Les Miserables – Susan Boyle

My wife showed this to me last night.  Please watch the entire video.

Embedding has been disabled for this video, so click on the link to go to YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk

If you are not moved to tears with this performance, then you either have no heart, a psychopath, or dead.

I Must Be Getting Old…

…because I just do not understand today’s generation, especially those out on the Left Coast.

I turned another year older this past week, and it seems that I always do what I would call an “internal assessment” of what I have done or witnessed in the past year or so. And this, of all things, popped out under the category of “I just don’t understand…”

Several weeks ago, I was channel-surfing and came across a “reality-show” on what I think was an MTV derivative channel. This show was holding a contest to see who, among some fairly attractive women, would become the main girlfriend of rocker Shawn Michaels. Curious, I watched long enough to see the following.

Shawn left his girlfriend-to-be contestants in a room while he went off to perform. Of course, the girls decided to party, becoming quite inebriated along the way. He comes back to find just about everyone wasted, and one girl getting very sick. He helps her to the restroom just in time to have her heave the contents of her stomach into the porcelain god. During this episode, she turns her head and tells him “I love you” before turning her head back to heave some more.

In a stand alone cut-away where the he is commenting on the party and subsequent throne visits by this girl. His comment (and I’m paraphrasing here) is that while he was helping this girl throw up into the john, she turned to him and said, “I love you.” He then stated that that “was one of the most romantic moments of my life.”

!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

One of the most romantic moments of his life? Is he nuts, or is he just hamming it up for the cameras? But on further reflection, I wouldn’t doubt it.

I know that if I helped a gal throw up in a toilet from having too much to drink (and I have), the last thing on my mind is romance. And having the gal tell me that she loved me at that very moment would make me think that it’s the alcohol talking. The last person that I would want as a girlfriend is someone who can’t control themselves and drinks themselves sick.

But then again, I’m an old fart with outdated values who doesn’t know anything about today’s world…

What passes today as entertainment does not teach our children about life, real life. Entertainment today passes off the ridiculous and profane as normal, which it is anything but. But with today’s TV generation, and the parents either absent because of jobs or indifference, the TV now becomes a teaching window on life. And the children now model this behavior.

Why else is there the inability to understand that every little problem cannot be solved in an hour or less? Then there is the increased reporting of violence to resolve problems (more school-related shootings, for instance). And then there is the over-reliance on computers and technology to solve the problems of the world if not the individual. It may sound idealistic and very Star Trek, but reality has been skewed to the equivalent of sound bites on the 6 o’clock news. More’s the pity.

Our society, in general, appears to be headed to Hell in the hand-basket on the express-train, and no one seems to care. I found this quote (in part) over at Praesidium Respublicae which seems to sum up our society:

The average of the world’s great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage.

I think where we are at is somewhere in the selfishness / complacency / apathy portion, and are rapidly descending to the dependence mode. Independence is rapidly becoming passe, where self-reliance is seen more as an aberration than an asset. And if in doubt, let someone else (preferably the Government) take responsibility for it. The mantra seems to be: “Live for now, and let the future take care of itself.” Somehow, I cannot do that. It isn’t the way I was brought up, nor is it in my nature to have someone else control my life. I value my independence. But I digress once again…

Reality is not a TV show. It doesn’t follow a story-line, and all the characters in the white hats do not live happily ever after. It is unfair and very biased. There are no guarantees, no reruns, and the channel cannot be changed. It is hard, but with the right breaks and hard work, it can be comfortable. The Declaration of Independence stated that:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Not everyone will be happy, nor will they be a success. Sometimes the best you can do is hold your own because happiness is not a sure thing. It can be worked at and achieved with difficulty, but there are no guarantees. And TV distorts this reality.

If happiness is holding someone’s head while they are throwing up because they’re drunk and telling me they love me between retchings, I think I’ll pass…

This and That

Not really having the time to blog now that the weather has warmed up and yard work has commenced, let’s instead take a look at some of the headlines from this increasingly strange world of ours…

Virginia Governor May Close Loophole

Virginia’s governor said Tuesday he may be able to close the loophole that allowed a mentally ill Virginia Tech student to acquire the guns he used to kill 32 classmates and faculty last week.

While I think that this needs to be done for the public safety, I also think that this is going to meet some opposition. Why, you ask? Just think of the outcry if mental health records are now going to be part of a public record. Instead of a safety issue, it will become a privacy issue.

Iran Arrests 300 ‘Insufficiently Veiled’ Women

Break out the burkas!! Iran is now cracking down on women (and men) that the mullahs consider to be under-dressed (or perhaps, out of uniform). Police are enforcing the regulations. It’s amazing to me that the National Organization of Women have not commented on these types of actions against and/or repressions of women’s rights (at least to my knowledge).

Al-Qaida Group Claims Killing of 9 GIs in Iraq

Anyone who thinks that Al-Qaida is gone should realize that they are merely biding their time to strike again.

The Case for a Global Carbon Tax

The (Bush) administration had several narrow-minded and callous reasons for rejecting Kyoto, but among its main arguments was that the accords did not include developing countries and thus were ineffective. To understand why that is correct, consider one simple statistic. During the Kyoto time frame (that is, by 2012), China and India will build almost 800 new coal-fired power plants. The combined CO2 emissions from those plants will be five times the total reductions in CO2 mandated by the accords.

Finally, someone has pointed out that one of the reasons that the Kyoto Accords was rejected was because of China and India. While cutting down CO2 emissions would be a good thing for everyone (not just because of “Global Warming”), the author correctly points out that these CO2 emissions come from coal, which by itself has a whole host of environmental problems. What the author gets wrong is that the US is supposed to get China and India to not build coal-fired power plants. And that will be difficult because China and India are trying to build their economies the fastest (and cheapest) way possible. The author’s idea is to implement a global carbon tax to reign in these countries. I wonder if Al is listening…

Kim Basinger Hires Security for Daughter

After hearing the daughter’s father (none other than Alec Baldwin) rant on a voice mail, who can blame her? Oh yeah, Rosie defended Alec’s rant – go figure? One angry person defending another… And speaking about Rosie…

Rosie Leaving the View

To which I ask – What took so long?

I’ll be working on a long post, so it might be a week or two before the next post. This one is a continuation of Energy Independence, which was posted over a year ago. It’s a subject worth revisiting considering the events and topics of the past year (Global Warming, the Middle East, Environmentalism, Energy, and so on).

Idol Discrimination

Another season of American Idol kicked off this week with the tryouts to make it to the next round in Hollywood. People that showed up to audition were like the title to a Clint Eastwood movie – “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly.” Like a box of chocolates, you never really knew what to expect.

Of course, there were a lot of bad performances. Invariably, the majority of the people shown that didn’t make it to the next round were pissed off that they didn’t get picked. They usually went down the path that the judges didn’t know talent when they saw it, they should have been picked, it was nothing they did, yadda yadda yadda… It wasn’t until the boy who literally looked & sounded like a girl, got rejected, & started mouthing off that it hit me – this show discriminates!!

Of course this show discriminates! Exactly what do you think it should do? Give everyone a pass on bad notes, bad attitude, bad looks, & bad performances? Considering that some of the performances were so bad that my wife muted the TV just goes to show that not everyone who gets their 15 minutes of fame deserves it.

To those of the contestants that were rejected, I would like to ask: Did you or did you not sing into a tape recorder and listen to yourself? Really listen? How many of you actually came prepared, practiced your song, and had that critical eye on yourself? From what was shown, not many.

Talent aside, this show did not boost the majority of the loser’s self-esteem. Sorry, life is harsh & does not give warm fuzzies to those who don’t measure up. This is a lesson that seems to have been lost on lots of people. For example, my son’s high school has a mission statement that goes:

“The mission of XXXXXX High School is to teach for understanding so that all students learn for a lifetime. In this task, a positive learning environment will be continually promoted, evaluated, and adjusted in order to provide opportunity for achievement and self-esteem.”

Awwwww – doesn’t that just give you a warm feeling? They care about your child’s self-esteem, will not bruise his or her ego, and make sure that the environment that they will (hopefully) learn in will be encouraging. What about being held to an educational standard? Oops, can’t do that – it’s not in the mission statement! But I digress…

The point is that a lot of these people have gone through life getting their ego stroked, never really were held to a standard, and when they don’t measure up, take the classic “it’s not my fault” mentality, and blame someone else for them not succeeding. Sound familiar?

Finally, comments to the aforementioned boy-dress/sounds-like-a-girl contestant: The judges were not racist, not accepting of you or anything else that you spouted off about after the audition. In fact, they were damn courteous compared to some of the other people that auditioned. You were OK in your performance, but you didn’t measure up to their standards, and you definitely confused the hell out of them with your appearance. Think of this as a prelude to a job interview – if you confuse the interviewer and have a mediocre interview, don’t expect to get hired. Last, if you truly believe that Americans are racist, don’t accept you for who/what you are, or any of the other drivel that you sobbed about, I would suggest that you find another country that would accept you as you are and emigrate. Hate to break it to you; other countries are not as accepting as the US. I know – I’ve been to several.

OK, ranting is over (for now).

Reality TV

Thought it was time to rant about something that doesn’t mean squat, but it kind of shows where we are headed: Reality TV

There is absolutely nothing real with Reality TV with maybe the exception of “The Donald’s” and Martha’s versions since there’s a job at the end of the TV Hell. Survivor is scripted as well as Big Brother and the rest of the ilk. I guess what disturbs me about these shows is that in order to get ahead, you pretty well have to stab someone else in the back.

What a sad note to see that you have to step all over someone else to move up. True, that mirrors real life, but I don’t really want to be entertained by it. Are we so desperate to have a better self-image that we want to watch someone else get shafted and say “HA HA!! Glad that wasn’t me! I’d never do that!!”

Truth is that if most of us got stuck in some of the same situations that are depicted in these shows, we probably wouldn’t fair much better. In fact, in most cases, if you were dropped in the middle of a jungle with nothing but a few items, you would be so much fertilizer in a matter of days. That is, unless you had taken a survivor course somewhere in your life, then you might last a couple of weeks…

But that’s entertainment for you. Titillate or show how stupid someone else is, and TV has the majority of people watching their shows. How sad that we, as one of the greatest civilizations in history, are regressing to the moronic roots that we supposedly have overcome.

A great line from a movie that I’ve forgotten the title of sums it up nicely: “You can take the girl out of the trailer-park, but you can’t take the trailer-park out of the girl.” I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to figure out the analogies.