Thursday, April 7, 2011

Can we please get the scum out of Washington D.C?

Pride is said to be the capital sin. It is said to be the root of all other sins, including greed. Greed is what this is all about.

If you have not heard, the United States government is on the verge of shutting down for God knows how long. I just read that another meeting with the president has failed to bring a compromise that would keep the government from shutting down.

The politicians have too much pride to admit that they should work together, so instead, they act like stubborn idiots so that the other side does not gain the advantage. Oh, but they made sure that they would get paid if the government would shut down. We can’t have the rich and powerful politicians go a day without making another million dollars now, can we!?

However that’s not what angers me the most. While the politicians made sure they would get paid, they left out some pretty big groups of people off that list. There are the senators’ aides, and the people who work for government agencies like the DEA and the FDA. They’re not getting paid.

That’s obviously not good. These people who have to do their jobs to keep America running are being sent home and are not getting their paychecks because the people they work for can’t come up with a compromise.

Also, the national parks are being closed. So if you’re on your way to take your family to see the Grand Canyon, that sucks for you because it’s closed because it’s government property. Oh, and the people who work at those parks. Guess what happens to them. That’s right, they’re not getting paid either.

But what really irks me. What really drove me to write this article is the fact that the military servicemen and servicewomen are not getting paid. These courageous people are overseas, risking their lives while their families’ stay home and worry are not getting paid. Those soldiers get a sum of money that gets sent to their families’ back home so that the family is provided for while the soldier if overseas. If they’re not getting paid, then a lot of families lose that support they so desperately need.

This is terrible, but is made even more terrible by the fact I brought up earlier that the politicians will still get paid. I don’t mean to generalize but many politicians are greedy scumbags who care nothing about the people they are supposed to represent, and only use their power to further their own agendas.

Oh America, you were so great once. What the hell has happened?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

High School Students Are Expected to be Super Heroes, And Parents Really Don't Understand

Mom yelling at kid
Hello readers. I have started to recruit new writers for the King's Decree, and will feature more writers than just me. The first new writer i recruited decided to rant on how tough high school is now compared to our parent's generation. And besides being the best Spanish class friend ever, she is a great writer and I hope you enjoy her work here on this site. So, without further ado, I present to you, the magnificent Jessica Satterfield.

Enough is Enough

“I’ve been through it before,” That’s what your parents say when you try to explain high school. What they fail to mention is that colleges are about ten times harder to get into than when we were their age. Schools are today put on more pressure than they have for previous generations. Now, students get hours of homework, quizzes and tests to study for, and projects all for different classes. That doesn’t even include what they have to do for extracurricular activities. Granted, some students are lazy, but this is to the ones who are not. Sometimes too much is too much.

Students on sports teams often have practice around 3:30-5 or later. Students in the arts that have musical or other performance rehearsals sometimes don’t get home until 9 p.m. What people don’t understand is that we have homework, extracurricular activities and stuff to do at home plus studying. To the students that do all this and honors classes I say bravo.

High school life is hard compared to what it was. We have friends who we trust, others we worry about, and some we never notice. Grades are just added pressure. In short- high school students are expected to be superheroes. Parents expect nothing less than perfect grades, a good social life, and everything else to be done before 10 p.m. And whether they accept it or not, most of us can’t get it all done.
I find it incredibly frustrating when people tell me that it’s not so hard. We all have different things to focus on. Me, I have piano, the gym, a job and all honors classes. Sometimes I can’t get it all done. There are others like me who do even more. When we bring home a 75 or 80 percent on a test, our parents just say we are being lazy. Are we really?

My schedule (not typical mind you) consists of: wake up. 7:30-3:30 school, 3:30-5-6 piano/gym, 6-7 gym, I don’t get home until around 8 p.m. most nights. My parents say that I’ve just been lazy and that they’ve been through high school and all that. But did they have as many extra things or honors classes? Parents offer to help and they really have been through all this before but they have forgotten how many all-nighters come before finals.

Maybe high school really WAS hard for some parents. But other parents, whether they admit it or not, just expect us to be the best. We can be the best but really there are only 24 hours in a day. “According to Wolfson and Carskadon's 1998 study, 26 percent of high school students routinely sleep less than 6.5 hours on school nights, and only 15 percent sleep 8.5 hours or more.”- http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct01/sleepteen.aspx

Really, our health is at risk when you talk about how late we are awake on school-nights just studying or finishing homework. I have friends who I am still texting at 1 or 2 a.m. Honestly I didn’t even have time to write this rant for Ben Gartland until this week when I am on Christmas break.

People just don’t get how much we actually do. We can’t be superheroes all the time, we don’t all have that burst of energy. So don’t think that I’m saying that high school students can’t do everything because that’s not it. It’s just for how long. How long can certain people keep up the act? I can go a really long time- but when the pressure hits it hits hard. I have seen the same pattern in some of my friends and classmates.

We can keep up the act for a while, but too much is too much. Others sometimes don’t understand that and they think that if they can handle it so can you. I would know. I was and probably still am one of those people. We just all need a little relax time so that we CAN survive in a world that demands the most out of us.

~Jessica Satterfield
Dec. 23 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Is Cursing in Rap Necessary?

I, like many other people in the world today, am a huge fan of rap. My favorites are Eminem, Tech N9ne and Lil Wayne. These are very good musical artists and they know how to please their audience. However there is one thing that really bothers me about their raps. If I am in the presence of adults or am at a Youth Group, it’s virtually impossible to play these artists because of the huge amount of cursing they have in their songs. The three rappers I mentioned above each have a different aspect of cursing that bothers me and I will break each category down in the paragraphs below.

First off is Eminem. Marshall Mathers (Eminem) is probably the most famous artist of my generation. His album sells are legendary, ranking up there with the Beatles and Michael Jackson. In my opinion he is one of the best rappers ever to grace a microphone, but his problem with cursing is the amount of cursing he has in his songs. I don’t mind the bad words in the serious songs. I get that. The emotion is running high and sometimes you just have to let it out. But in his less serious songs, it sounds like he is trying too hard to get in as many curse words as possible. For example in the song Cold Wind Blows off the 2010 Recovery album, he swears 46 times in 5 minutes. The song itself is good, but the cursing makes it sound like it is a pathetic attempt to try and expand his audience to the people who find cursing rebellious or cool. It’s a shame really, since Eminem has an enormous talent with rapping. He would be taken more serious by the people who aren’t his fans if he didn’t load up his songs with a curse word every line.

Lil Wayne uses some terms that are also vulgar. He uses one term in particular that really sets me off of his songs. I’m not going to say it, since I have my parents reading this blog but he refers to himself as something that I’m not sure if he knows what it really means. The term is thrown around so much these days that it isn’t taken in the literal sense. In the literal sense, it’s a huge insult to anyone he calls one, but he refers to himself as one as if it is a good thing.

Really?

Think about what you’re referring yourself as when you say it. Also Lil Wayne, think of how your mother thinks when you say that. Not the best term to be using when describing yourself.

Tech N9ne really irks me when he uses his favorite words. He has one word in particular that makes no sense when he uses it. He has a song about it with the title the same name as the word. He says it’s just a word, and there are a lot of things out there than words. That may be true, but that doesn’t give you the excuse to use that word. That word, Tech N9ne, has been used for 2 centuries to racially degrade you and all the other African-Americans. It was used as an insult to show how different blacks were. Yet today it seems cool to refer to yourself and others as one, and it’s a good thing apparently if you are one now. That word is extremely offensive and I would’ve thought that Tech N9ne being African-American would realize that that word isn’t used to compliment somebody. I guess not.

That’s my problem with rap. It is possible to write a rap without cursing. Go check out Will Smith’s or Righteous B’s albums. But the bottom line is that by keeping up with the onslaught of curse words, these artists are caging themselves from expanding their fan base into previously uncharted territory.

Ben Gartland

12/17/10

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why Baseball will be dead in 50 years.

You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. ~Jim Bouton

Baseball.

America’s pastime, beloved by many, played by youth more than any other sport. In many people’s opinion, including my own, it is the greatest game ever to be played. The level of intensity and love of the sport in the MLB can’t be matched. Well, at least it used to be that way.

If you compare a game from 1985 to a game from to today you will see a drastic difference. I’m not talking about the quality of the television, but the intensity and quality of the players. Back then the players cared about playing the game, winning for their team and pleasing their fans. Some players today have the same morals regarding playing the game, but the majority of the players only care about making money. They go into games like it’s a job.

Baseball is not a job. They don’t say "work ball" at the beginning of games, they say "play ball." It is an amazing game that has been corrupted, like so many other things, by money. Even for a baseball obsessed man like me, it is a bit boring to watch the monotonous way the players walk into the batter’s box, do what they have to do, then walk back to the dugout and receive their multi-million dollar checks. I’m glad when I get to see the rookies who are playing for the love of the game try their hardest to impress the fans and upper management, but as they get older and better, they will switch their priorities to make money the most important thing.

Contrary to what I may have impressed on you earlier in this article I am not blaming money for the eventual death of baseball. I am blaming something that happens way before they go to the major leagues, whether in junior high, middle school or even elementary school.

I blame parents.

Today’s culture has given parents the idea that if you see a hint of talent in your son or daughter you need to push your kid as far as you can to make sure he succeeds in life. Parents then do what they think is best for the child’s future in paying thousands of dollars a year so that the kid can have the best batting gloves and best bats.

Then they sign the kids up for travel teams that take a kid away from home for most of the summer and weekends, ruining a kid’s growing up experience. Kids playing year round baseball end up flaming out of the sport when it becomes too hard for a kid to handle. They quit, running their chance at the majors. That takes out about a 1/3 of future major leaguers.

Then you have the kids that don’t quit. The ones that either stay on because they don’t want to disappoint their parents, or because they love the game. They play on those expensive travel teams until high school. They are the studs on the high school team posting amazing numbers that gets them a scholarship to play baseball in college. Things start to go wrong about here. Their arms start hurting for no reason, or they start to finally lose interest,

Playing one sport year round as a kid will become very boring to a child, and will drive them from the sport. For the ones that stay with baseball through college start to develop problems. Problems started by over-competitive coaches that force them to learn to throw curveballs at age 10 or else they’re off the team. Slowly but surely they aren’t able to throw like they were able to in high school, so by the time scouts come looking at them, they aren’t able to impress like they used to and are not drafted and are most likely not ready to do anything else with their life because their main focus has been baseball.

If they are fortunate to make it to the majors only a select few will end up not having career shortening surgeries or even career ending injuries. You don’t see that as much as you will because most of the players today grew up in the 80’s or 90’s when the travel teams weren’t as huge as they were today. When the generation that played in the 2000s grows up you will not see many American baseball players playing well in the majors.

When we reach that point we will be left with only the Latin American players. There are a multitude of highly skilled players south of the border and in the Caribbean, but not enough to have full rosters for 30 teams. Teams will either start to fold and the league will dwindle, or they will call up players who are not skilled enough to be in the majors, but the teams are desperate enough to sign them.

When teams like Kansas City and Pittsburgh start folding the league will lose money and then bigger market teams like San Diego and Texas will fold. It will keep doing that until there are so few teams that fans lose interest. The league will eventually cease to exist in the next 50 years.

This problem can be fixed by not pushing kids too far, and then we will see baseball forever in the amazing glory it deserves. However failure to remedy this problem may result in the demise of the thing I have been in love with ever since I was taken to Kauffman Stadium as a 3 year old.

Ben Gartland

12/14/10

Friday, November 26, 2010

The start of something great/Why I don't have Sex and you should respect it.

Hello all you lucky ladies and gentlemen out there. Whether it be by personal invitation or suggestion by one of your friends, you have come across the blog where I or others will write about something or another. Sometime's it's rants about something about something we hate, a story would like to be told or some other form of written work that you all are fortunate enough to read.

*Next Rant is rated PG-13 for mentions of Sex.

My first blog will be a rant on a subject that has been bothering me for a long time. Many people wonder why I choose to wait for marriage until i have sex. Usually if I give them my answer they will try to refute it and get me to agree with them. I'm here today to give you my reasons for not having sex until marriage, and to refute arguments that people make against me.

*Note: I'm not trying to force my opinion or trying to get you to change your ways, I'm just giving my argument in terms of my decisions. Please don't spam me with comments on how my decision is wrong.

For those of you that don't know, I'm a very devoted Catholic and I use their teachings in my everyday life. The church teaches that God created sex to be between a husband and a wife as the greatest expression of love and unity. That is my main reason for staying chaste until marriage. Don't wanna go upsetting God now do we. ;)

For those of you who don't believe in God, here are some of my other arguments. I (and many girls i know) think it is romantic to wait for marriage. I mean, think of this. You're saving yourself to be with the one person you will be with for the rest of your life. You're letting your future spouse know that you were already thinking of them when you made that decision not to have sex. I can almost guarantee you that they will think it is awfully sweet of you to save yourself just for them.

Sex creates a special bond between two people. That special bond is intended to be between one woman and one man in marriage. If before marriage you have sex then you lose that bond to have with your future spouse. You have only a marriage certificate to differentiate your spouse from your past boyfriends/girlfriends. However, if you have that bond with only your spouse, then it is an irreversible bond of love that is special to only her/him, and sets your spouse on a whole new level above your past relationships.

Another argument is the risk of pregnancy or STDs. So my question is why take the risk? If you get someone pregnant, and you're not a total jerk, then you will stay with that mom and that baby, and then you're stuck with them forever. And also what if you get and STD? Then you're stuck with that for the rest of your life and you run the risk of spreading it to others if you continue to have sex.

If more people decided not to have sex before marriage, there would be less abortions I'm sure. Many abortions happen because people either weren't careful, or something went wrong, but they ended up pregnant and didn't want the baby. The sad thing is the murder of over a million babies a year could be avoided if people waited to have sex until they were married and ready.

Now for some refuting of arguments. One argument is "Sex is needed to build a good relationship. How can you marry someone if you're not sexually compatible?" Sex isn't necessarily needed to have a good relationship. I have plenty of good relationships without sex,and for the sexually compatible argument, how can you explain my parents having a very healthy relationship for almost twenty years without having sex before? Sex isn't needed for a good relationship, so I don't need it before marriage.

So that's my reasons for not having Sex before marriage. Once again I'm not trying to force my opinion on you, but I would like you to respect my decision and as always, comments are greatly appreciated!

Ben Gartland
11/27/10