Archive for October, 2004

Tennessee voters support Bush, but don’t have a good grasp on the issues. Coincidence?

Oct 20, 2004 in Current Events

The Survey Group at Middle Tennessee State University (the school I currently attend) released the results of their statewide election poll this week. The poll shows, not suprisingly, that Tennesseans favor Bush over Kerry by a significant margin. Also not suprisingly, most voters don’t have a clue where the candidates stand on the issues.

Poll participants were quizzed on five domestic issues, including tax cuts, school vouchers, social security, health insurance tax breaks and pollution controls. Less than half of the voters polled answered correctly on where the candidates stood:

“Overall, in fact, Tennesseans averaged only two right answers when quizzed about which candidate held which view on the five issues. A fifth (20%) got no right answers, and 19% got one answer right. Another fifth (20%) got two right answers, and still another fifth (20%) got three right answers. Only 13% got four right answers, and a mere 8% got all of the answers right.”

Also, 49% of Tennesseans polled said that Bush is at least as intelligent as Kerry, while 15% feel that Bush is more intellegent. The responses to this question fell along party lines, so it’s not a complete surprise, given Bush’s support in this state. But still, what the f*ck, people? I mean, seriously.

Do Republicans have better sex?

Oct 19, 2004 in Current Events

The poll numbers have it! Sexual happiness may not be based solely on sexual experimentation and the fulfillment of one’s personal fantasies and fetishes; but rather a lifetime of vanilla, missionary position sex with one’s married heterosexual partner. And perhaps a few secret dalliances with mistresses, swingers and prostitutes on the side.

A recent ABC News sex poll reports that more Republicans than Democrats say they are “very satisfied” with their sex lives. Republicans are also more likely to wear something sexy to bed, and less likely to fake an orgasm. But another survey reported a few months ago in the archconservative Washington Times came to the opposite conclusion; and added that Democrats are also more likely to steal hotel towels, cheat on their significant other, snub their parents, and kick puppies. (Ok, I’m kidding about the puppies).

Considering that the ABC poll is true, one has to ask: What is it that makes Republican sex so hot? Perhaps the fact that sex is taboo to most Republicans makes it more exciting. After all, vices seem much more fun when they’re forbidden. As to the question of Republican women wearing sexy things to bed, I hear that those lingerie and toy parties are quite popular in the South. Let’s not discount the use of Viagra, which helped make Bob Dole’s sex life much more active than any of us cared to know.

Despite the GOP’s prudish, Victorian attitudes towards all things sex, on closer examination they seem to enjoy it as much as everybody else. Just look at the regular sex scandals that plague Republican politicians, the booming sex trade during the GOP Convention, and the constant preoccupation with ridding our society of anything related to non-marital, non-hetero sex (read: comprehensive sex education and gay rights/marriage).

So maybe they’re onto something. For Republicans, sex is more exciting when it’s something to be ashamed of. Prim, proper Republican women can be closet nymphomaniacs, and Republican men can often hide insatiable sexual fetishes. I know I’ll never look at conservatives the same way again.

The Doonesbury Honest Voices® Reading List, and Other Conservatives Against Bush

Oct 17, 2004 in Current Events

For those voters who are tired of hearing liberal critics of the president, we now present you with conservative critics of the president, courtesy of both the liberal and the conservative media.

This past week’s Doonesbury (Oct. 11-16) featured the Honest Voices® Reading List, a list of conservative critiques that are available online. Here’s the full list:

And just so you know that these are not isolated cases, here are a few more conservative voices on Bush:

Spumco’s Ren and Stimpy on DVD, Finally!

Oct 13, 2004 in Pop Culture

The Ren and Stimpy First and Second Season Uncut DVD Box set is now in stores! It’s well past time for a DVD version of the early Ren and Stimpy shows, and the new box set is much more than I imagined. 32 episodes, over 400 minutes of animated madness, and several episodes are presented uncut! (including the banned episode, “Man’s Best Friend”). Did i mention it’s under $30?

For those of you whippersnappers who missed Ren and Stimpy the first time around, it was a tremendously popular cult hit among all ages when it first premiered in 1991. Ren and Stimpy, with it’s oddball, grossout humor, paved the way for shows such as Spongebob Squarepants, South Park and Adult Swim. But the quality of the show went downhill after John Kricfalusi — the show’s creator — left due to creative control issues with Nickelodeon. The cable channel formed it’s own animation studio and continued to make Ren and Stimpy, with disappointing results. Hopefully, we’ll never see those episodes on DVD.

The Spumco Ren and Stimpy Archive (on Fortune City, dont slashdot it!) has the story on Spumco’s split with Nickelodeon. The Nicktoons website also has a short and fairly accurate history on the Ren and Stimpy Show.

Redrawing the U.S. Map

Oct 13, 2004 in Humor

A proposed amendment in Colorado will allow the state to divide it’s electoral votes among the candidates, based on the percentage of votes won. A news headline on CNN Headline News reads “Dividing Colorado,” with a graphic of the state divided down the middle.

Maine already allows electoral votes to be divided, but hasn’t done so since adopting that system in ‘69. News reports have noted there are “two Maines,” the wealthy, liberal coastal area, and the poor, rural and conservative area.

So it got me to thinking: Why not just split up state boundaries based on rural/urban areas, so as to reflect the actual demographic makeup of each state? Colorado, for example, being only one of two states with a perfect rectangular shape, could be divided with an uneven line down the middle, and split into East and West Colorado. But of course, this would give us 51 states, and we’d have to change the flag. And frankly, “51 states” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “50 states” does.

So, based on that idea, here are some other suggestions on how the current states could be divided and combined to give us an even 50 (or some other pleasant-sounding number).

  • South Florida should split from North Florida, for obvious reasons. The Florida Panhandle can be absorbed into Georgia and Alabama, where it belongs anyway.
  • California is too big. Why not divide it along the San Andreas fault, in anticipation of the time when the west coast of California becomes an island?
  • Texas is too damn big. Split the rural area of West Texas from the large cities of East Texas, and rename it Mexico.
  • Alaska can be combined with Canada (Wait, we don’t own Canada… yet). While we’re at it, let’s just give Northern Maine to Canada.
  • Rhode Island is too small. Let’s combine it with Connecticut. We can also combine Vermont or New Hampshire or South Maine, if need be, and rename it New England.
  • The New York Metro area has more people that most midwestern states. Split the rest of New York state from NYC Metro and call it West New York. Combine NYC with New Jersey, for that matter.
  • Combine West Virginia with Virginia to mitigate West Virginia’s bad reputation. While we’re at it, add Virginia’s coastal cities to Maryland. And since most every American corporation and credit card issuer is incorporated in Delaware, let’s abolish that state.

Add your ideas in the comments below.

Japan for Sale: Contemporary Japanese popular alternative music

Oct 04, 2004 in Music

Recently I happened to get my hands on some very interesting compilations of Japanese pop/rock music. Japan For Sale is a series of comps that profile popular Japanese “alternative” bands of the non-Jpop variety (i.e. no pop idols or anime music). The comps are released by Sony Music Japan, so many of the same artists show up on each volume. Nevertheless, Japan For Sale gives a rare glimpse into the state of Japanese popular music and the tremendous amount of innovation happening within the Japanese music scene.

While most of the songs on the Japan For Sale comps are heavily weighted towards dance and techno music, other styles are represented as well, including hip-hop, pop, rock and even dub reggae. A few of the bands featured on Japan for Sale include: Boom Boom Satellites, an electro-pop duo that has achieved a measure of worldwide fame; DJ Krush, an internationally famous hip-hop producer who has recorded with numerous artists worldwide; Polysics, a spazzy pop group who take many cues from Devo, including their onstage attire; L’Arc-en-ciel, one of Japan’s most popular mainstream rock bands; Brilliant Green, a popular alternative pop band; Aco, whose haunting music makes her the Japanese equivalent of Bjork; and Supercar, an eclectic group that would appeal to fans of Brit Pop.

The fourth volume of Japan for Sale hits stores tomorrow, and while the previous three volumes are very good, Volume 4 is probably the best, and the easiest to aquire. Tofu Records is the American distributor for Vol. 4. You can also buy new and used copies of Japan for Sale through the Amazon link to the left.

Japanese mega girl-pop group Puffy AmiYumi (also adequately represented on the Japan for Sale series) has their own animated series premiering on Cartoon Network next month (For those of you who watch plenty of CN, Puffy AmiYumi did the theme song to the show “Teen Titans”). Puffy AmiYumi has a gleefully unrestrained, 60s-influenced pop sound that indie pop fans would be very comfortable with. The duo is huge in Japan, which would probably explain why they have their own cartoon show.

Although Japanese popular music has made little headway in America, it’s interesting to observe that the most popular Japanese artists in America tend to be the most interesting, unusual or extreme. Prime examples include Shonen Knife, Pizzicato Five, The Boredoms, Melt Banana, Guitar Wolf and the ridiculously prolific noise-pioneer Merzbow. Japan for Sale lays out the middle ground between these underground Japanese artists and the manufactured J-pop adored by American anime fans.

Due to the language barrier, it is difficult to find good information on the Japanese popular music scene. Rock of Japan is the best online English resource I can find on Japanese rock music. Below are a handful of mp3’s from the Japan for Sale series.

  • Tommy Heavenly^6 - Swear (Vol 4)
  • Matally - Four Seasons VS Yo-Yo C. (Vol 3)
  • Polysics - New Wave Jacket (Vol 2)
  • Puffy AmiYumi - Brand New Days (Vol 2 - bonus mp3!)
  • Supercar - White Surf Style No. 5 (Vol 1)
  • Shameless, but informative plug: Easy investing with exchange-traded funds

    Oct 01, 2004 in Linkage

    I’m going to take this opportunity to plug my new website, ETFSimplified.com. If you’ve been thinking of investing, but you’re not sure how, this website will show you how to invest in exchange-traded funds. ETFs are like index funds, except they are traded like stocks. This allows you to invest in broad sectors of the market (example, the entire S&P 500) without having to pick individual stocks. It’s also much simpler to diversify with ETFs, and you can get started with a relatively small investment.

    This came about during my research into investing, and I think this is the best method for casual, long-term investors. The reason I started this site is because there was little information out there on ETFs for new investors. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to invest, I hope you find this information useful.