Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Race Card? Let's Use the Whole Damn Deck.

Racial tension in this country has been simmering for a long time, but with the recent high-profile cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner hitting the news, it seems to be boiling over. It makes it worse that their killers were police officers, which helps perpetuate the notion that black people and police just don't get along. I personally have a problem with police that stems from an incident when I was only 2-years-old. Won't get into too many details about that, but let's just say that it was a case of "police gonna police".

But here's the thing: it's not always the police officer's or white people fault. Black people need to take some accountability, too. Eric Garner death was not his fault. The cop simply decided to excessive force when it didn't call for it. Michael Brown's death was or was not his fault, depending on who you believe. If he had his hands up and was killed execution-style (which I personally believe was what happened), then yeah, blame the cop. If he was reaching for the cop's gun, the cop's reacted accordingly. Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy from Cleveland who was shot and killed by a cop, did not need to die at all. In each of these cases, the cop was white, which also perpetuates the notion that black people and white people just don't get along. This makes sense. But I wonder:

When will some black people take responsibility for their wrongdoings?

Michael Brown would probably still be alive if he hadn't strong-armed a store clerk and stolen a box of cigars. Yes, he absolutely shouldn't have died over it. Yes, the cop was wrong in the end. But if he's not in that position, there's no news. There's no riots and looting. There's no protests.

Tamir A. Rice would probably still be alive if he wasn't brandishing the most realistic-looking BB gun ever. Yes, the police reacted in, quite possibly, the worst way I've ever seen a police officer react to anything. Yes, the cop used instant, deadly force for no reason, going for the "shoot now, ask question never" approach. But if he's not in that position (pointing a realistic-looking fake gun at people. I mean, really?), there's no news. There's no protests. I understand that he was only 12, but if at 12 you don't understand that you can't do things like that, then whatever happens to you, happens to you. I hate that the kid is dead, but let's not put 100% of the blame on the police (it's more like 94% or so).

Eric Garner would probably still be alive if the cops didn't just murder him. This one is on the police 100%. There's video evidence and everything, and it boggles my mind (more so than the Ferguson case) that this cop didn't get indicted.

I've said this before on Facebook. We as black people are already born at a disadvantage just for being black. But the more things that happen that preserves that disadvantage (Michael Brown stealing, Tamir Rice brandishing what looks like a real weapon), the more innocent lives will be afflicted (Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin). I'm willing to bet that there are some black guys, hood guys, that have been all about #BlackLivesMatter and outrage and F*** the Police and such, and have turned around and killed another black guy. It's almost like saying "White people and cops shouldn't be killing black people. Only black people should be killing black people." Stop doing things to further help racists' case. Protest the self-killings as hard as you protest these cop-involved killings (like they're kinda doing in Chicago right now).

Positive black news will always (ALWAYS be overshadowed by negative news, because lol black people. A lot of black people say Black Lives Matter. But if we keep hurting and slaying and killing our own kind, I wonder who they matter to.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Internet: 100% True or Nah?

I have a cousin who not too long ago removed me from her friend's list on Facebook (lol). In some (read: almost all) ways, this was a good thing. She would sometimes show her amazing ability of being gullible. It was breathtaking. She would link a video and then swear on all that is holy that it was the truth.

The once instance that stands out though. Remember that snow storm earlier this year where it actually snowed hard on the east coast and in some southern states (Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas)? There were videos showing up after that on the Internet claiming that the snow was fake. The proof? They tried melting it with a lighter and it was turning black instead, proving that the snow was made up of plastic or something else dumb.

So naturally, people (my cousin included) lost their shit. They concluded that this was indeed 100% Grade A real. The government!!! and the such. So naturally after that, science came to a completely rational conclusion: 

So naturally after that, people still said "The snow's fake. I don't care what anyone says. Government!!!!!". And that make no sense whatsoever. A random video on the Internet beats science? Really? It's amazing that people would rather believe that know. They'd rather believe every link that posted somewhere instead trying to find if it's indeed true. If I posted on my wall right now a video of me claiming that I put a bottle of Vodka in my freezer for a year and it didn't freeze so they must be putting something in it, people would be like "Government! AAAHHHHHH!!" without actually finding out that Vodka doesn't freeze in typical household freezers.

Now, I will say that there are some things on the Internet that do make some sense in terms of what is possible. The government being responsible for 9/11 that benefits them slightly? You can talk me into that (maybe). The government being responsible for a snowstorm that doesn't benefit them (or anyone really)? I lol at that. Find facts first. Don't just jump to a radical conclusion without A) thinking or B) finding facts. Don't be that silly (hilarious, even) cousin of mine.

Now, here are a few videos that are so fake that you expect the credits to roll afterwards. And people fully believed. *sigh*

PS: I hope my cousin is doing well. My Facebook feed just isn't the same without her posts. :( 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Oh Boy. Politics.

Yesterday while watching the Pats make the Broncos look silly, there were a lot of political ads popping up during the commercial breaks. One in particular was for the NH (a state I don't live in and therefore can't vote there. Why is this on my TV then?) Senate race between Jeanne Shaheen and Scott Brown. This ad featured a full-blown attack on Shaheen, claiming that she sides or agrees or something with Obama (which is bad? Good? Who knows?) and mentions all these things that are wrong with Shaheen.

So in other words:

Voter: "So Mr. Brown, as a voter, why should I vote for you?"

Scott Brown: "Because I'm not Jeanne Shaheen."

Voter: "Well, that changes everything! You have my vote!"

This is one of the reasons why I hate (HATE) politics. You'd rather tell me what the other person will do instead of what YOU will do. How does that make any sense?

And I hate terms like leftist (WTF is that?) and extreme right (again, WTF?) and GOP and blue states and electoral college and gubernatorial debates. It's all stupid. I hate attack ads. I hate defensive ads. I'd rather watch a car commercial or a Burger King commercial or an Old Spice commercial or a hybrid car/BK/Old Spice commercial than a political ad. And for the record, a hybrid commercial with those three things combined into one would be remarkably epic. You know this to be true. Do not fight me on this.

Back on topic, a few years ago when Barack Obama was up for reelection, I had decided that I wasn't voting this time around. I say this time around because back in '08 I voted (for the first time in my life) for Obama. Not because I sided with him on critical issues. Not because I felt he was the right person for the job (even though he was). I voted for him because it would be nice to feel like I helped make history by voting for the first-ever black president in this country. That novelty wore off by the time reelection came around. I was living with my aunt at the time, and being the Obama supporter that she was, she was adamant that I vote for Obama. I told her that I wasn't voting for anybody ("They're both idiots"). You would have thought that I called her an idiot the way she reacted. She felt like I was betraying the family or something. Her reaction reminds me of reactions during religious conversation. And it's why I try to avoid both religion and politics in my life. It's soooo stupid.

So when the polls open (tomorrow? Not sure.) be sure to vote...if you want to. I'll be content with whatever.

PS: This (like religion) will be the last time I bring up politics in my blog.

PS Part 2: Part of me hopes that Scott Brown gets elected, only to find out that he eats babies or something as a hobby. Some voters would still think that an Obama backer is worse than a baby eater. "He's not Jeanne Shaheen, though!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Little (But Not Too Much) Love for the Customer Service Rep

Sometime last week, I was at a K-Mart. The cashier called me over and was probably the least attentive I've seen for a long time. Something her co-workers were doing behind the counter was far more funny and interesting than my comforter. All I thought was Wow. But I wasn't mad at her. And to be honest, what was going on behind the counter was a little more funny and interesting than my comforter. There are some people who I know that would have been FURIOUS (with a capital furious) at that. But I can't be that person. I've been there. I've been that cashier. And cashiers tend to do things like that from time to time. We joked. We were playful. It happened. It kept us from going absolutely postal on customers who  swore the store was built for them. And at one point, I was that customer, too.

I had to have been about 12 years old. I was at a Burger King at a mall. I ordered a Whopper (I think) and it came back wrong. The cashier was definitely older than me, but not old old (probably late teens).

I absolutely laid into her. I yelled at her with the fury and the anger of 1,000 drill sergeants. I didn't cuss at her, however (that counts for something). And she started to cry. And man, did that get to me. Maybe she had been going through something that day and I was the breaking point. I don't know. I immediately apologized to her and the manager. I promised to never act like that towards a customer service rep.

Here's the thing: a lot of people have never had an actual customer service job. And I mean face-to-face customer service - not call center stuff. Customer service sucks. Cashiers will do things to make their job slightly better. So unless the cashier is cussing you out or throwing fecal matter in your face, give them a little bit of respect.

HOWEVER, to cashiers: stop acting like idiots. Don't ignore customers. Don't cuss customers out. Don't act like you are the greatest thing to happen to customer service. The customers are not throwing fecal matter in YOUR face. So chill.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Uh Oh. Religion.

Of all the topics in the world two or more people can discuss, religion is the one that can be the most heated (up there with politics as well). It can makes totally rational people irrational. Or hostile. Or violent. Naturally it's a touchy subject with lots of people. So also naturally, I wanna touch it (religion, that is. Minds out of the gutter.)

First, some background. I kinda grew up in church. Living with a born-again Christian aunt meant every Sunday the entire household were in church. Sometimes on Saturdays too for choir rehearsal. Sometimes even during the week for Bible study. And I never wanted to go. It was always a minor victory if for whatever reason we didn't go. I had lots of good and memorable times in church, however. And for some of those moments, I wouldn't trade them for anything. One moment in particular stands out above all.

On a midweek night at Bible study, I remember the teacher drilling into our heads that "anything not of God and that is of the world is a sin". I had to have been 9 or 10-years-old at the time. I had a question. Mind you, this will sound sorta silly, but it was one of the important questions that I've ever had to have an answer for:

"What about basketball?"

I don't remember her answer verbatim, but it was somewhere between "Yes, that too" and " I dunno". Her uncertainty gave me uncertainty. She doesn't know? is all I thought. Since that day, even though I went to church (I had no choice), a new way of thinking started to blossom within me. 

Fast forward to today. I no longer go to church. I guess I am what you would call an agnostic. I can't confirm nor deny God's existence, so I have no faith or disbelief in Him. (And yes, I still capitalize the H in him or he out of respect, not belief.) I feel like once I stopped going to church, I could think on my own and come up with a decision to believe or disbelieve. I looked at both sides of the coin and made my choice. I don't truly understand why people love to bash Atheists/Christian for their views and beliefs. Believe what YOU want and don't worry about the next man. 

I remember a conversation between two people a while back. One an Atheist, the other a devout, born again Christian. This interaction was very interesting and quite honestly, it was expected. The atheist pointed out solid facts and points and counterpoints. His argument came across as intelligent and rational. The Christian essentially said God exists just because, except he did it in an unintelligent manner. That's just the devil was the main retort. And it seems that most (not all) conversation like this end up with the same conclusion. Believe, but do it intelligently. If someone asks you why do you think God exists, your answer shouldn't be because!!! Mountains!!! Air!!! Jesus!!! Come across a little more intelligent, and maybe the title of "Religious nut" can be wiped away.

And now a promise: I will never touch religion on this blog again.
Politics though? 

I'm touching the hell out of that.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Crap Music (with hope!)

I need help. I need to understand. It's so confusing.

Why is what's being played on radios nowadays being considered "music"? Can anyone truly answer this? Now I'm not saying that everything single song being played on radio is crap, but it is a very high percentage. And it's not genre-specific either. Rap, pop, R&B, rock. Crap. Lots and lots of crap. But there is some hope (faint as it may be).

Postmodern Jukebox is a group of highly-talented musicians who take highly-crappy radio songs and turn them into highly-amazing works of art with an old-school feel. They made Izzy Azalea's "Fancy" listenable. That's miraculous stuff right there. And while Maroon 5's "Maps" isn't all that bad lyrically (musically? Different story...), PMJ gave it a 70's Soul makeover and made the song sound like it should have been that way from the jump.

I saw these guys live back in July and I'm going again this coming Sunday. I highly suggest that you take a listen below and tell me I'm wrong for feeling the way I do.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Intro to Whatever

I've done a lot of reading on how to start a blog. I wanted know where to start. And just about everyone said the same thing:

"Pick a passion. Pick one subject that you're passionate about."

That was a problem because I'm passionate about...well, things. A lot of things. Things in general. Music. Movies. Sports. Gaming. Etcetera. So did this mean that I shouldn't start a blog? Was this a sign?


I'm bucking the trend and doing things my way. Not doing this for money. Not doing it for fame or notoriety. I'm doing it because I just want my thoughts out there. I wanna see who agree or disagrees. Money would be nice. Like really nice. Fame wouldn't be too bad, either. I just want to talk about whatever. Almost in a Seinfeldian kind of way, but with 40% less Kramer and 100% more Derrick from Massachusetts.