Monthly Archives: May 2014

Go “Frack” Yourself!

How fracking dumb can you get? (Passionists International)

According to the website Dangers of Fracking, hydraulic fracturing is “the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside.” And at the moment, there are more than 500,000 active natural gas wells in the United States.

Unfortunately, my home state of North Carolina is looking to add more wells to the mix, thanks primarily to Republicans who hope to remove a state moratorium preventing hydraulic fracturing. And on Wednesday, preliminary approval for fracking passed with a House vote of 63-52, which means permits for natural gas removal could begin being issued as early as next year. Oh joy!

To support their efforts, proponents of hydraulic fracturing focus primarily on two perceived benefits of this controversial practice. The first is obviously more abundant fuel, since natural gas pockets are everywhere. And the second benefit—which is equally obvious—is a boost to the local economies of any towns, cities or counties brave enough to incorporate fracking into their energy plans.

Of course, when you examine the potential dangers of fracking, it hardly seems worth the trouble. Consider the following statistics, which again come from the website Dangers of Fracking:

  • Each gas well requires 400 tanker trucks to carry water and supplies to and from the sites.
  • It takes 1-8 million gallons of water to complete each fracturing job.
  • The water used in fracking is mixed with sand and chemicals to create fracking fluid—and approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used during each fracturing.
  • Fracking fluid is created with up to 600 chemicals, including toxins and carcinogens like lead, mercury, uranium, methanol, hydrochloric acid, radium and even formaldehyde. This fluid is pressure injected into the ground through a pipeline—usually down 10,000 feet or more—where it cracks shale rock and creates fissures where natural gas flows into the well.
  • During the fracking process, methane gas and toxic chemicals leak out from the system and can contaminate ground water. In fact, the concentrations of methane in drinking-water wells near fracking sites are 17 times higher than in normal wells.
  • Only 30-50% of the fracturing fluid is recovered, while the rest remains in the ground… and it is not biodegradable, either.
  • The waste fluid is left in open air pits to evaporate and releases harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, which can contaminate the air, create ground-level ozone and even cause acid rain.
  • To date, there have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination near gas drilling areas, as well as cases of respiratory, sensory and neurological damage due to the ingestion of contaminated water.

Sorry, but I’d rather find other ways to provide clean energy—ways that won’t destroy the environment or kill people. Unfortunately, oil companies and other fossil fuel peddlers disagree because ultimately, moving to alternative energies reduces their profits—and we certainly can’t have that, can we?

It’s all pretty sad if you consider that America could run completely on alternative energies and eliminate its reliance on fossil fuels altogether. Combining things like wind, solar, wave, tidal and even geothermal power could make oil and natural gas little more than memories, while also saving an environment that appears to be deteriorating at a much more rapid pace. Of course, all you hear is how expensive it is to fund renewable energy systems, and that’s exactly what lawmakers want you to believe. If we feel we can’t afford them, then we’re far less likely to disturb the status quo or rock the proverbial fossil fuel boat, after all.

The truth of the matter (Khalil Bendib)

Too bad this is a huge, stinky load of horse shit.

The truth is that if we all worked together—and put financial concerns aside—we could utilize clean, renewable energy across our great nation and end up saving money, lives and the environment in the process. We could also reduce or eliminate our dependence on foreign oil, which in turn would make military operations like those that occurred in Iraq and Kuwait unnecessary. And we all know why America fought so hard to remove Saddam Hussein from power: to protect its oil!

Sadly, money talks and big business opposes anything that might take cash from their coffers, so alternative energies—some of which have been available for decades—remain just that: alternative. And though I remain optimistic that America will eventually “see the light” and start utilizing things like solar and wind power more frequently, I fear nothing will change as long as we allow corporations and politicians to run our country.

In other words, the time for an energy revolution has come, people. So when supporters of hydraulic fracturing come calling, do us all a favor and tell them to “go frack themselves.” The future is now and if there is any “energy hope” left for humanity, it won’t come from fossil fuels and natural gas; it will come from renewable energy.

Too bad lawmakers in North Carolina are too blind, greedy and self-serving to see that. Crazy bastards…

Here We “O” Again!

I'm not sure this really helps the male cause (Backpackers/YouTube)

I’m not sure this really helps the male cause (Backpackers/YouTube)

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Dutch, all-girl music group ADAM and the video for their single “Go to Go.” In it, the girls attempt to sing along to the song as off-screen vibrators are used to bring them to orgasm. It’s a pretty awesome performance, to say the least, and you can easily access it through the link in my article (“O” My Goodness!).

Not to be outdone—and in an effort to bring attention to the male orgasm—social media personalities Backpackers have countered with their own video, a clear spoof of ADAM’s performance. And I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hilarious and very, very true.

Check it out HERE and get ready to laugh!

Double Take, Vol. XXII

GTA Saves the Day!

One of the best video games ever made… and helpful, too! (Rockstar Games)

All you ever hear about the popular Rockstar video game series Grand Theft Auto is how it glorifies violence, celebrates death and turns average, everyday kids into mindless zombies intent on destruction in their real lives. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth—since the evening news can be just as violent and disturbing as any video game—and now we have proof.

Charley Cullen is an 11-year-old boy from Slane, Ireland who recently found himself in a potentially deadly situation. He and his 79-year-old grandfather were driving home from a drama class—traveling roughly 70 mph—when his grandfather suddenly blacked out behind the wheel… with his foot still on the accelerator!

Fortunately, Charley acted quickly, grabbed the wheel with one hand and used the other to try and revive his “papa.” He steered the car away from busy roads and eventually crashed sideways into the gates of a building, fracturing his skull in the process. Despite his injury, though, Charley was still able to pull his grandfather from the car and carry him more than 50 yards to their home.

“We got to my Papa’s house and my Nana didn’t know what was happening or anything like that,” Charley explained in an interview on Ireland’s RTE Radio. “I opened the door and I can just remember the screams at the back of my head.”

An ambulance arrived a short time later and, thankfully, both Charley and his grandfather are doing fine. However, when asked how he was able to react so quickly—and to drive an automobile at all, given his lack of formal training—Charley scored one for GTA lovers everywhere when he responded, “The only way I had any experience was the Grand Theft Auto game.”

In other words, GTA didn’t turn this kid into a psychopathic school shooter; it turned him into a hero and actually saved lives.

Take that, GTA haters!

Double Take, Vol. XXI

Calcium is an important part of any diet. Why not get it straight from the source? (Kristian Dowling/Getty Images)

Calcium is an important part of any diet. Why not get it straight from the source? (Kristian Dowling/Getty Images)

Yearbook Quotes from Hell!

Graduating seniors say the darndest—and sometimes the dumbest—things…

Ritualize It

Misteri Ritual Seks Di Gunung Kemukus Untuk Mencari Kekayaan

Knocking boots Muslim-style (LintasME)

Despite being agnostic, I was raised in a Southern Baptist church and, as a result, participated in several religious rituals—most notably communion and baptism. I understood the significance of these rituals at the time and joined in willingly, but they obviously had little effect since I still drifted away from Christianity later in life.

Recently, however, I heard about a Muslim ritual in Indonesia that I can really “get behind,” in a manner of speaking. It involves a shrine known as Gunung Kemukus and the legend of Pangeran Samodro, a young Muslim prince who fell in love with his stepmother, Nyai Ontrowulan. The couple fled to Gunung Kemukus and were in the process of making love when they were discovered and killed by guards.

A couple prepares for the spiritual and kinky ritual (Flickr)

To celebrate this legend—and to complete the union of the young, interrupted lovers—Muslims in Indonesia travel to the shrine every 35 days, offer flowers and prayers at a sacred grave, and then seek out a stranger with whom to have anonymous sex. Some believe this ritual completes the copulation of its legendary inspirations, while others feel their shameful act helps to minimize the shame of Samodro and his stepmother’s physical relationship. Whatever the case may be, though, the end result is the same: Muslims hooking up with strangers and doing the nasty in makeshift bungalows surrounding Gunung Kemukus.

I may not practice Islam, but it suddenly seems much more appealing. Any chance non-believers can register for this ritual? And if so, is online registration available?

A Tale of Two Husbands

 

Calen is too cute! (YouTube)

Calen is too cute! (YouTube)

Kid’s reaction to meeting a gay couple for the first time is priceless – YouTube.

I just saw this video and had no choice but to share it, since it is absolutely adorable. It shows a young boy’s first encounter with a gay couple—in this case two men—and his awesome reaction. And if more kids behave like this little man, maybe there is some hope for the future.

Enjoy!

Grow a Pair

Maybe it's you who needs to grow a pair, pal (Monica Almeida/New York Times)

Maybe it’s you who needs to grow a pair, pal (Monica Almeida/New York Times)

Is it possible that Americans are making too big a deal out of bullying? If you’re Porterville, California Mayor Cameron Hamilton, then the answer seems to be “yes.”

Last week, KFSN out of Fresno reported on a Porterville City Council meeting where its leaders were discussing a proposal to create a “safe zone” for bullied students at Burton Middle School. And Hamilton wasted no time in making his controversial views known.

“I’m against bullying, but I’m getting damn tired of it being used as a mantra for everything and the ills of the world,” he said. “All most people have to do is grow a pair and stick up for their damn selves.”

Pretty enlightened view, huh?

Councilwoman Virginia Gurrola, who supported the safe zone proposal, immediately countered and said, “It is hard to stand up and ‘grow a pair’ when you’re maybe a 10-year-old little girl.” Of course, Hamilton had an answer for that, too.

“Then maybe the other 10-year-olds that think they want to stop bullying will stand up for her instead of a safe zone with a placard.”

Ultimately, Hamilton’s efforts were successful and the Burton Middle School students’ proposal was withdrawn. He later claimed that his message was that “together we can all fight this thing.” What he doesn’t seem to realize, however, is that safe zones also provide sanctuary for LGBT students, who seem to start questioning their sexuality at an earlier age now. Is this really the kind of message to send to them—that their feelings, internal struggles and mistreatment by others mean nothing?

What a piece of work…

The Song Remains the Same?

Give me that riff or I’ll take it from you! (Led Zeppelin/Spotify)

Once again, it appears that the legendary rock group Led Zeppelin is under fire for musical plagiarism, a charge not uncommon for the quartet—especially for guitarist Jimmy Page, who many considered a craftsman when it came to “lifting riffs” from other artists and incorporating them into Zeppelin tunes.

This time, however, the charges involve arguably Zeppelin’s most notable—and most overplayed—hit song, “Stairway to Heaven.” More specifically, they involve the opening guitar riff, which blatantly rips off the 1968 Spirit song “Taurus.”

Listen for yourself by going HERE and then compare it to the famous Zeppelin song over HERE. The similarity is uncanny—mostly since the riffs are basically identical.

The band Spirit toured with Led Zeppelin in 1969—a year after releasing “Taurus” on their debut album—and could have sued after the release of “Stairway to Heaven” in 1970, but didn’t. Spirit guitarist Randy California went public with his claims in 1997, but again never sued… at least not until recently.

According to Francis Malofiy, an attorney representing a trust for California—who drowned in 1997 after saving his 12-year-old son from a rip current while swimming in the ocean—the lawsuit has been “a long time coming.” In fact, it may not have happened at all if Led Zeppelin wasn’t planning to issue remastered versions of their studio albums, including Led Zeppelin IV, where “Stairway” appears.

Randy California 1979

Randy California in 1979 (Fotos International/Rex Features)

“The idea behind this is to make sure that Randy California is given a writing credit on ‘Stairway to Heaven,’” Malofiy said recently. And since a 2008 estimate calculated that the hit song generated more than $562 million for Led Zeppelin, California’s trust is likely seeking some financial compensation, as well.

As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t the first time Led Zeppelin has been accused of stealing music and songs. A host of their hits allegedly “sample” other artists, including “Whole Lotta Love”—the lyrics of which come from the Willie Dixon blues song “You Need Love”—and “Dazed and Confused”—a song originally written for The Yardbirds by Jake Holmes.

Holmes sued Jimmy Page in 2010 for copyright infringement, but the case was dismissed, presumably because the parties settled out of court. I’m sure Zeppelin paid a hefty price for that one.

Granted, this may not seem like big news to people familiar with all the past allegations of plagiarism against Led Zeppelin, but it sure opened my eyes. And sadly, my opinion of one of my previously favorite bands of all time has forever changed… and not for the better, either. What a shame.

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