Bob Barr, who's he?

Out of curiosity, I was browsing campaign jobs the other day. Mostly for Obama and McCain, but also senators and advocacy groups. And then I came across this posting for a Web design job in support of Bob Barr. Bob Barr, who is he?

Oh, right. He's the Libertarian candidate for president in 2008, but you would never know. I think I follow a decent amount of politics and I didn't know who he was. Why?

After glancing through his Web site, I went to CNN.com to find out what was being said about him. Let's look at the candidates for president in 2008:

Ok, so that's just the Republicans and Democrats. And I get why CNN.com might just highlight those to candidates, given America's preoccupation with a two party system. So let's click around, get to Bob's page.

Not there. Apparently no political party other than the Democrats and Republicans exists. At least that's what CNN.com wold have you believe.

I am not in shock that Bob Barr is not getting constant coverage, but the fact that CNN.com does not even list (it is the Internet, there is unlimited space... )who the independent candidates is shocking. Utterly, shocking.

The Internet allows information to spread like wild fire. But, if most American's are going to the same online news sources, that information is still being filtered. Mainstream media still exists, even if in a virtual world.

No where in our constitution does it say we operate on a two party system. In fact, one of our greatest political minds, George Washington, warned against political political parties. But, we do have a history of not being able to admit we are wrong. Can anyone say Military Industrial Complex?

A test for YouTube and all that it implies. Mainstream media versus a free flow of ideas. Can the Internet break us out of a two party system and truly create an age of information for all? Or will it be stifled by mainstream media and money?

Let's go Barr. I could use that design job.


North Pole Ice May Melt???

I'm watching CNN, and a story comes on the TV that says the North Pole Ice Cap may melt for the FIRST TIME IN RECORDED HISTORY. The anchor read the story as if she were talking about the world's first Spanish speaking dog. Apparently, the Northwest Passage near Alaska is passable for the first time and there is about a 50-50 chance the North Pole will melt by September. Is anyone else worried about this? It seems to me that if the polar ice cap melts this summer, we might be in a little bit of trouble. If this is something that has never happened in history, this is unchartered territory, and who really knows what to expect or how to appropriately adjust? The only advice I have (and I should heed these words of wisdom, myself) is that now may not be the best time to live near coastlines...


On a potential Phish Reunion

So, Page McConnell, keyboardist of Phish, posted on the band's website to address the rumors that had been floating around about a Phish reunion. The message boards lit up like Times Square on New Years Eve, and immediately the questions of where the first show will be, what will they play, will there be an album first, and so on. Look, I am as excited as the next guy, but I wonder what this proposed version of Phish 3.0 will look like.

The second time they retired, I really thought it was for the best. In tours leading up to summer of '04, the band seemed to be trying to hold onto something that hadn't been there since the late 90's. Now, I don't want to sound like all the righteous old-school Phishheads out there who say there wasn't a single good show after 1997, but it definitely wasn't the same. I saw my first show summer of '98 (which hardly qualifies as old-school), and I can remember getting tapes (yes, tapes) that were so amazing that I couldn't believe the band would let their fans freely trade these magic moments. The It Festival was a ton of fun, but I recall hearing/reading that Trey was spending all of his time offstage in his personal trailer, hardly a healthy way to be spending your freetime.

The one thing I think fans don't realize is that these guys (as ridiculously talented as they are), are just human beings. And even if they possess some kind of secret or magic, in the end, they are just 4 guys. Can you imagine what it's like to constantly hear from people that you've changed their lives? Not just occasionally, but at a regular basis, in just about every place you go. And your kid's t-ball game can't be viewed in peace without some dreadlocked chick in a Worst Show Ever t-shirt coming by to ask you when you're gonna play Fluffhead again.

But then again, no band seemed to capture the mood of the sometimes light, sometimes dark era of the nineties, the way way they did. Yes, in a way their music spoke to people, but not in a political context, and I would argue that most fans appreciate their interconnected skill at their instruments far more than anything else about the band. When the lights dropped on a Phish show, you never knew what to expect, but you could be sure that the music would take everyone in attendance for a ride.

Another item to point out: Coventry (Phish's final show in their home state of Vermont) was supposed to be a fitting end to a storied career. Except that didn't happen. Rain made much of the venue uncampable, and fans were told to turn around because they would be denied entry to the site. Some still persisted and walked more than 5 miles and WERE allowed in, meaning those who turned back were left to regret their decision. If that wasn't enough, the band played terribly, most notably guitarist/lead vocalist Trey Anastasio-who seemed noticably intoxicated troughout the weekend. It got so bad, half of the final song-the bow that was supposed to wrap up a career- was played in the WRONG key.

If they do come back, these are the questions that have to be answered...
1) Will they practice?
Not just rehearse, but really practice. Practice the complex chord progressions and changes as well as jamming. Trey once said he doesn't want them to ever become a nostalgia act, well, the best way to avoid that from ever happening is practicing the way they did in the early 90's.

2) Will they be healthy?
Obviously drugs came into play later in their careers, but also what is extremely important is for their relationships with each other to be good. I never liked the whole no talking about the show rule, but they need to do whatever it takes to have open communication between each other.

3) Will fans give them a break?
This is probably most important. You know who you are out there. Stop trying to test the possible levels of intoxication on a nightly basis. STOP! You do NOT need two hits of mescaline, a couple of Xan-bars, some coke, some speed, and bottle of Jaegar to enjoy the show. Also, if you see the band, try to somewhat respect their privacy. They want to hang as much as you do, and your best shot is NOT to come charging towards one of them as they get off the elevator. If you do encounter one of the members of Phish or their crew, a simple 'Hi' or 'Great Show' will suffice. Just chill people, idol-worship won't get you anywhere closer towards
personal enlightenment.

In the end, I am just happy that I am continuing to inch along and move a few steps closer to hearing You Enjoy Myself once again with 15-75,000 of my closest friends. I hope this time has served them and their fans well.

Galactic Concert Stopped in VA

from UPI...
NORFOLK, Va., June 23 (UPI) -- California rapper Raymond "Boots" Riley reportedly was charged with using foul language onstage at the Bayou Boogaloo music festival in Norfolk, Va.

Riley was performing as a guest musician with the New Orleans funk band Galactic Saturday night in Norfolk's Town Point Park when his profane language drew complaints from the audience, which included many families, the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press reported.

This still happens??? When I first heard this, I was a little shocked. Bad language at a concert? People were offended and had the show shut down? In Virginia? Never...

Actually, I shouldn't have been shocked at all. This country is full of uptight white people and we can't be having our kids corrupted by foul language at a concert, gangster rap and Howard Stern.

"To those who attended The Bayou Boogaloo Galactic concert Saturday night," the promoters said in a statement on its Web site. "We regret that our guests were exposed to profanity used during the performance. Appropriate action was taken to end the concert immediately and the musician responsible has been charged with abusive language by the Norfolk Police Department. This type of behavior is not tolerated by Norfolk Festevents and we sincerely apologize for this incident."

Did anybody ask Boots to stop cussing? What's the punishment for cussing? Is Galactic going to be banned from entering Virginia ever again? Is the FCC gonna find a way to fine the makers of the microphones they were using?

Oooohhhh Don Imus, you're gonna have to be sent away...

So there you go, I-man. Just face it, when you start talking race, it never works out well. It just sounds bad coming from a guy who looks like the crypt-keeper in a cowboy hat. And with that voice...it sounds like what I imagined to be the boogey man when I was a kid. The real problem is that you set a standard with the nappy-headed hoes comment. Race just isn't an area that someone like you (representing the old establishment) should enter.

It's kind of sad, really. As ignorant as someone like Imus is, whatever happened to the market place of ideas where the public would filter those who displayed their idiocy. Even if Imus WAS standing up for equal rights, it sounds shitty coming from someone who epitomizes the term, honky.

Imus may get away with this one, though. Last time, insulting a underdog women's basketball team caused an uproar. Now, that it's Pacman Jones (not such a lovable character by any means), Imus will probably squeak by. Who wants to come to the defense of a guy whose most notable accomplishment is to be responsible for the catch phrase, 'MAKE IT RAIN!!!!"?


First Russert, then Carlin, who will be there to set 'em straight?

Luke had a message on our whiteboard for me to wake up to Monday. It read: '3rd celebrity death, George Carlin 1937-2008'. He was referring to the recent deaths of Jim McKay and Tim Russert, and you know how bad things come in threes, so...

Here's the problem with that conclusion: George Carlin was only the 2nd of 3. Look, what Jim McKay was able to do during the '72 Olympics was extraordinary. As good as McKay was, the public never counted on him to be the voice to set the establishment straight.

In two completely different ways, Tim Russert and George Carlin were able to hold the powerful accountable. Russert, with his incredible knowledge and research, asked Washington's most important politicians tough questions, while Carlin constantly pointed out hypocrisies of American culture.

Help the SoL move up on google search

So the other day, I was trying to see if our little blog was even in the top ten results of the all-important google search. Below, you can see what exactly I saw...that's right, fourth listing down...a gay video review. As the great thinkers of our era, Seinfeld and Costanza would say, 'not that there's anything wrong with that'; it's just that we need a little notoriety to this thing, and how can we be taken seriously when the results above us are a Jewish teen boy experiencing an Italian summer of lust and a German gay porno called Sommergeil?

So, I was worried that this doesn't quite fit with the whole Summer of Lust concept. Then I realized, the ability for the gays to express themselves with porn movies (and for those movies to be featured so prominently) is as lusty as it gets. I don't have the slightest problem with the gay lifestyle. In fact, I'm happy for those who feel comfortable enough with their lives to express who they are (and who they want to do) to the world. It's just a little unnerving seeing the words "whopping uncut cocks" right above the words of genius that come from this blog.


Social unrest, virtually

As of June 20th, summer officially started. And so, then, has the summer of lust. But if you stop and look around, the country seems eerily silent for a period of claimed social unrest.

Where are the protesters? The uprisings? The riots? Already by this time in 1968 police had clashed with citizens and organizations across the country. Today, campuses across the nation are quiet with a generation of Americans who have always been called apathetic. Sure the violence and theatrics of the summer of love might not be present today, but this is the summer of lust and a culture of instant gratification.

Despite appearances, the protesters are there. The voice of opposition is ringing loud and clear. You will not find the modern demonstrator pouring into the streets, but rather flooding the virtual world. The Internet, the defining characteristic of a generation of Americans, has drastically changed how the people choose to let their voice be heard.

Why put in the effort into going outside, standing in blistering heat, becoming hoarse from making your point of view heard, dealing with crowds of people, and put yourself at risk with authorities when you can sit in the safety of your home in your underwear? I could be in my underwear right now. And I probably haven’t taken a shower.

The point is America has taken to their keyboard rather than the picket sign.

With organizations such as moveon.org and dividedwefail.org, grassroots has moved virtual. Moveon.org, who is backing Obama, has created a challenge to tell McCain and Bush Part Deux apart. They are using contributions from millions of people to advance their cause. They are creating television spots that are not only airing nationally, but are being aired on youtube.com, such as this one here:

The idea is to release the spots virtually, generate buzz, and then convince people to donate enough money to have it air on network television. It might seem a passive route for such a passionate call to action. Is this generation phoning in it's political activism?

According to the end of the above spot, over 3 million people contributed money to the organization. Now imagine 3 million people protesting outside the White House. One is more dramatic of course, but the sentiment is there. The opposition to the establishment is present and they would probably like to not be called apathetic anymore-- it hurts their feelings.

This leaves us at an interesting cross section, perhaps one more interesting than the one of 1968. Three points to ponder:

1. The new generation of Americans are babies. Society raised them with so many safety nets they do not really know how to fend for themselves, more or less succeed in a major political movement.

2. The new generation of Americans are shocked. They are experiencing for the first times in their lives a dim view of America. They grew up with economic prosperity, a quick, decisive win in the Persian Gulf, and the general idea that America was untouchable. Today, that idea is crumbling in the minds of the younger generation.

3. The new generation of Americans are virtual. Anything that their country doesn't provide for them or their parents didn't give them, they can get online. Education, protesting, sex, banking, research, sex, friendship (social networking), gambling, jobs and sex. It's all online at the click of a button. Instant gratification.

I think it is going to take a large event to get this generation into the streets. And it is going to be interesting to see how a virtual political movement plays out. And if and how the virtual protests with meld with in person clashed with authorities. Either way, summer is here and the heat is on.


Welcome to the Summer of Lust 2008

Welcome to the "Summer of Lust", as we now have a world of instant gratification. '67 and '68 were summers of 'love' - everyone wanted to "love the one they were with" rather than "superman that ho". Forty years ago it was "Ask not what your country can do for you...".