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December 27, 2018

America - the Land of Opportunity (if you want it)

     I frequently travel for work around various parts of the United States and I usually use Uber to get around. I'm only in town for a day and don't really need the extra expense or hassle of renting a car. I do not know the breakdown of ethnicities but a lot of the drivers are from out of country and have come to the U.S. to make a better life. I talk to all of them, at least the ones who want to talk- fascinating stories and friendly people. Interestingly enough, there is one conversation that is common with all of the Uber drivers I've had it is the topic of homelessness in America, but more on that topic later.

     Some of my more memorable drivers were people from Iran, Jerusalem, Malta, Ukraine and Iraq. Almost a pattern, isn't there? The Iraqi was my driver on my way back home here in the Sacramento area and was moved to the U.S. after serving as a translator for the U.S. military the last 5 years. The U.S. moved his whole family here and they gave him a choice of 3 or 4 cities and he chose Sacramento, which is still a mystery to me, but he loves it here. He has another job and drives Uber to supplement his income. Of course I dove right into this conversation head first and wanted to know as much as I could during my 40 minute ride.

     For his safety, and his family's, the U.S. brought them here. I didn't get into specifics with his lodging and how that was handled because he was adamant about telling me how great this country is and how bad it was in Iraq. He agreed that ousting Saddam Hussein was a good thing and the majority of the country was genuinely thankful to the United States for that. Saddam was a cruel man but he kept everyone in check; his departure opened the floodgates for all the bad people in the region to do as they please with little resistance or retribution.

     This Iraqi, to me, represents the common person from that area- not the government, not an Iraqi official, not a person with any sort of influence, position of authority or stature. Just a regular Joe telling me what people thought. While grateful to the U.S. for getting rid of Saddam, the Iraqi's quickly became pissed at us for not doing what needed to be done- clearing the area of all the other bad people who used Iraq as a breeding and nesting ground for terrorism. What I find interesting is that the Uber drivers from the Middle East usually referred to the bad element there, e.g. Al Qaeda, ISIS, etc. as "assholes" and used America when talking about this country. Beautiful.

Iraqi:  America did not fight these assholes who destroyed our country, and did many bad things to our people, the way that was needed. America should have destroyed them. Pulverized them.

Me: A lot of us wanted to, but when the bad guys started hiding in mosques and using women and children as human shields then the military were given orders to back down.

Iraqi:  Yes, this is true, but a mosque is just a building. We can make a new one, but we cannot repair the people who died.

I admire the simplistic language.

I asked him if he had more family back in Iraq and he said no- his mother and sister were here, along with some cousins, were in the U.S. He was extremely grateful for having his family here.

"If they found out I helped the American military, they would cut my head. We would all be dead right now."

It was an intense 40 minute ride. I didn't have any baggage in the trunk but he still got out, walked around to my side of his car and shook my hand. He pulled me in for a modified bro hug and said, "May God guide you." Interesting choice of words since I did not ask him his religious affiliation and I assumed he was Muslim, but none of that mattered to him. All he cared about at that moment was the conversation we had and the experiences he shared, grateful to have someone listen to him.

     My Iranian driver in Seattle shared a similar story but not as war-torn. He also loved the United States and had been here 3 or 4 years and also thought it was good for the U.S. to remove Saddam, but was also disappointed in the way the post war was handled. He spoke very good English and said a lot of Iranians speak english, although it may not be very good english. I told him his english was better than my Persian. This surprised him.

"That is good that you know my language. Most people I talk to think Iranians speak Iranian."

I told him most Americans don't know the capital of Iran or where Iran is on a map. We both laughed at this and got into a conversation about education in the United States versus other countries. He explained that Iran, specifically Tehran, has very good universities. He named some of them but I had never heard of them, although I would have guessed there was a University of Tehran, if pressed. He said this university was the best in the area but very competitive and hard to get into. I jokingly asked if Tehran had a football team and he laughed.

"We play football, but Americans call it soccer. American football is an interesting sport, but I do not understand it."

     Most foreigners describe American sports in this way and they enthusiastically agree that even more confusing than our version of football is the sport of baseball.

     When I asked him what brought him to the United States, he was very quick to bring up the current political and religious climate of his country. In fact, I always ask my Uber drivers, foreigners or not, this question, although sometimes I ask about the area and not the country.

"There is only a small handful of people who have the power, and these assholes are making it hard to live. They have the money, they have the power. I know our government was giving money to terrorists to hurt the United States. Religion is the cause of all the problems in my country."

     I was floored. He went on to say how beautiful Iran is, but how much better it was decades ago- like, 40-50 years ago. In fact, his family used to vacation in Iraq, but that was before Saddam.

     The uber driver from Jerusalem had only been in the U.S. for a few months and his english was at about a 4th or 5th grade level- good enough to understand what he was trying to say. He moved to Los Angeles to be with family and was working as a baker. This was one of the few difficult conversations to have because he told me he was Palestinian and I had some Jewish friends. As it turns out, so does he! You would never know that a Jew and a Palestinian could be friends by watching the news.

     It is amazing what you can learn from someone during a short ride from the airport to the hotel. What I have learned is that most of the people who come to the U.S. are not the people we hear about on the news. The MSM covers the fringe, on all topics, and does not represent the overwhelming majority of people who are just normal about life.

     The mixed reactions I get from foreigners about homelessness and the people begging on the streets are very interesting to me. Some drivers become visibly upset and excited while others are calm, almost saddened by the conversation- like most people in the U.S. While there are many different viewpoints on how to handle the homelessness situation, these drivers I talk to have the same base sentiment- it is a pity there are so many homeless in the United States; why are there so many homeless in the United States? But their "why" comes from a different angle.

Why is there so much homelessness and people begging for money in the streets when they live in the greatest country? Why are they begging for money when there is so much opportunity here?

     This statement is common, but the delivery is one of the two methods I previously stated. The guy from Jerusalem was banging on his steering wheel while the guy from Iraq was calm.

     We have all seen the effects of government assistance and how it can be both beneficial and detrimental. I am not going to get into the politics behind it since it doesn't really matter which side is in control of our government. Neither side really cares and re-election is the most important thing to our politicians. It is a shame Americans do not stew on this more often- it would make life much better, I imagine.

     Most Americans are a car accident away from being in ruin- one hospital tragedy away. Most Americans don't have a savings plan, a 401k, a source of cash flow if they lose their job. Government assistance is a good thing and Clinton, piggy backing on reagan era legislation, really changed the way the welfare program is implemented- for the better. However, our welfare programs constitute $1T in annual spending. That's one trillion. A million million. A one with 12 zeros. 10 to the 12th power. Most people hear a trillion dollars and just think, "Damn, that's a butt load of money", myself included. For such a large amount of tax spending, I often wonder if there is a better use of that money.

     Homelessness is a complicated issue surrounded by a lot of negative stigma, stereotypes and misinformation. Some were forced into it, but some prefer it. If a person prefers to live in a tent on the shores of the American River, or on the sidewalks of Portland, and beg for change instead of work then that is their choice, and the beauty of this country. What I don't like is my tax money distribution to help them- not that we have the choice to delegate a percentage of our taxes to government programs, but you understand my point.

     All other conversations are irrelevant to me- it is none of my business that these people might be lazy and prefer tents over cubicles, that they can live off the government instead of a steady paycheck, that their morals and work ethic are different than mine. I do care how my tax money is used to help them. the money I give them on the streets is a different story.

     I never stood why people get so angry when they give a panhandler a pocket full of change or a few bills and then get mad when the person runs into the nearest liquor store for smokes and a bottle. What did the person think the panhandler was going to do with $1.44 in change- clean themselves up for an interview for that manager position down at PetSmart? I just assume that is what bums do with the money I give them- purchase something that will make their shitty lives not so shitty, if just for a few minutes.

     An interesting twist to all of this is the homelessness problem in Hawaii. I was stationed there for 15 years and I recall seeing a lot of homeless on Waikiki Beach. Mostly locals, which blew the "You never see Asians panhandling" stereotype out the window. Here is a really good article by a guy who talked to two homeless people in Hawaii called 6 Insane Realities of Being Homeless In Hawaii. The author lists the three main reasons people are homeless in Hawaii, and those reasons may or may not be applicable to the homeless outside of the island nation.

     Bringing back around, there will always be homeless, there will always be poor people. And they all need our help in some form or another. My issue, along with the immigrant Uber drivers I talk to, is that if you are able bodied and can't make it in America, then that's your choice. Somewhere along the line there was probably a poor decision that was made, albeit a minor one at the time that did not foreshadow the hard times to come.

Are taxpayers responsible for these poor decisions?

  • Should we be responsible for supporting a single mother with two children fathered by two different men who has empty cupboards?

  • What about a stay-at-home mother/wife who was divorced and has no way of supporting her children because the father skips out on his child support? 

  • The 20-something who went into debt for her gender studies degree and now has a hard time getting a job because there are no gender studies factories in her area?

  • The 30-something who is massively in tuition debt because of his MBA who was just let go from his job because his company was bought out by an overseas firm?

  • The 70-something whose husband just died and had very little to leave behind to his widow?

  • The homeless alcoholic/drug addict with mental health issues who screams at people on the corner?

     All of these people need our help, of course. Bad luck and poor decisions are part of everyday life. But that $1T could probably be spent really helping these people.

Does giving them shopping carts really help? What about cell phones- how many people with government issued cell phones turn their lives around? Are free condoms and needles really making a dent in the homeless situation?

I don't know, but it makes people feel better and in today's society that's all that matters.


March 17, 2018

How to end school shootings

Big news about the National Walkout Day to protest gun violence. It was nice to see kids get involved with something as large as this, but I would imagine very few of them thought about anything past their "Children over guns" and "We need gun reform" signs- which I'm sure their parents were more than happy to help with.

If anti-gun people can present an argument that reforms guns without taking away the rights of millions of responsible gun owners then I would at least be of the mind to listen to them. You cannot argue emotion and all they argue is past tense. They present emotional arguments with no rational thoughts on the outcome: "How many dead kids are enough?", Children over guns, children shouldn't be afraid to go to school. If you want more gun control then speak in future tense. Tell me how you want to do it. (I already know how they want to do it. The big sign above tells all).

I agree with all of their sentiments. I do. But those aren't solutions to end school shootings, gun violence, etc. So, here's my solution to reduce school shootings:

Hey parents, pay more attention to your kids and act like you want them to act (yeah, right). Oh, and on a side note, buckle them up in the car- since car accidents are the number one killer of kids (by a long shot over guns) as are cancer and SUICIDE.
Hey kids, instead of walking out of your school to protest kids getting killed by guns, why don't you stop treating the other kids in your school like shit? Stop harassing them. Stop bullying them. Be nicer and kinder to the weaker kids, to the kids from other countries, to the kids with disabilities, to the shy kids. To the fat kids.

If kids would do this, then maybe they wouldn't grow up to be asshole adults who shoot up movie theaters and concerts. Maybe?

December 2, 2017

Kneeling. I don't get it.

Let me start by saying that I really don't give a shit about all the kneeling, Kaepernick, or anyone else who jumps on this bandwagon. Perhaps I don't really understand why they are kneeling in the first place- because after reading Kaepernick's own words, and not someone interpreting his reasons for kneeling, I just don't get it.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

He can't show pride in a country that oppresses black people? An entire country that "oppresses black people"? That is about as broad a statement as you can make, and if it weren't for the media who love to stoke the racism poop pile, this guy would have been crucified a long time ago for making such an asinine comment. Kaepernick makes it sound like we are a country full of [white] cops out there running around in a wild west atmosphere gunning down black people at will. 

November 25, 2017

Thoughts on Islam

The events in Egypt have reminded of some great dialogue from Pat Condell who freaking nailed it so many years ago when he was embarrassed for the U.S. and the new mosque that was being built so close to Ground Zero.

Any religion that endorses violence is incapable of delivering spiritual enlightenment - how obvious does that have to be? - and it has no right even to call itself a religion. Without the shield of religion to hide behind, Islam would be banned in the civilized world as a political ideology of hate - and we have no obligation to make allowances for it, any more than we do for Nazism.
It's a bigger threat to our freedom than Nazism ever was. Yes, both are totalitarian, and both divide the world unnecessarily into us-and-them, the pure and the impure, and both make no secret of their desire to exterminate the Jews. But we were all more or less on the same side against the Nazis, whereas the Islamonazis have got plenty of friends among people in the West who ought to know better.

American politicians now regularly make the kind of dhimmi noises about diversity as an excuse for islamization. The same kind of thing that we’ve become so depressingly familiar with in Europe. It’s true that diversity has been good for America; it’s been the making of that country, but American diversity has always been grounded in respect for the values, the individual liberties that make America what it is. Islam rejects those values and that’s the difference, and it’s a very important difference.

Islam despises what America is; it rejects everything America stands for, including freedom and diversity, and any muslim who denies that, is a liar.

- Pat Condell

May 15, 2016

April 18, 2015

The double standard of parental negligence

On April 13th Child Protective Services “retrieved”two unsupervised children from a park in Silver Springs, MD. The Meitivs are being investigated for child neglect after neighbors complained to CPS that the parents repeatedly allow their children to walk to and from a local park unsupervised. The park is two blocks away, the kids ages 10 and 6 routinely make the trek back and forth from their home and they were not harmed in any way. 

Is this an example of people stepping up and protecting a child in need, or is it an example of buttinski do-gooders? 

Flash back to August of 2014, in the middle of a Utah summer, when April Suwyn left her 11-month old baby in the car so she could run in her house to take a shit. Didn't realize what she had done for two hours. Oops! Mother calls it an accident and one that could have been avoided if she “had just gone to the gym” like she usually does. Really? Oh, no charges filed. There are many more of these example of suffocating babies and toddlers with no charges filed because it was an accident.

December 13, 2014 a Texas father was released from prison for further investigation when his 4-year old son was killed in a washing machine- a front loading washing machine. Still not in jail.

February of this year, in Albuquerque, NM, a 3-year old found a hand gun in his 8-month pregnant mother's purse and shot his father and his mother. Parents are fine, no charges filed.

Free range parent April Lawson dropped her 5 and 8 year old kids off at a local park in Tennessee a block away from her house. CPS “retrieved” the two children but didn't tell the mother, who thought something terrible had happened to the children. She spent a night in jail and charged with a class D felony because one of the children was under 8 years of age. Children were fine, someone called CPS and mother was detained. 

And what's with mothers named April always getting into trouble with CPS?

There are plenty of cases (sadly) of deliberate child neglect, abandonment and death. Parents who kill their children, tie them up in basements or drop them off in the middle of nowhere for dead are not who I am talking about. Those people will have a special place in Hell. This is about parents who are teaching their children to be independent and giving them empowerment to make decisions. Ages are always going to be argued, but I’m not interested in that discussion, mainly because our society has spoken about the overarching issue concerning child safety:

Negligent parents who accidentally kill their children have suffered enough. (Negligent?) Parents whose kids weren't in any danger should be jailed.

Good job, people.

January 16, 2015

Academy Awards non-racism called out by racists

In an effort to keep racism alive in this country, the Twit0sphere exploded with angry twits from clueless race baiters yesterday when the Academy Award nominee list revealed that there was not enough diversity on the list. Within minutes, #oscarsowhite gained enough steam to actually become a thing thanks to the racist Twits that flooded the internet.

After disappearing from the public eye after several news sources covered the horrifying death of a St. Louis white guy by several black teenagers (using hammers), Al Sharpton reappeared to announce that he would have an emergency meeting to discuss the unchecked racism running  rampant in Hollywood. Sharpton began his diatribe with a very soothing statement meant to ease tensions on the subject:

"The movie industry is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher you get, the whiter it gets,"

Isn't that special? That will surely bring people to realize that race is a very important topic in this country and that it is a huge problem that must be dealt with.

Only that it really isn't.

If a person looks at a list of anything and the first thing that pops into his mind is that there are too many people of one color, then that person is a racist. It is as simple as that.

The only thing worse than Sharpton's overt racial prejudice, is Obama doing what he does best- making a bad situation worse. The White House announced that it will have a screening of Selma, which apparently didn't receive enough nominations, so that Obama can show everyone that... uh... well, I don't know what that means. Perhaps they think black movies should always be nominated regardless of the shitty acting? Whatever the intent, it will not be a polarizing message.

Hmm, that doesn't sound too far off from the kind of bullshit Sharpton would pull. In fact, I'll make the call now. Here is the breakdown of the US population by race:

So there is the solution I could see Sharpton proposing: 12% of the Academy Awards nominations will be black, 5% Asian and the rest of the races who make a movie will have to duke it out over the other 7%. What a turd. Sadly, there are blacks and guilty whites who would wholeheartedly agree with this asinine proposal.

Here is the best idea I have ever heard on how to end racism- and it doesn't involve sensitivity training, social programs or any type of government spending.

January 11, 2015

Another loss due to political correctness

Veteran ACC referee Karl Hess made an "ethnic" remark to former chairman of the Wake Forest University board of trustees named Mit Shah and is now out of a job. Mit Shah, Now the CEO of an Atlanta-based hotel management company, is of Indian descent and was born in New Jersey, but he grew up in Winston-Salem. What could this 25 year ACC veteran have said that was so devastating during a recent Louisville-Wake Forest game in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, that it made Shad jump on his Twit account? Hold on to your mouse. Here it is:

Karl Hess to me at the Wake-Louisville game tonight..."When I'm older, I want to sit in your seat & watch your Egyptian ass ref a game" #Wow

Wow? How about something a little more appropriate like this:

I'm such a thin skinned moron that I can't handle a retort from a referee whom I was flipping shit to. #tittybabiesunite!

Hess was fired for this remark. Really?

I can see the hyper sensitive dolts calling for an apology from Hess for being unprofessional and ignorant, since Shah's decent is not from Egypt. If Hess would have ended his comment with something like, "... you Mobratu looking, mother fucker!" then I could see the outrage. But the cowards who run the ACC decided to just fire him. It is a lot easier to cave to the mob than to stand up to them.

Now Hess is no angel, but he is firm and like to "goof around a lot, and there was no intent to hurt anyone." True dat, Hess. But you can't joke around with sad, tight-wad people who can't take a joke. 

Sadly, this is the new America. 

December 20, 2014

Hawaii DMV can suck it

We all have our DMV horror stories, but when I left the island nation-good old boys club in 2007 I never thought I would have to deal with the backwards thinking, pain in the ass Hawaii Department of Motor Vehicles ever again.


I lost the title to one of my vehicles and asked my bank to resend their lien release form so that I could send it to HI and get a duplicate title drafted. Evidently, a lien release form signed by my bank is not good enough. The bank must send it in, because Hawaii DMV is stuck in the 1920's and is apparently not aware of the newly adopted, but widespread use of, anti-fraud measures - like telephones.

A process that would take a normal DMV about 20 minutes to handle, is going to take (by my estimations) almost a month, hopefully. Hawaii has a back log of these kinds of requests and the cosmically inefficient processes of this government run organization can only accommodate 3 or 4 requests a week (month?).

I called the HI DMV to see if there was anyway my lien release letter would suffice, or see if my request could be expedited. The nice lady kept informing me, like I was one of the usual customers with an IQ just a tad higher than a can of Spam, that this was their policy. I repeatedly told her that I understand the policy but that I think it is an asinine process. Even my current state of California would accept this letter from my bank.

After talking to my bank, apparently there are 4 states whose DMV's are an absolute pain in the ass to deal with- Hawaii, California, New York and Pennsylvania (huh?).

So, yeah, suck it Hawaii DMV.

December 7, 2014

Can't we all just get along?

Apparently not, as long as black continue to believe that white cops have it out for them. Statistics show that white cops don't kill blacks any more than black cops kill black suspects, but let's not let these facts get in the way of the race relations of our country.

I'm a white guy and I cannot relate to the black guy's assertion that he is targeted by the police and profiled more than I am. Perhaps that is true, however I do not put myself in situation that raises police suspicion of me. For some reason, the sweeping generalization that  "Not all people who wear hoodies are criminals, but all criminals wear hoodies" comes to mind.

Before you start shaking your fist at me, I do understand that their are racist cops, however I am just looking at the statistical data to support the ongoing claim that there is an epidemic of white on black crime, specifically by white cops.

From Real Clear Politics:
Between 1976 and 2011 across the United States, 7,982 blacks were murdered each year, on average — 94 percent by other blacks, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. About 227 blacks (2.8 percent) were shot by police each year, according to a study by Pro Publica (which pointed out that national statistics on police shootings are difficult to assess because of differences in how police departments report them).
So, only 6% of all black murders occur at the hands of non-blacks, and of those deaths only 2.8% are police related.

Where is the epidemic? Seems like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson (Jr), and their ilk should be trying to get their own race to live in peace. These race baiters think it is easier, and more profitable, to keep that 6% statistic at the forefront of any race relation discussion. One only needs to do an inkling of research to see that white on black murder (by cops) is much more newsworthy than the opposite. Why does the media feed us this garbage? What do they have to gain by it?

Eventually, there might be a tipping point when the race baiters and opportunists have their last Ferguson. I just don't know how long it will take for the rest of us to become so fed up with it that we decide to change things.

I'll leave you with this list of black on white murders that went unreported.

7/18- Jimmie Norman, white male murdered by black male. No national news.
7/18- Terry Taylor, white male murdered by black male. No national news.
7/17- Cindy Raygoza, white female murdered by black male. No national news.
7/11- Luis Aguilar, 91 year old hispanic male murdered by black male. No national news.
7/10- Brittany Simpson, white female murdered by black male. No national news.
7/6- Sarah Goode, white female murdered by black male. No national news.
7/6- Jeffrey Westerfield, white male murdered by black male. No national news.
7/5- Perry Renn, white male murdered by black male. No national news.
7/3- Laurey Kennedy, white female still in coma from beating by black male. No national news
7/3 Eric Mollet, white male murdered by black male. No national news.
7/2 Rupert Anderson, white male murdered by black male. No national news.
7/2 Jennifer Kingeter, white female murdered by black male. No national news.
6/30 Jim Brennan, white male, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/29 Paul Shephard, white male, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/27 Shirley Barone, white female, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/27 Penelope Spencer, white female, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/27 Inga Evans, white female, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/26 Jake Rameau, white male, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/25 Gina Burger, white female, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/24 Nathan Dasher, white male, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/22 Jonathan Price, white male, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/20 John Whitmore, white male, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/18 John Yingling,white male, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/17 Allyn Reeves, white male, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/15 Michael Beaver, white male, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/11 Angela Cook, white female, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/11 Nathan Hall, white male, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/7 Harry Briggs, white male, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/5 Laura Bachman, white female, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/2 Robert Mohler, white male, murdered by black male. No national news.
6/1 William Headley, white male, murdered by black male. No national news

November 1, 2014

FemiNazi's go after gamers

Colbert interviewed Anita Sarkeesian, well known feminist and pain in the ass, on her rant against the "male dominated" industry of gaming. 

I saw this on The Colbert Report and I wanted to seriously 1v1 this delusional woman who is attacking the gaming industry to further her anti-man agenda. I wrestled over the thought of trying to write an informed but scathing post over this insanity, but someone already did.

I am so glad I read the comments section for this story because I found someone who is very informed on this woman and her agenda- that isn't about gaming, but more about taking things away from men. As a gamer, I can't count the number of times I have been handled by a female player and punished for being a split second too late with a trigger pull. Sarkeesian, along with all the other feminist d-bags, need to really stick to lobbying the WNBA and WPGA. I'm sure both the viewers of those sports events would greatly appreciate the coverage.

Here is the most well thought out (and non-vulgar post) I wish I would have made. In essence, this woman is a turd.

It's never been a boys club, Anita is a media vampire. Video games no more cause sexism then it does violence. Sarkeesian is just the new Jack Thompson, who had just as vicious of a response from internet trolls.

Sarkeesian cherry picks or outright lies in her examples. On top of this, she doesn't play games. She wants a hobby to conform to her personal likes and dislikes, yet does not participate in that hobby. She did it again on Colbert, eluding that she had been playing games all of her life, when she didn't even play the games her kickstarter raised money for. She has often admitted she does not play games.

She's a charlatan the media naively keeps championing as an activist, and those whom actually do play games are frustrated that her bullshit keeps going uncalled for except by the most extreme of internet denizens.

Furthermore, it is about ethics. 14 different media outlets all released coordinated articles on the same day, all declaring the identity as dead. It was a planned and coordinated effort akin to what we often see in the right wing media propaganda machine. Except unlike Fox News, they were exposed. All of those writers were linked by a secret mailing list "gamesjournopros".

Sarkeesian wants this to be about feminism as it benefits her own self promotion. But you can't play it both ways, rather gaming is a significant influence on the culture and deserves a standard of ethics when it comes to it's journalism, or it's a silly hobby for man children that shouldn't be taken seriously rendering her 'critique' moot.

The issue of ethics in gaming journalism is not new, despite the claims of Sarkeesian and her followers.

Hell, the internet was making elaborate musical parodies about this shit long before the Quinnspiracy.

October 5, 2014

Parents are ruining their kids

The recent death of a gun instructor by a 9 year old wielding an Uzi has made some big headlines.The usual comments range from  irresponsible gun handling/owners to child endangerment charges. It is an unfortunate accident and it is sure to become ammo for the agenda of whatever group is outraged by the shooting. While the mishandling of the gun ended in a very tragic way, had it not killed that instructor then, 1) we would have never heard about until the Facebook video went viral and stirred the usual outrage, 2) this little girl would have learned a very valuable lesson on gun handling, responsibility, safety and being independent. Unfortunately, she will probably need many years of therapy to get over it and probably become a drug addicted mess by the time she is in her 20's.

The whole incident got me thinking (again) about how more and more parents are shielding their kids from, well... everything. The reader comments for this story proved to me that parents today are much different than mine and that my peers are afraid of the world and are transferring that fear to their children.

"What the hell is a 9 year-old girl doing with an Uzi?!"
"I wouldn't let my kids within 20 miles of a gun range!"
"Another reason to ban guns..."
"Those parents should be tried for murder!"

The first two comments are echoed over and over and have more to do with the social atitude of protecting our children from everything we can think of. The last two, in my opinion, are geared more towards gun control.

I noticed something about the park across the street that I have lived next to for over 7 years. The only time I really see if full of people is when there is a birthday party. There are kids, off and on, who play there but the ones who do are usually teens. Rarely do I see 6 to 10 year-olds there by themselves, and I think that is a shame.

"But, TK, you can't have little kids like that playing by themselves!!", say the critics.

Yes, yes. I have heard all the snap judgments and paranoid reasons for not allowing kids to be kids these days. Here is the short list in order of frequency:

  1. Better safe than sorry (literally the #1 answer)
  2. It's a different world than when you were a kid
  3. It is too dangerous now to leave kids unattended
  4. Too many weirdos and pedophiles out there
  5. You never know...

The number one reason is the one that gets to me the most, because it means that person is too chicken shit to live life and enjoy the things that mold kids into what they will become as adults. And I'm talking about reasonable expectations, not the idiotic retorts that suggest I will let my kids just run around shooting guns and playing in the middle of a busy intersection. Pull the corn cob out, for crying out loud.

Kids are anxious, scared, dependent, devoid of common sense.

We are more safe these days than when I was a kid.

PSA: How to get rid of colored vertical lines on an LCD television

Every once in a while I find something on the Internet that restores my faith in humanity, or at least puts a little vanishing cream on the warts of society. No, I haven't succumbed to watching or posting cute cat videos, but rather found something that literally saved me a ton of money.

Exactly  what mine looked like
Ironically, the post that I found was a carbon copy of my issue with my 5 year old Samsung 47" LCD. I started getting random vertical colored lines that would go away if I jiggled the HDMI cable in the back. At first I thought it was my cable but after replacing it the problem did not go away.  The poster went to the manufacturer but since it was out of warranty there was nothing they could do. A local shop said it was a bad board and would require a $1200 board. Kiss my ass, $1200.

The solution is on the AVS Forums and the link is provided below, however here is the process. This will only fix your vertical lines if they look like the image above and jiggling or tapping the back panel of the HDMI connection area makes the lines go away.

  1. Unplug the TV and either move it or rotate it until you have an unobstructed working area of the back on the monitor.
  2. Remove all the screws on the back of the TV so that we can get to the actual plugs behind the plastic cover. I can corroborate the poster's remarks when I say that you must not force the back cover off. If it doesn't just poo off then you still have a screw somewhere.
  3. Before you touch anything on the inside of the TV, touch something metallic so that you can discharge an static electricity. i have seen many pieces of electronics become paper weights because of that little spark.Once the back cover is off, gently push all AV terminals back into the board with your hand. 
  4. Turn the TV back on and check to see if the lines appear. Jiggle the HDMI cord to see if you can get it to create the lines. If not, then you have fixed the problem.
  5. Put the cover back on and pat yourself on the back.
Pass it around!

July 27, 2014

Israel-Palestine conflict for dummies (like me)

Times are tough in the Middle East right now- well, they have been tough for over 2000 years, but you know what I mean. Israel and Palestine are going at it like feral cats fighting in an alley. I never really understood the whole thing until a few years ago- most conflicts based on religion are confusing to most people anyway. To me, it seems like an asinine premise (for any religion) to kill people in the name God, and it seems like every religion has this dark period in its past.  
This guy later died from, you guessed it, a snake bite.

"But, TK, those snake handlers seem like a level-headed group, and they haven't started a holy war with the Westboro Church people, who also seem like they have a grasp on what God really wants."

True, but there are really only a few religions in the world, but many spin offs based on philosophy differences. I am definitely no theologian, but when reading about the major and minor religions it looks like they are all pretty much have the same roots. Then, somewhere along the way, somebody got pissed off and branched out to form a similar, but different, religion. I guess people didn't know they could do that, and from that point on people could defect and start their own religion as long as they could get as many people as possible to believe their little slice of interpretation. Just reading the pseudo-authoritative reference of Wikipedia on religions is enough to make someone start drinking- at 7 am.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if "conflict" is even the right word, has been a source of confusion for me for decades. I met an Israeli soldier who was staying at a hostel in Waikiki about 10 years ago and I gleaned a lot of information on his perspective. Of course, a half a bottle of Jack will cause anyone to open up. I also have Palestinian friends and my friends are very level headed and reasonable people. In fact, it is usually my white American friends who cannot seem to keep their cool when talking about Israel and Palestine. Like most Americans who need a cause in their life to give them meaning, they are more offended than the recipients of the perceived racism, wrong-doing or injustice. Don't believe it? More guilty Americans were offended by the Washington Redskins than actual Native Americans. I could lit more, but that is a post for another day.

I will not belabor this issue more than I already have, but this video by Dennis Prager seems like a fair assessment of the geographic and political ideologies of both Israel and Palestine. If not, please explain why. "Israel murders children!" is not an explanation. I fully embrace the fact that both sides have killed children and civilians, however that is war and not a very persuasive argument for me. Also, trying to debate who started it is unproductive and senseless. However, a state run by a known terrorist group gives as much credence to the Palestinian cause as electing the Bloods to run Los Angeles.

July 6, 2014

My first (and last) pepper eating contest

“Let’s bring this hot pepper pack to the cook out,” she said.
“It will be fun!” she said.

My in-laws had a 4th of July cook out yesterday so the whole family went up to the mountains to visit, tell stories and eat some of my father-in-law’s grilling. My wife went to the store that morning to get a few things and came back with a pepper tasting kit. There were 6-8 peppers in there, mostly resembling habaneros, but there were a few smaller ones that looked really potent. After we had finished eating the BBQ, my wife brought the package of peppers out, along with some paper plates, and announced that we were going to have a pepper eating contest.

Only 4 of us committed to the contest and the rest of the family gathered around with cell phones poised for photos and video. The package had a list of the peppers along with their heat index, not a Scoville rating, but a scale from 1 to 10 with a picture of the peppers and a brief description of each. We were going to start out on the low end and work out way up the list to the hotter peppers, but we couldn’t find even a jalapeno to start out with, which only rated a 6 on the scale. The first person to take a drink would be disqualified and so on.

“That’s it, only a 6?”I said. This probably won’t be that bad. I did recognize a habanero pepper but we selected a red one to start with. Unfortunately, it was a Ghost Pepper- previously entered in the Guinness Book of World Records and boasting a Scoville rating of 800,000 to just over 1 million units. That probably doesn't mean much to anyone except the people who torture their bodies by eating these peppers, but it is 125 times hotter than the jalapeno.

My wife cut it up into 4 pieces and to her credit she promptly took the largest one, however they were all pretty much the same size- except for the tip which my brother-in-law Steve swiped before I could get to it. My other brother-in-law, Morgan, is a rather large man and I figured he would be able to handle these peppers. We all started chomping away. That was the first mistake.

With every bite, I felt the pepper oils exploding onto my pallet and when I built up enough saliva, I swallowed the chummy pepper mixture. It actually tasted quite good, even had a sweet taste, for the 1.5 seconds my taste buds actually worked after eating this pepper. Everyone was keeping their cool and high fiving, my wife and Steve actually did a chest bump, but the victory dances were short lived. Within 10 seconds, my throat felt like it was closing and Steve and I almost immediately got the hiccups, which is probably a bad sign- like the body is experiencing a high level of stress or something. Everyone, except my wife, got up off the picnic table bench and started pacing around while the intensity of the pepper started growing like an erupting volcano that is just getting started.

I am a very competitive person, and regardless of the event- video games, board games, or belching contests- my fragile ego takes a bruising if I am bested. Since there were photos and video documenting this event, I really tried my best to keep it together. After about a minute, my pride was begging me to throw in the towel, and I believe that it actually took over my conscious thought and forced me over to the cooler where I promptly chugged a bottled water. My wife promptly disqualified me from the event and I kept pacing around the table as the laughter and noise continued from the onlookers who were reveling in their Schadenfreude. My ears actually started to hurt- not from the noise, but from another side effect of the pepper.

Steve almost looked this bad
There wasn't anything on the table to eat to try and quench the fire so I went inside to find a gallon of milk. As I chugged down my first glass, Steve came in from outside, his face looked like he just got beat with a bag of persimmons. He almost looked as bad as those people who are allergic to bee stings. He later went into the bathroom and threw up. I hate throwing up and did everything I could to fight the urge, however, in hindsight, I wish I would have. The London Broil I had for dinner was just too good to offer to the porcelain gods.

By the time Steve and I got back to the table, my wife and Mo, continuing the assault on their bodies, had already eaten a second pepper. Mo was declared the winner shortly thereafter when my wife threw in the towel. After a little goading from the crowd, and to establish his pepper eating title of bat shit crazy, Mo grabbed another pepper and ate the whole damn thing. It took him a while to choke it down and the look on his face was a tell tale sign that he knew eating that third pepper was a mistake. His head was bright red and he was rubbing his face and shaved head uncontrollably to try and fight off the pain. He ran over to the inflatable pool and some of us thought he was going to drink out of it, but instead he just dunked his head into the water. If that wasn't enough, he later found the hottest pepper in that packet and at the whole thing. I am certain that he is dead as I write this blog post.

Ha! Light weights...
Twelve hours. That’s about how long it takes a Ghost pepper to make it through my digestive track and wreak havoc on my b-hole. I woke up at 6 am this morning with my stomach in a knot. I sneaked out a fart and thank God my wife was asleep. A dead horse lying in a sulfur pit would smell like a Febreeze’d couch cushion compare to this stench. I ran to the bathroom and was on the toilet for about 30 minutes. After my first release, I seriously contemplated grabbing my colon irrigation kit and filling the bag up with milk (hat tip to my sister-in-law Danielle for that option), but I didn't want to hog the other bathroom with guests in the house. Scoville units are a measure of how hot the peppers are going in, but I propose another scale that rates how bad the peppers are on the way out. Seriously, this is what it must feel like every time Satan takes a dump. I am positive my b-hole will be angry with me for the rest of the day. When I opened the door, the cat was there and meowed at me a few times- like when animals know a bad storm or tornado is approaching. She went into the bathroom, meowed at the toilet a few times and then ran downstairs.

To her credit, my wife is going about her day business-as-usual, and has had no adverse reaction to the event, other than the bright red lips and mouth she had yesterday. She has bested me in a food event, and I will gladly swallow my pride, along with the Tums I have been force feeding myself since last night.

December 7, 2013

Fast food workers demand more pay? Sorry, you don't get to decide that.

Fast food workers in Chicago rallied for higher pay, something all hard working American can get behind. For the 11 million of you without jobs please disregard.

I struggled with this dilemma for a while before coming to the conclusion that it should be put in  the "Stupid Spoiled American" pile. I can appreciate workers uniting for the greater good of their paycheck, but  who do these people think they are, the Pullman Strike of 1894??

Also happened in Chicago

I make no apologies for this remark, but these people are burger flippers. Here a few of their complaints:

"It doesn't pay my bills, I can't buy my kids anything for Christmas. I can't even celebrate Christmas."
"We can't survive on $7.25."

Let me address complaint #2 and offer some solutions.

  • Get two jobs
  • Don't work there
  • Get an education and become more marketable
  • Get rid of unnecessary assets - TVs, cable, iPad, extra phones, eating out, bling, fancy clothes, gas guzzling car
  • Take the bus
  • Move to where the wages are better
I think these suggestions could probably be applied to complaint #1 as well.

So what kind of an increase are we talking about- 15, 25%? Not even close! They want their wages increased from $7.25 to $15.00 an hour- a 107% pay increase. They have balls, that's for sure. Big, entitled balls.

ECON 101:
Fair wages are dictated by supply and demand, by the market who decides what they are willing to pay a worker based on the demand for their product while factoring in the available workforce willing to work for those wages. This inst' a steel strike or a coal strike of the early 1800's when people were dying on the job. This isn't even comparable to the UPS or Postal strikes of my generation. These are people who flip burgers and  prank our food in the back room when nobody is watching.

Go home, fast food workers. You're drunk.
$15 an hour. Really?

November 24, 2013

Americans love a good scandal, until the next one comes along.

Scandal, schmadal

At this point in his presidency, I hope that Obama is a pathological liar and not as inept and clueless as he appears to be. Of course he could be a puppet for a super-secret, string pulling Freemason-esque agency, but if we want to go that far, I prefer the chain smoking, creepy old guy from The X-Files.

When I examine the scandals surrounding the Obama administration I fully expect a Wachowski styleuprising to drive these people out of office. Wishful thinking, I know. People are comfortable where they are, the voters made their decision and will stand by it, either out of ignorance or by sheer head-in-the-sand prideful stubbornness. To prove this point one just needs to look at the President’s approval rating, which is now at a historic low of 41%.

Whoopty freaking doo. So he has low numbers, so Bush’s approval ratings (despite dragging us into a decade + long war and running our deficit up to historical highs) are higher than Obama’s, so what if the list of scandals associated with Obama looks like a rap sheet for a 1930’s mob boss. Obama is looking at the American people and saying, “What are you going to do about it?”

Nothing, that’s what. We will throw our hands up and rant about it, but in the end we will do nothing.

Let’s take a look at the Obama’s Top 10:

These are recent scandals by the way (in order my choosing), since the whole list is just too long for me to include. I think these are enough to make the point that this President should not have been elected – at all.

  1. Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) – ironically, there is something new to report almost every other day about this phony sham of a law intended to help the US.
  2. Census Bureau – Job numbers doctored before 2012 election to make Obama look good.
  3. Benghazi – Lies, lying and cover-ups surrounding this despicable nightmare of accountability and recourse. But people are coming forward and it does not look good for the President or Hillary. Let’s not forget these words of wisdom from the former Secretary of State, “What difference at this point does it make?” when questioned about her role in the slaying of Americans by Al Qaeda.
  4. IRS targeting people who fundamentally disagree with Obama. Lois Lerner “retired”, but nobody was held responsible for her actions- nobody was fired.
  5. Fast and Furious – I hate these names, by the way. This scandal, in case you forgot, involved “Federal agencies” losing track of weapons that eventually ended up in the hands of the Mexican cartel- you know, the ones who like to run cocaine into our country and lop the heads off of American tourists.
  6. Attorney General Eric Holder perjury x2. For fuck sake, what does it take to fire someone in this administration?
  7. EPA shenanigans that start back at Solyndra money laundering and continue through EPA Director Jackson’s secret emails account where she contacted Lobbyists for more deeds of misdoing. Don’t hear about this much anymore.

You know, that is as far as I want to go. There are only 3 three more I was going to put on this list but it just doesn’t matter. As disappointing as this administration has been, it is even more depressing to think about the GOP and the fact that even after all the ammo against this community organizer, they still can’t capitalize on it and win. It reminds me of this poor schlep on Wheel of Fortune: 

Nothing left to do but hunker down, save up and watch what happens next. It does not good to argue with morons about moronic behavior.

October 21, 2013

Local Sacramento Mom comes under fire for her fit body

There aren't too many things that come out of Sacramento that actually make good news and, unfortunately, this is one of them. Receiving over 12,000 comments in the first 24 hours of hitting the blogosphere, Maria Kang has become an international story for posting a picture of her and her three kids:

I read about this story over the weekend in Yahoo News and the comments overwhelmingly fell into a singularity: Haters gonna hate. Here is her response to the attacks:  Hot Mom Defends Herself Against Facebook Haters

Personally, I gave the same look the 3 year-old has when I saw this picture, however many did not share my reaction. If you want to see the effects of Internet bravado and courage read a few pages of the Yahoo comments. People can say the first thing that comes to their mind in the comments section with no backlash or consequence. The disparaging remarks against Kang ranged from bragger to bully and only got worse when her personal life came to light. 

She has a history of bulimia and it didn't take long for the haters to cling to that condition as her reason for being so thin as a mother of three- not the fact that she has chosen a healthy way to lose weight and look great.

Her husband doesn't work and people jumped on that with the usual comments like: "Must be nice to have a stay-at-home-husband to take care of the kids while you work out all day" - not the fact hat her husband is an Iraqi War Veteran who has a traumatic brain injury from a bomb that almost killed him.

Of course, before her personal life was revealed the haters used the go-to excuses of "Must be nice to have all that free time to work out... to have money for a gym membership... etc."- nevermind the fact that she owns a non-profit organization which keeps her busy. Oh, and she works out at home, waking up at 6 a.m., an hour at a time. When she takes her kids to the park she works out as well and has a great comeback for the haters:
“I’m working out. I’m not sitting there on my iPhone.”
Boom, roasted.

The only issue I have is with the quote on her picture, but there is a real fine line between braggadocio and taking pride in one's accomplishments. She had to know she would get backlash for that comment and if she really wanted to just make a statement about being fit as a mother of three then the comment probably could have been left off. That being said, she is defending herself very well.

The fact that this story is even a story bothers me. I can see several sub-categories of Hater that these comments fall into:

  • The Excuse Makers - no matter what Kang says, the Excuse Makers will find something to justify their reason why they don't look like that: they don't have the time, the money, etc. What they really don't have is the desire to get off their fat asses and work out. it is too hard for them to lose the baby weight so they take out their frustrations anonymously.
  • Chick on Chick crime - Catty bitches who don't like women who look better than them, or have more money than them, etc. Watch any episode of Housewives to see an example of this behavior.
  • Guilt crowd - they feel bad for people who cannot achieve some level of success whether it be fitness, social status, employment status, etc. How dare you flaunt your success!
  • Harcore Haters - no matter what level of success you achieve, people are too rotten to acknowledge even the smallest of achievement. "You got that raise because you are a kiss-ass", "Nice body, have body image issues, do ya?", "Nice clothes, life is not a fashion show", etc.
There are a lot of "You go, girl!" comments but the majority are negative. This is a sad commentary on our society and a pervasive attitude that is infiltrating our lives at all levels. It is no longer acceptable to our society to be successful or an achiever.  Interesting how movie stars, professional athletes and model can look this good but not suffer the criticism Kang has. I guarantee these hating, catty bitches would not give any grief to this guy for looking so cut:

The only response I can give to these haters is, "Hate on."