Christian Ross

Hypocrisy

Posted mostly because this is probably a better place dump my thoughts than Twitter. Without context:

I do not see how the concept of “Inclusion via Exclusion” is supportive of an ideology that believes all should get an equal voice. If you seek tolerance for all, be tolerant of all.

Proofreading is hard.

But it’s necessary.

In my Monday morning ‘down a rabbit hole,’ I was looking into a local restaurant for dinner with some friends for this evening. I hit their menu to see if there’s anything that I’d be interested in (there is) and then I got distracted by the rest of their website (as I often do). I ended up on the Blog page wondering just what a local Mexican restaurant might be blogging about these days. Riveting stuff for most of you, I’m sure.

While I applaud the efforts of any business to actually take heed of the recommendations we often give in the web world of, “provide your customers fresh and relevant content on your website,” it was easy to see that this blog has just been farmed out to a content factory to generically produce Mexican restaurant/food related content. I’m not dogging the practice or the effort but it doesn’t take an expert to see this content for what it is — in this case, blog posts written more for the SEO (search engine optimization) purpose of getting Google to send them traffic rather than focusing on content written for humans first.

The reason for me to come to my own blog and point all of this out? Just to note that if they’re going to continue utilizing a content creation company (which I fully applaud the utilization of a good one for a lot of businesses), I’d at least encourage them to proofread or a least loosely scan the content before (or just after) it gets posted on their website.

Case in point:

In their second most recent blog post titled, “How to Tell if You’re Eating at An Authentic Mexican Restaurant in Grapevine Texas,” I find it interesting that they conclude their entire blog post with the following lines, “If you are ready to experience some real authentic Mexican food Grapevine TX, contact us to make a reservation today. It will be our pleasure to serve you our most delicious dishes.”

I only call attention to the fact that they’re pretty clear in the few paragraphs prior, outlining what restaurants a diner should avoid due to the establishment’s inability to be “authentic.” The two that jumped out at me quickly were their points that Mexican restaurants selling ‘queso’ and ‘frozen margaritas’ were obviously inauthentic — and while I’m not here to dispute the authenticity of these statements — I would like to call the attention to their Dinner Menu page where they clearly are not afraid to sell me both queso (multiple types) and frozen margaritas.

Mesa Grapevine - Mexican food gaffe

But hey, something’s better than nothing, right?

If you need me this evening, you can find me dinning at the possibly-authentic Mesa Grapevine while sampling some of their finest queso and frozen margaritas.

P.S. Mesa, happy to give you a recommendation or two for content creation (or at least proofing help) companies if you’d like!

Creepy Santa 2016

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve dropped any Christmas music on you. Prior to Rdio (RIP) and other music services, it was a little more of a chore to source and share decent tunes. It takes work to put these together but I do enjoy it for a few reasons:

  • I like decent Christmas music
  • What they play on the radio is good to get you into the Christmas spirit but after a few days it becomes quite repetitive
  • It’s fun to share with others

Due to work and life, I haven’t had a great deal of time to go actively searching for new stuff this year. But, ironically, due to the fact that we’ve been working crazy-late hours the last couple of weeks, I have been able to listen to hours of random playlists and been able to toss a few tracks I’ve liked to my own Spotify (RIP Rdio + please hurry up Pandora Premium) playlist.

Some of you who have followed along for years might know that there’s a few tracks I think are imperative to a quality, heavy-rotation Christmas playlist. Some of them aren’t available on music services and only exist on the hard drives of folks like you and I; it’s up to us to carry the torch for the next generations. Heavy burden, I know. Those tracks aren’t on the Spotify version of Creepy Santa below; if you want the extra good stuff, you’ll have to download the ZIP folder and play it the old fashioned way (iTunes).

If you’re new here, you might check the archives for past freebies.

If nothing else, the download might be worth it for the smiles track 20 can induce; it’s a modern day take on the creepiness that is Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

Without further ado, (more…)

Parenting is hard.

And I don’t always get it right. Even when I’m attempting to do the right thing, I’m prone to fail. To err is human and I’m thankful for grace and forgiveness.

It wasn’t with kids that Paul struggled but I think he had a similar mindset:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Romans 7:15-20

The best of what we have to offer.

I went to bed last night with a pretty bad taste in my mouth. And unsurprisingly, it wasn’t gone this morning when I arose. If you watched any of the debacle called a Republican Debate last night then you already know that I’m not talking about a literal taste, one that comes from onions or pickles.

I endured the mess that was 2.5 hours of adult males (notice I didn’t say grown men) shouting, arguing, and belittling each other at the request of my business partner yesterday who asked me to hold off one more day before venturing down to our local rec center and casting my early vote for the Texas primary. His desire is that by watching one more of the 9 (nine!) debates I would have a clearer picture of who I should be casting a ballot for and hopefully advancing the cause of moving America forward in the coming years.

The taste in my mouth this morning should be clear that I do not. 

 

— — —

 

I am fortunate. I’ve written before about the opportunities I’ve been afforded by my skin color, my upbringing, my surroundings; I am prosperous, affluent, and comfortable. This physical life of mine could be much worse. I have no desire to ‘move to Canada’ or any other typical rhetoric that you might hear when going through a process like this. Yet, I can’t help shake the (oft-entertaining) internet meme that keeps running through my mind today: 

 

“Go home America, you’re drunk.”

 

I recognize that we are a fairly young nation in the grand scheme of things. If my math is correct, we’re working towards a completion of year 240 this July. But within that 200+ years, we’ve done some pretty cool things. We’ve been innovators. We’ve been leaders. We’ve been peacemakers (and sadly, war-makers). We’ve been care givers. We’ve been invitors of people. We’ve raised up men and women who have done great things and who have set even better examples. We’ve ushered in change, though sometimes slower than some would have like to have seen. Nations have looked to us for guidance, assistance, example, help, protection, and yes, sometimes they’ve looked at us in disgust.

Today, I’m pretty sure they’re looking at us quite bewildered. Confused to the fact that what we now have to offer as direction for our nation has been boiled down to a sideshow of clownism, supposed ‘leaders’ who yell at each other and demean each other on national stages in an attempt at a power grab. 

The mess that is reality TV has now become reality.

 

— — —

 

Unintelligible Yelling - Republican Debate

https://twitter.com/rabihalameddine/status/703064538476736512

 

I’ve got to assume that the rest of the world — if they watched that mess last night — understood it in the same way that closed captioning did on CNN, as unintelligible yelling. And what they see today is that America is truly drunk, a laughing stock. And frustratingly for me, what appears to be a stock on it’s way down.

 

— — —

 

As sad as the fact is that these are what have arisen as our best choices, the worst part about the entire thing is that we are egging this mess on. Donald Trump is an absolute mess of a human being and he is polling higher and winning by even greater margins than he ever has. This is a man who is demeaning, misogynistic, racist, crass, rude, filled with very few moral standards (if any at all), quick to lie, and what appears to be full of hatred in his heart; and here we sit supporting him more and more! 

In states like Iowa and South Carolina, he has actually won the majority of votes of evangelical Christian voters — the ones who should see through his mess more than anyone!

This man — one who opens casinos and strip clubs; one who has defaulted on multiple loans and put as many out of jobs as he claims to have given jobs to; one who has broken the law in high-profile ways several times; one who blatantly discriminates; who seems to belittle every person that disagrees with him; that uses wildly inappropriate language while shaming others for doing so — is the man that the church has now decided to rally behind. The same church that was established by Christ, the man who embodies everything Donald Trump is not. The same church that claims to show love, and grace, and mercy to all. The same church that should stand up and be defenders of all those Donald has taken advantage of for the last 60+ years. Shame.

Sadly, as bad as it seems with Donald poised to come out on top of this primary season, I’m not in love with anything else that’s still on the table. It’s true, I’d take any of the other four Republican candidates up right now over Donald Trump but that’s like saying I’d take the least moldy piece of bread in the bag. It’s still smells bad and has the potential to make me sick. 

On the other side of the aisle, my choices are an even-more-corrupt-than-Donald candidate that should probably be spending time in jail for her numerous offenses or an 800-year old kook that would drive our country so much further into debt that we’d end up under the rule of whatever country that decided to call our note in a very short period of time.

We’re hosed.

 

— — —

 

I’ve always remembered a specific conversation I was a part of in college, one where embarrassingly I got a little heated, one that caused me to think outside of my little bubble, if nothing else.

We were in a Bible class and somehow got on to the subject of America as a nation. As a proud American, I was happy to stand firm in my understanding of the greatness of the nation that raised me. We were powerful. We were strong. We were like no nation that had ever come before us. I was 19.

Another student in that class — an instigator in my mind at the time — had surely just finished reading Nietzsche or some other philosophy book pointed to the strength and size, and ultimately the fall of the Roman empire. He made arguments that we as a nation were in a similar situation to Rome in their heyday. As I recall it, I quickly jumped into a debate with him to let him know he was most definitely wrong and I’m sure I pointed out to him that if he didn’t like America, he was free to leave. I’m also fairly certain it wasn’t my finest moment. Go ‘merica.

I left class that day feeling puffed up for shutting him down but what I didn’t recognize is that I’d remember our conversation and his argument almost 20 years later. (If I’m not mistaken, he was dismissed from school for hacking into the computers and gaining access to school financials and student information but what he said has always stuck with me.)

Twenty years later, I’m not sure he was totally wrong. Maybe a 240-year run is a good one but now we’re on the doorstep of change. Maybe history does repeat itself and America is the new Rome. Maybe. Maybe not. 

What it does look like in the short term is that come November, Americans will have the choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to ‘lead’ our nation for the next four years. If those are our choices, I choose neither. Neither one of those two candidates represent me. Sadly, as backed by current polling and election results, maybe I’m not the representation of America anymore. Maybe America is getting a representation of who they really are, what they deserve.

 

Congrats America, you’ve gotten Idiocracy. Life is most decidedly imitating art.