Thursday, December 30, 2004

Fun Tests About Yourself

Here's how I look in these tests. I would say they are pretty close.





Your Dominant Intelligence is Interpersonal Intelligence



You shine in your ability to realate to and understand others.
Good at seeing others' points of view, you get how people think and feel.
You have an uncanny ability to sense true feelings, intentions, and motivations.
A natural born leader, you are great at teaching and mediating conflict.

You would make a good counselor, salesperson, politician, or business person.









Your Element Is Earth



You excel at planning and strategizing.
You could be a champ at chess or Survivor.

Well grounded, you are able to be realistic and rationalize.
On the inside, you have a hard core. It's tough to phase you.

You are super productive, and you are able to think anything through.
Focused and super charged, your instincts are a good guide for your next step.



Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Ethical Experimentation

Thanks to the Book of ThoTH website I was directed to an interesting article about stem cell research and the moral issue of mixing human cells with that of animals.

On the surface this sounds like something from a horror film. The article sites, "The Island of Dr. Moreau” as one example.

Go and read the article, then come back here for my take on the issue.

Without experimentation our scientific knowledge will stagnate. These scientists have already stated that they are learning more from these experiments then they ever wood have.

I think the risks are worth the end if it can bring cures to things like Parkinson's, cancer, Alzheimer's, etc...

We are reaching yet another point in our lives where science fiction meets science fact. Already the ability to have almost every body part replaced is upon us. Add to this the addition of bionic pieces like appendages, hearts, eyes and we can medically do just about anything.

How close are we to being able to walk in to the hospital and get replacement parts just because we can? Once we start replacing body parts, at what point do we cease to be who we were, and change into something we were not?

Should there now be laws that we can only replace a certain percentage of our current bodies to regain our own humanity? Once we reach adulthood should we be allowed to go into a medical hobby shop and get replacement organs that are genetically superior then the ones we are born with?

Medically speaking we are doing things now that would have been unheard of even 20 years ago. We got to this point by scientists doing experiments. By restraining the hands of the scientists we may be signing the extermination of our own race.

To adapt for the future we must continue to explore, experiment, and grow scientifically. Scary or not, this is the way it will be and I really don't see anyone being able to stop this forward progress.

Unfortunately, if this type of research “gets away” from us, I can foresee something like the Planet of the Apes movie actually coming to pass. How far fetched would it be for our scientists to create several primate chimera, and allow them to breed for experimental purposes.

Once these human/primates become more cognoscente of who they are, they could potentially demand their rights. Before you know it, there are primate sections in cities. Far fetched? These days I think it's only an experiment gone out of control away.

All of these horror stories aside, I still think that if the end result is the cure of major diseases that now haunt our population, it will be worth the effort and the risks.

So where do we go from here?

As is our way, we'll cinch up our morals and march on into the future.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Open Letter To Kim

Kim,

Don't be in too big a hurry to grow up. I know it's tough, but I'm serious when I say, enjoy it while you can, your childhood is almost gone, and you will miss it regardless of what you think at the moment.

Ah, piercings. I may be an old fart like your folks, so you may just ignore what I think as well. I think the standard one per ear looks nice. More then that starts to look worse as the numbers increase. I fail to see the reasons behind multiple piercings, but then again, I'm ancient.

Don't get me started with the rest of the body. Smile

As a comparrison many of the people in high school that had multiple piercings, guys with long hair, etc... quickly switched into mature mode when they had to get into college, get jobs, and yes, even get dates.

Although expressing yourself when you're younger seems like a good idea at the time, the unfortunate side effect is that the only people who agree are at your same peer level. Everyone else you have to interface with, boss, parents, teachers, etc... look at you much differently, and not in a positive way.

I realize that sucks, and does not seem right, but it's a truism none-the-less.

You are an extremely intelligent person, and because of that you will feel older in some ways. Intelligence is a great thing, but wisdom only comes from longevity. The young think they are wise until they grow up and begin to realize how nieve they were.

Instead of seeking to rebel against the elders of the clan, might I suggest you step back and truly listen to their advice from a studied viewpoint. Resist the urge to want to do everything your way or else.

For some reason I keep using the line from the Spiderman comics and movies, but in its simplicty is a profound lesson.

"With great power comes great responsibility."

The reason there are age limits imposed on the young is to save them from themselves. As we grow up our minds play tricks on us. We think we're ready to conqure the world when we're 6 years old. These feelings increase as we get even older.

It's perfectly normal to think you are an adult at 16, but look back and you will hopefully understand this reasoning. Heck, look at Freshmen in your school, and see if you think they're as ready for things as you thought you were at their age.

Oh yes, but they are all immature compared to you. News flash, they are all thinking the same thing about the younger kids behind them as well.

Your feelings are not something unique to just you. Most kids feel this way, and it's been that way since probably the human race has existed.

When you cross the threshhold of an age, for example 18, nobody looks at you as an instant adult. In fact, many 18 year olds figure this out quickly. The age of 18 is when the world begins to let you learn what making decisions on your own is all about. You're going to mess up a lot for the rest of your adult life, because you can now make those decisions.

Let's look back once again to the younger crowd. How do you think the world would be if the drinking age was lowered to 16, or removed altogether? Pretty much chaos. Driving would become a lot more dangerous, and many more kids would be dead from overextending themselves at parties, etc...

This is why we make people wait until they are 21 before they can drink. Regardless of how old you feel at 18, you still have some growing up to do.

It's the very act of kids wanting to get drunk and party that throws up the warning flags. Many of those same partying adults will grow up and realize how stupid an immature they were. They stop drinking, and start acting like a responsible member of society. This is why there are age limits.

Do you want to drink, smoke, take drungs? Why? What will it provide you that you do not already have? I do not drink, smoke, or do drugs, and never have, because I too used my intelligence and reasoned out that these things would provide me with nothing positive, and only potential negatives in my life, so why start?

I'm an adult, so chances are you tuned me out several paragraphs ago. If not, I'll leave you with this last thought.

If your goal is to have a good life, listen to the advice of those who have gone before you. Many mistakes can be bypassed by using your intelligence and heeding the wisdom of your elders. This is true in business, history, war and even life.

By-the-way, I still enjoy a good fart joke!

Monday, December 27, 2004

Who Are You?

Throughout my life I have had to deal with many different types of personalities. As such, I think over the years I have developed the ability to see people beyond their surface attitudes. In a sense, I “don't judge a book by its cover”.

Stereotypically speaking, there are some folks from New York City who have an abrasive personality. I have had to work with such a person and got to know him very well.

My boss, had the impression that this person was a terrible worker, mostly based on his minor exposure to him at one point or another. I can't even begin to tell you what I went through to defend this worker when it came time to write his review. I was challenged by my boss time and again on my position. This employee was one of my best workers, but he did come across a bit rough at times, with him, I would merely “consider the source”.

I know people with an outward demeanor of being an ass. Some of these same people would be the first to lend a hand when you are in need, and do whatever they could to help. Buried within them is also the love for other people that is so strong, they try not to let it show so as not to ruin their tough personality.

When you get into a fight with someone, whether it be a friend or family member, remember the adage that “it takes two to tango”. If someone always makes comments that seem like little digs here and there, my bet is that this is how they are to everyone. These little comments are how they deal with life.

Taking what someone says too personally is a bad way to go through life. I am going to fill this article with cliché's, because they just seem to fit. In fact, so many of these obvious remarks fit so well because they are common mistakes that people make when dealing with one another.

If someone makes comments about you that are not a blatant attack on you, let them roll off of you “like water off a duck”. Remember, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Do these sound silly yet? Think about your actions toward others who you think are hurting you with their words.

I always thought that people who used the, “your mother...” offensive tactic were ignorant. You can say anything you want about my mother and I will not get upset. First of all, because you don't know my mother, and second because I know you are using this tactic just to anger me. Sorry, but you're not worth the effort. I do know my mother, and nothing your narrow mind can sum up to try to demean her can provoke me.

Speaking of my mother, let's look at family members for a bit.

This can apply to the family you grew up with, or perhaps even your spouse, siblings or children. Chances are you have lived with these people for a very long time. It's a normal thing for people who live together for long periods of time to get on each other's nerves. Accepting this fact is half the battle.

There will always be arguments and issues within a family unit. The trick to dealing with these is simple. “If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Told you I was going to use a lot of cliché's.

If someone in your family “gets on your nerves”, or “rubs you the wrong way”, go someplace else and calm down. If it's just a verbal disagreement my advice to you, as the bigger person, would be to get over it. A weak-willed person will dwell on such an issue and work themselves into such a tizzy that they get angrier and angrier. This is not the way to deal with this.

After you have got away from the ugly scene, think about how strong you are an how secure you are in who you are and how you look at life. After all, you know who you are, you look in the mirror every day and know that you are a strong and independent person, and that no amount of words uttered by another person can affect that.

Once you have regained your sense of self, think about the person who is so sad that they need to make comments like that to others just to give themselves an ego boost. This is probably not their fault, it is their personality that has grown on them as they have matured.

In reality, your personality probably drives others nuts as well. I know my own personality is not without flaws. I'm just thankful that those I deal with at work and in my family have learned to accept me for who I am, flaws and all.

Now think about who the person you have issues with are as a person. Does this person give you gifts, send you cards, show up to important events in your life? If the answer is yes, chances are they love you very much, they just have trouble with their own personalities. If this is the case, then there is no need to begin a war with these folks, because it will become a futile battle. They can no more change who they are then you can.

This is where your inner strength must win out. You know they cannot change their personality for you, and you now understand that they truly care for you, they just have trouble expressing themselves properly. Don't fall into the trap of becoming so wrapped up in your own emotions about the pettiness of others, that you can't find your way back to them.

Be the stronger person. “Swallow your pride” and apologize, or take the first step in healing old wounds. “Consider the source”, then after that, accept that the source is flawed and work to help repair the damage that has occurred between you and the other person.

There is no honor in sticking to your anger and possibly destroying a relationship any further. Doing this allows the flaw in others to trigger a flaw in yourself. Holding onto anger, and letting it smolder inside of you is a flaw that needs to be worked out of your personality. If you are experiencing this, it is a tough road to haul, but it can be done.

This is a common problem with many marriages. For some reason one spouse or the other, or perhaps both, try to change the other. I'll step out on another stereotypical limb here, but it does seem like women try to change men in many cases. I have some advice for you women who are struggling with this now.

YOU ARE NOT GOING TO CHANGE YOUR MAN. It won't happen, ever!

Do not get married with the thought that after marriage you will somehow be able to train your partner to do tricks only you want them to do. If you have problems with them before marriage that you don't think you will be able to tolerate, don't marry that person!

Can you tell me that you have never uttered a hurtful word to someone else? Even unknowingly, because of your own personality, you may have hurt someone else. This brings us to, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Can a bible verse be a cliché? I think they qualify. And don't go abusing me for getting the verses wrong, I'm pulling these out of my faulty brain, not researching sacred biblical documents here.

One last cliché before I end this. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Regardless of how others treat you, stay strong and self confident. When you're strong, nobody can lead you down the path to anger unless you allow them to. If you find yourself angry already, only you can pull yourself back out.

Nobody affects you like you affect yourself. In short, if you have a bad relationship with someone, it's always your own fault whether you choose to admit this or not.

Stop whining. Stand up straight, march right over to the person you're having a disagreement with and say, “I'm sorry.”

Monday, December 20, 2004

Cyber Sleuths Nab A Sicko

What a sick world we live in. Perhaps we do not live in a sick world, it’s just that some humans, if you can call them that, are really messed up individuals.

I could not believe the story when I heard that someone had killed a pregnant woman, then cut an unborn baby from her and kidnapped it. Doesn’t this sound more like a bizarre horror flick then reality?

Unfortunately for Bobbie Jo Stinnett, reality was worse then the movies on the day she was to meet someone that wanted to purchase a rat terrier puppy from her. Apparently this was just a ploy to get close to the mother-to-be so that she could be strangled, and her month premature baby could be cut from her womb.

When I read about stories like this I can’t even imagine someone is freaky enough to kidnap somebody else’s kid, much less do something this gruesome. How twisted is this person to plan something this awful. I mean, some killings you can understand when two people have a brawl and it gets out-of-hand, or drinking is involved, or any number of probable scenarios.

Strangling a woman is bad enough by doing the killing in such a personal manner. Strangling a pregnant woman is even sadder knowing that a mother and a baby are now dead. Killing a pregnant woman, then staying to cut the unborn baby from her has got to be downright diabolical!

Although there are not enough adjectives in our language to fully encompass how wrong this murder is, I find it great that the FBI zeroed in on the killer quickly by doing a little cyber investigative work.

Luckily Bobbie Jo’s computer held the key to her killer’s identity. By taking her computer and analyzing her use of it, the FBI was able to track down the IP address (it’s like a house address, though for computers) of the woman that took her life.

The only good news in this story is that not only is another wacko off the street, but the baby was found and is in great condition. What a terrible way to enter this world.

This is a great case for the use of capital punishment. In normal cases I think the use of capital punishment should be carefully weighed, but in this case I say a speedy launch to the electric chair is warranted. I have absolutely no compassion when it comes to a case like this. There is no excuse in the universe that can explain the actions of the woman who killed Bobbie Jo Stinnett by strangling her to death.

In fact, let’s bypass this mamby-pamby lethal injection or electric chair route. It’s time to throw her into a pen of other male lifers and let them rape her, beat her and when she has been tortured beyond belief, strangle her to death slowly.

Sound harsh? It is. Since I don’t believe in hell, it’s time to make her life a living hell just before she dies.

This woman destroyed multiple families, as well as robbing a little baby of having a mother. She did this in the most heinous way imaginable, and she did it in a cold and calculating manner.

Some of you may go for forgiveness, or other such nonsense, but even though I personally can forgive a great many folks for a great deal of hurt, this is one time where the gloves should come off of our legal system. Once proven guilty, there should be no mercy for this woman.

Maybe this story caught me on a bad day, but I don’t think mental instability should be a case for something such as this. If this chick try’s to plead mental, and she’s so messed up she can do something like this, it’s time to get her out of the gene-pool so she does not spawn any more sick mutations like herself. Perhaps nature has made her barren so that she could not breed, and she did this to actually have a child of her own.

We’re not talking about a mentally retarded person who accidentally squashed a mouse in their hand by holding it to tight, we’re talking about a person with enough thought to arrange a meeting using the Internet, strangle woman to death, and remove her unborn baby!

I’m almost certain other evil people walk our streets with all sorts of nasty and wicked thoughts, but when they expose themselves by acting them out in this way, the time has come to remove them from this planet once and for all.

This killer gets two thumbs down from me; Let’s toss her to the lions!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Who Watches The Watchers?

Remember the song, “I always feel like, somebody’s watching me”? Will you ever see a U.F.O. or Bigfoot? Not if you’re like a majority of the people on this planet.

If you’re like most of us, you have your daily routine. Perhaps you get up, take a shower, brush your teeth and do all the other necessary morning duties just before leaving home. You then travel to work, or to school, maybe talk to your friends on a cell phone, but how many of you look up, or look around you as life passes you by?

Ninja’s practice the art of invisibility. In today’s world, it’s not as difficult as you would think. How many times have you stood still in your house, for example, and someone did not even know you were there? I do this all of the time when my kids are playing, or picking on one another. I’ll head to where they are in the house and just observe them to either find a good time to referee a squabble, or just smile as I enjoy watching them pretend with their Barbie’s.

If the house is even more camouflaged, such as after dark, I can even stand in a corner and watch them get up and get a drink, or go about some other nightly task without knowing their Dad is still up.

No, I don’t stalk my own family, most of the time this is just being in the right place at the right time to practice some stealthy tactics.

My point is how many times have you walked through your home half-asleep and missing potential creatures lurking in the dark corners watching you? Aliens, ghosts, MIB’s or even shadowmen could be observing your every move and you probably would not even notice.

Once outside we’re watching street signs, the people in cars next two us, and embroiled in our own thoughts and not really watching the world that is just out of our attention span. A U.F.O. could be flying overhead and the majority of the folks down below would miss the event if it used only mild camouflage techniques such as cloud cover.

Even those adventurous sorts among you that go hiking and backpacking. The next time you’re out and about in the woods stop, stay silent, and look deep into the wilderness your tromping through. You will never see many animals because many people trudge around in the wilderness like robots pounding out their steps methodically and with one purpose, to put one foot in front of the other and get to their destination.

When animals hear you breathing like a freight train, and stomping the dirt trail like a narrow-sighted caveman, they tend to stay out of your way.

In scuba diving it’s the same thing. I always hear people say they never would scuba dive because they are scared of sharks. Did you know that sharks know you’re around for miles off? They can tell we’re there in all of our bubble-blowing glory way before we know they are around. It’s this one fact that requires people to go out on shark feeding expeditions just so they can actually see a shark under water.

My wife likes to snorkel, but I told her I’d rather be under the water where I can see things, then bobbing around on the surface like fish food. I’m certain this put her mind at ease, but it’s true! When I go diving I can’t wait to get off the surface and actually get down where I feel more a part of things, rather then helplessly flailing around in the waves.

On the other hand, making a lot of noise while you’re hiking tends to keep the nasties away. After all, most animals want nothing to do with people. In fact, most attacks by bears, cougars, sharks, or whatever are caused by either humans surprising them accidentally, or the predator mistaking them for another critter such as a seal in the case of shark attacks.

So what’s the point of all of this?

If Bigfoot was indeed out there, you can bet your life that he’s not trying to go to the silly noisy humans marching along the dirt trails. He’ll be deep away from where most humans roam, living life in blissful solitude. Even if he accidentally comes near one of the dirt trails, how difficult would it be for them to stop, and stand still momentarily? Once the nature-loving human passes by, they can go about their business.

It has been said that if you go out into nature where there are no city lights to cloud your view, and stare up into the clear starry sky, you will be guaranteed to see several U.F.O.’s. I’m not suggesting these would all be little green men flying here from another planet, but you will truly see things that to you are unidentifiable. The fact is that some of them will be things like shooting stars and satellites, but you get the idea.

On a daily basis, if you don’t notice these objects in the night sky, it would be easy for U.F.O.’s, whether alien powered or of our own governments design, to fly around virtually unnoticed. There is always the whole radar thing, but what if these ships could somehow avoid our typical detection devices?

The next time you’re in the woods, stop and look for the elusive critters that are most certainly all watching you. When you find yourself out in the middle of nowhere on a drive, stop the car (in a safe location), turn off your lights, and watch the night sky, you’ll be amazed at what you see. If you get up to get a drink in the middle of the night, you just might want to turn on a light or two as you stumble through the house…just in case.

Sweet dreams.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Future Is Now

This week was spent on the road for work. Not really what you’d call an interesting topic, but as I was driving an interesting realization came to mind.

While I was driving I was listening to a book on CD. The book was “I Robot”, by the late great Isaac Asimov. Come to think of it, the book may have proven to be a catalyst for my train of thought.

It was time to change the CD, and I watched the CD eject magically from the player, and I placed the next CD in the slot and the player robotically sucked in the new disc. I couldn’t help think that not too long ago that one task would have looked like science fiction.

Next, my cell phone rang and I flipped it open like I was Captain James Tiberius Kirk of the starship Enterprise. Not only can I speak to people around the world on my little communicator, but I can also access a wealth of information from the global computer network, or send and receive written communications on the same device.

Were we all asleep when science fiction became science reality? Stop your fast pace life for just a second now and ponder what we have achieved.

People from the Earth have landed on the moon, drove a dune buggy and played golf. We have orbiting satellites that can be seen outside the window of the International Space Station. Our neighboring planets are becoming tourist attractions as we send spacecraft after spacecraft to beam back holiday snaps from their distant journeys.

While you were worrying about which diet to try this week, the medical scientific community was learning how to replace almost every body part there is, and how to cure or relieve many diseases. Let’s not even get into Viagra and similar such enhancement products.

Are you watching survivor this season? Did you see the contestant that was competing right along with everyone else with an artificial leg?

Watching television in my hotel room a commercial came on with the newest version of that robot that vacuums your floors, and returns to its recharging station by itself. Last week I saw Honda’s Asimo robot go up and down stairs, dance, and interact with Regis and Kelly very much like a real person would.

In my house I have loaded my CD’s onto my computer and can stream anyone I wish to my entertainment center in my television room, or play all of my country or classic rock CD’s in random order like a jukebox on steroids.

Speaking of television, mine is fed by a satellite where it comes into my house and onto a digital video recorder. This allows me to pause live television, record shows through a schedule, or rewind and fast-forward any show we are watching. No more stacks of videotapes, which makes my wife happy.

When I climb into my scuba gear and dive down to 80 feet under the ocean, my time, air consumption and a variety of other factors are monitored by a computer. In my car I know the outside air temperature, how many more miles I have to go on the remaining gas, and can adjust the temperature internally for two different zones, while the kids watch a DVD and adjust their own temperatures.

At the movies we are now being entertained by movies completely generated by computers, or with special effects so real that an entire film can be shot in front of a “green screen” and the locations added by a computer later. They can even make a film where the same actor plays multiple people, show them in the same scene, and we can’t tell the difference.

Although I can’t afford the one I’d like, you can buy a huge television that hangs on your wall like a picture, and upload 80 digital pictures you took from your digital camera to a picture frame in your house. You can plug a USB “thumb drive” into your computer and download gigabytes of data on it. Does anyone use floppy disks anymore?

Technology has allowed us to track down our dogs, and family members who may need it. If your car gets in an accident a system will be notified instantly and help will be sent quickly to your location.

Why not load hundreds of songs into an MP3 player and go on a run? Or subscribe to a satellite radio station and listen to the same station from one end of the country to the other.

In the near future we will be answering more questions on things like genetics, cloning, robotics, colonizing nearby planets, and hopefully more cures for what ails us. We’ll be able to checkout of a supermarket by pushing our basket through a scanner that will total everything in it at one time, or using the same technology our refrigerator and cupboards will sense when we are low on an item and either create a shopping list, or actually order more from the store.

What was the point of taking you through this romp down a technological memory lane? I guess it was to share with you the fact that we are living in a scientific world. We are living in the fantasy world of our parents. Can you imagine what the world of our children will be like? I think you can.

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Passion of Christianity

Cruising back through my articles I find that it has been a while since I have dug into the topic of religion. Yes, I know many of you are actually glad about that, but the time has come to once again make your brain think.

Now don't go running away from this site just knowing in your heart that it's words spawned from hell, trying to trick you into something evil.

Stay a while and actually read another side to The Passion of Christianity.

I truly do tend to pick on the Christians a lot, but it's not because I am out to get them or anything, it's merely because it is the predominant religion in the world, and the one most people are familiar with.

Oh now it's the whining that I'm not being politically correct since I did not mention your goat worshiping mountain religion, or the Holy Order of the Hedgehog. I simply can't cover every religion on the planet, so I must focus on a narrow sampling, and the Christians are just plain fun to pick on.

I've discussed this in the past, but I feel it's an important point for most of you to wrap your frontal lobes around.

Why do you worship how you do? I'll bet for about 99% of you it's because you were taught your beliefs by your parents. For the remaining folks, well there's no delicate way to put this, you're gullible. You apparently are suckered in by anyone who has a spiritual candy bar.

Let's focus on the sane people for now, and leave the people who change their beliefs based on the direction the wind is blowing for another time.

Many people have a firm foundation in their belief, because they have grown up with it, and quiet frankly, it's all they know how to believe in.

I spoke to a woman one day that said she really understood my thoughts on religion, but as a Catholic she could not bring herself to agree with me, because in doing so she would have to turn her back on all that she followed her entire life.

This was a very profound statement. Years ago it took a lot out of me emotionally to make a stand on not believing God existed. It was not something I did flippantly, nor was it an instant realization on my part. It took me years of studying and researching to arrive at my current position in my beliefs.

In fact, I think I enjoy discussing religion so much now because of all of the delving that it took me to break out of my Christian shell, and into a world of realization that all religions are indeed man-made.

I'm not asking you to believe this as a truism, I'm telling you that it's true. There is nothing you can show me, or anyway you can demonstrate to me, that any religion based on a supernatural deity, is real.

This is not a closed minded stance, but a well-researched one.

You see, many religious folks are classified as close-minded because it's their religion or they don't want to hear about it. In fact, many have stopped reading this because they know that I am lost and just spewing Satan's words, or some such nonsense like that. They refuse to read or hear anything that goes against their beliefs.

If instead they would branch out and read about other religions it would take a short amount of time to see that viewing the world through the vision of a single religion is ridiculous. There is so much more to learn out in the world, and too many people willing to kill each other to prevent their “flock” from learning it.

Man-made religions from all continents are one of the primary reasons we have war on this planet. The sooner we realize that there is no rational reason for going to war over fictitious belief systems the better.

I encourage you to read my other articles on the topic of “Religion” to get a better understanding of what I mean in all of this. better yet, stop by the “Forums” and get me involved in a discussion on whatever topic you choose.

I'll bet your reaction to this article, instead, will be to write me off as a crazy non-believer and you won't even bother in commenting on it, or engaging in a deeper discussion in the forums.

A gauntlet has been thrown down at your feet. I am questioning all that you believe in, and all that you hold dear. Will you sit there reading my grating words and not defend yourselves?

Time to go and do something useful, like take my daughters to watch “Monster's Inc. On Ice”.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Bond, Musical Bond

I love music.

In just about every genre of music I can find a group or artist that I enjoy. From Rap and Rock to Classical and Country, I'll be listening.

This year I have found a new group that I am enjoying. The CD cover caught my eye because it had four beautiful women on it, and had the title of Bond. I honestly thought it was going to be music selections from the James Bond series of movies.

When I popped it in the stereo it was immediately apparent that it was heavily focused on string instruments. Looking at the cover again I now saw the subtle violin in the background and realized what I had purchased.

Not only were these women gorgeous, but they are playing a style of music that seems to be in its own class. The only way I can describe it is upbeat classical with a dash of synthesizer thrown in for good measure.

This further intrigued me because one of my daughters is taking violin lessons, so I thought this would be an awesome way to show her a direction she could take her music. I had already shown her the “Lord of the Dance” DVD which has some great fiddling in it as well.

The Bond girls have taken their art to a new level. They are bridging the gap from the stuffy classical to the world of uplifting and quick tempo music, and doing it with a style and grace all their own.

You girls rock!

I love instrumental music of all kinds, and it's nice to see typically stodgy instruments being used in a different entertainment venue. And why not?

Today I found a DVD of their first concert at the “Royal Albert Hall”. It was fun to not only see them perform their music live, but to get to hear from the girls themselves between songs, and to watch them answer questions on the Special Features section of the DVD.

Here's an example of someone taking something that for centuries has been stagnant in its niche of concert halls, and bringing it into a whole other light. They are literally exposing classical string instruments to a generation that would probably never have embraced it in its historical format.

During their interviews they mentioned that people who have walked away from their string instruments have told them that they now have a renewed interest once again in playing thanks to Bond's fresh take on the string quartet.

Now if I can just find a group that shows the flute in the same light. My oldest daughter is playing the flute, and my youngest has not yet made it to the musical age. On the other hand, she will dance to just about any music, and at the drop of a hat. The funny part is, at 5 years old she is a really good dancer and all on her own initiative. Maybe that will be the direction she is going to go in. We'll see.

If you have not heard this wonderful group, run out and get a Bond CD now and let me know what you think of it. And if you have already heard them, I'd love to hear your thoughts on their music.

Now it's time to load my Bond CD's into my computer so I can stream them through my home stereo system. This time of year they will have to compete with SheDasiy's Holiday album and other Christmas music, but I think I can squeeze them in.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Sport Professionals Need To Grow Up

I was going to do a bunch of research for this article, but then I thought, why waste my time? I did manage to look at a time line of the event, and that pretty much gave me all the information I needed.

Many professional athletes act just that way, professional. Unfortunately, there's typically a small group of players who can't control their tempers.

Many of us played organized sports when we were growing up, and what was the one thing that these events were supposed to teach us? It's not winning or losing that counts, but how you play the game.

Sure winning is awesome, and that is the goal of the event, but there is such thing as honor and just plain being a good sport. Everyone knows what it means to be a poor sport, or to have a bad sportsman-like attitude. It's fundamental in all of our sporting events.

The plain and simple truth is that the fans are always out of line and wrong to throw anything onto a court or field at a sporting event. The only exception might be with confetti at the end of a game when you win.

Now here's the tough pill to swallow. As a professional athlete there should be no reason on this planet for you to interact with the fans in such a negative manner. If you don't like being booed, yelled at, or called names, get out of the public spotlight.

Some professional athletes have been making so much money for so long they have some weird thought that they don't have to abide by the same rules as the rest of us. That for some reason it's somehow acceptable to jump into the stands and beat the wholly crap out of your fans when the mood strikes you.

I got news for you all. Grow the heck up. Where will you be when your butt gets canned for good? Suddenly, you'll go from making millions to not being able to get a job at the local car wash.

Get a clue, and start acting like the person that many kids look up to. This isn't some playground basketball game where you can cuss and throw punches if you don't get your way like some immature teen. It's your profession, and the profession of many of your peers.

If you don't like the way things are, then leave the league. You are not what the game is all about, and guess what Skippy, many of you will find this out the hard way.

Nobody wants you on their team if you act like that. The fans, or your fellow players.

Police officers are in the same boat. They must do their job, take people's crap all day long who look down on them, spit at them, or even try to kill them. In many cases, the police have to just grin and bare it, because here's the rub. They knew the job was dangerous when they took it.

The same goes for professional players, actors, or anyone else in the spotlight. The simple answer to you being upset at the attention is to leave your line of work.

This does not excuse any fan of sporting events or of entertainers from doing things that are disrespectful to these public figures. Just because someone is in the public spotlight does not mean they are your public property to treat however you wish.

Just as the superstar should be nice to their fans, the fans should equally be nice to the star. It all comes down to why can't we all just play nice together?

Is it just me, or is this topic merely something that people just did not learn when they were in kindergarten? It seems really basic things that your parents and teachers should have impressed on you at a young age.

Perhaps it's just too difficult for some of the Neanderthal's that are playing professional sports to grasp? If so, just like in school and the rest of the world, they need to be suspended or dropped altogether if this is what it will take to send them a wakeup call.

We are once again entering into the season of goodwill. Let's not make doing good, and treating others nicely, a seasonal thing. Civilized people should treat everyone with respect and kindness all year long. For those of you who can't grasp the concept, we will continue to build prison systems.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 15, 2004

EverQuest II - Let The Games Begin!

Last night the stars were shining brightly. The beam of a lighthouse was gently sweeping the sky, as large crabs scurried across the beach.

I had just gotten off a ship on a place called, “Refugee Island” where I spent a few hours learning how to fight. We were defending the compound from invading goblins and gaining the much needed skills we would need to survive in this new world.

EverQuest II (EQII) is a bit different then the original EverQuest. The first thing that became painfully obvious is that you need a graphics card with DirectX 9 compatibility. If you don't yet have that level of graphics, then EQII will be a much more expensive game for you to buy.

One of the new touches in EQII is that of Non-Player Characters (NPC) that actually speak to you. It's nice to not only hear the voices, but to not have to sit there and read a ton of script to figure out what your quest is going to be.

Another nice touch is that you no longer have to type in tedious answers and questions to interact with the NPC. Now it gives you multiple choices with which you can interact with the NPC. Things such as, “I'm not interested right now thanks” or “I'll help you fight the goblins”. Just click on the answer you want to get the next juicy bit of your quest.

As you can expect from the hefty requirements, the graphics are stunning, and the variety you can choose from to create your characters is amazing. Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) has done a great job in not only the graphics, but also the sound effects and the story line.

In the start of the original EverQuest there would be newbie characters all running around screaming little help me questions. Now, with EQII you begin your career on Refugee Island working through a tutorial and getting the help new players so desperately require. When they are ready, they can leave the island and head to their chosen starting city.

Once at the city entrance, however, they are still not allowed to play with the more skilled characters until they become citizens of their chosen city. To do this they must complete a quest.

If you're keeping track so far, a new player will have to survive Refugee Island, and then go on a quest to become a citizen before they are even allowed to continue throughout the rest of the game. I like this feature because it not only assists new players, but keeps them from just running around annoying seasoned players too much.

I recall trying to learn EverQuest for the first time and spending a huge amount of time just trying to learn the game mechanics. Now, with this new way to enter the game, I can see where new players would be less intimidated from the experience.

The player interface has been reworked and seems much nicer providing a much cleaner view then the old one did. The chat window, for example, stays hidden and only appears when something is being written to it. Moving the mouse over it will keep it lit for you to read what you have missed if you'd like.

Another nice addition is with the Quest Journal where it keeps track of the quests you have done, and what you are still working on. In the upper right corner of the player interface is your current goal for the quest you are working on, which removes the old need to write down a bunch of notes on little pieces of paper and lay them all over your desk while you play. Plus, I always lost them and on the long quests I could never remember all of the details.

Playing EverQuest seemed to have something lacking. When I used to run Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games I always made sure that the players were grounded in town. They would always have a room at a local Inn, or even bought houses when they became more wealthy. I found it gave them better desire to protect and defend the town they lived in.

With EQII you also get a room to call your own. I hear that later you have the ability to increase your digs as you progress. My room currently has a table, chandelier, and a nice picture given to me by my landlord. I used to find an abandoned hut in Kelethin within the old EverQuest game to sit and camp (exit the game). Now I can go home, kick off the old adventuring boots, and relax as I reflect on the days adventures.

In just a few short gaming sessions I have risen to a 6th level fighter, and well on my way to becoming the 51st level Paladin I once was in EverQuest. Most of my second gaming session was spent as an interior decorator and just trying to find my way around my new city of Qeynos.

In EverQuest it wasn't long before I had gaming burnout. Too many hours spent in front of the computer, and when it seemed to fall into a boring same old routine, I dropped it like a bad habit.

Now comes EQII, and I am once again cleaning off my armor, sharpening my blade, and rescuing damsels in distress. What can I say, it's what I like to do. After I have seen all of the basics EQII has to offer I'm certain I will be moving on from it as well. Until then, the monsters and evil doer's of all types had better watch their step when Halfdan the Highborn is around!

Soon it'll be off to the dungeons and doing my part to protect the fair city where the good and righteous live.

Want to join me? I am on the Highkeep server, and a goodie living in the city of Qeynos. If you make it through the trials, both in our world and in Sony's, look me up and I'll buy you a drink at the local tavern.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Kerry, Bush-Whacked!

I was going to wait on publishing this article based on the issues with Ohio and Iowa, but I am confident that President Bush will come out of this taking Ohio, New Mexico and Nevada, which will make him the winner of this election. At least that’s how I see things at midnight Pacific Time.

John Kerry would be smart to not raise too much of a stink and try to fight this. Al Gore did in 2000 and suffered the fate of looking like a whiny-butt sorry loser bastard. Sometimes you just need to bow out gracefully and take it like a man.

The days leading up to this election were crazy!

Bush and Kerry were neck and neck as they made whirlwind campaign trips in the last remaining hours leading up to the big day of November 2nd.

As I watched the debates, campaigning, commercials and listened to talk shows, it seemed to me that John Kerry had to work harder to get his point across then President Bush did. This is because John Kerry really did not have a solid platform to run with. As I have said all along his stance was basically get into office and do exactly what George Bush is doing, but then he adds, but he’ll do it better.

What kind of silly position was that?

It’s not entirely John Kerry’s fault. Our current global and domestic situation sort of only has one answer right now. We must stay the course in Iraq, so he really could not add anything different there. And George Bush has sparked this economy into high gear with his tax cuts and the rest of his economic policies.

John Kerry kept saying he would do better, but were people willing to take the chance?

Apparently not.

They had just got slowly pulled out of a nasty economic time after 911, and I don’t think they want to slide back into another recession.

Point blank, what President Bush is doing is working, and the majority of this country realized it and voted accordingly. This includes many Democrats, which is where John Kerry had his troubles.

The Senator had several strikes against him right out of the shoot. He jumped in trying to rely almost 100% on being a war hero, and that fell apart when the truth about his military record came to light. Then the truth that was told to us by those who served with him and John Kerry still refuses to release his military records.

John Kerry was a classic politician in that he would flip flop on issues based on the winds of change. He’ll deny it all day long, but his record speaks for itself, and just listening to him gave me the feeling that he’s trying to sell me a used car. People like that scare me normally, and I certainly don’t want one of them to become the leader of our country.

Now that the smoke has cleared, it was clear that for all of the work that the Democratic Party and John Kerry did to try and undermine and discredit the President, they just did not have enough of what it took to remove a successful President.

I was glad to see Florida stand by President Bush, even though they took a lot of flack from the 2000 election, and it was nice to see that they rallied and stood behind the rightful person when it really mattered.

The state that I found interesting during this entire race was California. When they elected Arnold and joined him in helping drag that state out of the mess that their past Governor had placed them in, I was surprised that they did not once again stand behind their Governor and finally drag California kicking and screaming to the right side of the vote. In the end, who needed them?

So here it is, 9PM Pacific Time and Florida has not even been decided yet. I’m ready to put this article to bed.

You read that right, I wrote this piece before half the country was decided. I was that sure the President Bush would be allowed to finish what he has begun. Although I will wait until it’s guaranteed before I actually post this. Not because I have doubts, but because it just makes good sense.

Based on the popular vote, I guess we now really know who won the three debates.

Congratulations Mr. President. You defended your office well just like you have defended this country.

Take a break, you deserve one. Then it’s back to the office to roll up your sleeves and get back to work. The American people have shown that they are behind you.

Let’s roll!

Monday, November 01, 2004

Lesser of Two Evils

You know what really bothers me at the moment? We are going into this election with so many people actually planning to vote for John Kerry.

I can only assume that the Democrats have done a great job getting a lot of ignorant people to sell out their vote for Kerry. Not literally sell it, but scare them and lie to them in such a way that those most uninformed in our country actually believe John Kerry will help them in some way.

Looking at John Kerry’s senate record, his military record, his actions after the military, and just basically his wishy-washy leadership style, I’m at a loss as to why anyone wants to vote for him.

The only thing I can come up with based on what I hear in the news is that he is not George Bush, and that’s why people want John Kerry in office.

Okay I’ll say it. You’re all a bunch of idiots!

I’m not a big fan of politics or politicians, and sure there are a lot of things about George Bush and his policies and actions I disagree with, but if I hold John Kerry up next to him to lead this country, and out military, I don’t see any contest at all.

Is not voting for George Bush that important that you will purposely vote into office someone who can literally destroy this country and its reputation by his non-existent or weak plans?

Before you vote for John Kerry you really need to do some soul-searching. This is not the time to simply vote Democrat because you’re a Democrat. There are many Democrats who are voting for George Bush because they understand the importance of this election. They realize that this election is not just about politics; it’s about the future of this country and all of our lives.

If you are voting for John Kerry because he’s not George Bush, or just because he’s a Democrat, I urge you to think long and hard on your decision. Do some reading, look into the issues, heck listen to a talk show or two tomorrow.

This has got to be the most important election of our time. Act like it!

Many countries that hate us want John Kerry to win this election. Terrorists want John Kerry to win this election. Bill Clinton wants John Kerry to win this election.

Ask yourself why you think our enemies want John Kerry to become president instead of allowing George Bush to continue to lead this country. It’s because George Bush is fighting for this country, and he’s taking the needed risks to keep us safe.

Osama Bin Laden has only been able to launch an attack on us with videotape, and words. Why do you think that is?

It’s because George Bush, this administration, and our military are succeeding in defending this country!

When you’re winning, it’s not the time to change the quarterback!

If you are planning on voting for John Kerry you’d better be pretty darn sure of your reason. Many lives could depend on your vote.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Generic Holidays?

Every year it’s the same thing. Parents trying to prevent the celebration of Halloween, or trying to keep Christmas from coming like some twisted followers of the Grinch.

I’m really tired of hearing that Halloween is some affront to Christianity when if fact it was the one God following people that started “All Saints Day” from which Halloween eventually sprang forth (see my article entitled “Halloween a Religious Holiday?” found on this website).

Just as equally stupid are the folks trying to have things like Christmas trees removed in various venues and going out of their way to not acknowledge some of our more popular holidays.

We need to declare a few holidays as religious exempt. The two that come to mind are the two I just mentioned, with the addition of Thanksgiving and possibly Easter thrown in for good measure.

Does this mean that certain religious cults cannot still claim these holidays for their own twisted agenda? No, I still stand by your freedom to believe and act as silly as you want.

I just want some holidays to become more generic to the masses in the United States, so everyone can enjoy these holidays without the fear that they are doing something wrong.

Let’s go down the list of holidays that currently cause conflict in our society quickly and see what the heck I mean. Forget about what you now believe about these days, and let’s reshape them into what they really are currently about. We’ll start with Halloween since it’s coming up first.

Halloween – Night to dress up in costumes, act crazy, have parties, and eat junk food. It’s about things that go bump in the night, and being scared. It’s a fun night that allows us to let ourselves go, and perhaps live in an alternate reality for just one night. You can dress up as a nun, witch, soldier, or any other thing you’d like without any recourse. For one night, it’s okay to pretend to be something else, or to make fun of someone else based on a costume.

Thanksgiving – On this day we are reminded what we should be thankful for. Perhaps we should also turn some attention to those less fortunate then ourselves. It is a day to eat turkey and other great food! It is a time to meet with family members, and gather to catch up with each other and to watch football.

Christmas – A winter day that many of us use to remember our immediate families. We gather to exchange gifts, have a good family time eating great food, going sledding, or doing many other family fun things. This day should stand for bringing good will to everyone on the Earth. Peace, love and joy are the underlying themes for this holiday.

Easter – Another family day to gather and celebrate the Spring. This is a great time to celebrate the sunshine and life by coloring eggs, going on a picnic and having Easter egg hunts.

Now you see, there is no need to pollute these days with specific religious overtones.

All costumes on Halloween would be accepted no matter how they looked. Christmas trees, wreaths, snowmen and Santa Clause will be accepted anywhere. The Easter Bunny will never be banned, and Pilgrims can still be shown having dinner with Native Americans.

For those of you who are of the religious mindset, there is no reason why you cannot continue your confused and distorted view of these holidays and celebrate them how you have always chosen. You would just no longer have the right to ridicule others that do not want to celebrate them the way you do.

Anything that is of a specific religious symbol in nature, such as a cross, manager scene, pentagram, etc… must still be left to places like the lawn of the church or a home.

By creating generic holidays that are acceptable to everyone, Jewish kids can finally enjoy a Christmas tree, wacky folks can wear wild costumes one day a year, and we can all hug the person in the big furry Easter Bunny suit without worrying how this will reflect on our religious beliefs.

So if you’re more worried about political correctness then having a great time and enjoying a customary holiday season, lock yourself in your home and shut the heck up. We don’t want to hear your whining about how offended you are with the Christmas decorations at your kid’s school.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Nobody can predict the future, so of course I view this as yet another challenge and I will attempt to do just that.

This seems like the most energetic year I have seen for an election. People who have never registered to vote are doing so in great numbers. States are starting their voting early, and after the fiasco of the 2000 elections, it's gearing up to be more of a battle then an election.

Cheap shots are being fired from both camps, and the satirists and comedians are enjoying the rich volume of material to keep us all laughing at the expense of the politicians.

The Democrats and Republicans both have an army of lawyers ready to continue the combat well into the next year if need be. Unless there is a landslide win, be prepared for a long haul in trying to clean up the mess and ensure that the right man was chosen.

Now I’ll demonstrate my future telling ability. I won't bother trying to persuade you to vote for any one candidate, and I won’t try to tell you who will win. Besides, if you read my website frequently you know my stance on that subject. What I am going to do is to tell you what I think each candidate will do if they win on 2 November 2004.

If George Bush gets a chance to take the reigns for another four years I think you’ll see the fire being turned up another notch on the war on terror. Things are sort of in a holding pattern now leading up to the election. No sense in rocking the boat or he would lose the chance to finish what he started. So, like a good politician he has held back, and is biding his time until after the election.

Once the election is behind him, I think the president will once again come out of his corner swinging. Not necessarily with military force, but I think you’ll see him remain tough, and start to deliver some ultimatums to Iran and North Korea. I believe he truly would like to settle those two issues diplomatically, but I also feel if it comes down to the wire, he’ll whip out a can of wup-ass on them as well.

John Kerry in the White House, what a scary thought, but it could just happen.

I think the country will be in for a shock if John Kerry brings home the gold. Even John Kerry, I don’t think, realizes what he is up against.

He can’t go into the White House doing half of what he thinks he will be able to accomplish. He’ll have to deal with the war on terror just like President Bush has had to do. About the only way to do this is exactly how we are dealing with it now. Point blank, I don’t think John Kerry will be able to bring anything new to the table.

So, all of you who believe that John Kerry is going to roll into the presidency and be completely different, you’re 100% wrong. There is no different way to deal with our current predicament. For all of Mr. Kerry’s scare tactics that he will bring our soldiers home, save social security, and make the lame walk again, these are all just inept boasting that is far from a reality.

There you have it, my thoughts on what will happen when the smoke clears after the elections. In a nutshell, nothing drastic will change regardless of who is steering this ship we know as the United States of America.

The only real changes will be that Bush will continue to lead this country in a strong, resolute manner, while Kerry will finish what Bush has begun, then sit on his hands for the rest of his presidency and claim success for the climbing economy and other things that President Bush and his administration have put into motion.

Come back to this article around June and see how close I am to what is happening to whatever president we have.

I’ll be waiting for you…

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Breathing New Life

Why are all of my posts so old at the moment?

I am currently moving my articles from my website to this blog location to increase the exposure.

Slowly over the next few days you will begin to see all of my older articles being placed online here in this blog. When finished, I will continue to duel post my articles both on my site and on this blog. In addition to hopefully getting more readers, it should also help to serve as a backup for my writings.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Farewell Superman

When I was growing up I enjoyed reading comics. It is great to be able to lose yourself in a good story of good versus evil. Costumed characters would save the city from villainy, not for fame and fortune, but because it was the right thing to do.

Television and movies have kept up the tradition by moving the two dimensional comic book heroes onto live action representations of our favorite defenders of justice.

Very few super heroes achieve more status then Superman. He was faster then a speeding bullet, more powerful then a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. There is probably not a man alive who at one point in time did not pretend to be Superman.

Christopher Reeve got the opportunity to be Superman for a brief moment in his portrayal of the man of steel in several movies. As you watched Mr. Reeve on the silver screen he seemed to embody the very soul of who Superman should be. The casting for the lead was perfect.

The movies were fun, but when Christopher Reeve became paralyzed from falling from a horse the real test of his metal was at hand.

Christopher went through the typical emotions of someone in his condition from depression to even wanting to commit suicide. In the end, his super human qualities broke free and he not only chose to go on living, but to do so with the will even the real Superman would be proud of.

Like the comic book hero, Christopher did not give up. He began to fight for his life, and continued to do so for many years to come. He would not accept that he would never walk again, and maintained a physical therapy regiment that would ensure his muscles would be ready when the day came that he would once again stand.

I’m not going to pretend I knew Christopher Reeve past anything that you have no doubt heard about him already. I will say that every time I have seen Mr. Reeve on television I would be pulling for him. My insides would yearn for the day he would once again stand and prove the doctors wrong. After all, he was Superman!

In the end, it turns out that Christopher Reeve was just a man physically. What his accident did do was to prove to the world that in his spirit Christopher Reeve was truly Superman. Not only did he fight his injuries head on, but he championed the cause for research so that perhaps one day others would not have to go through what he had to endure.

My daughters always ask me to tell them my own personal Superman story, and I guess this is as good as time as any to share my day as a super hero.

I worked for a pet shop, Wildwood Pets, while I was in high school. During one of my work days I was in the store and I heard the squeal of car brakes. I looked out the window to see that a car had just missed running into another car in the parking lot right out front of the store.

As I watched one of the cars continued spinning in circles backwards, and I thought that maybe there was some lunatic at the wheel trying to ram another car or something.

Then I saw him.

Standing on the seat of the car careening backwards was about a three year old little boy, and nobody else was in the car!

There were people watching along the sidewalk, but nobody was doing anything.

To be honest, I have no idea what went through my mind, or if I had a rational thought at all, as I literally burst through both glass doors, pushing them open with such a force that the little cowbells crashed into them and added to the affect.

I ran out into the parking lot and right along side the driver side door. I paced myself with the car while hanging onto the door handle. I finally got the door opened, jumped in and hit the brake.

Looking at the kid I asked, “Are you alright?”

The mother ran up to me saying, “Thank you, thank you for saving my son”.

All I did was give her a look that said, “What the heck were you thinking!”

I’m still amazed that the car never actually hit anything in that parking lot, or ran over me. If I tripped I would have gone right under the wheel. Luckily my brain was not engaged and I just reacted instead of thought about it.

For a while after that the mother would bring me cakes and cookies.

There was no story about me in the paper; I didn’t really share it much with anyone unless for some weird reason I would think about it. I did tell my kids once because I was explaining how dangerous cars were, and now they want to hear about it every once in a while. I guess it’s the whole “Dad is a hero” thing.

The point is I did not actively seek recognition because I did a good deed. I did it, and went on with my life. Granted it isn’t three purple hearts, but I’m sure I could have gleaned five minutes of fame with a local news station if I wanted to toot my own horn.

Superman may have crossed over, but his spirit lives on in all of us. Christopher Reeve was not only Superman in the movies, but in real life as well. He has left his mark on this Earth as only a true super hero can.

Farewell Superman, you will be missed.

Christopher Reeve
September 25, 1952 - October 10, 2004

Monday, October 04, 2004

Desperately Seeking The Presidency

So Mr. Kerry, you want to be the president when you grow up.

It’s a noble and lofty goal to be sure, but do you understand what it takes to run the United States of America? Have you considered our current world situation and thought beyond your own existence on what a transfer in leadership at this time would entail?

Let’s take a look at your performance during the first debate.


When asked if you could do a better job then President Bush in preventing another 911 type of attack, you arrogantly said that you could.

After the 911 attack, President Bush created the Department of Homeland Security, he signed the Patriot Act, and has led this country in an offensive against terrorism ever since.

We are facing a large mass of religious zealots who want us all dead, and yet in over two years this country has not seen another occurrence of a 911 style attack.

I’m not saying the enemy will not figure out a way to attack us again, but the fact that it has not happened yet speaks volumes for the job that this current administration has performed.

In fact, I believe a true test will be the days leading up to the election. If ever the terrorists were going to hit us, these last few days will be the time.

So Mr. Kerry, how can you stand there and claim to do a better job then 100% of preventing another 911 style attack on this country?

There are so many examples of John Kerry and his flip flopping decisions that I won’t do a list of many of them here. This has been one of the largest jokes he has been attacked with throughout this campaign second only to his Purple Heart fiasco.

Have you seen the shirts that say something like, "I voted for John Kerry, before I voted against him."? Too funny.

John Kerry participated in Viet Nam for four months and during that time received three Purple Hearts. This is extremely suspicious for anyone, much less someone who has such a drive to build a political career.

During Viet Nam he kept a journal and interviewed himself on camera. How many of our soldiers were fighting with the thought of one day using the war as a political opportunity?

An ego like Mr. Kerry’s has no place in the White House.

I was floored when I found out the John Kerry wanted us to join that silly world court. This is the most ridiculous thing that has ever been offered to the United States. To turn over our citizens to be tried by a world kangaroo court is ridiculous!

Would you like to be hauled off to some world tribunal to have your fate decided by a bunch of countries who despise Americans? I didn’t think so, but Mr. Kerry would serve you up on a silver platter!

It was funny to hear Mr. Kerry attempt to ridicule President Bush for not providing our troops with proper equipment. This coming from a political party that does nothing but cut the military in both man-power and equipment any chance they get.

How hypocritical is it to vote against nearly every piece of major military equipment that is currently being used, then claim that the president is not providing our military with good equipment?

And while we’re on this topic, John Kerry made fun of our plan to attack Iraq as some kind of bumbling loosely thrown together street game. I would ask Mr. Kerry about how he would explain how such a horrible military plan took over a country as quickly as this plan did and with very few casualties.

Sure we have had many casualties since then, but this is now a different kind of war. The attack plan for Iraq was excellent!

Before you get into one of Mr. Kerry’s other battle cries that there is no plan for a withdrawal, what the heck do you call what we are currently doing over there? This sure seems like the exact plan the president laid out for us when this whole thing started. In fact, how else would we be doing what we are doing?

It was almost laughable when John Kerry dropped the name of a few military folks who were backing him. I almost generated a tear when he told of a few soldiers asking for him to help their situation in Iraq.

Give me a break.

The fact is that probably 99% of the military want nothing to do with this man becoming the commander in chief. So what if a few sniveling kids fresh out of high school want their mommies and some general is disgruntled or is getting some sort of political kickback for letting him use his name.

Point blank, no matter what tidbits Kerry throws to the media, the military wants nothing to do with him.

Mr. Kerry’s grasp on world affairs seems a bit shaky as well. It was almost embarrassing when President Bush on several occasions had to correct Mr. Kerry on how the world leaders would view certain actions, or what would happen if he implemented his plans for Iraq, North Korea, and Iran.

Obviously we do not know if President Bush is 100% correct in his analogy, but I tend to give the win to the current president who is dealing with these world leaders on a day-to-day basis. Can we afford to place our eggs in John Kerry’s theory basket right now?

Senator Kerry’s plan for Iraq is to strengthen our military, form alliances with other nations, cut off terrorist finances, strengthen our intelligence, reach out to the Muslim world, train the Iraqi forces to defend themselves, and prepare for the Iraqi elections.

Have you heard this plan before? Gee Mr. Kerry, your ideas are so original they sound just like what President Bush is currently doing. What the heck sort of unique plan do you think you have come up with? Seriously this man is getting to be a laughing stock even within his own political party.

Simply put Mr. Kerry, you have demonstrated little knowledge on international affairs, you have continuously voted to cancel many of our major military programs, and you seem unable to formulate a decision and then stick with it.

A majority of the men and women you desire to lead as commander in chief not only don’t think you would make a good president, many of them, past and present, actually despise you for what you have done during the Viet Nam war.

Let’s not even go into your dubious purple hearts that you parade around like a Miss Universe sash.

A true leader does not run around saying that he wants to be a leader, and lying about heroic deeds, or changing his mind with the political wind. No Mr. Kerry, a leader leads by example. Have you heard this before?

What would the example be for the office of president? I would say that choosing a path that you feel is right and staying the course regardless of the adversity might be one way. Sound like a president we all know?

If this article seems one sided, it’s only because President Bush has a track record already, and John Kerry must prove himself worthy to take the reigns of this country in a time of conflict. So far in my eyes he has not.

We all know what President Bush has done for this country and the world. People who say outrageous things like the president is lying, or is not genuine about anything he does or says, I challenge them right here to bring up their concerns within the forums and let’s discuss your feelings.

I would caution you to state your opinions with facts, because I will be attempting to show you the error of your ways.

Does this upset you? Good, it should. If you believe you are right in your thoughts, then you should have no problem with showing me my errors.

In a month, a very important election will be held in this country. Do not place your vote based on hearsay and commercials. Base your vote on knowing the topics, and in understanding what is best for this country in its time of need to remain strong and resolute.

Vote for a president for his strengths, not because you dislike the other guy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Crazy Train or Emotional Subway Attack?

The 1st Amendment to the United States of America Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Freedom of speech is great up to a point. Does the freedom of speech allow people to annoy the heck out of you? Does it protect their right to get right in your face and say what they want? I think not.

The purpose behind the freedom of speech is to allow people to speak out for anything they want to without fear of retribution by the government. It is probably one of the most important parts of the Constitution yet people interpret this right as freedom to do whatever they want as long as they are talking while they are doing it.

It should be obvious from my website that I enjoy a healthy dose of the 1st amendment on a daily basis. I relish a great discussion about things that make the weak-minded run and cower in the corner. In short, if it’s controversial, let’s discuss it! I want to hear your opinions and views on these topics. I want you to roll up your sleeves, open up your mind, and really think about what is going on in the world.

With that in mind, I’d like to share with you a story that I was directed to at "Live Journal". Here is a person minding their own business when along comes a few religious types who decide it is their personal mission to save the world.

These are not your average Christians, but they’re zealots, fanatics, crazy people who have let their belief go a little too far. These are the same sort of folks who believe that role-playing games are real, and then proceed to act them out. They are the people you see wandering the city streets mumbling to themselves.

We have clever sayings for them such as, "Their elevator doesn't go all the way to the top", "they're not the sharpest tools in the shed", and "the lights are on, but nobody's home".

It may not be their fault that they are like this, but we can all agree that they do not represent the majority of the people of this world.

This story is not about lashing out at Christians, it is a tale of defending a persons right to be left alone, so that they can practice their freedoms however they choose, not how someone else wishes them to.

No more rambling by me, here is the tale of one subway rider that has had enough.

The following was written by K.R. Munson. See the end of this story for a link to the original posting on Live Journal.

===================================

This morning I had the most bizarre subway ride. I board the Number 3 train at Grand Army Plaza after 9 a.m. Find a seat, then settle into reading Henry James for class. I hear a woman’s voice gradually rising in volume. She is preaching the “Lord’s” word to the train car’s sleepy riders. Of course, I had forgotten the headphones for my subway evil sounds blocking device. The train stops and starts.
The words denigrating “gay devils” reach my ears. I stand up.

Me: “Excuse me, but do you mind keeping your voice down, I am trying to read.”

Preacher Lady: (screams) “I got to testify.”

Preacher lady hitches up her skirts and tells me that I am going to hell for interrupting you-know-who’s word. Two or three OTHER Christian ladies on the train start shouting at me and discussing my prospects as the Devil’s prison bitch. The last straw was a 50 something red faced man in a suit slamming his Bible towards my face.
There was only one thing I could do.

Me: “If you all don’t lower your voices and cease calling me Satan, I will have to sing show tunes.”

The other straphangers look at me with stony faces.
I begin to sing.
“Its very clear, our love is here to stay. Not for a year, but forever and a day…”

Preacher lady and the Jesus police start mumbling and beseeching G_d to strike me down and boil me in molten tar. (I look better in silver.)
The train reaches Wall Street. Confused subway riders check out the scene. I begin swaying and feeling the music.

The slamming Bible man looks like he is going to pop a blood vessel. “I cast ye out, Satan.”

I go into jazz dance crouch and then spring up to belt out, “THAAAAAAT OLD BLACK MAGIC, HAS ME IN A SPELL…”

Bible man has to get off the train as I wriggle and shimmy. “That same old witchcraft when your eyes meet mine!”

Bible man exits. SHOW TUNES 1, FUNDAMENTALISTS 0.

“So when you walk alone and forlorn, and hear that Cadillac horn remember, love isn’t born, its made…and that’s why every window has a window shade…bad a biddle be bop…”

I try to discuss freedom of religion with the ladies, but all attempts at reasonable discourse fail.

By 34th street, the last of the Christian word warriors has left the train. 3 subway riders shake my hand and say, “I have always wanted to tell those idiots to shut up! Bless you.”

I am shaking. I don’t know what comes over me at times like this. I only know that I cannot stay silent. I wish that I had my ukulele with me.

At 42nd street, a woman strides into the car and starts PREACHING. The entire car bursts into laughter. I interrupt this new preacher lady and note that she is wearing a flowered straw bonnet.

Me: “Excuse me, Ma’am…but I must warn you that there has been a 12 subway stop donnybrook regarding the unwanted intrusion of religious beliefs into our morning commutes.”

Preacher Lady 2: “I got freedom of speech! And GOD TELLS ME THAT THE GAY DEVILS ARE CONTROLLING NEW YORK.”

Me: (standing up) “If you do not cease and desist fouling the air with homophobia, I must sing…SHOW TUNES.”

There are now 3 or 4 gay men on the train. They start laughing.

Preacher Lady 2: “The Lawd says you are going to …” (litany of punishments that would be fun with the right person).

Me: (sings) “The Girl that I marry will have to be, as soft and as sweet as a nursery… the girl I call my own, will wear diamonds and laces and smell of cologne…”

One of the boys on the train starts to harmonize.

Preacher Lady 2 makes her way down the car, pointing and exclaiming, “I have met the devil right here!”

Me: (sings) “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets…”

Dancing around the subway poles and doing my best Gwen Verdon kicks, I feel the spirit in me.

I close with “Pennies from Heaven” and make sure to get the Jazz Hands in for good measure.

As Preacher Lady 2 runs to the next car at 72nd Street, the doors open, a perfect end of song button for my gay pointing gesture.

The subway riders break into applause and I bow. Rock on.

Several straphangers whisper, Happy New Year to me in Hebrew.

An Orthodox lady hands me an orange.

I don't know if I should laugh or cry.

***************

This was written by K.R. Munson
Copyright 2004

Original link to this story on Live Journal is here.Ladies Village Improvement Society

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

100th Anniversary

Not years, but articles.

This will be the 100th article here on Life In A Handbasket.

It’s been a little over a year now since I placed my first words online here at Life In A Handbasket. I created this website because I enjoy discussing various topics with people, and hearing multiple sides of an argument. Throughout my life I have found myself watching news stories, listening to people talking, and thinking about a variety of issues.

If a subject is usually not talked about, I would always bring it up. Strange how you can talk about things like aliens and ghosts, weird unexplained things, politics, sex, violence, and all manner of other things that many people seem to ignore in their daily lives, and many people seem to enjoy the opportunity.

I have had folks you would not believe talk to me about seeing unexplainable things that they have never told another soul, but they chose to tell me because it seemed like I would not make fun of them.

Do I have all of the answers? Of course not, but I do approach many topics as if I do. This is for several reasons.

I’m very passionate about my ideas and beliefs. Yes, I am arrogant enough to think I’m right, but not so far gone that I am not open to the viewpoint of others. In fact, I hunger for a different opinion. I want someone to tell me I’m wrong and to explain to me why. My only request is that their view be strongly supported because I’ll be coming back at them with both barrels.

Yet another reason to approach topics with a know-it-all attitude is to develop a spark within my readers. I want you to get angry, I want you to question your beliefs, and I want you to challenge me and what I write down.

If you are afraid of throwing the gauntlet down using your real name, by all means choose an anonymous name with which to join the website. This way you can release the bonds that might keep you from speaking out, and let the comments fly! Prove me wrong, tell me why, and bring your outlook on life to everyone here.

I realize time is a precious commodity these days, but I would love for you to spend some time browsing through older articles and leave your comments behind, or better yet, drop in to the forums and start up a discussion about one of my articles. Even if you agree, chime in and let everyone know I actually got one right according to you.

Recently I have entertained requests for articles from people wanting to know my thoughts on certain topics. If you think you have a stumper for me, or just enjoy reading my dribble on things, toss me a topic you want to read about and I’ll do what I can to address the issue.

At the bottom right column on our front page there is a block that shows the purpose of this website. I wrote this one night trying to decide just what exactly I was trying to achieve on Life In A Handbasket. It does a good job summing up what this website is for.

Several people have accused me of hate speech, because I have a difference of opinion with their views. Some think I am trying to start a cult or other such nonsense. I’m certain many feel that I am anti this, or anti that, or have some hidden agenda behind my articles.

There is no theme on this website other then trying to get at the truth for many different news stories and topics. Where the truth is cloudy, you will get my opinion for what that’s worth. These words are not meant to convert you, convince you, abuse you, or enlighten you. What I type is merely my view, my opinions and my thoughts on a particular subject.

I’m a selfish man. This website is ultimately for me, not you. What I am always looking for is knowledge. I want to learn by reading what other people think about the subjects that I tend to dwell on. What I really get annoyed with sometimes is writing about something controversial and then having nobody leave comments.

Are you all afraid to make a comment, or am I perfect in every article I write? In some articles I claim there is no God, and that organized religion is merely man-made. I delve into the abortion issue, and discover that I am a right-to-lifer. Just yesterday I agreed that so-called assault weapons should be registered. President Bush should get another four years to finish what he began, and John Kerry is a waffling, wishy-washy, sad excuse for a presidential candidate.

There, does that raise any eyebrows? Does any of that piss you off? I know wanting President Bush to remain in office should upset at least the folks who don’t like the man. Even though not liking President Bush is no reason to elect an ineffectual idiot!

So jump into the forums, cinch up your belt, put on your best poker face, crack your knuckles, and let me have it! Defend John Kerry. Defend religion. Defend O.J. if you must, but participate in the forums and the discussions on the website.

Now go out into the world and forward this website link to all of your friends. Invite all your pro-gun, anti-gun friends to sling it out here in the Handbasket. You always wanted to flame something, here is the sight to do it in. Flame on! My only request is to keep the fighting clean and respectful of the opinions of others.

Let’s engage our brains and open our minds to intellectual discussions. I’ve always enjoyed the expression that your mind is like a parachute. It won’t work if it isn’t open.

Open your mind, fire up your spell checkers, and let’s get to talking. After 100 articles, I’m beginning to feel like I’m typing to myself.

We can all agree that writing is a form of communication. It can also be argued that sex is a form of communication as well. I’ve had over a year of writing articles alone with little or no interaction from the visitors of this website. Can you guess the correlation in that subtle comparison?

Here’s to another 100 articles! I hope you can all stay for the ride.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The Right To Keep And Arm Bears

“A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” The Constitution of the United States of America - Second Amendment

I received an e-mail on the concern of the assault weapon ban coming to an end and congress not doing anything to reinstate the ban. It was also suggested that this is a good topic for the “Handbasket” to tackle. So here I am, feeling like a lounge piano entertainer playing a request.

Just kidding. This is indeed one for the Handbasket. So let me activate my shields, and once again tell you all my opinion on a difficult subject.

Let me start out by showing you all what some of the very people who founded this great country thought of citizens owning weapons.

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events occurrences and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good." – George Washington, Commanding General of the Continental Army, Father of Our Country and First President of the United States in a speech to Congress, January 7, 1790

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in Government." – Thomas Jefferson, Author of The Declaration of Independence, and Third President of the United States

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants, they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." -- Thomas Jefferson

I could continue, but you get the idea.

The second amendment was clearly written for the citizens of this country to have the ability to protect themselves from the government. To prevent the government from getting too carried away with removing our liberties and freedoms.

It is this freedom that has allowed us to retain our liberty for so long, and why many countries envy us.

Now that you know that I am a complete pro-gun person, and firmly believe that all citizens have this basic right to bear arms. What are my thoughts on banning assault weapons?

When it comes to a citizen having the right to bear arms, are we to take this to the infinite levels and say that I can assemble a ballistic missile in my backyard just in case Idaho gets froggy? I don’t think so.

Too crazy? Okay then, where should we draw the line on what makes sense based on the second amendment?

I think most Americans worth their salt agree that pistols and rifles are allowable weapons to be owned by law-abiding citizens. After all, these make decent self-defense weapons, and also have uses such as hunting, target practice, and just plane old fun.

Assault weapons should not necessarily be banned totally, but I do agree that stricter controls should be placed on them. Much in the same way you should be licensed to own a wild animal, you should also be registered to own assault weapons for whatever reason you may want them.

As far as being able to waltz into the local K-mart and buy an Uzi though, I think that may be pushing things a little too far.

Where I tend to get upset is at the illusion that the Federal Government can’t prevent us from owning guns, but that state governments can. Since when is it acceptable for state governments to overrule the Constitution?

I think this has not been challenged near enough. Point blank, state law forbidding us to carry weapons is illegal. A state does not have this right, yet most states seem to think they do, and we just roll over and let them.

Then they say that we have the right to bear arms if we pay the state a fee. Of course it’s now okay if they are making money from it. Nice racket to be in, charging their citizens for the right already granted them by the Constitution.

To summarize… I believe we have the right to defend ourselves with reasonable weaponry, but when you start wanting weapons that go beyond basic defense and sport, the line must be drawn there.

This topic has many different angles to it, and I welcome someone to join me in the forums to discuss this further.