Tuesday, November 27, 2007

All Hail the Snow Demons

Oooooh boy. This had better be true. Click here to read the weather predictions of yet another blogger, author of Fresh Bilge. For those of you that have no interest in/love for snow, don't bother, but for those of you who are, please note these direct quotes if you don't feel like link-surfing:

"A substantial storm will also pass over the Midwest in the next week", and, "Heavy snow is certain for the interior." Some of that had better get dropped over Iowa.

With the snow will come sledding, purtyness, the inevitable whining of my snow-hating friends, and an intensifying of the already premature holiday spirit beginning to permeate the air. (I mean, come on people, it's November. You're ruining the weeks-away holiday. Stop with the Christmas cheer! Stop!) Also with this will come heightened goofiness by the politically correct, a "winter" break that just happens to be centered around Christmas, and people complaining that the holiday decorations on their neighbor's lawn are oppressing their religious freedom. Here's in angry anticipation of many self-hating people of Christian background bewailing the obvious attempts to convert people to Christianity, and stamp out their other traditions, hidden in those cheesy little lit-up plastic pine trees and the public celebration of a Christian holiday.

In the mean time, let it snow, weather demons, let it snow.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Eminent Domain

A few months ago, a silly eminent domain claim by the city was shot down here in our town. To make a long story short, the city would have bulldozed multiple homes and relocated several unwilling families for a project that would have provided little or no benefits to the city, namely, enlarging a road that wasn't even busy. Of course, the citizens got angry, people protested, and eventually the families were allowed to stay put. The system was working, at least for once.

But, it isn't working so well in other places. This link pretty much covers a recent and ridiculous case of land-grabbing in Colorado. This time, though, the grabbing was not by the government, or for any purpose, but just by some guy with some power who wanted his neighbor's property.

The legal landowners better damn well win that case. This America, people; this stuff is supposed to be prevented by law.

Also of some amusingish interest-- check out the, "Ignorant flippin' out over coin" story on the left side of the page linked to above. Real imaginary.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Censored Compass

I read Philip Pullman's book, The Golden Compass, along with the other books in the series it belongs to, many years ago. I often wondered when these worthy stories would be put to the silver screen, and, now, here we finally go.

After seeing a trailer for this film, I thought, "Why, people, why must we always blondify our main characters?" Mrs. Coulter, the sadistic mother of the main character of The GC, is often and explicitly described as dark-haired in the book, but of course, her character is being portrayed by freaking platinum Nicole Kidman! Now while you may be wondering why I am flipping out over so minor a detail, I must say that this is not an isolated incidence. It seems that several characters, at least that I have seen, that are supposed to be dark and beautiful originally are being put into the movies blonde and bland. It's just...irritating, ya know?

But far more rant-worthy are the reactions of the producers of the film and some religious groups to the religious themes in the novels (see link). These stories depict the Christian religion as headed by a powerful, controlling, cruel and fanatical group. They also show the denizens of Heaven to be corrupt beings, weaker than humans, that eventually go to war with mankind, while portraying the cast-downs of Hell as a righteous group attempting to overthrow the head angel in Heaven. Still, these are all just stories, pure and simple. When I read these novels, I never felt that they attacked actual Christianity in any way, but that is beside the point. Even if they did, authors, film makers, and the rest of us in the country have the right to say whatever we damn well please. Glossing over these aspects of the plot, as the producers of this movie intend to do, is totally unnecessary and possibly detrimental to the story. As for those out there saying that this movie is promoting 'atheism for kids', or the dislike of God; these books never say that God doesn't exist...although they do portray him as an innocent and powerless entity... or display any 'hatred' for God, but once again, even if they did, sometimes fiction is just fiction, and censorship is still censorship. I know that the author himself has made open statements about how he himself is atheist, and that God will die in his stories, but the books themselves, as I said before, did not project any feeling of hatred toward actual modern day Christianity.

I will add, though, that I doubt these movies will do the books they are based on any justice. I think the stories have too many subtle subplots and concepts. And while the producers may pull it off, I am wondering how they are going to get across the vital concept of daemons in the film. I know most of you probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but, hey, if you leave a comment on this, I'm happy to give you a long-winded explanation.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all

Not a rant! Hope everybody out there has a fun and foodful holiday. Well, at least everyone out there I like. With lots of potatoes. And pumpkin pie. I love punkin pie. With tasty gravy. And a big golden turkey!

And for those of you that live in the colder climes, I hope you are sharing my irrational, childish glee at the first snowfall of the season. The Ranting Kid shall spend the day glued to a window, staring at the frozen H2O coming down, hoarding bits of mashed up Yukon Golds and slices of cold pumpkin paste, and getting ordered to polish the good silver by her mother.

Joy and calories to all!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bright and Shiny!

As stated in la profile, I am probably one of the few teenage females out there that likes our poor under-appreciated friends, the snakes. While I am sure few will agree with my personal opinion that snakes are cute, you have got to admit that some of them can be frikkin' gorgeous in the pigment department. Couldn't resist slapping up a few snake pictures. Well, links to snake pictures. Check out these brightly colored corn snakes, here, here, and here.

Euro-Bashing Time!

I hope this does not bode ill for America. The country responsible for spawning the U.S., as you may know, banned hand guns a while back, and started prosecuting those who try to defend themselves against armed robbery. (For those of you that have not heard of the Tony Martin case, it deals with a farmer who, after having his house burglarized several times, fired upon the next batch of robbers that turned up, and was sentenced to five years in jail for manslaughter).

And, of course, after the British populous was disarmed and criminal activities became therefore easier to perpetrate and harder to stop, gun-crime rates went up. (Note that while Brits are unarmed and Americans are free to buy guns, gun crime rates in Britain are higher than they are in the U.S.) Some people fail to understand that even when guns are outlawed, the criminal class has no qualms about procuring arms for themselves by illegal means, while your average citizen is left defenseless. The Martin story is rather frightening, especially because it is set in Britain of all places. Since when is it morally wrong for someone whose home has been violated, his possessions stolen, and his life put in danger, to try to defend himself and his house? Some have argued this point with me, saying that a burglar should not be shot if he is merely trying to rob you. I responded with a, "Hell yes, you should be able to shoot robbers," because when someone trying to burglarize you, they probably do not have your best interests at heart. This person will either scamper off or attempt to hurt/kill you when you attempt to save your possessions.

Sigh. Why always with the liberal/general nuttiness policies these days? We need some basic morality over there in Britain. Some common sense. At least the American government hasn't started viewing violent crime in this manner. Yet. Sigh. Or argh. I'm not sure which exasperated noise is appropriate here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Of Drugs, Bullying, and Things That Flatter Your Waistline

The curriculum for my classes during my final year of middle school was very, very strange. For many, many, MANY years the students in this district can expect to be hammerred with constant and obnoxious information about drugs; in middle school the drug propaganda machine went into overdrive. While I know it is important to be educated about such nasty things, it is NOT necessary to be given the exact same speech about cigarettes and beer several times a month, year after year after year. It is also not necessary to teach that cigarettes and alcohol are pure evil (my homeroom teacher once threatened to give a student sessions with a counselor for saying the word 'drunk'), while avoiding teaching the kiddies about such truly dangerous things as, say, crack, heroin, or meth, a drug which is actually a problem in our area. During this drugs-and-alcohol class we had to attend every other day in the 8th grade, we were also lectured by 'bullying' experts, which we probably the most angrifying of all.

For those of you adults that may have heard of these bullying programs and their aims to to eradicate harassment in schools; every program I have ever encountered was, quite frankly, a very, very large load of offensive stuff. Every speaker that came in to lecture us on the topic had absolutely no idea what they were talking about.

Firstly, these people's idea of 'bullying' was the student's idea of normal human interaction, a.k.a. having one's own friends and speaking to people that one knew at least a slight bit. They didn't seem to realize that most people do not enjoy being forced to socialize with people that do not know them; they didn't seem to understand that most children have a certain group of other young humans they tend to hang about with. The fact that people will mutually have no interest in one another because they have never met seemed to confuse said lecturers. If the children had particular friends, this must mean they were inhuman and cruel to the other students that did not socialize with them, and obviously had no regard for the feelings of others--social engineering must be put into place at once. We had two or three "Bring Down The Walls" days forced upon us a year at my middle school. During this silly thing, one was ordered to sit amongst people that one did not know during lunch. (Of course, none or very few of the students complied).

Secondly, these 'bullying' bureaucrats did not punish actual bullying when it occurred. By actual bullying, I mean, for example, someone coming up to you and beating you up for your lunch money, ambushing you when you arrived at school in the mornings, or something along those lines. ACTUAL bullying. When ever such things occurred, their advice to us was to sit there while being beaten up and wait quietly for a teacher to come and assist, or to politely ask your assailant to stop hammering upon you. Under no circumstances should you, say, defend yourself, or anything like that. I did come across a few situations like this during my time in the lower grades. The person being attacked (an innocent party) generally did something to fight back, and pretty much always got punished more severely than their assailant. Why? Sure, the other person started it an all, and you were only defending yourself, but what did we teach you? Ask nicely, wait for the teacher. YOU should have known better.

AND, to top this all off, we had another class, one you have probably heard of, "Family and Consumer Sciences"(FCS) foisted upon us. This class did teach some useful skills, like sewing, basic kitchen skills, etc, but also had some of the most ridiculous units I have ever seen in a curriculum. My class spent about two weeks researching what kind of clothes we should wear. What body type we had. What clothes looked good on us. W.T.F?!?!

While I must add that my high school doesn't seem so dang ridiculous, I must ask the older population out there: Did middle school affairs used to be this bad?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It Made Us Sound All Good And Stuff

After deciding to come back to the topic of anti-Americanism, I decided to dredge up this li'l anecdote to show the hell-in-a-handbasket-ness of the situation. This particular story took place about a month ago in the midst of a history lesson at my high school.

When one is enrolled in an honors class, one is not hammered by the constant teaching of the American Revolution, the American Civil War, and JIM CROW JIM CROW JIM CROW and MORE JIM CROW year after year, but is taught some of the history of the rest of the world. While tracking Japan's progress to the modern day, we were asked to write up some summaries in a small group of certain parts of Japan's experience in the second World War. One kid in my group seemed a bit baffled after reading about Japan's reconstruction.

"It makes it sound like Japan did evil things," he stated simply.

"They did all the things listed in there," I replied, referring to the textbook.

"Yeah but...but it makes the Americans sound all good and stuff,"

"Well... do you think the book's lying, or something?" I answered.

"I bet it's not telling the whole story,"

"What more did you expect?" I said.

"Well, we... we must have done something wrong," The kid didn't even know about the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, it seemed.

But of course, America must have done something wrong, just as my classmate stated, because America is the most evil country in the world, of course, and would never do anything all good and stuff. Even if there is there is no reason for us to believe America has done something wrong, either because of our ignorance or because there truly is no reason, we must always remain watchful for any misstep of this horrible superpower. Don't the democratic, peace-loving countries of the Middle East call the U.S., "the Great Satan"? And they are of course morally superior. Even if we went in and helped rebuild a country we defeated after peace was declared after WW II, a war which we entered because of a massacre of our people by said defeated country, all wrong doing by the enemy must be over looked because they were fighting America, and America must be bashed at all costs.

As an American myself, I would still say I would rather live here than in any other place on the world, first and foremost because it is free and democratic. I would chose this place over all other Western democratic countries as well because A) while PC corruption may be rampant here, it is far worse in other places, and B) because here, I'm still allowed my gun. Not that I own one.

Some anti-Americanism is just plain irrational, as I found when I took in this video of Avi Lewis interviewing Ayaan Hirsi Ali*. Interesting how the person who was defending America was the one who actually lived there, and the America-basher may never have set foot there in his life, for all I know. He also said some things that I found just a bit nutty. "A place where evangelical Christianity has ascended to the highest ranks of power"? Sure, buddy. I find it hard to believe that all the attempts to erase any reference to Christian religion and Christian holidays in America are the work of our hidden theocratic government.

Of course, America has done plenty it should not be proud of; I am in no way saying that all criticism of the U.S. is unfounded. I have no problem with America-bashing if said bashing is logical. But, I also hate the attitude that America is the only country in the world that commits wrong-doings. As I said to my classmate later on in our argument over post-war Japan: Everybody is a jerk. Practically every country or group of people on the planet has done something awful to another country or group of people. America in no way spearheaded this trend; the human race did.

*A bit off topic, but I must say that I really admire Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Not only is she incredibly brave, she's also good and logical, as you saw from the video clip. She also deals with the illogical very calmly and patiently, something which I am not the best at doing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Random Polygamy Post, With a Side of Gay Rights

After deciding to rant on the subject of (unfounded, irrational) anti-Americanism, I started poking around the Economist's (a British newspaper) blog, "Democracy in America', looking for some angrifying tidbit or other, but actually stumbling across a post that made me angrier at Americans than at any anti-Americans. These poll results didn't exactly thrill me on whole. The statics concerning homosexuality and polygamy stuck out especially. And the evolution/creationism stuff...maybe a later rant? (Note to British Blogger; that sort of stuff doesn't just 'stop the European types in their tracks', it gets some Americans pretty damn riled up as well).

Listen, people, when we stop seeing the disadvantages of things like polygamy, we prove some of the old 'world's going to hell in a handbasket' fogies right. No one out there wants that, I hope. People argue that polygamy is morally all right if it only involves consenting adults; they argue that if gay people are getting their marriage rights, the polygamists should get theirs. Even with the basic moral issues of one guy married to multiple females put aside, polygamy really isn't even on the same plane as gay marriage. When polygamist societies arise, marriages involving under-age girls and unwilling parties pretty much always begin taking place. In polygamist societies, women will gravitate to, or be forcibly married to, the men with wealth and power, since a married man with money would no longer be a taken man. This leaves the poorer classes of males partnerless. When the poor young men of a society have nothing to do/no one to take care of/no mate to keep an eye on them, it usually results in higher violent crime rates for the community they belong to. If the secret polygamist societies in Utah are anything to go by, it could even result in the younger males being driven out by the older, more powerful men looking to keep all the women to themselves.

No doubt pro-polygamy parties will say that in their own vision of the ideal society, such forced marriages and other problems involving wealth and power could be dealt with by law...as with regular old marriages, it is illegal to force some one (especially an underaged someone) to marry you, or run their fiance out of town. Even so, doesn't polygamy seem to be a sexist system to anyone else out there? The word 'polygamy' implies one man married to many women; not one woman married to multiple men. The polygamist principle sees the female as something to be acquired, or bought, and even accumulated, regardless of the female's wishes (at least in traditional polygamist systems). And, while I know people are free to marry as they chose, as they should, women could still gravitate towards the upper class and therefore cause trouble in the lower and middle classes, if said society were polygamist.

As for the results of the poll concerning homosexuality: The people polled may genuinely think that being gay is morally wrong for their own secular reasons. But, in the Ranting Kid's experience, she has found that many people will point to the fact that the Bible denounces homosexuality as their main argument against it. The Ranting Kid is also so very damn sick and tired of people covering their ears and sticking their heads in the religious sand when confronted with a secular matter of people's rights. As for those polled that think being gay should be considered a crime, I simply can't think of anything good to say to those sorts. As far as I can tell, most scientific evidence shows us that homosexuality is probably caused (for the most part) by hormone goof-ups in the mother's womb while the baby is gestating.

Definitely criminal behavior, that hormone messing-upping. But who should be punished for it, mother or baby? It must be somebody's fault, but whose?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

1984; the 2007 Version

Holy *#&%#@.
I can't believe this is happening in the U.S. of A. Although I have read the program explained in the article is no longer mandatory, the thought of this leaking out of the 60's from behind the Iron Curtain and into a modern democratic country still makes the Ranting Kid feel ever so slightly angry with rage. You normal people get that sometimes, right?

But seriously, who let this program get off the ground instead of being laughed off the drawing board?