Monday, September 21, 2009


This week, three of my cousins are flying in from Denver to visit my wife and me. We're going to spend some time at some local golf courses, stop by a casino or two, and, on Friday, drive out to Des Moines, Iowa, to watch the Dave Matthews Band perform.

The Dave Matthews Band is in my top 5 favorite bands of all time. And Dave Matthews is in my top 5 people who I can't stand. Nearly every word that comes out of his mouth is idiotic. As I was surfing the web, getting myself amped for the concert, I stumbled into this gem of an interview Dave gave CNN. I have decided to vent my way through the transcript as a cathartic exercise so that I can fully enjoy Friday's concert. (My venting is

CNN: President Carter said he thinks that a lot of the animosity directed toward President Obama is race related.
Dave Matthews: Of course it is! I found there's a fairly blatant racism in America that's already there, and I don't think I noticed it when I lived here as a kid. But when I went back to South Africa, and then it's sort of thrust in your face, and then came back here -- I just see it everywhere. There's a good population of people in this country that are terrified of the president only because he's black, even if they don't say it. And I think a lot of them, behind closed doors, do say it.

And there is also a good population of people in this country that voted for the president only because he's black. There is also an even bigger population of people in this country that voted against the president and do not support the president because he is a liberal who is proposing liberal policy changes.

Maybe I'm paranoid about it, but I don't think someone who disagreed as strongly as they do with Obama -- if it was Clinton -- would have stood up and screamed at him during his speech. (Shakes his head) I don't think so.
If Dave is referring to Rep. Joe Wilson's yelling, "You lie!" during the president's speech, then he has seen a video that I've been unable to find. But what I have found is this picture of Rep. Wilson yelling "You lie!" while seated. And how does Dave know that Rep. Wilson was motivated by racism, by a fear of a black president? Is he a mind reader? So I'm just going to go out on a limb and say that, yes, Dave, you are paranoid about it.

But, if yelling at a president while he is giving a speech is racist, then these protesters must really hate white people:

CNN: Everything has gone to such a frenzied pitch.
Matthews: I think a lot of it has to be on the press. We give the podium to a lot of people who shouldn't have the podium.
Like people who make a living singing?

The message that's delivered the loudest and in the most entertaining way is the one that we're going to put on because that's what we want. We want ratings more than we want to deliver information. That's just where the culture's gotten.
There's no way that Walter Cronkite, as a young journalist, no way Ed Murrow would be hired to do news today. Not a chance.
CNN: Because they're too low-key? Because they're not bombastic?
Matthews: Because they're thoughtful, and they're patient, and they're tying to tell you a truly balanced story. They're trying to impart information. I don't think that's the goal [now] because it's not a good business plan. ...
Everyone's outraged all the time. Why are you outraged? There's war -- there's always been war, as long as most of us have been alive. There have always been people being abused, there's always been horrible things in the world. Why are we outraged? We should just be quiet and figure it out, and work it out together. ... There's no solution in Washington as long as people are shouting like that.
The problem with people like Dave Matthews is not the fact that they are opinionated. I could care less about his opinions. It's that in one interview he's shown what an utter fool he is. He talks about being "thoughtful" and "patient" and "balanced" when just a handful of sentences before hand he called a good population of Americans racist in such a thoughtful and patience and balanced way. So now the bar is set so low that whenever a person has a logical and thoughtful disagreement with our president, you are a racist. If a person has a legitimate concern about handing more control of our lives to the federal government they are a racist because we now have a black president. If a person would prefer that our government not drag our country further into debt under the guise of social justice, they are now a racist. Way to be "thoughtful" and "patient" and "balanced" Dave. Way to take the high road and not drag public debate through the mud. Maybe if you took a little time to "be quiet" and to stop calling people racists, we'd be able to "figure it out".

And now that I've gotten that off of my chest, I'll be able to have a great time at the concert.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pros/Cons of Over-the-air television

Before moving to Omaha, the wife and I had DirecTV w/ DVR, so we were quite the television aficionados. But, once we got to Omaha, we reverted back to the trusty "rabbit ears" television.

Pro: DirecTV while at college would have cost us about (36 months x $35 a month) = $1250
Con: TV experiences a 2-3 second delay every time a car drives by our house.

Pro: Now there are only 8 channels with "nothing on".
Con: Our football experience ends on Sunday night now that Monday Night Football is on ESPN.

Pro: Less channel surfing.
Con: Weakened thumb muscles.

Pro: Less commercials now that half of our channels are paid for by the US taxpayers.
Con: Digital conversion box fiasco.

Pro: Thanks to Netflix, catching up on old TV shows that we never had time for in the past and/or missed out on. For example: Life, The Wire, Ultimate Fighter, Numbers, Sleeper Cell, Boomtown, Generation Kill, Prison Break, Bones, Six Feet Under, Kill Point, Undeclared, etc.
Con: Have to watch current shows online (if they even get posted) or else wait for half of a year for them to get onto Netflix. For example: Mad Men, Psych, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Burn Notice, Dexter, True Blood, etc.

Pro: Catching up on a lot of movies.
Con: Seems like fewer and fewer good movies are coming out these days(*).

Pro: Most of the major networks have decent primetime shows and decent weekend sports coverage.
Con: The President can ruin an evening by giving a speech, which every channel will ultimately carry.

Pro: Boning up on my Espaniol.
Con: 1/8 of the channels available to me are broadcast in Spanish.

All in all, I'd say the pros are currently outweighing the cons, but I can't wait until we have a little more disposible income so we can have satelite tv again.

(*) Over the past two days, the wife and I rented "Sunshine Cleaning", "Tyson", and "State of Play" from the RedBox at the local WalMart, which ended up being a string of 3 good movies.

While Sunshine Cleaning was not my cup of tea, my wife enjoyed it. It was too similar to Dan in Real Life/Little Miss Sunshine/Juno, which is why I was luke warm to it and why the wife enjoyed it. I am not a huge fan of the the "realism" genre, where the story just meanders along. I would give it a B-

However, Tyson was amazing. I had heard an interview with the director on the radio when it was coming out in theaters and was intregued. I had forgotten about it until seeing it in at the RedBox. From start to finish, I am hard pressed to think of any documentary that I enjoyed as much as this one. It was basic: an interview of Tyson about his life, with footage of his fights intersperced, but captivating. I'd grade it an A+

I got State of Play on a whim. I was plesently surprised with the result. For a movie full of d-bag actors it was a great movie. It had nice plot twists, some good action, and a strong storyline. I'd score it an A-.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Obama's School Speech

Some thoughts on the Obama School Speech:

  • Great political move by Obama to pump the speech into the schools where he has a captive audience. He knows that very few of those students would ever watch him during primetime, so he used his bully pulpit. It was politically savvy, but I lost quite a bit of respect for him because of it.
  • Once again, the President proved that while he has a very compelling and uplifting personal story, that is all it is, a story, lip service. And, up to this point in his presidency, it's only been talk. Instead of rewarding personal responsibility, he has choosen to reward irresponsibility, from bailing out poorly run companies that are too big to fail, to bailing out people who bought too much home, to rewarding people who continue to drive "clunkers" with $4500 of someone elses money to buy a new car.

  • I love how he talked about everyone's responsibility in the education system, but I've got an idea, why don't we take some of this "government responsibility" and shift it back to the parents and allow them to set high standards, support competent teachers and principals, and turn around schools that they are unhappy with by giving the parents vouchers and allowing them to use "choice and competition" to get ensure their students are getting the opportunities they deserve.

  • The biggest reason I am not an Obama supporter is the constant collectivism that he pushes. For example:
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country. What you’re learning in school today will determine whether we as a nation can meet our greatest challenges in the future.

What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?
I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you. So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.

  • I love how in Obama's world, no one ever figures out what they are good at without government.
  • What the hell is the point of a motivational speech if end it by discouraging today's youth from chasing their dreams, even if they would like to be an athlete, actor/actress, or rapper, even if the odds are against them? Weren't the odds pretty steep for a black man to be president?
I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you’re not going to be any of those things.

All things considered, it was a weak speech filled with watered down after-school special arguements about the "importance" of government-run education. But I would expect nothing less from this agent of "change".

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Obama gets a taste of his own medicine.

This is a great comic strip that I found out about from Mike Rosen's radio show. (Click on the image for a larger view) It is a great allegory about the health care "reform" that is being proposed in the Congress.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Soundtrack of my life

(Thanks to Friar Tuck for the idea for this blog post)

I love music. I love to play music. I love to listen to music. And my musical interests are quite varied. And for that, I can thank the following people:

My Mom:

Since my Mom was a stay-at-home mom, she was the earliest and, probably, strongest influence in the music I listen to to this day. My Mom had piles and piles of contemporary Christian cassettes, of which, my favorites were Micheal W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Carmen, and, Amy Grant. The highly synthesized gospel/pop of Carmen, the piano-driven ballads of Micheal W. Smith, the vocal ballads of Amy Grant, and the acoustic-guitar driven light rock of Steven Curtis Chapman all grabbed my attention and interest and laid the foundation for my musical interests in the future.

Yet, when we would drive to Pueblo or La Junta, there were no good Contemporary Christian stations, so we would listen to country music stations. My favorite was a Country Top 40 station that was 101.9 on the radio dial. We would sing along to Garth Brooks, George Strait, Tim McGraw, and Reba McEntire. I remember hearing Alan Jackson's "Neon Rainbow" for the first time. Thanks to my mom, I was able to experience and appreciate the value of a good two stepping song. It was this constant exposure to good country music that made me the dancer I am today (as well as learning how to "pretzel" in 4th grade to, I believe, "T.R.O.U.B.L.E." by Travis Tritt, "Burn Me Down" by Marty Stuart, and Garth Brooks' "Rodeo").

My love of country music even lead me to purchase, as one of my first compact discs, the reissue of "Urban Chipmunk" in which Alvin, Simon, and Theodore sing popular country tunes, including "the Gambler", "I Love a Rainy Night", and "Boot Scootin' Boogie". I'm not ashamed to admit, I loved that CD.

My Dad:

Almost all of my musical memories from my dad revolve around rock and roll. One of my earliest musical memories involves singing "Old Time Rock & Roll" with my dad as we drove to the high school gym so he could play volleyball on a Sunday night. In Dad's car, we would listen to the "Oldies" station. My favorite "Oldies" band was, by far, the Beach Boys. My parents even took me to a Beach Boys concert that followed a Denver Zephyrs (think pre-Rockies era) baseball game.

My dad also listened to a lot of Folk rock while he would work in his garage. He had countless 8-track tapes of John Denver, Jim Croce, Don McLean, and Harry Chapin. I grew to love acoustic guitar soft rock from the hours I'd spent helping him in the garage.

My love for various eras and styles of music came in the middle of the 90s, in my formative musical years, when my dad and I watched the Beatle's Anthology mini-series on tv. I loved every second of it. I loved that mini-series so much that from the moment it aired until December 25, 1995, I begged and pleaded with my parents that they buy the two-disc CD that accompanied the tv show. And, of course, they did. I can still remember seeing the green apple that was on the cover of the CD.

My Parents:

As I grew, and matured, my parents (especially my mom) both allowed me to spread my wings and try out new music, as I continued to enjoy the music of their day. By the time I hit junior high school, I was a rocker at heart, and they didn't seem to mind. I can remember one Christmas my mom bought me the latest Billy Joel CD that I had been begging her to buy me for months. Yet, she also would buy me CDs that I wouldn't expect. I remember that she bought me a copy of the Beatles "Rubber Soul" album.

From junior high on, every chance I would get, I would buy a new CD. And my CD wallet was quiet eclectic. Some of the artist I remember enjoying included Melissa Etherige, Gloria Estefan, TLC, Aerosmith, the Beatles, Joe Diffie, and the Dumb and Dumber soundtrack.

Then came high school.

My friend Brad:

Brad introduced me to VAN HALEN.

I shouldn't really have to say much more than that, but I will. I grew as a music fan in high school, and most of my musical schooling came from Brad. Brad turned me on to 98.1 KKFM, the best classic rock station in Southern Colorado. We spent countless hours listening to the constant stream of AC/DC, Aerosmith, Boston, Def Leppard, The Eagles, Foreigner, Jackyl, Hendrix, Journey, Zepplin, Skynyrd, Pink Floyd, Queen, REO, The Stones, Steve Miller, ZZ Top, The Who, and, most of all, Van Halen.

While we would listen, I would always try to name the song and band sooner than Brad could. I rarely won, and Brad would always quiz me with trivia, who were the members of the band, what album the song was from, what other band(s) the members were a part of, etc.

But Brad's true love was Van Halen. And they would become my band as well. Brad owned almost every Van Halen CD, but his favorite was "5150". We would listen to that CD as we drove to the drag strip each Friday for Friday Night Races, making sure that the song "5150" was the last song we heard when we got to the track.

Brad was also a founding member of a DJing service and we would travel around the Arkansas Valley DJing dances. As DJs, we had to know many different types of music intimately so that we could be successful. We played polka and hip/hop. We played classic rock and country. We played Top 40 pop and dinner music. We played every classic dance song from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. And I loved every minute of it.

Then came college, and Brad introduced me to the Dave Matthews Band. And then DMB became my musical identity. I loved Dave's crazy singing style. I loved the mixture of Leroy's sax and Boyd's fiddle. I loved how Stephan's bass accented Dave's (and Tim Reynold's) acoustic guitar. But I especially loved Carter Beauford and his drums. Hearing them jam for upwards of 10 minutes on a song always lifted my spirits. And they opened my mind up to even more music.

Through DMB, I grew to like artists such as Jason Mraz (thanks in large part to my sister Dana's influence), Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Matchbox 20, and, recently, Mat Kearney and O.A.R.

Over the years, I have grown to appreciate live music as much as recorded music. I've been to the concerts of the Beach Boys, Def Leppard, DMB, Jason Mraz, POD and 5 Iron Frenzy, O.A.R., Mat Kearney, and many others.

So, should Hollywood decide to make a movie about me, I would hope that they would use the following songs as the soundtrack of my life:

Burn Me Down ~ Marty Stuart
California Girls ~ The Beach Boys
Friends ~ Michael W. Smith
American Pie ~ Don McLean
With a Little Help From My Friends ~ The Beatles
Right Now ~ Van Halen
Bicycle ~ Queen
You Can Leave Your Hat On ~ Tom Jones
Crush ~ Dave Matthews Band
Beautiful Mess ~ Diamond Rio
You're the Inspiration ~ Chicago
Here We Go ~ Mat Kearney

Capitalism's Hero of the Day --- John Schnatter

During our dinner conversation, I made the observation to my wife that Papa John's pizza is the perfect example of capitalism (during dinner, I incorrectly thought it was Papa Murphy's). Or, to be more specific, the fact that :

Papa John's founder John Schnatter has found his beloved 1971 Z28 Camaro he sold more than 25 years ago to help his dad’s tavern stay afloat and ultimately launch Papa John’s. Schnatter initially offered a $25,000 "finder’s fee" to the person who could produce the title to his long-lost Camaro, and later offered $250,000 to whomever could produce the title and transfer the car. The search was chronicled online at


"The Camaro represents what I gave up to start Papa John’s," Schnatter said. "Words cannot capture the emotions I am feeling in getting back that part of my history. I didn’t have much back then, but for my business dreams to come true, I had to part with the one true asset I had to my name, and even then, there were no promises of success.

"The foundation of Papa John’s was built on my decision to sell the Camaro, and while it may not appear to be a huge sacrifice to some, it represents my roots in this business."

Here is a guy who over 25 years ago sold his prized possession for less than $3000 to help pull his father's tavern out of bankruptcy. It was in this tavern that John would start his pizza business, which, through the miracle of free market capitalism, would grow to become the world's third largest pizza company.

It is because of capitalism that Papa Johns grew from one guy selling pizzas out of the back of his dad's bar to a company with 3000 restaurants and about 17000 employees. It was capitalism that made it possible for John to pay an astounding quarter-million dollars to regain ownership of his original 1971 Camaro.

That doesn't happen without the hard work of one man in the fertile fields of capitalism.