Archive for money

you’ll shoot your eye out

 disclaimer: so this post is going to have some top quality christian propaganda in it; in my opinion that makes it all the better, but you can feel as you will 

christmas is coming.  the geese are getting fat.  please put a penny in the old man’s hat.  or so the lyrics go (those lyrics being from edith nesbit bland’s classic christmas tune “christmas is coming” [though many times the second line is sung incorrectly as “the goose is getting fat”, but we’ll forgive that for the time being]).  this song is in a dandy little collection of songs that i personally like to refer to as “christmas songs”.  that, of course, is based mostly (well, maybe more of completely) upon the fact that they are about (believe it or not) christmas.

 now, i’m not going to be very politically correct in these words.  basically, this post is about christmas.  not hanukkah or kwanza or festivus or boxing day or any of that.  and that’s pretty much because i celebrate christmas and not any of the others.  so why not just talk about what i know?  and for that matter, why not talk about what (apparently) 96% of persons in the lovely united states of america know (according to this article at least [and make sure to please note the fabulous 105% of people that participated in the poll.  i’m assuming that’s due to holiday celebrating overlap, but it would be much, much cooler if they actually questioned 105% of people]).  so from this point on, christmas.

first of all, christmas is pretty much doomed.  as far as being what it should be and is supposed to be, that is.  as far as being a big time money maker and a commercial juggernaut (which as you all know is a lovely english word derived from the sanskrit word “jagannātha” [meaning “lord of the universe”]), it’s top notch.  as far as making people spend lots and lots of their well earned and meticulously saved money, there’s none better.  but (yes, there’s a but)… well, i won’t even say it.  i’ll let our friends at the ever-superb wikipedia(.com) spell it out.  basically, if you had no idea what in the world christmas was and wanted to know, you might go to wikipedia to find out.  if you were to take a quick look at their “christmas” entry, you might only have time to read the first line (and yes, we’re talking about a very quick look).  and if you could only read that first line, you would read the following: “christmas is an annual holiday that celebrates the birth of jesus.” oh dear, they said the j word.

notice, for a moment, what isn’t in that line.  there is a lack of presents.  there is a lack of shopping.  there is a lack of stores in general.  there is a lack of monetary exchange.  there’s even a lack of christmas lights, christmas trees, and christmas cookies.  the only item on the agenda:  jesus.

i touched upon this fact last year, so i won’t beat it into the ground.  i’ll simply leave it in a way that would make my math teacher of a sister proud.

jesus > presents.

and now back to where we started.  christmas music.  the reason i bring this up is because in my travels of late i’ve been going around (mostly, if not always) by car, and during those automotive excursions, i’ve been listening to the smooth sounds of lite 100.5 (which, by the way, is my “home for holiday music” [or something like that.  i can’t remember off the top of my head what their catchy line actually is]).  sadly, they don’t actually play any christmas music on the station.  they play a lot of holiday music.  but no christmas music.  which i think is weird.  even weirder, though, is the fact that the vast, vast majority of their holiday music is about christmas (and to be fair, i’ve decided to consider a song “about christmas” only if the word “christmas” is included at least once in the lyrics [or would be, i guess, in the tunes that are originally wordful but have been covered as instrumental]).

it is now time to be blunt (but not james blunt, as he has yet to release a fabulous christmas or holiday album [or any such album actually, fabulous or otherwise]).  in case you weren’t catching on to the witty sarcasm that was being employed in the above paragraph, i’ll make it easier.  lite 100.5 plays christmas music.  but they want to make everyone happy.  so they call it holiday music.  the end (or “that’s all folks”, as mr. porky pig would say.  your choice).  so is this really a big deal?  of course not.  but if it was, i’m sure i wouldn’t being writing (or typing, rather) about it.

the real problem with the whole “holiday music” deal is exactly the same problem as the whole present and money issue that we’ve already been over.  companies and radio stations and many other places and people have found an incredible loophole and are exploiting it for all it’s worth.  in our world and time (especially in the united states), religion is out and secularism is in.  and that is relfected about as clearly as anything around christmastime.  everyone wants to celebrate christmas (yup, everyone.  see, i told you this wouldn’t be politically correct) either because they like getting presents or it makes for booming business or whatever.  but very few people want to celebrate christmas in honor of what it’s actually there for (see above if you’ve forgotten already).  so instead of celebrating the “christmas season”, we now celebrate the “holiday season”.  but wait, that’s because we don’t want to discriminate against those who don’t celebrate christmas.  maybe.  but no.  first off, that would be 4% of americans (according to the stats we’re using).  this is a very, very slim minority, and if that was the real reason, it would be much more profitable to appease the 96% and push the others slightly aside for one holiday.  and let’s consider hanukkah for a second (or two, or maybe three).  it’s a lovely little holiday celebrating the maccabees and all that cool stuff, but as far as judaism goes, it’s not even one of the most important feast days.  so why then does the entire country bend over backward to make sure the small jewish population is happy around hanukkah but doesn’t pay any attention to any other jewish holidays?

i happened to take a course a couple years ago at the fun-loving university of connecticut with a professor who was an orthodox jew, and during the course of the semester we had at least three or four classes rescheduled because they were originally on important days on the jewish calendar and he couldn’t come to class.  the course happened to be about jewish history (hence the jewish professor), and because of that, a good percentage (probably about half) of the class was jewish.  now, on the days that my professor couldn’t make it to class, i still had to go to all of my other classes.  that would mean that all of the jewish students in the class probably had to do the same.  i’m sure that if they told their other teachers that they couldn’t go because of religious reasons they’d be excused from class, but i ask this:  why, if we’re so concerned about political correctness and keeping all people and all religions happy, didn’t we have those days off from school?  the only answer i can seem to come up with is that we don’t really care all that much (wow, that sounds really mean.  but sadly, may be rather true).  it’s not about being fair and understanding of all holidays during the holiday season.  it’s about dropping religion completely.  and honestly, it’s working.

so the next time you greet someone, think about things for a moment before wishing them “happy holidays”.  maybe you’d rather wish them a “merry christmas”.  and really, who cares what religion they are or what holiday they celebrate at this time of year.  if i was wished a “happy hanukkah”, i wouldn’t mind.  in fact, it would be pretty darn cool.  the only reason all those greetings are there is to say “hi. it’s great to see you” (or a similar variation thereof).  if you want to join in with all of the secularism and destruction of religion and all of that, i guess you’re free to do so.  someone has to do it.  but next time, at least think about it.  all that being said, i wish you all the merriest christmas you’ve ever had.  enjoy the family.  enjoy the friends.  enjoy the love.  and if you don’t get your official red ryder carbine-action two-hundred-shot range model air rifle, don’t worry.  there’s always next year.  and you don’t really want one anyways.  you’ll shoot your eye out.

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return of the tooth squand

well… believe it or not, summer is long gone.  long gone-ish, i guess.  i’ve been at the lovely university for a week worth of class now and was here for a week of band camp (yup, this one time… well, i’m sure you already know the drill) before that, so to me personally, summer’s been done for a while.  and i’ll just put it out there (i don’t like making big speeches.  i’m a straight shooter.  i call them like i see them. what you see is what you get.  ain’t nobody gonna break my stride.  ain’t nobody gonna slow me down. [that’s from the ever-chuckle-inducing “not another teen movie”, by the way]).  i like summer.  a bunch.  i like being at home and not having a million (and a half) things to worry about every moment of my day.  so the end of summer, for me, is a bit of a sad time.but anyway.  the start of school does have it’s perks.  one such perk just so happens to be the purchasing of a brand new, shiny (or not so shiny) tube of toothpaste.  i scoured the shelves of walmart for the best paste possible and ended up going back to the old favorite, crest pro health.  but!  it now comes in several delicious flavors.  so i’m now the lucky owner of cinnamon flavored tooth squand, instead of the obsolete minty tooth squand.  such excitement, i know.thankfully for you, however, today’s words will be about more than just tooth squand (though trust me, i could go on and on about it).  today’s wonderful focus will instead be on rules.  yes, rules.  specifically, how they are dumb.  now, not all rules are dumb.  take the “you can’t call timeout as you’re falling out of bounds” rule that was recently instated in the game of college basketball.  that’s a solid rule.  you can’t be diving for a ball, have little or no control of your body, and also claim to have enough possession to call a timeout.  it just makes no sense.  so yes, definitely a good rule.the problem is that many rules aren’t as logical as that one.  so many times, “the man” (as we will hereby refer to anyone deserving such recognition) will formulate rules for ease of control and administration that are downright silly. and believe it or not, the reason i’m bringing up this regulatory topic is that i have recently found such a rule. an unjust and unnecessary rule that the man has tossed into my path (not to mention the paths of so many others) for no reason but to scoff at me (and/or us). this rule is about candles. it is found in section 18, paragraph g of the university of connecticut housing contract and reads as such: “the burning of candles and/or incense is prohibited in all university-owned housing. candles and/or incense are prohibited in all university-owned housing. residents found responsible for burning candles and/or incense may be removed from university-owned housing.” ridiculous, i know. now to make sure that i’m not hiding any true feelings or biases about the issue, i’ll come clean right here from the get go. i would like to have and burn a candle in my dorm room. it would be nice. otherwise, it’s going to have no chance but to smell like dirty laundry, sweat, shoes, and other not-so-pleasant things. the only real smell-producers are bad ones. so a good smell to counteract those would be fabulous. especially if it was something like a fruit smoothie scented candle (which i may or may not have purchased at the beginning of the year before being informed of the newfound regulations). it’s not like i’m asking for the world. just a decent smell to live in.but no. i can only live in filth. this is what the university students pay for. living in filth. of course, i do understand the initial reasoning behind this new rule (and by the way, the whole rule isn’t new. you were never allowed to light candles [or anything else for that matter] in your room before. but they added the complete candle ban this year). if there are no candles then there are no lit candles. if there are no lit candles then there are no burning candle wicks. if there are no burning candle wicks then the fire safety issue (for candles, at least) disappears. it is a bit understandable. but then again, it just goes back to the man trying to make it easier on himself. i have never had a candle burning in my dorm room. and that unlit candle has thusly never caused a fire. so why should i be punished for doing what i was told? seems a little sketchy to me.and since we’re on the topic of lovely section 18, paragraph g, i’d like to take a step back and look at it a little more closely. it first prohibits burning candles and incense in your housing. alright. and toward the end, it states the punishment, that having a candle in your room can get you kicked out of your housing. sure. but how about the middle line. “candles and/or incense are prohibited in all university-owned housing.” um… wait a second. if you can’t have a candle, how are you supposed to burn one? seems like with line two there, line one becomes a wee bit redundant. yeah. oops for sure. kind of. for you see, this is from the 2007-2008 housing contract. a quick look at the 2006-2007 housing contract (which is substantially less stylish than its descendant) shows us where our little problem comes from. the older version states only as follows (in what was at that point section 15, paragraph g): “the burning of candles and/or incense is prohibited in all university-owned housing. residents found responsible for burning candles could be removed from the residence halls. possession of previously burned candles is prohibited.” you see, they only had the burned (or “burnt” depending on your grammatical preference) candle bit. they had to add the sweeping candle ban line because of the new sweeping candle ban rule. so they did. of course, they could have been intelligent students of writing and removed the unnecessary line afterward. but why? that would make too much sense. what do you think this place is for? smart people?while we’re here, i think it would be helpful for us to take a peek at section 18, paragraph t. it’s a doozy. within this portion, there is a small bit found within parentheses. as anyone who has read any post on this blog knows, such parenthetical use is found mostly (if not always) in unneeded times of overkill and repetitiveness. so for your sake, i will leave that part out. with that addendum, it reads as follows: “any activity which could cause personal injury or cause damage to property is prohibited within university-owned housing. snow ball throwing and/or fights is prohibited in or around residential facilities.” if you happen to disregard the snow ball portion (which seems really strange and random, considering that it is the only activity mentioned on its own), you are left with quite a statement. “any activity which could cause personal injury or cause damage to property is prohibited within university-owned housing.” wow… so we had a “welcome back” floor meeting the other day, and the hall director told us to be careful in the shower because someone had cut his hand somehow while in one of them. now i’m thinking that slicing open my hand sounds a bit like personal injury to me, so according to the rule, showering is now prohibited (thank goodness i’m already living in filth anyways or i might have been a bit upset). just thinking about it for a moment, i’d have to say that basically anything “could cause personal injury”. it probably won’t. but it could. and that’s what the rule says. oh man.so unfortunately, i cannot continue our lovely sharing time. apparently, staring at a computer screen for too long isn’t really very good for your eyes. i hope nobody finds out i’ve been looking at it. i’m not sure where i’d go if i got kicked out. though, on the bright side, i could probably bring my candle. and that would be nice. regardless, i leave you now with this line of inspiration by the fabulous jack black from his performance in the cinematic classic “school of rock”: “give up, just quit, because in this life, you can’t win. yeah, you can try, but in the end you’re just gonna lose, big time, because the world is run by the man. the man, oh, you don’t know the man? he’s everywhere. in the white house… down the hall… ms. mullins, she’s the man. and the man ruined the ozone, he’s burning down the amazon, and he kidnapped shamu and put her in a chlorine tank! and there used to be a way to stick it to the man. it was called rock ‘n roll, but guess what, oh no, the man ruined that, too, with a little thing called mtv! so don’t waste your time trying to make anything cool or pure or awesome ’cause the man is just gonna call you a fat washed up loser and crush your soul. so do yourselves a favor and just give up!”true story. ish.

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matthew

disclaimer: so this post is going to have some top quality christian propaganda in it; in my opinion that makes it all the better, but you can feel as you willi have to let you know that this post was not supposed to be like it will be. in fact, it was supposed to be very different. over the past two days i’ve been thinking about a post about how christianity and christians really scare me sometimes. it probably would have ended up being rather negative. i had all of my words ready and ideas to back up my thoughts and all that. but then i went to church this evening and heard a story. a story that changed my mind. this is that story:a woman died recently. she was a loving, caring wife and a mother of two children. her children were seven and fourteen years old. her funeral was arranged and the day came when it would be. the children were brought to the church before the service was to take place and were waiting around for everyone to arrive. the priest of the church, who would perform the ceremony, was sitting in the front pew praying about what he would say and hoping everything would go well. as he finished his prayers, he looked up and saw the seven year old boy standing next to him.”can i help you, matthew?” he said, for the boy’s name was matthew.”i was wondering if i could pass the baskets today,” he replied. the priest explained to him that today was going to be a celebration. a celebration of life and of everything that his mother had accomplished while she was alive. on such days, no baskets were passed. it wasn’t about giving or collecting money. it was about love and remembrance. the boy listened intently to the priest and when he had finished what he was saying matthew said, “alright. then please take this.” the boy held his hand out and dropped the contents into the open hand of the priest. he then walked away and went back with his family. the contents in his hand, the contents which he had desired to place in the basket that he was planning on passing, were two pennies and a dime. twelve cents.on a day where he should have been mourning for the loss of his mother, a day when most people in that church were going to think of little more than how they were going to be able to handle their loss, matthew gave.one of the priests at the catholic church here at uconn, father jim, told that story in his sermon. he was the priest in the story, and it had occurred this past monday. when he reached the end of it, with the twelve cents jingling in his hand, he was trying to choke back the tears in his eyes, and all he could really say, all he had to say, was that the boy’s mother must have taught him well. there was a lot more to the sermon, but when i heard that story it just pasted itself across my mind. there may be some unfortunate things that happen in the world, whether they be by christians, jews, atheists, or whatever, but amidst all that, there is good. there are matthews around to make it a wonderful place. i hope that someday i can grow up to be a lot like him.and nothing against the poor widow that was admired by jesus for her giving in the twelfth (wow, i couldn’t have planned that kind of continuity if i had tried) chapter of the book of mark, but she just got schooled up. big time.

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