Monday, July 12, 2010

Suicide Is Painless?

Hello all,

It's me again with another topic to get off my chest.  As I was recently to the second funeral in 5 years of someone who committed suicide, I felt it was now time to discuss it.  People have to realize that no matter how bad life has gotten for them, suicide is not a solution.

Now many of you are saying, but people suffer from clinical depression and experience thoughts of suicide often.  This is true, as there is a chemical imbalance in their brains that cause these thoughts to form.  Unfortunately, as with most mental illness, chemical imbalances can not be countered with rationalism.  It can only be medicated and cared for.  I'm, also, not talking about the terminally ill, as they are at the end of their life cycle and should be allowed to go in peace, without suffering, if they wish. 

No, I'm talking about the relatively sane majority of us that encounter adversity in our lives and get so bogged down in self pity that we wonder "what's the point in continuing?"  I know this, as I have suffered adversity recently, and have asked myself that same question.  However, we do have to realize that these are temporary and that we are going to have very bad times in our lives as well a very good times.  Life is how we make it, good or bad.  We can decide to suck it up, have patience, and wait for the next wave of good that is coming our way; or we can say To hell with this and cut out life existence without regard to future opportunities at happiness.

I have found that life, and all existence for that matter, seem to be about balance.  If you have great success, you must also deal with great failure.  happiness-sadness, good-bad, etc.  The same can be said for the opposite, ie bad to good et. al.  Therefore, as you encounter each, nature will swing the pendulum to the other and then back again.  It's all cyclical.  Life can not be so bad that you have to end it all.  You just have to have the strength and will to pull yourself out of your emotional trench and rebuild your life.  It will get better, and it will get bad again, but then it will get better again, and so on.  There will always be circumstances outside your control that will probably hurt you.  However, you've got to realize that there's no sense worrying about what you can't control.  You have to focus on yourself and what will make you happiest in this life.

Now I know many of you probably think I'm being hypocritical as I believe that Darwin's "Survival of the Fittest" should be reintroduced to society.  I assure you that I'm not.  I believe there is a great difference between intentionally taking your own life and just being too stupid to live.  Suicide is never about stupidity.  It's about overpowering emotions of low self esteem.  What we all have to do is recognize is that, yes, we feel low now, but there's nowhere to go but up.  Suicide is never a solution.  It just leaves a hole in the rest of the world.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Hello all,

It's been a while since my last post.  There's been a lot going on.  People getting married, people getting divorced, people having children, people at the best of times, and the people I'll be talking about today-people at the worst of times. 

Let's face it folks, there are A LOT of people, nowadays, that for many reasons are facing very, very hard times.  I believe it is mostly due to the general incompetence and corruption inherent in our government.  That's not saying that there aren't good people in our government that are trying their hardest to help the people.  I'm saying that the "government machine" as an institution has become self serving, corrupt and incompetent.  My personal belief is that this is because our government officials have sold their services to corporations.  All corporations want is to take as much of our money as they can, without giving back any.  They only seem to spend money when it is, of coarse, in their best interest.  However, that seems to be buying legislation, or buying the death of legislation, that will further THEIR goals, irregardless how it affects the rest of us.  The thing they bought, I believe, that has hurt us the most is the deregulation that has allowed corporations to take advantage of us.  In that time, employee rights, consumer rights, and community rights have all fallen slave to what the corporations want, because they control tons of money.  There's an old, and crude, stating, "Money talks and bullshit walks".  That has been true throughout history.  To use another adage, "He who has the gold makes the rules". 

So, what has the deregulation taught us?  It's easy, as it's all over the news, corporate greed has crippled us.  Our financial markets have practically collapsed, causing corporations to have played damage control and hoarded the majority of this nations wealth while cutting costs by putting the average citizen out of work, cutting money and benefits earned by employees that were not let go and made to thank them for still having a job, massive neglect on our infrastructure a careless disregard of environmental health.  The worst thing about all this is that all of these disasters have actually strengthened the death grip corporations have on us, as we need them in order to engage in money lending and circulation, energy, medicine and jobs that allow us to support ourselves and our families.  Now, without them, we become cut off financially and have no hope to enjoy basic necessities like home, groceries, transportation, medicine, etc.  Now, because they have "fortified their defenses", millions of citizens suffer.  They suffer from loss of home, loss of self-respect, decreasing self-esteem, etc.  They, for the most part, have had to endure this for the past couple years, since the economic meltdown began.  So now we have the upper class buying legislation and the lower classes suffering while hoping and waiting for our corporate masters to show favor upon us.  Now,...where have I heard about this type of thing before.....?  OH YEAH, it was the feudal system that has been the only prospering form of economics for the world since the dawn of civilization. 

Our founding fathers tried a novel approach with our democratic republic, as most people at that time were socially and economically equal at the time.  However, as we grew as a nation, and our government grew, we prioritized what, and who, was more valuable to our society and dedicated our resources to them, leaving those not chosen to struggle and fight for whatever "scraps" were left over.  Now, I think I understand what is meant by the phrase "It's a dog eat dog world".  This division among us, also, helps corporations control us, as we are easier to manipulate and be taken advantage of.  Power thrives on keeping the powerless confused, divided and uneducated.  This is because if the powerless were ever to gain any of these things, they could take that power for themselves. 

So, what does this mean to those of us that can't afford to buy a home, have lost their home, have lost their job, or are unable to get a loan in order to sustain themselves?  It means we continue to suffer and struggle and fight each other for the "scraps" that corporations throw to us, because now, it's not about quality of life, but about survival.  I have a difficult time believing that the founding fathers had this type of existence in mind when they stated in the Decloration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

National Identity

Hello all,

I want to talk to you all today about national identity.  What we as a nation, in my not so humble opinion, should strive to represent.  What we need to work on in order to start to fix some of the problems in the United States.  I have a few ideas that run a gamut of different topics, so let's get started.

First, I want to talk about the separation of church and state.  Earlier today, I saw a bumper sticker that read: Why should I swear on the bible in court when we cant have the ten commandments in the front of the courthouse.  That got me thinking.  I realized, that was a correct statement.  Why should anyone swear truth to a god, when they can't worship a god in the building?  I agree with the ruling that the ten commandments should not be displayed.  However, I don't think we've taken it far enough.  When our founding fathers started this nation, they wrote in the Constitution that there should be a separation of church and state, in order to avoid religious persecution.  However, this was written by men that were primarily christian during a time of profound religious belief AND religious superstition and dogma.  That's why we swear on a bible, put "In God We Trust" on our money, state "One Nation Under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance to our nation, etc., etc., etc.  I find this hypocritical.  We should replace what we swear to in any government institution to reflect government nationality, not religious belief.  You don't have to be a "good christian" to be a good American.  Hell, you don't have to be a good Muslim, Jew, Buddhist or any of the other religions (or lack thereof, for the atheists) either.  You just have to be a good American to be a good American.  I believe religion ha NO place, whatsoever, in politics.  They don't mix well.  If history has taught us anything, it has shown us how religion can lead to national and social strife.  I'll mention the elephant in the room first, war.  Wars are more often than not fought over religion by one side or both.  However, war is a function of national politics.  I believe that if we can somehow eliminate religion from political belief, war wouldn't be eliminated, but it would be drastically reduced.  Next, the reason abortion is such a hot button issue is because one side is heavily vested in it on a religious level (note some of these people even promote violence over it).  If religion was wiped away from this, politically speaking, people would be free to make up their own minds as to whether or not to accept this socially, in a land that promotes SEPARATION of church and state.  Normally I try to be balanced against both political parties for being stupid, but on this subject I have to attack the religious right of the Republican Party.  The Republicans promote the idea of small government.  However, the christian right gets the Republicans to promote religious social morals as to impose their will on issues like abortion, homosexuality and equal rights, GOVERNMENT FUNDED scientific research, etc.  Which is it, Republicans, small government or government sponsored repression?  PLEASE for the love of all, DECIDE WHERE YOU STAND!!!!  Now, for all of you immigrants that emigrate here hoping for a better life but still clinging to some of your more archaic and barbaric religious beliefs (ie Egyptians and female circumcision), you too must make a choice, because we live in a land that espouses promotion of INDIVIDUAL rights and NOT TO INFRINGE upon the rights of others.  If your beliefs run counter to this, you should reconsider coming here to live.

This brings be to my next topic, immigration and nationalization.  Lets start with a simple topic, English as a National Language.  I believe it should be.  This is due to the fact that the U.S. was formed by English speaking people.  I have no problem with immigrants that come here that don't know the language.  It's understandable.  I wouldn't instantly know the language of whatever foreign nation I was visiting, either.  However, if I was planning to live there, it would be in my best interest to learn in order to communicate.  The same can be said for immigrants that come here to live.  I think, as part of living here legally ( I'll get to illegal immigration later), it should be mandatory for ALL of them to learn English as a second language and speak it, if not fluently, then at least in a form that can be understood through an electronic device like a phone or an intercom.  Now to illegal immigration.  I understand all the commotion about freedom, rights, jobs, etc.  But let's keep this in perspective.  Illegal immigrants have NO rights under OUR laws, because they are NOT OUR citizens.  I believe we don't need to cater to these people at all.  I may sound racist or elitist about this, but I'm not.  I respect all races, and most classes.  I don't respect people that HIDE among us, take our jobs and receive our governmental financial support while not paying taxes into these benefits or going through the PROPER steps that LEGAL immigrants do to live here and enjoy our rights and freedoms.  Those are the people that made our country great and made the United States the fabled cultural melting pot that it is.  Illegal immigrants are nothing more than bottom feeding parasites that eat away at our society.  We currently arrest and deport illegal immigrants, only to have them come back again, like a virus.  Walls and fences won't work.  The illegals will find a way to climb them or dig under them.  Walls and fences are, also, impracticable logistically and financially.  I do have an answer, though.  I think we should ship these people to, undisclosed to them or anyone else, Antarctica, like the British did to the Australians.  This serves two purposes.  One, we wouldn't have to pay to support them once we ship them out, and two, they would be too far away to come back anytime in the near future.  Now people claim the loss of illegal labor would cause our economy to collapse.  I say let it.  We have become too dependent on them, like a drug addiction.  Drug addicts need to hit bottom before they realize they need to beat their addiction.  The same can be said about America beating it's addiction to CHEAP illegal labor.  It's no different than anyone running a sweatshop, or even slave labor.  Both practices are illegal in OUR country.  Law abiding citizens that hire immigrants, are hiring LEGAL immigrants, and I applaud these citizens.  They and the legal immigrants have taken the time to go through the proper steps to be productive members of our society and can truly be balled Americans.

So to recap, I think that The U.S. is a great nation due to it's freedoms, cultural diversity and wealth.  People that try to IMPOSE their religion on, or LEECH from these very traits should be shot.  But, since murder is illegal, just ship them all to Antarctica.

Please let me know what you have to say on the issue.

Monday, April 19, 2010

All Those in Public Safety Check Your Ego at the Door

Hello all,

It's me again going on another rant.  I've been fuming for about a week now about an incident involving a very dear friend of mine involving harassment from police officers and EMT officials.  This isn't the first incident with this friend, but it is the proverbial straw that broke this camel's back.  I've seen examples of police officers and medical professionals overstepping their bounds on top of our collective civil liberties before, and I believe they do it out of some small egotistical power trip.  Before I continue, however, let me be clear.  I am not attacking ALL police officials and medical staff.  I know there are good and heroic people that serve and protect to keep us safe from the "monsters" that threaten our safety and freedom and those that are there who want to make us healthier.  I'm talking about the few people that feel they have to instill feel and use force to exert control for the purposes of insurances of  safety, security and health.

In order to expound upon my point, I am going to give some examples of what I am talking about.  I have one personal example, and a few national ones.  These should drive my point home.

First, let me describe the problems with my friend that I have mentioned before.  His name is Norm, and I'll start from the beginning.  Norm suffers from severe migraines stemming from multiple concussions as a child.  The headaches cause him so much pain that when a severe attack occurs, he blacks out a goes into convulsions that last only a few minutes.  In addition, due to some childhood trauma, he suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and panic attacks that trigger his migraines.  Due to this fact, he has to live on Medical Disability.  Now my examples are of three separate incidents during the last three months after he has an attack in public.  Is anyone else sensing a pattern? 

The first incident happened while he was at the Main Office of his low income apartment complex trying to pay his rent.  As he was leaving, he had a severe attack and convulsions.  The office employees called the paramedics, which was good on their part as they felt he was in need of immediate medical attention.  I would have done the same thing if I was unaware of his medical history.  However, Norm has been dealing with his condition for almost twenty years now and knows how to handle these situations.  As soon as he regains consciousness, he goes home, takes his medicine and lays down to rest and recover.  As he is so experienced, it is his opinion that he knows what he needs to do to feel better, and doesn't require emergency medical attention (as this, for Norm, is routine and not emergency).  The EMTs arrive, and as he is slowly recovering he thanks them for their help, but declines their services so he can go home and take care of himself.  However, the EMTs decide, as they are not aware of his situation, to force him to go with them.  He, again, tells them no (as I was under the impression we all have the right to do in this country).  So they call the police to force him to go with them.  The police arrive and threaten to arrest him unless he cooperates with the EMTs (to go to the hospital and get examined by a doctor that's  going to perscribe him more medication, send him home, and bill him for the privilege).  He refuses again, explains he doesn't live very far and he can get his medicine at home and recover.  After a long drawn out argument with EMTs and police officers, he finally convinces them to let him go home.

The second confrontation, occurred while he was out to get groceries.  He is on his way to the store when he has one of his attacks.  EMT's arrived and the same thing happened.  The police arrived, but this time asserted their authority to arrest this disabled person if he refused to go for treatment.  They didn't bother to understand what he was dealing with, they just tried to cart him on an ambulance and ship him off.  As the police wouldn't back down, he had no choice but to go (thus violating his right to refuse medical treatment).  Then, at the hospital, he listed the medications he could have and the ones that he absolutely could not have, as he had severe side effect reactions.  So, after the nurse gets this list, she administers one of the drugs that he told them he couldn't have anyway, and triggers a panic attack.  As he finds this distressing, he informs the nurse (in a not so nice way) that she made a mistake.  The nurse, who after all this, felt she did the right thing anyway, didn't want to deal with this overexcited patient, decided to release him and send him home before the side effects of the medication wore off.  She kicked him out of the hospital.  As he was arguing with her about the ethics of this, she called security to have him removed.  Let me reiterate.  This nurse, who mis-medicated my friend, called security to throw him out of the hospital after her mistake.  As he was escorted out and arguing with security about the matter, a doctor intervened to help security.  He grabbed Norm by the shoulder to throw him out.  Unfortunately, for a doctor, he wasn't too bright.  If he was, he would have read Norm's chart and seen that he suffered from panic attacks.  When he grabbed Norm;s shoulder, Norm panicked, grabbed the doctors hand and used pain to remove the doctor's hand.  Then he left and went to the nearest open pharmacy.  Once there, he had another attack in line.  So the pharmacist called in the EMTs (here we go again).  The EMTs arrived.  Norm explained the situation that he saw no reason to go to the hospital, as he was just thrown out of one.  One EMT, Paul,  got physically aggressive, so Norm, defending himself, broke the Paul's nose.  As the police were called, Norm was taken outside to give his statement about his using self defense.  Paul's partner verified Norm and he was allowed to get his prescription and go home.  WOW.  a whole day wasted by all just because authorities wouldn't allow Norm to assert his right of refusal.

This last time was the absolute worst of these civil violations.  Norm was going home from paying his rent, when he had another attack.  He recovered, took some of his medicine he had on him, and went home to relax.  Unbeknown to him, someone saw the whole thing and called the authorities and told them he "popped some pills" and showed where he went.  So, while Norm was laying down recovering, police and EMTs broke down his door and accosted him about the incident, causing (not surprisingly) a panic attack.  Is this what we've come down to.  people with difficulties not able to calm down and rest and recover in their own home.

This is one example that I know of personally.  Others examples can include doctors like Conrad Murray or the doctor that prescribed for Heath Ledger.  Doctors that care more about their bank accounts and prestige than they do about proper and responsible care for their patients.  Police officers, like those that brutalize people (like Rodney King) without provocation.  People who have no business being responsible for other people.

My personal belief is that any person that chooses to serve in a position of responsibility should check their ego at the door.  They need to set aside their drives and desires and objectively look out for the welfare of those they are responsible for.  Medical practitioners should care more about healing people and doing that job correctly and responsibly, not caring more about liability, malpractice and seeing as many patients in one shift as though patients are on a conveyor belt assembly line.  Police officers should look to protect people, not harass them  when they are not harming or infringing on others.  There has to be a way to screen candidates for these jobs, and once they're hired, to properly train them in a way to do their job in a way that best cares for and protects people while preserving their rights and civil liberties.  However, until that happens, we have to be leery about our protectors.  Like the comic book said, "Who watches the Watchmen."  Let me know what you think.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

My Thoughts on Family

Hey all,

I thought I'd use this post to write about something I care quite passionately about.  The concept of family.  Someone once told me they did not believe in the concept of half-siblings and step children.  That if a family was broke, then that was it.  No more family beyond that.  I disagree.  I come from a large, close family.  In addition, I am a child of divorce.  However, instead of a broken family, I became part of an extendend blended family.  this means that I aquired more family through the break up of my parents marriage.  This, being from including my stepfather and his family into our own as well as when my step mother gave birth to my half-sisters, one of who in now pregnant with her first child (yet more family). 

Now when my sisters were little, I told them many times there is nothing more important than family.  However, lately I have learned that family goes beyond blood relatives.  It's about the people you surround yourselves with.  I have found, that in my family,as I'm sure in everyone's as well, I have some blood relatives that I am less than proud of.  Some of them, I out right resent or dislike.  And there are some that I care for deeply.

However, blended families are just as important.  I've found with my stepfather and his family, the welcomed my mom and myself with open arms and love, like we were already a close part of that family.  In kind, I feel that same love, respect and closeness to them as well, even if I wasn't born into their family by blood.  We are a family.  A larger and closer family than when it was just my blood relatives.  I believe blended families offer more chances to learn and grow as a person with more love and support from a growing, what the military calls, "band of brothers".

This philosophy can be extended even further.  I grew up as an only child.  Therefore My closest friends and many of my first cousins became, in a way, my brothers and sisters.  With that bond as a child, I have been able to hold onto that closeness throughout my life with these people.  One day, while I was disciplining my former girlfriends young daughter, she tried to verbally attack me with the statement, "Well it's no surprise you don't have any friends."  That statement got me to thinking about it.  To her surprise, however, I agreed with her.  I informed her that she was right.  I don't have friends.  Because they are family.  The people, I have chosen to bond to in my life, have become so close to me, they are truly my brothers and sisters, my extended family.  With that I'd like to thank my "brothers" Robbie, Brian, Bob, Robert, Josh, Norm, Fred and the Norris' (as well as their families) for being there for me and allowing me to be there for them.  Due to this extension, the "band of brothers" grows and even more people form a caring community.

Due to the growths of these families, my own as well as others, there is bound to be a bit of "overlap" in these groups of people.  And even though I am a pessimist, I am, also, an idealist.  I'd like to believe that with this overlap of groups of people to care for each other that there is hope society can eventually unite to end destructive conflict, and as the John Lennon song, Imagine, says, the world can live as one.  It might be an unrealistic thought, but I think it's still a good thought nonethe less.

I hope all who read this have a happy holiday weekend.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Is Laziness a Virtue?

Hello all,

It's a question I occasionally think of, but haven't put much thought in, until now.  Have we as a society gotten too lazy for our own good.   We've become a society of having everything at our fingertips now, without actually having to lift a finger to get it.  Between remote controls and internet shopping, no one has to take any time to do anything anymore, and I think it has created a lot of problems with our society.

Let's start with the obvious, obesity.  I probably won't cover any new ground with my statements on this particular point, but I think these statements should probably be made again.  I'll start with the obvious, video games and remote controls.  Now, I'm well aware that I'm a big user of both, and am overweight.  Is there a correlation?  I don't know.  What I do know is that I'm overweight for 2 reasons.  The first, is I eat A LOT of stuff that isn't good for me.  The second, is that I don't get any exercise.  I don't get any exercise because I've always been an indoors kind of guy.  This means that I've succumbed to the temptations of video games and cable TV, which pretty much makes me a couch potato.  That pretty much SCREAMS laziness because I don't have to get up for anything.  Everything is run by remote control.  I don't have to go outside to play sports because I have some of them as video games.  Which has left me with a lack of physical ambition.  However, this is where I can comment in the hopes that others don't make the same mistakes that I do.  For example, One of my closest friends is providing a wonderful balance with his 4 year old son.  This is a boy that has beaten more video games in 4 years of life than I have in 15 years.  But, even though he plays a lot of video games, he is also encouraged to play outside.  His favorite outdoor activity is Freeze Tag.  My friend, also, plays football, baseball and golf with him too.  This boy had his own set of golf clubs, real clubs not toys, when he was 2 years old.  Due to this exposure, he's as comfortable being physically active outside as he his playing his games and watching his cartoons inside.  I think if more people took the time to take other people outside more, we would at least start to have a healthier society.

But, the problems go deeper than just video games and TV.  Let's move on to drive thru's.  This has taken all the effort for someone to actually stop their car, turn it off, get out, and go into a place of business and interact with others.  When did we decide we had to have something so bad, but didn't need to get out of the car for it.  And by extension, the same can be said for internet shopping.  This form of "laziness" has ended up secluding us from each other, and this seclusion has taken all the humanity out of a lot of things that we say and do.  It's almost like other REAL people don't exist because they're just a voice through a drive thru speaker, or a voice on a radio, or a face on the TV, or a face on the internet.  No real connection between people.  To me, that's sad.  It's almost like being a hermit without ever needing to leave the village.

With the advent of the internet, this problem has seemed to increase.  I have already mentioned online shopping.  But what about the other issues.  Let's start with texting.  Since people have started being able to text, they don't talk to the same people as much.  I wonder if they can even remember that person's voice, or face.  The opposite can, also, be true.  People that actually did just communicate in person, or over the phone, are texting each other a few minutes later.  I have an example of the second extreme.  A few years ago, I was visiting my father and his family.  As I was visiting, I noticed my teenage sister sitting with a friend next to the computer, chatting with a friend, that lived just down the road, and talking to another friend on her cell phone...ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  WTF.  What happened to a GROUP of friends just getting together to hang out.  This example leads to the next problem with texting...carelessness.  The biggest statistic for this is the fact that more auto crashes are caused by people texting than by drunk drivers.  Alcohol has become safer on the road than technology.  Again, WTF.  However, shopping and chatting aren't the only activities to be done electronically.  Dating and sex have been taken to this extreme as well.  It seems the days of going out and socializing with different people in order to meet that special someone are gone.  Now, you seem to be able, for a fee, to meet someone special (as long as they fit within pre-programmed parameters).  And cybersex is COMPLETELY impersonal.  You might as well be looking at a porno magazine.

Now I'm all for people who work hard during the week taking time out to be lazy and relax.  But to go to the previous extremes is ludicrous.  Since I've moved back to New England, I have found I take time to go outside and enjoy what it has to offer.  I don't use a drive thru all the time, so I can take the time to go inside the establishment and interact with different kinds of people (it, also, helps in my chosen career of customer service and sales).  In addition, I don't own a cell phone, so I don't have to be interrupted while I'm driving or interacting with others.  As I've stated previously, I'm a TV and video game junkie, so I'm not anti-tech.  However, technology shouldn't replace our humanity and connection to nature either.  So take a break from your text, or show, or email, or video game and go outside and explore.  Who knows, you might encounter something that fascinates you more.

To be clear, I'm not trying to guilt or force people to change how they live or do certain things.  I would just like you to take a little time and think about this.  Please let me know what you think.

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jon Stewart is My New Hero

Hello all.  I just watched a rerun of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart that just blew me away.  Even though it was a rerun, I had never seen it, and I must say it was mind blowing.  The entire first half of the episode was a parody impersonation of Glen Beck.  It was hysterical.  Stewart completely hacked on the fear mongering hate speech that Beck espouses.  If anyone deserve mocking, it most certainly is Glen Beck.  This guy is a total maroon who spews at the top of his lungs that anyone that ISN'T a conservative is associated with the Anti-Christ. 

How Beck got on TV to begin with should be beyond me, but the fact that it isn't is the real problem.  When Network executives look for ratings anyway they can (ie reality shows), news networks are beginning to have to polarize and inflame.  Mores the pity when the objective journalism of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite has seen it's end a long time ago. 

However, we have salvation from the Bully of the bully pulpit from both the far left (ie Ed Schultz from MSNBC) and the far right (ie Glen Beck of Fox News) from the most unlikely of sources, that of the comedy industry.  The fact that most average Americans get their news from shows by Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Bill Mahr is an interesting statistic.  However anyone else interprets the statistical numbers of this phenomena, I interpret it as Americans are sick of the fear mongering hate speech and rhetoric from both sides of the argument and these shows expose the absurd levels both sides take these arguments.  These comedians take the public displays from these hypocrites and slap them down with their own hypocrisy.  AND, this is the part that will get me every time, they show it in a hysterical way that makes these morons look like the fools they are.

When Jon Stewart pokes at the ridiculous stories, like the Eric Massa fondling fiasco, and Stephen Colbert sarcastically let's Sarah Palin she has gone too far with her being offended over non-politically correct speech, and Bill Mahr puts a panel of people with various viewpoints on to humorously debate the current political issues of our country, it shows me a sad fact of life.  The only people that are willing and able to tell us all the truth about our politics are comedians, because we know damned well that the people involved are too self invested to do it themselves (including the journalists and "journalistic" political commentators like Schultz, Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Keith Olbermann, etc.).  It's a good thing we have real patriots likes these comedians, otherwise we'd all be misinformed zombie sheep bowing to the hypocritical and sometimes completely insane rhetoric from those who are in power and their puppets.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Random Thoughts

Hello all.  Today, I have no real topic of focus.  I have covered a lot of my concerns in my previous posts.  However, I'm sure if I missed anything, I'll rant about it at a later date.  Today I just have a few scattered comments. 

The big news is the Health Care Bill vote.  It's about time we see it one way or the other and move on.  Then, there's March Madness.  I've never followed college basketball, but I have at least one game I want to watch.  That's University of Vermont against University of Syracuse.  This is because of a a couple reasons.  One, UVM is the local team and it rarely plays in the tournament.  Next, One of my closest friends graduated from the University of Syracuse, in Utica, so there's loose connection there.  Then, there's the part where there are 2 brothers, who grew up in Canada, playing against each other in that game.  I just find that thought entertaining and just want to see it.

On the geek front, I just got my new computer, so now I can finally play Batman Arkham Asylum.  I've seen the graphics and reviews, but have yet to experience it.  This will be fun.  Also, Ironman 2 comes out in acouple of months.  That will be a fun watch.  Plus, who can beat a sexy redheaded Scarlett Johanson in tight, black leather.  That Ryan Reynolds is one lucky S.O.B.  Speaking of" Mr. Johanson", I can't wait for his next 2 movies.  He'll have Green Lantern come out next year, and I'm a big GL fan.  Then, he's signed to star in a Deadpool movie.  He was good as Wade Wilson (aka Deadpool) in X-Men Origins Wolverine, but I'm sure he'll thrive as the wisecracking assassin, Deadpool.  As a fan of both comedy and action films, Deadpool will probably completely tweak my brain.  It'll be great.

Well, those are my current random thoughts.  Catch you all later.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Top Sports Stories

Hello all. I don't have a whole lot to talk about today, however, I would like to talk about the top two sports news stories. Those are Tiger Woods' return to the PGA and the death of former Rams defensive lineman Merlin Olsen.

First, to Tiger Woods. I'm glad everyone is talking more about his return to his profession than his personal life. I am of the mind that the only people that should care about what Tiger was doing with other women are Tiger, his wife, their family, and the women involved. Past that, WHO CARES?!! All the media attention on his personal life is stupid, and only proves how invasive and voyeuristic our society has become. However, now the story is about what it should be about, his golf performance. It's not about what's going on in his personal life, but how it affects his game. That's all anyone should need care about. Now, I know some of you are saying that you don't even care about golf. That's fine. I'm not a fan of the PGA either. However, as a sports fan, and a fan of anything in general, I think professional performance should always be the focus on anybody that has a public job (ie politicians, actors, movie stars, musicians, artists, athletes, etc.). Therefore, bravo to those that ONLY cover Tiger Woods' return to golf and how his situation will affect his PERFORMANCE. The way sports should be covered.

Now, onto something sadder. The world lost a very well liked and well respected person yesterday. I'm, of course, speaking of Merlin Olsen. As a football fanatic, I am a fan of all those who excel, and have ever excelled at the game. As a member of the Rams Fearsome Foursome defense in the late 1960's, he was one of the greats. He still, to this day holds some of the leagues most impressive records. However, it was his personality that, to me, spoke volumes. I'm too young to have ever watched him play. I first saw him on TV as an actor and pitchman. He always seemed polite, humble, caring, and warm to all he encountered. A Humanitarian first and foremost. Now this might seem odd for someone that made his name "killing guys with the ball", but I have found in my years as a football fan, that many of the most fearsome players in the game have the most generous souls (ie Reggie White). This was confirmed to me yesterday by all the statements of those who knew him. Therefore, we as a society have suffered a great loss in the world, and if we had more people like Merlin Olsen, this would be a much better place.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Time to Reintroduce Natural Selection

Hello all,

I know it's been a few days since my last post, but I've been visiting with people and hearing their stories. So now, I've got to wonder how much of the crazy, sick, and outrageous actions of some people we have to tolerate before we say enough is enough. This is why, for years I have supported the reintroduction of natural selection back into existence. For those of you that have been living under a rock, or are just stubborn closed minded religious freaks that can't accept simple logic, natural selection states "Survival of the fittest". Or as George Carlin eloquently put it,"The kid that swallows the most marbles doesn't grow up to have children of his own." I know we all have stories we've heard of people that should be sterilized so we can raise the bar of society's accomplishments. However there are a few, how should I put this?, less than stellar people that strive to make amoeba look more worthy of life than we do. Now, I know a few of you are thinking I'm a radical fanatic wanting to see a few of our "less than capable" citizens disappear, but I assure you I'm not being completely monstrous. Just to clarify my position, I'm not attacking diagnosed special needs people or the disabled. They have had difficulties through no fault of their own, and many have strived and achieved more than anyone ever thought they were capable of. I admire and have the utmost respect for these people for their strength of will, drive, and determination. The one's that I'm condemning are the ones that try to pass themselves off as average or exceptional people, but blatantly show that they never evolved beyond the neanderthal stage.

To show what I'm describing, I've got examples from the relatively harmless stupid all the way to "Are you F---ing kidding me?!!" This goes back to the people I spoke with recently, as well as things I've read in the local and national news. Some of this will be common knowledge, others will, most likely, surprise you.

The first example is of a local seemingly happy couple that are not married, but do live together. They have no real complaints. They're not well to do, but get by. They're raising her 5 year old son to the best of their ability. Life is ok. But then, stupidity rears it's ugly head. One night after work, he calls her and tells her he's going out with the guys. She's fine with that,as it gives her a night to herself as well. As he was out, he got stupid drunk, and without any thought or consideration, picked up a girl at the bar. Now some of you would probably rate this more as thoughtless than stupid, however the rest of the story will tell you how it can be both. He planned on "hooking up" with this girl and they went back to HIS place. He however, forgot or didn't care that his girlfriend was home, in bed, at the time. To put this lightly, I would call this moment completely awkward. As I said, stupid.

Another example, is of a man that I read about in our local newspaper, just this morning. He was a firefighter in one of our northern towns. However, as the town is small, the firemen don't see a lot of action. So, he decided that he would set a fire, so the department would be called to fight it, and the state of Vermont would pay him for it. He set the home of a local woman ablaze. He chose this house because the owner was selling it to someone he didn't like. Then, he forced his wife to provide him with an alibi. He, himself, however, created the fatal flaws with his plan. First, he bragged about his plan to some of his friends, and word got back to the home buyer. So the buyer was able to provide the authorities with a suspect. Then, like the caveman he is, he beats up his wife and leaves her lying on a local road. When the authorities find her and get her medical attention, she recants the alibi. So now, this (I would normally say chimp, but I don't want to insult the intelligence of chimps) useless waste of flesh is finally getting what he deserves. He is currently awaiting trial.

Now, lets take it up a notch, and go to the national level. As they are national stories, I'll just list the barest descriptions:

1) Gov. Mark Sanford's "hike". Not the part that he cheated on his wife, but the part that a state governor, their administrative leader, went AWOL for a week without telling anyone on his staff.

2) Pres. Bill Clinton and asking the definition of the word "is".

3) Sarah Palin on a couple of things. Here's the sublist:

a) Thinking she knows about foreign policy because she can see Russia from her house.

b) Giving the White House Chief of Staff grief over his use of the word "retard", when she has no problem with Rush Limbaugh using it because he uses it as satire. Yet, when Stephen Colbert uses it as satire, she's offended again. Man, I wish this hypocritical broad would make up her mind. However, I should accept her position waffling, as she is, or was, a politician.

3) Let us not forget religious fundamentalists (Christian and Muslim alike, as they are the most blatant offenders) that think violence and terror is an acceptable way to force people to believe in what the fundamentalists believe. While Faith, in and of itself, is all about tolerance and peace, these nimrods say believe in OUR faith, or we'll kill you. That should definitely bring home the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now, I could go on and on, but ultimately all I'm saying is, that if we stopped trying to save and protect these people, and their rights, and use some common sense, maybe we all could get along and be able to solve society's issues. It's a good dream, but I know it won't happen in my lifetime. Not if we keep making these people our leaders and role-models. As such, our intelligence quotient will slip a few more points and our brutality will show no justice. This makes me sad.

Let me know what you think. Until next we meet faithful readers.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring is finally here

Well, it turns out, at least in Northeastern Vermont, that the groundhog from Pennsylvania was WRONG. Spring is here and with it the hopes of a new brighter year. The fishing, camping and hiking tourists will be here soon and with them, their dollars to stimulate our economy. And, boy, do we need it. As we haven't had consistent winters here the past few years, the skiing and snowmobile seasons have been dismal. Ah, but that is winter, and now we're into spring. The April showers and May flowers, at least as the cliche goes. However, this is going to be a particularly hard spring for a lot of people this year. I'm of course talking about the people that make up the 10.4% of Americans that are unemployed. Instead of being able to enjoy the splendors of nature, they have to struggle just to make sure that they can just get through a day. They have to do all they can to make sure that they, and their families can have a place to stay and something to eat. It is tragic to think that in the richest country in the world, there are so many that exist as though we were still a developing country. These people make those that are suffering from poverty, working for minimum wage, as well off. And the problem is our antiquated and broken economy and social welfare systems. Instead of evolving the way they should have since the Great Depression, they were forced to just do their jobs as though nothing has changed in America in the past 80 years. However, with the decline in manufacturing, the increase in technology and information, and the fluctuating majority age of our population (yes I'm blaming you baby boomers), we have not been able to support our population the way we should have. And now, we're supporting more people than our budget can handle. As I said before, we have 10.4% of unemployed people. Now add the 7.2% of Americans that are retired and drawing off Social Security. Now add the 12% of our population that is, also, drawing off social security and medicare. And finally, add the 24.3% of our population that's under 18, and thus, not able to contribute to the labor pool. This totals53.9% of the US population that is not able to contribute to our economy. 53.9%. Over half our population is not working. Over half. This leaves the other half to pick up the slack. But as 10% of our population controls the majority of our nation's wealth, there is no way for the rest of the populace to pick up the burden. Is it any wonder why we're suffering right now. They say our economy is on the upswing, but how does that help, when we're still unemployed. With the swell of more baby boomers retiring and labor of all kinds being outsourced to other nations, our plight is only going to get worse. Sadly, the swine flu epidemic was a potential, if not macabre, source of hope. With it's estimates, at the time, of possibly 50% of our population contracting the virus, and most of those people dying from it, it would have reduced our population enough to potentially balance the scales of our income and outgo of social benefits. However, this was, also, another thing that didn't do any work (or earn any wages ). Welcome to the future. If something extreme isn't done, one way or another, all Americans will feel the pain of supporting too much on their backs. Well, at least we'll have our WONDERFUL health care system to take care of us for that.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hello from Northeast Geek

Hello Friends,

As this is the first post of my first blog, I am very excited to communicate with you all about my views on just about everything. Some of you may agree, some may disagree, but if I can at least spark debate about what I think are important issues, then I've at least been able to get you all to look at our existence on this tiny planet that is our home in the great big universe. Also, as this is my first blog, you may have to bear with me as I flesh out my goals for these postings. Once I do, however, I hope you will all find it informative and entertaining.

Well, let me tell you a little about myself. I have been born and bred in Northeastern Vermont. I love the scenery and pace of life in my "sleepy little New England town". I lived in the midwest for a few years while I attended college, which helped me appreciate my home all the more. However, I feel it taught me to look at most forms of existence that don't necessarily exist here in Vermont, or at least aren't as publicized. I am very close to my family and small circle of close friends, and enjoy spending time with them as much as possible. I have a fondness for the absurd and the outright comedic inconsistencies of people in general. As my user name points out, I am very much a geek. I enjoy Science Fiction and Fantasy entertainment (movies, books, video games, etc.). And yes, I do enjoy the occasional game of Dungeons & Dragons. However, in contrast I'm a HUGE football fan. I enjoy watching my favorite team, the Oakland Raiders (when they are not an embarrassment on the field due to the insanity of their senile owner Al Davis' incessant need to interfere with the day to day operations of the team and let the rest of the organization DO THEIR JOB!!! Well, enough on this rant. There will be plenty of time and future writings on the subject. In addition, I am a Classic Rock fan, and am very passionate about music. I don't play any instrument, and can't sing worth anything (the closest I get is playing the instruments on Rock Band and Guitar Hero), but I do enjoy music and find it a very strong emotional art form. Politically, I feel I am a middle of the road kind of a guy, loyal to no particular party. Which means, I have no problem jumping up and down on anyone from either party for doing something I feel is stupid, and giving praise to those I feel have done something positive. And to let you know, as an agnostic, I will occasionally attack organized religion. But to be clear, I have no problem with religious faith. My problem is the organization of religion that tries to weasel its way into politics and force it's views on the general populace (ie Muslim fundamentalists that kill all infadels in the name of Allah, just for exercising basic human rights; Christian fundamentalists that have an intolerance for living with anyone of different views like about homosexuality, abortion, civil rights, etc.) People should just let people be and believe in what they believe, as long as it doesn't infringe or hurt anyone else. I will RANT extensively, and at length on these subjects as well.

Well, now on to my first post. Please bear with me while I flesh it out. I have to get some generalities off my chest. Let me start with some problems I'm having with Hollywood. Now, I enjoy mindless escapism as much as the next guy, but what is this huge fixation for reality style TV. Are we, as a people, SO voyeuristic that the next generation of television programing is "scripted spying" on other people living their ordinary lives. Why do we care so much? What does it matter if Tiger Woods is having personal problems, or who Miley Cyrus is dating next. Really, who cares? I mean, yes we should appreciate people with talent, and choose whether or not to enjoy their particular artistic styles. Past that, though, shouldn't we just let the rest of it go and let these people live their lives. Come on, there's an entire TV network devoted to all things entertainment and micro report about ALL things the paparazzi report. This celebrity is shopping here, that one having dinner there, and another one getting sloppy drunk at this place. Again, who cares? Let them be and let their work speak for them. I think the only people that need to be held to a higher standard are politicians and teachers. Now, most will say "Northeast Geek, these celebrities influence our children and need to set a proper example." I say bull. I think that if a parent teaches their children well, to understand right from wrong, reality from fantasy, then celebrity influence decreases drastically. It all comes down to parents being parents and setting limits and not just giving into children's unreasonable demands just for a brief moment of peace and quiet. If you wanted peace and quiet, you never should have become a parent to begin with. Parenting is a HUGE responsibility. You're raising the next generation of people. What kind of people do you want them to be. Proper independent thinkers, or mindless drones easily influenced by the cheap and tawdry.

Speaking of cheap and tawdry, lets talk politics for a moment. Since when did we elect little children to represent us in government. In our current 2 party system, we have a group that says we want to do this and if you don't like it tough, and another that says if you don't do things our way, we'll just take the ball and go home. It doesn't matter which party, they both say this. I think if we have a system more like some of the European nations that have 6 parties (3 different conservative and 3 different liberal parties), there would be A LOT more compromise and more things would get accomplished. It's absurd to me that everyone thinks government works or should work to make ALL it's people happy. That's unrealistic. Too many people have so many different issues that are important to them. So, majority should rule. And I'm not talking about party majority, I'm talking about majority of votes. If that happens to line up to party majority, then so be it. We elect the officials we want into office. Mind you, some of us didn't want those particular representatives, but those are just the first round of minority voters that are unhappy. The majority spoke. DEAL with it. Better luck next time. Now, in government, same rules apply. Majority vote wins. Minority loses. DEAL with it. Better luck next time. This is the form of government our ancestors chose, and it worked pretty well for 200 years. Now, people talk about broken government. This is because we have a few minority losers (in both parties) that are, what we called when I was a kid, "Poor Sports". They can't handle loosing at all and are willing to destroy everything else just to win. Sometimes it's because of arrogance, and other times it's because they were paid by their lobbyist sponsors to achieve their result. Which gets me to Government personal greed.

How, as a people, have we allowed ourselves to be bought and sold like cattle to corporate greed? These folks are the ones that buy our government. And now, thanks in no small part to the United States Supreme Court, they can do it legally and publicly. This bucks against everything I stated above about majority and minority votes. They use money and greed to override this system and buy voters. When did we as a citizens decide as a majority that it was ok to sell our principles for a boat load of cash? Are we really that shallow? We must be. We are more concerned with which celebrity is shopping here, which celebrity is having dinner there, and which one is getting sloppy drunk at this place.

Thank you for your time, and I encourage you to please write and comment about my statements, whether you agree or disagree. Please let me know. As a true American, I welcome debate. Thank you.


Northeast Geek