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Archive for May, 2007

Christian Watchdog on the Simpsons

Posted by jbharp on May 21, 2007

Sunday night I caught the latest episode of the Simpons (at least the latest for me). The show did not begin with the usual opening – Bart’s chalkboard sentences, Lisa on the Saxama-phone, Marge and Maggie racing through the driveway nearly running over Homer and the infamous family gathering couch gag. Instead a short of the Simpsons from 20 years ago titled “Family Portriat” opened the show. Incredible!! The Simpsons have been around for 20 years!!! Amazing!!! What an excellent show!!

Quite often the show draws it’s humor from sterotypes – from Vegans, to Austrialians, to Ex-Presidents. Of course, it takes a swing (or dozens) at Evangelical Christians. The show’s “poster child” evangelical, right-wing, conservative republican is the neighbor Ned Flanders.

Sunday’s episode protrayed Flanders as a watchdog of TV programs. It was a spoof from the recent Don Imus incident, in which he was ultimately fired for an offensive comment. Springfield’s Channel 6 Kent Brockman played the role of Imus and said something fowl live on-air. After the incident was caught by the watchful eye of Flanders, the fictional news anchor Brockman, like Imus, lost his job.

I do give the writers credit, because they make fun of everyone under the sun. But in this episode they pegged the “Christian Watchdog” to the wrong political party. Ned Flanders and the representation of the Republican Party was not an accurate relfection of the Imus situation. It was Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the left who took the most offense at Imus’ comment. It was due to the hype and cries from the left that resulted in the firing of Imus.

I’ll admit that usually it is Flander types (dare I say, Dobson types) who protest vulgarity, crudeness, and indecency on the airwaves, but this time it wasn’t. Maybe Fox is just now making fun of all the hype and cries that were made nearly 20 years ago about that spikey-hair, skateboarding, derespectful child Bart and his inappropriate comments – “Eat my shorts, man.”


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Protesters focus on the family

Posted by jbharp on May 13, 2007

This topic may be a few days (or weeks) old, but with plenty of debates to come it’s bound to pop up again soon. It’s in regards to the Mayday March that took place on May 1. I happened to be in downtown Seattle on this day, so I got a personal viewing of the march/protest.

A few chants rang through the largely Hispanic crowd. I finally asked one person what one chant meant (si! se puede! – I think). It translated to “Yes, we can.” I’m not sure what exactly they were referring to though.

Many signs and banners seemed to focus on families and made there way down the street with the crowds. The signs and banners read “Keep families together” and “Don’t split families.” For the first time I finally soaked in the “family” talking point in the illegal immigration debate. And I find it be a irrelevant and void point.

I was in a conference that morning, in which the speaker talked about ethics. He reviewed some scandals from recent history: Adelphia, Worldcom, and mostly Enron. Near the end of his speech, we saw the sentences handed down to some of the people involved in these scandals. Years of jail time was given.

I don’t remember any marches taking place for Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling or Andy Fastow. After the Enron fiasco, these men were ripped away from their families. Yet, no protest (save for their legal defense) was made to keep the families of these men together. And for good reason. Because they broke the law. Many people lost nearly their entire life savings because of the actions of these men.

Now back to the Mayday Marches, there are many illegal immigrants in our country (around 13 million last I check). Although most of these people are decent and hard workers, there are a few that are on the scandalous side. Just like the Enron guys they are out to steal from hard working Americans – our livelihood, our freedom, our capitalist society, and some are out to steal our very own lives.

Laws can’t and shouldn’t be broken without the consequences to follow. Even if one of the side consequence is separation from the one’s you love, whether it’s separations by jail bars or borders.

So when is the proper time to focus on the family? Is keeping a family together the only thing that matters? The law must stand for something.

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The world of a 3-year old

Posted by jbharp on May 7, 2007

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I spent an evening playing with my niece Hayden last weekend back in Oklahoma. We had an incredible journey as we traveled to ‘Circle Way.’ Before I could even find out what this place would be like we were off on our way. We began with our backs against the wall slowly inching along and around the corner in Hayden’s room. I could only imagine that it must have been a narrow ledge over a steep cliff.

At this point I decided to add my own imagination on our trip to Circle Way. So we crawl over her bed where we knew a big, fluffy dog would maul us with slobber. Fortunately, we were able to trap him under the covers as we moved along. Then we had to make a difficult crawl under the table..er, tunnel. It was a tight fit for me, but with the help of Hayden pushing me though on my backside and pulling me out with one hand I made it.

Next we had to swim through the river which filled baby brother’s room (baby brother Gunnar is expected to be here in a few weeks). As soon as we finished the swim we had the assistance of Pokey the rocking horse to take us through the most dangerous part of our trek: the desert.

The desert was extremely hot and cacti were everywhere we looked. We recoiled our hands and noses every time we touched a cactus with a shout of pain. The most terrifying part came when we noticed the markings of a dangerous monster. This beast was not like the slobbering dog. He was a fierce and mean monster. All of a sudden the monster appeared and we ran for our escape. With the help of Pokey we all made it out of the desert safely from the monster.

We kept quite for just a little while to make sure we were in the clear. And at that point we looked up to realize we were in Circle Way! We had made it! We had arrived! We were at Circle Way!

Circle Way was a fun place. There were pictures of butterflies and bunny rabbits. Disney Princess toys, puzzles, and figurines could be seen as fas as the eye would go. We colored with crayons and pens that lit up. We also attepted to find all of the circles we could at Circle Way. No question about it, Circle Way was a fun place. But the adventures we experience with getting to Circle Way were unforgettable.

My brother and sister-in-law had never heard of Circle Way before. They think that Hayden was saying Chick-fil-a, but with my excitement she decided that Circle Way would be a better place to go.

Next time we’ll have to stop by Chick-fil-a on our way to Circle Way so that we have enough food for the journey.

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Diversity Month

Posted by jbharp on May 1, 2007

Yesterday, being the last day in April, saw the closure of Diversity Month.

A diversity celebration website claims that “by setting aside a period of time to better understand and strengthen that which binds us despite our differences, we will gain a deeper understanding of each other and develop a greater sense of connection-creating the energy among us needed to positively change our world.”

I don’t understand exactly how this “energy” is created. For example my group at work consist of five people; two white males, one white female, one Hispanic woman, and one Indian woman. But down the hall there is a group that is made of seven white men and one Hispanic man, a group that appears to lack ‘diversity.’ Does this mean that my group does a better job because of our ‘diversity?’ Has my group created an ‘energy’ because of our differences? The promoters of diversity would have to proclaim my work group contains more of the ‘world changing power’ than our counterpart group down the hall.

Wouldn’t this lead us to possibly conclude a Hispanic and Indian are better than two whites. Or a white and a Jew are better than a black and Asian. If we make the claim that diversity creates an ‘energy,’ then we should be able to determine what will achieve the optimal “energy.’

If this were presented to a promoter of diversity or if you ask what exactly ‘diversity’ means, you would hear something like “diversity goes beyond race, gender, color and ethnicity. It is the differences that exists in all of us. It involves our past, And all of our stories”

My company was awarded a community diversity award last year. Was it due to each of the employees unique experiences growing up? Our past experiences? Or all our various, diverse stories? I highly doubt so. I never was asked about my stories. I suspect it came from our company’s strive to be ‘diverse’ which has created a large number of women and minorities within our company. I guess when recognizing diversity, you can’t go beyond race, gender, and ethnicity.

Diversity doesn’t really bother me, because it is a common fact of life. Everyone is different. No two people are the same. But what bothers me about diversity is the shameless, lack of thought and inconsistency in promoting diversity. Suddenly we are encouraged to celebrate something that has been around forever. So now that May is here, perhaps we should celebrate something like language, agriculture or math.

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