Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Trouncing was Thorough!

And just in case anybody was actually wondering, (I know I was!!) UT - Chattanooga used to be known as the Moccasins, probably named for Moccasin Bend, a part of Tennessee River near Chattanooga. Up until the 1960s, the team's mascot was a water moccasin (good choice, right?), when they started using an actual moccasin... you know, like the shoes. In the '70s, they adopted a Native American theme, and their mascot was a caricatured Indian chief. In 1996, amid the wave of sickening mascot political correctness, they threw out the Native American theme. Oddly, they passed on this perfect opportunity to go back to the fearsome water moccasin, chopped off the last two syllables of the nickname, and changed their mascot to a mockingbird dressed as a train engineer, simultaneously honoring the state bird of Tennessee and the song "Chattanooga Choo Choo". Yes, seriously. Thanks, Wikipedia.

Incidentally, does anybody remember this song? I saw it in a commercial today, and was reminded of how much I liked it.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Tomorrow, OU's football season begins with the trouncing of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs! I have no idea what a Moc is... but if their logo is any indication, it has something to do with trains!

As they are from the esteemed Southern Conference, from the Division formerly known as I-AA, I doubt they'll cause anybody much trouble. But still, it's the season opener, and everybody loves the season opener. It's still a little weird not getting ready for the first Pride show, but it's a lot less strange than last year. I didn't even miss pre-camp.

I'm going to put down a prediction of an 11-1 season, another Big 12 Championship victory. We're going to win the BCS bowl this time too... I probably won't be there, because I'm really poor, but we're going to win, damnit.

Anyway, tomorrow's the main thing right now. Here's to nobody important getting injured, and a convincing victory all around!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Discrimination? Coincidence? Habanero- flavored Tortilla Chips?

The door to the room slowly opens with a low squeak. A svelte young man pokes his head in, then steps through the crack. He glances around at the sparse, ill-attended furnishings, cuts a tiny swath through the accumulated layers of dust on the table with his index finger. He rubs it, pensively, with his finger for a brief moment, pulls the nearest chair out, and quickly sits.

Right then.

Sorry about that. It seems I pulled a... you guys. Hopefully that won't happen again, at least not for a little while.

Anyway, this morning as I was checking my email I popped in my DVD of The Office (Season 3), and took in an episode, the one with the Christmas party, where Michael, Dwight, Jim, and Andy all go to Benihana for lunch. For those of you unfamiliar (which should be nobody, since, as far as I know, everybody who might read this watches The Office) Benihana is one of those teppanyaki places, where they grill Japanese food on the table in front of you. To the point though, in the episode, all the servers and cooks are Asian. Michael refers to it as "Asian Hooters". All this general silliness brings me to think about such places, where they seem to hire staff based on a physical trait. We don't have a Benihana here in Norman, but we do have T.E.A. cafe, where all the employees (save one, that I've seen) are Asian. I've always wondered the reason behind this... whether it was on purpose, or if they just happened to have attracted this ethnicity, due to the beginnings of the place. For example, maybe it started as a family business, with an Asian family running the place, and when people considered applying, they took the ethnically homogeneous staff into consideration. The fact that they do have at least one non-Asian employee there leads me to believe that the latter is probably true; through the connections and relations of the original staff, the cultural bent of the business, and the perceptions of prospective applicants, they just happen to have acquired a staff without much diversity.

Another common instance of this trend can be seen, around here at least, in Mexican restaurants. In most of the locally owned Mexican restaurants, the entire staff is Latino. These cases, though, are fairly easily explainable by the language barrier. In most of these restaurants, the business in the kitchen is conducted almost entirely in Spanish. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect them to hire employees who speak it, and could easily blend into the work environment.

Then, there are cases where there's an unspoken standard of beauty that the companies seem to uphold. Is it really a coincidence that all the servers at some restaurants and bars are physically attractive young women? On the record, the businesses probably tell you that, but I doubt it. Do mall clothing stores only get applications from young, white, pretty people? Almost surely not... Abercrombie and Fitch, in particular, has taken flack in the media for their shady hiring practices, and it surprise me if they were the only ones holding their stores up to similar unethical standards. It's unfair, sure, but does it matter?

Ultimately, we have to decide as a society, if we care. Personally, it doesn't bother me that Asians are serving me Asian food, and Latinos are serving me Mexican food. T.E.A. Cafe, at least, can prove that a non-Asian can get a job there, and language concerns such as exist at many locally-owned Mexican restaurants are, ultimately, legitimate job-screening tools. Sure, an ACLU lawyer could probably get some Gringo hired at Tarahumara's if they felt slighted enough, but it would probably only make problems for the efficiency of their business. Cases where people are hired only for their looks, though, are different. The companies here are violating the essential meritocratic principals that are central to the American ideal, that with enough will power, determination, and skill, anyone can get ahead in life. While it's true that the world doesn't operate on idealistic principals, to so blatantly reject them is reprehensible, and worthy of all the disgust the practice incites.