Saturday, April 24, 2010


There's nothing like a good idea to get you out of bed in the morning.  And let me tell you, I have trouble getting up most days.  Today, especially, I should have hit the snooze button a gajillion times before dragging myself out of bed - it's a Saturday for one.  Also, I went to sleep at like 3 last night.  But, what can I say, it's a great feeling having something to look forward to when you wake up in the morning.  With no further ado...

I got the chance to see Avatar last night (1st time) and it didn't disappoint.  The CGI was amazing and the story was moving.  Yes, there were some corny lines and the screaming/ crying all the time got annoying in places.  But the movie was really much better than I had expected from hearing critical opinions.

But I've also heard that a lot of people get depressed after watching the movie because they wish they could live in a place like Pandora.  It makes sense, that place was friggin' cool.  But there are things we can do to live in a place more like Pandora.  Yeah, you know where I'm going with this.

Earth day was a couple of days ago, and I hope it opened some people's eyes to what we're doing to our home.  And maybe Avatar can influence some people to take better care of it, too (especially since the dvd came out on earth day!)  There are a lot of different things we can do to help our planet, including recycling, using less energy by turning off lights and appliances we aren't using, using less water, buying green cleaning products, buying organic food, using reusable bags instead of plastic ones at the store, buying a reusable water bottle rather than the ones we throw away.

There are a lot of things we can do to help the planet.  But I think another reason why people feel depressed after watching Avatar might be that they wish they could be that connected to the things and people around them.  But we can.  America is a very individualistic place, but our relationships with others are so important.  Maybe there's a friend you haven't talked to in a while, or maybe you haven't spoken to a family member in years, or maybe there's just a person down the hall from you or down the road who looks like they need a friend.  Let's not forget the rich history of our human race and the connections we can make with others here.  Fantasy is a great thing, but sometimes we need to keep our heads out of the clouds and focus on what we have here.

So renew a relationship that you have maybe been neglecting or heal one that has been crumbling.  Do what you can to stay connected to the people around you.  Volunteer and give money to charity.  Support peace among nations.  We can stay connected to other people and to our planet in many ways.  So reconnect with your home and the important people in your life today!

A New Mystique?

Alright everyone! Here's the sample column I submitted with my application.  Let me know what you think of it!  And wish me luck!!
Last semester, my RA gave everyone on my hall a survey to fill out and post next to our doors. It had the standard get-to-know you type questions, but it also asked, “What are your hopes for the future?” I gave this a lot of thought and answered, “To become a Clinical Psychologist, run my own business, and publish my writing.”
Over the next few weeks, I noticed that most other girls wrote variations of “I hope to marry a hot guy and have kids.” I was amazed that the majority of the 60 girls on my hall seemed to have no hopes for the future besides marriage and children. I’m not saying that these are unworthy aspirations for a young woman – but they are certainly not ambitions.
This trend makes me a little dubious. Are many young women still coming to college just to find a husband? This is the 21st century! We are way past the tight-laced Victorian era, the fight for women’s suffrage, the “Holly Homemakers” of the 50’s, the era of the Feminine Mystique! Yet many young women still don’t have well-defined ambitions for the future.
Maybe I’m wrong that their only wish is to get married and have kids, but this trend at least brings to light a surprising lack of goals for the future among young college girls. After all those years of fighting for women’s rights as equals in the workplace and in the political arena, a lot of women still show ambivalence at best toward the idea of committing to a career. And this commitment plays a vital role in forming our identities as individuals moving in the larger world.
Feminism is becoming a dirty word again, but ladies, we still have a long way to go. When I attended Susan Faludi’s talk on feminism earlier this semester, she explained that women today still earn 15% less than men doing the same work, and they still work the same top 10 jobs as 30 years ago, most of which are not full-commitment careers.
I want to see more young women aspiring to be doctors, lawyers, scientists, businesswomen. I want to see more women breaking into male-dominated fields. I want to see more women pushing themselves to stretch their boundaries and test their intelligence through challenging careers. Yes, more and more women are achieving this, but many people today ignore the fact that we still have more progress to make.
We live in a time in which having a family and investing ourselves into challenging careers don’t have to be mutually exclusive. So let’s break free of the stereotypes and let ourselves become immersed in an exciting and fulfilling career, too.
Let’s cast aside the fear of failure, ignore the people who say we can’t, and take hold of our futures, push our boundaries, expand our minds, and enter that crazy, scary, exciting world of work with our heads held high – because we are women, and nothing can stop us, not even ourselves.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"You're My Hero!"

This is one of my options to submit for the columnist job at the Stater.  So, let me know what you think.  But I think I'm going to write something different, having to do with women in college who just want to get married.  It's something I'm more passionate about than this, so it might make for a better submission.  I've also considered taking one of my existing blogs and adapting it, but I'm not sure yet.  Anyway, here's option 1:

Sports stars are called many things these days, but too often, they are called heroes. What have these athletes done to warrant the title of hero? The same title given to soldiers who risk their lives in war to protect their people and secure their country. The same title given to police officers who risk their lives daily to secure the safety of their precinct. The same title given to firefighters such as those who fought to rescue the survivors of 9/11 and battled with true bravery the fires that consumed the World Trade Centers. 

But athletes play games for a living: throwing, passing, kicking, catching balls for ridiculous amounts of money. (Far too much money in many people’s opinions.) What courage does it take to hit a ball high into the air with a long piece of wood? What strength of heart does it require to put a ball through a hoop on a high post? What valor does it display to catch a ball and run to a large rectangle at the end of a field for mere points on a scoreboard? 

Some sports stars are worshiped for the games they play. Young children look up to them and aspire to be like them. Kids collect baseball cards, beg their parents to take them to sports games, and ask for certain brands simply because they are endorsed by their favorite sports star. What contributions have sports players made to society besides providing a source of entertainment?

Yes, some sports stars give to charity and support worthy causes, and I am not diminishing the value of that role as a model for kids who look up to them. But so many more famous athletes get their mug shots splattered across news pages and the nightly news for crimes ranging from rape, to assault, to murder. Other sports stars may not get themselves landed in jail, but do get themselves landed in rehab. Kids who look up to these stars may think that this lifestyle is fun and that they can be like their favorite athlete by drinking, smoking, and taking dangerous and illegal drugs.

There seems to be no end to the news about sports icons being thrown into jail, cheating on their wives, bringing guns into sports arenas, pumping steroids, and raping or assaulting people. O.J. Simpson’s murder trial was one of the most televised trials ever. These are hardly healthy behaviors for kids to imitate. Luckily, it seems the rest of America is getting a little tired of sports stars’ antics, too. 

However, the legal troubles of some athletes can be a double-edged sword, because it seems most of them are held to a different standard than the rest of us. Most of the time, star athletes don’t get the time in jail that they deserve and many of them aren’t punished by their coaches or other higher-ups for what they’ve done. I don’t think that suspension for a handful of games is a fair punishment for raping someone, nor does it teach anyone a lesson, especially the kids who look up to these stars and learn that they can get away with crimes if they are famous enough.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Don't Govern Me!

First of all, I'm going to start off with something completely unrelated to my topic for the day.  I am sooo soo excited because the Stater (on-campus newspaper) is looking for columnists for next fall, and I have been thinking lately about how I'd really love to do a column in the paper.  And now I have a chance!  All I have to do is submit a 500 word sample before Monday, along with a resume, and short note (and by e-mail too, so no scary interview - at least yet).  I cannot say how excited I am about this.  And I soo hope I can do it!!

Okay!  Now back to the topic at hand.  I was reading USA Today during my break this morning and came across yet another article about a Supreme Court case.  And yes, I am miffed about this one, too!  Here's the gist of the article.  The Court was ruling on a law which was "used to prosecute a Virginia man who advertised videos of dogfights" and which "covered 'any depiction' in which 'a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded or killed.'"  The Court voted 8-1 against the law, saying it was written "too broadly, potentially covering hunting and other activities that would not always be deemed cruel."  That's fair.  I'm not upset about this because it's a logical argument, and the Court's opinion "invites Congress to craft a law targeting only 'crush videos'" which they explain "typically show women's heels digging into small animals."  I agree that the law was too broad and the language should be narrowed, but read what comes next.

Okay, here's the juicy part.  USA Today describes the opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts, as a "forceful, often derisive, rejection of the government's arguments."  Roberts even described them as "'startling and dangerous.'"  I don't see how this law warrants that kind of a reaction.  How is it dangerous?  Or startling?  The law was crafted for the protection of animals, and that's not exactly an unworthy cause.  Think of young, angry boys (or girls, perhaps) watching videos of someone that they look up to who mistreats animals.  Those little boys are going to go out and do the same thing.  (And as a side note, it's actually a symptom of conversion disorder, which is often later diagnosed as a more serious psychological disorder).  We all emulate those we want to be like.  So yeah, I see a problem here.

It gets better!  Roberts also gives us this little gem, "'Our Constitution forecloses any attempt,' he wrote, to outlaw speech on the basis that it simply 'is not worth it.'"  He also called the law "'a criminal prohibition of alarming breadth.'"  Uh, don't you get the feeling that he's going a little far.  Like the people who wrote the legislation were purposefully trying to take any rights they could get away from the American people?  Um, yeah, everyone knows that elected officials undergo a werewolf-like change as soon as they enter office, becoming tyrannical overlords of the type that spend the majority of their time practicing their evil laughs, rather than leading the country, right?  Or am I getting this all jumbled up...

There are just too many people today who are trying their hardest to paint the government as some Big Brother type organization constantly scheming up new ways to screw over the American people.  And yes, a lot of politicians are corrupt, but a lot of other ones are just trying their hardest to make the country a better place and a more equal place.  I won't get started on this, though, because I could write a whole other post.  Back to the point!

The Virginia man from whom this whole debacle originated, says that he was selling the dogfight videos for education on pit bulls, not the promotion of illegal dogfighting.  And yes, that argument makes little sense at all.  I will concede that the government came back with the weak argument that "prosecutors would go after only the most 'extreme' cruelty."  There is just no way to ensure that, and the weak language of the law could be used abusively.  But this is my favorite part!  Stevens then said, "'Not to worry, the government says... But the First Amendment protects against the government:  it does not leave us at the mercy of noblesse oblige.'"

Shock!  Awe!  What did he just say?  Yes, he said the government is trying to practice their noblesse oblige on us.  Um, wait, isn't noblesse oblige a reference to the 19th century French concept of the king's right to take whatever woman he wants, regardless of her marital status?  Yeah, I can imagine you smacking your forehead right now, too!  

The only dissenting justice said in support of the law, that "the court could have upheld the law to cover only crush videos and dogfighting videos."  Okay, so why didn't that do this?  Maybe I don't understand court rulings that well, but I've had some exposure to how the process works, and the judicial branch was given rights to effect legislation through their rulings.  So it really shouldn't have been a problem to specify the reach of the law or at the very least recommend changes to the language of the legislation.

Other arguments in favor of this ruling:  "'The mere fact that speech is offensive doesn't justify banning it.'"  Even though it was mentioned earlier in the article that the Supreme Court has approved stipulations to First Amendment rights regarding obscenity.  That's why you can't swear on television.  And that's offensive, but it doesn't really cause little kids to go out and kill other living animals.  Also, "'We don't say we're only going to allow speech when it has social value or speech that we all agree with.'"  Okay, well this is different.  Because it has to do with actual lives.  Living animals.  Who are tortured and killed for entertainment.  And it is wrong. So I sincerely hope that a new law is passed, with more specific language, that can protect harmless animals from being abused for others entertainment.  

Maybe the Virginia guy had a good, albeit twisted, intention for his videos.  But does that give him the right to exploit dogfights?  Some people have huge gambling problems connected to dogfights and thousands of dogs are killed through this "sport" every year.  Maybe he was trying to raise awareness about the problem, I don't know.  But the real issue here is the ridiculous, hostile, and, honestly, infantile language given by the Chief Justice, and I'm sure, other members of the Court.  The law was created to protect animals and stop the spread of violent videos depicting animal cruelty.  I agree that the language needs to be tweaked, but the essence of the law is benevolent.  And a simple, 'the language of this law needs to be narrowed and specified,' would have sufficed.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Injustice System

*Before you read, I'd just like to let you know that I've made it so you don't have to sign in to comment now.  But I do ask that you please put your name at the end of your comment if you don't sign in, so that I know who wrote it.  Thanks!*

Every morning, I pick up the Daily Kent Stater and USA Today (and throw away the Sports section).  Today, there was a big news story in the Stater about the ongoing murder trial of a Kent State student.  The details of the trial are quite interesting and I've been following them since the news of this student's hospitalization after the assault which took place near campus.
But the murder trial is not my concern for this post.  I was reading the latest news about a key eyewitness testimony in the case.  The young man in question had been driving the defendant and another young man also being charged with murder on the night that the assault took place.  But one of the sort of side details tucked into the article reads like this:  "[the young man] first appeared in front of a grand jury Nov. 24, 2009 and pleaded "the Fifth" on the advice of his attorney, [name].  As he left the courtroom, he was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice and then booked and sent to [the county] jail, where he stayed until Dec. 24." 

Maybe I don't know that much about the justice system, but I do have an innate sense of human justice which is frantically waving red flags at me every time I read this.  The Bill of Rights was designed to protect the people's rights.  The fifth amendment is supposed to protect people from self-incrimination.  How is it possible, then, that they could charge him with obstructing justice right after the trial?  How is that justice at all?  So he is allowed to plead the fifth in the court room, but as soon as he is out of that "safe haven," they can instantly arrest him for using his rights?  This smells like a devious loop-hole; like those who are supposed to be protecting our rights are playing the system in order to take those rights away in the name of, I don't know, "justice."  It's absurd!  And besides that, he was put in jail for an entire month for this "crime."  When reading the text of the amendment, it seems this is not actually against the law, per se:  "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury... nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..."  But I have to say that it goes against the spirit of the law.  Judges and policemen should be there to protect our rights, not take them away.

I've always had a problem with the way the justice system works in regard to the amount of time criminals have to serve.  Sometimes murderers get 20 years in prison.  Sometimes they are put to death.  Does taking another life have gradations like this?  (And, just as a side note, I'd like to say that I am against the death penalty, but that's a subject for another post.  And I'm also against unnecessary jail time, but, again, let's save that for another day.)  I understand that not all crimes are equal and that every crime has to be judged based on the circumstances.  But sometimes the rulings really make absolutely no sense.  Does it sound right to you that using your Constitutional rights can land you in jail for a month?  Let me know what you think.

The other case I read about today in USA Today was about the Supreme Court case in which a Christian organization at a law school is suing the school because they took away funding from this organization for denying gays and non-Christians membership or participation in their group.  The school had anti-discrimination laws set up for every organization on campus, so they weren't treating them unfairly.  The group's argument was that "its members had a First Amendment right to limit participation to people who subscribe to their beliefs, including a ban on homosexual relations."  And that "making groups admit students who do not accept their message is a 'frontal assault on freedom of association.'"  But what angers me about this case is some justices are using the argument that 'you wouldn't want an atheist coming in and leading Bible studies or a bunch of atheists taking over the group.'  That kind of thinking is not even pertinent to the discussion.  The question was really, do they have a right to discriminate based on sexual orientation or religion.  And the law says that no one should be discriminated against based on race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or disability.  No one should be exempt from that.  Not only that, but some justices have made the argument that allowing atheists or gays into the Christian group would be similar to allowing racist skinheads into the NAACP!  That was actually a comment by one of the conservative justices in USA Today.  I didn't make it up.

The whole argument is ridiculous.  We are talking about basic human and social rights.  And no one has the right to discriminate.  It is a slippery slope once we start condoning discrimination for religious organizations.  Conservatives hem and haw about how we came to this country for religious freedom and we fought the Revolutionary War for these rights.  (Which, I might add, was just not a huge reason that we fought the war.  But people like to make it out to be more of an issue than it ever was.)  Well, does their right to Christianity then trump others' rights to be Muslim or homosexual or atheist?  It's a joke, and it lessens even more my faith in our justice system.  Certainly some of the justices' views are colored by their religious affiliations.  Colored to the point where they often cannot see past them.  And when these justices are making rulings about important national issues that effect every citizen of this country, I would like to see a little less blindness and a little more impartial justice.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Demon Stairs and CTA

When you ask most people what they're afraid of, they usually say snakes or spiders.  I'm not really afraid of either, but I will jump and scream like a little girl and shout for James to kill it (if it's a spider) or run away (if it's a snake).  But what am I really afraid of?  The two biggest things are probably these:  escalators and talking on the phone (which I like to call Crippling Telecommunications Aversion or CTA).  Alright, both probably need some explanation, so here goes!

Escalators.  They are my sworn enemy.  I hate them.  I even hate the sight of them.  Why?  Simple.  If you are a small child innocently riding an escalator when your tiny girly shoe gets STUCK in the escalator, you will probably hate them forever.  And that is exactly what happened to me.  And now, whenever I am faced with an escalator, I will often stand at the bottom staring at the stairs as they zip up and away (cuz those things are FAST) for upwards of 10 minutes.  No joke.  Ask anyone who's been to the mall with me.  I will even go out of my way to ask an associate if there is an elevator in the back that I can take, even though I am also quite socially introverted.  And yes, it is very embarrassing.  Especially when other people want to get on the escalator and thus have to walk around you as you stare, frightened, at the scary escalator.  And I've gotten weird looks for admitting my fear of these demon stairs.  Whatever, they didn't get a shoe stuck in one!  Oh and I almost forgot, also when I was very young, I saw this horrifying movie of a girl who got a necklace stuck in an escalator and DIED.  I was traumatized by these things from an early age.

Speaking on the phone is also up there with my biggest fears.  When I have to call someone I don't know, especially someone older than myself (it was worse when I was younger, just calling adults).  Pretty much I get really nervous and start feeling sick to my stomach.  I sometimes feel really upset.  I often stare at the phone for several minutes before picking it up.  Then I dial and instantly hang up.  I might do this a couple of times before finally make the call.  Usually it ends up being a lot better than I was afraid of.  But I still get super nervous every time.  

Actually, I usually hate talking to people I don't know, in general.  Especially teachers or school administrators or something.  I think I might just be afraid of getting yelled at by them.  But I didn't really get in trouble in grade school.  I was always one of those "good" kids who loved being the teacher's pet.  So when I did get into trouble I was like literally distraught.  One time my little sister and I walked in front of the bus (nothing happened) and we got yelled at at school.  One time my teacher found a lump of clay from art class in my desk and called me a thief (along with my friend) even though I didn't think it was wrong at the time, and I was SUPER upset about it.  A few other times I just got in trouble randomly for talking or making noises and it sucked a lot.  The only time I was ever sent into the hall, I didn't even know when I was supposed to go back in because it had never happened before.  So I got yelled at again for coming in without being fetched (lol).  I hated getting into trouble.  But who knows how I got my CTA!  Maybe I just got it from my mom.  Lots of people are afraid of the phone.

Yeah, those are pretty much my big fears.  I could possibly add people lying to me and people leaving me.  And those are tied to past relationships with friends who were jerks.  And my sometimes general distrust for people (although I do always try to see the best in people and not generalize) comes from being made fun of as a kid.  But generally, I think I have some people-related problems.  It's hard for me to make friends sometimes and to keep up with them.  Part of that also has to do with the fact that I often live in my own head a little too much.  But I digress!  

For those of you who are reading this, I want to hear about your fears and why you think you have them.  Comment below!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I Heart Smosh

There are a lot of things I'd really like to write about today.  But I've decide to write about something I truly love.  Something near and dear to my heart.  And that is Smosh.  

If you have never heard of Smosh, you need to drop what you are doing right now and go directly to  Don't even keep reading, just go now!

For those of you who do know who I'm talking about, reminisce with me about Boxman, Boxman for President, and Boxman's girlfriend.  (There's also Teleporting Fat Guy, Easy Step, That Damn Neighbor, and one of my recent favorites, Editor, among many others.  Oh yeah, and of course, the infamous Food Battles: '07, '08, '09).  What exquisite works of art!  Truly priceless masterpieces of comedy genius!  Plus, Ian and Anthony aren't that bad looking themselves : )  

Anyway, they posted a new Boxman video a couple of days ago, but I don't think it's on par with the older ones.  They've had few flops (though I wouldn't quite call this one a flop), and the majority of their work is excellent.  The Boxman videos are catchy, and some of my favorites.  It's not uncommon for me to sit down to a new video (posted quite often, actually) and have to fight the urge to laugh ridiculously loud several times throughout.  

A little background:  Smosh started out on youtube with, I believe, the pokemon theme song.  That video went viral and since then they've had a huge youtube following (almost 1.5 mil subscribers, 365 mil views, and currently #4 most subscribers - but they've been #1).  Now that they have their own website, they have games, blooper videos (which you need an account on their site in order to view, but they're worth it), and tons of random posts about just about anything.

Overall, Anthony and Ian are two of my favorite comedians.  They love to get silly and ridiculous, with hilarious results.  And everyone knows laughter is the best... therapy.  : )