Monday, December 12, 2011

Misplaced Christianity




I'm feeling a bit like a grouchy old fart tonight.

I went to my daughters orchestra concert tonight, and it was awesome as usual. At least, right up to the end...

The director informed us they were going to play and the audience could sing along. Here I'm thinking something cute like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Jingle Bells.

Instead, it was a medley of four songs about Jesus.

Seriously?

Now I realize that the christians all want to claim this time of year for themselves, and I have heard all of the arguments so please don't waste your time crying to me about the holiday. I understand your position.

My position is that I am not a christian, and I don't wish to have your religion shoved down my throat at a concert unless, of course, I know it's going to specifically be a christian concert.

Now I'm a very tolerant atheist. I don't mind if you call the holiday Christmas, or the tree a Christmas tree. I don't mind christmas carols, or christmas movies with religious themes to them, etc...

But tonight my tolerance was really pushed to the edge when the audience broke out into song as if I were in a church. I've never in my life felt as offended as I did tonight. And for me, that's rare.

Before you get all high and mighty I want you to stop and think for a minute if you were made to stand in an auditorium and made to listen to everyone around you sing about satan, or Allah, or perhaps something else you found distasteful.

If I attend a church ceremony I expect to hear christian music, if I watch a christmas movie I expect to hear christmas music and be exposed to a christian theme. Heck, tonight I even expected to hear the typical songs of christmas being played. What caught me off guard, was for the director to actually have the audience start belting out tunes to worship Jesus.

I'm just saying... It made me feel dang uncomfortable and I really did not appreciate the unexpected turn of events.

Am I going to raise a big stink about it, and act like many atheist jerks would? No, because I'm above that sort of childish type of actions.

Will I vent on my blog about it though? You betcha!

Would love to hear your thoughts on this as long as they are not going to be how wrong I am and that I should just suck-it-up because christianity is the only religion on the planet.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Occupy This!




I saw these statements on Facebook this morning. I like their simplicity, yet profoundness, so I thought I would enshrine them here in my blog for future reading.

The message started off by stating that these were possibly the five best sentences that you will ever read. I'm not sure I would go that far, but they do provide some fuel for thought, which is always a welcome read for me.

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government ...does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

These five sentences speak to the value of our capitalistic society. The fact that in America we believe that you work hard and you are rewarded for doing that work.

Those people that live in this country and think that they should just get stuff for living here sort of miss the point.

Yes, being American means that you do have some privileges that less fortunate people have, but these privileges were created from hard work and lose of life. You don't just get to come to America, or be born here, and inherit privileged status.

Being a member of this country means that you believe in the American way of living. This means get off you butt and work hard for yourself and your family. Because that's what America offers. The freedom for you to make a good life for yourself.

Personally, if you're the type of person that does not seek to better themselves through work, school or life in general, then I would love for you to just go live in another country where they tolerate that sort of living.

Oh wait, there are not any countries like that out there!

Many people live impoverished lives throughout this world, but the majority of those people still work hard to feed their family. In every society around the world nobody likes people who sit around and do not contribute SOMETHING.

I do not demand rich people give me things. I see what this country has to offer and I work hard to get what I want for me and my family. Could I work harder and get even more? Yes.

My level of contribution is what I am willing to put forth so that my family can live a comfortable life. I began by serving in the military for 20 years, going to school through my military benefits, and now I can provide a decent life for my family.

Every one of you can do the same thing!

Support this country, and this country will support you. Look down on this country, and I don't pity you in the slightest.

In fact, I look more favorably on a poor village person in a remote country that works hard every day to support their family then I do toward the people whining about others in this country who have money.

The money is there and available to you, but you must go out and earn it.

Watch the true story movie called, "The Pursuit of Happyness" if you're still confused about what I am trying to tell you.

If you think the government should tax the bat-crap out of me so you can get things for free you are sadly mistaken. The "haves" will always fight the "have not's" because you are sorry losers that don't really deserve the handouts.

Now before someone starts going nutty over my comments. I am not referring to people who are in dire straights through no fault of their own. There are many people who are down on their luck and work hard. These people fall into a different group, and will most likely recover nicely in the future.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Upgrade Your Life Filter




The events we experience throughout our lives create the programming we engage when we need to react to different situations.

People try to make laws to guide us, and the medical profession has done a fantastic job trying to discover what makes us tick, but there is no user's manual for how to operate a human being.

We go through life trying to answer simple and complex questions about what a human being is, how we should interact with others, and why we even exist in the first place.

If you look at many of my articles within this blog, you'll discover that I'm at just as much of a loss as you.

Oh I try to sound enlightened, and make an attempt to understand a lot of things, but when it comes right down to it, I'm just as lost as you are.

Those who claim to have all of the answers should be listened to with caution. I have answers, but they are my answers, not yours.

Individually we all must take our life experiences and run them through our filter. This means that you should never take what someone tells you as the only truth there is. Listen to their point of view, compare it with your own thoughts, research and belief on the topic, then come up with your own opinion on the matter.

That is worth repeating... Come up with YOUR OWN OPINION on the matter.

As you go through this process, don't let your filter become clogged with a bunch of crap that prevents proper filtration. You must clean it out occasionally.

Run everything through your own filter. Just make sure every once in a while you inspect that filter for defects.

Always be aware that your filter could be faulty. After all, it has been in use a long while, and there could be sediment built up around the edges that might restrict the proper flow.

Another term for this is to keep an open mind, and be open to change. Someone just might have a better mousetrap, but if your filter is too clogged, you might dismiss it because your focus is too narrow.

Keep expanding your knowledge so that you can improve the efficiency of your filter.

Sticking to one viewpoint, then shutting down your filtration system so that other information can't come through to change your mind may make you feel comfortable with your position, but you're at risk of continuing through life with stagnant conclusions.

I have experienced many people like this, and I'll admit that I'm certain I have fallen victim to this as well.

It doesn't matter if it's politics, religion, relationships, or work, we all have filtered information about each subject. Make your decisions based on your own filter. Provide careful and regular maintenance of your filter so that contamination has a more difficult time getting through.

My filtered information is different then your filtered information.

When it comes to filtered information, I showed you mine, now you show me yours.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Seriously Mr. President?

Is it just me, or are you tired of hearing the same old crap coming out of the White House?

“Everyone has to pay their fair share”.

Can someone please give the president a tissue?

When half of this country do not pay any taxes, who exactly is he referring to when he says, “everyone”?


When the government overspends their answer is to want to raise taxes. They claim they can’t possibly recover by just reducing spending.

Really?

So, following this thought process when I overspend, perhaps I should just tax my kids to make up for my own stupidity and lack of control. Or do you think, possibly, that I should just stop spending and get my own financial house in order?

Maybe we should force everyone in the government, including the president, to listen to Dave Ramsey daily until they “get it”.

The key to getting this country’s finances in order is to not raise taxes anywhere, but to cut back on spending. And yes, boo hoo, someone is going to have to suck it up and cut back on their programs.

While I’m on the subject, let’s move to a flat tax to truly have everyone pay their fair share. With a flat tax, we will remove all of the loop holes that the rich currently take advantage of and then everyone will have a stake in the game. Everyone will PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE.

This way, the rich will pay a percentage based on the large amounts they make, which will be a substantial amount of money for those of you who really want to stick it to the wealthy. In addition, the not so rich will also have to pay an equal percentage of their income too.

It’s only fair.

The only way for this to work fairly, is to also ensure that the rich, or anybody else, has zero loopholes with which to weasel their way out of paying. In fact, it should be illegal for congress to pass any legislation that allows for anyone to bypass this flat tax. Everyone pays, no matter what.

Once this is done, then we can discuss who pays their fair share, but until this happens, shut the hell up with the, “everyone has to pay their fair share” rhetoric. It’s insulting to listen to this drivel time and again from the person who is suppose to be the leader of this country.

The term, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way” comes to mind. Mr. president, you have already proved you’re a poor leader, and I don’t expect with your arrogance you will want to follow anyone, so I think it’s time for you in 2012 to just get out of the way.

If you can’t truly come up with a decent plan to help this country then I suggest you just sit quietly in the oval office and wait for the inevitable, the loss of a second term. The continuation of your comments are doing nothing but digging a deeper hole for your legacy.

I’ve always said that a good president is not necessarily the smartest person in the room, but they know how to surround themselves with the people who will get the job done. You have surrounded yourself with idiots, and the truly sad part is that you are listening to them. Either that, or they are trying to help you and you’re ignoring them.

Wherever you are getting your advice from, I think it’s time to change the station. I fear it’s too late though. Unless you do some soul searching and have an epiphany, you might as well sit back, relax, and wait for the fat lady to sing you a lullaby...

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Give Us A Little Credit!




Is it just me, or are some of the people in our government just idiots?

I can’t believe that after they were warned that just raising the debt ceiling would not prevent our credit rating to be downgraded, that’s the mark they were shooting for.

They set their goal on mediocre and missed the mark!

Idiots!

Every person with just half a brain knows you cannot keep spending above your income!

Heck there is even a counter that is displayed everywhere showing our debt increasing at a rapid pace. Yet they continue to ignore this fact.

Seriously, how stupid are these people we sent to Washington D.C. to represent us?

I’m a patient person, but enough is enough, this stupidity has got to be dealt with.

The Tea Party folks that we sent up tried their best to get something done, the problem is there is just not enough of them to stop the incumbent imbeciles that are currently ensconced in their offices.

I find it amusing that we hear the Democrats call Tea Party members terrorists, and say that they were holding the country hostage. So what do we call the dip-zweebies that prevented us from trying to balance our budget and therefore allowing our credit rating to be dropped?

We certainly would not call them qualified to criticize anybody else?

I’d love to here the Democratic argument for this outcome, and don’t even bother posting if you’re one of the short-circuited thinking people who are going to STILL cry that George Bush is responsible for this.

I’m all for free speech, but if anyone replies with that line of thought I’m just going to delete your reply on the basis of your brain-damage, and the fact that I refuse to even waste my time trying to talk to a wall.

Seriously, if you’re a “George Bush did it” person you need to do a lot more work on your education of what is currently going on. The term “Sheep” comes to mind.

I don’t like to just rant without providing what I think is a solution (Okay, sometimes I do), so here’s my take on what needs to be done.

Everyone scoot a little closer to your monitors and turn up your volume so you don’t miss this because I have toiled long and hard coming up with this answer.

STOP SPENDING MORE THEN WE HAVE!!!!!!!!!!!

Earth-shattering I know. I should get a Nobel prize for this fascinating realization that apparently the majority of the buffoons we have sent to represent us can’t really figure out on their own.

How proud they all must feel to know that my 11-year old understands this concept, yet they can’t grasp simple economics.

Come next election, you can bet your vote that some more seats will be replaced.

So you idiots on the hill better enjoy the time you have, because it’s going to be your last hurrah with our tax money!

Albert Einstein is attributed as saying that insanity was, “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” Why would we allow these people to continue to do the same thing over and over again?

The inmates have run the asylum for far to long now, it’s time to start healing this country.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

BURN CASEY ANTHONY! BURN!



Artwork by "Jaz Woodrow"



The jury has come back with their decision on the Casey Anthony trial. They found her guilty of lying to the authorities, but innocent of killing her own daughter.

I called this one after watching the closing arguments of both sides. Simply put, the state of Florida did not have a case that was prosecutable.

Anyone who watches CSI, and other police and investigation-type shows, knows the simple fact that if you don’t have enough evidence, the person walks. This is not a big shocking surprise.

A lot of mom’s out there are screaming injustice, and wanted Casey to fry for what she did to her little girl. Heck, who doesn’t want to see justice for the horrible death of a young girl? But you cannot kill a person for thinking that they killed someone. Your opinions do not matter. The facts of a case are what matters.

There are many people in jail right now who have been wrongly accused, and I believe several have even been put to death who were innocent of a crime.

What’s truly horrible in this case is the state jumped into this without having their act together.

Now I’m no lawyer, but if I were on the jury I would have come to the exact same verdict. The state simply did not prove a damn thing and tried to rely on emotions to win this case. How could they screw something as big as this up so badly?

Both the defense, and the state, relied on assumptions for their main arguments. The only difference is, that when you are prosecuting someone an assumption doesn’t cut it. When you’re defending them, an assumption could be raised as a possible alternative of what could have happened, which is the job of the defense.

Since the state had virtually no evidence their assumptions were because Casey was a liar, and in denial about her daughters disappearance and death, she was a murderer.

As defense lawyers tend to do in cases like this, her defense team brought in their own assumptions of a story that could have also been true. Heck, there were so many weird facts in this case that I could probably come up with a few more possibilities that sound reasonable.

That is why the state failed to present their case beyond all reasonable doubt. Their case was Swiss cheese full of reasonable doubt! Which is why they ultimately lost the day.

The blame is not on the jury, who did their job correctly. It was not on the defense, for doing their job correctly. The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the prosecution and it’s inability to make their case.

The Anthony family is very dysfunctional. Apparently they are all a bunch of liars. Something strange happened surrounding the death of this little girl, and I’ll bet that eventually the truth will surface. I don’t think they’re capable of keeping their mouth shut.

It seems to me that Casey, and her parents, know exactly what happened. Unfortunately, the rest of us are going to have to wait until they slip up in the future.

Justice may not have been served this day in Florida, but I for one am glad that our justice system has functioned as it should.

If you’re the one on the stand facing a witch-hunt of charges against you, you’ll be thanking our justice system for having to actually prove you did something, rather then listening to a mob of screaming mothers with their pitch forks and torches yelling, “BURN!”

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Nook Color - Wave of the Future, or Techno Snob?

I guess i'm a bit of a techno-snob. Looking at others deal with life the old-fashioned way seems quaint to me now. From old-style, non-smart, cell phones, going to school in a classroom, looking at a paper map because you're lost, or digging out your tattered address book to look up a friends address or phone number. The future is the present, and all around us.

This was never more noticeable to me then when I got my Nook:Color e-reader. I wasn't sure how I would like reading a computer screen. I realize we do this all the time these days with things like computers, smart phones, and televisions, but I have always been a hold-out when it came to books.

Friends of mine have embraced reading things like programing books online as a PDF format, but for some reason I just like a paper book that I can drag into the pooper with me, or lay next to me while I program. In addition, dragging my laptop to bed to read is a bit awkward, and I am in front of a computer screen all day, it's nice to have a little break from it every now and then with a paper book.

An obvious clue to my voracious reading habits can be seen by the stacks of books on my nightstand. Of course, few are privileged enough to be invited into that fortress of solitude. Some would say they are lucky that way, others may just smile at the memories.

Those of you that know me are aware that I go on an annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas for a conference known as InterOp. Traditionally I have used this time of year to pick up some new technology to play with during my trip. This year, times are a bit tight, so I settled for my e-reader, a Nook:Color made by Barnes & Noble.

Weeks went by as I researched the pro's and cons of various models of e-readers from a multitude of companies. I waded through review after review from users who loved whatever machine they chose, and read all about why they liked their particular e-reader over the others.

There were numerous "flames" about some being too big, too heavy, too many features, not enough features, backlit screen giving them headaches, color vs black & white, buttons vs. touchscreen, etc… It was interesting to hear all the reasons people liked or disliked each of these variables, and after bouncing each off my own filter, headed to Best Buy for the final "fondle" test. I wanted to check the weight and screen illumination personally before I made my choice.

In the end, I went with the Nook:Color, and here's my reasoning.

If all I wanted to use it for was to crank through novels, then the Kindel might have won the day. It's lighter, thinner, and the monochrome e-ink screen is nice.

Just like in the days when the first color cell phones came out, I was drawn to the color over the old black & white screens, even though the color was a bit cheesy back in those days.

Our eyes are made to enjoy the colorful world around us. It's a part of who we are. Getting something these days that seemed to be a throw-back to the days of the LCD calculator screens just wasn't right. So color was a concern for me.

The same thought process was used for the actual screen itself. The Kindel has cheap-feeling plastic buttons, and the screen is non-interactive. I'm getting so used to touchscreen technology that it just seems strange buying something like an e-reader and not being able to interact with the screen. While using the Kindel every fiber of my being wanted to touch the dang screen to do something. It's like going into a public restroom these days and sticking your hands under the faucet only to realize, embarrassingly, that you have to touch it to get it to work. Yuk!

I really was not looking for a device that operated like a scaled down laptop, such as a netbook or ipad2, I really was looking for something about the size of a book that I could drag around with me. Something like the ipad2, although awesome, is not the form factor I was after. Besides, I have my MacBook Air for any serious computing I need to do.

This pretty much left me with the Nook:color.

Once I got the Nook I was into checking out all of its features. I was worried it would be too heavy for holding to read with, or that the horror stories of eye-strain and headaches would make me realize I made a bad mistake. The more I played with it, the more I discovered I made the best choice for me.

The backlit screen is great, and I can sit in bed and read in total darkness if I choose. And yes, I cranked through a chapter one night with all the lights off. I don't have great lighting for reading in bed, so it was fantastic not having to migrate around the bed trying to get the ceiling light out of my eyes and the pages lit well.

So far I have not read long enough to give me a headache, and I doubt I will. If you're a marathon reader, as in someone who will sit and read for hours at a time, this might be a concern for you. My reading style is more of hit and run. I whip out some chapters while waiting for my daughters to get done with whatever thing they're doing, or just before bed, so extremely long reading sessions are not my cup of tea.

One fantastic benefit of color is the magazines. Oh my! The Kindel does magazines, but in shades of grey. I find myself actually reading more of the ads because they are so vibrant and in your face. The Nook has a great feature over reading something like a webpage called, "Article View". When browsing though a magazine, instead of doing the pinch and spread maneuver for expanding what you're trying to read, you hit article view and the article is pulled off the page and brought to you in a separate reader-type pane. Very cool!

I believe magazine subscriptions are cheaper then the print variety, and so much more convenient as well. With the Nook you get to carry all of your magazines around with you! Anytime you get the urge and want to brows an issue, you have it at your fingertips. I have bought so many magazines that have got put in a stack at home and forgotten about. What a waste, this is much better.

The convenience of ordering a magazine subscription, or just getting the latest issue is great, but this same convenience is also there for the books.

I finished a great book recently and immediately went online to check if the author had written a sequel. Ta da, there it was. With a few touches of the screen it was downloaded to my device and I was reading the first chapter. I have yet to mention it, but I love the fact that the book covers can be seen in color. For some reason I think I would be bummed if I could not see the colorful book covers.

Looking for a particular thing in a book? You can search through any of your books for any word, such as a characters name, a place, or whatever you might be looking for. Not sure if I'll use this, but it's a nice feature nonetheless.

When you read a book, you never lose your place. Isn't it frustrating when something happens and you lose where you were in a book? No problem with the Nook. Every time you open it up your right where you left off.

I find myself reading a lot more then I ever have just because I now have my library with my everywhere I go. During work one day I was at another location and had to wait for our support folks to call me back. Sitting in a server room listening to the hum of equipment is not that exciting, and I did not have anything else going on at that site, so I pulled out my Nook and another couple of chapters went by.

Oops, I almost forgot about the extras!

In addition to a great e-reader the Nook has a web-browser, and is based on the Android OS. There are games and other apps you can get. I don't have the newest version of the OS loaded yet, but when I do, here comes Angry Birds on an 11" screen! LOL

What this means is that if you want, you can pause reading and switch over to check your email or play a rousing round of solitaire (I still don't know how people can play that game for hours and hours. Variety is the spice of life people!

Can you tell I like this e-reader? The final point is that you are contributing to the "green" movement in a big way. No trees need to have lost their life to support your reading habit, and less waste will end up in the local landfill from your little-read magazines. I certainly hope you don't throw your books away!

Having my reader now for a few weeks I really have not found any negatives. I am a convert to reading digitally, and this is where the snob part comes in. After embracing this new form of reading, I now look at people lugging around a hardback book as silly. I feel like telling them that there is a whole new way to read that takes up less space, and I think is more enjoyable and flexible all the way around.

If you're in the market for an e-reader, I hope this article gives you some insight into the exploration I have done and helps you make up your mind on the type of device you'd like.

Either direction you go, I highly recommend jumping into the e-reader technology. They are relatively inexpensive, yet provide a great amount of features that you will enjoy! I never thought I would shed the feel of books, but I'm in it now, and loving it!

Monday, May 02, 2011

...And THAT is Why You Failed!




If you’re a dedicated follower of this blog (Awe come on, there has to be someone out there...), then you know I lean toward the conservative side. I make this comment because of what I must now do.

Congratulations to our President, Barak Obama, for making the decision on launching the Navy Seal Team that took out Osama Bin Laden. This had to have been a scary moment for any President facing a situation like this, and thank goodness he not only made the right decision (which is easy to say after the fact), but he let the military do what they do best.

As some former presidents can tell you, trying to micromanage the military typically ends badly.

There are those who would chastise me for giving President Obama a virtual high-five, because there are some conservative types who will go after the negative in anything the President does just because he’s who he is. I am not like that.

I give credit where credit is do.

It doesn’t matter that I disapprove of about 99% of what this administration has done to this country, the fact is that in this situation, they were spot on!

I’m still unsure how I feel about cheering the death of another person.

There is no doubt that this man was evil, and needed to pay for what he represents, and what he has done. I am actually glad that it ended this way rather then bringing him in and going through some long drawn-out court nightmare that would obviously end with the same results.

Guilty until proven innocent. Hmmm... I'd like to hear from those of you who doubt his guilt. Not really. This man was guilty on so many levels there is a special place in the underworld for him, and I’ll bet there are no virgins waiting for him to arrive.

This is the same feeling I have when some scumbag commits suicide after killing a bunch of people. Just glad that they took themselves out of the gene-pool rather then costing us a ton of money to care for them and keep them on ice for years.

I say, good riddance!

For most crimes I fully support our legal system. Everyone deserves their day in court. If you’re some mass-murdering lunatic, and there is zero doubt of your guilt, then I say let’s invoke the “right to a speedy trial” portion of the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Back to the news at hand.

Osama Bin Laden, like many before him, made a huge mistake. Don’t piss off the United States of America.

When will these evil-doers learn? They get into some position of power, whether militarily, religiously, or whatever, then get all high and mighty and decide that they want to declare war on the United States.

The problem with you insane leader types is that you won’t just settle for smacking your own people around. You get all these delusions of grandeur and let your position of power go to your head. The next thing you know your declaring war and working your followers into a tizzy.

Shut the heck up, stay in your own country, and leave us alone! We promise to do the same. As long as we can keep our President from also doing stupid things like going into Libya. I don’t know what he was thinking on that one.

Osam Bin Laden, wherever you are these days listen up. You messed with the wrong country, and THAT is why you failed!