Wednesday, December 30, 2009

For Your Entertainment

When I study how humans have acted and interacted within the societies that they are in, I have basically had to conclude that on a basic level, we haven't really changed all that much in the past 10,000 years or so. This is true in terms of the basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter. Basically, we moved from being the hunter-gatherer to the more settled life of today although some people will say rightfully so that we live in concrete jungles. But the basics remain the same. Transportation is transportation be it your feet, a wheelchair or a horse.

The same is true in politics. In a lot of ways, politics is similar to theatre, movie making, carnivals and what not. One movie that never gets old for me is Network. It is art imitating life.

Arthur Jensen: [bellowing] You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it! Is that clear? You think you've merely stopped a business deal. That is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU...WILL...ATONE! [calmly] Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those *are* the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state, Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that . . . perfect world . . . in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.

Howard Beale: Why me?

Arthur Jensen: Because you're on television, dummy. Sixty million people watch you every night of the week, Monday through Friday.

Howard Beale: I have seen the face of God.

Arthur Jensen: You just might be right, Mr. Beale.

Or as Fox Mulder would say while popping a sunflower seed into his mouth: "Whatever happened to playing a hunch, Scully? The element of surprise, random acts of unpredictability? If we fail to anticipate the unforeseen or expect the unexpected in a universe of infinite possibilities, we may find ourselves at the mercy of anyone or anything that cannot be programmed, categorized or easily referenced."

Now let's take for instance when a presidential candidate or the president visits your city. Do you think they just arbitrarily decided to visit just to take in the sights? Presidents and politicians in general are figureheads. The Chief of Staff tells them where to go, advisors tell them what to think, speechwriters tell them what to say, and consultants tell them what to wear. While the press release may be sent out a few days before the visit, the planning occurred several weeks before. The Secret Service and travel office are sent ahead to scout the location and plan the routes, line the supporters up, and so and so on.

My own personal experience of this sort happened in 2004 when I was working on Michael Badnarik's presidential campaign. I basically had a week's notice that Michael was going to be in town and I obtained this information by looking up his website. No press release and no staff. Just me and my elbows and feet.

Hopefully this clears things up and if this disturbs you, don't be. We've being doing it since ancient times.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Plans for 2010

I am keeping my life in 2010 pretty lean and mean although ambitious as it is.
I will be enrolling for another semester. No big explanation needed there. Once the semester is over, I aim to do some traveling across the country by car. Given my fondness for chocolate, Hershey Park is a must. I also would like to grab a Cubs game at Wrigley Field and even see the corn fields in Iowa. LOL. The Rocky Mountain states and the West Coast are long overdue for a visit too. Then, I would top it off by visiting Texas and the Gulf Coast region.

What are your plans for 2010?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gone With The Wind Debuts!

70 years ago today, Gone with the Wind made its debut in Atlanta, Georgia. Of course, for those fans of Hollywood's Golden Age like myself, 1939 stands out as a remarkable year indeed. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz, The Women, Drums Along The Mohawk to name a few.

Gone with the Wind can be identified as one of the immortal pieces of literary works of the 20th Century. Margaret Mitchell's famous work has chronicled the love and hate relationship between the two main characters in the novel, Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. There is hardly any more mesmeric fictitious heroine like Scarlett and the highs and lows of her relationship with Rhett, a man of somewhat dubious character who have held the interest of many successive generations.

Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler had a tempestuous relationship. Their violent love life was interspersed with certain tenderness, but the period of relative calm always ended in tragedy.

And unfortunately, the common ground was based on negativity, of which relationships cannot survive. Both were cold blooded, opportunistic, selfish and arrogant. Scarlett had uncontrolled passion, but again regrettably, she bestowed her passion on the wrong person. Rhett was too cynical, too much a man of the world to care much about love. He equated lust with love, they were sides of the same coin for him. Scarlett's passion about Ashley Wilkes, ended in realizing that she had only infatuation for him and his riches. Rhett, with his antisocial public image was the only man in Scarlett's life who gave back as good as he got from her. Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler were too alike in their approach to life, yet they were perpetually disgusted about each other. Unlike most endings in literature or movies, Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler were not meant to be together forever. The ending certainly played very well in keeping with that notion.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Northwest Missouri State Wins National Title

The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats defeated the Grand Valley State Lakers on Saturday. Congratulations Bearcats!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Will Jesus Christ Be Notre Dame's Next Head Coach

Over the past few days, I've read with amusement with regards to Notre Dame's coaching search everything from Coach A to Z was either interviewing, been contacted or will be Notre Dame's next head coach. Never mind the fact that all these articles rely on so-called anonymous sources (red flag there).
I can understand the need for anonymous sources when it involves whistle blowing or exposing corruption, but it is uncalled for just about anywhere else. To further illustrate my example, enjoy this read. Basically, the media in the general sense needs to get a grip. Nothing is confirmed until the T's are crossed, the I's dotted and the contract signed. Anything else is just talk.
At the very least, the media folks could pick up the phone and just call the Notre Dame Athletic Director.

We have all had situations where things didn't work out. This was the case for Charlie Weis. The least one can do is learn from your experiences and move on. Only time will tell whether Weis does that. He came to Notre Dame basically telling everyone to kiss his rings (translation: My NFL offensive schemes are superior to college schemes). This also goes to show that the Bill Belichick coaching tree is overrated.

This also gives me an appreciation for how difficult a job that coaches have.
It can be said that many of them are overpaid, overrated, cocky or what not. But how many people are willing to put in the time and travel that coaching involves? How many people while knowing a good deal from the couch or stands can actually break down film and craft game plans? Being a fan of the work is one thing. Actually being able to do it yourself is something else. Then again, while Rembrandt may have many fans, there is only one Rembrandt.

Friday, December 4, 2009

So How Is That Change Going?

"Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke." Will Rogers

I have to admit I have acute instincts when it comes to politics as much as I hate the endeavor itself. My instincts told me that Al Gore and George W. Bush were bad news in 2000. Thus, I voted for Harry Browne. The same in 2004 and 2008. For the people who did vote for Obama, did you vote for him because of the rhetoric of "change"?

What changed? The only change if you can call it that is things are going from very bad to even worse. Like a cancer that gets ever larger. So will the troops be coming home or will they be sending more troops over?

Here is one mother's statement on what is happening:

"Where do you think the 35,000 troops will come from? No, they won't be fresh faces. They will be the same poor souls, like my son, who will be kept, extended, past 12 months, to get an "increase" of troops. I am so sick and tired of my country lying to my family! My son is stop-lossed, and has heard rumors that he ...and his buddies will not be coming home this January."

There you have it folks. Just as they lie to you about the unemployment statistics, they lie to you about the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan. People refuse to see beyond the pomp and circumstance and the the flowery speeches about how the government "supports the troops". They support them by lying to them about their length of deployments, under and overpayments, six month delays in active duty checks, and pay and benefits cut off for wounded soldiers in the hospital. Not to mention troops not having body armor and equipment being out of commission due to a lack of spare parts. Then there are the suicides of thousands of soldiers. Yet, politicians do what they do best: politics.

The rich (and politically connected) man starts the war and the poor man dies. It is too bad that the poor and middle class (for however much longer it will last) fall for the lies. But then again, if people refuse to listen and to see what is going on even after they have been informed, they do so at their own peril. I will continue to speak up whenever possible, but one person can only do so much. Not to mention I need to focus on my own self-interests for a while. But in the long run, the United State's time as a superpower like those in history was coming to an end. Give it another generation and the states will become various units of some kind. No longer will D.C. be the national capitol. At least from that perspective, it isn't too bad. But the road is rough and will get rougher for the foreseeable future. For those who do care, hang tough and network with like-minded people. After the zombies kill each other off, we can then reclaim the Earth.