Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Closing the Books on 2008

Nearly every newscast I've seen this week had some form of encapsulation of the year that's just passed. Seems we lost a lot of notable people this year. Maybe just my perspective, but it seems this year's toll exceeded the normal attrition rate.

On a personal level this year hasn't been a blue-ribbon year, although there were a few highlights:

  • First Daddy-Daughter dance (February)
  • Spring Break road trip with the kids
  • Christmas week with the kids

Unfortunately, between the standout moments, there was a lot of not-so-great stuff, so I'm grateful for the things that went right.

Here's wishing that, for all of us, 2009 brings many blessings and prosperity! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This Is the Christmas Spirit?

On a friend's blog about obnoxious advertising, I chimed in on the comments section regarding a Lexus Christmas commercial featuring a vapid, greedy little girl who grows up to be a vapid, narcissistic woman. Her great pleasure at Christmas time comes from (and this is explicit in the commercial) making her friend jealous because she got a 'better' gift.

It would be a waste of breath, or blogspace, to bemoan the commercialism of Christmas. It's a fait accompli. I get that. Count me with those who don't like it, but I get it. What I think is unique here is the crassness with which Toyota Motor Company is pitching its Lexus brand. Unquestionably, national media campaigns such as this are carefully vetted and screened by focus groups long before they go to the air- or cable- waves. Begging the question: Does Toyota's marketing data show their target audience to be shallow, avaricious women?

I don't believe there's anything wrong with exchanging Christmas gifts, even extravagant ones (which, by my standards, a Lexus would be). But it does offend me to use the pretext of Christmas to consciously foment jealousy.

It just doesn't seem to be the point of The One for whom the celebration is named.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Second Thoughts

The other night I ran across a rather provocative picture, courtesy of the idiots at PETA (which should stand for 'People Eating Tasty Animals'). One of their diatribes agains fur, it featured a shapely twenty-something woman, devoid of clothes but covering just enough of her parts to apparently pass muster in popular culture, with the tagline "Fur? I'd rather go naked."

This woman had her hair all mussed up, so, being clever, I juxtaposed it with a picture of a [clothed] Cincinnati Bengals football player with an out-of-control 'do, and captioned it "PETA or NFL?" and posted it.

A couple of hours later, I had misgivings. While the picture was not intrinsically pornographic (it's apparently displayed publicly at bus stops and the like), it was emblematic of the wider desensitization of public nudity. On the same day, the internet was abuzz with not unsimilar images of Jennifer Aniston in a nude layout for a magazine. Not to mention about every other headline on AOL news breathlessly talking about this or that celebrity's wardrobe malfunction.
As John Stossel says, "Give me a break!"

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of the female form. But I have to ask myself, do I want my daughter thinking she should display herself in this way? If I were married, would I want my wife thinking I value such images of [airbrushed] female beauty over hers? Do I want my adolescent sons believing that physical beauty is the most important attribute a woman can have?

I removed the post. The world wouldn't have ended if I'd left it up, and it won't be a magical place for taking it down. But I feel better for my decision.

Worth a Thousand Words

For the second year in a row, I missed spending Thanksgiving with my kids.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Makes Sense to Me

From a small town in Alabama:

h/t: "That Dude"

Friday, December 5, 2008

Las Vegas no está Los Angeles

News from Las Vegas today indicates that Nevada does not share its neighbor state's sensibilities regarding accountability for criminal acts. Loyal readers will of course understand that in the context, the term sensibilities is not closely related to sensibility.

Orenthal James Simpson may have been able to convince a California jury that he did not violently murder his ex-wife Nicole and friend Ron Goldman, but apparently pressed his luck in believing he could beat the rap on an armed robbery of sports memorabilia in a Las Vegas hotel.

Unlike his 1995 murder trial, this year there was no Johnnie Cochran, Roberts Shapiro or Kardashian, Flee Bailey, Mark Fuhrman, low speed chase, Kato Kaelin, ill-fitting gloves, Marcia Clark, or dancing Judge Itos. Real justice may not be entertaining, but it is satisfying.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Random Musings

I guess all of my blogging is random musings, but here are some snippets:

  • There's a big brouhaha about a Dallas Stars NHL player who made a low-brow comment about a former girlfriend, and was subsequently suspended 'indefinitely' from play. There's been a lot of discussion, most of it moral relativism, about how there are issues of greater gravity, a war going on, hockey being a violent sport, etc. that make this inconsequential. I checked to make sure my understanding of the offensive term was correct...and it was. Conclusion: Bully for the Stars/NHL. I know that one display of decorum will not restore civility to public discourse, but as a big fan of zero baselining, it was intrinsically the right thing to do. Better yet, the action came from the private sector, not government, so there's no issue of censorship. Maybe, just maybe, others will take note - are you listening, Jerry Jones?
  • On a recent episode of "Oprah", Barbara Walters opined that older people, presumably divorced or widowed, should not get married again. The context of her comments was not that people shouldn't debase the institution of marriage, but seemingly that it was inconvenient. Considering Babs' history, including an affair with a politician (how low is that!), I'm guessing her marriage license has punch outs - "One free with every five purchased".
  • The pre-Thanksgiving sermon was about being thankful for the blessings we have, not lamenting those we believe we deserve. My life's been in a bit of a tailspin for the past couple of years, so it was a good reminder. I'm favored with three wonderful kids, good friends, good food to eat, living in the United States - of the 6.5 billion people on earth, how many would love to trade places with me?
  • Speaking of friends, many have been invaluable in preserving my sanity. Thank you to Mack, Todd, Mark, Tom, Mike (both of them), Kevin, Dew, Paul, Annette, & Cathy.
  • I am attending a seminar at church, in which the most recent lessons have been about marriage. Inasmuch as I don't plan to take Baba Wawa's advice, I am hopeful that my newfound knowledge will be useful sometime in the future.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Calling Floyd the Barber

With that mane, shouldn't this guy play for Detroit instead of Cincinnati?

Dude! There's a furby attacking your neck!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Open Carry, Part Two

Well, then it occurred to me that perhaps open carrying of guns could lead to an "Old West" type of situation.

So, if instead of the Clantons or Earps, star-throwing, nunchuck-twirling ninjas are bedeviling you, and you have an interest in ancient antiquities (is that redundant?), maybe this is more the style for you:

As you can see, our model is prepared to dispatch pesky ninjas in the market squares of Tripoli, or take on David Berkowitz on the streets of Brooklyn.

Now, enough blogposting for one evening - I've got chores to do...

So What's the Problem?

Over the weekend I read that there's a movement afoot in my home state to allow open carry of handguns, presumably by those who have already qualified for their currently concealed permits. A group has collected 30,000 signatures on a petition which they plan to deliver to the Legislature when it meets in January.

Of course, there will be the usual clap-trap about how blood will run in the streets, that it will be a return to "Wild West" shootouts, and other nonsense despite evidence to the contrary, much as was heard when the concealed carry law was enacted about ten years ago. While I was very much a proponent of the CHL legislation then, this new twist has caught me a bit off guard.

So, as one who likes to be in the vanguard of the latest (1880's) trends, I say...Cowboy Up, y'all!

Mazel Tov!

Last week I stopped by the post office to buy some stamps. I still have a couple of bills that I pay by mail, and figured I could also use some stamps for Christmas Cards.

As the middle-age, not foreign born postal clerk reached into his drawer for a sheet of postage, I asked him if he had something, and I quote: "Christmas-y". Since he apparently didn't have any such in his drawer, he walked a few steps away to a larger trove of sheet stamps, and returned without comment with my postage.

Perhaps I was distracted or assumed my request was simple, so I paid for my purchase and headed for the door. As I walked out, I looked at the sheet of stamps in my hand, all of which looked exactly like this:

Oy! And by the way, let me take this opportunity to also wish you a Happy Kwanzaa!