Dec 27, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Christmas started off with a bang this year as I watched my favorite NFL team get their asses handed to them by another team that most fans forget even exist, but thankfully that night I learned that I had won the championship in not one, but both fantasy football leagues I'm in. In my Seattle league I took on my old friend Joe, who I was certain was going to beat me, but thankfully his team decided to not play, and I reaped all the benefits. Still there's a pretty good payout for second place, so it wasn't a total loss for him. Now I get to celebrate the entire year reminded my fantasy football friends how much of a friggin god I am, which I'm sure they're eager to hear about over and over again.
Christmas Eve was spent with my wife's father's side, where we ate, drank, smoked cigars, and made merry. My little one was spoiled as one can imagine being the only baby on that side, and now I'm wondering how the hell I'm going to store all of the toys.
Christmas morning I sipped my coffee while the little one played with her new toys. She enjoyed watching the lights go bright and the noises that erupted from the electronics. Kenadie's still too young to understand the whole Christmas thing, but I smiled to myself with the knowledge that this holiday will get progressively more awesome with time.
We went out to eat some food with some family, and were treated to a nice meal at an exquisite restaurant, and to my surprise snow began to appear. Yes we had snow, in Dallas, the first white Christmas this area's seen in many years. It was beautiful as it made the flat, drab scenery of North Texas actually look pretty.
The family made the journey home safely, and we enjoyed some egg nog as we watched "A Christmas Story". As usual, I stopped caring about presents long ago, but this year I got to watch my baby start to enjoy her holiday loot, and the magic of Christmas started to come back for me. So this year became my favorite Yule celebration of all time, and I'm grateful just to be a part of this family.
"Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!" - Charles Dickens

Dec 18, 2012

Should it be a right?

I really haven't been following the news regarding Friday's tragedy. I know the basics of what happened, as do all of us, but getting into the details is highly uninteresting to me. I, like any rational human being, feel for the victims who have suffered so much, and will continue to do so, and hope that they find comfort and peace at some point in their lives.
But now, in the aftermath of such senselessness, every one's jumping on the political armchair bandwagon to discuss the politics of what's to come, namely how the Federal government can limit the sales and ownership of personal arms. It makes sense, as to many who experience grief largely because of a product, whether it be drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or in this case guns, the immediate reaction would be to ban it and hope the headlines will never have another massacre on this level ever again.
I can't really blame people for that line of thinking, however naive it may be. Historically banning a product in this country really hasn't gone well, but yet many will insist that a law limiting firearms ownership will be the exception, for reasons I still haven't understood. I still see their point though, at face value, the less guns we have the less school shootings there'll be, but rounding up all weapons seems about as practical as deporting all illegal immigrants. Plus, the deadliest school massacre in America didn't even involve a gun. The man used time bombs that killed 42 people, and it was something not even Ted Nugent could claim an adequate defense for.
I don't consider those who want tighter gun control as automatically wrong in their world view. I would like to see a world without guns, no seriously I would, and I would also like to see a world where vegetables taste like cheesecake. We already have a partial assault weapons ban and now it's cheaper to buy a Harley than own and operate an automatic weapon. You can spend more time in prison for purchasing one manufactured after 1986, or modifying an existing weapon into an automatic, than most pedophiles serve. Oddly, while there's still automatic firearms in existence, the ATF has reported that none of the legally registered automatic guns that comply have ever been used in violent crime. This is probably because of a monetary incentive though, and one could make a good argument that raising the prices on all weapons would limit gun violence. But do we allow the Feds to force gun retailers to raise their prices? What does constitute an assault weapon? I mean hell any gun can be used to assault someone.
I don't know that I'm comfortable with the idea of limiting a right because others misuse it. I mean since the WBC and other hate groups use the First Amendment to emotionally harm others while expressing themselves in manners most despicable, should we revoke our right to protest? Is the NRA just as responsible for gun violence as the ACLU is for hate speech?
I will never understand why gun crimes are so large in this country, even when compared to other countries that have similar gun ownership percentages and yet they have far less violence. Maybe it's because of the lack of cohesiveness America has, and largely embraces. Maybe it's due to the fact that we're a country founded in violence, and often times we celebrate and glamorize it. Maybe it's also due to the idea that we have a false sense of security, amongst those who are pro and anti gun alike. Gun nuts like to think themselves as protectors of their domain by carrying their weapons amongst them, even when in the face of evidence to the contrary, they insist that having projectile weapon will keep them and their loved ones secure. The anti-gun lobby will always tell you that banning a product will ensure no one has access to it, when history has proved them wrong over and over again. I truly believe that if you want to have Americans brush their teeth on a daily basis, make it illegal. I'm not sure why the United States has this attitude, but we do, and I think we always will.
What's really troubling is how most people are so quick to give a knee jerk emotional reaction to the device used to kill innocent children, which I guess includes me as well because I went on for a few paragraphs about it, and what's lacking in our dialogue is how we as a nation have failed to take mental illness seriously, passing it off as simple evil. I'd like to see our Federal government take another look at how we as a society should treat people with such illnesses, something Regan's administration butchered. That'll probably never happen when we're distracted with big scary guns. I wish the only weapon we could own and carry would be a lightsaber. But remember, if we ban all lightsabers, only Sith would own them.
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson

Dec 16, 2012

Wiwille goes without cell phone, is unsure of feelings

The other day I experienced a horror to often felt by many, my cell phone battery died, at noon, without a charger in site, and I was at work. Not a huge deal as I did have access to my desk phone and the internet of course, but I had to make the perilous journey to run errands and then make it home, all without a phone with me. My wife's battery was biting the tool as well, so it only made sense to make my first stop to purchase two batteries. I thought if I really need to get a hold of someone, I could use a payphone, but then again outside of an airport I can't recall the last time I've laid eyes on a phone that requires coins to use.
So I decided to head down to the place where I've purchased all my cell phone and cell phone accessories, the AT&T store. I get out of my car and a salesman saw me walk up and opened and held the door open for me. He then asked me if I needed help, and I told him I was looking for new cell phone batteries for my wife and I. He then stopped and told me they no longer carried batteries. I glanced around the store and saw every other kind of object related to the use of a cell phone, from headphones to all kinds of chargers, and was mildly perplexed that they no longer carry them. I asked them when this policy took place, which was a waste of breath as the fact remained there were no batteries there even if he said ten minutes ago. He told me they haven't sold those kind accessories in a while. I explained that a battery is no more of an accessory than an engine is to my car, as it's a vital component to make it function as advertised, but that was unfair to the salesman as he was just repeating a speech he's made a hundred times and just misspoke, and I was wasting his time. He then had a moment of honesty and told me the company would rather sell a new phone than a battery, which makes sense. He referred me to a place called Batteries Plus, an establishment I'm not at all familiar with, but thanked him for his time and made my exit.
In the shopping complex is a Best Buy, which I recalled sells cell phones, so I stopped by to see if they could help. I walked in and a guy offered his assistance and I told him what I was looking for. He looked at me quizzically, then stated that was a good question, which was weird, because I phrased it as a statement, but whatever. Anyways he asked a co-worker if they sold cell phone batteries, the co-worker then looked at me and said the best place to go would be Batteries Plus.
So I go to Target to pick up some things, but that morning the wife asked me to call her when I got there, and the store did not have a pay phone. So I picked up my items and went home.
Nothing of consequence happened when I was without a cell phone, nor as a result of it. Still I felt a twinge of paranoia, as if something critical would happen and I would be none the wiser. Whether it would be something involving the family, or a cataclysmic world event, I felt the fear of not being informed, whether my knowledge would be of any benefit  to anyone or not didn't matter to me. But then I thought to myself I've lived without a cell phone for 28 years, and I survived just fine, but yet I developed an unhealthy addiction to my information gateway, and it's been giving me the illusion of security, and maybe the delusion that I matter in all manners.
"Apparently we love our own cell phones but we hate everyone else's." - Joe Bob Briggs 

Dec 7, 2012

Overrated films part 33

I know a lot of films on my Overrated list are those that are beloved by many, and granted all of them have at least a few redeeming qualities at best, and I can understand their massive appeal, even though I personally have no interest in seeing most, if not all, ever again. Pop art has almost a limitless budget to convince the masses that what they're viewing or listening to is good, whether it is or not.
There are a few Holiday staples that have stood the test of time and have become classics many families have come to enjoy, such as the crowd pleasing It's a Wonderful Life, the hilarious antics in A Christmas Story, Scrooged, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, the morality tales of the various versions of A Christmas Carol, and the charming sweetness of the original Miracle on 34th Street. One film that seems to be a now must watch Holiday movie is Elf, one I really don't care for.
Elf is the story of William, who as a baby sneaks into Santa's sack of toys, and ends up being adopted by Father Christmas and his wife. Raised as Kris Kringle's helper, William grows up, towering over all the others, and is finally told the story of how he came to be a part of the North Pole workforce, and then goes to find his birth family. He travels to New York and comes across his father, who works for a book publisher and isn't happy to meet his long lost son, for whatever reason.
William then traverses the metropolitan landscape, trying to understand the commercialized world we inhabit, falls in love, and does anything and everything to be accepted by his long lost Dad. It's mostly a fish out of water story, which you've seen dozens of times, and Will Ferrell is mostly acting like a man child, which is quite a stretch for him I know. The humor can give someone a smile, but with the exception of the short person author scene, it's mostly only funny once, and repeated viewings don't hold up. The climax is as stupid as it is predictable, and the movie just has an uneven feel for me. While the film does have its merits, some good light hearted humor, and a charming performance by the lovely hipster queen Zooey Deschanell, it's a silly film that I find largely forgettable. It has captured the imaginations of many, but we'll see if it stands the test of time as the previously mentioned Christmas classics have.
"Amorphous and ill-formed, relying solely on the strength of the gags to win the day." - Rob Faux