Friday, February 20, 2004

Simple Plan

A Simple Plan: make lots of money by catering to the lowest common denominator.

Okay, I do not own one of their albums. I have only been exposed to their product on MTV and radio. It's not that they create horrible music- it is just devoid of meaning, expression, any sort of compassion for anything. The whiny voice makes me cringe every time I'm not thinking how much money they're making. During that one song, where they prance around on the roof of that house while "not being perfect" (and evidently they are hardcore for "playing" their electrical instruments in a rainstorm) there's this moment where a build-up sounds like it's going to go somewhere, it builds a bit, and then some more, and while wailing whiny voices assail our auditory channels, suddenly everything drops out. Yes, I am aware that this is an artistic technique- I am also aware that the following verse with a wussy keyboard line and equally if not super-wussy vocals pains me inside. Wait, two guitar players, a bass player, a drummer and a whiner... Where's that keyboard sound coming from? Oh...

Time for sample lyrics from Simple Plan: "Everyday is the worst day ever". "Summer plans are gone forever / I’d trade them in for dishpan water" "Nothing last for ever / I'm sorry I can't be perfect" (lyrics taken from their website, evidently their agreement in numbers for verbs isn't perfect either).

But don't just take my opinion on this matter. By all means, consult some of their greatest fans ( review of their latest CD)

Review: Five Stars i luv simple plan but not as much as gc!!!!, February 17, 2004
Reviewer: chubbyoscar (see more about me) from sacramento,ca usa
i luv this cd!if u like good charlotte then u will definetly like simple plan!my favorite song is either perfect or im just a kid!there are a lot of catchy songs on the cd,and right now i have im just a kid stuck in my head!if u dont have this cd u better go get it!

david is my favorite!he is the base player!!!
i luv joel madden more than u!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Chuck Yeager

Until I read this article, I wasn't sure Yeager was still alive. Tom Wolfe's descriptions in the novel The Right Stuff are fabulous- an American pilot who set the mold for all pilots with a southern drawl and humor, but with moxie as well. The book is definitely worth a read, and although the movie had to edit significant events out, it still did justice to the story of the developing experimental pilots who tested the limits of jets and became the first American astronauts.
With the plugs out of the way, I was a little surprised and a little disappointed to read about Chuck Yeager's current events with his new wife and feud with his children (well, three out of his four). The article portrays Yeager's (aged 81) new love interest (who, at age 45 is younger than his youngest child) as being a sketchy gold-digger (mentioning her past of issuing many small claims suits against airports and cellular telephone companies) who is manipulating Yeager's money and assets away from his family. Yeager explains that he has fully funded his children's expenses after he retired- feeling sorry for his absence during their childhood years he funneled millions of dollars to them through his company (Yeager Inc.) and through his speeches, which made from $25,000 - $50,000 each. He also has a military pension of about $85,000 a year.
I was surprised that Yeager assumed his children's lawsuits against him meant they were now his enemies although it is fairly evident that this seems to be a last-ditched effort from his family to show what this new woman is doing to their inheritance- and their father. I was also surprised that even Yeager's closet friends did not agree with his new mate. Then, I was a little disappointed in Yeager's actions (after only 2 weeks, she moved in with him and in the article it says that she was the main reason Yeager's speech payments went up to $50,000- double the previous amount, although I'm sure he didn't "need" the money to survive).
In contrast, I do believe in the self-made man and Yeager seems to be just that. So, as I can identify with the children's concerns (though they may actually just be selfish), I also see Yeager's money as being Yeager's money. I figure $5,000,000 is enough support for his four children- and he even wants to secure the futures of his grandchildren. So the rest of his money is, well, his, I suppose.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

National Debt Rises past $7,000,000,000,000

In this article from Reuters, ("National Debt Tops $7 Trillion" by Jonathan Nicholson Wed February 18, 2004 04:13 PM ET) we see that the National Debt has climbed ever-closer to "The government debt ceiling [which] stands only a few hundred billion dollars ahead at $7.384 trillion". What does this mean? I was asking myself the same question...
"What Is the National Debt?" by Emily Yoffe (Posted Thursday, Oct. 26, 2000, at 10:38 AM PT) contains a clear description of the National Debt: "When the government spends more than it collects in taxes, it covers the shortfall by issuing debt in the form of Treasury bills, notes and bonds, and U.S. savings bonds. This debt is purchased by, for example, individuals, or pension funds, or foreign investors. This accumulated amount of money owed to creditors, the net public debt, is about $3.5 trillion. This is what almost everyone is talking about when they refer to the national debt. But right now the total national debt is about $5.67 trillion." (She continues to explain that the difference between the net public debt- $3.5 trillion as of 2000, and the National Debt- the $5.67 trillion, represents the money that the government owes to itself.

If seeing that the National debt has risen more than $1 trillion during Bush's term isn't surprising enough, Bush has predicted that America will have 2.6 million new jobs by the end of 2004 (according to an article in the New York times "Bush Officials Offer Cautions on White house jobs Forecast" by Edmund L. Andrews, Wed Feb 18 2004, section A14)- mostly by paying hundreds of millions of dollars toward new programs. The surprising part is that his Secretary of Treasury, John W. Snow, is "distanc[ing] himself" from the official figures in the administration's predictions (according to the aforementioned NY Times article). Andrews writes that Bush is "on track to be the first president since Herbert Hoover to end his first term with fewer jobs than when he started. The nation has lost about 2.5 million jobs in the last three years". But it will work out- because the Bush administration has predicted a growth of 2.6 million jobs, right? Well, in order to accomplish this, the rate of jobs created per month this year (which is now about 100,000 a month) would have to more than double to over 230,000 a month and stay at that figure for each month in the rest of this year until January.

Online Magazine

New York Times Wednesday, February 18, 2004 (B1).
Online Magazine Removes Cultural Blinders
Link: Words without Borders

According to this article, (referencing a 1999 report from the National Endowment for the Arts) "3 percent of the books published in the United States were translations, compared with 40 to 50 percent in Western European countries."
This subject interested me, as I've never considered it before. The article mainly discusses Alane Salierno Mason, the founder of "Words without Borders," and her inspiration (which stemmed from the generalizations following September 11th, 2001) for making foreign works available in English. She has collaborated with several translators and editors to bring her website and project into realization. You should check it out (linked above) and read at least one article, poem, or section of prose listed there.