I am holding this post hostage

Hopefully this’ll force me to write a real post to replace this. :)

California’s Prop 29 first came to my attention in one of the many petition activist emails I receive. It mentioned new legislation on the upcoming ballot, which the tobacco companies oppose. Easy enough, I thought. I’ll just vote against big tobacco, no deep soul-searching required there.

Wrong! Commercials started coming out on TV about Prop 29. The first one I saw had me guffawing. Prop 29 doesn’t put any money toward cancer research? Prop 29 doesn’t do this, it doesn’t do that. It just doesn’t go far enough, so it just shouldn’t be enacted at all!

But another commercial made me pause. Not because of what the official-looking doctor on the screen was saying, but because on the bottom of the screen it stated that the L.A. Times opposed the proposition. I’d never thought that anyone other than those with political or financial motives would oppose it.

I tracked down the Op-Ed piece (sorry, too lazy to find the page again) and it basically said that Prop 29 is flawed. California gets all these taxes and instead of putting it in the general fund, where it’s severely needed, it goes toward this whole new infrastructure where the people on the board can decide to send the money out of state. Additionally, it’s estimated that these taxes will decrease each year, as people quite smoking because of the higher expense.

At this point I wavered between my options: Yes or No? I’m not a fan of creating more bureacracy, and California could really use the money for things other than battling smoking. (People should just stop killing themselves and not smoke, simple as that, right?) And the decrease in taxes, if there’ll be less and less money going toward it, then why bother at all? Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to agree to vote with the tobacco companies.

But then the No on Prop 29 camp released another commercial, saying California’s tax dollars will be sent out of state, instead of creating jobs here, in-state. That argument never holds with me. (I am no statist! State elitist? … I don’t know.) I don’t care which state gets the jobs, as long as there are jobs being created. And calling them California’s tax dollars? The money came from people who smoke; it’s not my money.

So I took a step back and looked at the big picture: smokers will be paying money to … “fund cancer research, smoking reduction programs, and tobacco law enforcement.” (Ballotpedia on Prop 29) I’m fine with that! Count me in as a Yes vote!

And this way I won’t agree with any tobacco companies! ;)

thanks for thanks

I didn’t do a Thanksgiving entry last year, probably because I was thankful for pretty much the same things as the previous year. This year though, I came up with something new to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving has always been held at my house (my parents’ house?) for as long as I can remember. (The other holidays are hosted by my mom’s sisters.) When I was a kid, this to me meant that everyone came over here! I could show my stuff off to my cousins! I could share the house with all my relatives!

It meant my mom and aunts and grandmothers were in the kitchen, cooking for a few hours to provide a bountiful dinner for everyone. My dad and uncles watched tv and munched on chips. The kids (my brothers and cousins and me) entertained themselves … in whatever trending way.

When I got older, my two oldest cousins started helping out in the kitchen. This made me realize, oh no! Eventually, some day, I would be expected to cook in the kitchen all morning and afternoon to help provide a bountiful dinner!

When I was in high school, my mom started asking my brothers and me for some help in cleaning up the house for Thanksgiving. Of course we were at that age where doing anything we didn’t want to do was a drag and was sooo unfair. We spent many years trying to get away with doing as little work as possible so my mom could tell we were done, we could go off and play.

But one brother started working, and the other was still at school last year when I was the only one home to help out my mom! I don’t remember how much or how little work I did, how much I grumbled, or anything.

This year, maybe because my brother and I scheduled a Disneyland visit during the weekend before Thanksgiving, I’ll never know, I was more willing to help my mom clean up the house for the big day.

Even though I was cleaning, doing mindless, boring work that gave me no pleasure, I realized something. All this preparation has built up my anticipation for the holiday! Not just for the delicious American food we’ll be eating, either. (Although of course that never gets old.) But I am very thankful for my family and relatives coming together and having a great time, and the holiday has nothing to do with what we bought for each other, or [insert New Year’s stereotype]; it’s just enjoying being together.

I’m really thankful that America has a holiday where we stop and think about what we appreciate in our lives.

(I’m also very thankful that I managed to come up with an entry for November! hah! Six days before the deadline! *dies*)

insurance Friday Five

1. Do you have insurance?
I have auto insurance… (It’s required in California.)

2. What do you think of public option for health care?
Ideally, I support it. But I do see the other side of it: where would the money come from? As it is we overspend in the government without it!

3. Should health insurance be mandatory? If so, should it be subsidized for the poor?
I guess I agree with the first question, even though it means I have to spend my money. As for the second question, I really do believe that. Although I fall back on my answer to the previous question.

4. Do you think the health care industry and pharma make too much money or not enough?
I definitely think they make too much money. Mostly the companies who make medicine, less so for doctors and nurses and hospitals.

5. Would you leave the country if it meant that you would have no job but was assured health care?
No, because I love America and the First Amendment, and I don’t really feel the need to have health care for myself, because I don’t care to spend thousands of dollars to save my health or my life. If something serious (and seriously expensive) came up, I would just die. (Of course, I say that now…)

questions from Friday Five

When? Johnny Comes Marching Home

I’m listening to old Civil War songs on Youtube. (Why? I don’t know. I like music is the only reason I can come up with.)

Some videos have montages of photos from past wars, some have video footage from past wars, some are mere reenactments. But they all make me stop and think. How can we send our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, off to war?

I think, any war after the Vietnam War is stupid, after such horrible warfare. But World War II was the last “good” war, wasn’t it? And then there was “the war to end all wars,” what happened with that? (I don’t really know what that war was about or how it was supposed to stop future wars.)

But then I saw photos of battlefields from the Civil War (USA, just to be clear) and remembered the tragic losses we suffered in that war, so many families who lost brothers, fathers, sons. We learn about the end result of those battles in school and yet we still go to war.

I don’t know why we keep getting involved in wars. Aren’t we supposed to learn from our past mistakes? Isn’t this supposed to be an intelligent age? How does people killing other people “win” anything?

Disneyland’s fireworks shows

This past Sunday I went with some family members to Disneyland and we stayed until midnight to catch the last Magical fireworks show of the year (and to see Fantasmic and to ride more rides).

My review of the Magical and Remember…Dreams Come True fireworks shows:

The parts of Magical I really enjoy are the colored castle (especially during the Pinocchio segment XD trippy!), the part where the two Sleeping Beauty fairies (Merryweather and Flora/Fauna, I can’t remember which :/) are arguing over the color of Aurora’s dress (Pink! Blue! Pink! Blue!), and the confetti/colorful fireworks. Especially, especially the colorful fireworks that are like fireflies and zoom around even after the firework explodes. :D I love those. (I also love waterfall fireworks and sizzly fireworks, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Despite those great parts, I tend to tune out after a while during the show. :/ It just doesn’t keep my attention. And, for a show that seems to rely so much on the music, the sound is really crappy. Bad sound system. :/ Disney, how can you disappoint the audiophiles?? Also the singer(s?) yells (please learn how to project from your diaphragm and not your voicebox) during some parts…

Another part that was supposed to be great was Dumbo. But the flying elephant didn’t wow me. I probably expected too much, I didn’t realize … well … that the Dumbo costume would be so huge and probably too unwieldy for the person inside. I fully expected Dumbo to move his body and limbs around more than he does!

Whereas Remember probably does not have a superb soundtrack, but hey there’s a whole story to the show (Disneyland!) and omigosh I LOVE the Haunted Mansion portion of the show. Every single fireworks show for the rest of my life will be compared to that. And none will top it. XD XD

Okay maybe I’m just biased. I can’t really remember the fireworks portion of Remember… other than the ones for the Haunted Mansion. The fireworks for Magical have more of a running theme (magic! color! sis boom bah!) and don’t appear to be just random colors.

But … if I compare based only on the end result, zoning out halfway through Magical and following Remember all the way through the show, I think I’d have to go for Remember…. ^^