Diminishing Returns on Lowered Expectations


Lately Dr. Random has been caught up in the Stick Alien Controversy. He’s endlessly fascinated by the whole thing and we’ve been talking about how this might apply to Jungian archetypes.
But let’s back up a touch.
Let’s say these are aliens. So like, MTV finally reached far enough into the galaxy that they saw MC Hammer videos and seeing as he had pants like theirs they decided to make the trip?
And what happened to threatening aliens?
Aren’t we good enough to be menaced from afar anymore?
Look at these two. They look like some cheap Eurotrash marionettes that were seen sandwiched between Totie Fields and Sergio Franke on the old Ed Sullivan Show. If you look at them long enough you can hear Ed saying, “Now for the kidddoooohs all the way from Sarry-ay-vooohhhh…”
But the real blow is to our collective consciousness which Jung said create our archetypes. Here the classic Jungian Little Green Man is reduced to something that looks like a volleyball jammed onto the head of the compass I had in my elementary-school pencil box. Once upon a time our collective unconscious coughed up garishly colored demons complete with brimstone smoke and the eerie sounds of minor chords played on a smoldering violin.
So how did we get to this sorry state?
More importantly, how can we blame Facebook for this?
You work that out while I bust a move.

uhhhhhh,…. yeah


Now that winter’s drug its feet and spring seems like it will never arrive I find that people are getting a little testy. Perhaps we’ve all spent a bit too much time indoors this year and the extended time in our homes has left us irritable. That’s why I took some time last night to think through what I was going to write this morning. Upon further review, as they used to say in the late great NFL, I decided to take a pass on what I was going to say about social media experts.
They don’t really mean to say what they say.
It’s just that their unemployment has run out.
And that’s likely to make anybody crazy.
See you next week.

A pox upon thy mouse


A shadowy group of elites—mainly international bankers but also George W. Bush, Barack Obama, the Clintons, most of the mainstream media, the Saudi royal family, and Google—is trying to enslave the Earth’s population through orchestrated terror attacks and revolutions, vast economic manipulation, vaccines and fluoride, and an ever-widening system of surveillance that includes Facebook.That’s the truth—at least, the truth according to Alex Jones, a popular talk-radio host who is today’s leading proponent and marketer of political paranoia. ‘The globalists have stolen the world’s power,’ he told me recently, with surprisingly abundant good cheer. ‘Their big dream, and all they talk about, is creating a super bioweapon, basically based on a mouse pox, and just turn it loose and kill almost everybody. It kills about 99 percent of whatever mammal you design it for. It’s their Valhalla, and they’re going to do it.'” – Joe Hagan
“Nothing really matters, nothing really matters to me, any way the wind blows” Farrokh Bulsara

Let’s get the hard part out of the way first.
What follows is a comparison.
I only mention that because some one, when not busy making mouse pox, needs to spend some time researching why the human brain partially shuts down every time some one makes a comparison. For whatever reason, every time a comparison is made the part where you’re saying something is kinda, sorta like something else is ignored and the human brain goes fully auto and completely ballistic. Sure you can dress it up with one of those fancy terms you learned in high school English, (i.e simile, desiccant, metaphor, analogy, or taken together what the ancient Greeks called diuretics) but the outcome is still the same.
I am about to piss you the hell off.
Alex Jones came to light as there’s been some press devoted to whether or not Glen Beck cribs from Mr. Jones radio show. Having seen this go by on a variety of web sites I thought it might be interesting to see where Mr. Beck finds his alleged source material. Thankfully Mr. Jones program is available via the Interwebs as he’s only on a handful of AM stations around the country as well as shortwave. (Note to self, go find where the kid put my shortwave radio.) An afternoon’s listening proved nothing more – at least to me- than a trip down memory lane. Save for the mouse pox, the content was pretty much stuff I’d heard before, some of it going back 30-plus years.
So what keeps Alex Jones’s audience in place?
Ready?
Here’s the part where you’re gonna get all hissy-fit pissy.
The Alex Jones show comes off like one of your favorite albums. You bought it on vinyl, you repurchased it when it came out on cd, then you had your kid illegally download it for you just to have a backup copy.
I’m gonna pause here so you can get all that “ARE YOU SAYIN’ (insert album name here) BY (insert band and/or artist name here) IS A BUNCHA RIGHT WING CRACKPOT BULLSHIT?!?!?!?!?” mojo out of your system.
And still all the money goes to mouse pox and not a dime to studying your last thought.
But I digress.
All that commin’-for-your-guns stuff and the FEMA prisons are nothing new. Back when Dr. Random was an infant I used to put him down for his nap and fire up the shortwave radio he grew up to squirrel away somewhere and listen to Col. Bo Gritz. It was the same kind of stuff – only I will grant you – that Mr. Jones has a more secular tone. One of the principle features of Col. Bo’s show was people who would call up and say, “Know what that reminds me of? Book of Acts 3:12-14.” And Col Bo would reply, “Or Leviticus 2:24-28!” Not that they actually coughed up any verse to go with that. They just sprayed numbers around like a post-race NASCAR phone-in show. You’d think you were listening to either a numbers station or The Algebra Classroom of the Air.
And can we all take a moment to remember how great The Art Bell Show was?
When Dr. Random was a newborn and he was waking his mother up every couple of hours in the night she would fire up the radio while nursing. Back then Art still ruled the dead of the night. Some Montana Militia member would call up and subject Art to some proposition that was equal parts the Lord’s Prayer, a snippet from the Declaration of Independence, and the warning off a bottle of rat poison, which proved once and for all that the government was evil. Art, as most of you will remember, would then hang up on these people after first suggesting Luprina, the spray on aspirin, could fix all our ills.
Long story short – Alex Jones is the comfort food of radio listening for some folks. He’s like the album you want to hear in the car on the way home after a long day. For over 30 years I’ve heard just about all of it – how the money isn’t legal, nor is the America flag with the gold fringe, and who gets locked up in a FEMA prison is all based on how you voted in the last election. If all of that is at the root of your zeitgeist then please feel free to fire up The Alex Jones show and may God Bless all who sail in her.
Not that Mr. Jones will have Mr. Beck to worry about for long. As Mr. Beck’s ratings and popularity have faded we might be a year or so away from Mr. Beck having a very public epiphany. Sooner or later he’s going to turn up on some backwater cable station, tears streaming down his pitiful unshaven cheeks, and between sobs he’s going to tell us that he didn’t leave conservatism, conservatism left him. Salon’s vivisection of Mr. Beck from two years ago is very telling. Those of us who’ve spent time in radio know that the wily can turn on a dime if they think their survival is at stake.
But what would I know?
I just insulted your favorite album of all time.

OH PIONEERS!

“I would rather look good than feel good.” generally attributed to Fernando Llamas
“For the record, a rockstar is someone who has achieved stardom through their music. A guru has religious wisdom. A ninja doesn’t tell anyone.” Tara Reid


This was the week when I was stopped in traffic and noticed the woman in the car in front of me. While waiting at the light she took out a brush and, as the kids like to say, started fixin’ her hair like a boss. Then in one graceful, unbroken moment she reached over to the passenger seat and started perking up her dog’s coiffe. As I get older I find it’s the poetry contained in certain moments that make them memorable. Not that it was enough to distract me from my ennui as I began the week falsely accused of being an Internet pioneer.
As Prof. McLuhan would say, “Oh yes!
For those of you just tuning in this is the return of The Poorly Thought Out Sunday Think Piece. (™ pend.)
I read the accusatory email in question about a half dozen times and it didn’t seem to be the least bit humorous. Each reading made the prose only that much more dry and stolid. Beyond that it was every bit as ironic as a Presbyterian clutching a club soda and lime. Not that I know where the author came up with this information and I’m certain that you, as some one who has read all of some of the 80-plus blogs I’ve maintained in the past 12 years knows, there have been exaggerations, conflation, and outright lies set down in print- the highlights of which include:
Claiming to be Adnan Khashoggi’s life coach.
Passing myself off as the leading distributor of feng shui for the Willamette Valley.
Offering my services as a whuffie fluffer/digital phlebologist.
The last one is a regionalism. It’s something along the lines or bag vs. sack or whether you come home with a Tyson or a Perdue chicken. In some cases which one you use is based on whether or not you went to parochial school.
Where were we?
When it comes to blogging and social media certainly the ninja definition posted above applies to the some 120-plus blogs I’ve maintained since 1978. During all that time I’ve worked as far under the radar as possible so that you could feel better about yourself. That by not banging the drum loudly and dabbling endlessly in useless self promotion I have been able to bolster your self esteem by making you feel special – feel as if you were part of a secret society or possessed of esoteric knowledge which in turn gave you the ability to take one last look across the cube farm on a Friday afternoon and say to yourself, “Sleep tight you bastards!”
Not that I know how to convey this to the author of the email as he insists we meet for coffee.
And how is it that none of the people who write to me seem to know how to use the word ‘martini’ in a sentence?
Which is another tropic for another time.
I suppose I could meet with him and give him some 21st Century variation on Adlai’s Stevenson’s speech about how America was built using little more than a plow, a Bible, and an ax. I could even make up something about how we called her Ma back then and go on and on about how she stuffed a mule full of sorghum so that we could venture out from the Geocities with nothing more than a pound of salt and a side of bacon strapped to wee Dr. Random’s back.
But then he’d probably go ruin it by Googling everything I said.
Oh well.
BTW – you can follow Tara Reid on Twitter here.
Me?
By now you should know well enough to leave some things alone.

Outsourcing

We have no lawn to mow therefore I have let Dr. Random write this post if he wishes to earn his allowance for the week.

He writes:

Deconstructing Rebecca Black’s Friday: Death of the Author? Possibly, but regardless, the author should be dead.
I can certainly state self-professed hatred for Rebecca Black, however, there’s some certain difference between people taking the traditional apocalyptic biblical naysaying – “It’s the death of music as we know it!” and where anyone who hasn’t posted on youtube comments recently fit in. The difference is mostly that the latter is on the joke: Nobody honestly likes the music, so instead they take it as a guilty pleasure.
I certainly fit in there.
At short, most of the criticism comes down to the epitome of what counts as modern pop: Gratuitous autotune and repetitive lyrics with no real logic behind them. Given there are much worse offenders – see Black Eyed Pea’s “I gotta feeling” as far as lyrical atrocities go – Rebecca Black still counts as a tasteless pop hit. No doubt, we can assume that most of the cheap and sleazy song writers working for their corporate overlords at Ark Music Factory are jaded men in their 40s and 50s who somehow didn’t make the cut as far avant-garde independent music went; doomed to working in some modern music Inferno, fifth or sixth ring.
I am here to hail them as underground geniuses. In the same sense that the Illuminati mock the public with subversive symbolism ranging anywhere from Lady GaGa videos to the one dollar bill, the fine hack job song writers are mocking modern music and decadent culture within their demographic (apparently). There is certain kitsch to attempting to look at Rebecca Black seriously, and again, I can make no mistake there is nothing artistically redeeming about her music other than perhaps in some sense of irony.
But yet, there is something that struck me on the head in some chance of reverse brilliance. When we have mundane reflections of life represented in lyrics, almost as stream of consciousness, how can we be sure that there aren’t subversive elements striking us? And so I looked back.
The song starts in a mundane manner, pointing out again, stream of consciousness comments on what would appear to be regular “life” as high school goes. (Interestingly, Rebecca Black is a middle schooler, but in any interpretation this is of no note as what the text is offering.)
The video starts as a stream of consciousness itself, where she is attempting to rise through her bed and go through aimless movements notioned as routine.
7am, waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal
Seein’ everything, the time is goin’
Tickin’ on and on, everybody’s rushin’

In The Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn wrote of the police attempting to rush occupants out to arrest to gulag: “[…]It’s all lies. They keep hurrying you to frighten you.”
On a schedule of dead last minute work, hours of tedium presented to the modern occupant of the American educated system, sleep is a commodity that is rare and often almost a driving factor. We cannot argue this, but in itself it is a weapon of fear as much as it is a tool of failure. Mussolini kept the trains on time as much as the schools keep sleep deprivation a constant. This is almost certainly commentary on this, as well as the routine that has become a brainwashed constant into the minds of youth.
Gotta get down to the bus stop
Gotta catch my bus, I see my friends (My friends)
Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

Two themes are ever present here, but there is first a simple theme: Education versus Education as a social institution. The bus stop represents the education, or: the anal-retentive, going for the 4.0 GPA. The friends are almost certainly a diversion. We can assume in one sense that metaphorically, Rebecca has always gone to school, but here the jump off point is present as she has only participated in school as social means. College and letter grades mean nothing to her certainly. She is not a drop out, but the system has no place for her. The school bus and where it is headed are an educated future, where the children represent social freedom and expression as well as diversion from knowledge.
The second is one of existentialism. The institution and it’s systems are existential puzzles … they present no real options for students, and almost all options presented for students are the dicerolls behind the scenes, of social classes and backgrounds. There is no expression of humanity, only of intellectuality. Those who trip up when asked to trip up in school and those who learn how to jump over the foot waiting for them divide those who are more social and those who focus on education. Rebecca’s character represents the former, and so she has become dehumanized.
Her friends represent humanity, as certainly they are social rather than treated as flat figures by a statelike school figure. The existential choice presented – even so mundanely as “what seat to take in a car” is showing just how much that even that human expression can show more to Rebecca’s character than a moment furthering her education can to her at this point.
It’s Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend
Friday, Friday
Gettin’ down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Partyin’, partyin’ (Yeah)
Fun, fun, fun, fun
Lookin’ forward to the weekend

The eery remnants of a gulag like state figure within education are much present here. If we take Rebecca’s character as a metaphor for a repressed student, and this student jaunt and escape into a car transgression from her workplace, then certainly we can say no further than Friday is her release from a prison. The same release promised of an amount of labor/time (schoolwork) from the gulag (school). There is not much more to say, but this verse repeats itself in forms. I conclude my thoughts on it here.
7:45, we’re drivin’ on the highway
Cruisin’ so fast, I want time to fly
Fun, fun, think about fun
You know what it is
I got this, you got this
My friend is by my right
I got this, you got this
Now you know it

The last remainder of the verse is somewhat needless, but I will explain where this is going to the next portion. The first is a direct commentary on hedonism, the same that is the “partying” transgression from education – mindless pleasures, distraction. “Cruisin’ so fast, I want time to fly” Like a suicidal note, one does not wish to continue to live oppressedly, and so as a student she is breaking free. A gun, a bottle of whisky, an ecstasy tablet … after awhile, they blur together as the same vice of transgression. She does not want to be in the present. Her own repeated thought of trying to think of “Fun” might be a remnant from the alternate world of her staterun hell of school itself, reminding herself of the release.
Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

The verse repeats itself here as the existential one, I can only say it must connect to her own transgressive desire to escape from a dehumanizing state system of education, again.
My friend is by my right
I got this, you got this
Now you know it
[…]

Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday
Today i-is Friday, Friday (Partyin’)
We-we-we so excited
We so excited
We gonna have a ball today
Tomorrow is Saturday
And Sunday comes after…wards

By this point the images in the video serve no purpose. I do not believe imagery and symbolism come into play, as the writers had no goal in the video itself nor do objects and images reappear in the song again.
However, the point and bridge between the prior lyrics and these comes as this: They are simply commentary on the failures of the system, where heavy repetition of rudimentary concepts has become necessary due to the lack of attention. One could blame this lack due to the system itself, again, an image of the prior gulag … one could certainly ascribe that the transgression is slowly corrupting itself as well, but it also needs to go no deeper than that Rebecca’s character simply is not educated and can find no education. Thusly, she rebels in a form of transgression, escaping education as the bus, and also showing her own failures as they poison herself in life outside school.
I don’t want this weekend to end
The image of suicide and prolonged time, if not eternity, comes back into play. She knows she must return to the prison of school.
[Lyrics are omitted here as finally, I can see they serve no purpose. After the following verse, the song has nothing new to offer.]
Passin’ by is a school bus in front of me
Makes tick tock, tick tock, wanna scream
Check my time, it’s Friday, it’s a weekend
We gonna have fun, c’mon, c’mon, y’all

As represented by the adult generation and possible abuse of slang language, even elders can respect school as a present and the idea of transgression and rebellion from the oppressive system. The slang however, embodies a younger tone, definitely giving way to the idea that the man in the car referenced here is as well a victim of the school system and can acknowledge its failures, vices, and sins. He supports revolution however, showing that the writers have a bias for Rebecca’s character and her compatriots.
I can only conclude here that Rebecca Black’s Friday is a masterwork of satire. I cannot say whether it serves any purpose, but already the creators have lived their biggest joke:
Their intended audience has only looked at it as a tasteless pop song, and not recognized any of its meanings or themes.
Goodnight, and good luck.

'The pattern is full, Kenneth.'

This was a week of overlooked and unexpected things, not the least of which was how all of us have undervalued the utility of Rebecca Black’s single as it relates to teaching the order of the days for those learning English as a second language. It was also the week where once again we learned why mommie bloggers rarely continue on after their children reach school age. This past Thursday (i.e. yesterday was Thursday, Thursday, oo-ooh-ooh, hoo yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah-ah-ah) the point was driven home again. While it might pithy and amusing for a mommie blogger to run out a few hundred words on why Lil’ Iodine won’t poop, it’s something else entirely when Dr. Random walks through the door and announces, “I got on the waiting list for potassium iodide at the vitamin store!”
YMMV.
Therefore it’s little wonder why I have to distract the boy with things like this.

Not that it’s an easy path to take.
Imagine how I felt when he asked, “I don’t get Norman Mailer, do you?”
You’re free to take that on one and if time permits next week I’ll talk about how everybody hates Mom.

Natalie Portman? What would you like to know?

 “Most recently I wrote about my interactions with PR people who wanted to send me photos of Lou Diamond Phillips holding water, and of Selma Blair wearing a scarf.  (This is all true). I still get these emails daily and my plan is to get a picture of you collating paper so that when they offer me a picture of ‘Harry Connick Jr. standing next to yarn’ I can say ‘Thanks.  Here’s a picture of Wil Wheaton collating paper’ and then they’ll be like ‘Um…why would I want a picture of Wil Wheaton collating paper?’ and I can be like, ‘EXACTLY.’  It wouldn’t actually stop PR people from emailing me thousands of pictures of people-with-things but I’d at least feel better about it.” The Bloggess
At last weekend’s Emerald City ComicCon two young ladies who looked to more or less the same age as Dr. Random ran up to a guy standing in front of me. They were very excited, they’d just gotten Wil Wheaton’s autograph. “Dad! He was soooooo nice! Oh and Dad, he talked to us for like five minutes!” The upshot of the conversation is that the gals were over the moon as Mr. Wheaton made them feel like they were the only people in the whole wide world. (The irony of course was that this took place in the line to get into see William Shatner, who spent the better part of an hour making about 500 people feel like he was the only person in the world.) Also it should be noted that unlike his former co-stars, Data and Commander Riker, who were also guest speakers at ECCC, he did not charge for either his autograph or his time. Therefore it should come as no surprise that Mr.Wheaton was quick to send The Bloggess a photo of himself collating papers.
So let me say quickly that Wil Wheaton deserve a prize for being Wil Wheaton, a good guy, then we’re off to the races.
The collating papers thing hit home as it was something of a relief to find out we’re not the only ones inundated with bizarre p-r missives. For the better part of two years we have received – wholly unsolicited – amazingly detailed descriptions of Natalie Portman’s nightly whereabouts and what she was wearing. Had we bothered to save and compile all the emails involved we would currently posses a body of information that would embarrass even her most ardent stalkers.
So why is that?
Public relations folk are not unlike a man going door to door with a bucket of water. He knocks or rings the bell and asks, “Is your house on fire? I have a bucket of water!” Then when he’s told ‘No” he moves on up the street to the next house while ignoring more prudent approaches such as looking for smoke, flames, or fire trucks. The mystery is in how that approach evolved and why they are so enamored of it – was it trial and error, hard learned experience, or simply self hypnosis?
Who knows?
One-on-one meetings with them certainly don’t provide and answer. Most of the ones I encounter are always representing a restaurant. Invariably they set up a meeting or phone call after first learning my name and then using it like a cudgel against me. What follows is a sing songy recitation of the eatery’s many virtues leading up to the big talking point that this place’s swank won’t melt in your mouth. But that’s assuming I let it get that far. Most of the time I find these conversations can be brought to an abrupt halt with this simple phrase, “So are you in charge of the advertising budget too?”
This always is met with a very quick, “We’d like you and your wife to be our guests for dinner!”
And when I ask why they always say, “For all the good things you do!”
Excuse me, but I think you have me confused with Wil Wheaton.
Having never been a happy or well adjusted human being I have always looked this gift horse in the mouth.
What do they want out of that? If the cops busted the help for running a meth lab/being a satanic cult full of evil puppy kickers*/being an al-Qaeda cell do they expect me to take a minute and then say, “Yeah, but have you had the duck?” Or if the place accidentally burned down do they want me to cry out, “OH MAN! NOT THE DUCK!?”
Seeing no immediate answers in any it I go on refusing free food I wouldn’t have eaten on a bet in the first place because some has to set the standards for what noblesse oblige means in the 21st Century.
You’re welcome.
BTW – if you’re into social media you can follow Brook Alvarez here.
Me?
Well, you can just leave me the hell alone.
* “A satanic cult full of evil puppy kickers” (™ PEND Dr. Random)

Jethro Tull – Song for Jeffrey by piRjtull