Archive for the Miscellaneous Category

Happy New Years!

Posted in Miscellaneous on January 1, 2009 by Joe

This will be the last post on this blog, because I am officially moving this blog to MusingsOfJoe.com.

There will be some changes. For one, I will no longer worry about making long posts. Like Bill Maher’s new rules, I am only going to use the text necessary to convey my ideas.

So Happy New Years, and I hope to see you all on my new blog!

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I is sorry…

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags on December 22, 2008 by Joe

…for not updating this site in quite a while. I am currently building two other sites, a task that is consuming a good majority of my time this winter break.

Update: December 25, 2008

Incidentally, I just finished one of the aforementioned websites: DebateDotCom.com. Leave a comment about what you think about the design.

Oh, and Merry *****mas!!!!!!

Update: December 31, 2008

I received a cease and desist letter on December 29, 2008. As such I was forced to move the domain to DebateFans.com. You can click here to read about what happened.

Oh, and Happy New Years!

Marriage Is Like Totally Gay

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , on November 12, 2008 by Joe

[Picture of four wedding rings.]

Marriage was much more clearly defined back in the good ol’ days. They were days when families would marry their daughters off, when wives had to strictly obey their husbands’ every command, and when marriage had not yet been institutionalized by religion.1 It was a time when the idea of “divorce” was strange and bizarre, and when pedophilia and homosexuality was more widely accepted.

Today, fifty percent of marriages end in divorce; pedophilia and homosexuality turn stomachs; and married couples are allowed to file joint tax returns, create joint bank accounts, and receive certain tax breaks. Not to mention, marriage is no longer a contract, but a mere, superficial extension of love — a government sponsored, religiously instigated, nightmare ending, emotionless practicality!

So when people ask me, “Joe, are you for gay marriage?”, I respond, “No I am not. I am against all sinister institutions,” after which, they usually stare at me with a peculiar face.

I hope I’ve explained myself.

1 Indeed. Until 1545, the idea of a “Christian marriage” did not exist. Before then, marriage was a contract known as “verbum”.

The Bastardization of Debate

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags on November 10, 2008 by Joe

I hold a very romanticized fantasy of debate. It is an ideal in which debaters do not debate for ego, a win record, or any other pigheaded reason; but rather, an ideal in which debaters debate in order to seek clearer truth and more accurate focus. It is, as the word “ideal” suggests, a dream. But a dream, nonetheless, that must be struggled for.

Debate competitions exemplify the many problems of modern debate, because the very essence of competitions signifies that both sides of an argument are debatable, and that both sides are equally weighted.1 Close equilibrium may be so for certain topics, but who are the managers of debate tournaments to say?

Socrates, the man who first formed the idea of debate, would have been disgusted by debate tournaments had he lived to today. He believed that arguments held different weights, and that one had to carefully analyze every premise and every conclusion to every idea brought forth in a discussion.

Modern debate scoffs at Socrates. Peculiarities allow debaters to counter arguments in general, close-enough fallacies; time constraints allow for clever wordings and circumlocution; and eye contact, speaking ability, and tone of voice are carefully watched. Shouldn’t the weight of a contention alone dictate the merit of a position?

But perhaps the most bastardizing form of debate is presidential debates. Presidential candidates should be the examples, showing us how to clearly think and how to use logic properly. They should be the epitomes of good debate conduct. But they are not. They slander their opponents, lie, and create statistics out of thin air.

It illustrates my deep fear: Even at the very top, debate has been corrupted.

1 Debaters are not even expected to believe in the position they vouch for. That is nothing short of absurd.

2008: The Year of Economic Doom

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , on November 9, 2008 by Joe

(I wrote this article on January 8, 2008; ten months ago. I like to believe my prediction was at least kinda some-what partially accurate.)

2008. The jitters of Christmas have worn out, and New Year resolutions have taken their mark. All are searching around, and triviality overwhelms — we are gleeful, mindlessly gleeful — and I just can’t accept that. I thought I would ruin our collective joy by touching upon the travesty of our economy, and how a major economic turn-around may be in store.

Contrary to what the media would have you to believe, the United States does pretty well economically. For one, we only have a 4.8% unemployment rate, which is less severe than Australia, Hong Kong, Great Britain, Canada, and Russia. We also contribute to the world a lot. According to the International Monetary Fund, our 300 million strong, contributes more than 19 trillion dollars of gross domestic product, the most in the entire world. We are the third largest producer in oil, grow 60% of the worlds food, almost solely create the world marijuana supply (which is why Congress should seriously be much more lenient), and rank number one as the easiest place to get hired according to the World Bank.

However, one lingering problem that we do have is that we are 9 trillion dollars in debt. To stay afloat we borrow 2.5 billion dollars daily, most of which comes from China! Now that’s just ridiculous. Our country has the largest debt of any other country on this planet, and 2008 might just be the year that tips the scale in world economic power.

On January 2, 2008, the price of oil broke the three-digit barrier. That’s right, a barrel of oil now costs more than a hundred dollars. If the Middle East were to play their cards right — and they certainly have incentive to do so — they could easily play with the world’s oil needs. We are both the third largest producer in oil and the highest consumer of oil, so it goes to conclude that oil means much to our country. If the Middle East were so include, as current conditions are, the Middle East could easily put a stop to our export oil and make imported oil as high as they want. This is extremely dangerous, and it wouldn’t take much more effort than their realization and coming together.

Europe is becoming dangerous as well. January 1, 2008, both Romania and Bulgaria became full-fledged members of the European Union, making 27 European countries united economically. The sheer refusal for the United States not to form the North American Union truly exemplifies the pigheadedness of our nation. With a $12.82 trillion combined GDP, how do we stay ignoring?

With some of the largest manufacturers such as British Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell, DaimlerChrysler, Maersk, and Volkswagen. With 2.6 million millionaires. With more than 700 million people united together. The EU will slowly and surely become a threat to our title as the economic king.

A 1790s French Guillotine Execution

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , on September 30, 2008 by Joe

(I came up with the majority of this text in my world history class. I was severely bored. Oh, and I like to reuse the same words over and over if you haven’t noticed.)

A plethora of screaming voices pierce my ears; the heavy weight of ignominy pulls at my stomach; the gleam of the blade shines in my eyes. The scene is inhumanity manifested in a 1790s French guillotine execution— my own.

I was awaken this morning by the voice of shouting soldiers. It was still dark, but their attentive attitude worked as a catalyst for my sleepy mind. ‘Are we being invaded by the Prussians? Was Marie Antoinette out loose, dangerous?’ A thousand thoughts raced through my mind, eventually centering on one as they grabbed me, and told me I had been charged with conspiring to murder Maximilien Robespierre: What had I done?

The trial was swift because no evidence was required. These days, it seems as though mass paranoia has swept through our streets. Everyone is afraid of everyone else, and everyone else is trying to ruin the revolution.

Not three hours from my trial and not six from my rude awakening, I stand before an audience cheering for my death. I feel my executioner’s hand on my shoulder, placed as if to mollify me. He mumbles something incoherent.

My mind is blank. Could this be apathy? Acceptance? Probably both. ‘Surely the afterlife will be safer than this hellhole,’ I think to myself. ‘Where has humanity’s empathy gone?’

The blade drops. The voices stop. Finally.

Adolf Hitler

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , on September 28, 2008 by Joe

(This is an essay I wrote for school. This blog needed some posts stat, so whatever. The assignment was to read a biography and to write an essay on the strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments of that person as well as to provide a brief synopsis of that person’s life.)

Adolf Hitler is often regarded as the cruelest man that has ever lived; however, many do not know the back-story of his life. Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 to a violent father and an apathetic mother. At first, he did very well in school, but his grades slowly dipped until he was dropped. He spent many years homeless, until he enlisted in the German army to fight World War I. After his service, he accidentally joined the Nazi party. Despite this, he soon became the leader, making speeches that quickly drew the attention of thousands. He overthrew the German government, transformed it in into a dictatorship, and began World War II. He committed suicide on April 30, 1945. As fascinating as his life story is, his weaknesses, strengths, and accomplishments are what solidify his most interesting characteristics.

Adolf Hitler’s weaknesses are one of the many aspects that make him one of the most interesting characters in all of history. One of those weaknesses was that he often let his emotions cloud his judgment. Nearing the end of the war, for instance, he once said to his generals, “The whole course of my life proves that I never capitulate. The task of the must be mastered. I repeat: For me the word ‘impossible’ does not exist” (Smith 154). His generals urged him to bring his soon-to-be-dead troops back home, but his emotions clouded his judgment, making him believe his far out-numbered troops would survive. This led to the death of thousands, and subsequently the loss of the war.

A second weakness of Hitler was his short temper. Even very early in life, his only friend August Kubizek noted that he shouldn’t speak in opposition to him. “He (Hitler) is a passionately involved young man, deadly serious. Kubizek found it unpleasant to contradict anything he said, for to do so brought an outburst of anger” (Smith 9). Later on in his life, Hitler’s short temper would prevent his generals from correcting his erred military strategies.

Adolf Hitler’s strengths also make him one of the most interesting characters in history. One of his strengths was that he had an uncanny ability to think his plans of action through. Gene Smith, the author of The Horns of The Moon, wrote, “All his life Adolf Hitler had impressed people as an ungovernable man possessed by great and terrible rages. But behind those rages was a reasoning and powerful man” (Smith 130). For instance, before invading Poland, Hitler knew that Russia would defend them, thus rendering his attack useless; so, he made allies with Russia to ensure he could launch a successful attack. Another instance of his uncanny ability to think tings through was his strategy to improve Germany’s economy after he overthrew the government. Instead of building factories progressively, he built as fast and as much as he could. This strategy briefly made Germany economically stable in an otherwise state of depression.

A second strength of Adolf Hitler was his ability to always find a passion in life. When he was a young adult, he attempted to enter into an art school twice before attempting to enter into an architecture school. Every time he was rejected, but he persisted, moving on with each attempt. When he got a few years older, he joined the German army. In his army uniform, he was caught in a photograph “…showing the delight he felt to have a cause and a sudden meaning for his life” (Smith 31). When he was older of course, he was extremely passionate about the annihilation of the Jews. As can be seen, Adolf Hitler’s ability to always have a passion in life is extremely notable.

Perhaps out of all the features that make Adolf Hitler one of the most interesting characters in all of history, were his accomplishments. Arguably, he was one of the most successful dictators of all time. His philosophies are continually cited as ideas to avoid. Without Hitler, many political theories would simply not exist. Adolf Hitler, although extremely errant in his doings, has provided a fundamental perspective of evil. Modern society now knows what not to become. This is one of the biggest accomplishments of any person that has ever lived.

In conclusion, Adolf Hitler is one of the most interesting characters in all of history. His strengths, weaknesses, and accomplishments proved this. While having a tendency to get infuriated often, his uncanny ability to understand the complex issues of warfare and strategy made him truly exceptional. Out of all his characteristics though, perhaps the greatest is the gift he gave society– a gift that shows us exactly what we must not become. Some say that history repeats itself; I just hope we can take Adolf Hitler’s gift, and ensure it doesn’t.

Bibliography:
Smith, Gene, THE HORNS OF THE MOON. New York: Chaterhouse, 1973.