Vitriol
© 1995 by Andersen Silva (02-95)

I'm getting a little bit tired of people criticizing Newt Gingrich for trying to make some money.

Granted, a $4.5 million book advance is ridiculous. This man is not a Stephen King, or a Dean Koontz, or even an Anne Rice. While starving young writers (like me) struggle to sell short stories and poems, Gingrich gets a huge contract, simply because he's Speaker of the House. It is also important to remember that Gingrich attacked Jim Wright when he was Speaker, for a book deal which garnered Wright 55% royalties. Outrageous? Perhaps. But no more so than Newt's advance.

I'm not saying that Speakers of the House have no right to write, and to make some money from their writing. I just think that they should be paid a little more appropriately. These are not best-selling novelists. And in this case, there is also the matter of Rupert Murdoch, who would be doing well to make a close friend and ally of the Speaker.

No, we shouldn't be criticizing Gingrich for selling books. There are many other reasons to keep a close eye on this man. I'm no fan of the GOP, but if they are truly interested in "fixing" the ills of this nation, keeping this mad dog in line and out of the media would be a Capitol idea. With Newt, House Majority Leader Dick Arney, Senator Jesse Helms, and some of the other trash-talking Republicans making the papers every few days with stupid foot-in-mouth soundbites, how can the right expect anyone to take them seriously?

Speaking of the Republicans, what's the big idea, eliminating the funding for public television and radio? If the Contract With America is truly dedicated to reducing the federal deficit, why not start by cutting funding to the bloated, ugly mass that is the American military? No, the world is not a safe place, not yet, but we don't need to spend as much as we are to defend the United States. Our military's budgeting is inefficient and haphazard. Meanwhile, space research, from which many advances and day-to-day benefits have occurred, gets slashed. There are many places where cuts can and should be made; the fine programming made available by National Public Radio and PBS is not among them.

On to other things... I'm also no fan of political correctness, as I have mentioned before. I think we're getting a little too sensitive about the wrong things. I don't care if you call me a Brazilian-American, a white male, or a cracker. It's infuriating to see and hear people side-stepping to avoid making what could be seen as an inflammatory remark (so I say "Oriental" instead of "Asian?" It may not be quite as accurate, but at least I know enough to be partly capable of differentiating Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, and the other Asian peoples by facial characteristics and language, rather than lumping them all together as "Chinese," like so many Americans do). Meanwhile, few get upset about the plight of the homeless, or what's going on in the former Soviet Union and its former Eastern bloc.

We're putting too much emphasis on how we're different; it's making us forget how we're really all the same. By clinging almost obsessively to cultures of the past, we postpone the coming together of the human race. All cultures should be studied and understood by all peoples, but none should be placed above the others, on a social or a personal level, whether it be European, African, Asian, Native American, or what have you.

By proclaiming onself to be "white," or "African-American," or "gay," or "Catholic," one proceeds to divide. We must keep in mind that the first label that can be attached to a newborn baby is "human." That's what we all are, that's what we all have in common. Everything else is secondary. One doesn't learn to hate, fear, or distrust others until much later.

As a race, we can either live in the past, "as our fathers did," and continue to stagnate, or we can look to the future, living as one people, with the combined knowledge, wisdom, and art of all the cultures behind us.

And now, some assorted stuff...

Do you really want to see the O.J. Simpson trial every day, read about it in every newspaper, see interviews with they guy who bumped into him on the street in New York six years ago next Tuesday? If so, try getting your own life. I, for one, am mightily disgusted with the media overkill, something that seems to have developed during the late '80s. A small rain forest was decimated to run reports on Amy Fisher, Tonya Harding, and Donald Trump, and why? WHO CARES? One article in each paper for one day, and that's more than enough for these insignifs. All right, Trump's not exactly insignificant, but being rich does not entitle one to monopolize front covers. Maybe if everybody writes to their local newspaper and demands that more attention be paid to the news, eventually the hint will be taken.

"Star Trek: Voyager" had a strong debut. I really like Captain Kate Janeway, although I must confess that I'm going to have to get used to her voice. It's nice to see a Vulcan on the bridge of a starship again. I was a bit taken aback by the captain's decision to officially make the Maquis terrorists a part of her crew (although Chakotay is a much more interesting First Officer than Will Riker ever was), but, hey, that's what makes Janeway different from Picard (and probably even Kirk), so I respect that. I think that, under the circumstances, Benjamin Sisko might have done the same thing. And speaking of Sisko, why is "Voyager" on against "Deep Space Nine" in the New York market? Yes, I realize that Paramount has to market its new network, but aren't both these shows produced by the same team? Have other markets also been faced with this dilemma?

Isn't Kennedy gone yet? Maybe this annoying VJ will get picked up by Senator Ted Kennedy, and after hitting a few bars, they'll head home, driving over a bridge, and...

I occasionally listen to Howard Stern. He can often be funny, and he can often be crude; he is not always both. That is as defensive as I will get. I have, however, noticed of late that he is using "...and junk" a lot. "She was nice-lookin' and junk," "There was food and junk," things like that. I don't know if he thinks this will appeal to a younger market, or if maybe he's picking it up from his own kids, but it certainly isn't going to help his image. Howard does have his moments of lucid intelligence; they're not going to be spotted in the midst of the juvenile talk.

In late-breaking news, I have to declare my disgust with Apple for apparently jumping on the conservative bandwagon and trying to censor Voyager Co. for a historical CD-ROM title being packaged in a software bundle sold to schools. It seems that some people have complained about references to birth control, abortions, and homosexuality; Apple has asked Voyager to remove the offending subjects, and they have refused, rightfully. If this last bastion of fresh liberalism in corporate America is caving, we're in trouble. To think, I might now be too embarrassed to admit that I own a Macintosh!

Well, I don't know about you, but I feel a lot better, after unloading all that on you! Bye now...


April 2004 - The real final Vitriol, Howard Stern, Dubya, etc.
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March 2004 - Dining out with my baby, Virtual PC, and the end of Vitriol... or is it?
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February 2004 - Two weeks between jobs, three new songs, grabbing Panther by the tail
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January 2004 - Ice skating with Gina, sushi at my sister's wedding, war-riding, the pink slip
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December 2003 - Moving pains, goin' places with Gina, Christmas bells
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November 2003 - The looong month of October, finding an apartment, Ozzy's gone
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October 2003 - I'm in love with her and I feel fine, Boston, the Dalai Lama, apartment for rent?
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September 2003 - Andy, happy? it could happen!, taking time off from work, Ringo Starr, "Discworld," the blackout
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August 2003 - (W)here (M)ight (D)ose WMDs be?, gay marriages and the people who fear them, '80s metal bands, Computer Man to the rescue, Philadelphia freedom
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July 2003 - Boondocks.net is back!, rudeness on public transportation and elsewhere, "Hole in the Wall"
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June 2003 - Science fiction movies, where is Boondocks.net?, still no weapons of misconstruction...
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May 2003 - How 'bout them weapons of mass distraction, huh?, Def Leppard, Michael Palin, another Silva, wireless networking, and a damned good raspberry margarita
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April 2003 - They're still French fries, dammit!, a new guitar for Andy, music-music-music
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March 2003 - The buildup for, and the protesting against, war
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February 2003 - The destruction of the Columbia, the National Day of Poetry Against the War, hard and soft atheism, Pete Townshend, and the gift shop
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January 2003 - Christmas loot, "Swingin'," more war talk
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December 2002 - The year in review, moving again?!?, moving world leaders around, too
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November 2002 - "Scarlet's Walk" and Tori's penguin, jackasses, and killing in the name of...
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October 2002 - Boston, Aimee Mann, and Palpatine/Bush
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September 2002 - George Darius Bush and George Xerxes Bush
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August 2002 - Movin' out of Paisan-town, and far away from the Regal Beagle
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July 2002 - Church and state: you gotta keep 'em separated, Dubya still doesn't want to play nice with the rest of the world, John Entwistle's gone
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June 2002 - Movin' on from town to town, Dave Barry and the Rock Bottom Remainders
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May 2002 - Science fiction movies everywhere!, jail time for virus creators, Dubya finally learns to pronounce 'occupation,' Andy gets a promotion?!?
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April 2002 - Terrorism on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, people who don't interact with me or the Web site, "For Dana" to be released on a compilation CD
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March 2002 - Chip implants, the children of God and the followers of Christ commit murder in His name, ultranationalism American style
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February 2002 - Dubya says, "These pretzels are making me- ack!" Sharon continues playing Napoleon, and... the return of Foogar?
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January 2002 - Rob Zombie, Ozzy Osbourne, and other Christmas-related items, stealin' cars, karaoke!
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December 2001 - George meets his sweet lord, terrorists EVERYwhere!, Tomb Raider II finished finally, and the Segway, finally!
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November 2001 - Anthrax (the band), WSOU rocks - but for how much longer? and a minute of silence?
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October 2001 - Osama bin Laden and anthrax and the women who love them
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September 2001 - Governments and armies and the assholes who love them, more misspellings, and a large lack of feedback
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August 2001 - Dubya's isolationism, the Macedonians and Albanians search for peace the Israeli/Palestinian way, 2004 Olympics in Beijing
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July 2001 - Not the Sexiest Geek Alive, war (what is it good for?), murdering citizens American-style
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June 2001 - A dead hitchhiker, the Taliban, and an independent Senator Jeffords
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May 2001 - Joey Ramone's dead, and "Joey Ramone's Dead"
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April 2001 - Brazil (not the Terry Gilliam film), Dubya and carbon dioxide, Yugoslavia begins coming to its senses, Israel and the Palestinians still haven't come to theirs...
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March 2001 - New look for the Web site, upcoming vacation in Brazil!, the pig-headed Taliban, "Hannibal"
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February 2001 - Tomb Raider II, Dubya plays with his new toys, nature plays with El Salvador and India, and the inevitable Chechnya and Israel/Palestinians references
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January 2001 - Snow, a new year/decade/century/millennium, screen resolutions
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December 2000 - The iBook, "The X-Files," the Grinch, the pathetic turn of events in the U.S. elections...
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November 2000 - Got the iBook! the Village Parade, trouble still brewin' in the Mideast, the upcoming U.S. elections...
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October 2000 - Andy turns 30, the Middle East, the anniversary of the invasion of Chechnya...
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September 2000 - A random act of kindness, Great Adventure, new music, new iBooks?
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August 2000 - Palestine and the Israelis, Milosevic, Speight, and breaking the speed of light!
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July 2000 - Israel & the Palestinians, the missile defense shield, and (who'da thunk it?) Chechnya
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June 2000 - Um, Chechnya again, gun-totin' Charlton Heston, misspellings, and xenophobes
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May 2000 - Communism on the last May Day of the twentieth century, and Andy's life ("Don't talk to me about life...")
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April 2000 - Hold on, it's more Chechnya rantin', and an appeal on behalf of a friend caught behind red tape
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March 2000 - Hey, hey, Pinochet, Russia and China won't go away, "The X-Files," the American presidential race, and a prelude to vacation
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February 2000 - Again with the Chechens, and Elián, Pinochet, mp3.com vs. the recording industry, and snow
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January 2000 - Made it through January 1st, Syria and Israel, public transportation, and, er, Chechnya
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December 1999 - Indonesia comes apart, Chechnya (no shit), Seattle's burning, 'n Happy Xmas
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November 1999 - Halloween, my bad knee, Russians? in Chechnya?!? Buchanan and the Reform Party, NIN
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October 1999 - Hurricane on the East Coast, earthquakes in Taiwan, Turkey, and Greece, and Apple Computers
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September 1999 - I'm not getting you down, am I? I'd hate to think I was getting you down...

- - - the Dark Ages (reprise) - - -

April 1999 - the return of Vitriol, Kosovo, a foreshadowing of the Russian invasion of Chechnya (!), and Libya

- - - the Dark Ages - - -

September-November 1995 - the Underground Press Conference, a co-worker bites the dust, Rabin really bites the dust, Remington Bond, Win95, and the Sex Pistols
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August 1995 - the death penalty, the V-chip and violence in pop culture, and "TV Nation"
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June 1995 - Oklahoma City, 'zines, "The X-Files" and "V.R.5"
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March 1995 - I'm sick!, the space program (ha), alt.zines, "Star Trek" and "Voyager"
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February 1995 - the very first Vitriol! Newt Gingrich, political correctness, media overkill, Howard Stern, the Apple goon squad?
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