Beyond the Rhetoric


What’s Up Wednesdays: Wanna Play a Game?

December 10th, 2014 by Michael Kwan


It’s time for another speedlink here on Beyond the Rhetoric and we’re getting started with fellow gaming dad Zach Rosenberg. Like me, he’s starting to feel a little old now that we’ve celebrated the 20th anniversary of PlayStation. I didn’t get into the Sony ecosystem until the PS3 (and even then, not really), since I grew up as a Nintendo fanboy. For me, I couldn’t wait to play Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64 the following year in 1995. Of course, being reminded that Street Fighter II is 23, the original Game Boy is 25 and Tetris is 30 doesn’t make me feel much younger either.

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Grammar 101: Lead and Led

December 9th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Grammar 101 with Michael Kwan

The English language can be confusing enough when you have two words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and have entirely different meanings. Things get even more confusing when you have words that are spelled the same, but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, as well as being interconnected with other words too. That’s exactly the case with lead and led, and this has led to a great deal of incorrect usage.

Let’s start with the basics.

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The Double Standard of Gender-Appropriate Toys

December 8th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

GI Joe 25th

The other day, I came across a flowchart that addressed the issue of gender-appropriate toys for children. It stated, when trying to figure out if a particular toy is appropriate for a particular gender, you only have to ask yourself one question: Do you operate this toy with your genitalia?

If the answer is no, then the toy can be enjoyed by both boys and girls. If the answer is yes, then the toy is probably not meant for children.

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Sunday Snippet: Sarah Connor (Terminator 2)

December 7th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

“Watching John with the machine, it was suddenly so clear. The terminator would never stop. It would never leave him, and it would never hurt him, never shout at him, or get drunk and hit him, or say it was too busy to spend time with him. It would always be there. And it would die, to protect him. Of all the would-be fathers who came and went over the years, this thing, this machine, was the only one who measured up. In an insane world, it was the sanest choice.”

A few movies will always hold a special place in my heart, Good Will Hunting, Forrest Gump, and Bloodsport among them. What’s a little curious is that, in these last couple of weeks, we have been bombarded with a number of trailers to sequels that tap into that same sense of nostalgia. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is a prime example of this. Jurassic World is another. And then, there is the trailer for Terminator Genisys, which apparently looks to rewrite the history of the franchise.

WARNING: Possible spoilers below for Terminator Genisys

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On the Appreciation for Art and History

December 5th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Amsterdam 2013

A big part of me is decidedly pragmatic and utilitarian in nature. I generally look for pieces of furniture that are functional and practical in design. I think about how those shelves and drawers can be best utilized to suitably store my stuff. At the same time, I’m also a dreamer at heart, one who gets caught up easily in beautiful art and culture.

While making my way around the Facebook wall earlier today, a friend of mine shared a photo of some teenagers at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Rather than appreciating and attempting to understand the great works of Rembrandt, they all had their backs turned to “The Night’s Watch” and were all gazing intently at their smartphone screens instead.

Why are you even at an art gallery or museum in the first place if you’re not going to look at what’s on display?

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My 2014 Christmas Wishlist

December 4th, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Super Smash Selfie by Creative Tart

When I publish my Christmas wishlist on this blog each year, I don’t really expect anyone to buy anything for me. These lists are inherently filled with a number of consumer-centric “wants” and they have very little to do with my “needs.” That being said, I did buy myself two of the items from last year’s wishlist and, while it took quite a bit of time, all of the items from the 2010 wishlist were eventually acquired (with a few suitable substitutes).

And so, as I sit down to write this year’s wishlist, I do so with very little in terms of expectations. While some of these items are certainly for my own self-indulgent enjoyment, I’ve also included a few items for my little baby daughter too. After all, the best Christmas gift that I could possibly receive this year has already arrived and I just want her to stay happy and healthy.

Let’s get started.

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What’s Up Wednesdays: Sweet Dreams

December 3rd, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Mother & newborn sleeping

In last week’s speedlink, we learned how you could roll a soiled baby layette down to avoid smearing the mess on her poor little head. This week, we learn another useful parenting tip, this time from Mummie Erin. One of the challenges is helping the baby get a good night’s rest, so Erin explains the science of 90 minute sleep cycles. The acronym N.A.P.S. can allow parents and their babies to finally enjoy some sweet dreams.

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Grammar 101: On Revisionist Pronunciation

December 2nd, 2014 by Michael Kwan

Grammar 101 with Michael Kwan

When two words have the same pronunciation and one is written far more often than the other, you might struggle with choosing the right one. Someone might use “segway” when they really mean to write “segue” instead. That can cause some confusion, to be sure, but what happens when someone decides to say an existing word in a different way in an effort to avoid sounding offensive? This is the nature of revisionist pronunciation.

Perhaps one of the best known examples of this is the planet Uranus. As children, many of us enjoyed many a childish giggle over the proper pronunciation for the name of this planet. We’d jokingly ask one another, “Are there rings around Uranus?”

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