Thursday, May 31, 2012

Down with Socialism?

Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, has a hilarious way of letting public figures choke on their own words.
In his May 29th episode, he's on fire. He lets everyone have it. I recommend the whole episode, on . But for now, enjoy the clip, addressing the auto bailout, "Obamacare," and the NFL:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Better Boyfriend 101: Like a Sir

Better Boyfriend 101: Like a Sir
Photo Credit: PiXimus
Hello class,
Do you remember how awesome it was when the teacher had the TV sitting in front of the room when you walked in? It was like Christmas. Well today we’re going to keep the lecture short and just watch a film. We might circle around and revisit the subject in a later session. But, for today, enjoy.

As a lifelong advocate of universal respect, knowledge, and bein’ classy, it was with no small amount of humor and joy, that I was recently introduced to the meme, “Like a Sir.”  The best way to describe it, so far*, is the application of sophistication to the everyday. Sometimes “Like a Sir,” gets thrown into the most bizarre situations, like hot tubbing in a tuxedo. At others, it’s just remembering to be thoughtful and respectful in the little things, with a little extra class thrown in. So this lecture is mostly theoretical, the application part is up to you. Please take a second to share with the class how you or your significant other behaves “like a sir.” Better Boyfriend. It’s not a finish line. It’s a journey. Knowing that it's a meandering trek, the trip will probably be a little better if you make it "like a sir."

Class is a sir!

*As with any semiotic sign, the signified is subject to change over time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Say, "Almost Cheese!"

So, my brother was in a hurry, and made an innocent mistake. He grabbed a pack of cheese. We were in a hurry and he wasn't really looking. Later that day, we discovered that, much like, "All that glitters is not gold," "All that is shredded and white, is not cheese." We were hanging out later that day, and he wanted to make cheese toast... the joke was on him. 
After sitting on the hot skillet the butter crackeled and the bread browned... but the shreds remained the same. They didn't melt, and they didn't brown. We turned up the heat. Then, we put the toast in the microwave. The shreds did not melt. After that, we just wanted to see what it would take. We turned up the heat, and let it ride. Nothing happened. We looked at the package, and... well I'll let you see for yourself. 

There's nothing on the package about cheese. There's nothing even on the package about dairy. And when we looked at the ingredients, there wasn't even anything about milk.  It was just a little bit un-nerving. Everything should change after that long in a microwave. But not the Italian Shreds. Aparently, there are a few more constants in the world... and we found one of them.

The listed ingredients are scarily as follows: Water, Food Starch, Partially Hydrongenated Soybean Oil, Whey, Salt, Casein and/or Caseinate, Sodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid (as a preservative), Carrageen, Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Artificial Color, Powdered Cellulose to prevent caking

Even if you're not a health nut. it pays to read the label.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sharpening Your Tools

They're a lot of fun.
And, the word on the street, is that they help cognition. 

1. Johnny’s mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child’s name?
2. A clerk at a butcher shop stands five feet ten inches tall and wears size 13 sneakers. What does he weigh?
3. Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world?
For the answers, and seven other mental challenges check out the article in

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Republicrat (Demolican)

Photo Credit: CrescentDebris on DeviantArt

I come from a very conservative Christian family. My parents are a part of the religious right, and cast their ballots accordingly. My siblings tend to be ignorant of, or indifferent to, political going ons. I often self identify as an independent, despite voting for democrats in many of the elections in which I've participated. 

I used to be a Republican, I'm not anymore. The funniest thing about that shift, is that it had nothing to do with public policy, or rhetoric (in the traditional sense of the word), or many of the traditional markers of political ideology. It's that they were mean. 

In college, I went to a meeting of the college republicans, I didn’t really know what that entailed; but I supposed that I was one, so I went. At the meeting, the topic of conversation was a woman who was coming to the campus to talk about women’s portrayal in media, specifically advertising.  I was a little excited to hear what she had to say. The rest of the group…not so much. The focus of the meeting was this guest lecturer’s stated position on abortion. And actually, her position wasn’t on abortion. It was in defense of Planned Parenthood (which are two separate things, no matter what people say). 

So, I’m sitting in the meeting listening to the group talk about discrediting the speaker on the issue of abortion. But, not just discrediting her in the Q & A. They were talking about handing out leaflets and disrupting the entire proceeding.  I raised my hand, a superfluous gesture for a meeting such as this. They quieted and looked at me.
“What if she doesn’t talk about abortion?” I asked awkwardly.
“We’ll just force the issue.” The implied, “Duh,” at the end of that sentence, was almost audible. The group proceeded to brainstorm ways to embarrass, and fluster, and otherwise lay low the speaker. I was confused, and a little bit sad. She was coming to the school to talk about the issues surrounding women in media and advertising, real and troubling issues in the world today. But this group wanted to sabotage her presentation.

I couldn’t really wrap my head around the whole thing. The nature of the organization, I believed, was forward thinking within a political element. The chance to think within a party ideal, but with fresh eyes… I was wrong. The club spent that, and the remainder of the meetings which I attended, engaging in character assassinations, and overall meanness.

Three weeks later, I stopped attending the club meetings.
One semester later, I stopped self-identifying as a republican.
And now… I’m just floating around The Gray Area

Here's a thought: If you want to bring someone to your side of the aisle, don't be a meanie. To Anyone.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Terrify No More

With the revolutionary announcement by the president in support of the right to marry for people of every orientation I've watched another opinion explosion, as group after group, and person after person, has lined up to lambaste or laud this new chapter in the marriage policy contest. 

In Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell, asserts a truth of the life of Christ and call of the Church, "[...] the gospel is good news, especially for those who don't believe it. [And] if the gospel isn't good news for everybody, then it isn't good news for anybody." In my scrollings, I found an interesting piece which addresses a very important issue at the heart of the church response to the issue of marriage and sexualities. 

Author, speaker, and blogger Rachel Held Evans's post, How to Win a Culture War, and Lose a Generation, begins with some interesting statistics on how Christians and the Church are being perceived beyond it's walls: 
When asked by The Barna Group what words or phrases best describe Christianity, the top response among Americans ages 16-29 was “antihomosexual.” For a staggering 91 percent of non-Christians, this was the first word that came to their mind when asked about the Christian faith. The same was true for 80 percent of young churchgoers. (The next most common negative images? : “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” and “too involved in politics.”) 

She later cites examples from her experience while speaking: 
 Some of these students would say they most identify with what groups like the Gay Christian Network term “Side A” (they believe homosexual relationships have the same value as heterosexual relations in the sight of God). Others better identify with “Side B” (they believe only male/female relationship in marriage is God’s intent for sexuality).  But every single student I have spoken with believes that the Church has mishandled its response to homosexuality. 

Please take a few minutes to read this piece, and think about what you do with your rightness or wrongness which may leave you winning a culture war and losing a generation.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

An Atom's Weight of Good

Does God Care If I Eat Chocolate Ice Cream? 
Losing the Church on My Path to Christ 

 Okay. I’d like to tell a little bit of my story. God and I had been introduced over and over through the years. But I don’t feel like we started getting to know one another until I was finishing up high school. Nevertheless, I was the Jesus shirt wearing kid who went to all the bible studies and stuff. 
 Just thought I should set the stage. 

 Sitting in AP Physics class senior year, killing time while our teacher was out of the room, Andrew, one of the smartest people I've met, a generally good guy, and a deeply committed atheist, with a knack for contentious talking points, was sitting on a desk up front, holding court. Ostensibly, to fill in a gap in conversation, Andrew looks over and asks me, 
“Morris, what if you’re wrong about all this God stuff?” 
 It was a question I had addressed, but not with any amount of clarity or honest introspection. And, let’s be honest…Have you? 

 So, we sat there staring across a desk. The members of the court of Andrew stared at me while I thought about the Bible, the Church, promises, commands, prayer, and a host of other things. If I was wrong? About Jesus? About God? About it all?  Then I got it. 
 Two things. 

The first, even if I’m wrong about details, I’m fairly certain I’m not missing the mark on the whole God thing. I’m pretty sure that God is around. And that God’s engagement with humanity is at least loving. 

 If I’d shared that thought with my entrenched atheist counterpart, however, it would have seemed the arrogant ranting of a short sighted person, leading to at best, a contentious debate. A round of jockeying for ideological superiority, resulting in a net gain of zero. He would still believe in un-guided chance, and I in the divine. 

 But this is the insight I shared. 
 “Andrew, If I’m wrong about God, totally confused about the existence of the divine. If you’re right, and when it’s over, all we are is dead, the life I’m living because of my faith and belief is one, of which I can be very proud.” He told me that was the best answer any Christian ever gave. 

 I wasn't really answering the question for him though. I was answering the question for me.

Photo Credit: Atom Weight

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May I Present...

So, my friend Tessa who was proposed to in a park and brilliantly immortalized on canvas, got married this past Saturday. The wedding was beautiful...AND...
The couple asked me to DJ the reception!

The closest I'd ever come to a DJ-ing gig was ten minutes of track picking for the students at CTY where I worked, the year after undergrad.
This, however, was way better, and a lot more intimidating. When I'd finished collecting possible tunes for the special day, 9 days worth of music had been amassed. And, even though there were a few points of hesitation, the bride and groom seemed pleased with my performance. And toward the end of the night, a guest of the wedding came to me and said, I was the best DJ/ MC she'd heard, and, "If I wasn't already married, I'd have you DJ my wedding." She went on to say, if her husband died, she knew who she'd call for round two.
I was flattered... A little creeped out... But flattered.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Throwback and Flash Forward

This is amazing. I used to watch Eastman Curtis on TV as a kid. I'm really glad that there are churches out there actually emulating Jesus. Leaders, thinkers, and in general, people like this, are the hope for the church.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Speech: The Thinnest of Lines

I don't know anything.
This is often my thought when advising or opining on any issue greater than myself. 
I just try to make my next question, better than my last one. 

So... here's the question:

Freedom of speech?
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
That's the whole question. 
And now, some context.

Dominic Dieter, host of the morning radio show on WMMS 100.7, recently received a letter written by a father who was "concerned" about his daughter's homosexuality.
Dieter's on-air response was beyond the pale. He said: 
                              "You should get one of your friends to screw your daughter straight." 

My response shifts between blinding rage, and soul crushing depression... I lean more toward the depression, though. Not so much because I'm not angry with the person who said that, he's a small man using sensational speech to sell himself and his show. But for this man to have a show, people have to be listening to him. 

So, getting over depressed and angry, I signed the petition calling for his dismissal. Free speech goes both ways
But, at the same time, what I really want is for people to exercise the freedom to not listen to the deluded rantings of a ratings whore. 

I don't have a well formed opinion of Howard Stern, but the scene from his biopic, "Private Parts" serves as a useful example of my point. 

Researcher: The average radio listener listens for eighteen minutes a day. The average Howard Stern fan listens for - are you ready for this? - an hour and twenty minutes. 
Kenny Rushton: How could this be? 
Researcher: Answer most commonly given: "I want to see what he'll say next." 
Kenny Rushton : All right, fine. But what about the people who hate Stern? 
Researcher: Good point. The average Stern hater listens for two and a half hours a day. 
Kenny Rushton : But... if they hate him, why do they listen? 
Researcher: Most common answer: "I want to see what he'll say next." 

When it comes to media, when you listen, you empower.

If it interest you, read about the whole thing here: