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Entitlement Chickens Coming Home to Roost

Occasionally, something happens that causes outrage to those who seldom have reason to be angry. It’s the sort of outrage that Others (I do mean to have the word capitalized) feel on a regular basis.
Recently, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that one of the 181 private streets in San Francisco was sold, and the sale of that street has the residents of that enclave in an uproar. However, the uproar is a common occurrence when it happens to Others. I suspect it’s not felt often by the type of people who reside in exclusive enclaves of entitlement, but the reasons why are dissimilar.
Throughout American history, the opportunity for Others to be self-sufficient communities within the United States were denied, or retarded by laws specifically designed to maintain the order this country had since its inception. Redlining in northern cities, Jim Crow laws in the south, ordinances that prevented Chinese immigrants (willing or otherwise) who chose to stay after building the railroads out w…

Debunking the Old Green Myth

I came across this editorial in a Facebook post. So far, searches to find the original author have come up short, but versions of the parable below have appeared in social media since 2012. Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, "We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days." The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations." The older lady said that she was right -- our generation didn't have the 'green thing' in its day. The older lady went on to explain,
"Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles …

MMOTW

It has been far too long since I've written anything I could publish here so let's get to it.

I have been a gamer most of my life. I have whiled away many rainy and snowy afternoons as a child playing on the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200. I spent many weekends in arcades pissing away my allowance and meager minimum wage earnings plopping quarters into games like Pac-Man, Tetris, and Mortal Kombat. I marvel at the way computer games have evolved in my lifetime because I have been alive as long as they've been around (Pong, the first video game sold as a consumer item, became available in 1974). Now, I simply play video games as a diversion from the stresses of daily life.

Unlike some hard-core gamers out there, I only play certain games that have high replay value. The primary reason is that many of the games out there are very expensive. Personally, I don't find it necessary or appealing to drop US$60 on the latest sports game sponsored by any of the major leagues (save fo…

Heresy, or You've Got Science in my Astrology!

Even though I have a Master’s degree in English, I am a science geek. My interest in the sciences prompted me to take two chemistry classes in high school (AP Chemistry as a senior) and two anatomy classes at the University of Illinois. My first love where science is concerned lay in astronomy. In fact, the only thing for sure on my “bucket list” is to see the southern night sky. That said, I have been reading with some amusement the apoplectic reactions to the news release made by the Minnesota Planetarium Society (MNPS for the sake of brevity) that there are actually thirteen signs in the Zodiac rather than the traditional twelve. To make matters more confusing and annoying, they say the dates associated with those signs have changed as well. This prompted people to post comments to the linked news stories and to social networking sites, crying defiantly, “I don’t care what they say! I’m a Taurus!” or, “What the hell is Ophiuchus? I’m not gonna be a sign I can’t pronounce!”

In …

The Finger-Popping Pimp Hand of Adam Smith

Music is powerful. It helps us learn things (think of the Alphabet Song or anything from Schoolhouse Rock). It recalls memories of events past, both specific and vague. For me, I see myself walking past WIMPE (the former nickname for Campus Recreation Center - East at the University of Illinois) on my way back to Allen Hall whenever I listen to Hearing Aid by They Might Be Giants. Music can lift our spirits or drive us deeper into despair. Because music has such an impact, I argue advertisers use music, popular music especially, to subconsciously feed our society's runaway consumerism.

Once upon a time, advertisers used to commission songwriters to produce songs specific for the product they wanted to sell. The jingles for Alka-Seltzer® and Tootsie Rolls® come immediately to mind for me, but there were thousands of jingles for the thousands of products advertised on television and radio. In the last fifteen years, most advertisers stopped writing jingles, choosing instead to cull f…

Hamster Wheel of the Day

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... By Any Other Name

Disclaimer: This is simply an observation. To those with children, no offense is implied.


I used to work as an inventory specialist for a furniture store chain. While my cubicle sat in a raised mezzanine overlooking the large distribution center, I occasionally ventured out to the stores to manage the scheduled inventory of an individual store's stock (floor samples and so forth). On one of these trips, I met a person who worked for one of those independent inventory contractors with a very peculiar last name. While I cannot remember his first name, his last name is one I will never forget. It was Cmunt (pronounced "smunt"). Given his small stature, I gathered he had his share of ass-kicking and name-calling while growing up with a name like Cmunt. His well-weathered, lined face adorned with a walrus mustache and bushy goatee complemented his cheerful demeanor though. When speaking with him, he spoke of his last name with a weary, good-natured humor. It was obvious he cl…