HBO is Coming

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Every week, the internet loses its collective mind. It’s like our news cycle is constantly on steroids; it’s always something. Last week it was an allegedly misquoted rape quote segueing into who’s actually responsible for turning our country into a BPO powerhouse, segueing into allegedly egregious helicopter usage followed by a breakdown of how much said egregious helicopter user actually pays in taxes. The mud-slinging is made even more intense because the reaction is in real time. It’s a not so civil war out there. I don’t mind people who take a measured, informed, calm stand because I’m a firm advocate for looking at all sides of an equation. I dislike the ones who foam at the mouth with fervour and overused exclamation points. These are the people who make my news feed an amalgamation of passive/aggressive rhetoric, perceived awesome burns, obvious hashtags and all sorts of propaganda. It’s exhausting. And tiresome. It’s hard enough deciding which guy to vote for without the blasted peanut gallery going on for days. I’m going to be a lot happier when this election is done.

Speaking of the internet losing its mind, the new season of Game of Thrones premieres on Sunday, exclamation point! I can now ignore the very real bickering over who gets to be president of the Philippines in favour of the very imaginary bickering over who gets to rule Westeros. Deep breaths. Watch thirty second teaser trailer. Squeal like a crazy person. Repeat breathing exercise as needed. (Clearly, my priorities need further examination.)

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Bringing Up Baby

The Cost of Caring, a long, illuminating piece that ran in The New Yorker, introduces us to Emma, a poor Filipina from Bukidnon who moved overseas to become a nanny. This is, of course, a familiar, heart-rending story. Emma is an illegal immigrant who lives on a pittance, and remits a major chunk of the money she makes to her family. To put all six of her children through school, she cares for other people’s children instead, and subsists on $2 noodle soup.

What really bothers me is that this woman wasn’t in a very good economic position to start with, and she still made the highly- irresponsible decision to have six children anyway. Six is an insane number of mouths to feed, and it’s even more of a strain if you’re poor.

Beyond moving abroad and living on a shoestring budget, there will be other, more widespread repercussions to her decision. When they grow up, each of her six children is likely to have children of their own, whose children will also have children and on and on, world without end.

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Adventures in Cord-Cutting

Has there ever been a better time to enjoy streaming content? The quality of TV shows these days is stellar. Still, living through the new golden age of television is expensive and beyond the Tennis Channel, paid cable doesn’t appeal to me at all. First, there are way too many channels I’ll never watch. Also, there are too many commercials. Really, who doesn’t love being inundated with ads for libido enhancers, adult diapers and Zoloft? (Over here, the target audience takes white armpits and chunky corned beef for granted. Our struggle is not necessarily their struggle.) Finally, and most egregious of all, paid cable is pricey. It doesn’t even include HBO unless you fork over an extra $20 a month.

Of course all this awesome entertainment is available online for free, if you know where to look, wink wink, nudge nudge.  Read More »