Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rise of the Idiot Philosopher™

Listening to Donald Trump's town hall last night, it dawned on me: we are in the age of the Idiot Philosopher™. Simply put: Idiot Philosophers are morons who think they know everything. Until now, they could be found in bars, fishing holes, tailgate parties, superbowl parties and thanksgiving dinners where they spurn their tales and offered solutions to things beyond their realm of expertise (i.e. nothing!), But with thrusting of Sarah Palin (Moron from Wasilla™) into the political limelight, idiot philosophers have become more popular and enboldened. Like Senator Thom Tillis who wants restaurant workers not to wash their hands after using the bathroom. Or Trump who wants to deport 11 million people. Or those lefty morons who are convinced vaccines are killing us. Or the guy who has zero economics degree but is convinced an increase in minimum wage will kill small business jobs (despite all the economists who say this isn't the case).

Of course, part of this can be blamed on the emergence of social media and the 24/7 "news" media. Used to be we were spared from the rantings of these idiot philosophers. But now a moron in Wasilla, Alaska can post something on Facebook and within hours, it becomes the subject of national discussion and local news all over the country.

So the next time a guy starts telling you how he's got all the solutions if we'll just listen to him, ask yourself: Am I in the esteemed presence of an idiot philosopher? If so, it's OK. Idiot philosophers, like most drunks, are quite funny; especially after they are liquored up (when they happen to be politicians, you are the one who needs to be liquored up to find them funny).

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Driving the Curious Twins

Every once in a while, chauffeuring these kids around gets interesting. This happens when the conversation between them takes a turn towards what I like to call the existential and I simply stay out of it. Today's turn led them to ask "Who decided summer was going to be so long?" It started with Dara.

Dara: Summer is too long. I miss Mrs Strine so much [Mrs Strine was their kindergarten teacher]

Random talk about how the school is empty during summer and students have to hang out with their families...Then:

Toni: Summer and winter are so long. I wonder who made them so long

Even though I wasn't looking, I could imagine the gears turning in their little heads. Eventually:

Dara: It was the first baby!
Toni: The first baby?
Dara: Yes, the first baby came out and saw the seasons and decided how long they'll be

Me? I wondered whether I should blow their minds and ask where the "first baby" came from. But I decided it'll be mean to do that to 6 year olds. The last time this happened, I discovered that God married Mother Earth and created every living thing!

Monday, May 04, 2015

How to be a racist

In the aftermath of the Baltimore riots and the charging of 6 police officers for the death of Freddie Gray, one thing I have read in a few places is "...but 3 of the cops are black". The implication is that being black means one cannot be racist. I decided to look up racism on Merriam Webster (great site to remember...you don't even have to bookmark it...it's m-w.com):


Missing in that definition is the race of the racist. So why do people think minorities can't be racist? Racism is is about how you treat others. If you think a group of people are inferior simply because of their race, you are a racist. It's really that simple. Reminds me of the Dave Chappelle skit featuring the blind white supremacist:


So what does this have to do with the Baltimore cops? Not much...just tired of people assuming this incident isn't about race because 3 of the accused officers are black. Or that the special prosecutor's report and actions will be accepted just because she's black.

Friday, November 07, 2014

This is what grinds my gear

So there I was on a Friday afternoon having a discussion with a co-worker about articles, subject-verb agreement and other arcane aspect of grammar (we were arguing over the help text on a report). As these things sometimes do, it bogged down to an understanding of rules of English grammar. He said one thing was right and I said the other was right. Then out of nowhere he goes "let's get a 3rd person in here to break the tie". Great, I thought thinking he was going to suggest someone with a BA in English Literature or something like that (lots of disciplines end up in IT). But no, he said "let me get someone that was born here". And thus ended my productive time that day. What the heck do you mean get someone that was born here, I wanted to say to him. I had to study for years and take multiple exams to be proficient in this language; why would you assume someone born here is automatically better than me (I wasn't interested in his estimation of his own proficiency at this point). Arrgggghhh.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

American Generosity

So there I was, watching TV on a Sunday afternoon, when a news item crawled along the bottom of the screen. It said that a 49ers fan who crashed the Seahawks post-Superbowl party turned out to be a 15-year old ward of the state who lives in an homeless shelter. It also said a GoFundMe page had been set up for him. GoFundMe is a fundraising site. So I started thinking, Americans are so generous when a poor person manages to make himself stand out from the rest. Waitress got stiffed by obnoxious guests, we raised money for her. When a bus monitor was insulted by her students, we raised a LOT of money for her. A homeless man with a great voice enthralled us all a few years ago and we all came to his aid.

The point is we Americans are very generous when it comes to this kinds of one-on-one giving. But what if we decide that in addition to helping poor people on an individual basis, we come up with a systematic way to raise ALL poor people? I am talking about social welfare programs. For some reason those never really get the generous side of Americans. Instead we make all sorts of excuses. We say there's fraud involved in the process even though the level of fraud in food stamp program is less than 3%. Meanwhile, that waitress that was insulted by her guests? Turns out she lied about everything. So why is it that fraud in individual giving (i.e. funding people one at a time) doesn't discourage us from coming to the aid of the next waitress but we use the relatively low level of fraud and waste in govt programs for the poor as an excuse to cut those programs?

Americans are generous people. I just wish we would extend that to ALL the less fortunate. It'll be cheaper and way more effective. So next time a politician wants to cut a social welfare program, say Head Start to provide pre-school for poor children, why not imagine the back story behind all the beneficiaries of the program: the single mom trying to make ends meet; the precocious 3-year old whose parents can't afford pre-school; the ex-drug addict trying to keep it together for his son because the mom is dead from a drug overdose. So instead of thinking of those abusing the system (i.e. Ronald Reagan's infamous welfare queens and young bucks), let's personify these programs and maybe we'll find it easier to advocate for those programs. After all, how many of us will refuse to give to a hungry child?