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Review: Renegades by RATM By ÜberMike <12-9-00>
I picked up the new Rage Against the Machine album, Renegades on Friday at Best Buys, and before I go on about this review I would like to point out something. If you go to Best Buys soon, you can pick the cd up for only about $11, $3 less than what its selling for on Amazon.com and in the first pressing of the cd, there are 2 hidden tracks, live versions of "Kick Out the Jams" and "How I Could Just Kill a Man"; In addition, exclusive to Best Buys, a bonus cd with live versions of "People of the Sun" and "No Shelter" is included at no extra cost (this may seem like some crap advertisement, but I'm just showing you how to get a good deal on this album). Anyways, on with the review. If you haven't heard yet, the whole album is covers of songs that the group could not exist without. As the title states, these were renegades and revolutionaries of music and the fusion of music as a political force. These rock & hip-hop bands were crucial in inspiring musicians who cared about social and political issues, not the materialistic crap that musicians today work like business men for (satire Dead Kennedys style..."I'm not a musician/I'm a business man/No ideas of my own/I won't offend or rock the boat/just sex and drugs and rock & roll"). Some of the bands covered include MC5, the Stooges, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Afrika Bambaataa, Cyprus Hill, and Devo (In fact, Wayne Kramer of MC5 planned to play with RATM at their protest concert outside the Democratic Convention earlier this year). Since their debut album, RATM has evolved from pioneers of rock-rap (now bastardized by the likes of Limp Bitzkit and Kid Rock) into much more, sounding like a rock/rap/hip-hop/punk/techno/psychedelic band, thanks to the amazing guitar playing of Tom Morello, the reincarnation of Jimi Hendrix. The entire album is first-rate, with many tracks standing out. The studio version of "Kick Out the Jams" isn't nearly as good as the live version included here. RATM slowed down the pace on the studio version, which seems ironic, because when I hear the words "Kick out the jams motherfucker!" I expect a hyper-sonic noise assault, although they do speed it up some on the live version. "In My Eyes" is amazing because it sounds exactly like the original except for the vocals, but Zack's screaming does remind me of the snide and sneering voice of Ian McCaye. Other excellent tracks include "Pistol Grip Pump", "I Could Just Kill a Man", and "Street Fighting Man". Perhaps the weirdest song on here, RATM's cover of "Beautiful World", which never rises above a whisper, and can definetly qualify as their quietest song ever. I know you're getting tired of this review now so I'll sum this up by saying that this is a great album that will hopefully let kids in our generation get a taste of musical pionners. RATM got it right: rock; rap; punk; hip-hop; folk; it's all music.


  The too-cool-for-its-own-good-80's By ÜberMike <12-8-00>
As we approach a new year and a new millenium (not last year, idiots) I have spent some time reflecting these past thousand years. However, since I've only been around for about the last 15 years of this millenium, I didn't have much to ponder about except the two decades that I have lived in: the 80's and the 90's. After a lot of thinking, I came to the conclusion that "Hey, the 90's sucked compared to the 80's". I know many of you disagree, and you're probably saying, what's this idiot talking about? He doesn't even remember the 80's. That's true, I'm a teen of the 90's and a Gen X wannabe. But seriously, I have wallowed in some 80's nostalgia, and I must say, the 80's culture and era were much more cooler than the 90's. Many people just point out the clothes and call it a closed case, but I wouldn't consider the clothing that kids are wearing today as any more "cooler", and besides, I thought the clothes back then were rather cool. As for the hair cuts, who can insult those flamboyent hairdos, mullets, and mohawks of the 80's decade? The music scene back then was also much more better than the state of music today. How can anybody hold up Blink 182, Marilyn Manson, NSync, Destiny's Child, or Britney Spears to the musical stylings of Duran Duran, Simple Minds, Devo, Bad English, the Specials, Wang Chung, Gang of Four, and slews of other New Wave and Post-Punk artists (let's not forget the other mainstream pop stars like Michael Jackson, the B-52's, and Madonna...and for all you heavy metal listeners, vintage Metallica)? Now onto movies: today, all those over-done teen flicks like American Pie, Cruel Intentions, and Drive Me Crazy all have their roots back in films like the Breakfast Club, 16 Candles, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, except these films were exponentially better. Even the small screen was better back in the 80's. Does the A-Team, Knight Rider, or Hawaii 5-0 ring a bell? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Smurfs, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Transformers far surpass the shoddy modern cartoons that are on t.v. today (the only ones worth watching are the Simpsons and Arthur.....I think I'll write an article about my favorite cartoons soon). By the way, go to
Baller Icons for some AOL IM buddy icons of cartoon characters like Spiderman, Batman, TMNT, Transformers, the Smurfs and more. Let's not forget technology either; I mean, if I could have operated 1, I probably would have loved a Commodore 64, and the original NES will always be classier than today's high-tech gaming consoles with game selections like the Zelda, Contra, TMNT, and Mario Bros. series. Just sample some of the stuff I have listed above and see what you think. So rather than call the 80's dorky or shameful, I prefer to think of it as the "To-Cool-For-Its-Own-Good" decade.


Too stupid to mark a ballot?
(Will the result of this election really affect you at all?)
By Roe V. Wade <12-2-00>
In the recent election, a startling number of voters accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan when meaning to vote for Al Gore. The ballot was confusing, they said, and hard to understand which hole correlated to which candidate. Throughout its history the United States has boasted to be the greatest example of democracy in the world, and claimed to be the land of where freedom reigns over all. Sure, America was founded upon the new idea of democracy. But politicans in the last 200 years have made this country as much of a farce as communist Russia. What good is voting if the people don't even know what they're voting for? Some will say it's the media's fault that so many people are left uneducated about the real issues. Others say it's the corporations because they control pretty much everything. I say it's the alliance largely hidden from the general public between government, big business and the media. Americans have become so influenced by this alliance that they cannot think for themselves any longer. Gore won't abolish Social Security. Bush won't make abortion illegal. The President has pretty much no say in education. What is the reason we choose a president anyway? Is it democracy in action? No. Is it some deep-rooted American arrogance? Or some superficial status indicator? Or is it an outdated system which is no longer useful in the 21st century? Why should we hold valuable and dear a document full of racial and political prejudice that is over 200 years old? We should be tearing it apart. I don't really know. But i have concluded that Americans don't deserve to choose their president. Congress should choose the president. Politics should come back down to where it really matters. The local level.


This election is so long... By ÜberMike <12-2-00>
I found this in the latest issue of Time Magazine (Dec. 4, 2000) in the Notebook section on page 25. We all know that this presidential election has dragged on and on and on and on and on and on....much like this sentence; so Time has compiled a list of stuff that this election is longer than. It's rather funny and I don't care if it is inaccurate (which I doubt), so enjoy.


Bad Music Sucks!!! By the Archbishop <11-29-00>
Although this is intended as a scholarly, yet one-sided, discussion of musical quality, I'm sure by the end of it, I will have degenerated into a random string of curses and nonsense words, due to my own rage and insanity. In any case, I feel that today's "popular" "music" has been dumbed down and cheapened to the point that it no longer earns the title "music", but rather the term "driveling-pile-of crap-that-makes-me-want-to- vomit-on my-oh-so-precious-blue-suede-shoes." (Deep breath) Long gone are the glory days of Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Clash, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and Pink Floyd, to name a few. Instead we are left with ( insert random vomiting throughout) Papa Roach, Marilyn Manson, Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock and Blink 182, all of whom tend to confuse banging on a guitar with playing it and loud and shock value with good. Now I'm not saying all new music sucks, for I do enjoy the musical stylings of Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, Beck, KoRn and several others. I am saying that the most popular of music is often the most lowbrow and pointlessly stupid. Many of these artists have no respect for where the music has been, and focus solely on their own hedonistic desires. I am all for pleasure, because , frankly, pain sucks, but these "musicians" are destroying the music and the meaning, leaving the minds of the American youth filled with fraudulent anger and crappy music. The sheer amount of crap done by today's "rock" "artists" makes my head hurt. Just look at TRL and other such shows. Today's youth know nothing of quality music, and have come to accept these overinflated, egotistically charged, untalented idiots as talented and these are the people who shape American culture!!!! (More vomiting) It's absolutely sickening. We will be remebered for the music our generation produces, and I am ashamed on behalf of my generation. I am ashamed of the legacy we leave, and would now like to take the opportunity to disown our generation in general. Anyway, my head is hurting, so I think I shall now retire to my chambers to the sweet sounds of Led Zeppelin. But before I do, I say to you all, I am an open-minded person, so if you'd like to be argued stupid on musical issues, feel free to e-mail me via thecommoners@lycos.com. I WILL BURY YOU!! And remember this, I haven't even started on "bubblegum pop", so you just wait.
ÜberMike - By the way, not to steal any of the spotlight from the Archbishop's excellent bashing of the music I know you listen to, but I would like to add my own two-cents. Rage Against the Machine is releasing a new album, "Renegades", on December 5th. If you haven't heard, Zack de la Rocha left the band and this is their last album (except for a live one in the works). This isn't one of their standard albums, either, but a befitting covers tribute to the bands that have influenced their ultra-political rantings and music over the years. Just some of the bands that RATM covers in this album: Afrika Bambaatta, Cyprus Hill, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Minor Threat, Devo, MC5, and the Stooges. Who are these guys you may say? Well, as the album's title states, these were some of the original hip hop, rock n roll, and punk rock protest musicians that molded RATM and countless others. As the Archbishop stated earlier, our generation has missed out on some great music, and this RATM album is a great way to introduce their musical influences that will always be classics. I'll have a complete review of the album for you when I pick it up.


Dumb Laws By ÜberMike <11-25-00>
Have you ever broken the law and then thought you were persecuted unjustly? Well you are not alone. There are tons of stupid laws in the U.S.A that don't make any sense. So lighten up and take a look at some of these hilarious state laws that I found on the Dumb Laws website.(Actually part of a network of "Dumb" websites. Be sure to check out all of them.)

And of course my favorite one is the North Andover law because when I get my space gun, the first thing I'm going to do is go shoot up North Andover, Massachusetts.


Submitted Article: By Misa Misa (mee-suh) By Misa Misa <12-22-00>
Yup, people here in the USA love change. (Either that or they sadistically enjoy complaining. hmm...) Some dream of of a reversion to an earlier, better time while others scream for a revolution. Now is the time- let it be known that that a drastic change is on its way for this country. Think about the past hundred years of this country: In the 1930's the men of WWII came home to raise families (and start the baby boom) with their newly reformed women of wartime. Next, the 1960's and 70's - need I say more? According to this thirty-year cycle, at some point in the 1990's there should have been some sort of radical, social revolution to scare the politicains and forever change the country. So now, one must wonder, "What the hell happened?" Of course, my theory is that the youth of America in the 1990's were too busy trying to sign onto AOL (and not get kicked off) that they failed to develope personal beliefs about life and society. So... is technology slowing down inevitable changes in American society, or has it just dulled the passionately strong, emotional opinions of our past reformers? We may never know, or maybe we just don't care.


Bad Laws By David Friedman <12-22-00>
'Twas not long ago that me and a friend were out on the last night of summer at 11:30 PM loitering at our local swim and tennis club. Apparently, there are laws in our Georgia county that prohibit being out past 11 PM unless you are in a car. Because we all know that people in a car are far less dangerous than those who are walking. We were wandering around the pool when we noticed a car turn on its lights and begin to approach us. We ran off. Later that very same night, we came back to see what had happened to the car that gave us a fright. It was in a parking lot a good 100 yards from where we were. Then we went back to our loitering. Suddenly I notice 2 people chasing us. Naturally, we ran, ran like hell. As it turned out, these where security guards. They found my friend but I got home (only to be given away by the friend). So, 2 months later we are forced to go to mediation for "being out past curfew" (We had to write a 3 page paper on "why not to be out past curfew"). What is that? Why is being out late a crime? On that very same night, 2 local seniors where bashing a total of 30 mailboxes in a stolen suburban. What does this story prove? That some laws are stupid and only take away your tax dollars. Rather than having the police worry with 2 kids out past curfew, they could have been saving 30 mailbox's and a suburban (that was driven into a lake).


Review: A Clockwork Orange By ÜberMike <12-18-00>
I've actually had this book since July, but I never got around to reading it until a couple of days ago. I'm sure most people know about A Clockwork Orange from the movie adaptation that Stanley Kubrick created that caused a fervor when it was released; people deemed it (and the book) as inappropriate, ultra-violent, and unredeeming in moral value. But if you look beyond the morbid and violent activities of the book you will find a novel with great meaning that deserves to stand alongside 1984 and Brave New World as great futuristic and apocalyptic novels. One thing that is great about the book is Anthony Burgess' use of language - Nadsat (Russian for teenager), a blend of English and Russian that he created, throughout the novel. To some it may be difficult to understand, but once you get into the book, it's easy to work the words into context. Nadsat is a brilliant use of slang that is essential to the mood and informal descriptions that Alex gives throughout the story. The tale starts out with Alex, the narrator, and his journey through life in a futuristic England. He and his droogs (along with other teenagers) rule the streets at night by causing chaos and anarchy: robbery, rape, assault, and murder, just for the fun of it. But when Alex is caught and reformed by the state, the essential question that Burgess poses is "Is it better to be evil by choice or good by default"? That's where the title of the book comes in to play; as Burgess states in the introduction of the book, "If [a person] can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange - meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil or (since this is increasingly replacing both) the Almighty State." If you are forced to be good, than you aren't really good are you? You have no choice; no self-will; no individuality; you cease to be human any more. So is it better to be evil and still have that slim chance of reform (repentance, whatever you want to call it), or be forced to be good? The answer that Burgess gives (and that you should be thinking) is the first choice. If you have an older version of this novel before it was published in 1986 than you are missing the last chapter in the book (also excluded from the movie). It is essential to the overall meaning of the book and also important in its numerology. There are 3 parts to the book and 7 chapters in each part. Multiply 3 X 7 and you get 21, a symbol of the age of maturity in today's society. Many people don't like the final chapter and prefered that it was previously excluded. Basically what happens is that the Alex grows up. He becomes tired and uninterested in violence (Don't worry, I didn't give anything away. I got all of that from the introduction). Some people liked the ending of the 6th chapter where he is deconditioned and reverts back into his old, nihilistic, destructive self. But I don't think that portrays life fairly. (Unlike Fight Club where the narrator remains nihilistic, I think Burgess wanted to make a novel where moral values develop over time) We spend so much of our youth being energetic, wasteful, and a bit destructive (not neccesarily in a violent way), but as we grow up, we mature and begin to settle down. We use our energy for more practical purposes of creation and usefulness. So I think the controversial last chapter is essential to the overall message that Burgess conveys in the novel. And if after reading this article you don't agree, well little droog, I've got a real horrowshow kick for your gulliver that goes crack crack crack and brings out the krovvy, you stinky grahzny bratchny



Funny things you can do with a battering ram By David Friedman <12-22-00>
So, you've got a battering ram but now your saying, "What can I do with 5 tons of pine wood?". Here are some great ideas.

Yes, a battering ram can bring you years of joy. But, there are some precautions to take. Don't use the Ram around children and the elderly. Both are prone to have "accidents" at the sight of such a massive gift. Also, if your going to bring it on vacation, don't haul it behind a small car. It could fall off the top and there is nothing drivers hate worse then a giant razor sharp toothpick swerving down the lane and coming at them. Airbags don't stop everything. Have a merry Christmas and a happy Hanukkah!
(Ed. note: You left out Kwanzaa)


The Commoner's candid and unrehearsed By the Commoners <12-14-00>
So you've been reading the Commoner's Newsletter for a while, but you haven't really seen what we're like when we aren't perfecting articles for you to read on a regular basis. I (ÜberMike) had a conversation with some of my friends and fellow Commoners recently on AOL Instant Messanger, and Mr. E was smart enough to save the conversation as an html file. After reviewing it some, I thought, this is some funny stuff that we should post on the Commoners. So here's a chance for you to take a look at some unrehearsed and spontaneous chatter between the Commoners and non-Commoners alike. (Note: while I say this is unrehearsed and spontaneous, I had to edit the conversations for "content" and references to things that "may be deemed offensive" as advised by fellow Commoners. So yes, this is candid, but in the "best interests of everyone" we will edit conversations for content and also boring parts). After talking with the others on the staff, we have decided that we will have a monthly/periodic chat among the Commoners staff and our friends and post the chat up here as a way for you to see what goes on behind the scenes here and the thought processes behind our minds that make the site come together. Kind of like a real-life look at our conversations. If you take a look at the ones we posted up now, most of it is boring, but there are some funny parts scattered throughout, and we'll try and keep the future conversations short and interesting. And if you would like to join in on these discussions (which sometimes may be held as formal debates and discussions, and other times just random chaotic gibberish), drop us a line at our email address and Greg or I will contact you and add your AIM screenname to our buddy lists and contact you when we decide to have a conversation. Enjoy.

The Purloined Dialogues Part I
The Purloined Dialogues Part II


Dont touch this. By Greg Leo <12-27-00>
Ok lets check the will power of our readers. Do not touch this. I warned you.

Do Not Touch This

Do Not Touch This


Greg's view By Greg Leo <12-29-00>

You may have read the "About Us" page, and thought to yourself "I really only care what Greg Leo thinks." So here is what I think about the Commoners.

Foreword: All of the commoners have a lot of talent. All of them are generally good people with only one goal in life. To stop death in the heartland, and, in the mean time, to please the reader.

UberMike. Mike is a good man. A hard worker to say the least. One of the few who can follow my crazy ideas, and a good coin spinner. An html man. He takes care of this place. A 9 on the commoner scale.

Roe V. Wade. I dont know much about Roe. He dosent talk much, but when he does its usually in rebuttal to somthing Ubermike or his brother Will has said. Else he just shrugs his shoulders. I do know that he has some good stuff in his head.

Will. What can I say. His brain Is like good cotton. It will soak up a lot of water, and take 100 years to dry, but seriously he knows more than an alminac about social studies.

David Friedman. If Will's brain is like good cotton, than David's brain is like Good Gore-Tex. Less the good bleeding action you get with good Gore-Tex, but still David is a funny guy. Also known as DrunkOx he can be seen trying to take over my Irc channel #tvshows.

Mr. E. Hes pretty good at math. Though he doesn't have his own formula like me. It also turns out that he is retarded, after unsucessfully trying to solve a problem which can be seen in our archives. Im sure hes got some talent somewhere.

The Archbishop. A "jack of most trades". He can make me laugh anytime. A difficult feat because I am known as the straight face king. More on that later when I will teach you my ways. Knows a good bit of the church also.

Daphne Blake. You have to love a Scooby Doo fan. A devoted Christan girl. A "Jane of all trades" I dont really know what she is good at, but I know she is smart. One of the many qualities which have millions of men flocking to kiss her feet. Brains, and Beauty makes for a very good addition to the commoners.

Regis Philbin. Joined the commoners on the fifth tuesday of march 1999. A good man. I think he does a tv show. Plus he has good ties, and you cant go wrong with a name like Philbin. (Ed. note: I once knew a kid named Chris Philbeck...)

Update on "Damaged" By Roe V. Wade <12-29-00>
Even though i haven't listened to much Black Flag after Henry Rollins joined, Rise Above and Police Story are the only good songs ive heard with Rollins on vocals. I suggest you buy First Four Years instead of Damaged. Some of the songs on the album feature Keith Morris on vocals who is easily superior to Henry Rollins. Nervous Breakdown is probably the best Black Flag song. He also went on to form the Circle Jerks who were even greater than Black Flag.

Review: Damaged by Black Flag By ÜberMike <12-28-00>
Black Flag, along with the Dead Kennedys, were 2 of the defining and most successful of American Hardcore bands during the late '70s and early '80s. Although Black Flag had been formed by UCLA graduate Greg Ginn (guitarist) and Chuck Dukowski (bassist) 4 years prior to the release of their first album, "Damaged", it wasn't until Henry Rollins (who became a pop culture icon during the '90s with the Henry Rollins Band and his solo career) joined Black Flag that their underground cult status began to grow. When the band finished up "Damaged" in 1981, their record company, Unicorn Records, refused to release the album on grounds that it was immoral, vulgar, and dangerous to the public ear. So when Ginn released it on his own successful underground label, SST Records (home to such other important indie bands as the Minutemen, Husker Du, Soundgarden, Sonic Youth, the Meat Puppets, and Dinosaur Jr.) and the album received critical acclaim, Unicorn Records sued Ginn and SST, disallowing them to use the Black Flag name or easily recognized 4 bar logo on any records. It wasn't hard for Unicorn Records (who went out of business 2 years later and had to revert all intellectual property back to the band) or the unitiated to see how this album was so "controversial"; just check out some of the song titles: "Spray Paint", "Thirsty and Miserable", "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie", "Damaged I", "Damaged II", and "Life of Pain". But when you listen to the album, you know that the anger is coming from somewhere (usual Punk targets: boredom, alienation and disillusionment of society, police brutality, supressed feelings). The album is filled with cynical attitude and personal angst. To me, this is probably the most powerful, ferocious, and energetic Punk Rock album to be released since "Never Mind the Bollocks" by the Sex Pistols. Another thing these two share in common is the amazing singer/leaders of the bands: the snarling and furious growl of Henry Rollins compared to the snotty and nasal voice of Johnny Rotten. Although most of the songs on "Damaged" are great, some complaints that I have are that some songs on this album are earlier songs rerecorded with a new line-up (the band went through many different line-up changes during their 9 year run) and most of the songs aren't very memorable. Songs on here that I strongly recommend anyone listen to include "Rise Above", "TV Party", and "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie". This album (along with "Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables" by the Dead Kennedys) was considered very dangerous when it was released, but it is an important album in musical history that demonstrates that all is not happy and well in this screwed-up world of ours. Update from ÜberMike: I have just picked up "Mommy's Little Monster" by Social Distortion and "White Light/White Heat" by the Velvet Underground so I'll have a review for those albums up soon too. (Geez...I've spent a good deal of my Christmas money on cd's)

Featured song
"Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie" -
Download a sample (You need Real Audio for this sample).


NORAD tracks Santa By ÜberMike <12-23-00>
Ok. ok. I know you've read Mr. E and Jeff's articles about Santa and you want us to leave that subject alone, but I have something interesting to tell you about. I found it in today's Atlanta Journal & Constitution in the "Living" Section (God bless the comics section). It deals with NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense), who's headquarters is in Colorado, built in the (in?)side of a mountain. It was built by our government during the Cold War as a defensive measure in case Russia and we got involved in a Nuclear War. Anyways, apparantly our government has a sense of humor because every year NORAD assembles a team to train their radars on the North Pole in an attempt to track to down Santa Claus/ufo as he delivers presents on Christmas Eve. They have been doing this for the past 44 years, and although they have yet to shoot down anything resembling Jolly Ol' Saint Nick, they have determined that he does indeed exist. Go to the official Norad Tracks Santa webpage to learn more. Briefly, here's what the feds have to say about Santa.

Oh yeah, NORAD officials say that this Santa-tracking process does not take a dime from tax-payer money. That's all. Have a good holiday break guys. And remember, if you do happen to meet up with santa Claus, I'm sure you could make money hand over fist selling the story (and pictures) to tabloids.


There is a Santa Claus! By Mr E <12-22-00>
This is a rebuttal to Jeff's Article!

1. The flying reindeer have the ability to teleport.

2. Santa acquired the ability to teleport from the reindeer.

3. With the teleporting reindeer combined with a teleporting Santa, Santa can finish with time to spare.

4. When Yoda lifts things with the Force, does weight matter??

5. Again, if they teleport, wind resistance does not make a difference. And Santa can't die, he's immortal. If he wasn't immortal, he would have died of age by now.


Is there a Santa Claus? - An engineering Analysis By Jeff <12-22-00>
1. No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2. There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear to) handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

3. Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purpose of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and so forth. This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4. The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized Lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

5. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.
In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now!


The Desert By Greg Leo <12-31-00>

One the first part of the journey i was lookin at all the life. There were plants and birds and rocks and things, there was sand and hills and rain. the first thing I met was the flowers a' buzz and the sky with no clouds. The heat was hot and the ground was dry but the air was full of sound.

After two day in the desert sun my skin began to turn red. after three days days in the desert fun I was looking at a river bed, and the story it told of a river that flowed made me sad to think it was dead.

After nine days I let the horse run free because the desert had turn to sea. There were plants, and birds and rocks and things, there was sand and hills and rain. The ocean is a desert with its life underground and a perfect desiguse above. Under the cities lies a heat made of ground but the humans will give no love.

You see ive been throught the desert on a horse with no name. It felt good to get out of the rain. In the desert you can rember because there aint no one for to give you no pain.

Review: White Light/White Heat by the VU By ÜberMike <12-30-00>
A person would think that a band that was once managed by Andy Warhol would have made a huge splash in the music scene, but that wasn't the case with the Velvet Underground. I first heard about them as one of the purveyors of proto-punk - along with such other bands as Iggy Pop and the Stooges and MC5. VU was formed in 1964 in New York by Lou Reed (who would later go on to have a solo career), John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker. During the musical period when psychedelic rock was popular, the VU played a much darker and harsher type of rock music. While most bands sang of love and peace for the world, VU took on the realism of society and sexual explicitness in their songs. Basically, the VU were about sex, drugs, rock 'n roll. In 1965, Andy Warhol caught them playing at a club and was so taken with them that he decided to manage them. Their debut album, "The Velvet Underground & Nico" got little commercial success but received great reviews. On the album, Warhol introduced Nico, a European model, to contrast with Reed on lyrics. Now I have no idea how you get an avant-garde rock band, a European model, and a pop art master to create a musical masterpeice....it boggles the mind. But after a while, Warhol focused on his art and neglected the VU. Angered, they left him and ditched Nico while they were at it (they never felt Nico fit in anyways). Then came their second album, "White Light/White Heat". It's elcectic to say the least; on this album (they experimented with different sounds on each 1) they sound like a middle ground between British Invasion Mod bands and garage rock (as one fan put it, they sound like "The Beatles' evil twins from Hell"). Along with traditional rock instruments, the band includes organs and electric violas on some songs. The unpolished sing-speak vocals, the raw and heavy distortion and guitar noise, and the abrasive lyrics that Reed delivers are amazing to listen to. Starting from the beginning, you get an ode to amphetamines, a brutally funny story about a love-sick student, a morbid tale of Lady Godiva, 2 "love songs", and a 17 minute long jam about sex, drugs, and violence. And if you consider the time period in which the VU performed, they were truly different. No radio station dared touch them because the music was too confrontational and reckless. But nowadays they are getting their due respect; In the '80s & '90s many bands like Joy Division and Nirvana admitted their musical debt to the VU (Incidently, Social Distortion's last album was titled "White Light White Heat White Trash). Even today, VH1 ranked the VU as #74 on the top 100 rock musicians of all time. If you listen to any recent grunge/punk/alternative/heavy metal bands, you can see the eerie parrallelism. (btw, if you want to see a page that has a list of pop culture references to the VU, go to 
All of Tomorrow's Parties) As a final note, check out their other 3 albums that I've heard are equally as important: "The Velvet Underground & Nico", "The Velvet Underground", and "Loaded". I'm going to try and pick up "The Velvet Underground & Nico" as soon as I have some more money to waste.

Featured song
"White Light/White Heat" - Download a sample (You need Real Audio for this sample.)


Review: Mommy's Little Monster by Social Distortion By ÜberMike <12-30-00>
I'm sure most of you know Social Distortion of a couple years back when they had some moderate air play on the radio with the songs "I was wrong" and "When the angels sing". That's when I first heard them, although at the time I didn't think much of them. Recently I've been listening to some older Californian music and I discovered that Social Distortion has been around for quite a while. They formed back in 1978 and have been going strong for about 18 years (I think White Light White Heat White Trash was their latest album in '96)! Originally formed by Mike Ness(Vocals/guitar), Casey Royer(drums), and Frank(bass) and Rikk(guitar) Agnew, the Agnews left to join another Californian punk band, the Adolescents. The band went through many many line change-ups and their debut album only featured one original member. I'm not sure what to say about this album. I can listen to the thing the whole way through, but it doesn't strike any feelings in me; it's just "ok". There aren't any real stand out tracks on this album or any bad tracks. The lyrics are decent and the songs are rhythmic, but they don't stick in the head. Maybe if I listen to the album some more I'll pick up on more songs; but in the meantime, I might pick up Social Distortion's 4th album, "Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell" which I heard is also pretty good.

Featured Song
"All the Answers" -
Download a sample (This file is in Windows Media format. You should already have WM if you are using Windows)


The Shaldwig Principle By Greg Leo <12-29-00>
The shaldwig principle.

The shaldwig is the greatest high bounce ball ever. Nothing can surpass it in performance. Even pros like John Fortier use the shaldwig in competition. After extensive use i have come up with some bouncy ball principles which you can even test yourself.

A. No high bounce ball is as good as the shaldwig.

B. When a high bounce ball is dropped with a initial velocity of 0, no matter how good the ball, it will never return to higher than 2/3 the initial height.

test these yourself if you can prove me wrong i will give you ten bucks.


A friendly message from Walton HS Posted by "someone" <12-31-00>
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Nostradamus predicts the future! By ÜberMike <12-29-00>
Roe V. Wade sent this to me in an email.

In 1555, Nostradamus wrote:

     "Come the millennium, month 12,
     In the home of greatest power,
     The village idiot will come forth
     To be acclaimed the leader."

...and on a totally unrelated note, I believe George W. Bush became president recently. Who would have thought?