Exclusive Interview: Lukas of Maximo Park Talks “Too Much Information,” Embarking on US Tour

Caught the early 00’s wave of a British re-invasion, Maximo Park is now five records in to a discography that is changing, but shows no sign of stopping. With Too Much Information, the Maximo boys have slowed it down both sonically and literally. Their first self-produced album recorded in their own studio, TMI is a change from the raucous and speedy tunes of the past. Lukas Wooller jumped on Skype with us and discussed the deliberate changes the band has made with this album and moving forward, their level of comfort as tenured musicians, and what it’s like to perform all over the world (people are different, but they’re the same).

rooster skull line

Poppycock: Let’s talk about the new album, Too Much Information. How are you guys keeping it fresh and creative on this album, your fifth, to keep it exciting and new for you as much as your listeners?

Lukas: I think what helps is that everyone writes. We all contribute to the sound and we all have quite different tastes. We go out of our way to include everyone’s writing. It’s something we set out to do from the start. We’d all been in bands where you have one guy who writes the songs and everyone else just plays them. We wanted to be in a band where it was more collaborative. That definitely helps with people coming to the table with different ideas.

Duncan (Lloyd) is quite prolific. He is constantly writing. To be fair, he has shaped the sound of Maximo Park as the guitar player; especially in our earlier albums. He’s just an incredible, rhythmic, melodic guitar player.

-1.171646-1.125020Coming in to this last album, there’s a lot more synth and keyboard influences not to mention kind of slowing things down. That is something we set out to do on this record (Too Much Information). One of our weaknesses, is that we’re not very good at creating space in our music. When we write songs, we’re sitting in the room playing. We’re all playing at the same time a lot of the time. There’s a lot of things going on at the same time. We’ve been trying to find a little more space, which hasn’t always come easy for us, but I think it started when we began to write “Brain Cells.” That was probably the first time where we thought that this is definitely a good song and its got loads of stuff going on; its got some atmosphere. We really hit on something.

I don’t really know what it was, but it was the first song where we didn’t feel pressure to put loads of stuff in to it. I think we used to feel pressure to cram all of our ideas in to a song because you never know if it’s the last one you’ll ever do. It could all end tomorrow, so we’re a little more relaxed in our approach now. We’re confident now that we know we’ve got more albums to make, we’ll have the chance to make them, and we can try out different things.

Also, looking back on the music in the past that we’ve written; not just album, but B-sides and covers and we even did a movie soundtrack for a silent movie from 1927; we sort of did it as an exercise before we started writing our third album, and that was completely different than anything we’d ever done. It was totally instrumental; quite out there. It wasn’t the usual verse chorus we normally do. When we considered what we had done in our career we realized we can kinda do whatever we want. We can get away with going wherever we want.

Having Paul (Smith), who is such a distinctive singer and such a unique and interesting lyricist, at the helm of your music; as a band you can kind of get away with lots of things behind what he is doing, which is kind of a trademark. We’ve also pushed Paul on this last album to try different vocals, singing higher and singing a bit lower, which has definitely brought a different color to the music. I think being aware of what you’re good at is good, but being aware of what you’re not good at is particularly better because it means that you can push yourself to try something different.

Poppycock: You sort of touched on it, but is your taking a chance changing your sound and the speed and atmosphere of this new album something you’re able to do now 5 albums in and knowing you have a fan base to support you even if it isn’t what you’re possibly known for in the past? Are you able to take a risk now trying something new that you simply could not have tried earlier in your career as a band?

Lukas: Yeah, I think there is a little bit more confidence there you acquire the longer that you’re around.

When we did our fourth album we’d had a bit of a gap between the third and the fourth albums. We were very aware that people were sort of forgetting about us. We’d come out in a great period in 2004 and 2005 when a lot of great UK bands were coming out (Franz Ferdinand, Futureheads, Bloc Party). The problem was that we all got lumped together, which is fine, but we were all different in many ways.

We’ve always tried to differentiate ourselves in any way we could, but it’s been hard at times. When we were doing that fourth album with that big gap we had kind of assumed that people figured we just split up and we were getting a bit paranoid about that.

We ended up putting a lot of pressure on ourselves on the fourth record to kind of do something that was very Maximo Park. We wanted to do something that concentrated on what had gotten us to that point. We sort of describe that album as a “best of” from the sounds of those first three albums. We’ve gotten that out of our system. We know who we are. We know what we do well. Where can we go from here?

On the fourth record we put our marker down and established that we’re not going anywhere. This is what we do. We have a lot to say and are very proud of the music we make. On that record we established that we should still exist and have a place.

Once we got that out of our system our shoulders just dropped a bit and we relaxed. We just really enjoyed the writing process on this last record. It’s the first record that we’ve recorded and producer ourselves, which I think helped in making this such an enjoyable process. We just had more time to try out different things.

Normally, when we’re doing a record we go into a professional studio and the clock is ticking. Every hour is so many more pounds you’ve spent hiring a producer and for the studio and you’ve got to get this record done in a three or four week timeframe. Everything you’ve been writing and working on for however many months leading up to this needs to be nailed right then and there. It can be exciting because you get to come up with new and interesting stuff right there under that pressure. We perform very well under pressure, actually, and you’re also working with a producer who brings something else to the table.

We’ve always said though that we wanted to do everything ourselves where we can take our time and try out those things you normally wouldn’t have time to do in a professional studio. That had a huge impact on how this record turned out and how we’re looking forward to writing from here on in. I don’t think we’re gonna work with a producer again. We definitely won’t hire another studio, obviously, because now we have our own.

Poppycock: Well, that makes sense to me as a listener. Just from my perspective I can hear a more deliberate and atmospheric sound. As you said, in a paid studio with a tight deadline and cramming a lot of stuff and ideas in to each song, did the pressure of a producer and the pounds ticking away with every minute influence maybe the sound or speed of your music in those settings compared to the loose schedule you have now independently producing your music? Does the environment influence the sound that much for you?

Lukas: With this record we went out of our way consciously to slow it down. Some of our songs on other records are insanely fast. It’s partly just for selfish reasons, but we can’t continue to play such fast songs for the rest of our lives. We have to have some slower songs here. We’re not getting any younger. So, it’s nice to have some songs now that are below 150 BPM.

Poppycock: Looking through the actual content of this album, you seem to definitely have a storytelling aspect to the music. Is this material personal stories like something straight from the heart or more abstract, general content?

Lukas: It’s a little bit of both. Paul writes the lyrics, and if you trace back to our first album, that was very much confessional, heart-on-sleeve stuff. That’s kind of his trademark. Those types of songs that are really emotional outpouring and honesty of his lyrics. That will always be there and it’s what he’s so very good at. He’s influenced by a great many things, and he tries to bring that in to his music in a clear storytelling way. He may write a song about a break-up, something that it is in a lot of our songs, and is about just very personal and intimate relationships. They are still in our songs, but it is a bit more abstract at times.

“Brain Cells” is a very abstract song, lyrically speaking. It’s a song more about a feeling. That feeling of a little paranoia or fear in a city on a Friday night when people are slightly mental. People going out, getting drunk, and letting themselves go. We’re from Newcastle and it’s a big drinking town. It can be just a bit scary on a Friday or Saturday night, frankly.

“Midnight on the Hill” is a really good example of a story. Paul sets a scene, there are some characters, there’s an interchange, and there’s a question at the end he leaves.


Lydia and Audre are referring to specific people.

Audre Lorde was a poet. She was a black poet living in New York who worked as a librarian. She was a bit of an activist, a feminist, and somewhat active in politics. Paul saw a documentary and was inspired to write some lyrics that were the base of that song.

In being influenced by specific things, I think “I Recognize the Light” is a good example. That is influenced and inspired by a film by Mark Cousins, What is This Film Called Love? It’s a film he made when he had a day off at a film festival in Mexico City. He basically just walked around with a handheld camera and it was a stream of consciousness. That song is basically his film in a song form.

Poppycock: You’re touring with Eternal Summers. How do you guys choose or connect with who you go on tour with?

Lukas: It’s kinda boring really, but we just ask around to see who’s available and 99% of bands say no because they’re unavailable for one reason or another, but Eternal Summers just released their third album, I think, and were free to tour.

We really make an effort to find a band we like to tour with. First off, we like listening to music. So it’s important for us to be on tour with someone we like listening to night after night.

I remember back to when I was a kid going to concerts and I always got there early to see the supportive band which was usually someone I’d never heard of. That’s how I discovered a lot of the bands I found was going to see those supporting bands. So we like to educate, with a small e, our fans to discover new music.

Poppycock: Any difference you’ve experienced performing in the us compared to other places like in the UK or beyond?

Lukas: We did just go on tour in Japan recently. As you may know, their culture is generally a bit more reserved. We did a show in Tokyo and they were very polite and respectful. They would stand and listen and then clap for maybe ten seconds and then wait for the next song to start. We thought this is what we could expect on the tour. Then we did a show in Osaka and that was much more what we were used to. Fans screaming and getting drunk, jump all over each other. So, it’s hard to categorize Japan as a whole.

In the states, the response in the venue compared to the UK is about the same. We speak the same language and it’s culturally similar.

I think in America there is a slightly higher appreciation for the live performance. I think that in Britain we’re quite fashion obsessed and being cool is quite important. We’re not very cool. On stage, being cool is quite low on our list of priorities. We’re trying to put on an energetic and emotional show and you can’t do that if you’re being cool.

I think an American audience really appreciates seeing someone who is going out of their way to do a great performance. They appreciate when a band gets up there and just says, “Here’s what I’m feeling, here’s what I’m thinking, and I just want to lay it bare for you. Here’s some music that I hope will physically and emotionally affect you.”

I think the other thing is the perception of us in the US. Here we are a pretty well-established, medium-sized band in Europe. We regularly play 1,000 and 2,000 patron venues. In the US, we’re playing to an audience of a couple hundred people. It’s kinda like returning to our punk roots.

That’s what we are, a punk band with a little p. That’s where our heart lies. It’s in the rawness and the energy we play with. So, doing the smaller venues that we do in the US isn’t something we get to do anymore. We’re traveling with a small crew, so we’re setting up our own gear like a normal band and so it’s cool. This tour’s quite exciting, but we’re always very excited to play in America.

Tour Dates:

05/12/14 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile*
05/14/14 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge*
05/15/14 – San Francisco, CA – Popscene @ Rickshaw*
05/16/14 – Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour*
05/18/14 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge*
05/20/14 – Washington, DC – Rock n Roll Hotel*
05/21/14 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts – Wolf Building*
05/23/14 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza*!
05/24/14 – Boston, MA – Boston Calling
* w/ Eternal Summers
! w/ Small Black

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White People! Start Fucking More!

The New York Times reported today that the inevitable unthinkable has happened: White people are the minority.

OK, they aren’t the minority. They are just pumping out babies at a lower rate than all other races combined. In it’s totality, “other” is now pumping out more kids than non-Hispanic Whites. Now, I don’t know what a “non-Hispanic White” is, but it sounds like this is a big deal.

The Census Bureau reports that white babies only make up 49.6% of births, making white babies a minority for the first time in American history. This information has been expected, but the date was ambiguous. Finally, after some 200 years of inviting immigrants of non-white heritage in to this country–literally importing them at one point–the melting pot has boiled over, and the contents are browner than they are white.

This shocks me not, but the entire article seems to be written from a perspective that feels just a bit racist, with a pinch of fear. White women are averaging in their forties, “past their peak fertility,” while Latino women are in their premium child-bearing years with a median age of 27.

It also asks whether the elderly are going to be willing to fund education for a young population that “looks less like them.” Wow, so we’re saying that the elderly are racist? Duh. They are a bunch of conservative bigots with oxygen tanks. If we don’t like the idea that the elderly are bigots, then I say we stop inventing shit to keep them around longer.

I say good riddance to the white past. To hell with it. Who cares? This is what you get when you build a country on the backs of other races. When you keep asking people to come here, you can only think that they’re gonna fuck. It is a country that champions the pursuit of happiness, after all.

Who gives a damn for the Anglo-Saxon forefathers and their bullshit outlook on human rights and equality. I hope to hell and back that our forefathers are rolling over in their graves. Most of those bastards are in hell anyway. What, you don’t think raping slaves is a sin? If it takes more minorities to dull the blade of racism, then I welcome the little brown, yellow, and black babies that are getting pumped out at, literally, a record pace.

I won’t miss the white America of the past. It never really was white. Sure, the face on TV were white in the 50’s. Sure, token black characters and shows were a spectacle in the past, but that isn’t the times today. If this information tells me anything, it’s that gay is the new black. Instead of Sanford and Sons and the Jeffersons, we have dyn-o-mite shows like Glee and Smash. It’s gayer than ever. Don’t even get me started on Bravo, but this too will move in to a past issue as more open-mindedness and social liberalism come in to the mainstream.

The people who must be shaking in their boots is the GOP. Man, they are gonna be in some trouble. White people are their white bread and butter. Minorities chose either liberalism or just don’t get involved. Latinos don’t seem to vote at all, even though they make up an ever-growing segment of the population. According to the NYTimes article, some 50,000 Latinos turn 18 every month. Holy shit. Now that’s a strong voting base if you can get ‘em to the polls.

The article goes on to show some high points for white people to be excited about. As I read it, I almost heard, “but not all is lost” in the back of my head. Old people are all really white. Like, 73% white in some areas, but the youth don’t even account for 20% of a particular population segment. Well, at least we have the old folks. God forbid those bastards finally die and let us move forward as a nation.

With all this said, I am thinking about a couple of points the article doesn’t raise. It makes note of Hispanics having larger families at a younger age than white people. That sounds like a sex education problem, not some idea that whites are losing their foothold in this country. I also don’t know why the idea of rationed health care for the elderly isn’t discussed a bit more in the article. We’ve got a financially back-breaking amount of old white fucks that might not want to support education for brown people? Fuck ‘em. That should be part of the SS questionnaire. “What are your thought on minorities?” Depending on what they say, we decide whether we even want these people on the planet. There’s a thin line between Arian Nation and Archie Bunker. I say, Let the Archie Bunkers of the world die, and as far as the article says, it looks like the ranks of the Arian Nation are doomed as it is.

Hey, I’m all for a darker future. Bring on the adorable brown babies. Who gives a shit? If you’re on this planet and you’ve got a problem with white people being out numbered by “other” in America, then move to fucking Canada. Good riddance. I for one love the food of minorities, the music of minorities, and the hospitality. White people are dicks. The fact that this is an article in the NYTimes that required a jump is ridiculous. Let’s all admit it, the NYTimes is written for white people. You find it on more white men’s lawns mowed by Mexicans than the other way ‘round. So, leave it to a white paper to report that white people are outnumbered and then discuss the very serious policy issues this presents for politics, the economy, and education. Fuck you, NYT. This was an article written for white people, and from the tone I felt, it might as well have been titled, “We’re Being Overrun!” I say, bring on the world’s best tamales, jazz, and fried rice. I for one, am looking forward to a browner America.

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Let The Right One In: A Review

This week we are talking vampires. Okay, not sparkly vampire, but we’ve got a love story…it’s just not what you think.

Let The Right One In (2008) is the story of Oskar, a 12-year old boy in a small village, who is tormented by Conny and his minions every day. Oskar fantasizes about getting his revenge one day, but his fear keeps him from fighting back. The bullies are awful little children. Oskar even has a knife he dreams of using to kill them.

Everything changes for Oskar once he has a few chance meetings with the new girl in the apartment next to his, Eli. She is an odd girl who can solve a Rubik’s Cube on command, and her “father” covers the windows of the apartment. Oskar and Eli begin to be friends, despite Eli telling Oskar that they can’t be friends. Once Eli has moved in to town, there begins a series of murders that keeps everyone in town on edge.

Eli is, of course, a vampire. Her “father” is quickly revealed to the viewer as the murderer, collecting the blood from the victims for Eli to drink. He is getting old though, and sloppy. His age has caught up to him and Eli begins doing her own killing, leaving witnesses, and even a poor woman who is not killed at feeding, turning her in to a vampire.

original exhibits more restraint with the blood. I guess Americans just need it bloodier.

I don’t want to give too much away, don’t want to spoil too much. This film is less about vampires and more about a coming-of-age tale of Oskar finding his confidence and the girl who helps him do so. He loves her, though it is never truly spoken. They see one another at night, a long time passes before he discovers her vampirism. The film centers around Oskar and Eli. Lore of vampires is never gone in to too deeply, except when it naturally comes about. I love that this film does not explain to death all the ins and outs of being a vampire.

From the respect of filmmaking, I think this is brilliantly done. The tone of the film matches the pace and mood of the script. Music is sparsely used, almost zero. When it is used, it doesn’t foreshadow action, which often times ruins a scene and can even distract from what is going on. I love the restraint in the music. The cinematography is great with creepy panning shots, wide shots of scenes, and the lighting in most interior scenes is terrifying. There is none of the clichéd shadow shots and over dramatic lighting effects. This film doesn’t try too hard, which avoids the caricature that vampires often fall victim to in cinema: Twilight, Daybreakers, Blade, The Lost Boys, et al.

As for any contrasts from the US and Scandinavian versions, there are a few, and they are pretty stark.

For those that don’t enjoy dubbed audio or reading subtitles, there is the very good (if not superior) Let Me In (2010). Same premise with some differences. Same bullied 12-year old (Owen) and the same 12-year old vampire (Abby). There are some structural differences though. For frame of reference, the setting’s year is vaguely placed during the Reagan administration, placing it in the eighties. The Scandinavian version feels more late 70’s to early eighties, but as far as I could tell there was no clearer frame of reference than clothing, cassette player, and the 45 record player.

Outside of potential timeframe differences are location, but this is a moot point. The settings are the same in their rural nature and cold climate.

The opening scene of the US version is the ambulance occupied by a man who is suspected of murder being rushed to the hospital to treat self-inflicted chemical burns. The original opens on Oskar in his room, and the snow falling. Basically, the US version starts in the middle, and then back tracks with the tired “Two Weeks Earlier” device. This is probably to get the viewer hooked because US audiences, in my opinion, are not as patient as foreign viewers seem to be, based on the structure of their films.

Another huge difference is that there is a detective investigating the man in the ambulance and the series of murders in the area, even after his death. This character does not exist in any manner in the original. There is this whole device of the nosey detective just doing his job that is only partly existent in the original in the form of a concerned friend of a murdered victim.

Among other differences is the complete absence of anyone near the role of Virginia. In the original, Virgina is turned by Eli during an interrupted feeding. This character’s equal is completely absent from the US version, for better or worse. I am not quite convinced either way.

The US film ends the same, starts differently, explores much the same lore and character development (though totally void of the distracting relationship with Owen’s father that Oskar has).

that's a lot of blood, US version

They are different films because of the devices that are used to advance the story in either version. There is more music, foreshadowing, and more gore in the violence in the US version. Much as US versions will do, there is a bit too much detail for the viewer when the foreign version shows restraint in certain ways. Yes, there is violence and a bloody-mouthed 12-year old girl in both versions, and other scenes of blood and murder, but I just felt that the original used this device sparingly, which made the sight of the gore that much more disturbing.

Is one better than the other? I don’t think so. The foreign version used a slower and quieter manner of telling a truly horrifying story that gets under my skin and leaves me with mixed emotions at the end. The US version has the detective I get to like a bit, and creates a bit more tension of being “found out”, but there isn’t anything more in the US version than the original, it’s just different. I say watch them both. I saw Let Me In before I saw Let The Right One In, and what struck me about both films was the basics: The fascinating story, the focus less on defining lore (and Eli’s past), and leaving the focus on the relationship of Oskar/Eli-Owen/Abby.

If you are a horror fan then this is a definite watch. I was riveted through both films, and the very subtle music let the scenes really speak for themselves instead of knowing how you should feel at any moment based on the sound design. I loved these films. There is no list of truths of vampires, but what is true about Eli/Abby is revealed naturally through the film. Neither will spell things out too clearly, though the US version clubs you over the head just a bit more, and uses tired devices to keep you engrossed. Yes, the US version might have taken some queues of subtlety from Let The Right One In, but it’s not distracting. I loved the casting in the US version a bit more than the original, but that is about regional stardom, though the eyes of Eli trump that of Abby, but Abby is a more disturbing character based on her porcelain doll look…maybe this stems from my phobia of creepy kids in films, but you’ll see what I mean. Both vampire girls make my skin crawl, but it is a horror film, after all.

Don’t miss either film. They are both currently streaming on Netflix.

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Skid Row doesn’t need the bulletproof glass; the President does, so get over it!

During the trip by the President through the midwest on a domestic bus tour, there was a little rumbling I heard over the air waves. Well, to be frank it was the rumbling not unlike the bus retrofitted with enough bulletproof glass to repel an RPG attack and enough electronics to commandeer NORAD on-the-fly from a rural road in Illinois. Yes, as the President was on the road for three days touring the midwest shaking hands and buying pies, the GOP and conservative pundits were questioning whether the people should be paying for such a lavish campaign tour. Being that this isn’t a 2012 campaign tour is one thing, but the outrage over the relatively menial cost of the three day trip is what stuck in my craw. They complained on the air on FOX News and other radio stations and channels that the $1.1 million dollar tour bus was too black and too much money. Really? It wasn’t a Black Panther rally and it wasn’t that lavish. You are scoffing at the price of protecting the President? You are balking at what it costs the people to pay, maintain, and protect a President? Well, then read on, as you will be boiling in anger at the numbers that are going to pile up in this article: What does the President really cost us?

My first qualm was with the idea that people had issue with the cost of a tour bus safe enough to protect the President. Do you think they just make those? That is one-off; think Jesse James motorcycle, but with less infidelity. It is a PRESIDENTIAL bus. This isn’t taking your kids to school or dropping Grandma off at the pharmacy. The President of the United States of America needs to be safe from ambush and attack. Do you have any idea what rocket-proof glass costs by the square foot!? All Presidential vehicles are fitted with the thickest, safest glass and sheets of plate steel that can repel everything from small arms fire to RPG’s. A tour bus, straight off the showroom floor, is gonna cost Skid Row at least $500,000, and that doesn’t even include installing the stripper pole. Fuck the pole, the President, realistically, needs the capability to launch nuclear weapons on moments notice from that fucking bus; I hope that button’s not next to the microwave or there is a White House intern that could nuke Moscow for the same trouble he puts into heating a Hot Pocket.

So is $1.1 million of my tax dollars outlandish for a tour bus? Hell no. The President rides around in a fucking bulletproof limo (not a town car, a limo), but I’m supposed to drop a double-take because he upgraded to Billboard Top 40 status? Not a chance. According to some estimates, the cost of operating Air Force One, the Presidential air fortress 747, runs up to almost $300 million dollars a year, flight or no flight. Just to let an airplane sit primed in a hanger 24/7, is costing Americans 13,422 times as much as the federal guideline for a family of four at or below the poverty line of just over $22,000. That’s just the one plane. Not to mention the limo or marine one (helicopter).

Want some more numbers for what the President is entitled to by Congressional decree? Camp David is well-maintained at the cost of $7.9 million dollars per annum. The current President is also entitled to a salary of $400,000 a year. The White House also costs approximately $35,000 a DAY to maintain and run; just the actual building, that is. All told, if you include everything from the Vice Presidential Downtown office, the cleaning crew, the helicopter, Air Force One, employee costs, phone lines, tours daily, and even fucking stamps, the White House and those directly connected to the fucking building in some manner cost us, per year, about $1.5 billion dollars. That is to keep the roof up, the calls answered, and the coffee hot as all get out 24/7, 365. $1.5 billion, and you guys are clamoring to come up with the best joke about the big black bus taking everyone to school in Socialist America? C’mon, I know you guys can do better than that.

Then I got curious. I know that Presidents like George W and Obama make $400,00 base salary, but what else do they get? Well, first off they get $50,000 expense accounts, so I am betting the girls have iPads. They also get a $100,000 tax-free travel expense account. Oddly enough, the President also gets a $19,000 “entertainment” expense account. Entertainment? Almost 20 grand!? What kind of entertainment does that include? Ice cream sundaes for the girls, pedicures for Michelle, and movie nights where George Lucas comes to the White House and does live director’s commentary on a Star Wars flick in the White House Theater like a monkey? You can throw bananas at him, he’s getting paid for this. For that kind of money I know Kennedy had some fun, but what the hell would you do with a near $20,000 dollar entertainment fund? It’s not like it is his personal money he’s spending and is taking a coupon for a free game tokens at Dave & Busters. No, this is a fund of tax payer money set aside simply for entertainment. It is there specifically to make him giggle. I don’t know about you, but at $400,000 dollars a year and hundreds of hours of live, tax-payer funded war footage to watch, he can spend his own Goddamned money to get his jollies off. SHit, the White House HAS a bowling alley, too!

So we’ve got the President, but when the next one comes in, at least we don’t have to think about the cost of the former simply breathing…or do we? Yes, there is the Presidential pensions to contend with. There are four living, former Presidents and each of them gets an annual salary of just shy of $200,000 dollars a year. $200,000 smackaroons goes a long way, even in our tough economic times, and so I got curious, once again. Of the living former Presidents the count goes like this: Jimmy Carter, 6.8 million. George H. Bush, 4.4 million. Bill Clinton, 3.6 million. George W. Bush, 3.6 million. This is what they cost the American tax payer in and out of office in their lives. That is just salary. Of those Presidents; Carter, George H., and Clinton, all have claim to lifetime Secret Service protection. What does this cost us on top of their salary? Given a minimum three-man team earning about $75,000 dollars a year it breaks down as 4.5 million, 4.05 million, and 2.25 million, respectively, to DATE. If they stay alive longer, than it is gonna keep costing you more. After Clinton, all former Presidents are allotted a maximum ten year secret service detail…thank God for government rollbacks.

So what are we saying here? Am I saying that Presidents cost us more per annum than the poverty level income of tens of thousands of Americans? Yes. I am also saying that the cost of protecting the President on a nuclear capable tour bus is little more than a blip of the radar of what they cost us in and out of office in the long run. The White House is a billion dollar house that the founding fathers built, taking office of President is on par with a Megabucks “win for life” scratch-it, and that the expense of protecting the President is a mere pittance of what it costs to employ the 112th Douchebag Congress, all 535 members earning average of $174,000 of YOUR tax paying dollars. Don’t even get me started on that league of assholes. At the cost of over $93 million dollars per annum, these uncompromising assholes have not a leg to stand on to complain about anything but the temperature of their caviar. Do we have a claim to be upset while some go hungry? Indeed, but to criticize the expenditure of a Presidential tour bus codenamed “behemoth” in order to protect the sitting President, I am sure the pundits can find a larger number somewhere other than $1.1 million to gripe about. I found 11 in this article alone.

Read more "Skid Row doesn’t need the bulletproof glass; the President does, so get over it!"

DNAmocracy (excerpt)

I will no longer be posting complete articles on the blog. With intentions for a second book this year I will be banking my complete material for publishing. The blog will now consist of excerpts of my writing, because I write to share with you. I hope you like these pieces of pieces and stay tuned for more material and COMPLETE entries in the “Don’t Be That Guy” series every week.

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Political Pr0n

What will you find in some of these documents? What might we want to be aware of? I have loved so many of these documents so far. The 278 cables released thus far span January 2010 back to December of 1966. On March 6, 2009 at 12:12 Ref. ID 09BAKU179, a “secret/NOFORN” Cable from Baku to everyone including the American Embassies from Abu Dhabi to Secretary of Defense Washington , D.C., that a well-informed Iranian businessman told a “Baku Iran Watcher” that a company called “INSULTEC,” owned by UK-citizens of Indian origin was mislabeling containers and secretly providing Iran with supplies used in creating a nuclear power plant, which outright violates sanctions on Iran…

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