Sunday, June 8, 2008

Here's to you Mrs. Morrison

A friend directed me to a blog post by Patricia Morrison, who is a sci-fi author, Jim’s witchy widow, and retired rock critic. She offers up an interesting take on the "politics 08":

All Hail the Lizard Queen…why not?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Obama Dilemma: Response to Rachel's Comment

I agree with you, Rachel. I think it's sad to see people who actually believe that Obama's presidency will trigger the demise of the free world. Letting such "paranoias," as you call them, dominate our perspective is a dangerous game. But there's a difference between paranoia and skepticism, and one has to wonder why Obama inspires so much of both.

Each candidate has weak points that are exploited by the media and the opposition. Obama isn't the only one on the rostrum taking heavy flak, but his past and present connections make him (or at least they should) laughably damnable. Yet somehow the mainstream press continue to declare him the conquering hero of America while continually slamming Clinton and McCain for various petty and ignoble reasons. Their supporters never hasten to their defense as fiercely as Obama's disciples. Why is this? Every candidate is deserving of criticism, and each takes responsibility for their own defense. Hillary must stand up against a torrent of misogynistic generalizations and sordid Lewinsky reminiscences, while McCain has to prove he won't just keel over while being sworn in. These are, according to the media, legitimate prejudices. So why draw the line at Obama? Obviously he has his share of explaining to do, just like everyone else. But he has the media on his side, glorifying his candidacy at every turn and occasionally divulging some unseemly details that are just too glaring to ignore.

Let's keep in mind that a skeptical imagination is a good thing; it helps us to look beyond the polished electables behind the podium. And, by and large, the exaggerated characters that arise normally reside on SNL rather than in heartfelt American convictions. So take a breather, sentinels. If Obama's so great, he can stand up for himself, right? Not that he needs any more praise...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

On Extremism and Humor

Why is it we can't all have a good laugh at the expense of our so-called pillars of civic rectitude? SNL has been helping us do it for years.

Of course it's unlikely that Obama will dissolve the constitution in viva la revolucion fashion, but it sure would make a good movie. And imagining this isn't such a stretch, is it? We can all easily see (if we relinquish for a moment our staunch Obamic piety) a newly elected Hussein screaming the Guevara mantra into his inaugural microphone, donning a red baret and firing a few rounds into the sky. If this doesn't make you laugh, it should at least make you uncomfortable with the prospect, regardless of how improbable it may be.

I could easily have offered a similarly extreme perspective of Clinton or McCain, and gladly will, if it makes you feel any better about poor Obama and his "somewhat unseemly" past. Of course, if his candidacy requires so much defense, you might wonder why we should spend so much time as his sentinels in the first place.

On a more personal note, I must confess a sense of admiration for the man. It takes someone with real conviction to publicly justify his refusal of the American flag. Is the gesture arguably anti-American? Of course. Does it fit neatly into the hyperbolic profile of Obama as militant terrorist? Surely. But it also reveals him to be a thinking, analytical being with perhaps a greater agenda than making himself politically attractive. Still, it's hard to say he's worth my vote, especially considering the risks...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Obama bin Laden?

Barack Obama has been gliding along the campaign trail with almost fiendish stealth, subtly blotting out (or at least concealing) all traces of anti-Americanism and terrorist affiliations as they are dragged from his closet. The fact that we are still considering him as a serious candidate seems a bit humorous, like an electoral Candid Camera pointed directly at America's p.c. reconciliation after 9/11. Will the people reject him for his eerie resemblance to the U.S. anathema, or will they embrace him in all of his unconventional glory? How much more will they take before his candidacy becomes laughable?

It's just hard to believe that, considering his past, Obama has truly relinquished his long held resentment of America and his militant ties. We have to remember that he's a politician with an agenda, pandering, performing, and painting himself as the electable moderate who can woo anyone with dark charm and a slice of gilded apple pie. After all, the American public would never elect Barack Hussein Obama, the radical anti-capitalist, if he gave his speeches in a bandolier and Black Panther fatigues. He'll save that outfit for the inauguration.

Don't get me wrong. I think he's an affable chap, but the skeletons he's been hiding are ghastly, and certainly more than enough to oust any whitey from the race (no pun intended). I verily believe that we are much more willing to overlook his frightening history because he's a minority, and no one wants to be hatin' on the black guy. But racism doesn't have to come into play to pit all of America against a possible terrorist, or a socialist (Clinton), or a warmonger (McCain). Here's an idea...DON'T VOTE!!!

Is there anyone alive out there?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fear of Failure

I just want to say we are coming to an end here and I will miss all of you, but some of us are graduating and have fear of what is next. Well, I am reading a book called the Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho and he says, “People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.” (pg. 130)

I just want to say how appropriate this book is for an ending to this semester. This quote signifies what each one of us that are graduating may fear of failure. Here we are moving through life with school and it is coming to an end. What is next? What am I going to do? These were a few thoughts I have now that I am graduating, how about you? I almost feel a sense of insecurity and fear of not becoming successful. School was a cushion for me and now it is gone. I have spoken to others that are graduating and they feel the same way.

It is interesting because I have been sending out resumes to all the top jobs, you know the ones that everyone wants, but I took a step back and realized that no matter what you or I do in life, as long as you are happy, then that is what success is all about. So, I started just applying for jobs that made sense and stopped worrying about when my phone was going to ring. This was the only way I would be content with myself.

I hope that all of you are successful or I should say happy with your lives after graduation. And remember you are the only one who can hold you back from success, so do what makes you happy and don't worry about what others think.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Enjoy Your Summer

In class today after handing Dr. Harrison my manila folder, my heart began to pound and my shoulders seemed lighter. This blogging class was my last class of my undergraduate career. It's sad to think about considering I have many memories here at FGCU. I am also happy because it is time to start a new chapter in my life, a full-time job and graduate school. I am now able to draw a line through #2 on my goal list: Complete my Bachelor's Degree with honors. Now I am on to the next thing, traveling.

It has been a pleasure having a class with all you and I hope whatever you may do, it turns out great. Enjoy your summer.

Pardon My Norman Invasion

The “f” word is a holdover from Old English that became popular after the Norman Invasion. Say the “f” word aloud, if you can. If you’re at work, read this post later. Pay attention to the way the word leaves your mouth and causes air to move quickly as if you were releasing something. If you say the word with enough emphasis you can notice your chest rise and fall. Your head will also move forward slightly as if you were spitting out sour milk. Perhaps the word’s release factor is why it is the first word that comes to mind when you stub your toe. Pain enters your body via toe and exits via mouth; therefore, there is nothing wrong with using the word.
For those of us who do not swear, there are safe alternatives. The –uck ending is what causes the release. The word yuck, for example, offers our bodies the same release without the vulgar annoyance. When you get back your taxes and only make twenty dollars on your return, try repeating this poem, and feel better.
Chickens cluck and corn is shucked,
I once had a duck his name was chuck,
My poker hand’s muck, I’m out of luck
I feel so much better if I said the word…


As the days burn by on my journey through life, the fact that my own mortality occurs to me more often is strange. My prolific diet of nicotine, caffeine and alcohol becomes more questionable in this journey with multiple stops but no destination. Goals and achievements become both coveted and tarnished when held up to the prism of my own mortality.

For the first time in my life I find myself wondering if I should eat healthier, perhaps exercise and (God forbid) quit smoking. The notion of leaving this world is not a nightmare-fueled fear, but rather a bittersweet concession to reality. I have no fear of death, but rather a nagging notion that I have more to do before I can embrace the eternal rest of death. I have always accepted my own mortality, even used it to justify my optimism at every day spent on Earth, so self-awareness is not the cause for this sudden preoccupation with my own mortality.

Rather it is the mortality of others that has me contemplating my own mortality. From the unexplainable loss of a newborn to the slow living-death of a parent, my own lack of reverence for my time spent on Earth has me examining my life. Quality has always trumped quantity in my personal evaluation of my own life, I just never had to deconstruct and closely examine my personal definition of quality before.

The pursuit of happiness becomes less clear as my experiences accumulate, forcing me to discard the habitual acceptance of short-term contentment for the more opaque acceptance of implied responsibilities and relationship-based commitments.

In the context of family and business obligations, what I once considered self-destructive personal decisions now are seen as irresponsible hedonism. My own health and longevity are no longer the sole ante paid in this game, but it is the responsibilities that I can not fulfill if not alive that are the true cost.

I have successfully avoided both matrimony and procreation in a conscious attempt to limit my own liability and increase my long-term freedom, and still believe that neither equals salvation in any conceivable shape or form. Yet changing family dynamics and the choices of others has placed me in the position where my continued existence now outweighs my contentment with my current life. This realization has been avoided for years, but recent events have made its denial impossible, and as with most things, once it has been learned it can not be unlearned.

The only question that remains is if perspective can be altered in order to extract contentment from the fulfillment of implied responsibilities as easily as excitement was extracted from the avoidance of concrete responsibilities.

Its so hard to say Goodbye...

We've come to the end of the road and I’m actually saddened by the thought. This was a great class with a lot of outstanding writers. I'm grateful to have shared the past 15 weeks with you all. Our fearless leader took most of us from untried blogger neophyte and molded us into lean mean blogging machines. Okay it’s early in the morning, I haven’t brewed my coffee and I’m way over the top. But nevertheless this has been one of the more entertaining and informative of classes I’ve taken. I’m glad I stuck it out to the end. It’s been a pleasure blogging with all of you and I hope many of you continue with your blogs. The blog world will be diminished if you don’t.

Congrats to all the graduates. For the rest of you, enjoy your summer, get your service learning papers in to the office early rather than later and see you around campus.

I’ll leave you with a video that illustrates how I feel at this moment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

(D)Evolution of the Blog

While perusing the musty cases of Echo: Vintage books and Vinyl downtown, I stumbled upon a fantastic first-edition copy of Pundits, Poets, & Wits: An Omnibus of American Newspaper Columns.

The compendium contains some of the best American sarcasm and commentary you will ever read, all written in the first-person pre-bloggerly mode of the columnist. Featured writers include a conspicuously electric Silence Dogood, Frederick Douglas, Walt Whitman, E.B. White, James Reston, and Dave Barry. The selected pieces are essentially paper-bound blog posts - timely, reactive, and socially engaging - without hyperlinks (although I am quite sure Whitman would have used them if he was able).

Each article is incisive and meticulously crafted, recalling a time when megaphones couldn't afford to be braindead (or at least couldn't publish themselves). The columns are representative of "blogging" before blogging, a small subset of great and accredited minds who generated artful commentary in hearty defiance of today's vox nihili.

Check this book out. You'll like it, I swear. Read the whole thing, a single column or just a few lines. This is American wit at its finest.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mangrove Review

Since we are a class of writers, I thought I'd pass along the fact that Mangrove Review (our campus literary magazine) is having our year-end celebration this Friday. It's at 6 p.m. in the Sugden Welcome Center, there will be free food, and you'll get to hear some fellow students read their work.

Hope to see you there!

It's always the last One

Oy. I'm down to my last portfolio entry and it's driving me nuts. There's three I really like, three I think that would suffice, and therefore three potential candidates. One is witty, and two are serious, but which one is best? I know all the critera for selecting the best one, yet I can't seem to get enough distance from my blog to be objective. Where's my roomate when I need a voice of reason? I think I'm coming to the realization that I really like my blog, and I really don't like picking it apart: declaring some entries crappy and others well-executed. Bleh. Anyone else having this problem?

Tax day got you down?

This really won't help in any constructive way will cheer you up at least... maybe.

Encouraged by Morgan's post about LOLcats, I'm going to share The Cutest Blog Ever. I just found this site last week through The Webby Awards, where you vote for your favorite blogs and other websites.

Cute-overload posted about this kitten, Meme-bon, a few days ago. For a wee animal, she's huge in Japan.

Kenneth Cole Infiltrates Campus

Was anyone else accosted by a pushy fashionista on Tuesday? Twice, as I rounded the corner between Howard and Griffin Hall, I managed to fall victim to a Kenneth Cole representative's desperate promotions and annoyingly scripted hook: "hey guys, I'm from Kenneth Cole and we're putting on an event for you guys!"

The perpetrator, armed to the teeth with long leather boots, those insectoid sunglasses that every female insists upon wearing, and a gaudy display of handbags, occupied a space normally reserved for student organizations and fundraising efforts.

Who let them on campus? Apparently the only university mandate was that they euphemize "shameless unaffiliated advertising" as "event promotion," but the end result was still annoyingly commercial and misaligned with FGCU's modus operandi. I hope this doesn't signal a slow decline of civic and academic integrity here on campus, although I could use some new boots...

I Am Dread and Speechless

This is one of the few times I am speechless. I can only mourn this death. Read this, please. No, don't pay attention to the way the article is written, that is a different issue. Just follow the "plotline", if you can.

Cheesy Yet Satisfying

Some things considered a travesty by today’s standard were oh-so-cool back in the day. Enter Princess Leia’s aluminum foil jewelry. Oddly, it works for her. Or may be it just worked in the 70’s. I really don’t know. But clearly, if someone tried that today, you can be certain the film would be hitting the racks as a B movie. How George Lucas turned it classic instead of tacky I have yet too discover. The ceremony at the end Episode IV remains one of the most poignant in classic sci-fi. Personally, I am willing to credit John Williams 50% of the success due to his awesome music score in that section of the film, but the vision remains George Lucas. All hail George! All hail George! King of Science Fiction!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The awesome thing about a blogging class (and most creative writing classes, really) is that you get to know this weird little slice of all the people in the class.

I know everyone's name (though it took me a little longer to pair names with faces for the people sitting behind me), and I know everyone's blog. We've all put a little bit of ourselves out there for everyone to read this semester, and it's been a lot of fun. The only other experience I've had like this was when I took a creative non-fiction class last year. When you are constantly writing and reading the writing of your peers, it's kind of a bonding experience, no?
Okay so I’m much of a cat person but this website is hilarious. A friend of mine turned me on to it and i could have spent hours flipping through the pictures.

Disclaimer: spelling is atrocious. It bothered me at first too.

I think we've all been there.

Music Snobbery at its Finest.

If you are anything like me, and find yourself rummaging through the same old cd's and singing to those same songs with a bit less fervor you might want to try Pitchfork. This music website has something for everyone. Click it. You just might like it.