How Your Annoying Friends Could Bring Down Facebook


I’m on Facebook.  I’m not proud of that fact, but I own up to it.  It was a great tool to see what your distant friends and family are up to.  It is a fast, convenient way to let people know you care.  It is a technical marvel that has drastically changed the way people interact & share information.  It is also becoming…fucking terrible.

Don’t blame Team Zuckerberg.  While Facebook has done plenty of things to piss off its users, none of it has done as much damage to Facebook as your stupid-ass friends.  And my stupid-ass friends too.

Facebook knows this, and so they have allowed us to “unfollow” people from our newsfeeds while remaining their friends.  Your friends don’t know they are annoying you, & remain your friends.  Seems like a good idea, right?

Wrong.  My friends may be a particularly annoying anomaly, but I have had to unfollow what may be the majority of my friends.  My Newsfeed has become a barren wasteland of the two or three friends left on Facebook who post actual statuses or updates on their lives.  Some of them also post interesting articles, and that’s okay too.

But you know what’s not okay?   It’s not okay to spam your friends’ newsfeeds with the same crappy, recycled, unoriginal memes or incorrectly attributed quotes that you think says something about you but is so God damned universal that you’d have to be emotionally dead inside not to identify with them in some way.  It is particularly annoying when you post twenty of these memes/quotes in a row!  Yes, I’m yelling at you!!!  Why don’t you go on Facebook and post a sunset picture with a message about how the people criticizing you are really unhappy with themselves and how you won’t let it get you down?

So, hoping this behavior was just a stupid fad that would fade (like Farmville), I recently re-followed the people I unfollowed weeks ago.  That mistake lasted exactly three hours.  Unfollowed again.

The whole reason I’m on Facebook is to stay in touch with people.  That means knowing what’s going on in their lives.  It does not mean knowing that almost every single female friend I have, thinks the quote, “If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.” is good, and is meaningful to them.  Beside the fact that it is basically excusing their bad behavior, it is shared multiple times by too many single women who must believe they’re offering some deep insight about themselves to potential suitors.  This has been going on for years.  The only things that have changed is who the quote is attributed to, the background it is written on, and sadly…the increased amount of people who do this kind of crap.

There are some hold-outs, those of us who still type out statuses of original content, or share news we want to talk about.  But we are a dying breed.  I recently announced my decision to quit posting statuses and to only post links to here.  I did it for two reasons:

  1. I usually have more to say than what will fit in the little box, & unlike many people, I don’t want to spam my friends’ feeds with all of my thoughts, although at least it would be MY thoughts.
  2. My text in the little white box gets lost by Relationship Quotes memes, the Some ECard that has been posted and shared 87 million times and was only mildly amusing when I first saw it last year, the various country lifestyle memes posted by people who are about as “country” as Donald Trump, & worst of all…debunked cancer cure memes.

“Okay, Josh, we get it.  You don’t like the way your friends use Facebook.  Big deal!”

Well, you’re right.  It isn’t a big deal.  …Yet.

How does Facebook make money?  They make money from our data.  How?  They collect and analyze our posts, likes, and statuses; identify trends; & sell the information to companies who use it to create, target, market ads and products to us.

Facebook put out a study just after Christmas that showed the top products by state in wish-list type statuses.  That type of study is Facebook’s bread and butter.  Companies use that data to target their marketing efforts.

But…our annoying friends don’t post statuses anymore.  They click “Like” on things everybody likes.  They share links to sites that make them laugh.  They post those ridiculous memes.  So what does this tell advertisers?  People like funny stuff?  People like inspirational quotes even if they’re contradictory?  People look to a Facebook page for messages to make them feel better about their awful relationships?  Most people dislike child abuse?  Many people think baby animals are cute?

Most of this shit is common knowledge.  The only real data left to gather from these types of posts is which individual person is depressed, lonely, or unhappy in their individual relationship.  The aggregate data doesn’t reveal anything new (you don’t need to buy a Facebook report to tell you some people have relationship troubles).  And it is the aggregate data Facebook’s clients want.  They don’t care if you’re stuck in a loveless marriage looking to the often contradictory advice dispensed by Relationship Quotes to keep trying for the sake of your children and your pride.  They care about what needs you and how many others have for their baking soda.

And, to me anyway, it seems like people are getting as annoyed with Facebook as I am.  Many people have deleted their pages.  Not as many as have threatened to, but some have.  I have.  Twice.  I did come back because I’m home sick most of the time and NEED some type of interaction, but I may do it again at some point.  If I do, I won’t come back.  Unless I do.  Forbes posted a story about Facebook in decline.  It was from 2013 so it may be totally irrelevant by this point, Facebook is clearly still here and may have rebounded, but it does show the mighty social network is not invincible.

So, with these annoying posts, comes muddled data and possibly less users.  With muddled data and smaller samples, the marketers who are Facebook’s customers may stop purchasing data from Facebook.  When that happens, Facebook may look for revenue elsewhere.  Perhaps they will inundate you with ads, further harming the popularity of their site.  Perhaps they will charge users for their services.  Or, quite possibly, they will fold to the next big site that pops up.

The moral of this blog-type-thing?  If you want to keep your Facebook, quit fucking posting shit that annoys me!


Did a 2-year-old Write This?!?


January 12, 2013


February 5th, 2013


Last week

Why yes, in a way, it was.  You see, it was two years ago today that I was given the gift of life…again.  Some lady who I never met donated peripheral blood stem cells, so that I could continue living.  So cut me some slack for the way I write, because I’m only two years old.

My hair has come back, but I shave it because I can’t get through the in-between stage of growing it out.  I am at a healthy weight now.  I was about 220 before I got sick, with too much fat.   My low during treatment and complications was 140.  Today, I am close to 210, & much leaner than before.

But it isn’t over.  I’m adrenally insufficient, resulting in very low energy (combined with other factors).  I have lost all the hearing in my left ear.  I have lost some of the hearing in my right ear.  I have slightly lower lung capacity.  I’m very immunosuppressed.  (I have no B-cells, preventing me from getting certain vaccines.)  My white cell count fluctuates between low-normal & low, and I still occasionally go neutropenic.  My hematocrit is finally normal and holding, but has way too much iron from all the transfusions.  My platelets are about half-normal, but that is out of the scary, could bleed out for no reason range.

Then there is my gut.  My abdominal area is in extreme constant pain.  It makes it hard to do anything for most of each day.  It is especially difficult to do anything where a bathroom that is somewhat clean may not be readily available.  Some days, I never leave that room.  Some days, I pray to use it.  Aren’t you glad you know that?

I have kidney damage.  I have cataracts.  I have peripheral neuropathy.  I may have slight liver damage.  I was physically addicted (not psychologically, thank God) to Dilaudid until exactly one week ago.  I was on narcotics for so long, that it may have caused Narcotic Bowel Syndrome, & that may be one of the causes of my horrible gut symptoms.

And I’m fucked up in the head.  I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, & PTSD.  Yes, you read correctly, PTSD.  The same thing soldiers returning from war-zones frequently come back with.  I guess it makes sense, somebody has tried to kill me and almost succeeded many times.  The difference is that somebody was me and used my own blood and bone marrow instead of guns or bombs.

But you know what?  My life is awesome!  Yes, I’m in debt up to my eyeballs, no, I can’t go back to work yet because of my continuing issues and being unable to fight common infections, yes, I live with my mother, no, I can’t afford the cost of basic necessities, and no…I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to.

But I’ve got the most wonderful woman in the world, who has been by my side the entire time.  She has moved away from her friends and family for my treatment.  She sacrificed the wedding she wanted so she could be my wife before I was first admitted to the hospital in the 6 days between my diagnosis and initial chemotherapy.  She stayed almost every single night in the hospital with me, for the many months off and on since July, 2012.  She’s cooked, cleaned, shopped, laughed, cried, held my hand, wiped my tears, put up with my steroid-induced mood-swings, my Voriconazole-induced hallucinations, my narcotic-induced haze, and my anger at the hand I was dealt.  She flushed my central lines, changed my wound dressings (including packing gauze in two huge surgical gashes in my leg, the pictures of which are too gruesome to post here), and has done it all with the most love and compassion imaginable.

I have a great family.  My mom took us in so we could live in an actual home instead of patient housing when we moved here for the transplant.  It was supposed to be about a year after transplant until we could leave.  Obviously, it has turned into much more.  She put us up in the Master Bedroom of her home, gave us furniture, lets me use her car, drives us places when I can’t, and on, and on…

My dad has also been amazing.  He has handled my COBRA ever since my FMLA ran out and I was terminated from my last job.  He moved my wife and the cats up, including storing all of the crap we couldn’t/didn’t bring in his own home, & cleaning out the old house we were staying in.  He has also been someone I could talk to whenever I needed with good or bad news.  He will be helping us relocate soon and give us a place to stay.  He also shaved his head in solidarity with me…and that man LOVES his hair.

My brother and sister have been there for me so much too.  My sister has been there for venting needs, emotional support, and threatening bloody murder on the people who almost caused me to lose insurance coverage.  My brother has visited me in the hospital, every time I’ve been admitted up here.  He also let me borrow his electronic drums which have been instrumental (get it?) in maintaining some level of fitness and sanity.

My Aunt gave me a dresser and the recliner I spend most of my waking life (outside the bathroom) in.  She also made up T-shirts that say “Team Josh” and secretly organized for my friends and family to get them, and then blast pictures of themselves wearing the shirt onto my Facebook page one day.  I also got a shirt.

There is so much more.  My extended family & my friends all have done do much.   My mother-in-law and the legendary Max Volume even got Rush (the greatest band of all time, yeah, try ALL time) to send me their autographs on a message to keep fighting, & drumsticks used & signed by Neil Peart!…if I listed everything people have done for me…I’ll still be writing this on the 4th anniversary of my transplant.

I’m the luckiest man in the world, because of the love I’ve been shown.

Finally, I’m lucky I have you, my dear readers.  By reading and occasionally liking this blog-type-thing, you’ve let me know that there are still things that I can do.

Happy birthday to me.

On Sleep and Football


Beautiful, lovely, booming Seattle.  My home, for now.  I took this picture from The Great Wheel this Summer, and already the skyline has changed.  It’s getting too big for me.  Traffic is a nightmare.  Property crime is way up, there is a multi-billion dollar tunnel boring machine stuck in the ground (that may or may not be causing historic Pioneer Square to crumble), the small businesses that made Seattle are being swallowed by Hobby Lobbies, & Chik-Fil-As, and then of course…there is the Seahawks.

While it is true Seattle has had the Seahawks as long as I can remember, they have only recently been the World-Champion (? US only league) Seattle Seahawks.  And good for them!  They’ve worked hard to get to this level and the fans deserve it.  The true fans have waited for a long time.  The bandwagon fans annoy the heck out of me…but you get that with any successful team.  I’m not a Seahawks fan.  I’m not an NFL fan.  When I was, I was a Raider fan.  But I’m very happy for the Seahawks fans, don’t get me wrong.  However…

I’m a Seattle Sounders fan.  Though I don’t like the structure of the MLS league, I love the Sounders.  (For those of you who don’t know, they are Seattle’s major league soccer team, & given the popularity of soccer in the US, you probably didn’t.)  I love soccer.  In the English (Unnamed evil Investment Bank) Premier League, my team is Chelsea.  (By my team, I do not mean I own them, but I wish.  The money I’d have…) But I digress.  I love the Premier League, (despite the sponsorship of evil).

But do you know what I love more than soccer?  (or football, to those who don’t mind pissing off NFL fans)

I love sleep!  Especially after (& during) cancer, sleep is something I value as much as gold.  (Depending on the price of gold at the time, & whether the amount of gold is enough to really equate substantial wealth), but again, I digress.  (as I so often do)

“So is there a point coming, or are you just babbling?”

Well, both.  I didn’t sleep well last night, so…yeah…I’m babbling a little.  I’m SOOOO sorry!  You try writing a blog-type-thing on 2 hours of sleep in the last two days without exaggerating how little sleep you actually got and babbling a little and then the cinnamon rolls smell so good that all you can think about is eating but they need to cool and your stomach hurts a little anyway, probably from the lack of sleep and then you realize you’ve completely lost your train of thought and you’ve been typing one long, annoying run-on sentence!

Okay.  Breathe.  Um…the point.

The point is, it SUCKS to live in a successful NFL team’s city when you’re not a fan and that team just won a Divisional Playoff game in decisive fashion.  It sucks even more if that city happens to be near other cities where fireworks and the sales of said fireworks are legal, & you are tired and want to sleep.

“How old are you?!?  It’s a Saturday night, for God’s sake!  Maybe you should check yourself back in to the nursing home, call dinner supper, sign up for Life Alert, and ride your Jazzy Scooter back to your room, lie down in your Craft-Matic bed, shut off the lights with your Clapper, put in your earplugs, & go to sleep!”

Well, first of all, I can’t sleep with earplugs in for some reason.  Second, I realize how old this makes me seem.  For the record:  I never called the cops when the fireworks were going off outside my window, I didn’t go out on the street shaking my fist in the air, yelling in my raspy old man voice, “You damn kids, with your fireworks, and video games, and your series of tubes they call the internets!”

No, I didn’t do any of those things.  Why?  Because I’m genuinely happy for the fans that were so excited, so thrilled that they felt it necessary to fire off a barrage of explosives after every score.  I’m happy that at the end of the game they were excited enough to set off enough fireworks to rip a hole in the fabric of the universe!

Besides, it wasn’t even that late.  When the Sounders won the Supporter’s Shield, I was jumping up and down, screaming like an excited gorilla.  I don’t begrudge people for being happy, and celebrating when they can.

However, the timing of it just sucked.  I didn’t sleep great the night before, so I tried to go to sleep early.  And the Seahawks seemed to score each time I was just nodding off.    BOOM!  There are only so many times you can be right at the brink of sleep but are woken up before you are just awake.  And so I’m tired, and so I’m whining.  I apologize to you, my dear readers, for subjecting you to this…but I write about what’s on my mind, & this is the terrifying result.

There is good news on the horizon though.  Whether the Seahawks continue their winning ways and repeat as World Champions (?) or not, there are only a maximum of two more games this season that I will be subjected to the awesome celebrations of happy people…that sadly ruin my sleep.

I think it’s time for a nap.

How To Pass Time When Sick


As we are in a particularly nasty cold and flu season, and as I have quite a lot of experience with being home sick or hospitalized…I have decided, as a service to you, my dear readers, to impart my expertise on staying sane and entertained while home sick in bed, or in a hospital bed, or on the couch, or perhaps a recliner, etc…

You will note I have included a picture of one of my kitties sleeping.  This isn’t just because she’s adorable, it is a visual aid for one of the tips I will be imparting unto you later in this post.  But we’ll get to that later.  For now, just note the picture of her.  Note it!  Okay, have you noted the picture?  Good.  Let’s move on, shall we?

For this lesson, you will need the following supplies:

  1. A comfy pillow
  2. A warm blanket
  3. A smartphone or laptop
  4. A television (optional, but preferred)
  5. Google Chromecast (unnecessary without the television)
  6. A Netflix subscription
  7. A microwave or water kettle
  8. A cup for hot water
  9. Water
  10. Thera-Flu or Alka-Seltzer Cold Hot Water Stuff or whatever they call it
  11. Saltine crackers
  12. Chicken noodle soup
  13. Cats or fluffy dogs
  14. Ginger Ale
  15. Pajamas or sweatpants

If you don’t have the supplies on this list beg your significant other, mommy, or alternate caretaker to acquire them for you.  If you are your own caretaker and don’t have these supplies, some of the instructions may not apply to you, so just follow along where you can.  Also, remember this every time you tell people how much you love being single.  Not so fun now, is it?

Step 1:  Put on your pajamas or sweatpants, & find a comfortable place* in view of your television (if you have one) where you can lay down.  Place your comfy pillow, blanket, & (if possible) cat(s) or fluffy dog(s) on the comfortable place you chose.  *Possible comfortable places include beds, couches, recliners, or even certain soft floors.  Make sure you can lay down somewhat.

Step 2:  Arrange remaining supplies as close to you as possible, with the exception of the microwave or hot water kettle, chicken soup, & hot water (for now).  Also, if you’re using the optional television, don’t get too close as it isn’t easy on the eyes.  

Step 3:  Using your smartphone or laptop, access the internet and open Netflix.  If you have  television, make sure your Google Chromecast is working and ready.  (This lesson does not give instructions on connecting to the internet or using Chromecast as those instructions should come from the devices used.)  Once you have accessed Netflix, search for and find “*Coupling”.  Begin watching seasons 1-3.    Do NOT watch season 4!  Jeff (Richard Coyle) is no longer on the show, & the writing is stale.  Pretend the show ended after the third season.  * Note, the show you will be watching is from the  UK, therefore it may take some time to adapt to the language.  Don’t be afraid, let it in.  (Helpful hint:  A torch is a flashlight.)

Step 4:  You’re sick, what are you doing?  You need rest.  For God’s sake, take a nap!  Cuddle up with your comfy pillow, blanket, & cat(s) or fluffy dog(s).*  * Refer to picture if you are confused.

Step 5:  Upon waking, nibble on some saltines, & sip some Ginger Ale.  

Step 6:  Repeat Step 4.

Step 7:  Upon waking, beg your significant other, mommy, or caretaker* to heat some water, (either in a kettle or microwave), and mix in the Thera-Flu or Alka-Seltzer Cold Stuff with the newly heated water.  Allow to cool enough that it won’t scald you, and drink it.  As you drink it, be sure to note the gritty mouth-feel.  Be sure to enjoy the Lemon-Pledge-like aroma, & savor the mediciney aftertaste.  *If you don’t have a significant other, mommy, or caretaker, you will have to get up, heat the water, & prepare the medicine drink yourself.  As you wipe away the tears, be sure to reflect on your life choices.

Step 8:  Repeat Step 4.

Step 9:  Upon waking, access Netflix, & watch a stand-up comedy special.  Tom Segura is hilarious.

Step 10:  Beg your significant other, mommy, or caretaker* to make some chicken noodle soup for you.  This may involve just opening a can or preparing it from scratch and heating it, but either will do.  * Once again, if you don’t have a significant other, mommy, or caretaker, you will have to get up and make your own chicken soup.  You can remember this the next time you are bragging about the single life on your social media pages.

Step 11:  Go to, & read my critically acclaimed blog-type-thing, which has been clinically proven* to shorten the duration of your symptoms.  * This statement has not been evaluated by the  FDA.  This blog-type-thing is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.

 Step 12:  Go to bed.  

Repeat these steps as necessary until you feel better.  Your sanity will remain intact in the absence of other factors, and eventually, you will feel better.  (provided your illness isn’t terminal or there are no other co-morbidities)

Lack of Focus

Some of you may have noticed that I almost never post on Fridays.  I am well aware how stupid that makes the title of this blog-type-thing.  Honestly, it wasn’t on purpose.  My intention was to post at the end of every week on all the thoughts I had about the events that occurred.  Yeah, that didn’t last.  Some weeks I was just too busy.  Some weeks, nothing much happened.  Some weeks, so much happened that I was too overwhelmed to post.  Some weeks, whatever I wanted to post about just couldn’t wait until Friday.

Then, I got the cancer.  Days of the week meant absolutely nothing to me.  There are Fridays I don’t even remember.  If I was lucid and wanted to post, I figured I’d better post while the posting was good.

I, at one point, considered focusing this blog-type-thing exclusively on cancer and the ways it has changed me, but that story wouldn’t fit here.  It will be told, but not here.  I will post about it occasionally, because it is one of the major things that has (and continues to) define my life, but it is also something I do my best to get away from now and then.

So please allow me to apologize to you, my dear readers, for my lack of focus and posting consistency.  I do understand how my actions can be detrimental to your overall enjoyment of this blog-type-thing.

I do intend to make this up to you.  I have decided, as of today, that I will add a new post to this blog-type-thing every single day, until I don’t.  And that’s a guarantee!

Unfortunately for you, life is full of compromise.  Because I will be posting everyday until I don’t, I can make no promises as to the quality of said posts.  This is writing practice for me, and likely most everything I write will just be crap spewed out by my smartphone’s keyboard.  Luckily for you though, somewhere in this pile of word feces, you may find something that makes you think, makes you laugh, or makes you question your sanity for reading this.  Or, maybe not.  But keep looking anyway, because it makes me happy.  As much as I love you, my dear readers, this is all about me anyway.

I also have to inform you that I still don’t intend to focus on one or two subjects.  Yes, I know this goes against one of the cardinal rules of blog-type-thinging.  I know that by not focusing on one or two subjects that I will never gain a huge following for my blog-type-thing, because people like to read what they are interested in.  But you, my dear readers, you are better than them.  You have an open mind.  They are closed-minded jerks who close themselves off to subjects they already don’t care about.  They are the people who form their opinions based on what the people on TV say their opinion should be.  They are scared of anything that is new to them.  But not you, my dear readers.  You are open-minded, intelligent, and brave.

Have I kissed your ass enough for you to keep reading?  Good.  No?  I love you.  Now?

So you see, I prefer QUALITY readers over QUANTITY.  I just hope you don’t prefer quality posts over quantity, because that’ll be a problem.

“Is there a point to all this rambling, or is it all about your blog-type-thing and how the name makes no sense, you’ll be posting more often, and that some of the posts likely won’t be any good?”

Well, I’m so glad I anticipated that you would ask.  (Even if you didn’t.)

There is a point.  Besides being a heads-up on what to expect in the future from me until such time as I deem it no longer necessary to do the things I told you to expect which may occur, with or without notice..I wanted to prepare you for this blog-type-thing’s new ability (thanks to the increased posting frequency) to react more quickly to current events, in a much more relevant way.  It will also allow for intelligent, thoughtful conversation on those events while they are still fresh in all of our minds.

So, with the overly long explanation out of the way, on to the REAL topic of today’s post:

So did you guys hear about that shit in France?  Pretty fucked up, huh?

Wasn’t that awesome?!?  I could have never given you, my dear readers, such thoughtful, important, & current views and discussion opportunity with the format of yore.

You can thank me in the comments, by sharing my blog-type-thing with your friends and casual acquaintances, by sending me large amounts of money, or by doing all of the above.

I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post as much as I enjoyed writing it.  I look forward to crapping out many more words from my phone’s keyboard for your reading pleasure, however, I want to remind you that this in no way constitutes a writer-reader contract, and that the existence of this blog-type-thing is at-will, and may be terminated at any time.

If You Take My Pulse Right Now

Every generation criticizes the following generation’s music.  I remember people talking about the lack of talent of the musicians I listened to.  “They only play power-chords.”  “They scream, not sing.”  “Okay, some sing, but you can’t even understand the lyrics!”  “And what is with all that flannel?”

I understand.  Any criticism I make of the music of today just makes me seem old and out of touch.  I’m the old man screaming at kids retrieving their errant football to stay off my lawn.  Every sentence I start from here on should probably begin with, “Back in my day…”

But back in anyone’s day over the age of 25, there was one thing our music had in common.  It was played, at one point, (even if sampled later), someone with at least some rudimentary musical ability played it on a musical instrument.  They also used their actual voices.  Whether screaming, singing, or rapping…they used their voice.

“But Josh,” you say, “Haven’t studio effects & sounds been used since the beginning of recorded music?”  “What about the Beatles?”

You are absolutely right.  Reverb, delay…all sorts of tricks and effects have been added to music as enhancements, for a very long time.  But they were added or arranged on actual songs performed by musicians written by songwriters, (often, the same people), using actual instruments and vocals.

Today’s music is so fake, that Milli Vanilli should be given their Grammy back.  What did they do that isn’t being done by almost every “artist” today?  They passed off songs they didn’t sing, write or perform as their own by dancing and lip-syncing to the sound broadcasted to the audience.  And this is different from today’s music, how?

When a “singer” can go into a recording studio and record lyrics written for them in monotone, & have auto-tune change the pitch and notes to fit the “song”, inserting fake vocal acrobatics that would make Whitney Houston in her prime have an aneurysm-all backed by a computer created program of beeps and bass hits, that isn’t music.  That is fraud.

“If you take my pulse right now it would feel like a sledge-hammer o-o-o-eE-ow-o-o.”  “But the heart wants what it wa-on-on-on-on-ants.”  Really?  And the music critics, in an attempt to not seem like grumpy old people, trying to stay relevant, PRAISE this crap like it is good.  They know it’s not good.  They are pandering to the Radio Disney generation who grew up on computerized garbage.  They know it’s not music.  They remember being outraged by Milli Vanilli, but they are scared of seeming like grumpy old people.

Luckily, I’m not afraid of pissing off an entire generation.  I’m not fighting to hold on to an ever-dwindling reader base for my once great music magazine that is being replaced by the internet.  I’m not trying to stay relevant in a media age I didn’t anticipate until it was too late.  My target demographic isn’t anyone who would listen to Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, or the computers that alter their voices anyway.

So I get to tell the truth.  And the truth is, today’s music really isn’t music.  This isn’t generational.  I’m not anti-technology, I’m not totally anti-effects.  I’m anti-fraud.  At least Milli Vanilli’s fraud used real singers and real music.  It wasn’t them, but it was real.  Even with the synthesizers and keyboards…notes had to be played instead of just being typed in.

“Is it hopeless, Josh?” you ask.

No.  It is not hopeless.  Just because the “music” industry is currently controlled by producers who will gladly program any repeating ear-worm to put before any attractive (to 12-year-olds) kid they can teach to dance, doesn’t mean it will always be this way.

Remember, people liked disco once.  Disco.  Say that slowly and really think about that for a moment.  Let it just roll off the tongue.  Disco.  And even though disco artists were vastly more talented than the “artists” of today, the music was still largely over-produced crap.  So there was a backlash, and punk rock was born.

And then came the synth driven, new-wave, electronic dum-pad 80s.  A rebirth of disco with a slightly newer pop feel.  But there was a backlash, and early alternative music began to emerge from the shadows.  Then rap or hip-hop, (honestly, I don’t know the difference, still), hit the mainstream.  Oh my God, something new!  And it blew up because the conditions were ripe for it.  And rock wasn’t dead.  Glammed up and 80s-ified, but still there.  Hair metal and neon served as a refuge for the people who missed guitars and actual drums (even if they were mostly about pyrotechnics and keyboards).  The 80s actually had a lot of choices.  But the overproduced disco synth-pop dominated the decade.

In the early 90s, some hip-hop or rap (again, could someone actually explain the difference) gained even more mainstream popularity.  A new incarnation of R&B (which, by the way, is NOT R&B as there is no blues in those songs at all, but I’m splitting hairs here) also came on the scene.  Pretty, “urban” lovesongs and fun, bouncy dance music that I still enjoy when either working out, or thinking about junior high.  All of this music was highly produced, and Michael Jackson and his synth-pop (with updated “urban” influence) was still #1.  The critics claimed rock was dead.

They were so wrong.  All the while, underground were bands and musicians that were gaining in audience and popularity.  Someone would notice eventually.  Enter Nirvana.  I love Nirvana.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Nirvana brought rock back to the mainstream.  Were it not for them, it would’ve been Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc…  Bands that were playing for years outside the mainstream.  Nirvana blew the scene apart, but the fuse was already lit by the overproduced void that mainstream music had become.  It was just one, of many, musical revolutions.  It won’t be the last.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say now, is I’ve been lying to you this entire post.  Today’s music doesn’t suck.  Today’s mainstream “music” does.

So, if you’re old and grumpy like me, or if you just hate what passes for the “music” today…shut off the radio, turn off the TV, unsubscribe from Iheartradio, and go out to a little dive bar still playing live music until you find something real, & good.  And then get ready to be a part of the next big thing, because there will be a musical revolution.  History proves it.  And a little musical revolution in the face of bubble gum tyranny can be a good thing every so often.

In Defense of Lance Armstrong

Let me start by saying I really don’t like cycling.  I blame Lance Armstrong for a lot of cycling’s popularity.  I think the skin tight bike clothes look ridiculous.  I am sick of being blocked by packs of cyclists riding as a “team” in the middle of the road on an uphill stretch of two-lane highway with a double yellow line at 40mph below the speed limit.  I am tired of the occasional (but still too frequent) cyclist darting out in front of my car from some alley or side-street without looking.  I don’t mind people who ride their bikes to get where they’re going…but I despise cyclists.  There is a difference.  It is in the attitude, the gear, & the superiority complex they exude.

That all said, I also hate the way people in this country love to tear down the very people we build up.

Do you remember when Armstrong was winning all those titles he was later stripped of?  Half the country was kissing his backside.  Expensive bikes and yellow jerseys were flying off the shelves.  Every overly patriotic redneck was talking about good ol’ ‘Merica & how we showed them French.  It was enough to make one vomit in one’s mouth a little.

Then, thanks to Bob Costas turning every story about sports into a personal story of triumph over adversity (because, ratings), the media seized upon the fact that this champion was a cancer survivor.  And so cancer survivors and fighters elevated him from the status of great athlete to hero.  Lance created his foundation, everyone got those yellow rubber bracelets, & suddenly a guy who won a bike race was seriously being considered for important political positions, hanging out with movie stars, marrying famous musicians, getting his GTO restored on Overhaulin’.

The accusations of doping were already made, but it was just jealous riders and the French who couldn’t stand that an American dominated their race.  You could almost hear the chants of, “USA!  USA!” as no evidence was produced and the door was closed.

And later, more allegations arose.  This time, a lab said they had found evidence of doping years later.  Tests they couldn’t run at the time.  And they were dismissed as planted.  But the door was now cracked open.

Then the affidavits from the fellow former team members.  Suddenly, public opinion turned.  He was guilty.  People were now streaming through the wide-open door.

Finally, the confession.  The outrage.  The betrayal.  Lance Armstrong was no hero, he was a liar, & a cheat.  He used all the hopes of these cancer survivors to increase his fame and he didn’t do anything remarkable or to give them hope.

Or did he?  He did start his foundation (Livestrong) which has become a very good resource for people fighting cancer.  That by itself is enough to make him not the evil bastard everyone has made him out to be.  He also stepped down as the head of that foundation to save it.  I view that website regularly for tips on my own continuing fight.

Now let’s get into the notion that he caused cancer fighters to have false hope.  That by doping for the races he was portraying a false vision of recovery from this awful classification of diseases.  That notion is, quite frankly, bullshit.

The guy almost died, then used his experience to win one of the most difficult events in sport AGAINST PEOPLE JUST AS DOPED AS HE WAS WHO NEVER HAD TO BEAT CANCER.  If everyone in that race didn’t use drugs, would he have won?  Who knows?  I sure as hell don’t.  But that wasn’t the case, and he knew that.  He took a drug or drugs that almost every rider in those races were suspected of taking, and beat them all handily, AFTER recovering from cancer.   I don’t care if someone in a race known for doping since its inception was doped.

And here is a newsflash:  In any sport or athletic competition that you can watch on TV, there is cheating, and a lot of cheating using drugs.

So hate Lance Armstrong for his arrogance, his attacks on those who tried to tell the truth about him, but don’t hate him for being a juiced up guy who beat cancer and dominated a race against a bunch of other juiced up guys who did not have to beat cancer.

But by all means, go ahead and hate cyclists.