Not So Serious

This week has left me with too many serious topics to talk about. I think my draft count jumped by 10. I might actually have to take some time and just write this weekend, but being the photographer for a wedding on Saturday and potentially seeing the little brother on Sunday might not be conducive to it.

I have a couple of serious posts written that I can post today but I decided to keep it on the light side. Bad think is that I don’t feel particularly funny today, and the topic that I want to be funny about I just don’t post about here.

I have already used the embarrassing pictures too, the bunny, the batman outfit, the nacho libre… and no I am not linking, you will have to find it on your own!

I also don’t know what my current audience finds funny either. 5 years ago, the mood panties were a total comedic hit, but today? My attempts at delurking people are not being successful either.

I hope no Mormons visit my site or follow my twitter stream, because magical underwear came into discussion this week. And while I have no problem with someone making fun of my rosary or my devotion to the virgin, some people don’t like to joke about their religion. I in the other hand find Dogma to be a hilarious movie and would totally have a Buddy Christ on my desk along with my Gundam.

Thinking about it, I think the only jokes that I find somewhat offensive are family jokes. Racist and stereotype jokes can be funny, but I find them somewhat lazy when it comes to comedy. Can you guys think of any type of jokes that you just don’t appreciate?

Democracy vs Capitalism

In 2005 both Japan and Germany were struggling with this same situation we are in now. Recently a couple of people asked me to talk about the economy and I have been thinking and writing little snippets here and there. I was very aware of the situation in Japan mostly because I get some Japan news when I am reading about anime. I am a little more tuned to Japan than Germany. Politically I really don’t think either did the right thing when it came to their failing economies that started to show signs of trouble way before the U.S. did.

Listening to Obama’s speech last night my mind kept on going back to why is banks giving out credit so necessary for the economy? What about private investment? What about social lending?

Obama seemed to be pretty harsh towards Wall Street, but still believes that banks should survive.

Whether we like it or not, the government will end up having a huge stake in our banking system. Their failure to see the big picture and need to make money rather than look at long term goals made them in my eyes obsolete. I am not sure if the right solution is to keep them alive. I honestly think that our economic system is in need of a total makeover.

When I lived in Colombia I remember that lending was mostly done through credit unions. Credit cards simply did not exist to the extent they did here in the U.S. I learned all about credit here in the United States and frankly the model sucks quite a bit. It makes no sense to me that I cannot get a comparable rate on my savings as I get on my borrowing. That is why I am leaning more and more towards the social lending model these days rather than using a system that all that has done for me is charge me tons of extra fees. Oh yea, I think banks have cost me close to thousands in fees, some of it due to my youth check floating bonanza, but mostly to a mistake in their system a few years back that created a domino effect on my account. It taught me that living paycheck to paycheck was a huge mistake, and even though it took a lot more than that I have finally gotten back to having a savings account with some cushion.

If the banking system is the blood of capitalism, it certainly has leukemia. I look at capitalism and democracy as two sides of a scale, and right now democracy is starting to really tip things to one side. Democracy is supposed to save us from the injustices of capitalism, but for years it did just the opposite. Capitalism had free reign and it got us into this mess. Now a lot of people think that the solution is to let capitalism take its course and let business fail… but at what cost? who will end up losing the most? the rich already got richer, the poor are the ones unemployed and without millions in bonuses in the bank. Sure the super rich might have lost a lot in the stock market, but when the money was funneled out of wall street it was CEOs that were getting millions in bonuses. When one of them gets fired, they still have their financial future assured. Those people will still be able to send their kids to college and will never come close to starving. Their biggest sacrifice might be that they have to travel coach rather than on their private plane now.

I am very watchful of what is happening now, and still believe in democracy, capitalism truly not as much as I used to. I always go back to the thought that a hungry worker is not a good worker. I hope that what Obama says last night is going to happen and more jobs are going to be created because of the stimulus package. However, I think as a country we have a responsibility, and it is not to spend money, but to spend money wisely in the coming years.

Got Lent?

Growing up a follower of Cathol, gave me a super power, I have guilt radar. Humans use guilt as a currency as much as they use sex. I wish I was completely immune to it, but all superpowers have to have a flaw right?

Today is Fat Tuesday, not really conducive to my new health kick, but being away from Chicago will keep me away from all the polish bakery goods that would spell doom for my cholesterol. However, our friends are bringing a little Creole into our lives and cooking gumbo! yes I GUMBO!

Lent is about to begin and I still have not decided what to give up. I thought about giving up sodas all together, but its not really much of a sacrifice anymore. I could give up coffee or caffeine also, and while that would be more difficult, it might have some side effects that I am not willing to put up with. Giving up carbs would probably be awesome for my diet, but in the past the Atkins diet introduced me to migraines.

So what should I give up for Lent?

Weight Loss Challenge Six

It was nice to find the old table and see that at one point I was actually 262! I am now at 246, but still have a lot of weight I want to lose.

My Mom gave me and Bea both killer haircuts, and also a healthy tip. She has been drinking this vegetable/fruit smoothie that looks kind of green but does not taste have bad. I have been doing it for a couple of days and I already feel better. It cleans your system, but it is not a flush type of clean.

But now onto the challenge. We have had up to 6 people doing it before. It lasts eight weeks. There are no real prizes unless someone wants to donate something, but we do it for health and fun. To sign up is simple, just send me an e-mail (logtar@gmail.com) and I will add you to the list. Every Monday send me your weight… if you have a blog, I will link from the challenge page.

Funny enough, Jeff started one today also! maybe he and his buddies will join this one and keep track of it here!

I am not white?

Believe it or not, I grew up thinking I was.

In Colombia children learn that there are three main races: black, white and native. The combination of those creates races like “mulato” or “creole”. When identifying with a race back then, I looked at my family and my blond hair and light eyes, and thought of myself as white. However, the whole label thing was never important and it did not come into play every single day of my life. I would like to think that I was not a minority when I would not think of people as colors. I did not know one of my parents was somewhat racist until much later in life, and I lived here in the U.S.

My rude awakening to race issues came on the first day I was in the US. I was sitting down by some members of my family, and was told that I should not socialize with pretty much anyone. Do not trust anybody, not even people from your own race… I was like what? wait? what race? slow down? How do I know how a Puerto Rican is different from a Mexican? And what the heck is Latin? I thought that was a dead language.

In just hours from leaving a bunch of friends and family back at the airport, people that were bawling their eyes out because I was leaving–some even that I did not know then I would get to see again–my world view had to change. Not only did I have to very quickly learn that wearing the wrong color at school will mean I would get beat up, but also that someone speaking the same language as me was not trust worthy. The only positive thing that came out of all that was that I tried to learn English as quickly as possible.

In some instances my family was right. The school that I went to was full of gangs. Mexicans hated me without even knowing me. I quickly learned the difference between a “Chicano” and a “Chilango.” I quickly learned that half of my vocabulary was to lay dormant because the Spanish most people spoke was limited. Most of the Spanish speakers I know were told by their parents to learn English, and their mother language was pretty much lost.

I still have a hard time fitting with the concept of being part of a race. I am very proud of being Colombian, but as far as being Latino, it is an identity that is hard to fully embrace, let alone define. I made friends in high school based on personalities and not colors. Working at McD’s I made friends with co-workers regardless of race. I am not fluent in “Vato” anymore, but could probably still pick it up. But thanks to my high school experience I know the differences between the Mexican and Puerto Rican dialects very well.

There is a movie coming out soon that looks spectacular. It has action, violence, a love story. However, when my wife saw the trailer she pointed something out that I did not think about. “This is why people think of Latinos as all being a bunch of thugs.” In a way I have to agree, because so much of what people know about my “race” is because of movies. Some might think that not being able to identify myself with my race makes me lack identity… but I would disagree by saying this. The color of my skin is not something that defines who I am. While I do not ignore the baggage that comes with being a foreigner or from a different color, I try to live my life as a human being that interacts with others at that level and hopes that I am being judged by who I am and not by the label this particular society tries to put on me.

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