Category Archives: Random Thoughts

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.

I’ve seen too many collections of ‘Pictures that Rocked the World’ for them to really do much world rocking. The pictures lose so much meaning when they’re dragged out at very chance just to sell another Life pictorial collection. I like looking through the collections, but I usually end up flipping through them rather quickly.

Not long ago, I came across this photo collections. Many of them are too overused to be of any great impact. How many times have you seen the picture of the sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square? When you last saw it, What did you think about? Did you think about the incredible excitement that everyone felt that day, knowing that the years of death and destruction were over? Sadly, even the picture of a Vietnamese monk burning himself to death doesn’t arouse much emotion. Through over-exposure and commercialization these have all but completely lost their meaning and their power. Still, there were two in that collection that really struck me.

First, the lone student defying the tanks in Tiananmen Square caught me. Maybe it did because two separate but very similar shots of the event were shown, giving me an immediate second look. I stared at the images for quite a while. Continue reading

The beauty of quitting is, now that I’ve quit, I can have one, ’cause I’ve quit.

A few years back I quit smoking cigarettes.  It was a good thing.  It was the smart thing to do.  I had already slowed to the pace of the occasional smoker, only with friends and only a night or two a week.  So when my wife to be asked me to cut the habit for good, I was fine with it.  It wasn’t the first time I had quit.  The college I went to had anti-smoking policies, so during the semesters I was nicotine free.  I’ve never had what I would consider an addiction: the hardest part of not smoking was feeling a bit awkward when hanging out with my still-smoking friends.  It was the fidgeting of my fingers that just felt empty, not a nervous need for a smoke.

I distinctly remember one of the times that I quit (don’t judge, most quit at least twice).  I had over half a pack left, but I had decided to drop it, at least for the time being.  I walked out of a grocery store and lit up my “last” one.  I looked down in the pack and saw all those lovely white sticks, those eleven or twelve perfectly recessed filters and wonderfully scripted blue type elegantly letting the reader know that the bit of heaven they are about to enjoy is a Parliament.

Now being the cheap person that I am, I couldn’t throw them away.  That had been my intention, but now that the moment of truth was upon me, the trashcan at my right hand, I couldn’t do it.  I know you’re probably thinking that I was just having second thoughts about quitting, but that really wasn’t it.  I couldn’t just throw them away.  I spent four bucks on that pack, and I wasn’t about to chuck it in the trash.
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Nothing new under the sun. Not a thing.

I am definitely a movie person. I love movies. I love comedies, dramas, action movies, foreign films and romantic comedies. I even watch dance movies with my wife. Not really my thing, but I’ll still watch them because I love movies. However, there is one genre that really irks me: sports movies. I just can’t really get into them.

For one thing, you always know how the movie is going to end. The good guy wins. There are a few exceptions (e.g. Rocky), but this is definitely the rule. This defect can be set aside, but the real issue I have is that pretty much every sports movie is the exact same. They might feature different sports, and they may have different settings, but they all have the same story. To illustrate my point, I present the plot outline of every sports movie ever made with examples on some points.

– Introduction to the underdog, illustrated with a crushing defeat, taunting by winners and depression
– New coach introduced (Might Ducks, Hoosiers, A League of their Own, Coach Carter, etc.)
– Everyone hates coach for unorthodox ideas (possible racial tension) (Remember the Titans, Glory Road, Mighty Ducks) Continue reading

Our best thoughts come from others. aka The Links Vol. 2

Here are a few more websites I think you all might enjoy. Give them a shot and let me know what you think.

Noisetrade.com – This site is a great place to find a few new bands. The music is available on a name your own price scheme, which is nice, or you can choose to invite three friends to download the same album and then you get it free. I’m sure I have annoyed friends who keep getting email invitations, but at least I’ve gotten some good music out of it. Downloads are full albums only, with about fifty albums available right now.

Daytrotter.com – The music information website is different than a lot of other music site out there. It’s hard to nail down just why I like it, but I do. Give it a shot, then maybe you can tell me why I like it.

NoDebtPlan.net – This is a good personal finance blog. Continue reading

Most of us become parents long before we have stopped being children.

Sometimes I am completely blown away by the ridiculousness of our society. This happened last night. We were both a bit tired last night and opted for a night in, watching a couple of shows and relaxing. The clocked rolled around to nine o’clock, and, flipping through the channels, we landed on NBC, and the most ridiculous (I really can’t think of a better word for it) idea for a reality show I have ever seen.

It was The Baby Borrowers. For the unfamiliar, the show involves several teenage couples being given a house and, you guessed it, a baby. The whole thing is dressed up as a social experiment, and that makes it okay, I guess. Think about it for a minute: couples willingly volunteered to loan their real babies to teenagers they have never met before. The teens keep the kid for three days and nights. Sure, the parents watch the whole thing via CCTV cameras, so supposedly that makes it safe. Has no one thought about the impact that being abandoned with total strangers for three days will have on the kids?
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You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

So here’s something that annoys me. Actually, I find it beyond frustrating.

I absolutely hate it when an author is asked a question about what happens his characters after the end of the book and he says something to the effect of “I’d like to think that they . . .”

Let’s step back from that for a minute and think about it. They are his characters; it is his story. The characters are figments of his imagination, and if he wants them to do something, then guess what? They have to do it. That’s the cool part about being an author: you are the absolute god over the world you create. Pretty spiffy.

The characters are not real, they don’t decide things, the author does. Your book might have been good, but it wasn’t so good that people actually began believing that your characters literally came to life.

Now maybe the author just doesn’t want to ruin it for the readers, wants to give them the option of finishing the story in their own minds. It’s a cop out, but I’ll accept it. Maybe he doesn’t want to risk making people dislike the story by adding more to it. That has happened to some (read: George Lucas).
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Philip Morris: Winning the war on Alzheimer’s since 1847.

My wife, Anna, is amazing. She is everything I could have hoped for, and we’re very happy. The thing is, though, we are completely different. I know the whole “opposites attract” thing, and I’m not complaining. Really it’s not annoying; it’s usually kind of funny.

One of our biggest differences is how we look at food. She is very healthy, thinking some light steamed vegetables over a bed of brown rice with a small side of chicken breast is the perfect meal. I happen to think most foods can be considerably improved with the addition of gravy. This isn’t the only difference, but its fairly indicative of our two schools of thought.

Every once in a while I read an article or come across a new medical study that, finally, supports something I do as being healthy. Not long ago, a study surfaced showing that by drinking four or more cups of coffee a day will help prevent colon cancer. Victory! Never mind the fact that the study also shoed increased stomach problems due to the volume of the caffeinated brew, you have to focus when reading these things.
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