Matt's opinion

Thursday, January 26, 2006

This and that

I just got done subbing for my last physical geology lab of the week. Since the two TA's who should have been there are in Equador at a conference and doing field work. Otherwise not much is going on. Today may vary well be my first day without cable in a very long time. I decided to cancel it because it just got too expensive and we could use the money to go out more. We realized that we'll only be in Florida for a few more months and we want to get out and experience as much as we can.

The only problem with that is I'm not going to see The Daily Show or The Colbert Report anymore. You have no idea how depressing that is. So to help fend off certain insanity I've subscribed to the weekly email updates from each of the two shows and a joke of the day from Comedy Central's website. Strangely I've also signed up for the daily newspaper (strange because a creepy guy came to my door last night and sold me a 13 week subscription), so what I'm hoping to do is to read the paper every night and then type up some comments (possibly witty comments) and post them the next morning. We'll see how that goes. I should start next week sometime. For now, I have to figure out what I'm going to do this weekend as Melissa is going home for her grandmother's birthday party. I have no idea. I'll probably just stay home and not bathe or change my clothes or clean anything at all all weekend. Mmmmmm filth. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Show your support

I've been seeing a lot of really cool bumper stickers lately. Particularly those magnetic ribbons that people put on the back of their cars. I've seen a ribbon supporting just about everything from the troops, to schools, to sports teams. A while back Melissa and I were delighted to see a ribbon that beat them all. The ribbon read "Support magnetic ribbons". Until recently, when I was forced to abandon AIM after I contracted my 2nd computer virus from it, my AIM profile had the same slogan because I thought supporting magnetic ribbons was an American pastime that was starting to be overlooked.

Today I had a little time on my hands (what do you mean I have a thesis to write?) so I went on the web and found this site: Here you can order a ribbon with anything you want on it, and they've got some great ideas ready to go if you can't think of one. Check them out, and show your support.

This morning in the parking lot I also saw a bumper sticker that said this "Vandelay Industries: latex and latex related products". If you don't know the origin of this you need to watch more Seinfeld reruns. Anyway I got to thinking about latex related products and the obvious product came to mine (i.e. condoms). But then before my thoughts strayed towards the obvious, yet juvenille, small penis jokes I stoped and thought hey, I should write about this in my blog. My very next thought was, wow, I wonder if there's ever been a place anywhere in history where a the words condom and penis appeared next to the United States Constitution.

That's groundbreaking people. You're welcome.

Friday, January 20, 2006

U.S. Constitution

In addition to my last post regarding Al Gore's speech about the excessive abuse of executive power by the Bush Administration I've included a link to the Nation Archives website to the entire United States Constitution. It's something I've always wanted to read and something I think every American should at least take a look at. It's our responsibility as citizens and voters to remember the principles the founding fathers built the country on and to preserve those ideals. They've served us well and with our insistance they'll preserve this country for generations to come. So please take a look:

Focus on the authority of the President

In an effort to shed more light on the issue of illegal wiretapping by President Bush I'd like to draw your attention to Al Gore's speech on MLK day this past Monday. I've read a majority of the speech and in it he presents arguements that I think effectively display why the excessive use of executive power is dangerous. Please take a look by clicking on the title of this post or by copying and pasting this address into your browser:

Make sure you have a few minutes to kill, it's a rather long speech. Despite its length, though, it's an important issue that more people should be talking about.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Ranting and Raving

Here's a response to a blog I read today, here's a link to the blog so you can read the same thing and form your own opinion ( Make sure to read all of the responses as well, then read mine. I can't belive people still blindly rant and rave about questions that aren't really relevant anymore.

Here's my opinion about the MaggieChurch blog post: You have to start catching up with real life. You claim to know what's going on in people's minds but you obviously don't. You can't just keep refering to 9/11 and then just expect people to believe whatever you say after that. The President has isolated the country regarding Iraq in much the same way Iran has isolated itself with regards to nuclear research (which everyone is convinced will lead to nuclear weapons). He is not doing a good job and people are increasingly able to see that. I hope the President continues to try and foster a public debate about Iraq and other policies because the more he does the more people will get to see how incompetent and criminal his administration has been since day one.

Here's my response to the actual post:
I think you're all just arguing semantics. Does it really matter how we got into the war in Iraq anymore? Not really. Even though I'm of the opinion that Bush is a scathing liar and an incompetent leader, the debate about how we got into Iraq is no longer relevant. We have to finish what we started (like it or not) and get the job done. The problem is Bush defines getting the job done as a free democratic Iraq. Realistically that's never going to happen and each and every one of you know it. Iraq may start out with a democratically elected government, but that government will quickly turn into something resembling Iran or the Taliban government in Afghanistan. True representative government is something that has to come from pressures within a country, like the yearning for representation from the young colonies of America. Any democracy that is set up in a country where such forces do not pre-exist is doomed to fail.

I also think more attention needs to be paid to the wire tapping story that's emerged lately. I agree that if a known member of al-Qaeda (sp?) is on the phone to someone here in America then that called should be tapped, but there is absolutely no reason to tap the phone without a warrant. Why is the president breaking the law? Why aren't people upset by this? President Clinton wasn't impeached because he got a BJ, he was impeached because he lied about it and perjury is against the law. Wire tapping American Citizens is a far more serious offense!! Why is this not being investigated with the same vigor Clinton was back in the 90's? I'll tell you why. The Republican controlled congress is too busy saving it's own ass and covering up all the money it took as bribes from Abramovoff and others to start a major investigation of the President.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Alright, I've got a few minutes before I leave for the day and I don't feel like doing any more work so I'll share my thoughts with you.

I was a little dissapointed when I found no comments to my last post. Guess I should lay off the philisophical stuff for a while. Not a whole lot is going on lately though. Melissa and I are back to our everyday routines. I've been working to get the data collected for my thesis back in Sept 05 processed and ready to interpret. It's a lot harder than you might think, but I'll spare you the details.

I've officially submitted all of my application materials to the three schools I trying to get into. The last application I filled out, to UIC, was sent out yesterday morning. I did all of my applications online this time around. I figured it was a little quicker for the universities to print the application out and look over it than try to read all my chicken scratch. The only catch is that I still have to turn in support materials like applications for assistantships that needed to be hand-written and mailed in, so that's one thing that could be improved accross the board. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully I'll hear something by the end of the month, but I've resigned to the fact that I probably won't hear anything until late Feb or early Mar.

Things should be a bit slower in the next couple of days so I should be able to post more often and those posts should have more substance to them. I've run out of time to waste so you'll just have to wait till then for more.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Food for thought

Don't be scared away by the title. I just want to ask a somewhat philosophical question before I leave the lab for the day. But first, a little background. One of the last things I did while I was in San Francisco last month was to purchase a book for my plane ride home. This wasn't exactly the smartest thing I've ever done considering my first flight didn't take off until 12:30am (yes, it was a red-eye) and I was so tired I couldn't do anything besides try and sleep, which was a fruitless effort if there ever was one.

I tell you that tidbit to tell you about the book I eventually did start reading. The title of the book is Team of Rivals: The political genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The book is a political biography of not only Lincoln, but 3 others who were contending for the Republican presidential nomination in 1860. I haven't gotten through even half the book yet, but it's already got me thinking about my own goals and ambitions. The book consistently describes how each of the men being discussed were constantly studying and cultivating their minds for the sole purpose of becoming respected men, worthy of praise from others. In their eyes, greatness was measured by only two things: to have the respect and admiration of your peers, and that your memory would live on throughout the generations to come.

Needless to say that each of those men succeeded in their efforts to become great, although the only name known to every American today is Lincoln. Even though none of the others are still household names, their work set the stage for everything Lincoln accomplished while President. But I digress. This all got me thinking. Since a very early age I've had the same notion of greatness, and wanting to achieve it, but can't help thinking: can someone really will themselves to be great (using the same definition as above)? I don't think so. It takes more than that, or at least I'd like to think so. First of all , you must have some kind of social or moral issue, or situation of some kind that gives you an opportunity to act. In Lincoln's day that issue was slavery (not the institution itself, rather the expansion of it), in Washington's day it was the lack of a representative government, Kennedy had communism, and most recently our leaders face terrorism (although our current leaders will be remembered only by their lack of greatness). Not to say that every issue has to be political, but it most often is. Second, you have to be in a position to act on the issue or event.

I don't know if those two prerequisites will ever materialize, and if I'll be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of them. But that doesn't curb my ambition one bit. I'm hoping that you know the feeling I'm talking about. The more people who desire and work towards these lofty goals, the better our society will be. If you don't know the feeling I'm referring to, read the book. You'll get it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Don't I say this a lot?

Why hello everyone. It seems that every time I post I say something like "wow, it's been a while hasn't it?" You'd think I'd lose my fan base by not posting anything for over a month but no, you're here aren't you? Let me update you on what's going on:

Melissa and I were back in Chicago for Christmas, but before you get upset that we didn't visit you, let me just say that we never stopped moving while we were in town (except to sleep of course). The good news is we saw just about everyone on both sides of the family, the bad news is we didn't get to see many friends. Well hopefully that will change next year. For those of you who haven't heard we're moving back to Chicagoland this summer. I'll be finishing my master's in April and hopefully will be starting at a new school this fall, continuing my pursuit of a PhD. I've applied to Northern Illinois, Univ of Illinois at Chicago, and Northwestern. Melissa is hoping for anything besides Northern. Apparently Northern emotionally scared her in some way in the past, or maybe she just has an uncontrollable fear of corn stalks. Either way she wants to be closer to the city. I don't care which I get in to, so we'll see how it goes.

Everything is fine on the homefront here in Florida. We recently got new phones through Verizon's 'New Every 2' promotion where after a 2 year contract you get a free new phone. We went a little overboard with accessories by buying memory cards so that we can play mp3's on our phones, but I think it's worth it. We'll see how it pans out. That's about it for me today. We just canceled our phone and internet services at home so I can't continue this post later. The internet is really all we used our home phone for anyway so we figured it wasn't worth paying $50/mo for dial up internet access. I'll try to post again tomorrow. This semester I should have a lot more time on my hands so I'll try to post more often, but then again I say that on every post.