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In the past few years, people have been becoming much more concerned with the enivronment. Even some who are outside of environmentalist groups have begun throwing punches at global warming. Way back in 1971, Dr. Seuss published his children’s book, The Lorax. Apparently, few readers listened to the lesson found in this Dr. Seuss title. Throughout the next three decades, environmental decay had not slowed.

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Most know about Bruce Lee the martial artist and actor; Many know about Bruce Lee the philosopher; Few know about Bruce Lee the poet. Indeed, Bruce Lee spent much of his free time writing poetry and translating Chinese poems. In fact, his poetry is of a high quality, worthy of acknowledgement although his other accomplishments are far overshadowing. Most of his poems seem to have been for his wife (or possibly wife-to-be at the time). He often speaks of being distanced from the one he loves. Although distant love is a recurring theme, each poem still has a certain uniqueness.

I recently discovered a book entitled The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy. I only had a chance to flip through the pages because I did not have the money to buy the book, although I certainly will soon enough. Nonetheless, it reveals a concept about the world that is rarely considered by most people. Fiction has a strong foundation from what the creator(author, game programmer, director, producer, poet, etc.) has learned about reality, but it can also allow others to learn about life. Why is the Legend of Zelda a very popular game? The gameplay is very important in this claim, but so are the minds of the players. The concept of the game appeals to players in ways that similar games do not. Some people may recognize this idea in their choice of games, but most often it is subtle and subconscious.

I am not comletely against abortion, and I admit, as a male, I am confused about what is right and wrong. However, I do have a beef to pick with some pro-choice activists, and I highlight the word some. Activists sometimes seem so proud of their stance that it almost appears as if they think the actual act of abortion is a good-righteous thing. They blast anti-abortionists/pro-life activists for not being open, but often are unwilling to question their own viewpoint. Perhaps they are merely just portrayed as egotistical and only considerate of thier own bodies. I am not making an arugment against abortion, but I do think it is more than just a matter of women’s rights.

I picked up an intriguing book while browsing Barnes & Nobles entitled Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Tells us About Living in the West. Recently I have found myself addicted to Chinese philosophy and so the name of Confucius drew my attention. Then I read the back. It is a book about living in East Asia mostly from the perspective of living in Japan. Yes, Japan is in East Asia, but Confucius was not Japanese so the title was misleading. Okay, that’s fine, the book the still seems like it might be a good read. However, using Japan to generalize the lifestyle of East Asia is like using Germany to generalize the lifestyle of Western Europe. There are many similiarities to the way they think and conduct everyday life amongst the different countries, but also many, many differences. Perhaps the book should be entitled A Samurai Lives Next Door because Japanese thought is far more influenced by Samurai customs than by Confucius (or Kongzi). A most important difference between the most identifiable nations in East Asia, Japan and China, is that Japan has been much more influenced by western customs than has China. This is very significant when an author tries to write about a region. Perhaps the book is good, and perhaps the author does take these ideas into account – I have yet to read the book and may soon do so.

I made a new blog intro that is already on the “World of MegaSonic” page under the one for last year. I devoted this blog intro to self-expression, much as I did the previous one but in a different fashion. I use a knowledge of video games and video editing experimentation to tell a sort of short story that describes what I hope to accomplish with this blog. Plus a bit of humor for Chrono Trigger fans.

In reflection of my accusation of the immorality of taking sides without understanding the situation (See Free Tibet?!), I must also review the Palestine-Israel commotion of late 2008/early 2009. When studying the situation, it may seem that taking a side, even if one understands the situation, is not always the best choice.

There is a growing sympathy, and rightfully so, for the Gaza-Palestinians. As of now, over 1,000 people have been killed, including numerous children. Far Fewer on the side of Israel haven been killed by Hamas rockets. The battle is lopsided in terms of power and morality, or so it seems. Hamas troops do use civilian holds as hiding places and safe keeps, but this is not the only issue at hand. Due to the ill-sentiment of the state and existence of Israel by a large portion of the Muslim Middle East, Israel apparently believes that whenever they are attacked they must show massive force to keep other possible enemies at bay. But even this is not the main issue.

How can someone pick sides when each side is in the wrong. As the saying goes — two wrongs don’t make a right. The quote may be overused, but it is a good virtue to live by.

Israel should take shame in its mutilation of Gaza. But the Palestinians should also take shame, in hte failure to call out the wrong from within. Hamas may not be a direct threat to the Palestinian people, and has even been known to be helpful to the people, but the existence of this entity creates threats for others and by doing so brings malice to Palestine. They seem to think it is okay for Hamas to exist as long as Hamas is no threat to them, and that Hamas helps them have a “better standard of living.” However, is it really okay to rely on such an entity? Is it really okay to  even simply be fine that such an entity exists? I can understand how the people of the region can pick their side in this issue, especially when their families, homes, and livlihood are threatned. However, for someone without a stake in the region, taking sides should nto be so simple as who killed more. How is it we can find support for the mass murder? How is it that we can find support for people who accept the support of an entity and the cost of others? When both sides are blatantly wrong, choosing a side is ignorant. Palestine and Israel need to just put away their weapons. For the people of this region the issue does dwelve deeper, but this particular conflict is foolish.

This is a list of the best ten sonic stages from the four main Genesis/Mega Drive games in my opinion. I also made a video of this on Youtube some months ago. I sort of redefined a zone as a location. This way the Scrap Brain zone and Final zone are one, sky chase and Wing fortress are one, lava reef and hidden palace are one, and the Death Egg zones from 2 and S&K are one.

10) Metropolis – I didn’t really have a reason. I just couldn’t decide what to put here.

9) Launch Base – I like the boss sequence of Sonic 3 version, but the stage can be fairly bland at times so that’s why it is low.

8 ) Sky Chase/Wing Fortress – This stage is here mostly because of the innovation. Fight from on top of a small plane grabbed my interests, and getting through the Wing Fortress requires a bit more strategy than the average level.

7) Green Hill – The first and, perhaps, the most identifiable zone. Alas, it is too short to move higher on the list, as all 3 acts can fly by in about a minute.

6) Starlight – The music is of this zone is well-liked by many, and the smooth gameplay of the stage allows some high-flying antics.

5) Scrap Brain/Final Zone – Here began the tough decisions. Arrival at the Scrap Brain zone always pumps some adrenaline with the knowledge that Robotnik is near. Speed here is not always wise, as it can result in death. The setting and the traps are memorable, along with the scene after the second act. Then there is the Final Zone. Probably the best name for any zone, but far too easy even without rings, for anyone willing to use the cheating corner.

4) Doomsday Zone – A true boss stage. An epic battle between Super Sonic and the creation of Robotnik. Unfortunately, since it is just a boss fight, it doesn’t quite measure to the following zones.

3) Ice Cap – Great level concept, great music. From the first sight of the snowboard, to the sequence after the boss of pummeling through the snow, this stage has “cool” quality.

2) Lava Reef/Hidden Palace – Again great level concept and great music. What sets this stage apart is the storytelling of the Hidden Palace Zone. To fight Knuckles, and finally understand why, then to team up with him is unforgettable. This is the zone that gives meaning to all of the previous zones, battles, and even the previous games.

1) Death Egg – The only zone to actually appear in 2 games (Three if you count the fact that it is visible in Sonic 3 and a battle commences from under it). The site of great battles; of triumph and defeat; of the greatest significance in the four games. The Death Egg Zone may be stolen from Star Wars, but thievery does not take away from the importance of this zone.

Our choice of what is more important and what is less important should not be determined by where we live. The issues of the world have no relativity to our own location. In determining what we believe to be more important, we should first know the truth of the situation. The education we have in school, and the education of reading is not necessarily enough. Take for instance the issue of Tibetan independence, a growing cause amongst people of the United States. Do we as people of the U.S. actually know enough to claim our belief as correct and moral?

It is apparent that the people of Tibet do not have a standard of living equal to the core of China, but we who have no true experience with the culture and the location can be easily deceived. We are presented in media with the Dalai Lama as a pure, religious leader representative of his people. However, further reading into the background of the Dalai Lama creates fuzz around the former perception. Chosen at birth, raised in high regard of the people, can he truly be the “good” person we are presented with in the United States media. Expelled by the “evil” communists of the People’s Republic of China, he is given the benefit of the doubt and a look into history can show he may not deserve such benefit. Then again, what right does China have to claim the land of Tibet? Perhaps, the land, already distinct and semi-autonomous should be given true independence. Yet, who are we, as Americans to say we know the answer.

The United States stole the southern region of the nation from Mexico. There is no outcry amongst the people to return this land to Mexico. Of course, the people of Texas do not have their rights and beliefs limited in the same fashion as the people of Tibet. At one time, it was so. The Latino people of the southern region of the United States have struggled with equality…continue to do so. In Mexico, of importance in such an argument, drug trade, crime, and kidnappings are far more rampant than in the United States. The state of Texas, for example, does suffer from drug smuggling, but the quality of life is far from Mexico, causing numerous immigrants to flea illegally across the border. Would we relinquish Texas to allow Mexico a better economy? If the Mexicans and people of Mexian descent in Texas, Arizon, New Mexico, and California were treated very poorly, perhaps they too would call for independence.

With this outlook—maybe China should just extend the same care for Tibet as it does for the core of the Middle Kingdom. We must consider the other consequences of Tibetan Independence. If they were to acquire a fully independent state, they would need to have a fully functioning government, economy, and other national systems. It could certainy be done. There is also the question of the Han majority who live in Tibet. Is it possible that any possible treachery could be reversed? Why is there no call of indepence for the other four so-called autonomous regions of China? The consequences can be higher than freedom, for Tibet and China.  How is it we can hold ourselves to be of higher morality than any other? Especially when we are unwilling to seek out the truth. I do not yet know the truth. I do have my suspicions as to what the truth of the situation may be, but I am not willing to call out for justice on the premise of a whim.

Recent polls are showing that Barack Obama became even more popular as the inauguration approached. The expectations for Obama run high, and the promises he has made may be even higher. This trust in one man to make-do on lofty promises may be familliar to someone who has seen The Dark Knight. Harvey Dent, the white knight district attorney of Gotham City: Two-Face, a twisted foe of justice. They are one and the same, although the people who trusted him, including Batman, could never have imagined this to be so. Dent’s Idealism, the expectations of the people, and the grim reality of the situation combined to create a murderous monster. Obama has the expectation, and possibly an even greater expectation than the fictional character of Dent; Obama speaks as though he may have the same level of idealism; and Obama faces the grim reality of hardships he listed in his speech (economy, health care, education, war, terrorism, etc). One can only trust Obama to stick to his promises unlike Harvey Dent who failed the people of Gotham. Had Batman not taken the fall for Dent’s shortcomings, all hope would have been lost. If Obama comes up short of the goal line, even by a foot, it could have drastic consequences on the morale of America. Thankfully, this is not a movie script, and the outcome has not been written yet.