More Liberal than the Average Bear.

10 04 2011

I consider myself to be an extreme liberal when it comes to my beliefs and ideas. I’ve always prided myself on that because I believe it makes me a more open minded person. Sometimes I wonder if that’s such a good thing, though.

I’ve always been very, very close to my younger (ten year old) brother. I never had a very good relationship with my older brother growing up, so even when my younger brother, Albert, was in the womb I swore I’d try harder with him. We’re pretty much inseparable. He usually sleeps in my room and goes everywhere with me. It’s safe to say I have a huge influence on him. It’s also safe to say he knows more than any ten year old should know. Now, some would say that’s a problem, but I believe it to be a good thing. It seems like nowadays parents would rather shelter their kids than expose them to the harshness of the real world. Even at his young age he and I have talked about sex, religion, drugs, etc. I believe he needs to hear those things, and if he’s asking me about it, that means he’s wondering about it, and I’m not going to lie to the boy. Usually, if he asks another family member an awkward question, their reply is, “Bailey, you wanna take this one?” I wont sugar coat things for him.

Now, I say all that to tell this story:

Last night Albert and my older sister were sitting in my bedroom. I wasn’t home but they were waiting up for me. My sister was on my laptop (which is broken and makes a weird sound when it closes). She closed it, and it made that sound. Albert heard it and from across the room said, “You scared the shit out of me!” Immediately his eyes got wide and he covered his mouth. My sister told me he was horrified.

As I was laying in bed last night I was thinking about this. He didn’t mean any harm by what he said. It didn’t offend anyone. So why should he be chastised for saying it? I understand that if a kid was making fun of someone or using profanity to offend someone, then that could be a problem. Curse words are just that — Words. Ideally, they shouldn’t offend anyone at all. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me,” right?

But, maybe I’m just more liberal than the average bear.

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I Die, You Die.

6 04 2011

I was watching NBC Nightly News last night with my parents. The newscaster, Brian Williams, started talking about the things going on in Japan right now. Tonight’s topic: Nuclear radiation leaks. Yeah, straight into the Pacific. They said the levels were seven million times higher than normal. Just great. Then, he had some commentators talking about how they are trying to contain it, and that eventually it will just dissipate and levels will go back to normal. That’s all good in theory, except that it wont ever actually work. Nuclear waste is not a natural thing. It’s not just going to go away. That’s why we don’t know how to dispose of it — We just stick it in a barrel and hide it from sight. Out of sight, out of mind. Anyway, here’s where my problem starts: We can’t get rid of the waste. So, we just have to grin and bear it? Because they (and everyone else, not just Japan) messed around with things we know NOTHING about, mine, my ten year old brothers and all subsequent generations have to suffer with the possibilities of nuclear related cancers and sicknesses? Think about Chernobyl. People still aren’t allowed to live on that land. It’s totally barren — STILL. And people who lived there when Chernobyl melted down are still feeling the effects.

According to who.int (World Health Organization) thyroid cancer is more prevalent in people who were children during the time that Chernobyl melted down. They said that it was most likely caused from radioactive iodine getting into the environment and livestock eating the grass coated in it. The people ate the cows and drank the milk, and caused the rise in thyroid cancer. The website says that if the people had stopped drinking the contaminated milk for just a few months after the disaster, that the drastic rise in thyroid cancer probably would have no happened. And that’s just from contaminated milk intake and being directly exposed to radiation.

This waste is now in our water. It will be in our rain. On our crops. In our food. And in our air. Trace amounts of it have already been found as far out as Wisconsin. And there is nothing we can do about it. And everyone seems to be okay with that. They hear that officials are trying to contain the leaks, and they accept that. They don’t think any further. They don’t consider the real damage that’s been done.





Rear Window.

5 04 2011

I have to write a paper about a movie I watched the other day called Rear Window. It has to be about two pages. I know what I want to say, I’m just having a hard time getting it down. I figure if I blog it, it will feel less like a class assignment and I’ll be able to word it better. So, here it goes:

Rear Window

Intelligence. Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence.

Jeff has a broken leg. Jeff is stuck in a small apartment alone in the sweltering heat. Jeff has interesting neighbors. So, naturally, Jeff watches his neighbors. We are all guilty of it. I know that I’ve caught myself watching my neighbors through my kitchen window, and my mom catches my dad doing it all the time. The only difference is I’ve never caught my neighbors committing a murder.

A murderer would never parade his crime in front of an open window.

I was on the edge of my seat for the duration of the film — And I’d seen it before. As soon as you realize that Jeff is watching his neighbors, you are in suspense thinking that one of them might see him and close their blinds. Luckily, the movie takes no time at all getting to the real suspense. The first time you see Lars Thorwald and his wife, you know something is up. She is lying in bed and her husband brings her breakfast. When he leaves the room, she creeps to the door and confronts him on the phone. After what appears to be her yelling at him, she sits on the edge of the bed and begins to laugh. From that point on, you know Thorwald is up to no good.

I don’t know about anyone else, but every time Jeff looked through that GIGANTIC lens into Thorwald’s apartment, I just knew he was going to get caught spying. Frankly, I’m surprised it took Thorwald that long to notice. That lens was almost as big as an observatory telescope. But, I digress. My heart stopped the moment that Thorwald saw Lisa flash the wedding ring to Jeff. When Thorwald met Jeff’s gaze from across the apartment complex, you could cut the tension with a knife. But, the real tension came when Thorwald began making his way up to Jeff’s apartment. There were either about a hundred stairs on the staircase Thorwald took or he was walking very, very slowly. Either way, the time between him seeing Jeff and confronting Jeff was intense.

For me, the most suspenseful scenes were those of Thorwald sitting in his front window smoking cigarettes. The darkness and the silence really set an eerie scene along with the flickering of the end of the cigarette.

You’d think the rain would’ve cooled things down. All it did was make the heat wet.

Aside from all the suspense, there were some moments of comic relief. The character that brought on most of that was Stella. Anytime she was in the room, you knew laughter was about to ensue. What I liked most about Stella was that she was very cynical and realistic. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. She also wasn’t afraid to say out loud what everyone was thinking about Thorwald murdering his wife.

Lisa: I wish I were creative.
Jeff: You are. You’re great at creating difficult situations.

Another break in the suspense came from Lisa and Jeff. I loved the way they spoke to each other. It really felt like a real conversation when those two spoke. They both hesitated, stuttered and broke off sentences in all the right places. Sometimes, when characters try to do that in movies you can hear that even their heavy sighs feel scripted, but in this movie, that wasn’t the case. It almost sounded like they didn’t even have a script to go by; it all sounded ad-libbed.

This wasn’t the first time I’d seen this movie, but I was still shocked and surprised at all the right moments. The acting was phenomenal and the cinematography was beautiful. The first time I see this movie in a store for sale, I’m buying it.





Never Expose to Heat.

2 04 2011

When I was 10, my older brother Sam joined the Army. At the time, we didn’t get along and I didn’t care that he had joined. My reaction was, “Good riddance.” Shortly after he joined, the World Trade Centers fell, and he was shipped out. Luckily, he spent a while in Kuwait. Eventually, though, he was sent into Iraq.

When I realized that he was actually fighting in a war, my young mind was consumed with thoughts of the military. I learned all the songs they sang as they marched and ran, I played with military dolls and GI Joe and everything I owned was camouflaged. To me, it seemed like a game.

Then, I began having dreams about my brother. The most vivid, and the only one I can still remember was this: He and two other men were standing in a desert alone. There was nothing around them but sand. It was windy, so in the background there was sand swirling. Out of nowhere, there was a gunshot. My brother hit the sand. The other two men ran off and left him laying there, dying in the sand.

He wrote me letters while he was gone. War had changed him. He was much nicer to me now. He wrote about how he felt like he’d wasted all those years while I was growing up. All we had ever done was fight. He promised when he came back that he’d be the brother he felt like he should have been.

War had also changed him physically. I don’t remember hearing about this, but while in Iraq he’d broken his back. He was being medically discharged. I do remember, however, seeing him in the hospital after he had surgery on his back. He was finally home for good.

Over the years since he’s been back, my views on the military have changed drastically. Though I completely respect and admire the people who serve, I don’t necessarily agree with it. That has caused some slight animosity between my brother and I (and me and my dad who served in the Navy years ago), but we’ve learned to agree to disagree.

Lately, with all the talk and the rumors of our troops being sent into the protesting countries in the Middle East (Libya, Bahrain, etc.) I just really, really happy that my brother can’t go back.





Don’t Let the Title Fool You.

31 03 2011

First, here’s a joke to start you out: A man walks into a library and says, “I hope you don’t have any books on reverse psychology.”

Now, that joke actually doesn’t have anything to do with this blog. I just thought it was funny.

This blog is more about writers block (ironically, considering I’m writing this blog…).

It was late one night when I was still in high school. My best friend was over at my house. We were exhausted and in that stage where pretty much everything is funny. So, naturally, we got the genius idea to start writing/drawing comics. Little did we know, one of the ones we came up with stuck. I wont divulge too much into the comic itself because it’s not finished, but take my word for it – It’s pretty amazing.

Anyway, lately I’ve been working on it (slowly). I have some of the story down, but any time I try to actually draw it out, I freeze up. I’ve never had this happen before. I’m actually scared to draw it. This is the worst case of writers block I’ve ever had in my life.

So, here’s a question to all my tons of followers on here -crickets chirp-: How do you overcome writers block? You, personally, I mean.





Don’t Be Square, Be There.

29 03 2011

Years ago, I was watching VH1 Classic with my dad and aunt. A video came on for a song called, “Stand and Deliver” by Adam and the Ants. I was instantly intrigued. At that time in my life, I had a broad taste in music, but not nearly as broad as I do now. The video was spectacular. Adam Ant (Stuart Goddard) was dressed in pirate-esque clothing. His face was heavily covered in make-up. His dancing and facial expressions were flamboyant to say the least. I was in love with him.

The music was poppy, yet different than that of the “pop” that was coming out during the same time. His voice resonated with me for months after. I couldn’t shake that song. So, naturally, I obtained the CD that song was off of. It’s called, “Prince Charming”. For weeks, I only listened to “Stand and Deliver”. Finally, I listened to some of the other songs like “Picasso Visita el Planeta de los Simios”, “That Voodoo” and the title track, “Prince Charming”. Then and there, I knew there was something special about this band.

Recently, I was with my younger brother in my car on the way home from Maryville. I had the song “Picasso Visita el Planta de los Simios” in a playlist on my iPod. It played and I sang along – loudly. My brother had no idea who this strange man was singing this song. So, I told him. This sparked my obsession. For a month I listened to nothing but Adam and the Ants (and Adam Ant – solo). After finally learning the lyrics to nearly all his songs, I realized what he was singing about. It was spectacular.

He has a song called “Friend or Foe”. I believe it came about because, at that time, I think he was catching a lot of heat from people because he didn’t fit the “pop star” scene. He wasn’t into drugs or alcohol, and he wasn’t a big partier. When I learned the lyrics to this song, it actually inspired me to some degree:

Take it up or leave it
I’m not gonna change a bit
If it means heartache
Then leave it out for your sake
I tried and try tried
To take care of my insides
Nobody’s perfect
So leave me if you object
I want those who get to know me
To become admirers or my enimies
I want those who get to know me
To become admirers…
When you’re a pirouetting, highkicking
Thighslapping cruiser
When you’re a hipgrinding, spellbinding
Clean cut seducer
You have to be careful so people take note
I take it serious
But I still like a joke.

His song “Goody Two Shoes” has relatively the same feel as “Friend or Foe”:

No one’s gonna tell me
What’s wrong and what’s right
Or tell me who to eat with, sleep with
Or foul up on the big fight, big fight
Look out or they will tell you you’re a superstar
Two weeks and you’re an all time legend
I think the games have gone much too far
If the words unspoken get stuck in your throat
Send a treasure token, token
Write it on a pound note, pound note
Don’t drink, don’t smoke
What do you do
You don’t drink, don’t smoke
What do you do
The subtle innuendos follow
There must be something inside, inside

“Prince Charming” (the title track from the first CD I ever got by him) is fantastic. The lyrics aren’t complicated and they really make me feel like I can just be me:

Don’t you ever, don’t you ever
Stop being dandy, showing me you’re handsome
Don’t you ever, don’t you ever
Stop being dandy, showing me you’re handsome
Prince Charming
Prince Charming
Ridicule is nothing to be scared of
Don’t you ever, don’t you ever
Stop being dandy, showing me you’re handsome
Don’t you ever, don’t you ever
Lower yourself, forgetting all your standards
Don’t you ever, don’t you ever
Lower yourself, forgetting all your standards
Prince Charming
Prince Charming
Ridicule is nothing to be scared of
Don’t you ever, don’t you ever
Stop being dandy, showing me you’re handsome
Silk or leather or a freather
Respect yourself and all of those around you
Silk or leather or a freather
Respect yourself and all of those around you
Prince Charming

Granted, not all of his songs have such wholesome meanings behind them but he manages to balance them by talking about real things like women (always respectfully, however) and the business he’s in. If you haven’t heard of, or haven’t heard much from, Adam and the Ants (or Adam Ant – solo), I highly recommend it. Every album sounds different and he will never cease to amaze you (hopefully).





Another Oldie but Goodie.

27 03 2011

My senior year of high school, I took an English class. In that class, we read a poem. I cannot, for the life of me, remember the poem. I do remember, though, that it was about a very pushy male character trying to convince an obviously not interested female character to marry him. After we read the poem, we were given an assignment. The assignment was to write a response poem either accepting or rejecting the proposal. I was excited.

I’ve NEVER been to keen on the idea of marriage. It’s never been anywhere on my “to-do” list. So, the moment the assignment was given, I knew where I was going with the poem. Now, without further ado, here is the response poem I wrote:

“With this ring, I thee wed.”

No other words spoken do I dread

More than those that deal with this

And then all ends, with that gentle kiss.

 

“With my body, I thee worship.”

Those words that come fully equip

With lovely feelings I do not share

And for this love I hath no care.

 

“And with all my worldly goods, I thee endow.”

I have not strength for that last vow

For marriage is my mortal foe,

I’m sorry sir, my answer’s no.