It’s Still Fake Football To Me… June 10, 2010Posted by Matt in sports.
Tags: America, anti-soccer, apathy, Football, World Cup
Every four years it happens. Countries from across the globe gather together in a show of camaraderie and sportsmanship to compete on the biggest stage in the world. Millions or maybe even billions of people tune in, cheering on their home nations as they battle for the prize of global dominance: The World Cup.
Meanwhile, here in America, we don’t care. Despite the fact that our 24 hour sports networks and radio shows tout the importance of said event, it is little more than a minor blip on our radar between the NBA playoffs, Major League Baseball, and, most important of all, offseason football. The only things I can remember about past American soccer teams are that guy that looked like the singer from the Spin Doctors and the woman who scored a goal and took her shirt off.
Do you know why we don’t care? Because its soccer.
You can try to hide its true nature by calling it “football,” but we all know what it is – a sport for girls and for those boys who are too big of pansies to play real football. And really, the only adults who care at all for the sport are some elitist brand of people who tout their multiculturalism by watching a game that can last hours and end in a 0-0 tie. In my book that’s called torture. Seriously, if I’m ever captured by an enemy of the U.S. they can put a soccer match on and I’ll tell them anything they want to know.
So, good luck U.S. team, even though I won’t be cheering you on personally. I have much more exciting things to do like, I don’t know…anything…
Only 84 days ‘til football season!
Hungry in the USA November 16, 2009Posted by Matt in Christian Beliefs.
Tags: America, feeding the poor, good deeds, hunger, poverty
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According to the USDA, 49 million people (14.6% of US households) struggled to put enough food on the table in 2008. This shows a large increase from 2007, when 11.1% of households experienced “food insecurity,” defined as not having enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle.
As I’ve talked about using different terms in the past, the problem of “food insecurity” is one that goes beyond having any food to eat, for I think it is a safe assumption that most of this 14.6% can afford something. The problem comes when we consider what they can afford. Fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods are expensive, far more so than over-processed junk food. People buy what they can afford, which is often to the detriment of their health.
There is something to be said for donating money to groups who help feed the poor and that is an action that should definitely be commended, but it does nothing to tear down the divide between rich and poor. We continue to live in two separate worlds that rarely intersect, meaning that, to those of us on the wealthier end of the spectrum, the poor can become a people seen as “other” or “alien” to us that we are happy to throw some money at as long as they keep their distance.
I wish that more of us would go beyond long distance charity and become involved. Maybe you can volunteer with a local group or join people for a meal at the local homeless shelter or help with a community garden project. Whatever you do, please consider doing something beyond the norm.
Poverty in America October 20, 2009Posted by Matt in poverty.
Tags: America, National Academy of Science, poverty
According to a newly revised formula implemented by the National Academy of Science, the poverty rate in America is a good deal higher than that reported by the Census Bureau, who use a formula from 1955. As opposed to the old formula, the new calculation factors in rising medical care, transportation, child care and geographic variations in figuring the cost of living. When these variables are added into the equation, the percentage of those living below the poverty line jumps from 13.2% (39.8 million) to 15.8% (47.4 million), or 1 in 6 Americans.
According to the new formula, 18.7% (7.1 million) of Americans over the age of 65 are living in poverty as opposed to the 9.7% under the old measurement. In this case, the discrepancy is mainly due to rising medical expenses.
14.3% of those from age 18 to 64 (27 million) are in poverty, compared with 11.7% under the old measure. The additional numbers in this group are mainly the working poor who deal with high transportation and child care costs.
Under the new formula, child poverty actually decreased to 17.9% from 19%, mostly due to the non-cash goverment aid (such as food stamps) received by single mothers and their children.
The big question now – What are we going to do about it?
Bill vs. Il – Part 4 August 11, 2009Posted by Matt in Bill vs. Il.
Tags: Al Gore, America, bad action movie script, Bill Clinton, global warming, Kim Jong Il, North Korea, rescue mission
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The men stare each other down, Bill Clinton on one end of the bridge, Kim Jong, his two bodyguards and Al Gore in the middle, and the two American reporters yelling for help at the opposite end.
Kim Jong Il: Get Him!
The two bodyguards begin lumbering toward Clinton, shaking the bridge with each heavy step. Clinton tosses the sword from hand to hand in anticipation. As the body guards get closer, he lowers the sword and runs toward them with a battle cry.
The first bodyguard knocks the piercing blow to the side with a heavily muscled forearm, grabs Clinton by the shirt and throws him hard against the wall. The guard punches him in the face, whipping his head back and causing blood to splatter from his nose. As he approaches for a final blow, Clinton looks up with a blood-streaked face and grins.
Clinton: You asked for it, big guy.
Heaving up, Clinton runs the sword straight through the gut of the guard. As the mortally wounded guard looks at him wide-eyed with pain and surprise, Clinton jerks the sword out and lops off his head, sending it into the fires below. He looks up at the second guard.
Clinton: Bring it on.
The guard lunges at Clinton, who deftly lands a round house kick to his head, knocking the guard to the railing. With a quick jab, Clinton skewers the guard through the chest with his sword. A second kick sends him tumbling the fires below.
Clinton (standing to his feet): Well, Kim Jong, looks like its just you and me.
Kim Jong: Stop right there, Cleeenton. Unless you want your friend, Mr. Gore, to get it.
Kim Jong is holding a gun to Gore’s head with a finger on the trigger.
Kim Jong: One false move and Mr. Gore will die!
Gore: Don’t listen to him, Bill. You must save the world!
Clinton, with a look of grim determination on his face, raises the sword in a defiant gesture and takes one step forward.
Kim Jong: Oh, you think I am joking, eh?
He begins to pull the trigger and Gore winks at Clinton, a knowing look on his face. Just before the trigger reaches the point of firing, Gore heaves upward with all of his might, throwing both of them over the edge of bridge.
Clinton: Al! Noooooo!
Clinton runs to edge and sees that Kim Jong is just barely holding on to the railing by his fingertips and Gore dangles below him, his handcuffed arms tangled up in Kim Jong’s feet.
Kim Jong (struggling to keep his grip): So this is how it ends, Mr. Clinton.
Clinton: Yes, Kim Jong, the powers of good, of America, will always prevail.
Clinton reaches over the edge and grasps Kim Jong’s arms.
Clinton: I can save you, Kim Jong. You will have a fair trial.
Kim Jong looks into Clinton’s eyes with a hateful sneer and spits at his face before letting go and pushing away from the bridge.
Just then, Al Gore reaches into his belt and pulls out a gun-like device that had somehow been undiscovered earlier. He fires it off, sending a small grappling hook with a long rope trailing behind it onto the bridge. The rope goes taut and Clinton looks over the edge in amazement at his friend dangling below, safe from the intense flames. Gore gives him a thumbs up. He presses a button on the gun and whirring noise starts as the rope contracts into the device, pulling Gore back to the bridge and to safety. Upon reaching the bridge, Gore looks at Clinton with a big smile on his face.
Gore: How did you like my inventions?
Clinton: You invented that grappling gun?
Gore: Yes and rope!
Suddenly the fires below begin to churn with greater intensity and the entire building starts to quake.
Clinton: Quick, let’s rescue the ladies and get out of here.
They run to the end of the bridge, easily unlatch the cage and release the prisoners. The two women embrace them tightly with thankfulness, but as the building begins to shake with an even greater intensity, they can tell this is no time for celebration.
Gore: Run for the exit!
Pieces of the roof above begin falling in as they sprint across the bridge diving at the last moment for the exit before an especially large piece lands on the bridge and sends it into the flames below. They run from the palace as the earth rumbles all around them, moving as quickly as they can to the spot where the airplane lay hidden.
Clinton: Get in, get in!
Suddenly a geyser of blue-hot flame shoots from the palace and into the air. The building crumbles apart and is eaten by the gathering flames below.
Strapping themselves in, Clinton grabs and lever and pulls back.
Clinton: Hold on!
The jet shoots into the sky just as the palace area explodes into a gigantic mushroom cloud, leaving behind only a gigantic crater where the country of North Korea was.
The plane lands back in Washington with great fanfare. There are parades and celebrities and parties and all sorts of celebrations for the return of the reporters and the destruction of an enemy nation.
That night Clinton is sitting in his comfortable recliner watching the cable news. On MSNBC, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow are running specials about how wonderful a person he is. Anderson Cooper is covering the festivities for CNN with great awe and wonder.
Clinton: Hmmm….I wonder…
He then switches over to Fox News where he is greeted by the overly large head of Bill O’Reilly.
O’Reilly: I mean, come on, is this really a story? So, Clinton goes to North Korea and somehow saves a couple of ultra-left wing reporters. Don’t you wonder how he actually did it? He could have given up any number of U.S. secrets in the process. What say you?
Resident Expert who happens to be blonde and busty: I’m positive that Bill Clinton sold out America for those two girls. It only makes sense.
O’Reilly: I agree with you. We know what he is capable of. So, that does it for tonight’s Factor. It’s another major loss for the Obama administration, for Clinton, and for all liberals and terrorist appeasers around the globe.
Clinton (turning the television off): Figures.
Bill vs. Il – Part 3 August 10, 2009Posted by Matt in Bill vs. Il.
Tags: Al Gore, America, bad action movie script, Bill Clinton, global warming, Kim Jong Il, North Korea, rescue mission
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Kim Jong’s palace, North Korea
Clinton and Gore find themselves in a long, dark corridor. The men draw their weapons and begin creeping silently along, watching and listening for any movement around them. Back to back they move along, guns held at the ready. Suddenly a trap door opens and, with a yell of surprise, Al Gore falls into a dark hole. The trap door then closes and locks automatically, keeping Clinton from attempting any sort of rescue.
A familiar voice then comes over the loudspeaker and fills the room.
Kim Jong Il: Oh, President Clinton. I am so glad you could join us. So sorry you could not stay any longer. Ha ha ha ha ha!
As the disembodied voice finishes these very words, three ninjas, clothed completely in black and holding long swords, leapt from the dark shadows and attacked. Their blades flash through the darkness as Clinton deftly ducked and dodged the keen edges.
Clinton: Ninjas. I hate ninjas.
A sudden thought raced through his mind as he avoids the attackers: Kim Jong doesn’t realize who he’s messing with. He doesn’t know what it was like to grow up on the mean streets of Hope, Arkansas.
Dodging another empty slice through the air, he lands a hard punch to the side of the ninja’s head, grasps his black robe and slams him against the wall, leaving him unconscious on the floor. His sword clatters at Clinton’s feet and he has just enough time to pick it up and parry a blow from the second attacker. The swords clang against each other loudly in the darkness as each of the men try and gain some advantage on the other.
The ninja finally lunges forward, going in for the kill, but Clinton easily dodges and slams his sword down with great force on the ninja’s, causing him to lose his grip and drop the sword to the floor. Spinning around, Clinton then lands a roundhouse kick into the head of this attacker with a loud crunch. He falls to the ground in a stupor. The third ninja begins to back away nervously, but still keeps his sword ready for an attack. He yells out something in Korean, raises his sword and charges forward at the former president. Clinton nonchalantly wipes his brow, pulls out a pistol and fells the attacker with one shot. He shakes his head as he steps over the bodies and walks to the door at the end of the hall.
Meanwhile, Al Gore falls down the dark chute into a room where he is quickly set upon by a number of North Koreans who search him, take away any objects that could remotely be used as weapons, throw a bag over his head, and tie his hands tightly behind him. They push him to his feet and roughly usher him along as Gore monotonously yells for help unheard inside the bag over his head. After several minutes he hears a well known voice over the loudspeaker.
Kim Jong: Release him to me.
They yank the bag from his head and shove him forward onto the ground. Disoriented from suddenly being able to see again and unable to hold onto anything because his hands are still tied behind him, Gore struggles to his feet. Kim Jong’s evil and merciless laugh echoes about the chamber as he watches the former vice president’s struggles.
The dictator strolls over the Gore and lands a hard punch into his jaw, knocking him back onto his knees. Gore looks up at Kim Jong, sneers with great hatred and spits a tooth into his face.
Gore: You’ll pay for that punch, Kim Jong.
Kim Jong: Yes, yes, we’ll see about that. Stand Mr. Gore on his feet. I have something to show him.
One of the large bodyguards comes from behind, grabs Gore and lifts him to his feet. He realizes for the first time that he is on a long bridge-like walkway with a railing on each side. At the far end is a cage in which the two reporters are imprisoned. The bodyguard leans him against the railing so that he can see off the side of the bridge. Below them is a swirling mass of yellow and orange and he can feel an intense heat emitting from it, one so hot that it causes him to step back for a moment.
Kim Jong: Yes, Mr. Gore, you have just discovered my evil plan for world domination. I believe you will find this quite interesting. Please say hello to my global warming machine.
Gore: What…what are you doing? You have no idea what sorts of powers you are messing around with!
Kim Jong: Ha ha! You see, the fires below are lit by the nuclear power that America has tried so ardently to keep from us. As it burns with its eternal flame, we dump in tons of Styrofoam and plastic, watching it burn and raise the global temperature even higher. Yes, soon your little movie will come true! The polar ice caps will melt, cities will flood and scores will die from starvation and disease!
Gore: No, no, you can’t do this!
Kim Jong: And I alone will reign supreme! The world will be a water-covered post-apocalyptic wasteland and I will be the ruler! Nobody can stop me!
Suddenly a door at one end of the bridge swings open loudly and clangs against the railing. Bill Clinton steps through the opening, his shirt torn from the battle with the ninjas, holding a sword in one hand and a semi-automatic weapon in the other.
Clinton: I beg to differ, Beloved Leader. We will stop you. America will prevail.
To be continued…
Where America Stands May 4, 2009Posted by Matt in politics.
Tags: America, Cuba relations, Environment, Gun Control, Legalization of Marijuana, polls, Same-Sex Marriage
Being a statistician, I tend to have an almost unhealthy obsession with numbers, so it is understandable that, when it comes to politics, I have a strong fascination with poll numbers and about what sorts of information can be gleaned from them. Today I was looking at PollingReport.com and noticed several recent polls regarding current issues that I wanted to share with you and get your thoughts on.
Would you support or oppose a law in your state that would allow same-sex couples to get married?
Would you support or oppose a law in your state that would allow civil unions for same-sex couples?
Some people say that same-sex marriage is a threat to traditional marriage between a man and a woman. Do you agree or disagree?
Legalization of Marijuana
In general, do you favor or oppose legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use?
Do you favor or oppose a law to ban the sale of assault weapons and semiautomatic rifles?
Would you approve or disapprove or a proposal that would require companies to reduce greenhouse gases that cause global warming, even if it would mean higher utility bills for consumers to pay for the changes?
Do you think the United States should or should not re-establish diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba?
Should Not: 20%
Do you think the U.S. government should permit travel to and from Cuba for all Americans, or permit it only for those with relatives in Cuba, or should the U.S. government not permit any travel to and from Cuba?
All Americans: 60%
Those with Relatives: 23%
No Travel: 10%
Church Statistics – pt.2 March 9, 2009Posted by Matt in Christianity, statistics.
Tags: age, America, Baptists, Catholics, Christianity, denominations, gender, Mainline Christians, marital status, non-denominational, statistics
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Earlier today I posted part 1 of my look at the latest American Religious Identification Survey as done by Trinity College. This entry will take a look at the demographics of religion in America as seen by the report.
When looking at gender, it is interesting to note that females outnumber males in every Christian religious group looked at by the report. The difference is especially pronounced in the Baptist Church, where women make up 57% of the professing members, in the Pentecostal/Charismatic churches, where they lead the way at 58%, and in the Mainline churches, at 56%. For the purpose of this survey, the Church of Christ has been lumped into the category of Protestant Denominations (has lightning struck these people yet?) along with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Sevent Day Adventists, where women lead the way (well, sort of) at 55%. It should be noted, however, that men outnumber women in non-Christian religions, including a variety of Eastern faiths, Islam, and New Religious Movements. Also, men hold a huge advantage in the “Nones” category (indicating atheists, agnostics, or those not professing a religion) at 60%.
Age compositon makes up another important component of this demographic study and we again can glean some important and enlightening lessons when carefully looking at these statistics. In the United States, 60% of the adult population is between the ages of 18 and 49, and 40% is age 50 years or older. The largest Christian group, the Roman Catholic Church, follows the age breakdown of the general populace almost exactly, but there are others whose results come in a bit more skewed to either end of the age spectrum. A glaring example of this can be seen in the Baptist church, which is decidedly older than any other group. Only 42% of their membership is below the age of 50 and only 11% is under 30, while a full 21% of their roll is over 70, making them the Methuselahs of the American Christian landscape. On the other hand, the group labeled Generic Christians, which includes non-denominational churches, skews much farther to the youthful side, with 66% of their members under the age of 50, 25% under the age of 30, and only 9% over the age of 70.
The last piece of data to look at under this type of religious demographics deals with marital status, where we find that the majority of those identifying as Christians are currently married, though the percentages for all but two of the surveyed groups are actually a bit lower than the national average of 56%. The two denominations that have a greater percent of married members than the general populace are the Mormons (68%) and the Baptists (60%). The largest proportions of single, never married, members are found in the Generic Christians and Protestant Denominations (both at 23%), and the smallest percentage of singles can be found with the Baptists (13%). Also interesting in this group of numbers is the divorce rate for Christian groups. In the overall American population, 13% of adults are either divorced or separated from their spouse. With the lone exception of the Mormons, every Christian group come in at greater than 10%, with the Pentecostal/Charismatics (16%) and Mainline churches (14%) outpacing the others.
So, if you are male and looking for that special someone and hope to find her in church, you should be careful with what you choose. The idea of a large percent of women in the Baptist church might be enticing, but one should remember that they are most likely married or over 50. My suggestion to you would be to try one of the so-called Generic Christian churches. Though the ratio of women to men may not be as high (52 to 48), they will be more likely to be single and young.
Thoughts? Part 3 will deal with race and social distinctions.
The Temptation of Empire October 6, 2008Posted by Matt in Christian Beliefs.
Tags: allegiance, America, Bible, empire, fiery furnace, Shane Claiborne
Before I get started, let me say that I probably borrowed this from one of Shane Claiborne’s books, but I don’t remember where it was located and I’m too lazy to look it up, so this will have to serve as my acknowledgement.
Yesterday in our Sunday school class, we read and talked about a famous story from the Book of Daniel – that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
At the time of this story, Israel was being held in subjection by the empire of Babylon (hence, its being called the Babylonian captivity) and its ruler, King Nebuchadnezzar. So, as the story goes, the king builds this great statue of gold and he is rather proud of it. As the great unveiling of his statue arrived, the king ordered everyone to gather, fall down, and worship it. So, in keeping with his decree, everyone gathered around and bowed to the statue, except for three men – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. So, in order to prove his might and power, the king threw the three men into a blazing hot furnace, where they would presumably die a painful, fiery death. The flames were stoked to such a high temperature that even those who threw the three men into the fire died from it, but, somehow, someway, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were safe. Miraculously, the fires did not harm them.
Now, the point of yesterday’s class was dealing with their great faith in the threat of danger and all of that important stuff that many of us have heard since childhood, but this tale brought about other thoughts to me. I started to ponder concepts like “empire” and “idols” and where our true loyalty must lie and story began to take on a whole new dimension in terms of its significance to us in today’s world.
The temptations of empire and the power it holds are quite alluring. The attraction of gold and riches can easily grip the soul. How it easy it would be to fall into their trap!
Maybe we can replace the statue with an American flag and the gold with the capitalist promise of the American dream. Colluding with empire certainly has its perks, but is it the best way?
Oh Say Can You Bleed – Author’s Note September 22, 2008Posted by Matt in Oh Say Can You Bleed.
Tags: action movie, Al Gore, America, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John McCain, Osama Bin Laden, Sarah Palin, script
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When I began this screenwriting project some three weeks ago, I had no idea that it would go on this long. As the story continued the script grew until it finally reached its end today after 15 scenes, 34 pages of text, and 12,304 words.
The whole idea came after I heard about John McCain’s running mate, former beauty queen and firearm aficionado Sarah Palin. Along with that, you have their opponent, a dark-skinned man with an Arabic-sounding name who is dogged by rumors of both Marxist and Muslim beliefs. So, that’s where it started and from there it grew into this overly-long monstrosity written mainly during my lunch breaks at work over the past three weeks that includes everything from zombies to ninjas to nuclear weapons. If you haven’t read it and my description hasn’t scared you off, start at the beginning and let me know what you think of it.
Oh Say Can You Bleed
by Matt Wisdom
Part 1: Meeting McCain
Part 2: Visiting the Wise One
Part 3: Intro of Palin
Part 4: Going to Baghdad
Part 5: The Rescue
Part 6: New York, New York
Part 7: Battling the Henchmen
Part 8: The Clintons Strike Back
Part 9: The Final Showdown
Part 10: God Bless the USA
Spielberg, I await your call.
P.S. I’m actually a big Obama supporter and I don’t believe he is a Communist Muslim