Guest Blogist: Chris Simpkins
For the final guest blog of the week, Derick and I have agreed on a topic which we’ve discussed many times before. As you may or may not know, Derick recently found his inner Trekkie (just when you think you know someone… *sigh*). But at one time, he and I held a similar opinion of Star Trek: it sucks.
When I find Star Trek while flipping through the TV channels and I see a dog faced alien with horns coming out of his head, I can’t help but cringe. And I guarantee that after Derick reads that last sentence he starts thinking to himself, “what is he talking about… there aren’t any dog faced aliens with horns… he probably means [insert obscure race name here]… ignorant fool.” But that’s what I see when I look at Star Trek. A bunch of people wearing bad costumes, using corny voices in made up languages to make themselves appear alien. I’m pretty sure that if we ever do find aliens, they’re not going to look like us with bumps on their heads (even if we all did come from the Progenitors).
A few months ago, I promised Derick that I would watch one episode with an open mind. He presented me with what he considered to be the episode that best demonstrated character development in Star Trek along with Embroidered Polo Shirts Brighton. I still haven’t watched it. I’ve put it in a few times, but I just can’t bring myself to watch it. I can’t help but feel like I’m not only going to waste 40 minutes of my life, but actually be negatively impacted by watching the episode. Star Trek makes me angry!
The Treknobabble… it exists for no reason other than to convey a sense of high techiness and fill time. It’s an insult to the viewer, in my opinion.
It probably doesn’t help that I have a disdain for science fiction in general. Maybe it’s because sci-fi is mostly a derivative of the action genre, and the majority of TV shows and movies in the action genre suck. Doubly so when they take themselves too seriously.
I’d like to appreciate the good parts of Star Trek (and I’m sure there are some), but I simply can’t stomach the fakeness/cornyness of it all. The show’s budget limitations leave realism to be desired. I will say one positive thing about Star Trek: I respect the some of the real theories behind the science. Other than that… two thumbs down and kick to the toilet! Star Trek sucks!
With that, I’d like to thank Derick for allowing me to post on his blog all week. If you’ve enjoyed my posts, you can find more at my website, Millsplace.com. Thanks for reading!
Guest Blogist: Chris Simpkins
6 – number of days until the general election
270 – number of electoral votes needed to win
∞ – number of lies told by Bush in the past four years
3 – sequentially ordered number of this guest blog entry
Todays question, posed by Derick, is “Will this election be over on November 3rd?”
While I’d like to say ‘yes’, the teachings of 2000 tell me ‘probably not’. In the great spirit of America, both sides have lawyers at the ready (maybe I should say ALL sides, since I somewhat expect Nader to declare himself the righteous winner after a post-election tirade about the illegal, discriminatory two-party system). Both John Kerry and George Bush are ready to challenge whatever results come out of this election.
The ‘experts’ predict a close race. I think if the race actually is close, say within 2%, then we will see another drawn out period of legal battles (think Lord of the Rings, only in court). Last time, it took until December 13 for Gore to finally concede the election. And we only had problems in one state! This time, multiple states are already facing legal challenges regarding election practices… and the election hasn’t even begun.
If the race is outside 2%, I think we can expect a quicker official declaration of the winner. Although, I’m pretty sure if Bush wins by any margin greater than 2% the Democrats will have a hard time believing the election was legit.
Whichever way things go, there will be huge emotional upset for one side. Honestly, I’m worried about this country’s short-term stability after November 2nd.
As an added bonus, check out these real people making the switch from Bush 2000 to Kerry 2004
Guest Blogist: Chris Simpkins
Hello again. Chris here for the second installment of guest-blogorama. Today’s topic, chosen by me, is Bias in the Media.
Since I started paying attention to what’s going on in this country a few years ago, I noticed that the distinguishing line between news and entertainment has become so blurry that it’s nearly impossible to see.
Talk radio (yes, the shows on those fuzzy AM frequencies) is a good example. The two main AM competitors in Rhode Island both feature taglines promoting themselves as news stations:
“news talk radio” – 920 WHJJ
“news radio” – 630 WPRO
Yet the majority of their programming lineups feature unquestionably partisan commentary on the news. Sure, they have special ‘news jockeys’ come on for five minutes every hour and spout off the AP’s headlines. But how can they, in good faith, call themselves news stations when 92% of the air-time is dedicated to commentary and advertising? One might make the argument that “news talk radio” means talk radio about the news… but the real problem is hidden further below the surface.
Take Fox News, for example. They have personalities who come out and present the news during the week and then host partisan talk shows on the weekends. Fox will often cut from news segments directly to commentary about the news. And as Fox’s ratings go up-up-up, other stations have begun to adopt similar strategies.
People are more trustful of news coming from someone with whom they agree. Which is why Fox has done so well. People see anchors who clearly express their opinions on the issues. And when people agree with those opinions they are more likely to trust those anchors as valid news sources. Fox continually beats out the other news stations in ratings because their viewers trust them. And what is that trust based on? An agreement of opinions. It’s sneaky… and it works.
For specific examples of bias: Media Matters for America
For a beer drinking robot: The Bar Bot
Guest Blogist: Chris Simpkins
Hello Ariyam.com loyalists. This is Chris from millsplace.com. You might remember me from such events as Halloween 2002 or as “the guy who used to live at Greenhill before Derick.” As previously mentioned, Derick and I are guests on each other’s blogs for the week. The topic chosen (by Derick) for today’s guest blog was “Why is the outcome of this election so critical?”
After thinking about it for a while, I began to realize that everything I came up with was very partisan. I thought of countless things George Bush has done that I simply disagree with. And then I realized what the real problem was.
The country has not been so divided in a looooong time. For many years democrats and republicans disagreed on the issues, but they always found some common ground. Today, I fear our country is no longer trying, or able, to find that common ground. This administration has turned a blind eye to anyone with a viewpoint differing from it’s own.
And who was to stop them? The republicans have control of the House, Senate, and White House (and arguably, the Supreme Court). What ever happened to checks and balances?
Only bad things can come from a situation like that… and only bad things have. This country has been taken down a dark path. I worry that November 2nd may be the only chance we have to get back on track before it’s too late.
And while I’d like to launch into a condemnation of nearly everything that’s taken place over the last 4 years, I’ll end it here instead.
In my opinion, one of the smartest men living is the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart. Stewart recently went on CNN’s crossfire and bashed the hell out of the hosts. My goodness, this has got to be one of the best moments in television. I have the clip here (64mb). You need Quicktime to view it. If you don’t have Quicktime, GET IT! You can’t miss this.
Another website has a low resolution clip here
If you can’t see the clip for some reason, at least read the transcript
November 2nd is only a little over a month away and as you all know, in addition to being able to vote Dubya and life partner Dick Cheeney out of office, we Rhode Islanders will also be asked for our opinion on various referenda. This election year there are 14 state-wide questions being asked, 12 of which deal with bond approval for state projects involving arbitrarily large sums of money. And, for someone like myself that has never had more than a 1000$ at once at my disposal, how am I supposed to know whether a 14,000,000$ bond for an undersea exploration center to the Pell Library is a good deal or not? I mean really. But, regardless, it’s important to make a somewhat informed decision so in case you haven’t looked at this year’s voter handbook, I’ll list the questions for you that actually mean something:
1. Amendments to the constitution, Seperation of Powers:
A good thing for us. Bad thing for John Celona. These ammendments will prevent officals from serving more than one govermental branch at the same time.
2. Constitutional Convention:
Our RI constitution is about 20 years old since its last makeover. This is asking for a convention of politicans to comb through and bring it up to date. I’m gonna go with ‘No’ on this one. The basic laws that were instilled 20 years ago are still applicable today– and I personally thing it’s just another way to extort more taxpayer money…a cool 2 Million (hidden cost).
3. 60,000,000 Transportation bonds
Money for roads? Why not…
5. 50,000,000 Higher Education Residence Halls Bonds
Hell no! URI does not need more money. That university spent a ton of money on the Ryan Center which serves absolutly now educational purpose besides LOSING money. Now that the poorly planned behomoth is a fiscal weight to the school, URI has added an extra 200$ in required fees for every student (starting next semester) to ameliorate this burden. So, I’m with a vehement ‘No’ on this one.
I have no idea, more arbitrary state expenditures, Yes? No? Flip a coin 🙂
13. 50,000,000 For URI BioTech and life sciences bonds
You kidding me?
Next week, I’ll be putting a little wrench in the way we do things here at Ariyam.Com. I will be having a guest author all week– Chris Simpkins from Millsplace.com, another great blog site. Chris is a well informed fellow pundit like myself :-), and a good friend. I’m certain you will enjoy his writings.
You can catch Me at Millsplace.com. I will be guest writing on his site Millsplace.com and Chris will be writing here at Ariyam.com. Feel free to throw your comments and heckles at Chris (he can take it). And of course, check ME out at www.millsplace.com from October 25 through 29th. The format is still mostly up in the air at the moment but will probally go something like this.
1. We will pick a topic of differing opinion to write about each day.
2. I write about it on his blog, he writes on mine.
3. So simple, this third bullet is meaningless
So there you have it! Be sure to check us both out!
During a converation yesterday with an old friend from high school, my friend brought up this really excellent point regarding our nations current election process, specifically about the equivicol “electoral college”.
In this day and age, haven’t we moved beyond the electoral college? A democratic vote in RI is almost insignificant in the realm of national elections. Rhode Island contributes only 4 electoral votes out of the 270 needed to win the election, and since the state has been consistantly noted as a democratic state, our 4 democratic votes are merely an expectation– requiring little to no effect to earn. Why are those living in some of the countries ‘swing’ states like Ohio or Florida the key to determining the outcome of this year’s election? Is this really fair? Why seperate states as though they are different countries, but instead, pool all the votes from every citizen regardless of which state they come from, and determine from this number who wins the popular vote. I was under the assumption that every citizen was equal and had an equal share in determining who is president, but I’m afraid this is really not the case. Rhode Islanders, as well other predisposed, low population state residents, have little to no effect on national elections, individually.
I Think thar be some “amending” to be done!
Time Magazine ran a poll (10/14/2004) asking people “Do you think the U.S. should keep the Electoral College or should we amend the Constitution and elect as President whoever gets the most votes in the country?”.
37% Keep the Electoral College
56% Amend the Constitution
7% Don’t Know
Yesterday was rather interesting. For years my friend Mark Laboss was labeled amoung us as the ‘Whitest White Man We Know’, but last night, through a unanimous decision, his title was recinded and cast upon me. I’m not sure whether this is a good thing, being now the “whitest white man’ — which in itself is ironic because, I’m NOT white, I’m Indian (okay fine, to be pedantic…. “Sri Lankan”, joyce)
Laboss’s new job with inner city kids was his vindication, and as I pleaded with this panel of friends to reconsider, or at least provide just cause and reasoning, I was dumbfounded by the list they produced, which I couldn’t deny, was pretty accurate. So, I guess that’s it. Until someone else joins the group with greater whiteness than myself, or if Laboss decideds to become a Tenor, or buys a yacht, I’m now “The Whitest Man They Know”.
Ahh… the drudgery of student life is beginning to reach its peak. The syllabus comes out from hibernation; plastic seals are torn off new textbooks, recreational beverages are sipped instead of funneled. Yes, mid-terms are upon us. It will be a grim and gloomy two weeks.