Tag Archives: Blog Post 3 – The Analytic Post

Let’s Talk Teavana

Yes, I know, another post about tea.

In my last post on tea, I talked about shaking up the coffee-drinkers routine by adding tea to the mix. With different flavors for all palates, great health benefits, and less caffeine jitters, tea is truly a great option for people who are tired of coffee or want to add another caffeine addiction to their day (I, personally, drink both because I love having multiple beverages to choose from at any given time).

 

Now I want to talk about bad tea, and how certain companies sell it by thriving off the terrible, terrible sugar epidemic in America.

Basically, I want to talk about Teavana.

Continue reading Let’s Talk Teavana

Bad choices are not choices

 

ThinkstockPhotos-176936509_1I have had the duty and privilege of voting in 7 Presidential Elections since turning 18. 

I can honestly say in each and every one I’ve voted what my conscience and research lead me to as the best possible choice for the country.

In some cases my choices have won the elections, in others they have not.  I’ve voted for Republicans 4 times and Democrats 3 times.

My allegiance is to the person whom I believe can best lead the nation; sometimes that is due to internal issues going on within the US and, at others, in the larger world around the globe.

Continue reading Bad choices are not choices

Should College Athletes be Paid?

money Nocera wrote an article in the New York Times on “Ways to Start Paying College Athletes.”  The article focuses on large schools with football and basketball programs.  He proposes we start paying players based on their positions and potential of going pro. He states schools generate money based on college games and ticket sales, televised games, college video game sales, apparel, and boosters and athletes should receive a salary of that profit.  He believes each player should have minimum salary of $25,000 and then speciality and star players can be offered anywhere between $40,000-$60,000 at recruitment.  One of his arguments is that if college athletes are paid it will reduce the one year drop outs and encourage college athletes to complete their 4 year college experience, resulting in academic benefits.  According to his plan, athletes should have lower academic loads and extended college time and still be considered full time students.  Nocera goes on to explain that smaller colleges or universities (not known for their sports)  would have to figure out a way to pay their players.  

NCAA

For me as a former college athlete I believe this is wrong on so many levels.  In his article he focuses on basketball and football athletes but what about other sports and other players that generate money into the school.  By paying only basketball and football players you would draw a wedge and would be giving a message that they are above others students.  Another concern is giving an 18 year old, so much money and them not having a clue what to do with it.  Lawyers and financial advisers would have to brought in which is even more of an expense.  I believe paying college athletes gives the message that money triumphs over education, respect, and self worth.  I wonder how the the sports programs would be affected by this money going to the athletes instead of school programming.  Would schools be able to still travel and cover travel expense, new stadiums, uniforms, facilities, athletic trainers and coaches.  Could college sports programs still give scholarships if this money is being given to its players as salary?  It seems as if this money is going to be taken from programming for students.  Playing college athletes loses the focus and importance of a college education.  It sending a wrong message to our youth that excelling in sports is everything, that you don’t need to be educated in order to make money.  Its taking away the message that the college journey of hard work, team work, unity, and goal making the college experience provides.  Our youth are worth more than just the money they make.                           

football

Nocera, Joe. “A Way to Start Paying College Athletes.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 Jan. 2016. Web. 02 June 2016.

 

Drinking from the Wrong Lemonade Stand

Let me cut right to the chase. I’m sure you have heard that Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith proclaimed May 23, 2016 to be “Beyoncé Day” in Minnesota.

 

Proclaiming “days” isn’t anything new for Governor Dayton. He actually proclaimed 20+ different ones in May. Heck the Queen Bey shares her day with the Terrace Theatre in Robbinsdale, MN. So really May 232016 isn’t “Beyoncé Day”, it’s “Beyoncé and Historic Terrace Theatre Day”.

Let’s push “Historic Terrace Theatre Day” aside (sorry Robbinsdale!) and talk about “Beyoncé Day”.

Continue reading Drinking from the Wrong Lemonade Stand

The Gorilla and the Boy

You can’t go too many places right now without hearing people talk about the little boy who “slipped” into a Gorilla cage at the Cincinnati Zoo recently. Depending on where you read your news, you could be hearing many accounts on this event. The accounts that really have my blood boil revolve around statements stating this is all the mom’s fault. The article on CNN included in their headline, ‘critics blame mother’. Really? Whether reports are true that this woman had 4 or 5 kids at the zoo with her that day, when a 4 year-old child gets something on his mind it is difficult to stop him from doing that so-called thing. If you turn your back for a second to, I don’t know, sneeze or attend to another child that may need a moment of your time, a 4 year-old on a mission can be yards away before you turn back around. In this case, this boy jumped himself right into the Gorilla habitat.

gorilla

As I read some of the comments on Facebook or other sites covering this story, I can’t help but think, I wonder if the people making comments against this mother ever had any children themselves. I know, before I had a child, I was one to say, “When I have kids, my child will never…” or “When I have kids, I will be the most attentive mom and my kids will NEVER…” Well, I had a kid. All the mistakes that I said I would never make or things I said MY kid would never do…they happened. So, I reference the verse in the Bible, John 8:7, “Let he without sin cast the first stone.” Therefore, I will NOT be quick to judge this poor woman, who is already beating herself up about this, and I will remember until I walk a mile in this woman’s shoes, I will not assume her parenting, or lack of parenting, is at fault in this situation.

Media’s Spin on Things

One other thing that bothered me about this particular coverage is the quote: “It is unfortunate that to save the life of a child, an animal had to be sacrificed.” I understand that there are animal activists that may just turn against me here, but when did animal rights become more important than the rights of humans? I understand this species of gorilla is an endangered species, but the zoo officials did what they deemed necessary. In a post by Amanda O’Donoughue,  an expert in zoology, she gives a good account of why the zoo had to make the decision they made. Wild animals are unpredictable and don’t rely on logic when spooked. I am sad that we lost another silverback gorilla and that the gorilla was only doing what he knew to do to protect himself, but if it were my kid that jumped overboard, I know what I would encourage the zoo officials to do.

Amanda O'Donoghue
Amanda O’Donoghue  feeding silverback gorilla (Facebook page photo)

As humans, we are pulled in by sensationalism. Stories like Cecil the Lion, Pit bulls that attack kids, and now “Gorilla-gate” are reported in a way where we don’t get all the facts at the beginning. People with cellphones are capturing video and posting them before police investigations are completed. Accusations are thrown out at the people in these stories before they have any time to share their side. I would love to see a day when the news is covered as just that, news, without the dramatic music, the sensationalism and the replay upon replay of devastating images that make my stomach turn.

Is it November yet?

I don’t like to wish time away, but I can’t wait for the 2016 presidential election to be over. The mudslinging and sophomoric behavior, from both sides, demonstrates the candidates’ lack of respect for the American people.

Because of their right-leaning views, Fox News’ website posts more unfavorable articles about Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump. They often include the most unflattering photos they can find, too. While I don’t care for either of the front-runners, as a woman, I especially don’t like Trump’s misogynistic rhetoric against women.

 

When Trump responds to Hillary’s criticisms of his offensive views on women, I expect him—and Fox News—to come back with an article that attacks Hillary for a similar offense. Instead, I saw the headline: Trump: Hillary’s married to ‘the Worst Abuser of Women in the History of Politics’.

Seriously? While I agree Bill Clinton is a sleaze ball, the article does not illustrate clear examples of where Hillary said disparaging things against women. Fight fair, Trump. You cannot blame Hillary for Bill’s roaming eyes—and hands. Trump goes on to claim Hillary “would go after these women [who Bill had affairs with] and destroy their lives.” If so, provide me with the evidence to back up the claims. Surely, Fox News has a vault full ammunition to use against Hillary—so use it.

Opening a Can of Worms

I have a hard time believing much of what either candidate says on the campaign trail. But when Trump brought Bill Clinton’s sexual scandals into the mix, he should have known he opened up a can of nasty worms.

Trump invited the left-leaning views of the Daily Show to highlight disturbing things he has said about his own daughters. However, unlike Trump and Fox News, they have the video clips with Trump’s own words to back up their claims.

It’s bad enough to hear how Trump objectifies women, but to hear his comments about his own daughters adds another thicker layer of ICK! See for yourself. The following clips are so disturbing and creepy:

  • Mother Jones: Trump (1994) response when asked which features his one-year daughter has of his and what features she has of then-wife Marla. He wonders about her breasts!
  • Daily Show:  Trump (2006)talking about another daughter saying, “I’ve said that perhaps if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, I’d be dating her.”

 

I cannot believe the women in Trump’s life don’t put a gag over his mouth. Could you support a parent in a high-profile race after they repeatedly said inappropriate and disturbing things–including things about you?

Curt Schilling: “Why I Will Vote for Donald Trump”

Minnesota Twins v Boston Red Sox
Hey Schilling, You’re “FIRED!”

The development of blogging has brought about a valuable space for public discourse. Regardless of the accuracy, everyday people can now share their beliefs on a myriad of topics. Furthermore, the ability of readers to interject their opinions has proven to be a powerful tool to take the discussion to the next step—inspiring social action. While I have a great appreciation for the first amendment, and the right every individual has to possess the beliefs that they do, there is also a newfound responsibility for readers/bloggers to utilize critical thought when reading blogs. This stands true for Curt Schilling’s article “Why I Will Vote for Donald Trump”.

Now, I can appreciate the fact that the election year brings about strongly held beliefs by individuals that deeply care about the direction America is going. However, it’s irresponsible for individuals (especially public figures) to spread inaccurate information.

Let’s unpack that!

Continue reading Curt Schilling: “Why I Will Vote for Donald Trump”

Raising the age to sell cigarettes?

Hey kid are you old enough to smoke?!

A post shared by Mark Rangen (@super.important) on

On June 9th the smoking age in California is being raised to 21. This change has been seen as a positive by most people. According to tobaccocounter.org, 3 out of 4 adults would be in favor of changing the age to 21 and 7 out of 10 smokers are in favor of the minimum age of sale being changed too. However, a recent article in The Los Angeles Times argues that it would be a pointless change and that it will still allow kids to get cigarettes. He argued that high profile stings of tobacco stores catering to children had no effect on the child’s ability to get cigarettes.

Looks enjoyable.

A post shared by Mark Rangen (@super.important) on

I am personally in the group of thought that the law should stay. When I was a kid and tried cigarettes for the first time it was because a senior who was 18 had a pack and offered them to me. While I think that people still can get a hold of cigarettes via parents, siblings, or otherwise, I think that by adding to the age of purchase it will make it less accessible to a lot of people. Researchers are predicting a 9 to 22 percent decline in smokers ages 15-17. Most people start smoking when they’re in middle school or high school.

 

The Kardashian Phenomenon

With a simple search on TMZ’s website, you can find just about any and every dirty detail regarding celebrities, sports, and entertainment in the form of a faintly witty tabloid-style presentation. If you’ve ever flipped through your television channels, you probably know that, from time to time, you’ve landed on a channel featuring Harvey Levin (TMZ’s host) gossiping with journalists amongst the numerous cubicles at TMZ headquarters in Los Angeles.

You may call it celebrity news, but it seems much more gossipy than that. TMZ has an obsession with exploiting the smallest issues and creating bigger issues (or magnifying normal issues more than necessary). If you think about it, though, TMZ probably wouldn’t exist if they didn’t do this. Their news is not intelligent and it seems that they’re only seeking to be boisterous and catch the attention of viewers at the expense of Hollywood stars.

One topic they really enjoy discussing is the Kardashians. I can understand this because I’ve watched Keeping Up With the Kardashians and obviously see that the drama of the family’s life is probably just absolutely irresistible to TMZ. Although, throughout watching the Kardashians, I find myself constantly thinking that all of their problems are first-world problems. When I really think about it, I realize that they really aren’t famous for any other reason than due to the workings of Robert Kardashian (the Kardashian father) who, as an attorney, helped O.J. Simpson during his trial in 1996.

The spotlight was illuminated and has not been unplugged ever since 1996. TMZ picks up on any inkling of drama just to get a good story and to keep viewers attentive. Whether it’s true or not, I don’t know—it really is hard to tell because all of TMZ’s “news” is so in-your-face.

How Much Did You Spend on Your Wedding?

Did you know that the average wedding costs about $31,000 today? According a Huffington Post article, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/13/average-cost-of-wedding-2014_n_6864860.html, the 31 grand you just spent doesn’t even include your honeymoon. Recent trends have shown that the guest list has gone down, but the price tag has not. Couples are splurging now, more than ever, on their guests’ experiences. 46% of couples tend to go over their wedding budget and 23% don’t even have a budget at all.

Those numbers and statistics are nuts to me.

I recently got married in September of 2015 and one of the first places I turned to was the internet. Most of you recent or soon-to-be brides know that, The Knot is one of the main websites that pop up when your Google search has anything to do with weddings. The Knot has everything from wedding planning, checklists, venues, caterers, photographers, wedding gowns, decoration and more. It is the go to place, if you have unlimited money.

Find The Knot here: https://www.theknot.com/

As you can imagine, I was overwhelmed as a new bride. I, not only had to have an American wedding, but I also had to have a cultural Hmong wedding as well. I had to plan two weddings with a budget that I was not willing to budge on.

I believe it is one of the most important days of a couple’s life, but I also believe they should be able to live after that day is over. Before realizing I needed to live after my wedding day, I splurged on the idea of a rustic wedding.

Mayowood Stone Barn was my dream wedding venue. It had the vintage charm that I so desperately desired! Mayowood Stone Barn can be found at http://www.mayowoodstonebarn.com/. The only problem was that it was booked 2 years out and it costs about 4 grand to simply rent the venue. It became clear to me that the vintage themed weddings were very in style and most venues sharing that same theme would be similarly priced. As a result, my barn wedding venue was crossed off the list.

I think that brides and couples get carried away, especially when you include the pressure of peers and family in the mix. Everyone dreams of an extravagant wedding, but most of us do not have the finances for it. We rely on our parents, savings, overtime hours and even loans for some couples to pay for their dream wedding.

The wedding industry is glamorized to the point of putting couples in financial stress. Weddings have become less about the couple and more about the décor. I believe what people in the wedding industry leave out includes the stress of having such an expensive wedding, how the financial stress could impact your relationship with your spouse, where you plan to live and anything practical for that matter.

My belief is simple – part of that 31 grand could be spent on something else that is just as important as your wedding day. 31 grand is a lot and that’s a year’s salary for some people. That could’ve been spent on a down payment for your first home together, starting a business or for a reliable car. Depending on how much you put down, you could possibly get multiple cars! It could also be spent on a honeymoon. Many couples spend so much money on their wedding that they decide to take their honeymoons later on in the year. How do you spend 31 grand on a day, but have no money for a honeymoon?

Your wedding day should be amazing, but so should your life.