Thursday, January 31, 2008

The irony of politics

I suppose we get the president we deserve.

It has happened many times before; a republican candidate who can easily beat the democrat can't beat the other republicans for the nomination. And there's only one reason...


Romney is winning. Romney is a flip-flopping spineless man of no integrity, BUT he has more money than they others, which means he can buy more television air time for commercials. Consider for a moment: his ads have little policy or substance, but his name and face become familiar. That's enough for the limited intelligence of today's Americans.

There is a simple solution: Politicals candidates should be restricted from push technology. Put all the ads you want on YouTube, run as many websites as you want. Publish articles (no ads) in newspapers (free, though, no paid spots). The only money spent must be on pull technology.

Push tech is passive. It comes to you on television or ads in papers and magazines. It requires no thought and no action on the viewers part.

With Pull tech you have to take action (you know: research). You have to go to YouTube and look up the videos. You have to go to the websites. You have to read the articles.

Mr. C. challenged me to dig into Mike Huckabee more than I had. I did and was delighted to discover what a great candidate he is. The ONLY great candidate. All others pale in comparison. This man should be the next president, but he doesn't have the financial machine behind him. So he's run a grassroots campaign that is impressive in scope.

But Romney, who has been pro-choice, anti-second amendment, and every other liberal position you can name, runs as a conservative and people are dumb enough to believe it. But when he's running against Hillary, she'll bring out his hypocrisy and make him eat glass. He will not, cannot win and if by some miracle he does, he'll be no better than Hillary.

Equally revolting is the demogogary that some people give Rush, Hannity, and other radio personalities. They believe them because they hear them and seemingly don't question.

America is going to have a horrible next president, and we deserve it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The (il)logic of emotion

So, I'm debating same sex marriage with a co-worker. While I don't support the amendment, I do support the idea that no law should enable same sex marriage.

I was told I hate gays.

No, I countered, I see no purpose for such a law. Same sex marriage does not benefit society, so there is no purpose to granting it through legislation. She claimed that they should have the same rights as a straight married couple. I said there are no rights, just benefits. All these benefits, except a tax break, are available through legal means that are non-marriage related.

AH-HA, she says. How about that tax break? No go, I said, the tax break is to encourage mom's to stay at home with their kids; no kids, no tax break. They could adopt! she says. Studies and anacdotal evidence says such kids are troubled and experience role confusion. Mom/Dad are necessary for well-adjusted kids. Even children raised in an orphanage aren't as conflicted.

But they want to be married, so they should be allowed.

They are allowed to make any sort of commitment they want, it just won't be recognized by the law because it serves no purpose to society.

You just hate gays, I'm told.

Sigh. Those with no understanding of legal philosophy have to fall back on emotion, even when it makes no sense.

I like pomegranites, but there shouldn't be a law that recognizes that fact. Y'know?

Friday, January 25, 2008

It Probably Means I'm Shallow

Here's the thing. I don't like the middle east. If not for the Muslim threat and pyramids, I. Just. Wouldn't. Care.

There is nothing appealing about this century's Middle East. Zip. So all these novels and movies are bugging me. I like socio-political thrillers, but not if they take place in the ME and that's all they're writing about. There's a huge crop of movies (which, admittedly, is no big deal since I don't watch movies much anymore), there's probably even trading cards.

Here's the deal. All we have to do to end the M.E. threat is to find an alternative to oil. Cut their funds off and we can go back to ignoring them.

Got Hydrogen?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oh, THAT Amendment

First, let me trumpet my disgust with the writers of all those yea/nay ads about any amendment. The resounding school of knowledge says "Don't tell anyone what the amendment is, or give any reason other than 'it's bad' or 'it's good.'"

They believe that if you don't know what the amendment is, you shouldn't find out. That way, whoever yells yea or nay loud enough wins.

Amendment 1. It shouldn't be an amendment because it doesn't secure a right.

That being said, the detracts say the homestead increase will hurt schools and benefit rich people and not poor people.

As a poor people, I say let the lottery actually help schools like it said it was going to. If it isn't going to HURT us poor people, what do I care if it benefits rich people?

Rich people are not evil and shouldn't be punished for being successful. If a law or an amendment will help them and not hurt me, why is that a bad thing?

The Florida constitution is plagued with stupid amendments and in my opinion if it doesn't secure a right, it shouldn't be an amendment regardless of the intent. So I'd vote no but not because it would be a bad thing, just a bad amendment.

Clear as mud?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Politics, Thy Name is Confusion

As we move deeper into the presidential pare down, I am no closer to knowing who I want to vote for. I know several I would gladly vote against, but not so much on the positive side.

Nonetheless, as I debate liberals on their bass relief support of democrats ("because they're better than republicans") I'm noticing a trend. They're dissatisfaction with government is rooted in how politicians aren't doing what they think politicians should do in a neutral world, as if each administration jumps in at zero and starts paddling. The truth is, every politician runs on what they will do, but the first major portion of their reign is making headway against where the former fellow left them, and the rest responding to what the world throws at them.

They hate what Bush has done by getting us into wars with Iran and Afghanistan (well, really, most liberals seem to have forgotten about Afghanistan) but can't give a constructive alternative to what they would have done; nor do most understand the conditions of the Middle East that made this kind of thing necessary (not aided by Bush's simplified claims of WMD when there was a complex geopolitical reason too complicated to explain in media sound bytes).

I like Fred Thompson, but that ship has sailed. Don't know enough about Huckster. Guess I have to do some research there...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Things that make go HMMMM... at the Disney Marathon

As we have for the last 9 years, we volunteered to man (and woman) the 25th mile waterstop. Ben joined us for the first time, and like always it was inspiring and exhausting. Some people looked good, some looked better, and some looked downright strange. Here are a few highlights:

  • We think the guy in first was the same guy as last year, though he had more tattoos.
  • The first woman, who normally comes in twentieth or thirtieth, came in third place. She didn't look like she was straining.
  • Fewer people were bleeding this year, and there were thousands more runners than ever before.
  • We didn't see anyone dressed up for the longest time. When we finally did, it was Minnie Mouse in full dress and bloomers. Minnie was an Asian man looking very serious. I can only hope he lost a bet and had to do it.
  • One skinny white guy came prancing by in white Speedos. JUST white Speedos. They should be outlawed.
  • Not to be outdone, another fellow jogged by in full gladiator gear up top and bright red Speedos down below. When we laughed (you just couldn't help it) a runner behind him said, "Try looking at that for 25 miles..." she was not amused.
  • Other notable costumes were another Minnie (this one female), a large guy with a drooping mustache in a Supergirl costume. A family dressed in full "Incredibles" uniforms without the masks. Assorted Peter Pans, Tinkerbells, Goofys, Stitchs, a couple aliens and a bride with no bridegroom (he may have dropped out or I just missed him).
  • Traditionally, the first and second guy have no interest in water. They just sail by like they're out for a light jog. The FOURTH guy wanted water and the lead tables were still setting up and no one offered him anything. Poor guy was not happy, maybe a bit mad, and when he swerved over to get his own darn water, the cups were empty. Ooops. Our tables, the later tables, made sure to give him some water. When I gently reminded the lead tables they should actually hold water out for them, they got ticked and said we could come down and help them instead of just standing around up there at our tables. Wellll excccussssseee Meeeeeee! We had our three layers set up and ready to go in very little time (9 years experience, don't you know) and we had twice as many tables.... okay, I felt a little bad for opening my mouth, but the look of sheer desperation on that runner's face was piercing. (And, true several of the front table people were working, but I counted six people who just stood and watched him run by. FOCUS, PEOPLE!)

Next year, we'll have Charli, too, if we can roust her out of bed at 5:00 am.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Marian Jones

The Olympic track gold medalist who took performance enhancing drugs to win... subsequently found out, lied to Feds, and was convicted. Judge gave her 6 months, which Jones' lawyer argued was too harsh.

Brings up an interesting question. Should race and societal impact influence a judge's decision?

Understand, she lied to the world, stole 5 gold medals and the glory of victory from the second place runner (who has been given the gold, and my isn't that joyful for her?), tainted the Olympics and lied to the Feds to cover up.

Had she been white, I would say she should have gotten a lot more than 6 months. That would send a clear message to athletes to get their act together.

But she's black, and one must wonder if that mixes the message. Black youth, especially those in poverty, require as many role models as possible. People they can look up to and see that success is possible.

Do I think the Jones verdict is just and good? Yes. BUT, how many people in poverty (and out) are telling themselves that if a black person raises themselves up, whitey's going to knock them down (the fact that she brought it on herself won't matter at all).

Ultimately, these are things Jones should have been thinking about, but she was teenager when she "won" and how many teens really think about what message they're sending -- not to mention what joy in victory if it's obtained by cheating...

I guess that raises another question: Should minorities consider the racial impacts of their every action? Britney Spears or Tom Cruise go bonkers and few generalizes that whites are messed up; should Jones have to be concerned that her actions can induce unfair generalizations?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"If this works, we'll eat like kings!"

We seem to have an overambitious black widow spider. Every morning as I'm heading off to work, a new spiderweb spans the walkway with a lovely black widow rubbing her multiple hands in anticipation of a bigggggg meal. No mean feat, either. The walkway is about 8 feet wide. She hasn't caught me yet, but she keeps trying.

I suppose if she spun it a bit lower she might reel in Aly or the dog...

I just don't have the heart to kill the thing; I figure anyone with such grand hopes and personal confidence has a right to life.

Friday, January 04, 2008


My shampoo froze.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Perfect Metaphor Meal

A couple nights ago Lynette and I had our annual year-end just-the-two-of-us really-nice meal to exchange our Christmas gifts and enjoy good food and good conversation.

The meal ended up being a metaphor for the year.

Two or three years ago, I ate at the Crazy Buffet, which is horribly named, but it had amazing food. The best Asian cuisine I'd ever had, tons of it, all high-quality and fresh. It was expensive and oh-so worth it. I'd been meaning to take Lynette there ever since and this was it.

Maybe the place has changed hands. I should have figured it out when the hostess didn't notice us standing there and just stayed absorbed in her magazine. Everything looked older, not just two or three years older but decades older. The grand piano was smudged and dusty... even the coy fish looked bored.

Still, we stayed. The food was incredibly plentiful. There was some appetizing stuff thrown in between the whole boiled octopus, eel, sea spiders, and fish eggs (no wonder they lost the war). There was Alaskan King Crab, which is my favorite food next to Dungeness Crab. All my favorite Asian items...

...but it wasn't very good. The crab had been frozen too long, the salad was tired, the sushi was pretty good, and the old ambiance of Japanese music was replaced with '80's and '90's songs.

This is a picture of 2007. I had finally gone freelance and loved it, despite the difficulty of getting paid by my clients. I had been anticipating it for years, but found my own character lacking in that my discipline wasn't the strongest. I did get to spend a ton of my time with my wife and kids, which all by itself makes 2007 a really good year. But the luster I'd been hoping for wasn't there in much else. Through Seattle visits, I was apart from Lynette and the kids a total of 2 months out of 12. Won't do it that way every again.

We began and ended the year with heavily family losses. Last night at 12:15 I told Charli that we could see the countdown all over again at 3:00. She looked confused so I told her that it was still 2007 for grandma and grandpa, bringing myself up short when I realized that it would always be 2007 for grandma.

When my Grandpa Ray passed away, the grief started my decade long struggle with anger-at-the-world, but I didn't have the maturity to recognize that grief had kicked it off. Now I'm learning what a life changing thing grief is. I'm seeing the changes in me wrought by grief. I wondered when I would get back to normal, and now know that while I will climb out of the valley of the shadow of death, my old normal is gone, and it will be to a new normal, whatever it will be. I guess I'll find that out in the new year. A promise, though. My blog will not be maudlin after this post.

There was a saving grace to our Crazy Buffet dinner, though. Lynette was with me. That makes any dinner bearable, and any year a winner. She is my metaphor for hope.

Oh, yeah: Happy New Year, everyone.