Faster and Louder part 2

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Everyone knows that all music is better played faster and louder.  It’s a fact.  Wired into our genes, just like anything in life is better on television, as those of you that have, against my advice, gone to Brazil to watch World Cup Soccer in person have also found out.  Should have just stayed at home in the comfort of your own little cabin and watched on your 72 inch Samsung.  Everything is better on television.  Period.  You wouldn’t have had your purse snatched in Rio either.

And every kind of music is better when played faster and louder.  Period.  The unhallowed premier purveyors of this self-evident fact is the band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.  These boys have been bangin’ it out for years unrecognized and shunned by the larger media.  It is almost as if there was a conspiracy against this getting out.

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Album after album, genre after genre, put through the buzzsaw of distorted guitars and frantic backbeats proving each and every time the song would have been better if played this way.  Why hasn’t this caught on?  Why haven’t Christina Aguilera and Barbara Streisand championed the cause of chainsaw guitars and frantic paced power chords in pop music?  The media.  Once again it’s a media conspiracy back-fueled by the music industry and ultimately the entire entertainment industrial complex to promote stars that are on top one day and then cast aside for another unknown under the music industry shackles tomorrow.  If you and I were in charge none of this would be allowed to stand.

I could go on and on about this, and I will at some future time, but right now let’s get back in the trenches and talk about those that are trying to bring the truth back to the people.

Me First & the Gimmie Gimmies

The Me Firsts.  Starting way back in 1995 these boys have been putting out themed albums of various genres and styles, everything from Broadway musicals to R&B to C&W.  Every single cut has been better than the original:  buzzsaw chords and a frantic pace.  Every once in awhile they sneak in an old punk riff just to prove that even these songs were better than all of the top 40 “songs” today.  Once you’ve heard “The Way We Were” you’ll wonder why Barbara Streisand never sported a black leather jacket and a pink mohawk.

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Not much more to say.  The music industry and media conspiracy are too powerful to ever be threatened and changed unless you want to end up taking the dirt nap, or at least your dog will.  Sadly Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry are never going to “kick out the jams.”

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Clubbing

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What’s the deal with warehouse clubs?  You know, places like Sam’s Club and CostCo.  They charge you $40 – $70 for the privilege of shopping in their dreary warehouse.  Why do they charge you for going in their crummy store?  I know, because they can, but really why do all these suckers line up to pay an entry fee to a store?

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I’ve looked around and the prices at Sam’s aren’t enough different from WalMart to make a real difference except in rare cases.  Plus you have to buy a skid-load or five gallons of mayonnaise at Sam’s to get the deal.  In addition, there is almost zero choice.  That one brand of mayonnaise is the one you’re buying.  At WalMart you at least have a few choices.

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CostCo pretends to be more upscale.  They have more brand-y stuff and the aircraft hangar looks a little nicer.  Plus there aren’t as many ethnics shopping there, if you know what I mean.  However, they charge more and you actually pay more than Sam’s and WalMart for stuff.  They claim to have exclusive stuff, but it’s only exclusive from not being at Sam’s or WalMart or Target.  They charge you more for being in their “club.”

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So what’s the deal with “club?”  It’s not like a real club where you go to meet people with like interests (except for being cheap).  Clubs used to be exclusive places where people went to get away from their spouses or children or to mix with toni friends or talk about postage stamps.  You could brag about your membership in certain exclusive clubs; you had to be voted into the club.  Here you just have to fork over the jack.  You have to wave that stupid card, like if they sold anything to a non-member it would break the corporation or some secret pact.  Who goes around showing other people their Sam’s or CostCo card?  “Look, I got into Sam’s Club.”  Nobody does that.  Maybe the manufacturers are afraid that regular people will find out they can get a deal on a five-gallon pail of ketchup.  You have to keep the price a secret to non-members.  I don’t get it.  Why isn’t it just the Sam’s store, no entry fee?

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Bridge Club

The shopping experience, even at Sam’s, is actually a step up from the dreary WalMart.  I guess ’cause the ceilings are higher and the floors are cleaner.  I suppose it’s that entry fee that does it.

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Philatelic Club

 

You can eat at Sam’s.  A big Nathan’s Famous hot dog and an endlessly refillable drink is only $1.50.  Homeless people should come there and live at Sam’s.  The $40 up front keeps them out though.  A big charity should donate the $40 each for a bunch of poor people and then let them hang at Sam’s; camp in the airport-sized parking lot that is never more than half full.  Then it wouldn’t be such an exclusive “club” for people anymore.

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Pill Pushers

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The pharmaceutical industry has to be the most screwed up corporate oligarchy in the world.  It makes, finance, politics, used car sales, medicine, law, weapons manufacturing, and pimping look like honored professions.  When I get finished with this expose you will want to wash your hands and down a litre of Robitussin every time you pass a Walgreens.  So what’s wrong with the drug industry?  A better question might be:  is there anything right with it?

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Let’s get one thing straight from the start, the pharmaceutical industry has nothing to do with making the world a better place.  I’ll prove this.  I’m givin’ ya the straight dope here.  Sure people will tell you they want to go to pharmacology school because they want to rid the world of disease, or at least make a difference.  Right, and my grandma is gonna win American Idol.  Don’t believe it.  99% of the people that go into pharma do it for the money and the so-called “side benefits.”  That’s it.  Get rich, get high.  Who can blame ’em?  Given the opportunity all of us just want some bling and buzz.  If you’re intelligent and rich you go to pharmacy college, if you’re poor or simple, you become a gang bangin’ drug dealer, and I’ll show you how there is about maybe, just maybe, only one degree of separation between the two.

Lobby Dollars 98-2012_0The base reason that the pharmaceutical industry is out to screw you is the US does not, despite your friendly Tea Party candidate, have a socialized healthcare system and the government by law (I wonder how that came about?) cannot negotiate the price of prescription drugs on your behalf.  Only insurers can and we know how much they care about you.  In addition the FDA, by law again, does not allow the importation of prescription drugs from other countries where these governments do negotiate the price of drugs.  These laws are all ostensibly to “protect you” but when was the last time a Washington pill pusher lobbyist had your best interest in mind?

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Now that we have that out of the way, what sort of economic skewing does this cause?  Well here is where I give you the inside story:  the pill pushers are not out to get you well, they are out to make you a junkie.  Here’s the deal, say I spend a lot of money to come up with a vaccine for cancer.  Every pharmaceutical company wants to invent that, right?  Wrong, my simple one.  If I come up with a vaccine I give you one maybe two shots and it’s bye, bye.  But if I can come up with a less effective long term chemotherapy for the same cancer, guess what, you’re a chemo junkie now.  I have you on the hook for months or years.  You’re “takin’ this junk against your will” as Bo Diddley said.

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Hence, all the adverts for long term, continuous therapies and drugs on the television.  Nobody in the pharma industry wants “one and  done,” so nobody researches “one and done.”  In addition now they are allowed, by law, to jack you like the meth dealer on the corner.  Over and over again.  Nobody wants a single pill to cure rheumatoid arthritis, that’s just crazy thinkin’.  If the government could take the usurious profit motive out of these schemes, well people just might research something more effective and useful.  I’m not saying pharmaceutical companies shouldn’t make money, I’m saying right now they are making too much money.  And the insurers too.

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Surely all these scientists aren’t out for just the mercenary aspects of these things.  First, they are.  Nobody gets rich on single dose cures, period.  You might get famous, but not rich, so forget that.  Things that address Third World health issues are out too since those folks don’t have any money.  Forget that.  Lastly, shareholders and hedge fund managers don’t care whether you live or die except if you muddle on somehow you keep paying (or your insurer who is gouging you with premiums) for the junk.

Is everyone feeling a little better now?

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Next time you are at the doctor’s office and you see one of those nicely dressed types pull up in a Lexus and walk straight into the back room, remember they are just the same as the dealer selling rock down on the corner.  There’s your degree of separation.

Shoot it up

(Un)Employed

wordsI know that last blog entry about the word thing sucked bad. Talk about bottom of the barrel. I almost deleted it but I figure someday long after I’m gone these little gems are going to bring me the fame and recognition of greatness I never had in life and it would be a shame if even the Dminus efforts were not included in my ephemera and marginalia, seeing that they are still certainly better than most of the hot air out there today.

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Retirement

Let’s talk today about unemployment or as I like to refer to it: “coincidental early retirement.” I think the government should shift towards using this term and let the “unemployment” defined rate gradually fade to near zero. Everyone in our free and classless society would be pleased by this. Think about it, if the government would just assume that no one over 65 wanted to work anyway (drop them from the “unemployed”) and assume that anyone who has exhausted their benefits are just lazy and shiftless and wouldn’t work at any job no matter what, now we have the retired (over 65) and the early retired (the lazy and shiftless) off the unemployment statistics. If we go one step further and assume the disabled are going to forever be unable to work, then there you have another big chunk out of the “pie of idlers” as I like to call it.

UnemploymentOffice_Forwardstl_FlickrNow before we…, Whoa you over there, don’t get up out of that chair while I’m talking and don’t you dare heckle me. I’ll come right over there and smack you. Before we go any further, to avoid any misunderstanding here, I myself am currently in a temporary bout of “coincidental early retirement.” So there. Now sit back down and shut up. You know what happens when you assume…

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Where was I, oh yeah, like most things in the media, business, or government, we haven’t made any real changes to the physical world here. It’s all a matter of perspective (= spin). We’ve now got our new unemployment rate down way low, near zero (Somebody is going to start talking inflation now so we may have to add something back into our statistic. There’s always a pessimist around.). Voila! Everyone feels better. Okay maybe not everyone but a lot of people. Those that don’t feel better are just going to not really care and that doesn’t count. These are mostly the lazy and shiftless that I mentioned above and nobody listens to them anyway and most don’t vote. So now I’ve proven that either people don’t care or they are way happier about our new unemployment statistic now so on average (and remember 50% of people are always going to be above average!) I think we can agree that the day is just a little sunnier now. What’s so bad about feelin’ good? Isn’t that what we yearn for most in life, feelin’ good? If you can do it without moving anything, so much the better. Why work so hard (see the “Dminus Principle”)? Anyway I’m doing all the heavy lifting here so just pay attention.

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Here come the naysayers. I’ve got my usual on target answers for them. The first thing that is going to be said is it is “different” than what we do today. I say: “Is what we’re doing today working, huh?” The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I say: New Way, New Result, because what we have now obviously isn’t working. Second, the economists and statisticians are going to say that the new stat is going to skew things or under report the real situation. This is maybe the worst argument ever. The current old unemployment stat we use is a made up number too, I’m just offering a clearly better pretend number. A more optimistic made up number. Remember: perspective = spin.

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Third unemployment statistics aren’t like physical constants like Avogadro’s Number or pi or the speed of light, they are just made up numbers by people to measure some thing in some way with a certain perspective (remember: spin). Why shouldn’t we use new ways of calculating statistics that put our current situation in a better, more optimistic light? I say change it again if circumstances change. Remember nothing has changed in the universe except a lot of people are a whole lot happier and the rest (the ones that don’t matter anyway) are just the same as they were before; net gain. Economists will squawk from both sides but when were economists ever right and therefore why would anyone pay any attention to them? When was the last time a tax cut “trickled down” to you or a tax hike created any jobs that the lazy and shiftless defined above would take? Huh? Never! QED!

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The other thing to remember in all this is even as the old unemployment statistic creeps down most of these jobs being taken are much lower paying than the ones people had before the crash. Most former auto workers in America are now slingin’ hash and they both count as employed but the latter just barely. Most former rice slingers in China are now making autos. But why rain on the parade? The new unemployment number takes care of all that. It is virtually unaffected by the quality of the jobs that the few outside of Wall Street work at. How better to measure a half-empty statistic?

I can see that some of you are still not on board with me.  How about this:  let’s measure the employment rate instead of unemployment rate.  Now we can crow about our 93% employment rate instead of pity-partying about the 7% unemployment rate and we haven’t even played the numbers game.  How ’bout dat?  I bet if you showed somebody a picture with 93 guys in it then showed them one with 100 guys in it they wouldn’t be able to tell which was which.  They sure would be able to tell the difference between 7 and zero.  Real life is the same.  Perspective and spin.  Is your day getting any better yet?

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The last argument will be that other countries don’t measure it that way. What? When did we ever worry about what foreigners, especially ones that don’t live here, think? Why would we behave like these lesser lights that we have to bail out globally like a drunk every New Year’s Eve? Remember WWI, WWII, Vietnam (France), Falklands (Great Britain), Kossovo, (remember that film Behind Enemy Lines with nutcase Owen Wilson as that downed NATO pilot) not to mention keeping their oil safe for them in the Middle East. We can measure unemployment any way we want. Besides when other countries see how low our unemployment is they’ll want to measure their’s the same better American way like they always do with things.

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Full Employment Pot ‘o’ Gold

I still apologize for that last post about words. It was really awful. I had a sort of writer’s block thing going on, but now the meds are starting to work. Hopefully this post will make up for it.