Tag Archives: rant

You might not actually be an intersection superhero.

Just because a person tries to be nice, doesn’t mean that they know how. Take, for example, those who stop at intersections to allow pedestrians to cross. That seems like a nice thing to do, right?

Many agree, and they’d go out of their way to make sure that they do such a thing.

I’ve seen numerous times that motorists, if they see someone nearing an intersection, stop and wait so that the pedestrian can cross before proceeding. They’ll do this even if it’s not at all necessary. In many cases, the motorist could have proceeded through the intersection before the pedestrian even arrived at it.

The motorist probably pictures themselves some kind of hero who is holding back the traffic behind them so that the little guy could cross. However, they could actually be causing problems.

For one thing, they may be holding back someone who is already running late for work, or has something important to deliver with a deadline minutes away. Or they may be holding back a woman who doesn’t want to give birth in a passenger seat.

Also, when a motorist stops to allow a pedestrian to cross when they don’t have to, they are making an unnecessary and awkward moment for the pedestrian. We live in an age where distrust is rampant. Some pedestrians might be paranoid, assuming that the motorist is setting up a moment where he can easily run a pedestrian down, and enjoy the feeling of power from being in such a position. That kind of distrust isn’t rare these days. We live in an age where many people assume the worst of other people.

If the motorist can reasonably proceed, then why not? If a person stops and waits for a pedestrian that hasn’t reached the intersection yet, and they could have gone, and the pedestrian could have easily crossed afterwards anyway, then the motorist is actually wasting their time for nothing. What other reason do people do this than for a sense of satisfaction that comes with doing something nice, while expending a minimum of effort?

Pedestrians may want to know what they can do about it. The solution is simple: when a motorist that could have kept going pulls up to an intersection, and unnecessarily stalls there, just cross behind them. This way, they won’t be enabled to make awkward moments like that, and if they want to experience the satisfaction of having performed a good deed, they can find that by doing a good deed. And such a thing is not very hard. There are places where there is a lot of trash sitting around.

You are not a vampire.

Occasionally, you may see someone who thinks that he’s a vampire. Either that, or it’s some fantasy he engages in that he sometimes acts out.

In some cases, it’s pretty obvious that the reason someone engages in fantasies like this is because they wish that they’re someone or something else because they are failing at what they actually are. Like how a person with a bad job pictures themselves as some kind of genius even though they aren’t actually doing anything to improve their situation, or doing that well at the job that they already have.

One question I have is, why would anyone want to be a vampire? They fancy themselves some master race even though:

  • They can’t cross running water – this makes vampires easy to outrun
  • Daylight kills them – significantly limits their activities
  • They can’t come into contact with certain religious symbols – which are very easy to find, by the way
  • Garlic kills them – this is something that is used to flavor pizza, pasta sauces, and other foods that many people like
  • And recently, they sparkle – makes them easy to identify

Yeah, vampires are lame.

Vampires are often pictured as having superpowers, which don’t do nearly enough to compensate for the fact that vampires can’t do many of the things that most of us like, such as synthesizing sunlight into vitamin D. Also, the fact that sunlight kills them means that this self-proclaiming “master race” can’t participate in this thing called “agriculture”.

However, it’s hard to find the self-proclaiming vampire that expresses interest in just about any means of production. This is no surprise, because vampires personify what’s wrong with today’s entitlement culture: they consume other people’s work, but they contribute little to nothing to society. Vampires are the fantasy equivalent of those guys with Escalades who live on social security and food stamps/access cards/EBT cards.

Also, space travel is out of the question for vampires, because they can’t travel beyond the earth’s umbra. Travel for vampires is also limited because there are places on earth where the sun doesn’t set for months.

There may be some recent attempts to reinvent vampires, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s something that someone pretends to be when someone wants to forget about their job as a Walmart clerk. But if a person is in a position like that, why not fantasize about being an architect, or an electronics technician? Then they can do something to make it happen. Because when it comes down to it, a person can’t become a vampire, no matter how much they want to be one. However, a person can become an architect or an electronics technician if a person is willing to learn and do the required work.

But if a person just wants to fantasize, why not fantasize about doing or being something that’s not lame? For example:

  • A space marine
  • A cyborg
  • An extra-dimensional dragon
  • A rock star or some other musician
  • A combination of the four, because why not? If you’re going to daydream, go for gusto.

If someone is going to choose to mold their fantasies to some template, why choose a template that’s lame or tired? There’s nothing really interesting about vampires. People who think that they are vampires are not vampires, and they shouldn’t want to be one.

You probably don’t need to avoid gluten.

If you prefer to eat gluten free, go ahead and tell me why.

Unless you have celiac disease, you likely don’t have a reason that is medically sound.

There’s a huge dietary fad in which people are making a point of avoiding anything that has gluten in it. This is due to the idea that gluten must be, in some way, unhealthy, even if those who think so aren’t really sure why.

But here’s the thing: unless you have celiac disease, you probably don’t have any reason to avoid gluten at all.

To accommodate those who have celiac disease, companies have labeled their foods as “gluten free.” After that, along came the masses, making the assumption that those avoiding gluten know some dietary secret that make them so healthy. And with the food industry making piles of cash off these impressionable people, would you really expect them to clarify matters?

Since then, “gluten free” labels have appeared on various products, including products that wouldn’t have typically had gluten to begin with. There are burger patties marketed as “gluten free”:

sol_2D00_burgerSource: Peta.org

 

You were probably already thinking of pointing out that that’s a veggie burger, and the source of the image was Peta.org, so it’s already as though the product was precision-engineered to prey on the impressionable. But there’s more: there’s also a gluten free dairy creamer:

SK_HazelCreamer_PT_496x1130

Source: Silk.com

It’s not just lactose free and gluten free, it’s also non-GMO verified. This is one product that’s especially suited to those paranoid about their food.

If you have celiac disease, avoid gluten. But if you’re like so many people who buy into fad diets, stop being so impressionable. Marketers have been making big bucks off of you, because you really don’t know what’s going on.

Wanted: Honest Feminists

I recently attended a meeting about women’s services on campus, which was made interesting by the fact that there was only one female student in attendance. As the meeting went on, my BS detector went off the charts. The speaker, apparently, was what is called today a “feminist.”

What is a feminist? An advocate of women’s rights. Sounds like a noble cause, right? If that’s what it was about, then feminism today would be taken much more seriously.

But it’s not. And the reason for this is because many feminists today are actually a liability to the cause.

Above, I mentioned what’s called a “BS detector.” I think most of us knows what that means, but for those of us who don’t, to have a BS detector means to have an ability, either through intuition or conscious thought, to sense that there’s something fallacious.

For instance, you’ve probably heard the statistic that women make seven-tenths of what a man makes for doing the same job.  It has an element of truthiness to it, considering that women have historically been treated unfairly. In many cases, the statistic is accepted by the hearer without further inquiry. It’s even been stated by president Barack Obama during a State of the Union address.

There’s a problem, though. The statistic is false.

If one were to look into the matter, the ratio would actually be closer to 9:10. The truer statistic does indicate that that there’s still a problem, but it’s nowhere near as dramatic as the 7:10 figure that we’ve been hearing.

When you hear that “women make seven-tenths for doing the same job as men”, your BS detector should go off. Perhaps you’ve picked up on some weasel words. Which job, specifically, do women do that nets them seven-tenths of a man’s pay? When was this study conducted? By whom? Did the study control for factors such as maternity leave and that women’s less career-oriented nature would lend them an inclination to settle for a lower salary?

By Tkjd2007 at Wikimedia.org, public domain

By Tkjd2007 at Wikimedia.org, public domain

Perhaps your BS detector did go off, but you ignored it. As children, we are good at detecting things such as hypocrisy, but as we grow up, we train ourselves to ignore our BS detectors. While this is done with the intention of being more civil, it also enables certain people to walk all over us.

During the meeting, the speaker did mention the statistic. A brief glance around the room revealed that just about everyone present knew just what was going on. Did anyone call her on it? It would seem like no one wanted to. There was a guy next to me who raised his hand, but he was ignored.

Generally, men don’t want to fight back against the tide of radical feminism, because it would be so easy to paint such a person as the bad guy. Because of this, the speaker, even though she was surrounded by college-aged men, could say just about anything she wanted with impunity. The group mechanics were certainly awkward.

It seems to me that feminism still struggles to be taken seriously. Why? What’s so bad about the cause of making women of equal value to men?

Fast fact
Women have been of equal value to men all along. Throughout human history.

So, what’s the problem? They haven’t been treated that way. Would it be bad to advocate that they be treated fairly? Certainly not. So then, what major obstacles stand in the way of feminists being taken seriously?

The one I’m focusing on today is that feminism has honesty problems.

A lack of honesty is an issue, even if the cause is a good one. When a person tells a lie to advance a cause, that person takes the risk that that the hearer won’t look too much into it. While dishonest people have long had their way, the risk is even greater in the information age, when a person has instant access to research for verification.

One day, I came home from work and found that my roommates were talking to a door-to-door salesman, and they were sold to his alternative electrical energy supply company. The only thing preventing them from sealing the deal was that the electric bill was in my name, so they needed my approval. After talking with the salesman, I went inside to perform a web search to see what others were saying about his company. The company’s reputation was very bad, with even former employees coming out and pointing out that the company has nearly no organic growth. Armed with this new information, I went and shut the door on the salesman’s face. Problem solved, with the help of the internet.

Another point I want to focus on is that feminists generally just don’t like men, and that’s another obstacle to them being taken seriously. Feminists generally see the male-female relationship as being adversarial in nature, and because of this, it’s unusual to see them in a healthy relationship. Those who fetch coffee for those pushing a feminist agenda often end up developing the same grim outlook. As a result, relationships suffer where there otherwise wouldn’t have been a problem.

The key to a healthy relationship is compromise. Men and women get together understanding that there are differences beyond that women have breasts and a vulva, while men have something else. Men and women have brains that are 97% similar. That remaining 3% makes a big difference. For men and women to get along, they need to be accepting of one-another’s differences, otherwise, there could be problems.

Feminists have a tendency to teach women to accept no compromise. This results in some very difficult relationships. This is made even worse in an age when there are men who try to be more like women and women try to be more like men. Because so many people are trying to be something they’re not, relationships suffer.

The antidote for this is to understand one’s identity, and understand that characteristics such as one’s gender gives someone something to offer society, and knowing that personal success can be achieved by offering what you have to offer, instead of wishing that you could offer the exact same thing as someone with different attributes.

There are differences between men and women, and these enable both genders to offer things to a relationship that the other cannot. Even if the wife were the money-maker and the husband was a stay at home dad, the presence of primary sexual characteristics will still indicate mutually exclusive capacities. Because of this, there is no man that can do all the exact same things a woman can do, and there are no women that can do all the exact same things a man can do. If they could, gender distinctions wouldn’t exist.

Some would say that it’s not fair that women are generally physically weaker than men, and some would say that it’s not fair that the continuity of their genes requires the assistance of a woman. Just because something is different from what you would have personally preferred doesn’t mean that life is unfair. Besides, life is unfair. It has been for a long time.

The school I go to is a trade school, which means that the majors are highly technical in nature. Among them are architectural, HVAC, and electronic engineering majors. A vast majority of the students are male. Why would that be?

Perhaps it’s due to the popular perception that these are male jobs. Those who are particularly blunt seem to like to say that women haven’t built our buildings or paved our roads. I wouldn’t mind seeing women line up to shut them up. But it seems like that’s mostly not happening.

Perhaps it’s because there are so many men going to schools like this that make women feel uncomfortable with attending. Women that attend would be so far outnumbered that they’d feel out of place. There may also be a sexual element. Men like sex, and some get grabby about it. Those who act this way give the rest of my gender a bad rep.

But perhaps the biggest determining factor when women decide against trade schools is that they just don’t want to be architects or automotive repair women for a living. It’s not as though women don’t see such jobs as rewarding and fulfilling, because they do. However, these jobs tend to be physically demanding, and that’s where women usually being physically weaker comes in. It can make them less effective at the job that they do, which from a results-oriented standpoint, could be used to justify paying them less to do the same job.

If someone would have to try much harder to be just as effective, it would seem more practical to find a job that’s more suited to their abilities. Having said that, if someone really wants to do something, that extra bit of effort can result in a fulfilling career. And if women were to pave roads and build buildings, there would be a number of chauvinists with less to say.

If a feminist is a person who sees women as having equal value with men, then I’m a feminist. However, feminism seems instead to be some far-left movement that teaches women to resent men. That there are so many dishonest feminists also seriously hurts their movement, in ways that they don’t realize.

Because of this, there is a demand for honest feminists.

#YesMenToo

I would like to say first that it’s not my intention of taking on the #YesAllWomen hashtag. Women do deal with some serious challenges. It’s not my intent to take a shot at that. However, there are certain things that men must deal with, and I would like to bring some attention to that.

Recently, there was a mass-murder in Santa Barbara, California. The perpetrator targeted women specifically, apparently upset that he didn’t have sex. He certainly had a warped view of things. For one thing, he apparently had an unrealistic perspective of the male-female relationship, coupled with a sense of entitlement.

He also spent hours a day playing World of Warcraft, so he was complaining about not getting something he wanted, while apparently doing little to actually obtain it. This kind of sense of entitlement isn’t anything that’s new, though it’s unusual in that it’s taken to this extreme. I could go on about how this indicates the kind of wrong thinking that’s apparently gaining momentum in America. However, that’s a different topic.

There are certain things that men do have to deal with.

For one thing, there is the perpetuation of the idea that sex is something that men must always be preoccupied with. Men feed into this notion too, and the popular idea is that if a man doesn’t have a stronger libido, then he must be less of a man somehow. You’ve probably heard that men think about sex once every thirty seconds. This is statistically inaccurate, but you’ll find it hard to find the man who admits that he doesn’t obsess over sex that much. If men were that preoccupied with sex, how would most of us function in society?

As I see it, sexual desire is a universal human trait, and can be healthy, depending on how it’s expressed. However, the notion that men must obsess over sex every waking moment of our lives doesn’t do men any favors. I do have aspirations, and I prefer to be remembered for what I strive for and differences that I make than how much I think about sex.

It’s assumed that when men gather together, we talk primarily about women and our sexual exploits, and there is an assumption that, if left to our own devices, we’d spend hours a day looking at pornography on the internet. This doesn’t paint of picture of our gender as being productive and intellectually engaged, but neither does the notion that men are constantly sexually-obsessed.

I would also like to point out that, often, men are judged by physical appearance instead of what else we have to offer. The popular notion is that men focus on function over form, and while this is generally true, it’s because of this that this is frequently overlooked.

Sometimes, men with certain physical characteristics are favored for female attraction over those without them. This girl I knew in high school (that I was interested in) had a poster of Brendan Fraser in her bedroom. He would be the guy known for playing the role of Tarzan and George of the Jungle, among other things. Women would generally prefer to have a poster like that in their bedrooms (though their spouses might object to it). As a skinny teenager with acne, there was little more I could do than accept the fact that I was in competition with other members of the male gender for the sexual attention of women, even as the media instilled in young women unrealistic expectations of male characteristics.

Some women prefer certain characteristics in men, and many of these are physical characteristics. What could I do to get the attention of women other than attempt to live up to their expectations?

It’s expected of men to be in competition with other men, and women seem more attracted to men who butt heads with other men. How far would a man get complaining that we still live in an age where men compete with other men? After all, women are usually more drawn to men that they feel can protect them, and a man that just complains is probably complaining about a game that he’s losing.

Sometimes a person looks for certain characteristics in a potential suitor. Sometimes a person prefers some characteristics over others, some of them physical. This is often called an indication of a person’s tastes.

Do I mean to say that women are unfair to men? Sometimes, they are. People sometimes have a double-standard toward other people. For example, there is a problem with domestic violence against men. Little about it is done, because men are typically viewed as being on the administering end of the domestic violence problem, and when someone behaves violently against men, it’s expected of him to be macho and “take it.”

Some men have a conviction against committing acts of violence against women, and when such a man is the recipient of spousal abuse, there is little he could do about it. And because he’s a man, he can expect little sympathy from either women or men.

The American legal system has an overwhelming bias favoring women in domestic disputes. This is also the case when it comes to sexual crimes; it’s typically assumed that the man is at fault. This problem is magnified by the fact that, when it comes to sexual crimes, people are prone to assuming the worst in other people, and thus a mere allegation is sufficient to heavily damage some people’s lives. Because of this, some people attempt to get revenge on other people by accusing them of committing a sexual crime. And when the person issuing the allegation is a woman, a man who is on the receiving end of it is in for the battle of his life.

There are other challenges that men face, but these are a few of the big ones. Many view it as being “the way things are”, and because of this, many cope with life facing these conditions. There are certain things that men have to deal with, and deal with them, we do.

Hey commercial writers, running out of ideas? Why not steal from the internet?

The Meow Mix commercial (2014):

The original (2008, with at least 43,751,676 views):

It’s really nothing new that media takes inspiration from preexisting sources. For a long time, movies, plays, novels, and other forms of media have been taking inspiration from folklore and stories of heroism, among other things. Lately, there have been complaints that movies have been unimaginative, often with recurring superhero stories. But the thing is, it’s not something new, and with such movies making big bucks, it’s not likely that films will stray far from conventions.

What is of particular interest is how blatantly traditional media has been stealing from the internet, with such attempts becoming increasingly brazen. It may not be new that new stories take inspiration from old ones. We see recurring themes in storytelling throughout history, and very little written by men is actually completely original. These days, writing something completely original has become difficult to the point that many writers admit to taking inspiration, and they typically aren’t blamed for it.

However, it’s when it get particularly blatant that eyebrows are raised. When it’s content that’s on the internet that large companies are taking inspiration from, can they be as blatant as they wish without consequence? The “stalking cat” video above was apparently filmed and posted by one guy in Japan, and even if he were to tell Del Monte Foods to cease and desist, what would he have behind his request? It would be a battle between a huge corporation with enormous resources and teams of lawyers versus a guy, his camera, and his cat.

Those huge corporations seem to be figuring something out, and that’s that the internet is filled with content that’s very difficult to trace, and even if traced, it’s difficult for the producer to defend their own content. Internet users even steal from each other. There’s a producer of animated gifs who saw people enter his work as their own submissions in online art contests. When he came forward as the producer of that art, and told the online community to stop posting his work as their own, people actually sided with the art thieves! As a result, the artist felt less inclined to produce more content.

Inspiration isn’t necessarily theft. But there are times when it’s especially blatant. I wouldn’t be surprised to be seeing it more often, but with the participation of large companies, who spend plenty of money on creative writers, it is particularly surprising.

Why I don’t like “The Big Bang Theory”

A while ago, I was introduced to a TV show that I hadn’t heard of before. This show is called “The Big Bang Theory”. I can’t put my finger on one thing I don’t like about this show. That’s because there are a lot of things about this show that irk me. Here are just a few:

1) BBT makes a sad attempt to sound smart.
Just to make sure the point gets across that the main characters of BBT are smart people, one of them will occasionally say something that sounds scientific. Whether they get it right or wrong is not the point. The needless inclusion of any subject material (such as science) into a television show can have the effect of making the viewer feel involved, regardless of the technical level of the material shared. The result is the viewers of BBT feeling smarter, even though what they’ve just watched is about as intellectually stimulating as “The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog”. What’s worse, BBT actually seems to try to feed a pretentious feeling of intellectual elation. I have little other explanation for why it’s viewers keep coming back.

Intellectually speaking, BBT is like junk food. Delicious? Taste is subjective, but it remains that it adds nothing of value. If you want to actually be smarter, watch some real scientific shows, like Nova.

Can’t tell the difference? Neither can the writers of The Big Bang Theory.

2) This show gives people the wrong idea of what nerds are really about.
I could probably be considered a nerd. I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that I know some nerds, and BBT gets almost nothing right.

First, let’s get some terms out there:
Nerd: Someone who loses himself in a hobby or craft, often to the neglect of grooming, family, or career.
Scientist: An educated individual who discerns natural laws as a profession. Using knowledge of natural laws to design things is a separate discipline called “engineering”.

What BBT gets wrong is that it portrays it’s nerds as being scientists. As BBT would explain it, almost anyone who is smart is really into science, comic books, television, the internet, and makes nifty holographic projections in their basement. While nerds can be considered really smart, most of them treat their minds as databases for piles of useless information. Most of them specialize in video games, old reruns, board games, and things that the rest of us generally won’t find a use for. A nerd is often inconsequential because he subdues himself with things intended for recreation. While he could help you set up a wireless network, nerds aren’t the ones making world-changing discoveries.

On the other hand, many scientists are well-off enough to be unaware that BBT exists, though I can imagine that many of them secretly dread that something like it does. That’s because scientists are heavily involved with their trades. Scientists are the ones that went to school for the better part of a decade, and are working on uncovering the mysteries of the universe while remaining within a budget and dealing with pressure from deadlines. Scientists work hard, because someone else could end up beating them to making their big discovery, and claim credit for the whole thing. Any time a scientist can spend outside the office or laboratory would probably be spent sleeping or hiking. They likely won’t be the ones with encyclopedic knowledge of anime.

3) The laugh track.
This is probably the single most often-repeated complaint I hear about this show. Because of this, I may not be saying anything new, but I’m still going to express myself on this matter.

I remember Doug Funnie saying something like, “If your jokes are so funny, you wouldn’t have to laugh at them.” The recipient of this statement was Roger Klotz, but it could just as well be repeated to Chuck Lorre. Most people can think for themselves. We each have a differing sense of humor. If we think something is funny, we’ll laugh. We don’t need the show we are watching telling us what is funny, and what is not. We each have our own favorite comedies because each comedy is different. Our favorite comedies are decided by our sense of humor. Our sense of humor is not dictated to us by our comedies.

BBT’s laugh track serves the purpose of telling it’s poor audience when to laugh, because without it, they would be lost. Suppose one of it’s characters makes a nerd reference that is kind of nostalgic. Are we supposed to laugh? Apparently so, because there goes the laugh track.

I’m impressed that it’s the year 2012, and sitcom writers are still using the laugh track. I think it’s a cop-out. If there’s 10 seconds of the laugh track going while the characters are pausing and waiting for it to let up, that’s 10 seconds that the writers didn’t have to write for.

4) Bazinga!
Take it easy, Sheldon.

5) The opening theme.
Actually, this is my favorite part because it has nothing to do with the show.

And that’s how I feel about The Big Bang Theory. I’m not trying to change how anyone feels about this show, I thought I’d get my own opinion out there. How do you feel about BBT? Let me know.