Saturday, October 23, 2010

Why is Virginia Thomas in the news?

An odd thing has been making its way through the news lately, that being that the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has popped her head up to bring up an old beef with Anita Hill and I'd guess creating quite a bit of embarrassment for her husband.

The news is common enough, and covers it well here. So enjoy the read if you've managed to miss this piece of news.

So why is she bringing herself to the fore again with this same old story? Honestly, I didn't care when I heard the news. Sounded like a case of an annoyed woman bringing up old news because she had been holding it in, and had the strange thought to bring it up. And so we have the news.

But a conversation with my father pointed me out to the more obvious conclusion that I should have guessed and probably wiser heads than mine have come to as soon as the news broke, that it is for political reasons. With an agenda, Virginia Thomas had a very effective tool for getting her name the google searches, page hits, tweets  and "bloglosophizing" that is typically warranted to a celebrity sex video. By bringing up other sex related charges again and goading your target into creating a public complaint. In a way it is quite clever in that she herself didn't create the news herself, but rather Anita Hill.

All these are fine and dandy from an effectiveness position. It's not the first nor the last time a person has leveraged something for political exposure.

But what annoys me is something brought to my attention that she has said in the past. According to an interview in 2007:

Virginia Thomas: “I think there’s a lot of theories, but I hope she one day calls up and apologizes, and I look forward to forgiving her.

To Mrs. Thomas: If you looked forward to forgiving someone so much, I'm sure you could have managed to do that on your own time without needing a prompt from Ms. Hill. If you had managed to do that before, we wouldn't have this news taking up airtime. But then again, that'd be a waste of a publicity bomb wouldn't it? So congratulations, you are newsworthy again Mrs. Thomas. 

I'd add some links, but I'm sure you all can do a search on "the google" if you guys want, and there's new stuff every day. I'll admit I was curious myself.

Monday, February 15, 2010

When a bowl of Phở becomes out of the ordinary

Routine is comforting. It's presence reassures, and is both salve and detriment of human nature. At its best, it presents us with security, a feeling that things are in their place and we are where we belong, at least within a certain time frame.

A less favorable but important analysis of routine is that it can be considerably debilitating.

Today is the second day of the year of the Tiger. In that spirit, I decided to try to break out of my frame of comfort, staying in and having something home cooked as is my usual. I have to be sad to say that by simply going out to eat on my own I managed to break my usual routine for weekends.

Nevertheless, it was a good thing that I hope to continue, slowly expanding my comfort zone. As I walked to the phở restaurant from my apartment I felt, more a part of the real world. Walking past the kindergarten, neighborhood park, and the assorted neighborhood stores (often with bars on the windows) I couldn't help but feel a bit more alive and active, a piece of the painting that is Hawthorne (that's the city I live in).

When I finally got to the restaurant, I had a lovely chat with and older French Canadian lady across two tables, who attempted to guess my occupation, quite unsuccessfully I might add. Guesses included artist, actor, accountant and doctor. I have to say many of the guesses flattered me.

I felt like I was a part of a slice of life fiction, the polite young man humoring the older lady with willing conversation. It was nice. It also makes me wonder what other experiences I have prevented myself from having, by cloistering myself in my apartment on weekends.

I hope this avoidance of routine, becomes more routine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Idle ramblings

It's only been a few weeks since my last post. That's not so bad is it? Well, I guess it really is a bad thing!

Staying committed is an utmost necessity to maintaining a person's character. Giving up erodes the self's sense of worth. Enough philosophizing though, the only proper response to sloth is to be more actionable.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Content Copout Monday: Newsworthy Haiku

At least I'm posting something! Feel free to send me articles and I'll try to put them into a lovely 5-7-5 format if you like.

This one's been beaten to death already I know:

Conan O' Brien
NBC Screwed him over
Jay Leno, you suck.

Wondering about charity.

Ten bucks to Haiti
I wonder if it's enough
Hoping for the best

Black Eyed Peas mistakenly awarded...

I gotta feeling
You did not really win it
Too bad Black Eyed Peas.

Parent's do the darndest things.
Guy sells kid for these,
Coronas, Modelo, meat,
Gatorade as well.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Flash Fiction Friday: The Story of Joe Nitters

First in a series of fictional short stories, I think this ideally is a good end to the week. Flash fiction, for the uninitiated is a short story with an imposed cap on words used. I've seen numbers as low as 300 and as high as 1000 being the cap so we'll just see what happens. First story here we go:

The Story of Joe Nitters

It isn't every day you find yourself staring down a barrel and wonder what it is in life you did to deserve your current fate. For Joe Nitters, it was only Monday through Friday that he did this at the Keleptown Barrelworks, from 8 to 5 with occasional overtime.

He didn’t give much thought to what the barrels were for. They mostly went to the nearby fishery to be filled with sardines, though the occasional salt packer and wine maker would put in a large order. When he had just started, such crunch times often ended with a bottle of whiskey, antiseptic, tweezers and needles to extract the splinters he’d gamely ignored ‘til shutdown. These days the skin of his mitts were as tough as good quality book bindings.

But today was ordinary and special. Ordinary in that there were no special orders and special in that it was his birthday. He expected a round of beers with Buck, Tom and Pat “Bookie” Dougan. So when they got off, his chums took him to Chuck’s, had themselves a round of beers and watched the game while gossiping, swearing and trying to toss peanuts into Old Man Pug’s pint glass, resident bum and institutionalized charity case at Chuck’s.  

After eight, or was it ten rounds, Joe insisted on walking to do a bit of thinking. His Buck, Tom and Pat “Bookie” Dougan refused to let this happen, and eight or ten rounds became fifteen. It was a better night than most.

Word count: 250

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Out with the new, in with the old - Opinions on NBC wanting to bump Conan for Leno

I just don't get the rewarding of sub par performance. As many of you are well aware, NBC wants to give Leno his old time-slot back and Conan thinks this is a bad move.

I'm firmly on the side of Conan here, but I suppose I'm biased in that I've generally liked Conan's material more than Leno's. I'll take some floppy red hair over a huge chin any day of the week as well.

But from thinking of it from a position of reasonability and rewarding good results, why is it that they choose this path? Aside from all that contractual mumbo jumbo that I am not nearly qualified to critique, it just smacks of bad sense!

The notion of rewarding the old and archaic is, wait for it, old and archaic. Jay Leno has not delivered in his capacity at 10.  Why do they predict he'll suddenly become funnier if moved back a few hours? Sure it will be less competitive against other, stronger performing shows, but that was his responsibility to perform.

Conan's ratings have not been strong either, but if the internet is any viable measure of support, Conan has it. NBC is going the fool route here by propping up Leno, who would probably pay quick dividends provided he is able to woo the old crowd back, but looking forward, you need to appeal to younger audiences. That and Conan hasn't had enough time to prove himself.

When you're put into a situation you've agreed to do, its your job to work at it, make it happen and prove that the decision was a good choice. Competition is harder than expected? Work harder, do something different, or stand aside.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mad Libs Monday

Due to it being Monday but still wanting to post something, I am going to use some help from this online Mad Libs style website.

Enjoy! Or... don't.

The Great Mural

This week, we are making a giant mural in art class. The class voted on the theme for the mural, and donkey punching got the most votes. We are using many things to make the mural, such as skanky cats and Stanford students.

Our teacher, Peter North, has assigned students different tasks. Some students will punch the Stanford students. Other students will spank the skanky cats. The mural is going to be so pensive when it is finished!

Some students have special tasks. Brian is a very talented ouchless bandaid tester and will paint donkeys on the mural. Shakespeare is a good writer and will write a poem about donkey punching to be displayed next to the mural.

At the next open house, we will show our teachers and families the mural. Then people will know why our class loves donkey punching so much!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Marriage - What's in a name?

Lets start off controversially shall we?

The word marriage should have no place in legislation. All this first cousin marriage vs gay marriage vs human and dog marriage is completely bunk, and the fact that this issue has been tearing this country into such divisive factions should be a complete non issue, but alas, it is not.

The "protection of marriage" is a power play by anti gay proponents that smacks of ignorance and simple bad public policy. To me, the problem is the bandying of the word "marriage" in legislation, and the lack of rights given by civil unions in comparison. The sad fact is that with marriage so ingrained within law, that we find language itself obstructing public policy.

Marriage should be defined as strictly a social or religious construct, and civil unions elevated to the level that marriage currently affords. Marriage, in its newer, less empowering status could be given by churches, wiccans, judges or just trusted friends of suitable authority. And anyone who doesn't approve of another's relationship could simply resolve their own conflict by saying to themselves, well that's just some weird mumbo jumbo marriage, but whatever.

The word marriage itself should be struck from all legislation. Once this linguistic gymnastics takes place, no longer are anti gay marriage activists able to claim that affording gay couples the same legal rights is threatening marriage, unless they want to claim that now civil unions are now under attack.

Of course, perhaps I underestimate the maliciousness with which some people would refuse equality to people who are different, even with the protection of marriage off the table.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Happy New Years, and a new start to this blog.

Happy new years everyone. As part of the goals of the new year, I am relaunching this website with a newer, if somewhat more ambiguous purpose.

I think we're all glad that 2009 is behind us and we are tentatively hopeful about 2010. According to hearsay from my aunt, the Chinese Zodiac said that 2009 was supposed to be a pretty terrible year, and looks like the horoscope was right, in spades.

According to this, this year isn't going to be a piece of cake for me either (I'm a dog for what it is worth).

At any rate, I had lost the point of why I wanted to post this. My sensei (I'm taking martial arts) said something I found very poignant yesterday, that while many people make resolutions, those are destined to fail. What we should do however, is set goals for ourselves. They seem similar in direction but there is a key difference.

The idea of a goal presents an objective that we should look towards achieving. We are able to make plans and take incremental steps towards reaching the goal, which is a much better way to improve, rather than making simple pass fail statements that usually lead to failure and self disappointment.

That said, these are the goals I am setting for myself.

Get into better shape
Help foster goodwill within my family
Improve professional relations
Eat out less, cook more at home
And of course, give a firmer commitment to updating this blog

Happy new years everyone, good luck to you all in reaching your goals and meeting the challenges that 2010 will bring.