Browsing "current events"

The Future Of (Food) Reality TV

In a fit of insom­niac insan­ity, I found myself watch­ing the new Spike TV series “Bar Res­cue”, and it got me think­ing. That series, and “Restau­rant Impos­si­ble”, “Kitchen Night­mares”, “Hotel Impos­si­ble”, “Mys­tery Din­ers”, and the oth­ers all deal with bail­ing out fail­ing busi­nesses run by peo­ple who may not have made the right career call­ing in the first place, yet they’re brought back from the brink of dis­as­ter by a team that works around the clock to pull off the impos­si­ble in just a few days.

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Jul 1, 2011 - current events    No Comments

Way To Go, Government!

Today we have not one but twoWTF Were You Think­ing?” (for those of you keen on acronyms, the proper pro­nun­ci­a­tion is “WHIT-FWHIT”) Awards to give out today.

The first award goes to the Gov­er­nor and Leg­is­la­ture of the state of Min­nesota, for deter­min­ing (after a col­lec­tion of super secret meet­ings, prob­a­bly involv­ing Munchkin cards) that the only way to close a $5 bud­get gap is to shut the gov­ern­ment and much of what it funds down. Like the state parks … right before the hol­i­day week­end. Absolutely brilliant!

Our sec­ond WTFWYT is pre­sented to the Gov­er­nor and Leg­is­la­ture of the state of Cal­i­for­nia for impos­ing a sales tax law (basi­cally say­ing, “If you’re an Ama­zon affil­i­ate in Cal­i­for­nia, you must col­lect sales tax from out of state cus­tomers”) that made Ama­zon drop all of it’s Cal­i­for­nia affil­i­ates, which could suck hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars out of their econ­omy. New York state tried a sim­i­lar thing back in 2008, but started the process to repeal the law a month later.  Texas tried a slightly dif­fer­ent ploy, caus­ing Ama­zon to shut down it’s Irv­ing, TX dis­tri­b­u­tion cen­ter.  Appar­ently, Cal­i­for­nia took the tried and true “Oh, yeah? But, that’s on the East Coast. We do things dif­fer­ently here.” stance.

Bravo, peo­ple. Well done. Truly a great exam­ple of child­ish stu­pid­ity taken to the next level. This is indeed a red-letter day.

Will there be future WTFWYT’s? Absolutely! In fact, I’ve got two sce­nar­ios warm­ing up in the bullpen that might just pull it off:

Sce­nario 1: The Pres­i­dent and the U.S. Con­gress bicker, whine, blame, and pretty much slack off until August and the coun­try defaults on its loans.

Sce­nario 2: Cal­i­for­nia retal­i­ates against Ama­zon by pass­ing new leg­is­la­tion that requires Ama­zon to sign up every ille­gal alien in the state as an affil­i­ate, thereby solv­ing two prob­lems: increased cash flow and immi­gra­tion control.

We’ll see.

Feb 14, 2011 - current events    No Comments

Happy Valentines Day

To all for­tu­nate enough to have a sig­nif­i­cant other: Don’t you DARE for­get them, neglect them, or mis­treat them … EVER. But, if you can’t man­age “ever”, at least TRY for one day. It seems small, but it’s a start. If you can do it for one day, you can do it for two … if for two, then three … if three, four … and before you know it, you’re you’re a bet­ter per­son, you’re both hap­pier, life gets bet­ter, and your pos­i­tive karma increases exponentially.

Make “Day 1″ today. It seems like the per­fect time to start.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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The (Apocalyptic) Future is … Now?

Sci­ence fic­tion writ­ers have, his­tor­i­cally, been very accu­rate seers into mankind’s future, both near and dis­tant.  When Jules Verne penned “From the Earth to the Moon” in 1865, he envi­sioned an event so strik­ingly sim­i­lar to the Apollo mis­sions it’s uncanny, and he did it 92 years before Sput­nik launched.  The fol­low­ing year (1958) saw the movie adap­ta­tion of Verne’s adven­ture and the cre­ation of NASA, but it would take 11 more years before Neil Arm­strong would walk on the moon, some­thing Verne saw with crys­tal clar­ity 104 years earlier.

Another pop­u­lar theme of sci­ence fic­tion evolves around a future, post-apocalyptic Earth, with movies like The Road War­rior, Mad Max, Escape from L.A., Ter­mi­na­tor (pick one), and Solarba­bies (there’s one from the B pile), to name a few.  Watch any of them and you’d see the same thing:  rust­ing hulks of old auto­mo­biles used like over­sized cin­der blocks in the cre­ation of walls, bar­ri­cades, and fortresses.  I enjoyed the movies, com­fort­ing myself that this was far from real­ity and could never hap­pen, if for no other rea­son than where the heck would all the cars come from?

I’m such an idiot at times.

While Chrysler and GM are cut­ting deal­er­ships left and right, Chrysler’s also not buy­ing back the inven­tory off the lots.  So, we’re going to see deal­er­ships dis­solve … and vast lots of cars start to appear … and rust … hmmm.  Raw mate­ri­als for future events?

Think I’m crazy?  You may be right … but I have to ask:  What does that say about the rash of “nat­ural dis­as­ter films” (Day After Tomor­row, 10.5, Nuclear Twister, Earth­quake, The Core, Armaged­don, Space Cow­boys, Out­break, Vol­cano, Dante’s Peak, etc.) we’ve been “plagued” with lately?

That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

So says Juliet (Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2).

If you look back through his­tory at var­i­ous mys­ti­cal or meta­phys­i­cal belief sys­tems (Pagan, Wic­can, Druid, etc.) you find an inter­est­ing com­mon belief:  all things, vis­i­ble and invis­i­ble, have 2 names:

  1. The name every­one knows that thing by (rock, tree, wind, sky, etc.)
  2. The “secret” name known only to that thing and the supreme deity.

It’s the secret name (the “name of power”) that inter­ested early mys­tics, as they believed that once you learned a thing’s secret name, you had total con­trol over the thing.  Another exam­ple would be know­ing the “secret name of God”, and the power that knowl­edge afforded those who knew that name.

As a species, we’ve car­ried that belief for­ward to this day.  Look around you:

  • The words “new and improved” seem to mag­i­cally make prod­ucts better.
  • How often have you found your­self in a dis­cus­sion where the phrase “I wouldn’t use that term …” has come up?
  • Doesn’t “pro-life vs. pro-choice” imply that “pro-choice” is “anti-life” (since it’s on the oppo­site end of the argument?
  • We have no more hand­i­capped, only “dif­fer­ently abled”.
  • It’s Win­dows XP … no Win­dows 2009 … no Win­dows 7 … no Win­dows inter­nal ver­sion 6.1 …

In other words (quot­ing a col­league), “Names is impor­tant”.  Hold on to that thought as we fast for­ward to back to the present and cur­rent polit­i­cal events.

Newt Gin­grich got another 15 min­utes in the spot light when he called Supreme Court nom­i­nee Sonia Sotomayor “racist” (or since she’s His­panic, a “reverse racist”).  He’s since recanted the use of the “R word” but still clings to his fear that her deci­sions, should she join the high­est court in the land, could very well be biased because of her eth­nic back­ground (and an ill-played attempt at humor).

While the media (and the GOP, and the DFL, and any­one else who thinks they’re opin­ion is impor­tant to the mass pub­lic …) are all hav­ing a field day ana­lyz­ing and spec­u­lat­ing, and point­ing and counter-pointing, we’re over­look­ing an impor­tant point here:  Newt’s opin­ion of her has not changed … just the term he’d (pub­licly) use to describe it.  Stop and think about that for a moment, and ask your­self the fol­low­ing question:

Which is more impor­tant:  The word or it’s def­i­n­i­tion?”

Many may argue that the word itself is the key.  All we have to do is erad­i­cate (or replace) the word and we’ve solved the prob­lem (at least, that’s what Newt seems to be say­ing).  Sound famil­iar?  It should. as it’s the phi­los­o­phy dri­ving the “polit­i­cally cor­rect” movement.

George Car­lin was a great stu­dent of lan­guage, repeat­edly putting our use of Eng­lish under his comedic micro­scope.  More than once he opined that words by them­selves are just words, hav­ing nei­ther innate good nor evil.  It’s the asso­ci­a­tions we tie to them that ren­der them bad or inap­pro­pri­ate.  Sadly, we’ve become so wrapped up in the words them­selves, we com­pletely ignore the def­i­n­i­tion that dri­ves them.

So, to say “Sotomayor is not racist” but she could ren­der ethnically-biased opin­ions is call her poten­tially racist with­out every using the word.  And, some­how to Newt, that’s alright: don’t use the word and the prob­lem goes away. Idiot.

Look­ing at it another way, isn’t the act of insin­u­at­ing that some­one could be biased because of their racial back­ground an act of racism itself?  In order to make that state­ment, aren’t you assum­ing that (since they are of a dif­fer­ent race than you) they aren’t as unbi­ased as you (and your race)?

Per­haps I was wrong, but I thought we were get­ting away from the “because you don’t think the way I do, you’re un-American, evil, and dan­ger­ous” mind­set of the last 8 years.

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