Thursday, November 18

Ban all cell phones in cars?

Heck yes. The Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood recently went on record saying that he is looking into technology that causes cell phones to become unusable in a car. Its sort of a scrambling device that stops phones from getting service while it is physically in the car. Good. Cell phones in cars are nothing but trouble. Trust me, I've been in a car with someone firing off 70 texts per minute, while weaving in and out of the lines. I disagreed with the new Michigan texting law, only because it didn't go far enough, and created too much grey area. This technology would make the situation pretty black and white. I am against the government creeping into my life and regulating things, but this is more than a personal issue. When I get into a car, and Tina the sorority sister is all over the road because of her Droid2, then it puts my life in danger. If car accidents only affected the driver, then I wouldn't care. But one idiot on their phone puts up to hundreds of people at risk.

 The fact that we need to use a phone while driving really shows the state of our society. We can't go a minute without meaningless communication. I like driving because I can relax for a little bit. The last thing I want to do is multi-task driving, messaging and talking. Have our lives become so busy that we can't wait until we arrive at our destination before we talk to someone? Come on. Even though I rolled my eyes when my driver's training instructor (who was recently acquitted of his child porn charges) told us that a car is a loaded weapon, it's true. And nothing says irresponsibility like distracting yourself while handling a weapon. It is selfish to place your conversation above the safety of those around you.

Good for Ray LaHood, I hope this actually comes to pass. Do we really need to be connected at all times? Or can we take a short break and put down the phone? It needs to be illegal to use a phone while driving. Since most people already ignore the texting law, these scramblers should be installed in all cars, making it literally impossible to use a phone while driving. America's roads are already dangerous places, as any moron can pass that joke of a driving test and get a license for life. Why make the situation worse and allow such a blatant distraction?

By Aaron Brandt,  four year prisoner to an expensive Verizon Wireless contract.

Saturday, November 13

Friday, November 12

Follow the rules, pink shoe kid

I was surprised to find this interesting story on the Yahoo homepage today. Basically, the kicker on a high school team decided to wear a fresh pair of pink shoes, the coach didn't like it and told him not to wear them again. So the kid shows up in practice the next day wearing the shoes, which led the coach to give the kicker the boot (pun intended). Now the kicker is angry and filing a lawsuit. God bless America, right?

At first I was on the pink-shoe kid's side. The shoes were a gift from his grandmother and he wore them as part of a breast cancer awareness thing. Almost every pro team has done this in some fashion this year, so I thought it was reasonable for him to wear them, and very unreasonable for the coach to kick (pun) him off the team. But then I remembered something from my years playing organized sports. You respect your coaches. End of story.

This kid is absolutely in the wrong. His coach told him to wear a different pair, and he had the nerve to show up the next day, still rocking the Barbie Total 90s. In grade school basketball (Bay City Champs 2004), we were not allowed to wear headbands. So that meant we had to leave our Reebok I3 Iverson headbands at home. No exceptions. Even if my 2.3 minutes per game generated some form of forehead perspiration. You listen to what your coach says, then you do it. You don't pretend to listen, then show up the next day waving your pink disrespect in his face. Good for that coach. If the kid really cared about wearing the shoes, he could be a man and discuss the issue with the coach before practice. Maybe get special permission by explaining his story. I bet the coach might have had some sympathy, and the Mary Kay cleats might still be kicking squibs today. But no, he had to raise a scene, and now is filing a lawsuit. All because he didn't follow his coach's rules. I don't care that he might not graduate, he didn't follow the rules. If he decided to use a pen on his math final, he wouldn't have passed, so why should his football credits be any different?And who needs academic credit from a football team to graduate? Something tells me he was no model student. Take your selfish drama and play on the soccer team full time. Part of being on a team is following the rules, even if you think they are unfair. If you have a serious issue with that rule, then take it up with the coach instead of ignoring him. Is it really a big deal that he wore pink cleats? No. But it becomes a big deal when he blatantly disrespects his coach and then threatens to sue over it. Heck, Gerry Bertier didn't like Coach Boone's rules at first, but he got over it. The kid isn't taking a noble stand; he is being a weasel that went behind his coach's back, undermined his authority, and now will be enjoying summer school.

Also, what is the deal with all the pink gear in sports? I think the concept of "breast cancer awareness" is pretty pointless; we all know what it is by now. If it isn't raising funds for actual breast cancer research, then I see it as nothing more than a fashion item and another way for Nike and Reebok to make money. "Look at me and my cool pink gloves with matching had towel!" Its called "pinkwashing" or making a profit off of breast cancer products. This USA Today article sheds some light on the issue.

UPDATE: The kid is back on the team, but the school won't give the details...And he won't be wearing his Pepto-Bismol specials either. Looks like he decided to play by the rules. In the end, I trust the judgement of an authority figure over some 17 year old part time football/soccer player, and I'm glad to see taxpayer dollars would not be wasted on a frivolous lawsuit.

By Aaron Brandt, fourth string point guard, 2004 St. Peter Macomb Patriots

Thursday, November 11

Chinese hotel built in 6 days?

So basically some Chinese dudes got together and built an entire fifteen story hotel in six days. Thats right, six days. And on the seventh day, they rested, because it is insane to build a hotel in that amount of time.

Amazing feat of human engineering, but seriously, who would stay in a Chinese hotel built in six days? Is it made of cardboard? Is it an erector set? Did aliens build it? Are there doors on the rooms? You couldn't pay me to stay in something built that fast. It probably took my apartment complex several months to build my unit, and it is a solid piece of thin walled junk. I think it took my dad three weeks to re-tile our bathroom floor, and these dudes tiled hundreds. Notice they didn't show the interior. Probably because it is made of packing foam and aluminum cans. I bet the War-Del Motel has higher standards than this rat trap. And what kind of cleaning service does a hotel that was constructed in six days employ? Even some of the best hotels in America are riddled with bed bugs, stains and rat poop. Imagine what a black light would turn up in this castle. So the next time I visit China, I will just stay in one of those cool space pod hotels and avoid a certain collapse caused by a bird landing on the chimney (I assume they remembered to add a chimney).

By Aaron Brandt, constructor of 3 sand castles.

Thank you, Veterans

Today, take a moment to thank a veteran. They are the reason this country is the best in the world. Thanks to their sacrifices, we can live in safety and freedom.

Wednesday, November 10

LOOK before you COOK

Today I decided to prepare a terrific meal of pasta and sauce for lunch. I used some quality Meijer pasta, imported from the east side of Michigan and some Ragu sauce (family size) from Family Fare. I boiled the noodles perfectly; they still had a bit of toughness to them, but remained tender. I also heated the sauce up to the perfect temperature;  warm, but not too hot so as to burn my tongue and harm my trustworthy taste buds. I made enough for two bowls, so I devoured the first while watching Dana Jacobson delve too much information about her personal life on ESPN. I returned to eat the second bowl, and when I poured the sauce on the pasta; I was horrified. Mold. In the jar. Yeah, I crushed a bowl of pasta with moldy sauce on it without even noticing. Yum. Of course I threw away the remaining moldy sauce-pasta, which is a terrible tease that left my mouth waiting for that second serving. But worse is the thought that Alexander Fleming's lab is probably rolling around in my intestines. Or that I might wake up tomorrow with a fuzzy blue tongue. So let this be a lesson. Always closely inspect your jars of tomato sauce before applying it to semi-cooked pasta. Unless you like your food with some extra toppings...

Tuesday, November 9

College online? A short essay.

The Internet isn't just a place for pointless blog ramblings or videos about cats anymore. No, as technology advances, it has become more apparent that the Internet has taken a front seat in our lives. You cannot escape it, with wireless connections, web-enabled cell phones and 4G speeds all becoming commonplace. So why can't education follow suit. I have taken many classes that really didn't need to be held in a classroom. It would be far more cost effective to conduct more online college courses. It would save everyone money; the universities and colleges don't have to pay a teacher's salary, they save on energy costs, while the student can save by taking a more cost effective course. You can already get a business degree online, so why not expand that to all of the liberal arts requirements we are so familiar with? My Music 219 class was almost all on the web with an online textbook, quizzes and music samples; why not save me the stress of waking up before the rooster crows, and hold the entire course online? It saves everyone money, which should be a key factor in today's economy. Then the universities can focus more on job placement, like a dental assisting program. Online courses are becoming more popular, and I believe that universities should embrace that shift.