Our Culture Peaked 2-3 Decades Ago

By admin

Have you noticed that nothing cool is coming out of our culture these days? It’s almost as if we have run out of creativity. The newest thing is reality TV shows, and even those are starting to get old. Lets face it they were never really that good. The winner of the first Survivor was an openly homosexual man who insisted on walking naked in front of everyone (while being filmed) and credited his win towards being sneaky, underhanded, dishonest, and the best liar. What a great testament to our modern culture, huh?

Then there is American Idol. Certainly some great singers have made the finals over the years. But how many of them have inspired you to go out and purchase their CD’s? My guess is none. Why not? Probably because none of them are different enough to make any real mark on our cultural landscape. Somehow they are just another singer and there is nothing innovative about their music. Oh sure – it’s fun to watch the competition, but when the season is done you are pretty much done with the contestants.

Contrast this back to twenty years ago, say 1979. Think about the TV shows Midnight Express (with Wolfman Jack) and Don Kirshners Rock Concert (which came on right afterwards on Friday Nights). Remember Saturday Night Live when it was actually good? We all used to plan our weekends around it. Have you even dared to watch it lately? Probably not, because it has gotten so bad that it’s embarrassing.

What about kid’s toys? Certainly technology will have improved on those, right? One would think. After all, by now we are all supposed to be driving flying cars. But if you compare today’s video games with the old Atari system and even the first Pong game, there is something missing. I remember the little handheld football and basketball electronic blip games -those were great. Today’s Nintendo DS units with all their technology don’t have anywhere near the interest that those things did.

Oh sure we have really trick cell phones now. To say nothing of the internet, portable email devices, and every other way to make sure you are never away from work that you can think of. And I am a big fan of those things. But what have they added to our culture, really?

Movies are not getting any better despite incredible advances in technology. Even when a good movie is made they cannot sell it unless they use cheesy tactics to attract the masses of brain-dead idiots. Music is only getting worse, as evidenced by the fact that classic rock stations are the most popular places on the radio dial. Literature by it’s definition is a thing of the past and art isn’t far behind.

I really cannot think of one single aspect of modern society that has improved in the last twenty years, with the notable exception of communications. And it’s arguable that the communication advancements we have made are actually a large contributor to the degradation of our culture.

Papa Riah

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Stop Sign Protocol

By admin


When you arrive at a stop sign at the same time as another vehicle, you know how to handle it, right? Or are you one of those knuckleheads that are inspiring this post? It’s supposed to be real simple. At least that’s how they make it sound on the DMV written test. Whoever gets there first goes first and if you get there at the same time the person on the right goes first. That should solve everything, right?

Not quite. The DMV left out a lot of interesting situations that happen in real life. No doubt some of them appear during the DMV driving portion of the test, exposing the written test inadequacies. Lets look at a few of them.

Situation 1: Both Drivers Wanting to Do the Same Thing

There was a movie (it might have been L.A. Story with Steve Martin, then again maybe not) where four cars all got to a stop-sign intersection at the same time. They all waited for somebody else to go then finally they all decided to go at the same time, which caused them all to stop again and wait, and then finally all decide to be the one to go again. This process repeated until they all collided in the middle. It was hilarious and it makes you wonder why you have never seen this in real life. We have all certainly experienced the beginning of this with at least one other driver occasionally.

Why didn’t we get into an accident? Because at some point one driver insisted on stopping until the other went. However it’s possible for both drivers to get this resolve and frantically keep waving at the other until they both concede at the same time. I’m sure this scenario has resulted in at least some accidents, but the odds are way against it. Too many possible other variables which involve one person conceding first.

Situation 2: Three or More Cars Arrive at the Same Time

When three or more cars get to the intersection all at once, the rules of the road change slightly. Whichever car goes gives the green light to any car going the exact opposite way from the other side, regardless of when they arrived. This is because you are not impending anyone and everyone expects you to go. If you sit there like a dolt insisting on waiting your turn, you screw things up.

Situation 3: Pedestrians

Pedestrians really throw a kink in the works. It’s normal for at least one driver not to see them at first, and therefore not understand why another car is not acting in turn. This is another time when you can go out of turn – when the car whose real turn it is happens to be is stuck waiting for pedestrians. If the pedestrians do not affect your route, you can and should go. Not doing so makes you an idiot who messes things up.

It can be difficult being a pedestrian in these situations as well. I have this issue when jogging sometimes. I generally try and start getting across when nobody is at the stop signs. The problem I have with some idiots is that if they get the notion that I want across, they will stop and insist on waiting for me (when I just want them to go and get out of the way). This is really awkward when other drivers come up who do not want to wait for me and it puts me in a bad position. So my plan is usually to fake out all drivers and show no signs of my actual intentions – as it just works better for me.

As a matter of fact this is often something you have to do while driving as well, but that is a topic for another day. Suffice it for now to say that you often have to disguise your intended actions in traffic situations. This is because if the idiots get wind of it they will do things to make it difficult for you, whether they intend to or not. Driving is the ultimate game of avoiding and outsmarting idiots.

Papa Riah



What if Tatoos Become Uncool?

By admin

Each generation of teenagers is rebellious against their parent’s generation. No way would they be caught acting like their parents or following their example. And they certainly are not going to conform to their parent’s idea of what’s cool. Quite the contrary, they are likely to use that as a gauge of how uncool something is. Interestingly, the older generation usually ends up succumbing to the younger generation’s trend setting when it comes to cool. Must be the mid-life crisis thing, no doubt fueled by the ridiculous divorce rate in America. The first thing a newly divorced man in his forties usually does is buy a Harley, usually followed by a tattoo or two.

Tattoos are a trend that has just about run it’s course in our society. Maybe not quite yet, but the end is on the horizon. Very soon too large of a percentage of the older generation will have them. They have no shock value any more when everyone is getting one. Teenagers these days are pretty much expected to get them. That’s juuuuusssssst about the time teenagers usually stop doing something. Especially when their parents have them and think they are cool.

The last generation that came down the pipes really went for the shock value by piercing every conceivable part of their body. This drove their parents nuts, which is obviously why they did it. But you know all those kids who did that are starting to have kids themselves. So what in the world can those kids do now to shock their parents? That’s a hard act to follow.

I think the answer is obvious. Expect today’s infants to shock their parents by being straight-laced and getting good grades. Remember preppies? We might be getting ready to come full circle. Dressing nice and being well groomed could be the next big thing. Body piercings and tattoos might be considered totally stupid, old-fashioned, and uncool in the not so distant future.

You don’t have any do you? What are you going to do when they become uncool? There was an episode of the Simpsons where Moe was going to remove Homer’s tattoo with a cheese grader. That humorous little bit wasn’t all that farfetched. If you thought getting the thing hurt, wait until you have it removed. To say nothing of the scar it’s going to leave.

Papa Riah’s stepdaughter has a rather large tattoo on her upper back that she is not proud of. Oh she loved it when she was 18 and knew that getting it was against her mother’s every wish. But now that she is 30 and getting married she wishes it wasn’t there. So does her fiancé. Getting it removed leaves ugly scars that are worse than the tat, especially one that large. She is planning on covering it up with some kind of makeup for the wedding.

Doing something to your appearance that is motivated by wanting to look cool is one of the stupidest things in our society. Before you do anything that falls into that category you should really consider just who is it you are trying to impress, and are they really worth it. You might also try and consider long-term consequences if your brain allows you to think past tomorrow.

Papa Riah