My First Amendment Right to be a Pet Owner

First Amendment –Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This is the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.  It guarantees freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition for redress of grievances.  Got that?
Well, a recent Associated Press article discusses a study done by the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum that shows only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five guaranteed freedoms of the First Amendment.  More than half the people surveyed could name at least two members of The Simpsons.  More people could name the three American Idol judges than could name three First Amendment rights.  One in five people surveyed thought the First Amendment guaranteed the right to own a pet!
This telephone survey was of 1000 random adults.
No wonder so many people don’t realize how many of our fundamental rights we’re losing in America.  For crying out loud, they think the First Amendment guarantees them the right to own a pet!  You’re right, our founding fathers were concerned with freedom speech, the right to bear arms, and the promise that every American has a cute little purse dog for a pet!
Go back to the top of this blog.  Read it, learn it, and force our lawmakers to respect it!

It’s Miss Jackson, Because I’m Nasty

For those of you just tuning in, my last blog was about the latest Britney Spear’s album “Blackout”. In the process of discussing the album I spent a bunch of time discussing Janet Jackson and the effects of her album “Janet”. In the interest of being fair and balanced (making me better than just about any news media outlet) I thought I should share my thoughts about the new Janet Jackson album “Discipline”.

Here’s the thing, every Janet Jackson album since “Control” has had a theme of some sort. “Control” was about asserting control over her life. My last blog talked about the “Janet” album at length, but essentially it was an empowered declaration of her sexuality. Unfortunately since that album there has been a theme of, I’m not just a sexual creature, I’m a freak. She’s a Jackson…I shouldn’t be shocked. There was the awkward “Velvet Rope” album and don’t even ask about “Damita Jo”.

This begs the question, what is the theme of “Discipline”? As I told my husband, I’m a bit confused. At first I thought it was Janet Jackson is a femme bot, but then I began to think it was Janet Jackson wants to be Barry White. My ever helpful husband suggested the theme was Janet wants to be a Barry bot. I think Rolling Stone magazine made a clever point in their review when they mentioned that Jackson’s voice was ultra digitized so when she busted out the sex talk no one would consider the idea that Jackson does those things with her fugly boyfriend, or is he a husband, Jermaine Dupre. Good plan.

Despite its S&M-esque cover art, title, and breathy interludes, this album is more sexy, like “Janet”, and less freak, like everything since. The first single, skip the video, “Feedback” is the best song on the disc. Honestly, I like all the mid-tempo and dance songs on the album. Like Britney, Janet doesn’t have an awesome voice. Her voice is suited for dance music, upbeat songs that have as much to do about production as vocal talent. I’ve never been a fan of Janet Jackson ballads, and this album doesn’t change that. In fact, it would have been nice if she had packaged the album like they did “Janet”, where the first half of the disc was all the dance music and the second half was all the slow jams. It would save me from skipping around so much.

Song for song this album is way better than Britney’s last effort. In the grand scheme of Janet Jackson albums, it’s not as good as the holy trinity of “Control”, “Rhythm Nation 1814”, and “Janet”, but it is the best album since then. Easily surpassing the four albums since “Janet” in 1993.

Ghost Walks

Have you ever heard of a “ghost walk”?  Sometimes they’re called “ghost tours” or “haunted tours”.  These are tours of areas that generally have some kind of history of haunting.  At their best, they are a blend of history, folklore, urban legend, and ghosts.  Of course, like any tour, quality can vary.  If you’re ever interested in trying one it’s always best to ask around and see if anyone has done the tour you’re considering or have a different one to recommend.  Other things to consider are how much walking is involved and the time of year.  If you hate the cold, like me, and the tour is on foot, avoid the fall season.  If you have problems with walking for long periods, it’s best to do a tour where they bus you from location to location.  A few minutes of research can help eliminate a lot of discomfort. 
If you go to Google, or any other internet search engine, and type in the words ghost walk+your city, state you’ll be rewarded with lots of options.  Again, a little research goes a long way.  Keep in mind, these are for entertainment, and like any recreational endeavors, never spend more money than you’re comfortable with.  It’s hard to enjoy a walking tour, or pretty much any activity, if you’re going to spend the whole time worrying about whether the experience will live up to the money you spent.
Now I meant for this blog to just be about plugging a ghost tour in my hometown of Macomb, Illinois, but it has inadvertently become a bit of a primer about ghost tours in general.  I’ve never had the experience of doing A Midwest Haunting’s ghost walk, but I try to keep up with the group because they go to places that I remember from my youth.  They recently got some press in my hometown newspaper, The Macomb Journal, for adding locations at Western Illinois University, and starting their tour season in March.  If any of my readers from the area try the tour, I would love to hear about your experiences!