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Kooky Planet

Stories and opinions about our kooky world

You Have Black People Hair!

Recently I watched the new Karate Kid movie with Jaden Smith for the first time. I thought the film was good, but not better than the original. However, the reason I’m mentioning the movie is because of two scenes in the movie that I made my think of my own life. In one scene Jaden Smith’s character is talking to the Chinese girl who plays his love interest in movie. She asks him “Can I touch your hair?” and Jaden looks confused by her request, but lets her touch his hair. The second scene in movie was when Jaden takes his mother to place where they teach Kung Fu to children. All the little children learning Kung Fu come up to his mother and start touching her hair. When I saw this I started to laugh, because I had similar moments in my life. For some reason people always want to touch my hair and watching this move reminded me of some funny moments in my life.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I come from a Middle Eastern background. So, I have really dark, and curly hair. Also, I’m rather fair-skinned compared to most Middle Eastern people so it makes my hair more noticeable for people.  I know I’m not the only one with these features, but I attended high school in the Midwest America. A kid with dark black hair stands out of the crowd with people who are mostly blonde and brown-haired. My father jokes that when he to pick me up from school that he could instantly find me from a crowd of hundreds of kids. My father wasn’t the only person to point out my uniqueness. I use to get all sorts of weird comments from people. The comments were memorable to say the least.  If anything I find these stories to be funny.

The first comment I got was in my first period art class in high school. Everyone was working on their painting project. The kid who sat next to me was painting wrestlers in a match. He decided to paint one the wrestler’s hair black. The art teacher came around to see how everyone was doing with the project. She notices that the kid next to me painted the wrestler’s hair black. She commented “Nobody’s hair is that black”, and the kid pointed at me “His hair is black”. The teacher responded “oh yea…that’s unusual”. I thought to myself “what did she just say?” I decided to pretend I didn’t hear what she said. I wished I said “Yea there are millions of us”. It’s probably for the best that I didn’t say that.

The next weird incident was hands down the strangest. I was at my locker putting away my books. Then a guy I knew from class named Jake and one of his friends comes up to me. “Look at his hair. He has black people hair” said Jake to his friend. Then Jake pointed at me, and told his friend “Touch it”. This kid that I never meet before had his hands all in my hair. I literally said “what the fuck”, and pushed the kid’s hand away. The kid said “oh, I’m sorry”, and I just let it go, and went to my next class. I don’t know what kind guy thinks it is okay to touch another guy’s hair. I will always remember that strange comment “He has black people hair” That probably the strangest comment I have ever received.

I said before that most people who live in Midwest America usually have straight blonde or brown hair, as a result most of the girl’s I dated were either blonde or brunette. It seems like every girl I ever dated loved to touch my hair. I never minded if a girl I was dating wanted to touch my hair, but sometimes it got ridiculous. A funny moment happened when I slept over my former girlfriend’s house. I woke up to find her still sleeping and that she had both her hands grasping my hair. I found this very odd, and I asked her why she liked touching my hair? Her response was “I don’t know, I never been with a guy with really curly hair.” I will never understand why people are so fascinated about my hair, but it makes for a funny story.

Watch the scene from the movie.

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American Names Are Funny In Other Languages

Immigrant parents are not always aware when they come to the United States that their name means something completely different in English. An example would be in India a typical boy name is Manmeet which in English sounds like a sexual innuendo. I started to wonder if there are any typical American names that have a different meaning in other languages. After some research this is what I discovered.

The name PETER sounds like the French word for FART.

The name GARY sounds like the Japanese word for DIARRHEA.

The name HANNAH sounds like the Japanese word for NOSE.

The name MATT sounds like the Arabic word for DEATH.

The name BILL sounds like the Dutch word for BUTT CHEEK.

The name PITT sounds like the Swedish word for DICK.

The name BOBBY sounds like the Indonesian word for PIG.

The name LUKE sounds like the Russian word for MANHOLE.

If you encounter a person with a funny name just remember that your name is probably funny in some parts of the world.

RISE OF THE MOVIE REMAKES! Why are there so many remakes?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for last decade, you’ve noticed that Hollywood is making a lot of remakes. The most recent remake about to come out in theaters is “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” which is really a remake of “Conquest of The Planet of the Apes” with a different title. The question must be asked, why is Hollywood making so many remakes instead of making original movies? The reason for Hollywood remakes is not that surprising if you think about it. The movie industry has been losing money over the years. As a result of the loss of revenue movie companies are less likely to take any major risks.  So, any original scripts are harder to get produced, because there is no guarantee that they will make a profit. On the other hand if a movie in the past had success it will most likely get remade. Movie companies are hoping that fans of original movies will go see the remakes. From a purely marketing stand point remaking a movie is smart. The title of the movie sells itself. If you go to a movie theater and you see “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” you automatically know what the movie is about, and more likely to see it. Let’s look at the movies possibly getting remade in the near future.

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Keep in mind that this list does not count sequels. This list only includes remakes or reboots of popular movies. Every single one of these movies had financial success, and still has a fan following. This is also the reason why so many comic book movies are being made. Any movie that will have instant name recognition usually does financially well. Superman, Batman, Spider-man, are all comic book characters that brought large amounts of people to the movie theaters. Basically, anything that has a name that an audience will recognize. So, all your favorite cartoons, TV show, books, movies will most likely get a remake/reboot/sequel/adaptation sometime in future if it already hasn’t.

A good question to ask is how as consumers can we stop movie companies from remaking movies? A simple answer would be for people stop going to see movie remakes, but in reality people will go see them. We love to see our favorite characters with a new perspective. We have a curious cat problem. We want to see these movies, but are never satisfied with the results. Even if we could to people from going  to see remakes, the movie industry will just try to make another remake from another successful franchise.

I addressed in the beginning of this post this all started, because the movie industry is losing money. Why is the movie industry losing money? The most obvious reason is pirating of movies. Millions of people watch the movie online, and never pay to see the movie. The movie industry loves to say that this is the only reason they’re losing money, but they’re wrong. Going to movies is probably one of the most expensive things you can do now. The tickets and the food can make going to movies really expensive. Would you watch a movie in the theater or watch it home for free? No question you would watch it for free, unless you really want to watch it in the theater.

The movie industry needs to realize that the movie theatre experience is dying. In my father’s time you could catch a double or triple feature and spend most of the day at the theatre. When was the last time you could or really wanted to spend your whole day in a movie theatre? Now 3-D has become a big deal. I honestly like 3-D in some not all cases. For example Avatar. Although the movie Avatar was not the best I’ve ever seen. The 3-D experience in Avatar was epic, and made movie fun to watch. The movie industry has embraced 3-D since Avatar as an attempt to bring audiences back to the movie theatre. In the most part I applaud the effort, but movie companies are risking to make 3-D a gimmick. Movies like “Clash of The Titans” were made for 3-D, but it wasn’t planned to be a 3-D movie. The result was that “Clash of the Titans” was a mediocre movie with mediocre 3-D. The only good thing that came out of that movie was the phrase “Release the Kraken!”

The movie making business has become simply more about the money than anything else. The industry needs to realize that they’re the problem, and pirated movies are the symptom. Their failure to research what audiences really want to see in theaters is killing the industry.

Disqualifying The Iranian Women’s Soccer Team Is Not Democratic

Today as a fan of soccer I’m very upset with the recent decision of FIFA. For those that may not know. FIFA officials disqualified the Iranian women’s soccer team in a crucial match that would qualify them for the Olympic Games. The reason they were disqualified was because the female athletes were wearing religious head scarfs. Earlier in April FIFA decided to ban all religious garments in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.  The Iranian team toke it upon themselves to make a headscarf that was tight around the head, and complied with FIFA regulations. When the FIFA officials found that they were still in breach of regulations they were disqualified. This decision left these hardworking athletes in tears.

FIFA states that another reason for the ban is for the safety of the players. The official rules state  a player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to themselves or another player. FIFA contends that these head scarfs are dangerous. I would disagree. Also, a number of FIFA players wear headgear that I would consider more dangerous.Petr Cech, goal keeper for the team Chelsea. He is seen here wearing headgear every game after a serious head injury. I would contend that his headgear poses a bigger threat since it contains padding.

I am not a supporter of Iranian policy of forcing women to wear the headscarf. I believe that religion should be a choice, and shouldn’t be forced. To force women to wear the headscarf is oppression of the women’s right to express their faith as they see fit. That being said banning the headscarf also means that Muslim women from other countries, including western countries cannot compete. This ban forces observant Muslim women to choose between the beliefs, and their desire to compete. I suspect that this decision was made with other motives.  Whether the motives were political in nature, I’m not sure. I am sure that this decision is not Democratic, because Democracy is inclusive not exclusive. I’m sure that it’s not religious freedom. It’s simply wrong. This decision hurts the spirit of the Olympic Games, and FIFA should be ashamed.

What do you think?

Who is Jesus? Seriously…

My first experience with religion is not ordinary, but it does make for a funny story. To begin to this story I have to say that both parents are extremely non-religious. They are so non-religious that conversation about religion hardly or never happens. When I was the age of seven I went to elementary school in Philadelphia. My mother wanted to get me out of my school, because she didn’t like the neighborhood. My mother would say that there were crack bottles everywhere, but I never saw one personally. Anyway, she decided to enroll me into a private Catholic school in Philly. The only condition to my enrollment was that I had to attend Sunday school.

Literally without any explanation my mom told me that I had to go to this class, and she drove me to the school. I was very confused, why do I have to go to school on Sunday? My mother and I walked into the building, and went to the classroom where the teacher greeted both of us. The teacher was a twenty something woman and she told me to take a seat at an empty desk. When I sat down my mom waved goodbye and left.  Then I sat down listened to this teacher lecture. She started reading a story from a book, and I realize now it was the bible. Yes, I didn’t even know what the bible was. I had no clue what she was talking about, and I was thinking, what’s with the funny language? Thou, shall, cometh, what the heck are all these strange words? Then the teacher started taking about God, and doing good deeds. I also have to mention I didn’t even what God at this point. So, this woman’s lecture literally made no sense to me.  I left my first day in utter confusion. I remember my mom picking me up, but she never asked how the class was. Honestly, I was glad she didn’t ask me anything, because I wouldn’t know what to say.

For the next few months I continued to go to Sunday school. I still had no idea what the teacher was talking about. I remember getting a work book with some interesting pictures of a bearded white man. Who was this guy? I finally figured out the man’s name was Jesus, but the teacher never explained why he was important. Most likely the teacher thought she didn’t have to explain who Jesus was, and why he was important to Christians. Presumably most of the kids in the class grew up in Christian families, and were taught about these topics. You would think the teacher would lay down the basics. Jesus was the son of God and etc., but an explanation would never happened.

I remember the teacher talking about the crucifixion, and Jesus rising from the dead. “Wait, what is crucifixion?” I thought to myself.  It’s pretty fair that a seven-year old wouldn’t know what crucifixion was. I looked in my work book for clues, but there were no pictures of the crucifixion. Most likely the publisher of the books didn’t want to scare little children. Also, when I think about it there were no crucifixes in the classroom which was odd considering it was a Catholic School. How in the world did the teacher expect kids to know what is crucifixion? At the end of the course everybody got a piece paper saying you passed the class. Clearly I shouldn’t have passed the class if I didn’t learn anything. A couple of days later after the class was over I asked my mom “Who is Jesus?” and my mom was stunned. Finally she explained everything, and I learned more in that conversation than the whole time I was in Sunday school. Around my third year of college I talked to my mom about this, and she said “I thought they would teach you everything”. The funniest thing about this whole story is that a Catholic Sunday school failed to teach me anything about Christianity.

Race: Does It Exist?

Star Trek episode "Let that be your last battlefield" explored the issue of race.

Nobody can dispute that race exists in our minds, and hearts. We consider race as a major part of our identity. Race is part of our lives, and our reality. The question I would like to put forth is “Where did race come from? Also, why does race exist?”

To answer these questions we must ask another question is who am I? Ultimately this question leads us to a path of distinguishing ourselves from billions of people. Humanity has this overwhelming desire to feel special, and superior. Race seems to be an easy solution for the desire of superiority, especially among others that may not accept you. Having something that distinguishes us and makes us feel exceptional is very appealing, and is essential part of why race exists today.

However, something stronger than the human need to feel exceptional is politics. Political leaders have used race as the means of maintaining their power. Race has also been used to maintain control over a particular geography(homeland). Claiming a homeland ensures your people’s right to that land. This excludes any previous and future rights of any other group. The issue of land and resources is very crucial for building racial identity. Political leaders further ensure that the homeland remains in their power by forcing a unifying language. To live on the homeland a person must speak the language. If you refuse to speak the language you will be socially or  forcefully expelled from the land. Race was and still is the most powerful political tool.

Many claim that race can be determined by our genes. For the sake of discussion say if an Irish boy was adopted by an English family, and that the boy never knew he was Irish. Does that mean that the boy is no longer Irish? If race can so easily changed the questions should be asked, does race really exist? I am aware this example is far from perfect. Let’s say the boy was from Africa, and was adopted by a Chinese family? The boy’s complexion would make him ineligible to be considered Chinese in the eyes of many. But, this is an issue of appearance not race. For the sake of argument say If we took the populations of Asia and Africa and switched their locations. After a long period of time their appearances would change. The Africans would begin to resemble the Asians, and the Asians would begin to resemble the Africans. Physical appearance is an adaptation to our environment, and if our descendants move to a different environment they will most likely no longer resemble ourselves. Race is a mental determination not a biological determination. The idea of race has molded over time, and what it means to belong to a certain race changes. If race really existed, it should be permanent, and not evolving.

There is no doubt that race is a powerful and an emotional issue for many. Race should never be ignored or trivialized. To ignore this issue would underestimate people’s need to feel exceptional and important which is something we all desire on some level. Nonetheless it should be understood that race lives in our minds, and not in our DNA.

What do you think?

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