My Takes

Just my humble opinion…

Blurred Lines

 

Pop singer Robin Thicke hates blurred lines, or so he says in his song Blurred Lines.

I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines

Today more than ever there are many blurred lines. The lines that separates a man from a woman and fact from fiction are blurred, so too are the lines that defines marriage, love and hate, right and wrong, and even Christians and Non-Christians.  It’s predicted that in the far off future, there will only be one race.  We will all merge into one race.  Would right and wrong also merge into just ‘everything is acceptable’?

In Thicke’s song, he tries to override the girl’s ‘no’. Telling her what she is and what she isn’t.

Ok, now he was close
Tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal
Baby, it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you

Society is telling us to change the way we used to think and changes our beliefs.  We were wrong and uncivilized back in those days, they say.  We are smarter now and need to change all these old-fashioned rules and beliefs. Praying in school? Get rid of that rubbish! Traditional marriage? Oooh…that’s so ignorant and tramples on the rights of others.  We are much smarter now.  Christianity? All you need to do is believe and you will be saved.

Remember when Christians wore their faith on their sleeves, (Some still do) and you could tell if your neighbors were believers or not? Not anymore. We are merging! We go to the same places, wear the same things, say the same things and do the same things as the non-believers.  Sometimes we even outdo the non-believers!  At their own game! Yes, that includes me, sadly.

No doesn’t mean no anymore, at least if it does, then it’s blurry in translation. No could mean yes and yes mean no.  Love and hate are interchangeable.  Some love to hate while others hate to love.  Is it right or is it wrong?  It depends on who is doing it. A man can become a woman tomorrow or a woman a man, so don’t gettoo comfy. Nothing is really as they seem.

It’s not your glasses, it’s just blurred lines.  And it’s also just…

My Take

Note: Unfortunately for Robin Thicke, there were no blurred lines in his marriage.

 

What Should We Do With The Black Guys?

I received a call from the casting agency that I’ve done a lot of work for regarding a role as an extra in an upcoming television series called, ‘The Pinkertons’.  The show was centered around life in 1860s Kansas.  When I got there, I noticed right away that one of these things were not like the other. Well make that most of the people were not like me, or the other black extra, an older gentleman who I quickly gravitated to.  As expected for that era in the USA, everyone, meaning the Caucasians, had that ‘look’.  You know the white 1800s look? The beard, hard face…ready to rope a black man look?  They had it.  Man these guys were awesome extras!

Back in da day!

“This is going to be interesting.” I said to my new friend and fellow minority.  I don’t think there were any aristocratic looking blacks wandering around Kansas around that time, were there?  Costume did a great job of putting us in getups that made us look like well-to-do slaves. Ok maybe freshly-freed slaves.  They even came by from time to time and rubbed dirt on us.  Hey, it’s all about credibility.   Then it was time to send the extras to their various positions or activities.  Now this is where ‘interesting’ comes in.  Remember, blacks weren’t ‘in style’ back then.  So where oh where should we go?  At first they told us to stand on the train platform and pretend to lift a box.   Nice! I will be on camera!  Well that suggestion didn’t last too long While all the other extras were finding their niches rather easily, finding something to do with the black guys was creating a small problem.  That was until I spotted an 1860 wheelbarrow sitting there right in front of me.  “I can push that”, I offered.  The production guy was only to glad to agree.  I pushed the thing for most of the day. Back and forth, figure 8s, letter H, back and forth…

It wasn’t exactly all I did.  One scene called for the extras, or townsfolks as they/we were called, to pretend to be engaging in buying and selling outside their stores.   There were Coffin makers, Mercantile stores, Pottery stores, etc.  Again, it was no problem finding a spot for the Caucasians.  My friend and I were brought over to the mercantile store that sold pots and pans and other supplies.  We were told to pretend we were buying something. That idea lasted as long as the first one.  After some head-scratching and hmms and aaahs from the production fella, I spotted another prop.  A broom.  “I can use this and pretend to sweep.” I offered, grabbing the broom and sweeping the dirt lightly.  “Yes! Perfect!” The guy must surely be thanking his lucky stars that I was on the ball.  I swept or pretended to sweep for a few hours.

I was having a field day with this.  Watching them struggle trying to figure out where we should go.  I could imagine the director thinking,  “Who thought it was a great idea having a couple black extras?  This could very well compromise the integrity of the show.”  Or maybe, “I could have sworn the casting call was for white extras.”  As each new scene was introduced, I would tell my friend and new partner, “Let’s see where they are going to put us now.”  The we would both have a good laugh at the expense of the guy trying to find somewhere to hide to black guys.  The last scene I did before they decided to wrap me, was shot on the train station platform. Everyone was to be on or close to the platform as it involved someone getting off the train and the hubbub that ensued.  Again, finding somewhere to put the two black guys  presented a headache.  They finally decided to split us up.  My friend was taken somewhere and I was taken to the platform. Yes! Right in the thick of things! Not so fast.   The guy had another changed of heart,  “Hmmm….how about you and you go stand at the corral and you pretend to be showing him what to do?” You and you meant my friend and I.  He had come full circle and we were once again re-united.

My buddy trying to find where the camera was

So off we went to our new job as stable boys.  We looked at the camera and figured if we stand in a certain spot we would be sure to get some face time but when the director yelled, “Background!” we were disappointed to see a pall of movie smoke coming our way. Effectively thwarting our dreams of being seen.  We both had a laugh at this.  “Oh well…”, said the old man.

The food was great.  The people were nice and friendly and it was a great day spent outdoors.  I later found a newspaper ad for extras for the show.  It read in part: “Winnipeg casting agency Kari Casting has put out the call for “Caucasian extras, both male and female, ages 18-70, to fill background roles as townsfolk, saloon barmaids, saloon patrons, union soldiers, coal workers, police, and many more.”  Maybe they ran out of caucasians?

That’s all folks

Click here to read about the show and see some more photos (with Caucasians) taken on the set. On page 2, you could see my wheelbarrow.  A split second more and I would have been in that shot!

OP Is The New OJ

English: Oscar Pistorius during 2011 World cha...

English: Oscar Pistorius during 2011 World championships Athletics in Daegu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And just like that, Oscar Pistorius is basically off the hook for the killing of his girlfriend.  Sounds like the latest O.J Simpson? Maybe, maybe not. No one really knows the truth but God and Oscar. Although his story may seem a bit weak and he is known to be aggressive,  it still leaves a faint chance that he could still very well be innocent.

In the end, it was up to the court but everyone is a judge, jury and executioner in their own minds and I’m not exception.  In my court the verdict would have been, “Oscar Pistorius, the court of Carlos has found you guilty of murdering your girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.  The court has decided to give you maximum sentence base on circumstantial evidence.”   But who cares what I think? It has no bearing on the case and after all, it’s only…

My Take…and maybe, just maybe, he’s innocent after all.

On The Ray Rice Issue

Let me first say that after watching the video of NFL player Ray Rice striking his wife so hard in the face that he knocked her unconscious, I have to say that the man needs immediate anger management but right after his jail term. It was one of the most disgusting things that I’ve ever seen.

Today, I read that his wife is defending his callous actions and blaming it on the media. Oh my goodness, woman! You were knocked senseless by the man who pledged to love you and protect you. He lied.  He almost killed you.  He dragged you from an elevator like a dead animal.  How could you stand there and defend the criminal?  Sorry to say but women like you are who promote this sort of behavior from men like Ray Rice, are helping to promote it. You protect him, shield him and lied for him, allowing him to continue his behavior.

Yesterday a broadcaster was suspended for saying exactly what I’m saying here. He tweeted, “How does she marry him after that? How does she go in front of Goodell (stand by him)? That’s pathetic to me.”  Yes Ted, it’s pathetic to me too.  How could she?  Ted also added, “The *victim* here … bares some of the responsibility … for not speaking up … that to me is the saddest part of it.” As harsh as this may sound, I do agree again.  It’s the responsibility of victims of these crimes to come forward and finger the perpetrators. Don’t let them roam free.

Why do we keep suspending people when they speak the truth but applaud lies?  The NFL should be suspended, not Ted.  In trying to protect their investing, they were willing to turn a blind eye.  And that my friend…

is My Take.

Are Those People Still My Friends?

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even if all they do is send you stupid invites and game requests? Are they still your friend?  They have never said ‘hi’ or wish you happy birthday, so are they?  Today I set out to delete some hanger-ons on Facebook.  You know the kinds who are just there, contributing nothing?  Maybe send you the odd game request?  Yes, those.  I figured I had had enough with the game requests and it was time for them to go.  I imagined what it would be like, surrounded by friends who actually communicated with me.  A genuine circle of friends. So I gathered up all the hanger-ons and got ready to do some deleting.

But I didn’t.  No I didn’t.  That’s your teacher, Carlos.  You’ve known her for a very long time.  She doesn’t do much as a Facebook friend but she moulded you into who you are today.  Who cares if all she does is send game invites? At least she’s still around and making her presence felt. I wouldn’t delete her, Carlos boy.  What? Don’t even think of deleting him! That’s your old classmate.  I know he hasn’t said boo to you in forever but at least you know he’s only a message away.  Come on man! What?! You are actually thinking of saying bye to your cousin? Your cousin? Ok bro, you’ve crossed the line…And so it went on and on…until no one was deleted.

Safe for now buddy, safe for now.  You might be so lucky next time.  Say hi or else…

Our Dispensable Race

MailmasterTina Fontaine was only 15 years old.  She should have been getting ready for the start of the new school  year. Instead her lifeless body was dragged from a Winnipeg river on Sunday.  Murdered.  Another statistic. Another aboriginal.

Last March, after watching a news story of yet another missing aboriginal woman, I was moved to write a blog about it.  Unfortunately, it never got past the draft topic.  A week ago, I had to re-visit it after the tragic tale of young Tina Fontaine made the news.  As awful as it may sound, it is realistic to think that we are as a nation are doing very little to give this issue the publicity it deserves.  “Oh, it’s just another native woman.  She was probably hooking or homeless.”  I have heard it.  Too many times.  They are swept under the bureaucratic rug.  Police has no time to spend investigating missing street walkers, especially if they are natives.  The Government has no interest in opening up an inquiry into it.  While they dither, perverts and creeps ply their trade on these vulnerable people with reckless abandon.  It’s a national tragedy. A travesty. A humanitarian crisis.

Yes, our aboriginals are known for their issues. Issues that have been compounded by society.  At the end of the day, they are humans too and deserving of the same protection afforded to all Canadians.  After all, they are the true Canadians, aren’t they?

RIP Tina.  We failed you.

ALS Straight, No Ice

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known by its initials ALS, is a neurodegenerative disease.  There is a known hereditary factor in familial ALS, where the condition is known to run in families.  Early symptoms of ALS include muscle atrophy, weakness, difficulty swallowing and cramping.  Individuals affected by the disorder may ultimately lose the ability to initiate and control all voluntary movement, although bladder and bowel function and the muscles responsible for eye movement are usually spared until the final stages of the disease.  And that is what ALS disease is, in a nutshell.  No need for the ice bucket but you could head on over to your nearest ALS foundation and donate whatever you could. Tell them I sent you.  Take the bucket with you if it helps.

As entertaining as some of these videos are of people taking the Ice Bucket Challenge, I think the message is getting lost.   ALS is a serious disease and needs all the attention it could get. In my opinion, taking ice bucket baths is just a distraction. But that’s just…

My Take.  Go ahead, take the Ice Bucket Challenge, I dare you!

‘Gentle Giant’ Teen Murdered By Overzealous Cop With Clean Record

I have been following the story of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen shot and killed by police in Missouri.  For the family of both the victim and the officer, I feel for the pain and grief caused by this overzealous act.  I call it over-zealous as I can’t understand why in any situation, a cop would feel that his life was in such danger than it warranted pumping 10 bullets into a young man, (two in his head), whether he be black, white, Asian or other.

The cop was identified as 28 year old Darren Wilson who apparently was given a commendation for ‘extraordinary effort in the line of duty’ back in February.  Michael Browne was described as a ‘gentle giant’ by his family.  He was apparently shot when he was stopped along with his friends for walking in traffic and disturbing traffic. His non-compliance caused the tragic chain of events.  Unknowingly to Wilson, Michael was also the prime suspect in a robbery that had taken place only moments before.

Now, I find it interesting when someone’s past is used as a yardstick to determine whether or not they are bad people.  Having a previously clean record of service with a commendation does not mean Mr. Wilson is not a racist or a rogue cop who relished the chance to use his firearm.  Being a ‘gentle giant’ with no priors does not mean Michael Brown did not have the potential to rob a store.  On the flip side, even if he did commit that crime, it still does not make him a monster deserving to be shot dead and left lying on the streets for hours.  (In my early teens, I gave in to peer pressure and stole comic books from bookstores, not once but a few times.  Until I was caught and reprimanded).  At the time of the Missouri incident, what each of these people did in their past means squat.  I am sure serial killers had a few clean years under their belts too.

So what I’m getting at is this, dispense with the regaling or dehumanizing of the deceased and the perpetrator.  Deal with the incident as what it is.  An unarmed teen was shot by a cop who displayed a lack of judgement and self-control in carrying out his duty.  His act should be thoroughly and independently investigated without bias and he should be dealt with accordingly.  A sequence of unfortunate events saw a life lost.  Maybe it’s black and white, maybe it’s not…

 

No News Is Good News

Not too long ago, I never missed the evening news. Sure some of it was bad but it had the perfect balance. A feel-good story here, a light-hearted story there, it was just the thing to wind down an evening. We’ll not anymore.

Last night as we lay in bed, my wife and I turned to the late night news for want of nothing better to watch. It started with the protest in Missouri over the shooting of an black unarmed teen by a white cop then an update on the bloody situation over in Iraq where Christians were being slaughtered like hogs by the militant group ISIS. Next up was Libya, didn’t the USA fix that place when they killed Gaddafi? There was another bloody civil unrest going on there too. The news then returned to US soil, thankfully. I was done hearing about wars and bloody killings.

I then learned that two young Amish sisters, 7 and 12 were abducted while they manned their vegetable stand at the side of the street. They were intended to be sexually molested by a couple. Fortunately the kids were found safe. Russia in the Ukraine, more violence in Syria, shaky truce in the Gaza, threat of an Ebola pandemic…I reached out and pressed the ‘off’ button.

With thoughts of the dead, dying and suffering running through my head, I tried to sleep, vowing never again to watch the news.

What The @#$!

English: "No Swearing" sign along At...

English: “No Swearing” sign along Atlantic Avenue in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While holidaying in British Columbia,  I happened to be listening to a local radio station on which they had a call-in to for listeners to give their opinions on whether they think using swear words should become an acceptable part of our society.

I am not one to drop F bombs or any other colorful language, not saying never, but,  I’ve always thought that using them in regular conversation shows a lack of vocabulary skills.  Not to mention the speaker usually comes off as crude.  But here I was listening to both sides of the fence from people who claimed to be well versed on the subject.

The first person to call in was an English Professor.  He agreed that there was indeed a place in our modern society for swearing.  He gave examples where a simple english adjective would not suffice, like being cut off in traffic.  He claimed there dropping and F bomb added an oomph to what you wanted to say that no other word couldn’t.  For a second or even a minute, I agreed with him! Against my better judgement. He was THAT convincing.

Thank goodness for the next caller who jarred me back to reality.  She was an ethics specialist, or whatever you call them.  She was very firm and unwavering in her stance that swearing was not acceptable.  She also mentioned that those who do, display weak vocabulary skills. (Told ya! Sorry Prof.)  The majority of calls sided with her.  One mom pointed out that she hated it when people swear in front of her kids.

It’s a rather sticky subject as many people cannot speak a complete sentence without injecting some form of swearing.  In the heat of the moment, I have uttered the F word so I am not judging.  In my opinion, it should never be something we accept, no matter how accepting we are becoming.

 

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