Saturday, February 26, 2005

Good Mornin'

look, originally uploaded by watts4u2.

Sit in da Blue Chair, Daddy

Bank-o on Bon-o says LA Times

Bono for the World Bank:

"Bono may not have a PhD in economics, but he'd have plenty of real economists around the bank to consult. Bono is the most eloquent and passionate spokesman for African aid in the Western world. And given that both ex-President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have in recent years made Africa one of their focuses, that's saying something."

Is the LA Times sincere? I can't tell if this editorial is reality-based or Hollywood fantasy, but kind words for Bono indeed.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Alligators Attack: Implications for Bald Head?

Sanibel rethinks its experiment in gator tolerance |

There has never been a fatal attack on a human at Bald Head Island, thanks goodness. But there was the story about the man and his (gulp) dog a while back....the link to the story is dead, and so is the gator....after the dog was eaten, somebody shot the gator. I wonder what ever happened with this story...anybody know?
People just need to be smarter, but you can't count on that it seems.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

At last, more drug ads!

You're Getting Sleepy ... - Or are you? What the new sleeping-pill ads don't say. By Amanda Schaffer least these ads won't mention 4 hour erections . Good article with more reasons why drug ads are bad for society.

Inducting U2

In response to a contest @, I've written a speech for U2's induction to the rock'n'roll hall of fame. I wrote it out pretty quickly and I'm sure I lifted some lines from article I've read over the years, but here goes:

"A random bang & clatter, a spark, a fire was lit, and so U2 were born. U2 descended upon the world with bells and big ideas, new sounds and a higher calling. U2 seemed to come not from another time, but from another dimension. Not punk, not new wave, certainly not dance music, it’s always been hard to pigeon-hole U2. Sure, some tried to pin “Christian Rock” on them, but a few public drunken stupors fixed that. (A-hem.)
The colors of U2, the many different hues, contrasts and brightness levels have been revealed to us over the past 25 years. They made pop hits out of “Bloody Sunday”, “Pride” and a gospel hymn, turned back to learn the blues, and then launched their music revolution of the 90’s with “Achtung, Baby!” You could even dance to some U2 in the 90’s. 20 years into their career, they release “Beautiful Day”, maybe their best song yet, a song that captures many of the colors and hues of U2.
If U2 is a painter, their pallet is enormous. (Look directly at Adam and say, “I said PAL-LET” a-hem) .
But they weren’t done. They aren’t done. Instead of receiving lifetime achievement awards at the Grammys this year, U2 are still collecting new ones, for things like “best song”. That’s one reason I feel a little weird inducting U2 into the Hall of Fame…these guys are still going strong, and in fact, I think their best work may still lie ahead. I hope so.
That’s why rather than embarrassing them with unending praise, I’d like to challenge U2: Make your best album yet, in fact, make 5 of them in a row. I can’t wait to hear it.
I issue this challenge in part because the music has always come first for U2. In the studio and live, the music… the songs are the reward for them, and for us, the fans of U2. Thanks U2, for all the rewards.
So ladies and gentlemen, please get up off your knees and raise your fly glasses to toast the only band that matters, the supreme stars of our time, the unending champions of freedom and humanity in the world today, then prophets who rock our planet: U2!!!"

Car Lover Loves the W124

Hoopty Rides: 1987 Mercedes 300TD:

"At high speed, the Mercedes W124's hunkers down and holds the road like no other car. The driver feels absolutely connected, aware and uncommonly safe. It is a car for individuals that enjoy driving and don't want to be divorced from the action. It is a car of respect. I do not feel abused and cheated as I do in most modern cars.

The W124 represent an absolute end of a marquee. Mercedes Benz has sold its soul as they tried to be more like BMW and Lexus. They lost the uniquely Mercedes feel of absolute integrity as they tried to build a light and nimble car like the BMW."

I love my '89 300CE, it's a W124 also, and the coupe looks much better than the wagon. Plus my gasser is faster than the diesel. An old Mercedes is a good thing these days....

Monday, February 21, 2005

Snottiness is the new patriotism

Bono's op-ed from the NY Times

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Give a Little

"February 20, 2005
Give a Little

EUROPE is securing its ports, steeling itself for an American charm offensive. Over the coming days, President Bush and his hosts will shake hands, slap backs, make toasts. But if the United States and Europe really want to repair their relationship, they should look to another continent: Africa.

Both America and Europe have a stake in preventing African states from crumbling. Both have an interest in ending the poverty that breeds violence. And both feel a moral obligation to stop the hemorrhaging of life.

Aren't those shared interests obvious? Not lately. We lament - but secretly indulge - our differences. Points of tension are points of pride. Snottiness is the new patriotism.

So what can Mr. Bush do? Well, he can clear up some confusion about America's basic beliefs. Americans are overtly devout. And yet Europeans, who inhabit a more secular world, give more per capita than Americans to what the Bible calls "the least of these" - the world's poor. The United States is in 22nd place, last in the class of donor nations. (Add private philanthropy and it's up to 15th.) Europeans see the discrepancy, and they smell hypocrisy.

President Bush should try to help Europeans understand American generosity. He should remind people that the United States has gotten more AIDS drugs to more Africans than anyone else. But he should also underscore that Americans want to ensure that the money is spent responsibly.

To Europeans, this "tough love" approach seems cruel. But there is compassion at its core. Mr. Bush can demonstrate this by putting more financial muscle behind his push for "accountability." If he does, Europeans will follow suit. They will see talking tough on poverty as a perfect rhyme for talking tough on terrorism. If Europe and America work together, a breakthrough for Africa is within reach. Then, other obstacles will fall away - as will the misconceptions that blind us to one another. "

We're one, but not the same, eh?

I'm a bit amazed Bono still has faith that George W. is willing to use his political clout on this issue. W's previous promises for the Millenium Challenge, and his $15 Billion plan for Africa have been seriously underfunded. W asked for less than he promised to, and Congress shrank it from there, without a fight from the White House.

At what point will Bono hold world leaders accountable, stop shaking their hands and doing photo-ops, and point the finger at our leaders who are unwilling to help the poorest of the poor? Bono has more patience than I, and I hope it pays off in the long run.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Bald Head Sunset

DSC07171, originally uploaded by Watts Carr.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Pharisee Nation

Pharisee Nation:

"In the past, empires persecuted religious groups and threatened them into passivity and silence. Now these so-called Christians run the American empire, and teach a subtle spirituality of empire to back up their power in the name of God. This spirituality of empire insists that violence saves us, might makes right, war is justified, bombing raids are blessed, nuclear weapons offer the only true security from terrorism, and the good news is not love for our enemies, but the elimination of them. The empire is working hard these days to tell the nation--and the churches--what is moral and immoral, sinful and holy. It denounces certain personal behavior as immoral, in order to distract us from the blatant immorality and mortal sin of the U.S. bombing raids which have left 100,000 Iraqis dead, or our ongoing development of thousands of weapons of mass destruction. Our Pharisee rulers would have us believe that our wars and our weapons are holy and blessed by God."

Would Jesus have invaded Iraq? Do moral values have a place in war? This article raises a lot of questions for Christians with W stickers on their autos....

Monday, February 14, 2005

Vertigo Wins 3 Grammys

At the risk of being labeled a "so-called U2 fan",

I submit that U2's performance was not as good as it could have been. Bono stumbled through the introduction, and then stubled through the ending (the middle part and big "sing" were really good, though).
If anyone noticed, no standing ovation for U2 (though almost all of the other acts got them). I blame it on the song selection. "Sometimes" is a great tune, but it lost a lot of its punch by coming after Alicia Keyes who blew the roof off the place with her soaring vocals (that Bono can't match...sorry, I love him, but you have to admit that Alicia's vocals blew Bono's out of the water).
Why not play Vertigo, the song that just won 3 Grammys? It rocks and would have had the crowd popping, certainly that's what the Grammy people wanted U2 to play. I thought it was a downer in an above par Grammy show. It's a shame, 'cause they could have blown 'em all away with Vertigo or All Because of You (current US single).

Other Grammy notes:
Jimmy Page looks Asian these days
Jerry Lee Lewis sure gave the camera a glare....I thought these Lifetime Achievement folks really got the short end of the stick last night, just a glancing shot from the camera for these Legends?
Why the Southern Rock show? This music category has been in decline since the late 70's. It was funny when Green Day came on later with the lyrics about not wanting to be part of "redneck America". I love Southern Rock, but let's admit that since Skynyrd's plane crashed, the whole genre has stagnated. I once thought the Black Crowes could revive it, but I was wrong.
Melissa Ethridge was awesome. Up there bald-headed (she's undergoing therapy for breast cancer), she sang her ass off like Janis, and damn she has balls to get out there and do her thing like that. Two thumbs up for her!
To my taste, Green Day came off the best....they rocked with a politically charged song. Danger and fun? Yeah, I like that, dude. You rock, and I salute you!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Deservedly Scorching U2

Chicago Tribune | U2's midlife crisis:

"The band always aimed high, but with a high-minded purpose. Forged in the post-punk climate of the late '70s in Dublin, the quartet built a huge worldwide following by not only playing soul-searching arena rock, but by evincing a genuine passion for social and spiritual matters that had little to do with corporate-rock affairs of the wallet.

Or so it seemed.

In recent years, their business practices have become more suspect, their attention-seeking more transparent, their principles more readily compromised, and their music less challenging."

This is one of the best U2 articles in some time. As a longtime fan, I found myself nodding a lot, and was impressed with the relative accuracy of the story. And I attended the New Orleans PopMart concert, 8th row center, baby!

I still haven't paid the $40 fee for, though I was a subscriber to Propaganda (fan club magazine) for years. I didn't buy the U2 iPod, or the digital box set, or the $50 "collector's edition" CD with booklet and 1 extra song (that happens to be one of my favorites, "Fast Cars"). They're squeezing big U2 fans for $, put homey don't play dat.

It'll be interesting watching U2 at the Grammy's tonight....maybe Bono will say the F-word again.

By the way, did I mention what a great article this is? Click on it, dude, I promise!

Friday, February 04, 2005

Hwy 17 near Scotts Hill

DSC07521edit1 copyc, originally uploaded by Watts Carr.

Driving South at sunset, I caught this shot out of the roof of my car. The bridge is brand new and part of the I-440/Hwy 17 ByPass north of Wilmington, NC.

Getting the Bone

Miss Daisy's Driving - By William Saletan:
"Medicare will cover Viagra and other drugs for sexual dysfunction. Critique: Just when you thought government couldn't get dumber, here comes the boner subsidy. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, will file legislation to ban Medicare coverage of 'lifestyle drugs.' King tells NYT, 'We are promoting abstinence for young people with raging hormones, and yet we are going to ask them to pay taxes for sex-enhancing drugs for seniors?' Defense: Medicare is just following precedent: Insurers already cover 'quality-of-life' drugs for pain or indigestion, and the Department of Veterans Affairs covers Viagra for 150,000 men. Rebuttal: My God, it's worse than we thought. Implication: The distinction between necessary and elective medicine is breaking down.", not only do we get the 4-hour erection ads, we now have to watch them knowing that our tax dollars are paying for some guy's wood. Hey ladies....aren't your panti...I mean, shouldn't women be upset that our gov't pays for boners, but not for birth control pills? Women are REALLY getting screwed in this deal ;-)

Real Tax Reform

How Much Tax Would You Like to Pay?

Diddling around with a tiny percentage of Social Security funds is not going to solve anything. Social Security, according to the Bush Administration, is in an emergency situation and we have to fix it before it goes broke. Well, what about this years' $1/2 Trillion budget deficit? Trimming that would help Social Security more in the long run, much more that a few % of workers' tax going to "private" accounts.
My favorite answer? Simplify the tax code to make it more fair, and easier for regular people to understand and control. We need real reform, and I like big ideas like this one from Stephen Moore at Cato.