Friday, September 7, 2007

Electric Boogaloo

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How To Get Shot

The Smoking Gun published a handbook that was illegally distributed amongst cops in the Houston Independent School District. While passing around a handbook is not fundamentally a problem, it is when that handbook is on how to talk to Black people. That's right, this handbook is about how to talk in ebonics since Black people don't have developed vocabularies.

But, since they are willing to put it out there, I'm willing to examine it. I'm a Black guy. I know what's "cool" on the streets. So, I will take an opportunity to critique it.

I have to throw out the first page because the photo is grainy and hard to decipher. It appears to be a couple of negroes, one of whom is holding a wad of cash and the other is holding a gun, or a gat. Gat's the right term, right? That's what white people think Black people say, don't they? Whatever, I'm Black, I dictate public culture when not being oppressed. So, gat it is.

Page two gives us a worthless list of dictionary definitions of ebonics. I don't need a definition, or, if one is to give a definition, it should be this: ebonics (n): shit white people think black people say. Page three tells me that:

with this guide you too can learn to speak ebonics as if you came out of the hood. [U]se what you learn wisely, because you can find you self with a problem one day and ebonics could save your life.
Before I comment on this proposition, I will note that whoever wrote this didn't do too well in English class. I'm gong to re-write this before I move on.
This guide can teach you how to speak ebonics as if you are from the hood. Memorize this text because knowing ebonics could save your life one day
There we go, just as offensive, but much better written. Now, is this guy fucking serious? There is not a Black person on the face of the planet who actually speaks in ebonics. So, white person, if you decide to speak ebonics, you will be shot faster than if you spoke in plain english, especially if you do it the way that is suggested in the handbook.

This idea takes me to the fourth, fifth, and sixth pages of the handbook where the actual vocabulary breaks out. On page four, if you say what up foo to a Black person, you will get bucked on. On page five, Cristal is champagne, not wine. They clearly have never touched a bottle of the stuff before. Also, on page five, the writer shows their weak grasp of English by using both nouns and adjectives, adjectives for actions. An example of this is 5-0, a term meant as a noun for cops. This is usually code language to run, but somehow it became an adjective in this handbook. Also, half of the definitions are wrong on this page. On top of the wrong definitions, the phonetic pronunciations are all terrible. You really have to read them to get a feeling for how bad they really are.

Page seven features a lovely poem with more vocabulary. Glaring problems: cigarettes are jacks/squares, no one uses public phones anymore unless they are dealing drugs, and is should be replaced with are for almost all of the examples given since they are plural.

Overall, if anyone tried to relate to Black people with ebonics, they will get shanked with a dull bic pen. Oh, that's right, I will totally shank someone if they tried to come to me with this weak shit. I'd go McEnroe all on their shit. And, I'd be the easiest of them all. Please, please, white people: don't talk like this book wants you too. All Black people can speak proper english.

Information Blast: I Wanted To Rock The Bells

But, I was more comfortable in straight legs.

A friendly reminder from someone who cares about your hearing. If you are listening to something (a CD player, cassette player, iPod) and take your headphones out. Ask yourself this question: can I hear what I'm listening to? If you can hear what you are listening to, how well can you hear it? Is it a murmur, the backbeat, or can you finish the verse? If it is the last one, you need to turn your headphones down.

Continuous listening at that volume can permanently damage your hearing.
If you say that you do it because you have to, you are wrong. You are just cheap and need to buy some sealed ear/headphones. Getting off that money as a young person will be much better than having to wear a hearing aid because you wanted to have some fun when you were young. And now you know, and knowing is half the battle!

Amber Alert Only If Amber's White

I am not joining in the discussion on this case because that makes the presumption that I care. Also, I don't want all of those damn white supremacists coming back to my site being idiots.

I actually caught wind of this story on Fox News on Tuesday. I was waiting for my car to get fixed, which it did after they ordered the part, and the anchors on Fox were talking about this girl. I wasn't particularly impressed by this case. But, I should note that Camille Cleverley is a major at BYU in Marriage. Yes, she is literally in college to get her M-R-S. Wow, I thought I would never use that phrase in my life.

Also, I wasn't watching Fox News on my own volition.The Toyota service department strapped me to a chair and forced my eyes open.

Anyway, all the regular requirements are met for this case to get national attention. It's a missing, moderately attractive white girl. There are no other requirements to be met after that. They will be profiling her on America's Most Wanted this weekend.

Top Televison

Time released a list of the 100 Greatest Television Shows of All-time this week. I actually had forgotten because I added it to my stash.

The reason that I added it there was because I really didn't have much of a problem with the list. Some of the shows I don't watch. Others that I would add like Designing Women, Mr. Show with Bob and David, and Absolutely Fabulous did not make the cut, but I'm not really that upset about it.

The primary reason for this being that so many of the shows that I grew up watching either in syndication or on actual television are on the list. If you don't know a lot of the shows on the list, don't feel bad. It's just a testament to how much influence Hollywood has had on my life. So much so that I became a television critic.

Quentin Tarentino Wants To Put It In Your Mouth

Radar reports on everyone's favorite ball of pretense/b-movie geek/movie nerd/postmodern director Quentin Tarentino. Following the box office failure that was Grindhouse (full disclosure: I want to see this movie and didn't because I was lazy, so I'm partially to blame for its failure), Tarentino has decided to dive into that other field of cinema in Los Angeles County: Pornography.

Tarentino's grand idea is to make 3D porn. Tarentino believes that it could be the next direction for pornography to take. Yes, I need to see semen flying at my face or a woman's thrusting fist challenging the structural integrity of my nose. This is clearly a brilliant idea on the part of Tarentino.

My faux enthusiasm aside, this shit's already been done. As the article points out, Bobby Rinaldi has already made a version of his Screw My Wife Please series in DVD. For those who can't understand the literalness of porn titles, a dude bangs some real guy's real wife. Yes, it is that crass. And, yes, the women are completely into the idea. Some participants talked about wanting to be in it (for the husband, that meant watching their wife get boned by a porn guy) during HBO's enlightening documentary on pornography in the San Fernando Valley (this is the peril of watching too much television). As I understand it, the whole movie is made of couples who wrote the company to be in the movies.

As innovative as this might be, 3D porn might not be the best direction for porn to take. For anyone who has watched any amount of porn, would you want that porn busting out of the spectrum towards you? Would that really increase its erotic appeal? If that's you, that's cool. But, that's not me. I don't need to feel like I'm covered in a sticky wad.

In Case You Missed It

Fred Dalton Thompson, aka the District Attorney from Law and Order, has finally thrown his hat into the election race. This announcement has done two things. First, it has ended what has seemed like years of endless speculation about whether or not the guy who guides Jack McCoy with pondering tough talk was actually going to run for the highest office in the land. I knew that he was, but I also didn't care or have hours of television broadcast time to fill. We all can't show homemade news documentaries all of the time, MSNBC. Secondly, the originally svelte 16 has now ballooned to 17 with his addition into the mixing bowl that is this election cycle.

If you are out of touch on who the candidates, you really aren't alone. There are far too many to remember and really care about. If you need to know, some quick googling or a trip to the Online Newshour election blog should clear this all up for you.

I should also note that if you follow the link for Thompson, you'll get to watch a creepy introduction to the race video. While it's not Mike Gravel mugging, it's far more depressing, and boring, to watch.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Slow Week

I'm commiserating on the slow week by watching high quality tackle football. It's the beginning of the new season.

In commemoration of this fact, I am posting a video for LL Cool J's Shut Em Down from the Any Given Sunday. If that name isn't familiar, it was Oliver Stone's survey of professional football featuring Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, Al Pacino, and Elizabeth Berkley, fresh off her Showgirls success, as a prostitute. She didn't get type casted at all.

Larry Craig: The Fun Never Stops

As you all should be familiar with the story of Larry "Wide Stance" Craig, Senator from the state of Idaho, this following piece of news should not be shocking.

Larry Craig has sympathizers in the American Land Rights Association. Located in Battle Ground, WA, ALRA has decided to start a boycott of Minneapolis airport until it gives Craig an apology.

The reason for this is because Craig got profiled. That's right profiled as a dude who is cruising for the hot gay sexiness. I hesitate to point out the double standard here if Craig were either a) Black, b) Middle Eastern, or c) a woman. Regardless, this is possibly one of the fruitless boycotts I've ever seen. A lot of people aren't loaded like Republicans. We don't have the flexible income to avoid airports like that, especially if it where I can get the cheapest flight from.

In examining the basis of this boycott, I went to their website and read an email. The email from ALRA says that the Minneapolis-St. Paul Police Department is completely out of control by arresting people on suspicion of committing a crime. You know, doing their paid jobs. ALRA also suggests that the police officers who arrested Craig were overzealous, trying to make a name for themselves instead of following the rule of law, even though this is not the case.

In retort to their boycott, I say if Craig wasn't guilty, he should have pled not guilty or no contest instead of pleading guilty. One of the basic premises of law is that we all are innocent until proven guilty. Just because he is a senator does not mean that Craig is not above the most basic of American principles. He says that he pled guilty becayse he was trying to get it over quickly. When he says that does he mean the public shame that comes from this charge or the blowjob? I think he means the blowjob. I think that he had a tight connection that day.

Regardless of which, Craig's stupidity should not be thrown back at both the people in blue who protect us (when they aren't beating black people) and an innocent monolith constructed of steel, concrete, asphalt, and glass. Both of those things were just doing their job, much unlike Craig in Washington.

If you feel that you need to support the cause, visit here and be horribly underwhelmed.

Grammatical Blogs

Grammar is something of a sticking point for me. While my grammar is not immaculate, I do consider myself able to exercise pretty sweet grammatical skills. While I was surfing around today, I found links to two blogs that speak to pet peeves of mine.

While there is an irony to using a quotation mark, unless the quote is actually being used to convey suspicion or demarcate the presence of a foreign speaker to the narrative, the quotation mark is a part of grammar that is frequently overused to non-comic effect. the "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks deals with this very aggravating topic and does it with pictures. PICTURES!!!!!

Joining its quoting-crazy friends, Literally, A Web Log concentrates on the brutality of misusing the term literally. It's such a useful term, but it's so frequently overused.

Are these blogs nerdy? Of course. Are they essential? Absolutely.

Information Creek: Flowing Into Your Mindspace

Creek: more substantial than a stream, still not level with the intensity of a blast.

There is one week until the spilling of the Iraq reports telling us how much the war sucks. Actually, I take that back. The military people will tell us how awesome this whole war is, how it is going well and whatnot. The people amongst us who have actual eyes and see all of the destruction in the papers, wires, and television will believe otherwise. A contrived public announcement will not convince the sane ones of us otherwise.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

With All of the Discussion of Food

I know my chicken. But, then again, I love chicken.

Rachael Ray: The Food's A Prop

For some reason, I have an obsession with writing about people that I personally can't stand. I don't think that it is to be a hater or some other word with a negative connotation. But, because writing about the hated person helps me to explore and explain why I don't particularly like them. Plus, even though I write about stuff that I actually like, it gets boring to be positive all of the time. I have no idea how the people at The Believer do it all of the time. They must be heavily medicated.

I'm taking this opportunity to make rationalizations on the empire that is Rachael Ray. For those who do not own televisions, first, give yourselves a pat on the back. I still think that all of you have made the wrong decision, but I respect your decision nonetheless. Your obstinacy has led you to avoid the wave of enthusiasm and worthless abbreviations that is Rachael Ray. But, since you don't watch TV, you have no idea of who she actually is, so let me explain.

Ray is a television personality with a cooking show, a talk show, and a line of successful cookbooks. When someone normally has a series of cookbooks and a cooking show (multiples actually, but she only actually cooks on one), that would usually entitle them to be called a chef, but not in Ray's case. And, this is a part of her flagship show 30 Minute Meals' brilliance.

30 Minute Meals can be considered one of the best or one of the worst cooking shows that you will ever watch in her life. Other people might see inspiration in the monstrosity of a meal that she made today: a muffuletta salad and a shrimp po'boy with a weird mustard-relish topping. Personally, this meal made me want to gag. But, there is someone who is going to make this meal tomorrow. These people are the reason that Rachael Ray is on track to become the everyman's Martha Stewart.

To tie some of these ideas together, it becomes necessary to talk about the show itself. 30MM begins in a kitchen with Rachael Ray greeting you, the viewer, with a situation. Most of the meals made on the show are inspired by Ray's day-to-day life. Whether that is her family, a movie, or an event of relevance to her, Ray finds inspiration for meals and explains it to you the viewer at the very beginning. After this explanation, which is intended to sell you on the meal, Ray tells you what she will be preparing today and that all meals only take 30 minutes or less, as a title like 30 Minute Meals would dictate.

While this all seems quite banal, Ray pulls a lot of sales tactics in her pitch. Firstly, the overhead wave is a standard of anyone trying to sell something. Believe me here. I worked for USPIRG and GreenPeace as a canvasser; I know what I'm talking about. The first thing that they actually teach you aside from the sales pitch is the same stupid wave that Rachael Ray does when she opens her show. They tell you to do such a wave because it draws attention to yourself. Also, Ray uses a lot of hand motions and is very animated. This is yet another sales tactic. If the seller can convey their excitement to the customer about the product (that would be the meals in this case), the customer will be more likely to try it.

If you have made it past this stage of the program, Ray gets on to the actual cooking. And, at this point, it becomes clear that Rachael Ray is selling a lifestyle more than the actual food. Ray is trying to sell a generation of women and men who would rather order out than cook on the magic that is slaving away in a kitchen. Ray makes the process of cooking far less stressful in her actual techniques along with the fact that she has developed all of her recipes to only take a half an hour. A more experienced cook will be OK with spending hours in the kitchen cooking Coq Au Vin or for that matter baking. Not Rachael Ray! Cooking for hours is unacceptable. Hell, Ray doesn't bake either. It requires measuring cups, which Ray proudly flaunts as not owning. This aspect helps to make Ray appear more like a regular, everyday person instead of one of these highbrow chefs who have training and are real chefs, someone who realizes the grind that is cooking.

I use the word appear because Rachael Ray knows her way around a kitchen. Her family has a history in foodservice as does she. The primary display of this somewhat hidden fact is her absurdly good knife skills. Anyone who has cooked knows that chopping stuff is kind of difficult, especially at speed. She's fast and accurate with her knife. Her onion chopping gives Jacques Pepin (a really fast chopper, but he's old enough to be Ray's dad) a run for his money. This fact is enough to get the attention of anyone who is suspicious.

The suspicion is added to by the ways in which she makes suggestions throughout the course of the show. For example, in the episode that I watched today, Ray decided to make a meal for a jazz festival. During the whole course of the episode, she kept volunteering party ideas and things to do with the food instead of just cooking. I mean, she cooked throughout the show; she didn't have time not to. But, she kept talking about how you can have your own jazz fest at your house. Or, if you went to one of the larger jazz fests, you could bring the meals that she made. If the show were all about the food, she would have just made the meals. But, it becomes clear that Ray is trying to sell the viewer on the idea that food is only one part of the party lifestyle. Ray gives the new found chef ideas for entertain their friends or keep up with their friends if they happen to all be good cooks.

Regardless of friends, Rachael Ray helps to endear herself to the audience in other ways from her party ideas and generally perky presence. Ray does this by flaunting her ordinariness. Her ordinariness comes from the ideas that her measuring and abbreviations. As I noted above, Rachael Ray does not like to make exact measurements. Everything is a handful, a palmful, a half of this, and a half of that. On top of this, most of Ray's common usage items like Olive Oil and her "garbage bowl" (a bowl that takes all of the trash she generates during the show. Saves time apparently. I found leaving stuff strewn across my countertop works just as well) have abbreviations. Olive Oil is EVOO in Ray's Kitchen; the Garbage bowl, a G.B. These two things help to give the regular chef confidence in taking control of their kitchen and not being afraid to cook in a kitchen. Ray helps to convey the idea that cooking is not the exacting, precise field that it is made out to be in Top Chef; it's only that competitive when money gets involved.

Now, this is where I begin to steer away from the Ray school of thought. While I'm generally a fan of cooking fast meals and not having to put in a lot of work, I have to be impressed by the meal that I see presented in the end. Some of Ray's meals look good. As much as I don't like Ray, I'm not above saying some of the stuff she makes actually looks pretty good. Now, for every decent looking meal, there are five bad ones. They are so bad, they make you wonder how Ray thought it was a good idea to present this meal to the public. But, the desirableness of the meal is only secondary to the general message presented by the show, which is cooking is not a difficult proposition to undertake. All you need is some basic ingredients, a few pans, and thirty minutes. This is what Rachael Ray is selling you on instead of the food. This fact alone is why I don't particularly like Rachael Ray: the food seems secondary to her instead of first. There is nothing wrong with being a television personality, but the food has to come first. And, for Ray, the food is a prop to the overall selling of people into the idea that cooking is fun. If you don't cook, this is a fine prospect. For someone like myself who does, it leaves me feeling a little bit more than cold. It just becomes clear to me that 30 Minute Meals is more of a lifestyle show than a real cooking show, bringing it to the level of other lifestyle shows like Semi-Homemade Cooking and Simply Delicioso. And, that's actually a shame because if Ray fully focused on cooking, she would actually be a top level chef instead of a fast-chopping sea of mediocrity like she is now.

R. Kelly: The White Whale of Justice

Robert Kelly of Chicago, IL is one of the biggest names in the music world. There are three ways that you know R. Kelly, as he likes to call himself in what can only be referred to as a sheer lack of creativity.

The first is the platinum-selling artist who released such classically named songs as "Feeling on Your Booty," "Bump 'N' Grind," "Ignition," "Ignition (Remix)," "Fiesta," "Down Low," and "I Believe I Can Fly." His blend of street aesthetics and unadulterated sexuality won him many fans amongst both women and men. He hit the crossover with his song for the Space Jam soundtrack "I Believe I Can Fly." People got into the song's inspirational message and disregarded the songs about having sex that Kelly is so well known for. Sexuality aside, R. Kelly is a musician of great talent, one whose career has been able to strive through many highs and twice as many lows.

If the R. Kelly that sings songs doesn't ring a bell for you, there is R. Kelly the actor. Displaying his abilities to play myriad roles and write compelling dialogue, R. Kelly made his own soap opera called Trapped in the Closet. This blogger is quite the fan of this series. The dialogue is clever if you are on crack and the acting is better than mediocre. Trapped in the Closet is clearly a high piece of cinematic art, one to go down for the ages.

If neither of these R. Kellys is ringing a bell for you, the only other R. Kelly that exists is the one that is obsessed with tiny girls. From his relationship with Aaliyah back in the Early 90s, we've all known that Kelly has had an obsession with jailbait. This fact left all of us with little surprise when R. Kelly was busted on child pornography charges. The most surprising part was the fact that Kelly loves the water sports. But, there is another surprising fact.

It is currently 2007. The charges against Robert were brought in June of 2002. The fact that nothing has happened to this man is a minor feat within itself. I'm frankly impressed that this hasn't happened. Considering how much everyone apparently cares about children, I figure that the government would have taken faster action against someone who has a VIDEO of them peeing on an underage girl. Not just having sex, which he did too. This fact is why he is the white whale to justice's Ahab. I can only hope that no one writes an overly long book about this whole incident.

Larry Craig: Done? Not so fast!

This past saturday, embattled Idaho Senator and gay sex trawler Larry Craig offered his resignation from the Senate. The governor of Idaho, as dictated by law, is already pondering who to put in the seat. But, wait!

Larry Craig believes that he can get his guilty plea for lewd conduct overturned in a court. If he can get these charges overturned and prove yet again to Idahoans (I'm skipping the pretext that other Americans and I really care about this) that he is a God-fearing, homo-hating republican. Oh wait, did I say that out loud? Nevermind. It's pretty much true anyway.

The NY Times's Adam Liptak assesses the possibility of Craig getting out of this charge. It turns up that Minnesota is a more forgiving state legally than others. According to Liptak:

A Minnesota law allows pleas to be withdrawn “to correct a manifest injustice.”
At this point, Liptak gets into a case where a peeping tom pled guilty on a burglary charge when he wasn't a burglar, just a peeping tom. Liptak suggests that Craig can possibly make a similar argument:

Mr. Craig may have a similar argument. In a written plea agreement dated Aug. 1, he admitted that he had “engaged in conduct which I knew or should have known tended to arouse alarm or resentment or others which conduct was physical (versus verbal) in nature.”

That tracks only imperfectly the crime to which he pleaded, which requires proof that the defendant had engaged “in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous, or noisy conduct or in offensive, obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others.”

A judge could certainly decide that the differences are trivial and hold Mr. Craig to the deal. But it is at least possible that the case could be reopened on grounds similar to those asserted by Mr. Munger.

Now, if the police report is correct, there is no way that Craig is getting off on this one. I'm just frustrated by the fact that Craig won't come out and accept his inner gay. I mean, it's really not a bad thing being gay. They are lovers, not fighters. But, Craig's convinced that he's straight, so I'll let him continue on in his delusions of fantasy. He doesn't really affect my life too much.

Information Stream: A Return to Form

I haven't done this in a while. I figured that this would be as good as any time to bring it back to the forefront. Also, I have to wait for a repeat of 30 Minute Meals. I should go buy some beer before that. It's just to soften the blow. I was born allergic to enthusiasm.

  • If you are planning on starting your own bare-knuckled cagefighting league, you'll be the USFL to the UFC's NFL. I would personally suggest that you come up with a better idea. If that idea makes you want to punch a hole in a wall or break a table with your bare hand, I will suggest that you don't have to give up your dream but don't go to England. I will also suggest that you don't go to town on my face.
  • From my personal favorite amongst leftist rabble-rousing websites, a columnist at The Black Agenda Report website discusses how democracy and voters lose by the selective coverage and questioning done by the media. The writer's fundamental point is very true. The uneven coverage is unfitting of what democracy is really all about.
  • I should keep a file of just mental giant stories. If you have lived under a rock for the last 20 years and never heard this term before, read this story. You will come to the same conclusion that I did when I read it: Peter Allison is a mental giant.
  • All men masturbate. It's pretty much one of those inalienable rights: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and the right to beat one's meat. Women masturbate, too. They should masturbate. It's quite fun and very relaxing. But, I'm getting away from the point. As many people who masturbate, there is only one lesson in life: if you are not the masturbating bear, you shouldn't masturbate in public. Along with the indecency, it's illegal. This whole illegality thing didn't faze this guy. I bet he has a really strong grip.
  • Although they got rid of Apartheid, South Africa hasn't quite made it out of 1692. If you don't understand that reference, you should learn your American history.
  • Luciano Pavarotti is on the downswing. I don't have anything witty to say here. That would imply that I actually listen to, and care about, classical music.
  • If you couldn't be outraged enough, Bush, in a new book, talks about playing Americans to support him in staying in Iraq longer. Keith Olbermann, as he usually does when Bush does anything that is bad with regards to the Iraq war, takes the President to task. I can't be convinced that the President is not hearing some of these commentaries on the regular.
Yes, all in the game like Jack LaLanne. If you don't know the name, don't rack your brain.

I Don't Need To Say A Lot About This

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Five Greatest MC's of All-Time

Watch this while I marinate on the lack of news.

In the Generation of Material

This is the best that I can do.

From Starpulse:

Legendary actor Clark Gable was secretly bisexual, according to a new biography. David Bret's book Clark Gable: Tormented Star claims the legendary womanizer had relationships with openly gay men and was "gay for pay" in his early career.

It adds that, as a child, Gable was branded a "sissy" by his father, which prompted him to adopt a macho image and denounce homosexuality.

The five-times-married star died in 1960 at the age of 59.

Dude, I already know. I'm still crafting a dope post on Rachael Ray.

Iraq to Iran

From one completely abysmal failure to another completely abysmal failure. Fancy that. Should I expect something different from this White House? Worst. Administration. Ever.

From The Times (UK):

THE Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert.

Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, said last week that US military planners were not preparing for “pinprick strikes” against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military,” he said.

Debat was speaking at a meeting organised by The National Interest, a conservative foreign policy journal. He told The Sunday Times that the US military had concluded: “Whether you go for pinprick strikes or all-out military action, the reaction from the Iranians will be the same.” It was, he added, a “very legitimate strategic calculus”.

This plan makes Shock and Awe shit its pants. I honestly can't believe they are trying to pull this shit off. I don't know what Bush is ever actually thinking about, so my shock is really self-contained. I feel like everyone else has just sort of started to go along with it.

Monday, September 3, 2007

LNS: Ideas for the Future

Posting will be sparse tomorrow. I have to get my car fixed, buy groceries, and do other sorts of domestic things. So, I won't really have time to blog. When I do find a small gem of time, I'm going to post a fairly reasonable article about why I think Rachael Ray is popular. Contrary to what you think, Rachael Ray is a finely tuned saleswoman. I actually might post said article tonight. I was going to make a paper out of it, but I'm sure that I can come up with a longer idea on Rachael Ray for a paper. Plus, I would need way more of a theoretical structure to work from to actually pull off such an argument. So, blogging about it seems far more sensible. I also might make this post tonight if I feel quite inspired enough to do so. I very well may, but we never know.

And, just for a video, here's some video with a prog soundtrack that sounds like the Mars Volta.

Actually, it sounds like The Mars Volta because it is.

Four Insights

1) Do I really have to care about Diana?

In 1997 after awakening from a late-night nap on my couch (yes, it was the sign that I needed to go to bed), I remember seeing Peter Jennings on the flickering screen. Jennings said that Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in a tunnel in Paris. She was with a man named Dodi al-Fayed, whose father is the owner of the infamous Harrod's of London. While I remember where I was and what I was doing, this was not one of those deaths that really affected me or through my life into any sort of tailspin.

While this may have been my perspective, the rest of the world seemed to disagree. For weeks following, every news organization was talking about the tragedy that had taken place, how sad it was to lose this young woman who was destined to be the next Queen of England due to her marriage to that hideous man named Prince Charles (I don't mean hideous in manners or whatever. I mean physically. He really is a hideous man). It was tragic that Diana died in the manner that she did, getting chased by paparazzi. But, at the same time, it didn't change my life any. I didn't wear a memorial t-shirt or cry profusely like a lot of England did. Or, a lot of the American media for that matter.

I bring this whole incident up as MSNBC and others decided to cover the tributes to the 10th Anniversary of Diana's death. I know that the kids want to memorialize their mother. I applaud them for that. The question I have is, why am I subjected to it? She wasn't my princess. Actually, in fact, my country fought a war so she wouldn't be my princess. I don't understand why my country is being bombarded with images of the monarchy that we dispossessed in 1776 with the ratification of the Declaration of Independence. This might be some of what I find to be wrong with basic celebrity culture, which leads me into my second point.

2) Celebrity Family Expansion is not news

Whenever I go to check my RSS feeds, I, inevitably, find about 10-15 articles from legitimate news sources like the AP, Reuters, and CNN on some piece of minutiae regarding a celebrity. The offending piece I am going to point out today involves the possible expansion of the Jolie-Pitt ad for the United Colors of Benetton. Although it came from the Patriarch doesn't matter to me; it's still not news. Plain and simple.

I'm not super interested in following people's personal lives. Whatever they do behind closed doors is on them. When they are in public, I am more interested. Reading about the lives of the jet set is very interesting, especially since it is a life that I do not aspire to. But, as much as I like reading about the foibles of Kirsten Dunst and La Vida Lohan, I actively acknowledge that this is nothing close to being news. At best, it is entertainment; at worst, petty gossip and backstabbing. Notice the terms that I've used there. Neither of those terms is synonymous with news. That's because gossip nor entertainment are real news. People looking for real news should not have to suffer through reading about stories on Britney flashing her cooter or someone having a baby. Speaking of babies...

3) A Little Girl has died in a mine! Maybe they will actually make them safe for everyone else.

That title gives the whole idea away. The little girl is 13 year old Rikki Howard (I think she's white, which will expedite everything if she is). She fell down a 125 foot mine shaft after an accident on her ATV. She was riding with her 10 year old sister Cassie Hicks, who survived with serious injuries.

As everyone well knows, nothing in America gets solved if it entraps one of two groups of people: poor people and minorities. Minority women are also discredited in America. The only group of women that American legislators care about are white ones. Also, they care about children only because they can use them as a legislative pawn, much in the same was as the troops are. If something happens to a white girl or a child (primarily white, but children are usually clumped together), the American government will take swift action.

Mines are some of the most dangerous places on the face of the planet. Due to years of loose regulation and weak safety laws, the mines have proceeded to kill people at an ungodly rate for no reason at all. Mine safety advocates have wanted reforms for years, but pro-business candidates have been appointed to the seat of the Mine Safety and Health Administration. This clearly means that these reforms will not come.

But, with the death of the young girl, maybe reform will actually come about. Cynical? Yes. True? Absolutely. I guarantee that there will be a renewed call for mine safety because of the girl, not the fact that people just got killed in Utah. And, speaking of dead people (last one, I swear).

4) Iran: We will kill you. Just stop.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (if you want to pronounce it, sound it out. Ah-ma-dee-nuh-jod. It's not that hard) has come out and said that they have 3,000 centrifuges running. For those who are unaware, Iran has been suspected of building nuclear bombs. I should point out to keep people from getting alarmed that Ahmadinejad is over-exaggerating its nuclear capabilities.

Now, I know what Ahmadinejad is doing; he's playing a game of brinksmanship. Ahmadinejad has made an clear play to see what Bush will do. If I can take a moment to talk directly to Mahmoud (we're buddies, don't worry), don't play with Dubya. I know that you are only pressing the line a little bit to check his word, but, I have to tell you, George W. Bush doesn't deal in subtlety. Didn't you hear the "with us or against us" rhetoric he busts out at any given moment? Dubya's not smart enough to deal with such the approach you're presenting. You've really got to stop with this shit, or your country WILL be bombed into the past century. Just some advice from a REAL AMERICAN!

Alright, that's enough for me. I'm going on to celebrate the work of labor by eating food prepared by the hardworking people in America! Yea, LABOR DAY!!!! WOOOOO!