Proposed bankruptcy law is disgusting

Got a multibillion dollar company that's too far in the red to save? No problem. Declare bankruptcy, fire everyone, and move on to your next business.

Got a few thousand dollars in credit card debt? Unlucky enough to get laid off and sick at the same time? Just declare bankruptcy, right? Nope. Screw you, buddy, you've STILL got to pay back Citibank.

That's basically the jist of a proposed law that would exempt credit-card debt from personal bankruptcy filings (an earlier version of which, by the way, Bill Clinton let die on his desk rather than sign into law).

How evil is this bill? Let me count the ways. First, deregulation of the lending industry effectively eliminates states' usury laws, allowing credit card companies to charge any interest rate that they deem fit. Then the companies change their business practices to lure college kids and working families into massive debt, while allowing minuscule minimum payments that contribute to the massive compounding of interest debt. "Oops, you were late on your mortgage payment. There goes your unrelated credit card's interest up to 28%!" They then have the audacity to blame cash-strapped consumers who can't get out of the hole created by a never-ending stream of pre-approved credit-card applications, and use lackey politicians to change the law to eliminate the only way out for these poor consumers.

Big banks and their lobbyists are happy, of course, as are the Republican lawmakers ramming this through committee to the President's desk. And this evil sonofabitch is going to sign it into law before you can say "thanks for all those campaign contributions, MBNA."

Pay off your credit cards people. Do it. Now.

God I'm old

There's nothing like an all-ages show to bring father time rudly crashing down upon your distorted sense of personal youth.

Last night I went to see a punk rock show at the Black Cat. The Loved Ones, The Unseen, and some other band were playing, but I just went on a lark, so I didn't know any of the bands beforehand. Turns out they were "old skool" punk rock bands, complete with mohawks, pinned Agnostic Front tee-shirts, and the like. The kids in the audience, who seemed to be about, oh, I don't know....TWELVE OR SO, all had on tee-shirts and patches from bands who were broken up before they were even born. I haven't seen the Ramones seal so many times since 1988. Dead Kennedys, Minor Threat, and the Misfits were other favorites of the kiddie set (I guess Jason's and my suspicions were correct, and new bands DO suck). Seeing all the retro outfits and little girls sporting mohawks made me crack up...literally. It was like a halloween party where everyone dressed up as what punk rockers are supposed to look like. Weird.

Anyway, the Unseen were the band most of the kids were there to see, and I've got to admit that while the music was bland, derivitive, and basically a bad Minor Threat ripoff, the energy of the kids all shouting along made it an enjoyable experience.

I really went to the show to see what amplifiers the guitar players were using. The verdict: Marshalls. In fact, of the five amp heads on stage, four were Marshalls (two JCM 800s, and two I couldn't make out the model numbers on), and one was a Mesa Dual Recto. The Mesa, by the way, blew all of the Marshalls out of the water for the distorted punk stuff the bands were playing.

Still, it was a wake-up call that if I really want to try to sell some amps, I had better quit monkeying around with this low-wattage stuff and focus on 50 and 100 watters to take advantage of all the bullshit market-driven brainwashing that the major manufacturers put out.


Raise your Jäger to our jagare

Originally uploaded by Xose.
We love Ikea. I'm sorry if that offends you or makes us seem like überyüppies who find the need to püt ümlaüts over every ü they come across, but we simply love it.

Jüst finished installing our newest Ikean addition, the schweet jagare spotlight system (see photo), in the back family room, and all I can say is that it's WAY cooler than the cräp, gold-accented chandelier that was fläccidly hanging there when we boüght the hoüse.

We feel so Scandinavian now.