“She’s a special kind of stupid”

Posted in Humor, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2010 by macmystery

Sarah Palin obviously can't see Korea from her house.

I can’t claim that quote about Sarah Palin. An acquaintance of mine introduced me to it. But it’s so fitting, I had to borrow it.

On nutjob Glenn Beck’s radio show, commenting on the recent violence between north and South Korea, Palin said we should stand beside our North Korean allies. The only-slightly-smarter-than-her host corrected her.

“This speaks to a bigger picture here that certainly scares me in terms of our national security policy,” she says. “But obviously we’ve gotta stand with our North Korean allies.”

“South Korean allies,” Beck says.

Here’s a link to the audio.

Couldn’t she have just written this down on her hand?

Seriously? Ignorance must be bliss.

Go ahead run for president. Split the right wing vote and guarantee Obama another four years. I dare you.

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The Promise delivered

Posted in Music with tags , , , on November 6, 2010 by macmystery

Pitchfork.com posted a complete in-studio film and recording of Bruce Springsteen’s long-unreleased classic “The Promise” on Friday. It’s awesome.

I can’t wait for the box set on Nov. 16.

Enjoy.

He’s gay … he’s not gay … it’s none of your damn business

Posted in Family, Internet, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2010 by macmystery

So a couple of nights ago, I’m sitting in the living room with my wife Brooke. She’s got the laptop with her on the couch and she’s reading some other people’s blogs while I’m watching an episode of Psych on Netflix.

And she comes across this blog post from a woman about her son who wanted to be Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween. The woman talked about how much her son loved the character and his best friend, a little girl, also went as Daphne.

She also talked about the negative reaction the costume got from other parents.

She was very supportive of her son and basically told the other adults it wasn’t their concern what her son wanted to be for Halloween.

As my wife explained the woman’s blog, Nerdy Apple Bottom, and read the post to me, I found myself sympathizing with the mother.

So Thursday night, after work, I was working on the dashboard of my blog and noticed that her post about the costume, entitled “My Son Is Gay,” was the top post among all WordPress blogs.

(For what it’s worth, if you read the blog post, you’ll find that the title “My son is gay” is actually just the first line of the post. It’s immediately followed by “Or he’s not. I don’t care. He is still my son. And he is 5. And I am his mother. And if you have a problem with anything mentioned above, I don’t want to know you.”)

I didn’t think much of it, just thought I’d mention it to Brooke when I got a chance since it had sparked her interest.

Then at work on Friday, I was perusing CNN.com and found that her blog post had sparked an uproar. It was the top post on all the WordPress blogs because it had gotten more than a million hits in a day’s time.

She had gotten lots of feedback, mostly positive, but some negative and some downright ugly.

On CNN.com, there’s a video (click here) of her live phone interview on television. She holds her own with the reporter, who’s sympathetic, and a child psychologist.

I find it truly amazing the a 5-year-old child’s choice of a Halloween costume could cause such an uproar.

There are many people criticizing this mother for blogging about her son’s choice of costume. But that’s not what she did. She only blogged about her son’s choice of costume in response to the negative and ugly feedback she got from neighbors and other parents at her son’s school.

She told them to shove off. And she was right to.

It’s bad enough that we in this country spend a large portion of our time passing judgment on other adults.

But one 5-year-old’s choice of a Halloween costume … his choice to dress up just like his best friend … on a day, the one day every year, when everyone has the opportunity to pretend to be someone they’re not and it’s supposed to be OK … one 5-year-old’s choice of a Halloween costume shouldn’t cause this kind of furor. It shouldn’t draw venomous feedback from supposed adults and it shouldn’t make the national news.

In fact, the more I read some of the idiotic feedback she got, the more frustrated and angry I become, and he’s not even my child. I can only imagine what it must have been like to have to deal some of the people face-to-face.

And even after all of this, I’m at a loss of what to say.

My son and my daughter are free to pursue whatever dream they desire. I won’t dictate what road they take in life or who they love. I only hope that they grow up to be good people, they embrace their journeys in life and that they are lucky enough to find love.

I can’t imagine trying to dictate to them what should and shouldn’t make them happy. But I know I’m certainly not OK with anyone else trying to do it either.

So I guess if confronted with the same situation this mother was, I’d say the same thing she did in her blog post …

“It’s none of your damn business.”

A glimpse of Bruce Springsteen’s Promise

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by macmystery

Frank Stefanko's cover photo for Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town album.

Whatever mistakes NPR made in the handling of the Juan Williams situation, I forgive them.

For the next two weeks, they’ve guaranteed I can begin loving 15 of the 21 songs on Bruce Springsteen’s upcoming release, The Promise, subtitled The Lost Sessions: Darkness on the Edge of Town, a collection of 21 unreleased songs from the Darkness sessions.

NPR is streaming 15 songs individually, or you can choose to listen to them all together randomly in one stream.

No matter how you listen, the fact is that you can right here. At least until Nov. 16, the album’s release date.

Among the 15 songs are:

  • The original version of “The Promise.” Not only is this the centerpiece of THIS set, it very well may be one of Springsteen’s best, period. There was an updated version released on the 18 Tracks album, but it can’t compare to the original. Seriously, in my book, this is a top-10 Springsteen song.
  • Studio versions of “Fire,” made popular by the Pointer Sisters, and “Because the Night,” completed by Patti Smith. The lyrics are slightly different than the Smith version we’ve become used to.
  • “Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)” is basically an alternate version of “Factory,” which made Darkness. The music is essentially the same and it has that same country feel, but the lyrics are quite different. At least one line in the song, about Elvis Presley’s death, we would later see in “Johnny Bye-Bye.”
  • “Ain’t Good Enough For You” is kind of a goofy, fun, 60s-type pop song. It’s closer to something that might have made The River. But it’s not hard to see how it didn’t fit with Darkness.
  • “City of the Night” is a kind of a tight-but-mellow three-minute soul piece.
  • “It’s a Shame” has a nice guitar rhythm or groove going on between Bruce and Steven Van Zant.
  • “Save My Love,” for which there is a video that I linked to out of this post, is the only song of the 15 that was totally re-recorded. So it’s essentially a 2010 E-Street Band version of a 1978 Springsteen tune.
  • “Candy’s Boy” is one of two songs that eventually were combined and morphed into what we now know as “Candy’s Room.” (The other was called “The Fast Song” and essentially was the musical framework for “Candy’s Room”). It’s kind of slow and this version is cut from the one found on Darkness outtake bootlegs. But I really like it. why? I don’t know. I always have.
  • “Rendevous” is much the same as the live version heard on Tracks, but there are a couple of slight lyrical changes I’m not sure I like.
  • “The Brokenhearted” is a very Roy Orbison-esque song. The title gives away the subject matter.
  • There’s a heavier version of “Racing in the Street,” with some substantial lyrical differences from the track we’ve come to know. The core of the song remains the same though, and I think this one will grow on me.
  • “The Wrong Side of the Street” is another 60s pop song.
  • “Gotta Get That Feeling” recalls the Phil Spector sound, and there’s definitely an Orbison feel to it.
  • “Outside Looking In” is pure Buddy Holly.

The tracks NPR doesn’t preview are “Spanish Eyes,” “Talk to Me,” “The Little Things (My Baby Does),” “Someday (We’ll Be Together),” “Breakaway,” and “One Way Street.”

The Darkness outtakes still missing from this collection are numerous and include “The Way,” maybe one of Springsteen’s most romantic songs ever. There’s no telling if it will ever see the light of day.

Nonetheless, if you listen to these 15 tracks, and the other six on the album, I think you’ll find that even Springsteen’s cast offs during this period were gems.

List of the week: Doubling down

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by macmystery

San Francisco Giant Edgar Renteria, back, is congratulated by teammates after his three-run home run in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series.

Shortstop Edgar Renteria’s seventh-inning three-run home run in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series led the San Francisco Giants to a 3-1 win and a 4-1 Series victory against the Texas Rangers.

Renteria also had the Series-winning hit in the 1997 World Series for the Florida Marlins.

With the the homer, Renteria became just the fourth major league player to have the World Series-winning hit in more than one Fall Classic. And he joined quite an elite club.

Here are the major league baseball players who have had the Series-winning hit in more than one World Series:

 

WTF has Obama done so far?

Posted in Politics with tags , , on November 2, 2010 by macmystery

President Barrack Obama

So, what the $@&% has Barack Obama done so far as president?

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I thought I’d pass it along.

whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com

If you don’t like it, so be it.

I swear, we’re not crazy

Posted in Education, Family with tags , , , , , , , on November 2, 2010 by macmystery

I haven’t posted much on this blog since having a health scare in late April that affected my everyday schedule, particularly my schedule at work, for a while. Some things have returned to normal, but others will never be the same.

Most of my posts have been reposts of stories, photos, videos, etc. But basically little that I’ve written myself. This post is a break from that recent trend.

My son, Dylan, began his second year at a charter school this fall. He attended a different school in our district for 4K and 5K, but we made a change before first grade.

Dylan is ahead of his grade level, and my wife and I felt that the charter school offered flexibility that his regular public school couldn’t. Namely, the ability to work ahead to his level, rather than be held back with the class (A product of No Child Left Behind … rather no child gets ahead.).

Aside from a few hiccups here and there, which I’m sure most parents go through, the school has been wonderful and Dylan has thrived academically.

But socially, that hasn’t been the case.

Probably much like I was, Dylan has the misfortune of being far ahead intellectually of where he is socially or emotionally. And this has resulted in behavior issues.

Phone calls home have been common. Detention has been served. He’s made a few trips to the office.

None of the offenses were serious, but they were beginning to add up. No matter how well he was performing academically, we were having troubles behavior-wise.

My wife has long desired to be at home full-time and has long expressed the desire to homeschool our children. I was, and am not, as enthusiastic as her about the notion.

My sense of people that homeschool traditionally has been that they are those with the means (either wealthy or extremely intelligent) or crazy (send your donations in care of David Koresh, the messiah). I didn’t leave much room in between. Honestly, I still don’t.

For all of the drawbacks of public schools, and there are many, especially in the progressive (using sarcasm font here) state of South Carolina, one thing they provide that cannot be replaced by homeschooling, or private schools for that matter, is a trial run at life experience. Definitely, not all of the experience will be good, but there is a value to learning to deal with people unlike you — people who don’t think like you, look like you, believe like you, worship like you, behave like you … or like you. And in real life, that’s what you’re forced to do every day.

That being said, Dylan’s behavior was causing a problem, and in the latest incident (though we can’t really get anyone to tell us what, if anything happened), he was labeled a bully by a woman who works at the school.

Forget the fact that the chances of Dylan being a bully fall right behind Ghandi being a war-monger. The woman who made the accusation is someone who was involved in the founding of the school and will be there for the duration of Dylan’s time. Translation: Dylan will be branded a troublemaker, and that label will stick and he’ll have to deal with it as long as he’s there.

Despite good grades and amazing test scores, Dylan has been miserable at school lately, and Brooke is now at home full-time after leaving her job at a nonprofit. This time, when she brought up homeschooling, I didn’t fight.

I’ll admit, I’m not sure how I feel about it. And I don’t know if we did the right thing. But at least for a while, Dylan will be homeschooled. We’ve taken the plunge, and I’m up to my neck. I’ve no choice but to swim.

Brooke has taken or is in the process of taking all the legal steps, making sure we follow the rules or our state and district.

And Dylan had his first day of school at home Monday, spending time on spelling, vocabulary, reading comprehension, reviewing math skills … as well as his first taste of long division. And he got a tutorial on voting, with Tuesday being election day.

I don’t know if we’re doing the right thing. And I’m sure that I’m not sure what I’m doing. But at the same time, I won’t let him down. If I fail him, it won’t because I didn’t give my all.

I don’t think this is permanent. I foresee Dylan returning to public school at some point. My wife and I both are big supporters of public school (despite this move), and I think it’s important socially, as well. But I don’t know when. (I know I’m not teaching him chemistry!)

I’ve heard my wife tell people that we’ve prayed about this decision. Honestly, that usually means she’s prayed a lot more about it than me, but I’ve spent a lot of time going over the pros and cons again and again in my head.

Maybe some of this is our fault. Dylan’s never been to day care. He’s always been with one of us. He’s always gotten one-on-one attention. At school, he doesn’t.

Dylan’s a really smart, happy kid. But he’s got some growing to do to catch up with the kids his age. And until then, I think public school was going to be trouble for him.

Hopefully, we can work on some things at home that weren’t getting attention at school. And God willing, we’ll do more good than harm.

Because I don’t consider myself one of the crazies. And I hope when I look back on this decision down the line, I don’t see a crazy then, either.