Sunday, January 31, 2010

Differences between Fox and CNN


A huge, huge story right now is the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. Some surprising revelations on this year's conference is the feeling that the world's economy cannot be correctly steered by free market forces alone. This, at the global center of capitalism, is a pretty amazing philosophical shift.
But don't expect to hear about the forum at Fox News, because there are ZERO articles on it as of Jan. 31, 2010, the last day of the conference. None.
It's interesting what they include and omit - Foxnews has a huge front-page piece on Obama's failures:
Watchdog: Catastrophic
Financial Meltdown Looms

All bad, bad, bad, despite some reports that the stimulus plan created 600,00 jobs.
Here's my final thought (of the day, anyway) on Fox News and its devotees: Fox News rana full page ad in the Washington Post today called itself the most trusted and popular news network (it's correctly the most popular, sadly, by a 3-1 margin).
So even though I feel that ALL educated people must and should know that Fox is dangerously biased, I can understand why people continue to watch it. I can understand because it's human nature to surround yourself with like-minded people. We want to hear what we already believe. Being challenged takes a lot of effort. So it's easier to watch Fox if you're a conservative or MSNBC if you're a liberal. Being educated doesn't really make a difference.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What the hell was I thinking?


Liver and Onions. Liver and ONIONS?
Yes.
I saw the beef liver in the supermarket for $1.99. It seemed like a decent challenge. I know it was a depression era food. And this homeless guy on the Simpsons ate it, so why not me?
Cut to the chase - Dianna could smell the awful aroma down the street. I couldn't eat any of it. And it took 1.2 hours to make.
Bleh.
Fuck the Great Depression.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Quick work

Even before Obama is done speaking at his State of the Union address, people are sending out reactions:

dateWed, Jan 27, 2010 at 9:27 PM
subjectSCHAKOWSKY STATEMENT ON STATE OF THE UNION





9:27 PM (1 hour ago)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SCHAKOWSKY STATEMENT ON STATE OF THE UNION

WASHINGTON, DC (January 27, 2010) – Following President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-IL, released the following statement in response to the speech.

“Barely a year into his presidency, while millions of Americans face hardships unlike any seen in generations, President Obama laid out a plan to restore faith in government and move the country further down the path of recovery. In this historic speech, President Obama pointed to investments in small business, clean energy, and infrastructure projects as the key components for jumpstarting private sector job creation. His call to prevent Wall Street greed from further hurting the middle class and request to hold overzealous executives accountable for their actions send a strong message that the practices of the last decade will no longer be tolerated. I share his goal to reform education so that American students receive the best academic, scientific, and technological instruction in the world. Finally, I am heartened that the President put the cause of human rights and social justice at the forefront by calling for an end to discrimination against homosexuals. Over the next year, I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues in Congress to achieve these goals.”

Shitty headline of the day

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kashi Cereal - Destroyer of Bowels


This cereal.... I just don't know who the audience is supposed to be. It destroys you internally. Wracked with... well... things you don't want to hear about. And yes, it has 9 grams of protein and a billion grams of fiber, but it basically incapacitates you. What kind of marketing strategy is that, anyway?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Too controversial for its own good

You may have seen "The Invention of Lying," starring Ricky Gervais, but you probably haven't.
Why? Because it didn't receive the type of universal claim it deserved, despite being just about as thought-provoking and funny as Groundhog Day. And why, you ask, didn't it receive this acclaim?
Because, in my humble opinion (IMHO), it's too controversial. (WARNING - SOME SPOILERS AHEAD).
In the film, Ricky Gervais is able to make up things that aren't true, usually for his own personal gain. But when he's at his mother's bedside and she is frightened about dying and ceasing to exist, he can't bear to see her suffering, so he tells her something no one has ever heard before (because he just made it up) - that when she dies she will live in a mansion in the sky with all her loved ones and will be happy forever. This pleases her, and her final moments are peaceful.
So he sort of invents religion, and yet things become very complicated, and just telling people to do good doesn't solve everything.
I think this is enough to get greenlighted by Hollywood, but too much for middle America. Usually, questioning religion only happens with cranks like Bill Mahr, but this was a broad, U.S.-wide release. I bet there was pressure to go a little easy on it in the movie review category.
Too bad... it was great.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Avatar buys two golden globes

I'm sure this movie has some merits, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't deserve all these 100%'s on Metacritic by trusted media outlets. And then two golden globes? Sure, it's a shoo-in for special effects, but best movie / drama? Come on, people. Maybe money really can buy you anything...

My life philosophy is complete

I have much respect for people with focused or dedicated lives, who have a mission and put all their energy and time into it. I am not one of these people. I get distracted by shiny objects, fleeting impulses and I get easily bored with even the most inspiring situations.
However, I've come up with something recently that pleases me immensly - I have, at 31 years old, my life's philosophy distilled from all my experiences. All my experiments with ethics and religious teachings - both in Judaism and in other religions I respect such as Christianity, Taoism, Buddhism, etc. - are here in this one line. I am immensly proud of it. It is:

"What goes around comes around. But sometimes, shit happens."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The extent of the sex trade industry will shock you

News stories about the sex trade industry usually start with something like, "Slavery is alive and well in (insert city or country name)." And we hear about the forced enslavement of young girls and women for sex, and of course it's beyond horrible and should be forced into nonexistence.
But TIME puts the size of the problem into stark perspective:

Despite more than a dozen international conventions banning slavery in the past 150 years, there are more slaves today than at any point in human history. Slaves are those forced to perform services for no pay beyond subsistence and for the profit of others who hold them through fraud and violence.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Scanners


Dianna and I have a new ritual - when we go supermarket shopping, we bring a gun with us.
A scanner gun that they provide you with at Giant. You scan your club card thing and then you walk through the supermarket scanning all the items you buy and putting them in bags that you bring with you. For produce, you put them in a plastic bag, weigh it and then print out receipts at this little kiosk. It keeps a running tally of your purchases, and at the checkout line you just hand in your gun and boom - you're out with no waiting and no bagging guy. While it semi-irks me to do all the work for them at no cost, getting out earlier and not having to grow roots in the damn checkout line is quite valuable.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cancer charities that suck


Even though a part of me doubts that you can actually BEAT cancer (since it's just the body's normal cell replication gone awry) it's still probably a good idea to donate to all the cancer charities.
However, we should always be mindful of their overhead - a charity that needs to take 25% of your donation to pay for salaries, or more, isn't doing a good job. Occasionally, the ones with the biggest marketing campaigns actually donate the smallest percentage to their charity (even if they do raise more per capita).
So how do they check out? Here's what Charity Navigator says about some poor performers (out of 4 stars)

Shitty charities
Cancer Fund of America - 0 stars
Israel Cancer Association USA - 0 stars
American Institute for Cancer Research - 1 star
American Breast Cancer Foundation - 1 star

And some good ones:
American Cancer Society - 3 stars
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute - 4 stars
ASCO Cancer Foundation - 4 stars