Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What is Politics?

Recently, I read this article, "Poll: Bush's Popularity Hits New Low."

Then I received the following in forward email and just had to post it:

FWD: What is Politics?

A little boy goes to his dad and asks, "What is Politics?"

Dad says, "Well son, let me try to explain it this way:

I am the head of the family, so call me The President.

Your mother is the administrator of the money, so we call her the Government.

We are here to take care of your needs, so we will call you the People.

The nanny, we will consider her the Working Class.

And your baby brother, we will call him the Future.

Now think about that and see if it makes sense."

So the little boy goes off to bed thinking about what Dad has said.

Later that night, he hears his baby brother crying, so he gets up to check on him. He finds that the baby has severely soiled his diaper. So the little boy goes to his parent's room and finds his mother asleep. Not wanting to wake her, he goes to the nanny's room. Finding the door locked, he peeks in the keyhole and sees his father in bed with the nanny. He gives up and goes back to bed.

The next morning, the little boy says to his father, "Dad, I think I understand the concept of politics now."

The father says,"Good, son, tell me in your own words what you think politics is all about."

The little boy replies, "The President is screwing the Working Class while the Government is sound asleep. The People are being ignored and the Future is in deep shit!"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pollution (or Emission) Permits

An article on CNN.com caught my eye, "Scientists: Smog Contributes to Premature Death." Many know that smog and Los Angeles go hand in hand. Rather unfortunate but we all deal with it and go on about our lives. A lot of the smog comes from pollution that is released in the air from large facilities. These facilities have a pollution permit that was issued to them by the government. The government determined the level of pollution that they deemed acceptable and then a permit was issued. These permits can be bought, sold, and traded. If a company decides they don't need their permit, they can sell it off to a company that wants to pollute more than the level the government set for them.

The problem of pollution is far from being solved. These tradable permits have not eliminated the problem but have instead given these companies a way to earn more money and create a business out of it. It has slightly helped the situation as companies try to reduce their pollution level to avoid having to purchase another permit. But critics are concerned about the companies that are selling their permits. If they don't need to pollute up to the amount that the government has restricted on them, then why are they given more than needed? It causes some areas of the world to become heavily polluted while others remain somewhat clean.

Other critics believe that imposing a pollution (or emission) tax could solve the problem. A tax might help the pollution level to decrease but the government could face difficulty in setting an absolute pollution limit.

The CNN article may be controversial, but smog and pollution are still bad for the environment. It's important to not forget the health of the world we live in.

Monday, April 21, 2008

2008 Fireball Run Charity Event - DeLorean and Batmobile

On Saturday, Anh held a charity event at his house. A friend of his was hosting a networking event for the 2008 Fireball Run. I was lucky enough to get to attend the event. I met some great people who had flown in from all over the U.S. to attend.

The event is held in September. Basically, in a nutshell, if invited to attend, you go on a rally for 9 days with your car traveling 3500 miles. The purpose of the event is to find missing children. Each team, which consists of one car, is in charge of one missing child. They hand out fliers at every stop and help spread the word. The rally received quite a bit of publicity through the media which also helped recover some children. To my surprise, many of the children are abducted by their own parents.

It's very touching and rewarding to listen to the participants talk about the event. It also gives the participants an opportunity to drive their Lamborghini, Ferrari, DeLorean... Yes, that's right, the De Lorean from "Back to the Future 2" will be going on the rally this year. Last year the Batmobile was in it. Both cars came to the event on Saturday. It was cool, that's an understatement. The rally is actually a "game." One participant compared it to "The Amazing Race." They have clues and can receive extra points for doing certain things. Definitely keeps them on their toes and makes it fun for the participants. I have great respect for them and am excited to see the number of children that will be found through this wonderful event.

DeLorean

DeLorean and Adam West Batmobile

Me and the DeLorean

Anh and the DeLorean

Flux Capacitor

Friday, April 18, 2008

New Wave of Art

When I was growing up, I didn't really like art class being more left brained than right. Well, from the news, I guess there's a new wave of art.

CAUTION: The contents of both sites are very controversial.

Aliza Shvarts

Jonathan Yegge

Tap... No... Flat Water Please

The concept of bottled water is a phenomenon to most. Some people are baffled at the idea of spending $1+ for some water. They've done studies on bottled water and some have concluded that bottled water is sometimes no better than the water that leaves our faucets.

When at a restaurant, your server asks you whether you'd like bottled or tap water. These days, we're all about not looking "cheap" so for appearances alone, some will opt for bottled. Tap can be considered degrading. As for me, as long as the water from the faucet is clean, I'm all for tap. I grew up in Utah where the water is actaully very good. Restaurants have now realized that they don't want their customers feeling lower class so now the term "tap" has changed to "flat."

I find it interesting that over time, words we say or things we do regularly, become offensive to people. For example, words that carry gender. It's impolite to call a police officer a policeman. There are other changes such as stewardess to flight attendant, mailman to letter carrier or postal worker, chairman to chairperson or chair, spokesman to spokesperson, anchorman to anchor, wife or husband to spouse, mothering to parenting or nurturing, housewife to homemaker...

Makes me wonder what "flaw" will be thought of next.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

McCain and Health Care

Today on my drive in to work, I was listening to NPR. Which, by the way, as a kid I couldn't understand why my parents preferred talk radio over music. I thought it was very uncool. Now that I'm all "grown up" (or trying to grow up) listening to the news radio in your car is a great way to catch up on news.

ANYWAY, today one of the topics was health care. Clinton and Obama have similar plans with only extreme details that differ whereas McCain's plan couldn't be more opposite. Did you know that there are 47 million people in the U.S. who do NOT have any type of health coverage? Well, I knew it was high but that number caught me off guard. My risk analysis side of me definitely started "freaking out" for lack of better words. Yes, there are some included in that number who opt out because they feel they don't need it or they have the money to live without insurance, but the majority are people who simply cannot afford it. To me, that's a HUGE problem. If someone wants/needs health care, they should be able to get it.

McCain doesn't think so. Again, shocked, I continued to listen. While I couldn't be more against McCain I thought, I'd really like to hear his reasoning as to why these 47 million people don't matter to him. He said that unlike Clinton and Obama, he doesn't believe in universal health care. Understandable, there are many people who don't. But then he continued, he said:

"I don’t think that there should be a mandate for every American to have health insurance. I think that one of our goals should be that every American own their own home, but I’m not going to mandate that every American own their own home. I think that every American should have, be available to, an affordable college education. But I’m not going to mandate that every American go to college. I feel the same way about health care. If it’s affordable and available, then it seems to me that again, it’s a matter of choice amongst Americans. "

I went online today and found that these comments were made sometime around October 2007. He proposes a tax credit to families to pay for their health care. But did he honestly have to compare health care to owning a home or going to college?! Where does this guy come from?? He of all people, seeing that he's 71, should understand that college is a luxury. I literally laughed out loud while driving alone in my car. And owning a home? Well Mr. McCain, we are in a housing crisis so comparing the situation to everyone owning a home is probably not the best timing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Helpful Tips For All You Poopers

I wish I could take credit for writing this; unfortunately, it was a forwarded email. Therefore, all credit goes to the lovely Amber for sending this to me. Enjoy.

HOW TO POOP AT WORK

We've all been there but don't like to admit it. As much as we try to convince ourselves otherwise, the WORKPOOP is inevitable. For those who hate pooping at work, following is the Survival Guide for taking a dump at work.

CROP DUSTING:
When farting, you walk briskly around the office so the smell is not in your area and everyone else gets a whiff but doesn't know where it came from. Be careful when you do this. Do not stop until the full fart has been expelled. Walk an extra 30 feet to make sure the smell has left your pants.

FLY BY:
This is the act of scouting out a bathroom before pooping. Walk in and check for other poopers. If there are others in the bathroom, leave and come back again. Be careful not to become a FREQUENT FLYER. People may become suspicious if they catch you constantly going into the bathroom.

ESCAPEE:
This is a fart that slips out while taking a leak at the urinal or forcing a poop in a stall. This is usually accompanied by a sudden wave of embarrassment. If you release an escapee, do not acknowledge it. Pretend it did not happen. If you are standing next to the farter it the urinal, pretend you did not hear it. No one likes an escapee. It is uncomfortable for all involved. Making a joke or laughing makes both parties feel uneasy.

JAILBREAK:
When forcing a poop, several farts slip out at a machine gun pace. This is usually a side effect of diarrhea or a hangover. If this should happen, do not panic. Remain in the stall until everyone has left the bathroom to spare everyone the awkwardness of what just occurred.

COURTESY FLUSH:
The act of flushing the toilet the instant the poop hits the water. This reduces the amount of airtime the poop has to stink up the bathroom. This can help you avoid being caught doing the WALK OF SHAME.

WALK OF SHAME:
Walking from the stall, to the sink, to the door after you have just stunk up the bathroom. This can be a very uncomfortable moment if someone walks in and busts you. As with farts, it is best to pretend that the smell does not exist. This very uncomfortable walk can be avoided with the use of the COURTESY FLUSH.

OUT OF THE CLOSET POOPER:
This is a colleague who poops at work and is damn proud of it. You will often see an Out Of The Closet Pooper enter the bathroom with a newspaper or magazine under his or her arm. Always look around the office for the Out Of The Closet Pooper before entering the bathroom.

THE POOPING FRIENDS NETWORK (P.F.N):
A group of co-workers who band together to ensure emergency pooping goes off without incident. This group can help you to monitor the whereabouts of the Out Of The Closet Poopers, and identify SAFE HAVENS.

SAFE HAVENS:
A Safe Haven is a seldom-used bathroom somewhere in the building where you can least expect visitors. Try floors that are predominantly of the opposite sex. This will reduce the odds of a pooper of your sex entering the bathroom.

TURD BURGLAR:
This is someone who does not realize that you are in the stall and tries to force the door open. This is one of the most shocking and vulnerable moments that can occur when taking a poop at work If this occurs, remain in the stall until the Turd Burglar leaves. This way you will avoid all uncomfortable eye contact.

CAMO-COUGH:
A phony cough that alerts all new entrants into the bathroom that you are in a stall is called a Camo-Cough. This can be used to cover-up a WATERMELON, or to alert potential Turd Burglars. The Camo-Cough is very effective when used in conjunction with an ASTAIRE.

STAIRE:
An Astaire is a subtle toe-tap that is used to alert potential Turd Burglars that you are occupying a stall. This w ill remove all doubt that the stall is occupied. If you hear an Astaire, leave the bathroom immediately so the pooper can poop in peace.

WATERMELON:
A watermelon is a big poop that creates a loud splash when hitting the toilet water. This is also an embarrassing incident. If you feel a Watermelon coming on, create a diversion. See CAMO-COUGH.

HAVANA OMELET:
A case of diarrhea that creates a series of loud splashes in the toilet water. Often accompanied by an Escapee. Try using a Camo-Cough with an Astaire.

UNCLE TODD:
An Uncle Todd is a bathroom user who seems to linger around forever. This person could spend extended lengths of time in front of the mirror or sitting on the pot. An Uncle Todd makes it difficult to relax while on the crapper, as you should always wait to poop when the bathroom is empty. This benefits you as well as other bathroom attendees.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thank You For NOT Smoking

A few weeks ago, I got a call telling me about a situation that happened at a park. Apparently, there were some teenagers/young adults who were playing on the playground. I'm sure you're wondering WHY they were even playing on the playground... I am too, trust me, don't question too long, I think I've finally come up with an excuse which I'll tell you later.

Anyway, let's call the person that called me Mary. Mary took her two children, Johnny (2 years old) and Sally (4 years old), to the same park where the teenagers were also "playing." Johnny and Sally were playing with the teenagers and their dog. Everyone was having a great time until one of the teenagers, we'll call her Sarah, pulled out a cigarette and lit up. So if this were a painting on a wall, and you had to explain what was wrong with this "picture," isn't the first thing that comes to mind that there are kids around and this girl is lighting up?! Mary thought so too. (Side note: The city agrees too, that's why they posted NO SMOKING signs at the playground). Mary spoke up, told her she needed to put the cigarette out due to her children being on the playground. Ok, reasonable request, any SANE person would agree. Sarah disagreed, I'm sure in her mind she must be thinking, "Who are you? My Mom??" Actually Sarah, speaking of your mother, didn't she teach you that smoking is bad? Oh, she did? Ok, well didn't she teach you what respect is? Oh, ok, yeah, that is a big word, maybe when you grow up you'll understand when you are disrespected. Yes, learning the hard way is sometimes the only way. Sarah proceeded to get angry at Mary, calling her names and swearing at her in front of the children.

As Mary proceeds to tell me this story, I'm annoyed at Sarah. Mary says she thinks that she'll be the topic of their conversation for the rest of the day. I say, you know what Mary? Good! If their lives are so boring that all they can talk about is that mean lady with the children at the park then good! I'm glad you gave some spice to their boring lives. Let them talk all they want. I feel bad for them if that really was the case. I feel bad that they lead such uneventful lives. I feel bad that they can find nothing better to do than "play" in a park. Which leads me to my analysis of all this, being a logical person, I had to figure out why this girl was the way she is. My conclusion, that cigarette was weed. She's a young girl trying to be cool, which is why she got into weed in the first place, and then mouthing off to Mary was her way of showing off to the boys she was with. Poor thing. One day Sarah will learn that respect will get you a lot farther than being mean. For her sake, I hope it's sooner than later.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Sweeney Todd

Anh took me to Sweeney Todd last Friday at the Ahmanson Theatre. We had some of the best seats in the house, center orchestra. The theatre itself was nice besides the seats which were far from comfortable.

When people watch movies, read books, see plays, eat food, they form opinions based off the best and worst they've experienced. From these opinions, they can not only conclude whether or not they liked it but by how much and why. My opinions for Sweeney Todd came from a scale where the best were masterpieces such as "Les Miserables" and "Phantom of the Opera" to the worst which consisted of some plays I'd seen in grade school. Don't get me wrong, some of the plays I saw in grade school actually rank pretty high. I not only consider talent but I factor in professionalism. When I see a school play, I expect less as most of the performers are inexperienced. When I go to a Broadway play, I expect to see some of the best talent out there.

There weren't very many performers in Sweeney Todd. There was no orchestra because the performers were the ones who actually produced all the music. They never changed costumes and the scene had one single backdrop that really wasn't all the pertinent to the play. They had a couple props such as a ladder and a coffin; these weren't taken off stage when not in use but instead just moved to the side. Costumes were simple and the only addition were jackets that were worn to portray death. I had my favorite singers but they all seemed to be comparable in their acting abilities.

We decided to watch the movie yesterday to see how it compared to the musical. I thought the movie was also "good." As far as physical appearances go, some actors in the movie seemed more fitting for their roles than the musical had and visa versa.

Etiquette. Maybe it's because I was raised in a family where my parents strongly enforced etiquette, but I find myself critical of others' etiquette. I was always taught that apparel matters. There's a time and a place to dress down; in fact, sometimes overly dressing can be bad. When I was young, going to a special event usually meant dressing up, either nice pants (not jeans) or a dress. I always related it to how "nice" the event was. For example, if it was an orchestra concert held at a nice venue, I'd dress up. I've also added another factor, dressing up is a respect issue. Dressing up at an orchestra concert shows your respect to the musicians. You're implying that their level of talent and the music performed is reason to show your utmost respect.

I often hear the "nice jeans" excuse. In some ways, this is a legitimate excuse but it doesn't always work. Just because you paid $250+ on a pair of jeans doesn't make them become dress pants. Yes, they might be very nice jeans but that's just it, they're still jeans. There's times when it's ok to still wear your jeans and there's other times where even if you paid $1,000 on those jeans, it's still not appropriate.

What's my point? I was shocked to see how people dressed for Sweeney Todd. Most of the inappropriately dressed were teenagers and younger but isn't that the point? Shouldn't their parents teach them while they are young? What makes them think that they will change their ways when they grow up? Wearing a hoodie and jeans to a well respected musical is not ok.

Anh wore a suit, I wore a dress.