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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Bush-tastic

Last night, I had a burst of financial responsibility. Of course, this responsibility occurred only in my head, but at least I’m thinking about it. I am 25 years old, and I have no credit card(s) and no savings account. I use my checking account for EVERYTHING.

On the other hand, I’m 25 years old and debt-free, thanks to my dad’s amazing benefits plan that paid for my tuition at an expensive private college. Also, I’ve never actually wanted a credit card, as I can still hear my 12th-grade government and economics teacher’s voice in my head, saying, “Credit cards are nothing but plastic debt.” And I did have a savings account when I lived in Portland, but I had to close it when I moved to Miami.

Attending grad school in a “foreign” country throws another wrench into my financial situation, as I have no real desire to open a savings account or a Roth IRA (that’s right, baby, this girl’s gonna start saving for retirement!) in Canada when I’m probably not going to be here for that much longer.

Anyway, I decided to call my dad for some financial advice, cause he’s pretty good with money. We discussed IRAs, mutual funds, and stocks, which means that I was thoroughly confused and remembered why I have only a checking account. However, I’ve ordered a book through the Toronto Public Library about financial planning, which I’m hoping will clear things up a bit.

After we finished talking about money, we started talking about the heat wave, which led to a conversation about climate change:

Me: …Yeah, I think that this heat wave is related to climate change, too. Ya know, I took an online quiz once to determine my ecological footprint, and it turns out that, even though I don’t drive right now and I recycle and stuff, it would take five planet Earths if everyone in the world lived the way I do. So I wonder, what else can I do? Can global warming be stopped?

Dad: I don’t know if it can be stopped, but seeing as how nothing has been done, we can’t really do any worse. People can start small. I never see anyone buying fluorescent light bulbs [My dad has been a proponent of the fluorescent bulb for many, many moons] and they save tons of ener—
Speaking of which, have you heard the one about the light bulb? You know those light bulb jokes? Well, how many Irishmen does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Me: I don’t know, Dad, how many?

Dad: Two: One to hold the light bulb and the other to bring a bottle of whiskey. Then they wait for the room to start spinning.
Anyway, people could buy more fluorescent bulbs. And stop buying those damn gas-guzzling SUVs [My father is also a rabidly anti-SUV kinda guy].

Eventually, this led to a discussion about American politics. As I’m sure you are all aware, the mainstream American media is something of a joke—instead of actual news and critical reporting, we are subject to “infotainment,” something that I truly abhor. I refuse to believe that the American public is a dumb as people would like to think; on the contrary, I think that the American public has been lied to, and overworked, and under-educated, and all of these combine to create a populace that is unable to decipher or even seek out the truth. That does not, however, mean that Americans are stupid. (Although, there is some truth to the old adage, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”)

I love getting my dad started on his anti-Dubya rants. He hates Bush, which is something that my father and I have in common, and thinks he’s an idiot. My dad goes out of his way to find the speeches that the media never reports on to find the president’s Bush-isms. We all know the old stand-bys, “misunderestimated,” “subliminable,” etc., but there is so much more where those came from.

Take, for example, this recent response to a question about whether the tide was turning in the war on Iraq:

"I think -- tide turning -- see, as I remember -- I was raised in the desert, but tides kind of -- it's easy to see a tide turn -- did I say those words?" --George W. Bush, asked if the tide was turning in Iraq, Washington, D.C., June 14, 2006, from Bushisms and political humor

The man is unintelligible. There are many, many things that I look for in a president, and Bush possesses absolutely none of those qualities, but at the very least, he should be able to answer a simple question without sounding like he’s competing for Village Idiot of the Year award (which Bush would undoubtedly win every time).

(That one’s for you, dad.)

7 Comments:

  • My dad changed all the bulbs in our house to flourescent. We always like the tease him about it and threaten to change the bulbs back to incandescent. Although I appreciate that they save energy, they really don't light a room as well. Whenever I go home for Christmas, I change the bulb in my bedside lamp back to incandescent so I don't have to listen to the annoying flourescent ringing when I'm in bed reading with the covers pulled up to my neck, trying not to freeze in our chilly, ringing, energy-saving house..

    By Anonymous Lorien, at 1:37 PM  

  • It does not surprise me that your dad is on the fluorescent bulb train. Our fathers do have a point, they use less energy than other kinds of bulbs, and I think I'm going to put fluorescent bulbs in my room here. They don't bother me that much and I honestly never noticed any buzzing or ringing from small bulbs. The tubes, yeah, but not the bulbs.

    By Blogger Tasha, at 4:21 PM  

  • My dad just wants me to move back to rural BC, because even Toronto is too polluted and too about-to-be-terrorist-attacked. Of course, he lives in the mountains and breeds his own worms, and is not like normal people.

    But, Tasha. About the American public. I really do think that a lot of them are as dumb as people want to believe. And maybe that is due to under-education and being lied to. And maybe I use dumb to mean, not-uneducated, or un-intelligent, but ignorant. I say this as an (partly) american, one whose best friends all live in america, and one who will probably move back to america. But, Bush is the president, because, slightly less than half the population voted for him, because they shared the same values and believed that HE represented THEM. The scary thing about democracy is that I wouldn't trust half the country to vote intelligently as far as I could throw them.
    OK, I'm done ranting. I have just been reading this awesome book on the Christian rock movement, and just finished this chapter about rockers and pro-life, and while I can't deny that these people are fuckers and ignorant, they aren't all stupid. Scary. Ok. Done. Can't wait until I am back and we can have real talks instead of internet ones.

    By Blogger heather., at 7:35 PM  

  • I feel as though that last paragraph was misleading. The book is not written by a Christian, but by some guy that writes for Spin. And while it is a fairly unbiased look at this culture, I just wanted to make it clear that the book is awesome because it is so interesting, not because I think the Christian rock movement is awesome. Although, there is a chapter that talks about Sufjan Stevens, and I think he is awesome. But, I just wanted to get that straight...not that there's anything wrong with being Christian...maybe Evangelical...but...well, just forget it.

    By Blogger heather., at 7:37 PM  

  • I have fluorescent light bulbs in my house and I HATE that they give off this odd light. Not quite bright but not quite dim. But I like the fact I don't have to change them EVER!
    As for the start of your rant, with money saving ect. (I know you hate this) but I've worked hard to invest my money in green funds, and green stocks. If you want some of the info I have let me know.

    By Blogger Aundra, at 12:50 AM  

  • Yeah, Aundra, I would love that info. Thanks!

    By Blogger Tasha, at 10:13 AM  

  • Heather, I too feel that you should probably come back to TO soon(er than Sept. 1).

    I know that Americans voted for Dubya (the second time, anyway), but he won by a bare majority, despite his own claims that he was handed a mandate to rule with an iron fist (ok, he never said that he should rule with an iron fist, but he DEFINITELY said he had a mandate). To me, that means that with a little bit more of an understanding of what is actually going on in the world, the American people would be able to get their heads out of their asses.

    Here's an idea--the FCC can impose some strict regulations on how many media outlets one corporation is allowed to hold. Unfortunately, that's unlikely: Things That Should Not Have Happened During the 1990s (thanks a lot, Clinton!): the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that was supposed to foster competition. It allowed media corporations to purchase more stations than before. One result of this Act was that Clear Channel acquired "70 other media companies, plus individual stations" (www.wikipedia.org).

    Some of the awesome things that Clear Channel has done (according to www.wikipedia.org):

    *allegedly released a list of songs that could/should not be played after September 11th. Included on this list? John Lennon's "Imagine."
    *organized pro-Iraq War rallies
    *banned the Dixie Chicks from being played on their country music stations after Natalie Maines' infamous comment about Bush/Texas
    *after Janet Jackson's breast was exposed at the Super Bowl, Clear Channel decided it would not allow any self-deemed "indecent" material on the air

    I can go on and on (and on) about Clear Channel, etc, but you're better off reading about it for yourself on Wikipedia, or do a Google search.

    The point is, this is the kind of crap that the American people are being forced to deal with. We don't have a choice of radio stations. We can choose to turn off the radio (I haven't listened to the radio in like a year), or get satellite radio, or whatever, but the problem of monopolies and lies and stupid, stupid policies still exists. And who's really aware of it? If all we can listen to is Clear Channel, and most of our newspapers report the same "infotainment," and ditto for our television news channels (even CNN!), what are our options?

    By Blogger Tasha, at 10:43 AM  

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