Monday, December 21, 2009

Wasting Your Own Time and Money: Random Acts of Kindness

Throw out all references to Random Acts of Kindness… it is utter bullshit.

First of all, it is hardly random. You walk in to your local grocery store (already not random) and pay for someone’s groceries… whose groceries? The people who look poor? Not random. The people merely look poor… are they indeed needy or simply wearing old, comfortable clothes? What if you really wouldn't know a poor person if he jumped up and bit you on the ass? (Of course your judgment isn't sound... you want to practice "random acts of kindness" like a dutiful and mindless little quasi-lefty jackass.)

Secondly, why not have a purpose or a meaning behind your generosity? I know why… more than likely it is because giving with meaning takes a little more effort. If you intend to give generously, give to someone who actually needs and deserves your gift!

Perhaps you concern yourself with the plight of the homeless… if that is so, then randomly giving out cash to folks who merely fit the description on the street amounts to patting yourself on the back and showing other people how kind you look. You want to help the homeless? Get some of your old clothes and blankets and coats and gloves and hats and so on. Buy some new ones if you need. Bring that to a homeless shelter or to your local church or synagogue. Volunteer some time there giving those folks soup, cleaning up the place, offer to do odd jobs or offer to pay someone to do repairs.

See a soldier or a cop or a fire fighter or someone from a rescue crew at a restaurant or a bar or a store… quietly buy a gift card and give it to the cashier or waiter before the person checks out. Tell the cashier or waiter or manager to give the person the gift card, or pay for their purchases completely. Send beverages to their base or headquarters or where ever these folks work… hot ones on cold nights or cold ones on hot afternoons.

See someone working late night during a big game? Maybe a telephone repairman is out fixing the cables in your neighborhood on a holiday. Don’t forget the folks braving the traffic as they fix your roads… in the rain or snow. They would enjoy the kindness of a grateful citizen or neighbor bringing a box of cookies, a six- or twelve-pack of drinks, or a gift certificate for a meal on their way home.

Random Acts of Kindness is for well-intentioned, empty-headed hippies. Purposeful generosity and meaningful gratitude makes much better use out of your time and your gift.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wasting the Peoples' Time AND Money

Are they insane?!?!?!

As mentioned in my previous post, of course they are, but this ain't because of puppy love or the ignorance of youth.
Irritated with loud commercials, the California Democrat found it was also a common complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. So she drafted a bill aimed at preventing TV ads from playing noticeably louder than the programs they sponsor.

(Emphasis mine.)

Of course it was a Democrat! Of course, I'll give you dollars to donuts there are more than enough RINOs getting on board so they can pander to the public.

The Monterey Herald features an editorial on this issue:
Loud commercials truly are one of life's annoyances. On a scale of 10, they rank a 2 or maybe even a 3. As far as nuisances go, they are almost as bad as commercials that are on too often, especially this time of year. Who among us does not know that every kiss begins with K?

But learning that there is legislation pending in Washington to regulate the volume of televised commercials is almost enough to send us searching for information on how to become Libertarians. As originally written by Palo Alto Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, the bill would have prescribed that the volume of TV ads be no louder than the average maximum loudness of the programs they were interrupting. She amended the language later to let the broadcast industry work out the details. What a relief!

The writer considers other "useful" legislative options should this one get pushed through:
· Food service: Waiters should not be allowed to cross the room in a restaurant without looking at the diners they are responsible for. First offense, felony.

· Toothbrushes advertised as "soft" should have to stay that way, statutorily.

· Our own congressman should introduce legislation requiring pharmacies to fill prescriptions within 10 minutes.

How about someone pass legislation requiring public servants read and comprehend the Constitution of the United States of America... and tested... often.

How about that?

However, even this massive turd has a silver lining... consider the damage the House and Senate CANNOT do because they spend their time on this jackassary.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Is it possible the whole world has gone mad?

What a ridiculous question… that’s one of the states of mankind. It seems like we all go a bit mad now and again.

Youth experiences ongoing and persistent madness, at least from the perspective of adults… which sends parents over the edge with madness. Love makes madmen of us all, while unrequited love makes us insufferably loony. Just ask your friends from high school.

Al Gore doesn’t merely make his opponents crazy, he makes his own supporters crazy! Even folks who don’t have much time for AlGore but adhere to his wacky environmental proclamations seem at least a little bit off their heads.

James Cameron, director of That Damn Boat Movie, made a new sci-fi action film with eye-popping visual effects and a thinly veiled message about raping the planet… and spent more than any other film doing it.

A film. You know… celluloid with still images used to make moving pictures with incredibly bright lights and loud sounds in a large comfortable room surrounded by parked cars. And it plays in these rooms around twelve hours out of a 24-hour day.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Christmas Viewing

One surefire way to get ready for Christmas: watch Christmas films or television programs. Unfortunately, considering some of the material, that’s also a surefire way to kill the Christmas spirit. Then again, so is Christmas shopping in crowds of mean spirited jackasses. Perhaps too much and too soon, especially in the wrong tone, should be a warning sign.

As a film and television fan, I love a night’s worth of entertainment with friends or family. Nothing beats cozying up on the couch with a sweet TV special or a fun movie… which is probably why so many specials and films come out with a Christmas theme or story. However, it’s easy to find something that merely uses Christmas as a setting or a backdrop and not as an element of the story, or the reason for the story.

British television seems to have a tradition of big deal productions on Christmas, but Christmas is only the vehicle. There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself… Only Fools and Horses is funny and enjoyable, Doctor Who is exciting and thrilling (especially Voyage of the Damned), but sometimes you want something with a stronger meaning. Something that does more than entertain.

As a kid I often resented the obligatory Christmas message in television programs. To be sure, I wasn’t ready for it, but also some of those shows probably could have used a bit more care in getting the message across.

You might group these shows and movies into three types:
• Real Christmas stories that relate to Jesus, God, and the religious message
• Family stories that involve people during Christmastime
• Peripheral stories like Santa, Rudolph, elves, the giving of presents, and so on

The real Christmas stories include The Nativity Story and probably A Christmas Carol or Scrooge, depending on the production.

For the second type, you can’t get much better than “A Christmas Story”. Say what you will about how often the movie gets played, but I’m very fond of this movie. The message was right there out in the open, winding its way to the end, but it used an endearing series of vignettes to get from the beginning to the end.

The peripheral stories, while a number of them are rather nostalgic, usually don’t amount to much. Folks who are not fans of Blackadder probably won’t find themselves watching Blackadder’s Christmas Carol. The classic Frosty the Snowman cartoon while cute, especially if you have children, doesn’t do much heavy lifting.

Speaking of that Frosty cartoon… Mitchell from Our Word comments on the idea that it might have a poor man’s version of Christ in the story. The next time you watch it, consider various story elements. While it conveniently leaves out, to my memory, any reference to Jesus and God, there are thematic similarities. Whether or not they are intended as references to Christ is for the writers and producers to tell you… but remember that Frosty sacrifices himself to prevent the little girl from freezing to death and Frosty also comes back after he melts. Read the Mitchell’s post… he even comments on an Old Testament connection in Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, which features the same writer as the Frosty cartoon. It seems there is at least an argument to be made that the similarities are intentional.

All this makes me want to go over a number of films and shows I own or can get my hands on. “Elf” recently became a new Christmas favorite, in spite of the fact that it is merely a charming story that simply wears the trappings of Christmas… the Rankin-Bass parodies, Ed Asner’s Santa, and Bob Newhart really made it a pleasant surprise.

I’ll gladly take recommendations on what to watch, and chastisement on what I haven’t seen. I'm partial to George C. Scott in "A Christmas Carol" from 1984, Alastair Simm's "Scrooge" from 1951, and as a Saturday Night Live fan from the 70s I'm fond of Bill Murray in "Scrooged". The Christmas episodes and specials from Bless Me Father, Good Neighbors (The Good Life for those of you from the UK), Mr. Bean, To the Manor Born, and The Twilight Zone (an epsidoe featuring the brilliant Art Carney) likewise warm my heart.

I don't recall the episodes, but I found two Christmas episodes listed for The X-Files... and since I really enjoy the series I'm going to need to remind myself. I remember some kind of X-Files episode with Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin, but I don't know if it was one of those Christmas episodes.

The family watched a couple of scenes from the Doctor Who Christmas specials this past week... a great scene with a bride kidnapped in a London taxi cab (and the Doctor's fly-by rescue in his TARDIS), and an even better scene where a space-cruiseliner nearly crashes into Earth (specifically Buckinham Palace).

What's for this week? Your guess is as good as mine... but rest assured it won't be the Star Wars Holiday Special. ;)
Although, to be fair, Art Carney does quite well in that... he was a genius.