CNN

All apologies to Irvine

I’m a pretty positive person and normally don’t post rants against anyone, so I apologize in advance for this one, but I just have to get this off my chest.
I was watching CNN during lunch and they announced that Irvine, California has been named, again, as one of the places people would most like to live. All apologies for the people who live there, but I don’t see it. Let me rephrase that, if want to live with the feeling that “big brother is watching” then OK, then I can understand why people voted that way.
Perhaps, the vote came from people who happened to drive through Irvine and thought how nice it looked. Sure, the city is clean, but all of the houses look the same…on purpose! Irvine is a planned city where everything, I mean everything, is controlled. If it’s fun, there’s a city ordinance banning it.
Sure, there are beautiful parks and swimming pools, but they’re all members-only.
Sure, they have a lower crime rate, but that’s because you’re too scared to piss off the home-owners association or get another ticket for going past the curfew or j-walking.

Freeway onramp to the 405 North at Jamboree Ro...
This photo shows a rare moment
when the traffic isn’t too bad.

Sure, its minutes from the beach and mountains, if you’re a bird and can fly, otherwise you’ll be stuck in traffic for hours in what would take minutes in other cities.
U-turns are illegal. Well not illegal, just non-existant. If you’ve missed your turn, you’re out of luck!
Like your neighbors? I hope so, you can reach out, literally, and hug them because houses are a foot apart.
Sure the crime rate is low. That’s because there’s nothing happening. Everything is closed by 10, some places much earlier. You have to go out of the city to do anything. If you want to drink you’ll have to leave the city. There are no bars.
You have to pay a fee just to “request” painting your own home and if the color isn’t some form of beige don’t bother filing the request.
Not that I have pets, but dogs over 50 pounds are not allowed.
I realize that the residents of Irvine pay a lot of money for the “right” to live there so its not my desire to bash their beloved home. I didn’t set out to bash the city, but I really question the results of the poll. I’m sure I’ll probably end up getting lots of nasty comments about this, but something’s just wrong here. I simply can’t believe that people voted for control over freedom. Are we so fed up with rising crime rates that we’re willing to let groups of people tell us what kind of flowers (the number of flowers, the position of flowers, etc.) we can plant in our gardens? If you want to live in Orange County, why not pick a place like LaJolla, Laguna, or Newport?

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Where do Lactose-Intolerant Kids Go to School?

As I listened to Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. tell politicians who don’t put workers back to work to go to hell, I thought to myself, well good for him. Its about time someone said what all of the out-of-work Americans were thinking. But, after listening to the commentators on CNN, I realized I may not have understood his message. Which got me to thinking about words. They are so easily misunderstood and misused. Dropping off my son, I saw the school’s marquee proclaim that intolerance of any kind is grounds for expulsion. So where to lactose intolerant kids go to school?

My son told me that many deaf people think in images. I’d never heard that. I have often thought about how I thought. The sequence of thought; the way my brain works  compared to say “normal” thinkers. Would I be a completely different person if I thought in images? I think that I think in words.  Am I naive? Am I simplistic? Do I over-think things?

Not to harp on the topic of politics, but during the 2008 elections, a big poll amongst my Facebook friends was the Political Compass quiz.
People were commenting on how surprised they were with their own personal results being either more right or more left than they’d thought. They also noted how close McCain and Obama actually were on the compass. Don’t trust that quiz? There’s also another over at Go To Quiz so you can compare the tests.
What I wonder is: are we actually understanding the meaning of the speaker’s words?
Part of the popularity of the internet is the ability to connect with like-minded people. We love putting in our two cents. The acronym “IMO” wouldn’t be a popular, easily recognized phrase if we didn’t care about the opinions of others and how they compare to our own. But, 2 cents is all we want. Mike Godwin pointed out, in the widely understood theorem ‘The Godwin Effect’: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 100 percent.” Meaning whenever the debate gets too long, the  quality of the words deteriorates to mud slinging. Isn’t the fallacy of association in forums mirroring the way we interact with each other in general?
The problem, I think, is that people debate to sway their opponent over to their side, and the other person is doing the same. There is rarely any attempt to “hear” what the other person is saying. Ultimately, both sides are frustrated and it finally ends when someone throws in the towel by invoking the name of Hitler (i.e. The Godwin Effect).
Family therapists have been teaching couples how to affectively argue with each other by advising us not to make it personal. Argue your point but don’t hit below the belt with statements like, “well you’re too stupid to realize I’m right.”
In the end, I guess its not that we misunderstand, but we fail to listen.

NOTE: This is day No. 9 toward keeping my commitment to post once a day. Have you joined yet?

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