Monday, April 27, 2009

"Water flows humbly to the lowest level. / Nothing is weaker than water, / Yet for overcoming what is hard and strong, / Nothing surpasses it."*

Let's play a little game, shall we?

(1)  Get a bag of marshmallows, like a bag of those old-school Kraft burn-on-a-stick-because-you-left-it-in-the-campfire-too-long-type big-ass marshmallows.

(2)  Fit as many marshmallows as you can in your mouth without (A) choking to death; (B) throwing up all over the place; or (C) being unable to breath.

(3)  With the marshmallows in your mouth, read the following to yourself in a normal, steady pace:

One- Mississippi
Two- Mississippi
Three- Mississippi
Four- Mississippi
Five- Mississippi
Six- Mississippi
Seven- Mississippi
Eight- Mississippi
Nine- Mississippi
Ten- Mississippi
Eleven- Mississippi
Twelve- Mississippi
Thirteen- Mississippi
Fourteen- Mississippi
Fifteen- Mississippi
Sixteen- Mississippi
Seventeen- Mississippi
Eighteen- Mississippi
Nineteen- Mississippi
Twenty- Mississippi
Twenty-One- Mississippi
Twenty-Two- Mississippi
Twenty-Three- Mississippi
Twenty-Four- Mississippi
Twenty-Five- Mississippi
Twenty-Six- Mississippi
Twenty-Seven- Mississippi
Twenty-Eight- Mississippi
Twenty-Nine- Mississippi
Thirty- Mississippi
Thirty-One- Mississippi
Thirty-Two- Mississippi
Thirty-Three- Mississippi
Thirty-Four- Mississippi
Thirty-Five- Mississippi
Thirty-Six- Mississippi
Thirty-Seven- Mississippi
Thirty-Eight- Mississippi
Thirty-Nine- Mississippi
Forty- Mississippi


Oh...wait a second...I forgot a few things.  You also have to make sure that you:

(1)  spit out the marshmallows;
(2)  are bound securely to an approximately 4'x7' inclined bench with your feet elevated;
(3)  are covering your forehead and eyes with a cloth;
(4)  have a soaking wet cloth lowered until it covers both your nose and your mouth;
(5)  have water continuously applied to the cloth (which is still covering your nose and mouth) from a height of twelve to twenty-four inches for 20 to 40 seconds.
(6)  say a small prayer that it's only going to happen once, because one full application of this could last up to TWENTY minutes (according to a memo from The United States Office of Legal Council in 2002).

THAT is water boarding.
THAT...ladies and torture.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: water boarded 183 times in March 2003 (approx. 6 times/day)
Abu Zubaydah: water boarded 83 times in August 2002 (approx. 2-1/2 times/day)

I'm not saying that these were innocent men.  Far from it.

But we're the UNITED fucking STATES OF AMERICA!  We're better than this.  We have to be...we NEED to be!  Because even if you're okay with this...even if you feel like the United States shouldn't take the high road...remember this:

If we torture, we're giving the rest of the world "blank check" to do the same to our people.

Our sons...daughters...nephews...nieces...grandsons...granddaughters...wives...husbands...friends.

We're better than this...

*Lao-Tzu (Tao Te Ching)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't Shoot The Messenger! (Actually, I'll Sacrifice The Messenger...Just Don't Kill The Message!)

I'm not a really big fan of Governor Paterson, especially regarding his handling of the Hillary Clinton/Caroline Kennedy fiasco and the nightmare that is the MTA, but I have to admit that he's showing some balls by introducing a bill to legalize gay marriage in the state of New York. Even more, he wants the bill brought to the floor for debate even if it looks like it won't pass. That, my friends, is small but important step in changing the culture in Albany.  Whatever side you're on in the issue, you should have the cojones to stand up and make your opinion known ON THE RECORD.  My only concern with Gov. Paterson introducing this bill is that I'm not sure which one we're going to get in this: the Gov. Paterson who showed energy and excitement when first taking the position or the Gov. Paterson who seems to be wallowing in his own low approval ratings.  Call my a "cynical optimist" but though I'm expecting the former, I'm still bracing myself for the latter.

Of course, there are going to be obstacles along the way: Sen. Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx), an evangelical pastor, and the newly-installed Archbishop Timothy Dolan.  Do I need to even tell you where this is going? Yup...a shitload more religion fucking up the way our government is supposed run.

Well, maybe it's about time we let Albany know that gay marriage isn't a religious issue...IT'S A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE!  I see this as being no different than the fight to give women the right to vote or to end segregation for African-Americans...except we're now in 2009 and this insane act of injustice continues.  Civil unions? Nice try...except that civil union couples are denied OVER 80% of the civil protections afforded married straight couples.  I'm sorry, but that's not the kind of "democracy" I want to live in...

So what can you do? Let Sen. Diaz and Archbishop Dolan know that they should keep their religion in their place of worship, and let true civil rights reign throughout this land:

NYS Senator Ruben Diaz

District Office
1733 East 172nd Street
Bronx, NY 10472
Tel:  (718) 991-3161
Fax:  (718) 991-0309

Albany Office
307 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Tel:  (518) 455-2511
Fax:  (518) 426-6945

Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Archdiocese of New York: 212-371-1000

Though I'm as surprised as anyone to find myself doing this, I'd like to end with a section from Gov. Paterson's press conference this morning:

“Rights should not be stifled by fear. Silence should not be a response to injustice. If we take no action we will surely lose; maybe we’ve already lost...There is no gain without struggle and there is no corner of this country or region of the world that tirelessly has not been struggling to bring freedom to those who don’t have it.”


Monday, April 13, 2009

Why Better Than Ezra Is The Best Band In The World!

I was "introduced" to DELUXE in 1995, the same year that Better Than Ezra released their first nationally-distributed album.  Surprisingly, it wasn't their first (and most successful) single, "Good," that hooked me in.  No, it was a little song entitled "Cry in the Sun" that did me in.  There was something very soulful in the sound of Tom's voice, as if each word that he sang carried with it the hope and heartbreak of lost love and timeless memories.  There was an earnestness...a longing...that registered with me then and has kept me an "Ezralite"all of these years since.  Don't believe me? Just look at the first two stanzas:

You cleaned out your room
And under your bed
Lay a picture long forgotten
With a hand to your head
You sigh out loud
As a memory rushes over
And buries you

A summer rainstorm
But the shed was dry
With a girl from Carolina
And you held her so tight
For the warmth that the rain denied
As the time has slowed to a flash...

....and that's before we even get to the "hook"!  When you read those words and really feel them, then I would humbly state that you would have to be a heartless prick to not get some emotional jolt from it.  Which of us hasn't found ourselves in that very same situation: we're going through our things...maybe some old boxes in the basement or those bags you swore you'd go through "just as soon as I get a chance"...and we find that little something...maybe a picture, maybe an old ticket stub...that allows us to travel back to a time when our lives were different...maybe simpler, maybe more complex.  The song's ability to do that to me...FOR what truly makes it art in my eyes.  Surprisingly (or "not surprisingly," for those of you who are fans of this site), it was the band's new single "Absolutely Still" that got me thinking about why I've liked the band for so long.  But I soon realized that it was a lot bigger than just one band and one song.  It's about all of those times in our lives when a simple lyric, a simple note made the difference between laughter and tears...between working out our anger and coming to terms with our loss.

Music makes us better people.  Music defines us.

I like to think of music as water and that we're all scuba divers maneuvering our way from one coral reef to the next, stopping along the way to take in all of the raw beauty around us as we explore.  Music creates opens our minds in ways writing and speaking cannot and forces us to be better than what we are.  Music gives us hope. Music makes us laugh, cry, scream, mourn, dance, and think.  To paraphrase a famous writer MUCH more prolific than me, music allows us to "rage, rage against the dying of the light."

The first two albums* I ever owned were the soundtracks to XANADU and FLASH GORDON, both movies that could best be described as "cult classics" (and for XANADU, that's being really kind).  The movies may have been shitty, but there was some great music from ELO and Queen and most importantly...THESE WERE MINE!  Owning an album was my first taste of freedom, and every groove on that vinyl was like a thing of beauty to me.  Almost every aspect of my life from that moment forward was defined by music:

*The theme music for the Channel 6 Action News broadcast always meant one of two things: either my Dad was home for dinner before going off to his second job, or my Dad was home in time for the 11 o'clock broadcast.

*I remember my sister taking the time to save my "musical soul" by introducing me to such rock legends as The Beatles, The Who and The Rolling Stones.  If any of you remember the beginning of ALMOST FAMOUS, you know there was a scene where William (after watching his sister Anita leave for her "new life") sits down and goes through all of the albums she's left him.  It's a transformational experience for him, and it was the same way for me...except my sister went on to the Air Force instead of being a flight attendant.  Hmmmm...come to think of it...even that's pretty odd in similarity...

*My college roommate showed me that there was life beyond the Top 40 charts.  Thanks to him, I got to "meet" Metallica, Alice in Chains and Nirvana.  Funny story (well, maybe not "ha-ha" funny but more like "wow-that's-weird-how-things-turn-out" funny) roommate also worked for the campus newspaper doing some freelance music reviews.  One day, he came back to the residence halls with a cassette single* swearing up and down that he had heard something that was going to change the face of music as we know it.  Of course, we all bitched and moaned until I finally gave in and gave it a listen...and I couldn't predict just how right he was.  The band? Nirvana.  The song? "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

Wow...just writing about it brings back a flood of memories.  My "Debbie Gibson" stage...learning to love Led Zeppelin...needing to hear "Crush" every fucking night when "The Hill" would be open for business, because good taste (and superstition) made it so...the evolution of my life as a "mix tape artist" from recording songs off of the radio (making sure to cue the recording just after the jackass on-air jock finished rambling and stopping it before he started talking again or the next song started) to burning CD's (customizable CD jewel case artwork? NICE!) to creating themed playlists on my iPod...the surprise on people's faces when they look at my iPod and find Wayne Wonder, King Diamond, Jay-Z, Pearl Jam, Depeche Mode and Frank Sinatra all on the same list...getting into a debate in the middle of a student center over who's the better artist: Lupe Fiasco or Lil Wayne.

So it's really not a matter of whether or not Better Than Ezra is the best band in the world...though don't think for a SECOND that I couldn't make the argument.  It's how music makes us think and feel, and not losing sight of that.  That's why it's so important for music programs to be better funded in our schools.  I was never lucky enough to learn an instrument when I was younger, save for a song or two on a harmonica, but I always felt that I would've been an AWESOME saxophonist.  That's why I commend programs such as VH1's "Save The Music" (though part of me thinks it's VH1's way of trying to save their souls for putting on such shit as "For The Love of Ray J" and "I Love New York").

I was going to end with something that's a little cliched, something about music being "the soundtrack of our lives."  Instead, I think I'll leave this in the hands of Charles Kingsely:

"There is something very wonderful about music. Words are wonderful enough; but music is even more wonderful. It speaks not to our thoughts as words do; it speaks through our hearts and spirits, to the very core and root of our souls. Music soothes us, stirs us up, it puts noble feelings in us, it can make us cringe; and it can melt us to tears; and yet we have no idea how. It is a language by itself, just as perfect in its ways as speech, as words, just as divine, just as blessed."
I'm not going to make it easy for you this time.  I want more than your thoughts on this post...


Post up your favorite songs, your favorite playlists...whatever turns you on musically I want to know what it is and why.

(1)  E-MAIL:

(2)  FACEBOOK:  Because Cows Make Delicious (group name)

(3)  Leave a comment at the bottom of this post by clicking "Comment," choose either "Anonymous" or "Name/URL"(you can just type your name and comment and leave the URL area blank).


Friday, April 10, 2009

1000! 1000! 1000! 1000! 1000! 1000! 1000! 1000! 1000! 1000! 1000! 1000!

1000 HITS!

Thanks to all of you who've remained dedicated to the site, posted comments, sent me e-mails and/or posted on the Facebook group. It means a lot...BUT OUR WORK ISN'T OVER!! "The Cult of the Cow" continues to grow, so get the word out!

In honor of this momentous occasion, I give you this. ENJOY!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


"Somewhere over the rainbow / Bluebirds fly. / Birds fly over the rainbow. / Why then, oh why can't I?"


So it seems like the momentum is shifting EVER so slightly toward the idea of legalizing gay marriage, and a BIG slow-clap-leading-to-a-rousing-applause goes out to Iowa and Vermont this week for siding with decency and justice in what IS the biggest civil rights issue in this country today...and Vermont did it through their legislature and not through the courts!  With similar bills floating around New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maine and New York, we might just start turning the "dream" of the United States into a reality.  


PS:  By the way, for those of you out there getting your panties in a bunch with some righteous indignation I'd like to offer you this: I'll stop pushing for a fifty-state legalized gay marriage initiative when you get your "religions" the fuck out of my local, state and federal governments. Either that, or we start taxing. Sounds good to me...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


I'm not sure what else to put...I think the title to this post is pretty just click the title and check out the video: