Friday, October 05, 2012

Memo to Jimi Hendrix-A Humanities Experiment

In my Humanities Survey class, we were asked to write a memo to someone from the 20th-21st Century who had advanced the world in the arts, sciences or socially.  This was who I chose and what I wrote.  It apparently warranted a perfect score.  I hope you enjoy.
To:                   Jimi Hendrix
                        Gypsy Guitar God
                        Rock & Roll Hall of Famer

From:               Luna Aquarius
                        Gaming Avatar
                        Funk Junkie

Date:               June 16, 2012

Subject:           Inquiry Regarding the Original Release for the Album Are You Experienced?

            In your time, you were considered a pioneer in the Rock and Roll world.  You were revered by your peers, even invoking the envy of the likes of Eric Clapton and Pete Townsend.  Guitarist from Prince, George Clinton, Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Billy Gibson of ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughn have openly sited you as a major influence.
            You introduced musical techniques that were not thought of before or popularized ones not typically used at that time.  Your experimental use of the wah-wah pedal, reverb, stereophonic phasing, and amplifier feedback have become mainstream in 21st Century Rock & Roll.
            You accomplished all of this before your death at age 27, a mere three years in the mainstream spotlight.
            You released your first album in 1967, which is the subject of this memo.  Musically, it feels like a psychedelic acid trip.  This begs us to wonder if you were high when you wrote/recorded the songs.  Yet you have said that you wished you could make love to your music.  (Note: eww!)  So which is it?  Is this album a 40 minute journey through the paisley colored glasses of LSD, or is it a living breathing thing you would prefer over a woman?  Is it both?
            There is the matter of the songs chosen to be on the album.  The UK and North American original releases have 8 of the 11 songs in common. How was it decided that American audiences got to have “Hey Joe”, “Purple Haze” and “The Wind Cries Mary” while the Europeans were treated to “Red House”, “Can You See Me” and “Remember”?  How was it decided that “Stone Free”, “51st Anniversary” and “Highway Chile” would not be released on either?
            By the mere fact that there are different tracks and a different track order on these releases make the listening experiences…well, different.  Is that what you were going for at the time?  Is that the answer to the question “Are you experienced?”  Was it that you felt that the releases were tailored to the listening styles of the two continents?   Was it a record company ploy to sell more albums by making the fans buy the local and import release?
            Please respond to all questions presented in this memo no later than the end of time.  We thank you for your cooperation in advance.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Vietnam Memorial

There you stand, proud and tall,
With your afterlife roll call
Your onyx wall towers over the lobby
And goes for as far as the eye can see
For their country they took on the fight
And we honor them, immortalized in granite.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Word from our Forefathers

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent".-Thomas Jefferson

Friday, June 08, 2012

Epistle to Sarah Palin

I was assigned this for my Humanities class.  I am happy with the way it turned out, so I am sharing it here.  (BTW, I got a 148/150 for it.)

Dear Sarah Palin,

You took your success as a beauty queen,
And parlayed that to the political scene.
This took you to the national stage;
With plastic surgery you hide your age.
Who cares if you’ve read any books
When all you need to use is your looks.
While you present yourself desirable to man,
You use those wiles to take all that you can.
To clean up politics was you pact,
But we now know it was all an act.
As we viewed your public record we did find
The truth, when it comes to you is far from kind.
To distract us from the fact that you lied,
You spun us a crazy tale of a “Wild Ride.”
While some said that showed you a good mother and wife,
The rest of us asked, “How could you risk your unborn’s life?”
Your response, blame all your shortcomings on us,
Then throw your pregnant daughter “under the bus.”
Fault others, play Victim, that is your game,
To which you do it well and feel no shame.
On election night, McCain began to rue
That for his Vice President, he chose you!
Then back to Alaska, the state you say you love
And “singing” of your blessings from God above.
Waiting for Him to show you the open door,
Too bad work and effort are what you abhor.
Playing Governor you thought you could fake,
But for only so long that job you could take.
So you quit your position and started SarahPAC,
Yet made no attempt to make up for what you lack.
As far as improving yourself, we’ve seen none,
So now your future in politics is over and done.
The pursuit of riches and fame is what you chose,
So you make paid speeches, and work for Fox News.
You tell everybody you’re here to stay,
But all I want you to do is GO AWAY!

Love & Kisses,
The Mighty Aquarian

Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Art Break

Here is a little something from my crazy talented daughter, who goes by Momo.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Americana vs. America

Everybody loves Americana. And it’s not hard to see why. Americana is people working and living off the land. It’s traveling out west for a piece of land to call your own and make a better life. It’s the land of opportunity where you can start over again when you’ve lost everything. It’s those little pink houses that John Cougar Mellencamp sings about. It’s being born to run like Springsteen. It’s Apple Pie and BBQ and Baseball. It’s picnics and fireworks on the 4th of July.
Most of all, Americana is an ideal.
It’s an ideal that was and still is very attractive to the rest of the world and many Americans raised to believe it to be the norm contrary to their reality. It was on the promise of this ideal that drove the early immigrants to our shores and created our diversity. It is a good ideal. I doubt you would find anyone who disagrees.
But there is a difference between and ideal and reality.
The reality is that those with money have ALWAYS made the rules here. Sure, the pilgrims left Europe to escape persecution, but the original discoverers of the Americas, (yes, the continent below us is an America too.), were all looking for one thing, riches. Whether is was a better quicker sea route to transport spices from the East, or later on, more mineral type treasure such as silver, gold and jems, greed drove the masses across the Atlantic. Once the white men arrived, the natives of the Americas paid a heavy price for that greed.

Then there were our Founding Fathers. No one questions that these were wise and brilliant men. Yet, when they are talked about, the other thing they have in common never seems to get mentioned. There wasn’t a poor one in the bunch. No, really, all were men of means. Let’s look at the most popular ones:

  • George Washington-plantation owner, tobacco farm owner, military officer, married a rich widow
  • Thomas Jefferson-lawyer, tobacco planter, founder of U of V, diplomat to France
  • John Adams- lawyer, statesman, diplomat to Great Britain & Netherlands.
  • Samuel Adams-part of a politically active family, attended Harvard, family involved with a banking controversy, businessman
(Side note: they all owned slaves.)
These men were not the image of Americana that one would hold them up to be. This in no means diminishes their achievements in establishing this country.
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States are documents that have stood the test of time and inspired those beyond our borders. They are the bedrock for what has been called one of the greatest governments in the history of the world. Not too shabby.
And yet, the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was not originally guaranteed for all it’s citizens. If you were of African origin, (i.e. black), you were considered 3/5 of a person. (Which I find amusing when I try to figure out what 3/5 of a person would look like. Every black person I’ve seen or met always looked like a whole person to me.) And if you read the Constitution, they STILL ARE! Yup, we may have laws on the books now that guarantee people of all races equal rights; it was not changed in the Constitution with an amendment.
And don’t get me started on women. Women may not have been classified as slaves, but they were considered property of their husbands. Of all the discriminated classes, women were the last one to be able to own property, a right of citizenship. The greatest right of citizenship, the right the vote, was not granted to “the fairer sex” until 1920. Yes folks, women could not vote until the 20th Century, the one that just ended 11 years ago. There are actually people alive today that were around then that happened, though they may be few and far between these days. To help put this into perspective, my grandmother was born 2 years after the amendment was added to the constitution. (And FYI, she is still alive and kicking.)
So who got all this good stuff promised in these documents? (Well, initially anyway.) You guessed it, white men. This isn’t all that surprising when you think about it. Just look at who wrote it. It’s wall to wall pasty white skin and testosterone.
Throughout our 235 year history, we have tired, and at times succeeded in becoming closer to the ideals we have set forth, and that ideal was America, a government for the people, by the people, of the people, ALL PEOPLE. One thing our Founding Fathers knew is that the world changes. They gave future generations the means to make sure our government could “go with the flow” of inevitable and unstoppable progress. We have the power to change.
Americana is an ideal; a romantic, fanciful one, but an ideal all the same. It is one that we may only see now only in movies, books & television. It was an ideal that had a shelf life. Change is a fact of life. The ideals that survive and have a chance of becoming reality are the ones that can change with it. Nostalgia is nice, but nothing is constant, especially when what one is nostalgic for never really existed in the first place.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On the Ugliness of 21st Century Politics in America & Animal Protection Taken to the Extreme

I am doing a post that are basically two posts, but are similar enough that I'm posting them as one as they complement each other.

The Ugliness of 21st Century Politics in America

Though I find that the older I get, the less surprised I am anything people will do, I am still able to be shocked and horrified at the depravity that humans are capable of. Such is the case of what happened to Jacob Burris, campaign manager for Arkansas's Third Congressional District Democratic nominee Ken Aden.

This is a story that affects me on a number of levels. The deprived individuals that committed this heinous act may or may not have considered that:
  • They were taking the life of valued family member, not just "some random animal".
  • They were taking the life of a cat. (Which is an EXTREME point for me being a cat lover & owner.)
  • The results of their actions were witnessed by Burris's four children. (Another EXTREME point for me, as I am sure that the sight of what was done to their pet will haunt their thoughts for some time to come. )
  • That the individuals' reason for this was solely the political views of himself and of the person he is employed by.
I feel Mr. Aden, veteran and former combat soldier, said it best.

“It is one thing to engage in civil political discourse, and for Republicans and Democrats to disagree with each other, which is an expected part of the political process. Taking it to this level is beyond unacceptable.”

Well said, Mr. Aden.

I have a sinking feeling that the individual(s) responsible for this, if we ever find out who this was, are going to "claim" to be 1.) Christian, and 2.) conservatives. Jesus was for feeding the poor, healing the sick and loving each other. He was against war and violence, and was for finding better way to resolve our differences. He traveled from town to town with like minded folks to speak of love and peace. And he sought no forms of monetary gain to do so. The Christianist, (to borrow the term from Andrew Sullivan), would refer to their own savior at a hippie liberal. Personally, I don't think Jesus would want to be associated with their actions, but he would forgive and welcome them. I don't think the other side would do the same.

On the subject of Jesus, he is commonly referred to as The Lamb of God. Hey...that's an animal. He is even pictured as holding, very lovingly, a lamb. This is something that is lost on these individuals and politicians like Sarah "the only good animal is a dead animal" Palin. (Yes, she actually said that.)

Just one more thought on this, ANIMALS WERE HERE FIRST!!! And if we as the human race, (of which we are animals as well), do not get our act together, they will be here long after us as well. Don't believe me? Ask the dinosaurs. Oh can't.

Animal Protection Taken to the Extreme

Here is a little something a friend posted on Facebook. (Original poster credit goes to The World According to Atlas.)

Honestly, I know MANY people who feel this way about this commercial. This is not to say that the ASCPA or the number of other pro-animal organizations aren't doing good work by rescuing and caring for these very needy animals. They do have great intentions. But to play this very depressing commercial over and over and over and over and over, (you get the point), again will have the opposite effect of what they are trying to accomplish. Hell, when anyone in my household sees this just the beginning of this ad, the channel is immediately changed, and the 2 minute countdown starts waiting for it to be over.

Here's another problem I have with this advertisement. Yes, I do understand that funds are needed to help these animals. Got it, have no problem with that. But what they really need is a good, loving home. WHY ISN'T ADOPTION BEING TALKED ABOUT AS AN OPTION!!!!

Giving your $0.05 a day or however much they say is all fine and good, but it's an easy way for someone to say I helped and feel better. I will concede that for some, this is the only way they can help, but for many it is just easier to throw money at the problem than to take the commitment of investing time, are and love into a pet.

I guess you could say I have gone "all the way" in my commitment in helping an animal in need. I spend $15-$20 a month on food & litter, plus treats, plus toys, plus any vet visits and medications she needs. I also pay for her home and provide her with all her utilities. (Because, let's face it, it's her place. I just visit and sleep here in between jobs and getting kids wherever they need to go.) She also gets to jump on me in the middle of the night if she feels she needs something, demands we feed her when SHE thinks we should, steals my cell phone because she thinks it's her "competition", yells at me when I am not giving her my undivided attention, and claims anything in the house she wants. She also loves her family as unconditionally as we love her.

What can I say? She is my furry baby, and is totally worth all of it. So to all those we-want-to-guilt-you-out-of-your-money commercials, I'm walking the walk, so leave me the hell alone! And if you want to really get people to help, why don't you show them picture of how happy the animals are that are being helped? People like happy animals, and to know that their money IS being used to make a difference.

Okay, I've said my two cents. I will not step down off of my soapbox for the evening and go to bed. Good night and good luck.

Monday, January 23, 2012

To Those Who Insist That We Were Founded as a "Christian Nation"... MUST have been asleep during your history and/or civics classes. Seriously!

The first clue that we were not founded as such is the First Amendment. Second is the Free Exercise Clause, which was written to accompany the First Amendment. Oh, and then there is the little law referred to as Article 11, The Treaty of Tripoli. (And to those who feel that their argument against this being proof that it was the forefathers intent simply because in the Arabic version the "non-Christian" nation part, it is in the English version which is the ONE they all received copies of, read and voted unanimously for. The "Arabic" side could care less what type of county we say we are. The most important part of the treaty to them is the "we promise not to attack you because of your religion" part. So yeah, they didn't say anything about 1797's version of a "typo". Looking for the loophole to prove you side of things is so teenager high school-ish.) With the exception of The Free Exercise Cause, these are actual LAWS written by the Founding Fathers. These weren't written later on. These weren't written as interpretation of what people thought the were the intention of the original laws that were written.

(Side note: I find it amusing that the same people that will poo-poo the First Amendment as proof that we are not in fact founded under "their" religious believes are the first ones to trot it out when they feel someone is trying to "silence" them. Just ask the Westboro Baptist Church. The hypocrisy is staggering.)

Don't believe that the Founding Fathers were passionate about the separation of Church & State. Maybe you should then take a gander at the works of Thomas Jefferson, (Hell the man coined the phrase "separation of Church & State".) or Thomas Paine, or Patrick Henry. Even George Washington, who was devoutly Christian, always spoke of respect for other religions in his public speeches and private letters. Benjamin Franklin, who was raised Puritan and espoused their virtues throughout his life, willingly admitted that he was not a churchgoer and followed the ways of the deist more than traditional Christianity.

The Founding Fathers lived under the rule of Great Britain before they called themselves Americans. They were citizens of a country that was under the rule of a person whose qualification to rule was determined by the parents he/she was born to and documents stating this was so by the word of God. The term of their rule was from the death of said parent to their own death, and their power was to rule their country AS WELL as the Church of England. (Also of note: the Church of England was the ONLY accepted religion in England at the time.) Despite their personal religion believes, (or maybe because of them), they knew and understood the need of keeping religion out of politics, and politics out of religion. Combining the two has served throughout history to be toxic. We should follow our forefather's lead.