Angry Little Tank

Rants, chants and cants....all written while wearing no pants!

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, September 30, 2006

This shit is funny yo

Angry Little Tank started his new job as a consultant this week. For the obvious reasons my mind wasn't on my blog. Posting may be a little infrequent for a while as my first client is going to require crazy hours for the next six weeks or so.

Look for a more detailed post on my new gig soon, but in the meantime check this out. I can't decide if I find his idiotic behavior or the fact that he has "Eye of the Tiger" playing in the background more hilarious. Enjoy.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Quote for the day

I don't know what the CIA has been doing, nor should I know
Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama.

Is there a better statement that sums up how utterly worthless our congressional branch has become?

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Friday Wiki - I don't think that word means what you THINK it means edition

I know I may be getting some hate mail for saying this, but I've officially soured on America. We are on the verge of officially sanctioning torture in a move which the mainstream media is breathlessly describing as a compromise and a bold stroke for bipartisanship.

Wikipedia defines bipartisanship as:

any bill ,act ,resolution , or any other action of a political body in which both of the major political parties are in agreement

So there you have it folks, the White House and John McCain (where are the Democrats in all of this?) are in agreement that the United States may now torture. That's what "bipartisanship" has become. An agreement between an insane and outlaw whitehouse and their same party enablers in Congress who want to assume the power in two years. Let's take a look at this compromise shall we?

According to the New York Times:

The three rebel senators achieved only modest improvements on the White House's original positions. They wanted to bar evidence obtained through coercion. Now, they have agreed to allow it if a judge finds it reliable (which coerced evidence hardly can be) and relevant to guilt or innocence . The way coercion is measured in the bill, even those protections would not apply to the prisoners at Guantánamo Bay.

The deal does next to nothing to stop the president from reinterpreting the Geneva Conventions . While the White House agreed to a list of "grave breaches"of the conventions that could be prosecuted as war crimes, it stipulated that the president could decide on his own what actions might be a lesser breach of the Geneva Conventions and what interrogation techniques he considered permissible . It's not clear how much the public will ultimately learn about those decisions. They will be contained in an executive order that is supposed to be made public, but Mr. Hadley reiterated that specific interrogation techniques will remain secret

That's some great compromise guys. You've basically allowed the White House to say that sure, some torture techniques are out of bounds, but then allowed them to add language to the bill that says the president may decide what's out of bounds or what isn't. Outstanding job guys.

At the very least I hope that this will kill the idea that McCain is any sort of "maverick". He's as much of lickspittle beholden to this outlaw White House as any of the other worthless cretins in Washington. Now that they have their odious legislation, watch Rove and co. proceed to bash the Democrats with it in the upcoming election season.

I can see now that we're doomed as a nation. This is the first step towards a Soviet style dictatorship where dissidents are disappeared and tortured. Its clear we'll tolerate any breach against our freedoms and our morals as long as the spectre of terrorism is invoked. We're running around like scared little pisspants over a handful of religious fanatics living in caves. How pathetic.

Nothing is going to stop these maniacs now. But hey at least we've achieved "compromise" and "bipartisanship" even if it means we've sold whatever was left of our soul to do it. Heaven forbid we create a disturbance or question anything that comes out of Bush's mouth.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Roger Waters at the Tweeter Center - Which One's Pink?

I've been a Pink Floyd fan since I was 15 years old, so when I heard that Roger Waters was coming to the Tweeter Center AND would be performing the seminal Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon I knew I had to go.

The show sold out in like a nanosecond, which kind of took me by surprise. I guess after selling 35 million copies, there are a few people out there who would like to see Dark Side performed live. A quick ebay auction landed us two tickets for only $15 over face value on the lawn. Could have been worse. Our friend Bob scored a lawn ticket of his own on the ferry over to Camden and we were good to go.

The first thing I noticed was the crowd. I think the charitable term one could use would be "scumbag". Drunk and high was a given, but they all looked used somehow as well. Every 10 seconds it seemed as though some moron was slurring at the top of his lungs "E-A-G-L-E-S....EAGLES!!!!" while hundreds of his idiotic brethren joined in. Philadelphia sports fans have a reputatin for being obnoxious, I assure you this is well earned.

We got into the venue shortly after 8pm and made our way towards the back of the lawn. A short while later the show started. The opener was "In The Flesh" from The Wall. The sound was a little thin way back on the lawn, but the band was certainly tight and well rehearsed. I was relieved that the guitarist they chose for most of the leads was competant. Few can emote on a Fender the way Dave Gilmour can, but this guy did an admirable job.

My favorite track from The Wall came up next - "Mother". Roger traded vocals with one of the backup singers he had brought, which added a layer of soul to an otherwise emotionally vacant song. It was very nicely done.

After that the evening started getting a little psychedelic as we "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun". I love all the songs from "Live at Pompeii" so I got into it right away. The middle improv segment was very trippy with accompanying visuals on the screens. It was enough to make one nostalgic for those college era acid days.

The only complaint I had was that the crowd was starting to get restless and talked loudly throughout the rest of the first set. Some douchebag in front of us started going into detail about the construction business he was getting off the ground. The kind of truck he needed to buy. What an asshole the last client was. How tight money is right now. WHO CARES, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Three songs from "Wish You Were Here" came up next - "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", "Have A Cigar", and "Wish You Were Here". Roger played acoustic guitar for this segment, which was interesting to see. The music was well played but at this point I was starting to realize that seeing this music peformed live just wasn't the same without the full band. It was good, but not great.

I was particularly annoyed by the drummer. Where Nick Mason deftly tapped out complex rythyms, this jackass would pound on them like a sledgehammer. It effected the emotional impact of all the music, dumbing it down essentially.

But why dwell on the negative? A couple of tracks off "The Final Cut", which I consider to be highly under-rated, came next - "Southhampton Dock" and "The Fletcher Memorial Home". Both contain overt anti-war messages and surprisingly the crowd seemed receptive. I had heard stories of certain songs being booed in other cities. As if Pink Floyd hadn't been singing about the futility of war since the very beginning. The Philly Billies were responsive though, maybe they realize that they would be the ones asked to make the sacrifices if we continue on our never ending path of war we're on.

A couple of selections from the solo catalogue came next. They were good, but nothing that great. The first set ended with "Sheep" from "Animals". A huge inflatible graffitied pig was released off the lawn during the climax to the song. It was cheesey, but a nice reminder of the 1978 tour. I'm still angry at my parents for not having the foresight to take me to that show when I was eight. LOL!

During the quick set break I had to go the bathroom. What a horror show. People lined up to piss in the sink. Eagles chants quickly followed by "New York sucks!" (I mean it does, but who cares?) followed by "TO sucks" (again, he does but can we just piss and get out of here?).

I shook that off, grabbed a quick beer and then headed upstairs back to the lawn just as the heartbeat drumming of "Dark Side" was beginning. Everybody probably already knows the setlist so I won't go into great detail. I'll just say that it was 40 minutes of bliss. You just never get tired of hearing those songs and watching them performed live by one of the men responsible was a real treat. Even the crowd quieted down for the most part and watched it all unfold. Once again, the backup singers were top notch with "Great Gig In The Sky" being the obvious standout.

The encores were "Another Brick In The Wall pt. II", (with nice crowd participation during the child chorus) "Vera Lynn", "Bring The Boys Back Home" (both greeted with loud cheers, if you've lost these people on your war you're screwed George. Check out the video included below for a taste) and finally "Comfortably Numb". Unfortunately for some reason they decided to trade off solos between a second guitarist for this song, who just wasn't that great. It kind of killed the experience for me.

Still and all, a great show and a memorable experience. Not quite the visual feast you got from either the 1987 or 1994 post-Waters Pink Floyd shows, but a great evening of great music. My guess is this will be the last time we see any live Floyd in these parts and I was happy I was able to go.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Friday Wiki - I can't believe I have to write this edition

Is anybody else extremely disturbed that their tax dollars are being used to fund things such as water boarding? Whatever your thoughts are on the legitimacy of the "war on terror", is our anger as a nation really so embedded at this point that we'll cross the ethical line into torture?

Incredibly, it seems that is exactly the case. Bush is
putting the screws to Congress to pass legislation that would allow the CIA to perform "coercive techniques" when interrogating suspected terrorists.

Forget the well accepted fact that torture rarely produces any actionable intelligence. Forget the fact that in our 225+ years we have always prided ourselves as being governed by an ethical rule of law that abandoned torture as part of the old world.

The fact is we signed The Geneva Conventions and we are bound by law to follow them. PERIOD. With the prospect of a Democratic Congress looming in 60 days, Bush is busting his ass to retroactively make his illegal activities legal before somebody who MAY hold him accountable hits town.

For the record , Article III of the Geneva Convetions states quite plainly:

...That Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including POWs; shall in all circumstances be treated humanely

Take a good look at the guy in this photo. He was later released and determined to be unaffiliated with any terrorist organization. Your taxes dollars helped pay for that.

We're rapidly allowing our fear to redefine us as a nation, and what we're becoming is ugly. I urge everyone to vote in November and to get some perspective on who we are becoming.

Before its too late.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wow the 90's sucked

Ever since early August I've been tuning in to my XM Radio to listen to something called It. The idea is to basically play every single song that hit the charts from 1940 through 2006.

We're finally up to 1992 and one thing I've noticed is that music in the 1990's was weak. Everything sounds the same. You can break everything down into either hair metal (Guns n' Roses, Skid Row, etc.), generic ballads sung by black women (Whitney, Vanessa Williams, Toni Braxton, etc.), or generic hip hop (Bell Biv Devoe, Tony Toni Tone, etc.)

What a bunch of absolute shite. I blame 40 something baby boomers recently out of rehab after their 80's coke binge for buying this crap. Who else but some burned out 40 year old soccer mom would think Celine Dion was worth the time of day?

I was in college at this time and I remember drifting from my angry thrash phase (Slayer, Metallica, etc.) to listening solely to the college radio station after hitting Florida State. Nirvana, Screaming Trees, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam? I was seeing those guys for free at the pizza joint in the student quad, based solely on what I was hearing on my radio while delivering pizzas around town.

There was good music being made, but it sure as hell wasn't on the charts.

Bottom line? Manufactured corporate music will always suck.

Update: I just heard "Have I Told You Lately" by Rod Stewart. Fuck you too 1993!

Monday, September 11, 2006

In Memorium

I told myself I would avoid any maudlin sentimentality today. It seems like everybody with a blog out there has written exhaustively today about what occurred 5 years ago and how we've been lied to and exploited since then. What more could I add?

But I'd be remiss if I didn't link to this post I found on the Daily Kos concerning all of the gay Americans that died that day. Unlike everyone else who died, their stories were usually buried or sanitized. Nobody really talked about who gay partners were ineligible for death benefits. Nobody mentioned that the Catholic priest who died while administering last rites was gay.

Even sadder, partners of closeted police and firefighters had to mourn in secret. They would not have been welcome at any of the public memorials to honor their immense loss.

All of us had to suffer indignities such as the Christian Right telling us

I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who try to secularize America...I point the thing in their face and say you helped this happen."

We're stronger and tougher than any of these "people" will ever realize. We suffered these indignities and more while mourning along with everyone else.

But now we're moving on. We'll get our rights one day and we'll make sure that this kind of reprehensible scapegoating in the face of a national tragedy never occurs again.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Weekend Wiki

Getting back into this whole blogging thing, or indeed life in general, has been difficult since coming back from vacation. Throw in the first rugby weekend of the fall season and all of the inherent craziness something like that brings and you see my dilema

Of course the biggest news this past week has been that I FINALLY landed a new job. I'm going to try consulting for a while. The money seems great and the home office is located here in center city Philadelphia, which is way better than the hike out to Horsham. I found myself bored and unstimulated doing "risk management". I think this will be great.

One thing that definitely helped me land this job was my recent designation as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). What the hell do CPA's do anyway? How do you become one?

Well first off, you have to pass a really difficult exam. It took me a year of studying and testing to pass the exam, and that is actually pretty fast. I've heard stories of people taking four years to pass all four parts of the exam. You're generally tested on Financial Statement preparation, Auditing, Business Law, Tax and Ethics (don't laugh, we're at least SUPPOSED to have some).

Once the exam is passed you're still not a CPA unfortunately, you need to meet certain work experience requirements. In almost all states this would be attestation experience, which basically means that you look at other people's financial statements and say that you agree with them. You test the internal controls, test certain transactions to confirm balances and put in long hours.

I did my attestation work doing internal audit, which is a little different than an external audit. You're supposed to be independant, but I never felt like we were doing anything meaningful to be honest with you. It all depends on which company you work for I guess, and I worked for one that definitely did NOT take financial statement controls seriously.

Many CPA's get into consulting because the money is just too good and you can ditch the monotany of the monthly/annual financial statement preparation process you get in corporations. Firms bill clients huge sums of money for the knowledge you (ostensibly) gain while attaining your CPA status.

All I know is that I'm looking forward to doing some meaningful work again and beginning to make some real money. I'm in my mid 30's and frankly I'm tired of doing low level number crunching for mediocre pay in cubicle hell.

Look for more active blogging going forward!