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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Why Would a Christian Have Voted for Trump? Or Clinton?

Today we know that our future President will be Donald Trump. As I skim through my news feed I see elation and I see sadness. That is to be expected.

But what troubles me are the judgmental and petulant comments that the Clinton supporters are making. One that particularly struck me is "...I don't want to hear a single word from anyone who voted for Donald about how much they love or know Jesus. ...If anyone can find anything in the words of Jesus that aligns with the hate-mongering, fear-mongering, crass name calling..." and the rant continues for a while.

It is finally my turn to speak out, although I don't want to. I chose to stay out of most of the political commentary because I was never a Trump fan. I was never a Clinton fan. I'm not going to say who I voted for, or if I voted, because it's not about me and my vote. Instead, this is about WHY a Christian would vote for either candidate.

Christians are complex individuals, just like everyone else. We are not defined merely by our faith. We are also defined by our minds, various goals, wants and needs.

Some Christians chose to abstain from voting for either candidate because they felt that neither was representative of Christian values, which include high moral and ethical standards.

Why would a Christian vote for Clinton? After all, she is a flawed candidate. She is pro-abortion (many Christians are still opposed to this). She is a documented liar and the email scandal is still seen by many as...well...scandalous, whether or not the FBI has given her a pass. If she won, she would have altered history by appointing Supreme Court nominees that would undoubtedly rule against most mainstream Christian ideals.

But some Christians voted for Hillary in the belief that she would be a good mother to us all. Some voted because they thought she would be generous to everyone: Citizens and non-citizens. Some voted because they truly believe that socialism is the kindest form of government, with the hopes that she would create a future utopia that would come close to it. Some felt that Hillary would be a better protector of the downtrodden and the needy.

Why would a Christian vote for Trump? He has no verbal filter. He is crude, obnoxious, and too quick to speak his mind. He is not the man you'd take home to your parents. He is not the man you'd want your daughter to marry. He seems too quick to anger, too dedicated to revenge.

But some Christians voted for Trump not because they agreed with everything he has said or stands for. They voted for Trump for other reasons.

Some were concerned about the future of the Supreme Court. They didn't want their children growing up in a society where the only hate crimes allowed might be crimes against Christians. Some voted for Trump because they want to live in safety, without the worry of an unvetted Islamic terrorist popping by for an unexpected visit to their children's school. Some voted for Trump because they felt that illegal immigrants are economically harming the country. Some voted for Trump because they felt he would side with victims before he would side with criminals.

I know people on both sides of the aisle. I've never heard a Christian say to me, even in confidence, that they were voting for a particular candidate so that they could ruin someone's life. I've rarely heard a Christian say that they hate someone, and if they do, they feel guilty about it and try to let go of their hatred. A true Christian might hate brussel sprouts, but they are told to not hate people. I've struggled with this myself: Not all people are lovable, after all.

That doesn't mean a Christian is obligated to applaud your choices or your lifestyle, however. And it doesn't mean that someone is a Christian only if they agree with you.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Please Remove This Post: It Bothers Me

It's been many months since I last published anything. But today I opened up Blogger yet one more time and saw ... "Please remove this post. This person committed suicide since you wrote it..." [not due to what I wrote] "...and it causes his family much pain" and "Take down this post please. Her family doesn't want to be reminded of her murder."

I've never received requests like this in all the years I've been writing. My only guess is that we are currently existing in a society where we are so busy mollycoddling everyone that we have completely lost our common sense. The fact that someone feels entitled to even ask to have a factual article removed simply baffles me. Are they also contacting all the major news outlets now, requesting that any news articles about their loved ones be removed from the files? Let's wipe out history and pretend it never happened.

Erasure of history is the constant frustration of Egyptian archaeologists. It was common that conquering or newly appointed royalty would order all mention of their former rivals wiped from record. So, presumably, upon the assumption of a new Pharaoh, craftsmen would be sent out to chisel out hieroglyphs and demolish statues until nothing remained. 

When a King or Queen is newly discovered, it's both a cause for great celebration mixed with awe, due to the complexity of the task. If this terrible practice hadn't existed, we would know so much more about that great society! Such was the case with the Pharaoh Akhenaten: He had been obliterated from most items but there was great excitement when they found the first tablets which even mentioned his name. The story of the discovery of Akhenaten is breathtaking to a history junkie. Why was the attempt made to obliterate him so thoroughly? Most experts believe it's because he was monotheistic: A big no-no in that part of the ancient world.

Modern historians and journalists used to scoff at these ancient Egyptian traditions as quaint but savage. Who would be so narrow-minded that they'd do such a thing? We were brought up hearing "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." [George Santayana]. We know better now, don't we?

So what has changed?

We have bred a nation of entitled whiners. We see constant reminders of it everywhere. Here's a recent meme that came out which sums it all up nicely:
How sad is that?

Of course this isn't limited to 18 year olds. Everyone is busy getting on the "you hurt my feelings" train and getting their tickets punched. And yes, I mean everyone. Every one of us, myself included. 

Are we entitled to complain if someone treats us unfairly? Of course we are. The difference is this: We are allowed to complain about what is unfair. We are not entitled to ask for someone to stop speaking the truth simply because it makes us uncomfortable. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

An Interview with a Scientology Owned Corporation

A woman we'll call Esme recently went to a job interview with a local software company in Clearwater.

For those of you who aren't in the know, if you are interviewing in the Tampa Bay Area, you may eventually run across a Scientologist-owned company. They all have the same traits: They generally operate out of cheap, run down offices. They all have charts all over the walls of their conference room. And they all use the Scientology approved management system.

The Scientologists had a guru, a former SciFi author who believed himself to be a master of, among other things, management.

I have nothing against L. Ron Hubbard's writing skills, having enjoyed "Old Doc Methuselah" when I was a kid. He was creative and obviously persuasive, or he couldn't have created the religion that he did. It was successful for a while, although many reports indicate it is slowly crumbling due to the continued disenfranchisement of its followers, such as Leah Remini.

In his zeal to dominate his followers entirely, LRH (as his devotees call him) created a business management system that he insisted they use not simply in their personal lives but in their professional ones as well. The problem is that he had no degrees in this field, and no personal knowledge of it. His system was outdated even when he conceived it, and depends upon both micromanagement and his poor understanding of how a business should operate. If you are a drone, this is effective. But if you are creative, or think outside the box, or simply want to contribute more to an organization than rote subservience, this system is not effective.

Not knowing that this was a Scientology dominated company, Esme went to the interview. She had been told she was going to take an IQ and personality test. She found that odd, as most of those tests are done online now, but she thought little of it.

The first thing that Esme noticed when she entered the building was that it was dank and dark. There was little lighting and the company obviously spent nothing on creature comforts. There was no attempt to appear palatable or even modern, despite the fact that they were a software company and not, say, a group of shut-ins. The carpet was stained in multiple places and obviously hadn't been cleaned in a very long time, possibly it had never been cleaned since it had been installed.

Esme walked up to the receptionist's desk to find it abandoned. In fact, the entire building appeared to be abandoned, as everyone was at lunch. It had an eerie feeling to it. However, someone meandered by, saw her, and explained that everyone was at lunch. She found it peculiar that everyone was gone at the same time, but she settled down and waited as people trickled back in.

Eventually Esme was claimed by the woman who'd initially contacted her. She was brought into the local conference room, which had an entire wall covered in charts that looked like EKG readings. She was handed a supposed personality test and was told it would take 30 minutes to complete. The test was proudly branded as "Master Tech." 

When Esme retells this, she starts by asking anyone who's lived in the Tampa Bay Area for a while: "If you see the word "Tech" on a test, what do you immediately think?" Most people answer "Scientology." Why? Because LRH was enamored with technology. He felt the best way to appeal to his followers was to appear as scientific and up-to-date as possible so the Scientologist vocabulary is peppered with the word "tech."

Esme blew through the personality test in a short amount of time. "It was so obvious even my poodle could have aced it," she says breezily. The questions included things like "I generally like to be by myself" or "I consider myself to be a people person" or even "I bite at and/or pick at my fingers." When Esme let her handler know she was finished, the handler expressed surprise and then gave her a timed IQ test.

Esme blew through that as well. "I've had serious IQ tests," she states. "They take some real thought. This was a test that was created by someone who really didn't know what they were doing." Again, her handler expressed surprise at how rapidly Esme conquered the test. 

After her handler left, Esme quietly googled "Master Tech" only to find her suspicions confirmed. And quickly glancing over the shoddy bookshelves in the dingy conference room, she saw many Scientology manuals. She googled the company and found out that they'd already been sued for both sexual discrimination and forced Scientology indoctrination conditional to continued employment.

After a short time, two men entered the room. Telling Esme that they had seen her test results and were very pleasantly surprised by them, they began to attempt to sell her on a glorified telemarketing job.

After they ran down, Esme then said "Thank you, gentlemen. May I now ask a couple of questions?" The men expressed enthusiastic interest in what she had to say. She began by asking what the base salary was. Then she said "Obviously you both are Scientologists. Let me start by saying that I'm not an SP."

The men, both startled, uneasily agreed and asked how she'd figured it out. They seemed to find it impressive that she knew what an SP was (Scientologist lingo for Suppressive Person, which is a designation for someone that a Scientologist is not allowed to even speak with. This includes immediate family members if they're designated as an SP).

She explained the wall charts and Scientology materials made it very apparent. Then she asked "Do you insist on using Hubbard's management system?" They said they did and asked her what she objected to. Being a management specialist, Esme truthfully said "I find his concepts severely outdated and only workable in certain situations. His micromanaging is stifling and doesn't allow creativity."

One of the men said he's been brought into the organization specifically to make sure all of LRH's business model be institutionalized. He tried to explain that they'd gone back to the original materials and that was far superior than any modifications that had been made to the system since LRH had gone toes-up. He then asked what she specifically meant by creativity. She explained that she felt she would need to be creative in her sales pitches and, to his credit, he agreed that this was important.

But what Esme couldn't properly express was her knowledge (due to having been trapped before in a Scientologist-owned company) that it is a cruel and didactic system, run by petty dictators with incomplete knowledge. Where people skills and warmth are seen as unimportant. Where flogging employees and negative motivation were encouraged by LRH. Where constant, suffocating oversight is seen as the norm.

In the end they insisted that their particular interpretation of the Scientologist business model was somehow superior to whatever Esme had experienced in the past. They asked if she was offered a position there, would she agree to sign a waiver saying she understood they were using that system? Yes, Esme said, if it was truly as effective as they said, she'd have no problems with it. But she knew there would be problems and so did they.

She never heard from them again.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Prom

I'm a little confused as to why it takes the average teenage girl an entire day to prepare for Prom. You'd think it was her wedding! But I hear many horror stories about it: A trip to get her updo, mani and pedi, makeup, yada yada yada. Prom has become a living nightmare. I'm glad I was able to go to Prom back when it was an enjoyable event instead of a nerve wracking obligation.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Planned Obsolescence of Printers

The printer industry has a vested interest in your purchase of a new printer every couple of years. A high level employee once told me that the only way to force this purchase is to up the cost of the ink on the older units to a point that it is cheaper to buy a new printer than to continue to invest in ink.
Most people know this now, and there is a booming market for alternatives (Amazon has a lot of generic alternative inks). I recently went to purchase ink for my 2 year old printer only to see the bill was going to be $100 for 4 cartridges. I went on Amazon and got 10 cartridges for $25.
Today I put them into my Epson printer and I swear the thing took it personally.
I immediately got "We see this isn't genuine Epson ink. Are you SURE you want to use this ink? It could cause [death / disaster / world catastrophes]." I clicked yes, and the printer still wouldn't budge until I pressed another YES button on the printer itself. Finally out of protestations, it reluctantly printed out what I'd asked for.
In perfect color.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Oops

I take the gallon of "oops" paint up to the old man at the counter. "Do you..." I begin. "Nope," he snaps.
Patiently, I start again. "Do you know what color this is?" I ask. "Oh," he says. He looks at the can. He opens the the can for me, methodically, and shows me what's inside.
"Do you mind..." I start to say. "Nope!" he snaps, assuming I'm going to ask him something that will force him to do more than what he wants to do. "...putting a little bit more on the paint lid so I can get a good idea of what the color is?" I finish.
He glowers at me, but does so, finishing it with the blow dryer so that I can see what color it dries to.
And they say customer service is dead.

The Pressure...to NOT Marry

I just heard on the radio that women still feel very pressured to be married by the time they're in their mid thirties at the latest. I find that quite odd, I don't see that among my female friends. Instead, if anything, I believe that most of us feel the pressure to NOT get married, as if marriage Is for fools and the weak.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

So me, driving along, suddenly attacked by a spider the size of a quarter. I ended up on the median, but luckily survived the attack and killed the sucker during the struggle. 

I am NOT kidding, either. It actually came scuttling across the windshield at me and went diving for my face...you should've seen me. I grabbed what first came to hand...an umbrella that Mary Poppins would be proud of. 

The spider thought nothing of it, but retreated and waited on the ceiling for its next attack. I found something to squash it with and it was finally game over. That is...after I ended up going across two lanes and finding myself on the median, driving/skidding merrily along to a stop.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

A Rose by Any Other Name is Still a Rowhze?

Everyone would do the world a great favour by banning certain girls' names because they are so overused. I swear there are millions of Ashleys, Kaitlynns, Jasmines and more.
I know name fads come and go, but a child that shares a name in common with so many others will never be easily distinguished from the herd. On the opposite extreme are parents that are too creative and curse their children with names no one can pronounce.
If I could make a suggestion, and I'm one small voice, I would ask for people to reach back in time to try alternatives that are both unique and recognizable. Perhaps this name preference is due to my own name, but it has served me well all these years.
Some names I'd love to see resurrected: Althea, Amy, Beth, Bess (I realize they're derivatives of Elizabeth), Cecilia, Cassandra, Deborah, Dahlia, Elspeth, Esme, Freda, Felicity, Fern, Grace, Gianna, Heloise, Leah, Peg or Meg (derivatives of Margaret), Rene or Renee, Rose, Tabitha, Uvula (just kidding), Valerie, Veronica, Zinnia.
I suspect the reason that we don't give our children these names is that we have somebody unpleasant we associate with them, in which case perhaps we should go even further back into Medieval times. But surely we can do better than a girl I recently met who was named Mayonnaise (although it was spelled differently).

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Ponytail

"How do you like my hair in a ponytail?" I ask my dad offhandedly. Dad studies me for a moment. "You know what's under a pony's tail, don't you?" he asks. My dad: Keeping it real.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Mask

I'd forgotten my lawn guy was coming today and had slathered on a clay mask, which was half dry, when I heard him outside. Remembering he needed a key to my gate, I resignedly got up, grabbed the key, and walked outside.
"Your face is green," he said as a statement, not a question, just as if he'd said "You're wearing jeans today." I nodded.
"Want me to leave the key at the front door when I'm done?" he asked.
"That would be great," I said.
He nodded. "OK, see you next week," he said.
I guess by now he's rather used to my eccentricities.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Girl vs. Boy

A mother just shared this with me: One of my 12 year old models just chopped all her hair off recently and is sporting a man's cut. She was dressed in pink, standing in line in a department store when she heard two men whispering.
"What do you think?" asked the first guy. "Is it a girl or a boy???"
The girl whirled around and said "What does it matter to YOU? I'm a PERSON."

Friday, April 01, 2016

April Fools

The phone rings and I see it's Mom and Dad's number. "HONEY!" my mom cries out tearfully, "Dad's been arrested!!!" My heart leaps into my throat, I jump up getting ready to throw on some clothes and hit the road to find them wherever they are. It's all so improbable: Dad looks and acts like a peaceful Amish farmer. "What HAPPENED??" I ask urgently as I'm racing down the hallway when it suddenly hits me...it's April Fool's Day. I stop and groan. "It's April Fool's Day, isn't it," I say resignedly as Mom howls in the background. And some people wonder why anyone would commit matricide.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Skype Blackmail

A friend of mine called me to tell me a story of his friend, whom I'll call "Tony". We'll call my friend "John". John and Tony go a long ways back and one day John got a Facebook friend request from Tony. John didn't think much of it: Sometimes people will open a second FB account for various reasons. He friended this new supposed Tony and was suddenly shown a series of ...shall we say... compromising photos of Tony, naked, in front of his lit computer screen.
Immediately John unfriended this new account, reported and blocked it. Then he called Tony. "Yeah, I know," Tony answered resignedly, instead of his usual simple "hello."
Tony had been getting hot and heavy with a girl he'd met online, and during a mutual...encounter... on Skype, the girl had been secretly recording Tony. She later took screenshots and attempted to blackmail him. When Tony refused to pay the blackmail, she set out to "friend" everyone on his friends list in order to send them the photos.
"Yeah," said John. "So he was pretty resigned to it. I mean, what can you do? He's got a good sense of humor about it. I did post on his Facebook page that I'd seen a lot more of him lately. A WHOLE lot more."

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Obama in Cuba

So Obama says, congenially, to Cuban president Castro that America and Cuba have much in common because both were built by slave traders. I suppose he has forgotten his American history lessons by now. Also, he adds that Miami was built by Cubans, another major gaffe. Talk about rewriting history through straight-up lies. I've never seen anything like this in my life time. He is doing such incredible damage right now, with our international allies and enemies alike

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Gone But Not Forgotten

I just saw an ad for customizable tees that say "You're gone but not forgotten" and then you can add your loved one's name and death date. We also see similar memorials on cars, etc. It got me thinking: How important IS it to not be forgotten? Why should it matter?
If you believe in an afterlife as I do, chances are that person is now very busy and they've moved on: They would be sad to think you haven't. And if there isn't such a thing as an afterlife, they simply blinked out of existence: Again, they simply don't care since they've ceased to exist.
And yet while we're alive, we DO care what impact we have. *I* care. While I don't want anyone going around sporting a tribute to me on their back, I do hope that I have affected others to the point that I have enriched lives. I hope that, perhaps, I have created permanent alterations for the good in them.
I think of those in my life who did that for me. The family members, friends, and college professors who helped me reshape my thinking to make me a better person. There are times I do something instinctually now that once took practice to develop, all because of the prompting of someone in my life who influenced me to be a better person.
May I be that person to someone else.

Teen Angst

Listening to the latest rebellious teen angst heavy metal song, and reflecting upon how we all were, at one time, a generation that thought we were unique in our rebellion. We also had songs almost identical to these, screaming defiance at people that we thought were the authority figures keeping us down. Then we grew up, and found out that there really is no such establishment. What we all were, and are, rebelling against is life itself and there is no cure for that.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Intellectual

An acquaintance who's a body builder called me to chat.
"Hey you know what," I said, "I have a friend who might be the perfect girl for you. She's a power lifter and beautiful but there is one thing that she can't compromise on, and I don't know enough about you to tell... so let me ask you: She's very intellectual. Would you consider yourself intellectual?"
"What's that?" he asked.
Question answered.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Phonetics

The girl's name is spelled Janyi on her form. "Nice to meet you, 'Jan-yee', I say.
"It's 'Juh-NIE,' just pronounce it the way it's spelled," says her grandma.
Guess they don't teach phonetics in Georgia.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Interviewing Tip

It is of supreme arrogance to not show up for an interview with me and then text me to TELL me you are going to show up for an interview with me the following day at a time of your choosing. Think again.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

I'm a Conservative Feminist

I just saw a headline "Meet the Cute Blond who Hates Feminists" on a major conservative news source. This is wrong on so many levels. 

I am a conservative female and I am a feminist. 

I was speaking on the radio recently and when I mentioned I was a feminist, the host was confused. A conservative? Who's feminist? How can that be? He asked me to explain myself.

This shows how much feminism has been rebranded and conscripted by the left. The original feminists merely expected and demanded equal rights, such as the right to vote and the right to work. They wanted to be truly seen as equal whenever possible. How many people know that there were many women in the 1800s who couldn't even read, because some men felt that reading would give a woman "brain fever"? Many fathers forbid their daughters to read. Reading was for men: Women were keepers of the home and hearth.

If you take a few moments to research the suffragettes, you learn of their true sufferings and struggle to merely get women the right to vote. Women were constantly persecuted with immunity by their husbands because they were seen as property. If you beat your wife, it was entirely your right to do so, unless it got out of hand. It wasn't until 1962 that spousal rape was defined. Until then, if a husband came home drunk and in a rage and decided to rape his wife, it was perfectly fine: She had asked for it by signing up for marriage in the first place. It wasn't until 1965 that it was made illegal to discriminate against women.

And yet, when Hillary ran for President in 2008, there were some conservative men who thought it was terribly funny to wear t-shirts that read "Hillary: Get into the kitchen and make me a sandwich." I greatly disliked Hillary, but I was terribly offended that these morons didn't try to take on her policies. They felt a simple "putting her in her place" was all that was needed. As I pointed out then, no one dared to produce tees that said "Obama: Get into those fields and pick me some cotton" but overt sexism was acceptable to many conservative men.

So back to the headline: Obviously it was written by a conservative male who likes "keeping the little woman in her place." It is simply oozing with patronization and sexism. And the "cute little blond" is the fool who is perpetuating this. 

Does she realize that if she lived in the 1800s she might never have been educated at all? Does she realize that until 1919 her views on politics would have been seen as ludicrous? These rights were not naturally given to us. They were not even handed to us by men. They were fought for, women were brutalized and died for these rights. They are not rights to be taken lightly.

I am proud to be be a feminist. I will take on that "cute little blond" any day.

Friday, March 04, 2016

With Candidates, Size DOES Matter

Last night was the first Presidential debate in our history where penis size became the measure of a man. After Rubio recently descended to new depths to allege Trump has a small one, Trump proudly proclaimed on stage in the final debate that he is well endowed. We can all rest easier, now. But...
It's interesting to see the Republican establishment has grown so nervous that they've even taken Romney out, dusted him off, and fed him lines in the mistaken belief that anyone voted for him because of his charisma. At the same time, they're pouring their resources into another establishment candidate: Rubio, who is guaranteed to be more of the same.
What they should have done then, and still refuse to do now, is acknowledge that the American voter is tired of electing politicians who promise to make changes, and then sit around doing nothing except make things worse.
The electorate is enchanted with the idea of change, or Obama would never have been elected. Even the Democratic party has forgotten that, as they trot out their old, tired warhorse of a candidate. This is why Bernie has generated interest.
The only way the Republican Establishment will win is to understand that things will never be the same again and it's time to let go of their cronyism, their stale ideas, and those deep pockets they have their fists thrust into.
I wanted Rand Paul. But if they decide to thrust aside everyone in favor of Cruz now, not even in a week from now, they might have a candidate who will be able to withstand an intelligent Democrat such as Bernie or Hillary. They have no more time to waste with pathetic manipulations or a candidate with little-to-no experience.
So does size matter? Absolutely.
Last night both Rubio and Trump showed themselves to be small minded men, incapable of adult discussions on stage in front of an entire nation. We need someone who can see the big picture: Someone who worries about American jobs being lost, who worries about our place in this world, who worries about the size of the debt and not the size of his penis.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

We Have Become a Nation of Blind Shut-Ins

When I was young, we used to walk uphill to school, both ways, in the snow, and...

Wait. Wrong story.

We all laugh about the "when I was young" rants, don't we? Each generation has wanted better for their young and done their best to provide it, so those stories were told to remind the young how good they have it.

Home improvements that allowed us to work less and have more leisure time, such as microwaves, dishwashers, and the internet have eased the burdens. In fact, the internet has now become so prevalent that it has replaced the television in many homes, including mine.

We embraced the time saving gadgets: Almost every home has them. We incorporated them into our lives to a point that a home without a clothes washer and dryer set is considered incomplete. Laundromats are for the impoverished or the apartment dwellers. Unlike our grandparents and great grandparents, we have lots of time. Glorious time.

But what did our ancestors think we'd do with that time? They thought we'd be filling those additional hours with learning, education, self improvement. They assumed this was common sense. Very few of them thought they were working to create a nation of barely educated, self indulgent shut-ins.

For all the planning that has gone into labor saving devices, there was no planning for our leisure time.  No one said "For every hour you save doing the dishes, you need to study philosophy. While you're washing that load of laundry, you need to read the news." There has never been a standard.

Human nature being what it is, we gravitate toward the fun stuff. Exhibit A: As a nation, we're more obese than ever. Given a choice between a celery stalk and a potato chip, how many have the self-will to choose the piece of celery?

Additionally, since we have cars to get everywhere, how many of us walk to the corner store, even if it's literally on the corner? Now we have treadmills, if we can be bothered to use them. Thank heavens for my treadmill, may I add. But I don't have to use my treadmill and without the need to walk to the corner store or to work, I don't walk every day. My bad.

So what do most of us do with the extra leisure time? You already know, of course. According to the New York Daily News, we are watching 5 hours of TV a day. Five hours.

Is it any wonder we've become a nation of idiots who repeatedly elect the wrong people to office? Who don't know what's going in our nation, let alone in our world? Who know more about the latest contestant on The Voice than who the governor of our state is?

These actors have replaced friends, family, and education. We get our socialization needs met through these pseudo individuals. We no longer go to the neighbors to visit, because our "neighbors" are on HBO. Just as saccharine is a poor substitute for sugar, television is our artificial substitute for friendships.

And to take that one step further, porn has become a substitute for relationships. Porn is free on the internet, only one click away, and most of it is easily erased from our history and no longer comes with viruses attached. It's a cheap, easy thrill. Many experts are extremely worried about the newest generation, sometimes nicknamed The Porn Generation (I've written about this elsewhere).

Our grandparents and great grandparents stayed in marriages that weren't always ideal because they knew that there was no such thing as an ideal relationship. What made them stay together? Religion and societal pressure. Because sex was supposed to only happen in marriage, they got married. Because divorce was seen as evil, they stayed married. What do you do when you find yourself married to someone you think is less than ideal? You stick it out, you make it work, unless the circumstances are really dire.

But as religion began to be seen as passe, society threw away those ideals. Divorce became easy, so marriage became worthless. Commitments also became worthless. But still, if someone wanted to have sex, it was safest and easiest to settle down with just one person. Now porn has made it possible to even cut out the other person. For the Porn Generation, it's just you and that glowing computer screen.

Isaac Asimov once wrote of a society of shut-ins that had grown so phobic of other humans that they had to arrange artificial insemination in order for the society to survive. When I first read The Naked Sun I felt it was skillfully written, as all of Asimov's works are, but also highly improbable. And yet, I have come to see its inception.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

How to Read a Job Posting

So many people are looking for work right now, due to the high unemployment/under-employment rate. As a courtesy to all, I've compiled this handy guide born from years of experience. Following are common phrases found in many postings, and how to translate them.

"No experience necessary": A trained monkey could do this job. In fact, Bobo was doing just fine until he ate a bad banana one day. The funeral was beautiful.

"Small base and uncapped commission": Get used to the small base. Our "uncapped commission" is ten cents for every $200 package you sell. But guess what?! You can sell as many as you like! Hope you can find a market for people are are willing to buy a combination cheese grater and nose hair trimmer.

"We supply warm leads": What we really supply is the Yellow Pages: Let your fingers do the walking.

"Candidate can expect to easily make $70,000 in the first year": That is, if you are expecting an inheritance from your rich uncle.

"Fun office environment":  There's a guy named Greg who constantly leaves fake vomit on your desk, while Steve likes to throw a football at you when you're least expecting it. The "fun" is inversely proportional to the money you'll make. In other words, expect to be on food stamps.

"Must have lead generating experience": We don't know how the hell to find clients.

"Must have entrepreneurial spirit": We aren't going to pay you squat, so you'd better be what we call a "rainmaker", since we're the Sahara.

"Come professionally dressed": Our employees are so unprofessional that they'll wear flip flops and a t-shirt that says "I'm with stupid" to an interview unless we warn them first. Your colleagues will not be mental giants.

"Commission only":  We don't believe in our product, but we sure hope you will.

"In home consultant": You'll be working late nights and weekends going to dodgy places to meet shady customers. You'd better get that license-to-carry you've been talking about.

"Must be flexible":  You must be able to juggle better than a circus performer on crack. We will expect you to be able to simultaneously handle a customer complaint, make 25 collated copies of the latest financial reports, and answer the phones.

"Above average pay":  You'll earn every penny of it.

"Fun contests!": Everyone here will stab you in the back to win that $10 Starbucks gift card.

"Drug test required for employment": So stop smoking pot for a couple of weeks. After that, feel free to light one up any time, any where. There's even an unofficially designated area just outside the back door. We only do that initial test because our insurance carrier demands it.

"Background check required": After you're hired, though, feel free to hold up a bank. We'll never run another check on you as long as you've been bailed out in time for work.

"Sales professional $10/hour": OK, we lied about the "professional" part.

"Must be positive and upbeat": ...because there's little to be positive or upbeat about. In our office, we believe in "fake it til ya make it."

"Must be able to work days/nights, weekends and select holidays as needed": You will be working days/nights, weekends and all holidays.

"We're all about people": Our HR Manager told us to say that.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Robin Hood Politicians: Should We Tax the Rich? Does it Enable the Poor?


Recently a close friend and reader, Jacob, wrote me the following:
When politicians, especially Republicans, try to justify reducing taxes on the rich, you see them twisting to try to show some benefit to society by adopting the policy. Trickle down economics and loss of jobs are the common defenses for the policy.
I think these arguments do not realize what they are implying. The hidden premise is that if there were no negative consequences to the middle class, then we should tax the rich indiscriminately.
Why not argue that it is immoral to take exorbitant amounts of money from people, rich or poor? Why not argue that we should not allow the government to be tyrannical? This is a hard sell in a debate, but I wish the politicians would have some courage to stand up for fairness and not bow to political expediency. It is within everyone's self interest to secure the liberty of all, yes even the rich. 
But if people are unable to take this higher path of dispassioned policy approval, then let them use an enlightened and long term self interest, where freedom above all must be secured, lest in the power grabs that are given to the government, the government grabs YOU.
I completely agree: The argument that the government should not be tyrannical is of utmost importance. And yet that's a dangerous message for a government prone to tyranny. You don't think our government is prone to tyranny? The Patriot Act stands as one example of many.
The problem is that we have created not just a selfish society but The Entitlement Generation. They are the latest group of misfits: An entire generation raised to believe they deserve everything without having to work for it, with few exceptions. Exhibit A: Bernie Sanders.
There's a quote misattributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler. However, even Ronald Reagan quoted it, and it's pertinent, so I'll share it here:
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy." (1)
Politicians have learned two things, which are deadly to the public. First, we have a short attention span. We quickly forget any wrongs they've done us. And second, we will vote from selfish reasons. The poor are more than happy to vote for more benefits and the people holding the money are more apt to vote for people who let them keep their money.
Even those of us who are charitable have our own motives: We want to help others with your money because it makes us feel better. Yes, it does. We might justify it by saying that it's not fair that you get to keep what you've earned, but the reason we are justifying it is that we feel better when we know people aren't starving in the gutter.
Speaking from a preference for the Republican party, and as a former campaign consultant and manager, I must admit that the Republican party has truly become the party of Big Business. And Big Business can be sociopathic if it's allowed to be. Who can stop it? Only the people at the head. I read a great article arguing this, and I'll quote from it here: 
"The people who are running the corporation are like people riding up in the head of a giant robot stomping across the Earth. They control the robot’s arms and legs, so they can pursue the actions which make the most sense from the point of view of “business,” without ever getting their hands dirty... the folks in the executive suite can use the robot to load themselves up with riches. And then when the consequences of their actions finally catch up and the robot is tottering, they just put on their (golden) parachutes and leap off. The robot lumbers off and eventually crashes to the ground. There are no repercussions to any of the decision-makers." (2)
This is why you can't believe everything you hear from their talking heads, and you certainly can't expect them to act in the interest of the public unless they are personally driven by an internal ethics code. It's generally not in a company's best interest to be, as George Bush Sr. hoped, "A thousand points of light" because giving money to the poor brings little in return except public goodwill and goodwill is hard to valuate, and usually can be obtained through other avenues.
Another friend told me, in all seriousness, that Jesus would be Republican because He believed in self sufficiency. But we often forget that the Bible preaches wise charity. The Bible doesn't say we are to give money indiscriminately to the poor. In 2 Thessalonians 3:10 the reader is instructed "... if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either." And yet Jesus gave us the parable of the Good Samaritan. We can't simply let people starve because they're not working to our standards. Some people are putting in 40 hour work weeks at minimum wage and if they didn't have government assistance, their families wouldn't survive.
What is the solution then?

We are a nation sickened by both parties. We no longer have Reagan Republicans at the helm. In my opinion, ideally we would have little government interference with business, and would only offer assistance to the truly needy. Government should exist to supplement what the private sector cannot or does not provide.

If we cannot be Constitutionalists, we might look to the Libertarians. However, Rand Paul's stunningly poor showing proves that the country is not ready for Libertarian philosophy yet. Why is that? Because we are not educating the American public to think for themselves. Instead, we are filling their heads with platitudes and soundbites designed to reach into their hearts and pull heartstrings, forcing them to dance to someone else's tune. 
If the schools, which are funded by the government, will not teach our children and our citizens how to think, then it is up to us to find a way to do so. Now: Before it's too late.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dirty Little Family Secrets

What constitutes a dirty little family secret?

How do we get the strength to stand up and say "This is our situation but it's not a stain on us!" And when should we do it?

Should we go public when our white daughter starts dating a man from another race? Even if we don't have a problem with it, what will the Gillespies think? After all, they're our next door neighbors and we know they don't believe in what they call "miscegenation" even if we tell each other that it is an old fashioned view.

Should we go public when our son cheats repeatedly on his wife and she finally leaves him? What should we say to everyone? Should we help him cover it up for the sake of the family name? What if our silence allows him to brand his wife as frigid or unstable or mentally ill when we've known him from the time he was born, and we've known there was always something intrinsically evil about him? What if, despite our warnings to her, his wife chose to believe in him and suffered the consequences? Should we continue to contribute to her degradation at his hands?

What if our sister has been beaten by her boyfriend? Is it tacky to talk about it in public? What about the people who say that a) she deserved it because she was living with him out of wedlock or b) she should have seen the signs before she got involved with him or c) it's simply not something that should be talked about in public because it makes people uncomfortable.

Should we go public when an elderly family member has Alzheimer's? Will it make us look crazy, too? Will people view us differently than before?

What if our spouse or parent has a drug addiction? Should we tell everyone so that they stop giving him money or enabling him in other ways? But how will that make us look? Will it look like we all have an addiction or some other raging, hidden problem that would land us with a family member who's an addict?

These are all situations that have hit my family and friends. And they are all situations we struggle with.

I've seen these issues divide entire families. I've seen them make enemies of friends.

I am an extremely pragmatic person, and to a fault, many will tell you. I am rarely ruled by emotion and can sometimes be too dismissive of someone else's emotional reactions. I view myself as a crusader of the truth. Should it be delivered tactfully? Yes. But it should be delivered: Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

However, this can land me in hot water sometimes because not all secrets are mine alone. They are secrets that are shared by a family or group and sometimes the members of that family or group are not in agreement as to whether something should be disclosed or not.

I was recently taken by surprise by one incident, where an entire branch of my family went up in arms over a public disclosure I'd made that, to my mind, was completely innocent and nothing to be covered up. The vast majority of the public would agree with me. So...if I had asked my family for their permission first should I have been ruled by their wishes or dismissed them as ridiculous?

Tact would come into play, here. Unless the public needs to be warned, bending to the wishes of a majority of a group would often be wise.

But what if it's the case of your white daughter dating a Jamaican, and the majority of your family are ignorant rednecks this side of the railroad tracks in the middle of remote Atmore, Alabama? Is it your duty to be the one lone voice in your family saying "My daughter is in love with a black man and I'm proud that they've been able to find love in a cold world"? Again, the majority of public opinion would be on your side (I believe the tide has turned in America) but your family sees it as a sign that you're a terrible parent. Is the issue greater than family pride? Or should you treat it as a shameful secret and thus tacitly agree with them?

And how about the case of the drug addict? Your goal is to save his life by telling everyone so that they stop giving him money or paying his bills. Perhaps even truth alone is of importance, here. Isn't everyone entitled to it? Are you a co-conspirator if you say nothing?

At what point are we unashamedly standing up and educating the public, and at what point are we airing dirty linen that instead should be washed and tucked away in a dark closet?