It’s the words, stupid.

So the other day, I was watching something on VH1 (probably one of those list shows of top 6,000 videos of 1988 or something) and a promo for a show called “I Trust You to Kill Me” came on. It a documentary about this band, Rocco DeLuca and The Burden, on their first European tour with tour manager Keifer Sutherland. It looked interesting, no commericials, and it reminded me of the few small gigs I did with SO Percussion for Feynman.

They show footage of the concerts, sort of like little music videos. The band is the typical post-grundge, angst, heavy sound. The front man broods a little, makes faces of pain, and has a pretty unique guitar style. As I watched the footage of the live show from Dublin, it dawned upon me why rock has fallen off my radar:

It’s the words, stupid.

Now listen, I’m no old-fogey insisiting that everyone sound like John Hiatt. I like Beck and Jeebus knows that his songs don’t make a lot of sense, but I know they don’t make alot of sense because I can understand 80% of his words. The bands that have so much to say, especially about all the reasons for their angst, cannot be understood.

They just don’t get it. Bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana could get away with not being understood because they formulated such a unique sound for the time. But now that the common Joe is familiar with the “angst” sound, it is not enough to communicate through the music alone. You need to communicate with your words by pronouncing them.

Think about this: bands that have lasted various generations (Beatles, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, U2) generally can be understood in their lyrics. If your lyrics are so important for generations to hear, then learn how to sing with some annunciation. Especially for bands that are trying to break through an already saturated market.

Election 2006: It doesn’t stop at the booth

OK, I’ll keep this short.

Voting is only PART of every citizens’ responsibility in our republic. Another part, sorely ignored, is individual action. I know “individual action” sounds vague, but I would like to see the following statistic:

% of active voters who have communicated (via post, phone, or email) with their/any elected official in the past 4 years.

One of my most cherished school lessons was writing my congressman in 7th grade and his reply. (I think I wrote saying the driving age should be raised to 18. Ohhh dear…) The lesson I learned was that I have a voice. I know one letter does not make a difference on its own, but I knew I did my part.
How many voters, of either of the preodominat political philosophies, have communicated to their officials concerning specific issues? How many have written saying, “I want you to vote this way on this upcoming legislation” or, “As a representative to ALL voters in you jurisdiction (not just those voters who voted for you), I want you to know I feel this way about this issue…?”

And I am not talking a bland general communique written by a PAC or grass-roots, but an individual message, written from the unique perspective of the voter’s world view.

The old axiom for children being seen but not heard does not apply to voters. We as a citizenry do not get represented only once every two years, but everyday. Flex your pens (or keyboards or touch-tones), people, and reach your represetatives.

And until you do, don’t complain when things do not go your way between elections. They represent you. Tell them what to represent.

Web-based email

Look, I love the fact that I can check email from any browser in the world. But when faced with the choice between an email client AT MY DESK and a web-based email browser, I will take the client EVERYDAY of the week and TWICE on Sunday.

I never understand why users get all nervous and uneasy with a client. I mean, I guess the slow, link-based navigation system is just too attractive to leave. Apparently, the lack of features like easy rule creation, automatic email address retention, and drag-and-drop interface makes a web-based system a lot like a bicycle with a rusty chain:

It does the job, so I don’t care that it squeaks.  But DON’T YOU DARE apply oil!
Ohhh dear.