makin’ things make sense since 2002


Things have gotten a little silly around here, and I’d like to call for a unilateral disarmament. The following solutions will only work if everyone agrees to them, so let’s all get on the same page, got it? Here’s my Unilateral Disarmament List of 7 Things We Ought to All Agree On:

1. Rock Shows – We’re up on stage playing a gig, and the entire band is wearing earplugs. The sound guy is wearing earplugs, the bartenders are wearing earplugs, and I look down into the audience, and the people up front are wearing earplugs too.


emotin’ all over!!!

Can we cut the charade, please? Let’s all agree to unilaterally lower all band concerts by thirty decibels. Let’s all take our earplugs out, the bands promise not to give you tinnitus, and let’s all go home happy, yes?



2. DVD Loading – Rarely does technology take you backwards, but DVD and Blu-Ray discs have done precisely that by forcing you to watch all the FBI warnings and piracy crap we used to fast-forward through on the VCR. Not only that, but the new discs don’t even allow the MENU button to work until you watch an endless array of trailers and other ads that have NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MOVIE.

Let’s disarm: let us fast-forward through the warnings and give us the MENU option, and we will probably watch the trailers anyway because it’s our choice. Movie lovers respond to moronic behavioral constriction with illegal downloading, y’know.



3. Letters Mean Things. What is wrong with this picture?


I’ll tell you what – you have given the butter a grade that does not exist. Exactly how much better is AA than A? And is there an AAA? Can we please all agree to go back to a grading system that means something FOR ALL FOOD?

I know what “A” means normally: “just fine, and you should consume it.” I know what “B” means as well: “it’s probably just fine”. If it works for high school quizzes and the sanitation grades for restaurants, why can’t it work for everything else?



4. Clothing Sizes – Many of you huskier dudes have noticed something of late: you are able to fit into 34 or 36 waist-size pants. I’m told the same has happened in women’s dress sizes; a friend who had been a 10 is now fitting into the occasional 6.

Psychologically, I have to say “well done”. You clothing manufacturers have convinced us that we’re doing far better than we thought. But ultimately, this game has no shelf life, and it’s getting woefully inaccurate. The tailor at my sister’s wedding said that a men’s 41-inch waist is called a “36-inch waist”. Where’s the science?

While we’re at it… Nike, can you just go ahead and make your shoes a half-size larger so we don’t have to get frustrated every time we forget your idiosyncrasies? Oh, and ice skate shoe companies? Why do I wear a 13 in all shoes, but an 11 ice skate?



5. English Words – Yes, pretty much everyone uses the word “literally” wrong and says “I could care less” and “irregardless”. People sell “cookie’s” and “hot dog’s” and lean painfully on conversation filler words like “y’know”, “um” and “like”. I, myself, get “arcane” and “archaic” mixed up all the time, and in fact, have an error in this very sentence.

But we should absolutely disarm this line of opprobrium, mostly because complaining about it is super goddamn boring, and besides – how else can you feel superior if your fellow Americans don’t give themselves away?




6. PZEV – Oh come on… Partial Zero-Emission Vehicles? Isn’t that like saying “free with purchase”? And “Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicles” sounds like something a 3rd-grade boy made up for comics class. Can’t they just follow our butter lead and have a grade? A = Awesome, F = Fucking Up Our Environment.



7. Sports Drugs – Look, just make steroids and hormones legal, and in turn, we agree to give a shit about baseball again. It’s obvious they can’t test for everything, and the kabuki theater we get in the meantime is embarrassing. The reason every kid in Brooklyn loved the Dodgers in the ’40s was because they thought they could be one of them someday. Now that dream is shattered, and there’s nothing left but lies and dwindling ticket sales.

As for the NFL, we want our thick-necked freakshows as thick and freaky as possible, so don’t even worry about testing them. But all you other sports – and I’m looking at you too, bike racing – just drop all the pretense and show us your needles.

Or you could all agree to give up the juice, and in return, us sports fans would offer amnesty and judgment-free forgiveness. We would be okay with asterisking the Steroid Era (the way we do the Dead Ball Era) and we’d start anew. Attendance would skyrocket, and kids could have their heroes back. That’s a unilateral disarmament worth daydreaming about.


0 thoughts on “makin’ things make sense since 2002

  1. ken

    1) Rock shows HAVE gotten quieter. As a drummer of 30 years and a veteran of over 1000 rock shows over the last 25 of those, you’d think my hearing would be shot. It’s not. In fact I can count on both hands the number of shows at which I’ve worn hearing protection. At my most recent hearing test, I asked the audiologist to play the ‘mosquito frequency’ for me, the one convenience stores use. While it wasn’t as clear as it would be for a teenager, I could make it out. The key is to stay away from the PA Mains and if you play out live, watch your monitor mix and level. It’s that simple.
    What does need to change at rock shows is that hoary cliche of the ‘Encore’; it’s a relic that needs to go. Play your set, bow and leave. Or break up the set into two parts and clearly indicate that. My favorite is when a band plays a smaller club like Schuba’s in Chicago, leaves the stage (which is actually walking down three steps and hiding behind a curtain) waits the requisite amount of time and walks back up those three stairs to play three more songs.
    2) I too hate that we are now forced to sit through the trailers/previews/FBI warnings. You can sometimes skip them by hitting the chapter advance or at least fast-forwarding (for the trailers, not the warning). Two additional gripes: early adopters like me who bought 1st Gen Blu-ray players sometimes have to wait up to five minutes for the Blu-ray content to load. Yes, I keep up with firmware updates but still sometimes you still have to wait. Also, if you use Netflix, be wary of the menus that promise ‘Bonus Content’ as twice in the last month I’ve gotten the Heisman from a DVD menu promising bonus material, it says, “To view bonus content, buy the DVD.” How rude. Why should renters be penalized?
    I’ll add one of my own, truth in nutritional information. Make those ‘serving sizes’ realistic. A bag or Doritos from a vending machine is 1 serving, no one breaks those up into 2.5 servings (do they?). A 16 oz. Vitamin Water is a single serving. And 0g Trans Fat doesn’t mean there’s none, just that it’s less than 1g per serving. You only be able to say 0 Trans Fat if there is actually NO Trans Fat.

  2. ken

    Oh, and the Copy Editor in me gives myself an ‘F’ for several typos and a few glaring grammatical errors. I should have proofed it before hitting ‘Post’. You get the point.

  3. Salem

    Just heard a car dealer radio ad announcing that “This week-end only, all acceptable offers will be accepted!”

  4. jersey

    8. Loathing Duke – Like, um, we can all agree to this, right? St. John’s 93, Duke 78. It’s a wonderful Monday morning.

  5. wottop

    I saw The Who at Carter-Finley stadium in 1989. I worked the show on the outside field aisle about 30 rows out. I wore earplugs. My ears rang for 3 days.
    No way shows are still that loud, are they?

  6. GFWD

    The thing that is wrong with the picture is the your Junior Mints are all the way in the back, thus ensuring that you’ll either knock the Grade AA butter to the floor with every attempt to get that cool mint-chocolate fix or that you will get your fingers all buttery trying to hold it so you can retrieve the box. Move the Junior Mints to the front of the bus.


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