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Tag: society

October 14 2012

I just witnessed something pretty awful. You may or may not want to read this.

I was at a playground at a peaceful park full of young children. A woman walked up with a little boy, and she had a sweet older dog on a leash with her. At one point they were surrounded by little kids. One of the young girls (about three years old) scared the dog and he suddenly bit her once right on the face. The woman immediately took control of the dog and began calling for help. The girl’s parents were playing volleyball away from the playground, so it took them some time to realize what was going on. Once they did they were furious. I could tell by how upset they were getting that the police needed to be there, so I called 911 and explained to them they needed to get there soon.

I’m sure the little girl will be fine, but I’m worried this may scar her mentally or physically. I’m worried about the fate of the dog, who I could clearly tell was not a bad animal. I’m also worried about the young woman that brought him because she did nothing wrong, but it’s possible that they might try to press charges on her. I feel bad for the owner of the dog, who wasn’t even there. And I feel bad for the little boy that was with her because he was clearly shaken by the whole event that he had nothing to with.

I wish there was a way to make this better for everyone, but I don’t know how I could. That family is going to want an impossible kind of justice, and that woman may face an unnecessary punishment. Accidents like this set our society back because they take away our ability to do anything but feel. And right now I can promise you that no one involved feels good.

October 18 2009

Q: American Girl Doll…the new American Girl HOMELESS Doll, priced at $95…Has the world gone mad!?

A: The fact that you find this appalling is proof that we have not, in fact, gone mad…yet. :o)

July 18 2007

I used to have one of the Bluetooth earpieces, but that was when they first came out. I’ve never been that comfortable with it, and that was long before everyone was wearing one. I got one as a gift, and honestly, I only wore it around that person so they knew I appreciated it. In fact, I never use it except while I’m driving on long road trips. And even then, I don’t wear it except when I’m on the phone.

The problem with wearing these right now is that they’re just not necessary. People are not so busy while they’re shopping or eating to need a phone at the ready, like a gunslinger with his pistol on his hip. I don’t think it’s bad to wear one…just silly. I mean, it just comes off as a wannabe status symbol when you wear it like jewelry.

Besides, (and here’s the geeky part) these earpieces don’t even DO anything right now! First of all, they require that you own an actual cellphone and that you keep it within twenty-or-so feet of you. And all they can do is answer the phone, turn the volume up and down, and activate voicemail (after you set it up in the cellphone). Whoopity-doo! I can do that myself.

Once they really do connect us like the Borg, connecting us seamlessly with millions of other creatures, and anyone not wearing one will look silly, then it’ll be perfectly normal have one of those glowing pieces of plastic stuck to your ear. Until then, this über geek is still going to hold out for the real gadgets.

Oh, and if you’re reading this thread you might as well check this out: Look at me! I’m a cyborg! :o)

July 26 2005

For the past half century or more, the ideal of a family in the United States was the nuclear family. Though the definition has changed somewhat to be more inclusive, it has not changed the fundamental nature of it. Ideal though it may seem, there are drawbacks to this type of family, which has likely led to its steady decline in popularity.

The image we typically have when we think of the nuclear family is a smiling husband, returning from a hard day’s work; a smiling wife, wearing her apron and holding a freshly-baked pie; and a young boy and girl, taking just enough time from their homework to look up and smile at the camera. Though this ideal became the norm in the middle of the last century, it was too restrictive of an idea to completely consume the whole nation, especially considering the wide variety of circumstances Americans encounter in life. As time progressed, its definition was slightly redefined to include any man, with any woman, with any number of children, living in a single household. Though this was more inclusive and accurate, it changed nothing about the fundamental aspects of nuclear families.

The initial appeal of a nuclear family was, to many, self-evident. The man of the household would spend a full day at work, the woman would spend a full day working on the home, and it would allow the family time in the evenings to focus on activities that would bring them closer. Also, since the U.S. was hardly concerned with agricultural concerns, many nuclear families had to be able to move when the jobs moved. A nuclear family, with the dominance seated firmly in the bread-winning male, would have relatively little financial difficultly making the move. With so much dependence on the head of the household to provide, it brought the family as a unit closer together, making it possible for them fend for themselves as a group. With a clearly-defined hierarchy and its ability to work as a single entity, it is clear why the traditional nuclear family was long considered ideal to many in the U.S. and Canada.

But all of these positive traits ignore several glaring problems. First of all, most of these advantages are dependent on the idea that the family be subservient to the male head of the household. He must also be able to consistently provide for three or more people, technically forever. In a real modern household, most families require the woman to also help with the bills by getting some kind of job outside the home. This creates the obvious problem of the wife doing double duty, working at home and working at work. Ideal though this may be to the man, there are obviously many women who do not find this appealing enough to enter (or remain, for that matter) into marriage. Aside from the androcentric problems experienced in nuclear families, the isolation of the family unit from the rest of kin makes the independence of the family unit problematically imperative. Young mothers are separated from the relatives that could help her physically and emotionally through the ordeal, leaving such care primarily up to hospital and other relatively impersonal care workers. And once the children are gone, the tradition of the nuclear lifestyle may be hard for the woman to break out of, leaving her a permanent housewife.

These serious problems with nuclear family structure, coupled with the increase of awareness about equality both in the home and in the workplace, have likely led to the steady decrease in nuclear households. Though it can be argued it is no more flawed than most other forms of families, the dynamic nature of personal relationships and other circumstances mean that more than one type of family may be needed to fulfill everyone’s needs. Though the traditional nuclear family has its flaws, in some cases it has proven to be a valuable method for establishing a family. Perhaps there is no perfect example of how all families should be, but rather, that there are several examples of families that may be perfect for some people.

September 23 2002

Every year, tens of thousands of hard working students, teachers, and volunteers put forth a tremendous amount of energy to provide entertainment for half-time shows around the nation. Is this why they do it? To make sure those who aren’t going to the snack bar don’t get bored? Well, if you know any of these people, you know the answer is an undeniable NO!

I am an alumni of the Goin’ Band from Raiderland, one of the biggest (and best ;o) marching bands in the nation. I have spent hours and hours standing in the hot sun, memorizing music and sets, wearing hot suits and generally working my tail off to be a part of this fantastic organization. Now, I know I’m not the only person that has worked hard to be a part of such a fun organization, so that’s why I’m writing this letter.

I know that (literally) tens of thousands of people are involved in one marching band or another right now, and there will be many more in the future.

This past Saturday, I was watching my alma mater play, and for the first time in several years, I was not in uniform at the game. While I enjoyed sitting in an air-conditioned house, I did not enjoy having to listen carefully for the band. During a lull in the game, the camera followed one of the referees around as he grabbed a bottle of water, passed it to another ref, and drank. The announcer even stopped to circle the bottle of water as he drank it. What is the point of this!? The whole time the zebras (who I have the utmost respect for) were on the screen, my favorite band was playing. Did the camera even look at them? Was there a mic set up to listen to them? NO! Somehow, a handful of refs was more important than the 400 students, working and sweating their butts off in the stands.

September 3 2002

Connections

Growing up in this society
Tends to erase the variety
By restricting your options
And forcing conformation

People say it’s not okay
To do this or do that
But somehow, for some reason
Its okay to be stupid but not fat.

Everything that we say
Is subject to fierce scrutiny.
And everything that we do
Is bound to motive mutiny

God is often forced upon us
Even if it makes us sick
And just because we do not listen
That makes us a heretic.

Hocus pocus, yadda yadda
Everything has a meaning.
But if you look all about you
You’d see a need for spiritual cleaning.

The debate becomes about a God
Which really there is no proof.
And really the discussion should be
What is real and what is spoof.

Beliefs are odd,
One must admit.
Just look at a cross
And think of it.

Jesus may have died upon
That horrible, wooden crucifix
But if he came back today
That sight again, might make him sick.

The irony of this place
Is tolerance, or lack thereof.
Too many people are full of hate
When really they should spread the love.

April 12 2002

Git Yer Guns Up!

A strange ritual occurs in our stands every home game. When someone on the field fails to get up after the play, the crowd suddenly demands silence and hands in the air. The problem here is the hypocritical nature of it all. I realize this is to show respect for the downed player, but since when do these fans care? Everyone yells during a game, that is part of the fun. Many of us wish for the utter defeat of the opposing team, and secretly hope that their star player gets injured (especially when we are behind). After a good tackle, we chant: “Hit ’em again! Hit ’em again! Harder! Harder!”

I understand it is a sign of respect, but it’s a football game, not a funeral. I honestly would hate to see some poor guy carted off the field by EMS crews, but 99% of these guys just get up and walk away. If he is really in that much pain, do you really think he notices (or cares) that you are suddenly concerned about him? How does being quiet and holding your hand in the air is going to make them feel any better? Like hockey, rugby, soccer, and real wrestling, football is a physical sport. They are fated to get hurt occasionally. That is the point. No pain, no gain. Right?

At one of last year’s home games, a girl in the band fell and practically busted her face open on the bleachers. Why didn’t the crowd stop the game for her? Incidentally, do you think it would have made her feel better if everyone in the stadium stopped to stare at her, bleeding all over her uniform? If you want to show support for an injured player, that is great. Get your “guns” up and hope for the best. However, imposing this “requirement” on other people is fascist. Unless they are being disrespectful, they are hurting no one.

April 11 2002

I am not sure who you are to complain to about these things, but I thought I would start here.

I attend Texas Tech University, and I really enjoy having the opportunity to walk to class among the manicured landscape, relaxing fountains, attractive architecture and (fairly) diverse population, especially now that it is springtime. The campus seems to be coming alive, and it is nice to relax outside before and after my classes. Unfortunately, it is not always relaxing.

There is a really cool guy who attends Tech that must have gotten a new motorcycle for Christmas or Valentine’s or Mother’s Day, or something, because he rides it around as if it is his newest toy. Now, I am not trying to pick on the guy, but I am no longer able to contain myself. His bike is not exactly the most subdued vehicle on the road. In fact, it is probably the loudest thing you can legally(?) own on two wheels. The problem is that he feels it necessary to share his horribly loud bike with the rest of campus every day.

You may know who I am talking about, and if not, just walk around campus during the noon hour. You will hear him roaring through the campus, I promise. If you don’t believe me, just test it out next time you are on campus. He drives around Memorial Circle, by the UC, and parks in the lot just north of Holden Hall. How do I know this? Do I follow him around? No. I just walk to class and listen to the dull roar echoing through campus. I hope it annoys you as much as it does me.

I live off campus, and I have to walk from a parking lot on the far side of University St. to my classes around Memorial Circle. As it happens, I walk right by this guy just about every day. He lives in University Plaza, the closest non-dorm housing to Tech. But, does he walk to class, considering he lives right across the street? Does he take advantage of the fact that he is so close to campus that he could probably wake up and make it to class in five minutes? No. He walks to the parking garage and gets on his bike. If he has a nice (and it is nice, I’ll give him that), new bike then that is just great. Good for him. I say, go get ’em, Tiger.

I think it is no coincidence that he picks the busiest time of the day to prance around campus. Is this some kind of stand against consideration of others? If he has something to say, could he maybe find a more intelligent way of saying it? This is college; at least, I think it is. Has anyone clued him into the fact that this is a place of higher education, and, unlike high school, not everyone finds loud motorcycles impressive?

Maybe, you might think, he is just fortunate enough to have such a groovy ride, and I should just leave him alone. Well, I am a full believer in the Libertarian idea of non-interference, but he is “interfering” with me and everyone else that he annoys. Today, for example, he drove by while I was in mid-sentence, and the sound of his bike drowned out my voice. I mean, is that absolutely necessary? This episode is, in and of itself, very insignificant, but it happens just about every day. Over the course of this semester, I guess it really has started to get on my nerves, and rather than do something stupid like put sugar in his gas tank or flatten his tires, I thought I would write a letter. I know I am not the only person on campus bothered by this.

Still, can you blame a guy for wanting to take his bike to class? Not really. I bet that if I had such a nice bike, I would be tempted to do the same. Tempted. But, there are places for things like that, and he should be smart enough to know that this is not one of them.

I am hesitant to suggest some kind of noise ban as those kinds of things tend to be misconstrued by bureaucracy. I can just envision someone instituting this kind of ban, and anyone with a noisy tailpipe gets a ticket, or worse. However, I do think that something should be done about the chronic, disruptive noise produced by this juvenile display. I would talk to him, but I don’t think he’d get the message. Maybe if I yelled it at him on his way to class.

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