Gone to the Movies

As I filed into my seat ahead of Lauren I noticed a couple of teenagers playing on their Game Boy Advances. As I sat down I noticed a couple playing a bowling video game on a phone. Behind us a rather large couple settled down with a couple of extra large pops, some nachos and a big bowl of popcorn. I can only assume the pop was not diet. Yup, it was a good day to watch the violent death of Christ.

Earlier today I talked with a friend whose wife did not want to go see the movie in the theaters, rather preferring to wait for the video so she could walk away if she became too upset. My friend, an avid geek, wondered if there was a torrent link available. I pointed out the irony in illegally downloading Mel Gibson’s The Passion, which is a controversial depiction of the last 12 hours of Christ’s life on earth. He laughed. I sighed.

I’m surely not an avid Christian, but I find the thought of thousands of Christians herding into their local megaplex with their hands filled with treats to watch a violent portrayal of crucifixion more than a little disturbing. As a friend of mine said on AIM today, “I find it ironic that instead of congregating at churchs, we now congregate at the movie theater.” Me too.

So what was the movie like? It was horrifically violent. I would not recommend letting children in to see this movie. I turned my head more than once. Gibson created an absolute masterpiece of cinematics. The picture is beautiful in detail, depiction and realism. The plight of Christ, those who damn him and his followers is powefully portrayed. I highly recommend seeing it, but do not go expecting an uplifting story.

Operation Fat Ass: Month 1

As you all know I’ve been in a covert operation to lose weight. After speaking with the marketing personnel about possible uplifting and inspiring names I’ve decided to call this endeavor Operation Fat Ass. The Bushies would be proud. At any rate my diet progress is coming along. When Lauren and I weighed in at the beginning of our journey on December 29th of 2003 I was a rather hefty 257lbs. That put my BMI at about 30.5. According to that site my target weight is between 160 and 210. Talk about a wide range. My target weight when starting Operation Fat Ass was to get down to 220. Other goals included eating better, working out and, possibly, putting no some muscle mass. The following is a detailed breakdown of the last four weeks of my program. I only have four weeks because I only recently started using a workout log.

Exercise Week 1 Week 4 Increase
Leg Press 180lbs 250lbs 39%
Leg Curl 100lbs 140lbs 40%
Calf Raise 70lbs 135lbs 93%
Flat Bench 155lbs 165lbs 6.5%
Inclined Dumbell 40lbs 55lbs 37%
Dumbell Curl 20lbs 35lbs 75%
Tri Straight 55lbs 70lbs 27%
Tri Rope 40lbs 55lbs 37%

In addition to the above gains I’ve spent 2.5 hours on the bike (about 31 miles) and 1.7 hours on the treadmill (about 8 miles). I work out three days a week spending about 25 minutes on cardio and the rest with weights.

On to the weight loss. This morning I weighed in at 239lbs, which makes for a total of 18lbs in 7 weeks. The first 10lbs came off in about a week. The last 4 have been extremely stubborn and I only expect it to get tougher. The results, I’m sure, are skewed because of my weight lifting is most definitely putting on muscle. I know this because not only am I making steady gains in my workout, but my pants now fall off when I walk. I also fit into a pair of jeans that is two inches smaller than my normal pair with room to spare now. Not included in my workout logs is the fact that I spend 40 minutes every Sunday banging around “down low” with a bunch of high school hasbeens in a local rec basketball league. It’s a good time. Actually, it’s really fun now that I don’t die of lack of oxygen after each game.

Yup, Operation Fat Ass is in full swing. I plan on sticking with my current workout regime for another month, maybe two and then migrating to a more focused four day workout. The four day workout will allow me to more carefully pinpoint muscle groups as well as give me an excuse to do cardio more often. I’ll try and update once a month. Oh, and I’m taking pictures. Those may or may not find their way onto the site.

Quit passing the buck!

I’m sick and tired of the President passing the buck, so to speak. It’s never his fault. He seems to think that no matter what he says he can always blame on someone else. Probably the most widely publicized episode is the whole Iraq/WMD debacle, which the White House is blaming entirely on the intelligence community. Now, the White House is backtracking on the claim the President made earlier about 2.6 million jobs being added to the economy by the end of the year.

 He quoted Bush as saying, “I’m not a statistician. I’m not a predictor.”

The White House went on to say that the numbers were the work of “number-crunchers” (the numbers coming from an official White House report on the economy). My problem with this is that there seems to be no firewall between reports/briefs/speeches created in the White House and the general public. It’s just all thrown out there. Anything that is found out to be bullshit later is merely blamed on someone lower in the chain of command. YOU’RE THE PRESIDENT FOR PETE’S SAKE! STAND UP AN BE A LEADER! TAKE RESPONSIBILITY!

I am just plain sick of GWB, Cheney, Rumsey and the rest of the stupid white men running this country passing the buck. Why doesn’t anyone else out there care about this? As an elected LEADER you are supposed to take responsibility for those working below you. You are supposed to make sure they are doing their jobs correctly. Evidently, the true definition of leadership has escaped this White House – actually I think it was replaced with a hybrid definition for “rape” and “pillage”. Disgusting.

How little we know

I’ve been storing this blog post up for quite some time. Mainly because it deals with such a sensitive issue; namely race and racism. I have been reading some commentary on such things as reverse racism and affirmative action from both the Right by Larry Elder and the Left by Al Franken.

In his book “Ten Things You Can’t Say In America” Larry Elder says that blacks are more racist than whites. While I find this to be a little obtuse I have to think he, as an African American, would know a little more about this than I would (by the way he hates the term “African American”). His views on affirmative action are interesting as well. He basically says that it has served its purpose and that it is time for blacks to stand on their own two feet.

Al Franken has a different view on affirmative action in his book “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.” Al says that a baseball coach once told him that if you have two base runners who can both run to first base in the same amount of time, but that one of them has perfect running form he would choose the other runner because you can teach him better form and, thus, get a better time to first from him. In turn, Al translates this into academics. If you have one student who has two middle class parents, went to a good high school and scored a 1300 on their SAT and then you have a student who went to a bad high school, had a single working mother and worked two jobs while going to school and still managed to get a 1200 on their SAT who is to say they are any less qualified than the first student?

I am completely torn. They are both good arguments. I think the problem is that schools rely too much on black and white scores (a la “No Child Left Behind”) and not on extenuating circumstances surrounding each individual. I also believe that using a persons skin color as a scoring method is not the answer – but what is? I would think wealth would be a better indicator of who is in need of assistance, but that could be open to debate as well.

As to the charge that Elder makes that blacks are more racist than whites I have a short personal story to tell. I was talking with one of my newest fraternity brothers, who happens to be black, at the student union the other day. I was there fulfilling some of my alumni advisor duties and stopped to talk to him while he was chatting with a short, rather cute black girl. After she had walked away he apologized for her rather cold reception of me telling me she was a “racist”. I was floored. A few minutes later we were talking about something else when a girl walked by who would make a dead man’s head turn. I made a comment on how pleasing she was to the eye and he asked “You’re into that?” (the girl happened to be black). “Into what?” I asked. There’s a reason by Beyonce and Naomi Campbell are two of the most sought after beauties in the world – it’s because they are amazing samples of the female form – not because there are a bunch of white boys out there with fetishes for black women.

It was after this little conversation that I realized something. Blacks and whites know very little about one another. We instead choose to ignore each other and mind our own business in the hopes of not upsetting the other. This is, of course, wrong. I’m not sure what the answer to our “racial” differences (I’d say “cultural” differences, but who am I to say) is, but I do know the current laissez-fair approach is only a temporary fix.