October 28, 2011
The hardest years, the darkest years,
the roarin’ years, the fallen years
These should not be forgotten years…
You know, I took a lot of pictures that day that I spent down on Wall Street.
I think I should show them to you.
There were businessmen, there were hippies, there were old ladies, there were hot chicks, there were beautiful people, there were scary people…
There were brothers and sisters…
There were people who were pissed…
There were famous people…
There were semi-famous people…
(James de La Vega)
There were Observers…
It’s at times like these the great heaven knows,
That we wish we had not so many clothes.
There was artistic nudity…
Note: I “interviewed” Purple Girl about the significance of this. She said that she wanted to support “the cause” but all she had to give was her nakedness.
There were lots of cameras rolling…
Could it be that the smog’s playing tricks on my eyes,
or is it a rollerskater in some kind of headphone disguise?
Did I mention scary people?
There was funny stuff…
And there was a lot to read…
There were people making food (for the Occupiers)…
Sorry. I got distracted by the Irish Redhead.
Uh… There were Musicians…
And this is probably a good time to introduce this week’s musical guest.
I like to call them, The Wall Street Non-Marching Band. Enjoy…
There were people printing “Occupy Wall Street” for free on any T-shirt.
If you didn’t have a T-shirt, you could buy a plain white T-shirt for $5.
I absolutely had to have one…
Being there was a little like Bonnaroo. You could feel a similar love in the air.
Captain America’s been torn apart
Now he’s a court jester with a broken heart
He said – Turn me around and take me back to the start
I must be losing my mind – “Are you blind?”
I’ve seen it all a million times…
But here’s why I suck…
Even thought I was down there for like 6 hours, talking to all of you, taking pictures, breathing it in, agreeing with some of you and arguing politics with others, at the end of the day, I went home to my Midtown condo overlooking the Hudson, after catching a quick meal at Pio Pio.
You guys, on the other hand, stayed behind. Some of you are still there.
If I could have stayed, I would have. Wish I was there now.
I love you guys… Keep up the fight.
October 21, 2011
It took two weeks to come up with this…but you have to admit, my last post easily embodied at least two weeks worth of content, n’est-ce pas? Oui. For the first time in the six months (or so) that I’ve been back, last week was the first week where I just couldn’t make a blog entry (and the network said that we can’t do re-runs). Perhaps I was a little derailed… I was told by several readers that I seemed depressed. I was also told that I was getting “difficult to read”. Someone else said, “this is no Mariachi Static”.
Hmmm…? So, I decided to take a week off and reflect.
I also had to prepare for the final day of destruction, which, by the way, is today, October 21st 2011. This is according to Harold Camping, who originally said that true believers would be raptured, which I believe means “swept up to heaven” on May 21st of this year, while the rest of us would enter a period of judgement, until the final day of destruction – today.
That’s great, it starts with an earthquake
Birds and snakes, and airplanes, Lenny Bruce is not afraid
I don’t know about you but, I have a few friends who I haven’t heard from in months. Sure. It’s possible that they’ve just been busy or stopped talking to me after reading my blog but, I’d like to believe they were raptured. Seriously, if only “true believers” were raptured, how many people is that? Would we miss them? Would any of us file a missing persons report? And as part of the investigation, would the police ask questions like, “was he a true believer?”
Well, anyway, I hope you’re not reading this blog, because if you are, then maybe the world hasn’t ended, and now I’m going to be in a heap of trouble, thanks to Harold Camping. You see, I owed the IRS a pile of money and had to send it in by October 15th, but I thought that, since the world was ending on the 21st, I’d just tell them to take a hike and instead, I blew the money on cheap booze and expensive women. In fact, Brittney even named her latest album after our time together…
Shouldn’t that be “’til the world ends”, like short for until? I don’t think till is a word.
So, hey… Britt, just in case the world doesn’t end today. Uh… I should be home around supper time but, we should probably discuss an annulment. Oh and, until then, you’re going to want to file separately, even if it costs a few extra dollars.
Getting back to my “depressing” blog entries…
I guess there are two things at play here. 1) You really lose something when your read what I write, instead of listening to me. If I were to read this to you, which is unlikely to happen, you’d hear the way I intend for it to be read. You’d hear the sarcasm and you’d get that even my most serious statements contain an air of comic relief. 2) Although I fully expected to take a break from my political commentaries, I’m not sure if I can do it. These are political times that we live in. Things are bad… and we need to fix them.
We live in a country that is supposed to be run by elected officials, who we elect as our representatives, to do the things we want them to do. Instead, they lie, cheat and steal from us, and they make decisions based on money and the wishes of whoever is putting the most money into their election (or re-election) campaign.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that money = freedom of speech. They said that giving a political candidate money is equivalent to voicing your support of that candidate and therefore, making huge political contributions is protected under freedom of speech. Is that bullshit or what? It just leads to having bought politicians.
Congressmen now spend 50% of their time fundraising instead of doing the work that we sent them to Washington to do. Every day, they have to attend a fundraising lunch or dinner or spend time on calling campaigns. Reason being, 94% of the time, the candidate who raises the most money wins. So, they have to spend most of their time chasing money and, of course, whoever gives them big dollars, gets decisions in their favor. Essentially our goverment is bought.
Special interest groups, such as the petroleum industry, defense contractors, and Wall Street bankers are bankrupting middle class America by keeping us addicted to fossil fuels (while getting shitty gas mileage), keeping us involved in foreign military operations costing billions of dollars, and manipulating the banking system to rake in maximum dollars, while the average American can’t sell his house or even get a loan to buy a new house. Instead he just sits by watching his 401K go down the drain.
Yep. It’s two weeks later and… Nothing has changed.
But is that really true? Maybe some things are changing. At least, it certainly seems like I am not the only person enraged with the way our country is being run. First of all, I have to praise each and every person who has participated in the Occupation Movement. I love the people who have been out there, every day, for weeks. And I love when you say, “we may not (specifically) know what we want but we know that we don’t bankers and politicians running our lives or getting rich at our expense”.
Amen, brothers and sisters.
For those of you who haven’t made it to Wall Street during the occupation, you really should. It’s electric. And way better than all those movies that we saw, when we were growing up, with college students protesting in the 60′s. This isn’t a movie or a history lesson (yet). These are genuine people who are sick and tired of a government whose hands are tied, and prevented from making the right decisions for the people of this country …by money.
I remain focused.
Oh, look a red head..
Alrighty then, let’s talk about my new “friend”, Dylan Ratigan…
You know, when I first heard of Ratigan, I was expecting him to be just another media guy… kind of like me, except that he worked for the mainstream media. So, occasionally, he might fly off the handle with a rant about the state of our country but, in general, I expected him to just be one more media guy, acting like an impartial reporter while trying to push the agenda of one side or another. Afrter all, that’s what they all do.
And maybe, if you were to interview him and ask about his political beliefs, I’m sure that he would have to be categorized as leaning to one side or another. We can all be put into those silos. But I really get the sense that, like me, Ratigan is tired of the democrats vs. republican bullshit, and right now, like many of us, he sees that the system is broken and that we need to fix things and make it a fair system for all Americans, before we can get back to arguing our personal politics. I truly believe that arguing for either side of our bi-partisan system of today is like arguing about which brand of tires we should put on our race car, when we don’t even have an engine. It’s stupid and pointless.
So, I don’t know and I don’t care if Ratigan is a democrat or a replublican, I actually don’t want to know. It doesn’t matter to me. What I do know is that Ratigan is a former financial services guy, who left that industry and went to work covering the finacial markets on CNBC, eventually landing his own show on MSNBC, The Dylan Ratigan Show. And this show, which deserves to be on during prime time, when more people could discover it, could possibly be the most important show on television. As it seems to be all about taking back our country and getting the money out of politics. Amazing. I know.
By what I’ve seen of his show, so far… He seems to have a string of guests on, democrats and republicans alike, on a number of topics, but if they’re not in agreement that we need to get the money out of politics, he hammers them equally. I love it.
Now, please don’t think that I’m saying that I like Ratigan. Don’t forget, technically, I don’t like anyone. OK, except maybe Stonsey….but he brings me margaritas. Doesn’t count.
But I like what Ratigan is doing and, at least, the conversations that he is striking up.
And get this…
Three weeks ago, he launched this website www.getmoneyout.com to try and collect electronic signatures and, as he puts it, build a digital wave to try and pass a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics. Kudos, again! Again, there is no democrat vs. republican bullshit going on here. This is about ONE THING, ending private interest’s ability to purchase our government in a fundraising auction.
Now the chances of getting a constitutional amendment passed are like a zillion to one. As I understand it, there are amendments on the books from the 1800s that are still waiting to be ratified by the states. But that one in a zillion shot is a shot that we should take. And go see, in just over two weeks, he’s gotten over 200,000 electronic signatures. Now if everyone tells two people, and they tell two people, maybe we have a chance at cleaning this thing up. Yes. It’s a long-shot that a TV show could change our government but just maybe, between this and the occupation movement, just maybe… we can focus enough attention at the root causes to our nation’s problems as to incite change.
I’m with you, Dylan.
Now, you…with the eyes, reading this… go sign the petition.
Here it is again: www.getmoneyout.com
Side note. If you watch Ratigan’s show, he occasionally has on, as part of his Mega Panel, the awfully cute, relatively hot, British accent included, Imogen Lloyd Weber, who talks a lot with her hands – I keep thinking she’s going to smack someone. Imogen is a political commentator, broadcaster, producer, and author of The Single Girl’s Guide. Daughter of composer Andrew Lloyd Weber, Imogen now lives in New York City…
What??? I was just in New York City.
Ugh… Another missed stalking opportunity. I’d be a really bad stalker.
I guess I’ll go “old school”, which means email & Facebook
Hey, Gen… Tweet me.
Other people are welcome to use those too.
Uh… As long as you look a little like Imogen…
Now back to the Occupation Movement.
I’m not sure what this guy is trying to say but, this is pretty funny…
And finally, in the spirit of acknowledging change…
I am, once again, such a PC.
Once a diehard PC guys, about three years ago, I got experimental. I switched teams. I retired my home PC and I got myself a Mac. Now, I have to say, for the most part, a computer is a computer. They are all basically the same. It’s like democrats and republicans, they are mostly the same. In fact, most people have no solid answer as to why they are a Mac or why they are a PC. I mean, seriously… Outside of my friends who like to pickup chicks at the National Republican Convention, when you see a hot chick, do you care if she’s a democrat or a republican? …or do you buy her a drink anyway? Computers are really the same way. You bring’em home, plug’em in, turn on the juice, press the right buttons and you’re ready to download porn. Uh… Yes. I’m talking about computers.
Again, some people pick a computer like they are picking a favorite football team, they don’t even know why. Some people think that having a Mac is like having a Harley and other Mac riders will give you the head-nod as you pass each other on the information super-highway. Whatever. They are both just computers and right now, they are more alike than ever, especially since Apple went to using Intel processors and released a Mac OS based on Linux, instead of the old “whatever it was”.
Anyway, when I first got the Mac, I felt like I still had to have Windows. So, I installed the VMware thingy that let me run a virtual PC inside my Mac. And, at first, I used it all the time. Then, not so much. I got used to using the Mac stuff and I almost never launched my Windows. I really got to like Safari instead of Internet Explorer. And, in general, everything worked as expected, but then came the time that I had to encounter the Apple culture and deal with Apple people.
First, my Mac-mini was incredibly small, cute and compact but incredibly difficult to work on. Once upon a time I went to add memory to it. It was almost impossible to open and Apple actually doesn’t want you working on this on your own. So I had to find some online, third-party instructions on how to do this. It actually told me to stick a screwdriver here, another one there and start prying. Then, “when you’re sure that it’s about to break – pry just a little harder”. Ha, ha.. That worked.
But then came the day when the thing didn’t turn on at all. My only choice was to visit an Apple store. At this store there were countless people doing nothing. However, as I approached the service department, I was intercepted by an Apple drone with an iPad. He wanted to know if I had an appointment. I said, “no”. So he suggested that I make one. I asked if I could make one for right now and he basically laughed at me. Then I asked if I could leave my Mac for them to look at and he explained to me that they don’t work that way. First you have to make an appointment, then they’ll look at the computer with you. Those are the choices.
It turns out that there was a third choice. I threw my Mac-mini into a near-by trash can and ordered a brand new shiny HP with Windows 7, 8GB of RAM and one of those new Intel i7 Quad-core processors. Woo hoo… It’s awesome, crazy fast! My computing life has been restored, things are good.
I’m sorry if you feel betrayed PC world but I’m back and I’m here to stay.
I guess there’s nothing left for me to say or do. Maybe introduce this week’s musical guest and the act like a hockey player. You know… Get the puck out of here.
OK. This week we’re going to listen to Washington.
No. Not Washington DC. And No, this is not a political band.
They are an Australian band led by singer / songwriter Megan Washington.
Check them out. Here’s Washington with Rich Kids.
Want to see more Washington?
I recommend these videos too…
and for a little live action…
And I think that’s all the time we have for today…
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s installment. See you next week.
Mo… Fi amanillah.
And to the rest of you… Keep up the fight, my friends.
I believe it’s time for me to fly.
October 7, 2011
Funny, several people seemed to have had the same reaction to my money rant from last week. At the begining they were thinking, “wow… he used to owe a huge pile of money and now he owes a lot less, he must be rolling in the dough”. But then, as they read on to understand how, quite often, it cost a lot of money to make money, and then repaying your debts can absolutely kill you on taxes, instead of thinking that I was rolling in any kind of dough, they sent me sympathy cards… Thank you very much.
In either case, the sentiment was, “but if you ever do get paid-off to zero, then you’ll be rolling in the dough, right?” Well…maybe. You see my goal was never to roll in dough, my goal was to build a great company…and yes, it’s easier to do that if you have a lot of dough. So getting to the “lots of dough” stage is important. But the reality is that, if all our debts were paid to zero, I’d make sure that all of our people made more money. So I’d still end up with less. My goal has always been to have the best people, making the most money possible for the job that they do. For example, if we hire a janitor, I want him to be the best janitor, and I want him to make more money than any other janitor around. Keeping in mind that, with great pay comes great responsibility. This isn’t charity or corporate socialism, each employee would be making top dollar, because we’d have the very best employees …and, theoretically, we could command a premium price for our services. Yes, we’d be that good. And then, maybe, we’d all be making so much money that we’d have to consider ourselves, “rolling in it”…but, again, not just me… everyone who got us here/there.
Anyway…enough about money. This week, I’ve sent Barnsley to South Central Los Angeles to see if he could drum up a bottle of Ripple. Now, you can’t just say Ripple. You need to pronounce it like Fred Sandford pronounced it… Ripple!
I hope it’s a strong wine. We’re going to need it.
Because this week, we’re gonna talk about…
One word, and I bet I already made some people nervous about whatever it is that I am going to say. You know who you are. Do you know why you’re nervous? Because you are probably an overly politically correct Democrat who would prefer to not mention racism and hope it goes away.
Well, let me set my stage… I have a problem with racist people, but I also have a problem with political correctness. You see, to me, whether or not you are a racist has less to do with what you say and do, and a lot more to do with what you believe and what you feel. Anyone can adjust what they say, in order to be politically correct. That doesn’t change what they actually believe and feel. I could innundate you with examples, but I will try and limit it to just a few “annecdotes”.
In planning to discuss this topic, I first went on a search for an official definiton of racism. Here’s what I came up with… “Racism is the belief that inherent differences among human racial groups, justifies discrimination against one group or another.”
That’s perfect. That definition agrees with me that it’s about belief.
But today, someone could easily be tagged as a racist, not by what they believe, but simply by what they might say, do, not do, or even find humorous. No one is better at pointing this out than black comedians. Black comedians tell a lot of black jokes. The basis of their comedy is quite often a giant verbal yellow highlighter on the differences between races. Their audiences laugh because a) it’s usually very funny; and b) it’s a black comedian telling the jokes. And as Chris Rock (an excellent entertainer, performer, and one of my favorite comedians) has pointed out in the past, sometimes the white people need to look around and see if it’s OK for them to laugh. By all rights, they and their jokes should be labelled as racist. Yes/No?
Speaking of black comedians, I saw a guy not too long ago, who was very funny, and I must apolgize for not remembering his name but, at one point, he started talking about his parents and said, “my parents are old school, which means they are… uh… racist”. This got a big laugh from his audience, including me, because we all know what that means. This means that his parents grew up in a time before the intense need existed for everyone to be politically correct. So, they say what they are thinking, instead of thinking one thing and saying another in order to avoid the possibility of being thought of as racist.
I know a thing or two about this. By today’s standards, no one could be considered more racist than my father. My father is an “old school” Cuban. By today’s standards, the Cubans are a racist bunch. They like to make fun of, just about everyone… Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Jews, Arabs, Asians… They really do not discrimate when it comes to making fun of others.
By the way, if you’re reading this and saying, “hey… I’m Cuban. I’m not that way.” Then it’s because you are one of those rare, most likely Democrat, Cubans, who has been Americanized and you’ve adopted the era of political correctness. But even then, you know exactly what I’m taking about. Don’t you?
…but in spite of my dad’s lack of political correctness, is he’s a racist? Not a chance. Most of my dad’s closest friends, personally and in business, were black Americans. I grew up in South Florida visiting neighborhoods who hadn’t seen a white guy, other than my dad, in years. If you came to a party at my house, there were always a handful of black Americans who were like familiy to me. I think I once asked my dad, “hey, <Archie’s dad>, have you noticed that most of your friends are black?” I honestly think that he’d never given it a second thought. Instead he just looked around, possibly ackowledging that I was onto something, and he said, “all I know is that my friends are loyal, honest and trustworthy”.
But it’s not like he’s blind to race. Believe me, it’s not unusual to go into any Cuban coffee shop in Miami with my dad and have him address a dark skinned woman behind the counter with, “Con permisso, Negra…”, …which means, “Excuse me, black woman”. …but he’s not being racist. I think, he thinks he’s being complementary. He’s saying, I looked at you close enough to notice that you’re dark skinned. I think, in his mind, he’s flirting with her, and doesn’t see a difference between saying that or saying, “hey you, with the blue shirt”.
I believe, that my dad believes, as do I, that all people, from all races, deserve equal opportunities and deserve to be treated as equals. But that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the fact that we’re all very different. Let’s face it, everything that has ever happened to you, and in your family’s past, since the begining of time, has played a part in making you who you are today and in making you different from everyone else… and we (you) should celebrate that. It’s good that we’re all different and it’s great that people notice. Noticing doesn’t make us racist.
So am I racist? I don’t think so. Although, I did notice that most of my dad’s friends were black. Did that make me a racist or is it possible that this observation only served to verify that I wasn’t blind? I guess it would bother me if anyone considered me a racist… It would bother me because, I used to have a black business partner. Now that I’m thinking about it, I have a number of black friends, who I never think of as any diffrent from any other friend. I also miss Willie James, my dad’s best friend, who passed away a few years ago. I never thought of him as black, instead I called him “Uncle Willie”, because he and my dad were like brothers…and I say all this realizing that, having a few black friends or relatives is still no litmus test for racism but then, what really is?
Funny. I saw something the other day that said…
If you voted for Obama to prove you weren’t a racist, now
you’ll have to vote for someone else to prove you’re not an idiot.
I love that. In case you’re wondering, by the way, I voted for Obama. I voted for Obama knowing that I wouldn’t agree with his politics and knowing that immediately after he took over, I’d be looking forward to a different President. But I didn’t vote for Obama to prove that I wasn’t a racist, I felt compelled to vote for the candidate who was least like the previous President. The country needed that. Now we need a President who will stop worrying about re-election, and/or his party platform, and do what’s right for the country. Of course, neither political party seems to have anyone like that …but that’s another story.
In conclusion, I do not believe that inherent differences among human racial groups, justifies any kind of discrimination against anyone. But I also don’t want to pretend that by forcing everyone to be politically correct, we’re fixing the problem. Instead, I think political correctness only serves to mask the ongoing, underlying issues that continue to exist in a country with a history of great racial inequalities, and we have a long way to go before we outgrow that history. That said, it should be pretty impressive that, no so long ago, white people imported Africans into this country and sold them as slaves but today it’s possible for a black man to be elected President, arguably the most powerful political positon on the planet.
And THAT is just a small part of what still makes America, in spite of all of our nation’s problems, the greatest country on Earth. But every single one of us needs to understand that being the greatest country on Earth doesn’t allow us to be on cruise control. There’s no auto-pilot here. Remember, with great power, comes great responsibility and… I think that’s the perfect lead in to today’s guests…
Before listening to any music, I have a video for you….
In case you don’t know him, Felonious Munk is a “comedian” and the founder of Stop It B!
FM finds topics that need addressing, he makes videos that are somewhat funny but very on point, and he puts them on You Tube. I must warn you that, FM’s video contain language which some people may consider offensive, yet others would argue that they should be required viewing. I agree. In fact, I think that if I ever get my new political party going, we might need FM to be our spokesperson.
So, I give you Felonious Munk, the new “America’s Party” Leader…
Yeah. Stop It B!
OK, so… Maybe he’s only about 80% on point. (Remember: He’s a comedian.)
That’s still better than most of our politicians …at least this guy is entertaining.
And do you still want a musical guest?
OK…but, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m in a mood.
You want music?
I give you, singer / songwriter, Doug Kwartler…
Maybe after Felonious Munk, we needed something a little more upbeat?
Oh, well. I guess someone from the Musical Guest Department will have to face the firing squad.
And so, the end is near…
Although I’ve probably said more than enough for one day, I would be remiss if I were not to acknowledge the crazed, lunatic, slave driver, genius who passed on Wednesday, and/or if we failed to thank him for the technological future that he helped to expedite into our present…
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know,
to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.
- Steve Jobs
We’ll miss you , brother.