Tuesday, January 31, 2012
For the nick name for your state's police force, please consult http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0763770.html
and let's make this happen. I'm counting on you.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
I really do try not to be sensitive -- I see people as generally simple minded and not meaning any harm so I let most things go, but when I see one of two things, I am motivated to act:
1. clear and malicious misuse of words - someone misappropriating language or twisting meaning towards nefarious ends.
2. ignorance or simple stupidity.
This article is a case of the latter. The victim, a man who certainly suffered at the hands of his attackers and lost members of his family to the criminal and inexcusable behavior of the horrible attacker describes his ordeal as his own personal holocaust. To my mind, the word "holocaust" has two potential uses:
1. A giant, consuming fire.
2. a systematic genocide (esp. when written with a capital H), usually referring to the German "Final Solution" of the 1930's and 40's.
To say that a home invasion which was localized to one person, which was not driven by any -ism, which did not last for over 7 years or involve fire, is to invoke an extreme inappropriately.
Does this mean that he did not suffer? No. Does this mean that there is no connection between various situations in which a person loses loved ones unjustifiably? No. Does this mean that this was not the most harrowing experience, one which I would never want to undergo? No. Does this mean that he is intentionally diminishing the horror of the Holocaust by equating his more limited experience with the suffering of millions? No.
It means he is getting carried away by the emotion and using words in a particularly offensive way because he is a simple minded victim who is foolishly grasping for an image which would convey his personal feelings, even if that image then invokes completely distinct different images as well.
Would I yell at him for doing this? No. I'd sympathize with his experience, help him deal with his grief and hope that, over time, he can be taught that words are tools, and one does not choose a sledgehammer to hammer in a 1 inch brad.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
At this point, I have seen tens of these waves, with their particular movies and slang, each one thinking that it will never grow old (a fate worse than death) and that its mode of expression is somehow new, different and better than all the rest. Wake up, kids...adulthood means that if you try to be like the 19 year olds, you just embarrass yourself (unless you are an actor, and then you can PLAY 19 year olds for another 20 years and then complain that you can't get any roles that people take seriously). Celebrity gives older people the chance to hold onto the coolness of youth for longer, at least in public. I took a different approach, embracing the old man role well before it was my turn.
Monday, January 23, 2012
I hate pundits. I don't even like the word "pundits." It just sounds dumb to me. But when I watch the morning news and see the pundits, I get steamed. I have to run errands so I'll save much of this for later but I will give one example.
A couple of days ago, Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary. I'm not sure what this means but we can ignore that for the moment. He won and all the pundits are now saying how much of an upset that was. Let's think about what an upset is -- an upset is when the result defies the expectation. In a sporting event, this makes sense. One team has the better tools and more experience so when the relatively weaker team beats the odds, that's an upset. But in politics, that isn't the case. They call this an upset and the only thing upset is ME. Remember -- this is about setting and then not living up to expectations. In baseball, the statistics set up the expectations and the people defy them.
But in politics the pundits were the ones who established the expectations based on their own thoughts. Sure, they had some polling (which obviously was inaccurate or useless because it failed to predict accurately), but what they mostly had were their own inferences and assumptions about "people" or "Republicans" or "voters" which they relied on! I don't see it as an upset because I ignore politics, but the pundits, who for weeks were saying that Romney was going to win, were the ones who set up a conclusion and were proved wrong! There were so many polls and estimates, interviews and predictions that all pointed to Romney's victory and yet Gingrich won.
Doesn't this just mean that pundits are idiots? That on even something like this primary, with all their book learning and statistics they haven't the slightest idea who is going to win?
So when they spend the next week and a half telling the rest of the world who is going to win in Florida, and then Ronald Reagan comes out in front, instead of calling it an upset" why can't we just say what it is? Proof that pundits are as clueless as everyone else?
Would we look at a weather forecast that calls for 85 degrees and sunny as subject to an "upset" or a "surprise" when the temp ends up at 30 degrees and a blizzard? It isn't a surprise! It just shows that the weather man is an idiot.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
I'd like to tell you youngsters about me and this "adulthood" I have found myself in. I want to destroy certain notions (among many others) you might have about me and other grown-ups.
I like eating cereal and milk while sitting on the floor too close to the TV.
I like candy, cake and ice creak. And cookies...I like cookies, too.
I enjoy cartoons, sci fi, the Muppets, stupid sitcoms and toilet humor.
I can't follow politics.
I read the comics first in the Sunday paper.
I play air guitar, air drums and air trumpet among other air-instruments.
I love bumper cars.
I enjoy shooting stuff and seeing stuff blow up.
I drink from the carton.
Bugs freak me out.
I would prefer to stay up late and sleep late.
Lots of stuff is boring.
I do silly voices.
I am impressed by magic tricks.
I love watching airplanes take off and land.
First thing I do in a hotel is jump on the bed.
I prefer to do handstands in the pool to swimming laps.
Snowball fights are fun.
Having a catch is awesome.
I worry about if my clothes match. I just don't know what to do about it.
I make my hair spiky when I am shampooing.
I hate making my bed and doing chores.
In movies, I like making silly comments.
I get scared when the lights go off.
So, yes, when I stand up, you hear a chorus of creaks and "ows", I don't like all the same TV shows and movies and music as you, and when I go shopping, I worry about time and money, but I am still just an overgrown kid. I am insecure and distractable. I am sensitive and insensitive sometimes. I'm just a guy, so be nice.
Monday, January 16, 2012
They loved that frog. They stayed up at night watching it. They fed it; they cared for it.
But one day while they were at school, the frog died. We took it from its tank and buried it.
When the kids came home, they asked where the frog was. We said we were sorry but it croaked so we had to bury it.
They haven't spoken since.
I was in a cold room this morning. Really cold. Fifty degrees cold. And I was there for 35 minutes with no coat on.
Not horrible you say. Remember those people who were prisoners of war, you say. Think about the freezing homeless people you say. And finally, I snap. Shut up, I say. Stop telling me how there are people starving in Africa, freezing in Russia or suffering from unimaginable diseases in Papua, New Guinea. I don't care. My empathy has taken a holiday in a warmer clime and I am sitting here now, not wanting to feel bad because I am cold while others might be colder.
So what will happen when I run into someone who complains because Summer is a bit too humid, or he has to walk an extra 5 feet to buy his latte? Will I lecture him about his own sense of entitlement, or will I stop myself and realize that he might be a good-hearted person who is just having a moment where he doesn't want to be reminded that puppies are being tortured somewhere so his petty problems aren't worthy of mention?
I don't know. I'll probably lecture him. Seems easier than thinking about his feelings.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Of course, now that you have read this, nothing you do will be natural because you will have this notion of purpose in your head even without trying to. This makes this post the cultural hipness equivalent of telling you that you just lost The Game.
Which, by the way, you just lost.