Archive for May, 2006
This week on the podcast, we turn the mic over to you, our faithful listeners. Various family and friends check in and we have a grand old time joking around about beer, Dungeons and Dragons, and whereever the heck Luke went off to (he’s MIA for most of the show). Listen to it now, won’t you?This post has related audio! Listen to the show over at Happy Time>.
We generally make a mess of this week’s podcast. Not that it’s all our fault– Skype was really lagging for some reason this week. But, from some point of view, you could probably blame the banjo and the repeated faux dinosaur screams on us. So there’s that.This post has related audio! Listen to the show over at Happy Time>.
If you haven’t listened to the podcast yet, you’re missing out, big time. This week we talk about all those unsolved mysteries in the universe: college graduation, laundry, why the St. Louis Cardinals decided to build a new ballpark when they already had the greatest one in the world. You know, the really cosmic stuff.This post has related audio! Listen to the show over at Happy Time>.
I just drew this pig:
And here’s what it says about me:
I drew the pig towards the middle of the page, which means I am a realist.
I drew the pig facing front, which means I am direct, enjoy playing devil’s advocate and neither fear nor avoid discussions.
My pig is not very detailed, so apparently I’m emotional and naive, and care little for details and am a risk-taker.
I drew only two legs on my pig, which means I am insecure or am living through a period of major change.
The size of the ears I drew indicates how good a listener I am. I drew medium sized ears, so I’m a good listener.
And apparently the length of the tail indicates the quality of your sex life.
And again more is better, and yet I drew a small tail. (ouch – ed.)
By the way, my pig’s name is Piggy McPiggerson. In case you were wondering.
More podcast fun, as this week we talk about YouTube flicks, a movie so interesting it can be identified only by letters (and a number), and a surprise guest appearance by a talking console. Listen, or regret it you will.This post has related audio! Listen to the show over at Happy Time>.
Today’s my birthday! One of my birthday pleasures when I was a kid was opening up the papers to the horoscopes and reading the “If Today Is Your Birthday…” part, because 364 times out of the year, that part wasn’t for me. But on May 6th, it was!
“Another new year dawns and you must commence it by taking a tenacious hold on your future. Make a thorough examination of what has gone before – resolve to use the lessons you have learned- and not to repeat the mistakes of the past.” (iafrica.com)
“There is no reason at all why you cannot be the person you have always dreamed of becoming. You may think you are a failure because you have tried so many times but each one of those occasions was a learning experience, and the more you learn the more likely it is you will succeed — and the sweeter that success will be when it comes. Don’t give up.” (Sally Brompton)
“In-depth discussions and probing conversations find you at your mental best this Monday morning. Your analytical abilities are good and the problems you have to solve in your professional field are easy for you to handle. Communications may be blocked for a short while this Tuesday morning. Create an attitude of self-confidence and people will follow you, and your ideas anywhere. This can make a big difference when you want support in accomplishing a group project. In the work place this Wednesday, co-workers as well as higher-ups seek you out for your psychological insight and understanding. You will have good insight into avenues of helpfulness and the ability to present or communicate these to others. You may be more concerned about the future of business than with any other situation in your life this Thursday. Today should be a happy time of celebration, even if you are involved in some heavy-duty thinking. Friday is a day you may feel all fresh and new, a time of new beginnings. Keep your attitude positive–you encourage others. You do not care for emotional slow downs and you go to some effort to step aside from the people that are easily frustrated. Saturday is a fun day. You are quick-minded, quick footed and can begin the day with a healthy run or swim–HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” (Thanks, Dailyhoroscopes.com! This one’s actually for the entire week for some reason)
“Once you get your personal environment arranged the way you want it, you can relax. The job may take until September. Schedule major playtime for then.
Celebrity birthdays on May 6th: George Clooney, Bob Seger, Orson Welles, Rudolph Valentino” (azcentral.com. Jimmy Stewart and Willie Mays were both born today as well)
“Your spirit guide is the Lizard, [wow!] which is encouraging you to honor your unique dreams and ask Spirit to help you manifest them. New social groups will hold the connections and experiences you’ve been seeking. Increase your spiritual understanding through classes and workshops that teach you how to deepen your internal focus. Family relationships will become a priority this year, and require extra time to run smoothly. Your great abundance will inspire you to give more of yourself through mentoring or volunteer work, which will fulfill your socially conscious Taurus nature. Some new commitments you take on over the next twelve months will require new ways of structuring your time and energy, but they’ll prove well worth it. Spend more time in nature, and increase your physical activity to cultivate more energy and optimism. Your power color is blue; add it to your wardrobe and surroundings to enhance your communication skills and powers of persuasion. Your lucky months are May and February. Your lucky numbers are 2, 15, 22, 26 and 39.” (psychicchat.com)
“This month you might think the sky is the limit as you meet people who broaden your horizons and consider ways to improve your lifestyle. Glory in new ideas, progressive paradigms and innovation as this year unfolds. By next spring you may respond to the call of the wild or choose to budge from your safe and secure roost. Until then, stick to the status quo, especially in August and early September, when you must avoid getting into debt or ignoring duties, and must avoid making key decisions.” (Detroit News)
“You manage and master the wilder areas of your life this year. Incredible willpower helps you attain what you’ve wanted for so long. Tender love makes the early summer memorable. The new skill you learn in November helps you make a financial leap. Investments made this winter will pay significantly in three years time. Scorpio and Leo people are big fans. Your lucky numbers are: 9, 10, 4, 21 and 50.” (LA Times)
“You will tend to overreact, overdo and overspend this year if you aren’t careful. Organization will be a must. Calculate your spending and make a budget. This is not the year to take on more responsibilities unless you are reimbursed for your time and effort. Pick and choose your personal and professional projects so you can stay on top of your game. Your numbers are 5, 13, 28, 31, 37, 41″ (boston.com)
The MPAA says they lost $6.1 billion dollars last year due to movie piracy. Where did it all go?
$500 million of Pixar movie downloads, so viewers could catch all the in-jokes
$25 million in downloads of Crash. Those stupid black, white, Mexican, and Chinese people using bittorrent.
$691 million in downloads of Brokeback Mountain, so gay people could watch the love scenes over and over…
$882 million in downloads of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, so straight people could watch the love scenes over and over…
$2 billion of sales in Chinese fake burns of just released movies (sample titles: Gardener of Constants, Wars of the World, El King Kong)
$52 million in downloads of Dukes of Hazzard, because people were too embarassed to actually watch it in the theater, and only wanted to see the scenes with Jessica Simpson
$2 million in downloads of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigalo. Those were all accidents, actually.
$1 billion in downloads of Star Wars: Episode III. Weeks before the movie was even released.
And let’s throw one more billion dollars in there for the industry that’s willing to lie and say any downloads at all consist of lost profit. Like people were really going to pay for all the crap they downloaded.
In fact, that last one probably ends up comprising the whole $6 billion. MPAA = jerks.
I saw some Anarchists yesterday.
This whole May Day thing is totally and completely new to me. Sure I always knew about the Maypoles and the dancing. “April showers bring May flowers,” I am always happy to repeat to anyone who’s willing to listen to me during a Spring rain (though I am not sure anyone appreciates that phrase as much as I do, being that I myself was born on the 6th, and am therefore granted the legal status of a “May flower”). So I just figured it was some old Puritan festival where maidens got to wear fertility symbols in their hair and have a good time around other, overly phallic, symbols.
When did it all go Communist? Apparently May Day is now a day of chaos. Apparently workers of the world are supposed to unite on this day every year, demonstrating in the streets in as many numbers as they can come up with. People of all kinds of leftist ways of thinking are meant to flood into the street, just to remind those in power exactly who they’re supposed to be paying attention to, in case they haven’t seen the polls lately. In Russia, France, Latin America, Spain, and the Middle East (I assume– they’re always out in the streets there, rightfully protesting something), it’s a day to grab your signs, grab your flags, go out into the streets, and appear in front of television cameras shouting whatever foreign language slogan the organizers have decided will play well in the living rooms of the watching class.
And in America, this year at least, things are no different. Immigration is in the air, and people are realizing, as they seem to do every few years, that there are a lot of people in this country who weren’t necessarily sent an invitation to be here. Sure, as long as life is a party and they’re willing to pick up the place a little bit while they’re here, everyone’s willing to tolerate them. But now it’s like it’s 3 a.m., the beer’s run out, and people are noticing that guy pulling Heinekens out of the fridge doesn’t actually know anyone here. Maybe he doesn’t belong at the party after all.
So the question becomes– amnesty or enforcement? No one’s heartless enough to send them all home, are they? Just to make sure, our streets are flooded with those who don’t have IDs and those in solidarity. In Chicago, where I was, it was protesting as usual– police in riot gear cordoned off designated areas, and people had their say into those ubiquitious TV cameras as police department choppers hovered overhead.
This is the last thing I’ll say about immigration: we have a big problem. America made a big promise that not all Americans seem to be willing to keep. I’m not smart enough to figure out a solution, but, like usual in this country, we find ourselves cleaning up messes the rest of us made years ago. Here’s hoping the broom isn’t so big we can’t lift it anymore.
Anyway, immigrants weren’t the only ones out there. I stepped out of work to grab a soda and a snack, and on my way to the White Hen, that’s when I saw the Anarchists.
There weren’t very many of them– couldn’t have been more than fourteen or fifteen. Mostly kids, long hair, wearing black. Mostly guys, although there were a few pierced, black-haired girls with them. I have to admit, I’m getting old. My first thought was whether they should be in school or not, but it was after four in the afternoon, so I guess they were OK on that one.
A few of them had drums, and were making a racket (see, there’s the oldie in me sneaking in again). Most of them had red flags marked with the A for Anarchy (as seen upside down in the V for Vendetta). They were marching in a group down a one way street, but here’s the thing that made me think twice about them: they were marching right down the middle of the street.
They weren’t in any designated protest zones. As far as I could tell, they weren’t doing anything they were supposed to be designated to do at all. It was a one-way street, and they were hiking right down the middle of it. Cars slowed and turned around them. They were blocking traffic, marching in between two lanes, as cars spun frustrated around them. There was a surprising lack of honking– maybe people, knowing more about May Day than I did, understood why they were there.
I didn’t. I shook my head and seriously thought they were going to get arrested. I watched them for a few minutes, and then turned away to grab my soda and snack. After I got back into my office, I asked my co-workers if they’d heard the drums. They said they had, and I told them it had been the Anarchists.
Now, strangely enough, this was not my first protest experience in Chicago. I’ve seen anti-war protests downtown before. I’ve seen our local bike collaborative riding around on their monthly masses more than once, fighting with the cops over where bikes are and aren’t allowed. And every time I’ve seen protesters on Chicago’s streets, they’ve all been much more like the immigration protests– confined, watched, and condoned (if not endorsed) by police.
Which means the Anarchists were really doing something they weren’t supposed to. Sure, they were just kids. And sure, I don’t really think for a second that they were really advocating Anarchy. At least not in the blood in the streets, kill the police, break all the laws kind of way that the really hardcore Anarchists mean it.
So I kind of brushed them off as lunatics. They could have gotten hurt out there. They could have really gotten arrested for not playing along in the protest game.
But May Day was something else in America, besides a day for Anarchists, immigrants, and Reds to take to the streets. It was, as declared by our Decider in Chief, Loyalty Day.
That’s right, Caesar Bushus signed a proclamation and everything. He declared May 1st Loyalty Day in the United States. He said that in appreciation of our government, we should proudly display the stars and stripes (as so many immigrants were doing, with a completely different message), and spend some time thinking about how loyal we were to this great government that served us so well.
Seriously. I am not making that up. Loyalty Day. While Communists were protesting and immigrants were screaming in our streets, Bush wanted us to declare our loyalty to a government that hasn’t done much more than lie to us and screw us over for the past few years.
And so I have to take back what I thought about the Anarchists. I was worried that, because they were protesting outside of a designated area, that they would get arrested. I was worried that because they were arrested as teenagers, they would have trouble getting into a good school. That they would have trouble working their way up into our American system, a system that asks for loyalty and yet seems to give none. I was worried that they’d get in trouble for protesting a system that, err, needed protesting.
I shouldn’t have worried.
I should have joined them. I should have marched right out into that street with them, and protested outside of designated areas, and gotten arrested if necessary. I should have shown my loyalty on Loyalty Day– a loyalty to human decency and the voice of the people, and honor, and justice, and everything this government is against. Those kids did the most subversive thing I’d seen all week, and you remember what Stephen Colbert did last Saturday.
I’m not advocating blood in the streets, as I said. I still kind of hope those kids didn’t get arrested, because they’re exactly the kind of kids we need to stay out of jail and become registered voters, if not elected officials. But after hearing about Loyalty Day, I’m thinking a little more Anarchy in this country wouldn’t hurt anybody. Designated protesting is great, and the immigrants sure got the attention they needed.
But maybe we all need to do a little more walking down the middle of the street.
mikeschramm.com is cc 2004-2006 Mike Schramm.