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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Silly censorship

I was in my car this morning, listening to a local radio station, and the Billy Joel song "Captain Jack" came on.

This song, as Joel fans know, includes the line: "Your sister's gone out, she's on a date. You just sit at home and masturbate."

The version played by by this particular station muted the vocal when Joel got to the word "masturbate."

But two verses later, the line "So you play your albums, and you smoke your pot" was left untouched.

So I guess the message here is: Stimulating oneself sexually, bad. Using illegal drug, OK.

... unless the song in question is Tom Petty's "You Don't Know How it Feels," in which the version regularly played by the same station (and others, I'm sure) features Petty singing "So let's get to the point, let's hit another joint" instead of the original "So let's get to the point, let's roll another joint." (It appears Petty recorded two versions — with the revised line in the latter being a reference to going to a nightclub — knowing some radio stations would object to the original.)

So now, unlike in the version of "Captain Jack" played on the same station, the message in disallowing the phrase "roll another joint" appears to be "using illegal drug not OK."

I'm so confused. And I'm sure other listeners are, too.

So here's a suggestion for all the radio stations that play the edited versions of the Joel and Petty songs, and that long ago gave up playing the original version of the Who's "Who Are You?" because it includes the F word: If you find a song objectionable, don't play it. That's your prerogative. But if you are gonna play a song, play the original version — the way the it was intended. Anything else is disrespectful to the song, the writer, the performer and, most importantly, the listeners.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

19th nervous breakdown (for the GOP)

A funny thing happened on the way to the revolution: A Democrat won the first race for a House seat since national health care reform was enacted.

That Ted Deutch was victorious in Tuesday's special election in Florida's 19th Congressional District is no great surprise. This is, after all, a liberal district (Broward and Palm Beach counties) that long has had Democratic representation in the House, including that of Rep. Robert Wexler, whose retirement opened the seat.

But Deutch didn't just beat Republican Ed Lynch; he trounced him — 62 percent to 35 percent in a district where only 49 percent of registered voters identify themselves as Democrats.

This race should have been much closer, or even a victory for the GOP candidate, especially at a time when Fox News, all the right-wing radio loudmouths and countless Tea Party kooks insist this year's congressional elections will be a mandate against Democratic-backed heath care reform and that Republicans will oust dozens of Democratic incumbents who supported the legislation.

Also worth noting is the largest demographic is the Florida 19th is senior citizens, the group that we've been told is most angry about health care reform. If that's the case, how did the Democrat manage to win Tuesday's election, and by such an overwhelming margin?

The truth is that America, as a whole, is not nearly as angry or as anti-Democrat/anti-Obama as a few sign-toting protesters who get a disproportionate amount of TV coverage would have us believe.

Yes, there's dissent in this country. Yes, there's anger in some circles. And yes, there's likely to be some backlash against the congressional majority in the November elections. But Tuesday's election in Florida, serving as the first indicator of things to come, suggests to me that the backlash will be far less dramatic than overly optimist conservatives expect.


Sunday, April 11, 2010


I saw a commercial for this on TV the other day and thought it was a joke, a "Saturday Night Live"-like parody.

Nope, it's for real.

Which raises the obvious question: Who would pay 20 bucks for this thing, plus another $8 for shipping? And why?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Wright stuff

Mets third baseman David Wright was asked by a reporter after the team's opening-day win on Monday if the victory will help set the tone for the team for the rest of the season.

Wright, understanding the realities of winning and losing apparently far better than the moronic journalist who posed the question, said, in effect: Are you serious? This is just the first game of a 162-game season. Let's not overstate its importance.

Here's hoping that exaggeration-prone sports reporters from coast to coast heard what Wright said and took it to heart.