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Thursday, August 28, 2008

First Time School - Whatever you like by T.I

Earlier this Monday was the first day of school. To many millions of children in United states, Monday was another begining of a new academic year. It's also time to take a breathe for many mothers and fathers while they entrust the true heroes of our society which are the teachers.

It was the first day of school for our small boy. Not only the first day of school but for the very first time. He just had his birthday last week and now he is officially five years old ready to step in to his brand new kindergarden classroom for the very first time. At 6.50am he is all dressed and stood ready by the front door, his eyes pleading with mom eager to get in to the car to start the day. He had heard of many good things from his older neighborhood friends about school and the fun things they did. Mom finally came out with a bright smile and said, silly boy you need to have breakfast first! and school won't start for another 40 minutes.

Mom made a special healthy breakfast with scramble eggs, juices, fruits, toast, cheerios, homemade yogurt and then to top it off pancakes, chocolate cakes, omellettes, bacon, grits..well you name it, it was on the breakfast table. Mommy probably thought son is going to prison instead of school. Our little boy ate all he could and finally 30 minutes later, we were all ready to make a 15 minute journey to kindergarden.

It's been an Indian summer so far, a hot, hot day already in this late August morning. His heavy book bag filled with snacks and school lunch goodies instead of books slung over his shoulder, our slim little boy, with off-black-hair, trudged along the pitted sidewalk at 7:30 in the morning on his way to School.

He walked slowly, enjoying the heat, enjoying the spongy feel of his running shoes, enjoying the familiar sights along the route. Filled with excitement, filled with anticipation, filled with curiosity. Nervous, too. This was, after all, the first day of school. At the edge of our street, exactly half a mile from our house, he turned the corner and saw the school in front of him. He had seen it many times but this time there were something different in his eyes. He saw multitudes of kids running around and hurrying themselves into the school. Some kids were kissing their parents good-bye, some were hugging one another and some were shedding tears yelling and screaming DON't Leave me here because i really LOVE you! Don't you love me anymore??

The school building was really very nice but boring looking building. Single story, brick, yellowish stone. Nothing stood out except the tall flagpole that would ring like a clock chime when the rope slaps it on windy days. Taking a quick shortcut through the school lawn, dew leaping from the toes of his shoes, grasshoppers jumping out of his path as the crossing guard and hoards of volunteer moms appraoch with a smile saying welcome to the first day of school! and there are the sidewalks so don't cross the lawns. Take the sidewalks and with a smile they flocked away to the warn the next little freshmen first time on campus.

I glanced to the right side of the building and noticed the legions of big yellow school buses and a memory suddenly came back to me—a spring day when I went to school the first time. 30 something years ago, I made the same initial journey to school for the very first time. My mom didn't make the hearty breakfast but did get up early and made sure I was ready for school. I had to get up to put on my uniforms. It was a white shirt along with navy blue shorts. After a quick light breakfast, she would walked me to the school bus stop and waited along with me. At the bus stop I met a little girl who was waiting along with me. She was my first friend at school.

These fond memories still echoes at the back of my mind. I remember the song that was played on radio that very first day as I entered in to the bus. It was a very cheesy chinese love song made popular by a Hong Kong made Kung Fu series and it goes something like..."When you held my hand, I decided to walk along with you After all these years, you are still besides me. Even if there is a day where parting is inevitable, I would still want to be with you. I long for something even longer than forever because love is beside me...." I told you it was cheesy! but we all loved it at the time. Little school yard boys and girls would be humming along this song and couldn't wait to go home after school to catch what would happen next in the series.

As I survey what's the latest in music nowadays and here is a lyric comparison between then and now. This is an excerpt from the number 1 song in today's Billboard top 100 music chart. The artist name is T.I and the song name is "Whatever you like"

"Stacks on deck
Patrone on ice
And we can pop bottles all night
Baby you can have whatever you like (you like)
I said you can have whatever you like (you like)"

I just can't believe these words are being hum in the heads of millions of kids perhaps around the world as they entered school. Wonder about school violence? How would little boys see little girls? In this easily accessible media rich world where Michael Phelps was seen by BILLIONS before he entered a competition as listening to music on Ipods, kids are bound to be exposed to all kinds of music. "Touchdown" another song by T.I takes on critics of rap music, arguing that it has done all sorts of good for folks in the hood but yet the lyrics sensationalize subjects ranging from sexual positions to drug use or violence and a buffet of profanities. These are simply sonic garbage.

As our little kindergartener stepped out of our front door for the very first time and went into territory that we have very minmum control over, I wonder how long will it be before he plugs in his I-Pod or I-Whatever and listens to such garbage, and what I can do as parents to reverse such trend. Any advice? Do share.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Beverly Hills Dentist

Are you afraid of going to the Dentist? Do you live in Southern California? I came across Beverly Hills Dentist
which seem to put the ease with everybody who had paid a visit.
Testimonials after testimonials of good experience and they provide a variety of dental works ranging from cosmetic Dentistry to treating bad breath! God knows..a lot of people need that.
After years and years of inferior dental work, Dr. Parviz Azar-Mehr seem to put a cure to the fear to many Southern Californians. He not only corrected and repaired previous dental mistakes, but has improved the appearance of teeth 100%. He seem to be the best at what he does.

Dr. Azar-Mehr treats each and every one of his patients with the same gentle, caring attitude and superb professionalism. Patients seem to "bowled over" with his kindness and generosity. The treatment that he gives that is so special to his patients is nothing out of the ordinary for him. Many patients have never before had such a positive and confident feeling about a relationship with a doctor.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Michael Phelps and Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

What a breath taking sight it was to see the opening ceremony just 7 days ago. My son and I were literally glued to the TV to witness the grandest thing we had ever seen in our lifetime. $300 Million dollars was the cost to put on this grand show event. The Beijing Olympics started off with a bang signaling to the world that it is no longer the old China. Colorful fireworks rained over the stadium as the 90,000 plus crowd cheers in a thundering roar. Two thousand eight men beat on large square drums that resembled ancient Chinese ceramic wine containers. Glittering white lights flashed off the drums with each beat.

A young cute girl in red steps forward and sings the Chinese patriotic song "Five Stars" as the crowd waves tens of thousands of red national flags. The guard raises the main standard as the military band played the national anthem. The majority of the audience is clearly Chinese as a good part of the stadium was chanting along. Now the birds' nest stadium goes dark and a white scroll emerges from the center. As it unfurls the letters are made up of dancers in black. WOW!! It's mind boggling. I can't believe what I am seeing!

Now the ceremony takes a turn towards conceptual art. Dancers dressed as quills move onto the floor as book-like structures at the center of the stadium. I will leave the surprise here to your viewing if you have not seen it yet. This display quickly morphs into five hundred dancers who each hold a blade of a magnificent fan. And now five hundred dancers in yellow run into the stadium only to burst into dazzles of white light as a large globe rises from the center as Lang Lang plays on a white piano. Cirque de Soleil has arrived!! Two astronaut dancers launch in the air. The display is topped off with two singers, Liu Huan and Sarah Brightman, singing from atop the globe about "one family" as the dancers raise pictures of children.

Zhang Yimou the brain behind all of these super extravaganza had delivered a work of art for the ages that attempts to encapsulate all the myriad strains of new China. I don't think there will be another performance such as this in my lifetime. But wait...isn't the closing ceremony in two weeks? Perhaps then! The world will be watching again.

Masked by the $300 million price tag is still the underlying issues that this nation is hiding it's own dirty laundries. The slumbering dragon of the East is perhaps still either slumbering or instead of a dragon, it could very well be a chameleon. A country that still can't shed it's reputation of being the capital of copyright pirated agendas and a hotbed for human rights issues. The glitters are no different to cosmetic make ups on a 80 year old rich woman trying to mask her age. First it was the digitally enhanced fake fireworks then lip syncing adorable little girl in red. CNNSI.com came out regarding the female Chinese gymnasts are actually only 13 years old which should unqualified them from the Olympics. The age limit for Olympic gymnast are 16 years old. This report originally came out from China but the local Chinese newspaper site have since been taken down.

Back home in the West, we may not have the lights and glitters but the masking takes on a different form. We are masked by a culture that embraces changes. I have gotten numerous reactions from previous post of my stand toward our culture and stemming from me calling it "aimless progressiveness". Once again, the label of being a bigot or someone that lives in constant fear. I do not live in constant fear nor do I agree to the label of being a bigot because none of my readers that responded negatively have been able to define one thing and that is who can set the truth and what are the criteria s of a person or being setting the truth. I have gotten readers from the Buddhist faith calling to the fact of absurdity of me living in guilt or fear. He also said that Buddhism is the most moral religion because it won't even harm or kill mosquitoes. It's got to be better than, I feel this is the truth therefore it is. Who gives us the ability to determine right and wrong? An ability to discern. On top of that, it seems their use of words deems to have more hate than my stands. I call for awakening not dreaming. I call for people to open up their own eyes! I didn't call for people to be fearful, lock themselves up at home, cover the ears and eyes and hate others who are not like them. In our household, we teach to love all kinds of people but not the "certain" acts of people. This is a big difference and cannot be considered together. Most people that commit "certain" acts are simply blinded by their own lust and ambitions. Take China as a country, blinded by the fact to win at ALL cause, to proclaim it's arrival to the new world and to supplant everybody as the new super power. The astronaut display during the Olympic opening ceremony was a perfect foreshadowing of this desire. Are these desires bad? No! not at all but the question remains after all of these extravaganza, what happen to the tens of thousand migrant workers that help build the bird nest stadium and other monumental facilities. What happen to them? They are now jobless and were forced to leave Beijing because Beijing had a quota to population to maintain prior to the million people visitors from the rest of the world to see or participate in the Olympics. What happen to those people who had their lives rooted right in the middle of an Olympic road path? They were forced out of their homes in order for a building to be built! Is China moral? It is a self defined Agnostic society ruled by agnostic leaders. Is it a progressive country? Judging by all the glamor of 8/08/2008 at 8.08pm, yes it's progressive. Is it aimless? You be the judge.

Another current spotlight in the world of politics is of course on the very hot Barrack Obama. Just like Beijing's night scene during opening ceremony, his status in the American public is equally as bright. He is running on the platform of change and it seems he is true to his word. He is always changing to the point where people are asking who is the real Obama? Even the NY Post is reporting on it just last month. Is he a progressive? I believe he is. Is it aimless? Well, if his stand is constant change, then does that mean he never did have a real direction to begin with? since he is basically following on what's popular instead of really able to lead. I have asked the same question in previous post, what happens if a group thinks what's popular is therefore the right way of doing things? What happens if this group is wrong?

Speaking about world spotlights, the last few days has been on a gold medal world record setting swimmer, Michael Phelps. He's got a total of six gold medals, all in achieve in world record setting fashion and 2 more events to go. He's been tagged as an immortal and ranks among the greatest athletes of all time surpassing even Jordan, Tiger Woods and such. Marion Jones were once thought to be on a similar platform. The girl with a million dollar smile and all the endorsements in the world that once trailed her path. Where is she now? My son have taken a great liking toward Michael Phelps and have said he wants to swim in the Olympics one day. I could only hope that he won't be disappointed one day.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Britney Spears, Paris Hilton - It's a Wonderful life..??

It's been a really hot summer so far. Temperature has remained in the 100's follow by a 10 year high of 107 the last few days. Local newspaper has also reported that you can literally boil an egg in these temperatures. Our recent postings of Katy Perry has remained equally as hotly debated just by the comments left. I have to grow several heads just to retain the ability to write since some of my readers literally would like to chop my head off. It's ironic that some borderline or perhaps agnostic readers used the word evil to describe me. I wonder how does an agnostic be able to comprehend the word evil when right and wrong does not exist in their own mind. So you can have evil exist but not God's goodness? Looks like there are no real balance in this world. I have been called a bigot, backward thinking and why not go back to the KKK days or better yet let's lynch some you know what. I guess freedom of speech is only free when everyone agrees but what if everyone or majority agrees on the wrong thing? Then what?

On the family side, I took my son shopping for a brand new backpack to get him ready for school. Yes YES!!! Yes!!!..my wife said..finally he is going to school! and I get my few hours of sanity back! My son is so ready to get out of the house as well and be in school. He has no idea what school is like. He thinks it's a place where he goes and plays with his friends all day long. He talks about it almost every minute. At the local Walmart, there were tons of backpack on sale. Some goes for $10 and some are around $14.99. The price is really not bad and so the next question is how big of a backpack does a kindergardener need? The second question is which one of these bags should we get? I notice there are many different shapes and designs. For girls the backpacks are usually colorful and littered with images of Paris Hilton, Hannah Montana and even Britney Spears(On Sale for $4.99).

It's very obvious who we are growing our next generation with especially for little girls. Britney Spears!, Paris Hilton, Hannah Montana and who else!!?? These bags are covered with images of these pop culture diva's because it sells and all these money trickles back to the corporation, to the factory in China and to the starlets themselves.The end result, school yards are flooded with little obnoxious Paris Hilton's, not wearing panties little Britney spears and Hannah Montana wannabes. What about the little boys? who sees their playmates, classmates, friends and sisters acting in these manners? Wouldn't they be influenced?

Recently Paris Hilton was once again thrust in to the lime light and this time it's politics! AAaaattention..World!... Paris has spoken. Paris Hilton, the blonde, blue-eyed pop tart celebrity thrust into the presidential campaign in an ad by Republican candidate John McCain, issued a rebuttal yesterday, appear in a scantily clad, tongue-in-cheek kind of way.

Last week, John McCain launched an ad comparing Democratic rival Barack Obama to Hilton and Britney Spears, suggesting Obama was no more than a celebrity candidate.

Paris finally responded yesterday on the comedy Web site Funny or Die. As scantily clad as possible she appears... "Hey America, I'm Paris Hilton and I'm a celebrity, too. Only I'm not from the Golden days and I'm not promising change like that other guy. I'm just hot," Hilton said, speaking as she reclined in a pool chair in a revealing swim suit. "But then that wrinkly, white-haired guy used me in his campaign ad, which I guess means I'm running for president. So thanks for the endorsement white-haired dude." "I want America to know that I'm, like, totally ready to lead," she said. She then discusses energy policy, and suggests a hybrid of McCain's offshore oil drilling plan and Obama's incentives for new energy technology.

"Energy crisis solved! I'll see you at the debates," she said, McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said Hilton appears to support his candidate's "all of the above" energy solution. "Paris Hilton might not be as big a celebrity as Barack Obama, but she obviously has a better energy plan," Bounds said.

Let's take a look at the life's of these individuals. Yes they are very rich, famous, powerful and beautiful but do they have a wonderful life? Paris Hilton came to be headliners when her sex tape supposedly leak out to the public and she became an overnight sensation. Hannah Montana or aka Miley Cyrus shot to the main stream media when scantily clad photo's leak out on myspace. Britney Spears who once thought to be the girl next door decided to one day shaved her head bald, not wear any underwear and other bizzare series of actions. Do they REALLY have a wonderful life? and yet...thousands of girls practically worships these starlets.

PEOPLE!!..WAKE UP!! bring back the Black and White TV's!(No...just an exagerated expression), bring back movies like What a wonderful life or at least the message behind it. From childhood, the main character George's greatest ambition has been to see the world, to become an architect and design bridges and skyscrapers everywhere. However, George repeatedly has to sacrifice his dreams. He puts off going to college until Harry his younger brother graduates from high school to take over the family business. But on Harry's graduation night, as George discusses his future with childhood sweetheart Mary Hatch, his father suddenly has a stroke and dies. Mr Potter the villain, the owner of most of the town, seizes the opportunity to gain control of the family business and decides to end the "sentimental hogwash" of home loans for the working poor. George persuades the board members to stop Potter; they agree, but only on condition that George himself run the business. He did.

Harry the younger brother goes on to college, but George's hopes of leaving Bedford Falls upon his return are dashed once again when Harry unexpectedly brings home a new wife. Her father has offered Harry a job in his company too good to turn down. Although Harry offers to do precisely that to help his brother, George cannot bring himself to ruin his brother's prospects.

George and Mary eventually gets married. On their wedding day, as the Great Depression looms, George and Mary see a run on the bank that leaves the Building & Loan in serious danger of going under. Potter, sensing another opportunity, offers its clients a deal, but Mary has George use the money intended for their honeymoon to lend the townspeople what they need to sustain them and to rest the panic minds. It is just enough; at the close of business, the Building & Loan has exactly $2.00 left. Later, Mary even concocts an elaborate mock tropical honeymoon despite the pouring rain, dripping into their house.

Several years later on Christmas Eve, while on his way to deposit $8,000.00 for the Building & Loan, Uncle Billy encounters Mr. Potter and, bursting with pride, shows him the newspaper article about his nephew, about to be honored by the President for being a war hero. Absentmindedly, he leaves the deposit envelope in the folds of the newspaper; Potter discovers it moments later and abruptly leaves. This is also the day the bank examiner is to inspect the Building & Loan's records; he arrives to find the money missing and George and Billy frantically ransacking the place looking for it. Returning home, George sees his whole life as a massive failure. In desperation, George appeals to Mr. Potter for a loan to rescue the company; Potter turns him down. Later, George crashes his car into a tree during a snowstorm. He runs to a nearby bridge, intending to commit suicide.

The ending is a happy one where the whole town came together remembering what George had once did for them. There, he finds that his friends and family have collected a huge amount of money to save George and the Building & Loan from scandal and ruin. Seeing how many lives he has touched, and the difference he has made to the town, George Bailey realizes that despite his problems, he really has a wonderful life.

Geroge Bailey vs Hannah Montana or Paris Hilton vs Mary Bailey??

Is your life wonderful? Is your family happy? Are you REALLY happy? Do you face fear everyday? Fear of losing a job, fear of divorce, fear of infidelity? Fear of not knowing what would be next?

Friday, August 1, 2008

From Hannah Montana to Katy Perry to our school yards (A repost)

My son is about to attend school for the first time in his life. He is very excited and would pretend to wake up early every morning, dresses himself and carries his brand new empty backpack downstairs to have breakfast with us. On normal mornings, he would stay in bed until mommy yells and screams before he would open one eye. As parents we are glad to see this enthusiasm for school being displayed by our child. Upon sitting down at the breakfast table, my son will say good morning daddy, are you going to work soon? Would you drop me off at school? Playing the part of a good sport, I will say to him, "Sure son! I will drop you off" with yet another reply, thanks daddy and I love you.

After playing pretend, I would be off to work. I turned on the radio for the latest and off I go driving and pondering for about 20 minutes before I reach my office. I started thinking about my son and about how excited he is about going to school. In my previous posts (Katy Perry's "I kissed a Girl"), I have discussed issues relating to gender identity. In today's moral climate, it seems this is a hot topic considered the amount of comments I received after the post.

From Katy Perry to Hannah Montana, Just how much can I shield my child away from the world spotlights. Every time, he goes off to school, goes to a neighbor's home, meet people at the library, music school, swim class and even Church or etc. He will be exposed. I can't locked him up at home and feed him the regular dose of "You need to be Good Speech". I am simply a very concern parent and not a bodyguard that sticks to my child 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. He needs to grow up on his own and make his own decisions. As a parent, it is no doubt increasingly more and more difficult to raise a child. We are constantly fighting a culture war with the world. Our TVs, MTV's, all the Internet Tube's are able to attract more attention than our parental influence.

My dad use to tell me bed time stories. One of the bed time stories is about the "Monkey King". The Monkey King was born out a special magical rock in the high mountains and at a tender young age, he was summoned by the Gods because of his mystical gifted special powers. He was a powerful defiant individual who later wrecked havoc among the Gods.

Many centuries later, another heavenly body known as Guanyin went out in search for disciples that could protect a pilgrim from the East. The journey will take a group of Godly heroes to India to retrieve the Buddhist sutras or equivalent of the Christian Bible. In hearing this, the monkey king offered to serve on this pilgrimage. He served a monk by the named of Zhang Zhen who was from the Tang Dynasty Empire. Guanyin understood that the monkey would be hard to control given his past, and therefore gave Zhang Zhen a gift: a magical headband which, once the monkey king was tricked into putting it on, could never be removed. With a special chant, the band would tighten and cause unbearable pain to the monkey's head. To be fair, she also gave the monkey king three special hairs, which could be used in dire emergencies. Under Zhang Zhen's supervision, the monkey king was allowed to journey to the West.

As a parent, I wish I could put this magical headband on my son and every time if I suspect something, I would just chant his name. This may sound cruel but sometimes it is a reality of just how hopeless it is to be a parent. We do not want to see our child get hurt and we want the best for them. We want them to grow up with integrity, honesty, be good citizens, failure is ok as long as you know how to pick yourself back up and be back on track. Aren't we all on a journey? Do we know where we are going or still wondering aimlessly. For us our journey of parenthood began a few years ago and now he will be off to school. No doubt he will be exposed to many different things. His eyes and mind will be wide open. He will be sucking up knowledge like sponges. His friends will be talking about the latest and the greatest gadgets. He will have his own inputs and thoughts of all these new things. I wonder what would my son be thinking about if Katy Perry or Hannah Montana or whatever the next minute popular culture brings. Would he be swayed by what is popular or by what is right or correct? Where would his standards be or measured?
At the very least I am glad that I live in a State that is still consider conservative. I have known friends that moved here simply because of recent laws that were passed in their home states. Although I feel a little bit more at ease since I know my child will be going to a public school which at least still teaches similar stands to when I was growing up but I do not know when this will change. I am not hanging on to the bad past of Black Americans being lynched, women can't vote, KKK or anything like that but simply reminiscing about the sweetness and innocence of it. There were many bad past but to be fair, there were also plenty of goodness and integrity in people's heart. Nowadays we are simply worshiping aimless progressiveness.