Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Let's All Stand And Deliver For A Moment of Silence

Let's All Stand And Deliver For A Moment of Silence

One of my ex's who was from West Virginia had a film that touched a chord with her because of her roots. The movie was October Sky and it did so because it was about the story of how a West Virginia group of kids, who weren't expected to grow up to be nothing more than coal miners in the local coal miners defied the odds and became rocket scientist who ended up working at NASA.

It's a nice story and it does take the route of the whole cheering for the underdogs or those who seem to have lost all hope of ever changing their predicament in life. Besides that, it had my youthful doppelganger Jake Gyllenhaal in it. So perhaps since I get told the Donnie Darko bullshit often enough and I have my hair typically combed in that 1950's classic look, it doesn't help this case.

I can relate to this because I have my own "expected to achieve nothing but against all odds advances and surprises everyone" local story. That is, Stand and Deliver. It happened in my own back yard, after all. This is the story of Jaime Escalante who was teaching at Garfield High school. This school right in my back yard growing up and is one of the schools I could have gone to.

Mr. Escalante took a group of students who's school didn't even have the books to teach a Calculus class, and these folks weren't expected to go anywhere in life, and got them to pass with honors. Then after they passed the test the students were accused of cheating because they passed it all too well. Now this is just me getting all down with my brown self, but of course it was because they were from a poor ass school and were never given a chance. They retook the test and still passed. Jaime Escalante give them the Ganas to believe they can achieve such things.

Well, yesterday Jaime Escalante died.

The California maths teacher who inspired the film Stand And Deliver, Jaime Escalante, has died aged 79.

Escalante, a Bolivian immigrant, transformed a tough high school in Los Angeles by motivating struggling students to excel at maths and science.

The school had more students studying advanced calculus than all but three other state schools in the US.

Escalante died in Reno, Nevada, where he was undergoing treatment for bladder cancer, AP news agency reported.

Edward James Olmos played Escalante in the 1988 film Stand And Deliver.

Olmos said Escalante had proved that inner city students were able to perform at the highest level, and left an important legacy for American education, AP said.

And before you have the chance to say it.. yes, I strangled him and his body's decomposing in my locker, ese.

I strangled him and his body's decomposing in my locker.

The story of Jamie should be one that every teach should take to heart. In one of his last interviews he said this about teaching.
"Believe, believe. Believe in your kids. They will surprise you."
Just listen to the guy.

I like him for the sole reason that he illustrates how terrible the majority of the teachers are. Everyone was failing that high school, finally a good teacher shows up, they pass, he leaves the school and everyone starts failing again. It's sad but true. The Garfield High math program floundered after Escalante left in 1991 for a teaching job in Sacramento, California.
"One of the greatest things you have in life is that no one has the authority to tell you what you want to be. You’re the one who’ll decide what you want to be. Respect yourself and respect the integrity of others as well. The greatest thing you have is your self image, a positive opinion of yourself. You must never let anyone take it from you."
He's the perfect example of how a teacher should be and if you're going into that profession, you should take a few notes from him. Inspire and expect more of your kids. Believe in what they can do even though the odds are strong against them.
There will be no free rides, no excuses. You already have two strikes against you: your name and your complexion. Because of those two strikes, there are some people in this world who will assume that you know less than you do. *Math* is the great equalizer... When you go for a job, the person giving you that job will not want to hear your problems; ergo, neither do I. You're going to work harder here than you've ever worked anywhere else. And the only thing I ask from you is *ganas.* *Desire.*
It's common knowledge that teachers don't get the respect they really deserve in our society. The pay level is pretty abysmal. So for someone to take the job that is otherwise thankless and to put that much of yourself into it should be respected and commended on.

So if you will, take a moment and think about the teachers that changed your life and actually told you something you retained or changed your view on education. Let's make a moment of silence that will also be lumped together with Jamie Escalante..

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

We Believe In Nothing, Lebowski, NOTHING! - Your Guide To Nihilism

We Believe In Nothing, Lebowski, NOTHING! - Your Guide To Nihilism

Here's your guide to Nihilism;

Ha! Get it? Cause Nihilist believe in nothing... har... har.. har.. Yes, yes. The title of this is based off the Big Lebowski. So get those quotes out of your system already.
I told that Kraut a fuckin' thousand times, I don't roll on shabbos!

Nihilists! Fuck me, I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.
But seriously now, we should take these people's belief in nothing seriously. Even in our own daily politics. What could be better than not caring, right?

In what is a beautiful example of American political discourse, democrats - in unison, like the machines or parrots they are - keep saying that the republicans are "the party of 'no'." however, the republicans - not realizing that responding to machines and parrots is as useless as responding to tea kettles or shrubs - deny being the party of 'no'. So I'm going to step into the breach here, I think it would be excellent to have a party of 'No'; a nihilist organization.

Rather than merely being entirely empty like the above space was in simulating the actual point of nihilism, I'll go ahead and explain what it means to be a nihilist in today's political climate. We embrace the emptiness at the heart of American politics explicitly. Because quite frankly, at the end of the day there is a disconnect. A disconnect between each thing and each other thing, and between each thing and itself. Indeed it would not be too much to say that in our universe at the end of the day there is nothing other than a disconnect.

I know what you're thinking. Self-identifying as a nihilist seems hypocritical. Don't be fooled into thinking that Nihilism is absurd and for people who are afraid to care about anything. Nope, they aren't. The major problem is that a Nihilist party is one of those parties where no one wants to go make the beer run. I mean, fuck those parties, right? Want no part in that shit!

I would, at this point, suggest that my minions go out and conquer the world of politics all the while shouting NO! NO! NO! NO! but if I taught you well then you will have the mindset that no of this really matters anyway.
That rug really tied the fucking room together

We will cut off your Johnson, Lebowski!
What if I feel only my own life is utterly devoid of meaning, is this the party for me? Yes, yes it is. While you don't embrace the full idea of nothing, you at least have it down to a personal level.

I have to admit that, yes, the nihilism is an acceptable philosophy insofar as some Sufi thinkers may proclaim 'I believe in nothing', but otherwise to assign it any value would be foolishness. You wont get the votes and you certainly shouldn't care about the outcome of your local election. So let's just sum it up that Nihilism is pretty self defeating.

""A nihilist is a man who judges of the world as it is that it ought not to be, and of the world as it ought to be that it does not exist. According to this view, our existence (action, suffering, willing, feeling) has no meaning: the pathos of 'in vain' is the nihilists' pathos — at the same time, as pathos, an inconsistency on the part of the nihilists."
-Lebowski, The Big Lebowski"
-Young Jeezy, 2010

Maybe this whole blog was just an excuse to post Lebowski quotes and get hyped over the upcoming Lebowskifest? Yeah.. that's more than likely the reasoning behind all this..

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pot On The Books

Pot On The Books

Well, it looks like we're getting a chance to legalize pot come November. Fuck gay rights, as long as I can toke up in front of a cop, it's all good, right? Yup, who knows, maybe we'll actually legalize it this time;
California voters will decide this November whether to legalize and regulate adult recreational use of marijuana as the Secretary of State today certified that a Bay Area-based effort to put the issue on the ballot has collected enough signatures to do so.

If passed, California would have the most comprehensive laws on legal marijuana in the entire world, marijuana reform advocates say. Opponents are confident they will easily defeat the measure.

The vote will be the second time in nearly 40 years that people in the Golden State will decide the issue of legalization, though the legal framework and cultural attitudes surrounding marijuana have changed significantly the past four decades. If Californians pass the measure, it would be the first in the nation to do so as similar efforts in other states all have failed.

Backers needed to collect at least 433,971 valid signatures of registered voters and the Secretary of State said they met that threshold.

If voters approve the ballot measure, it will become legal for Californians 21 and older to grow and possess up to an ounce of marijuana under state law. Local jurisdictions could tax and regulate it, or decide not to participate. Marijuana would continue to be banned outright by federal law.

Current state law allows a person, with a doctor's approval, to possess an amount of marijuana that is reasonably related to the patient's current medical needs. People also can obtain cards identifying themselves as a patient, which helps in interactions with law enforcement.

"There is no state that currently allows adults to grow marijuana for personal (recreational) use, but what is totally different and will be a game-changer internationally is this would allow authorized sales to adults as determined by a local authority," said Stephen Gutwillig, California State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance Network, an organization advocating for changes in drug laws.

The major backers of the initiative - the founder of an Oakland-based marijuana trade school, a retired Orange County judge and various drug law reform organizations - are planning to oversee a $10 million campaign to push the measure.

My first reaction is why do you people care so much about weed? Geez, try being a little incremental and decriminalize it first, don't you think? No way can you go "All in" and expect to get it passed. Yes, I think it would be fucking funny to see what the Federal Government's response to all this would be, but seriously now.. Do you need it legalized? If you couldn't get gay marriage passed, you wont get weed legalized. And if you do, then we sure as hell don't know what our priorities are.

The article may be a little old but it's news since the Secretary of State officially certified the signatures today. So hey, gonna legalize it. We're gonna get our law enforcement funding pulled by the Obama administration and we're gonna slide further into bankruptcy. Can I get a "Hell Yeah" up in this bitch? Who cares about education funding when we can all just kick it with some weeeed, yo. No need for proper school budgets unless they have botany or herbal studies.

It's just not possible at all in this or any other reality. Especially with the mindset of thinking about the children. Even if we're in a sort of California über alles sort of state. Though, anything but a crushing defeat will only propel the legalization movement further, at least to the minds of those who are trying to push this stuff into law.

I realize that weed prohibition has enslaved more American blacks than slavery. And I have heard that if you don't support weed legalization then you implicitly support millions of nonviolent users being sent to prison for it. But you do realize that they just signed a bill in the senate to ban smoking literally everywhere outside, no parks/benches/picnic tables, etc. And you're shooting for a legalization of weed?


It's clear that Obama's administration is dead set against legalization, so this will do nothing. And it won't even reduce crime so long as its still illegal in Mexico. Though really, why are you importing your weed when we have perfectly good room to grow our own locally. Don't you realize you're being bad to the environment by wasting so much gas to transport that Mexican shit over? Come on, man. Think green for a change!

You may think that California is pretty liberal, but California seems to be one of the least progressive states in the nation. California is a metaphorical boulevard of broken dreams. Think of it this way, California gave us Ronald Reagan. All you stoners, do yourself a huge favor and NOT get ripped on voting day. I'd hate to see this share the same fate as a Simpsons episode and you ending up forgetting to vote.

Let's face it. Even Jerry Brown is opposing this. Given, he was a terrible governor decades ago and he's going to be a terrible governor now, too. And when it comes to those undecideds on this issue, they are most likely going to be women in their 30's and 40's with children. Those who don't have children will see that their lazy ass boyfriends are pot heads. So sorry, this shit isn't passing.

And what if it does? Well, just think of the number of Checkpoints on every highway coming out of California. Nevada, Oregon and Arizona will have cops with those dogs sniffing out for the tiniest trace of that demon weed in their vehicles or on persons. It'll be comical, if it's not a nuisance to drive on vacation.

But hey, it does mean that with legalization, the population of California will go up and that would lead to more taxes being levied on them. I mean, everyone loves drugs, right? This can lead to nothing but money raining down on public schools and all the systems that need some funding badly...okay, who am I kidding? All that money will just go to stupid props we pass like crazy trains and more police officers on whatever street corner.

So what's my stance? I really don't give a shit. I don't smoke it. Maybe my Dad would like it. I mean, he does have a pretty mean bong sitting around in his computer area and all. But I frankly don't give a shit about legalization. It's not like it's all that difficult to get now and if you smoke it in the privacy of your own home, what's the problem?

Now I will be pretty peeved if we can get pot legalized but can't get gay rights.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bathing Suit Season

Bathing Suit Season

We've been in Spring for a whole week now and the only question I have for you is if you're ready for what that means for fashion! Oh yes, bust out those Sundresses!!!!

Okay, I'm getting way too excited for sundresses. Can you blame me? I actually like them a lot. Yes, you'll get a tan while wearing one and for those who have larger than average breast, it may be a little odd to find proper boob support in said sundress, but come on, you have to admit they are rather nice looking?

Click to link you to the store

I'm getting on a tangent here. While yes, I love me some sundresses and I fully support the massive outpouring of wearing them in weather that does get a bit hotter, we're missing the purpose of the blog and my mind slipping into thinking about sundresses should be curbed.. Let's move on to the meat of this message...

It's the first week of spring already and besides sexy.. oh so nice looking sundresses, you should also consider that we're getting into Bathing Suit season! Yes, that's right. All those New Years resolutions towards losing weight to fit into that swim wear is starting to turn its head and wonder if you're ready for it.

Just think of how far Bathing Suits have come since their early days. Isn't that right strange old time news article;

Click for bigger

Just look at the early days of bathing suits. That's not a suit, it's a fucking nightgown. And really, there's nothing less sexy than Pajamas. Well, at least those have a sort of "easy access" going for themselves. It's more of a dress and really, if you're going to get all wet you might as well get all wet in a semi-white-ish dress.

But you can see the beginning stages of progression to a more socially acceptable world that will allow knees to be shown in public. KNEES! I know, how controversial! What next? Will they want to vote and be counted as people as well? Ha! I tell you, it'll be a cold day in hell before their place isn't behind a stove cooking a roast!

I especially think 1930 is pretty hot. I mean, look at that short skirt. But what the hell happened in 1931? It seems like it was two steps forward and then two steps back. What with it looking like a god damn dress. And not even a sundress. Minus points on that one. Not well played, missy!

Let's take a look at some other fashions of the era where people were fighting in wars and rationing cans and other such items for the soldiers fighting over seas in WWI.

1924 is pretty sexy. I mean, maybe I just dig that whole look of clothing tight on the body. Oh man, did I just break the fourth wall of feminism and objectify someone from the 20's? Oh well, I guess I might as well go the full tilt. 1934 is pretty smoking as well, though I do dig strips. Oh how strips make anything look cool.

But what's up with the fashion of 1933? That's some massive camel knuckle going on in that one bathing suit. What line up of women who don't know the meaning of third, let alone first wave feminism..

Looks like 1936 is showing midriff. My, my. how naughty! Though it does sort of look like an older version of the sports bra. 1938 seems to be showing off her ass. My my my! So what's the next wave of pictures going to be? The last wave indeed!

Oh 1940's. Now that's what I'm talking about. It's sort of like a sundress but at the same time she's going to get it all wet! Oh man. If I had a time machine and no girlfriend... I mean, wait, what? No! Some 1940's pin up picture is not seducing me! Not at all! 1942 seems to be going for the "hey look, I have a sort of skirt and my hens bra going on.

Now compare those to the modern day idea of swimwear and you'll be surprised to see that.. well, it doesn't leave much to the imagination.

And while I guess I shouldn't be opposed to that, cause I do like to oogle the human body, I mean it does speak a lot to what can be sexy without having stuff flop out and what not, is all that I'm saying.

Just think, there was a time when someone would be too skinny. It go to a point where they would advertise ways for you to get those curves. Now that's something you really have to wonder. In today's high paced world of HFCS, it's not a problem to get some curves. You just have to watch out that you're getting some diabetes along with it.

How else are you going to get that cleavage that you'll need to be falling out of your suit and those hips that will make those guys turn. I mean, don't get me wrong. I love see some nice skin, don't even dare consider me a prude. I do like all sorts of skin revealing outfits and I know one thing for sure, the people in New Jersey are fucking prudes
Police in the US state of New Jersey have ordered a family to cover up their snow sculpture of the famous nude Venus de Milo after a neighbour complained.

Eliza Gonzalez sculpted the snow-woman with her son and daughter on her front lawn in Rahway following a snowstorm.

Many people praised their creation, but a police officer told them a neighbour had found it too risque, she said.

When given the option of covering the sculpture up or knocking it down, she dressed it in a bikini top and sarong.

"We didn't want to have any problem with the police so we covered it up," Ms Gonzalez told the AFP news agency.

But she now thinks the snowy Venus looks "more objectified and sexualised" than it did before the authorities intervened.

I have to say, my eyes would be gazing at that snow sculpture now more than they would if it was just a nude chunk of ice. You see, you've just objectified it by connecting it to a person instead of a physical form.

So as we approach the beach wear season, perhaps it's time to reflect on what you're going to sporting on the beach, as well as how much of a prude you'll feel like you want to be towards others. Myself? I'm in the stance that you can just wear whatever you want. I mean.. I'm not going to complain. Bazinga!

Bring on the spring outfits and don't skimp on those sundresses!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Toy Story 2 Was Ok

Toy Story 2 Was Ok

The story is told like an urban legend at this point. Someone is in the bathroom of some truck stop, seedy bar or even the local high school doing their business on the porcelain seat and you

Stuff like;
For a good time, call 867‒5309
Your momma sucked cocks
Meet here at 1am on May 4th 2010 - if you dare
Steve Holt!

But among those crudely scrolled upon literature is one graffiti you really can't explain. Something so out of nowhere and so non-committal that you'll have to wonder about it.

Toy Story 2 was OK!!

This can't be true, can it? Why would someone be bored enough to tag that against the wall? I mean, it's not cutting edge. It sure as hell doesn't offend anyone. In fact, it's not even much of an opinion. You mean to tell me that Toy Story 2 was just okay? That's it? There's not much passion behind that.

I've seen more emotion put to fast food combo meals. It sounds like something you would tell your friend who just happens to ask if you've ever seen Toy Story. "Yeah, I guess it's alright." so totally nonchalant. But is this really true?

Toy Story was one of those early Pixar films. When they could do no wrong. Well.. that's to say that they still can do no wrong. The film was all about a lost childhood. Or at least the evolution of a person through the toys they cherished and played with and how they could grow apart from them. To say that it was just OK seems like it's underselling the whole concept of it. Just OKAY?!?! JUST OKAY!?!?!?!?!?!?! FUCK, COME ON MAN!!

Well, okay, I guess it is. But it's so much more than just okay. If you're not crying by the end of Toy Story or the end of Toy Story 2, then you're human scum. You have no heart. Your childhood was clearly destroyed by Lucas and you just no longer need a heart, you soulless person.

It's so true that it has become some sort of internet cliche by now. Chances are if you've seen it at a restroom stall in the past year or so it's there because someone else saw something like this on the internet through their friends and they just felt like passing on an internet meme. Of course, this may not actually reflect how they REALLY feel about Toy Story 2. Maybe the dude who said that Toy Story 2 was Ok was just saying that because he felt that Toy Story 2 did not live up to the hype that Toy Story 1 left.

I humbly disagree. Toy Story 2 had Jessie. How could you NOT like a red headed cowgirl? I mean, she was all sorts of rednecked and what not. She had that sass to carry the film alone. And then you had the collector dude. Maybe it's just that I'm used to dealing with those nerdy collector types, but that really made me relate to the whole collectablity factor of your childhood beloved items.

This week also saw the release of Toy Story 1+2 release on Bluray. Which in itself is great news as all the Pixar flicks so far released on Bluray have been amazingly good looking. You know what's also good to do? Save a ton of money and now you can!

This week, well, namely today is your last chance to save major bucks on both of these Bluray dvds. How do you do it? Here's your definitive information on how to save at least $30 bucks on these two films.

First you have to sign up for an account at Disney Movie Rewards. When you log in, input the following two UPC's where it says "Enter Code":


This will give you access to print a $10 coupon for each Toy Story Blu-Rays. That's $30 total savings when combined with the $10 discount retailers are offering for buying both movies together.

So if you buy at:
-Toys R Us, you pay $14
-Target, you pay $16
-Best Buy, you pay $20

If you want to give it a shot, you can also try using both $5 coupons available here. If you are successful, you will pay $4 at TRU, $6 at Target or $10 at BB. (Note that you are most likely to have success with this at Target since they have a record of accepting multiple coupons, re: Up and Monsters Inc a few months back)

Obviously TRU is the best deal here, and made even better by the fact that you get a voucher for $15 off any other Disney Blu-Ray if you pre-order both TS Blu-Rays. If you decide to use this voucher for The Princess and the Frog, you can also take advantage of two other coupons available for this title - a $10 coupon (expires this Sunday) and a $5 coupon.

But you see, the absolute best case scenario? You get Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and The Princess and the Frog for $4 + tax at Toys R Us. Hey, stranger things have happened. But you know you can at least save a ton of bucks on two films that will make you remember your childhood. This alone should be reason enough to go out to target and try to get these deals.

What are you waiting for? Go out and print them up right now and be a consumer! BUY BUY BUY!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Time Travel And Hot Tubs - A Serious Discussion

Time Travel And Hot Tubs - A Serious Discussion

This week we see the release of a rather silly movie. It's name is Hot Tub Time Machine, and the name alone is really really bad. It's so bad that it goes full ways around being bad and comes back to being good in an odd sort of way. It's like Dude, where's my car and Good Burger. The name itself is just so out there.

As for the film itself, besides taking a page from the Hangover play book, so much so that it even has its own former Daily Show correspondent, Now, I already saw Hot Tub Time Machine. Why? Cause I'm awesome. Don't question it, okay?! But for all the silliness that happens in the film, which I'm sure is going to be a toss up on if it does really good at the box office or does really poorly, the film does bring up a good amount of questions.. and not just the one that is; "Who green lit this shit?!"

The same questions where brought up when I watched Primer. Though I have to say that Hot Tub Time Machine and Primer should NEVER, Ever be mentioned in the same sentence. But that question is are there any actual technological barriers to doing this. I'm talking about TIME TRAVEL, of course. Can it happen? The real, thoughtful effort answer is "no"

Now, I would be the first smart ass to say that we're all time traveling right now. Only you have the setting on your own time machine put to going forward one second at a time. Yes, yes. We've all smoked enough pot in our youth to entertain the idea that mythical men like Jesus and Jean Claude Van Damme were all just time travelers fucking around with history, but let's get serious here, none of that shit can happen.

I'm in the camp that believes that time travel will never be possible. If time travel were ever become a reality, logically there should be tons of tourist from the future here at any give time. They'd want wacky novelty presents from their past/our future for nostalgic sake.

Let's say you invent a time machine. At some point in the future, someone is so pissed off by you making this time machine that they come back in time and break it. You just screwed up the ability to come back in time in the future and break it. Oh man, does that mean it never got broken or it never got made? YOU DECIDE!

And no, I'm not wait for John Titor's predictions to come true. Especially not the one about Civil War in 2007. If you don't know who Jont Titor is, then you really missed out on a lot of the internet. Perhaps you should spend the next five minutes of your future looking up the insanity and stupidity that is John Titor.

Though I have to admit that I still tune into Coast 2 Coast every once in a while and I just have to laugh whenever John Titor gets brought up. It's far more comical than Mel's Hole, which I'm sure some young punks in middle America are still cracking up about.

The short of it, if you didn't bother looking online for any information, is someone who claimed they were from the future, ala 12 Monkeys, was posting on the internet about the future events of 2007 being the start of a civil war and many other doom and gloom predictions that never came true. It's all bull shit, you just need to be told that it's just that and nothing more.

So why is it impossible to do? Well, because the past doesn't exist as physical place that you can travel to, you idiot. What do you think? That you can just book a room in the future to the past and go there? You'll might mess something up and screw up the current time stream. Hell, I'm your father. I'm sorry you had to find out this way, but I need to protect your mother from robots so I can have sex with her.. this is very important now, don't screw it up for me and cock block me, or else you're going to never exist!

Popular Science magazine says yes, using frame dragging letting you travel from the future back to when the device was constructed, but not before. (OMG, LIKE PRIMER!) Is this actual science? I don't know. But what's the good of going back to when your invention was created? I mean, that's sort of limiting in what you can do and why you would want a time machine.

Besides that, Popular Science also keeps telling me that Faster than Light technology is just around the corner and it never makes good on the promises, so fuck them! Popular Science, at its best is just a peer reviewed scientific journal. There will never be time travel because if it is ever invented, we would already now about it now in the past. My logic is sound.

There is actually one absolute progression of time and we can never go backwards in it and all relativity proves is that perceptions of time can alter based on movement, but the One True Time is that of the stagnant, unmoving void itself. Since the Earth is constantly moving that means that to the observer floating in the unmoving empty void of space, time actually moves much faster and we appear to be in a sort of slo-mo.

Time is just a man made construct as a way to indirectly measure change. You can't really travel back and forth in time because it has no physical basis in reality. A positron is exactly an electron moving backwards in time and when they meet they annihilate each other and form energy in the form of a gamma wave.

But say you were able to travel back in time. Your movement back through time would have you bump into other such positrons and electrons. So you'd be essentially fucking up the surrounding areas. It basically boils down to you having to assemble the universe as it *was* which takes more energy than the universe *now has* due to entropy, that is why things usually only move forward in time.

In the long run, time travel just doesn't work.. Well, it doesn't work except for the fact that I came back from next Tuesday to post this blog entry... Besides, the most important thing you should take away from all this time travel talk is that anyone who says they understood Primer is a fucking liar. No one understands that film.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Highway To The Elder Zone - Birthday Talk

Highway To The Elder Zone - Birthday Talk

We're now two weeks away from my birthday and I'm facing a strange dilemma, I have no clue what to expect or do for this annual celebration of getting closer to death. This isn't your typical year. No, this year I roll over two digits.

It's been a while since I've been in the age bracket of a successful Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick television production. Not since my late teenage years with My So Called Life. But sure enough, I'm entering a new era of my life.. my ThirtySomethings. I'm not counting the failed Quartlife series, because really, that was a terrible concept and execution.

So yes, I'm turning 30 and while I don't want to admit to feeling old and I certainly don't think I'm looking any older given that people still think I'm about 24, I'm still sort of getting that nagging thought in my mind that I am old. Yeah it's true that men age gracefully. I'm actually really happy about that. I may have a few gray hairs and I could lose a few pounds, but I'm working on that and the gray hairs can pass as distinguished looking.

I guess the problem here is that I have no idea how to celebrate becoming 30. Even if they say that 30 is the new 20, I have no idea what to do or how to celebrate this moment. It has been years since I had much of any sort of party. My birthdays of the past have been very low key. Low key enough that family members don't even remember them and to be perfectly honest, the bar is really set low enough that it sort of depresses me on how unimportant it they seem.

The typical birthday is spent either working or not doing anything special in particular. From the last few years I spent one with an old friend who I haven't seen in ages and it was pretty neat to just hang out in the park and go to a couple of spots to grab food. Nothing all that unique from a typical weekend hanging out together. Last year my girlfriend took me out to eat and made me a pie. That was really good, but I would consider it very low key.

So I'm faced with this question that I always hate to hear people ask themselves.. where to go or what to do for a birthday. I mean, I actually realize how hard it is to come up with something to do on your birthday without sounding like a self absorbed prick. The idea of a Beers-of-the-world party was suggested and I really liked it. But then I thought to myself that not all of my friends have the same level of beer enjoyment as I do or the idea on how to go about doing that. So I sort of lost hope on that one.

Eating out is also an issue. I don't think my idea of a meal out is the same as many of my friends. While I don't mind going to a TGIF (I do mind), I still go along cause they do seem to like it there and it's "reliable". But to go out for my birthday, I would sort of have to curb the inner food in me. And don't get me started on going to a bar or club. I don't think those birthdays are much fun for anyone as it means you don't get to talk much anyway. I'm just so conflicted on what to do and the level of expectation that I have for myself as this is a sort of milestone birthday. The big 30.. I just don't know.

Then there's the situation where no one knows what to get me. I admit, I am very hard to shop for. When it's Christmas or my birthday, it seems like no one knows what to get me. I guess it is due to always having to depend on myself to pick up whatever I wanted as no one else was going to. Now that sounds completely emo, but it's not. I guess it's just something I have to unlearn or at least not hog up away from anyone looking to show their affection towards me through means of gifts.

Besides, if you ever have a hard time figuring out what I like, there's always an Amazon Wish List to look through... Just saying. If you want any ideas, there's a slew of them in there. Besides, I always go to the fall back comment that if you knew me much, you'd know what I like and dislike. So perhaps you shouldn't get me a Rachel Ray cook book. I doubt she could really count her stuff as "cooked" to begin with.

I'm just sort of in a funk in thinking about my birthday and it's not that I'm getting old (well, partially, I suppose) So I'm asking for your ideas on what one could do for their birthday. What are some things you've done in the past and what are some things you think of when you think "Birthday"?

Anyone? Comments, suggestions? What should I expect with turning 30 and how the hell should I even go about tackling such festivities? It really would be a shame to go into a new age bracket the same ol' way I've gone into the past ones.

Help! Anyone?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Evidently Chickentown

Evidently Chickentown

Sometimes I have nothing to say.. Well, that's not true. If anything, I write too god damn much. I mean, Hello! Have you've seen my blog post count? It's literally the acronym TL;DR in real life... on a blog. I write so god damn much and I seem to get on a high horse that I seem to forget or overlook others high horses.

Add in that a new Doctor Who season is coming up, how about we take a moment to listen to the first Doctor I really really enjoyed and see what soap box he's on as he does John Cooper Clarke's Chickentown.


So there, that's the blog post for today. Don't worry, I have plenty other rants to come. Just needed something to pad the count away!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Here Comes The Sun.... Chips

Here Comes The Sun.... Chips

Whenever I think of chips I generally think of Doritos because those are one of my weaknesses. If I have just one nacho cheese Doritos chip I'll finish the god damn bag. So I try not to have them all that often. I really shouldn't eat those while I attempt to lose weight, like the rest of the country does leading into Summer.

That's why when I think of a healthy alternative to chips, I think Sun Chips. How could you not look at them and think that they are the healthier option. They must really be good with their marketing department. Now I guess I could add one more reason why I would buy Sun Chips when I'm at the market and the option of chips comes up.. Because they're good for the environment.

You see, Sun Chips now come in a nice compost friendly bag. It's a new packaging that allows them to just melt into the environment. Here, check out the ad for it;

Pretty neat idea, don't you think? Now when I go on a picnic I can feel even more connected to the environment by at least not having something that will ruin the area I'm enjoying. Though there's no promises that it wont ruin my body. They may be the healthier alternative, but they're still unneeded fat causing devices.

But it's nice to see this sort of responsibility from a company. It's nice to think that junk food isn't unhealthy for everything that it touches. These bags will break down and not be a complete mess in the ground. Though I have one major complaint about them. That is that they're extremely loud.

Yes, these are extremely loud. I mean, really, really loud. Just touching them at the market should give you the tip off that they are when the people in the next isle over are trying to figure out what all that crumpling sound is.

I'm not even joking, these bags are really super loud. Which is sort of a reason why I don't think I would like to buy them for every instance. I sort of want to be able to hear the other person I'm talking to at a picnic instead of hearing the crumbling and fumbling of the bag of chips. Not to mention movie theaters. How the hell am I suppose to sneak this into a screening of something to avoid buying overprice shit at the concession stand if every inch they move gives their sneaky spot away?

Someone should have thought of these negative factors before they just ran off with the idea that the plastic breaks down easily. It seems like one of those mistakes like dropping peanut butter in chocolate and coming up with an amazing combination. What's the good of chips if you can't really carry them around without causing such a loud sound? It may not be pollution in the form of plastic on the ground, but what you are doing is causing noise pollution of the worse kind with these chips.

But it does raise a good question. Isn't the fact that you're advertising these bags as completely compostible actually encouraging people to just litter? I mean, yeah, under the correct compost preparation they will break down and not be totally destroy the are you dump your trash in, but how many people actually have compost heaps?

The real thing they should be advertising is how long it will take to break down in an actual real world situation, like say, in your regular local dump. I think we shouldn't be letting people in on the fact that something can break down so easily. They'll think they're already doing enough and not go that extra step and make sure that they really are doing all they can do.

It's easy to see in this study on what happens when you allow people to think they are already doing enough for the environment.
PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans are less worried about each of eight specific environmental problems than they were a year ago, and on all but global warming and maintenance of the nation's fresh water supply, concern is the lowest Gallup has measured. Americans worry most about drinking-water pollution and least about global warming.

Over time, Americans' concerns about environmental problems have generally declined. After this year's drop, for six of the eight items, the percentage who worry "a great deal" is at the lowest point Gallup has measured, which in some cases dates to 1989. The two exceptions are global warming (low point was 24% in 1997) and maintenance of the nation's fresh water supply for household needs (35% in 2001).

One major reason Americans may be less worried about environmental problems is that they perceive environmental conditions in the United States to be improving.

The decline in worry over time has been rather dramatic for some of these threats. For example, in 1989, 72% of Americans said they worried a great deal about pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Worry about this environmental issue averaged 62% in the 1990s, 54% in the 2000s, and is 46% today

So it seems that when we do good for the environment, then we're less inclined to do any better because we're already doing something.. sadly that something is just not enough. It's a little sad to see that concern about climate change has gone up, but I think we'll gradually see that dropping away as politicians lose interest and the public returns to the serious issues.. like who is on the next season of Dancing with the Stars.

It should come to no surprise that green products make us less concerned about the environment. It's already proven that green products make us less kind to each other.

Hell, it's already proven that green products make us less kind to each other.

Do Green Products Make Us Better People?, a paper in the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science, argues that those who wear what the authors call the “halo of green consumerism” are less likely to be kind to others, and more likely to cheat and steal. Faced with various moral choices – whether to stick to the rules in games, for example, or to pay themselves an appropriate wage – the green participants behaved much worse in the experiments than their conventional counterparts. The short answer to the paper’s question, then, is: No. Greens are mean.

The authors, two Canadian psychologists, came up with an intriguing explanation for this. “Virtuous acts,” they write, “can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviour.” It’s the yin-yang theory of psychology, or “compensatory ethics”, to give it its proper name
pdf here

Ha ha! We just can't win. No matter how far we try to run from it, the ugly truth is that human beings are just plain and simply awful people. Completely and utterly awful in every way possible. Let's just burn it all down till it's nothing but ashes and dust. Fuck this world, or at the very least fuck us! We can't live together. We're like a broken relationship where neither party wants to call it off and right now Earth is simply trying to turn off the gas and electric so that we'll die of global warming.

But hey, at least after we're all dead there wont be a single proof of Sunchips for the future advanced civilized creatures to dig up and wonder what exactly our diet consisted off. Fuck those future selves.

Monday, March 22, 2010

We Got Some Health Care Now!

We Got Some Health Care Now!

Sure, it's the most regressive UHC in the world, but it's UHC god dammit. Though I hate to be the bearer of bad news but we're all gonna die regardless of whether we have UHC or not. On the flip side, I'm just happy republicans are furious. I mean, they're steamed! I think the real plan behind all this is to freak out conservatives so much that they die of heart attacks, thus making real health care reform possible. Think about it for a second.

The only way you could possibly piss them off more is by going up to a rich person and say that you're going to break your leg just so they have to pay for it. I mean, there's not actually anything in this guaranteeing people health care, right? It's essentially just a tax on people who couldn't afford it in the first place given that you now have to have health insurance.

You folks do realize that this bill just made getting insurance cost a lot more, right? I guess it's a small price we're willing to pay for republican tears. I can hear those republicans talking now. Trying to find a way to know if black people will not just hang out in ER rooms all day because it's better than their houses. Easy solution for that is to make conditions in emergency rooms worse than in their homes. Maybe it'll get to the level of public schools.

I also wonder how many people are going to think this is in effect and will visit a hospital tomorrow for badly needed medical care. I guess we're also going to be paying for the healthcare of that one chick whose goal it is to be 1000 pounds. Ha!

I mean, when do we officially start the clock on our socialist society? Isn't that what the republicans want you to believe? That socialism is going into effect soon. When do I get to live on commune and elect a soviet. I mean, what next? Do you want me to pay for a FIRE DEPARTMENT?!? But my house is CLEARLY not on fire right now. How dare we live in a socialist inspired dream!

Glenn beck is going to flip the fuck out today and I can't wait to see Fox News all but gloss over any mention of this Health Care.. or, at best rage so hard against its. And not even the good "Well, what did we get into?" sort of introspective sort of look at it, but the "ARRGH, THESE SOCIALIST FUCKS, YARRRRG!"

While I'm democratic, this is America, so I'm obviously not very optimistic we actually got anything that will improve the piss poor system we pass as health care. And from skimming through articles online, here's what I found;

From the Christian Science Monitor
The $940 billion bill will cover 32 million uninsured Americans and ban the denial of coverage for preexisting conditions, phasing in taxes on the rich to pay for this expansion of coverage.
Taxes on the rich, coverage, hmmmm, this has potential.. Thanks a lot shitty news article, but how exactly do you define "cover" and what are the details on these rich taxes? Let's dig deeper before we start dancing on Reagan's grave. From CSM
Most people will be required to buy health coverage under the healthcare bill now before the House. About 20 million American households will qualify for subsidized insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
And there's the kicker. Do we see the problem here? Requiring everybody to buy a piece of shit health care plan isn't much reform. Yeah, that's going to cover 32 million uninsured Americans. It's not like they're currently uninsured know... maybe not being able to afford any sort of health insurance to begin with. Let's get more details before I rage too much against said machine.
Beginning in 2014 (that’s right, this is four years away), these people would be able to shop for coverage in new “health exchanges,” a sort of online bazaar in which insurers would hawk different kinds of plans.
Sweet! Now we're treating peoples' lives like they're a fucking shopping mall. At least the term "Uniquely American" has legitimacy when applied to Health Care. While I'm grateful for the win, the next sentence just makes me feel like this was a bittersweet victory.
The federal subsidy would go straight to the insurer. It would look like a discount on the policy to the customer.
We're paying taxes to keep these worthless middlemen "insurance companies" in business. Why not just get rid of these fuckers entirely?

we're paying taxes to keep these worthless middlemen "insurance companies" in business... why not just get rid of these fuckers entirely? oh wait, that would make too much sense. That alone just means the pockets of these insurance companies are getting lined no matter what.

So the bill has an individual mandate without a public option, which is the most evil thing I can imagine. While I'm all for something actually happening in our elected government, I'm sure a lot of people stopped following this health care bill for the sake of their own sanity. Yeah, there's still good things in the bill and it's nice that the blue team won this time, I think to jump for joy on all this is a little premature.

You young healthy adults out there who are just out of college and not in a full time gig.. You'll be effected by this most. Even though you're healthy and all that jazz, you now face penalties up to $700 a year for not getting health insurance that you don't want and you probably think you don't need. I mean, you're indestructible after all, right?

While I have health insurance through a very old system of paying dues and fighting "da man" with my union, it's not really a "great" one. So at least I don't have to pay that $700 amount, but I'm sure those without health care had literally nothing changed for them with this passing. If they were smart, though, they would jump into the field of playing the stock market. Anyone who wants to learn about the wonderful world of stock buying, you should get yourself introduced with this bill.

One could wonder at this point on how bad will insurance rates skyrocket, since there are no price controls or mechanisms to keep them in line? Or you could look at this bottle half full and ask how much of your portfolio should you dump into insurance companies as soon as the market was open today. If you did.. way to go, champ. You're ahead of the curb.

The health bill, if I understand this correctly:

Pre-existing conditions and children blah blah blah, can no longer be denied insurance by writ of the government. So the government is forcing a new group of people (because of moral reasons) into the insurance pool, which will costs the insurance companies a lot of money.

Obama's logic in response to this is to have a universal federal mandate to have SOME type of insurance coverage, thereby getting in the pre-existing conditions folk and keeping premiums at a reasonable level. However, if you "can't afford to buy it", the government is going to subsidize it, correct? But the government doesn't control the prices... the market does. And the insurance companies do.

Are you my mommy?

So isn't this just going to cause the insurance companies to go, "Why look, new customers with lots of money, Let's raise prices, cause we know you can afford it now." And there's no reason why to lower the prices because you have a vast larger group now that HAS to buy it.

I'm not interested in the "Amerikkka values" or unconstitutionality of a federal mandate, but artifically driving up cost of insurance, like they did with education, isn't exactly a great idea or that much of a progressive thing to do regardless of whatever Glenn Beck says. This bill, on some respects, seems like a 900 billion dollar handout to the insurance industry, and in the end doesn't really solve the real problems that lie in Health Care reform.

This was the political capital Obama was saving up for all year. Now that it's getting passed he's gonna pull out all the breaks and promote a homo-fascist atheist police state where you're required to smoke weed all day. Just you wait and see! JUST YOU WAIT AND SEE! YOU MADE YOUR BED, NOW SLEEP IN IT... WITH A BLACK MAN!!!!!

Have to say though, as shitty as this is, republican tears make this bill so much better than what the reality of it is.

Besides, any small, incremental change is better than none at all. It is a logical and pragmatic stance, also reasonable. Change takes time. Look at the long term and rid yourself of the desire for instant gratification, right? Take the victories you can but continue to fight the war. Like when woman and black people got the right to vote. It took time. First we had to give them the right to leave their homes, and then to think for themselves, and then after they proved they were worthy, we decided they could vote...

I have to say that I'm simply amazed that in this post-feminist world that comes down hard on harassment in the work place, that we're still having the discussion on who has a right to someone's own body and this health care reform is proof of that. In the form of no federal funds for abortion so the bill greatly restricts abortion coverage. It's a tiny step forward to getting people insured, made in the most backward way possible.

As anyone taking out an insurance plan that covers abortion needs to have a separate fund for any subsidies they receive so there's no mixing of taxpayer money with abortion money. Insurance companies not required to cover abortions and States can pass legislation forbidding insurance companies from offering plans that fund abortion via their state exchanges.

68,000 women die annually as a result of having an unsafe abortion, mostly in developing countries. 220,000 children are left without a mother every year because she received an unsafe abortion. 2 to 8 million women each year suffer horrendous consequences after receiving an unsafe abortion, ranging from sepsis to uterine perforation. Many of these women go on to become permanently infertile.

Maternal mortality in the 52 countries that permit abortion is a median of 2 per 1,000 women of reproductive age. In the 82 countries that restrict or ban abortion, maternal mortality averages 23 per 1,000 women of the same age. For every 100,000 live births there are 34 deaths due to unsafe abortion in those 82 countries. In the 52 civilized countries, there's less than one death per 100,000 live births.

Ceausescu's Romania provides a natural history of the effect of restricting abortion: abortion mortality was 20 per 100,000 live births prior to his rule in 1960. By 1989 this had risen to 148 deaths per 100,000, with unsafe abortion accounting for 87% of those deaths. Within one year of the law being reversed to permit free access to safe abortion, the mortality ration fell to 68 per 100,000. In South Africa maternal mortality fell 91% within 4 years thanks to a reduction in the number of unsafe abortions.

Restricting access to abortion will not change abortion rates in any way. The Netherlands has the lowest abortion rate in the world but also has the most liberalized and freest access to abortion in the world. When Barbados, Canada, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey and others liberalized their abortion laws, there was no concomitant increase in the number of abortions.

What's more, providing free and safe access to abortion lowers health care costs. Tanzania spends 7 times more per woman treating post-abortion complications than their annual budget per head of population. In North Carolina they found that post-abortion care costs 10 times as much as the cost of a safe abortion.

How dare we try to fund something that all private health insurance covers and is legal! That's not the America I KNOW! So really, you real Feminist out there should be up in arms that you still don't have the right for your own bodies to do so what you wish with them.

And that's the many reasons why this bill sucks but I'm still happy it passed. As we all know, nothing gets done in America without corporations getting theirs. And here I thought organized crime was illegal.