Republicans Announce Obamacare Replacement


Neutron BombWashington – After months of planning and preparation Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are making good on their promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“We turned to smart people for the answer,” Trump tweeted. “Bigly smart people. Jello. I love Jello. There’s always room for Jello.”

“There was really only one answer to the problem of dealing with the millions of people who are about to lose their health insurance because of us,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. “And that’s the plan laid out by the Dead Kennedys on their album Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables. We’re gonna kill, kill, kill the poor.”

Republicans constantly cite people losing their insurance, rising premiums or being forced to change providers as proof of the law’s failure. Democrats point to the fact that 20 million people have gained coverage and can no longer be denied coverage due to preexisting conditions as proof of the laws success.

 

At this point no one really knows what to believe. Attitudes about the law are split largely along party lines.

I just know that my tax dollars go toward paying the health insurance for members of congress, government employees, people below the federal poverty line, incarcerated criminals and the elderly. But if you’re in the gray area between the poverty line and not being able to afford a $300/month insurance plan you’re royally fucked.

neutron_bombI’m not an expert on this subject. You shouldn’t trust my judgement, but I’m reasonably sure I’d benefit from socialized medicine and I’d be happy to pay a little extra in taxes if it meant I no longer had to buy insurance (or pay close to $1500 dollars for an illness I suffered last year).

I have a lot of respect for the Republican Party. It takes a lot of talent convince people who would benefit from socialism that it’s a bad thing because someone else might benefit more. I don’t understand it. It’s like burning down your house instead of letting a buddy crash on your couch.

Day of the New – S/T (Green)


Days of the New green(31 August 1999, Outpost)

One of the greatest things about music is its ability to take you places. Hearing a song can make you feel like you’re back in junior high school without a care in the world. A lot of songs bring scenes in movies to mind (think of Forrest Gump). Sometimes it can take you to a whole other world. Days of the New’s second album has the power to transport me from wherever I happen to be back to Hyrule.

My mom met the man who would become her second husband while I was in high school. He was living in a small apartment above a bar with a mattress, a chihuahua/shih tzu mix and a huge stereo from Rent-a-Center. It didn’t take long until he moved in with us; and brought the dog and the stereo. It’s easy to date when he moved in because he only had four CDs: Ozzy’s No Rest For The Wicked, Yngwie Malmsteem’s Facing the Animal, Godsmack’s debut and DotN’s second album.

“Enemy” was a big hit at the time and he loved it. He would play that album over and over while drinking at the kitchen table with his buddies. Being in high school I wasn’t old enough to drink and probably spent at least a little bit of time studying. But when I wasn’t studying I was sitting in front of the television with my little brother because around the same time he moved in with that huge stereo we got a Super Nintendo and A Link To The Past. I have no idea how many times we played through that game together, but I can remember having a lot of fun with him. I think that may have been the best bonding we ever did.

And the great thing is that whenever I hear Days of the New’s second album I can think back on those days.

the_legend_of_zelda_a_link_to_the_past_snes_game_coverIt probably helps that the album starts off with the sound of horse hooves. How else can I get from the water level to the desert level quickly? I’m a huge fan of all the segues that blend the tracks together. I honestly can’t name most of the songs on this album, and probably couldn’t tell you where most of them begin or end because it works as such a great cohesive whole.

The secret weapon is Nicole Sherzinger who would later achieve mega stardom as the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls. It feels really weird to write that because the musical styles of the two groups couldn’t be more distant. But Sherzinger does have a beautiful voice and uses it to great effect with Days of the New.

Singer/Guitarist/Songwriter Travis Meeks got a lot of grief for pulling one of those megalomaniacal stunts of firing his whole band, but in his defense did you ever listen to Tantric? That was not a band I enjoyed. Sure, they were competent musicians and their stuff was okay, but there was no fire behind it. It always sounded like safe, middle-of-the-road rock to me. I just imagine them bringing the songs to him and him saying “No. You’re all fired.”

The acoustic guitars are still front and center but there’s plenty of other instrumentation to shake things up. The acoustic guitar thing was a good gimmick that definitely got them attention with their debut, but I’m guessing that wouldn’t have kept peoples interest if they’d just repeated that formula.

I’m not sure what all the instruments were used on this album , but I’m guessing there’s an ocarina in there somewhere. It really takes me back then.

 

Happy New Year


Statler and WaldorfI don’t know if there’s reason to believe that this year will be better than the last, but let’s hope.

2017 can’t be much worse than 2016. Please Universe, don’t make me eat those words.

Seriously though, 2016 can suck a bag of dicks.

The Best of 2016


Ahhh, it is finally time for my favorite blogging activity of the year: the “best of” list. I’ve come across a few already filled with death metal and/or indie rock that I have never heard, but I hope this list will have a little something for everyone. Then again, I didn’t see anything from my Amazon wishlist the last time I went to FYE so I’m pretty sure I’m out of touch with the times.

Bloody Hammers Lovely Sort of Death – This album popped up on my radar courtesy of Mr. 1537 and managed to beat out Al Jourgenson’s Surgical Meth Machine and Green Day’s Revolution Radio for the low spot on this list. I’m sure those artists will be pretty upset about that.

 

The Descendents  Hypercaffium Spazzium – This was a pretty good record, but it felt a little too of the moment. This album definitely sounds like it was made in 2016 and you can hear a lot of modern influence. For my money, I’d recommend Cool to be You.

Otep Generation Doom I got a little grief for enjoying this one, but I’m a sucker for militant, butch lesbians with anger problems.

Helmet Dead to the World – I managed to catch these guys live twice this year, which is unheard of for me at the ripe old age of 33. But they managed to impress both times (even with their singer being at the ripe old age of 56).

 

David Bowie Blackstar I would have loved to have listened to this one more, but I stayed away from it because of recent problems with depression. Hopefully next year I’ll get to spend a little more time with it.

 

Garbage Strange Little Birds

 

Weezer – The White Album After several lackluster albums Weezer have somehow managed to redeem themselves with the awesome Everything Will Be Alright In The End and now this one.

 

Rachel Bloom – My new favorite Jewess. Is that a racist term?

Local H Hey Killer (2015) This is one I picked up after reading a best of list for last year and it’s remained in constant rotation. This is my favorite track off the album. I was more disappointed that they didn’t play this when I saw them open for Helmet than I was by the omission of “Bound for the Floor.”

 

Leonard Cohen You Want it Darker – I’m not going to lie, when I listened to Popular Problems in 2014 I wasn’t thrilled. I’m not sure why, but something about it didn’t resonate with me. That’s definitely not the case with this album. This would still be in the top spot even if he hadn’t died this year. But it’s as great a swan song as anyone can imagine.

 

Don’t Dwell On What Is Passed Away…


Leonard Cohen "The Future"When I first got my copy of Leonard Cohen’s album “The Future” I remember thinking that the cover image would make a really cool tattoo. Hearing the song “Anthem” reinforced the idea. “Bought and sold and bought again, the dove is never free.” I think that’s one of the most beautiful lines ever written.

But like a lot of ideas I filed it away somewhere in my mind and didn’t think about it for two decades.

Then a few things happened this year that brought it up again. Of course, the death of Leonard Cohen had me thinking about “Anthem” more than any other song. The line “Don’t dwell on what is passed away, or what is yet to be” is one that can be appropriate when anyone dies. I think I’m going to update my will to include that track along with Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” as tunes I’d like played at my funeral.

But more than that, I’ve suffered from a really severe and long lasting depression for the last quarter of this year and that line is one that I really feel is good to latch on to. I mean, I’m depressed because I’m dwelling on what has passed away and what is yet to be. I suppose that’s probably what makes most people depressed.

Anthem TattooSo with that perfect storm in mind I walked into a tattoo shop last week and had someone mark me up. It was done more to help me get over the depression (which it seems to be helping) than as a way to commemorate Leonard Cohen, but I think it’s the best tattoo I have.

I think it’ll help me to live in the moment, and if I ever forget I just need to find a mirror.

 

 

 

 

The Best (Or Worst) Description of a Band Ever


Life of AgonyAs a writer I’m interested in the written word. I’ve been an avid reader since I was young. I read Stephen King’s The Stand while I was still in grammar school. I remember wanting to be an archaeologist at one point, but that dream fell by the wayside pretty quickly and I started writing. I’ve been writing most of my life, whether in a journal, a short story or this blog. Even if I never make any money from it, I’m not lying when I say I’m a writer.

I’m hypersensitive to the way words go together as well as punctuation. One of my biggest pet peeves is using punctuation correctly. If you use an exclamation point in a text with me I assume you’re excited. If you end the message with an ellipsis I assume you have more to say. I don’t mean to be a Grammar Nazi, but I feel it’s essential to use the tools you have to communicate effectively, especially when using a medium where you cannot use voice inflection and body language. So that’s why IT’S VERY important to CORRectly Use punctuation and GRAMMAR to convey intentions!!!!

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard is “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” So whenever I come upon a really great way of describing something it gives me the greatest feeling in the world. I’ve noticed a few people like the “Smoke on the Water Principle (SWP).” I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to notice that, but I managed to give it a simple, clever name that’s memorable (much like the main riff to “Smoke on the Water”).

I’ve also coined terms that haven’t really stuck like “Mask Metal” (the sub-genre of heavy metal where the masks are more important than the music (Slipknot, Mushroomhead, Lordi)). I was also really proud of the term “slut pop,” but I managed to piss at least one person off with that. That describes music like Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus where a girl’s figure and risque behavior is more important than the music. I can’t remember if I didn’t consider that the term would be offensive or if I considered it and just didn’t care.

Type O NegativeIt’s always fun to try to perfectly describe a band’s sound. It’s a challenge I engage in on a near weekly basis. I remember a long time ago I was having a few beers and listening to some tunes with a friend and we put on Life of Agony. Have you ever listened to Life of Agony? Wikipedia describes them as an alternative metal band. I’ve also heard them described as New York hardcore, but neither of these descriptions really hits the nail on the head.

We were trying to come up with a great description for Life of Agony. I wanted to compare them to Soundgarden. This probably has something to do with the video for “This Time” and the singer’s haircut. Yes, both bands were popular in the early-to-mid nineties, but the similarities end there. LoA has more of a stripped down punk vibe while Soundgarden were a Zepplinesque riff machine.

We kept brainstorming, but nothing was quite right. Then we got it. I can’t remember which one of us said it, but we found the perfect sentence to describe this band.

“Life of Agony sounds like Type O Negative would if they didn’t suck.”

That sent both of us into laughing fits and hysterics. Not only does it perfectly sum up the sound of the band, but it’s also hilarious. It’s important to note that both of us are fans of Type O Negative. I really enjoy Type O Negative. But lets face it they are a little goofy. However, if you take away the goth, the keyboards, the enormous penis, the song about hair dye and insert the original drummer: you get Life of Agony.

 

Awards, Awards, Awards!


When I received a Liebster Award a few weeks ago I though, “Cool. This is something nice and fun. But it probably won’t happen again.”

But then it did happen again. And again. And AGAIN!

It’s all because of this damn keepsmealive blog. Oh wait, one of the things you’re supposed to do to accept the award is thank the person who nominated you. Whoops! Pardon my sarcasm, a very heartfelt thanks guys. These will look great on my mantle between the barb of that stingray who got me and several of my daughters baby dolls.

So without further ado:

(OK, so they didn’t specifically nominate me for the Treasure Trove Award, but at the end of the post they nominate everyone so I’m going to claim one. I need all the self-esteem I can get at this moment.)

WELCOME TO THE INAUGURAL TREASURE TROVE AWARD!

treasure trove awardWhat is the Treasure Trove Award?

I’ve created the Treasure Trove Award for bloggers who share treasures.  Treasures can take the form of:  art; community participation and support; creative writing; entertainment; friendship; health and fitness; humor; information; knowledge and insight; life lessons; music; photography; skills and instructions…anything that adds value and is a treasure in the blogosphere.

The Treasure Trove Award is for blogosphere treasures.

What are the rules for the Treasure Trove Award?

The rules are that there are no rules.

You can post the Treasure Trove Award image to your blog — or not.  

You can give the award to other bloggers — or not.

Enjoy!

versatile blogger awardVersatile Blogger Award

As it usually goes with these things, there are rules/steps to follow (copied from the PR site):

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and pass it on.
  2. Share the award on your blog
  3. Share random facts about yourself
  4. Tag on 10 bloggers and tell them that they are nominated.

What is the Mystery Blogger Award, you ask?

The Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts.  Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates.  They are one of the best out there and they deserve every recognition they get.  This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.

~ The award was created by Okoto Enigma.

mystery-bloggerThe Rules or Guidelines for the Mystery Blogger Award:

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • Answer 5 questions from the nominee.
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers.
  • Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, including 1 weird or funny question.
  • Share the link to your best post. “Donald Trump Can Suck A Bag of Dicks

So I’m just going to combine the Versatile and Mystery awards into one and only do this once. That’s allowed right?

3 Things about Myself:

  1. I have visited all of the eastern seaboard states from New York south except Delaware and Georgia (and what’s the point of going to Delaware anyway).
  2. I’m the first person in my family to have graduated college (Associate’s Degree).
  3. Sometimes when people ask about my childhood I start reciting the lyrics to Reba McEntire’s “Fancy” just to mess with them.

The Questions I Was Asked:

  1. What’s your favourite album of all time? – Temple of the Dog
  2. Can you describe yourself in one word? No
  3. Can you name one food you could never give up? Pizza
  4. Why did you start blogging? – I couldn’t find a paying job as a writer so I started blogging to keep myself busy and hone my chops.
  5. Weird Question: What is your least favourite word? Exactly. I hate that word because my name is Zack and it sounds so much like my name that whenever I hear it I automatically think someone is trying to get my attention.

The Questions I’m Asking: 

  1. Do you have a pet?
  2. What’s the way you usually describe yourself?
  3. What’s your favorite time of year?
  4. Do you play an instrument?
  5. Weird Question: What’s the grossest food you’ve ever eaten?

The Nominees: (I’m going to try to look outside the box for this one so I’m not just passing stuff around to the same ten bloggers.)

Bitter Ben from Ben’s Bitter Blog

Mammaflybox

Hard Rock Daddy

Deep in the Music

GraceLess Land

The Hard Times

The Sonic Sensory

Every Number One

Punk Rock Reviews

The Shameful Sheep

The Valley Report

 

Alright, that wasn’t so bad. Three awards and I only had to answer 5 questions and spew some random facts. Thanks again guys!