Saturday, March 28, 2009
Barack Obama is their W.
What I mean when I say this of course is that Barack Obama is to the Republicans in this country what George W. Bush was to the Democrats during the Bush administration: the complete opposite of what they thought was right, even down to the instinctual level.
So how can you defend the position that one of these Presidents is or was the perfect answer for our country while at the same time arguing that the other one is or was the perfectly wrong answer for our country? You can't, really, because I don''t think that most Americans have simply chosen to place their respective faiths in one or the other; we are talking about instincts here, and innate beliefs. We are talking about the very cores of each of us individually, which were all well-formed and strong long before most of us had even heard of Barack Obama. I don't know that there is a way to just simply convince someone to change that core; it would be like trying to convince them to stop having their blood carry the platelets to... wherever... the platelets... go...
The "W's" of the world aren't going to change their instincts, at least not overnight; and neither are the "O's" (with apologies for lame labelling). So doesn't the question become, then, about how we can begin to defend the one that we have placed our faith in -- a decision that is based purely on the make-up of that inner core of ours -- while at the same time tearing down the other guy, simply because we believe that we are right? A simpler way to put it might be to ask ourselves how we can know and prove that my instincts are right while your instincts are wrong, or how you can know and prove that my instincts are better than your instincts. You can't, because both sides of the argument will answer in the same way: "Because I am simply right, because this is what our values dictate, and because you are arguing for the opposite, wrong side." Yeah, well, the other guy said the same thing.
What you have to do -- always, not just in this instance, but for every decision you make -- is to question you own core and your own instincts, and to not really worry about what the other side believes for a while. You need to do this because the faith that you are putting in either Obama or Bush is really blind; you can't tell me who history will recognize as the right man for the job and who history will look at as the wrong man for the job. You believe that you can but you are wrong.
My instincts and my core call for me to enthusiastically believe that Obama is the smart guy and that W is the idiot. In questioning my instincts, here is what I have come up with:
-Obama's War in Afghanistan vs. W's War in Iraq. Both wars are theoretically based in 9/11 and national security, i.e., stopping the terrorists. But here is the thing: Don't we know that the al Queda, or whoever it was that attacked us, was and is still based in Afghanistan? We all know about W's "misinformation" (on its best day) that led us into the Iraq War. Yes, I do believe that our country is safer in a world without Saddam Hussein, but I don't think that that alone justifies the War in Iraq; in other words, I don't think that the goal of the War in Iraq was tied directly to 9/11, which is what the goal of whatever war we fought in the wake of 9/11 should have been tied to. And I think that there is really only one identifiable reason for the War in Afghanistan, and that is to wipe out the al Queda. I think that we have a good enough reason to do that, and I don't think that we had a good enough reason for going into Iraq. There were benefits that came from the Iraq War, sure; but I don't think that you can spend your life picking off all of the little guys who are out to get you. Now, if someone attacks you, or if you know that someone is going to attack you, then sure -- you fight back. We didn't know that Iraq was going to attack us, and as a matter of fact it has never been proven that they were going to; we only knew that Saddam Hussein hated us and that he might try to attack us someday. We know that the al Queda in Afghanistan attacked us, and that is of course a justifiable reason to go to war. I think that as the most powerful entity in the world, we need to be strong enough and secure enough to live knowing that some people in some parts of the world want to take us down. I don't think we should be allowed to physically destroy all of those who oppose us philosophically; I just think that we need to make ourselves strong enough to know when those intangible philosophical differences are about to evolve into a tangible act of violence, and to be able to prove it. Then and only then may we strike. The War in Afghanistan follows this guideline, while the War in Iraq does not. Therefore I do feel comfortable in my faith that Obama is right on this issue while Bush was wrong.
What if, you might ask, we are not able to identify those moments when an intangible philosophical difference evolves into a tangible act of violence, and we are attacked, or even wiped out? I will here use an analogy that I have used several times before: If you are ever in an airplane and the plane is going down, to the point that you are facing certain death, why be scared? If you are going to die, you are going to die; and if I ever find myself in a situation in which I know that I have no means of preventing my own death, I hope that I will be intellectually strong enough to accept the fact that my time in this world has come to an end and that this is simply the natural course for all things.
It wouldn't be the end of the world.
Alright, this is all that I can write for now. Perhaps I will get into the other Obama vs. Bush issues at some other time.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Saul, Jr. has been named as one of five finalists in a commercial-making competition that is being run by Univision TV (Spanish language broadcasting network in Chicago -- channel 66 on non-cable TVs). The other four finalists (according to Saul) are much older than Saul, Jr. (at least in their twenties, if not their thirties, forties, etc... but I'm not exactly sure of their stats) and have college degrees. Some or all of them may already be in the advertising industry. Oh -- and Saul, Jr. is the only one of the five finalists who made his commercial from scratch (he drew the cartoons, did the voices, and wrote and performed the music). The others (according to Saul) had a lot of help from the Internet, or at least had access to the tools that make this kind of thing a lot easier. I know I have made it sound as if Saul (the father) is bashing the other contestants -- he is not. He told me all of these things because he is proud of his son.
This is an online voting contest. If Saul, Jr. wins, I believe he gets some money (which will go towards the publication of his second book, which he has already written), prestige and a bunch of good stuff that I'm not really sure of... OPPORTUNITY for a young guy who seems like he could use the opportunity and seems like he may be both driven and talented enough to make something of himself... if given the right opportunities. I think he might also get to be on Oprah, or something?
To vote for Saul Jr's commercial (and getting you to vote for his commercial is the whole point of this blog entry), follow these steps. The Web site is in Spanish, but you can get through it.
1. Go to this link.
2. Scroll down until you see the links to the five commercials.
3. Watch Saul, Jr's commercial (the second one from the left; it is called "Quieres ir al Cine?", and Saul, Jr's name is underneath it) by clicking on the Ver Video link underneath it.
4. Click your mouse on the circle next to Saul's video link. Make sure that you have checked the circle next to Saul, Jr's video link before completing the next, final step.
5. Click the red VOTAR button at the bottom of the page.
The Web site has restricted me to voting for Saul, Jr's commercial only once. You can try voting for the commercial more than once. If the site lets you, great. Also...maybe you could get a couple of co-workers and friends to vote for Saul, Jr's commercial, too.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I have lately been rediscovering the great Frank Zappa. Listening to these songs again has really been kind of soothing and has made me feel pretty good for some reason. I would really like you to give these songs a listen. Maybe they will make you feel good, too.
"Don't Eat the Yellow Snow/Nanook Rubs It"
-The only Youtube video I could find for this song also has two other (really great) songs attached to it. You can listen to those if you want, but if not you can stop the video at about the 7 minute mark (you'll know):
-This song, like "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow/Nanook Rubs It," is off of Zappa's Apostrophe. I couldn't find the studio version (I wish I could have), but this live version is pretty good, too. This song includes the most amazing line of all time: "Now is that a real poncho, or is that a Sears poncho?"
One of my all time favorites, "Black Napkins." You can find this song on Zappa's album Zoot Allures.
"San Ber'dino," which contains the great line, "His name is Bobby, he looks like a potato."
And, of course, "Muffin Man." Wish I could have found the studio version of this one.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Ari Fleischer served as White House Press Secretary under George W. Bush. This bitch is one of those people who makes me sick just because of the way he looks. Bitch is the personification of the stereotypical Republican. Seriously, just look at this dude. How much do you want to bet that he wears silky pink thongs under his Republican uniform. I guarantee that this bitch is messing around with some under-agers. He probably met them on the Internet. I get the feeling that he smells, too. You know that weird smell that some people have that's like...not really anything...it just smells like wrong, and it's there every day? Maybe a little bit of mothballs + ass? That smell is the smell of a black soul, and I bet that this bitch smells like that.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
SYMBOLISM THAT IS NOT OK:
SYMBOLISM THAT IS OK:
I had a lot more but I can't remember them now.
Just tell me the damn story. Don't tell me what it means. I don't care what it means. And I especially don't care what it means to you.
I kind of don't really like a whole lot of adjectives/modifiers, either. What difference does it make if the girl in the story has blue eyes. You are just writing that because you are talking about some girl that you loved once, or really liked, and she had blue eyes, and this is like your own little personal tribute to her, like your secret way of connecting with her, or even having a relationship with her, because you are a douche bag. You are telling me that she has blue eyes because you are a crap writer and you are not concentrating on what you are doing. You are not taking your emotion out of it. Anything that you write that you can't take your emotion out of is going to be crap, because why the hell would I want to read about how much you loved some chick, or how much you loved some guy, or how much it hurt you when they left. I don't. I want to read about them, and not you. I am not reading this because I want to solve the puzzle of your emotions. No one's emotions make sense to anyone but themselves. That is why I think they cause so many problems. Because the intensity or even existence of one person's emotions doesn't make sense or seem right to the person who those emotions are directed at. So maybe everybody feels emotions at different intensity levels; like, maybe I am composed so that I feel love, heartbreak, pain, anger, or any other emotion more intensely than you do. Or maybe less intensely. Maybe this has something to do with the way I was brought up, or maybe it is genetic. I don't know. I don't think it is possible that one person can feel the exact same emotion as another person. This is why I don't want to read about your emotions or how something makes you feel when I am reading a piece of literature. Because your emotions suck. If you are writing something as a way to express your emotions, it's called a journal. Not literature.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Rush Limbaugh challenged President Obama to a debate today, citing the White House's recognition of Limbaugh as the leader of the Republican Party.
Limbaugh said on his radio show today:
"If these guys are so impressed with themselves, and if they are so sure of their correctness, why doesn't President Obama come on my show? We will do a one-on-one debate of ideas and policies."
He ranted on. And, just to remind you, Limbaugh is not an elected official -- he is a radio show host.
There are a couple of different answers that I can come up with in response to Rush's question, "Why doesn't President Obama come on my show?"
First answer: "Um, I am actually the President, and I actually have important things to do."
Second answer: "The. American. People. Elected. Me. This. Means. That. They. Preferred. My. Ideas. To. Republican. Ideas. Oh, and, since we kicked your fat, rich asses out of government relevancy in the elections, it also means that You. Don't. Matter. At. All."
Third answer (preferred):
Monday, March 2, 2009
James Joyce (biography), by Richard Ellmann. The best biography I've ever read. Joyce's life was incredibly interesting and makes for a great story. Ellman is a great writer. Reading this book will make you a better writer because of what you learn from both Joyce and Ellmann. Reads better than a lot of novels. Because the book is a biography, it makes for a perfect pre-sleep read (because we all know that the "pre-sleep time", when you are laying in bed for 20-30 minutes right before you turn the lights off, should be reserved for biographies, right?). A must-read only for Joyce admirers or fans of the literature from the first half of the Twentieth Century; anyone, however, with anything more than a passing interest in literature will enjoy this book, perhaps even immensely.
The Metamorphosis and other selected short stories, by Franz Kafka. Kafka is perhaps the most disturbed person of all time. Most of you are probably at least somewhat familiar with the concept of "The Metamorphosis," which is that a low-level businessman who lives with his parents and his young sister wakes up one morning to find that he has transformed into a bug of some sort. The story was written in the early part of the Twentieth Century and so was quite a diversion from the main-stream lit of its era. I think that the story is a must-read for lit fans, but I think that this is mostly for the hype that surrounds it. It's good but I don't think it's life-changing. Read it and move on.
In Our Time, by Ernest Hemingway. An absolute masterpiece. This is a collection of short stories and vignettes, and is the first major work that Hemingway published. The book first appeared in the mid 1920s, when Hemingway himself was only about 25 or so. Hemingway's writing style in the book revolutionized writing and literature. The stories themselves are about nothing and everything at once: man's communion with nature, man's communion with his fellow man, the difficulty that men and women have understanding each other, trying to make sense of the world, transcendence through self-imposed exile... This is absolutely a must-read for everyone -- especially for lit people. This is also a great starting point for anyone who thinks that they might be interested in literature but who may be somewhat intimidated by the length/volume/subject matter/whatever of many of the great works. These stories are great and you should read them.
The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway. This is Hemingway's depiction of the post WWI literary exiles living in Paris and traveling throughout Europe in the 1920s. Much of the plot actually takes place in Pamplona, Spain and revolves around the bullfights there. The characters were for the most part real people, renamed by the author. Many consider this novel to be Hemingway's true masterpiece (at least as far as his novels go...the man is the God of the short story), but I disagree. I think that this is a fine novel, but one that is slightly overrated. The best parts are the descriptions of the bullfights -- these scenes alone would make the novel stand up. The novel as a whole is good and I would recommend that everyone read it, but I think it gets too much play from literary "experts" (I think it was the #10 novel on Time's Top 100 of the 20th Century list? I disagree). A worthy read, though. The language and style, again, are fantastic.
A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway. The best American novel I have read. I think this was ranked #48 on the Time's list, and I would have put it in the top 5, probably even the top 3. The novel takes place during WWI and revolves around a wounded American soldier who has been driving an ambulance for the Italian army on the Italian front (which Hemingway did in WWI) and the British nurse he meets as he recuperates in the Italian army hospital. The two fall in love and... This is the only book I have ever read that caused me to cuss out loud and shout out "Jesus" as I read it. This is one of the best books you will ever read and puts most other novels to shame. Read it.
Into the Wild, by John Krakauer. Some might not agree with me, but I think that this book is fantastic. Krakauer tells the true story of Chris McCandless who, after graduating from a prestigious American university in the early 1990s, abandons his possessions, burns his money, ensures that his family will never be able to find him, and begins hitchhiking his way across the country en route to his death in Alaska (Krakauer tells us that McCandless dies in the first chapter, so I'm not ruining anything). This book is all about transcendence, and if you can get over Krakauer's emotional attachment to the subject, I think that you can really get something out of McCandless' story. i.e., I must accomplish what McCandless accomplished. This is a quick read, too.