Friday, March 20, 2015

Parents, Is It Partially Your Fault Your Child Is Being Bullied?

There's much talk about being bullied.  Most of it shows compassion and outrage.  Some of it gives suggestions on how to handle bullying within.  But where are the ways to handle a bully?

Isn't that just, if not more important to a kid?

There have always been bullies in the world.  They're just in a greater number today.  In the past, we dealt with bullies in a "fire with fire" manner.

Let me explain.

In 1960, there was a second grader named Raymond Hutton  (name changed to protect the guilty).  Now, Raymond made it a habit to inflict pain and misery into the life of first graders.  Imagine, our first recess (yeah, we still had those when I was in school) of our first grade year.  After being cooped up for hours we were finally being allowed to go outside and play. Awaiting us was a boy at least six inches taller than any first grader.  Raymond was not alone as he had acquired all the second grade sadists as his gang of outlaws.  Together, they presented a formidable force to us new kids on the playground.

People were pushed down, new school clothes were torn, and threats made to each of us ... all the while the teacher's head was turned.  It was like Raymond had the same power as Al Capone in that he had paid the teachers to look away as Al had done to the Chicago police and judges.  I'd heard about that on television, but never thought small town, Spencer, Indiana would become the same.

After about a week of Raymond's effort to pester us any way he could I'd had enough.  He had created a boiling point in me that wasn't going to leave on its own.  

I'd watched many movies and television Westerns and Police Dramas where the good guy takes down a bully, so I decided that I needed to do it.  I gathered up most of the boys and girls in the first grade, formed my own gang, and went out to find Raymond!

When he saw me leading my gang, Raymond and his five or six "tough guy" buddies decided to run for it.  You should have seen it.  Seven kids running from about 45 first graders.  We cornered them in an architectual "L"  without an exit.  Then, I called him out.  

"We ain't gonna put up with your crap (a nasty word for a 1st grader in 1960)"  I hollered.

"We're bigger than you" was his reply.

"That don't mean nuthin'.  I got a whole bunch more in my gang than you do in yours" I yelled back.  (Remember, this was first grade.  My grammar had yet to be fine tuned.)

And, that's when it began.  

Raymond rushed at me throwing punches wildly. I hit him a few times and then grabbed at him and pulled him to the ground.  Somehow, I managed to climb atop him and my punches became more accurate.  This was evident from the blood that began to flow out of his mouth.  

Then, it was his turn.  He returned the favor as he hit me in the mouth and caused me to lose a front top tooth.  This incensed me and I went totally ballistic throwing punch after punch.  (Much like Ralphie in The Christmas Story.) I remember the kids in the crowd spurring me on with their yelling that grew louder and louder.  Finally, I remember his fists relaxing and becoming just fingers going up to protect his face.

The teacher came running and broke things up before I could do any major damage.  She escorted both of us to the nurse's office where his busted lip and my lost tooth wound was attended to.  

How cold the water fountain jet felt against the hole where my tooth had been.  My tears and gasps for air soon subsided as I calmed down.  Reality set in.  

I Had Beaten The Bully!  

It was evident that I had done what no one else had attempted to do.  I fit right in with the heroes I'd watched defeat bad guys on television.  Why, even the teacher had let me off for doing so, sending me back to rejoin my class, as she took Raymond to the principal's office.  

And Raymond never bothered me again.

All of the movies and television shows had made a dramatic impact on my life to that point, and they proved the lesson they taught.  Right can overcome wrong, but you've got to stand up and do something about it. You must take the lead and not depend on others to fight your battles.

The only other time I had to get physical was when I was in the 7th grade.  There was this high school kid named Jack Rhompson (Again, a name change.). Jack used to sit behind me and some of the other younger kids on the school bus each day, take his stack of homework books and slam them atop our heads.  Yes, it hurt like helll.  Yes, Jack was bigger than I.  Yes, I got to the point of having had enough ... again. 

I finally called him out, we set up a fight for that afternoon, and I was ready for him.

Jack and I met in an alley.  He had one friend with him and I had one with me.  We raised our arms and clenched our fists in a fighting stance. Over and over we circled each other. Finally, he threw one punch that missed and I hit him in the chest with one of mine.  

It was then that Jack looked at his wristwatch, said, "I don't want to miss the bus.  Do you?"  He turned and started running back to the bus.  

I was shocked.  I'd believed this one to be a major event.  All day, I'd envisioned him beating me up into a bloody mess. Instead, Jack had shown his true colors and ran.  

I swaggered back to the bus knowing that when he'd run, he was running from me!  The rest of the kids on the bus knew it, too.  From that point on, I never got hit on the head with a stack of books again, and neither did anyone else.

So, what did I learn from these experiences?

  1. Sometimes, the only way to beat a bully is to prepare yourself stand up to the bully.
  2. Bullies are really cowards when you even out the odds.
  3. You can allow yourself to be bullied, or you can take action and do something about it.
So, why do we have all the problems with kids being bullied today if it's so simple to handle a bully?

Could it be today's parents?  I know you don't want to agree, but could parents be directly responsible that some kids are committing suicide and some are living a life of misery, instead of standing up to those who attempt to bully them?

That question ought to draw a bunch of flak.

Are today's parents seriously preparing their kids for the real world?

Are they teaching them how to handle adversity, stand up for themselves, or consider what course of action they need to pursue? 

Or, are kids facing these things daily, just as adults do in life, 
but without the necessary training.

Let's look at today's parents, as I've witnessed from reading a multitude of "mommy blogs" and other comments on the web.  

One thing that I've noticed is missing in all of these is any teaching of the children to handle adversity.  There seems to be a false facade being presented to the children of today that life is all roses as long as you pay the bills, have plenty to eat, and have a roof over your head.  This would be fine if it were true.  Unfortunately, it is not.

Oh, there's comments as to discussing sex abusers, kidnappers and murderers, but does the same apply to bullies?  I don't see it being mentioned anywhere.

Instead, I see people writing, "If I ever had someone try to bully my kids I'd go to the school and complain.  That should take care of it."

It doesn't.

In fact, much of what takes place today is done outside of the school's responsibility realm.  Texting, the web, hanging out on the corner ... none of them will be handled by the school administrators.

So, the child, knowing that you can't do anything, and not having any idea as to what to do himself or herself, enters into a state of depression.  Things continue the same, they drop further and further into their pit of despair, and suicides follow.

And the parents blame the bullies instead of sharing the blame, when both are guilty.  It's so much easier to blame the Internet, the kid down the street or even society, instead of taking a look in the mirror and realizing child raising means you prepare the child for real life conflicts.

First, help your children blend in with the rest.  Parents that push their children's outfits to please parents, instead of the child, forget that the child only wants to be one of the crowd, not stand out.  Push them to pursue activities that will allow them to interact with kids their age, instead of standing on the sidelines.  Don't forget to instruct them almost daily on the right and wrong of situations, but don't become "preachy" about it.  

Please, don't restrict your child's efforts to display their own individuality.  We're all different.  That's what makes us what we are.  We just need to expand it with others to provide us with a comfort zone of friends.  This is extremely important to a child.  Loners tend to have dangerous thoughts that grow, where they hold them back knowing they're unacceptable to the group.  Company minimizes time to nuture negativity.  

Now, here's a subject that many will be against.  Why?  Because of the concepts, "Violence breeds violence" and "Fighting never solved anything."

Fighting was the only way I could achieve a winning situation as a child in my two instances of bullying I described, as I found that it was the only thing my bullies understood.  My wit took care of many other instances.  Sometimes laughter will keep the bully at bay.  But, when it came down to dealing with those that fighting was the only way to win, I wasn't going to allow losing, and allowing myself and others to be bullied, to be an option.

Self-defense is something every child should know. Karate classes, or other types of self-defense classes, can build true confidence in a child, as well as protect them in desperate situations. While many look upon physical violence as taboo, those who bully, rape, rob and worse do not.  Please give your child an even chance if they ever have to deal with any of those mentioned.

Fighting should be a last resort.  But, if it comes down to it, I'd prefer my child being able to fight than to run, hide, and consider suicide.  

Have compassion for your children and raise them for real life situations instead of Disney fantasies.  Life is a constant battle, especially in the business world.  Narcissistic bullies thrive there and in almost any career worth having.  Sooner or later, you either learn how to deal with them or learn how to forget your worth.

I have a saying that has served me well over the years.

"There's always a snake in the grass so watch your ass."

Teach your children how to deal with all previously discussed and you can say you've done your best to prepare them.  Leave it up to the school system or other group and you're simply denying your personal accountability.  It's really that simple.

*     *    *    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *
*** I'm well aware that my options are not those chosen by "mind doctors", or those that follow their every word.  I grew tired of what most of them preached years ago when it was proven most of it was experimental suggestions instead of proven fact, or was based on limited studies that were held in slanted surroundings to validate the author's hypothesis.  

Doubt that?  Do some research and see how many publications written on child behavior have been written by those that never had a child.  Seems like a prerequisite is missing there, doesn't it?  Isn't that really like, "I watched cooks on television so now I can tell you how to cook anything you want?"

Friday, March 13, 2015

College Basketball Officiating and Tourney Edition ... and Ten Things Of Thankful!!!

See All Ten Things Of Thankful Posts HERE!!!

NCAA MARCH MADNESS, a phrase copyrighted by CBS and the Turner
Broadcasting, illegal to use in advertising by anyone else, is about to make its meaning clear once again.

For three years, I've watched the NCAA Tournament in a different light.  Instead of concentrating on the games and the actions of the players,

I've concentrated on the officiating.

For years, I was naive, thinking the best team would win.  Then, I started noticing something strange.

A couple of years ago, I took off the month of March from work so that I could watch every game of the tourney.  It was at that time I started noticing patterns in the officiating.  Patterns that normally wouldn't take place, yet, time after time, made their appearance known.  Patterns that meant one thing to those broadcasting the games ... money!

There were several things in common of which these patterns consisted.  Generally, they depended on several like factors: 1) size of team fan base, 2) team geographic area of population, 3) areas of interest concerning fans/conferences, and 4) forecasts of announcers.

In other words, if your team has a national fan base that resides close to big chain stores, is in a conference that draws huge television audiences, and is predicted to win by the announcing staff, chance are they're going to come out on top ... or at least into the final four.

We've actually seen this occur during the regular season many times, but most fail to recognize it as they're so caught up in the action.  Think I'm kidding?  Think again.

Let's say a lower ranked team displays tremendous effort and takes a huge lead on the favorite.  Then, 3-5 minutes before half time, they suddenly have several questionable fouls called on them, have 3 second calls assessed even though the favorite camps in the lane time after time, and are called for traveling and double dribbles that were overlooked by officials the prior 15 minutes.  So, just prior to halftime, the favorite is given a great chance to pull closer.

The second half depends on how both teams start out.  If the underdog ... starts out strong, watch for fouls to be called on their best and strongest players early on.  Otherwise, the game might be called honestly for a while.  If the game is tight with about seven minutes to go, forget it.  The officials will then take over, doing the same things they did the first half, and the favorite will pull out a "tremendous" victory over a "game" opponent.

It plays out that way time and time again.  

I actually made a study of this by using the DVR to record game after game, noting the times and the calls made, and replaying at slow motion to validate the officiating.  Guess what?  I couldn't validate 86% of the calls.

So, what conclusions do I have to conclude from this?  

It's really simple.  It's a known fact that television networks love to make their advertisers happy.  By providing them with the largest group of potential customers for their products, the stations, NCAA, and schools (gaining TV money) all prosper.  As winning team fans look at the grumbling of the underdog teams to be only "sour grapes", nothing is done to make the game more fair for all.

The only ones to lose out are the players and fans that are cheated out of victories.  But, since they consist in lesser numbers than the favorites, it's no big deal.  In fact, for a month or two prior to the tourney, announcers pick the favorites to set the losers up for a future fall, lowering expectations of their fan base.

So, what about the "Cinderella" team?

Broadcasters know that not all the fans love the favorites.  Fans of teams losing early on will have more interest in watching if they keep an element of excitement in the tourney.  Even with the efforts of the officials, there are surprise teams that will beat the odds (and the officials) and pull off an upset.  (Remember, the officials must be careful so as not to draw too much attention to their patterns.  Otherwise, the entire sham would be noticed by more than the few that see it for what it is.)

So, the "Cinderella" favorite will continue as its temporary fan base grows.  Some have maintained deep into the tourney, occasionally even breaking into the Final Four.  Still, in the end, the favorite will be crowned.

So, who do I pick to win this year?  As much as I completely despise the team, I pick the University of Kentucky.  It's the best team that money can buy, for sure.  (Fans in the state comment that it does no more to draw players than any other schools.  However, having been employed by a business some years ago that supplied several players with its product under the names of other people, I would guess that not be the whole story.)

The University of Kentucky has a huge fan base.  They're kind of like the Dallas Cowboys in several ways.  When they're winning, they're America's team.  When they're losing, everyone acts totally disgusted  and game attendance drops dramatically.  Fair weather fans are in surplus, for sure.  Also, they tend to draw more uneducated fans than most other colleges as Kentucky's working population doesn't have much to look forward to in entertainment besides the Wildcats.  (I guess it makes them feel like winners, even though many would be rejected if they applied for admittance to the school.)  Even those that are well off financially buy courtside seats behind the team bench as it is a symbol of economic status.  Unfortunately, if you watch any game held at Rupp Arena, you'll see most of them socializing (some even knitting) as if the game wasn't taking place in front of them.

Still, UK has a huge fan base, is geographically located in the Central U.S. close to many metro areas, and has as coach, John Calipari, who utilizes the "one and done" with enough disregard for his players futures to make him controversial enough to draw national attention.  And, with the University of Louisville down this year, it helps to unite the fans.   So, regardless of the quality of play, you'll see them move on to the championship.

Who are some of the other contenders?  Gonzaga (huge West Coast fan base, especially with most of the West Coast teams not being as strong as usual), Maryland (they have several questionable losses, but they have a huge East Coast fan base even though they're now in the Big Ten Conference), Duke (not a great season but landmark wins for their coach, plus a huge East Coast fan base),and Wisconsin (the Big Ten underdog in fan base, although they will draw from the conference fans wanting to show the Big Ten is still a viable basketball conference).  Cinderella's?  Purdue, LSU, Arkansas, and Notre Dame.

Anyway, I've bored most (and pissed off some) of my regular readers to this point. Just remember to take the emotions out of it and watch the officiating to see if what I stated isn't accurate.  Let's move on!

It's time for 
Ten Things Of Thankful!!!

This week I'm thankful for:

1)  Rape Victim Blamed For Rape
Okay, one of these fine looking men
made the statements in the story you're
reading.  Look at each one of them,
say the statement out loud, and
figure out which ones you'd set free.
What?  None of them?
C'est le Vie!
One of the attackers of a New Delhi girl in 2012 has stated "If she hadn't have fought back she wouldn't have been killed." He also made comments as 1to the fact that her and her boyfriend were out late at night (9 p.m.), she was wearing inviting clothes, and if she had just given in and not fought back she'd be alive today.

I'm thankful for this as it gives you insight of what I've talked about before.  I've discussed the lack of personal accountability in our world today many times.  Perhaps, this is the best example I've found of simply having no clue as to the difference between right and wrong.When a person doesn't recognize that their actions, and only their actions were the reason a person is no longer living on this Earth, then it's time for society to change!

So, ladies, I leave it up to you. Castration (slowly and painfully), torture (naked upon an Army ant mound), Imprisonment (for life), or let him run the one mile long gauntlet of vengeance seeking friends, relatives and acquaintances of the victim.

Anyone need a new group of tenors in their church choir?

2)  Hillary's "Oops!"
I love standing here with a
blank expression on my face.
It feels so normal!
Did I send an email, and if so, did I save it?  Or, did I not send and email, and if so, who didn't I send it to?  I could have, but I didn't, but I only keep one phone for even though I knew better I didn't want to be bothered with a second ... I think.

I haven't followed this as closely as I should have, but it does seem to be a major screw up on the part of a future presidential candidate.  Do we really want someone that is only looking for convenience and excuses to be our next false facade of a leader?  I'm thankful this came out before the election instead of after it.  So, who will you vote for?  I leave that up to you.

Why?  Well, I could go into more detail, but I really don't want to be bothered as I've got other things to write and I don't remember what they are unless I keep my mind on only one thing at a time and in my position, being so important here, it's easier to do if I pay attention to the future instead of worrying about what's happening now, even though it was my fault I didn't before.  

See what I mean?

3)  Oh How, Oh How Do We Kill Them?
We live in one of the few "civilized" countries in the world that executes certain criminals for certain crimes.  Some say it ought to happen more often.  Some say any is too much.  However, as long as it is legal, it will be done ... somehow.

What do I mean?  Well, there seems to be a shortage of drugs in which to humanely execute a person.  We've all heard about the botched up Oklahoma and Arizona executions last year, and other states, fearing lawsuits, don't want to be the next in line to have the same thing happen.

So, what do they do?

Simple, bring out the firing squad!  

Wasn't this a part of history that we
proclaimed deplorable?
Utah has put a bill in front of the Governor to make the firing squad a viable option for executions if the approved drugs are not available.  Other states, Arkansas, Wyoming and Oklahoma have similar bills either approved or pending approval.

I'm thankful that the states are so concerned about the timetables of these executions.  Why keep a killer alive one day longer when bullets are in grand supply?  It's like a line at a supermarket when a price check is needed.  Keep the customers moving by opening another register!

Isn't the "let's keep 'em moving" attitude being still around in this century something we can all be thankful of?

I wonder, "Whatever happened to hanging?"

4)  Lines No Longer Blurred
Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams both made over $5 million each with their hit "Blurred Lines" last year.  However, the family of Marvin Gaye filed a lawsuit claiming they stole the basics for the song from Marvin's hit, "Got To Give It Up."

Stealing music isn't stealing if you don't get caught.  Unfortunately, Robin and Pharrell did.  Now, they'll have to come up with $7 million to pay off the Gaye family.  There really wasn't much doubt as to the result, though.  It's been said that Williams and Thicke wrote and recorded their version in one night.  Of course, it's always faster to copy a novel than to write one.

I have a feeling that Pharrell isn't too "Happy" with the decision. 
 I imagine he'll "Voice" his opinion in the near future.   
(Okay, I'll admit to bad puns.  Where's the rimshot?)

5)  Ferguson Police Chief Resigns
The U.S. Justice Department gave the police officer that shot a gangbanger that was killed in Ferguson a clean slate, but knocked how the police department he worked for operated.  Since then, several officers, a clerk, and now, the Chief of Police, Tom Jackson, are gone.

But, get this.  The primary reason for the negative report came from the fact that the department was "profit driven."  Out of the department's $13 million plus operating budget, over a quarter of it was supposed to come from fines and court fees.

I ask you, "Since when does the Chief of Police dictate where the operating funds for his department will come from?"

Answer:  "He Doesn't!"

Welcome to Ferguson!
Our police department makes
money.  What's yours do?
Obviously, city management is responsible for this.  They set and approve the budgets for all their departments.  It's their civic responsibility.  Then, they ride the managers of those departments endlessly to meet what they set down.  They also put pressure on the local judicial system to make money via fines and such.

Now, in the discrimination arena, three emails were found, out of all correspondences, to be discriminatory.  One sender was fired and the other two have resigned.  Also, the judge that handled the majority of the fines and fees cases from Ferguson has resigned.

As far as more blacks than whites being stopped or pulled over by police, the city's statistics might help to explain why.  The population of the city is 21,111.   65.2% of the population is Black, while only 30.3% of the population is White. (**  The remainder consists of a mix or Hispanic, Asian, and very few others.  With over a 2 to 1 ratio, an explanation of why more blacks are pulled over might make a little more sense.  But, this wasn't brought out by the news agencies stirring things up, was it?

Ladies and gentlemen, can you say "scapegoat?"

All the city commissioners, board members, and governing body personnel have kept their jobs.  The people that pushed the actions are all safe and employed, where the ones that followed orders are being pushed aside and made examples of.  Once again, money rules and the wealthy get off Scott free.

Of course, this resignation took care of all of
 Ferguson's problems ... or did it? 

6)  Verizon Bids Adieu To Weather Channel
Verizon has said goodbye to the Weather Channel for its FIOS-TV customers.  This shocked the Weather Channel that thought it was in the middle of renewal contract negotiations.  Ask for too much and this is what happens.

Get over it and get over yourself, Weather Channel!  You dropped your roots of telling us what the weather was and started producing shows and series that no one wanted to watch.  Somewhere along the line you thought that people would watch your channel for hours, when ten minutes was all they wanted ... at most.  For God's sake, it's only the weather!

Decades ago, I attended a Meteorological School.  The first day of class, the instructor stated, "Never be afraid to forecast the weather.  You have a 50/50 chance of being right and a 50/50 chance of being wrong.  If you're right, you look like God.  If you're wrong, blame it on God!"

I'm wondering whom your blaming for this?

7)  William Flynn Paroled
In younger days
... manipulated and manipulator.
"Who?" you ask.

William Flynn was the 15-year-old lover of 22-year-old Pamela Smart.  Back in 1990, while another young man held Pamela's husband down, William held a pistol to the head of her husband and pulled the trigger, murdering him.  Why?  According to him, Pamela had told him that she'd break up with him if he didn't.  And, William Flynn was in love.

Twenty plus years later, the parole board has mercy upon him and grants him parole.  He won't be released until June, but has already married while in prison and has a stepdaughter.  He also has earned an electrician's helpers license.

See, if you're in love, everything works out in the end.  That is, except for Smart's husband who is still dead.

(I feel like Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" 
should be playing in the background.)


8)  (Back to Ferguson) Police Officers Shot
So, the Chief of Police resigns, and a rowdy group of protesters still gather.  Why?  Who knows ... maybe most of them don't have to go to work tomorrow and have already received their government assistance checks.  After a while, they decide to break up right in front of the police station.  Two officers assigned outside and are met with gun shots.  One has a bullet enter his cheek and lodge by his ear and the other has a bullet enter the front of his shoulder and leave out the back.
Caution: Strong Profanity
Did you hear the comment, 
"Acknowledgement 9 months ago would 
have kept that from happening?"

Some people will never have any
common sense or common decency!

The justice department cleared the police officer involved, which means that the person shot was completely in the wrong to the point of creating a dangerous self-defense position for that police officer.  This was an investigation spurred on by a Black President and led by a Black Attorney General.  Please stop playing the race card and admit that the young man was a thug (as videos of the convenience store robbery just prior to the incident already show) and accept the fact he brought his own demise upon himself by his actions.  It's time to move on!

However, since you insist on continuing this self pity game, I still say, 
"Close the police department down and let the residents see 
what it's like without one!"  

I'm thankful this happened as this certainly says something about the character of Ferguson's residents, doesn't it?  Instead of facing their opposition face to face, the shooter hides in the shadows and ambushes the officers.  U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the shooter a "Damn Punk ... A Punk!"

Yep, shut the police department down and let survival of the fittest take over.  When there's only on left, send the police back in to arrest him.  Maybe then the streets of Ferguson will be safe.  We'll all be able to walk with our grandchildren down the streets and smell the sweetness of the neighborhood and relish in the safety the city offers.


9)  Grilled Chicken Sandwiches Sales Down 9% in 2014
At least this one adds mayo,
lettuce and tomato so you taste
Restaurant critics are amazed that the sales of grilled chicken sandwiches are down.  Everyone knows that frying is bad for you.  And, yes, hamburgers are also bad for you.  So, why have these offerings dropped in popularity?

According to experts, it's because of advertising.  More hamburgers were advertised last year, so more hamburgers were sold.  That is their explanation.

Mine?  Grilled chicken sandwiches suck!  Most of the time they're bland in taste, get cold, tough and dry too quickly, and usually are setting in a pool of cold water by the time you get ready to eat them.  Dress them up with barbecue sauce if you wish ... they're still gonna suck.

Subway is trying to get the grilled chicken trend going again.  But, according to a local store manager, what are more people ordering?  Meatball sandwiches!  I rest my case.

Where's the beef?

In my tummy, tummy, tummy ... yummy, yummy, yummy!

10)  Eavesdropping Barbie?
No, it's not this one, but be careful,
you never know when Mattel will
start putting chips in all dolls!
There comes a time when research is ridiculous.  In fact, there comes a time when it should be considered completely illegal.

What am I talking about?  Well, there's a new Barbie slated to hit the shelves.  Your child pushes a button and asks it a question.  Barbie, like Apple's Siri, is supposed to respond with an answer.  Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?

Now, here's the good part.  The questions and conversations your child has with this doll are sent to "the cloud" and stored for future review.  Who will be doing the reviewing?  Why, manufacturers, of course!  It is believed they will be able to better find what the children want and make future dolls and toys to take care of those desires.

In other words, you pay to have your kids robbed of their thoughts, ideas, and future dreams.  In the meantime, Mattel's partner, Toy Town, comes up with more and more money making toys.

Privacy groups don't like this, parents that understand what's going to happen don't like this, and kids don't like it, if like their parents, it's explained to them.

What Mattel needs to do is to create new characters called Tattle Tale Trudy and Big Mouth Marvin.  These toys will do the same as the Barbie, but with their names, the kids will be reminded to watch what they say!

And, the 
Kanye West Asshole of the Week Award 
Goes To:

LIL' WAYNE !!!!!

After performing seven songs for a college crowd, rapper Lil' Wayne threw a temper tantrum and stormed off the stage when the DJ played a song that had another rapper on it.

The mature thing to do would have gone with the flow and performed.  At worst, it would have been to stop the show and change the tape. But, in following in the footsteps of Kanye, he let his emotions rule and screwed all those that had purchased tickets to make his tail richer.

Don't you love rappers?  No wonder the prison system is filled with those ignorant enough to have  considered them role models.

"Yo, Yo, 
to prison you will
Go, Go.

(And while you're there, 
don't forget to get your teardrop tattoo!)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

That's it for another week of TTOT!


PS:  For those of you that like sarcasm a little more raw, check out my new blog

Friday, February 27, 2015

Don't Trust Anyone Over 30, Twisted News, and Ten Things Of Thankful

See ALL TTOT Posts Here!!!!
Back in the late 60's, there was an expression that many of us teenagers lived by:

"Don't Trust Anyone Over 30"

Of course, there were other expressions that filled the posters that covered the walls of my room.

"Canada Wants You!"

"Peace, Love, Dove"

"Freewheelin' Franklin sez 
Dope will get you through times of no money better 
than money will get you through times of no dope."

"Man made alcohol and God made marijuana.  
Who do you trust?"

... and so on and so on and so on.  There were also black light designs and patterns to go along with my four foot long black light (NO!  I never had the dogs playing cards poster!), and my original Woodstock poster (that I somehow lost over the years ... damn it).

I could go on, but let's get back to my original thought which has yet to be discussed.  Of course, you already know that unless you're a psychic and can predict where this is going next.  In that case, you're a better person than I as I'm lost as hell right now!

Since I am now double 30 in age (that's 60 for those of you still involved with learning core math) I have to question the first slogan I posted.

Remember?  "Don't Trust Anyone Over 30"   (It's up the page towards the start.)  Many of us are in a position of having to trust someone over 30.  Be it a wife, a son or daughter, a boss (no, never a boss), friends (well, some friends ... you know the ones that won't try to get it on with your spouse and such), and a few choice others.

Then I started to wonder, 
"Can we trust anyone under 30?"

Let's be real, with the education and upbringing that most of that generation has received, it's a wonder that they can even trust each other.  Or, can they?

Bullying is at an all-time high be it physical or mental (over the Internet).  Metal detectors are installed at the entrances of many schools to reduce the chances of guns and knives being brought into the building.  Plans for arming certain teachers are in place to help in protecting unarmed kids in case of a shooter or two going wild.  More and more of today's youth are attempting to go overseas and join ISIS.  And these are just the most visible instances of trust becoming a lost cause!

As there is no honor among thieves, there seems to be very little honor of any type.  Advertising is twisted, politicians are hypocritical, and education is skewed towards the dumbing down of America.  The majority doesn't rule, it's the government's responsibility to feed, clothe and house those that wrongly take advantage of social systems meant to take care of those truly in need, and the police have found it easier to kill a suspect than to go through a legal system slanted in favor of the criminal which will eventually allow the criminal to go free.

Sports stars with little to no education make more money than the educators, Hollywood stars are experts on how to run the country, and YouTube displays films that show atrocities the government chooses to ignore as they're not profitable ventures to pursue.

So, "Who Do We Trust?"

Our currency still states, "In God We Trust."  

But, do we?

Proclamations of God is dead, there never was a God, and God is of a different religion fill the air.  The government eliminates God from our schools and public buildings, but preaches we are a Christian Nation.  We came from a speck of space dust seems easier to believe than an all powerful God creating us.  God wants us to fight for our religion, yet, God has killing listed as a major sin in his Ten Commandments.  Is God a hypocritical politician?

It seems as though we really can't trust anyone these days, doesn't it?  So much for the trusting of those under 30 or those over 30.  Very few outside of our personal circles have earned any of our trust, and probably never will.  We are an armed society of non-trusting individuals sworn to protect ourselves at any cost.  We can only hope that there is one saying still around that we can believe in.

Exactly like the one that hung on my wall!
Could this be the slogan of the future?
"No mom, it's only parsley!
Like wow, it's really good parsley, too!"
Yes!  Those were definitely the days!
If we could only go back in time...

Anyway, it's time for another edition of being 
thankful ten times over.  That's ten times of 
being thankful for more that just the memories.  
Perhaps, we might even find ten times of thankful trust.  
Okay, okay, let's not ask for miracles.

It's Ten Things Of Thankful!!!

This week, I'm thankful for:

1)  ISIS Destroys Ancient Artifacts.  
"Oh yeah, that looks like a really bad
demon one.  Lets see if we can find more
of them like that one!  Maybe a baby in a
cradle would be a good one, too!"
It seems as though ISIS isn't just happy slicing off people's heads with swords and burning them in public.  Their attacks have now spread to destroying ancient artifacts in Iraq.  Many of the historical sights at a museum where they filmed this destruction were copies, but there were some dating back centuries.  

Why?  Well, ISIS proclaims them as displays of heresy and thus should be destroyed.  Of course, many of the artifacts contain stories and depictions of events that took place centuries ago.  But, when your primary concern is creating a mental state of despair, it doesn't matter what you do.  What assholes!

  I guess if you don't know history, you don't have to worry about repeating it's past failures.  You might say, "Stupid is as stupid does."

2)  Kardashians Sign Four Year Deal.
"You want any more of
this you better get your
act straight, dumbass!"
It has just been reported that the Kardashians signed a contract with "E" to run their show for another four years for a fee of $100 million.   What has yet to be determined is who in the hell is their audience since most claim to never watch the show!

In a related story, Kanye West has just sent out tweets to Beck and Bruno Mars apologizing for his past actions.  He even tweeted that he'd like to work with Bruno in the future.

Now, what do you want to bet that "E" told Kanye to get his damn act together as he was jeopardizing the Kardashians future?  And, what do you want to bet that all the female cast members got together and told Kanye that if he thinks he's so damn bad, he hasn't seen bad until he's seen raving, raging, maniacal women bitching because he was the fool that cost them $100 million?  And, what do 
you want to bet that Kim told him that he ever thought he'd get another evening in bed with her, he'd better shut his damn mouth in public and say, "Yes Dear" at home?

"Yes Dear!" 

3)  FCC Pushes "Net Neutrality".
Internet providers must now act in the public interest instead 
of that of their pocketbooks as the Federal Communication Commission has pushed Net Neutrality down their throats.

What this means (besides higher prices for personal service and the government is now in the business of controlling the Internet) is that since all providers download at about the same speed, creating fast lanes to give the advantage to one over another for cash is illegal.  

So, if you're downloading from Amazon Prime and Netflix pays your provider a bonus to slow down that download and increase the speed on the Netflix one to get you to download from them, it is now illegal for them to do it!

In other words, enjoy your porn anywhere you want it! 
 It's all going to download at about the same speed 
so you can keep the rhythm you're used to!

4)  Greatest Depreciating Cars.
Yep!  I'm the worst of the bunch!
But, really now, what did you expect
from a Korean manufacturer?
No car is a good investment as they will all depreciate.  However, as a consumer, you want one that will depreciate less than the others.  Here is a listing of the greatest offenders and the amount they will depreciate during only their first year.

  1. Hyundai Genesis, 38.2%
  2. (Tie) Smart Car & Cadillac CTS, 36.9%
  3. ***see #2 Tie***
  4. Chevrolet Impala, 33.5%
  5. GMC Yukon XL, 32.8%
  6. Volvo S80, 32.6%
  7. Mercedes S Class, 32.4%
  8. Lincoln MKS, 30.4%
  9. Mini Cooper, 29.3%
  10. Jaguar XK, 29.2%
So, if you want a car that maintains its value, Consumer Reports now lists the top two brands as Lexus and Mazda.

Making people go to court to get problems fixed 
and hiding information about customer injuries 
due to malfunctioning parts seem to have caught 
up with basic Toyotas and Hondas!  

Buy a Mazda instead!  "Zoom, Zoom!"  

5)  KFC Introduces Edible Coffee Cups.
Great Britain, you are home to the experiment.  Should you decide to accept it, keep in mind you may soon be looking like many Americans.  If you ever wanted to eat your cookie coffee cup with sugar paper wrapping, you can!  KFC is bringing this treat to Great Britain to test it out.  

Enjoy, gain weight, look like Americans, and be sure to examine how clean the hands are of those who serve. 

Dirty fingernails?  Yum Yum!

6)  Gary Glitter Not Glittering.
"Rock & Roll, Pt. 2" vocal artist, Gary Glitter has been sentencedto serve 16 years in prison for sexually abusing three underage girls in the 70's by a British court.  Gary, who is now 70 years old, was a one hit wonder with his popular song that is still played in sports arenas today.  

Obviously, Great Britain has a much longer statute 
of limitations than the United States for such crimes.   Otherwise, Bill Cosby would be sweating much more than he already is.  
Drink anybody?

7)  Baby Box Drop-Offs.
A high court in Indiana is considering placing "Baby Box" containers in various places throughout the state so that mothers that don't want the children can drop the off anonymously for later adoption.  Officials are working on this concept to attempt to curb the high rate of baby deaths due to exposure and neglect.

That's right ... have a child, decide that you don't want it, and drop it off anonymously in the corner Baby Box.  Don't worry about child responsibility as the government will take it from there.  Of course, the child will have absolutely no way to track you down when they get older and start wondering about why you dumped them, but you don't care anyway.  

I'm sorry, but since when did deserting your child become legal?  

Don't you find it strange that the government is saying,
"Go ahead and have a kid.  We'll take it from there."

Next thing you know they'll be giving these same 
losers money for rehab, living quarters, and food so they'll have enough energy to do it again!

Don't you love this country?

8)  Need More Minorities For Marathon Bomber Suspect
"I know you have photos of my brother
and I carrying the bomb, and we did
participate in shootouts with the police,
but my lawyers say I'm innocent!"
Just as the trial was getting set to start, the Boston Marathon Bomber Suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, may be getting a rest.  His lawyers have filed a motion that states because of the rotation of the jury prospects, not enough minorities were questioned and/or chosen.

This seems to be just another ploy to delay the trial.  His lawyers have done everything to prove that there is no way for their client to get a fair trial in the Boston area.  

So, I say we move the trial to Laredo, Texas.  Once you're found guilty, after a fair trial of course, (cough, cough) you'll be allowed to run through a land mine course filled with the same type of bombs you planted in Boston!

'Welcome to Southern Justice, Sucka!!!'

9)  Evil Baby Is Too Aggressive.
"Keep at it kid and you can end up
just like me!  Buhahahaha!"
A daycare sent a note home to a baby's parents telling them that the child is too aggressive.  And, when the child was told to stop it, she would only present a smile and go right back to doing it again and again.  Of course, the child is only nine months old so the parents were a little concerned.

Time for an exorcism?

Child care specialists state that babies tend to start testing what reaction they'll get for the actions they perform around that age  (6-9 months).  So, in reality, the baby's actions should have been expected by the daycare center.  Then again, all a daycare center does is to take care of children around 360 days a year, so how could they be expected to know anything like that?  

Now if they can only get the toys to stop flying around the room all will be well!

10)  Leonard Nimoy Passes.
"We'll miss you!

Today, many of us lost an old friend.  Leonard Nimoy passed away after a long illness.  The galaxy seems a smaller place tonight.  Yet, there's something about age 83 that says, "You've had a good life. Don't be selfish.  It's time."

Star Trek's Spock will live in the memories of his fans forever.  Oh, as Leonard Nimoy, he did other things such as Broadway plays, narrations for television series, and even some other television gigs, but none ever brought him the exposure and popularity of Star Trek.

I'm sure many tribute's will be written for Mr. Nimoy. I'm also sure many will include the phrase, "Live Long And Prosper."  

Mine will simply read, 

"Goodbye my old friend.  
We'll meet again one day.  
You were a part of my childhood
you were a part of my life.
Now, you're gone, and it's sad
to have another reminder 
that soon so shall I be.
Life is fleeting, life is temporary,
life is here and life is gone.
Take your starship to heaven
and I'll climb the stairway with
the music playing in the background.
Our mortality is human, not Vulcan,
so, this is indeed the last voyage.
Doesn't logic suck?"


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Winter Vs. Summer, Movies, Music and Memories. It's TTOT!

I'm sitting here looking at 12 inches of snow and sub-freezing temperatures, reminding myself how much I enjoy cold weather.

It's really not that bad.

My first memories of cold weather are much worse.  I was with my parents atop the ice of my grandparents pond.  They were ice skating and I was just sliding.  I remember trying to duplicate their grace on the ice, but my butt kept hitting the ice.

They were enjoying themselves atop the ice, as already mentioned.   

I found a way to do it 
through the ice.

Since the pond was only a few feet deep, I probably wouldn't have drowned.  (That would explain their casual attitude towards rushing to save my tail.)  I remember attempting to hold on to the ice as my parents finally came to my rescue.  Luckily, I had on a snowsuit that had been tailored by the same haberdashery that made the astronauts' spacesuits.

It still got wet ... and cold ... and pretty much frozen by the time they were able to get me inside the house. (If they would've shoved a stick up my tail the ice cream truck could've have sold me for a couple of bucks!) 

What a welcome to the world of cold weather!

After that cold weather was a piece of cake!  (Angel Food, I think.  Either that or white cake.  Not that I'm discriminatory, just remembering the way is was back then.)

In contrast, I remember many summers at the beach.  Usually, the first weekend resulted in me going to the doctor and having blisters drained as my back and shoulders were a natural magnet to the sun's ultra-violet rays.  He would first pop and drain the huge blisters, which I always wondered, "Why is he smiling?"  

Then he'd apply four bottles of lotion and wrap me up like a mummy with seventeen rolls of gauze so we could go to the grocery store. There, my mother could tell everyone that I had gotten my sunburn because of how impossible I was to get out of the water (which really meant "let the kid play as long as he's not bothering us").

Should never have let me fall through the ice, mom!

I also recall many hot summer days mowing our five acre yard with a push mower, by myself.  Bugs flying in my mouth, dust filling my nostrils, salty sweat in the eyes, and rocks hitting my bruised shins bring back glorious memories of that time of year.  It also helped me to become somewhat of a masochist. ("Beat me, Beat me!") 

Yeah, I think I like Winter better.

I also lost a girlfriend as she attended a Summer Bible School in another area of the state.  (Damn Summer trauma session, it was!  Who the hell breaks up in the middle of Summer unless they're a real bitch ... er, confused individual?) Oh, we got back together, but it kind of ruined the cement I thought we'd had in the relationship.  (This is the same girl I've previously mentioned that broke our engagement because she was lonely walking the high school halls by herself after I'd graduated.  Yeah, I never learn!)  

Then, there was a couple of dogs I lost playing outdoors in the summer as they were run over by cars that they'd jumped the gun in chasing. (You can tell I never had a smart dog, can't you? "You chase the car after it goes by, not before it goes by, dummy!") Summer weight lifting sessions in a gym that wasn't air conditioned also come to mind.  Oh, and I'd almost forgotten, my heart attack, a few years ago, took place during the Summer season.

I'm liking Winter more and more!

Winter meant high school and college basketball games, the end to a football season, Christmas and New Years celebrations, making snowmen, sledding down a hill at breakneck speed and falling down on the ice and joining everyone else in laughing about it!  (No, I didn't drink or do drugs in high school.  That came later in college.)

Summer meant very few kids to play with as I lived in the country. (I think my parents did that on purpose to keep their liability factor low.) In my teen years, my father found pleasure in nagging me that my Summer birthday was a constant reminder as of how I was supposed to be getting more mature and responsible with every passing year.  (And, I reminded him that he wasn't getting any younger, either!)   And, as an adult, 34 years ago, a Summer wedding anniversary became a thorn in my side as I experienced the losing of one's freedom to become a faithful husband forever and ever ... and ever ... and ever ... and ever.

And, once upon a time ...

I DO like Winter better than Summer.  I've every reason in the world to appreciate it and hate the Summer months.  No, I don't mind this 12 inches of snow on the ground.  It got me off work this week and we'll be going home early for the next few days!  That never happens in the Summertime.  Never!

Then again, you never see this in the Winter months!
I think I'm missing Summer a little more than I was.  
Yep, old but still hetero!

Which brings us to another round of Ten Things Of Thankful!!!

This week, I'm thankful for:


WAIT!  Hold the presses!   

I'm going to change gears this week and freak everyone out!  Normally, I do sarcastic news articles here.  Instead, I'm going to call upon my past and do something completely out of the ordinary by becoming an entertainment reviewer! 

At one point in my life, I reviewed movies and music for both radio and newspapers.  So, since this week's primary news revolves around snow, snow and more snow, let's move on to something that might help you decide how to enjoy your time indoors (as making love and masturbation can only be done so many times).

Much of what you'll find here can be found on and other sites for downloading so you don't even have to leave the house.  So, without further ado, pop some microwave popcorn, drag out the booze, and let's get to the fun!

1)  Gotham.  This is a tale of Batman before Batman.  Jim Gordon, who later becomes Commissioner Gordon in the Batman series, is an

honest cop in a less than honest police force.  This is his battle to overcome police corruption in his department, as well as the inner battles of many others.  You'll see the origins of The Penguin, Catwoman, The Joker, The Scarecrow, and several other future criminals here.  

Okay, so you don't like comic book heroes.  Do you like suspense movies or soap operas?  How about lesbian love affairs or tales about powerful women in business?  Gotham is not a movie, but a television series that has a full sixteen episodes available at the time of this writing.  There's none of the typical Batman here (since he's not even around, yet) so you can't use that as an excuse to stay away.  

Gotham is one of my recent favorites that shows a television program doesn't have to be stupid to be popular.  Leave the typical network crap for the viewing by your neighbors with the yellow shutters and pink curtains and prove yourself to be of superior mindset.  Rating *****A

2)  Fury.  OMG, it's Brad Pitt!!!!  Here's a movie for hardcore guy viewing and shallow female viewing (Or, hardcore female viewing and out of closet guy viewing, if you will.)

Basic World War II tank crew story where they save the day, but suffer casualties along the way.  Decent special effects and storyline, but you'll find it dragging at times, This will give you plenty of time to go to the fridge and get another beer or glass of wine.  Oh, and regardless of popular opinion, Brad Pitt is getting older and shows it in this film.  Rating ****B+

3)  John Wick.  Okay, so you're looking for a movie to calm down the kids and get them ready to go to bed ... right?  Well, don't pick this one!  Not unless you want them practicing kill moves in their sleep, that is!

John Wick is a story of revenge ... for stealing a car, receiving a beating, and the killing of a dog.  Okay, that's all the spoilers I'm going to hit you with.  Keanu Reeves probably did this project between major films as it requires little versatility in acting and very few lines of any effort.

Beyond my understanding, John Wick was loved by many who saw it. The storyline is so weak that Dumb And Dumber is made to look intelligent next to it.  Basically, this is a grade B movie made into a grade A production by some producer that didn't want to have to pay a writer for a good story.  Still, if you're in the mood for mindless action upon action upon action, John Wick will probably be for you.  Rating ***C+

4)  The Best Of Me.  And Hollywood brings us another chick flick!  Guys throughout the land are running for the garages and workshops in hopes that it won't be a winner so they don't have to listen to all the details over and over again.

  I bought this for my wife for Valentine's Day (along with a bunch of other stuff for those of you that think I'm a cheap guy) and told her the one stipulation was that she watch it some time I wasn't home.  She did.  She liked it.  I'm a great guy (in her eyes for buying it for her).  In fact, she said she'd like to watch it again. So, as far as a rating is concerned, I'm going to let her opinion rule the day here. (I feel I must warn you, though, she's blonde, from Alabama, and chews gum.  See what I mean???)   Don't you wish you had a husband as easy to please as I?Rating****B

5)  The Great Gatsby.  What the hell do you mean that you're surprised I watched this one?!?!  True, I enjoy science fiction, action, and old Westerns, but there are times I attempt to expand my realm of understanding and enjoyment ... even though I no longer do drugs!

Even I have a little class from time to time.  Why is that so hard to believe?  Geesh!

Actually, I put off watching this movie for months.  Why?  Two reasons ... one is that I've really grown tired of Lenny DeCaprio (or Leonardo if you're a perfectionist) and his weak ass character role acting skills, and two, I'd seen the original years ago and didn't feel as though anyone could duplicate Robert Redford's portrayal of a man competing with the silver spoons for power, money, and society equality.

I was right about the duplicating part.  
Robert Redford wins hands down.
(Us double "R's" gotta stick together!)

However, even though DeCaprio was almost tolerable in this role, Toby Maguire came to the rescue and basically made the movie something I had a hard time pulling myself away from to take a bathroom break.  

I keep attempting to figure out what I like about Toby.  Could it be that he's not the typical "Look at me I'm f**king amazing to look at" star that Hollywood seems to be obsessed?  Or, could it be that he actually knows how to act?  

This is a movie that you'll like a little and be proud of yourself for making it all the way through.  Give it a shot as Toby does know how to act.  His performance is the heart of the film, regardless of DeCaprio's supposed star power.  Rating ***C+

And, now, it's on to the music!!!

6)  Bob Dylan, "Shadows In The Night."

Okay, so I liked Bob Dylan in the 60's.  He was a teller of tales and a writer of emotions.  In the 70's, I believe he wrote two of his best albums ever with "Desire" and "Blood On The Tracks."  The 80's and 90's brought us some highs and lows (mostly lows) as Bob began to believe he was a singer more and more, instead of a teller of tales (earlier discussed).

Now we have "Shadows In The Night."

Diehard Dylan fans will have much to say about this one.  However, only those enthralled with the legend will like this album.

There are moments you want to like it.  Times when you say, "Oh, that's definitely a nice Dylanesque twist on that one".  But, those times are far and few between.

Like Rod Stewart, Lady GaGa (w/ Tony Bennett), and a host of others, taking a trip back to the musical standards of the 40's & 50's seems to be the growing fad.  Many have voices that can handle these songs that require great range.  Bob Dylan does not.  

Sample this one before you ever buy it.  In fact, sample, "Some Enchanted Evening" and then make up your mind after you come back from retching in the commode.  It's like eating a banana.  You pull back the peel that's yellow and all tastes great.  An hour later, you look at the peel and it's brown and disgusting.  It's time for Bob to realize that the colors are changing.    Rating **D

7)  Meghan Trainor, "Title."  Remember how much you hated "Happy" last year, or "Blurred Lines" the year before?  For those of you old enough, do you recall how you still get nauseated every time you hear the opening notes to "The Macarena?"  Well, welcome to an album of similar memories by the "stick my finger down my throat before I go to bed so I don't get sick and puke while I'm sleeping girl", Meghan Trainor!

Yeah, so you liked "All About The Bass" the first thirty times you heard it.  Do you still?  Not unless you're brain dead, you don't!  

I feel like this album should be broadcasted as one of the old K-tel television specials to get it out and sold to as many as possible before word gets out and people stand in line five miles long for refunds.  Sorry, the hype about catchy tunes is better reserved for an album containing TV Commercials.  The only thing that I can say is thank you for giving us a tune that makes it easy to make up words for satire tunes!  Rating *D-

Well, it's all about the ass, bout the ass, bout the ass,
you Kanye,
it's all about the ass, bout the ass, bout the ass,
you Kanye,
etc, etc. etc.

8)  Urban Jazz Coalition "One Step Closer."  Now, I like to rock it out, taste a little country from time to time, and even some alternative.  You can lay the R&B on me (as long as there's no rap included), take a trip back to some Motown Soul, and journey into the 80's Funk.

So, why do people think I'm trying to put them down if they don't add some Jazz into their musical diet?

Jazz comes in many forms.  I'm not going to describe them all, as Wikipedia can do a much better job and use their space in doing so, as I'm trying to keep my post a little shorter.  

I take musical safari's into the land of Jazz.  Why?  Because there's so much to listen to and only so much time to enjoy.

Like all music, there's going to be a time and place to enjoy.  What is called "Smooth" jazz is what I love.  And, the Urban Jazz Coalition does it oh so well.  You have melody, beat, and a mass array of instruments that are doing their best to pull you into their world.  You'd be a fool to refuse.  Give them a shot!  Otherwise, you're keeping yourself from some much needed listening pleasure.  Rating *****A

9)  Hard Working Americans, "The First Waltz."  If you've never heard of Todd Snider, don't feel bad.  Many haven't.  He's had a less than stellar solo career, and just released his second album as lead singer for a band called the "Hard Working Americans."

This is one of those albums that you have to listen to several times to truly get the magnetism it provides.  It has fast tunes to tap your toes to, and songs so slow you feel they're pulling you into them molecule by molecule.  Sooner or later, you'll become a part of them, whether you want to or not.  

This is an album I need to listen to more.  My problems stem from being an obsessive music addict and purchasing 8-12 albums a week.  I listen to them once and that's about it.  I liked this one, felt its pull, and will give it more of a chance in the future.  Won't you join me?  Rating *****A-

10)  Bjork, "Vulnicura."  I like Bjork even though I sometimes find listening to a whole album by her a task.  I've followed her for years and have most of her albums.  Sometimes, her versatility amazes me,

other times it confuses me.  If it wasn't for her pixie smile and captivating eyes, I probably would have given up on her years ago.

But, I haven't.  Bjork just released "Vulnicura" a few weeks ago.  I've given it two listens.  The first time I almost fell asleep while driving.  The second, I did fall asleep at my computer, fingers on keyboard, x's filling pages into the future.

Haunting?  Yes!  Melodic?  Yes!  Toe Tapping?  No!  Recommended?  No!  Well, not unless you either need to get some sleep or you just like captivating eyes and a pixie smile!    Rating **D+

*     *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *
So, since most of this music has been graded fairly low, you're probably wondering what I do recommend.  Recently, has had a bunch of oldies albums on sale for $5.99 or less.  This has allowed me to complete my collections of The Allman Brothers Band, Nazareth, Emerson-Lake-and Palmer, Elvin Bishop, Humble Pie, Joe Walsh, Wet Willie, Cactus, and many others.  These, of course, are all classic rock additions from the late 60's and early 70's.

If there is one band I would have you try that you've probably never heard of, it would be the Mark-Almond Band.  These guys had a unique blend of rock, alternative, and jazz that was way ahead of its time when they released most of it in the 70's.  In my estimation, their best album is:
Mark-Almond  "Rising"
They have several other releases, including a Greatest Hits cd/download that you can purchase.  They'll lay you back, tuck you in, and carry you into a world of depression, give you love and provide pure bliss.  If you dare, try them!

So, that's it for a very different TTOT from me.  

Hope you enjoyed!


*** Btw, some of you joined me in participating in 1000 Speak yesterday.  If you haven't had a chance to read my post there, please take a moment to view it here.  It's something entirely different from me that may hopefully touch you.