Dubious iTunes Awards

According to iTunes, the best album this year was Kings of Leon's "Only By Night" while the best new artist was Lady GaGa. I would like for someone to please do one of the following:
  • Shoot me
  • Tell me I'm dreaming
  • Tell me this is a bad joke
  • Tell me the year's almost over
Naturally they gave "best artist" to Michael Jackson. Really? Uh, did he release any new material this year? No. Presumably they are counting "This is It" as his new album, but it's comprised almost entirely remastered songs. No, I'm not a fan.
Speaking of shameless reissues, Taylor Swift's "Fearless: Platinum Edition" won best country album. Oh come on! Reissues should not be eligible no matter how informal your awards. Not that I care about country - it's the principle of the thing.
The top 3 movies were Pixar's "Up," J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" sequel/prequel/reboot, and very R-rated comedy "The Hangover." Uh... well "Star Trek" was good at least...
I'm not going to comment on their TV show selections simply because I only watch a couple myself and I have no idea what most of these are about. I will say, however, I was saddened to see a "Reality TV" section. The top reality TV? Apparently "Top Chief," (which is at least better than "Top Model") and "The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Judging by the picture it looks like 4 out of 5 New Jersey housewives are supermodels. Hmm. That reality is questionable.
Books fared no better, unfortunately. Numbers 2 through 5 on the list of top-selling fiction audiobooks where all from Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" series. And number 6 was a Dan Brown novel. *groan*
Interestingly, Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" is number 2 on the non-fiction list and has been popular for quite some time. This is odd and a little disconcerting. I wonder what are so many people doing with their newfound knowledge of 6th century BC military tactics? Playing Shogun: Total War?
Also on the nonfiction list is Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope." Silly, Mr. President. You aren't supposed to write a best-seller until after you're out of office.
Now, I realize that iTunes is using this as a marketing tool and these lists are for the most part based on sales... but doesn't that make it all the more depressing?


Pre-Christmas Anger

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat...
So Christmastime is almost here or is already upon us depending on your reckoning. I say it starts in December, but I tolerate other people's celebration beginning on the day after Thanksgiving. It's the ones who start before that I can't stand.

For some reason I have a lot of hate and bile I need to get rid of so I can properly get in to the *warning: overused phrase ahead* holiday spirit. Maybe it's because I haven't been feeling well the past few days. Maybe it's because I've just been royally defrauded by Apple (I may post on this soon). Or maybe it's because of all those *warning: hick word ahead* doggone people who started Christmas early.

Fortunately for me, the internet was practically invented for the dispensing of hatred and bile (and stupidity and pictures of cats). The subject of my wrath today? Why indie music of course! And what subject deserves ripping on more? (Hint: it involves vampires).

I was looking for some new music the other day. Admittedly, I am pickier than most people with my musical choices and I have a terrible habit of berating other peoples' tastes in music which I really need to stop (unless they like country, of course.) As I listened to some of these bands, I noticed some things that caused me to immediately turn off the music. Although these trends are not exclusive to indie music, they seem to be more common amongst indie bands (especially number 11.)

Dear indie bands (and any band, really),

  1. If you start off with a repetitive and predictable guitar riff, I will not listen to you
  2. Even worse: if you start off with a repetitive and predictable chord progression that even I could play, I will not listen to you
  3. If you claim to sound like The Beatles, I will not listen to you (everyone “sounds like” The Beatles)
  4. If you claim to sound completely original then you are almost certainly lying and I will not listen to you
  5. If you begin your album with an ABAB rhyme structure, I will not listen to you
  6. If your vocalist sounds like he should be in a punk/rock band, I will not listen to you (sorry)
  7. If you are an obvious imitation of another band or short-lived musical trend, I will not listen to you
  8. If you start off with a trite love song, I will not listen to you. Sappy love songs are okay if they’re genuine.
  9. If the first word on your album is “Sometimes…”, I will not listen to you
  10. If you use synthesized string choruses, I will not listen to you (probably)
  11. If your band name is a lame attempt at humour or is longer than seven words (that’s generous), I will not listen to you
  12. If it is obvious that you use Auto-Tune or some other similarly annoying voice-processor, I will not listen to you
There are arbitrary exceptions to all above rules (except for 9, 11 and 12, of course).

I feel better now, but only a little.


Music mega-post

There's a lot of serious topics that I want to delve into sooner or later, but for now--have some jamming tunes.

"Blow Away" by A Fine Frenzy:

"Walking the Dog" by fun.:

"Title and Registration" by Death Cab for Cutie:

"Chicago" by Sufjan Stevens:

"Daylight" by Matt and Kim:

"The Calculation" by Regina Spektor:

"Vanilla Twilight" by Owl City:

please for the love of humanity, if you don't like this particular song at least give him a couple more to impress

"Rebellion (Lies)" by Arcade Fire:

That's all for now, kids. If you didn't find at least a song here that you liked, I can't help you.


The staggering weight of glory

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

When I look around and see people going on with their lives as if they are well and truly happy with the way things are and not the way things ought to be I wonder if I have it all backwards. The gospel and its progress come slowly to me, when they come at all. It is a gospel of brokenness and not a gospel of progress. Why should I want to be broken? Do I want to be broken? It's so utterly foreign to any person self-motivated. I’m told that's all of us.


The Rapist

I’ve been out of the loop for quite a while on current news stories.  In general, I try to avoid listening to or reading a lot of news since it tends to make me want antidepressants.  However, I the more I hear about this Roman Polanski story, the angrier I get.

For those unaware, Roman Polanski is a film director acclaimed for such movies as Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, and The Pianist.  In 1977, he drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl.  After pleading guilty and being convicted in Los Angles he fled the country.  Polanski eluded capture until last week when he was captured in Switzerland while on his way to a film festival.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t comment on a story like this, but it offends me on so many levels that I feel compelled to vent here.  I am offended as a human being.  I am offended as an American.  I am offended as a film student.  I am so utterly sickened by the way so many Hollywood elite have stood up for this rapist simply because they admire his art.

Obviously, I am sickened by Polanski himself.  I have no sympathy for him.  None at all.  Not only did the man rape somebody, but it was a 13-year-old girl who he first took nude photos of and drugged.  That is disgusting, animalistic and totally indefensible.  Then, having acknowledged his crime, he fled the country and remained free and unpunished for over 30 years.

From what I understand, the man has never shown regret for this and certainly hasn’t accepted the consequences of his actions.  Had he acknowledged the foulness of his crime and served his time, I would have a more sympathy for the man.  As it stands, I want him put away for the rest of his miserable life.  I wouldn’t even be against taking him behind the shed and putting him down.  It’s no less than the coward deserves.  His kind preys on the weak.  We should not be weak dispensing punishment.

Secondly, I am angry with law enforcement officials.  The man made 10 films since the rape.  How could he do that?  I’m not aware of all the details, but I’m pretty sure part of it was the U.S. stopped trying so hard and part of it was that France apparently doesn’t have a problem with rape (or harboring criminals of its “allies”) and sort-of gave him sanctuary.  This man should have been caught and arrested when he first popped his head up to make Tress.  Why was he not?

Now France has finally dropped their support for Polanski but a group of filmmakers and actors have signed a petition calling for his release.  The full translated text of the petition is this:

We have learned the astonishing news of Roman Polanski’s arrest by the Swiss police on September 26th, upon arrival in Zurich (Switzerland) while on his way to a film festival where he was due to receive an award for his career in filmmaking. His arrest follows an American arrest warrant dating from 1978 against the filmmaker, in a case of morals.
Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision. It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.
By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.
The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition: it opens the way for actions of which no-one can know the effects.
Roman Polanski is a French citizen, a renowned and international artist now facing extradition. This extradition, if it takes place, will be heavy in consequences and will take away his freedom.
Filmmakers, actors, producers and technicians - everyone involved in international filmmaking - want him to know that he has their support and friendship.
On September 16th, 2009, Mr. Charles Rivkin, the US Ambassador to France, received French artists and intellectuals at the embassy. He presented to them the new Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the embassy, Ms Judith Baroody. In perfect French she lauded the Franco-American friendship and recommended the development of cultural relations between our two countries.
If only in the name of this friendship between our two countries, we demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski.
Can you believe that?  And guess what?  A lot of notable people have signed this piece of tripe including directors Woody Allen (Annie Hall), Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married), Terry Gilliam (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 12 Monkeys, Brazi), John Landis (Animal House, The Blues Brothers), David Lynch (Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Lost Highway), Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Departed), Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler), Michael Mann (The Last of the Mohicans, Ali, Public Enemies), Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, will be directing the Hobbit films).

I am probably the angriest with these people.  Yes, Polanski did a terrible, terrible thing, but these people are now trying to use their clout as filmmakers and “artists” to get the general public to dismiss that terrible, terrible act.

Some would argue that it isn’t right to dismiss the art because of the wrongdoings of the artist and I agree with that.  But these people derive their authority from the admiration of their art.  If no one went to their films, they wouldn’t have such powerful voices.  Therefore, as long as these people continue to use their influence which is derived from their films to call evil good and good evil, I cannot support them in any way.

I’m not usually for boycotts.  I find them silly and usually ineffective, but here I think it makes a lot of sense and it certainly isn’t over something silly.  I am supposed to watch Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull in my Cinema Arts.  I’m sure it’s a good movie.  As an aspiring filmmaker I’m sure there are things I could learn from it, but it is my intention to calmly explain my reasoning and walk out of the class on that day.

I am a big fan of Tolkien’s works, of course.  I’ve been looking forward to seeing the Hobbit films for years, but unless director Guillermo del Toro removes his name from the petition, I will boycott those too.  I urge anyone who believes in justice to do the same.  Please, if you’re going to see a film, take the time to see if the director has signed the petition and carefully consider what kind of artist you are patronizing. (Full list of signers here.)

This is much larger than silly partisan political issues.  This is something that people of any party, nation, ethnicity, or trade ought to agree on.  It is a clear-cut issue.  We must call evil: evil and not allow those who would dismiss such acts to have any cultural authority.


O heart! heart! heart! O bleeding drops of red.

It's probably more my fault than anything that this blog has pretty much died. I've had a shortage of time, ambition, and things to say. That's pretty much a recipe for sheer doom.

So if anyone actually reads this: I'm sorry.

As for where to go know where, two paragraphs ago, I said that I've had a shortage of things to say? Well, that's really not true at all. It's more been a shortage of things that I know how to say, or things that I think people would be interested in hearing.

I've decided, at least for the time being, that I don't really care about what people care about hearing or what I know how to say. So, I'm going to say a little bit about a lot of things that are on my mind. Everyone say it with me! It's gallimaufry time!

1. War/Non-violence

Earlier this year I posted about pacifism and took it down shortly thereafter. Since then, I've had several debates on the topic, each one ending without anyone really changing their mind at all. Only once have I had someone actually agree with me. Suffice it to say this is a controversial topic.

For now, just to give people a little to ruminate on, I'm just going to quote early Church fathers. I realize this is not scripture, but I think it will help stimulate some conversation and help people realize that pacifism isn't such a strange doctrine for a Christian to hold.

"We ourselves were well conversant with war, murder, and everything evil, but all of us throughout the whole wide earth have traded in our weapons of war."-- Justin Martyr

"A soldier of the civil authority must be taught not to kill men and to refuse to do so if he is commanded, and to refuse to take an oath. If he is unwilling to comply, he must be rejected for baptism. A military commander or civic magistrate who wears the purple must resign or be rejected. If an applicant or a believer seeks to become a soldier, he must be rejected, for he has despised God."-- Hippolytos

"The Church is an army of peace that sheds no blood."-- Clement of Alexandria

"You cannot demand military service of Christians any more than you can of priests. We do not go forth as soldiers."-- Origen

"When individuals commit homicide, it is a crime; it is called a virtue when done in the name of the state."
-- Cyprian

It is only when the idea of the church and state become blended with Constantine that the church ceases to be revolutionary and starts to promote the theory of "just war."

Moving on.

2. Music

I could talk about music for about 4 hours before listing an artist that most people have heard before. However, I honestly hate the typical indie snob. I also dislike people who think that Jason Mraz is indie and underground after being played nonstop on the radio for 6 months, but that's a different story.

To keep this relatively short, I'll list a couple of fairly "normal" artists I've been listening to lately and enjoying quite a lot.

I know Matt said that he though the lead single was a little forced in its political references, but Muse has always trended libertarian/anarchistic, and most of their albums are full of these kind of references. Also, most of the other songs on this album aren't so upfront. I like their other stuff a lot, hence I like this album a lot. It's legit.

This is a shoegaze band, which, according to Wikipedia, means music "typified by significant use of guitar effects, and indistinguishable vocal melodies that blended into the creative noise of the guitars." All I know is that it's awesome.

Please oh please get this album. Get all three of his albums. This is the all-American success story of the year, I think. I've found two bands before they blew up, so to speak: Vampire Weekend, and now Owl City. Pretty much everyone at this college has now heard of this guy, even though he was virtually unknown when I found out about him early this spring. Oh, and the reason I said it was such a success story is the fact that he only started making music to pass the time he couldn’t sleep due to his insomnia.

3. I'm out of time.

This wasn't really a gallimaufry, but I have to leave now to go to dinner. I figure I'll post this before I leave and never get around to it. Here's to hoping that I actually post more often! Cheers!

P.S. I apologize for the unrelated-ness of those two topics.


Update 180

115 posts in 2007.
58 posts in 2008.
6 posts in 2009.
Yeah, this blog is dying fast.
Well, in my indefensible defense, I haven't really had the stimulation or direction to blog lately. I'm honestly not sure what to do with this blog. Should I go more personal or keep occasionally posting my thoughts about politics and philosophy and all that jazz? I'm not quite sure yet. What is the point to even having a blog now that I can connect with friends via Facebook and Twitter and other outlets?
Originally I began blogging because I am a writer. Or, at least, I fancy myself a writer. I'm also a geek, so naturally when blogs came along I jumped on that bandwagon just as quickly as I could. But now I see how much of a comittment is needed to keep it up. And even if I did blog consistantly and well (a huge, improbable assumption) who would read it?
I'm not sure any of these questions really need to be answered. It would be nice though. Lots of things that will never happen would be nice.
I am utterly sick of the whole political angle right now, so I shall go personal with this post.

I am currently in my sophomore year in college. I am in college primarily to get a degree because apparently that's important for getting a job in this world. If I happen to get an education at the same time then so be it. My major right now is "Digital Cinema." The goal, the dream is to be a filmmaker, but every day that seems more and more unlikely not because I don't think I could do it, but because the world seems intent on falling apart just about the time my life will actually become interesting. But I told myself this wouldn't be a political post so I'll restrain myself from saying any more on that subject.
I just finished up doing a big video project which I think is best described as Jason Reitman meets the Office meets David Chapelle's Block Party meets Soulja Boy. Okay, that is a wildly inaccurate description, but didn't it sound amazing?
In the past I've deliberately kept this blog and my other website separate because they're so different in tone. It seemed odd that I had this, a somewhat serious blog where I have tried occasionally to be intellectual and also my hobbist video website on which I had some pretty ameturish and silly videos. It somehow made sense to put those different fascits of my personality into separate boxes. But for the curious, the website is I'll try not to mention it too often because I don't want to cross-promote two wildly different things.
That's all I've got for now. I'll try to blog more as the stimulation comes. 140 characters on Twitter just doesn't cut it.


Um... yeah

Ohmygoodness, I've got a blog! That's right.

Well I haven't got any thought-provoking revelations or anything really interesting to say.

I finally installed Windows 7 on my desktop (I'd been testing it on my laptop for a couple of months already). In fact, I'm writing this post on a Windows 7 widget called "Blogger Buddy."

Overall, it's been really, really good so far. I'm thinking of throwing a little video review together, maybe.

Trying to keep this blog alive!

- Matt


Free Software III: Media Edition

In what's become an unintentially annual tradition, I bring you some more free software I've found useful over the last year or so.  This year's list is mostly concentrated on video and other media.  Hopeful someone will find these programs of use or at least of interest.

FYI, the old posts are here and here.

A great, lite media player than can handle virtually any format you throw at it.  When I can’t get a file to play in Windows Media Player or iTunes, I use this.  Lately I’ve just been using it to play all my videos and DVDs.  There are lots of options, yet it’s still simple to use.  Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

I used to use Azureus for my torrenting needs few and far between as they were, but then they messed it up with Vuze.  ╬╝Torrent is a simple, fast little program with no frills and no fat.  There is no reason your Torrent program should have a large footprint.  This does what you need it to and no more.  Available for Windows.  Beta version available for Mac.
For those with iPods, HandBrake is indispensable for video conversion.  This program will transcode many video formats into formats compatible with iPods, iPhones or other media devices.  You can even rip unencrypted DVDs straight to iPod format.  Unlike a lot of transcoders, this one has a nice user-friendly interface so even if you don’t own an iPod, it’s worth checking out.  Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
If you want to rip an encrypted DVD (a questionable legal activity, but probably an ethical one as long as you aren’t ripping them for nefarious purposes) you can use DVD Decrypter.  This program will rip your encrypted DVDs into .VOB format which can then be converted into another, more widely accepted format or simply played back on your computer using appropriate software (VLC will do this.)  If you have no idea what I just wrote, you might want to pass this one up for now.  Windows only.
CamStudio is a free, open-source screen capture application.  You can use it to easily capture video or take screen shots of your computer screen.  It’s got a fair amount of options, although it is still a work in progress.  Still, it’s only truly free screen capture application out there right now.  Windows only.
It’s exactly what it sounds like.  This program is extremely simple to use.  Just copy the YouTube video URL, click a button and download.  Once downloaded you’ll probably want to convert the .flv file into something more usable.  YouTube Downloader does that as well and is, again, very easy to use.  Windows only.
Celtx is a great tool for aspiring filmmakers like myself or anyone who wants to try their hand at writing some kind of script.  This program is built on the same technologies as Firefox and is therefore open-source.  It not only helps with formatting screenplays, stage plays, and other scripts, it can also be used to organize your project’s characters, actors, set, props, etc.  Also useful if you are participating in Script Frenzy like I am!  Available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.


Bad Theology

I just had a theological debate with Josh (though it wasn't completely pointless - sorry, inside joke) about a subject which he'll hopefully post his thoughts on soon. It was a very stimulating discussion, though I kept wanting to use a particular argument that comes up waaaay too often and if you've ever discussed theology with anyone for any significant period of time, then you've probably heard it.  It goes something like this:

"I don't think God would..."

As soon as that phrase enters the conversation, red flags should go up. It is a terrible theological argument - I dare call it fallacy - that is at the source of a lot of bad theology.

It is very dangerous to imbue our own emotions, beliefs, and feelings into our understanding of God and that is what this argument does. It's not a Biblical argument, it's not even a logical argument. It's an emotional argument.

"I don't think God would want us to do this..."
"I don't think God would deny us that..."


We can, of course gain an understanding of God though scripture (that's what theology is really all about). We can read his word and pray to find his will. But hard theology ought to be based on the infallible Scriptures, not what we think God is like. Even though we might have good intentions, it is too easy to project our own feelings onto God. When that happens, we are no longer discussing the real God, but a false god that we create by distorting the truth.

Remember, only you can prevent bad theology!

Okay, that's not really true, but neither is Smokey's line.


They don't speak for us

I'm going to try and keep this brief and civil, but I may fail on both counts as it's so increasingly difficult to do so when discussing the government.

This is not a post about politics even though I have labeled it as such. We need to get beyond that. The argument over which political party is superior has done incalculable damage to our nation especially during the last 16 years.

While Americans aligned themselves with one party or the other claiming the other party was evil and anti-American, our elected "representatives" in Washington have been selling us out.

Here's the plain fact: most Americans, regardless of "race," religion, or political ideology want the same things. We want opportunity; the opportunity to work for a living doing something we enjoy; the opportunity to get an education; the opportunity to live comfortably; the opportunity to achieve our goals; the opportunity to raise a family and live an abundant life. Put simply, we want the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.

We forget that all too often. We think that simply because a person aligns themselves with the opposite political party or ideology, they want something different for America.

We the people care deeply about America and her future and that is why we fight amongst each other so vigorously.

The politicians of this nation do not care.

You can argue with that all you want. You can defend the people in our government whom you look to as saviors. But their actions speak louder than their words.

For a long, long time our politicians have represented only themselves. They campaign to please the public and their party. They govern to stay in power in cut deals with lobbyists. They have abused their power. They are devoid of a moral compass. They are scum.

We continue to let this happen. We vote for these idiots because if we don't, the wrong idiot might get in. We compromise and vote for the lesser of two evils rather than seeking out the good. We can no longer be pragmatic about this. Look what these fools are doing to our country!

New party leadership will not change this. The political system today is set up such that Mr. Smith can no longer get to Washington unless he is willing to change into a spineless, heartless, selfish creature known as a politician.

Bush sold us out. Obama is selling us out. Congress is running around like a decapitated chicken spending us into oblivion. I HATE our government for it. HATE THEM. I want them gone. Their idiocy now is shaping the futures of millions, perhaps billions of people around the world.

People are finally waking up, but all too many are still expecting the government to aid them in this crisis.

Right now, the United States government does not speak for me. Do they speak for you? Do you want to bailout the greed and ignorance of the banking and housing industries? Do you think Congress should have an incredibly lucrative health care and retirement package? Do you want to pay for the mismanagement of American auto companies? Do you think a guy who screwed up on his taxes should be running the IRS?  Do want the government to continually spend more than it takes in?

I don't.

These people are criminals. They are stealing from current and future taxpayers to remain in power.

It sickens me how we stand by and do nothing. We sedate ourselves with entertainment and luxuries we cannot afford. We are just as much a part of the problem as they are. If neither of us change, the United States as we know it is done for. I truly believe that. The politicians will not change no matter how much they talk about it. We must be the agents of change.

I may be wrong about these things. I pray I am. If I am I shall we pleasantly surprised... but I do not expect to be.


A rant on race...

So I've been doing a lot of filling out of forms recently.  Man, I just love paperwork!  (But that's different rant altogether.)  Something that really, really bugs me on these forms is they always ask for your "race" or "ethnicity."  Now, I have a really earnest question: if all the supposed "races" are the same then why the heck does it matter!?  Honestly, it makes no sense to me.

Racism has never made sense to me either.  I know why it exists.  It's because people are fallen and just naturally screw stuff up.  People discriminate against people who are different than themselves.  There's a natural tendency to do that and it's not entirely bad.  For example: I would discriminate against a serial killer because he is different than me.  I may want to shoot that idiot who cut me off, but I, unlike the serial killer, do not follow through on my impulse to violence.  That, of course, is an extreme example used to make a point (at least I didn't use Hitler or Stalin).

Racism, on the other hand, descriminates not on the basis of behaviour or ideology, but on genetics - something a person cannot change about themselves.  This is completely unfair and just plain stupid.

Clearly there are some slight differences between the so-called "races."  Some are cultural and some are genetic and while it is a mistake to think that all cultures are equal, it is an even bigger mistake to think that the slight differences in genetics between ethnicities makes one people group better than another.

For a long time, left-handedness was seen as wrong.  Children who were left handed were made to learn to write right-handed.  This notion seems very silly now, but it is a prime example of genetic discrimination.

Australian Aborigines were descriminated against for years because they were seen as "less evolved" humans (thanks for helping to justify racism, Darwin).  Obviously Aborigines are just as intelligent as anyone else, the "problem" was that their culture was so outdated.

We can and should debate about culture, but we should never descriminate soley on the basis of things that people cannot change about themselves.

So why are we required to list "ethnicity" on forms?  It's really for statistics, but I don't really want statistics about that sort of thing kept.  As I said, it doesn't - or at least shouldn't - matter.  If we want to truly eliminate racism for good then we've got to dispel the myth that there are fundamental differences between the different "races."  In reality, there is only one race: the human race.  We are divided by nations, languages, culture, politics, and religion, but we should not of necessity be divided because of differences we can do nothing to affect.

Bottom line: judge people by their actions and beliefs, not by their ethnicity!

Ok... gotta get back to filling out forms...