Monday, April 19, 2010

Multiple Choice

Someone on Twitter linked to this poll from The National:

So the only reasons you can be expected to say "no" are that you think it won't generate enough revenue to make a difference or because you think "lower income and poor people" will be "disproportionately affected"? 

How about this? -- "NO, I don't particularly want to pay even more taxes, but thanks so much anyway."


Friday, April 16, 2010

Am I Missing Something Here. . .?

(I believe I said something about writing non-political, non-complaining, non-irritated blog entries. . . Oops. . .)

Someone on Twitter linked to this story on The Huffington Post.  Not surprisingly (given the source), whoever wrote this (sorry, can't be bothered to go back and look for a name) seems to disapprove of the April 15th Tea Party protesters: 

". . . some demonstrators expressed their views by carrying signs featuring shocking -- and in some cases hateful -- messages.  In the past, outrageous signs carried by Tea Party protesters have alarmed onlookers for their jaw-dropping depictions, and Thursday's display of signage was much the same."

Shocking!  Hateful!  Outrageous!  Jaw-dropping!  

And those poor onlookers, to be alarmed by the evil Tea Party protesters and their horrifying signage!

All that hype-- and then they include this sign in their "slideshow of the most shocking Tea Party signs". 

(In case something happens to the photo, let me type it out:  It's a simple sign with a simple message: "God only requires 10%".)

. . .Well, aren't you shocked (possibly even alarmed) by that hateful, outrageous, jaw-dropping sign? 

I don't really get it.  What's the big deal?  Am I missing something?  Or in other words, how could even a far-leftist be genuinely upset by this sign?   Is it just because it references the Bible?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

All I ever do here is complain. . .

Annoying things seem to be all that have the power to spurn me into action, here on this blog.

The annoyance this time is this story.

For the time when it's no longer available online, here's the gist:

An opinion writer defends Michelle Obama's statement that food manufacturers should "rething the products that [they]'re offering, the information that [they] provide about these products and how [they] market those products to our children".  She (the columnist) doesn't like it that Mrs. Obama "has been accused of 'federalizing fat' and labeled 'the first nanny'".  No, she doesn't like it one bit, because "it's not the federal government that's playing the role of nanny here".   That role has been filled by the evil food and beverage marketers. 

So then she goes on for several paragraphs about how most ads targeted at children "hawk the least healthy foods".  Blah blah blah, "as a sedentary activity, television-watching alone doesn't contribute to childhood obesity; rather, it's the incessant bombardment of ads associated with television-watching that "robustly" correlates with obesity".  It's those wicked commercials!  PBS good, commercial TV bad!

Here's one direct quote:  "So when a child begs for fruit-free Froot Loops, he's simply doing what he's been commanded to do, clean-your-room style, by the marketing nanny."

My answer:  So when your child begs for fruit-free Froot Loops, it's simply part of being a responsible adult that you, the lucky parent, must make the decision whether or not to buy the Froot Loops.

(Incidentally, don't you bet that Froot Loops loves being the first product that comes to mind when people think of sugary, bad-for-you foods that kids love?)

If you decide that your child doesn't really need the "fruit-free" cereal, you get the joyous job of teaching your little sweetie-pie the meaning of the word "NO".   If you find that you have trouble telling your kids "no", I feel sorry for you.  You're really in for it.  Maybe you should consider curbing their "commercial TV" time.  (Heck, if you have a TiVo, you can just fast-forward through the commercials, right?)

Of course, the columnist has already thought of this, but she's not swayed.  She still thinks it's the responsibility of someone other than a child's parents to monitor what food commercials s/he sees-- and by extention, what foods s/he craves.

"Only today is the federal government demonstrating a willingness to risk the nanny state accusations."  (Oh, that's the least of their problems.  They're being accused of much, much worse-- such as ramming through legislation against the will of the people-- dragging us down into debt so deep that it will take generations to dig our way out-- need I go on?)

"We could do without manipulative, profit-driven nannies. But we do need the FTC as a cop on the beat of wayward marketers."

Seriously though, lady!

I mean, are there unscrupulous advertisers?  Yes, there probably are, as there seem to be some unscrupulous people in every profession, if you go looking for them.   But are marketers really the root of the problem, here?  What would you have them do?  Their job is to sell their products-- and there's nothing wrong with their products (if we're just talking sweet foods).  Eaten in proper moderation, even sugary cereals are ok.  ("*gasp*  No.  She couldn't really believe that, could she?  She's finally lost her last shred of sanity. . .")  It's not like they're pushing drugs and alcohol.

At what point do parents take over responsibility for the well-being (including eating and exercise habits) of their own children?  You can't force someone to overeat just by showing them commercials-- and that is doubly true for children, who (generally speaking) do not purchase their own food.  It doesn't matter how many times little Emma sees those commercials for Froot Loops-- doesn't matter how much she decides she wants them-- doesn't matter how she cries or begs Mommy to buy them for her or to let her eat them every day (and in jumbo portions).  Until Mommy (or Daddy or Auntie or whoever) gives in to her every whim on a daily basis, none of it matters.  No-one is forcing Mommy to buy the Froot Loops, and you'll not convince me otherwise.

This probably irritates me more than it should. . .

Oh, ick:

"Mattel Changes Rules of Scrabble for First Time Since 1948":

The official rules of Scrabble are being changed for the first time in 62 years, to allow the names of celebrities, places and companies to be used, The Times of London reported Monday.

When Alfred Butts, an American architect, invented and trademarked the game in 1948, the use of proper nouns was banned. But Mattel, the game manufacturer that owns the distribution rights to Scrabble, has announced plans to make a series of radical changes.

Players will now be permitted to use proper nouns, which will enable high scores from celebrities such as Jordan, Beyoncé and Shakira. Mattel is also considering allowing players to spell words backwards and upwards on the board and place words unconnected to other pieces.

A spokeswoman for the company said Monday that the new rules would be a “great new twist” on the classic game. “The layout, the colors of the board, the rules and the game itself have all remained unchanged for more than 60 years,” she said. “These changes are the biggest news for Scrabble lovers in the history of the game and will provide a great new twist on the old formula.

“We believe that people who are already fans will enjoy the changes but some people will want to continue playing the old way so we will still be selling a board with the original rules.”

What are they thinking?!

I'm surprisingly annoyed by this, considering that it's been a while since  the last time we played Scrabble, but it just seems wrong.  If you haven't changed your rules for more then 60 years, and you're still considered one of the great classic boardgames, it's probably a sign that you got it right.  In other words, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Also: Who is to determine which people qualify as "celebrities"?  I assume that'll be in the new rules, somewhere.  And for that matter, why only allow the names of celebrities (and places and companies)?  Why not allow all proper nouns?  (I think it's the celebrity-worship aspect of this that grates most on my nerves...)

We can only hope that the new rules will cause so much outrage and disgust among those who actually play the game that the people behind this change (who were looking, no doubt, to create some buzz-- which I guess they've succeeded in) will see the error of their ways and relent.

. . . On the other hand, some of the existing rules for Scrabble already drive me crazy-- mainly the way the game accepts so many bizarre (so-called) words that people (the pros) only know because they memorized them from the official Scrabble dictionary.  (No, in fact I'm not impressed by your ability to memorize a bunch of fake words.)

Monday, April 5, 2010

The "Anointed" One

From CNN Politics:

President Barack Obama and his family chose a historically African-American church in southeast Washington, D.C., for Easter observances Sunday, entering a few minutes late to the sounds of "Alleluia," which opened the 11 a.m. service.

Congregants at the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church broke into cheers and applause, snapping cell phone pictures when Obama, wife Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha, and mother-in-law Marian Robinson arrived via a side door.

. . .

The church's pastor, the Rev. Dr. Michael E. Bell Sr., referred to the president as the "most intelligent, most anointed, most charismatic president," while complimenting Michelle Obama, who wore a cream-colored dress with elbow-length sleeves.

Can the man not be the center of attention wherever he goes-- not even once-- even on Easter Sunday? 

"Most intelligent, most anointed, most charismatic"? 

Good thing I haven't had breakfast yet.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Green Card Interview

After seeing the movie Green Card (in which an American woman marries a Frenchman just so he can stay in the country, but of course-- because this is a romantic comedy-- they end up falling in love along the way), you might think that the INS (i.e. immigration) interview would be a harrowing experience for newlyweds.  In the movie, they memorize all kinds of details about each other-- the types of things only truly living-together-as-a-married-couple people would know.  And sure enough, the interviewer asks some fairly invasive, specific questions.

Before Donald and I had our INS interview to verify that we truly were married and living together, I of course thought about that movie and was a little stressed by it.  I mean, how many insignificant details did we have to remember to pass the test?  "Does he really need to know what brand cold cream I use?  (Oh my gosh, I've got to start using cold cream, now. . .)"  That sort of thing.  (Ok, not really that sort of thing, exactly, but you get the idea.  (g))

Fortunately, we found helpful reassurances online that the real interview wasn't likely to resemble a dramatic scene from a movie.  Though it was a little stressful (mainly because the agent we dealt with wasn't especially friendly and it turned out that we hadn't been informed that Donald needed to have some special fingerprints taken-- in a specific city-- within a limited space of time), there were no "gotcha" questions (that I can remember, at least).  It was fairly brief and straightforward. ("How did you meet?" etc.)

So ever since then, I've been going along through life thinking the movie was totally bogus.  Until today. Unless people are making up stories, some people apparently do face more specific interrogations, separate interviews, and so on.  I imagine that if you're a legitimate couple, you won't have real trouble convincing the authorities of it, but still!  Maybe we were lucky (and well documented). Also, it probably didn't hurt that Sweden is a developed country and there aren't tons of Swedes trying to get into the country illegally. . .

. . . And that's all I have to say about that.  (g) 
The End. 
(rambling over)

Young Donald's Doppelgänger

I was looking for funny photos of knit and crochet items (for the new blog) when I came across a familiar face:

Now, to clarify, I don't suppose I know any of those children (or the adults they eventually became), but the fair-haired little boy reminded me of photos I've seen of a certain someone. 

So, should I ask Donald about his early career as a knitwear model?  ;o)

(Alright, they're not identical, but they're close enough that I noticed a resemblance.  And was amused.  Even though it's not really funny.  Especially considering that people probably tend to look more similar in youth, before their features have fully developed...  Oh well...  Sorry for buggin' ya.)