Gingrich Can Kiss My Work Ethic

Exposure to Net Gingrich may cause child endangerment and loss of progressive ideals.

December 7, 2011

Newt Gingrich has the kind of idealism and drive we really need to take us into the 19th century, doesn’t he?

In the last few days, he’s pretty much gone and said that the problem with America, the thing holding down the economy, is the lack of children working. Seriously. He’d like to fire all union janitors (you know, people with jobs) and replace them with children. Not only that, but those pesky child-labor laws prevent low-income children from working and helping their parents in a dire situation. For the cherry on the Sunday, his latest claim is that poor teens don’t have a work ethic. Poor people, in general, have no work ethic either, which is why they’re poor.

If you found yourself agreeing with anything Da Newt said, please leave right now. I may make you explode with my liberal rage.

Let me speak as someone who is at the bottom of the economic ladder.

Hundred percent,99Percent by ~M3ran on deviantART

I have a part-time job. It’s the only work I can find. We are expected to do full-time work on a part-time schedule and everyone I work with is over-worked and underpaid. But we do our job and we do it WELL. On occasion, when the work is available, I teach college courses and run workshops for students. I do freelance work when I can find it, but it’s nowhere near a steady income. I get up at six, sometimes five in the morning, to work on said freelance work. I get maybe $25 per article, and I write three to five articles a week. I also maintain this blog, another three to five articles a week there, work on my own writing in the hopes of getting published, and try to read as much as I can to better my skills.

I work a full day. I have a work ethic. Others in my economic bracket have a work ethic. Speaking on behalf of the Hispanic population at least, we have a damned good work ethic. The problem, and this is key, is that there ARE NO JOBS. Even though the private sector’s been getting better the last two years, the economy still has a long way to go.

This is kind of like blaming famine victims for dying because they just don’t have proper table manners. If only they knew how to properly sear a tuna steak and garnish a salad!

Famine by ~cloudminedesign on deviantART

If you are conservative, you should be appalled that this man is leading the running for the Republican Party. The GOP thinks that people who make a million dollars don’t have enough money, but people who make $20,000 a year and get by on government assistance have it TOO easy.

I’ll admit that we’ve gotten lazy as a country in many ways. Television, for the most part, sucks. We don’t read nearly as much as other people around the world. Fast food is preferred to actually cooking. If we can’t Google it, we probably won’t even bothering looking for a book to get it.

But we like money. We like having enough to survive and a little extra to go shopping, catch a movie, or save up for a big trip. When I worked in DC, I had to get up at 5:30 AM so I could be in the office by 7:30 AM. We clocked out at 6 PM most days, but if there was important legislation going through or other urgent matters came up, we stayed an extra hour or two, sometimes three. This was NORMAL even when Congress was NOT in session. And we weren’t paid much. In fact, we were paid peanuts compared to private sector jobs. I actually make more per hour working as a part-time tutor than I did working as a Congressional assistant.

Work ethic by ~ScottFalco on deviantART

Don’t tell me poor people don’t have a work ethic.

I have a damn good work ethic. Nearly everyone I know in my situation has a good work ethic. Five back-to-back tutoring sessions, a presentation, and on-the-job training? All in five hours? Sure thing.

It’s just that pricks like Gingrich and the rest of the GOP seem to think having money must mean you worked for every dollar. Did Gingrich somehow work a thousand times harder than I did last year? No?

Will all respect to Burt Gummer, is his head up his own ass for the warmth?

Let’s watch something less scary than the thought of Gingrich as President, shall we?

The War on Halloween

Yeah, that's me in Joker make-up. I made the paper, too! For non-criminal reasons!

October 25, 2011

As if the stupid War on Christmas wasn’t enough, Fox now thinks there’s a War against Halloween. I guess pulling out of Iraq left them wanting combat of some sort, so let me indulge them.

The Fox story goes something like this. Schools are banning Halloween celebrations because they don’t want kids eating candy and they want to not exclude anyone who doesn’t believe in the celebration, i.e. immigrants. But allow me to let Ren and Stimpy here to say it far more stupidly than I ever could.

This, of course, ignores various points. Let me go over them rapid-fire style.

The schools are banning candy to help kids eat healthier.

The celebrations are not being banned. They’re being moved to after-school so the parties won’t disrupt classes.

Likewise, kids can still wear costumes, but so as not to distract from valuable class time, the kids may wear the costumes after school.

Some of the kids cannot afford costumes because of tough economic situations, and this led to hurt feelings and isolation. Worrying about other people’s feelings is NOT a liberal conspiracy. It’s called basic human decency.

Now let me get to the one major point of contention for me.

Dia De Los Muertos by ~Mastowka on deviantART

Immigrants are offended by Halloween? If anything, I think Halloween is TAME by the standards of most immigrants. Take me for instance. I come from a culture that doesn’t celebrate Halloween, but instead has a holiday where we lay out altars dressed in food, flowers, and booze so the spirits of our dead relatives can visit us. We INVITE the ghosts in. Little Timmy in his Situation costume? Lame. We deal with real ghosts.


The only reason I can assume an immigrant would be offended or feel left out by Halloween is if he or she did not know what it was. Seeing things like spirits and magic treated like a kid’s game might be offensive to some who hold on to beliefs that treat them as real, and I’m sure a lot of pagans and Wiccans take offense to things like the portrayal of witches. The celebration’s spread around the world, though it’s only here in the States that it seems to have attained the kind of holy reverence once reserved for Christmas. Halloween is not some sacred rite here. It’s a fully commercialized day where kids get hopped up on sugar, get to play dress-up, and women are made to dress like pseudo-hookers.

cute halloween by *pronouncedyou on deviantART

War on Halloween? Please. If we immigrants are somehow tainting the purity of this Americanized pagan harvest observance, it’s only because we know what the season is really about.

And now, in an effort to make you think nothing but good thoughts, here’s Michael Winslow doing Led Zeppelin with only his sound effects and a guitar. This is the sound of pure, distilled awesome.

Clichés That Must Die

My God... It's full of fail...

April 4, 2011

UPDATE: Fellow blogger and long-time logophile Amy at Dark Archivist has a rebuttal to one point in this article. Touché, my friend.

If you’re anything like me, you love you some science fiction, fantasy, and horror. There’s nothing better than an epic space battle with battleships the size of Alaska blasting each other with nuclear-yield weapons, a suspenseful chase as a vicious killer chases the last remaining protagonist you actually like, or the swarms of eldritch sigils flying through the air as a practitioner of the dark arts invokes otherworldly powers to crush his foes.

Good times…

As much as I’m a fan of the genre, there are those things that just… bug me. Really bug me. They’re things that seem to have just taken hold of the collective imagination for both writers and fans. They’ve become standard, not necessarily something you choose to use. Imagine if you suddenly found out that you didn’t need to use a ball to play baseball and could use rocks, or if you learned that cars could easily be built with three wheels and we picked four because, well, someone did it like that first.

Possessed Mind by *tashythemushroom on deviantART

Nightgowns and Little Girls

Look at The Ring, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Exorcist, and The Last Exorcism. What do they have in common aside from mentally tormented young girls and an overuse of the term “exorcism”? If you guessed a white nightgown, you’re right.

I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure The Exorcist started this one. It made sense back then. Regan was a young girl who was thought to be sick, so it makes sense mommy dearest put her in her sleeping gown to make her comfortable. But why oh why did every woman dealing with a ghost or demon (or herself a ghost) have to wear this now? It’s like the similarly ridiculous “ black trench coat = mysterious badass” mentality.

Why not a hospital gown or even regular clothes? Why not just regular pajamas?  The easy answer is that such clothes can easily date a character, but a nightgown is something that, at least today, looks old. How many women out there own a nightgown like the ones worn in these films? Anyone?

Organic Space Ship v1 by ~bastilg on deviantART

We’re Fighting a Militarized Rutabaga

What’s that? An alien ship approaching your  interstellar flagship? Oh no! It’s organic! It appears to have been grown by an advanced civilization. All its systems are carbon-based weapons and armor. All your ship has is a laminated alloy hull with ceramic plates for heat dissipation, high-powered coilguns, and thermonuclear missiles.

Oh noes.

Really, though, this one is just plain annoying. It’s hard to really pin down where this one started. Stephen Baxter’s Xeelee Timeline stories have a version of this little cliché wherein the god-like Xeelee “grow” their technology, although it’s not organic, so the description is a bit vague. Babylon 5, Star Wars (New Jedi Order), and even Battlestar Galactica to an extent all used the assumption that organic technology is superior to simple metal and artificial materials designed from the ground up to perform a specific task.

Do you think “organic” is better? Would you rather wade into battle with a vest made of hardwood or advanced ceramics and Kevlar built to withstand such strain?

Would you rather have a dozen mathematicians in a room perform split second calculations for orbital reentry or have a single computer system built with accuracy to the trillionth degree?

Would you rather have an artificial  weapon, like a gun that fires ferrous slugs at a fraction the speed of light, or biological weapons that are indiscriminate, can be killed by extreme temperature and radiation, and may even mutate?

I’ll stick with metal and circuits, thank you.

Mexican Jedi. by ~VictorViin18 on deviantART

Where are the Brown People?

This one’s a personally sore spot for me. For a show like Star Trek, one which claims to be multicultural, to not have a single prominent Hispanic character besides the animalistic B’Elanna Torres is inexcusable. Want to know how many Hispanic characters I can count in speculative fiction?

Johnny Rico from Starship Troopers (the book, not the movie), Bender from Futurama, and Vazquez from Aliens.

Adama doesn’t count because although he’s played by a Mexican American actor, he does not portray a Hispanic character.

It seems that, in the future, there are no Mexicans, Ecuadorans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, or anything else. We’ve got Europeans, Asian-inspired culture to pander to the anime crowd, and some assorted ethnicities for flavoring. But where are the Mexicans?

Or the Costa Ricans? Brazilians? Chileans? Iraqis? Turks? Libyans? Anyone brown?

I really can’t find a good example of these demographics in speculative fiction. Sorry. Any idea?

Coca Cola by ~Telegraph-Road on deviantART

Why do writers still use these ideas? The best explanation is that at some point, it sounded or looked cool. The nightgown made sense from a storytelling perspective. Biological technology has some useful applications. At one point, Latin Americans were a fringe minority. We know better today, and yet these ideas linger on. These are only three little clichés, but I was thinking about them this weekend. There are many more, and maybe I’ll explain some later.

In the meantime, enjoy these links, and I’ll see you on Wednesday.  

  • We have some nice black bookshelves in the apartment, but if we have the time, money, and space, I’d certainly love to get one of these awesome bookcases.
  • And finally, I just barely watched The Hangover a few weeks ago and loved it. And now I can’t wait for the sequel. Check out the new trailer below, and I’ll see you on Wednesday!

The Death of the White Man

Welcome to minority status, boys and girls. One of us! One of us!

September 6, 2010

Sorry for the short post, but moving actually involves a lot of work. Who knew?

Is the white man going extinct? That’s the whisper I’ve been hearing to explain the surge in white conservatives in this country. They’ve always been there. Some voted Republican, but although the Tea Party is still a very small political minority, the anger they’re spreading into the public airwaves and all over the internet is astounding. The last time a group of people who shared the same ethnicity showed this kind of passion for a cause…

Well, all I can think of are the civil rights movements and pretty much any instance of a people being oppressed.

But are the Tea Partiers being oppressed? Have their rights been taken away? Is anyone trying to take their guns? Are they living in a world where conservative Caucasians are looked down upon as second-class citizens?

No. No. Double no. Hell, no.

Oppressed by ~jLeeTHiNKS on deviantART

So why the hysteria? What has changed? Well, we have a black president, current minority races are gaining more and more representation and power in society, and old stereotypes and roles in society are vanishing. Mixed-race is becoming not just more socially acceptable, but it’s more common. I’m part French and I have cousins that have some Italian blood in them. La Raza is becoming a reality, little by little, and it’s all of us.

All in all, it’s a more progressive society. I mean, look at me. I’m a Mexican immigrant who’s done a pretty good job integrating into society. I expect I’ll contribute something to this society by combining the old and the new. Charcoal Streets uses Hispanic myth and original backdrops to tell a story of life on the border, a setting that rarely gets attention.

And this is the kind of thing that is terrifying white conservatives. They’re not on the top of the food chain. They’re not in control. That’s a scary thought for anyone. Whenever I hear Beck, Palin, or pretty much anyone white and in a position of privilege talk about this country being stolen, being taken away from what it mattered, no longer recognizable, I want to find out what they mean.

Dream about falling down by ~bucz on deviantART

At what point where in an American Utopia? It’s never happened.

Have we changed? Of course. We’re always changing.

Is this no longer the America they remember growing up? Correct. Childhood memories always make things seem more pleasant. I recall Mexico as a land of sunshine and games, but looking back at old pictures and hearing family talk, thingd were tough in ways I never would have seen.

This wave of conservatism, a far more right-wing version than even Reagan, is acting like white skin makes you a victim. And I’m sorry, but if you’re Caucasian, Christian, and conservative, you have a lot of unspoken privilege. Those attitudes are shifting, though. I mentioned how every few decades, we manage to fund another group to target and make the scapegoat for everything that’s wrong with out country. White America has never been there, mostly because they’re always the majority.

Fast-forward a few decades and they’ll be a minority group. Hispanics will likely be the largest cross-section of America. Think maybe we’ll go after the white man for the state of our country at that time, whatever it may be?

I hope not.

I’m just here to tell all my Caucasian readers that, if the races mix or some procreate faster than others, it’s not big deal. Besides, you’ll like minority status. You get your own history month. Hate crime laws apply much more readily. You get to congregate in groups and talk about the injustices of your race without sounding racist.

It’ll be fun!

Minority by ~Sealey on deviantART

Link time!

  • I’d seen this amazing Star Wars song and video a while back, but I just saw it again and it deserves to be shared. It’s also one of the catchier tunes I’ve heard in a while. Oh, and slave Leia dancing and break-dancing Stormtroopers are always a hoot.
  • To my fellow gaming nerds out there, here’s a list of a few things D&D Game Masters can and SHOULD learn from God of War III.
  • I know people are concerned about the mosque near Ground Zero, but I was unaware so many people were equally concerned about the… “mosk.”
  • If you’ve ever been frustrated with the rules of the English language, now you can find out where these laws were created!
  • Finally, check out some sage advice from a cartoon princess to young girls. See you all Wednesday!

Divine by Zero: Ozzy Bleeds for Science and the Greatest D-Bag EVER

June 17, 2010

A lot of things will hopefully go down in the next couple of weeks, one of which I hope will involve me getting a full-time teaching position. If that’s the case, may suffer because of lack of time, so starting next week, I’m going to try something a little different. I’ll run shorter articles, maybe 300-400 words, six days a week and include 4-5 links to stories at the bottom. Not only will this make writing the website a lot faster, but I’ll get stories out that would otherwise get left behind.

Trust me, I have a lot of links and images I never get to put on here.

For this week at least, regular schedule will continue. I’ll see how this goes over tomorrow.

Fasten your seatbelts. It’s link time.

  • Megan Fox will be in the new issue of Interview magazine and she will be in a little bob cut. And she will be making out with herself. Sort of. It’s a mannequin designed to look like her. Still, if you’ll settle for that, check out the link.
  • That trailer a few DvB’s ago for a Mortal Kombat movie is looking more and more like a real teaser for a movie. The trailer for the new Mortal Kombat game finally came out and it looks nothing like the Saw-like gore-fest in the live-action clip. Here’s hoping the movie is as awesome as the new game also looks.
  • Anyone who saw Minority Report remembers those awesome computer interfaces that reacted to touch and movement. Check out how they were designed and why you can expect to have your very own hyper-futuristic computer in just a few short years.
  • Growing up in Mexico, I remember seeing a lot of playground that were rusted, or neglected, or otherwise unsafe. I didn’t care! They were fun! Danger equals fun! THESE playgrounds, however, would give most kids nightmares for a year.
  • I’m ashamed to admit it took me a good five minutes to figure out what was wrong with this house. How long will it take you?
  • Maxim generally runs quotes from the interviews with their models and try to appeal in the manly man in all of us with titillating snippets. Problem is… sometimes they objectify the women much more than they probably intend. However, some clever folks at Reddit have changed this and, well, “fixed” a photo to make it more appealing to THINKING men. Take that, chauvinism!
  • Ozzy Osbourne has done a lot in his life, from fronting one of the greatest rock bands of all time to showing us a family far more dysfunctional than our own. However, now Ozzy’s blood may help science learn how the body reacts to substance abuse.
  • And finally, a little encouragement for any girls thinking of batting for the other team, courtesy of the BBC. See you tomorrow!