Royal Wedding 2018

Just found out about the latest on fleek news, and who Megan Markle is. Let’s hope the bitch SLAYS the royal wedding!

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We Still Need Brick and Mortar Stores

It looks like retail stores, including clothing stores, are dead. In an attempt to get more perspective, I did some quick internet research to see what other people are saying. A post on the Johns Hopkins University website talks about the decline in retail. It was published back in 2014, and is now more relevant than ever.

The main issue that I have is that the lack of retail stores is going to make life extremely tough for individuals who don’t want to buy everything online. What about the people who want to stay off the grid, and not have corporations tracking what they are buying online? The article does not address that issue. Rather, it talks about the lack of social interaction and customer support that will inevitably come with switching to online shopping. I highly doubt that’s the only prevailing concern.

The point is that for many generations, the process of buying was generally anonymous. Sure, you got to interact with the cashier. Maybe you even got to interact with other customers. But being able to go out to your local store and buy something, without it being recorded under your name or other identifiable information, is something that has worked for many generations.

As I love to say, if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. And that is all for today.

Migration from Syria: Not Welcome, Not Viable

The major refugee crisis over the past few years has been covered by headline after headline. While celebrities who are eager to polish their self-image and increase their popularity have been supporting the intake of refugees, many people did not and still don’t agree with them. Syrian refugees have been getting the most attention for some reason, as well as the most support. That is possibly because Syria is closer to Europe than all of the other countries that refugees are coming from, and because it borders Turkey. It is with good reason that many individuals don’t support accepting Syrian refugees into countries like the United States.

But the Syrians should not be accepted into any country far from their homelands, especially into places like the United States, Canada, Australia, and non-rural Turkey. We are better off helping them from where they are, or are supposed to be, than inviting them all to our respective countries. Syrians should be able to leave the most war torn regions. But they should definitely stay in the nearby middle eastern countries, like Jordan, and southeastern rural Turkey near their own border for the next several years. All other Syrians who are not already in that designated region should be relocated to safer areas.

A safe zone definitely needs to be established. That is something that I have conceptualized even before U.S. politicians brought it up. It is imperative that the Syrians are not only helped from where they are, but stay close to or in their homeland. Otherwise, accepting a mass number of Syrians will eventually lead to other issues affecting already prosperous countries.

The Syrians as a people have shown no signs of tenacity, loyalty, and honor. While they gloat about how “successful” their country used to be, and how much they valued education and how skilled many of them are, they immediately fled their homeland at the first sign of inconvenience. Unlike the citizens of other war-torn nations, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, they have barely put any effort into trying to save or stand up for their country. Never before has an entire population from a country with a central government left so rapidly, and in such a short amount of time. Many of them have immediately demanded full acceptance into countries like those in northwestern Europe, the United States, and Canada. Those who “settled” for nearby Turkey are snatching jobs from the same people whom they have been deriding their whole lives. And they show no signs of gratitude to the people who have accepted them, and are constantly working to feed and clothe them. There are nearly three million refugees in Turkey at the time I write this. Many of them are sent to the most populous cities like Istanbul, Ankara, and Antalya instead of remaining in the southwest near the border. Accepting millions of people into an already crowded country in such a short amount of time is no easy feat, is highly inconvenient, and no doubt had a damaging effect on the economy and the general lifestyle of the citizens. Our countries don’t need these type of people for diversity or enrichment.

Syria also has had a massive population in the first place. Accepting only a certain number of them would be incredibly unfair to those who have to stay in Syria or in less pleasant countries like the Middle Eastern countries or the eastern European countries. We don’t need to bring them to places like the United States to help them or save them from the chaos of war.

To add to the population problem, accepting Syrian refugees into developed countries like the United States, which many people already covet for immigration, can lead to future problems involving other nations. If we accept Syrians as refugees, it would only be logical to accept everybody else from future war torn countries as well. Not doing so would be racist, after all. The next thing you know, steps will be taken to squeeze the whole world into one or a few countries. No doubt many people will be less careful about the state of their own countries, given that it can provide an easy ticket to the fast lane in moving elsewhere for a “better life”.

I am definitely in favor of helping those in less fortunate situations. But bringing people into our own countries is ultimately either unviable, because we cannot evacuate entire nations into our own countries, or unfair, because we cannot accept a few people at random. It is also crucial to realize that most of the Syrian migrants were upper class in their own countries. Thus, helping them isn’t necessarily an act of humanitarianism towards the poor. It is just assisting the most well off from a country doomed for chaos for many more decades, while leaving behind the ones who never had a chance at all.

Why the Adhan Should Be Banned in Non-Islamic Countries

For those of you who don’t know, the Adhan is the call to the Islamic prayer for Muslims. I would consider myself to be someone who practices Islam with devotion. But I am also against blasting the Adhan from mosques in most non-Muslim majority countries. It has come to the point where Muslims in places like the United Kingdom and the United States are demanding to use loudspeakers for the Adhan from their local mosques. Unfortunately, there are now even places in the United States where the Adhan is blasted on loudspeakers, for everyone to hear.

The Adhan should be banned in countries that Muslims are not native to, especially if loudspeakers are used.

a) Loudspeakers are not a part of the Islamic tradition. Long ago, the imams recited the Adhan from the minarets (towers) of the masjids in Islamic civilizations. That was before loudspeakers were invented. Most people could probably hear the Adhan from outside, a good distance away from the masjids. But it almost certainly wasn’t nearly as loud then as it is now.

b) Loudspeakers are invasive, and last at least several minutes. The sound can often easily be heard from everywhere.

c) If a Muslim really demands to hear the Adhan, then he or she can just move to his or her own country. If that is not possible for whatever reason, there are many other options such as Egypt, Kuwait, Algeria, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and many more.

d) Muslims are not small kids. Thus, they should be able to keep track of prayer times without having somebody else remind them that it is time for prayer. The call to prayer is only a superfluous thing appropriate for an Islamic majority nation (not county, town, or neighborhood). It is not a requirement to practice Islam.

Many Muslims bring up the ringing of church bells as a justification for blasting the Adhan. But the sound of church bells usually lasts for no more than a minute or two. Also, the adhan is much louder when loudspeakers are used.

There is no “Islamophobia” associated with banning loudspeakers. They create an annoyance that can only escalate disdain for Muslims. Forcing people to listen to the adhan will also not force them to like Islam or to dislike it less. Or to put it shortly, you cannot make people like something through forced exposure.

It is worth noting that Islam majority countries and countries where Muslims have later migrated to aren’t the only ones where the Adhan is publicly recited. There are few countries with large Muslim countries, like India and Israel, that also allow the local mosques to recite the Adhan for the general public to hear. I don’t see a major issue with the public recitation of the call to prayer in these cases. That’s because those countries are old world countries with very large Muslim populations native to those lands. The Muslim populations in those areas have been around for just about as long as, if not longer, than the non-Muslim populations.

Why is Wikipedia So Wrong About Islam?

Ever since high school, I have been cautioned by my teachers that wikipedia is not a good source. It is very possible for something on there to be inaccurate, or for something crucial to be omitted. After all, it contains information that can be edited by anyone. Certain articles and statements don’t contain good references, or any references at all for proof.

At the time I write this, there is a statement on novelist Gillian Flynn’s wikipedia page that some people have criticized her for being misogynistic. Having wondered what kind of people would think that, I looked at the referenced source. It was an article on the Guardian, just stating the same exact thing. There were no quotes, no mention of who specifically said that, nor any other further explanation. Although a reputable website was referenced, even that website had evaluated no further on the statement. Just because a contributor to the Guardian says something, that doesn’t mean it’s true.

But that kind of error is not even very significant. There are entire sections of articles which are completely inaccurate. And by that, I am referring to the wikipedia pages about Islam.

Of all the things I have seen on wikipedia pertaining to Islam, I can verify only a few of them. There are a lot of things in Islam that are debatable, even among different sects within Islam. But female genital mutilation is not one of them. Just like the Jewish tradition, Islam forbids it. According to the geniuses on wikipedia, it is encouraged by Muslims. Male circumcision, however, is a practice in Islam that is highly recommended, if not required.

Here is a link to an answer by Osama Eisa, a young Arab-American imam, on the topic.

He says that “There is nothing in The Qur’an or the Sunnah that supports, suggests, or even mentions let alone approves this disgusting practice.” However, despite being a male, he would almost certainly agree with the “double standard” practice of male circumcision. Here is a Muslim guy who supports male circumcision and acknowledges how disgusting female genital mutilation is. Now how is that difficult for a non-Muslim to imagine? Unfortunately, it is. Thanks to the likes of wikipedia editors who go out of their way to distort the average reader’s perception of the religion.

Toddlers and Hypocrites

While this blog is not a place for political issues, I felt like I just have to talk about this one. Katie Rich, a writer for Saturday Night Live, posted a joke about Donald Trump’s ten year old son, Barron. The joke proclaimed that he will be America’s first homeschool shooter, probably playing on the fact that he appears to be very sheltered. The factual accuracy enthusiasts have pointed out that he is not even homeschooled. But what bothered people most was that she was making fun of a ten year old. Being younger than the age of eighteen means he is still a child by American standards. And given the “right” situation, we all know how referring to a minor unsolicited can be the ultimate berserk button for most people. And there is an important reason why I quoted “right.” It is because the protection of being younger than the age of eighteen isn’t always a protection from bullying, harassment, or even infringement of rights.

A lot of people have good points.

“Children of politicians and other famous people are off limits. People don’t choose their parents, after all.”

“Hating a child’s parent isn’t a justification for bullying that child.”

But I realized that, for some weird reason, the general public seems to have some intense desire to protect this particular kid. To be honest, he doesn’t even look like a kid that much. He is ten, but he can almost pass off as sixteen. At this point, he must be at least 5’8 or 5’9, which is crazy tall for a ten year old. I am not saying any of this as an insult. Anyway, the amount of protection he gets is from all points on the spectrum, from those who love his dad to those who hate him, is immense. If every single child below the age of eighteen was unconditionally respected and protected, that would be totally fine. It would be awesome. I myself felt that I benefitted from this protection when I was a minor, and am so thankful for it. But unfortunately, there are many kids in the United States who are publicly ridiculed. Unlike myself or our little friend Barron, they have virtually no one protecting them from the mockery they face in their most vulnerable years.

Does the show “Toddlers and Tiaras” ring a bell? It is a show about young children who are often forced by their histrionic mothers into these tawdry beauty pageants. Most of the children are below the age of ten, with many of them in their toddler years. The vast majority are girls, and they have to cake their faces in makeup. In at least one episode, a child was taken by her mother to get botox.

Aside from the cosmetic procedures, the children are essentially ridiculed for their “bad behavior”. A young four year old girl throws a tantrum not because her mom wants her to go to bed or go to grandma’s house, but because her mom is forcing her to apply makeup and perform at a pageant. Then she is filmed and laughed at on the show, for all the world to insult her and laugh along. Did any of these children choose their parents? No. Do any of these children inherently deserve negative treatment for having terrible parents? No. Then why is it totally ok to not stand up for these kids, let alone make fun of them?

America seriously needs to wake up. Our people go crazy over a mild joke directed at a preteen probably because he happens to be the first son. But at the same time we have children being bullied, sometimes on reality tv or on youtube, but nobody cares about their well being.

Katie Rich shouldn’t have been fired. Maybe it was wrong for her to break the American code of satirizing a minor. But in a country that will easily violate that same code of honor to a much worse extent, the punishment was a lot more than just harsh.

So-Called Romantics

The second generation so-called “romantic” poets and their contemporaries included Gordon Byron, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, John Keats, and Mary’s half-sister Claire Clairmont. I always wondered why somebody so hypocritical, decadent and ravenous for glory as they were wouldn’t have pursued another career. Acting, for instance, would have been perfect for anybody within that “romantic” crowd. Just look at all of the famous actors and actresses today, and you will definitely see a parallel between the celebrities of now and then. You have got your dull and cuckish Mary Shelley, your histrionic and pathological liar Gordon Byron, your worldly but cheating Percy Shelley, your taciturn but silently glory-seeking Keats. And of course, you have your basic, stupid, and promiscuous Claire Clairmont. It’s a wonder why they didn’t pursue an occupation that was made for them. Apparently, Claire did actually once try to pursue a career as an actress, but that was just a temporary and unsuccessful attempt. But what about everybody else, who had actually gotten past the phase of “aspiring writer”?

First of all, it seems that acting wasn’t a very fashionable career at that time. Poetry and writing were far superior, as they should be. But consider that this was a society that hadn’t yet submitted to universal superficiality and corruption. Of course, that was heavily the doing of the likes of Byron, the Shelleys, and Keats. It was Percy Shelley’s and Byron’s lifelong demand for “free love” that ultimately resulted in reportedly half of all kids in North America and Northwestern Europe today being born out of wedlock. Now don’t get me wrong, there are lots of awesome things about America. But without a doubt, Byron and the Shelleys influenced the worst of it.

Next, and this one is going to be a cliche response, maybe acting isn’t the only glory occupation out there. In a way, Byron and Shelley can be thought of as the pre-contemporary rock stars. Oh, the hilarity! It matches up so well. But it goes to show that maybe society didn’t ultimately decay so much after all, in spite of Byron’s and Shelley’s influence. John Lennon did pose nude with his wife for a magazine. But Shelley was inviting random females to his house even when Mary was giving birth to his offspring. Towards the end of his life in his late twenties, he was sneaking away from their house to visit a slightly older neighbor female, for whom he wrote love poetry. How romantic!

But alas, they chose poetry. And we are going to have to live with it. Let us look at one of Shelley’s poems, Ozymandias. It is a very short and simple poem, and the highlight of it lies in the last three lines.

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Hear that, Shelley? Nothing of you remains. Except for your putrid, pig-like heart.

And your legacy of free sex and carefully veiled violence. And your poems, repetitive and describing your own fate.

Readers might be mad that I am interpreting this poem biographically and not taking into account that he might be writing from a universal perspective. People have really got to stop putting somebody like Shelley on a darn pedestal. Art emerges from one’s own reality and life. The artist, or the so-called, is not an omniscient being who knows all, sees all, and feels all. Any further and more profound interpretation, beyond the scope of the author’s life and personality, is the art of the reader.

And beyond Shelley, let’s look at our interpretation of the poem. The sands of the desert, the sands of time, exemplify the beginning and end of our human history. It is where our civilization began. It is where our Judaic-Christian-Islamic ancestors have revealed the truth of God. The lands of sand are where so many civilizations, from Mesopotamian to Egyptian to Roman to the Caliphates, have thrived. And it is probably the land of the sands where our focus will end. Time will tell everything. And it is based on the individual’s deeds, in spite of their circumstances, that time will level the worth of all people. But until then, the desert will lie bare, and the rest of the world will lie bare, with only minimal traces of the past left out in the open.

There are so many things that can philosophically remind us of the passage of time and of existentialism in general. Be it an ancient sculpture of a dead Egyptian king of kings or standing out in the middle of an abandoned clearing. There are lots of things that can remind us. But it is crucial to see the artist within the art. Because that is where the art came from. Looking at somebody who created something seemingly profound, something that you could easily get elsewhere or even from within yourself, with uncompromising respect is both dangerous and pathetic.

What is the point of this all? I’ll be blunt as possible. Shelley and his contemporaries suck.