Monday, March 30, 2009
The United States is in many ways the greatest place in the world. Consider for a moment the myriad of incredible features to this country: our massive and enormous infrastructure, our powerful military, our stable economy (when compared to third world countries) and our high-quality of life. All of us are well fed, have a great shot at education, have the ability to receive medical treatment if needed and overall the majority of Americans have very little to fear. We are not facing suicide bombers in our capital city. We are not running from ethnic genocide. The American way of life is one hardly of true trouble, misery or despair.
Before ranting about the horrors of The United States, I must admit that our lot in life is rather plentiful. I do not dismiss that. However, complacency only leads to decay, and in no way should any citizen of a country settle for a Government that is less than desirable.
The high-quality of life in this country has seemed to bring about a strange circumstance among Americans that makes them completely blind to the true horrors of this world. Starvation claims millions of Africans' lives each year, yet this country is so removed from this truth that when a steak is slightly overcooked citizens scream, rant, complain and refuse to accept such a violation of their rights. Have we lost our minds?
Our indifference to the terrors of the world is alone appalling, but our continued lack of concern for our own people is even more troubling. Why is it that conservatives loathe the mere idea of everyone being cared for? Why is the simple assertion of a medical plan that protects everyone somehow evil and un-American?
Look at our poor, for example. The poor in The United States already have to deal with the battle of attaining and maintaining a job, which, as many Americans are currently learning, is not an easy task by any means. But in their search they begin with fewer resources and less prospects. On top of having a small command of resources in order to yearn towards upward social mobility, the American response is not one of compassion or encouragement, but rather one of condescension. "You just need to work harder", "You can't help those who won't help themselves", "If only the poor weren't so lazy"...how many of these statements have you heard from Americans? I would be lying if I said I haven't indulged in the same kind of myopic judging. Yet there is a certain cruelty to these kind of statements: we expect--no, demand--that the poor work harder and better manage their finances, and we respond with scathing judgements of their allocations of resources. Yet, how often have we said nothing as the rich spend frivolously? We hold that the poor have sounder financial judgement than those who have the opportunity to learn how to best manage their money. Where is the accountability for the rich? Why do we not even bat an eye when they spend $26 million on a home yet won't drop a single dollar bill into the hat of a homeless bum?
I'm not an anti-capitalist and I supremely support the system that rewards those who work hard. Yet in this country we spend more money on putting black people into prison than we do on putting them into college--and that is utterly shameful. This country does nothing to help its lowliest citizens yet we judge them scathingly because they do not act how we would act. Is that Capitalism? One that locks black and brown people up for smoking dope yet lets white nefarious criminals who rob millions out of people continue to walk the streets?
What has gone wrong with this country? Somehow it is a sin to suggest that healthcare be provided for all, we stand by unrepentant as our poor class continues to fall down a nonreturnable path, we hoot and holler when our President begins to draw plans to repair our embarrassingly crumbled infrastructure, our obesity rates are on an unprecedented trajectory while thousands die every minute from starvation...am I the only one who sees this utter epidemic we are possibly facing? When two-thirds of Americans have diabetes because of generations of flagrant obesity, will our healthcare be able to serve all us, insured or uninsured? When our minority groups are egregiously uneducated and our penitentiaries are maxed to capacity, will there still be peace in white suburbia?
These situations are dire and yet we are complacent. Complacent about our Government, complacent about education system, complacent about the way we treat our own citizens. This heralded indifference has me livid. This not-my-problem mentality has me pissed. And you know what? I am ANGRY about it.
You know what I want to see? I want to see people get angry. I want to see people start moving. No matter the cause, even if you're in complete opposition to my opinions, I want to see this shroud of tawdry unconcern thrown aside and people embracing their human dignity. I want to see people mobilized for every cause and issue that is infiltrating this country: global warming, Muslim extremism, whatever the case! I just want to see it, to know its there.
Goddamnit, America, I want to see you angry! Anger is the only way we will get people out of their love seats and onto Main Street. Anger is the only way we will have a strengthened community to go to our Government and demand that there be a change in this country. Our Obama Administration is certainly working towards that change, but we need to uphold our end of the promise too--we cannot continue to sit aside unconcerned as Ohio and the rest of the country funnels more money into prisoning pot smokers than educating our next generation. That is why I am angry.
I am angry because if I'm not aroused and shaking my fist at the man, if I'm not active in fighting for what I believe is the ideal for this country, I'm just one of the Americans who sits on the sidelines and lets fear paralyze them into the corner. I refuse to be that person, and that is why I am fucking angry.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I'm not even really sure where to start on why I like it here so much, but I guess I can begin with biking. This city is designed with bikers in mind. Due to the plethora of bike trails, I have literally gone all over St. Paul, Minneapolis and even the suburbs via my bike. Beyond even the myriad designated biking lanes along the major streets, there are actual highways set up for bikers. I've hopped along the Midtown Greenway which connects to the Kenilworth Trail, Cedar Trail and a few others too, which can literally get you as far west as Lake Minnetonka (Like 10-20 miles I guess), and as east as Wisconsin. Along the Midtown Greenway there are exits and entrances just like a regular car highway. It's awesome! And even better, there are places you can store your bike, take a shower, have a cup of coffee and walk to the Uptown Transit station (which will connect you via buses anyway in the city).
Aside from this perk for bikers, both Minneapolis and St. Paul are very densely populated. Everything is very close together, yet it's not difficult at all to escape downtown and suddenly enter a moment of serenity while walking around a tranquil lake. It's really amazing how one moment you can be fighting busy city traffic and the next you can be sitting in the middle of a park and feel like you own it.
On Monday I hung out with some friends at Bryant Lake Bowl, a restaurant-slash-bar-slash-bowling alley. I impressed them with a competitive bowling score of 76 (ha!) and quickly learned that maybe bowling isn't my sport of choice.
Tuesday my friend from Ohio, James, and I explored the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, which was simply amazing. We then dined at Bombay Bistro, which has the absolute greatest Indian food I could have asked for (almost all vegetarian, too!). We then perused around Uptown, which is Minneapolis' trendy arts district. We argued over if it was better than The Short North, which I sat it is, he says it isn't. Regardless, they have a North Face store, Urban Outfitters, tons and tons of original local restaurants and it seems to go on forever. (Unlike the Short North which is a few blocks of galleries/restaurants).
After dropping James off so he could take a nap, I met up with my friend Sean at Chino Latino, an incredible restaurant that serves enormous portions of Mexican and Asian food. The restaurant itself was beautiful! After dining there (for four hours, literally), we explored St. Paul and I'm amazed at how it gets such a bad rap! St. Paul is a beautiful city, and I'm excited to learn more since most of the things I've done have been Minneapolis-based.
Wednesday I hit up the Birchwood Cafe, a great local restaurant that serves vegetarian and vegan food. It was so sweet! It reminded me a lot of North Star Cafe, just far more cheaper. (In a good way. Is it me or is North Star way overpriced?)
After breakfast I did a four-hour bike ride all around town. It was snowing, but luckily it didn't stick so basically the ride was just cold but doable. As previously stated, I did everything via my bike! It was simply fantastic!
That evening I met up with my friend Kevin for dinner at Spill the Wine, which was a beautiful restaurant with delicious food. They even had a great happy hour--$15 bottles of wine! After a great dinner, we headed over to the world-renowned Guthrie Theatre, which was awe-inspiring to say the least. We saw The Gentlemen of Verona and what a perfect performance it was. I absolutely loved it.
The interesting thing about The Guthrie is not only its three theatres, numerous restaurants and countless bars, but actually the massive structure that makes up the building. The architecture is just breath-taking! And to make it more impressive, there is a bridge called "The Bridge to Nowhere" which lets visitors view the St. Anthony Falls. Although I had heard of them, I had no idea what I was in for. I can't even begin to describe what a site it is--simply incredible. I was astounded by the falls!
After dinner we met up with Kevin's boyfriend, Kareem, and had drinks at the Minneapolis Eagle. It was great-- 3-for-1 special! Talk about a cheap night out!
That's been the trip so far. I think the world of this city and I can't wait til I'm packing my bags and moving out here! :-)
Oh, and PS, can we talk about Galactic Pizza, the pizza joint that delivers pizza in waay coolz space gear? Seriously. I couldn't make it up.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
"When I became convinced that the universe is natural, that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell. The dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts and bars and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf, or a slave. There was for me no master in all the wide world, not even in infinite space. I was free--free to think, to express my thoughts--free to live my own ideal, free to live for myself and those I loved, free to use all my faculties, all my senses, free to spread imagination's wings, free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope, free to judge and determine for myself . . . I was free! I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously faced all worlds."
--Robert G. Ingersoll
Ok, back to studying for the finals. Sorry that the past three months have been rather vacant in the update department. :-/
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Anyway, this guy is incredible. I went and downloaded the piano music just because of it :-P
I usually think of Cleveland's skyline as rather uninspired, especially considering how many offices are empty downtown. However, the photo they caught was rather becoming.
I've always enjoyed visiting Cleveland, but I just could never live there. However, for a weekend trip it's a wonderful trip. Its rich history, fun city layout, beautiful location along the Lake and fantastic local restaurants all contribute for a great getaway from Columbus.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
CAIRO - A 75-year-old widow in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 40 lashes and four months in jail for mingling with two young men who are not close relatives, drawing new criticism for the kingdom's ultraconservative religious police and judiciary.
The woman's lawyer told The Associated Press on Monday that he would appeal the verdict against Khamisa Sawadi, who is Syrian but was married to a Saudi. The attorney, Abdel Rahman al-Lahem, said the verdict issued March 3 also demands that Sawadi be deported after serving her sentence.
He said his client, who is not serving her sentence yet, was not speaking with the media, and he declined to provide more details about the case.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
This next photo is so warm, even though it was taken in the middle of winter. The colors are so tranquil and inviting.
My Minnesota Spring Break is just a bit away! Can't wait! :-)
But I'm not.
Instead I'm reading the juicy details about domestically violent Chris Brown!
According to FOX 11 in Los Angeles, which claims to have obtained the notes from a search warrant in the case, Rihanna, 21, read a lengthy text message from a woman on Brown's phone, which led to an argument. Brown – who has a standing court date Thursday – allegedly tried to force his girlfriend out of the Lamborghini, and hit her head against the passenger window.I'm withholding commentary because I'm sure I'll offend somebody. (And like Lucile Bluth, I get off on being withholding...)
Brown, 19, then punched the singer while still driving, according to the detective's notes, and blood filled Rihanna's mouth. He allegedly told her, "I'm going to beat the ---- out of you when we get home." Rihanna called her assistant and left a message saying, "I am on my way home. Make sure the cops are there when I get there." The police notes say that prompted Brown to reply: "You just did the stupidest thing ever. I'm going to kill you."
The report also says that Brown bit Rihanna and put her in a headlock, and that she almost lost consciousness.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Two women sitting in a restaurant, bibles on their table.Oh, the love of Christ.
Lady 1: Well it just seems so wrong.
Lady 2: Well if you're happy though that's what matters
Lady 1: I think I should tell my husband I'm having an affair though...
Lady 2: I'm sure it will all work itself out. It's Gods Will.
Lady 1: You're right I should just follow His plan.
Lady 2: :reassuring smile: