludicrous, really, with Chris (Shue) being stood up by her date... seriously, who stands up someone that looks like Chris?  Colin Firth Club Member Bradley Whitford, that's who!  So, Chris agrees to babysit a teenager who's in love with her, his little sister and randomly, his friend that just won't go away... and when Chris gets a call that her own friend Brenda has run away, but is stranded downtown and needs help, the ensuing hilarity and hijinks ensues.  And makes for a fun little film.

3.  "The Princess Bride"... When I saw this movie for the first time in the late 80s, thanks again to HBO, it had not built the cult-like status it enjoys today.  When I saw this movie for the first time in the late 80s, it was a tiny little, modestly successful, but mostly forgotten the moment it left theaters kind of film starring a bunch of no-names like Carey Elwes and Robin Wright.   When I saw this movie for the first time in the late 80s, I was in love.  Not with Robin Wright, mind you, and only maybe with Andre the Giant (but that had to do more with WrestleMania III than his portrayal of Fezzik), but with the movie as a whole.

It appealed to me in every way.  Action, a love story, it was funny, it was well written, it was well acted, it was imaginative and it was wonderful.  I watched it every time it came on, and put it on one of my VCR tapes.  And when I could afford to do so, I bought the videotape. 

This film actually stayed at the #1 position of The Dave100 for about 15 years before falling a few spots, though it still comes in quite strong. 

2.  "The Empire Strikes Back"... This holds the distinction of being the the very first exposure to the Star Wars Universe I ever had.  Being 5, I barely understood most of what was happening, but I did understand one thing:  My movie life had changed.  My very young, somewhat limited movie life that contained the aforementioned "The Shining", "Every Which Way You Can" and of course "Poltergeist", but still, it would be different.

Maybe at the time I didn't know it... no, I'm sure if it... at the time I didn't know it.  Looking back, though, I can still see that movie screen.  Low quality projection, obviously, as HD was a long way off and a glimmer in George Lucas' imagination.  It opened up with those words:

This music boomed, the words "STAR WARS" blasted onto the screen, then was followed by the yellow scroll that said "EPISODE IV THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK".  Pan down to this snow filled world of Hoth and... what is that?  That thing?  A Tauntaun?  I was mesmorized.

And when it comes on, I still am, this the finest and most powerful of all six Star Wars films.

1.  "Star Wars"... I was the Star Wars generation.  When it was released, I was only 2 years old, so I didn't see it in the theaters when it was initially released.  Though I was able to see The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 in theaters, I had to wait three long years to finally see "Star Wars". 

HBO used to--and maybe they still do--release this small magazine broadcasting all their movies, with the entire month's schedule.  I remember seeing an announcement in the magazine that said "COMING IN THREE MONTHS... STAR WARS".  And I got jittery.  And the next month, "COMING IN TWO MONTHS... STAR WARS" and finally, "COMING NEXT MONTH... STAR WARS".   

I could barely stand it... if it was anything like "The Empire Strikes Back", I knew, even at barely 8 years old, I was about to see the most greatest bestest most coolest greatest awesomest movie I ever did saw.  And when it premiered on a Saturday night in July of 1983... well, I cannot prove this, but I would be willing to bet that I didn't blink for the entire two plus hours running time.  And that last scene, the Death Star battle scene?  I might have peed myself.

I would even ask my mum and pops to wake me up late at night, just so I could see the last scene of the movie, promising to go right back to sleep after the medals were awarded (they never woke me up). 

I remember watching it every time it came on, scouring that little HBO magazine for show times, and no matter what point in the movie it was in, I would start from there.  Vader boarding the rebel ship, or Luke on his landspeeder racing home to see Uncle Ben and Aunt Beru all dead and stuff, or Han Solo saying, "Great job kid!  Don't get cocky!".

So there is.  Fifteen movies that made an impact on my childhood, be it good (or bad)...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Movies That Defined a Youth Part I

I love me some movies, and always have.

The first movie I remember ever seeing, like, ever was The Muppet Movie.  I believe I saw it in the theater with my mom's BFF, Cathy Costillo, in 1979.  And it was cool.  I also remember seeing The Shining at a drive-in with my sister and my sister's boo (mom wasn't too happy I was taken to that one) and then Any Which Way You Can. 

Of course I saw movies all along as a kid, but the floodgates opened in 1987, when on my birthday, I was given a television and this device that allowed you to put shows on videotapes, that being a VCR.  And in 1987, that VCR was the size of a Daihatsu.  No joke.

And to add to the joy of moviedom, we had not only Showtime, but HBO in our house.  As a result, much of my allowance was spent buying blank videotapes, usually around $5 for like, two or something.  Now, at Wal-Mart, you can get a pack of 10 for about four bucks. 

Give it a year or two, and I had at least a hundred movies on video--if you used LP (lengthened play), you could put three movies on the same tape.  Yes, SP (standard play) was much better quality, but why have great quality with not as much when you can get decent quality with much more?

And with that came a few movies that I watched over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.  Remember, kiddies, there was no interweb (I was still two, three years away from my first interweb experience, that being Prodigy over at Greg Avant's house), there was cable and then... well, outside.  That's it. 

So, since its my website, and I love talking about movies (and lets face it, about myself... ask anyone.  better yet, ask me) I thought I'd give you a list of films that I would say defined my youth... and when I say "youth", I mean the time period that I was cognizant of what I was watching, say around 7 years old in 1982, to about 1989 or 1990.  How about a fifteen movie countdown?

15... "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"... Personally, I think "The Breakfast Club" is a superior movie, ranking on The Dave100 list, but Ferris was my first excursion into the world of John Hughes.  How much fun is this movie, though highly improbable.  "Danke Schoen" on a parade float?  Really?  Being something like 12 when I saw it, I seriously had no idea who sang it, and wondered for years if Matthew Broderick did it.

Personally, I think this is one of those films that rests on its reputation.  Don't get me wrong, its a fun movie and I still get a kick of out some of the parts--that Charlie Sheen cameo is priceless--but if you haven't seen it recently, go re-watch it.  You might find yourself thinking "Ya know, this movie isn't as good as I remember it being..."

14... "Mannequin"... Before she became the ho-ish chick on "Sex in the City", Kim Cattrell was actually attractive and somewhat respectable as she played Emmy, a woman from back in the day who befell a curse that kept her as a mannequin for centuries.  Enter Andrew McCarthy, who was riding his four years of popularity (I think Andy Mac is due for a comeback) who does windows for a department store, and there's Meschach Taylor who plays Hollywood, the over-the-top stereotypical gay designer and there's that guy from Police Academy and one of the Golden Girls and.... you know what, it doesn't matter.  Watching it recently, I can report to you that the movie a) doesn't hold up, b) gave us that awful Starship song "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" and c) is horrendously acted... and it rules. 

13... "Howard the Duck"... My my, how tastes change.  When I saw this movie on HBO, it was all I could watch.  Every time it came on, me and my cousin April would watch it.  It was so funny, I mean, he was a Duck!  And he came to Earth and was friends with that pretty chick from "Back to the Future" and there was potty humor and fart jokes and he's a duck!  How funny!

However, some years later, when watched from an older set of eyes, perhaps a little more discerning in what's good, what's good crap and what's simply crap, I must say... Oh em gee this movie is horrible.  I mean, absolutely terrible.  In every possible way, from the bad special effects to the bad acting to the bad plot to that really awkward, really uncomfortable scene when Lea Thompson and Howard get all cozy and though it doesn't show it, it alludes to somewhat personal things happening... which isn't an issue, except that HOWARD IS A DUCK.  I really have no plans to ever seen this piece of crap again.  And for that matter, this might be the final time its ever mentioned on this website. 

12... "Wall Street"... You'd think that a movie concerning life on Wall Street in New York City, set in 1987, wouldn't hold up, considering this entire profession rests on information, technology and the like being as up to date as possible.  Perhaps no American sector has changed as much as the twenty plus years since this movie was set to the present day.

And yet, it does hold up.  I didn't understand it, really, and to be quite honest, I still don't get alot of what is happening in this film, but what I do get is Michael Douglas' sheer brilliance as Gordon Gekko.  I still love this film, and consider it to be my 57th favorite film of all time. 

11... "Working Girl"... Now let's discuss a movie that does NOT hold up.  I have never found Melanie Griffith to be either pretty or a good actress, as she always looks and sounds exactly the same... thankfully, though, this flick has more that just Melanie to support it.  Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver, two people who are both pretty and possess great acting chops, carry her in this.

Its so dated, though.  I mean, the hair is atrocious, as are the outfits, the green lettered black screened computers and Alec Baldwin.   But, at its heart, "Working Girl" is a sweet story of "nice girls do finish first".  And yes, that is a young Kevin Spacey playing the jerkweed in the limo.

10... "Eddie Murphy: Raw"... becoming a Christ Follower some seven, eight years later, I gotta tell you, I should have never watched this movie at 12 years old.  Especially watching it enough to be able to quote most of it verbatim.

I would actually put my radio boom box stereo up to the television and hit "record", so I'd have an audio version of it.  Then, when we had free time in Music Appreciation class, me, Clay Fulford, Daniel Stephenson, Jason Smith and Greg Avant would go and listen to it in the majorette room.  No, the majorettes weren't there, I'm sorry to say, as I would have skipped Raw to hang out with Emily Ausley. 

9... "Good Morning Vietnam"... I'm not sure what it is about this film that made me watch it so much, but I just liked it.  At least then, anyway.  Robin Williams is frantic and all over the place, Forest Whitaker is a great sidekick and its funny, then serious, then funny then both.

Now?  Not so much.  I tried to watch it... oh, its still a well made film, I just couldn't get into it.  But that soundtrack rules.

8... "Ghostbusters"... Did you know that back in the day, you could rent VCRs?  No, I'm being serious.  And they weren't the big sail barges like I ended up getting in the late 80s, they were this big plastic case with a top loader that you put the tape in... I cannot imagine what today's youth would say if they saw such a thing. 

When this movie was released on video (and many people forget that it sometimes took years for the video release, not just months later like today) in 1986, my sister rented not only a VCR, but this movie for her and her kids to watch, then invited me to her house to watch it.  For whatever DHR-phone-call-deserving reason, my mama and papa didn't let me go.  I was so upset, I started crying... not just because I wanted to see "Ghostbusters", but also because I knew that if those rugrats saw it before me, they'd spend the next few weeks reminding me how cool the movie was and how I hadn't seen it yet.  Which they did.

And yes, this movie is cool and it completely holds up.  I daresay the ensemble of Aykroyd, Murray, Reitman, Moranis, Weaver and Ernie Hudson is one of the ensemble casts in history.  It works on every possible level, from effects to creativity to being something just so different (at the time). 

Try saying "Who ya gonna call?" in a crowded room, and see how many people say "Ghostbusters!"  Its a catchphrase that will never, ever die. 

Coming up... what movie made me beg my parents to wake me up to see the last 15 minutes, what movie kept me from sleeping with my arms off the side of the bed and what movie warned me not to [mess] "with the babysitter"?  Find out. 

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Ballad of HomeSlice (the story of Steph's stalker)

The following events happend last weekend, as they are written, with very few embellishments.  Some stuff you can't make up.


So, The Lovely Steph Leann and I are having dinner downtown, right?  We were sitting with MZ and her family having some food at Chris Z's... its this restaurant down by St. Vincent's, and was recently voted to have the best burgers in the city by Birmingham Metro Magazine.  And the Chris in Chris Z is the hubby of the Melanie in the MZ.  And the burgers are outstanding.

First Friday of every month is Middle Eastern night, where you can get fish and kibbie and hummus and all kinds of other stuff that I usually don't eat much of.   

Anyway, we are sitting at the table, about to enjoy our food, when The Lovely Steph Leann's phone rings.  She answers, has a confused look on her face, then hangs up.  Apparently, whoever they wanted wasn't The Lovely Steph Leann, and she couldn't hear them.  Rings again, she tries to listen, and I hear her say, "I think you have the wrong number," and she hangs up.

The phone rang again, so she gets up and takes it outside.  A minute or two later, she comes back to the table with a weird look on her face.  I ask her who it was, and she just shakes her head like she doesn't know.  She tells me it was a little weird.  The phone rings again, and she picks it up and shows it to me.  The screen says, "PRIVATE NUMBER."

The Lovely Steph Leann hands me the phone and asks me to please talk to whoever it is.  I take it and flip it open and say, "Hello?"  There is a gruff voice on the other end, probably ethnic (for all you libs, that's my politically incorrect way of saying though I cannot be sure, I'm strongly believing the guy was black based on his speech patterns, tones and voice influction) who says, "Yeah, I wanna speak to Stephanie."

I reply, "Well, she's not available right now.  Can I ask who this is?"
Suddenly, the voice on the other end begins to yell at me, using foul language and such, calling me a few names, and tell me I'm not her G-D answering machine.  I ask again who this might be, and again, I get called a few choice names and such.  I hang up.

MZ is looking at me funny, The Lovely Steph Leann is shrugging to me "I dunno..." and I just put the phone down.  The phone rings again, so I grab it and walk outside.  I answer with a "Hello?" and again, HomeSlice on the other end asks me for Stephanie, not calling her Lovely nor using "Leann".  Or "The" for that matter.  I ask "Stephanie who?", hoping against hope that perhaps he's looking for a Stephanie Jackson or a Stephanie Wayans or a Stephanie Winan... but no, he asks for her by full name.  I'm a little concerned by this turn of events in the conversation.

I hang up and immediately call AT&T, our service provider.  I get someone on the phone soon, and ask about how to block a call, or how to unmask a private number.  I am told that if the number itself is private, they cannot block it.  And they are not able to unmask it, and I'd have to go to a third party to do so.  I ask if they can recommend a third party that would be reputable, and she suggests "TrapCall".

In the meantime, HomeSlice has called The Lovely Steph Leann's phone two more times.  I go back inside and sit down, asking The Lovely Steph Leann to send it to voicemail if HomeSlice called again.  He does and she sends it on to voicemail.  And that's it for the night.


The next day, I've got my first Saturday at home since like, late April or early May, and The Lovely Steph Leann and I head to a double feature... being avid movie goers, we were interested in "The Social Network" and "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps", so we got tickets for both, and had a good ol' time being together for the day.  It was the first full Saturday I had off, and was able to spend at home (and by "Home", I mean just around here, not out of town somewhere) and frankly, I really enjoyed it.

We arrived home late afternoon, and I plopped in my customary recliner, turned on the 47" Big Screen Television, and then turned on what I knew would be the debacle of a football game, aka, Florida at Alabama.  The Lovely Steph Leann was unloading her purse, and she glanced at her phone.  She looked up at me, held up her phone, frowned and said, "Another one."

"What?" I asked, incredulously.  "HomeSlice called you again?"
"Did he just call?"
"Well..." she said slowly, "...they... they actually called twice in the movies and again a few minutes ago."
"Were you not going to tell me this?"
"I..." she stammered, "I... was going to tell you..."
"Alright, we are getting online, and we are going to block this call, and we are going to find out who this cat is."

I logged onto the website recommended by the spokeschick from AT&T, and looked around.  TrapCall is a site that will allow you, for $4.95, to hook up with a system to "unmask"--that is, find out who private numbers are--and then you can turn around and block that number from calling you.  According to the website, they call once, you send them to voice mail.  They call twice, their number shows up on your phone as "unmasked". 

Log on, block their number and if and when they call back, they get a message that your number has been disconnected.  I entered the information, did what I needed to do, sat back and though I didn't want HomeSlice to call again, I kinda wanted HomeSlice to call again, so I could learn the identity of a one Mr. Slice.

Not that I would know what to do if I did learn any numbers or names, but at least I'd know if my $4.95 investment paid off.


Sleepysleepysleepysleepy (noise) sleepysleepysleepy (what's that noise?) sleepy sleep sleep drowsy drowsy (why is that noise noisy?) drowsy drowsy waking waking waking wake awake

"Wha..." I mumbled, eyes half open, arm hanging off the side of the bed.
"hmphpaahhaaaa..." came the voice of The Sleepy Steph Leann a foot or so away from me. 

The clock said 5:29am, and since my clock is ten minutes fast (yes, I'm one of those people), its five twenty o'clock in the blessed blue morning.  I sense movement, sluggish and slow, but movement nonethless.  The Groggy Steph Leann reaches for her phone, which is going off. 

I am only slightly aware of it when the phone rings again, but become more alert as The Drowsy Steph Leann says, "Its our friend..."  I lay there wondering who in the world would call at 5am.  Is this a running joke?  Is it some get-high weekend where you have to prank call pasty white chicks a dozen times with tales of lurid fantasies and delusions of grandeur?  Would this guy even know what "granduer" meant?  Probably not.

Either way, I was slightly worried.  A little while went by before I could fall asleep again, and it felt all too soon when the alarm went off at 730.  The Lovely Steph Leann was already up and moving around--I had KidStuff at 830, and she was coming along.  She went to the bathroom to get into the shower, and I reached over for the iPhone.

I pulled up TrapCall on the mobile interweb and saw one name and number...

ANDREA WEATHERS (205) 567-0471

I pulled up the Blocked Number tag and set it up.


One of our baristas and his boo are having a baby.

So, Sunday night The Lovely Steph Leann and I are sitting in the home of MZ and her family, having some good laughs, eating some good food and just having those party, baby shower type conversations that you have at parties and baby showers. 

The Lovely Steph Leann's phone rings.  She reaches down amongst all the loud chatter, looks at it, frowns and hands it to me.  "PRIVATE NUMBER."  I just snatch it out of her hand, walk out of the room and answer it.

"Yeah, I need to talk to Stephanay..."
"She is unavailable.  Can I ask who is calling?"
"Naw, I need me some Stephanay..."

When I ask again who it is, he says his name is "Dang-a-lang".  He asks who I am.  I let him know that he's talking to "Stephanay's" husband, to which he says, "Aw, you the one she be callin' when she done with me..."

Then he proceeds to fill in the next minute or so with a Cinemax'esque type description of how he and my own wife spend their time together.  I say Cinemax, but at least Cinemax has the decency to pipe in Herman Beeftink music while the goings-on are going on. 

Rather than the belligerent tone that HomeSlice had carried in earlier conversations, he was actually rather pleasant... well, his voice was, discounting the vulgarity of every word.  Out of nowhere, there was a female voice in the background.

"Hey, HomeSlice... is that Andrea in the background?  Andrea Weathers?"  I asked politely.
"Uh..." for the first time, he stammered a bit, seemingly a bit off guard. "Is that... Andrea?  Uh... naw, that ain't no Andrea..."
"And is this (205) 567-0741 you are calling from?"
"Um, naw, this is... this is a pre-payin' phone..." HomeSlice said. 
"Tell you what, HomeSlice, since you obviously think that Stephanie and yourself have some sort of relationship, then she probably has your phone number.  Which means, if she likes you, and wants to, she'll call you, okay?"
"Give Andrea my best.  Have a great evening, HomeSlice."

I hung up, a little worried and nervous.  I mean, seriously, this guy knows The Lovely Steph Leann's full name, and hopefully that's all--but what else might he know?  I hopped on the iPhone and texted my buddy Moderate Brad, the Official Clouds in My Coffee Ombudsman.  We chatted for a few minutes about legalities, what is considered harassement, and what can be done.

And if it happens again, we'll deal with it.

Five days later, it hasn't happened.  And I figured I would write about it, as the more time passes, it becomes more humorous than anything. 

So, HomeSlice, if you are out there, please don't call again.  And Andrea Weathers, phone number 205-567-0474, please tell your brother/father/son/cousin/baby daddy/etc to not call.  Thanks.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

New Movies

So movies I've seen this week...

"Easy A"
"The Day the Earth Stood Still"
"The Town"
"The Social Network"
"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps"

Reviews coming shortly...