Political Labels: Conservative vs Liberal – Side Notes

 

Side Notes

This is the first post in my “Side Notes” subseries of the broader “Political Series” of posts on this blog. “Side Notes” will be for when I give my flat opinion on an issue that I don’t believe requires a great deal of dissection and debate.

Is it odd that my first post after the “Rights and Role of Government” post is in the “Side Notes” subseries, rather than something like the “Economics” subseries or the “Race” subseries? Yeah, maybe, but I feel this particular topic should be addressed before going forward. Let’s get started, shall we?

Where I Stand Final

There is something pleasing about putting things in a box. By putting something in a box, you know what it is and where it is. It is either safe and treasured, or it can be forgotten and stored away in a closet. It is compartmentalized. Its contents will not mix with other materials. It is clean. Things can’t get messy, and pieces won’t become lost.

This is not too dissimilar from what we feel happens when we define a concept or term. By putting a box around something, we feel we have solidified it in some way. We have control over it. Fortunately or unfortunately, that is not how language works. Instead we find that the box is made of cardboard, and our concepts and ideas are liquid and leaking through.

So when it comes to terms like “Conservative” or “Liberal,” we may feel we have put a really solid definition on these that are immutable. They aren’t messy, surely. There is always air space between them. If a politician or a policy fails to fit the definition, then that just makes them a bad “X.” However, that just doesn’t work. The definitions of these loaded words change from person to person.

When you think of the spectrum of political thought, the two terms that tend to represent the different sides of the middle point are “conservative” and “liberal,” and they are also often referred to as “right” and “left” wing. But what exactly do these two opposites mean?

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Rights and the Role of Government – Political Series 1

Blog Segment - The Voters Booth copy

I will begin by once again providing the disclaimer that the political series is my opinion on how things should be, and not necessarily a reflection of the way things are. I say this because it is inevitable that someone will read something they will say is impossible in the current political climate, or unrealistic to change because of who controls the yadda yadda. That’s not my point. I’m merely stating my personal beliefs on the matters at hand as I feel they should be.

That said, please comment! I want to know what you agree with, what you don’t and why. I consider this an evolving set of beliefs, and not something set in stone. I want multiple viewpoints so I can adjust when needed, or polish and strengthen my own beliefs. Without dialogue there is no growth.

It took me a long time to get this particular post off the ground. Not because I had nothing to say. Quite the contrary. Rather, I have been struggling to find ways to organize it and present it concisely. Furthermore, I had originally planned on introducing topics slightly differently. My new plan is to write each post as one of my “Fundamental Political Beliefs” until I have covered the wide variety of topics I set forth at the start of this thing. We’ll see if it all pans out.

No matter. Let’s just get started!

Continue reading

A Wedding and some Gaming, a Returning and a Parting

I’m making no bones about it. It has been AGES since I last posted. And I have excuses! Boy do I have excuses, let me list them: Wedding, Honeymoon, Moving in/out,Student Teaching, The Holidays, etc. It’s not like they took up all of my time, but they jammed it packed. And posting about the wedding was a little daunting to me because I wanted to give it justice, but time kept slipping away and…. *sigh*

The fact is, these excuses are not really good enough. It’s time to get my lazy butt back to work, so here is my first new post. I’ve got a lot of ground to cover, of course, but I won’t be going into depth about everything. No need to recount the holidays. No need to look back on the year that was. I’m going to keep it breif-ish, though who knows how long it’ll get once I get to the personal stuff, so let’s get started, eh?

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So when I say I haven’t blogged in a while, it was actually sort of a lie. I’ve actually kept up blogging through my reviews, which I know doesn’t really count for readersof these posts as much, but hey! I’ll take my bonus points where I can get them. All of my recent reviews have been on video games, which is something of a shame, seeing as how I saw some movies I would have liked to review as well (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Sherlock Holmes 2 being the most notable of these.) But for those of you who live life on the gaming sie, you migth be interested in my reviews of ICO (from the HD PS3 collection), To the Moon, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. It has definitely been a good year for games.

Of course, that’s not all I’ve been playing. League of Legends is something of a habit. Of course that’s largely because it’s one of the main ways I hang out with my friends. But lately there have been some lousy bits that has discouraged me in my time with the game. First off is the fact that two of my friends are more or less tired of it and want to play other things. Now this isn’t so bad, but finding those other things that we all enjoy on a regular basis is difficult. I’m not really an MMO guy, for instance, and the only one I want to try out (Star Wars: The Old Republic) is a monthly payment, which is blah for everyone. I’m kinda hoping the recently announced new additions to the Co-op versus AI mode in League of Legends will draw those friends back. Even if for a little while.

The other major drawback though is that Riot has more or less nerfed Jax a whole lot in the recent rework.

Poor little Jax

It’s not that his new kit an’t do a lot of damage. Goodness yes it can. Pop that steroid ulti and Surge, leap in and clean some clocks. … For six seconds. And if you didn’t already die in those six seconds, you’re pretty much screwed once the buff is gone. The main issue is Jax’s survivability. He has no health bonus, no magic resist and no armor without seriously adjusting his build to practically remove his damage output. I’ve been experimenting with some builds, and I’m getting better results than I’ve feared, but there’s no escaping that Jax just isn’t as viable as he used to be. He’s so item dependent now it isn’t even funny.


And that’s not even taking into account the terrible construction of his Counter Strike ability. The stun is almost worthless for the cooldown time, especially since using the ability telegraphs the oncoming stun 1.5 second before you can actually use it. Any self-respecting player can dodge the stun 75% of the time, and that 25% is because Jax used it before leap-strike, which negates the whole dodge mechanic’s use entirely. – Dyrus said it before, and it’s true. Jax’s kit is hypocritical. Is he an assassin? Is he a brawler? Both and neither. He simply isn’t good enough at either one, and two crappy halves don’t make a complete whole. He’s still playable at least, and I keep trying out new builds. Hopefully they fix some of these problems in the future.

Meanwhile I discovered a new mini passion for minecraft. Building on my single-player fortress was fun, and all, but it’s also lonely and boring at times. So when Scott invited me onto the PandemicCraft server as a villager in Westphalia, I thought it would be a neat way to give the game new life. And let me tell you, it’s working. Now that I have a community to live in, my scope has shrunk (no giant fortresses at the moment) but my artistry has grown. The house I’m building across two plots is going to be really cool when it’s completed. I feel like I own a part of a larger world, now. It’s sort of addicting. This tiny little outpost in the winter biome is steadily growing. There’s a town square. Houses, and an Inn. And somewhere out there is an Empire that is pressuring other settlements to join with them. Thankfully our Baron is tough in the face of such pressures. We Westphalians live free out in the wilderness. ^_^

Part of what makes it all worthwhile is the economy system, where people actually do own pieces of the town, and these towns can expand. And people have jobs and specialties. The Innkeeper and his assistant actually grow food, buy meat off of hunters, and sell it to the villagers and travelers at low cost. It’s fascinating and fun. I think the system needs some expansion, though. It’s far too easy to become rich, with little to show for it. I don’t know if the server’s mod can be modded further or not, but it seems like cool things could be done with it.

Well, I’ve been yammering on about what I’ve been enjoying lately, so let’s take a detour into some less pleasant waters…

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Of course, less pleasant waters doesn’t mean it can’t be funny at the same time. How about those Republican Primaries, eh?

I tell you, watching this circus has been at least as fun as it is depressing, which makes it ok in my book. I mean seriously, these are the nominees? THESE are the nominees? The idea of any of them as president is stomach churning. Even Ron Paul, who at least is the most honest and least-politically corrupt of them all, would be a terrible president. Romney would be predictable, boring, and dangerous in his own right, but could you imagine Newt Gingrich as president?

Oh my sweet lord. The question would be whether we bomb Iran right after the inauguration, or if we wait a day. Don’t get me started on Santorum.

Of course Obama hasn’t been a particularly good president either, but at least he’s a little more inclined to do what’s right than these jokers. And that’s really all I have to say for now. Until the end of this, I think I’ll just buckle up for the roller coaster ride and hope there’s a smooth stop at the end, and not an abyss.

Abysses aren’t fun.

Which is why, thankfully, the internet was able to keep us from jumping into another kind of Abyss entirely. The SOPA and PIPA legislation are currently falling apart (woo-hoo!) Of course that doesn’t mean they won’t come back in some sort of new and deadlier form. (Why is it that legislation acts so suspiciously like Final Fantasy boss fights?) It was pretty cool to see so many internet powerhouses throw their weight against the bill, though. I guess sometimes the people can win. Fancy that.

But that’s enough of the entertainment an the political, let’s move on to the personal…

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I’m married guys! 😀

Of course I have been for 3 or so months now, and should have said something on here sooner, but let’s not dwell on that…
While this topic deserves a full on recounting with details, descriptions, emotions, chronology, etc. I think I’d rather keep it simple and say it was a beautiful wedding. And I had a top-hat!
I plan on putting up a picture gallery eventually, but that will take more time, unfortunately. Until then I will leave you with two things. The first is our vows to each other. Me and Katie wrote them out (though I must admit I wrote most of it with her input >.> ) and we alternated speaking the different lines to each other. It worked out wonderfully. The second thing is a picture of the little wedding-decoration place we mad in our Duplex. It’s not finished yet (we’ve got to get a picture to put in the frame) but I think it’s already very nice.

Our Vows –

From all the times together, thick and thin,
We found a bond in our joys and rest.
The grand adventures shared through paper, pen
And dice, or pages turned, or buttons pressed
Were just the start. Beneath the fun and play
was deeper love. A love that waits beside
Your sick bed; Love for which we pine and pray.
A love that age and death cannot divide.
This love’s worth more than worldly wealth, or woe
Its lack may bring. May God look on this love
And smile, as when he sparked all life to grow,
Or when he woke the galaxies above.
My hand’s outstretched to you and my heart’s doors
Are wide. All I have, all I hold, are yours.

I, Edward Lee Cheever II, and I, Katie Michelle Guth, in front of family and friends, before God and man, do pledge myself to you.

This is how we read them:

Me: From all the times together, thick and thin, we found a bond in our joys and rest.
Katie: The grand adventures shared through paper, pen and dice, or pages turned, or buttons pressed were just the start.
Me: Beneath the fun and play was deeper love.
Katie: A love that waits beside your sick bed;
Me: Love for which we pine and pray.
Katie: A love that age and death cannot divide.
Me: This love’s worth more than worldly wealth, or woe its lack may bring.
Katie: May God look on this love and smile,
Me: as when he sparked all life to grow,
Katie: Or when he woke the galaxies above.
Me: My hand’s outstretched to you and my heart’s doors are wide.
Katie: All I have, all I hold, are yours.
Me: I, Edward Lee Cheever II,
Katie: and I, Katie Michelle Guth,
Me: in front of family and friends,
Katie: before God and man,
Both: do pledge myself to you.

Married life has pretty much been great, as well. Of course there are the little things, like chores and such that things can get tense over, but otherwise, living with the person I love the most, whom I can both have fun with and be serious with, has been wonderful.

Settling into the duplex has been a process of course. As has mashing two lives together. Finances are particularly… fun… But we’ve got some of it sorted out now. Still lots to do, of course, but when isn’t there? Job-wise I haven’t been doing the serious job-hunt that I probably need to do. Part of my hang-ups are all around the certification test I’m supposed to take at some nebulous time in the future. At least I FINALLY got some information abut it out of the education department and I can start preparing for it (by the way, could this material be any more dull and lifeless? Or useless for that matter? I think the people behind this live in a fantasy world somewhere between Mathland and MotivationalSpeakervania.

In any case, I still have my job as a writing tutor, which I am very thankful for, and I’ve been doing a rather lot of substitute teaching over at CTA. So finances are better than they otherwise would be if I didn’t have a job. I think the bills would really start eating away at us if not for that promise of my soon-coming paychecks and Katie’s recent raises and long hours.

I’ve been trying to think of a way to segue into this final topic, but I really can’t think of one. It’s much like asking the question, “When is the best time to hear the news of a death?” There isn’t one. No time is ripe, and no segue can ease the issue.

My friend, Jarret Wade, is dead. He died of cancer some time ago, now. I’m honestly not entirely sure because time seems to flow so swiftly. Has it really been a week and a half?

To say I knew a lot about him would actually be a lie. I didn’t know his family, I didn’t delve into his personal life much, and we only really interacted at school. And yet I have little hesitation to say he was a great friend. Part of that, I believe, is because there was nothing about him that wasn’t genuine, and completely open and honest. He was completely himself at all times. A few conversations would be all it would take before you felt like you knew him for life. Like he was a friend from your earliest days.

So unlike other acquaintances I’ve known who have died, I felt a real shock at the news. I learned about it early in the day during a time I was substitute teaching at CTA, and it was difficult not to break down when I would mention him during prayer requests at the start of every class period. My voice would falter, and I can only imagine how red my eyes grew over time, holding back tears that blurred my vision.

I knew it was coming of course. We’ve all known for some time of the cancer that was eating away at him. I last spoke with him over the phone while on my honeymoon. We were in Seattle, and though he said he would call, and show off his beloved home city to us, we never heard from him. I called him up to see how he was doing, and he had just gone through another serious treatment. He didn’t sound good, then. He apologized for not being able to show us around. Of course I said it was nothing, and that his health was more important. He said he’d make a trip down to visit Keene soon. That he looked forward to seeing us all again, and to meeting my wife.

It was a trip he would never make. And while I know that there was no real way I would have been able to, I constantly think that I should have made time to go see him again while I was there…

I’m not the poet I once was. I have a tendency to write them far less than before, and I usually make them boring and emotionless for trying to make them structured or fancy. But occasionally, something happens that gets that emotion stirring again. It’s not the greatest poem I’ve ever written, but I feel like It has my heart in it. Here’s to you, my brother, Jarret Wade.

Jarret

I see the rain on the western shoreline
Pouring into a hole that never fills.
I know the shadows of those blackened clouds.
I know the brim of that endless cold cup.

Like the echo of a distant tempest,
The strong vibrations of thunder long since
The blinding light of the lightning strike,
Your going shook me, and my earth stilled.

Till the trumpets ring from the mountain tops,
Till the silvered bells toll at sea.
Till the bright cloud comes from the east.
Till then, rest ‘neath the trees.

You found the deepest roots of all our hearts.
You could see their dark gnarls, their twists, their cramps.
You always knew how to water them,
With smiles, and hugs, and conversation.

The world was not a stranger to you.
It was a lonely friend in desperate need.
Not an unknown mist of vague statistics,
But a painting of minds, faces and eyes.

Till the trumpets ring from the mountain tops,
Till the silvered bells toll at sea.
Till the bright cloud comes from the east.
Till then, God holds Grave’s Key.

His hand hovers over the sepulcher
Holding out that golden metal Work,
Trembling with desperate impatience to swing
Wide those black and silent gates that stand closed.

And past that unknown date, what triumph waits?
A son of heaven comes home! You will ride
His chariot, And wear a crown of gold,
bejeweled for lives you’ve touched. A friend of God.

Then the trumpets ring from the mountain tops,
The silvered bells toll at sea.
The bright cloud comes from the east.
And then, at last, be free.

For now, there are dark clouds out to the west.
No rain, no tears, no grief, can fill torn hearts.
You lit so many candles on your way,
You left your light in all of us.

Edward L. Cheever II

Sorry to leave it on such a low note, everyone. But sometimes, the world gets serious. And laughter is a little far away. Good-bye, friends. I hope to have you here again soon.

‘Excuse me, waiter! This Tea is a little too hot.’ – Republicans


It’s just too hard to avoid talking about the wacky world that is congress as they discuss the debt ceiling. I try to think about other things to discuss and I just… Well, I mean it’s the future of our country’s economy on the line. How can I NOT talk about it?

We all know our representatives are being idiots. They are children. This isn’t even up for debate anymore, it’s just a fact of life. Despite the age limit for congress we have kindergarteners playing tug of war with the toy that is our economy.

So I’ll take a slightly different angle that, while it’s been talked about before, here and elsewhere, recent developments have shed new light on the topic: the destruction of the Republicans via the Tea Party.

I come from a traditionally republican household. My dad is a conservative, my mom is a little less so, but still very much a conservative, I honestly can’t say about my brother and sister, anything further than that and you get in some pretty wacky straight-up conservatism in most of my family. Before I went all Moderate I also voted fairly regularly as a republican. Heck, I helped vote in President Bush twice. So I’ve had a lot of exposure to republican ideas and people, and some of them are still reasonable, who merely have differing opinions from me, and I can live with that. But increasingly, the Republican party has been infected with an extremism that, while always present, has been distilled into a pure strain of ideological cancer that is your run-of-the-mill tea party.

I’ve always maintained that this ideological sub-species is a dangerous beast, not just to America but specifically to the party that birthed them, the Republicans. A sane Republican can see when to compromise. A sane Republican knows that a house divided against itself will surely fall. But half of the republican party is no longer sane. They are having an identity crisis where the paranoid schizophrenic voice in the back of their minds has become a full character, their bipolar other half, the black and scared side of Two-Face, and this dichotomy is tearing them apart.

You can see it in the way Majority Leader John Boehner can’t even pull his own party together to pass a bill in the House they control.
This is their seat of power. They are trying to pass a lame bill that doesn’t do nearly enough, just like they want, and even still they can’t pull together enough to push it through. Forget about it dying in the Senate, or being vetoed by the President. It’s going to die in the House.

This isn’t even talking about some of the Tea Party’s grander aspirations, like that stupid Constitutional Amendment that would handcuff the government in an emergency. John McCain, their last would-be president, called the idea “bizzaro” recently. There simply isn’t any way such a measure would pass, and thank goodness for small favors.

UPDATE: Boehner caved to the extremist side of his party and managed to squeak out a bill or two in the House… which promptly died in the Senate thanks to the addition of the “bizarro” amendment that was tacked on last minute. Some Republicans may see this as some sort of win: “Oh yeah! the House passed a bill when the Senate hasn’t boo-yeah!”. But this is the same sort of childish one-upmanship thinking that is killing America right now. Congratulations, you managed to defecate a dead bill right into it’s coffin. Hope that makes you feel better about yourselves. /Update


The Republicans are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If they keep acceding to their extremist right wing, they’ll never pass a bill and America will default, and it will be obvious it’s their fault, except to their right wing nutters who will only become more staunchly extremist in the face of failure. If they don’t accede to this extremism, maybe they compromise and save America, but their extremist voters will say that the Republicans have failed them, and maybe the Tea Party starts thinking they could do better without the Republican party, and the rift grows a little wider.

I can see what the right decision is, but remember, we’ve already established that these are children in Congress. We can’t count on them to see the clear choice. I consistently hear from Republican politicians and pundits about how fed up they are with these freshman Tea Party members in Congress. Well, congratulations, you’ve just realized that the friend you’re carting across the river is a scorpion. Looks like you’ll have to live, or not, with the consequences.

On a side note, did anybody see what That Idiot has said lately? It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad. Ah, who am I kidding, that’s hilarious!

Till next time,

– Edward L. Cheever II

*All Comics can be found on The Week and are not the property of this blog.

Captain America Punches the Debt Ceiling and Norway Wishes for the Light of Other Days

Don't Worry, The World's Not Ending.... Yet....


Wow, it sure has been a while. There are plenty of reasons why, of course, but none of them are really sufficient, so I won’t waste your time with them.

Blog time, yo!

Let’s keep this simple. First, I’m going to bring up a slew of topics which I’m going to give my brief opinions on, and then we’ll get into a brief rant on a certain “ceiling” and the idiots who are banging their heads against it. Let’s get going, shall we?

Wow there has been a lot of entertainment stuff lately.

In terms of movies, I’m afraid I’m not going to get around to writing a Green Lantern review, so let me just say that it was okay, choppy, and mostly forgettable. Harry Potter 7.5 deserves a full review, and I’ll give it one later, when I have the chance. The same goes for Captain America, but if you want the long and short of my opinion: “Huzzah! I Loved it! Go see it!” I hope you still want to stop by the review later!

The Review, WHERE IS IT!?!?

I’ve read a couple sci-fi novels lately and both are pretty great. “The Light of Other Days” by Stephen Baxter and Arthur C. Clarke was the first, and “Coyote” by Allen Steele was the second. You can find my review for ‘The Light of Other Days’ at this link,

It really is great.

and though I’ve already written the review for “Coyote” I’m going to save it for a little bit. Since I’ve already got the reviews prepped, I’m going to save talking about them too much here.

Video-game wise, I managed to play some more Legend of Zelda: Spirit racks, and I think I may just finish it eventually.

No, Not really...

My general opinion stands from last time: The dungeons are great, but the rail-roads, while a novel idea, turn out to be boring, bland, and take forever to get anywhere.

Which is sad, because there are definite charms to the game that I love.


I’ve been playing Epic Mickey, and I’ll save my thoughts for the review, but it might indicate something to you to say that I haven’t picked up the controller or that game in several weeks yet, though I hope to get back to it.

I had planned to do an extensive E3 post like I did last year, but I never found the time. As it stands, I think I’m going to tackle individual topics out of the show at a later date. Look out for my opinions on the PS Vita and the Wii U specifically in the coming weeks.

League of Legends is still awesome, but thankfully it isn’t taking up as much mind-share lately, giving me more time to do things like read and watch Dr. Who.

Oh. And Dr. Who. DR. WHO!
It took me forever to get around to watching this show, but I’m already in season three and I love it. Silly, campy, dramatic, exciting, adventurous, imaginative, emotional. Dr. Who is just brilliant. I started with 2005 and Christopher Eccleston, who was a brilliant Doctor, and now I’m watching David Tennent who is an even more brilliant Doctor. If you haven’t watched any yet, please do.

Now onto more real-life stuff.

First, Amy Winehouse’s early death is tragic if not exactly surprising. I don’t know too much about her music, I’m really only familiar with her as the butt of alcohol jokes. There’s really not much else for me to say about that, and that is a tragedy in and of itself.

Some of you may be aware of the recent tragedy in Norway in which a mad-man used a car-bomb before gunning down over eighty young people in the name of “anti-jihad” or rather xenophobic and polytheophobic crazyness. Keep Norway in your prayers and/or thoughts as they suffer through this tragedy. It’s another window into how utterly nuts our world is.

Even peaceful nations can unwittingly be the birthplace of hate and violence.


On a similar note, there was an 8-year-old boy hanged by militants in Afghanistan not long ago. I don’t know what to say other than it was utterly horrible.

On a lighter note. Gay Marriage in New York. Good for them! I hope they live happily ever after and all that. Can’t see the appeal personally, but that’s me, yeah? And guess what? That’s all that needs to be said.

I’m starting to feel like I’m just turning into a news aggregator (I’m drawing Agro, yo!), so let’s move on to the main event, shall we?

The Debt Crisis. What else. The funny thing is, I’m not really ragging on Republicans in general at the moment. No, you see, some of them have expressed frustration with their own members at the lack of willingness to compromise in the face of economic FAIL. No, who I’m ragging on, as always, are the bat-s**t crazy Tea Party members who were carried into office last November on a wave of ignorant fear and hate mongering.

It’s one thing to have a different opinion, politically, from others in office. This happens all the time. We don’t particularly always like it, but we cope. It’s the nature of a world with more than one person in it. But these wackos have forgotten that, if they ever even knew it in the first place. You can’t go at this Uni-laterally (I’m looking at you Boehner). There are three levels of government here that you have to learn to live with. You can’t change the nations fortunes using the House alone. You NEED the Senate and the President. And that means compromise.

Is this really such a hard concept to grasp? (see what I did there?)


Obama and the Democrats have given a lot up in compromises. Spending cuts out the wazoo with their $4 Trillion plan and no real tax increases (just some closed loopholes and such) are a heck of an olive branch if I ever saw one. And yet still the Tea Party says no. Why can they not step outside of their cult-like boxes to see that the people of America need and want a compromise. And what a deal, eh? The Tea Party loses almost nothing in this deal. They can even stand by their foolish no-tax-raises philosophy which keeps the rich sitting pretty. If they had taken the offer they would look like victors over a yielding Obama right now. Instead Obama looks like a man who was willing to put on his boots and gloves and get into the hard work, while the Tea Party Children complained and whined.

I don't think either of these two really kno what compromise actually is...


Tea Party, you’re losing. God luck getting re-elected when the nation sees you as brick headed as you always have been. 66% of Americans want a compromise. Over half of Republicans do too. Oh, and here are some more stats for you on these polls.

Makes the Tea Party look classy for sticking up for their own interests rather than those of the American majority opinion, eh? Lovely. Aren’t Hypocrites charming? /sarcasm.

"Do I want the politicians in Washington to stop being self-centered morons? hm... lemme think...


That’s really all I have in terms of today’s post. I’m going to try (again) to post more regularly and with smaller posts. We’ll see if I can manage it.

Till we meet again,

– Edward L. Cheever II

The Taliban Targets Trump’s Hair and Steven Hawking’s Pets Aren’t Going to Heaven

Prophet Cat Knows


I thought I’d get back to the norm with a little bit of a catch-all blog. Let’s start out with something that I found to be hilarious.

So apparently there is a company that you can pay to take care of your pets after you’ve been raptured to heaven. No, seriously. The idea is that if the rapture comes, this company will find you left-behind pets and give them good care.

"And he did shunneth the kittehs and doggehs from the pearly gates..."


I find the image of this to be hilarious, and I’d like to share exactly why. First of all, if the rapture takes place, won’t the world pretty much go to pot? do you really expect there to be enough of an infrastructure left for these people to adequately care for your beloved woofy? Secondly, there is a sort of conflict here. If these people are truly so kind as to want to care for your pets should anything happen to you, then they’re probably getting raptured too. On the other hand, if they’re not getting raptured, then he whole thing is probably corrupt and a con of some kind, so would you really want to leave your pet with them?
I can’t stop laughing.

And that little piece of happiness holds over to Donald Trump announcing he will not seek the GOP nod for Presidential contender.

His hair is still considering it though.

Halleluia! Not that he could have beaten Obama, of course. He’s got waaaay too many problems for that. But having him in the race at all makes me feel like it de-legitamizes the whole thing. As much as I don’t like the Republican philosophies of governance at the moment, I would like to see an intelligent, genuine and serious contender out of them. That party has been lacking a sense of identity (and brain-waves, for that matter,) for a long time.

This is, of course, reflected in the fact that the GOP has no obvious front-runner to go against Obama. For instance, Mike Huckabee, a religious favorite of the party, has also announced that he isn’t running.

Huckabee waves goodbye to the stress of the campaign trail and has a hard time keeping in the happy.

Who’s left? Romney? Bachman? Newt Gingrich? Please. Obama would eat them for lunch. I think that is the problem for them right there. Nobody wants to waste their personal funds on a race they can’t win, or at least feel like they can’t. Since I don’t like any of the potential candidates, this is a win for me, and hopefully for the direction of the country (not that Obama is the great hope we’ve all been wishing for), but this is a sad thing for the democratic process. Intelligent debate is the machinery of progress.

Moving on from there to less fun material, Steven Hawking recently gave his views on death and the afterlife. Of course he can believe whatever he wants to believe. That’s all well and good. It’s the way he derides other perspectives on death that I don’t like. I simply feel like there is no way to know for sure what happens, but we have all the reason in the world to hope and believe that there is something yet to come. In fact, despite hard evidence, I take the general (if modified) Christian afterlife idea to be true as an act of faith. So when someone as truly brilliant as Hawking derides my belief system, well it’s unfortunate, even if it doesn’t impact my personal beliefs at all. I simply don’t see how his faith in “spontaneous creation” is any more esoteric and weird than my belief in a thinking loving god. Why can’t both faiths coexist?

Meh. On to darker stuff.

I’m always amazed at the horrors mankind inflicts on itself. How could so many people forego using words and instead stoop to violence to make their points? I don’t know. It is unfathomable to me. But then I have a good life; I live in a 1st world country with a good job, freedoms not felt in other parts of the world, a circle of loving family and friends. It’s pretty easy for me to coexist with people that don’t agree with me because, hey, it’s their life, right?

Well, that’s not the case for some people, unfortunately, as seen by a recent bombing in Pakistan by the local Taliban in protest of the death of Osama bin Ladin. They killed 80 people, their own kindred even, with suicide bombs, and wounded around 120 others. These people only know violence.

That might sound hypocritical of me, being an American and all who felt a little thrill of patriotism when I heard of the death of bin Ladin.

What with our wanted posters and all...

It kinda is, no lying. But I’m not particularly proud of myself for taking pleasure in the death of my enemy (and if his behavior and philosophies were any indication, he was very much my enemy.) Furthermore, both America and radical Islamic extremists are rather vocally at war with one another. People die in war.

Instead, what I mean by saying that these people only know violence is that when they want to protest their own country’s non-intervention in protecting them from the “evil Americans” they blow some people up. How does biting the hand that feeds you help your situation?

But I guess that is why they call it terrorism. They deal in fear. I can’t imagine what kind of miserable lives they lead, always keeping that hate and fear festering in their hearts. It’s not a good way to live.

America has lots of problems too, however. Now, I’m not that big a fan of Michael Moore. I think he tends to spin stories to fit his world view, even if it means some facts get stretched, squished or conveniently forgotten. But I recently read his ruminations on the death of Osama bin Laden and I have to say it was extremely well-worded and right on the money in pretty much every way. I highly recommend you give it a read, and put your preconceptions about Moore behind you for a few minutes. It really is a fantastic piece.

That’s pretty much all I have for you guys today. Have a great one!

– Edward L. Cheever II~

Rango and John Marston Save the West while SWAU takes Illegal Pictures of Floridian Farms

It’s been a while since I’ve done a simple catch-all blog post. My more recent posts have been narrowed down to a topic or two. That’s great and all, but it also means I haven’t been able to talk about other things I enjoy, so today is going to be a classic run through the gauntlet. Tally-ho!

Onward!


First things first… SWAU… there is something of a situation on campus, as the student body is splitting over (and mostly against) the Administration. Now, I’m not as plugged into Facebook or campus life as a lot of other people, so my exposure to the issues has been mostly tangential. But, since it’s come to my attention, I’ve been trying to grab reliable information, and this is the scenario I’ve pieced together thus far: Over the past few months or more, really going as far back as the crass and disgusting treatment of Dr. Anavitarte, the Administration has been taking certain actions that have been poorly received by the student body at large (including myself).

This is primarily based around the firing of a number of personnel. A secretary was fired allegedly because the Administration blames her for lowering enrollment (how that’s supposed to work, have no idea), and a proffesor was fired because he attended a non-denominational church on a Saturday (also a base and foolish reason to get rid of a likeable and skilled professional). There have been other firings that I am less familiar with as well. All of this comes to a head as Dean Knight was not hired on after the end of this semester. From what I gather, he fomented some hard feelings among others over this decision, which lead the Administration to fire him.

The student body has now come to a boil over what they see as an elimination of one of the last staff members they see as truly fighting for them, and being “on their side” as it were. However false or true this sentiment may be, the point is that a large number of students have been protesting these actions and demanding answers from the administration. An assembly took place earlier which I was unable to attend, that was supposedly going to answer some of these questions. I do not know how this has turned out just yet. I find it unlikely that Dr. Anderson will find anything to say that will satiate the student body.

I don’t know where this is all headed, but I do know that, if the reasons for the firings are as I have heard, something is rotten in SWAU. I don’t know if it is Dr. Anderson, or the Board, or some other force behind the scenes, but ever since Dr. Anavitarte, SWAU has been dealing shadily and backhandedly with important, honest and sincere members of its body. It hasn’t been living up to the values it supposedly upholds as an institution of Christ, and has instead fallen into the trap of so many religious institutions. Yes, this has long been a problem. Yes, I have had serious issues with the way things are done at SWAU for some time. But this seems to be a drastic step further in the wrong direction.

I’m waiting to see what new information comes to light in these matters. I have only really heard one side of the story, and so this entire scenario might have dimensions I am not aware of. Perhaps the reasons given for the firings were ways of letting these people off the hook gently for some greater and unseen reason. Perhaps Dean Knight was undercutting Dr. Anderson’s authority in some way (I don’t like the way Dean Knight acted in Dr. Anavitarte’s case). Perhaps. But unlikely.

One thing is unquestionably clear: Even if the Administration has good reasons for what they’ve done, they’ve done a piss-poor job of selling it to the community. Enrollment doesn’t suffer over a single secretary. It suffers over the perception that SWAU is a place where spirituality is corrupted, where politics is more important than friendliness and where people aren’t treated with the dignity and respect Christ’s message calls us to.

In other silly news, apparently a Florida Senator, Jim Norman, wants to introduce a bill to make it a felony to take pictures of Floridian farms.

'Don't sue me! Pleeeeeeeaaaase!'

I won’t spend long on the topic, because I think it’s ridiculous, but what exactly does this guy think he’s going to accomplish? Have all those people who’ve been taking photos of farms been just robbing those poor farmers of what’s rightfully theirs? If the very sight of a farm is just that important to protect, why don’t we just build walls around each farm and charge a couple bucks per minutes of viewing time through little peep windows, eh? Foolishness. This would give legal grounds for enterprising farmers to start suing people over almost anything (not to disparage the intent of most honest Floridian farmers, mind you). We’re talking about adding a substantial burden in litigation upon the people involved and the taxpayers who pay for the bureaucracy of it all. It’s un-needed, unwarranted, and adds to the so-called “big government” that senators like this are supposedly so against.

Moving on to greener pastures, and less ranting and so forth, here is a fascinating article by Men’s Journal about a blind man who taught himself to see via echolocation. Yeah, he’s essentially a real-world Matt Murdock.

That, my friends, is a blind man riding a bike.

I sincerely hope that his techniques can be used to revolutionize the treatment of the Blind. Most interesting to me is the project he’s been trying to put into motion to build artificial echolocation devices to make it even easier and more accurate for Blind people. It sounds really promising (though I wonder if two Blind people can operate in the same space with their devices?) but the project is looking to cost at least 15 million dollars. That’s a lot of money to just throw together for the research and development. Maybe somebody should tell him about the Kickstarter program.

In the entertainment side of life, I recently wrote a review of Rango (spoilers: I loved it), which I highly recommend you all go and read. Rango was a surprise and a real treat. That is something that is becoming all too rare in the film industry, where brand names are the new hottness instead of innovation and creativity. To that end, here’s a wonderfully thought out article on the state of the film industry, and while it isn’t a heartwarming piece, it’s very clear and rings of truth. The road out of this mess is unclear.

Of course this has left a gaping hole for a new medium to fill. That medium is Video Games. While it is true that Video Games have their own brands and cash-in sequel and prequel showers, there is also a ton of innovation and new concepts. It’s where the money is. It is where societal entertainment in headed, and hopefully that won’t be a bad thing. If the film industry can pick itself back up, the mediums can complement each other by their differences, much as books and television also fill certain niches. But for now, Video Games seem on a solitary rise to stardom.

Video Games are also where old genres find new life. Now, westerns are doing some new business again in Hollywood with True Grit and Rango, but for recent portrayals of the Old West, I’d put my money on Red Dead Redemption as being more important to the survival of the genre. I don’t have a load of time to spend playing video games, what between work, school and other media and responsibilities, but I do occasionally get a chance to sit down with Red Dead as I work my way slowly through the campaign and side missions. It truly is a marvel, and I feel like I’m really out in the old west riding around, gun-slinging and so forth. For an open-world game, it can be pretty darn gorgeous at times, which is a testament to the artistry of Rockstar Games. I look forward to my next trek in John Marston’s boots.

Oh, and briefly while I’m still thinking about video games… Katie kicks the snot out of me at Marvel vs. Capcom 3. It I both a pain and a joy to have so enthusiastic a gamer fiance. At least I could still pwn her in a strategy game… you know… if she played them much… and stuff…

…. onward!

Speaking of Katie, she and I recently made a deal to where she would read the first three books of The Chronicles of Narnia if I would read A Clockwork Orange. She beat me to the punch. I was only 2 pages in, being busy with other stuff and somewhat put off by the need, at first, to use a vocabulary list to understand what everybody was saying, while she had already finished all three books and was into the fourth. Well, I finally got around to it again and polished it up in essentially two more sit-downs with the book. It helped to more or less ignore the vocabulary list, and just try to absorb the slang terms over time. It was a real horrorshow story, though Alex and his droogs really rubbed me the wrong way (as they should pretty much anyone, what with the ultra-violence and rapes and all). The brainwashing was pretty disturbing, though I didn’t have much sympathy for the victim. All in all, I enjoyed the book quite a lot. The ending has me for a loop, however, as I’m not sure if the author meant to say that sociopathy and an ultra-violent life-style is something that people just grow out of, or if he was making another statement about how people are programmed. In any case, it’s something to think on. I’m looking forward to watching the Kubrick film with Katie when it arrives in the mail.

Now that I’m done with A Clockwork Orange, I’m moving on to The Wise Man’s Fear, which is the eagerly anticipated follow up to Patrick Rothfuss’s first novel, The Name of the Wind. I loved the first book, and so I’m glad to be starting the second. Assuming I have enough time to just sit down and read, I don’t expect it to take me too long to finish, though it is a good deal longer than A Clockwork Orange. After that I’ll be moving over to The Light of Other Days, a sci-fi novel by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter that I’m borrowing from Dr. Robinson.

Well, I think I’m just about ready to wrap this blog post up and put a bow on it. But before I bid adieu to you and you and you, here’s a hilarious website called DamnYouAutoCorrect.com It’s a terrific little site that has a massive collection of images of conversations where the iPhone auto correct has changed harmless words into inappropriate ones. I think all us iPhone users know how that is, yes?

Well, until later, Adios!

– Edward L. Cheever II