Friday, April 29, 2011

Quit Messing With The National Anthem

At every sporting event and every gathering, it happens. We sing the National Anthem. It's beautiful, patriotic, and shows respect to the people who have served out country. So why does it seem like every singer takes it upon themselves to mess it up by "making it their own?"

Funny. I made that same face when I heard her sing.

I want you to think back. Think back really far. When was the last time you heard a really good performance of the National Anthem? My bet is either it's been a very long while, or at you're kid's elementary school choir concert. Singer's just don't seem to get it. They want to stand out, want to make it their own, want to be different. Why? What's the point of all this?

I understand that artists want to be different and stand out. That's what makes someone big and successful. By that same token, that's typically why they're chosen to sing the anthem. However, once they make it their own, how many people actually appreciate it? Maybe the hardcore fans and their family, but everyone else is mad at the super high notes, or extending of syllables, or overall distortion of what we all expect to hear. Sure, artists should have artistic freedom, but at the expense of ticking off hundreds, if not thousands, of people? Art is complex, but the people who listen (or even look at) it should be taken into account too.

I'm not all bitchy and gripy here though. I have the perfect plan: Choruses and choirs. One person can sing great, or they can suck. Get a bunch of people together, and no matter how bad they are, they sound great. Choruses and choirs are like that, but better (duh). They may even cost less than the celebrities singing at baseball and football games (I don't pay for these things, so I wouldn't know for sure). Plus, by getting a group to sing, you are making many people's day, and promoting their organization, helping them get money where otherwise they wouldn't, allowing them to continue singing as beautifully as they do (By comparison, I doubt many other popular performing artists are hurting for cash so bad they they'll be hurt by not singing to a stadium for five minutes.)

So give up on the high dollar divas that tick off a nation by forgetting the lyrics or singing out of tune. Bring in the wonderful so we can all enjoy a song that bonds this nation together. AND QUIT MESSING WITH THE NATIONAL ANTHEM!!!

Think I'm right? Or maybe wrong? Let me know what you think! Leave a comment or contact me

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thievery As A Means of Social Change

So by this point I'm sure that no one actually reads this blog, and the few of you who actually do do it to either flame me or do it out of politeness, and that's fine. This allows me to sound like a total crackpot and talk about stupid things that make sense as long as they work on a mass scale and totally disregard ethics (By the way, I have been watching a lot of Zero Punctuation lately). So as this title suggests, I have an idea that by stealing things, it could bring about social change.

So if you follow my Twitter feed (and congrats if you do; I realize I am super boring), you know just how much I dislike Wal-Mart. Yes, it is convenient and the prices are low, but really it is the ideal 1980s, Lex Luthor-headed evil corporation. Yes, you all know about how low the wages its employees are paid, how it shuts down stores that try to unionize, mistreat women, run local businesses out, and overall just are a monopoly that allow other companies to exist to keep Uncle Sam happy enough to make sure he keeps taking the bribes that are handed to them by "lobbyists" (Convince me that a lobbyist is not a legal grafter and I will literally eat my shorts). But then there's the little things that you don't typically think about, but still exists. For example, ever notice how if something isn't on the shelves at Wal-Mart, it pretty much doesn't exist? Or how they care about profits so much that they never have enough people around to help you or check you out, leading to 50 people waiting on 3 cashiers to take care of anyone, and all you want to do is go home and take a proper dump on a sterile toilet seat with a door that actually closes and use toilet paper that you don't have to file assault charges against after using? (I'll let that last part sink in for a moment.)

Ok, so if you just skipped that last paragraph of run on sentences, the main point is Wal-Mart is evil and I don't like it. So how does stealing things from it (as the title of this article implies) possibly help the situation? Easy. The basic idea is that you mess with Wal-Mart so much it can't run other people out of business as much or as efficiently. Here's what I propose that happens: go into Wal-Mart, steal all that you can steal for long as possible, repeat ad infinitum, and eventually they can't keep prices as low as before, allowing for more competition and small businesses.

Now, I know that some of you just can't grasp how this can possibly work, and that's okay. If more people understood how economics worked we wouldn't be in the predicament we're in now. So, for the sake of those people who don't get it, here's how it works (all others, just skip down a bit): First off, by stealing from Wal-Mart, you are taking away profits and adding to overhead costs. They have to keep a certain amount of product in stock, and by removing that with no compensation, they have to re-order that product with their own money they saved in the vaults usually reserved for buying more hookers and keeping people's mouths shut. Now, if the thievery keeps up, they'll have to install more security cameras, hire more employees, and maybe even a security team like they have in the mall. This comes at an increased cost and more overhead. To meet the now overhead and still keep the profits high enough to pay the dues in the yacht club, they'll have to raise the prices. Once the prices start climbing, people will start shopping around, especially the lower class people who are forced to pinch every penny possible to make ends meet. The higher prices allows for Ma and Pop stores to open up to compete (since now prices are at a level that they CAN compete), allowing for more jobs and more variety in the products offered. 

Why is competition good? Mostly because that's how capitalism works. More competition means more jobs, more variety in products, and better quality projects. Ma and Pa stores have to hire SOMEONE to work for them eventually, trucking companies have to hire more drivers to move more goods, security guards have to be hired to protect Wal-Mart, and entrepreneurs are the driving force behind any good economy. More variety of products give you more options, allows you to try new things, and stimulates innovation instead of just stagnating over the same old products. As for better quality, that just goes along with the invisible hand.

If you skipped that last paragraph because you understand how capitalism works, you can continue reading here. So one of the main problems with this is that A.) it's illegal and B.) it's supposedly hard to steal from Wal-Mart. To address the illegal part: Oh well. This is part of the greater good and needs to be done. Don't get caught and it isn't illegal. As for the hard part: Evidently it isn't hard as long as you have brains about you. I have never stolen anything in my life, but many people I know are actually having a competition to see who can rob more from Wal-Mart before being caught. Just to put this into perspective, this game has been going on for a bit over a year now and all the original players are still in the game. It's not hard to smuggle things out of there and worst case scenario the first responder to you crime are the ancient greeters at the door. Even if you do a smash and grab, you can get in and out before they can move from behind their little stool thing. 

Now, I've probably lost a fair amount of you by now, either because this idea is too radical and their minds aren't open enough to even CONSIDER this, or they saw the huge paragraphs and decided that porn has less words in it and went off for a good wank. Either way, for those of you who are miraculously still with me, I'm about to wrap this up. 

So, in summary (or for you TL;DR assholes), stealing from Wal-Mart will drive up prices, allowing for more competition, help employ more people, and overall flip The Bird to a major corporation. This helps the economy as a whole and helps a lot of people, least of which are the thieves. Of course, this would only work if done on a large scale and the small competitors were spared, and I'm not dumb enough to even think that it will ever happen. Most people either won't steal (like the lily livered guy writing this) or will take this as a perfect excuse to rob as many stores blind as possible. I'm not advocating that at all, but someone may read this (yeah right) and use that to their advantage. So enjoy whatever you actually plan to do and help take down Wal-Mart instead of just complaining about it while buying cheaply prices goods in an overly-long line like we're prone to do. 

Go ahead and tell me what you think (i.e., flame me) here or leave a spineless anonymous comment safely behind your computer screen saying I'm a moron. In the mean time, I'm going to go make rage comics and post them to Reddit for more karma and views than this article will ever receive. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Holiday! (Don't Let It Go To Waste!)

As many of you are quite aware, today is 420. For some, it's just another day. Others, Hitler's birthday. But the most important part of it is that it's the Counter Culture Holiday. This is the day when stoners everywhere smoke weed and celebrate all its goodness (I don't smoke. I'm going off of what my stoner friends say). But everyone, no matter what they think about today, should not let this day go to waste!

What do I mean? The legalization of medical marijuana. Yes, this may sound like an Ent trying to get it for his own personal pleasure, but I am completely serious. As a grandson of a cancer patient and son of a Lupus patient, I know how medical marijuana can help ease the pain of their daily lives. 

You've heard the arguments and know basically what's going on. If you haven't just do a simple Google Search. You can make your own decisions, but I ask you to think about your fellow human, and the pain they could be in. Don't let this day, the day when the plant is in the forefront, go to waste. Get involved. Write your Congressperson. Raise awareness of its benefits. HAVE AN INTELLIGENT ARGUMENT OVER IT! Do something proactive to help others.

Thank you

Short post today. Regular post on Friday. As always, let me know what you think! Leave a comment or contact me to let me know what's going through your mind!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Moment of Silence Vs. Prayer

You're sitting at you're child's (or friend's kid's) graduation. The students make their way to the stage area, and the announcer proclaims something to the effect of "An now, please observe a moment of silence." Are you angry? Isn't this a time for prayer? Isn't this a time to thank God for getting the kid through the rough years of high school or college? How dare the institution be so insensitive to your religion! Dang it, you should be allowed to pray! My question to you: Why are you so angry?

Let me tell you a quick story. Back in 2006 I was finishing up my freshman year of high school. The graduating class was ready to go down the aisle to get their diplomas. A few days before the graduation, however, the ACLU got involved. Every year my school said The Lord's Prayer during the ceremony, and the organization stepped in and stopped it, citing a separation of Church and State. Everyone, me included, was furious. It was tradition! It was graduation! This wasn't right! We were letting the Godless atheists win! But there was nothing we could do. The decision was made, and the prayer was off. Instead, a moment of silence was implemented "to do what you wanted with." The day of graduation, during the moment of silence, the entire graduating class (save for a few), led by the valedictorian (my former team captain), lead the class in The Lord's Prayer. A victory! We had shown them! They beat the system! After that, any and all attempts to recreate this were foiled, but it was still well remembered.

I tell you that story because it brings to light a very important question: What's wrong with a moment of silence? The atheists didn't win. The Christians didn't lose. The ACLU wasn't the evil organization the administration and local newspapers made it out to be. The moment of silence could have brought us all together. Instead, the ignorance of others helped it to drive us apart, on the happiest day of 300 student's lives. 

Alright, I think that was enough set up. Observing a moment of silence instead of praying is a good thing (yes, my ideas changed between 2006 and 2011. Got a problem with that?) It's not a bad thing that Christians can't say their prayer all together, out loud, for everyone to hear. And the atheists aren't winning just because they complained the loudest about the prayer. In fact, in this instance, everyone wins. How's that? America isn't just Christians and atheists.

Despite what the media would have you believe, America is a melting pot (sound familiar? Maybe elementary school?). There are people of all races, genders, and creeds here. In one public school, there is guaranteed to be at least one Jew, one atheist, and many Christians. And that's just for a rural area. In a larger city school, there are sure to be Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccas, and maybe even some other religion. Wouldn't a moment of silence better serve all these people? That way, everyone could reflect or pray in the way that suits their needs the best. 

Now, I know some people won't get this. "America is a Christian nation though!" No. It is a melting pot. Did you not read that, or do you fail to understand the concept of immigration? It's been happening for at least 100 years. "Why should I have to hide my religion? I'm proud of it!" Great. Show it off. But don't let it interfere with someone else's beliefs. "But my way of thinking is correct! My god is the only one/There is no God!" Ok, go on thinking that. The people who believe differently are probably thinking something along those lines too, but they have the good sense to keep it to themselves. Why must everything be your way?

Short and skinny of it: A moment of silence is better than prayer at pretty much any public event because it better serves the entire populace. The people who are getting offended probably wouldn't be if they stopped and reversed the roles for a minute, or even just thought as everyone as just people. Prayer alone divides people at times when they should be united as one. And finally, no one is "losing" anything, and no one is "gaining" anything, except maybe a mutual tolerance and bond for and with each other. Food for thought as many ceremonies are just around the corner. 

What do you think? Am I right? Or way off base with this? Tell me what you think! Leave a comment or contact me to let me know your thoughts! 

Friday, April 08, 2011

Racism and Work

My girlfriend is in a social work class, and the topic was racism. In the section, an argument was made that if a person is racist, they should be fired. An interesting point, and it sure sounds good, but really, is this the best thing?

Now, I am not a racist (or any more racist than any other normal White male is racist), and I do not support racism, but at the same time, I think equal rights goes both ways. For example, suppose a White and a Black person work in an office. Every day, they work together, go to meetings together, and maintain a purely professional relationship. This is okay, right? Now suppose that on weekends, the White puts on white robes and a hood, and the Black rallies with a militant group against Whites. Should these men be fired? 

According to the social work book, yes. That racism both men have can carry over into the work place, causing tension and other such problems. To a degree, this is true. If  you talk hate on Saturday and Sunday, why wouldn't you talk more have Monday through Friday? It would be awfully hard not to, you have to admit. 

By this same account though, what if these people did maintain a professional relationship? What if they made the conscious effort to not let their personal lives spill over into the workplace? If, between the hours of 9 to 5, they worked together and were productive, wouldn't that be the same as if neither one were racist? Why should their weekend activities cost them their jobs?

And that is the dilemma. Both men are racist, but they don't act racist when it counts. Can this even exist? Why can't it? The way I see it, this is a common occurrence. How many people do you know personally that complain about "Those damn niggers" or "That stupid Honky," and then that person helps out the other race or goes to work with that person? My guess is you know many people like that, and it happens often.

I truly believe that, when it counts, people's good senses can triumph over their personal beliefs. Yes, it doesn't always happen, and that's why we have the glass ceiling and all, but at the same time, firing a person for being racist OUTSIDE THE WORKPLACE is like firing a person for volunteering for an organization that the company does not like. It just doesn't make sense. Following the method described in the book, good workers will be fired for being bad people (racism, sexism, and homophobia are bad. No discussion on this topic). And with a highly competitive job market were good workers are valued and a single bad mark on a record could be the difference between a job and no job, why should "extracurricular activities" screw over someone?

Look, racism is bad, no matter how you cut it. I really think the world could do better with it if people could just get along. But that's never going to happen. Instead, take the small victories and what you can get. If being a racist doesn't interfere with work, it should be none of the business's concern, as long as no illegal activity is involved. Let a person do their own thing. Just have the report on my desk by 5 p.m.

Am I right? Or a moron of epic level? Let me know! Leave a comment or contact me to let me know what you think! 

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Importance of Doing SOMETHING

We are humans. As a whole, humans have constantly made progress. As a whole, humans will always make progress. Individually, however, so many people are letting their lives stagnate. And this, readers, is a problem that needs to be solved.

Look at the above quote. It has some deep meaning. But it's not quite what I mean here. To think that there's only two kinds of people (doers and losers) is oversimplified and wrong. I say that there are three kinds of people: doers, cogs, and mosquitoes. After looking at those categories, I can explain why it is important to do SOMETHING.


Doers are everything you expect them to be. They get an idea and go out and do it. Rock stars, CEOs, and entrepreneurs fit into this category.


Cogs are most everyone else. These are the factory workers, businessmen and women, and just about any kind of employee. The cogs in the machine that keep businesses running and afloat. The vital but underrated components to everything. There's a lot of potential here; it's just untapped.


This is by far the smallest group of them all, but I'm sad to say that it's steadily growing. These are the people who are living in stagnation, sucking resources from other people, and not doing anything about it. They have no jobs, are not looking for them, and don't care about them. These people more than likely will not get this message.

So what exactly is the problem? There's not a lot of accomplishment going on by the non-doers. The cogs have fake feelings of accomplishment, but no real ones, and mosquitoes have none period. Doing SOMETHING is important. It gives you the real source of accomplishment to make you feel happy, increase your self-worth, and leads to bigger and better things. And here's the beauty of it all: what you do doesn't have to be big, fancy or important! 

Allow me to explain. A cog is a cog, right? Wrong. A cog is a cog if they only allow themselves to be cogs. If a person gets up, goes to work, brings home pay, and maybe gets a promotion or a raise once in a while because they are a hard worker, they are still a cog. But if that same person writes short stories and never publishes them, volunteers on weekends, or builds slides and swing sets for their kids, the are a doer.

How can this be? It doesn't fit the definitions I laid out earlier. Here's a better definition for you: A doer does something with little or no help from anyone, for no other reason but for the satisfaction it brings while doing it and upon finishing the thing they set out to do. Volunteers help out, and feel better about themselves later. Dads everywhere know how good it feels to build something for his kids and see the amazement and joy on their faces (I'm not a father, but my dad took much pride in this). Anything like this makes your life so much better.

It's easy to become a doer. Find a hobby. I've noticed fewer and fewer people have or partake in hobbies anymore, and that's a shame. Volunteering is another great way. I have this blog and another side project that I keep up with. Before I started them, I felt stuck in a rut, because I wasn't really DOING anything. After I started them, I feel happier and more motivated to do other things. 

Remember earlier when I said mosquitoes will misinterpret what I'm saying? Here's how: I'm not advocating for a society full of artists and craftsmen. Cogs are important and needed. But being a doer-cog is rewarding and maybe even better than being a plain doer (they have less to lose and less to stress over). The mosquitoes  I've always known have put too much faith into musical, artistic, or writing ability, and hope that one day they'll magically hit it big. This doesn't happen often. It's better to be a small time doer-cog than a mosquito with big dreams that are going nowhere. 

Doing something, ANYTHING, is important for a sense of self-worth and accomplishment. Feeling good about building a bookshelf on Saturday can spill over into work on Monday, increasing your productivity, helping the company you work for, which could make the next big, groundbreaking discovery. So go out and accomplish something, for your and everyone else's sake!

Agree? Disagree? Let me know! Leave a comment or contact me to let me know what you think!