Archive for the ‘News and Politics’ Category

god and other unacceptable topics

In Communication, Health and Wellness, Home, News and Politics, Relationships, Science on March 10, 2011 at 11:46 pm

For the people who thought they knew what tonight’s post was about: Sorry. That’s for another day.

Religion is one of those things, along with sex, politics, and poop, that you aren’t supposed to talk about in mixed company. As you may guess, I enjoy talking about things that should not be discussed in mixed company.

My personal take on religion is that, like relationships, it’s a personal thing that is no one else’s business. In other words, I don’t give a shit what you think, and what I think is not your concern.

Still. Sometimes I feel like there is a dichotomy that religion boils down to, and it’s whether there is an omnimpotent being. God-ish, you may say.

I’m willing to admit that I’m in the fold of belief in God-ish. And I hesitate to narrow it further, as my beliefs are varied and broad and as far as I’m concerned, not mutually exclusive nor any of your business. What events result in that faith are pretty simple.

When I’m at the end of my rope, there’s a knot. I know that is totally 5th grade book fair poster involving a kitten philosophy. But it’s true. Yesterday was mad shitty. I mean, mad shitty. Think about the shittiest day, dial back someone dying, and that was my Wednesday. It really fucked up the whole week. I figured that life as Wednesday was barely worth it.

Then today happened. And it wasn’t perfect. There was still no sun. But I got a surprise gift from someone who thinks about me when I’m not around, which, let’s face it, is a pretty awesome compliment. Then a bit of good company sandwiched between the next slice of awesome: a childhood career dream come true. To settle the day, good conversation with good friends and a cuddle with my dog.

I suppose it could be a coincidence that a horrible day was followed by a day full of steady pick-me-ups. But it’s happened far too often to make me think that it’s not statistically significant. There’s too many times where I get to learn my lesson, but then get my scrapes bandaged and my lollipop received to think that someone isn’t looking out for me. Whether it’s the soul of my grandmother, a God, or magnetic energy from the sun in the form of Tom Cruise, I can’t help but feel like I’m not alone. Which is nice.

charlie sheen is not cool

In Entertainment and Nightlife, Health and Wellness, Home, News and Politics, Science, Work on March 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm

As much as I hate to be one of the billion people talking about Charlie Sheen when there are far more important matters in the world (Libya, unions, Bockfest), I feel like mine might be a minority (or solitary) opinion.

Charlie Sheen is not cool.

He’s not funny. He’s not winning. He’s definitely not inspiring. He’s sick.

Whether his brain was fried before the drugs is up for debate. What isn’t up for debate is that this is a grown man with 5 children. What would be mildly entertaining if he were a 22-year-old guy drunk at a party is a serious problem when it’s a 45-year-old man with responsibilities he is ignoring. As quotable as he has been in the past few weeks, he has 4 children under the age of 10. His youngest two children are with a woman who has plenty of her problems of her own. I don’t think any of us suspected that Denise Richards would come out of this family looking like the smart one.

Charlie Sheen is tragic. The likelihood of this ending happily ever after is slim. The United States is cheering the destruction of a human being, while ignoring the thousands who are losing their livelihoods and their lives.

I hate to be such a Debbie Downer, trust me. I prefer to keep this and my Twitter account as light and as bummer-free as possible. But the admiration people are showing for Charlie Sheen is distressing. Mental illness isn’t cool. Drug abuse isn’t cool. Having a harem isn’t cool (no, really. It’s not).

Charlie Sheen is not cool.

And he’s definitely not winning.

putting the period in periodical

In Communication, Health and Wellness, News and Politics, Relationships, Technology on February 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I have subscriptions to a lot of magazines. Like, 8. And that doesn’t include the 2 subscriptions I share with my mom, or the free subscription I have to Martha Stewart Living. Granted, I’m pretty good at getting deals on them- I pay about $5/year for 26 issues of ESPN Magazine. But still. For an environmentally-sensitive person like myself, it’s a bit extreme, but I can’t help it. I love magazines.

My periodical collection runs the gamut from girly (Cosmopolitan and Lucky) to issues that appeal to my more masculine sensibilities (Esquire). To illustrate what a frat boy I can be, I used to also subscribe to FHM and Maxim. I even had a letter to the editor published in FHM (PS – I got paid $50 for it!). Granted, they thought I was a dude (if they knew I was a chick, I would have only gotten $38.50).

There has always seemed to be something a bit off about women’s magazines- something that bugged me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. Finally, when I was trying to come up with details about what I would do differently (besides just create a female’s version of Esquire), I realized that every magazine whose target demographic was female was comprised only of advice on how to overcome our innate deficiencies- of character, ability, worth, and beauty. As far as Glamour, Cosmo, and Marie Claire are concerned, there isn’t anything wrong with you that a 6-week exercise regimen, new beauty product, and personality transplant can’t fix. Cosmo gives explicit directions on how to shake hands with people (make eye contact, grasp firmly, slight smile- those explicit directions are generally repeated in another type of Cosmo feature).

Conversely, men’s magazines treat every man like he is perfectly fine the way he is, but just in case he was wondering how to find good scotch, fine suits, and loose women, they have some suggestions. Esquire does not have quizzes for their readers to determine if they are too much of an attention-seeker. GQ may recommend their readers use moisturizer, but they certainly won’t condemn you if you don’t. It has never occurred to an editor at Details to give step-by-step instructions on how to meet women (then again, I’m not sure Details‘ readers are all that keen on meeting women). Men’s magazines treat each reader as a whole person, who doesn’t need a mate, perfectly groomed eyebrows, or a home that is welcoming to the opposite sex in order to be happy.

Men’s magazines also tend to respect the intelligence of their reader more than their counterparts. There are stories that involved research and investigative journalism and aren’t just about women who are being repressed. Hey, I’m all for stories about repressed women, don’t get me wrong. But women need to read about men who are oppressed. They need to know what their government is doing, and to assume we only care about that affects our uterus is insulting. For the record, my uterus will remain under my jurisdiction no matter what the Republican Party says.

Hearst, Conde Nast, Meredith, ACP, and all you other publishers: Women are smart and capable and just fine the way they are. Give them more credit.  For pete’s sake, even Playboy treats women like they are beautiful creatures instead of works-in-progress.

But if you do find any fat-melting foods, will you let me know?

let’s talk about sports, baby

In Beer, Communication, News and Politics, Sports on January 12, 2011 at 9:55 pm

As I’ve mentioned, I’m a huge sports fan.  I will watch any sport, except the Olympics, because that shit is boring.  It’s like 30 seconds of action and an hour of heartwarming stories about athletes overcoming adversity.  Blah blah blah.  I did watch hockey in the last Winter Games, because that was fun, and the only storyline was how kick-ass the United States finally was.

But in general, I’m all up for some sports-watching.  I have some sort of inherent coaching gene that enables me to have suggestions regardless of my knowledge of the sport.  I was at an indoor soccer match- not my strongest forte as far as sports go- but I still had plenty of advice for the goalie.  I can’t help but have ideas for athletes on how to be better at their job.  It’s kind of like childless people who know how to raise your personal children.  Those who can’t do, teach?  I cannot perform any sports-related activity without severely injuring and/or embarrassing myself.

There is only one thing that can take away from my complete enjoyment of a game.  Actually, two things, maybe three.  The announcers.  Whether they are repeating the same cliches (This player is clutch!), or slobbering over a particular player (I’m pretty sure that Tim Tebow should have a restraining order on Thom Brennaman), they never have enhanced my sports-watching experience.  You can’t fill air time with airheads, but that doesn’t stop networks from hiring former players or coaches who have nothing to say and have to make it up as they go along.

For an example of how truly bad sports announcers can be, I’d like to share with you an actual conversation that was featured in an NBA game I was watching.  Jeff Van Gundy (granted, the Van Gundys are not known for their tact) said he thought his family came over on the Pinta.  Then he asked Mark Jackson (who is black) what boat his ancestors took to America.  Mark Jackson, being a professional, overcame the temptation to make a statement, and just replied, “The Santa Maria.”

I wish that was the end of the story.  Van Gundy then proceeded to go on for about 5 minutes (which is an eternity in TV time) about how surprised he was that Mark Jackson caught the reference and how he must have paid attention in history class.  To recap, he first asked a black man how his ancestors got to America, and then proceeded to condescendingly compliment the same man on his knowledge of basic American history.  And he got paid handsomely to do so.

Often, when I’m watching major sporting events, I keep my Tweetdeck up.  There are a couple of gentlemen on the Twitter that make up for the nonsense being spewed on air.  DJ Gallo, the man behind sports satire site Sports Pickle, is The Onion’s answer to sports news.  He loves sports, but has perspective.  In that, it’s still just boys playing a game.  Mike Freeman, who writes for CBS Sports, is another favorite.  I would much rather listen to these two talk than any professional sportscaster.  I’d also prefer watching them (hellooooo nurse!).

ESPN and sports radio and game broadcasts are facing the same problem as cable news: how do we fill all this space?  It becomes a matter of quantity over quality (I cannot keep track of how many ESPN channels there are).  Since there is less reporting in sports (usually, they either won the game or they didn’t), there’s more analysis.  Sportscenter is shown 12 times per day, and then they intersperse it with Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, and (excuse me while I hold back vomit) The Jim Rome Show, where people talk about the things they talked about on Sportscenter.

I love you, sports.  But mostly with the mute on.

fixing the government. you’re welcome

In News and Politics on November 29, 2010 at 8:16 pm

In a nod to John Hodgman, I have decided to fix a major crisis facing the world.  He has a segment on The Daily Show called “You’re Welcome,” where he comes up with a resolution to climate change, the financial meltdown, or international tension.

I have decided to take on the inefficiency of the U.S. Congress.  The solution is:

Term limits.

That’s it.  I mean, yeah, there is a lot of other things that would help.  Limiting the access of lobbyists and PACs, campaign finance reform, and more accountability for actions (I’m sorry, but Rep. Rangel getting “censure?”  He is completely full of bullshit) would help too.  However, treating symptoms instead of the cause is how people end up dying of rectal cancer.

It’s nice to be a Congressperson or Senator.  You’re set for life (in addition to term limits, I’d be reforming congressional pensions, but that’s for another day).  Not only are you making some serious cheddar, the perks are ridiculous.  It would take a multimillion dollar salary to live like you live.  People are constantly blowing sunshine up your ass (which is the best possible thing to have blown up your ass).  You get to bang interns.  You don’t need that soul you’ve been carrying around anymore.

You aren’t going to quit a job that sweet.  You are going to do whatever it takes to avoid getting fired.  If that means talking out of both sides of your mouth and fellating at the same time, so be it.  After a few terms, you’ll learn to jerk with both hands and possibly upgrade from the House.

Now imagine that they knew that after a few terms, they’re done.  They can run for something else, but not that.  No more job security.  Also, no more pandering to the common denominator.  No more bowing to the party’s national committee, because after you’re no longer a valuable resource.  You’re temporary.  Expendable.  Disposable.  As you should be.  And you finally show some cajones, because you’re no longer cradling someone else’s.

I want humans in Congress.  Living, breathing, thinking, erring humans.  No more robots with a party line spitting out like ticker tape.

“You’ve done a great job.  You’re fired.”

You’re welcome.