Whale Wars Season 2, Episode 1: The Sound of Ice

Though there is good commentary in all my Whale Wars posts,  you can find my newest post on the subject here.

I came to Whale Wars late last season, and decided not to blog about it as a result of that.  However, with the new season beginning tonight, I have decided that I will write about it this season.  I will start out by saying that as I watched last season, I decided to root for two things, the whales, and the whalers.  I think the bad guys on this show are the evil Sea Shepherds.

I learned a lot about Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherds last year.  Among other things, these people are a bunch of dangerous, negligent, self-important, ignorant idiots.   As well as having all of the aforementioned traits, Paul Watson is also a Machiavellian liar and a dirty pirate.

This season’s premier began with the Sea Shepherds going apoplectic as whale was killed.  One of the crew actually said that the whalers’ actions were “a deliberate escalation by the Japanese…a response to our actions.”  What a self-important load of crap.  The whalers were killing the whales because it is their job.  This tease foreshadowed the event of ramming the Japanese that made news earlier this year.

The season began with another major system, the compass, broken on the ship.  What a bucket of bolts this ship is.

Then, we saw them deciding which members of the crew were actually going to participate in throwing stink-bombs and slippery bombs onto the decks of the Japanese ships.

Unfortunately, they found the Japanese fleet during the first episode this season.  I think I remember them wandering aimlessly for a few episodes last season.  On the way to the Japanese ship, they saw some whales.  One of the female crew members actually said sarcastically, “At least there are still a few left.”  This shows either a blatant distortion of the facts regarding the whale situation in the Antarctic, or it demonstrates her profound ignorance of it.  I say the chances are 50-50.

Then, they missed the Japanese ship because their ‘navigator’ could not tell the difference between North and South.  So, what was the answer to the situation?  Drive through the ‘treacherous’ ice field, and make it look a lot more dangerous than it is.

The episode ended by showing them running into the ice.  Fools.  There was also a preview of many of the things that are going to occur this season, but I at least will choose to hold off on all of that so I will have something else to gripe the rest of the season.

Advertisements

Another story involving privates and death: the unfortunate demise of Kung Fu

It’s a cliché.  Mothers encourage their children to make sure they have clean underwear on.  Why?  Because, you don’t want someone to see your dirty underwear if you get into an accident. 

Of course, mothers do not say this because they want to keep you from being embarrassed.  If you are in a car accident the force of which rips your pants right off of you, exposing your dirty underwear, you are probably not in a position to worry about how bright and white they are at that point.  In fact, if you see it coming, you’ll probably carpet bomb your boxers anyway.

The point is: your mom’s not worried about how this stuff will affect you, she’s worried about what other people will think about her.  But, in the end she’s right.  You should not embarrass your mother or anyone else who knows you by having the world exposed to your dirty underwear.

I guess it’s pretty obvious at this point that David Carradine’s mother never had this conversation with him.

Yesterday, it was reported that Carradine was found hanged in a hotel room in Bangkok.   This in itself immediately throws up a red flag.  At one point, it was reported that it was a homicide.  Then, later it was reported as a suicide.  At the end of the day, I saw a report that he was also found nude.  Nude…, hanging…, Thailand….  You knew at that point it was going to be sordid.

So, today we awoke with a start to find out that he was found nude in a closet with shoelaces tied around the closet rod, his neck, and his penis…alone.  [shudder]  This is never good.

The world will never be able to hear the phrase, “Snatch the pebble from my hand” without giggling again.

The Foxnews story doesn’t get any better.  Several things in it caught me as interesting.  First, the name of police spokesman who commented on the case was Lt. Gen. Worapong Chewprecha.  Greatest name ever.

The second odd thing was the options given as a cause of death.  “The two ropes were tied together,” he said. “It is unclear whether he committed suicide or not or he died of suffocation or heart failure due to an orgasm.”  I’ll bet Carradine’s mother would not choose the oragasm option.

I found the following quote interesting.  “All we can say is, we know David would never have committed suicide,” said Tiffany Smith, of Binder & Associates, his management company. “We’re just waiting for them to finish the investigation and find out what really happened. He really appreciated everything life has to give … and that’s not something David would ever do to himself.”  I think the obvious question at this point is; Is anyone in a position claim to know what motivated Carradine and what he was capable of ‘doing to himself’ at this point?

Finally, he was 72.  I guess if people are going to continue to prove that they are incapable of knowing when its time to leave their privates alone, we will have to legislate the point at which the privates are no longer allowed to be used for sexual functions.

In a related story, residents of Conisbrough, South Yorkshire, England in a failed attempt to balance to karmic implications of the Carradine imbroglio have changed the name of Butt Hole Road to Archers Way.

Is This Funny or Scary? Global Warming Blamed on Fat People

Remember, “the science is settled.”  This is the phrase that is hurled any time a person questions any part of Global Warming ‘science’.  The inevitable result is that there is no governor on the rhetoric that comes out of the Global Warming camp.  It just keeps getting ratcheted up over and over.

A story on Fox News entitled, “Do Fat People Cause Global Warming?” is a good example of this.  In the article ‘fat people’ are charged with the sin of causing global warming.  The people saying this are providing no statistics regarding the percentage of greenhouse gases produced by ‘fat people’ verses ‘skinny people’ or the overall percentage of effect on the planet made by fat people compared to other producers of greenhouse gasses such as volcanoes, the oceans, all other animal life on earth, uncontrolled population growth in third world countries, children born out of wedlock, and all industrial production.

No, the target today is fat people.  They are an easy target, of course.  Everyone loves to blame the fatty, and they are a convenient target for any joke or attempt at physical humor.  I would wager that the percentage of extra CO2 gas produced by fat people would be many times less that one percent of the produced CO2 gas.

This is just another example of Global Warming alarmists trying to get attention and throwing their weight around.  The scary thing is that when they blame, they generally attempt to punish or control those who are being blamed.  I supposed their solution for this will be to tax fat people or products that make a person fat in order to buy carbon credits in order to offset their awful fatness.  Soon we will see a sticker on the counter at McDonalds that will say “35 cents out of every dollar spent here goes to taxes.”

If you do not see a Pandora’s Box being opened here, you are blind.  These ideas will open the door for all sorts of controls on people’s lives including eventual population controls because uncontrolled populations are a much greater ‘threat’ to the planet than fat people.  And who will take the brunt of these new attitudes, the responsible Western democracies that care.  Because, trying to implement these ideas in countries that have no responsibility of their own or in socioeconomic areas of Western democracies where large numbers of children are born out of a marriage, would seen as a racist policy.

Miss California Carrie Prejean is Ripped off by a Gay Guy

It seems to me that the next logical step for the Miss USA pageant will be to recruit people of different religions as judges and allow them to ask pointed religious questions of the contestants.  Then, when someone does not hold the same religious views as the judge from Saudi Arabia, for instance, he can look disgusted and dismissive, and we will all say to ourselves, “Boy, she doesn’t have a chance.”  He won’t give her his vote.

There is really no difference.  Allowing Perez Hilton (vomit) to ask such a pointed question about gay marriage knowing that he is strongly opinionated gay man, and that most of Americans hold views contrary to his on the subject, shows that the producers of the program have no regard for their audience or the integrity of the pageant itself (that seems like an oxymoron).

After hearing her answer, Hilton should have disqualified himself from the voting.  But, beyond that, I thought the purpose of the questioning was to see if these young ladies were able to communicate effectively when put on the spot.  If that was the case, it is clear that Carrie Prejean could communicate well, and her honest answer that ‘she was raised to believe that a marriage was between a man and a woman” shows a good amount of personal integrity.

Is a beauty contest the forum for this debate?  Of course not.  When this occurs, the show is reduced to an agenda pushing event.  Imagine Billy Graham on the show as a guest judge.  Do you think people would accept the same question coming from him?

The good news is that Carrie Prejean did more to promote herself by giving this answer than she ever could have done otherwise.  The bad news is that Hollywood has a long memory, and she will have a lot of opportunities lost as a result of sticking to her values.  It’s a shame that we are at the point where it is better to be a fraud and lie, than it is to stand up and support the things you believe in.

The best news for us all is that the shelf-life of these programs is about up, and it will not take a lot more alienating to drive the rest of Miss USA’s audience away.  Good.

Good News, the Navy Acted and the Captain is Safe Finally. So where do we go from here?

Well, it was a happy ending.  The good captain of the Maersk Alabama is safe, and three of the Pirates are dead.  We will only have to foot the bill to imprison one of them.  Yeah!  Thanks to the Navy.

I was reading one report that explained that the Navy had approached the President three times during negotiations, and had received permission to take necessary actions.  This is where I have the problem.  It is not appropriate to manage these types of situations from a desk thousands of miles away.  Obama should have ceded control of the situation to the commander on the scene from the beginning of the situation giving him authority to take any necessary action to save the life of the captain.

Having to repeatedly ask Washington for permission to act put the captain’s life in further jeopardy.  As I said in my earlier post, this was why the Navy was not in a position to end the situation when the Captain jumped into the water the first time.

The captain had done exactly what a hostage should do in a situation like this.  He had separated himself from his captors giving the Navy the perfect opportunity to end the situation.  However, not having permission to do so, the Navy sat back and allowed him to be captured again.  He was really lucky the pirates did not shoot him in the water.

So, a couple of days later, after finally receiving permission to take punitive action, and when it appeared the captain’s life way in danger, the Navy resolved the situation, in a way that it could have been done earlier.

Now, the press will focus on the fact that these ‘boys’ who were killed and the one that was captured were only 16 years old.  The press will play this up regardless of the fact that this is a country where boys are forced to grow up earlier.  Often they are carrying AK-47s by the time they are 10 years old, and the life expectancy in Somalia is 48.

The prates are now threatening to kill any Americans that are captured in the future.  The truth is they will probably leave any ship flying a U.S. flag alone because it has been shown to be very unprofitable to attack them, and profit is what this is all about.

The other part of the solution, is for the Navy and Marines to take a couple of months, and destroy as many of these pirates and their bases of operation as possible.  We know where they are, they have to be where their boats are, and without the boats, they are no longer pirates.  After destroying their infrastructure, it will simply be a matter of assigning a couple of ships and their compliment of helicopters and support craft to patrol the area and a few armed Predators to make sure we know which boats are in the area and what they are doing.

Failure to Act

Off the horn of Africa, a drama has taken place which I am afraid will turn out to be an example of what Americans will learn to expect from the Obama administration.  Last night Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk cargo ship Alabama (the ship that had been taken by pirates only to be freed after he heroically offered to accompany the pirates as a hostage) leapt from the boat in a bid to save himself

It is important to note, that these pirates and their hostage are currently in a lifeboat with their hostage.  It is out of fuel, and simply floating in the Indian Ocean.  So, what happened when the captain tried to escape in the night by attempting to swim to a U.S. Navy destroyer?  The pirates caught him and brought him back on board.  The U.S. Navy reported that it happened so quickly they could not provide assistance.

Translation: The Navy was not ready and in position to act when they had the opportunity to save the captain, they did not have the authorization to use deadly force against the pirates if they had been in position to do so.

I talked to a friend about this yesterday.  I told him that I believed that these pirates would eventually surrender, and that for the first time in history, we would do nothing to them, and they would eventually be released.  Historically, piracy has been one of the most punitively punished crimes in the world.  In fact, the first time the U.S. fought a war abroad, it involved piracy and the attempt to end it in the Mediterranean Sea.  Pirates are hung, shot, downed and keel-hauled (the Alabama has a big-assed keel), and rightfully so.

When this happened to a U.S. ship, Navy Seals should have been immediately provided to the destroyer overseeing the situation.  They should have been deployed in the small support boats from the destroyer to surround and curtail the movements of the pirates, and given the right to use deadly force.  Once it was realized that the pirates were adrift in a boat with a hostage, it should have only been a matter of time.

After the pirate boat was surrounded, the seals with appropriate Barrett M107 .50 Caliber sniper rifles should have simply waited until they all had a shot that did not include Captain Phillips.  This would definitely include any time he was not on the boat, especially an escape attempt in which he was in the water and swimming.  In fact, that may have been a good time to employ a weapon that involved an area of effect (one that goes ‘Boom!’) on the pirate boat.

My point is, I suspect that the Navy did not act because it was not prepared to do so.  The only reason that makes any sense to me is that they had not received the authorization to use deadly force at that time.  This would be the same authorization that would be expected to be given to any local police force in the U.S. in a similar hostage situation.

This inaction, and the attitude that kept the Navy from being able to do what was right and necessary at the time will be a hallmark of our foreign policy for the next four to eight years.

My thoughts and prayers are with the captain and his family.  I just hope action is taken to save his life soon.

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1987

There was a noticeable drop off in the quality of the music from 1986 to 1987.  Many more of the Billboard Top 100 from 1987 had a gimmicky quality to them, and as a result they were pushed off the list.  The style of music was obviously changing as power ballads with great melodies and lyrics were replaced with trite dance tunes from groups like Wang Chung and others.  I found this list much harder to compile because many of the songs with sing-able melodies were, for lack of a better term, gay.  I found myself forcing songs like, “Somewhere Out There”, “Only In My Dreams”, “Never Gonna Give You Up”, and “Lady In Red” off the list for this very reason.  I have to be honest, most of the songs on this list would not have even been considered for the 1983-1985 lists, but you have to go with what you have.

20. “Open Your Heart”, Madonna– Madonna was hitting her stride when she released True Blue.  This song typified the dance music style that dominated her music for the next four or five years.  It is upbeat and causes you to tap you feet when you listen to it.  I chose it over the title track from this album.

19. “Faith”, George Michael– Speaking of gay, coming in at number nineteen we have this little ditty by George Michael that was one of the most popular songs of the year.  It definitely had a strong melody, and you almost have to move when you hear it.  By this time, George Michael had realized that Wham was nothing without him, so he decided to destroy them by leaving the band and going out on his own.  I found his flamboyant arrogance to be off-putting.

18. “Mony Mony”, Billy Idol– I found Billy Idol’s act fairly off-putting also, but much less gay than George Michael’s.  Idol came across as the guy with the biggest case of short-man’s syndrome in the music business.  He was always taking a swing at the screen, and his music often reflected this quality.  I put this song on the list because of its staying power and popularity on movie soundtracks.  Idol shouted his vocals more often than he sang them, but his songs were catchy if also very gimmicky.

17. “We’ll Be Together”, Sting– I like sting, and his tenor vocals quite a bit, but this would probably not even make my top ten songs featuring him.  It is very upbeat and different from most of his other stuff.  It is definitely quirky, and the video reminds me of later Janet Jackson material.

16.  “Electric Blue”, Icehouse– It took an Australian group to carry on the tradition of bands like Naked Eyes, The Thompson Twins and Simple Minds in 1987.  The keyboard sound is very 1980s as is the whole tone on the tenor vocals.  The girl in the video is also Hot!

15. “Bad”, Michael Jackson– Again, I found myself trying to keep this song off the list because of the whole pedophilia thing, but it was simply too big of a song for me to do so.  The tune is unmistakable as it begins with the guitarist hammering out six heavily distorted notes before the drums kick in.  There is no other song that is more associated with Michael Jackson.

14. “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, Def Leppard– This is one of those songs that I had no idea what the lyrics were.  I don’t even remember what crazy words I substituted for the actually lyrics, but I am sure they were funny.  It is the epitome of the rock anthem, and almost forces the listener to stand up and clap his hands above his head (very ’80s).

13. “Little Lies”, Fleetwood Mac– This instrumentation in this song is very 1980s from the keyboard, to the drums and the guitar.  As I have said earlier, I did not start listening to Pop/Rock music until the 1980s, and as a result I did not know anything about Fleetwood Mac’s earlier work.  I also did not like hype, so when they had their comeback in the ’80s, I was taken aback by all of the hype that went along with it.  This set me against them early on.  As I have grown older, I have realized that their music was pretty good.  Linday Buckingham has a nice voice, and the melody of the song is easy to sing along with.  I always said back then, that Stevie Nicks must have sold her soul to the devil (yes, I heard the witch rumors) for good looks and fame, because ‘Lord knows she can’t sing.”  That may have been a little harsh too.  She was nice to look at, but her voice had a very different tone to it.  It sounded like she was a smoker, but she hit her notes, and her tone still had a full sound.

12. “Wanted Dead or Alive”, Bon Jovi– The acoustic guitar part on this song is what makes the song.  Even the lead guitar has a picked sound that conveys the old west sound that is the point of the song.  Jon Bon Jovi is very affected, but that is what you get with these guys, and you should not expect anything else.  The song is very commercial, and has been used for products as well as theme songs for television programs.

11. “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, Crowded House– For anyone who grew up in the ’80s, this is known as the “hey-now” song.  As far as being able to sing along with a memorable melody goes, it does not get much better than this.  The baritone/second tenor voice of the lead singer is also easy to sing along with (at least for me).  His vocal has a very good tone to it, and the chorus is well backed by other singers.

10. “The Finer Things”, Steve Winwood– This is my personal favorite song by Winwood.  The keyboard and sax set a mellow mood at the beginning of the song.  Winwood has a pretty high voice, but the chorus is still good to sing along with, even if you have to sing an octave below him.  It is bubbly and upbeat but he keeps it from going the way of a group like Wham, for instance.

9. “(I Just) Died In Your Arms”, Cutting Crew– The staccato keyboard with the cello at the beginning of the song set a good 80’s mood for the song.  When the guitar and drums come in, it becomes a standard 80’s power ballad, and that’s a good thing.  The vocal is good, but I was creeped out when I read the Wiki for this song.  It says, “The words ‘I just died in your arms tonight’ originally came to Van Eede while he was having sex with his girlfriend [I’ll have to try that.  Usually I just think about baseball.], ‘death’ being an often-used metaphor for orgasm.”  This would be the lyrical equivalent of too much information.  However, I find his thought processes to be strange.  I know I’m not the one who usually thinks about death while I’m making love.

8. “Mandolin Rain”, Bruce Hornsby and the Range– Hornsby’s strong piano chops are highlighted throughout this song.  This song is cool and melow.  It in no way makes you want to do anything very active while you listen to it.  Hornsby’s vocals are excellent and easy to listen to.

I have a memory of this song associated with Six Flags Over Texas.  During my junior and senior years in high school, I had a car and a season pass to Six Flags ($44.00, greatness).  I would go all summer long, once or twice a week.  That year I remember that Six Flags had ponied-up and bought Bose speakers that piped music throughout the park, especially for those standing in line.  The only problem was that they only had about 25 minutes of music on the loop that they were playing, so you got to hear the same songs over and over as you stood in line all summer long.  “Mandolin Rain” was one of the songs, and I bet I heard it 1,000 times at the park that summer.  It says something that I still can listen to it and enjoy it today.

7. “In Too Deep”, Genesis– This was the second song released off their mega-album Invisible Touch, and it is clearly influenced by Collins’ extremely successful solo albums that were released prior to it.  The song is much slower and subdued than much of the older Genesis material.  It has a very nice acoustic quality that comes from dual acoustic guitars, and a grand paino.  It has one of my favorite vocals from Phil Collins, and I chose it over “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight”.

I went to the Invisible Touch concert when it came to Dallas.  Unfortunately, I was unimpressed.  “Mama” was dark and great, but, for the most part it was just a bunch of Abacab stuff, which I did not know at the time.  He did not even sing “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” even though the concert was sponsored by Michelob.  He didn’t sing one Phil Collins’ song, and Mike and the Mechanics did not do any of their stuff.  I learned another thing that night.  You can have too many 10 minute drum solos in a concert.  There was no encore, and finally it was over.  I later heard that Collins’ was sporting a 102 degree temperature during the concert, but I still felt short-changed by the whole thing.

6. “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life”, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes– This is one of the best duets of the 1980s.  Bill Medley is better known as a Righteous Brother, and he can definitely bring the vocals.  The song’s popularity was increased by the fact that it was associated with the huge 80s chick flick Dirty Dancing.  The harmony is great, and the chorus builds to a point where the two singers sound enraptured.

5. “Alone”, HeartAnne Wilson and Heart continued their dominance of the mid-eighties with another of their signature power ballads.  The soft start with the piano/keyboard at the beginning of the song with Anne Wilson’s softer voice sounds great.  Then, chorus the powers in and provides the signature Heart sound.   If you want to win American Idol, do a great version of this song (see Carrie Underwood).

4. “The Next Time I Fall”, Peter Cetera and Amy Grant– In the summer of 1986, I got very involved with a youth group at one of the local churches in my home town.  I also got into CCM (Christian Contemporary Music for the heathens out there), just as it was hitting its zenith.  Amy Grant was the biggest name in CCM at the time.  As her popularity continued to grow, she began to experiment with crossing-over into popular music.  First, her Unguarded album failed to mention God anywhere, and many CCM fans noted that the songs could be as much about a boyfriend as about God.  Then, she actually released a few songs onto the secular (not Christain, again for you heathens) market.

I remember that there was actually a debate on the local radio station (KOJO, later KLTY) in Dallas as to whether her music should be played at all on their station any more.  I knew that these ideas were wrong-headed even as a pompous high school kid.  Christianity can be very divisive and counter to its own goals a lot of the time.  Here we had a young woman who could have drawn more people to their station and the religion by crossing-over into mainstream music, but the first thought was to drive her away.

It’s funny to listen to CCM today.  As sad as it has become, one thing is easy to see.  They have reversed their attitudes, and any secular song that could be reinterpreted with a positive Godly message is re-recorded by Christian Artists (almost always not as well as the original).

As far as the duet mentioned above goes, it was one of my favorites of the decade.  Cetera definitely has the lead role in the song, but Grant’s harmonies are what make it great.  She also looks good in the video.  The original version with the heavily synthesized keyboard sound was good, but there is a live version with a full orchestra that sounds even better.

3. “Will You Still Love Me?”, Chicago– Fans of any successful group in the 80s would wait on pins and needles for the inevitable news that their favorite band had broken up (or a key member had died).  The worst part was that it was often career suicide for all involved.  This, however, was not the case for Peter Cetera and Chicago.  He left the band shortly after it finished recording Chicago 17 in 1985, but both he and the band experienced great success with their next albums.  Chicago replaced Cetera with Jerry Scheff and picked up right where they left off recording great love songs and power ballads.  “Will You Still Love Me” is a great example of one of these.  Scheff actually sounds a lot like Cetera on the vocal, and the keyboard/piano led instrumentation picks up right where Chicago 17 left off.  The orchestral backing on the song sounds great, but the strings and light horns do not deliver the standard “Tower of Power” horn sound that is expected from Chicago.

2. “Doing It All For My Baby”, Huey Lewis and The News– Once again, Lewis delivered the be-bop style that his fans looked for.  I love the horns and Hammond organ sound at the beginning and throughout the song.  Lewis’ vocal is as good as ever.  Topping out at #93 on the Billboard Top 100 for the year, this song is easily the most underrated song of his career.  I have a tip for anyone who wants to hear this song.  Download it from Itunes.  The video is 7:53 long, it is horrible, and you will never be able to get that part of your life or the part of you that died as you watched it back.

1. “With Or Without You”, U2– I explained on an earlier post that I was not a fan of U2 in the 80s, and I don’t even know why.  Let me say now, that if for no other reason than their two big songs of 1987, “With Or Without You” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, they are a great band.  I committed at the start of this not to put more than one song from a given group on any year’s list, but either one of these two songs would have held the top spot in 1987.  I had a hard time choosing which one I like best, and it came down to popular culture and the inclusion of “With or Without You” in the seminal episode of Friends that made the decision for me.

Top 20 80s Pop/Rock Songs (Category)

Top 20 1980’s Pop/Rock Songs By Year (Criteria)

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1980

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1981

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1982

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1983

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1984

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1985

Top 20 Pop/Rock Songs from 1986