Just My Middle Finger Away

Of what use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings?

Most men are within just a finger's breadth of being mad.

-- Diogenes

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Dio's Private Mailbox
Posted:Sep 23, 2018 3:12 pm
Last Updated:Oct 27, 2020 9:23 am

This is a good place for comments, critiques of my blog, general observations or questions. Confidentiality is NOT guaranteed and subject to public ridicule at my discretion.

Constructive critique is highly welcomed as I work to improve my writing.

If you have a question for Dio, this is a good place to privately ask and he can answer it anonymously in his column. Don't be shy.

You're welcome.


0 Comments , 2 Pending
Quacks, Charlatans and Genuises
Posted:Oct 26, 2020 4:42 am
Last Updated:Oct 27, 2020 5:33 pm

Here's my general opinion of therapists, counselors, psychologists, etc. They're not like a mechanic. A mechanic wants to fix your problem. Fix your car, take your money and never fucking see you again unless your car breaks down again from an unrelated issue. A therapist wants to keep you just fucked up enough that you keep coming back and giving them their fee.

Christian therapists are the worst. You might as well sit there with a three-ring-binder full of memes in your lap, think of a situation and go to that tabbed entry of the notebook. "Do unto others ..., turn the other cheek ..., love your wife like Christ loved the church ..."

Really? Like Christ loved the church? How did the church love Him back? How did that all work out? They stood around and watched while He got nailed up on a cross. Listen Doc, I don't like sharp objects going through my hands and feet. Or a spear piercing my side. I hate the taste of vinegar and gall. And I sure as fuck know I'm not making a return engagement in three days after she slowly kills me. So no, no, no Doc. Don't hand me that line of shit.

And that was the end of that therapist.

The only therapist I liked was a family counselor we went to early on in my first marriage. She. Was. Fucking. Hot! Hott - Double T! They went because there was constant turmoil in the house. I went because I didn't want to get thrown under the bus. Only the first time though. After that, I was asking every day, "Is today the day we get to see Dr. Smith? I think we need extra sessions." I didn't want to see anything fixed for a while. Did I mention the doctor was extremely attractive?

It was the same shit every session for weeks. Fingers pointed, denials made, tears shed. Jesus, Dr. Smith has got some nice legs. I could have Cliff-noted it from the first session. #1 has a drug problem. TheMother/FutureExWife is an enabler. #2 resents her sister and her mom because she isn't getting any attention. Easy solution. One of you needs to quit enabling. Someone else needs to address their drug issues. And the other one will work itself out when the first two events occur. The three of you figure out who's who and do your part for the solution. But I kept my mouth shut because, you know, legs.

Eventually the fingers, all 24 not counting thumbs, pointed at me. Somehow it was my fault because of my shitty childhood. My mom and dad were not textbook parents, at least not in the good sense. The three of them unanimously decided that it was me that needed some one on one counseling sessions. Dr. Smith said she was willing and available and asked me how I felt about doing that. I reluctantly agreed because, you know, legs.

Actually I was surprised at what came out of our session. She asked me about my mother. I told her that my mother was manipulative, controlling, overbearing, basically a cunt. I gave her a few examples from my childhood and the doctor said ...

"I think you married your mother."

And a light clicked on.

Dr. Smith has legs and brains. I think I'm in love.

I did feel a sense of relief after that revelation but that feeling was short-lived after she told me she didn't think I needed to come back. She didn't feel that I was a contributing factor to the problems of the ongoing family issues and that I have admirably handled any personal issues that may have been a result of a less than optimal childhood. Her words.

"So you're basically firing me," I asked, a bit crestfallen.

"Yes, I think you're 'fixed', as you're so fond of saying," she answered.

"What about my hatred of women?"

"We both know you don't hate women. Maybe 'a' woman."

"So our doctor-patient relationship is over?"

"Yes, we're done. Is there anything else you'd like to ask?"

"Does this mean we can have dinner sometime?"

Because, you know, legs. And brains.

And that face.

Bringing Mediocrity Up to Average ...
Posted:Oct 24, 2020 10:29 am
Last Updated:Oct 27, 2020 6:32 am

I’m average. All my life I’ve been average. The only time I excelled at something was in fifth grade. We had to take those standardized reading tests and I tested out at a ninth grade reading level. So I got stuck in the advanced reading group. Of which I was the only member. So I sit in a corner of the room, reading to myself by myself. That didn’t do much for my social development. Ninth grade I tested out at a fifth grade level. So it all averaged out. I bring mediocrity up to average.

Fifth grade was a banner year for my self-realization. I was good at reading, writing not so much. Sports were even worse. Anything that took any amount of effort.

At the end of the year there was always “Field Day”. There were track and field events that you had to participate in so I would generally try to pick the ones that I sucked at the least. Or ones that were timed. The 600-yard walk/run was a good one. I turned it into the 600-yard amble/crawl so it took me a good hour. Half the morning gone, just another hour or so to lunch break. Whew, I’m sweating.

The shuttle run. I have no idea why they called it the shuttle run. You had to run a zigzag course picking up a blackboard eraser, zigging to the next one, dropping the eraser and picking up another one and then off to the zag for 5 more different erasers. My time on that one was a little bit better than the 600-yard event. But not by much.

Then there was the softball throw. This consisted of throwing a softball as far and as straight as you possibly can. I was small for my age. Small frame means small hands. I could barely grip a softball so how am I ever going to be able to control the flight of the ball? I lobbed it far and straight enough to qualify for a ribbon. Back in those days you didn’t get participatory ribbons. The color of the ribbon depicted your placing. Blue, of course, was first place. Second was red and third green. I got a fifth place ribbon that was kind of a piss-yellow color. It was the lowest ribbon anyone could qualify for. What was kind of embarrassing is that the events were co-ed. There were girls that were heaving the softball farther than I could. I would think a female being labeled an Amazon had a minimum weight requirement. Fifty-four pounds seems a little light.

I coasted through school until the ninth grade and the fifth grade level test score incident. There were two 7th graders with me in the 5th grade reading group. At least my social skills had a chance to develop. Ninth grade was called junior high not middle school back then. I guess “junior” has some kind of pejorative implication so they changed it. That’s probably what damaged me.

I still sucked at sports. There was football in the fall, baseball in the spring. Winter had to be an indoor sport. No, not hockey. Not swimming. The worst. Wrestling. Fucking wrestling.

Wrestling in school is not like what you see on television. Wrestling in school is what I imagine watching G-rated gay porn is like if I watched it. Without the kissing. Two guys in short shorts writhing around. If you’re into that, you’ll love watching. Me, not so much. I spent most of my time watching the other spectators, trying to determine who was seeming to enjoy the spectacle just a little too much. Those are the ones I wanted to avoid wrestling. I concentrated more on not grabbing something than grabbing anything when the time came to actually wrestle.

We didn’t really have to wrestle in matches except on Fridays. The other days we just had to learn the different moves and whatnot. I was still small for my age so there was only three of us in our weight class. Me, Tim and Mario Baccala. His last name wasn’t really Baccala, that’s what he smelled like and he was Italian. Plus Mario DriedandSaltedCod was too long and American sounding. So after a class of close contact with Mario, guess what I smelled like too? We were supposed to take showers after class but I was savvy enough to dawdle long enough not to have time to shower. Teenage insecurities and black guys in the class.

Pre-Algebra was the class right after PE and Lisa Kannamacher sat right behind me. The first time after I had to wrestle Mario, she leans forward and whispers, “Did you just wrestle Mario?” Word of mouth travels at the speed of smell, I guess.

“No, Lisa. Did you douche today?” That was the first and last time she ever talked to me.

That night at the dinner table my mom kind of sniffs the air, looks at me and asks if I had baccala for lunch. Yeah, mom, I took the bologna and cheese sandwich I have every day of the week and traded it straight up for some baccala.

“No ma’am, I’ll take a shower after dinner.”

Thankfully, Mario’s wrestling career was short-lived. The Friday we had to wrestle, it was Tim’s turn to tangle with Mario. I wasn’t really paying any attention, not unusual, and a commotion started which made everyone stop and look over at Tim and Mario. Mario was flopping around on the mat like a fish out of water, trying to swallow his tongue, his eyes rolling back in their sockets. My joke about salting him down wasn’t appreciated at the time. Turns out he was epileptic and had a seizure. Mario got a get-out-of-jail-free card and got study hall. Tim was pretty shook up too. Every time after that we would have to wrestle and he’d be winning, I’d start gagging and flopping. I never did get the eyeroll down. Then he would let up just enough for me to avoid the pin.

My family moved that summer so I started at a new high school that next autumn. Flag football in the fall. Baseball in the spring. And yep, wrestling in the winter. Fuck me running. I had gained a little weight over the summer so I wasn’t the lightest guy in the class at 105 pounds. I was hoping to move up an athletic supporter size with the weight gain. No such luck. I was still a small but I knew from the previous class that you want to be wearing the proper size. Two or three guys in the class wore a size or two larger than they should have. The all too often scrotum shots were disgusting.

Brian Andrews was the lightest at 98 pounds. And he fit the stereotype of the 98 pound weakling. Tall, skinny, glasses, dorky. I could kick his ass all day long. He wouldn’t even try, just kind of make the obligatory moves. I felt like I was pulling strings on a puppet. Actually looking back, it was good training for sex with my first wife. Everyone else in the class weighed twenty or more pounds than us so we didn’t have to wrestle anyone else. Fuckers called us the “Ah-So-Odd-Couple”.

Then the unthinkable happened. A new student transferred to the school and joined the class. Gary Hoefer. Gary is one of those guys you love to hate. He was good looking. Muscular, out going personality. All the girls loved him. Even my older sister, the head cheerleader, commented that he was “so sexy”, “so hot”. “Introduce me, introduce me”. Fuck you.

Gary joined the “Ah-So-Odd-Couple” and the rest of the class quit calling us that. Not because there were now three of us. Because Gary was the state-wide wrestling champion for his weight class. Un-fucking-defeated in his weight class. Our weight class. In the whole fucking state. Brian had nothing to lose, I was the reigning champion of our motley group. Now I was going to be dethroned and get a taste of a good ass kicking.

I only had to wrestle Gary once. For the championship. With the whole class watching. The match was on a Monday so I had the whole weekend to prepare. I checked with my folks to make sure the health insurance was paid up. And the life insurance. My mom upped the coverage when I told her what was happening. My sister sardonically offered to change places with me, the family name had a better chance of not being shamed.

Monday morning dawned. I wanted to call in sick but I figured being labeled a loser is better than a chicken. Although a chicken may live a bit longer.

I’d like to tell you that I won. That I kicked his ass. I didn’t, he kicked my ass. But he did not pin me. Three minutes in a match is an eternity. One minute into it he almost had me pinned, I knew I was going to lose. So the only time in my life I whispered in another male’s ear. The last two minutes we grappled, making it look like we were trying. But he wasn’t going to pin me and we both knew it.

“You know, she’s called the head cheerleader for a reason. Don’t pin me.”

The art of negotiation. Win/win.

Don't Go There ..... (repost)
Posted:Oct 21, 2020 4:46 am
Last Updated:Oct 25, 2020 1:14 pm

We are a nation with such misplaced priorities. The latest dilemma that we’re facing is where transgenders can go to the bathroom. I have my opinion on the matter as well as you. It may be that we are polar opposites in our stance on the issue. But let me tell you, there are a lot of countries around the world that have significantly more pressing issues facing them than what we’re currently whining about here.

Case in point. A few years ago TheWife and I took a trip to her homeland. Her country is not south of the border, it is south of the equator. Despite the differences in our ages and physical attractiveness, she is not a mail-order bride. Mail-order brides have a Slavic origin, whereas Latinas can be found locally. Say CraigsList for example.

We had just left her mom’s house after a delicious meal, albeit, spicy and had to stop for gas on the way to where we were staying. She was driving as I didn’t have an international drivers license. We pulled in front of one of the pumps and I asked her if she minded pumping the gas. I’m normally quite the gentleman and refuel the vehicle so this was out of the ordinary. She looked at me puzzled and asked, “Porque?”

I am not fluent in Spanish, nor do I want to be. My reasoning is that if she can bitch me out in the only language I can understand, why would I want to learn another one that sounds even bitchier? I took two years of Spanish in high school but that was a long time ago and I never figured I’d ever use it. I was wrong. So I picked up a copy of Rosetta Stone for Spanish in anticipation of needing to know some basics for our month long trip. Here is a list of all the phrases you will ever need if you go to a Spanish speaking country:

1. No habla Espanol. I don’t speak Spanish.

2. Donde esta el bano? Where is the bathroom?

3. Donde esta las putas? Where are the prostitutes?

4. Lo siento estoy misio. Sorry, I don't have any money.

Just a heads up, don’t use #4 right after #3 or you’ll get your ass kicked. Trust me.

Anyway, I told her that I needed to use el bano after the meal that we had just eaten. Like any logical person, she asked why I didn’t go at her mom’s before we left. I told her that I didn’t want to miss the cultural experience of using a public facility. Plus I didn’t want to spend the next day repainting her mom’s el bano. Go, she said. Get out.

Now I don’t know if you have ever had the pleasure of using the public facilities in what amounts to a third world country, much less the toilet at a third world service station. But my sphincter was telling me no importa. You need to release me. Immediately. I didn’t even have to do the Donde esta el bano? thing, I just followed my nose.

Into a room that had no light. Or door for that matter. So I hoped I was in the right one, but I was at the point I just didn’t care. The offensive smell didn’t even gag me. I just wanted to get my pants down and clear of the gush of Hispanic cuisine that I knew was surging behind Door #2. I did have enough of my wits about me to know not to sit down completely so I gingerly squatted over the commode as best I could and unleashed the geyser.

Now that the worst was behind me, so to speak, I began to take note of my surroundings. The first thing that I noticed was that the bathroom actually smelled better after my deposit than before. Fresher maybe. Secondly, that even with no door there was not enough light to see anything. But I could hear a buzz, like a florescent light that’s gone bad. Then I realized that the buzz I was hearing was to my left and low. Like ass low, not ceiling low. Flies. Flies that sounded like bumblebees. Lots of big fucking shit-eating flies.

Fuck me. No toilet paper. No, I’m wrong. There’s toilet paper. Secondhand toilet paper. Fly covered secondhand toilet paper. You see, they don’t supply toilet paper in the public restrooms of these countries. You’re on your own. The Boy Scout motto is Be Prepared. And I wasn’t. The people that do come prepared drop their load and then use the toilet paper they carry around with them. You know the routine before you leave the house, wallet, car keys, phpne, shit paper. Then they gift wrap the wad and toss it into a bin that’s usually next to the throne. With the gargantuan flies.

So now a quandary. Do I reach into the bin and take my chances? No, I’ve got pretty low standards but not quite that low. I don’t like anything around my starfish. And anything would include big hairy fucking bumblebee flies that might be stuck to the paper along with Pepe’s digested burrito. How about a sock? I’ve got two. That’s a bad idea too. All I need to do is get one shoe off, sock next, then hop around the room on one leg, lose my balance and end up on the probably shit stained floor. No thanks. My last option was my undershirt.

I hated the thought of that. It was an undershirt that my had made me for Father’s Day. “World’s Best Dad” in a hand painted design . Necessity being the mother of invention I got the shirt off, did my business and tossed it towards the bin when a gust of wind with a swarm of flies caught it midair and carried it out the doorway. I would have slammed the door shut as I left but there wasn’t one. The flies probably carried that off too.

TheWife just happened to see the exiting swarm and wanted to know if it was so bad that I ran the flies off. I don’t know where she gets her sarcasm.

That should have been the end of the story but it wasn’t. The next day we’re in the same neighborhood as the night before and TheWife stops for a stream of pedestrians crossing the street. She calls my attention to a guy that is crossing in front of us.

“Don’t you have a shirt just like that?” she asks.

“Yeah, I did.”

“I don’t remember the stripe?”

Don’t tell me I’m not a charitable guy. I’ve been known to give the shirt off my back.
You Scare Me ...
Posted:Oct 19, 2020 4:58 am
Last Updated:Oct 22, 2020 2:30 am

What ever happened to the sanctity of a blowjob? I remember the day when oral sex was something special, out of the ordinary. Or maybe it was because I wasn’t getting any. Girls back then just didn’t “do that”. You had to go to the nasty XXX theater downtown, the one with the sticky floors that hopefully were spilt soft drinks, to even see one. I suppose I could have offered a couple of bucks to one of the toothless homeless guys that hung around outside for one but I don’t lean that way. So I did without. Well, except for that one time, but I was drunk.

Today, it’s a given. A guy doesn’t even have to go through the formalities of a dinner and a movie before she’s down there gobbling your knob. I kind of miss the apprehension, the sexual tension of the old days.

The old days, if you were the type that paid for sexual favors, the going rate was $20 for a bj and $40 for the honey pot. I never got any through those means, not that I didn’t try. The working girls always thought I was law enforcement for some reason. That or they could smell the desperation.

Like I stated earlier, it’s so commonplace now that if it doesn’t happen, I know I probably should have showered more than the usual once a fortnight. Or at least scraped the outer crust off from the last encounter. Note to self, shower more frequently/carry Handi-Wipes.

It’s so routine anymore. I’m surprised that women find it necessary to post pictures smoking a big fat dick in their mouth to assure us that they’re willing. The pictures that slay me are the ones where the woman is looking up at the camera. Sure, I’ve had the woman look up at me while in the act. You women do that for a reason. You want to know if we’re watching you do it, if we’re enjoying it. Hell yes, we’re watching you. You’ve got teeth down there around our most prized possession. Have you seen what a piranha can do in just a few seconds? What we males are looking for is any indication that you might go Linda “The Exorcist” Blair bat-shit crazy and leave a bleeding stub. Fuck yes, I’m watching you. With both eyes. And the clenched fists aren’t due to sexual pleasure. That’s a natural defense mechanism, just in case.

Then they all think they’re experts at it. Porn stars. They started out by practicing on bananas, carrots, cucumbers then moved up to ex-boyfriends, ex-husbands, future ex-bosses. Maybe there’s a reason you’re single, divorced, unemployed. Just because you’ve sucked a lot of dicks, fruits or vegetables doesn’t necessarily you an expert make. Ask the guy at your next job interview what he thinks.

Oh, then there’s the expressions for their expertise. ”I can suck the chrome off a (Ford, Dodge, Chevy) bumper.” They never use one of the cheap import cars because the chrome just flakes off those pieces of shit. Well let me explain my unease with that particular expression. Do you know how the chrome is applied to the bumper? It’s electroplated. It’s almost impossible to remove. So then think about the act of sucking the meat off a buffalo wing. Doesn’t take much, does it? Well, molecularly speaking, my dick is structured more like a chicken wing than a car bumper. And you wonder why the wood went away.

Or the infamous, “I can suck a tennis ball through a garden hose”. And that is supposed to impress me? Listen, the average penis is about the same diameter as a garden hose but shorter (woe to you). About two inches lower from the hose are two balls that are significantly smaller than tennis balls. Get the picture? What if you are in fact, capable of doing that? Can you blow as good as you suck? Because you’re going to have to put those things back where you got them when we’re done here.

Yeah, I think I’m done with the self proclaimed blowjob experts. Thanks but no thanks. You scare me.
Don't Worry, It's in a Safe Place ...
Posted:Oct 17, 2020 4:23 pm
Last Updated:Oct 20, 2020 4:58 pm

There is a combination fire-safe in my office that I bought new about fifteen years ago from Walmart. The original purpose for the safe was stash cash for my “I’m fucking out of here” fund for the impending divorce. It served its purpose.

Since then, I’ve moved or four times. Somewhere in that time frame, I left the safe door open (thank God) intending find where I put the instructions with the combination on it. The other night I decided look for the sheet with the sticker with the combination on it. After or four moves, that sheet was nowhere be found. I thought I had printed it out a label and stuck that somewhere or in one of the drawers of my desk. Nope. Nada.

I only paid $75.00 or so for the safe back then and I could purchase a new one for about two or times that today, but then I would have to get rid of the old safe and it weighs a ton. Well, maybe a twentieth of a ton, but you get the idea. I’m a lazy cheap fucker and if I can somehow get the combination from the manufacturer, problem solved.

So I contact the manufacturer of the safe and after answering a few questions that confirm my identity and the serial number of the safe which was inside the safe, but again, thank God the door was open and thirty bucks later, they email me the combination. It doesn’t open the latch. Either I’m a dumbfuck or they sent me the wrong fucking combination.

This morning I take the safe door under arm into my neighborhood locksmith. He tries the combination they sent me. Same result. So either we’re both dumbfucks or they sent the wrong fucking combination. I can see me being the dumbfuck but he is a trained professional, i.e. not a dumbfuck.

He takes the safe door to his workbench, takes off the back cover, fiddle-fucks around with the dial, puts the cover back on and brings it back to me in the front of the store. The manufacturer did, in fact, send me the wrong fucking combination. It wasn't even close. The locksmith told me that the combination may have been changed at some point in time. I knew that wasn’t the case since I had bought the safe brand new and it had always been in my possession, but I wasn’t going to argue the case because at this point it didn’t matter. He got it open and handed me a business card with the numbers of the combination on the back. I hand him twenty bucks.

I get home, try the numbers on the card, and .... what the ever loving fuck? It does not open. You are motherfucking kidding me. The manufacturer sends me the wrong combination and the trained professional cracks the safe and gives me the wrong fucking combination? Jesus H Christ.

So now I figure if that dumbfuck of a locksmith could crack the safe, then so could I. I pop off the back cover, spin the lock mechanism until the notches line , write down the number and work the next notch/number.

Turns out he gave the right numbers, just not in the right order. He interchanged the first digit of the second and third numbers. I can now certify him as a dyslexic dumbfuck. Which is better than , a simple dumbfuck that just spent fifty bucks on nothing that I couldn’t have done myself anyway.

So now, the safe is locked tight. With the paper that I wrote the combination on. Inside.
A Not-So-Secret Admirer?
Posted:Sep 30, 2020 9:19 pm
Last Updated:Oct 16, 2020 8:17 pm

An interesting chain of events has happened over the last few days. I would like to relate the timeline of the events and then ask a few questions.

On September 27, 2020, a fellow blogger contacted me through my private mailbox and asked me to explain a point I had made in one of my posts, they didn't understand the context. I gave the timeline to them, starting with the fact that the whole thing was started by a comment that another completely different blogger had made on one of my posts. The particular blogger that made the comment has since left the site but left their blog active.

Later that same day I visited the inactive member's blog to see who had visited lately as I have periodically done since she made the comment on my blog. My username was the only one that had been showing up on the "Recent Visitors" list as of late but I did notice earlier that a certain user had visited on or around the date, August 2, 2020, as did a number of the "usual suspects" that had seen my post and the comments.

On September 27th, almost two months after my original post and the instigating comment, the same day the fellow blogger contacted me, that same certain user appeared as had visited the since departed member's blog. Of course, the recent visitor's list does not time-stamp recent visitor's visits so there is no way for me, a standard member, to find out the exact time the visit had been made (before or after my response to the fellow blogger) but because I am inherently suspicious, it seems a bit too coincidental to have that certain user visit the exact same day that I replied to the inquisitive fellow blogger in my private mailbox.

I might note here, that the latest previous date on the Recent Visitor's List was August 24, 2020, 34 days earlier, by an uninvolved person.

Since then, I have been the only visitor to the other blog that shows up on the list since that certain person's visit on the 27th. Today is the 30th. That certain user visits my blog and profile daily, sometimes two and three times a day. They have not visited (at least by record of the Recent Visitors) the other blog in three or four days.

I also noticed that the "Last Updated" date-time stamp on the other blog updates itself to the current date and time that I visit. It does not do that on any of the other blogs that I visit.

Does anyone have any idea what could be going on here?

Is it possible for non-employees/members of the site to read private mail-boxes?

Or is this all coincidental with the probability of 0.000001%?
RE: "To Shame or NOT to Shame ..."
Posted:Sep 24, 2020 6:22 pm
Last Updated:Oct 6, 2020 7:41 pm

I would really have liked to have focused on the content of the post because it was very well written, but you know what kept me from doing that and really stuck out to me?

There weren't any missing words.

Shadowbanning ...
Posted:Sep 20, 2020 6:52 am
Last Updated:Oct 11, 2020 3:48 pm

The powers that be keep shadow-banning my [post Think Before You Rant For Once ]

It was up for almost two days, then denied, re-posted and now keeps disappearing.

I thought what was good for the goose was good for the gander. Or vice versa.

(The good stuff is in the comments, just sayin' ....)

Think Before You Rant ... For Once
Posted:Sep 18, 2020 8:14 pm
Last Updated:Oct 21, 2020 4:02 am

Source : https://www.thefader./2019/06/26/who-owns-lyrics-explainer

By Steffanee Wang
June 26, 2019

Here’s what you need know about sharing lyrics online

Lyrics can hold an immense amount of power. You scribble them on notebooks, repeat them in your head as mantras, adopt as life principles the ones that feel particularly aligned with your soul. You can fuse the words permanently onto your body through tattoos. It’s one of the things that makes engaging with music so powerful and rewarding: geeking out over bars, marveling at phrases and descriptors that feel so insanely correct they must be thoughts taken straight from our own heads. They can begin to feel like they belong to you.

But in the world of copyright and ownership, lyrics have entered a grey area of misuse and misunderstanding, an issue that’s only been heightened by the recent reports of Genius accusing for lifting the lyrics published on their site. Who owns lyrics in the first place, and why do they feel like the least copyright-enforced part of songs on the internet?

I spoke with transactional music attorney Erin M. Jacobson about this. Turns out, if you’ve ever shared lyrics online at , you were probably infringing upon somebody’s copyright.

Who actually owns lyrics?

Like every other part of a song, songwriters and/or publishers own the copyrights their own lyrics. Anyone who wants use those lyrics, or even simply republish the lyrics online, would need get permission from the owners via a license agreement, which Jacobson says is most used for reprinting lyrics on greeting cards, T-shirts, books, etc.

This practice should be followed on the internet as well, in the sense that anyone who reposts or republishes the lyrics should be getting a license from the copyright owners beforehand. That can range from lyric hosting sites like AZlyrics, www.thefader./ Metrolyrics, Genius, the way fans posting transcriptions of the lyrics in YouTube comments.

Wait, even those lyrics under YouTube videos that I use when I want sing along my favorite songs are illegal?

Yes, even those helpful netizens transcribing lyrics in the comments out of the goodness of their hearts, out of love for their favorite artists, should be getting licenses.

The spectrum of lyric-sharing is very broad, and it’s made the more complicated by the grandness and share-friendliness of the internet. That’s partly what makes holding copyright infringers account so difficult, for better or for worse. Jacobson also acknowledges that the lack of public education and awareness on copyright law is mostly the reason why lyric infringement still runs rampant today: “Like so much on the web, people just put things either not realizing or not caring that they actually need go get a license from somebody.” Well, now you know.

What about fair use?

Fair use is usually the go-to defense for those who’ve been accused of copyright infringement. It essentially states that their use of copyright material is okay because it is using the work for educational purposes or because the original work has been transformed in some way. Satires and parodies — like “Weird Al” Yankovic’s songs — fall under this category, as do educational videos and other art that builds on top of an original work How much or little of the original work that gets used matters, too, and as its written in section 7 of the Copyright Act “if the use includes a large portion of the copyrighted work, fair use is less likely be found.” So, say using just one line from a song versus an entire verse.

Fair use judgements are made on a case-by-case basis, Jacobson says, though one indicator that something most likely is not fair use is if it’s used for commercial purposes. “Lyric sites have funding, they have ad support, and they're using all of the lyrics,” Jacobson says. “All of them need to be licensed and any of them that are not licensed are just infringing.”

What’s the incentive to go after fans?

Sadly, there doesn’t need to be an incentive outside of the fact that the owner of the copyright simply wants to, and can. Often it's up to the principles of the songwriters and owners. Prince, for example, said in his 2007 statement that he was suing YouTube and Ebay for copyright infringement, that he was going to “reclaim his art on the Internet.” That same year, Universal sent a DMCA takedown to Stephanie Lenz for a video that featured her dancing to “Let’s Go Crazy.” That incident led the near decade-long court case, Lenz v. Universal Music Corp., that ended in 20 and decidedly ruled in favor of Lenz and fair use. (Granted, this case wasn’t over song lyrics, but it’s not hard imagine something similar happening over a non-official lyric video going viral.)

It also wasn’t that surprising when Taylor Swift, who wrote in a 20 Wall Street Journal op-ed that “music is art, and art...should be paid for”, had her legal team send cease and desist letters Etsy vendors who were selling items with Swift’s trademarks and lyrics printed them. “It becomes a business decision about whether they want go after a person or not,” Jacobson says, “because they are completely in their rights go after them if they want .”

But don't panic, yet! For the most part, Jacobson says, “You could have a full staff just tracking of those infringements, but from a business perspective, sometimes it’s just not worth it spend the time.” Especially for smaller infringements that are generally unknowingly committed by fans, Jacobson says, “You might look at it and say ‘Is the backlash we're going get [by taking action] going hurt the artist or the writer, more than its actually going help them?”

At the end of the day, copyright law is severely outdated.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act — an amendment the Copyright Law most publishers have been using take down copyright infringements — was signed by Bill Clinton in 1998, when the internet was far less of a force than it is today. More recently, the Music Modernization Act passed in October 2018 in an attempt to enforce royalty rates and payments in the age of streaming, but there is still a huge gap when it comes to addressing the new ways in which music listeners interact with and share songs and lyrics currently.

“Technology has moved so fast that the law hasn't really caught with it yet so that’s the first problem,” Jacobson says.“Hopefully, we can get the lyric sites licensed, but the law and policy take a while get changed. The Music Modernization act was several in the works but it’s definitely a starting place for getting songwriters and rights owners fairly compensated for the music that they make.”

Add in the lack of resources and technology available actually go after all cases of infringements in terms of lyric republishing, and it means that songwriters and publishers will always be one step behind from being fully compensated for their wor Which sucks. So the least we can do is pay for our music.

Note that this piece was properly sourced in its entirety according to copyright laws. Emphasis is my own.
A Harridan, a Pearly White and a Daily Points Giveaway Walk Into a Bar ....
Posted:Sep 16, 2020 12:04 pm
Last Updated:Oct 5, 2020 6:28 pm

Here's a free idea for a daily points giveaway question....

Is it the left or right incisor that's gone AWOL? Or both?

You're welcome.

FWIW, missing body parts should be addressed in photos under the truth in advertising clause.

*** Disclaimer -- toothless Harridans are JUST NOT MY TYPE ***

Updated 9/17/20 to reflect that it is an incisor. Top front teeth for us nomenclature-challenged non-dental neophytes. Kinda figured as tight-lipped as that smile is. What a pretty picture that paints. And a little hint in getting your four free giveaway points. C'mon, say "cheese" for us.

You're welcome.
Saturday's Song: Elements - Lindsey Stirling (w/pics)
Posted:Sep 12, 2020 7:58 am
Last Updated:Oct 6, 2020 3:43 am

These words really spoke to me.
I Did My Own Poll ....
Posted:Sep 11, 2020 4:45 pm
Last Updated:Sep 16, 2020 5:02 pm

I drove around the city and did an unscientific yard sign poll.

Biden is a distant third place behind Trump and free firewood.


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