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Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

I’m A Music Snob

Posted by cann0nba11 on December 20, 2013

I’m a music snob. My opinions about music are based on the quality of the music, the form, the chords, the originality, and are backed by decades of musical training and experience. The one caveat I should point out is that I rarely listen to lyrics, and lyrics often make the song for the listener. I”m in it for the groove, the interaction, the form. It takes a special lyric to capture my attention.

That being said, let me frame my opinions on music with my Top Ten list of over-rated musicians (not in any particular order):

  • The Grateful Dead: The music sucks. It is simple music for simple minds. There is a joke about the band that sums it all up for me: What did the Dead Head say when he ran out of drugs? “God, this music sucks!”
  • Neil Young: I just don”t get it. His music is like raw tofu: boring, dull, lifeless. He should spend more time with his trains.
  • The Rolling Stones: C’mon… what have they done since the 1960”s? Satisfaction (1965), Honkey Tonk Woman (1969), Time is On My Side (1964)… those are fun party songs. The Stones put on an awesome show but the music is so vapid. They’ve made a bajillion dollars, kudos for that.
  • Tom Petty: Very boring… tunes are three/four chord wonders, no brain needed. ::yawn::
  • Bruce Springsteen: His voice does nothing for me, nor does his music.
  • Elvis Presley: Trash that made it big. One walk through his mansion proves this.
  • The Beatles: GASP!! Sacrilege! I said it. Yes, I think The Beatles are over-rated. They wrote some great tunes (Let It Be, Hey Jude, Yesterday), but I think all of the hype that surrounded their arrival in the U.S. was because the music scene sucked back then. The previous four number one Billboard his in the U.S. were Singing Nun – Dominique, Dale and Grace – I”m Leaving It Up To You, Nino Tempo and April Stevens – Deep Purple, and Jimmy Glimer and The Fireballs – Sugar Shack. Who?
  • Nirvana: The patriarch of whiny teenagers. The soundtrack to all that is wrong with our country today. Famous thanks to MTV. Interesting harmonies, but the attitude and angst is a little over the top. Grow up.
  • U2: Anything worth listening to since the early 1980s? Another band living off of a twenty year old reputation. Probably popular thanks only to the rise of MTV.
  • The Doors: Other than the innovation of keyboardist Ray Manzarek, this band was hugely overrated. They were the Nirvana of their time. Whiny angst against the world… with a bad drug habit as the only real legacy.

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100 Ways To Annoy A Liberal

Posted by cann0nba11 on November 2, 2013

A friend posted a list of 100 Things To Say To Annoy A Republican. It’s a funny list, and probably accurate too. We tend to get annoyed when people lie, rewrite history, attack us, or just act like juvenile jerks. So, I decided to counter with my own list. Surprisingly, it didn’t take as long as I thought… understandable given the current political environment I have to work with. And just to be clear, most of these items are actual facts, but some are just for fun.

100 Things To Say Or Do To Annoy A Liberal

  1. Disagree with President Obama.
  2. Mention Ronald Reagan.
  3. Sarah Palin was right.
  4. Carry out the death penalty.
  5. Convict war criminals.
  6. “Hey, isn’t Guantanamo still open?”
  7. Point out the many flaws in Michael Moore’s films.
  8. Reminding them that opposing nuclear energy in the 70s helped perpetuate our dependence on Middle Easter oil.
  9. Pray.
  10. Democrats started the KKK.
  11. Obama’s father was a communist radical.
  12. Republicans ended slavery.
  13. Join the NRA.
  14. Criticize radical Islam.
  15. Use Obama’s middle name.
  16. Fight to protect the unborn.
  17. Hunt.
  18. Mention church charity.
  19. Valerie Jarrett had more security than the four Americans killed in Benghazi.
  20. Remind them that the carbon-burning engine helped us build our nation.
  21. Remain gainfully employed.
  22. Bomb the Middle East.
  23. Point out that George Bush’s Crawford Ranch is an environmentalist’s idea of heaven, while Al Gore’s mansion is a nightmare of excess and waste.
  24. Eat red meat. Grill it using charcoal when possible.
  25. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.
  26. Talk about shrinking government.
  27. Global Warming, point out that Mars, Jupiter and other planets are also experiencing the same, slight increase in temperature, which NASA attributes to increased solar radiation.
  28. Remind them that Fox News has the highest cable news ratings.
  29. Confuse them with logic and facts to support your position.
  30.  “Merry Christmas!”
  31. Praise stay at home moms.
  32. Homeschool
  33. Carry a gun.
  34. Question the validity of Obama’s birth certificate.
  35. Point out how Al Gore helped to invent a carbon credit trading market where he could make billions of dollars off of his weird science.
  36. Point out the lies and faults in Al Gore’s movie.
  37. Praise Capitalism.
  38. Teach your kids how to shoot guns and hunt.
  39. Stand up when you hear the National Anthem.
  40. Show them a picture of Obama bowing to the Saudi King.
  41. Tell them how the Founding Fathers were Christians of all sorts.
  42. Bring up the massive amount of financial and medical aid George W Bush has provided to AIDS victims in Africa.
  43. Tell them Bill Clinton lied under oath.
  44. Treat them with respect when they are yelling at you at a protest.
  45. Fly the flag.
  46. Obama is using more drones than Bush did.
  47. Drive a big car.
  48. Support Israel.
  49. Charity is by choice, not a mandate.
  50. Suggest putting a fence on our southern border.
  51. Wasn’t Bill Clinton the first black president?
  52. Ask why Obama’s college transcripts are sealed.
  53. Point out that the worst cities for crime in American have been run by democrats for at least 40 years.
  54. Brag about Texas.
  55. Talk about how Jimmy Carter started the housing bubble with the creation of the CRA.
  56. Bring up Rush Limbaugh.
  57. Make fun of the president’s golf habit.
  58. English should be our national language.
  59. I’m cool with Obama’s black half, it’s his white have that really pisses me off.
  60. Profit is good.
  61. Point out the massive flaws of Obamacare.
  62. Bring up the ACORN scandal.
  63. Point out the political correctness throughout the movie Avatar.
  64. Discuss how gun laws don’t work.
  65. Jimmy Carter’s creation, the Department of Education, is a massive failure.
  66. Who ended the Cold War again?
  67. Our military got Bin Laden, not Obama.
  68. God Bless America!
  69. Conservative women are hot.
  70. Clinton passed on two chances to take Bin Laden out.
  71. Ten years of “wars we can’t afford” cost less than one year of Obama deficit spending.
  72. Bush and Clinton each prosecuted more than 1000 financial criminals. Obama? Zero.
  73. Quote Glenn Beck.
  74. I don’t remember Reagan whining about the mess he inherited.
  75. Point out Sharia Law “honor” killings that have happened in America.
  76. Unions are no longer needed.
  77. Being gay is a choice.
  78. The first woman elected to Congress was a Republican.
  79. Race has nothing to do with it.
  80. Requiring a photo ID to vote is not racism.
  81. Waterboarding provided the info needed to find Bin Laden.
  82. You don’t believe in God, but you believe in the Big Bang?
  83. The first black Congressman was Republican.
  84. Obama started his campaign in a domestic terrorist’s living room.
  85. When was the last time you saw a Conservative turn Liberal?
  86. It’s a life, not a choice.
  87. Chappaquiddick. (only the older libs will react to this one)
  88. MLK Jr. was a Republican.
  89. Obama/Reid shut the government down, not the GOP.
  90. Call the president “Barry.” It was good enough for him in college, right?
  91. People on welfare are lazy.
  92. I’ll give Obama as much respect as you gave Bush.
  93. The Sun affects our climate, not people.
  94. Democrats fought for “separate but equal.” Republicans ended it.
  95. Guns don’t kill people.
  96. Unlike OWS, the Tea Party is made up of peaceful, law-abiding patriots.
  97. Despite 9/11 and the dot-com crash, America was trending back toward zero deficit, until Democrats took over in 2006.
  98. Obama is the “food stamp president.”
  99. Hey, look at that all of that debt!
  100. Jesus loves you.

I could keep going, easily, Feel free to add your own in the comments section.

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Posted by cann0nba11 on August 6, 2013

President Obama will be on the Jay Leno show this evening, they tape it at 5pm Pacific time. I’ve always wondered how Twitter hashtags get started, so just for grins I’m going to try and get one started. This will probably go nowhere, this is just a social media experiment.


Have at it!

UPDATE 1: Did I say this will “go nowhere?” My bad… I made Twitchy! 🙂 Shout out to my pals over at The Socialist Mop for flexing their personal network to help get this ball rolling.

UPDATE 2: Now trending at #3 on the Twitter behind the Amazon CEO (thanks to his purchase of the Washington Post), and legendary crossover pianist George Duke who passed away today. RIP George, you were an amazing musician and will be missed by so many.

Posted in Entertainment | 1 Comment »

A Saxophone Lost And Found Story

Posted by cann0nba11 on June 13, 2013

Professional musicians become one with their axes like baseball players to their glove or jockeys to their horse. It”s a bond that is hard to explain and is equally hard to break. Think of that NRA “pry it from my cold, dead hands” bumper sticker and you get the point.

In March I was robbed. Two saxophones were stolen from the trunk of my car. Yeah, I know… I should not have left them in the trunk; I should have carried them inside when I got home. My hands were full when I walked into the house and I fully intended to go back out and get them, but having two young kids can often be distracting. Needless to say I didn’t make it outside again that evening. The next morning as I walked to my car I noticed that the trunk was partially open. I knew right away that they were gone.

two-saxesTo put this in perspective, these horns are top of the line professional instruments worth thousands of dollars each. I’ve owned each of them for 20 years. Professional musicians become one with their axes like baseball players to their glove or jockeys to their horse. It”s a bond that is hard to explain and is equally hard to break. Think of that NRA “pry it from my cold, dead hands” bumper sticker and you get the point.

The night that they were stolen the thieves canvassed our street and painted racist graffiti on some of the brick houses and the sidewalk. I was the only one that lost anything of value. Paint can be removed, but recovering stolen instruments is not so easy.

After completing a police report I blasted emails to my musician network and posted messages on a few web sites including Then I printed out a flyer and visited every pawn shop that I could find, about 20 in all. I was absolutely bummed out. My alto is a cream of the crop vintage 1960 Selmer, and my soprano is a fairly limited edition Yamaha that is highly sought out. Also, my father gave me this soprano when I got to college, and he passed away in 1999. Lots of sentimental value. The thugs had absolutely no idea of the value of their ill-gotten booty. My fear was that they would be pawned for a hundred bucks, or worse, be recognized as too valuable to sell and then tossed into a dumpster. Either way I expected to never see them again. My wife, known for the occasional premonition, felt differently. She thought that we would get them back.

About two months later I got a phone call from a fellow sax player in town. He said that he thought he found my horn. I gave him my detailed description and serial number and asked to see it. I learned that he heard another guy talking about “finding a saxophone in the road on the south side of town.” He called the guy and it was in fact my horn. I was stoked! Then he told me that it had a dent at the bottom of the body. Oh well, at least I have my alto back. It is the more valuable of the two, financially speaking.

When I got the horn back I saw that there was more damage than I thought. The hard shell case had a dent the size of a quarter at the base, and the energy that created this dent was transferred to the instrument. A saxophone is a highly complex instrument with many rods, keys, springs, and more importantly many properly aligned and spaced tone holes that are closed by precisely aligned pads. Even the smallest air leak out of a closed key makes an instrument not respond properly. My alto was seriously misaligned. The body was not only bent, it was slightly corkscrewed. This pulled the holes away from the keys and made for a very manually intensive repair job. Fortunately I’ve got one of the best repairmen in the business (Ken Beason) and he has repaired my horn. The $700 repair cost is well worth it given the vintage of this sax.

So I got one of my horns back. That is pretty friggin’ incredible. Who woulda thought? Then last Sunday evening I got an email that literally jolted me out of my chair.

From Your post indicates that you had a Yamaha 62R with a serial number of 0319. If that”s so, then it”s being sold by someone on ebay right now.

Holy crap! I ran downstairs, told my wife, and we both grabbed our laptops to log on and see. When I logged on I saw that there were only 33 minutes left in the auction!

I freaked… my heart was racing. Do I bid? Do I contact eBay? I called the detective on the case, but it was 11:30 on a Sunday night; there”s no way he will answer. I decided to bid super high on the item to make sure I won and then deal with law enforcement later.

I placed a bid of $5,000, and had another browser window open with an $8,200 bid ready just in case. Sue was ready with a $10,000 bid under her ID just in case someone came in at the last minute. There”s no way we were going to let this slip away. I won the auction with a price of $3,050. Now the fun begins.

I emailed the seller acting as if I didn’t know it was stolen. At this point I didn’t know if the seller was the thief, or just a guy that found it in a pawn shop. Through eBay communication I asked for the sellers address and said that I would be paying with a cashiers check. I also asked if the shipping fee could be waived since I lived in the same city as the seller. The next day he responded he would, but only if I paid via PayPal instead of a cashiers check. I countered with the “I don”t trust PayPal” argument and offered cash. He then asked for my phone number. Hmm…

By this time the detective had finally made contact with me. I called him and told him where we were in the deal and he said I should try to get the sellers phone number so we could track him down. The detective had requested an expedite from eBay to get the seller’s contact info. Anything I could do to find the guy would be quite helpful to the case, since eBay might take a week or so to get the detective the info he needed. It turns out that the seller responded to me outside of eBay and the email address was a fully formatted military address at Lackland Air Force Base. This gave the detective what he needed and the next day he contacted the seller directly to tell him that he had sold a stolen horn.

The seller denied that it was stolen. Then, in a smart move, he called the local police to verify whether or not the detective he spoke with was really a detective. Once this was confirmed he then wanted proof that the horn was in fact mine. Since it was purchased 20 years ago I definitely didn’t have any sort of receipt. Fortunately I gave the serial number of the horn to the detective on the day that we reported the horns stolen. For a moment this wasn’t good enough… apparently non-musicians don’t know that instruments have valid serial numbers. I then described more of the contents of the case as well as the stickers that were on the case. This sealed the deal since they were not shown in the pictures used for the auction.

The detective then learned that the seller bought the horn at a local pawn shop for $100. Seriously… a $3000 instrument for $100. It was pawned the day after it was stolen. The person that pawned it was Jesse Gomez, a thug already wanted for a few crimes. I”m waiting to hear back if this guy gets arrested. If he pawned lots of other stuff they should have enough evidence to launch a thorough investigation on him.

What pisses me off is that it looks like the pawn shop sat on the horn for five months before putting it out for display/sale. Assholes. And, I may have visited the store where it was sold during my initial tour of pawn shops the day after I was robbed. I plan on visiting the store this weekend to see if this is the case.

Ultimately I am a very luck and blessed person. To think that I would get not just one but both of my horns back was unimaginable to me. But my wife was confident that we would get at least one back. She actually had a strong feeling that we would get the soprano back, not the alto. Heck… nobody’s perfect.

Posted in Entertainment | 2 Comments »

I never wanted a class ring.

Posted by cann0nba11 on June 3, 2013

I never wanted a class ring.

My mother wanted me to have one when I graduated from high school and I said no. In my senior year of high school I was focused on getting ready for college. I felt that a high school ring wouldn’t mean much to the girls, excuse me, women, I was going to meet at college in the great state of Texas. And, I didn’t want to worry about losing it. Spending that kind of money for something that I would probably lose just didn’t seem worth it. We were a modest family; money was not scarce, nor was it abundant. But I was taught that money was to buy things that were important and necessary, not luxury items or fluff.

As I approached college graduation my mother asked again and I said no. I really didnt want a ring. I don’t wear jewelry. But mom was so proud of her only child graduating college, she simply had to get me a ring. It sealed the deal for her in a tangible way. She insisted and I capitulated. She even offered to pay for it. So, due to the price of gold in 1988, I got a pinkie ring instead of a big traditional ring. [editor’s note: gold back then was about $400/oz, gas was about $1.05] I tricked it up by having a saxophone engraved on the stone to show off my pride for our world class jazz program. The ring cost more than $500, and mom was quite proud to write the check for it. Mission accomplished. Mom was happy, what else could you ask for?

Fast forward to about two years later. I wore the ring to an all-day judging session for the annual high school All-State auditions. This is the last time I remember having it. It was gone. I couldn’t find it anywhere.

I was crushed.

I grew to like my unique ring. I grew to appreciate the hard work and accomplishment that it symbolized. I grew to appreciate my mother’s stubborn dedication to her hard headed son. And I lost the damned ring.

Of course, there’s no way I was going to tell mom about this. Or dad. He would have had a shit fit if he learned that I lost a $500 ring that he probably protested the purchase of to begin with. I visited every pawn shop near the area I last remembered having the ring. They were a real help. One guy even said that he usually melts down class rings since they don’t sell well. I visited the school where I adjudicated the All-State auditions to see if anyone turned it in. Nothing.

So, in the spring of 1991 I began living a tiny but occasionally inconvenient lie. I’d claim that I forgot to pack the ring those few times I flew home for visits. I’d smoothly change the subject if class ring talk came up. It became second nature. Eventually I actually forgot about the ring. Life was maintaining an ironclad grip on my attention. I was now working for a major consulting firm, then I was engaged, then married in 1993. Then I was in grad school. Then thanks to some luck and good timing we bought our first home. We found a wonderful starter home with a great view in a nice neighborhood, and the initial buyer’s financing fell through so we grabbed it. My life seemed to be going in the right direction.

Fast forward to 1998. I received a call at work from my dad. He asked me, “did you lose your class ring?” What? How did he know? Remember, my parents had no idea that the ring had been missing for seven years. I said yes and he then told me that a woman named Nicole called claiming that she had my ring. He gave me her number and I of course called her right away. I asked her to describe the ring and right away I knew she had my ring. I then asked for directions to where she was and Nicole gave me her address. I had to wait a few more hours before I could leave work and make the 30 mile drive to the gym where she worked.

Before I left the office I called the gym to verify the location. This time I man answered and when I asked for Nicole he said “nobody named Nicole works here.” What? My mind started racing: Is this some sort of sick joke? What do you mean you don’t know who she is?

So, not knowing if my ring was really there I headed out at peak rush hour to drive from north Plano to south Arlington. NOT a fun drive at any time, never mind rush hour. I found the gym, walked up to the receptionist and asked for Nicole. The woman behind the counter said “We don’t have a Nicole here.” Aaaaargh!!! This is insane! I explained my situation and asked for the manager. He came out and said “Oh, Nicole. Yeah, she’s new here and works in the day care down the hall.” Apparently the front desk staff didn’t know the name of the new part-time daycare worker.

I walked down to the kid area and called Nicole over. She came over and I introduced myself. She went into her purse and puled out my ring. Holy crap… there it was! It was dirty, but it was my ring. I asked where she found it and she said that her brother Jason found it a few years ago but she didn’t know any more details. She was able to track me down because my name was inscribed inside the ring, and my last name is somewhat unique in Texas. They called information and got my dad on the first try.

Now the story gets interesting.

It turns out that in 1991 when we moved out of our rental house on Oakwood Lane in Denton to move closer to Dallas, Jason is the guy that moved in. He had recently moved to Texas from Connecticut which, coincidentally, is where I am from. All Nicole could tell me is that he found the ring while living there. He was now living with Nicole in an apartment. I asked for their address so I could send them a reward for their honesty. She gave it to me, I profusely thanked her again and then headed home. That night I wrote a letter to these fine people thanking them for their honesty and for making the effort to find me. I never met or spoke to Jason during this entire affair.

Now for a seemingly unrelated tangent.

On the corner of the street near our house near a light post there was a puzzling inscription in one of the sidewalk squares. It said “JD 95.” Our neighborhood was small, we lived on a small block and all of the neighbors knew each other. Nobody on our block had the initials JD, and since we were all the first owners of our homes in this new neighborhood we knew that it wasn’t a previous resident. We wrote it off as graffiti from a passing teen that found some moist cement when the streets were being paved.

Now back to our story.

My neighbor Dirk was the resident social coordinator. He would host block parties across the street from our house during most major holidays and whenever else the mood hit him. One warm April weekend we were gathering in his driveway enjoying a cool beverage when we saw a beat up compact car zip into the neighborhood and turn quickly into my driveway. “That’s weird,” I thought. I had never seen that car before, what is this guy doing in my driveway? I thought it might be a lost pizza delivery guy. When I saw the driver get out of the car and head for my front door I walked across the street to see what he wanted.

He said, “Are you Paul?” I said yes and he said, “walk with me for a second.” I start thinking, this is weird, but if I’m gonna get capped by a mobster or something at least I”e got a driveway full of friends that can help me out if needed. It turns out that this person was Jason, the guy that found my ring. He said that he found the ring one day when he was looking out of the bedroom window into the backyard. He looked down and caught a brief glimpse of something shiny. He went outside to see what it was, and buried in the dirt was my ring. (apparently the ring must have fallen off of my hand when I was mowing the lawn or something.) As I was thanking him for his efforts he walked me to the street corner and pointed at the inscription in the sidewalk. “See those initials? They are mine. I wrote that two years ago.”

Wait. It gets better.

Jason then tells me that he was the original buyer of the house that we owned. He is the person who’s financing fell through thus enabling us to buy our first home. He lived in our former residence, and he tried to buy the house that we ended up buying. This is really weird.

It gets even better. Jason then pulled out my thank you letter and told me an interesting story.

The reason Jason left Connecticut was to get away from a horrible life of substance abuse. He was an alcoholic and a coke addict. He hung around with a bad crowd and it nearly killed him. He would steal from friends and family to support his habit. He decided to escape to Texas, a place very far away and very different from Connecticut. And he quit drugs cold turkey. Not long after he moved into the house on Oakwood he found my ring. As Jason tells it, he could have sold the ring for cash and bought some drugs. But he resisted the urge; he kept the ring. He kept it for several years and got clean. Eventually he decided to find the ring’s owner and was successful.

Pretty cool story, huh? There’s still more. My favorite part.

Jason keeps my hand written thank you letter in his pocket all of the time. He uses it as proof that he beat his addiction. He told me that he went back to Connecticut once to take care of some personal business and he saw some old “friends.” When he told them the ring story and how he quit, they called bull on him. He then pulled out my letter to prove it. He won his battle and my letter was proof positive. Jason told me that this was a pivotal moment of closure in his life. He showed his cohorts that he was better than his former self. He then left Connecticut again and continued his new life.

And to think that I never wanted a class ring. I got the ring, but Jason got so much more.

[note: I originally wrote this 8-30-2007]

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Why are sports teams are so hateful?

Posted by cann0nba11 on April 30, 2013

Well, it’s apparently time to resurrect the idea that the Washington Redskins team name because it is racist and derogatory. This argument comes up every now and then, and it is defeated every single time. Given the myriad problems our nation is facing, you would think that our politicians could focus on more pressing matters? Nah. That’s like asking local police to focus on capturing criminals instead of pulling citizens over for petty citations that serve the sole purpose of generating revenue for the city.

So, in an effort to help the Washington D.C. council member with this project, I offer the following list of team names that should also be changed, just to keep things fair.

  • Detroit Pistons: How can anyone name their team after a key component of evil carbon-burning machines?
  • Golden State Warriors: Promoting violence, mocking native Americans.
  • Houston Rockets: NASA is dead, and rockets kill people.
  • Miami Heat: Don’t promote global warming!!! Al Roker might blame them for Superstorm Sandy.
  • Philadelphia 76ers: Why promote terrorist revolutionaries?
  • Sacramento Kings: Promotes the 1%. The fix? Change the name to Obamas.
  • Kansas City Chiefs: Obviously hateful, chief.
  • Cleveland Browns: That’s just racist. You might as well call them the Cleveland You People.
  • Oakland Raiders: More violence.
  • Minnesota Vikings: They pillaged and burned. Bad role model.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers: More stealing and violence.
  • San Francisco 49ers: Promoting gold-digging evil rich people.
  • Buffalo Sabres: Violent weapon. How many clips does a sabre hold?
  • Carolina Hurricanes: Hateful racist storms caused by man-made global warming.
  • Nashville Predators: Duh.
  • Edmonton Oilers: Bush. Cheney. Halliburton. War. Big Oil. So hateful.
  • Atlanta Braves: Mocking native Americans again.
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: Sounds too close to wetback.
  • San Diego Padres: Separation of church and state.
  • Chicago White Sox: Why’s it gotta be about race?
  • Cleveland Indians: Let’s face it. Even mentioning the term Indian is hateful.
  • Los Angeles Angels: Obviously promoting Heaven. Separation of church and state again. Rename them the LA GLBT’s and you will be just fine.

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Are You Giving Or Mocking?

Posted by cann0nba11 on October 11, 2011

“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.” — Stephen Colbert

I don’t watch Stephen Colbert, but he is popular for a reason. He is an experienced comedian with a stellar career that started at the famous Second City. He has paid his dues and climbed to the top of his field. That’s what happens in America when you work hard. Lately he has been enjoying a surge in popularity thanks to his mocking of conservatives, an easy and safe target for liberals to attack. Since Colbert’s quote has become quite popular as of late I think  it merits further analysis. To me it provides a concise summary of how many on the left think and act.

For starters, the quote begins with a false premise, as do many liberal talking points. It is direct and emotional.

“If this is going to be a Christian nation”

Who is saying that we are going to be a Christian nation? The founding of America was based largely on Christian beliefs, but we are not a theocracy, nor are we a Christian nation. According to various sources more than 80% of Americans consider themselves religious with about 75% considering themselves Christian and 5% other religions. Roughly 15% consider themselves irreligious, and 10% refuse to answer the question.

So what exactly is a “Christian nation?” By definition it would be a country that uses the Bible or other religious documents as its legal system. This is not the case in America. Where is it the case? Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen and Saudi Arabia are all based on Islamic law. Their religious documents determine your fate in the courts. Are there any Christian nations in the world? None that I can find, feel free to send me an example.

“that doesn’t help the poor”

These are the words that I think completely invalidate Colbert’s message. America is generous in so many ways. We give when disasters strike. We give to help eradicate hunger and disease. We give to counties that hate us. The overwhelming majority of religious-based international aid is Christian.  And let us not forget those that give the ultimate sacrifice in blood to help other countries gain their freedom.

So I have to wonder, what the hell is Colbert talking about? Does he think that we are neglecting the poor in America? Has he ever been to a truly poor country and witnessed starvation or human rights violations? When obesity among the poor in America is problem, we have to reconsider how we define poor. If you can afford to buy Twinkles or a Happy Meal, you are not poor. If you have a cell phone or cable television, you are not poor. Step down from your faux moral high ground and step into reality.

America does have poor citizens, but they are a much smaller percentage than many of the left will admit to. And they can get help at any time if they choose to. At the end of the day we all make our own decisions. Those that have legitimate mental health problems need to be taken care of, and those that refuse to work need to change their attitude. Last time I checked, Wal-Mart and McDonald’s are hiring. No jobs in your area? Move. I’ve been there, and I’ve done it.

I understand that there are those that will dig up per capita studies and say that America gives less than other countries. So what? The poor don’t care about ratios, they care about food and shelter. If you think America needs to give more then give more yourself. If you think the rich need to pay more taxes, pay more taxes yourself. There is no law that says you can’t pay more than what you owe.

“either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are”

Perhaps he is speaking for himself. What percentage of his millions does he share with the poor? Personally I give money and time to help others, as an individual and through both my church and my employer. Given that Colbert is a practicing Roman Catholic I would expect him to recognize how much the church gives in time, people and donations to the poor. I would also think that he gives while at church. Making $3.5M a year he can certainly afford to tithe. He could easily give just 1%, which would be $35k, which is roughly the cost of a plate at an Obama fundraising dinner these days. Maybe he is referring to those that don’t pay their taxes? As a self-proclaimed Democrat Colbert should be well aware of those politicians on his team.

“or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition”

I think more people acknowledge this than he realizes. The important word in this line is “needy.” We help the needy without condition. We help the not-so-needy with condition. Unemployment insurance is supposed to be a temporary relief program. Student loans are loans, as in “you have to pay them back, you knew that when you signed the paperwork.” Welfare is supposed to be a temporary support system, but our government has turned it into a lifestyle. Do you give a homeless man on a street corner food with any conditions? Do you put the envelope in the collection basket with any conditions attached to it? Do you volunteer your time to help others, or to receive praise? Americans give without condition, I wish more Americans received without expectation.

“and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.” 

By now the point has been repeated enough. We DO want to do it (help the poor) and we actually do it. We just don’t run around trumpeting how generous we are unless someone steps up and claims that we aren’t doing enough.

So what is Colbert’s point? To me it is obvious, he is simply appealing to his audience and mocking an easy target. It is “hip” to mock conservatives and religious people, even though three in four Americans consider themselves religious. The quote is popular among anti-corporate anti-capitalism lemmings, and is popular among Obama supporters. Why? Because it is shallow and baseless, very much like our president and his policies. It is another “I can see Russia from my house” soundbite that appeals to the politically ignorant. I believe if you cornered Colbert and could get him to speak honestly he would admit that his quote is just another piece of ratings bait or shock value. I understand that, after all he is an extremely successful entertainer. I just wish his followers would think as much as they mock.

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Summertime Snack: Barack-Y Road

Posted by cann0nba11 on June 21, 2009

I didn’t come up with the idea for the flavor, but I did create the parody image below. Enjoy! 🙂

Posted in Entertainment, first amendment, free speech, humor, Obama, Politics | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Video: An American Kid

Posted by cann0nba11 on June 16, 2009

For all of the military kids out there:

Posted in Conservatives, Entertainment, Music, National Security | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Letterman vs. Palin: Time to move on.

Posted by cann0nba11 on June 16, 2009

Last night David Letterman gave what I consider a sincere and honest apology to Sarah Palin and her daughters. This morning Sarah Palin accepted his apology and helped properly frame the entire situation by reminding people that our troops are out there helping preserve our rights, including free speech.

I think this thing was blown a little out of proportion, but I am extremely happy that it received at least some attention. The left has enjoyed a double-standard for quite some time and it is good to see someone actually held responsible for their own words.

Letterman relies on the accuracy of his writers. He surely had no idea that the younger daughter was at the ball game. Does the excuse “I thought she was 18, not 14” matter? Legally, yes. Morally, not really. It was still a bad joke told by a guy that truly hates conservatives, especially Sarah Palin. Letterman owned up to that and finally took full responsibility for the stupidity of the comment. My only gripe about his apology is that he failed to mention Sarah Palin by name, instead saying “the governor.”

I think this kerfuffel is over now, let’s move on and focus on more important things. Might I suggest the rambling nonsense spewed by a man without a teleprompter?

Posted in Conservatives, Culture, Entertainment, first amendment, General, liberals, media, Politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »