Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Decay of the Eco-Friendly Home"

This week, Al and Tipper Gore announced the mutual disintegration of their marriage. For some reason, most likely because such a thing hasn't heard of such a thing since Jerry and Elaine broke up (Seinfeld), people just aren't buying it and have taken to mocking Al Gore. While Al Gore has certainly been dull in the past, something he's attempted to fix by becoming a stand up comedian of sorts (Futurama) and admittedly he has said some pretty stupid things, I for one am doubtful Al's love for the environment has anything to do with the divorce. That being said, I think Al's had his time fair share of roasting this past decade so I think I'll shift some heat over to Tipper.

In 1985 Tipper along with Susan Baker setup a group called Parents Music Resource Center. According to Baker, she was inspired to start the group when her seven year old daughter was caught singing singing some Madonna. While Tipper jumped on board when she came into contact with Prince's Darling Nikki. Gore's reaction to this song and ones like it: ""The images frightened my children, they frightened me! I am frightened! Way frightened! The graphic sex and the violence were too much for us to handle." (according to an unsourced Wikipedia entry). According to Gore and the rest of the PMRC the decline of the "nuclear family" and the increase of vulgarity in Rock/Hip-hop were directly correlated. They added that families were "haven[s] of moral stability" designed to shelter children from the harsh realities of world they lived in. Yet somehow the power of music proved to powerful for families and it had managed to begin "infecting the youth of the world with messages they cannot handle".

Upon hearing this, artist such as John Denver, Dee Snyder (of Twisted Sister), Frank Zappa all testified on behalf of musicians, while Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, Joey Ramone assisted from the sidelines. Zappa lead the pack stating "the PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years dealing with the interpretation and enforcement problems inherent in the proposal's design." And soon after stated he believed that this was all a cover-up for a new blank-tape tax and that "a couple of blowjobs here and there and Bingo! — you get a [bogus] hearing. Synder added that it wasn't he who was perverted, but in fact the Senate, as songs they claimed to be about sadomasochism and rape (Under The Blade) was acctually about his fear of an upcoming surgery. More importantly Synder stated "The full responsibility for defending my children falls on the shoulders of my wife and I, because there is no one else capable of making these judgments for us".
Gore and company, but mainly Senator Paula Hawkins jumped on this stating that"Much has changed since Elvis' seemingly innocent times" (Besides being the King of Rock, Eminem also dubbed Elvis one of the "First Kings of Controversy" in his song Without Me) and they weren't trying to censor anyone, but rather "take the element of surprise out of buying an album" and thus only assist parents. A nice yet non-evasive thought. However it is totally untrue, as they had the additional goal of rewriting contracts of profane artists, setting industry standards which could not be exceeded under any circumstances, and pressure stores and stations to prohibit the sales of objectionable material. Stores such as Wal-mart readily agreed. Furthermore, when the PMRC finally settled on a Parental Advisory sticker, it wasn't just applied to objectionable material. No, instead Gore applied it to political opponents in order to hurt sales. Most notably she slapped the sticker Frank Zappa's Jazz From Hell, a record that had no lyrics whatsoever and thus no reason to be considered objectionable. Luckily John Denver's famous in trial speech, "That which is denied becomes that which is most desired, and that which is hidden becomes that which is most interesting" proved true, as not only did Jazz From Hell win a Grammy but other far less appealing albums managed to become best sellers in part due to the sticker.

Although I personally do not find it immoral or wrong to separate from someone, and would in fact consider it immoral to stay with someone you no longer have feelings for, some would disagree. The point is that there is no set standard for morality on most issues and thus it is impossible to regulate. But for a person to decry Rock and Hip-hop as destroyers of the modern family and more generally the moral fabric of America yet at the same time being unable to maintain her own familial relationships is utter hypocrisy. I would love Tipper to respond to this statement, I would imagine she would embarrassingly attempt to tell me that the nature of her work kept her in constant contact with unsavory music and as a result, hero moral fiber slowly broke down over the years resulting in the eventual disintegration of her marriage. I however, agree with what Ice-T had to say in his song Freedom Of Speech

If you're too busy or to easily easily offended here are the highlights of why Ice-T thinks Tipper got divorced and why he thinks the PMRC is a failure in general.

"Yo Tip, what`s the matter? You ain`t gettin` no dick?
You`re bitchin` about rock`n`roll, that`s censorship, dumb bitch
The Constitution says we all got a right to speak
Say what we want Tip, your argument is weak
Censor records, TV, school books too
And who decides what`s right to hear? You?
Hey PMRC, you stupid fuckin` assholes
The sticker on the record is what makes `em sell gold
Can`t you see, you alcoholic idiots
The more you try to suppress us, the larger we get
Yo, you gotta be high to believe that
You`re gonna change the world by a sticker on a record sleeve"

Although at the beginning I said I felt Al had taken enough criticism from the general public, I'm going to conclude with a great shot at Al's massive ego I heard yesterday.
If Tipper gets half the internet in the divorce, who gets facebook and who gets twitter?

As always feel free to leave comments at our Formspring
Saturday, May 22, 2010

Un-Legislated Matrimony

Over the course of 2010 we've heard of the sexual exploits of Tiger Woods and Jesse James, and now with Jame's apology and Matt Lauer's own marital misconduct it's all going to start all over again. Sadly over the course of these past few months, the inconsiderate actions of three men have gotten more coverage than topics of actual importance. So the question arises, should we even care what this men do? The answer isn't as simple as yes or no. First and foremost as said in my past two articles, we should always be concerned with where are money is going. If we find the actions of any; a celebrity, athlete, team owner, station/network owner, store owner, etc we should ensure none of our money reaches their pockets. You may have to sacrifice something to ensure that happens, i.e. not watch your favorite sports team until it fires a certain player, or a certain network until it fires an immoral anchor. However, to continue patronizing the aforementioned person would be akin to telling them that their talent is more important than human dignity and that you would be o.k. with them continuing their thoughtless ways. But based on the reactions I usually get from my sports/entertainment related opinions, I feel it's safe to assume only I would be willing to make such sacrifices.

So other than that, should we care about an affair; something that has no bearing on our own life? To answer that we first have to ask ourselves if we should care about other things people do that have no bearing on our own lives. Should we care about people's gambling habits (only if it effects their children), should we care about people's drug use (only if it effects their children), should we care about people's sexual desires (i.e. laws against prostitution), should we care how many spouses a person has (assuming they are consensual) (i.e. laws against polygamy), should we care how much salt, sugar, fat, etc someone eats (i.e. NYC soda tax). With the exception of the last, one which one might care about because 1) when everyone must own health insurance, the unhealthy habits of the few raise costs for all and 2) sugars, fat, etc leads to obesity, and we all enjoy oggling a nice fit woman (or man), I really couldn't care less what others do in the privacy of their own home (or the home of some nameless flousy).

Having said that, I fully expect smarmy comments such as "but cheating on your wife isn't illegal". However, they would be wrong. A marriage license is acctually a legally binding contract between man wife and the government (or in the case of some more enlightened states man/man/government or wife/wife/government). Thus cheating on your spouse is breaking a contract and thus breaking the law. The penalty? half your current assets and a lifetime of alimony.

Besides, who really cares about the sacrament of marriage. Almost all the effects of marriage can be achieved through other means.

1) The ability to have your child not be called a bastard.
Solution: Simple, lie about your marital status, you guys secretly eloped.
Bonus: With all the new wave celebrity have/adopting children out of wedlock, it's acctually cool to be a bastard child now!

2) Tax Breaks
Solution: Alright, this is acctually a pretty good reason to get married.
Bonus: Tax breaks were designed to encourage marriage, procreation, and stay at home moms, when moms stopped staying home, the tax break lost it's purpose. So why not abolish the tax break for couples and sub in an all around tax cut?

3) The ability to visit your spouse in the hospital as family
Solution: Create a living will which adds your significant other as an acceptable visitor, subsequently pass legislation to allow hospitals computer access to living wills.
Bonus: An increase in living wills, could decrease the number of Terri Schiavo like cases we come across.

4) Strips the ability of your spouse to testify against you in a court of law.
Solution: Plead the fifth if you get sent to court.
Bonus: Unless you and your spouse are career criminals and one of you is a Bendict Arnold or you belief that spousal abuse is acceptable, pleading the fifth will work just fine.

5) Not happy? You get to give your spouse half your assets.
Solution: You want to give money away? Contact me at I'll tell you how you can send me a check instead.
Bonus: You still get to part with that money you despise so much and you don't have to deal with a messy divorce.

Please don't misinterpret my message, with the exception of what I said I still don't think any of us should care about what James, Woods, or Lauer does or doesn't do. In fact the only reason I wrote this article was because it's a hot button issue likely to attract readers, give me a chance to expound my various political ideals , and because I was able to write it with little to no mention of the actual men in question.

As always feel free to leave comments at our Formspring
Thursday, April 29, 2010

Immigrants in the Material World: A Free-Market Solution to the Immigration Debate

As the implementation date of the Arizona immigration bill creeps nearer and nearer the debate on what to do with migrant workers continues to heat up. Just as was true when the debate was a hot button issues in the early 2000’s, I am always surprised by the reaction such debates receive from the average American. We hear claims that immigrants are stealing jobs from hardworking Americans and that they are lowering wages for law abiding citizens. While this may sound logical to some, when you realize the group of people making such claims buy nearly all their manufactured goods from factories overseas and even manage to get some of their services from foreign countries , the assertion than loses all validity.

According to Jeffrey Nallinger’s “The New Free-Trade Heel”, America lost roughly 65,000 footwear related jobs between 1982 and 1989 after Nike closed their last United States factory in Saco, Maine in order to establish factories sin South Korea. In doing so the wage went from roughly $6.94 an hour to $1.03 a day per worker. Feel free to check out pages 145-147 in Before the Law

Aren’t the aforementioned wages “stealing” jobs from hard working Americans? If Nike, an American based company actually located its factory in the United States wouldn’t Americans be willing to make the shows provided they were paid minimum wage? The answer is of course yes Americans would do the job. But of course, you never hear the Americans opposed to “illegal immigration” arguing in favor of Nike replacing their workers with Americans. No, the only time you hear such claims are with companies such as Dell who outsource customer service. And even these complaints have nothing to do with loss of jobs for Americans, but rather the frustration of communicating with an ESL employee (English as a Second Language). So why are American’s opposed to having American companies hiring foreign employees on American soil, but not American companies hiring foreign employees on foreign soil? The answer has nothing to do with jobs, but I’ll let the readers answer that one for themselves.

So how do we deal with this problem, or rather perceived problem? The answer as is the answer for most things, is the free market. While ideally this would include repealing minimum wage laws, thus increasing total employment, decreasing the cost of goods across the board, and invalidating the argument of immigrants lowering the national wage. However, repealing the minimum wage law would be politically unpopular and thus highly unlikely. Yet a non-government solution to immigration is still possible; consumer sovereignty. This is entirely economics 101, all based upon supply and demand. According to consumer sovereignty, consumers can vote on a company’s policy by how many dollar votes they choose to give it. In terms of the current debate, those who oppose immigration would have three options to exercise this consumer sovereignty.

1) Research: Before you buy a product do research, discover if the company you are buying from either hires illegal immigrants, has lax hiring standards, or politically supports those support who the right of illegal immigrants to work in the United States. If you discover it does move on to step two.

2) Dollar Votes: Stop buying from a business whose practices you disagree with. Besides using your own dollars votes, you have the ability to influence the dollar votes of others. If you disagree with the hiring polices of companies, disseminate the information. Make it known that this company isn’t acting in a manner you find acceptable, call headquarters, email newspapers, send the information to news stations.

3) Hiring: The simplest solution. If you own your own company or even small business simply don’t hire illegal immigrants.

If the vast majority of Americans find illegal immigration so unacceptable and then choose to undertake the aforementioned steps, profits will shrink and businesses will be forced to stop hiring illegal immigrants.

Returning to reality, we know this will not happen, and not because businesses are unresponsive to the demands of it’s consumers. When given the choice (which they already are), Americans nearly always choice affordability over what they think is right. In fact some U.S. cities, such as Oakland California have vowed not to enforce federal immigration laws. Said cities cite they enjoyment of cheap labor that allows for revitalization of run down structures that would normally go unfixed due to prohibitively high cost of “legal” construction companies.

That being said, until Americans opposed to illegal immigration adopt a policy of buying only goods manufactured in the United States and manufacturing products not made in the United States themselves, until they admit that the problem of illegal immigration (if it really is a problem) is one created almost entirely by the American public, until they stop demanding low wage workers and low priced goods, and until they are willing to take a hit in the wallet for what they believe their claims of will go ignored by me.

*Even if these conditions are meet, I will continue to support the right of an individual to enter any employment market they so choose, without interference form the government, so long as said employment does not violate anothers right to life and liberty.

Feel free to weigh in at ETS Formspring

Monday, April 19, 2010

TNA Lockdown 2010

This was a really good PPV effort from TNA, the first TNA ppv in a long time that I can remember enjoying. I thought every match lived up to expectations, and in some cases went far beyond expectations. The booking? Well, to be honest, of all the things on this show, the booking was easily the worst aspect, but I've grown accustomed to that in TNA. In some spots on the show, in fact, the booking was downright horrible, but nothing that hurt the show in any truly impactful way. As most of you know, every match at Lockdown takes place inside a steel cage, and lets get on to reviewing those matches, which as always, are rated out of 5 stars (*****).

1. Rob Van Dam vs. James Storm

Whoever won this match would give his respective team the advantage in the Lethal Lockdown match later on. Very good opener. Crowd was super hot for everything they did. Van Dam bled quite a bit in this one. They traded some good near falls and worked at a great pace. RVD won after hitting the 5 star Frog Splash, which gave the babyfaces the advantage over the heels in the Lethal Lockdown, which is incredibly stupid. Aside from that, this was a really good opener. ***1/2

2. Escape the Cage Match
Homicide vs. Brian Kendrick vs. Alex Shelley vs. Chris Sabin

The winner of this match will be awarded a spot in the x-division title match later, because Doug Williams was stuck in the UK due to inclement weather and could not make it to the show. More on that later. Match was pretty short and there wasn't much to it. There were a few nice spots, and Kendrick actually bled, but this just never really got going and it ended rather quickly. Homicide won by escaping the cage. *3/4

3. Kevin Nash vs. Eric Young

Not as bad as you would think, but this certainly didn't tear the house down. Young tried, and Nash didn't stink up the joint, but this was still not good at all. Nash won with the Jacknife Powerbomb. After the match, Nash cut a promo saying that he would replace syxx-pac in the tag team match against Team 3D (because syxx-pac no showed the event...what a surprise). *1/4

4. Tara & Angelina Love (Knockouts Champion) vs. Madison Rayne & Velvet Sky (Knockouts Tag Champions)

All the titles were on the line in this match. This was excruciatingly bad. Madison Rayne pinned Tara to win the Knockouts Title. So Angelina lost the belt she won by getting lucky and opening the correct lockbox on Impact, and she lost it without being pinned. Vince Russo. Tara turned on Angelina after the match and threw her into the cage. Awful. 1/2*

5. X-Division Title Match for the Vacant X-Division Title
Kazarian vs. Shannon Moore vs. Homicide

Before I start, a question needs to be asked: why did they need to strip Doug Williams of his title? Did this match ABSOLUTELY need to happen tonight, or could it have been postponed? Yes, Doug Williams was stripped of his title because of an ACT OF GOD. Anyway, despite all this nonsense, the match was very good. The crowd was not into this at all early, but the work by all three men was so good that they were very into it by the end, and were popping big for all the near falls. Lots of great spots and three-way pin breakups. Finish was great, as Kazarian won after hitting a reverse tombstone piledriver on Homicide. By doing so, Kazarian becomes your new X-Division Champion. ***1/2

6. St. Louis Streetfight
Team 3D vs. Scott Hall & Kevin Nash

Brother Ray cut a promo before the match started, and explained that this was not going to be any old tag team match, but a falls count anywhere St. Louis Streetfight. Yes, a falls count anywhere cage match. Have you ever heard of anything so stupid? Anyway, the crowd was SHOCKINGLY into this match. They brawled all over the place, but they kept things rather simple and short. Brother Ray was locked out of the cage for a while while Nash and Hall beat up Devon. Ray eventually got inside after hitting the door with a chair, and eventually hit a 3D on Hall through a table for the win. This was MUCH better than it had any right to be, and it went the perfect length and the crowd loved it. I had no problem with any of this. **1/4

7. Escape the Cage through the Door Match
Kurt Angle vs. Mr. Anderson

This was a tremendous match, and it was one of those matches that I don't think anyone who saw it will ever to be able to forget it. The story of the match was that there was a key, and whoever had the key could open the door and escape the cage for the victory. Angle bled early. Anderson controlled the early part of the match and was getting a ton of heat. Angle eventually made a big comeback and hit something like 6 german suplexes in a row. Angle had several chances to escape, but instead chose to continue beating on Anderson. After some back and forth action, Angle decided to rip the kep out of the lock, and throw it away, so that neither man could escape. In fear, Anderson tried to climb up over the top, but Angle caught him and delivered a german suplex off the rop rope. Somehow, Anderson did not die. This wasn't enough, however. Angle, in one of the most horrifying moves I have ever personally witnessed, delivered a moonsault off the top of the cage onto Mr. Anderson. Again, through some miracle, both men are still alive. The match, though, still didn't end. Somehow another key appeared (don't ask questions) and Angle was about to leave, but Anderson flipped him the bird in desperation, and Angle decided he wanted to beat him some more. Anderson hit a low blow and mic check which took Angle by suprise, and tried to escape. There was some more back and forth action, and Anderson was about to escape, but Angle choked him out with his Warrior Medal, kicked him square in the balls while he was unconscious, and walked out the door and to the floor to a monstrous ovation. Despite some logic holes surrounding the key and some absolutely insane moves performed by Kurt Angle, this was an absolutely incredible performance. If you haven't seen this match, you really should go out of your way to see it. ****1/2

8. TNA World Heavyweight Championship Match
AJ Styles (c) vs. 'The Pope' D'Angelo Dinero

Another really good match. I thought Styles did a great job of carrying himself like a main eventer, and the Pope stepped up his game big time as well and the two had a great match. Lots of back and forth action and some close near falls. The finish was interesting, as AJ reached through the cage and took a cameraman's pen and used it to stab Pope in the eye. After that, he used this advantage to hit the Styles Clash for the pin. It was one of those finishes that you either liked or hated, but I didn't think it took anything away from the match. ***3/4

9. Lethal Lockdown Match
Team Hogan (Abyss, RVD, Jeff Hardy, & Jeff Jarrett)
Team Flair (Sting, James Storm, Robert Roode, & Desmond Wolfe)

The way this match works, two men start in the ring and wrestle for 5 minutes, and then every 2 minutes after that one member from each team enters the match. The team with the advantage gets a 2 on 1 handicap situation for 2 minutes untill the next man enters. Abyss and Roode started the match. Next was RVD, then Wolfe, then Jarrett, then Storm. After Storm Hardy was supposed to enter but Sting took him out backstage. Sting came out and gave the heels the advantage, until eventually Hardy came out and made the save to a huge ovation. The roof then lowered with all the weapons and everyone beat on each other for several minutes. Abyss chokeslammed Sting onto thumb tacks. Somehow Hardy and Beer Money all got onto the roof of the cage, and Hardy splashed James Storm through a table off a ladder set up on top of the cage, which was an incredible spot. While everyone was dead, Flair came out and started beating on Abyss. Of course, Hogan came out (to another massive pop) and he was going to beat up Flair with Sting's baseball bat. Ending was overbooked and frankly, stupid. Bischoff then ran in and talked Hogan out of hitting Flair. He then pulled out brass knux, and feigned giving them to Flair, but tossed them to Hogan instead. I guess knux are more effective than a baseball bat? Hogan proceeded to destroy Flair with the knux, busting him open. Flair was bumping around like crazy, he even took his shirt off and then took a bump into the tacks. Eventually Abyss just hit a Black Hole Slam on Desmond Wolfe for the victory, but it almost felt like Hogan and Bischoff beat Flair to win the match, which was weird. Despite the bizarre booking, the match was entertaining and had some good spots, and while not a really good match, I thought it held its own. It was also on a tough spot on the card having to follow the previous two matches. ***

Well there you have it folks. It feels like forever since I've said this, but that was a very good TNA ppv. If you haven't seen the show, I'd recommend shelling out the $34.95 to see it, if not for anything else other than the Angle/Anderson match. If not, just wait till it comes out on DVD, I think it's worth the money and I was more than satisfied when it was over.
Thursday, April 1, 2010

'Give me Vaughn.' '...You mean RICK Vaughn?'

With the NBA season nearing conclusion, it seems like a good time for me to make another case for the Andersons as two of the best players in the league, this time using the plus/minus statistic. Since it's a very concrete way of evaluating a player's impact on the game - by looking at the relative scoring by both teams while the player is in the game - it can be argued that the +/- stat is the most comprehensive way of evaluating players' success. On the other hand, since bench players' stats are going to be undoubtedly inflated when they play most of their minutes against other bench players, it can also be argued that the +/- stat is useless. When used correctly, however, +/- can tell us a lot about players' impact on games. With that in mind, let's take a look at the league leaders in plus/minus per 48 minutes (or, the theoretical amount by which the player's team would win if they played the whole game).

1. Anderson Varejao............... 12.048

2. Lebron James...................... 10.464

3. Chris Anderson.................... 10.080

4. Dwight Howard....................... 9.552

Exactly as I suspected. Four quality MVP choices, but the Wild Thing has my vote every time.

Early last month when the Cavs came to Jersey to annihilate the Nets, I decided I needed to finally see the pride of Brazil work his magic in person. The only problem was, because of a run-in with the NJSEA security several years back, I am not legally allowed to enter the Meadowlands Sports Complex. Ever. Not even the fucking racetrack. They have a picture of me holding up the piece of paper that says this. But with the help of my friend (pictured), I was able to fly under the radar and get an up-close look at Andy's afro (it's pretty great). Unfortunately for the Nets, the Cavs' pregame warmups were much more entertaining than the game itself. Whammy!

Predictions for the weeks ahead:

Duke cuts down the nets.

Tiger goes into "fuck you" mode and takes another green jacket by 8+ strokes.

Lakers get swept in the first round. Please.
Monday, March 29, 2010

WrestleMania XXVI

The 26th annual WrestleMania emanated from University of Phoenix Stadium Sunday night, with an attendance said to be upwards of 72,000 fans. Sadly, the show needed saving. The first half of this show, in my opinion, was not even close to WrestleMania quality, and before the main events started I thought this was a pretty poor edition of 'Mania. That being said, the main events, in particular Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, saved the show, to the point that I would say it was decent. Was it worth the 64.95? Not at all, and if you missed the show I wouldn't worry about ordering a replay. The only match you really should see is 'Taker/HBK part II. As for the review, matches are rated out of 5 stars (*****).

1. Unified Tag Team Championship Match
The Miz (c) & Big Show (c) vs. R-Truth & John Morrison

Match lasted 3 minutes and offered absolutely nothing of value. It felt like a midcard Raw match. 'Showmiz' won after Show made a blind tag and punched Morrison. *1/4

2. Randy Orton vs. Ted Dibiase vs. Cody Rhodes

The buildup for this was absolutely horrendous, but I will say the match was better than I expected, but I wasn't expecting much. Crowd really did treat Orton like a huge babyface, which was funny to see, and everything he did got a big pop, especially the finish. Unfortunately, the finish was also a total burial, and Legacy came out of this looking like total jobbers. Match was fine though, but had no business being on a WrestleMania card. **1/4

3. Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Christian vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Evan Bourne vs. MVP vs. Kane vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Matt Hardy vs. Dolph Ziggler

This was a very good match. There were the usual ladder spots but they had some very creative ones as well, inlcuding Kofi using a broken ladder as stilts to try and climb up to the briefcase. There were some sloppy spots, but overall the execution of all the moves was solid, despite there being a lot of wrestlers working the match. Another thing of note is that Kane had NEW TIGHTS~!~! for the first time since September 2003. At the end Christian was about to win, but Jack Swagger slammed his head with the case, and in a moment where time stood still, took about 40 minutes to get the briefcase off the hook. Despite this botchery, the match was quite enjoyable. ***1/2

4. Triple H vs. Sheamus

This match wasn't anything special but it was better than I expected. Still, slightly above average matches were up and down this card and that has no place on a WrestleMania show. Another thing I did not like about this match was the outcome. There was no way Hunter should have won this match, and the fact that he didn't give Sheamus a big win says a lot. Match was fine though, and there were some pretty good near falls and the crowd got into it by the end. **1/2

5. Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk

Most dissapointing match on the show. For the amount of time they got, it was good, but unfortunately they only got 6 minutes, so great this was not. It wasn't their fault because they got cut on time, but this was very frustrating. Could have been one of the better matches on the show, instead it was merely OK. **

6. No Holds Barred Lumberjack Match
Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon

Oh. My. God. This sucked. It started when Vince came out with the rest of Bret's family, and said they were working against Bret tonight. Then, in a 'swerve,' his family turned on Vince and it turned out it was a set up again. So Bret screwed Vince. Yee Haw. His family then became lumberjacks. Match went 10 minutes, and it consisted of Vince being beaten up (badly) on the outside by the Hart family, and then Bret weakly hit him with a crowbar for a long time, and then hit him with a chair for a while, and then put him in the sharpshooter. The crowd, was utterly silent. When this was over, it made me wish Bret hadn't come back, because this sendoff was even worse than when he got screwed. Both guys could barely move. This was just sad. -*

7. World Heavyweight Championship Match
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Edge

Show started to pick up at this point, but not by a whole lot. Match was good but not at the level of a main event world title match at 'Mania. It built very slowly, but when when it was starting to get good it ended. Jericho retained (shockingly) after a belt shot behind the refs back and a codebreaker. Match was good but nothing special, would have been better had it taken place at another ppv and not the biggest show of the year. ***1/4

8. 10 Diva Tag Match
Michelle McCool, Layla, Alicia Fox, Maryse, & Vickie Guerrero
Kelly Kelly, Mickie James, Eve Torres, Gail Kim, & Beth Phoenix

This was horrendous. I mean, just an abortion of a pro wrestling match. Finish came when vickie did a frog splash off the ropes onto Kelly Kelly, and even though it was supposed to be the finish, the ref counted two and said that Kelly's shoulders were up (which they were, but Christ just count the pin anyway), and then Vickie stood up, went back down, and just pinned her again. Awful. DUD

9. WWE Championship Match
John Cena (c) vs. Batista

The most predictable match on the show (how shocking). I mean, if you thought Cena was going to lose this match you need your head examined. This was not pretty early. They managed to botch a suplex, and Dave nearly killed Cena with what was supposed to be a rolling DDT. They were also doing some sort of bear hug / choke spot that was baffling to see. Cena at one point did a 5 knuckle shuffle off the top rope, and missed Dave by about 10 feet to the point that it was hilarious. Well, would have been hilarious had this not been the biggest show of the year. That being said, the crowd was super into this match by the end it turned out to be pretty good, and they did have a good finishing sequence and traded some exciting near falls. One of those was the same spot they did at Summerslam 2008, where Cena jumped off the top into a Big Dave bomb. Unfortunately, when they did it this year, they totally fucked it up. I was wondering if Cena broke his neck again. Anyway, by the end I thought the match was good and the crowd enjoyed it, but it was predictable and utterly too sloppy for me to give this a higher rating than 3 stars. ***

10. No DQ Match "Streak vs. Career"
Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels

This match saved the show, and I wouldn't be surprised if this won match of the year for the second straight year. Just a spectacular match with two of the greatest of all time. I don't like comparing this to last year's match, but I'd say it was as good, but not better. Definately a match you need to see. At one point Shawn gave 'Taker a moonsault off the top rope through the announce table, which was utterly insane. There were some great near falls, both guys kicked out of each other's finishers. Just a tremendous main event, one of the better matches in WrestleMania history. After the match Shawn and 'Taker shook hands, and then Shawn had a nice moment standing in the ring to a standing ovation. Is Shawn's career actually over? Only time will tell, but if he had to pick a match to go out on, I can't blame him for making it this one. ****3/4

Do not pay $64.95 for this show. This was not an awful ppv, but I would not classify this as a good WrestleMania. The main event was the only thing worth rewatching on the entire show, and the rest was pretty forgettable. Who would have thought the the two oldest guys on the roster would save a show two years in a row? Unbelievable, I miss HBK already. Hopefully Undertaker doesn't soon follow.
Saturday, March 27, 2010

Entertainment Tomorrow

With the recent passing of Corey Haim, one has to wonder what the future of the American Entertainment Industry is. While Corey certainly wasn’t the draw he was when he was teaming with Corey Feldman in the mid 80’s, he was still active as an actor, recently appearing in Crank: High Voltage and a slew of other minor movies. However the loss of Corey’s star power isn’t what will change the face of Hollywood, it’s the alarming trend that this death perpetuates that will. I’m referring not only to the tendency of child actors to become involved with drugs as early as their preteens, but also for their inclination to continue to screw up, even once out of adolescence. Of course the two Coreys fit in the aforementioned class, with Haim admitting to drinking his first beer during the filming of 1986’s Lucas (during which he ranged from 13 to 14) and his first joint during the filming of The Lost Boys in 1987. While the filming of The Lost Boys started with a joint, it ended with Haim addicted to drugs such as crack and valium, problems he battled to his final days. The 80’s and early 90’s is filled with such tales as stars such as Brad Renro and River Phoenix (star of the hit movie Stand By Me and brother of Joaquin Phoenix), their initial success lead him not to a lifetime of fame, but rather heroin, methadone, speedballs and early graves. Fame has seemed to have a similar but less destructive effect Joaquin as he recently abounded his successful acting carrer. Although given the fact that both Phoenix brothers spent time under the cult “Children of God”, it is possible their bizarre behavior came from the abuse suffered there.

Other stars of the 90’s fared slightly better:

Haley Joel Osment (star of Sixth Sense): Flipped his car while under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, but managed to escape with only a DUI and a moderately successful career.

Jodie Sweeten (star of Full House): Fell into a life of crystal meth use managed only suffer a life of obscurity and lame Full House jokes.

Drew Barrymore: Corrupted earlier than most childhood actors, Drew has claimed to have started smoking by 9, drinking by 11, using marijuana and hard drugs such as cocaine by 12, and in rehab by 14. Somehow, Drew managed to straighten everything out and has since gone on to bigger and better things than her intial E.T. appearance.

Macaulay Culkin: After massive hits such as Richie Rich and the first two Home Alone movies, Culkin quickly turned into Macaulay Crackhead. Well really it was marijuana and prescription pills, but you get the picture. While a large portion of this decline can be attributed to his fame, his parent’s rocky relationship as well as his questionable relationship with Michael Jackson likely exacerbated his problems. Today Culkin is doing better than most of us, not only taking on odd acting jobs here and there, but more importantly dating Mila Kunis .

Bonus: The kids of the Mickey mouse club. The Mickey Mouse Club is often treated as the director of the train to success. In recent years, however it has been blamed when said trains accelerate too rapidly and derail.

Britney Spears: Exploded into fame at the age of 16 with Baby One More and quickly plummeted from there. Marrying friend Jason Allen Alexander in 2004 for 55 hours and then backup dancer Kevin Federoline for an amount of time deemed far too long by all. Soon after she entered drug rehab for a mere 24 hours, shaved her head and frequently drove with her children on her lap. Since this collapse, Brit has gotten her life on track and actually managed to become bigger stars than the problems she possessed.

Lindsey Lohan: Unlike Brittney, Lindsey has been under the “watchful” eye of Disney nearly her entire career. Besides her parents marital trouble, things went smoothly from The Parent Trap to Freaky Friday. However soon after, Lohan had a series of car accidents due to “the stress of her prospering music career” and the constant hounding of the paparazzi. At this point Disney tried to take her back under their guidance by giving her a part in Herby: Fully Loaded, a terrible decision due to her recent car accidents. Alas Disney failed, and Lohan has since spiraled further into a life of drinking and drugs.

So what does this all have to with the future of entertainment? Well if you couldn't figure it out from the picture, I pity you. But just in case I'll tell you, like last week the answer is government related. In the past couple of years, the government has deemed it necessary to get involved in issues related to athletic entertainment. I’m not referring to the Annual Congressional Baseball game either (which the democrats won 15-10, after losing for the past 8 years). Instead, I am referring to the 2005 Congressional hearings on steroids in baseball. Similarly in 2008 after the death of Chris Beniot, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and TNA President Dixie Carter were called to testify on their current steroid testing policy. The basis of the hearings was congress belief that Americans have no free will and that the MLB and WWE have become the sole parents of all our nations children. As such, one is likely to think that Hollywood is some sort of cooler older brother and has influence over these kids as well. That being said, how long before we see congress sopena SAG (Screen Actors Guild) and demand random drug testing of actors before the release of their films or television shows? How long before the FCC treats the personal lives of actors and musicians as interpretable “language” and claims the right to censor such personal actions by demanding that these entertainers clean up their acts or leave the entertainment industry?

Next time you get upset with tax hikes, remember it's because Congress spends it time ogling, drooling over, and questioning their favorite athletes, occasionally they even ask for autographs in the guise of official government documents. There are a lot more important and fixable problems in the country than what Mark McGuire puts into his body and hopefully congress will remember that.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

April 15th Just Got a Whole Lot Easier

For as long as most of our readers can remember April 15th has been a deeply dreaded date. A large portion of this hatred comes from the fat that on this date they are forced to see their hard earned money taken from them in the blink of an eye. This however isn’t the only reason the date invokes a feeling of uneasiness deep in the pit of our nations stomach. No, that arises from the plethora of intricate laws regarding what is/isn’t tax deductible. This dread has caused Americans to branch into two main categories 1) pay the full percentage of your income tax out of fear you will make an excessive deduction and will be audited. 2) pay a tax group to uncover minute and wordy laws in order to ensure every penny that can be deducted legally is.

However, this year I, in conjunction with Senator Harry Reid, plan on making things a hell of a lot easier for the average American.

That’s right, according to Harry Reid taxes are voluntary. So in the coming weeks as you fill out your tax forms, feel free to deduct the full amount of your income. In that little box that questions the reason for such a large deduction, simply write in “Harry Reid Voluntary Tax Rule”. (See disclaimer at the bottom of the page).

If this wasn’t a video of a high powered government official in charge of millions of dollars and millions of lives, it might actually be comical. Regardless of whether or not you approve of the welfare programs being discussed in the video, you should be able to acknowledge Reid’s thick as a brick, blatant ignorance, or his flat out lie. According to Reid (for those too lazy to watch the video), because the government allows us to fill out our own tax forms, we are volunteering when we fill out said forms. Reid argues that in other countries, taxes are automatically deducted from all profits, thus ignoring two things. 1) It is impossible for even the most intrusive government (short of one based on Orwell’s 1984) to learn of the average private transaction, let alone properly tax it. 2) Companies often withhold wages (Google Adsense) until a W2 (or other appropriate tax form) is filed out. As Jan Helfen points out, the government is graciously giving the option of prison or payment. Again you may agree with the current tax system and believe that taxes are what keep our country running. However to claim that we can choose not pay taxes is absurd. Just because you can sit on this portion of your income for eleven months before it is reposed, doesn’t make it volunteer work or charity when you finally pay.

Disclaimer: Not paying taxes or deducted 100% of your income via the Harry Reid rule or any of its variants, will result in an audit, prison, fine or other government sanction. If you choose to not file taxes be aware you are practicing civil disobedience and you will pay the price (and possibly reap the rewards of drawing attention to your belief system).

If you were interested in this article may I also suggest this video: Watch as Nancy Pelosi tries to explain why she is able to pay staffers below minimum wage, but someone desperate for a job at McDonalds (or any other low-skilled job) in tough economic times cannot offer their labor cheaper in order secure one of the limited number of jobs available.

As always feel free to leave comments at our Formspring
Sunday, March 14, 2010

Alternative Lullaby Series Rocks Youth Straight to the Therapist

As children we were all bombarded with lullabies to sooth us to sleep. Yet, despite a solid two straight years of listening to this genre few if any of us still follow its major artists. So why have we all abounded a sound that was so integral to us in our developmental years? Most would say because the style; the instruments, the beats, the harmony, and the lyrics are designed exclusively for babies. However, the aforementioned “most” would be wrong. The real reason for the lack of excitement about up and coming lullaby artists, is that they all play the same exact songs. Such a business plan has hindered any lullaby artist from cracking the charts or having any long term success. After two years of hearing nothing but “Rock –A-Bye Baby” , “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, and “Hush, Little Baby” even the most simple minded are likely to get bored with and despise a song no matter how they change it up, what artists sings it or what instruments they use. Fortunately for music lovers everywhere some labels have realized that there is an adult lullaby market, and thus a reason to rework their traditional style.

Ironically the most thriving of these emerging Lullaby labels, takes its name directly from the often overplayed Rock-A-Bye Baby song. Keeping with tradition of the great lullaby artists of the past, Rockabye Baby utilizes key instrumentals, such as xylophones, glockenspiels, wind chimes, triangles, and light woodwinds, , all the while incorporating some ground-breaking uses of organs, mellotrons and keyboard. That being said, artists signed to the Rockabye Baby label are no more original in terms of creating songs. While the label certainly sent shockwaves through the music world with its recent innovative releases, ETS Daily cannot ignore the fact that all the artists signed are simply cover bands. Among recent albums are Lullaby Renditions of Queen,, Metallica, Radiohead, The Cure, Pink Floyd, Smashing Pumpkins, Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, U2, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Coldplay, Green Day, The Eagles, No Doubt, and Journey, however for time’s sake, I will simply cover “Lullaby Renditions of Nirvana”. Released in 2006, the album covers some of Nirvana’s biggest hits making , many of them hits of their own. The album starts with “In Bloom”, although the introduction is a bit off from the original, it is still a masterpiece symphonic agreement. Like all the songs on the label, the song is nearly identical note wise, and is merely stripped of its lyrics. Stripping the song of its lyrics was certainly a controversial move, but it was a logical one. Lyrically Nirvana songs rarely make sense and often deal with graphic details likely to frighten young children. That last point is an interesting one, considering instrumentally Rockabye baby had no such qualms regarding upsetting young listeners. Nearly every song on the album includes a deep piano/organ section which gives off pretty horrifying vibe, the best example comes in around :30 second of “Come As You Are”.

Admittedly, the first thing that comes to mind when hearing these eerie instrumental, is a demented circus. In my head I ice cream truck being driven by some sort of rouge circus crew, blaring music in an attempt to hypnotize children to do something undoubtedly evil (as in Twisted Metal’s Sweet Tooth).

However, this is by no means a criticism; in fact I commend Rockabye Baby for revitalizing a stale genera. More importantly, I thank them for realizing that it isn’t just infants who are in despite need of sleep, and that Adults too can utilize the relaxing vibes given off by the soothing yet eerie sounds of lullaby Lullaby isn’t music designed for newborns or infants, its merely a genre and like any genre some artist are designed for adults, some for children and some for all ages. . I am fairly certain playing this music for a child would cause vivid nightmares; however this is doesn’t mean Rockabye Baby should stop with these wondrous pieces of art. On the contrary I would love for them to cover all of Nirvana’s songs in this style and throw away any inhabitations about isolating younger listeners. As I said before, Rockabye Baby has a good business plan, and as such they heeded my advice before it was given. They have already covered such adult themed musicians as Tool, Nine Inch Nails, and plan on doing covers of Black Sabbath and Kayne West (Golddigger?). They have even done a cover of Guns N Roses’ Mr. Brownstone, granted there are no lyrics in their version, but it is still a song with deep ties to drug addiction (brownstone is street for heroin)and is certainly not designed for children. Such risqué moves have earned Rockabye Baby support from Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett , celebrities Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, and Denise Richard (once dated Bon Jovi Guitarist Richie Sambora).

Before I put my own stamp of approval on the this CD, I feel compelled to issue one complaint about it. Anyone who has heard of Nirvana in anyway shape or form has heard of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Yet somehow the creators of this cd have managed to mess up the famous and distorted opening rift. While the song certainly falls back into sync with the original after about the 30 second mark, it is extremely disheartening that they didn’t use some alternative instrument to achieve a more accurate sound. That being said the song really starts to come into its own around the 50 second mark and I suggest you give it a listen and come to your own judgment. Personally I enjoyed the album, and made it part of my collection. It’s helped me get through many a sleepless nights and I hope it can do the same for you.

I leave you with this Earlier I made a comment about these lullabies causing nightmares, while if you thought that was made try falling asleep to this.

As always feel free to leave comments at our Formspring

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ray Charles: Generations Blindness to One Man's Insults

If life was like a game of Family Feud and Ray Charles was the topic the answers would likely look like this. 2) Piano 3) Sunglasses 4) Jamie Foxx Bio-Pic 5) Musical pioneer. Number one would likely be cute little old blind man, unless of course everyone in the survey pool was like me, than survey would likely say “antagonizer”. For those of you who have seen the movie Ray, this likely isn’t all that far-fetched as you already knew of Ray’s checkered past such as his Heroin addiction. But for the benefit of those who still view Ray as an innocent old man allow me to explain.

As much as Ray is known for his “banging and swaying” style on the piano today, early on in his career he was known for something entirely different; disrespecting the Church. When I first learned of this shocking de velopment it made sense, perhaps Ray was bitter and saw this as an attack on God for leaving him blind. However I was wrong, as Ray was not born blind but, was rather blinded because of an eye infection from contaminated water that was left untreated. So it is unlikely that Ray had any qualms with God. No, Ray simply loved pushing the envelope.

Ray , unlike modern day trouble makers, who merely spew out offensive SoundBits in order to gain free publicity. Ray was talented and his talent gained him all the attention he wanted, he caused controversy, because he legitimately enjoyed doing so. Even more impressive, Charles didn’t have to just say offensive things, he actually worked them into the structure of his music, thus killing two birds with one stone.
Example 1) “This Little Girl of Mine”: In this piece Ray strips the famous gospel hymn “This Little Light of Mine”. Normally this song tells a story of one who finds faith in God and decides to share this new found faith with the world. Doing so by shining the light of God on them in hopes they too will see the light. Ray however makes it a tale of a man whose found a woman who “loves him even when he’s bad”, calls him up late at night for dates (booty calls) and stops traffic with her scantily clad body.

Example 2) “What’d I Say Part 2”: Although this song isn’t based on any particular hymn, it is once again an example of Ray taking the gospel hymn style and secularizing it. Unlike Ray’s other songs, this song was not preplanned, but rather was born out of Ray’s need to fill the last few minutes of a live set. To do so Ray and The Raelettes improvised using the call and response method often employed by African-American churches. Except, rather than cries of “Praise Jesus” followed by howls of “hallelujah” or “amen”, there was the moans and very sexual groans of Ray and the Raelettes. This isn’t just the opinion of one eccentric write either, on the subject of this song Ray had this to say. “I'm not one to interpret my own songs, but if you can't figure out 'What I Say', then something's wrong. Either that, or you're not accustomed to the sweet sounds of love.” Fans agreed as part 2 was boycotted nationwide, while part 1 was played even on white radio stations (controversy creates cash). Eventually, this became Ray’s first album to go gold (sex sells). Lyrics starts around the 1:35, while the 2:00 features one of the first instances of an artist talking about a women shaking her ass and part 2 starts around 4:30, but feel free to listen to the whole thing, because it’s great.

3) “I’ve Got a Woman”: This song once again utilizes both the beat and lyrics of a famous gospel hymn, this time drawing from “It Must Be Jesus” and “My Jesus is All the World to Me”. The initial hymn was about how Jesus is the center of our lives and how he gives us the strength to do all things. Charles’ version however spoke of a sugar momma, who not only provided Ray with money to do nothing all day, but also provided him with “lovin’” both day and night. Furthermore, mainly will recognize the style as a model for Kayne Weste song “Gold-digger” , which ironically deals with the reverse topic. Although Kayne is often chastised as a scum-bag extraordinaire, in this instance he did the right thing and gave Ray posthumous credit for writing the song (although this may have just been at the urging of his legal team).

Honorable Mention: “Let’s Go Get Stoned”: Deals with Ray’s recent stint in rehab and the lure drugs still possess.
If I haven’t destroyed Ray’s pristine image yet, I leave you with this, according to Jerry Wexler who often worked with Ray, "We didn't know shit about making records, but we were having fun".1 Cheers to Ray and company for their complete lack of professionalism and ability to have fun at the expense of others. If only others would be willing to drop the overly PC (politically correct) attitude our society has developed and live for themselves.

As always feel free to drop a comment at our formspring

Sources: 1

New York Soda Tax Claims to Sweeten Up Life

For the past few weeks everyone in the tri-state area has heard about the impending New York City soda tax, however few if any know much about it. Surely you have heard the government claim that this is a direct assault on childhood obesity. That the low cost of soda in comparison to healthier yet more expensive 100% juice alternatives, leads the poor to be disproportionally overweight, a strong juxtaposition to the times of King Louis VI when it was the poor who wore bare bones not rich celebrities. While these claims make sense to some, to those who critically think you will see a plethora of holes in this logic. As a one time cashier at a food store I will admit that some unhealthy meals such as high fat tv diners are certainly more affordable than the more expensive meals which include requirements from all 5 food groups.

However, to say that raising the price of soda will in any tangible way decrease soda intake, is a fallacy. Personally at my local grocery store, one can acquire a 3 Liter Store Brand Soda for $1.19 while a 2 liter Pepsi will set you back $1.50 and a and an even smaller 20 oz Pepsi from the mini fridge would be $1.49 (meaning $.01 an ounce for store brand $.02 ounce for Pepsi and a whooping $.07 an ounce for a cold Pepsi). Despite this extravagant markup none of the customers I have been unfortunate enough to checkout seem to mind and continually pick the name brand over cheaper alternatives, some going as far as to but back actual necessities in order to keep the soda when the bill is too high.

To quote Larry David on a recent episode of Marriage Ref, "These people are moronic,I don't want to help them." This isn't just how I feel, it is the feeling of the government too, albeit in a more roundabout way. So why is the government getting involved if they don't really care? Some might say that the government has a deal with companies who make products such as Juicy Juice, others still might claim the government is planning some world wide beauty pageant and is preparing by getting all Americans to look their best. While certainly anything (bad) is possible when the government is involved, these outcomes are highly unlikely. What is likely however is a preemptive strike, the government preparing for a future involving a public health care option. And for the first time in a long time the government is actually seeking to be efficient and reduce costs, and is doing so by trying to create a healthier America. Less obesity means less costs for the government, a healthy and happy life for all Americans was never once contemplated. It's a shame that, that a country that once sought to purge the world of fascism, has turned to it itself.

When the Romans began down this road of government intervention in every aspect of society, they allowed people their "bread and circuses" to pacify the public. Although this was wrong it at least should some compassion and some acknowledgment that the government was overstepping their bounds, and owed the people something for doing so. America, on the other hand has been slowly stripping the average American of their individual rights since the days of FDR. But unlike the Roman's the U.S.A doesn't even have the common decency to allow us our bread (taken by this new soda tax) or our circuses (slowly dismantled by the FCC).

Always the optimist, I can see some positive in this oppressive new tax. 1) an expanded black market for soda will spur individual creativity, and most likely lead to sodas that not only ignore current regulations regarding sugar content and calories, but also expand upon the current list of flavors. Perhaps well see some new innovative flavors spring up in your friends basement, cotton candy, ice cream or even alcohol based sodas. 2) Open up an underground foreign soda market. Like one this would reintroduce Americans to some flavors we have become out of touch with, such as the coffee based Coke Blak. 3) Failure. The most alluring of all the possibilities is failure. As said before a black market will arise, the poor will grow poorer and the fat fatter as they continue to consume soda, stores will refuse to collect the tax, and just as was the case with alcoholic prohibition more soda will be consumed than every before.

If you live in an area effected by this tax, or even if you don't, I urge you to write, call, and otherwise bombard you local representatives with emails. Protest the tax, suggest alternatives, send this article, and tell them that if they feel like regulating anything they should start by regulating themselves.

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