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I Want This Monster Under my Bed! November 25, 2009

Posted by rscottgriffin in Uncategorized.
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Although it’s been leaked for a week, and many a positive remark (Bananas! I die!) have already been made about the new benchmark in music videos set by the “Bad Romance” video, Lady Gaga’s newest album (or half-album, as it were) was officially released today.  If you didn’t know that, you’ve probably been living under a rock or don’t have a single gay friend.  “The Fame Monster,” is the follow-up to the HUGE “The Fame.”

I have never written a music review in my life, but let me tell you why I cannot get enough of this album.  I’m not going to repeat the constant comparisons to Madonna, other than in a few of the songs, below.  I love it because it sounds fresh and new and hip with an edge that Lady Gaga lends to her performance, but it also has some fantastic nuances that pay tribute to the frivolity and synth beats of the 80s and 90s and brought back some great memories of early mornings at Backstreet.

There is also one, undeniable thing that we know after this album – this Lady can SING!  Although you can tell the label had a lot more cash to throw into production in this album, that’s more in the backing music and effects and they let Gaga be Gaga.  It’s certainly obvious why she made it into Tisch at NYU at 17.   So, here are my thoughts, for what they’re worth, song by song.  (I’m not analyzing lyrics, here, btw, that could probably be a college course in and of itself.)

“Bad Romance” – I’ve been hitting “replay” on this song for two weeks, now.  It’s been remixed, it has a kick-ass video, and a great line that we’ve all thought at some point, “I DON’T WANNA BE FRIENDS!!!  Want your bad romance!!!”  Amen, sister.

“Alejandro” – Okay, this one is reminiscent of “La Isla Bonita,” which was never one of my favorites from Madge.  But, it also has a nice Ace of Bass “I Saw the Sign” little back-beat to it that gives it enough pep to make me want to get out of my chair at work.

“Monster” – She goes a little rougher here, too, and I do wish that the Autotuner would go the way of the Dodo, but we have our first big dose of 80s synth, here, which is just pure nostalgia for me.  This is also the first of the non-BR songs that is made for remixing and more layers of beats. It’s a cute disco song.  There’s also a shout out to “Just Dance.”  If you’ve seen a Gaga performance, you can see those creative seeds throughout this album, too.

“Speechless” – For every critic that says Lady Gaga is just another over-produced, bouncing blond “vocalist” that can’t actually sing, I give you this song to pop in your iPod, take a listen, then shut the f*ck up.  We go on to a completely different musical direction, here.  This one makes me think, Beatles.  I’m talking sound and pacing, here, people, but it also has a very bluesy feel with even a bit of country and western twang at one or two points.  The music and backing vocals are very simple, so you can really get a good dose of what a deep and raspy voice (Janis Joplin, Bonnie Tyler) she actually has.

“Dance in the Dark” – Oh. My. God.  This one is MADE for remixing, not that it stands out as a possible club mix on its own!  But, damn, it starts out sampling Depeche Mode’s Strangelove for Christ’s sake!!!  Also, she brings back her “freak bitch” self-proclamation from “Bad Romance,” here.  But, the hook has me thinking of that moment on the dance floor – you know it – when everyone’s been waiting for anticipation for it, then there’s a big “WHHHOOOOO!!” and everyone throws their hands up and the lights correspond.  I can’t imagine that this one won’t be on everyone’s favorite list, especially since about 3/4 of the way through, she channels “Vogue” and rattles off some dead celebrities…most of which are big gay icons.

“Telephone” – We all knew that the collaboration between Lady Gaga and Beyonce was coming, but who knew that it was going to be everything and more that Madonna and Britney wished “Me Against the Music” could be.  It mixes their styles so well, and its also remix fodder for days.  Also, listen very closely, and you’ll hear a little sample of “Beautiful Nightmare” thrown in there.

“So Happy I Could Die” – We’ve all had these nights, that everything seems so perfect, and you’re having such a good time…but this song is not happy, it’s melancholy.  It’s fantastic.  It’s juxtaposition of lyrics with music, and it actually evokes something much more, to me, than what they lyrics convey.  (Okay, so that’s my one discussion of lyrics.)

“Teeth” – Okay, I think Madonna circa Erotica era on this one.  Very raw, with a simple driving beat, it’s as primal, tribal, and honest as what she’s singing about.  I mean, she says, “I just want your sex” and “take a bite of my bad girl.”  This is probably my least favorite of the album, but I have a feeling it could grow on me.

So, those are my thoughts.  Please feel free to share your own in the comments section!


My Greatest Accomplishment: Becoming a Notary Public November 3, 2009

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When consulting a former colleague on some things I should think about when starting my own law practice, she suggested that I “sign-up” to be a Notary Public in Fulton County.  She suggested this so I could add Real Estate closings to my professional offerings.  (For others that are attorneys reading this, I realize there is some question to notarizing documents for a party I’m representing, but it doesn’t hurt, right?)  So, I asked around, and they said, oh it’s easy, you fill out the form, take it to the court, and there you go.  Great.

Georgia, being the progressive State that it is, actually offers an on-line application.  Praise Her for electronic government.  So, while I was still at my firm, knowing that we had plenty of Notaries around to notarize the application, I decided to go ahead and fill the thing out.  I will preface the rest of this story with the fact that I *possibly* did not fully and completely read all of the details of the application rules.  Hell, I’m a lawyer.  Unless it’s in published rules of court or an order or some administrative agency, a thorough perusal is usually sufficient.  So, I asked one of the secretaries and one of our case clerks (who is a Notary) to serve as endorsers on my application.  We filled in the application, I printed it out, signed it, had Travis notarized it, and voi la…I could become a notary.  Wrong.

The next week, my application in hand, I set off for the Clerk of Superior Court of Fulton County.  I sat down at the window and passed through my application.  On each and every legal document, court admission, court pleading, patent application, mortgage application, insurance application, driver’s license, check, and any other piece of paper that I have to sign in an official manner, I sign it with my first initial, and then my middle and last names – R. Scott Griffin.  Like many a southern boy before me, was cursed by being called by my middle name, and the application was VERY clear to apply in the manner in which you SIGN YOUR NAME.

So, my first argument with this particular bureaucrat was over whether they could issue me a Notary seal with my first initial, then my full name.  I explained the situation, explained I was a member of the State Bar of Georgia under that form of my name (including producing my bar card), and even showed that my driver’s license had that EXACT signature.  He had to ask his supervisor and mumbled something about “Homeland Security,” but I avoided THAT particular political discussion.  After a few minutes in the back, it was determined that was acceptable.  He then begins to take my application and enter the information into his computer.  (Why they have an electronic application that basically prints what you type, but requires them to perform data entry why you attempt to sit pretending to be patient is really beyond me.)  At the first endorsement, the secretary’s, he notes that she does not live in Fulton County, but in Cobb.  (This is the part where I realize I may have skimmed past something important in the rules, and I’ll own that part.)  So, he says, get two Fulton County endorsers, and I’m all set.  Great.  Trip number one down.

So, I get a friend and neighbor to scratch through the prior endorsement, per his instructions, and fill out new endorser information.  I embark on my second journey.  I go and sit at the window, and the same gentleman begins to enter the information anew.  (I remind him we’ve already solved the great name debate of 2009).  The next problem then arises.  He asks if this new endorser has a local phone number.  “I don’t know, what did he write?”  This is an out of state number, he says.  “Oh, he only has a cell phone and moved here from Florida, and that’s his only phone.”  This is when it really gets interesting – apparently, and this was NOT in the rules, each of your endorsers has to have a LOCAL phone number because…the phones at the Fulton County Superior Court Clerk’s Office can’t dial long distance!!!!

He also informed me during this second visit that I was really “causing him problems” because I noted on my application that I had a reckless driving conviction four and one-half years ago.  He indicated that, although it was “not that bad,” the clerk generally likes to INTERVIEW people that have answered in the affirmative to the particular question about convictions other than minor traffic citations.  Seriously?!?!  Interview???!?!  So, at this point, the ire and irritation were seriously bubbling up inside of me.  The only thing that I could do to keep from screaming at this man at the absurd turns this application process was taking was return all of my stuff to my bag and walk out and say I’d come back…AGAIN.

So, back on-line I went.  I started the application anew, filling in all of my required information.  I then tracked down two friends, one of whom is a notary, to fill out the endorsers section.  I also completed all of the information about my reckless driving issue.  Last week, off I went to the courthouse for a likely-unprecedented THIRD time, with my application, complete with endorsements from Fulton County residents with local phone numbers, a full explanation of my reckless driving conviction, and the court papers for the resolution.  I.  Was.  Ready.

Yeah, you knew it was coming…he HAD to give me a hard time about something.  He was about to tell me that they could not accept the application because my endorsers were WRITTEN in as opposed to being typed and that after November 1, they would no longer be accepting applications with anything filled-in in writing.  I said, “well, it’s not November 1, and after the first time I came you told me to have a new endorser write his name in, therefore I thought that was fine.”  (Again, I note that NONE of this is actually in the rules or noted on the on-line application.)  So, he asked his superior, who said that it was fine and that they would get it taken care of.  Next, he looked to my explanation of my conviction, and I noted that I had all of the papers.  The supervisor, still standing there, asked if he could HOLD ON TO MY ORIGINAL FILE!!!  Um, NO!!!  Lord, what kind of personal records do you people keep if you would you give your only copy to a stranger?!!?  In the ensuing conversation we agreed on which pages they needed, which I handed over to them for him to copy.  I got my papers back, put everything up, and he noted that I should “hear something” in the next week or so.  If I don’t, I should call.  At this writing, I have not heard anything from them, so I have no idea if the clerk wants to interview me.

That does not end the story, though.  Of course, after I get OUTSIDE OF SECURITY at the courthouse, I decide that I probably needed to check to make sure I had all of my papers.  One of them…the original, was not returned.  When I tried to go back through security, I was not allowed because only workers were allowed to use that entrance.  So, back around the block I went, back through the security line, and back to the office to retrieve my original, which he has just sat on his desk and not even copied.  Wow, these people are detail-oriented.

So, at this point, I have no idea if I’ll actually become a Notary Public.  I’m sure that they will find some other issue that I have to address, but right now, no news is good news.  Thursday of this week will be a “week” since the application was filed.  Also, keep in mind that I have managed to get admitted to the State Bar of Georgia, all Georgia State courts, the Northern District of Georgia, the United States Patent Office, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and numerous other District Courts on a Pro Hac (per case) basis, and adding up the effort I expended for each of those STILL would not come to what I’ve had to deal with just to become a Notary Public.  So, rest assured, Fulton County, your public servants are ensuring that those people that sign off that it really is you signing your documents are doing everything in their power to make sure you’re safe!  And, y’all keep your fingers crossed for me, okay?

In Fear of an Educated Population October 2, 2009

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Today on MSBNC’s Morning Joe, show regular Mort Zuckerman, who, according to Wikipedia, is the Editor in Chief for U.S. News and World Report and writes for the New York Daily News, and therefore wields a massive amount of influence over the message that a large number of people are presented, made one of the dumbest comments I’ve ever heard.  I think  his comment, by an incredibly successful and man and purported journalist, belies a serious problem of ignorance in this country and was horribly irresponsible.  I will give him the caveat that he was speaking rather “off the cuff” in the midst of a conversation and his comment may not have been as precise as he would’ve liked.  However, what he said was, “the trial lawyers won’t let them set up medical courts.”

Let’s break this down, shall we?  What, pray tell, is a ‘medical court’?  Which ‘them’ is being stopped from setting them up?  So, first, let’s discuss ‘medical courts’ in the context in which the discussion was occurring.  The current reform effort is Federal.  The Federal government and its powers are articulated in the Constitution of the United States.  Article III of the Constitution, in fact, establishes one court, and that is the Supreme Court of the United States and that Congress can establish inferior courts from time to time.  These courts, the Federal court system, only have jurisdiction over claims that arise under Federal law or cases that satisfy certain diversity requirements (litigants are from different States), but still are still cases that are adjudicated on the basis of the laws of the States.

The United States is a Federal system, hence the Federal government, where the Federal government only has the powers that are specifically dictated to it by…you guessed it…the Constitution.  ALL OTHER governing powers are left to the individual States, which, under the system as envisaged at ratification, were fundamentally states as sovereign as England or France or any other country, as we would understand it today.  From time to time, Congress has stretched the reach of Federal powers  beyond those powers specifically stated in the Constitution, and they use something called the Interstate Commerce Clause to do so.  Basically, if some aspect of business, society, etc…, stretches across state boundaries, Congress can assert control over it.  Medical malpractice, however, is not one of those issues.

Medical malpractice, the insurance industry (State Insurance Commissioners – try buying an insurance policy from a different state), doctors (State Medical Boards), and pretty much everything that occurs in the health care arena as we know it today, with the obvious exception of MediCare, is regulated by…the States.  Why?  Because medical malpractice is what we lawyers call a tort, just like when you hit someone with your car or generally do anything that damages that person.  Because, at its core, medical malpractice is a doctor doing something that injures a person more than it helps.  Now, yes, trial lawyers may do very well in “med mal” cases, but their regulation, the limits of recovery, and what can actually be sued for is solely in the purview of STATE law, not Federal.  Now if a doctor is in one state and the patient in another, you may be able to bring the case in a Federal court, but the law governing the case is…state law.  There is NO SUCH THING as Federal malpractice.

States, like the Federal government, can establish whichever courts their respective Constitutions say they can, and they have significantly more power and a broader range of authority than Federal courts.  Herein lies the problem.  Federal health care reform is attempting to set up a national-level system that will allow more competition, options, and access to coverage than are currently available with traditional insurance, which is regulated…by the States (note that every few years states also elect an insurance commissioner, and all responsibilities of insurance companies that operate within a state are stipulated by State law, and that’s why, living in Georgia, I can’t buy insurance from a company in Arizona).

So, what does all this really mean?  It means that Mr. Zuckerman, in his position of influence and dramatic wealth, knows this…and knows BETTER, and is simply engaging in that typical race to the bottom and for the minds of the “Lowest Common Denominator.”  Now, I’m not writing this as an “intellectual elitist” that thinks I know more than others or is better than others.  But, instead of sticking to a party line that embraces this “faux-populism” that has been a trademark of the conservative right for the past 12 years, why not try to EDUCATE those that may not understand or appreciate the nuance?  Because it’s hard…and it’s the difficult thing to do.  It’s also the right (as in correct) thing to do.  Nuance and explanation do not fit into neat sound bytes or quick quips or “Death Panels” or “they’re taking away your MediCare.”  It also has the convenience of leaving in place the status quo insurance system, which lines the pockets of the super-rich.  (I do not claim that there are not some Democrats and progressives that are equally guilty, but a majority of the perpetrators are conservative, and an (R) follows their names if they are elected representatives.)  For them, it’s not about helping people – it’s not about the moral obligation that we should all have as the wealthiest country in the world that people don’t die because they get sick or that education enriches the debate when everyone is operating with the same information.  To them, it’s about winning, more money for them and their friends, and making sure that as much stays the same as possible.  It’s time for a new level and a new type of discourse that involves all of us, and not a precious few railing against new ideas when they know for a fact that the ones they’re appealing to are the ones that they are trying to keep down and in the dark.

Gymtards, a Sociological Essay April 11, 2009

Posted by rscottgriffin in Life In Detail.
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It’s almost instinctive, now.  You walk through the doors of the gym and immediately begin scanning for them.  You simultaneously begin praying to God, Allah, Jehovah, key fob, the high priests of the Druids, or whatever higher power you believe in that “they” aren’t there today.  You know they will be, though…they always are.  Although one, alone, can be disruptive, as a group they are maddening.  They are the “gymtards.”

You know them; we all do.  This species crosses all standard societal boundaries and lines – black, white, gay, straight, men, or women, or any combination thereof.  (As a side note, most groups I have observed are all men or may only have one or a sprinkling of women.  At Curves or other women-only facilities, however, I am certain that a similar grouping exists.)

In my experience, the typical gymtards travel in packs of at least 3 and up to 6 or 8, depending on the number of hangers-on present that day.  (***It may be possible for one person to exhibit this behavior.  If so, make sure you avoid him or her – he or she is likely a sociopath.)  There is ALWAYS a core group.  there is a critical mass that is required to ensure that they make the act of working out as difficult as possible for others.

It is quite clear that they believe that they OWN the gym, and all equipment is there for their use at their leisure, those others of us that pay membership fees be damned.  Like a pack of hyenas that can’t make do with only one wildabeast, they surround several pieces of equipment – benches, machines, mats; nothing is safe.  At some point, though, you WILL need to use one of them or something in the vicinity.

Instead of breaking into groups of two or three, “working in” and using the equipment concurrently, though, the group, as a whole, may only make use of one piece of equipment at a time.  When one person is working, the rest of the group, or at least a critical mass, must observe.  That leaves some equipment being unused, but once it has been “pissed on” – 5 sets of dumbbells next to a bench or a towel draped over a machine seat or a water bottle or keys thrown about – don’t even THINK about getting near it.  Although there is nothing unusual about indicating something is in use, even for you and I, we don’t manage to mark four  at once.

A standard circumstance can play out as such: you walk up to a free-standing bench (you may substitute any other equipment you may commonly use) and see that it appears to be in use (see,  examples above).  “Hhmmm, okay” you think, and look around.  It is not clear to you, at the time, who has it currently claimed.  You wait patiently.  No one returns after a reasonable amount of time, and you progressively become annoyed, then irritated.  Then, you realize – “shit.”  Sure enough, after you have altered your routine and moved on to something else, one of the gymtards returns, usually with several others in tow to observe.  They always require a “spotter” and at least one audience member to grunt approval and encouragement.  Of course, this “set” comprises of maybe one or two repetitions, then concludes.  They then all wander off, again, to watch one of their brethren on his or her next exercise.  Of course, that does not mean that someone else would be free to work in.  That would be considerate of the others present.

In those circumstances when they all gather to use neighboring equipment, good luck  getting around them to use equipment in the general vicinity.  They WILL NOT get out of the way if they see you coming.  You must be assertive and walk unwaveringly toward your destination.  If you need to return weights to their proper place, which is always directly on the rack behind them, you must not deviate.  It’s like animals in the wild – do not show fear or weakness.  Looking them in the eye is also discouraged.

There is an apparent hierarchy to the gymtards.  This hierarchy seems to be aligned along the same lines as a group of high school girls (see “Heathers” or “Mean Girls” or “Never Been Kissed”).  There is an alpha (e.g., Heather Chandler or Regina George).  There is one that is kept at just enough of a distance to make him or her insanely jealous and and always struggling to maintain his or her status in the group (e.g., Heather Duke or Gretchen Weiners).  There is, of course, also the dumb one (e.g., Heather McNamara or Karen Smith).  There is also that guy that has some hidden reserve of confidence that you “come to school for” (e.g., Guy).  I think that this hierarchy may be the most entertaining part of the whole fiasco – that even well into adulthood, those roles and social constructs NEVER go away.  Just watch sometime, if you can get them away from your bench, that is.

My Big Redneck Wedding March 7, 2009

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Y’all, the Waffle House weding was just the beginning.  And, sadly, it does not hold a candle to this hot mess.  It’s a real show – on CMT.  I cannot possibly make this shit up, and it requires very little setup.  So, I’m just going to give a little summary.

The current episode is based in Arkansas (thank God it’s not Alabama, is all I’m thinking), and 6’1″, 300-lb. Tamsen is marrying 5’5″, 105-lb. Kevin.  Tamsen’s dream was to be married in her daddy’s chicken house.  Classy from the start, and I’m sure there was a wonderful smell for the guests.  There were, of course, the traditional pre-wedding projects and preparations, such as painting their names on the roof of the barn.  To gather the food for the wedding, which is SQUIRREL!, Kevin and a friend went hunting the week before.  Tamsen’s dress was as pretty as it could be, I suppose, but her headpiece was a straw cowboy hat with a veil pinned on the back of it.  No, I’m not kidding about that, either.  As they said their ‘I dos,’ one of the guests hand-cuffed them together.

They built a BOXING ring for the reception so that Tamsen and Kevin could box each other – who needs a first dance, right? When the time came for said boxing, there seemed to be a car nowhere in the way.  But, it had to be moved.  An announcement was made, to which no one responded.  So, they brought a bulldozer over (Why in the hell would they have a bulldozer in the backyard?!?!) and flipped the car over several times to remove it as an impediment.  The boxing, though, was truly comepetitive.  Kevin basically began running just fast enough to keep ahead of Tamsen, but she managed to outsmart him by cutting through the middle of the ring.  Knowing that, in boxing, the winner has to ‘pin’ his or her opponent, it is probably quite easily imagined what happened next.  Yes, she sat on him.

OMG, y’all, they look so cute leaving the wedding in a wrecker!

Finally, they also exchanged wedding gifts – he gave her a “diamond,” some sort of crystal from the Missouri River, and she replaced his recliner that she broke previously in the episode.

I really have to let you all draw your own conclusions on this one.  I just…I just can’t think about it any more.

Next up are Gary and Leann from Wisconsin, who are getting married …at a racetrack…because Gary drives race cars.  Do I even have to clarify that we’re not talking NASCAR, here?

God, These People! February 18, 2009

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A coworker of mine sent THIS over to me today.  His comment was that it was “the best unintentional satire” ever.  I would say that is a pretty good summation, but it goes so much deeper than that.  I cannot truly determine who is the bigger douchebag, the writer or the subject.  Let’s do a quick analysis, shall we?

First, we know the “talented,” glorified party bitch, Mr. Rohr, wears Hugo Boss.  Yeah, so do a lot of men that I know.  He makes good stuff that is not completely stale and boring, so you don’t go to work feeling like you dress like your dad.  However, add that to “Porsche-driving,” and these are the first two items of descriptive text that the writer uses to identify this man.  Oh, he is 6’5″, for whatever that’s worth, and that he’s “ruggedly handsome.”  That usually means the guy doesn’t moisturize.  Let’s also consider that Mr. Rohr likely approved this text.  Therefore, it is a safe assumption that he finds these, in some warped sense, personality attributes.

We next learn that while planning Inauguration parties at his last job in DC, he kayaked the Patomac.  Um, has the writer, Mr. Bonvissuto, seen the Patomac River?  It is not especially wide, or rough, at least not where the highways cross the river from Virginia into the District of Columbia. My friend Michelle canoed on it, once.  To give him some credit, I performed a quick search on the Interwebs to determine if there are, indeed, white water rapids on the Patomac.  I found THIS. So, basically you can rent an inflatable boat and take to the rapids, even if you’ve never sat in a kayak before. I don’t take it to mean that Mr. Rohr is trying out for the U.S. Olympic team any time soon.

So, now we get to Mr. Rohr’s current engagement as the party bitch for the St. Regis, where he “has been skipping across the top of the city’s social scene like a wellpolished[sic] pebble.”  The last time I checked, “well” and “polished” were two, separate words, as I have illustrated, here.  Maybe a hyphen, there?  He’s popular with rich people because he works at a fancy hotel!  I’m shocked.

Let’s get real, though – at least that’s where Mr. Bonvissuto take us next.  Mr. Rohr likes to lounge around his house smoking a cigar (rebellious!), watching independent films, or READING (give me a Tolstoy or Dickens if you want me to be impressed, or even John Irving, for God’s sake), and listening to that indie, angst-filled (see the use of the hypen?) band that personifies “real” like no other – Coldplay.  But, Mr. Rohr would like to be “really wild” and throw on jeans and a t-shirt (because how many men that you know qualify as a ‘jeans and a t-shirt’ kind of guy???  Can you think of any???  I mean, isn’t that so WILD?) and ride a motorcycle all day.  Take a drive up to the North Georgia mountains, and you will see people riding motorcycles for multiple days – middle aged and young and everyone in between.  In this day of pink Harleys, nothing says “wild” like a motorcycle, no ma’am.  But, he just hasn’t made good on his “threat” to buy one, because that would certainly be earth-shattering.

I think what is most troubling about this personality profile, or whatever it is, is that it is meant to be taken seriously by those that would find Mr. Rohr’s sort an appealing party planner for their “upscale” wedding or other “special” event – because the St. Regis is not for just ANY event.  He’s been in a magazine!  He drives a Porsche!  Having a motorcycle is “wild” and different!  Wow.  Seriously?  Come on, people, please, for the love of God, get a damn life.  Get some depth greater than half a thimble.  Find something in your life that is not such a damn contrivance!

But, the best part of this all, I’m saving for the end.  My friend Michelle did a quick bit of Interwebs research, herself, and located THIS.  So, I leave it with you as a parting gift, that Mr. Rohr’s persona as a “I really don’t care that much about this stuff” is all basically a construct, and it only demonstrates that he earnestly does.  What would he be without it?

OMG, They’re Going to Keep Breeding! February 11, 2009

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This post started last week as a general comment on that whack job (I hear that’s a clinical term) in California that had eight babies, but that clusterfrak is now saved for another day.  I was just flipping through the channels and came across the following program, which inspired fear, revulsion, and made me understand the phrase “Holy Terror” for the first time in my life: A Very Duggar Wedding.  If you don’t know who the Duggars are, they are the “fundamentalist” family that has now has 18 children.  Momma Duggar says she’ll stop having children when God stops getting her pregnant.  Now, I learned in 5th grade what makes you pregnant, and, as far as I was taught, God was only directly involved once.  These people are flat out batsh*t crazy because modern life and medicine provide us lots of ways to AVOID IT.  But, no, not these people. Oh, and they home school them…but not in a correspondence-course sort of way in which they have to pass tests that actually prepare them for the world.  No.  Just in the ways of the Bible and scripture and such.  I am all in favor of spirituality, but not at the expense of basic Math and English skills.  Ugh.

Not only have they now had 18 children that they can afford and house comfortably because TLC gave them a TV show, but the oldest one, a boy, is GETTING FREAKING MARRIED!!!  “So, they have managed to brainwash and rope some poor girl into this sh*tshow,” was my first thought.  But, what made my stomach turn was that this woman looks like one of the kid’s sisters.  They all have that stringy/curly “fundamentalist” hair and extremely figure-unflattering clothing – you know what I’m talking about.  I just want to make sure you all have this image.  Their wedding program marching all those kids down the aisle looks more like my kingergarten commencement announcement, which had about 20 kids.  So, basically, now that you have the picture, let’s think about what we can expect from this couple – the epitome of sophistication and intellectual interest in the world?

I doubt it.  Probably another 18-20 kids.  I mean, seriously.  Does the world really need that many people?  Oh, and by the way, they are now talking about no dancing and no booze at the wedding.  OMG!  What the hell is the point, otherwise?!  No one cares about the wedding.  It is a frightening reminder of all those wedding receptions in the fellowship hall of a Southern Baptist church my mother dragged me to as a child.  (Sorry, this is turning into a bit of a “live blog.”)  The mom, describing the bride’s maids dresses, called them “modest.”  We all know that means some horrid tent-like frock made out of fake satin.  I mean, this really can’t get any worse.  ONE woman actually took the time to straighten her hair, and the others are ADDING curls.

So, on to this horrid experiment in social irresponsibility.  Years and years and years ago, even as recently as early last century, people needed lots of kids to do the chores, tend the farms, etc… in the hope that a few of them survived into adulthood.  But, we are in an age where the world is on the brink of over-population.  If I weren’t so incensed, I would do some research to determine the percentage of the world that lives under the poverty line and is malnourished or cannot dig up food from the desolate land they live in.  Our food supply is dangerously tainted, and the U.S.’s role as the world’s bread basket will be coming to a shocking end much sooner than later.  Yet, you have these people, the woman in California that now has 14 kids she can’t support, the Jon and Kate Plus 8 freaks (why do we keep giving these people TV shows?!?!?), all the fundamentalist LDS people out in Texas and Nevada and Utah, and no telling how many others who are only adding to the madness through fertility treatments or NOT KNOWING WHEN TO STOP.

I won’t call these people stupid, but they certainly lack an intellectual capacity to realize what damage they are doing to their children and to the world.  Not a single one of these children is going to be adequately emotionally prepared to live in this world.  If we had not been celebretizing these freak shows, they would all be malnourished and living off state support, much like the 14 kids in California are going to have to be.  That woman doesn’t even  have enough house to fit the six children she already has.

THIS is what President Obama was talking about when he is encouraging personal and social responsibility.  We do not live in a world where we are struggling to survive because there are too few of us.  Quite the opposite, there are too MANY of us, and we are going to choke ourselves if we don’t stop.  It’s time to stop and think and realize that we can’t all be sociopaths, not if we want our species to survive.

Holy shit!!  They have written into their marriage vows a promise to let God determine the timing and number of each child!  Birth control is NOT an abomination, people!!!!  I think my head is going to explode, soon.

Okay, so they’re married, now.  I’m going to dig out some sherbet and Sprite and make some punch to toast them with.  Or maybe I’ll break open the emergency bottle and drink myself into a stupor.

NEW UPDATE – They WAITED to have their first KISS until they got married!!!!  This has to be the most bizarre shit I’ve ever heard!!!

I’m going to need an extra emergency bottle.

The Dumbest Word in the English Language… January 27, 2009

Posted by rscottgriffin in The Queen's English.
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…and by ‘dumb,’ I mean pretty much useless, and WAY over-utiliz — I mean, used.  For your consideration, I present the word, “utilize.”  Basically, it means use or to use.  First, I will give this word TWO appropriate uses: 1) I understand from a good friend that it is a specific term of art in the medical field for “utilization” of services – it’s a statistic; and 2) very similarly, law firms and other services firms use the term – a statistic – to determine how much of a worker’s hours are actually collected.  The point is, outside those very specific uses, which are really just statistical descriptions, there is really no reason to use the word instead of its monosyballic older and wiser cousin, “use.”

The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary defines “utilize” as, “: to make use of : turn to practical use or account.”  The definition for “use” is, “1 a: the act or practice of employing something, b: the fact or state of being used.”  There are other definitions of use, but I think the above will suffice to illustrate the point.  “Utilize” means “use” or “to use,” but in two extra syllables, or a built-in, usually unnecessary, preposition.

The word just plain bugs the hell out of me.  I don’t know why people use it.  I guess they think it makes them sound more scientific or more intelligent or more…whatever.  But, it really makes someone sound more verbose.  In a world of hyper-uber-productivity; multi-tasking; working smarter, not harder, and all those other ridiculous things we say to ourselves to try to squeeze more into the twenty-four hours that will always be in a day, it has become common to use THREE syllables to say what can just as easily be said in ONE.

That’s pretty much all I have to say, but I’ve been waiting to get that one off my chest for a while, now.  What a great forum to USE for this occasion.

Shut Up, Sweet Charlotte January 26, 2009

Posted by rscottgriffin in Uncategorized.

For all you theatre people out there that also love old movies, southern gothic, and drag queens, this is the show for you.  And, yes, you know how well all of those things go together.  Shut Up, Sweet Charlotte, is playing at the 14th Street playhouse in Atlanta, and you do not have to have seen the movie on which it was based, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte.  If you have seen ANY Bette Davis movie and know that Olivia de Haviland (Melanie from Gone With The Wind) plays Miriam, that is pretty much all you need to enjoy this.

It stars Varla Jean Merman, a wonderful drag queen and actress out of *New York*, as Miriam.  She has also appeared in Girls Will Be Girls (another must-see movie, if you have not seen it) as the young ingenue.  But, Ricky Graham, playing the role of Charlotte, absolutely NAILS Bette Davis.   The show is absolutely hysterical.  It is only playing from Wednesday of this week through Saturday the 31st, so I would get your tickets NOW.

The play parallels the movie, except with drag queens playing the lead roles.  Actually, even the Sheriff is a gender-bender.  It takes the noir/gothic quality of the movie and turns it on its ear as only camp drag can, and it WORKS!

Tonight’s showing, benefitting Joining Hearts, was only about half full, but I would guess that it will get much more popular by next weekend.  So, if you are looking for something fresh, and a real treat for Atlanta, I encourage you to go and see this production.  Enjoy!

Riled up Over the AJC January 22, 2009

Posted by rscottgriffin in Politics.

Okay, so I had to comment on this a bit further.  For those of you whom are my Facebook friends, you probably saw this note topic this morning, and some of you may have seen the ensuing comment thread.  Here is the short version – the main front page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, considered a major newspaper because of the population that it serves, I guess, had a photo of ex-president George W. Bush in the middle of a crowd with the headline, “Hello, Texas.”  Now, with due deference, there was, apparently either an inauguration insert or an outer inauguration wrapper, depending on which version of the paper you received.  However, when looking for the full print edition on-line, the front page of the AJC had a picture of Bush with the headline of him being back in Texas.

I took note of this while, again, watching “Morning Joe” while getting ready for work.  They were flipping all of the main pages of the major newspapers around the country, all of which had a photo and coverage of yesterday’s Inauguration.  When the AJC flipped by, though, I almost dropped my cereal.  There was “W.”, in a throng of people in Texas, with “Hello, Texas” across the top.  Now, first my own thoughts.  I think it is absurd that any “major” newspaper in this country would make the “editorial” decision to put Bush anywhere close to the front page the day after a new President was inaugurated.  Next, even if they thought, hey, no one else will be covering this story…yeah, I can’t even come up with an excuse for that because I can’t even imagine they would be that crazy.  Finally, I could understand this headline in Dallas, given that’s who got stuck with him.  But, I think that the other responses were much more interesting, especially given the passion with which some reacted.

Several folks seemed to be of like mind with me, that not putting the inauguration on the official first page was a substantial lack of judgment.  Others were quite vehement about Georgia being a red state and the paper marketing to red state readers.  While I believe that is giving way too many residents of this metro area for reading the AJC, I understand the argument.  However, there are some stories that are news, and others are not.  It was known from January 20, 2005, that yesterday would be the day that George W. Bush left office.  It could be assumed that he would go back to Texas.  It was well-known for months that he would be moving into a neighborhood in Dallas that originally would not let owners sell to balck people.  All of these were givens months ago, and they were givens yesterday afternoon, and they were OLD NEWS when the paper came out this morning.

So, my point is, they put something on the front page that was in no way, shape, or form news.  Hell, a full page on Michelle’s dresses would’ve been more newsworthy than “crowd meets ex-President in his home state.”  Wow, really?  That is staggering.  As residents of a major metropolitan area, we should really expect more from our hometown paper.  Yes, I know, they may not be around that much longer, but while they are, it would be nice if they were actually doing their jobs – being journalists and coming up with actual news.