Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Video Games, Politics, and holy shit...what was that..

VIDEO GAMES......that's right


Since I'm steeling myself (sounds like something a character on one of those cheezy late night movies on Cinemax would say doesn't it?) to try my best to contribute to this blog every day, here goes my Saturday through Tuesday wrap up.


My weekends are usually pretty full from February to October.  I coach baseball and that eats up a lot of time.


So when I do get actual time off, I usually have a lot of stuff that needs done around the house etc.


This weekend was no exception, but since it was cold AND rainy, and since my wife was working (She works a rotating schedule for her days off and normally works evenings) I decided to waste some serious time and play the latest Call of Duty offering on my PS3.


Yes...I'm a grown man and I play video games...well game.


IT's a great stress reliever.  Nothing like dealing with difficult situations and people all day, then fighting idiots on the drive home in rush hour traffic, to get home and take your frustrations out by shooting and blowing up people...on a a video game.


I know..I know.  There are those of you out there right now questioning me simply because I admit to playing a video game. For those who play it, or at least those will ADMIT they play it, we've pretty much given up trying to explain it to people who don't play or simply don't get it.


I know there is a faction (who big I'm unsure of, but it's probably much too big for its own good) of people out there that are totally against "violent" video games.


I wonder if the children of these same people who protest "violent", "Shoot 'em up" video games watch television on a regular basis?  Just a thought.


I must be considered a bad parent, because my son plays FPS (That's FIRST PERSON SHOOTER for those who don't know) games.  He's really suffered because of it. Let's see:


- He's a Honor Roll Student
- He's well adjusted and doesn't get violent or act out
- He's an exceptional athlete 
- I get nothing but compliments about my son from other adults


No to clarify, my son is also very familiar with firearms and I've taken him hunting multiple times.  I used several demonstrations on how serious of a responsibility owning and operating a firearm is, and the catastrophic effects it can have when used against a living creature.  He understands the difference between REAL LIFE and VIDEO GAME violence.


Video games should not substitute for responsible parenting, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to be the case.


I'm not going to post links, but if you take the time to look, there have been more than a few studies recently that actually are finding out that people who play fast-paced games (such as most FPS video games) actually tend to become better at decision making and multitasking.  It also improves hand-eye coordination.


So that being said, don't knock it until you've tried it.


I have a fried who's a few years younger than me, and he's never been much of a gamer.  He recently played some cooperative mode COD (Call of Duty) with me on night when we were having a few beers.


He called me a few days later to cuss me out.  He has since bought a PS3 (Craigslist to the rescue) and the latest COD game.


And honestly, if parents want to find out how their kid REALLY acts when they aren't around, they need to buy the same video game console as their kids, find the game they play online, but that, and play a game with them (without them knowing it's their parents online) and listen in.


I think a lot of parents might be shocked.  


I know someone might be reading this right now and already thinking how much of a better parents they are because they don't play video games. Well I witnessed how my son interacts with other people online when I'm not around...and I'm pretty damn proud.  Will you be?


Politics...or lack thereof


Seems steam is picking up in relation to the 2012 Presidential Election.  Definitely my LEAST FAVORITE time of the year at work.  Now I will have to begin the herculean task of listening to otherwise intelligent (for the most part) co-workers begin to regurgitate the things they see / read on the television or the internet.  Sometimes almost WORD FOR WORD.  Not to mention all the blatantly idiotic politically motivated emails which will start being forwarded.  I think people who use email must pass a test before being allowed to use the FORWARD button.  It would save millions in wasted bandwidth, not to mention man (and woman) hours.


There are no CLIFF NOTES for your own political views.  You either KNOW what a candidate has done in the past (Voting record or stance, bill signings etc) or you don't .


Repeating what you heard on the evening television show doesn't make you educated.  It makes you dependent on mainstream media outlets that are as close to non-biased as having a jury of University of Virginia alumni in a trial for a Virginia Tech alumni. (insert your favorite college rivalry if it makes more sense to you that way)


I'll address the State of the Union in a separate post entirely. I want the furor to die down.


You know you're getting older when...


I'm NOT YET forty years old.  I'm not obese.  Granted I'll readily admit I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I can still see my belt buckle without sucking my gut in, and I don't have to crane my neck to see my feet when standing up.


I exercise some, but I know I need to get back in the gym on a regular basis, which will be much easier now that my son is old enough to go with me and is already working out.


I know I drink too much diet mountain dew.


I also get more than my share of nicotine.


THAT BEING SAID.


I've never had high cholesterol or high blood pressure.  I have NO Family history of heart problems.  I don't get out of breath or anything like that.


I also don't get sick.


The other day at work my heart started feeling WEIRD.  Not pain.


The only way I can describe it is that it started acting like it was beating out of rhythm. Not super fast, just off.  It worried me for a bit, then it just stopped.


It happened again later that night.  So I ended up talking to my doctor, he told me Heart Palpitations are pretty common....and mostly are caused by issues that aren't deemed serious.


He told me to come in to see him if it happened again.


I've vowed I'll actually put my health insurance to good use and start getting a yearly check up.  


Yes  I do feel old now.







Friday, January 20, 2012

Maybe the Mayans had it right?!?!?!

I truly don't know if I can survive another season of American Idol....


Wait a second. Can I get sued for posting that name here?  Who knows.. Screw it..no really..screw it. Like my Dad always said;


"You can't get blood from a turnip."


So step right up boys, break out your credentials...write your opinions and go for the throat.  I don't give a shit.


I HATE AMERICAN IDOL.


Don't get me wrong, I've watched it.  When my wife is off (she works evenings with a rotating schedule for her days off) she is the Queen of the Remote, and occasionally I do actually enjoy parts of it..


Parts of it beyond the people auditioning who you know, up front, are going to be horrible.


I think they pay these people. Can there be that many people willing to go on National TV and made a total douche of themselves?


Don't answer that. YES, I forgot all about Jersey Shore.


Why the hell do we even call it "Reality TV"? Come on....


So the end of the show is coming on, you know where they show the "Very last" person auditioning in that particular city.  And the person in question is a tall, leggy blonde.  Okay...I see where this is going.


Then it goes into the story of her life basically.  So you know, RIGHT THERE, that she's going to be good.  Come on...they wouldn't waste all that airtime is she wasn't. They obviously visited her at her house, talked to her and her husband, and not to forget the Ryan Seacrest narration...I bet he gets paid by the word.


And she was pretty good.  Then it shows a close up up Steven Tyler...jesus...what is he like 80 years old?


It's about 10 minutes into this whole thing that I realize...when this started, I was getting up to go throw some clothes in the dryer and feed the dog...and probably something else....and American Idol DISTRACTED ME.


Those sneaky bastards...they did that on purpose.


As this is going down my teenage son walks into the living room...and we then progress into me trying to explain how this was all planned. I mean come on kid...they were AT HER HOUSE. The camera was showing her leaving to drive a state away for this audition.  How do you explain that if she just showed up to audition.


Then my son throws out something that leads me to believe, AGAIN I MIGHT ADD, that he's somehow finding the money to smoke some really good dope.


"I bet the people who audition for Idol have to pay. I bet they charge for it."


I'm speechless...okay maybe not speechless, but I had to rethink the first word that was automatically coming out of my mouth.


For those of you who DON'T have teenage sons...let me explain the comment about illegal drug use...don't want to get sued over that too... (but just in case, see the above "turnip" comment...)


When my son was 12 years old he was a highly intelligent, polite, well-mannered, athletic kid. "Yes Ma'am and yes sir" all the way.


The day he turned 13, it was like he became the  21st century reincarnation of Shaggy from Scooby Doo, and I'm not just talking about the hair.


Hell I spent hours looking for his stash, and still can't find it.


He still gets good grades....with a bit of prodding (no..not an electric cattle prod, but thanks for the idea) and he's still athletic...and since he started GROWING AGAIN, he's eating enough every month that I could make the payment on a new Corvette + insurance for a teenage driver..but I digress.


Now he's at that "man child" stage. He's 15...soon he'll be getting his learner's permit. For DRIVING. IN A CAR. ON THE ROAD.


YEAH...ME TOO.


He's right at 6ft tall....and he's been working out (supervised genius...I cut the 'roid doses in half because of the age thing)...so between trips to walk in front of the mirror in the living room downstairs..SHIRTLESS...he tends to say  some things that make me think everything will be okay.


I won't end up divorced when he's 30 because he's still living at home. I won't end up avoiding conversations about what my son is doing now.


Then, usually immediately after the surge of relief has started diminishing, he opens his mouth again...and all hope is lost.


And arguing with him? Jesus...


DAD...ARE YOU LISTENING...


I'm sorry. TRULY. I am.


Now how about adopting a 15 year old...



"Letters to the Editor"...we shall see

Regarding my post yesterday about Mr.Coates' article in "The Atlantic", I submitted the following letter to the editor via their submission form.

I wonder what the odds of seeing it published are?

"I just finished reading Mr.Coates' article "Real Racists Do Real Things". Is truly considered "quality journalism"?

First off, I am not a supporter of Newt Gingrich.  I'm not overly religious.  My views on most topics would be considered moderate. On some issues I would be labeled a Conservative, on others a Liberal.  I don't view myself as a part of the "Left" or the "Right".  I consider myself firmly entrenched in the area that has seemingly disappeared in the American political system...the MIDDLE.

That being said, as we all know (whether we want to admit it or not is another story entirely) when someone talks against a political view or candidate, that person is immediately grouped in with the "opposite" political viewpoint.  I just wanted to clarify that doing that, in my case, would be ignorant and flat-out wrong.

I respect and value Mr.Coates' right to express his opinions.   The thing that makes this country great, that makes it stand apart from so many others, is the same thing that seems to threaten to tear us down and divide us.  The right for people to express their opinions, and the SUPPORT of other Americans OF that person's right to do this.  You don't have to agree with someone's opinion to support their right to express it.

But labeling what Newt Gingrich said regarding President Obama being a "Food Stamp President" and the standing ovation that followed, as Racist?  That's so far out of left field (a baseball analogy, not a political opinion) that it truly befuddles me that this article saw the light of day.

First off, I agree with Mr.Coates' examination of the article he linked to.  Comparing what Mr.Gingrich said, and what happened after, to this country electing its first black President, is just as ridiculous as Mr.Coates' making these statements out to be "Racist".

Voters should not be focused on whether or not they agree with Mr.Gingrich's statement.  They should not be concerned with whether or not this statement was racially based.  The statement was POLITICALLY BASED.  It's the same finger-pointing that's been going on since we ushered in a "Two Party System".

Why is the crowd giving a standing ovation to Mr.Gingrich such an important action?  Common sense would tell most people (well 'most' might be stretching it unfortunately - and common sense doesn't seem to be so common anymore) that the people present for that speech would be those supporting a Republican candidate for President.

So wouldn't that make sense that those same people would support the statement by Mr.Gingrich?

If those SAME EXACT words had been uttered by Herman Cain, and the same standing ovation followed, would that be considered racist as well?

While many of us continue to talk of "making race a non-issue" we continue to bring it to the forefront of discussion day after day.

I actually know people who are uncomfortable being outspoken against President Obama, even when he was still a candidate, for fear of being considered a "Racist".

It was brought up over and over during the election of President Obama that some voters would vote against him, simply because the color of his skin.

Is that a racially biased decision?  Sure it is.  More IMPORTANTLY it's an ignorant decision.  One born out of being driven to focus not on the substance of a candidate. Not on what a candidate stands for, where they stand on the issues that are important to you as a voter, but simply on the APPEARANCE of a candidate.

Now on the SAME topic, we've seen people talk about the fact that at least some voters , by their own admissions, voted for President Obama BECAUSE of the color of his skin.

By the very definition of the word racism, this is no less of a racially motivated act.

If you want to rally against Mr.Gingrich, be my guest.  But do so by pointing out his faults as a politician.  Do so   by looking at his voting record and pointing out what he has done in the past to make you set against him.

Don't resort to dropping the "Racism Bomb".  It's the ignorant, easy way out of a very important discussion.  By doing this you are doing no one any favors, especially the potential voters in this country.

In a society where many people know more about the contestants / characters of a reality television show than they do about the potential candidates for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, the goal should be EDUCATING readers, not dropping the phrases that will surely gain attention in today's "Buzz Word" media.

Mr.Coates', readers should expect more from you.  You should expect more than this from yourself.

You are in the unique and important position to influence readers. But more importantly, you are in the position to EDUCATE readers and potential voters."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The New Year.............time's a wastin'

I'm so glad the holidays are over....that plus work has been killing me. So it's back to start contributing to his blog, with a goal of posting at least something every day.

With that being said, I'll guess that will be my New Year's resolution.  It shouldn't be too hard...I mean we only have what...another 11 months or so before the world ends?  (Psst...I use zip lock bags and containers, NOT tinfoil )


http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/01/real-racists-do-real-things/251625/#bio

"Real Racists Do Real Things."

Apparently what Newt Gingrich said about Obama being a "Food Stamp President" is RACIST.

HUH?

I'm NOT a Newt Fan...jesus, who is? And if they are who would admit to it?

But RACIST?  Why because Obama is black?

If I call Bush a Food Stamp President, does that make me racist too?

I wonder if Herman Cain was still in the race...and he had said the same thing?  Is that racist?

I'm sick of the race card being played over and over.  Before we go deeper let's look at the definition of racism, courtesy of Websters:

1: a belief that a race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

2: racial prejudice or discrimination.

So straight from Webster.  Where does what Newt said meet the definition? Now again, I am not a fan of Newt Gingrich. He's a politician.  He's been a politician for a long time.  In all honesty he's no different than any of the rest of them..but's that beside the point, at least for this post...

I have issues with Obama as a President, and those issues have NOTHING AT ALL to do with his race.

And I'll address the elephant in the room, I'll ask the question no one else wants to...

If a person of color makes a disparaging comment about a white President, is that racist?

Take a long look at Washington D.C....take a look at the state of politics in our country.  It's not like we have to dig for faults, we don't have to resort to dropping the race card.

So why all the fuss?  I know people who literally act like they are afraid to say anything bad about Obama because they are afraid people will think they are racist...really?

One of reasons things like this grow is the media.  They stir the pot, and it becomes news...or rather they MAKE it news.

Let's be real here.  In a society where people are more likely to be able to name the contestants or characters on the latest reality show than the current Secretary of State or other members of our government, does this really surprise you?

If you can get someone to focus on one thing, it takes away focus from other things.  It's  the oldest trick ever, just ask any magician.

And now we've got the story of Newt's ex-wife talking about how he asked for an "open marriage"....really? That's what is passing as news now?

How many ex wives across the country have positive things to say about their ex husbands?  Come on.

What's my point?

My point is pretty simple.  If you don't want to vote for Newt, that's fine.  But at least KNOW the reasons you don't want to vote for him...and in case you haven't been paying attention, it shouldn't be because of what his ex-wife has to say.

Make an EDUCATED decision.  Look at his voting record, look at where he stands on the issues that are important to you.

So with the Republican nomination race coming to a head, I'm sure I'll have plenty of things to comment on here.....