Category Archives: We Didn’t Start The Fire

I can’t take it anymore

This has certainly been an exercise.  Took me 2 plus years to complete.

I’ve been having trouble finding books to read recently.  I wander the aisles of the downtown Wichita Public Library and either give up or grab something at random.  I haven’t finished the last 4 books I’ve checked out.  This makes me sad.

My life is certainly busy.  The boys are growing up.  Playing sports, making art, building Lego ships, Science Olympiad, learning to read, making me laugh.  My last grandparent (Mabel) died last week.  My parents are getting older.  My wife remains as beautiful as ever.

I’ve read multiple articles about how Billy Joel doesn’t really like this song.  I’d agree that is isn’t his best.  I wasn’t alive for the majority of the historical artifacts listed.

I think that the basic reason I wanted to write through them all was to help myself understand what the past is, where is lives in my life, and how I should try to improve the future.

Thanks for sticking with me through it all. May we still burn on, and on, and on.


Hypodermics on the shore, China’s Under Martial Law, Rock and Roller Cola Wars

Hypodermics on the shore, also known as the Syringe Tide, was the result of medical waste being dumped in the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island.  This is how many of the beaches along the Jersey Shore looked in 1987-88:


I think Snooki is under that rock in the middle.

Speaking of toxic waste and ocean pollution…  According to this study, there are approximately 5.25 TRILLION pieces of plastic floating in our oceans.  A 19 year old Dutchmen has developed a boom system to start collecting all the plastic shit us horrible humans have been dumping.


This image is my generation’s Hippie flower in the end of a rifle.  Tank Man (real identity still unknown) solitarily stood in the path of Chinese tanks whose purpose was to clean out the student demonstrators in Tiananmen Square.  Hundreds (or thousands depending on the source) of pro-democracy citizens protesting the oppressive Chinese regime were slaughtered in the hours before Tank Man took his stand.

Now, the world buys everything from this nation.  The sins of consumption push us all beyond justice and peace.

The Great Cola Wars of the 1980s lead to hair on fire, diabetes, and horrible Super Bowl halftime shows.

The best response I’ve ever seen is Neil Young’s video below:

AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz


Ryan White is the first “face of AIDS” that I can recall.  His story is courageous and heartbreaking; indicative of our horrible human practice of judging first and understanding later.

I have never smoked crack.  Two wonderful ladies have kept me on the straight and narrow:

whitney houston just say no


Ronnie looks pretty rough in that picture.  Nancy must have mis-read his star charts.

Bernie Goetz shot four African American teenagers (three of them 19, one of them 18) in a New York City subway train on December 22, 1984.  One of the men sat next to Bernie and asked him for $5.  None of the four men displayed weapons or expressed the desire to physically harm Bernie.

Bernie’s response was to rise from his seat on the train, draw his unlicensed and unregistered revolver and fire five shots at the four men.

According to a taped interview with law enforcement officials (taken only after Goetz had fled the scene and hid from police or several days):

“If I had more bullets, I would have shot ’em all again and again,” Goetz said on the tape, played in a darkened Manhattan courtroom. “My problem was I ran out of bullets. And I was gonna, I was gonna gouge one of the guy’s eyes out with my keys afterwards.”

Goetz was arraigned on multiple counts of attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment, and unlawful criminal possession of a firearm.  His case progressed through multiple iterations in the New York criminal justice system and resulted in a conviction on only one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, for carrying in public the loaded unlicensed gun used in the subway shooting, and two counts of possession in the fourth degree, for keeping two other unlicensed handguns in his home.

He served 8 months in jail.

There was also a civil trial brought against Goetz in 1996. $43 million was awarded to the plaintiff.  Asked in 2004 whether he was making payments on the judgment, Goetz responded “I don’t think I’ve paid a penny on that”

In my opinion, the worst thing to come out of all of this was Goetz obtaining hero status in organization such as the NRA.  Gun nuts probably have tramp stamps of his likeness.

Foreign debts, homeless vets

The “foreign debts” that Billy references here have nothing on the Eurozone crisis.  PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain) are still adversely affecting the world economy almost 8 years later.

I wonder what the ratio of homeless vets from Vietnam is to the homeless vets from Iraq and Afghanistan.  I’d bet it’s higher now that it was then.  We have less of a social safety net and less societal concerns now.

Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, Heavy metal suicide

Without researching Merv Griffin’s final net worth (he shuffled off the coil in 2007), I can guestimate it was north of eleventy bajillion.  He created Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, built casino’s with Asshole Trump, and had his sexually harassing fingers in a ton of other “entertainment” endeavours.

Wheel of Fortune is to today’s AARP crowd what Lawrence Welk was to my grandparents.  I like Jeopardy because Alex gets tanked during the tapings.


In an earlier post in this series, I wrote about John Glenn’s  “adamantium testicles“.  Whatever the female equivalent of that is exemplifies Sally Ride.  Besides the patriarchy and sexist bullshit she had to put up with being the first American woman in space.

Consider this from the linked article:

Rather than force astronauts to use urine-catching devices that resembled condoms, NASA added commodes to space vessels. Tampons were packed with their strings connecting them, like a strip of sausages, so they wouldn’t float away. Engineers asked Ride, “Is 100 the right number?” She would be in space for a week. “That would not be the right number,” she told them. At every turn, her difference was made clear to her

Sally Ride was not different.  She was a woman, an astronaut, a homosexual, a brilliant teacher, and a goddamn top-tier physicist.  More importantly, she was a true American Hero because of what she endured AND what she accomplished.

If I leave one thing from this muddled string of expressions, I hope that it is about how Sally inspired me to keep dreaming about space and how wondrous it can be.  Thank you Sally for inspiring me.

To comma or not to comma, that is the question.  There is debate in the lyrical interpretation of this song as to if there is a comma between metal and suicide.  I, of course, am taking the easy way out by removing the punctuation and thus reviewing one topic instead of two.  Opinion: if Billy wanted to have this be two topics he would have use a SEMI-COLON.

Heavy metal suicide is probably a reference to multiple lawsuits that were brought against recording artists (most typically those who created music in the Heavy Metal genre) alleging their music prompted people to commit suicide.

In conjunction with these lawsuits, spurious organizations were created to marshal the cause against “inciteful lyrics”.  At the forefront of these ridiculous groups was the Parents Music Resource Council.  The PMRC had nothing to do with encouraging young people to listen to and make music.  It was solely a censoring body and a political platform to push the agenda of close-minded; hateful people like TIpper Gore.

The ultimate rebuke to this nonsense was provided by Dee Snider from the 80s Metal group “Twisted Sister”: