Category: Rant

My Three Cents: On Adult Coloring Books

January 16th, 2016 — 7:05pm

I’ve been blogging in one place or another for the past decade, so my opinion is automatically worth more, right? Right?? 

Over the Christmas holiday, Amazon’s top selling “books” were adult coloring books. This distresses me because A) Amazon has a category issue; I don’t consider a coloring book to be a “book” in the same way I don’t consider a book of sudoku puzzles to be a “book”, and B) adults have turned to something so simple as a means of creative entertainment.

Before I get into the meat of this, I’ll preface by stating I’m no literary snob. While I prefer certain books over others, I think there is just as much literary value in James Joyce’s Ulysses as I do Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight. Reading material is supposed to entertain first and foremost. If it manages to teach, enlighten, and encourage conversation, that’s wonderful, but it’s first purpose is to entertain. If a book can’t do that, it fails before the reader has even picked up it.

Today’s diatribe, however, isn’t actually about what constitutes a book and what doesn’t. My gripe is that grown people are choosing coloring books over alternatives for a creative outlet.

Coloring gives people an opportunity to be creative without any of the necessary talent that goes into drawing or painting or even writing something from scratch. Coloring provides a sense of accomplishment that is normally reserved for those who have spent years honing a craft, which troubles me greatly. Rather than put forth the effort necessary to practice drawing or painting or dancing, adults turn to the coloring book because it is quick and easy.

If I’ve griped about anything throughout any of my blogs, it’s that I find most facets of adulthood to be difficult, so I fully understand the difficulty in finding the time to practice the skills needed to have a true creative outlet. I’ve had a piano in my apartment for 7 seven years, but I can hardly tinker anything familiar on it, and even after a brief stint of attempting piano lessons, I’m still no good at reading base clef. I’d love to take up painting, and after a random morning at home and watching a Bob Ross episode on PBS, I may still try again, but as many others often find themselves saying, “I just can’t find the time.”

Most adults could find countless options for a creative outlet, but the ones who don’t put everything else ahead of that need. While I can understand the stresses of work, spouses, children, cleaning the house, keeping up on laundry, maintaining the lawn, remembering to call Grandma on her birthday, and so forth, everyone can carve out time to work towards a creative outlet, but few do using many of the aforementioned excuses. What truly perplexes me is that the same people who can’t seem to find the time to practice writing poems or practice drawing, still somehow find a block of time to sit and color in an adult coloring book.

Coloring within the lines requires little creative effort. Creating the actual designs that go into coloring books, however, requires months or years of effort. In a society constantly looking for the easiest routes to success, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that people opt for the simplest path.

So, why do I complain that grown folks are opting for coloring books? I don’t look down on the exercise as a means of mental calm. I understand that it can be quite soothing, but so can many other creative outlets. I can’t get past the first few stanzas of Moonlight Sonata on the piano, but after a little tinkering with a tune found in a beginners practice book, I have a harmonious simple tune that I can play by heart when the moment warrants it. While working on any “major” writing project can bring its headaches, sitting down to create a new story from the beginning just because I can do it is more freeing than anything else I experience in life. A hectic life needs a method of calming the mind, but there’s nothing that suggests that that method has to be as simplistic as the adult coloring book.

Everyone needs a creative outlet. Whether it be writing, dancing, photography, learning, or (in the case of my mother, with whom I discussed this post in the midst of writing) applying customs law in creative ways, everyone needs a creative outlet. One doesn’t even need to be exceptionally good at said outlet either. Like I said, I can hardly read base clef, but it doesn’t stop me from playing the one song that I can play on the piano. I may never get published, but it doesn’t stop me from writing whatever I want whenever I want.

Creative outlets provide a mental calm in a hectic life and past the elementary school years, one can do far greater and better things to achieve that mental calm than pretend to be artist while filling in lines created by others. Stop taking the quickest, easiest routes towards a sense of accomplishment and put forth just a little effort. No one will hang the completed coloring book page from a 30-something on the fridge, but they may find delight in an original creation.

There’s a very real possibility that I’m missing something fundamental in the adult coloring book, but then…this is still my three cents on the issue.

1 comment » | Article, Rant

My brief flirtation with LibreOffice

November 4th, 2013 — 3:07am

I’ve not written here in ages, but it is time for another review.

In my zeal to have full computing capabilities available in the thinnest, lightest form, I bought a Mid-2012 MacBook Air back in January. Initially, I was in love with the thing despite being staunchly anti-Mac since middle school, but when I began to utilize it for “real” work, I started to remember why I have always claimed that I hated Macs.

As an aspiring author, I write all the time and all writers who don’t wish to waste forests of trees and rivers of ink need proper word processing software. The de facto has been, throughout my lifetime, Microsoft Office Word and, despite disliking what Microsoft has done with the product line in the past six years, I’ve come to depend on Word like I depend on Firefox. So, in using my new Mac, I sought out Mac Office 2011, thinking that since it was Microsoft-produced, I would have the best option for document compatibility and “ease” of use.

Mac Office 2011 sucks in ways that would require a completely separate domain, server, and blog to explain entirely. To put it succinctly, Mac Office 2011 contains everything that you dislike about Office 2010, with none of the familiarity, and none of the features available in Mac OSX since Snow Leopard. What irritates me most is that Microsoft could have easily ported Office 2010 to Mac OSX without hardly deviating from the original product, but they refused. Note, that the blame for Mac Office’s lack of usability and general crumminess lays with Microsoft, not Apple.

With Mac Office acting barely usable, I sought other options for word-processing on the Mac. Pages was a possibility I considered right up through the last two weeks, when Apple made drastic changes to their iLife products. I tried Pages through iCloud in Safari, but gave up within ten minutes as I could not find simple a word count utility and nothing about the application brought any familiarity. Additionally, Apple insists on keeping all of its users within its “walled gardens,” which does not trouble me on iPhone/iPad because of the multiple workarounds, but is intolerable with a full laptop. Apple refuses to allow Dropbox integration with its apps, thus everything I’ve carefully organized and used with Dropbox on multiple platforms, operating systems, whatever, is unavailable to me when trying to use Apple’s Pages. Here the blame rest entirely on Apple and it was here that I began to once again mumble to myself, “I hate Macs.”

As neither Apple nor Microsoft could offer me what I wanted, I turned once again to LibreOffice. I say “once again” because I’ve experienced this application several times in the last decade with mixed results all placing me back into Microsoft Office’s slow, bulging, buggy arms.

Back when was whole, I found gross incompatibility with Word documents, few of the fonts available in Office, difficult to use features such as Word Count, and corrupted files upon going back to Office. I later tried LibreOffice when it was first forked from OpenOffice and still found that it was not anything close to Office’s usability and quit once again. Some time even later, however, I began to play with using Ubuntu and LibreOffice, installed with the operating system, was attempted again before I gave up and finagled Wine and Office 2007 to work relatively well together.

With my fifth or tenth or so attempt at LibreOffice, I was determined to make this application work for me as both Apple and Microsoft had spectacularly failed me. I installed LibreOffice 4 on both PC and Mac and spent an hour tweaking Writer on each operating system to make it as close to Office 2010 as possible.

My initial impression this time around was moderate joy over how LibreOffice had improved over the years. Built-in Word Count utility, default fonts from MS Office, and perfect Word doc compatibility through Windows, Mac OSX, and Ubuntu. At last! I had hit the jackpot! Then, I began to melt into the fictive dream and write like normal…

First came even more tweaking and searching and further tweaking to counter app deviations that were not immediately obvious. Then, I had to resign screen space in Windows and Mac OSX to some immoveable toolbars. The final straw, however, came with Autocorrect.

Writing in a plain text word processor provides straight apostrophes and quotation marks that, lacking the technical term here, do not have “curves” that are typically used in writing drafts. I have no issue with this, but I cannot stand a mix. Either all of the marks in a document are plain text and straight or all have “curves,” but a mix of the two completely throws me when I’m writing. I found myself paying closer attention to whether LibreOffice’s Autocorrect was automatically correcting these marks than on my actual writing and, even after triple checking Autocorrect settings, I was often forced to stop in the middle of prose or dialogue to adjust what LibreOffice called a grammar issue due to Autocorrect failing.

I also use ellipses when I write. A lot. I’ve remained conscious of it, but when I need to use them, I need them. LibreOffice’s Autocorrect includes switching three periods … to an ellipses, which is a very specific character that looks similar, but is functionally different in word processing. The problem is that unlike MS Office, LibreOffice does not take into account Autocorrect “wildcards.”

For example, three paragraphs above this text, I used a word and followed directly with an ellipsis, “normal…” In MS Office, the three periods directly following a word is auto-corrected in the same manner as it would be if it was typed “normal …” with a space between the word and the ellipsis. LibreOffice does not do this. To LibreOffice, “normal…” becomes a grammar issue that I have to stop and correct because the Autocorrect does not recognize that, despite coming after another character with no space between them, three consecutive periods should be automatically corrected into an ellipsis.

These may sound like minor trifles to an average user, and they very much are. To a high school kid writing a two-page essay on The Scarlet Letter, these aggravations would hardly be worth mentioning. To a writer, these minor trifles completely disrupt the flow of thought, which renders the application unusable.

Often times, when seeking to write with no distraction or interruption of any kind, I will utilize Microsoft’s Notepad application just to get down my thoughts without regard to grammar, redlines under spelling issues, or paragraph, spacing, and font. Ultimately, I have to take whatever I write in a blank atmosphere and add it to a true word processor to make the proper literary adjustments and continue writing from there. That word processor must include a Word Count and page number utility, it must be compatible with Microsoft Word’s formatting, and it must enable one to write without the need to pause the writing experience to fix what the application should be able to do on its own.

A word processor should be able to correct simple errors, like “teh” for “the” and three consecutive periods for an ellipsis, without the writer’s intervention and sadly, LibreOffice is still not quite there.

It could be argued that after several months’ use, I could grow accustomed to these differences, but I see no reason to force myself to ignore problems that should not exist in the first place. Were I further along in my programming knowledge, I would hack the application myself or even be so bold as to make the specific recommendation that the LibreOffice team focus on perfectly mimicking Office’s simple functions before adding all the bells and whistles.

I suppose no application will ever meet the expectations of everyone all the time, but I’ve never had to return to Microsoft Office with such dread since I began using Windows 95 versus the old typewriter my mother let me play with as a child.

1 comment » | Article, Rant, Writing

Oh, the irony!

July 9th, 2009 — 11:44pm

First, the article:
Now, my previous post:

I had originally planned this gushing, love-filled post about Michael Jackson (and, surely that will follow in the days to come), but this is current and reeks of a hypocrisy so blatant, that I could not allow it to pass without mention.

Not six months ago, China went on a rampage in their accusations over America’s abilities to curtail violence and racial discrimination and yet, here we are. A part of me wants to laugh at the irony, but my stomach is so turned by anger that I cannot manage it.

The US may (and does) have its problems, but as a testament to being who we are, Americans, we do not sweep under the rug that which we do not want the rest of the world to see. As a world leader, we do not have that luxury. Yet, even through our various problems with racism and violence, the US still values diversity and freedom. We recognize that our citizens come in all shapes sizes and colours and we are united in the states, not under a single racial identity, but by our love of freedom and of the republic that affords us said freedom.

I will admit that uniting one billion people under a single identity is most likely a daunting exercise (which makes one wonder what why it is even necessary), but to deny citizens their right to love and explore their respective cultures and histories speaks on every way China fails as it attempts to usurp the United States’ place as a leader in the world.

Again, I find it laughable that six months ago, China was boldly pointing the finger at the US over racial hatred and violence and yet, China’s in-house problems stem far deeper than they currently in the States. I do not presume to say that the US does not suffer from the sporadic racially-motivated span of protests, but here in the US, it is at least politically incorrect to presume that one “race” of people is the model and all “lesser” ethnicities represent everything undesirable. In China, Han Chinese are encouraged (via promises of success and wealth) to move into regions that are populated mostly by minority ethnic groups and, essentially, supplant them. These minorities, who are holding onto their culture, their language, their religion and their way of life, are already kept in near government-sanctioned poverty for simply being who they are and yet, the Chinese government wishes to take away even the small lifestyles that they have.

I do not harbor the delusion that the US had not done the same in the past (e.g. ousting of Native Americans from their lands, annexation of Mexican lands), but we have not committed the same atrocities while appearing on a global stage and trying to pretend that everything is sunshine and roses on the home front.

With its own people killing one another over something as simplistic as “racial” harmony and China cracking down on any forms of protest and (God-forbid) expressions of religion, now would be a splendid time for those UN reports about the continued deterioration of China’s human rights’ record to come around again.

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Oh…this is rich.

February 27th, 2009 — 10:59am

My disgust for China has been mounting over the past few years, culminating to near outrage in August 2008 and has been teetering there ever since. What riles me this morning is China’s obvious mudslinging in a report drafted just two days after we (the US) published a report that stated the obvious: China’s human rights conditions have worsened. However, China feels it appropriate to claim that violent crime is so sweeping in the US that we are terrified every day that we will be murdered on our way to work.

Crime, unfortunately, is a part of civilization and humanity and I find utterly laughable that China of all places would have the gall to publish a report condemning violence in the US when China refuses to make available the same kinds of statistics. Are they honestly going to produce a report saying the US is drowning in its own violence when its own country is even larger and far, FAR more of its citizens (if we even dare call those with no voice in their government and no venue for dissent such) are living under a poverty so great that few others could stomach it? But, take this into consideration, it is not only the US who finds China’s human rights record to be lacking; the UN on whole says the same.

There is an old saying about no ailments afflicting communist nations…because they simply refuse to report them. Who says that the level of crime in China is not equivalent to that of, or even greater than that found in the US? Regardless of a few signs allowed to appear in front of the cameras here or there, China does not allow its people the right or the ability to disagree with the government and it crushes any attempts to do so time and time again. It also sees its people gathering under the name of God to be likened to some kind of treason and Christians suffer in China almost as much as they would in Muslim countries. The government refuses to allow its own people unfettered access to the world’s greatest invention, the Internet, lest its people get some “crazy ideas” about democracy and dissent and it invites other countries to see its “progress,” only to mask the true pain and suffering of its people to paint as rosy a picture as possible for itself, but we are to believe that a country, who only twenty years ago would murder its own people in the streets to keep them from outpouring any discontent, is so devoid of violence that they can condemn the US for its issues with race and violence? Someone other than me has to see this as madness!

Their claims that racism is gripping the US to the point that we are pulled to our knees was the only part of their “he said/she said” that caused me to laugh. Of course we are going to have issues with race in our country. Few others were established in the manner that we were, few others manage the demographics that we do and the few that do resemble the US in establishment and demographics suffer from the same problems. People will find any reason to discriminate each other, just look at the UK where in some places there are simply not enough “different” people around so they poke fun at redheads. Discrimination is a human plight that effects all nations. I will take this moment to drag up Yang Peiyi’s brush-off again and ask if China really thinks that their government’s open preference for “whiter” Chinese over more “yellow” or even brown Chinese is somehow different from general racism in the US.

Previously, I kept my mouth shut when China had the nerve to “instruct” the US to stabilize its economy since they were at least giving the appearance that they were doing something about the companies that had intentionally added melamine to powdered milk (although, the fact that these companies even thought they could get away with outright deception and murder is a slam for China’s improved human rights claim) and also because they were, in some sense, correct; the world economy is dependent on the strength of the United States. If we fall, everyone falls. If we suffer, everyone suffers, so it is our duty as Americans to keep the world from falling into a depression. Now, however, I am convinced China has proved itself incapable of truly becoming the world leader it wants to be and, as I am an American who can do or say what she wants because of the rights guaranteed to me (in writing!), I can see no reason to speak with the proverbial kid gloves when it comes to China. It claims that the US should “stop acting as a human rights guardian,” but enlighten us China: If not us, then who? You?

I cannot say that China has not made any improvements in the last twenty years. They have and I am sure they have experienced more progress than deterioration of their citizens’ rights, but for them to even consider asking the US to look our “human rights issues” instead when the US is, more or less, an open book in regards to history and our current social climate…well, I find that to be a bit rich.

2 comments » | Politics, Rant

I can haz pseudo-Interwebs wit in my House Speaker nao?

January 14th, 2009 — 10:53pm

As with many people, I have not been following politics as closely as I had pre-Nov 4, 2008, but every now and again, I run into things that just make me laugh out loud…in utter disgust.

First things first:

Obama…you baffle me, too. I mean honestly! A liberal politician may walk around stating that he wants what is best for the “average American,” but when he says it from his vehicle that is more suited for the Gaza strip than a DC roadway and probably cost more (considering the absolute necessities like leather and maple interiors) than most “average Americans” will ever see in their lifetimes, the words are simply…blank, lifeless, hollow.

Now, I totally understand the necessity for having something safe tote around the man elected to the nation’s highest office, but must it be a Cadillac on top of the million plus dollars spent on making it drivable even with flat tires?

Nancy Pelosi has made me sick to my stomach for a long time. As a matter of fact, she irritated me even before I realized I was a Moderate and this just makes me dislike her even more. Nothing pisses me off more than to see people stepping into garbage about which they nothing in a wild attempt to maintain “popularity.” It is like choosing a tattoo in a parlour just because it looks cool without realizing that particular image has any cultural significance; in short, it’s just plain ignorant.

Most noteworthy quote of the article:

“The cats are very popular on the Internet, as is Rickrolling, and we thought this would be a way to bring some attention to it,” said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly.

You people don’t know your audience and, furthermore, you are attempting to meddle into affairs that are so beyond anything the “old-liberal-trying-to-stay-hip” set could possibly understand that you can’t even hear just how stupid you sound.

RickRolling is old news. It became old news when Astely got into the act (Link, and no, it’s not an intended RickRoll) and, as any self-respecting troller of the Interwebs knows, once an Internet meme grows so popular that the people who don’t spend every waking moment of their lives online know about it, it is no longer cool. Pelosi and her crew can’t possible see this and that is why they FAIL. A Pelosi RickRoll = Epic Fail.

Gah! Obama, quit pretending you are the great provider to the people whilest you are ferreted around in an unnecessarily “pimped out” car purchased with the hard-earned dollars of the Americans for whom you claim to be providing. Nancy Pelosi, all your Interwebs are belong to us, so STFU, GTFO and LOL! stop the charade, b/c we kno u liek dont kno nuthin; we all know you’re no different from any other old white woman trying to “understand” a culture that does not include or want her. Stop the madness, people! Stop it now!

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The people have spoken! Why is no one listening?

November 13th, 2008 — 10:47pm

I must put in my two cents on this matter. I must. Proposition 8 in California.

Proposition 8 in California does not forwardly affect me in any way. My state put this down somewhere around 60/30 back in 2004; Ohio may fall blue every once in a while, but we are not that “progressive.” Regardless of the fact that Prop. 8 does not concern me, I watched the results of it with bated breath, even more so than with the presidential election.

What is key in this issue is that I really don’t know where I stand on it. I know what the Bible says about gays in general, I know what Jesus also says about loving everyone (Matthew 22:36-40) and I remember my past rants about changing the definition of a “union” to help alleviate some of these problems without ever having to touch the (nowadays often symbolic) institution of marriage. I know and remember all of this, but none of it matters at all when it comes to Prop 8. NOT. AT. ALL. The only thing of consequence in Prop 8 is the fact that the will of the people was actively overruled by five individuals who felt they knew better than the majority of the state.

This is not the first time the voters of California have encountered this particular issue on their ballot. Twice before this year, the voters saw this issue on the ballot and twice the voters voted in one direction, specifically against gay marriage. In 2008, five people took the law into their own hands, defying the will of the people and essentially distorting any image that ours is a country of the people, by the people and for the people. This, and this alone, is what destroys me every time I think about Prop 8.

I may not get so heated when I take time to ponder this if the results of the current vote and previous votes had not been so one-sided, but they are and so I am. The people made a decision twice before this, these far-reaching judges overturned the people’s decision and, once more, the people have come to the same conclusion. It was not as if the people were incensed over a narrowly-winning proposition and the judges had to step into the fray to cast that “so-called” deciding ballot to quell the masses on either side. These judges simply made a decision that echoed in the ears of all US citizens only to have the people, by a majority, return their former decision.

The US voting system, in most cases, is very simple; the one who gets the most votes wins. This means that if 50.000019% of the people vote in one way or another, that percentage will win. Is this always the best of measures? It depends on how you look at it, but it is a fact and a necessary cog of democracy. In California, the people came together, cast their ballots and voted against gay marriage, yet several years later, five judges felt they knew better than the majority of the people and took it upon themselves to overturn the will of the people!

Let’s break this down into terms that anyone should be able to understand.

Barack won over McCain in the US presidential election by a 52-48% margin. If we were to apply the same circumstances in California to the general election, five out of nine Supreme Court judges could decide that they know better than the majority and…that’s right, overturn the will of the people and name John McCain as President of the United States, even though the people had spoken. Imagine the Supreme Court doing so, not just after the election, but say, a year or two into Obama’s presidency.

Unbelievable, no? Thankfully, our electoral process does not allow something like that to happen, but no such protection is afforded to people of California. The people voted against same sex marriages and five people, not a caucus of judges, not several sets of judges from various circuits and districts, not a series of congressmen and women directly elected into office and subject to voter scrutiny every few years, FIVE people decided that they know better than the majority and reversed the will of the people. As an American citizen, I am outraged!

This goes well beyond issue itself. I don’t really care how the people voted at this point. What matters here is that the people voted and those judges out-stepped their jurisdiction to overturn the will of the people! I will say it again: five judges overturned the will of the people!!! Where is the ACLU on this one? These judges are trampling the very essence of democracy and there is no one screaming about the real issue! I would be just as outraged over this if the people had voted for gay marriage and five judges decided that the people did not know best and overturned that decision. It makes no difference what the issue is. What matters here is that the will of the people had been disregarded by a select few and if it can happen there over one issue…it can happen in any state over any issue.

Just imagine it: The people have decided on fewer taxes. Bam! Five judges can say the people don’t know what is best for them and reverse the will of the people to allow unwanted taxes fall upon the people. The people have decided that they want harsher sentences for sexual offenders. Bam! Five judges can say the people don’t know what is best for them and reverse the will of the people to let sex offenders off with lighter sentences since the “prisons are already too full.” The people have decided that they want capital punishment, looser gun laws, less government interference in their daily lives, and so on and so forth. Bam! Five judges can say the people don’t know what is best for them and reverse the will of the people to turn our once great nation into a socialist empire headed by a series of “judges” who all know what is best for the people.

Does this sound irrational? Does this sound utterly far fetched? If anyone had told me a year earlier that five judges could overturn a decision decided upon, not by over-zealous politicians, but directly by the people, I too would have called these scenarios far fetched. And, yet…here we are.

Further investigation into the results of California’s Proposition 8 have unveiled the need for a poignant correction. It was not actually five judges who overturned the people’s decision. The California Supreme Court consists of seven, not nine judges. And, so, it is even worse…On May 15, 2008, four people, not five, overturned a decision made by the majority. The whole thing stinks even stronger with one less person over-stepping the bounds of the judiciary.

1 comment » | Politics, Rant

The bailout who helped no one

November 13th, 2008 — 9:33pm

I’m not going to spend hours writing about how much the government bailout irks me in way I never thought possible; that’s for others to do and, believe me, they have done so well. I just want to take a minute to examine a specific issue that comes in the wake of the bailouts.

Every corporation is now sitting at the government’s doorstep with their hands out waiting for their piece of the pie and meanwhile, things on which my tax dollars should be spent, like federally-funded rape crises centres for example, must go on as if the government was not handing out a penny to anyone.

Columbus, Ohio is currently sitting in the midst of what will soon be an all-out panic over a serial rapist who is stalking women and attacking them in the mid-morning hours. I have been covering the story since I first saw it on the news, (so conveniently, but importantly after SVU aired), and was somewhere near horrified to read this article on my news feed. Everyone from sleazy insurance companies to irresponsible banks to simply the greediest amongst Americans is getting their piece of Crap Sandwich 2.0, but something on which tax dollars could be and should be validly spent has to go without funding. It’s just…I don’t think there is really a word in English that really describes how awful it is. A rape crisis center has to shut its doors from lack of funding because the government can’t find less than a million to toss at something that actively helps the victims of mankind’s most horrible crimes, but…AIG gets billions and billions to send their most senior staff to million-dollar spas to work out the kinks in their shoulders they received after doing absolutely nothing to ensure their company did not fall into the state in which they found themselves.

Most days I expect that the government wastes my money on things like welfare that keeps the already downtrodden as low as they can get, while never helping the people who do actually “need a little help.” Most days I expect that I will wake up to find that the world really must be close to Armageddon because there doesn’t seem to be any other reason for horrors I had read about the previous day. Most days I expect that when even I feel like I need to research getting my concealed carry license to protect myself from the crazies that lurk, (unchecked by the government that should have caught these problems when these monsters were children) just around the corner, that we are heading in a bad direction as a country. Most days I expect a lot, but some days…

Some days…I just don’t get it.

1 comment » | Politics, Rant

China: appearance vs. reality

October 19th, 2008 — 12:34am

I’m still aggravated by the whole Yang Peiyi/Lin Miaoke thing from the Beijing Olympics in August, but reading this just brings that aggravation to a whole new level:

I focus plainly on these lines:

Suppliers are believed to have added the banned chemical, normally used in plastics, to watered-down milk in order to make it appear higher in protein.

Again, we see China putting “appearance” before reality and, this time, paying dearly for it. While I know it may seem simplistic to compare Yang Peiyi’s brush off with tainted milk that had killed four children, the fact is, this stresses the same exact problem. Instead of taking the steps to ensure that they had a quality product, they (China) took a short cut to make people believe what they were presenting was something more than it was. This is unfortunately telling and I’m just saddened that families just trying to live through communist oppression have to almost fight for their children’s lives.

During the earthquakes that ripped through the country, we saw another appearance China gave its citizens: The focus here is that all the other structures surrounding the school, hotels and places intended to bring income to the country, survived when the school, as it turns out, was built poorly. It placed the school in a “safe” area only to build it with “unsafe” materials and shoddy workmanship so that when it was placed to the test, it failed miserably and again, China’s families must suffer the effects of their government’s insistence on putting appearance ahead of reality.

I’ve been disgusted a lot in the past few weeks, but this just leaves a taste in my mouth that I just can’t remove.

2 comments » | Politics, Rant

Just disgusted…again

October 11th, 2008 — 11:10am

Palin abused power, probe finds.

Let’s forget the fact that this alleged incident was years ago and focus on the facts. A guy gets fired because he was not doing his job right and all of a sudden an ethics probe finds that a presidential running mate is accused of some wrongdoing? I like the fact that since the liberals have run the “McCain is too old” thing into the ground, they plunged how many thousands of dollars into rushing this “finding” on Palin just weeks before the election. Kind of like how the Bush administration helped Dick Cheney keep the fact that he shot and killed (and I know that man is gone and buried in a quiet funeral because the entire story has been keep so quiet since the incident that it is unnerving) a man while hunting, but I’ve never had anything good to say about Bush so I won’t get into that.

No one fails to mention that the probe began before Palin was selected as McCain’s running mate, but I follow the news as well as, if not better, than most of the American people and I can’t remember a darn thing mentioned about the probe until after Palin was selected. It makes me wonder that if this probe was so inflammatory why this information was not spray painted all over Palin by the Democrats as soon as she was selected as McCain’s VP. The fact that this committee so conveniently concluded their findings just weeks before the election stinks of liberal string-pulling and taking out all stops trying to win the election in the most underhanded measures possible, not unlike creating fraudulent voter registrations to beef up the numbers for their candidate.

What fascinates me most is that this in-depth probe could conclude so quickly. Monegan was in a dispute for the budget (in this economy, which has been in a downturn for years) with the governor of his state and when he gets fired because of his ineptitude, it must be an abuse of Palin’s power. Quite honestly, if she wanted to get at her ex-brother-in-law, there are many options available for her and there was nothing at all to be gained if Palin fired him because he allegedly would not fire Palin’s sister’s ex. Why not go after the ex directly? For God’s sake, she’s the governor! I’ll say it again, there are far deeper and more sinister ways to “get” someone if she wanted to do it.

This disgusts me like anytime I hear about a black person getting fired by their white boss and then accusing the boss of obvious racism when said black person came to work late everyday and had substandard performance. People, specifically liberals who are attempting to incite voter fears about a small constituency of Republicans (who also exist in greater numbers as Democrats, though highly shrouded through politically correctness and general garbage, as well), don’t want to focus on the facts. It is always easier to assume that a conservative has abused her power than to consider that there is more to a story than its face value.

To make this matter entirely disgusting is its complete lack of facts. Here’s a question, Monegan: if Palin was hatching some under-handed revenge scheme, why didn’t she give you the means to make the firing easy? And, if these means were available, why haven’t you mentioned this and why hasn’t this been discussed in the probe? Perhaps this is just an example of a disgruntled employee having another stab at his former boss at a time that just happens to be advantageous for the Democrats.

What is really going to make the country fall into a hell-hole is if Obama loses and we have to listen to the liberals scream racism day in and day out for the next four years. I can hear it now: “Look how racist our country still is! Palin has abused her power and McCain/Palin still got elected!”


Hopefully, Ohio is still as “racist” as I assume it is and our track record for choosing the president will not be tarnished in November so that I can hold my head high instead of singing the “Blue State Blues” for the next four years.

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Just digusted

August 12th, 2008 — 11:30am

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I need to stop reading the BBC. I find world news long before anyone else here does and, when it sickens me, it gets to sicken me more and more as the day progresses and I read more and more about it.

Olympic China ceremony star mimed

I am not even sure where to start when it comes to this. I hadn’t really considered watching much of the Olympics, but because of the number of articles about it, I couldn’t help but know what was happening and root for Michael Phelps. I think what is most interesting, for me anyway, is my initial perception about the title of the article. The Brits say “mimed;” Americans say “lip-synced.” When I first read “mime,” I thought, “Well, how wonderful! A little girl who is some kind of national celebrity over there put down the mic to do some kind of mime for the deaf community…” but as I continued reading, a clear understanding of the word “mime” came to me and my surprise over something that sounded so cute turned into absolute disgust. I’m not even going to get started on the CGI fireworks…

Through all the articles I’ve read, I have heard the word “mistake” used here or there. This was no mistake. This was a calculated move by that government and it sickens me. Instead of showing a China that has moved away from the dark and negative imagery of the latter part of the 20th Century, officials gave the naysayers exactly what they wanted.

There is nothing at all wrong with Yang Peiyi. She is a seven-year-old girl and by definition adorable in her own rights, but…the government officials took one look at her round face and little crooked teeth and said, “Um…sorry. You sing great love, but you look hit so we’re going with another girl…though we’re still using your voice.” If China had shown Yang singing just the way she is, it would have made a far greater impact on the world. China would be showcasing its sheer talent in its greatest form, not showing the world, and the West especially, what they think the world wants to see.

A little girl singing a perfect song would have been perfect no matter what she looked like. She may not have turned into an instant pop star like Lin Miaoke had, but what a beautiful message for China to send to the world and to its people. I know I must sound like just another American imparting the “American dream” on the rest of the world, but what is so wrong with letting the millions of other little girls who look more like Yang Peiyi than Lin Miaoke that they can still be someone. That no matter who you are or where you come from, you can still make something of yourself. But no…that is not the message China chose to display. Instead, they decide that the real singer, regardless of how much talent she has, is just note cute enough to represent her country. Thank goodness China does not choose its athletes like it chooses the “face of China.” Otherwise, we would see scandals emerging about swimmers who are actually Mexican, but have eyes that can pass as Chinese, Hungarian sprinters who have hair and skin just dark enough to appear Chinese, and eventually light-skinned black basketball players who had a little Chinese somewhere in the ancestry. I am thoroughly disgusted.

What disgusts me most about this is the fact that there were options other than this available. The rationales I keep reading, “It was the image of our national music, our national culture. And especially since it accompanied the arrival of the national flag in the arena, this was an extremely serious matter.” are all such bull. It wasn’t like they learned two weeks before 8/8/08 that they were going to host the Olympics. They had years to come up with this. Even if they started in January, there are a billion people in China! There is no way they could not find a little girl who had both the voice and face they needed. And, if little Yang was still not pretty enough by their standards, why not throw some braces and a wig on her and make it happen. Makeup artists and hair stylists do it all the time on American Idol. Clay Aiken looked like an alien before the makeup team got to him. Honestly, I think I would have been less horrified if I heard that they had Yang Peiyi lip-sync to her own song while wearing a wig, false eyelashes and dentures.

I just don’t understand how anyone could have thought this was a good idea at the time. It was bound to leak and do nothing but disgrace China. Instead of shining a positive light on themselves, the world is looking at them and shaking its head. If China had just presented themselves as they are, it would have been beautiful. An Olympics without global pause would have been the most perfect way for China to open themselves up to the world. Instead, here we are. What is even worse is that the imagery I saw from the opening ceremonies was beautiful, but none of that will ever be remembered no matter how hard anyone tries. When history looks back on the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympic games in Beijing, the only thing to be mentioned is scandal.

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