AN OPEN LETTER TO THE BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Dear Mr. President,
Your are, without a doubt, the most pitiful and disappointing president of my time. I voted for you twice, thinking that after suffering eight years of George W. Bush's outrageously destructive assault on America's liberty, financial stability, and reputation, that you would return the office of the presidency to one of decency and respectability with a warm regard for our constitutional principles, our way of life, and most of all our trust. Instead, you sabotaged us with your offensive disregard for everything we expected from you. Humility, courage, leadership, and most of all our admiration for your attention to the declaration of those liberties and for the future of a nation struggling to recover from nearly a decade of international disdain for our illicit intrusions into the affairs of sovereign governments and those at odds with both our declared destiny of an open and transparent society and their rights, as a people, to determine what they deemed to be in their best interests as long as they refrained from harming or intruding upon our quest to give our citizens the freedom to pursue their desires without disrupting those of the rest of the world's peoples, despite how great our disagreements or cultural differences may be.
You have failed to protect our cherished rights of privacy and our expectations of government, one not of obstruction, but one that abides by our constitutionally guaranteed entitlements of independent thought, speech, and action, no matter how they may conflict with your government's intentional opposition of those lawfully guaranteed rights and privileges given us, not by dictatorial decree, but by proclamation of it's people and those who would represent them.
I am ashamed of your deceitful words and your disobedience to the powers given you by the office to which you were elected. i am disgusted by your unwarranted and un-american intrusion into the lives of those innocent of any transgressions or destructive intentions, either to the office of the presidency, or to the security of the nation to which you are sworn to protect. You have lost all credibility and any substance you had as one who promised to rebuild the hopes and imaginations of a disillusioned and dismayed citizenry. You have betrayed both our trust and our confidence, not only in the office you hold, but in the government you gave your oath to defend.
You are a disappointment to those who worked and fought so hard to defend your vow to uphold the laws of both the country and the decencies of the office of the presidency. You deceived so many of us who assured others that your agenda was both honorable and sincere. I regret that many americans, myself included, have been misled and disillusioned by a man in whom we placed, not only our confidence, but gave our word to others that you were trustworthy and deserving of the respect of all of us, both friend and foe alike.
You were not, and for that, and the nation you now lead, I am truly sorry.
Citizen of the Republic of the United States of America
Geoff Tate's Queensryche is in town tonight at Lupo's. Check out the interview and listen to what he has to say about the ongoing legal battle and about his old bandmates "lip-syncing"
SHOES, JACKETS, AND DOUG AND ME
What the hell am I doing with all these shoes and boots? And jackets? I've got enough jackets to keep a family of Inuits in the Arctic Circle warm enough to spend a night outside worshipping polar bears. I've got enough shoes to outfit every barefoot peasant in Nicaragua.
I can't help it. I like to shop. Sometimes I see a short sleeved shirt I like or some other article of clothing like jeans, which I've worn every day of my life since I was in elementary school. I don't buy "regular" slacks like khaki Dockers or other so-called “family man” pants. I don’t buy golf shirts or polo shirts and have very few shirts with collars. I have a suit for funerals and special occasions. I have sport coats that I never wear anymore because now they're too big for me. Every short sleeved shirt, or long sleeved pullover I have for cold weather, is black, with the exception of two t-shirts. One of them has blue and white stripes across it and the other one is a faded, short sleeved t-shirt with a Triumph motorcycle logo stitched on the front of it. I also buy sweaters when the colder seasons arrive.
But its shoes and jackets that fill out most of my cluttered clothing closet. Of course I have a swim suit and a couple of pull on Wal Mart shorts, both in black, but that's about it. I also have several pair of colorful crew socks which I buy whenever I can find them. The ones I have on now are orange striped with a blue background. I wear Reef and OluKai flip flops in hot weather.
The only other man I've ever met with the same shoe and jacket obsession I have is our 7-to-midnight guy and Production Director, Doug Palmieri. Doug and I have been friends for years. We've always noticed the shoes we have on, or the jackets we're wearing. One day I told Doug I was nuts about footwear and jackets. "Me too", said Doug. “I love to shop", so do I. On a rainy day or on weekends, I'll cruise through Nordstrom's to see what's up. Doug has several shops in his area and will do the same thing. Scarpetti, who runs the board during my afternoon show, looked at us as if we'd just been let out of an institution. He squinched his eyes in disbelief.
"What are you two talking about?” asked Scarpetti. "Shopping", said Doug. "We both like to go shopping". Scarpetti just shook his head, implying that both of us were weird and disturbed. “You guys like to go shopping?". Both Doug and I nodded. "We love it.”
A couple of days ago, Doug had on a pair of rare Penguin sneakers on. Yesterday he wore original red and black Air Jordan high tops. I just picked up some classic black, low rise Nike's with a thick padded tongue, red detailing and gray Nike logo on each side.
If you're a man who likes shoes and jackets, you're not alone. The next time someone asks, "what's with all the shoes and jackets?’ just admit you like them and you know a couple of other guys who do as well.
"NATURAL" OR "UNNATURAL"?
Here we go again. Major League Baseball is enmeshed in another performance enhancing drug scandal. First, why is it a scandal? These are professional athletes who compete to hold onto their ridiculously highly paid gigs by doing the best they can. If that means eating boxes of blueberries, cramming protein powder and supplements down the hatch, practicing relentlessly, or maintaining their health while traveling on the road, then so be it. What if blueberries were proven to enhance athletic prowess? Would you ban players from eating fruit? Or prevent them from consuming vegetables or protein powder that could improve their eyesight and their ability to hit the ball out of the park? Is it because we consider foods grown from the garden to be "natural" enhancements and ones produced from a lab to be" unnatural? Remember, that everything we consume or manufacture grows out of the ground just as we do. We weren't plopped here on the planet by an invisible man in the sky like a chess player putting pieces on a chess board.
What if, in the future, we develop non-addictive substances that enhance performance without any detrimental effects to the body? Let’s say these concoctions build muscle mass, oxygenate the blood, and provide the ability to focus without being distracted by bouts of depression or disruptive thoughts. I suppose I could say I take performance enhancing drugs for my mental health. What's the difference between the medications I use to perform well, write, and enable me to gather content for my show than the chemical compounds athletes use? Does the fact that we call those compounds “doping" mean that those chemicals are "bad" but the ones I get from the drug store are "good"?
In the world of competitive bodybuilding steroids are used so often that bodybuilding has two separate classifications of competition; natural and otherwise. All bodybuilders take advantage of new supplements that appear on the market as do Tribbles on the starship Enterprise. No one bitches about that, but God forbid these supplements come from a test tube. I squirt a prescribed spray of corticosteroids up my nostrils everyday to keep my sinus condition from clogging up my lungs and prevent them from developing a secondary infection. When my doctor feels my sinuses could cause a much more serious condition, he puts me on Prednisone which lights me up like a bottle rocket. I could write an entire novel in a week when I'm on Prednisone. Does my employer order me to take time off until the Prednisone has run its course?
Absolutely not. Prednisone allows me to do my show without the bothersome effect of a sinus infection or some other potentially disruptive disorder. I have narrow ear canals due to pressure from spending hours underwater with a scuba tank and a rebreather. It was part of my MOS when I was in the military. I spent the better part of my day flipping around with the fish beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
Performance enhancing drug use will eventually be acceptable for both amateur and professional athletes. Remember this: Once humans make discoveries that allow us to perform at the peak of our abilities, those substances will be used, whether they're called "natural "or "unnatural”. After all, we might have blown up the entire world detonating a single atomic bomb but we went ahead and did it anyway. And yes, the bomb allowed us to end a war and protect the Republic from mutually assured “unnatural" destruction.