Wednesday, December 29, 2010

White Christmas

My hometown Hickory, NC experienced its first white christmas since 1947. It was a welcomed event, as I always thought that snow was part of the American Christmas experience and was not disappointed. The fluffy flakes did boost my Christmas spirits. I often ridicule my hometown of Hickory, but I must admit, the countryside is beautiful when covered in snow.


I just wish I had more photographic abilities to effectively convey the beauty of it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

WikiLeaks

Since early December, WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange have made headlines, with the latter's incarceration status being closely followed. I have yet to delve deeply into WikiLeaks, but plan to with my newfound free time. However, I did stumble upon a certain Leak that commented on US/UK bilateral relations that both parties will find reassuring:


And that, my reader(s) is my biggest Rick Roll moment since Thanksgiving 2008, when Rick Astley himself sang his infamous (yet catchy) verse. I tip my proverbial hat to whoever came up with the content above.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Arnold Telling "True Lies"

Arnold Schwarzenegger now has lame duck status, and did not even win the Republican nomination for the governorship of California. Democrat Jerry Brown will assume that office on January 3rd, 2011. But before the Governator exits his office, let’s reflect upon his tenure. Particularly his pleas to refrain from effeminate fiscal policy.


Lastly, who is your Daddy, and what does he do?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Manny Pacquiao's Next Opponent

Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2) will be in the news once again tomorrow. It will be the 8-time world champion’s 32nd birthday tomorrow, and he is announcing who is next opponent will be on May 7th. And no, it won’t be Floyd Mayweather unless he somehow emerges from the cake and makes a proposition. Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum has presented the Congressman/Pugilist with fight proposals from Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez, American Shane Mosley and Haitian-American Andre Berto for the May bout.

Most news reports and blogs have labeled Mosley (46-6-1) as the leading candidate, followed by Marquez and coming in last, Berto. Mosley is the biggest draw among the three because of his longevity in the sport and the big names he’s shared the ring with. However, Sugar Shane is 39 years old and looked his age in his last two fights (Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Sergio Mora). Mosley reminded everyone of his clash with Antonio Margarito in January 2009, a controversial fight that ended with the underdog Mosley stopping the Tijuana Tornado in the 10th. Mosley cites his natural size and strength advantage over Pacman and claims that he can brawl like Pacquiao and test his chin. 

Shane Mosley's January 2009 stoppage of Antonio Margarito

If they decide upon this fight purely on economic reasons, then Andre Berto would make the least sense. Which is unfortunate because I think he would present Manny with the most problems. He’s the youngest of the bunch at 27, an up and comer with great hand speed and power, a combination that Pacquiao has not faced recently. A Pacquiao/Berto fight would also fulfill the racial quota that Bernard Hopkins has imposed on the Filipino. However, the Pacquiao camp questions Berto’s ability to draw a crowd and his relative inexperience. Although at 27-0, his list of victories is bereft of big names. Berto shouldn’t lose hope, in a year he will be able to draw a big-name fight, and the large purse that comes with it.

 The cancelled Mosley/Berto fight. Berto lost family members to earthquake in Haiti

Which brings us to 37 year-old Juan Manuel Marquez, nicknamed El Dinamita, the fine wine of boxing. Who even at his age is still racking up victories at the expense of younger men. Pacquiao and Marquez have unfinished business in my opinion. They’ve touched gloves twice and both results were close, highly disputed and could have gone either way. Their 2004 bout ended with a draw with Marquez being floored 3 times in the 1st round. He rallied, took the fight to Manny and salvaged a draw. The 2008 encounter resulted in a 1 point split-decision victory in favor of Pacquiao in which a 3rd round knock-down of Marquez providing the winning margin. One of the judges in the 2004 bout admitted to a mistake in scoring the first round 10-7 rather than 10-6 which accounted for the three knockdowns that Marquez suffered. In the 2008 encounter, even Filipino boxing experts had Marquez winning the fight (imagine that) yet Pacquiao emerging victorious. 

The draw in 2004

I believe that among the 3 pugilists, Marquez represents the happy medium. His style has given Pacquiao fits, have had recent victories, and he can draw a larger crowd than Berto. With the fight being moved to May 7 (cinco de mayo weekend), the fight would be huge due to El Dinamita’s Mexican following. Throw in the past controversies and the rabble rousing tactics that Marquez has employed like the personal challenge in the Philippines and the t-shirts (below) and you have an exciting fight! However, there are issues that needs to be addressed before putting this fight together. Which weight class? Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach stated that Manny will no longer fight below the 147 lb welterweight limit. Marquez proved ineffective and slow at 142 lbs against Mayweather and wants to fight at a lower division. Another issue is that the fighters are being promoted by rival companies, Golden Boy Production for Marquez and Top Rank for Pacquiao. Sound familiar? (see Pacquiao vs Mayweather negotiations I and II).

  "Pacquiao, your (sic) next"

I’d love to see Pacquiao vs Marquez III because it would put much debate to rest and I believe that Marquez deserves the fight along with the purse. I wish Pacquiao would agree to a lower weight to keep Marquez competitive, and for Marquez to refrain from make exorbitant demands regarding his share. Marquez is in no position to make those demands. Pacquiao is presently the cash cow of boxing, and doesn’t need Marquez to secure a huge payday. I am hoping Pacquiao becomes convicted to face Marquez and persuade Bob Arum into making that fight. Besides, with Marquez in the opposite corner, the fight will cut costs on administering the urine test.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Ask the Korean

I’ve wanted to ask the prolific blogger, the Korean a question for a while, but couldn’t come up one. Then I saw a tweet by Justin Ritchie that linked to an article on the speedy decline and collapse of the U.S. He frequently tweets about the collapse of the U.S. and no matter how disturbing these articles are, I usually read them.

So I asked the Korean:
Dear Korean,

What is your stance on the topic of U.S. decline in the geopolitical and economic sphere? Is the Pax Americana coming to an end much quicker than anticipated? And if the U.S. were to decline as rapidly as the article below indicates, what effects would it have on South Korea?
Sincerely,

Charlottean”
The Korean responded:
“My personal opinion is that such alarmism is greatly overrated.  It is always a good idea to critically examine what U.S. could improve upon, but America is still pretty far ahead compared to the rest of the field.

At the very worst, U.S. is in no worse position than where it was during the Cold War. And that's not a shabby place to be.

TK”
So, why did I want to know the Korean’s response? Because he is an intelligent individual, well versed in history, social structures and political economy. The Korean, like myself grew up in another culture and has embraced America although cognizant of its flaws. Although its unlikely that he will publish my question on his blog, I'd like to thank him for responding. 

On the imminent collapse of the U.S., its a scary prospect but looking likely. I hope we can right the ship and remain as a world power. If not, assuming a role similar to other former superpowers wouldn't be so shabby either.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Facebook

As millions logged onto their Facebook accounts for the 50th time on Sunday, December 5th, they probably noticed a new tab detailing yet another new profile. The last big change to the profile appearance that I remember was in 2008, when the social network emphasized the "wall". I clung to the old design as long as I could, and I'll do it again!

The new design, according to a Facebook blog "...begins with a quick overview of basic information such as where you're from, where you went to school, and where you work--the kinds of conversation starters you share with people you've just met or exchange with old friends as you get reacquainted."

And just like that, vital information is now prominently displayed. Will anyone else feel naked without the protection of that extra mouse click? You can apparently control who appears on your "friends" list, which is not a new feature. However, I think Facebook automatically displays users who you frequently communicate with, which makes your online life far more public.

Let's consider a scenario:

A newly-split couple can appear on each other's pages and be featured recent photos, which makes clicking on their profile irresistible. And for the most part, they will not be pleased with what they find. Her relationship status is now "single" further reinforcing the fact that you're no longer together. IN YOUR FACE! The ex now has a new "single girl" profile picture up and her wall is now littered by comments from other men, and photos from recent club outings. You want to stop looking, but everytime you log on, she appears and you cannot help but hover until you finally choose to either deactivate your account or hers.

So much for simply setting old letters and pictures ablaze, online interactions leave a much longer imprint. Facebook is a great social tool, but rather than facilitating interaction, it is presently forcing them.

So now, excuse me. I'm headed to the Men's room to take some snapshots of myself in front of the mirror and activating a myspace account.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Firefly/Arrested Development Tweet!



From my standpoint as a fan of Arrested Development and Firefly, this is such a great tweet. I saw this on Jewel Staite’s twitter page and I found it both hilarious and nostalgic. Lady Antebellum apparently mistook Firefly’s Nathan Fillion for Arrested Development’s Jason Bateman. This seems logical because Fillion and Bateman were the leading actors on two of the greatest shows ever made. Unfortunately, both of their shows also share the distinction of being cancelled far too early. Lastly, the two leading really do alike.

Which begs the question, when is that Arrested Development movie going to be released? Joss Whedon released Serenity two or three years after Firefly’s cancellation, and did an admirable job in closing the series. I’m unsure whether or not an Arrested Development movie would be able to retain the great qualities of the series, but as long as I get to see the Bluths on screen together again, I would be happy.

Come on Mitchell Hurwitz.