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 two “WTF 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.