Tag Archives: aliens

Aliens for World Peace

I feel sorry for humanity sometimes.

tricycleI feel sorry when I hear that a Hispanic woman’s voice should only be used to enforce the “immutable” laws written by 300-year old white men. I feel sorry when I hear the term “world peace,” which now serves solely as a popular chant for beauty queens, and a punchline for stand-up comedians. I feel sorry when a tricycle needs to be locked up on the streets of New York City, because someone is afraid that it will get stolen.

I am sorry for all of these threats to humanity: for our divisive politics, for the wanton hate in the world, and for a tumbling economy that would drive thieves after three-wheelers.

But, I have a solution.  A solution that will boost our economy, bring people together, and elevate our relations with countries around the world:

Bring on the aliens.

Yes, aliens. Imagine flying saucers, little green men, and Joan Rivers’ face.

An alien attack on the White House brought people together in the movie Independence Day

I’m serious here.  It seems that most of the world’s troubles derive from our human nature to seek a common enemy.  So, think about it: The guys running Area 51 call up their alien pals and say, “Come on in!”  Thousands of alien spaceships fly through the hole in the ozone layer created by global warming. These aliens are smart (since they have spaceships) and angry (since they’ve been on a very, very long road trip with no rest stops).

Americans are soon alerted about the alien invasion, and boy, we are afraid. Afraid, and mad, because these damn spaceships are blocking satellite reception for DirecTV.  Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell immediately deliver a joint speech about togetherness in the face of adversity. Sarah Palin enchants us all with a story about how she can see outer space from Alaska. At the same time, a modern-day New Deal is put into place, creating thousands of jobs for ordinary Americans to build alien entrapment plants and spaceship bombers.

A U.N. coalition is quickly formed to fight the aliens, whose spaceships are now flying all over the globe.  Kim Jong Il offers up his arsenal of nukes.  Ahmadinejad  starts pumping oil to support a new military.  And given that America is still the global leader in science, technology, and alien objects (this is where Joan comes in), we are tasked with spearheading the charge.  After a rousing speech by Bill Pullman, Will Smith leads the first group of alien freedom fighters out in space.

Bound together by fear, and a renewed belief in our collective humanity, we shed our ideological differences and stand hand-in-hand with our human neighbors as we watch the fireworks above.

Of course, this is assuming that the aliens actually want to attack us.  Instead, if they are coming in peace, then it would seem rather inhumane to mercilessly eliminate them…  But if aliens can bring us (human) world peace, then I say, bring us the aliens.

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Filed under Economy, News, Politics

Random Thoughts on… Writing

I started writing at age six, with my short story “The Chilly Penguin”. My mother tacked it up on the refrigerator, with my drawing of a penguin, and dreams of a writing career took off. In elementary school, I wrote such masterpieces as “Ananse the Spider-Dog” and “Life or Death”. In those pieces, I admit the punctuation was a little hazy, the adjectives were limited to “scary” and “happy,” and the text suffered from phrases like “his eyes literally popped out of his head” (from “Life or Death,” age 12). But I kept on going.

In middle school, writing was just venting in the form of prose. While cleaning out my room a few years ago, I found a journal that I don’t remember keeping. On the cover, it said: “Keep Out. You are invading my privacy.” I felt like I was actually invading my own privacy when I started reading it, because my voice sounded so unfamiliar. Staying true to my OCD-ness, apparently I used to rate days on a graded scale (some things never change). I also kept my journal entries in sections. For example, every day I had the following sections to write about: events, guys, news, rating, crisis, quote to remember, reminders. I only kept the journal for 6 days though, because there were no entries after Tuesday, November 3: “Events/crisis: Mike asked me out online. Rating: 92.5 A.” A note from my friend Maura was also attached, folded into a paper football:

“Hey, what’s up? N2MH. I’m in History now and I just finished my test. I’m sure that u care!? I didn’t know what #16 or 17 (one of those) was. It was easy though. So whats happenin? anything new? Who do u like? Or is it still Sean…or who? U know the 2 people I like right? don’t tell anyone though cuz not a lot of people know. Only like u, Laurie, Danielle, Shauna, Steph, and Devon know…”

The note was signed: “WB, LYLAS, 26611” …I have no idea what 26611 means, but I’m glad that I left “LYLAS” behind in the ’90s.

Even though my unintelligible notes from middle school may have had something to do with it, the ultimate downfall in my writing ambition began in high school, with my ninth grade English teacher, Ms. Bailey. A large and commanding woman, Ms. Bailey instilled upon us the impervious system of punctuation and grammar. We studied only examples of flawless writing, where a ‘who’ was different from a ‘whom’ and abbreviations such as “they’re” and “it’s” were always written out in their long form: they are, it is. I could no longer end a sentence with a preposition. I could no longer put in dashes without counting the words in between the dashes (they must not exceed eight).

“You are high school writers now,” Ms. Bailey would say. “You are adults, and you are writing for adults. Where is your topic sentence!”

I also learned that in high school, there were many more rules for writing that weren’t written in The Elements of Style. Just like our dress code, which stipulated a no-jeans policy, the social code stipulated a no-emotional-crap policy about writing. People didn’t like reading about “my best friend” dogs or “and now she’s dead” grandmothers. The awkward silences during class made it evident that no one quite knew how to respond to Brian’s essay on his uncle’s debilitating illness. It felt wildly inappropriate to point out that he needed a better transition from his third paragraph to his fourth. After that, everyone wrote about happy things, like baseball games and carnivals. Like Ms. Bailey said, in high school, the adult audience was very particular.

It seemed that as I got older, writing became less about what I wanted, and more about what everyone else wanted. Frivolous days of writing about spider-dogs and cold, tuxedoed fowl were way in the past. Instead, the audience became the ultimate judge. “Serious” work was shunned in high school, then embraced in college. As a person first and a writer second, I could not help but be influenced by my readers’ expectations. I learned this the hard way when I passed in my first essay in college, which I titled “Shit Happens”. I felt that the title was rather meaningful, as I was analyzing Tim O’Brien’s experiences in the mud fields from The Things They Carried. However, the title was not so received well by the expository writing professor.

Rejected. Bad grade. Humiliation.

Ouch.

Throughout college, the inner writer in me died a bit. I forgot all the reasons why I started writing, and I went on to study economics and go into corporate finance instead. I’d like to think that my entrance into the finance world has singlehandedly ushered in the recent crisis, but I am probably giving myself too much credit (if only the markets could pick up some of this credit… Ha. Ha.).

In September, I started this blog with the intention of getting back into writing. Through the past few weeks, I’ve been going back and reading some of the writing I did when I was young, from old stories like “Life or Death,” to my middle school notes adorned with doodles of flowers. There is something about the pure, unadulterated voice that makes these pieces fun to read–it’s the knowledge that my writing then had been true, natural, and unfazed by matters of practicality and rules in writing and life in general. I wrote then simply to tell a story that I wanted to tell.

Today, the punctuation has become routine and easy, and the writing has become hard. I guess if you’re solely writing for the approbation of critics and professors then you forget why you started writing in the first place. So now, I’ve tried to take a different approach. I no longer worry about whether I used too many parentheses (though arguably, yes, I could cut down), or whether I threw in the litter too many clichés (is it a cliché to use a cliché to discourage clichés? Or is that irony?). I no longer worry about adhering to writing rules and expectations. I’ve learned from my ongoing, love-hate relationship with writing that I’d rather share with others those issues that matter most to me. I’d rather write for fun, for the pure enjoyment of telling a story I care about, because I want to.

I want to write about the smog in LA, the nightlife in New York, and my great, great hometown sports teams in Boston. I want to write about how strange I think parents are when they name their children after fruits. I want to write about chilly penguins, sweaty ostriches, uncensored mud fields, middle school dramas, and the achingly mundane world of accounting. I want to write about rising ambitions, falling stocks, my wavering opinions, my undetermined priorities, tacking stories up on the refrigerator, love, true love, ironic love, clichéd, sentimental love, love for people with good intentions, love for loving what you do, writing, imagining, constructing, creating, how I enjoy it all, and how much fun I have with all of it… this is what I want to write about, and this is why I started writing.

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Please Don’t Judge Me For Judging You

Most of the time, I try my best to be a tolerant, open-minded person. However, personal beliefs can often get in the way of broadmindedness, and that’s when prejudice may rear its ugly head across the narrow maritime border to Russia. We each have our own values, our rights and wrongs, and our preferences and pet peeves. As such, it’s easy to assert that what we know is right. We can often end up judging others based on their appearances, political beliefs, favorite TV shows, aptitude at Scrabble, etc. We can find ourselves questioning the intelligence of blondes, recoiling at the sight of obese people, and raising our eyebrows at the loony with her alien theories. As different people with differing opinions, we all judge.

Even though there may be legitimate reasons why we judge others (um…aliens for world peace?), that doesn’t mean that our inclinations are defensible. We have seen how judgments may lead to societal prejudices that can be harmful and degrading: racism, sexism, and crimes against those of a different religion or sexual orientation are still prevalent. While many countries have made some efforts to eradicate institutional discrimination, it’s harder to erase the predispositions of individuals.

So what is one way to reduce the existent partiality in society today? Honesty. If we admit to every ugly, narrow thought we have, then perhaps we will be shamed into having fewer of them. The following, then, is a list of groups that I have inexcusably looked down on. I’d like to think that I treat all individuals the same, regardless of whether they fit into any of these groups, but perhaps this is untrue. Either way, this exercise is rather enlightening…

Top Ten List of People I Judge: (apologies in advance)

10. People with Southern accents (I don’t know why, exactly, but I hate when people say “y’all”. I’m sorry. You can make fun of Bostonians.)

9. People who type liKe tHiS aNd uSe LoTs of ExClaMaTiOn pOinTs!!! (It was mildly annoying in 6th grade, and it’s even more so now.)

8. People who say “dang”, “heck”, and “fudge” instead of the real thing (Although I would hire them to babysit my children in the future.)

7. People who do volunteer work just to put it on their resume (I suppose the act of doing it is better than doing nothing at all, but I wish more people had pure motivations… But perhaps that is being too idealistic.)

6. People who make spelling errors on important presentations (It’s called a dictionary.)

5. Vegetarians who make you feel bad for eating meat (I’m not waving a hot dog in your face, so relax. You made your choice, I made mine.)

4. Compulsive whiners (If you’re reading this on a computer, you probably have a good life compared to other people in this world.)

3. Fundamentalist Christians (Even though I know not all of them are Bible-thumping zealots, I tend to blame them all for advocating creationism, rejecting science, and re-electing Bush in 2004.)

2. People who don’t think global warming is happening (Really??)

Finally, the number one group of people who I judge…

1. People who misuse “your” and “you’re” (The fact that this is at #1 really speaks to my anal-retentiveness with punctuation. But it’s true: I really hate when people do this.)

 

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Random Thoughts on… Aliens

On this blog, we have talked at length about the problems that have challenged our country and our economy. The next few weeks will be a trying time for Americans as we maneuver through the throes of a recession, uncertainty, and increasingly ugly politics. The presidential election has become a public boxing match, complete with low blows, meritless jabs, and an attractive woman to draw the crowds. Several accusations of racism and sexism have been raised. Democrats and Republicans have continued to blame each other. The United States is divided once again: red vs. blue, white vs. black, old vs. young, creationists vs. educated people. To make matters worse, with a lame duck president, an unpopular war, and the fallout on Wall Street, our country’s standing in the world has continued to decline. So, not only are we struggling internally, but the rest of the world is saying, “I told you so”.

Thus, I am here to propose an all-encompassing solution to our problems, one that will boost our economy, bring people together, and elevate our relations with countries around the world:

Bring on the aliens.

Yes, aliens. Imagine flying saucers, little green men, and Joan Rivers’ face.

An alien attack on the White House brought people together in the movie Independence Day

Think about it: President Bush calls up the command center in Houston and says, “Let them in!” Thousands of alien spaceships fly through the hole in the ozone layer created by global warming. These aliens are smart (since they have spaceships) and angry (since they’ve been on a very, very long road trip with no rest stops). They quickly identify their U.S. target for alien invasion–the continental Midwest, because of its flat plains and welcoming, unassuming people.

Americans are soon alerted about the alien invasion, and boy, we are afraid. Afraid, and mad, because these damn spaceships are blocking satellite reception for DirecTV. John McCain and Barack Obama immediately deliver a joint speech about togetherness in the face of adversity. Sarah Palin enchants us all with a story about how she can see outer space from Alaska. The Sci-Fi channel switches to reality programming. Bound together by fear, and a renewed belief in our collective humanity, we shed our ideological differences and stand hand-in-hand with our human neighbors. A modern-day New Deal is put into place, creating thousands of jobs for ordinary Americans to build alien entrapment plants and spaceship bombers. And the rest of the world looks to us for a plan, as we are still the global leaders in science, technology, and alien objects (this is where Joan comes in). A U.N. coalition is quickly formed to fight the aliens, and confidence in American leadership is restored.

…Now, this is all assuming that the aliens want to attack us. Before we go ahead and bomb them, we might want to try a bit of diplomacy first. If the aliens come in peace, then I’m fine with them taking over Kansas. And who knows, maybe all of our current problems will actually be solved by one of the human candidates… With several swing states in the Midwest, I’m hoping that Obama’s got the alien vote.

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