Thursday, September 28, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
My 2-year old son has been watching a variety of shows aimed at enhancing social, cognitive and language skills. This includes 'multicultural' themes. Apparently 'multicultural' is now a synonym for "Mexican". Several shows feature Spanish language and Mexican culture, almost to the point of embarrassment.
In fact, I've not yet found a show that teaches anything specific about culture or language except Spanish. The local middle and high schools only offer Spanish right now. I guess that's so I can order a hamburger con queso.
I've started refreshing my foreign language skills (French and Latin, adding Gaelic soon) so I can teach my son what he won't be offered in school - variety.
At work, several employees are in the practice of speaking Spanish when they want to exclude non-speakers from the conversation, or to pass jokes they think we don't understand. The HR department has a 'Diversity Office' that is entirely populated by Hispanic women - they sent me a note of appreciation for supporting diversity by winning a photo competition. It turns out they thought I was Hispanic because of a misspelling of my last name... they then apologized for the confusion. Shiny.
Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against Mexicans. What I have a problem with is how I am being forced to adopt certain conventions because some people are too freaking lazy to learn the established language of a particular country. If I travel to a foreign country, I take it as a courtesy if they speak English. If I were to move there, I'd feel obligated to learn thier language, and I certainly wouldn't get a job interacting with the public. But in the US, Spanish is almost expected to be learned, and other tongues are fading from view.
Nearly every government form is in Spanish - driver's license, taxes, loan applications, etc. All available in Spanish. Try getting your driver's license application in Russian, or drop a little Greek at the voting booth.
Where are the other languages and cultures? When is it time to say 'up yours' and get English spoken by default? Why do I have to learn Spanish to get cheese on my fucking hamburger?
So much for the 'multi' part of multiculturalism...
What do you expect when the US is allowing the southwestern states to be reannexed by Mexico?
Wake up, people. She's freaking useless, a complete waste of a vagina. The story mentions her associates 'rushing to the police station', looks of concern washed over thier faces. Yeah, they were concerned about getting a fair share of face time in association with a rich moron.
She and her publicist tried to wave it off because 'she had a long day, she was tired and hungry'. Sorry, but she was driving a half-million dollar MacLaren SLR. And she couldn't be bothered to grab a burger *before* the alcohol. As if it matters, anyway.
You wanna know why the terrorists hate us? Take a look at E! Entertainment, reality TV, Maury and Jerry, G4 (I really miss TechTV), you name it. The stale candy of 'somebody else's problems' always trumps actual thought. The effect is undeniable - we feel better about ourselves watching some other poor slob in worse shape than us.
Yeah, I'm on a soapbox right now. Deal. Better yet, defend your position if you disagree with me... let's see if you have the cognitive and linguistic skills to offer a challenge. I'm gonna bet 'no'. I figure that's pretty safe because most people who disagree with me won't have read this far. Or they're looking up 'cognitive' right now.
Friday, September 01, 2006
So the fabled binary liquid explosive - that is, the sudden mixing of hydrogen peroxide and acetone with sulfuric acid to create a plane-killing explosion, is out of the question. Meanwhile, making TATP ahead of time carries a risk that the mission will fail due to premature detonation, although it is the only plausible approach.
Certainly, if we can imagine a group of jihadists smuggling the necessary chemicals and equipment on board, and cooking up TATP in the lavatory, then we've passed from the realm of action blockbusters to that of situation comedy.
Now, can I bring my bottle of water back on the airplane for crying out loud?