What I’m Reading and Watching About Barack Obama

I know I’m going to get some serious backlash for this one from the so called “Obamatrons,” who love everything he does and will defend him until the terrorists blow something up.  I don’t care.  I have been reading many news articles and news posts, and watching TV reports about some of the crap that the “commander in chief” has been doing, and it’s just really irking me.  Before I go any further, I’d like to say that I’ve been looking at things from both sides (the liberal left and the conservative right), and I’m seeing negativity towards Obama from both sides now.  It used to be the right that harangued him and pointed out his (many) flaws, but I think the liberal left has just about tired of the crap he pulls.

First, it’s the golfing.  I give the man some credit for trying to stay fit and playing a sport.  As the president of the United States, he must not have much time for exercise, but I’m reading too many things about his golfing occurring at times when he should be running the country, or at least acknowledging that things have happened.  Let’s face it, the man can even have a press conference from the golf course if he wanted to, I’m sure the press are there (they follow him like puppies).  If he did, it might give the important news the sense of urgency that it deserves.  He was playing golf while riots were happening in Missouri, he was playing golf when an American was beheaded by ISIS, he was playing golf when MH17 was shot down in Ukraine.  He was playing golf, he was playing golf, he was playing golf.  I could forgive his being on the golf course when those things occurred because it’s impossible to actually know when they will happen, but don’t finish the game!?!?  You stop right away and address the matter at hand.  You chose to take this job as US president, Barack, it’s a 24 hour job!!

Next, it’s the “executive orders” that he has put into play.  Just because people disagree with him doesn’t give him the right to circumvent those people.  It’s called “checks and balances” for a reason, Barack!  It’s a government, not a monarchy!  He can’t go around making his own decisions and enacting laws without having the support of the government.  Now look, because of his “executive order,” impoverished public school districts all over the United States will have an influx of illegal immigrant children that don’t speak English and don’t even have parents to take care of them.  These kids are going to be flooding already overloaded schools.  Is “His Highness” planning on increasing funding for these schools so they can have the resources to handle the influx of illegals that he’s flying around the country on the taxpayers’ dime?  No!!  He just expects it to get done.  He’s like a horse with blinders on…he gets one thing in view, and nothing else matters, not even things that are adversely affected.  Then he goes to play golf.

I also get annoyed by his secretiveness.  He didn’t tell a soul when he traded several known terrorists who threatened the United States and its citizens time and time again for 1 prisoner of war.  How many other prisoners of war are there, what makes this one so different than all the others that you have put the United States and its citizens in danger by releasing evil terrorists to bring one back.  Nobody was consulted, he just did it on his own.  I’m also a firm believer in the idea that Obama ordered the IRS to target his opposition, and the people that oppose him.  If you read about all the agencies and “charities” that were targeted, many of them have Conservative or Tea Party affiliations.  How serendipitous for him that the IT department at the IRS are a  bungling group of complete fools, that they can destroy hard drives and lose not a couple, but hundreds of e-mails that could shed light on this scandal.  Way to cover your ass, Barack!  Thank goodness for senators that don’t take crap in the hearings and are actually trying to get to the bottom of this.  I don’t think that many e-mails from that many hard drives for that specific amount of time could be lost, and I agree with the senators on the committee…I don’t believe them!  And don’t get me started on that whole affair in Benghazi!!

I know that the news is skewed, and not everything that is reported is actually the whole story.  I’m not naïve, I wasn’t born yesterday.  But, I have been hearing just too many negative and stupid things about this man FROM ALL POLITICAL SIDES that I’m believing a lot of it.  This man has changed the United States for the worse.  I sincerely hope that he hasn’t ruined the careers of those that have been associated with him.  I actually like Joe Biden and, while I’m not a big fan of Hilary Clinton, I don’t think she’s horrible.  I hope hitching their wagons to Obama hasn’t ruined everything for them in the future.  I know if I were a politician, I would definitely NOT want to be associated with this moron!

There are so many other things about this administration and “the man who would be king” that just get on my nerves and make me realize that he is destroying the country little by little.  He was not ready for this presidency, and he acts like a little child whenever he meets any resistance.  In fact, he acts like a child all the time.  Take a look at the photos of the world leaders from the recent NATO summit in Wales…who’s that moron in the middle that has to wave at the camera like “look at me mom?”  Why it’s the leader of the United States of America!  And it’s not the first time he felt the need to wave at the camera.  I guess he really DOES think everything is about him and damn anyone who doesn’t agree with that…then he goes to play golf!!

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Photo of the NATO world leaders in Wales recently. Who’s that idiot waving in the center?

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It’s habitual! Check out this 2011 official UN photo!!

 

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“Irregardless”

irregardless 1“Irregardless” is not a word.  I don’t care what people say, or how many times I hear it (like nails on a chalkboard), it will never become a proper word.  If you look “irregardless” up in the dictionary, it’s called nonstandard and colloquial.  It actually dates back to the early 20th century, with a link to colloquialisms in Indiana (USA).  Recently (early 21st century) it has begun to get more and more use.  IT’S STILL WRONG!

Let’s take it apart.  To “regard” something is to give it merit, to take it into account.  If I hold something in “high regard” I feel very strongly about it, and I respect it.  “Regardless” means that you do not give something merit.  It is not something that matters in the conversation, or in your thought process.  To put the prefix “ir” in front of “regardless” actually makes it a double negative…which, in turn, makes it positive.  So, “irregardless” is actually saying that you don’t disregard something.  So, in actuality, you give it merit and it matters greatly.  Do you see the idiocy behind this word?!  So, when people use “irregardless” in conversation to mean that something doesn’t matter, what they’re actually saying is that it matters a great deal.  So “irregardless of your feelings” actually means “taking your feelings into account.”

Etymologists believe that the word is a bastardized portmanteau form of the words “regardless” and “irrespective,” which fundamentally mean the same thing.  But, when you combine the two, the meaning changes completely.  Some people will say “this is the evolution of language, and this is how languages are born.”  Well, there’s bad words (anyways), which weasel their way into everyday conversation that could one day become regularly used, and there’s bad grammar (irregardless), which will always be bad grammar!

irregardless 3“Irregardless” gained popularity in the early 2000s when the likes of Lacey Chabert and Jamie Pressley used in their movies Mean Girls and Not Another Teen Movie.  Just like the sheep that everyone is, people started using the word (first mockingly, and then for real) because it was used in popular media at the time.  Well, it’s wrong!  It’s not a proper word, and it’s a double negative anyway.  Even the Merriam-Webster dictionary (which hales it as a colloquialism or nonstandard word) says “use regardless instead!!” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irregardless)

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Description of How I Live My Life…by Meryl Streep

I recently read a FaceBook post by a friend of a friend in which she quoted something from Meryl Streep.  Not only is she a gifted actress (she learned how to speak German with a Polish accent for Sophie’s Choice), but she’s a good person.  So, today, I am letting Meryl speak for me.  Thank you, Meryl, you’re a classy lady!

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”

It kind of sums up a lot of my annoyances in one place.  Thanks, Meryl!

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Fake Flowers and Plants in the Home

flowers 2The only place fake flowers and plants belong in the home is in the fishtank.  In the fishtank, plastic flowers and plants last a long time, and they do not make the water cloudy or attract algae growth.  This is the ONLY place in a home that it is acceptable to have fake flowers or plants.

flowers 1I grew up with a grandmother who believed in having plants in the home.  Most of them were real, and she took excellent care of them (even worrying when she’d be gone for 2 days, so I had to go water them).  Unfortunately, she also had a garish and gaudy floral display made of plastic, non-realistic flowers.  There were hibiscus and lilies in the display, as well as fake leaves and smaller flowers.  I would always pull the tops off the flowers, because you could just pop them back on afterwards…but it would always annoy grandma and she would yell at us.  I don’t think I have any memories of visiting my grandmother where that fake plastic arrangement, in the ceramic turquoise bowl, was not sitting on her hi-fi radio (with the turntable).  The plastic flowers, in this case, were a throwback to the Great Depression when nobody could afford real flowers for their homes, so they made their own flowers, or purchased flowers that didn’t need to be replaced (like plastic ones).  This doesn’t make it right!

flowers 3Whether they’re made of plastic or silk, they are just not real, and they are very tacky.  They collect dust, and they don’t have a fragrance.  The fake plants don’t grow or move with the sunlight, and they feel scratchy and hard to the touch.  They are not decorative, they are painful.

I can understand fake plants and flowers in stores and offices.  Real plants would be too much to keep up with for the staff that is already working very hard at their normal jobs.  Fake plants in offices actually do make the place feel a little more relaxing than a dead-looking real plant would.  Stores and offices have excuses for having the low maintenance silk or plastic (or silk AND plastic) plants and flowers.  People in their homes do not!  Are people that lazy that they can’t be bothered to water a plant?!  Are they that busy that they have to buy no maintenance greenery for their homes so they don’t have to spend any time taking care of it?!  What’s the deal with people having this fake stuff in their homes?!?!

I still pull the leaves and flowers off fake plants when I find them in a person’s home.  I want the person to know that they haven’t fooled me, or put one over on me, because I was there and I know the plants are fake.  It also makes the people (hopefully) realize just how laughable and tacky it is that they have fake plants in their home.  If they can’t take care of a living plant, then don’t have a plant at all!!  And don’t get me started on those fake plastic bowls of fruit!!!

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People Who Have to Stop Dead Before Getting on an Escalator

It seems like a lot of my posts lately have been about escalators.  Well, living in Singapore, you end up spending a lot of time in malls and where there are malls, there are escalators.  Today it’s about the people who can’t possibly get on an escalator in full stride.  They must stop, look down, place their foot and then continue.  These are the people that cause a long queue at the bottom or top of the escalator.  These are also the people who cause the “domino effect” of people walking into them from behind because they were expecting this person to just be NORMAL and get on the escalator in stride.

Today I narrowly avoided walking into a woman who had to stop at the bottom of the escalator, place her foot, grab the railing and then step on.  She took about 5 seconds to get herself set to get on the escalator.  I had since walked around her and jumped on the escalator before she did.  This is the same woman who walked up the escalator, after making a big production of actually getting on, only to stop dead again at the top to set herself up for the dismount.  Thus causing the 3 people that were walking up behind her to nearly fall when she abruptly stopped.

These people need to be told that they need to take the escalator in stride.  If it’s too complicated for them, or they just don’t have the manual dexterity to walk right onto the escalator, then they should take the elevator or the stairs.  FULL STOP!

Having to Be the “Grammar Police”

I am constantly correcting my students’ bad English.  They make basic errors, and they should know better (considering most of them are 16 or 17 years old).  I know I’m a science teacher (not an English teacher), but bad grammar hurts everyone and it makes the people who make the grammar errors look stupid.  My students are not stupid, so I don’t want people thinking they are because of their grammar errors.

grammar 1I was taught good grammar when I was in school, and I always felt it was important to put your best foot forward when conversing (not “conversating”) with another person, or when writing to another person.  It can get a little tedious, though, when I’m constantly reading and correcting my text and chat messages or poring through my e-mails to make sure there aren’t any glaring errors.  I don’t like to seem stupid or uncouth, so I make sure that my communication is as grammatically correct as possible.  I also tend to be super-critical of others’ communication with me, and can easily pick out grammar errors in most of them.  That being said, my communication in Spanish or Italian is far from grammatically perfect, but that is because I have so little practice with those languages these days and have not studied them for many years.  For the same reason, I can forgive the grammar errors of my students who do not speak English as their first language.  It’s difficult learning a new language, and all the nuances can be a real bear to remember.

Well, today, one of my students corrected another teacher with one of the grammar tips I had given her.  She told the teacher that they should use an apostrophe after the “s” in a name that ends in “s,” and not add another “s.”  I wasn’t aware of this act of “grammar policing” until the other teacher came up to me in the hallway and called me the “grammar police.”  I asked him what he meant and he told me about his “correction” by one of my students.  He also said that this led to a discussion about grammar and the English language and that most of my students were spouting off grammar rules of which even he was unaware.  I immediately started to beam with pride.  I was proud of my students for remembering the rules I had taught them and I was proud that they weren’t afraid to pass those on to another teacher; an authoritative figure.

I don’t like being the grammar police, but I can’t stand idly by and allow people to use bad grammar when it’s so easy to study up on it and follow the rules.  I have posted several times here about people and their bad grammar because it annoys me when people don’t take the time to try to understand the rules of the English language.  Links to some of those posts are listed below.  So, call me the “grammar police” or a “grammar Nazi,” but know that I revel in my grammatical correctness!  I just wish I could get my students to USE those grammar rules I taught them, rather than just spout them off when asked!

The Word “Anyways: https://michaelinmadrid.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/people-who-use-the-word-anyways/

Expresso: https://michaelinmadrid.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/expresso/

Their, They’re, etc.: https://michaelinmadrid.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/there-their-theyre-its-its-your-and-youre/

I and Me: https://michaelinmadrid.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/people-who-cant-use-i-and-me-correctly/

Using “Z” to Make Words Plural: https://michaelinmadrid.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/pluralizing-words-with-a-z/

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Forgetting Labor Day

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I have lived outside of the United States for 8 years now.  I have celebrated the holidays of my “home” country, as well as holidays of Spain, China, the United Kingdom (in a British curriculum school) and Singapore.  I forget the “old” holidays and get used to the new ones.  This year has come with a slew of new holidays (Vesak Day, Hari Raya, National Day and Deepavali), in addition to the old stalwarts of Christmas, Easter and Labor Day (May 1).  What?!?  Labor Day isn’t May 1st??!!  Well, in 99% of the world it is, so I have celebrated Labor Day on May 1st for 8 years now.

The first Monday of September, to me, is just that: the first Monday of September.  I holds no special meaning, it’s just a regular work day.  I have not remembered American Labor Day in a long time, and it really doesn’t matter.  In the US, Labor Day signals the end of summer and in other countries (on May 1st), it signals the beginning of it.  I think I’d rather like to celebrate the beginning…especially when you get a day off for labor day in the beautiful spring!

Well, my forgetting of Labor Day has not meant much.  It’s just not celebrated anywhere in the world at the same time as the one in the United States.  Well…it hasn’t meant much until today.  Today, I decided to go pick up my new passport.  I got notification over the weekend that it was ready, and I could come pick it up at the US embassy any week day between 9AM and 12PM or 1PM and 3PM.  I decided to go after my period 4 class, and return to school when I was finished.  I left around 1:15PM.

I was expecting another quick turnaround, as the time I went there to renew my passport was very fast.  I actually spent more time in the taxis traveling to and from the embassy than I spent in the actual embassy.  How’s that for efficiency?!  After living in China and Madrid…the lands of perpetual bureaucracy, it was nice to see that the US (just as bureaucratic as others) was at least quick about it.  I expected to be back at school around 3-3:15.  I was back at 2PM!  I forgot about Labor Day!!

labor 2As the taxi was pulling into the driveway of the embassy, I noticed a small sign posted near the entrance: “closed Monday, September 1.”  Hmmm…I thought, maybe there’s some kind of emergency and they had to close the embassy.  I started to wrack my brain for any terror threats I may have heard about recently, or about any specific issues with Singapore.  I couldn’t think of anything.  I asked the taxi driver to pull closer so I could go to the guardhouse and ask what was going on.  The guard, who was Singaporean, said “it’s Labor Day in the US, everyone is off today.”  D’Oh!!  I forgot about Labor Day.  I asked the taxi driver to take me right back to school.

Where can I get an embassy job??!!  Not only do they get off all the American holidays, they also get off the Singaporean (or any host country) holidays.  It’s like double the amount of holiday…sign me up!!!