Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Word of the Day: Defenestration

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2012 by urbannight

Defenestration in Prague, 1618.

Defenestration:

The act of throwing an adversary out of a window. One recent morning, I woke up trying to remember what defenestration was. Since I ended up having a bad day, I don’t know if it was an omen that I might want to defenestrate someone by the end of the day.

I thought it might be a form of torture or medieval execution method. Not so much. I also can’t remember what I was reading or watching that might have used the word. I was rereading David Eddings Mallorean series. It’s possible, that in the book where they run into the self-taught sorcerer, Senji, the term might have been used. Every so often, Eddings used to throw in a 20$ word.

The word starts cropping up after the renaissance period had started. In fact, the first two recorded usages of it were in Prague. When mentioning this to my roommate, he then said people who throw themselves out of windows would be defenestrating themselves. I argued against this as an example of this was where authorities changed one man’s cause of death from suicide to defenestration. It has to be someone tossing someone else out a window, not throwing yourself out. The ‘de’ part of the word indicates out or away which reinforces that view. After all, it is hard to throw yourself away from yourself.

Of course, this does not actually have to be fatal. It is the same word if the window is on the ground level or if it is on the 15th floor. Defenestration is the action and not the result. The Latin indicates a window or an opening, but it most often involves a window. Being tossed out of a bar by a bouncer might also be called defenestration. Particularly in those old western movies where the miscreant is literally tossed through the opening and not so much if the bouncer calmly escorts the offensive person from the premise.

As you can see, these would not be usefull in securing a building after hours.

Which reminds me, I don’t think saloons really had those swinging doors. Those doors do not secure the entry way. Even if they latched, a person could crawl under the ‘door’ to get into the bar and steal booze. They also would not keep rain or snow out of the bar in bad weather. I think those were used as internal ‘doors’. It would make going in and out of the kitchen easier than a regular door but still block the activities of the kitchen from the view of the inhabitants or guests. 

Well, I suppose they could have had doors like that, but they had to have had additional doors to close in front of or behind the swinging ones in order to lock up for the night.  You never see that in pictures unless it is on a modern building doing a retro western theme.  I keep wondering if it is part of the romanticized version of the ‘wild west’ we have developed.

An American’s take on Greece, Austerity, and World Economics.

Posted in Economics, Economy, Life, Politics, Uncategorized, Work, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2012 by urbannight

Austerity measures have slashed services, wages, and jobs. So many people are out of work or making half the income they did before for more work done. They don’t have the money for goods and services so businesses are now unable to pay their taxes.

People are fleeing the cities and returning to the towns and villages they or their parents originally came from. They are seeking out relatives in these small places while they find a new place. They are taking up smaller jobs and spend much of their time tending gardens which is a major reason for this rural exodus.

If you have tiny home with a garden plot you at least can grow your own food. You may also have space for some goats or chickens. This way you can have dairy and protein.

Austerity measures don’t work and made the problem worse. They needed a better solution and it may be too late now for anything to really do any good. Going rural will be a solution to the food problem. But I think countries on an Austerity Plan may end up slipping backwards into a type of third world status.

This kind of fits in with my Tipping Point blog. While it is mainly about ecology and resources, a part of the issue is the basis of the world economy. The economic engine is based on spending which is why businesses and companies have so much political power. And they seem to be the reason that consensus on environmental issues seems to be a total failure.

As long as the economy is based on spending and people have less and less because big business is tying up most of the world’s money, austerity measures will not repair a broken economy but actually make it worse. People are going rural to save money but they will probably keep the smart phones and computers in order to stay connected and try to find ways to do distance work, create work, or simply job hunt.

Lower quality of living and health with high-tech toys. Although, the rural people who have home plots and an animal or two that can produce a renewable food source may end up having a higher quality of live as those in urban settings get worse and worse.

The Word of the Day

Posted in Entertainment, Food, Life, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , on June 12, 2012 by urbannight

Onions.  Just Onions.  Make of it what you will.  Will of it what you want.  Want of it what you know.  Know of it what you dream.

Hatred feeds Violence, Violence feeds Fear, Fear feeds Hatred

Posted in Life, Politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2012 by urbannight

It is the circle of hate. 

Jason Todd Ready, a Neo-Nazi founder of an anti-immigrant border militia appears to have shot his girlfriend, her daughter and the daughter’s boyfriend, her 15 month old granddaughter, and then himself.  He advocated the use of deadly force to stop illegal immigration (he was based inArizona).  It may or may not be of any note, but his girlfriend’s last name was Mederos. 

He blamed the violence in theU.S.on minorities and illegals, (Jewish, Blacks, and Mexicans, specifically). And then he does something like this. So where did the violence really come from?

It was already inside of him, already a part of him. People who advocate the use of violence to solve immigration problems are not a part of the solution. They are evidence of a greater problem in theU.S.The insidious nature of hatred that tells people that violence against the ‘other’ is okay and slowly leads to the thought of violence against anyone ‘not me’ is okay.

Ever since 9/11, hate levels in this country have been rising.  Inroads against ‘Hate’ that society had been making started to vanish.  Hatred of Muslims and Middle Easterners have continued to rise and increased hatred of Black Americans as well. 

Proof of this is the fact that so many Americans still insist on believing that Obama is a Muslim and that the government officials in the state ofHawaiiare lying to the rest of the country and that Obama’s birth certificate is a fake. 

Proof of increasing levels of hatred is found in the fact that so many people think that it is good and right to give up freedoms we fought a revolutionary war to get in order to be ‘safer’ from terrorists. 

To me it is just proof that we allowed the terrorists to win.  Killing bin Laden was not a victory since we already lost the most important part of the ‘war’.  Our very lifestyle was altered so that people living with a layer of fear over everyday life.  This layer of fear feeds the hatred.  The hatred feeds the violence.  The violence feeds the fear.  All in one downward spiral.  It is a Viscious Circle.

Death by Cat

Posted in Apartments, Entertainment, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2012 by urbannight

I attempted death by cat today.  It isn’t fun.

This is when you are in a rush and are heading for your shoes, so you can leave for work, and step over a cat laying near your destination.  The cat becomes convinced you are going to step ON him rather than over him.  He jumps up, hitting your foot, causing you to lose your balance.  Instead of landing on the open space, your foot comes down on the shoe you were after.  This causes you to completely topple over and fall on your back.

You realize you twisted your ankle and you don’t like the signals your back muscles and things are sending to your brain.  Grabbing some ice for the ankle and another for the back, you discover that there is no comfortable position to lay or sit in other than the recliner.  But it doesn’t work so well for keeping the ankle above heart level.

After a day of ice, I mostly kept swelling down to a minimum.  Both ankles hurt and seem swollen as my slip-on’s are too tight.  I can see some swelling but no obvious bruising.  I thought it started to bruise but realized it was  actually a blue vein under my cold skin.  My wrist hurts in a rather strange fashion.  I think it was from catching some of my weight when I fell.  My knee hurts as well.  I think it got slightly wrenched.

At first, the cat hid from the monster attempting to fall on it.  But then he kept trying to make nice.  I’m dreading the walk down the steps to my car so I can run pay rent.  The walk up the step will probably be worse.

Zero Tolerance

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by urbannight

This is a term we hear all the time these days about many things.  It started out as part of the War on Drugs.  That was sure successful.  Not.  But the result was people being prosecuted or losing jobs for some things that were not actually drugs.  Everyone heard about the railroad employee that tested positive.  He had the same breakfast every morning his entire career.  A poppy seed muffin.  And yes, if you were to eat that EVERY DAY, you would get a hit on a drug test.  But the people who tried to say, oh, I had poppy seed bread today, soon found out that it wouldn’t wash.

It is used for steroids and sports.  Athletes getting legitimate medical treatment for a number of conditions can test positive for certain performance enhancing steroids.  Sometimes they are given a pass on it and other times they are forced to sit out while they are under treatment.  My question is this – do those legitimate treatments actually deliver enough of the steroid to actually improve athletic performance or is it just barely enough to make the test positive.  If it is the first, I can understand telling them they can’t complete.  If it is the second, then it has no impact and they should be allowed to perform.

It is used in regards to weapons in school and applied so broadly that a kid who glued tiny, plastic solders to a hat to honor his military father was sent home because the tiny, plastic solders had guns.  Primary school kids get suspended or expelled because a parent packed a lunch with cutlery so the child could cut up his or her food.  Kids get suspended or expelled for teeny tiny representations of weapons that even the TSA would let pass inspection.

And it is applied to shoplifting.  So much so that people who grab a soda while shopping, have it in the cart, and miss getting it scanned will be arrested.  Even if they have the money and have NO PROBLEM whatsoever paying for it.  They admit they missed it.  Sure, there may be the occasional person who is trying to get away with something.  But on the whole, when someone isn’t going out of their way to hide anything and are happy to take care of it when they see it themselves or when someone says, you missed something, I don’t think they are intentionally trying to steal anything.

But these days, the stores are going overboard.  Honest mistakes have been criminalized.  Intent is meaningless and seems to have no place in the justice process anymore. 

It has gotten so bad that when I was waiting in line at a customer service counter one day, I felt that the parents of a preteen were making a huge mistake.  They found out, after they left the big chain store, that their daughter had shoplifted something.   They were clearly angry with her and they were bringing her back to return the item and apologize.  They were going the route of public humiliation as punishment as well to help drive the lesson home.  But it isn’t the policy of the big chain store to let it go at that.  I don’t think the parents realized that their daughter was then going to be arrested and taken away to be booked and processed and prosecuted.

Still, at least in cases like that, the person actually intended to steal something.  It wasn’t some stupid oversight that was wasting a whole lot of people’s time and money.  People get charged fines for frivolous law suits.  When someone made a small mistake and is happy to pay for the item, that kind of waste should be criminal and the companies should be charged fines for frivolous law suits. 

People (companies really)  need to learn the difference between criminal intent and a brain fart.

Strictly Ballroom, A Color Extravaganza

Posted in Art, Entertainment, Life, Movies and Theatre, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2012 by urbannight

This is one of my favorite movies despite it being a bit of a RomCom. It hits you right away with vibrant, over the top, colors. The costuming it a bit over the top. But competitive dance costumes are. This just pushes it a little bit farther. Personalities are also a bit over the top, extreme, and unrealistic. Yet the actors pull it off as if there was nothing exaggerated about them at all. The fact that the female dancers all seem to be wearing performance night make-up as everyday makeup points at the deliberateness of this.

Young Scott Hastings wants to dance his own steps. The President of the Australian Dancing Federating wants to keep the entirety of the ballroom dance world under his thumb. At least on the National level. In reference to new steps he says, “If you don’t know them, you can’t teach them.” If he controls how people are teaching, he keeps control to himself and out of the hands of people who do stuff he himself can’t do.

This movie is a two-pronged coming of age story. Scott’s path is learning to be true to himself. His rebelliousness came from not knowing exactly who that was and fighting against the authority figures who were trying to mold him the way they wanted him. He starts to find himself when he walks home and is challenged by Fran’s father to show him his Pasodoble. Fran’s grandmother is the one to point the way when she shows him that he needs to feel the beat with his heart and not in his feet. The unexplained message here is that life, like dancing, must be felt in the heart,

Fran’s story is an ugly duckling story. The plain or homely girl that grows more attractive as she learns self-confidence. From the very beginning, she seems to have a good grasp on who she is but she seems to have no confidence in her nor does she seem to recognize her own value.

Throughout the movie, Scott repeatedly says he doesn’t care about winning the Pan-Pacific Grand Prix. He just wants to be able to dance his way. So the movie ends with them dancing their way and we never find out who wins.

That "Let me show you how it is really done" moment.

While Paul Mercurio, who played Scott Hastings, is a very attractive young man, I would argue that the hottest man in this movie is actually Antonio Vargas who played Rico, Fran’s Spanish/Gypsy father. He was also a contributing choreographer to the movie and brought with him his expertise and experience Latin Dance as he is an internationally renown flamenco artist.