Sunday, August 26, 2012

Muckety Mucks Running Amok

In the immortal words of Goofball in the fictional film "Weekend at Party Pier"...
"We're bein' invaded!"

Yep. Our city is currently being overrun by Republican delegates and big wigs who are here for the Republican National Convention, along with the media circus here to cover it, and the accompanying protesters. Apparently, we've already had credible threats of anarchist attacks, and rumors of plans to blow up our bridges. Oh joy.

We were half hoping Tropical Storm Isaac would head this way. At least that might have kept some of the crazy away. But I guess even Isaac has enough sense to avoid the area this week. We'll just get a glancing blow from him... a few sqalls and enough of a gusty breeze to be really annoying to any of the talking heads who's hair isn't shellacked.

I can only think of one other thing that would be as bad as being invaded by a bunch of Republicans, and that would be being invaded by a bunch of Democrats. (Charlotte, NC will have that dubious honor next week.)

It's not quite September yet and I don't know about you, but I'm already sick and tired of the negative political ads. Mr. RM and I have been exposed to a constant stream of vitriol and mud-slinging rhetoric for the last couple months every time we turn on the TV. I suppose the onslaught of these ads is due to Florida being a swing state. All I know is that we've now started changing the channel whenever one comes on. I'm not sure how much more we can take. We may have to give up TV altogether before election day finally rolls around. (That probably wouldn't be a bad thing.)

Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather hear what a candidate has to say about him- or herself and what they hope to accomplish if elected. I think that's more important than what a candidate has to say about their opponent. If most of your ads are devoted to tearing down the other guy, what does that say about you? Is your platform so weak that pointing fingers at the opposition is your best political move? Tell me why I should vote for YOU, not why you think I shouldn't vote for the other guy.

I saw a report on the news a while back that said studies indicate the negative ads are more effective in swaying people's opinions of a candidate. What that says about our society saddens me.

I am disgusted by the current state of politics in our nation. I think the two-party system is broken. Both parties have become so polarized that they refuse to compromise, cooperate and work together. How can they possibly lead our country?

A couple weeks ago, a pollster called and asked which candidate I was leaning toward in the upcoming election, Obama or Romney? I said "Neither one."

Pollster: "So you haven't made up your mind yet?"

Me: "Oh I've made up my mind... I cannot, in good conscience, vote for either of those two candidates."

Pollster: "Ha ha ha! No, really... if the election was tomorrow, who would you vote for?"

Me: "None of the above."

I am registered as an independent. I don't vote for candidates based on party lines. I look at where each candidate stands on issues that are important to me, and then vote for whichever one's views lie closest to my own. And generally, my ballots end up pretty even split between parties.

Honestly, I don't know how I will vote when I cast my ballot in November. I only know for sure who I WON'T be voting for... and it has nothing to do with party politics. I can't vote for a man who thinks it's perfectly acceptable to drive from Boston to Ontario with the family dog strapped to the top of car in a kennel.

Romney said in another interview that he didn't realize it wasn't legal to do that. To me, legality has nothing to do with it! It's plain old common sense! You don't drive 12 hours on the highway with a dog in a crate on top of the car. Period. If a person lacks the common sense to realize it's wrong (or at the very least questionable) to do that, they sure as hell can't possibly have enough common sense to run the country. So I will not be voting for Mitt Romney.

That being said, I'm not enamored with Obama either. Granted, he inherited the bulk of America's current problems, and it does take time to get things corrected. Still, I'm disappointed at the lack of progress he's made, even though an absence of cooperation and party bickering in Congress has hindered any forward movement.

This election year, I'll be looking into candidates from outside the two major parties. I don't know much about them yet, or even who they are aside from Ron Paul... I haven't had time to read up on them. If I find I can't feel comfortable voting for any of them, I suppose I'll just write in a vote. For whom, I don't know. Maybe Stephen Colbert.

I know a lot of people will say I'd just be throwing away my vote if it doesn't go to one of the two major party candidates. But ya know what? If enough people who feel disenfranchised by our current political system voted their true conscience, maybe soon we'd actually have more than two strong parties. Imagine a Congress that had enough representatives from several parties to break the current cycle of my side/your side bullshit in Washington, DC.

A true multi-party democracy... it could be a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Monkey at the Movies: R U 4 Real? Srsly? WTF?!!

Mr. Monkey and I went to the movies this weekend. We saw "Batman: The Dark Knight Rises". No review here... y'all are all familiar with the Batman trilogy I'm sure, and you've probably already seen it anyway. It was pretty much what we expected... drama, conflict, gravelly voiced caped crusader, people gettin' beat up, people gettin' shot, blah blah blah... the usual Christopher Nolan Batman fare. Don't get me wrong, it was well done and entertaining. We enjoyed the movie itself. It was our theater experience that we had a problem with.

Now, if you've read this blog much, you're probably aware that Mr. Remarkable Monkey and I tend to see movies after they've been out a while, because we don't like crowded movie theaters. One of the reasons we don't like crowded cinemas is that with more people come more idiots, and neither of us has much patience for idiots. Pack a movie theater full of people and you're bound to get more slack jawed, irritating, rude, loud, smelly and/or obnoxious mouth breathers per square foot than he or I can comfortably deal with. And by comfortably I mean without having to rip a seat cushion from its frame and beat the hell out of someone.

So we were enjoying the Batman flick this weekend, despite some occasional quiet ring tones going off in nearby seats, when near the end of the movie, the woman seated directly in front of me pulled out her phone and started texting. You guys KNOW how much I hate inconsiderate assholes who insist on playing with their phones at the movies.

But being the understanding and sympathetic soul that I am, I didn't immediately haul off and kick her in the head. No. I waited patiently for a few minutes, thinking surely it must be an emergency situation and surely she will turn that shit off post haste. But no. She kept texting for several minutes, even showing her male companion the screen to share a chuckle, and then continued her text conversation. How rude!!

After a few minutes more, I leaned forward and politely said to her, "Excuse me, that's really distracting for the people sitting behind you." Her companion looked at me, but she ignored me and continued to text for another minute or two. Then she finally put her phone away, turned to me and said in a very snotty way, "I'll talk to YOU after the movie."

Oh goody. Can't wait.

So the movie ends, the credits roll, and I patiently waited for Ms. Text-A-Lot to speak up. She finally did, and what did she say? Well, it definitely wasn't an apology. It went something like this:

HER: "I don't appreciate that. I wasn't making any noise. I wasn't even TALKING on the phone!"
ME: "Dude, it doesn't matter. The light from your screen is bright and distracting for everyone behind you."

Of course, I didn't even get to finish the sentence before she's all in my face yelling, "I wasn't makin' no noise! That's why people like YOU need just mind your own fuckin' business!"

ME: "How can I mind my own business when you're flashing it in my face on your phone?"

I don't think she heard me. She was too busy yelling obscenities in her righteous indignation about me basically having the nerve to be inconvenienced by her glaring phone screen detracting from my movie-viewing pleasure. How dare I? She kept on ranting at me as she left the theater. Mr. RM and I just sat there in disbelief and wonderment at her incredible sense of entitlement and her complete lack of social graces.

Whatever, Beeyotch. I'm just sorry your mama didn't raise you right. And all of you other asinine imbeciles who think it's perfectly acceptable to use your phones in a movie theater, IT'S NOT OKAY, dumbass! I didn't pay good money to sit in the theater to be distracted by your brightly lit phone screens while you text your little friends, your boss, your babysitter or whoever it is. If you MUST take a message, step out into the lobby while you do it. Same goes for taking or making calls, or checking your e-mail or newsfeeds. If you can't go two hours without using your phone, DON'T GO TO THE MOVIES!!! Feel free to do that shit in your own living room, but have some common courtesy for those around you at the cinema.

Don't even get me started on the crying babies and toddlers of folks who are too cheap to hire a sitter... unless it's a movie geared for children, leave 'em at home or remove them from the theater if they are crying. You may be immune to the shrieks of your offspring, but the rest of us are not.

I am continuously amazed and baffled by the thoughtless inconsideration of others in public places. Is it just me??

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dragon on the Water

Why is it that cities almost always look better from the water? Is it just the change of perspective? Is it the gentle breeze that's usually found on a body of water? Is it because you're probably enjoying a relaxing activity if you're viewing your city from the water? I don't know. Maybe it's just me.

Launching the dragonboat.
I have a friend who paddles on a dragonboat team. To celebrate her birthday recently, she invited some of her non-paddling pals to join her and a few of her paddling teammates for a sunset paddle down the river. Mr. RM and I were thrilled to be among them! What a great opportunity get a taste of the sport of dragonboating, and to experience a trek through part of our city on the water.

The weather was a bit hot, but we enjoyed beautiful blue skies and the aforementioned breezes on the river. After launching the boat, we loaded it with coolers full of beverages and a few snacks, and climbed in. Our pal's teammates instructed us on proper paddling technique and emergency procedures. And then we were off.

Experienced paddlers at the front of the boat.
There's nothing very difficult about paddling in a dragonboat, but it's hard work! We were going at an easy pace... I can just imagine the workout you'd get at competition speeds! (I'm sure that's a big factor in our friend's enviable muscle tone. Wonder how long it would take before my arms looked as good as hers!)

We took beverage and snack breaks every little while. Let me tell you... there's nothing like a little champagne, a soothing river breeze, and the company of good friends old and new to put you right with the world. And the scenery from the river was the icing on the cake.

Rowing teams' graffiti. It's a tradition.
After we got back to the dock and unloaded the boat, we all headed out for a fabulous dinner. There may be a blog post coming about the funky little joint we went to... we'll definitely be going back!

So although it was our pal's birthday, I feel like Mr. RM and I received the best gift... We got to experience something we may never otherwise have gotten to do, we were introduced to a fabulous new dining option, and we got to spend a memorable evening with a great bunch of people and our good friends.

Our performing arts center, viewed from the river.
Chamber of Freakin' Commerce quality shot right there!

I don't think life gets much better than that.
But maybe that's just me, too.