March 26, 2008

On March Madness

The NCAA has rules about showing clips or highlights from games until all the games from that day are finished. Or something like that. So a local news station in North Carolina improvised...using dolls and action figures. This is why I love living in North Carolina. Watch some highlights of the Duke and Belmont game:

March 25, 2008

On Knowing When You're Ready for Children

Setting: The living room, watching TV; a State Farm insurance ad is on
Characters: Roommates Meredith and Tiffany

The State Farm commercial shows different people at different stages of their life, some young, some old and some in between. One shot shows a father in his son's nursery.

Meredith: Aww...look at that dad with his son. Precious little...


Tiffany: What do you think it says that I noticed the rug and the lamp, but not the baby?

Meredith: I don't know. What do you think it says that I noticed the man but not the baby.

Tiffany: We're not ready to have children.

End Scene

March 19, 2008

On Atheism

I won't even try to delve into the topic of atheism. At least not now. But I just read this great article on evangelical atheists and how their beliefs and views mirror the same religious views they rail against. It's interesting because, from what I can tell, the author is not a Christian and is quite possibly an atheist as well.

Some highlights:

"Zealous atheism renews some of the worst features of Christianity and Islam. Just as much as these religions, it is a project of universal conversion. Evangelical atheists never doubt that human life can be transformed if everyone accepts their view of things, and they are certain that one way of living - their own, suitably embellished - is right for everybody."

"The problem with the secular narrative is not that it assumes progress is inevitable... It is the belief that the sort of advance that has been achieved in science can be reproduced in ethics and politics. In fact, while scientific knowledge increases cumulatively, nothing of the kind happens in society. Slavery was abolished in much of the world during the 19th century, but it returned on a vast scale in nazism and communism, and still exists today...Knowledge grows, but human beings remain much the same."

Read the full article here: "The atheist delusion" By John N. Gray

March 14, 2008

On Tibet

Several years ago I watched Seven Years in Tibet and my interest in the welfare of Tibet was piqued. I did some research and the more I read, the more infuriated I became with the Chinese government and the world's lack of intervention.

This week on the 49th anniversary of China's overtaking Tibet, many monks and nuns have taken part in protests against the Chinese government. You can see some of the news stories below:

Tibet in Turmoil as Riots Grip Capital
Tibet: A Tinderbox of Tensions
Tibet poses dilemma for Beijing

The whole situation is disconcerting and ridiculous, but the fact that this was done almost 50 years ago and China is allowed to continually treat Tibetans (and their own citizens and other regions they control) with such contempt and put little to no value on human life.

And then there is the lack of attention that the world gives to this crisis (although more attention is being paid to this story. I can't help but think it's because of the Olympics this summer.). Whenever I try to think of a way to explain how the U.S. (and other countries) treat China, all I can think of is Dr. House. As in, the television show.

For those who haven't seen the show, Dr. House (more commonly called House) is a brilliant doctor who can figure out what is wrong with his patients even though their ailment is completely bizarre. They'll take most of the show trying to figure out what is wrong with the patient and doing all these tests, then the patient almost dies but just before they kick the bucket, House has an epiphany and figures out that there's a toothpick in the kid's intestine and that's why he's dying.

Sounds simple enough, right? Except House is a jerk. A very, very big jerk. Notice my prowess with the adjectives to describe just how much of a jerk he is: very, very big. He's mean to everyone, especially the patients. He's addicted to painkillers and did I mention he's mean? But since he's brilliant, everybody puts up with him. Sort of like China. Except instead of being brilliant, China has cheap labor and lots of people to perform this cheap labor. So we let them get away with murdering their own citizens and being very, very big jerks.

I understand there is a lot more to this issue, but the fact remains that they treat their own citizens, and the citizens of the countries they take over, brutally. They oppress people and we let them get away with it because we like to buy cheap electronics and Elmo dolls. And there are dozens of other countries with horrible governments and with riots and thousands who die from violence. Tibet is merely the tip of a massive iceberg. But we do business with China. Our companies move their manufacturing to China. And we turn a blind eye to the atrocities that go on in this country.

My hope is that all of this unrest will wake the world up. Perhaps the summer Olympics will open up doors for change as others speak out against China.

Free Tibet
International Campaign for Tibet

March 11, 2008

On the World's Most Perfect Marriage Proposal

With footnotes:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (from the book)
2: Persuasion by Jane Austen (from the book)
3: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (from the movie)
4: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (from the movie)
5: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (from the book)
6: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (from the book, but this version of the movie is amazing)

I don't think any normal female expects a proposal like this. But it was fun to put together some of the best lines from some of literatures greatest books (or the movies made from them).

Also, I'm not sure why the photo is yellow. It's supposed to be blue.

Any favorite movie quotes (romantic or not-so-romantic)? I also like the speech that Harry makes to Sally at the end of When Harry Met Sally.

March 4, 2008

On Saying Goodbye to a Legend

Packers' Favre to retire after 17 seasons

Well, it had to happen eventually. I just thought it would be after next season. I'm not even going to try to hide the fact that when I "jokingly" told my boss I needed to go home after I read the news that I was only half kidding. Or maybe 30% kidding. Okay...20% kidding.

But this is a sad day. Sportscenter spent the 6 p.m. hour going over his career highlights and lowlights, why everybody loves him and whether he made the right decision. They debated whether Aaron Rodgers was ready to take over as the starting QB and whether Favre will change his mind when spring training time rolls around.

Yes, there are more important things happening in the world. McCain just won the GOP presidential nomination. But allow me to channel my sadness for other life events (personal and public) into the seemingly insignificant retirement of a football legend.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go put on my Favre jersey and my Green Bay pajama pants and cry myself to sleep.

Favre From Heaven: Why Journalists Deify the Green Bay Quarterback

March 3, 2008

On Saving Britney

I just finished reading an article about Britney Spears from Rolling Stone: The Tragedy of Britney Spears. I found it by way of the Burnside Writers Collective blog. At the beginning of the year I made a list of 50 things I wanted to do this year. Not so much resolutions, just things to do. Some are 'serious' while others are silly. One of the things on the list was to read less celebrity gossip. I'll admit I have a weakness for that sort of thing. After reading about a 21-year-old British man who has had seven kids by seven different women, or after reading about another bombing in the Middle East, it's a nice reprieve to read about the escapades of the rich and famous.

But Britney is in a whole different category. She's the biggest moneymaker for tabloid magazines and gossip sites. She has around 20 paparazzi who follow here wherever she goes and will do just about anything to get a picture of her. It's sick. Not just that they are following her and taking advantage of her, but that everyone around her seems to be doing this and she seems on the brink of a complete meltdown. It seems like it's only a matter of time until the Associated Press will be using the obituary they've been preparing (this is actually a common practice for older celebrities--older being the key word). I don't know if our culture's obsession with Spears (and other celebrities) is a sign that we like to watch their downfall so we can feel superior (I may not be rich, but at least I'm not like her...). Or is it just the byproduct of our naive, selfish culture that would rather worry about whether Britney is in rehab than if children in Africa have clean water?

It's all just very sad. It's like the person in high school who you could tell had such great potential, but they wasted it in pursuit of popularity and the temporary and often-fleeting approval of their peers. I don't know what's wrong with Britney--if it's mental instability or if she just needs to be taken out of the spotlight--but the bottom line is that it's sad. And I can't help but believe that the way our society has treated her is one of the many things that we'll be held accountable for. The fact that we crave stories about her public breakdown is just a small indication of much greater problems in our society.