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Sunday, December 27, 2020

We're All A Bunch of Suckers!


Have you ever been played and then find out about it and feel stupid for allowing it to happen? Well, at least you found out. What if you are being a sucker right now and don't even know it yet? Well, it's true! You and me are both suckers!

How did this happen? The same way it always does. Some clever people give us a choice. The thing is, both choices suck, but when we have options, most of us will pick one. In some cases, we could have the ability to make up our own option and choose that instead, but in the case of politics, it's really hard to start another party.

So, you and I chose a political party. Maybe you're just going along with what your family or friends have chosen. Or, maybe you gave it a bunch of thought and picked the one you thought made the most sense to you. In any case, your choices both sucked, but you picked one anyway. Then, you started listening to the stuff your party's mouthpieces told you. After a while, it all starts to sound pretty "correct." They explain why that other party's approach is messed up and that sounds pretty "correct," too.

Here's the thing, they tricked us into not talking to each other! If we did, we'd find out that most of us want the same things out of government. Sure, we won't all agree about how to go about getting it, but so what? If we all want the same things, then if we weren't suckers, we'd elect people who took it upon themselves to actually do what we want.

That's not what we've gotten. We've got a bunch of scammers and con artists who have convinced us that if that other party didn't exist, you'd get exactly what you want, but since they do, you get NOTHING! I call BULLSHIT! It's time to WAKE UP and flush the whole lot of them! Even that old white guy you've been reelecting since you were able to vote.

Let's get rid of anyone who has been there for more than a few years. When we elect a new batch of politicians, we will be sending them a clear message that we're done being suckers. "Go to work and do the job we hired you to do!" Make no mistake, those politicians are paid with our hard earned tax dollars. They work for us and if you're like me, you're tired of having them jerk you around. We've got serious problems and we all know what they are. Let's get them fixed -- or at least try for god's sake!

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Love Really IS the Answer


About 2000 years ago, there was a guy who pointed out how nice it would be if we all just loved each other. Fast forward 2000 years and many people who still worship that guy are hating on about half the population of our own country. What's up with that?

There is so much hate on both sides of the political divide and the problem is so simple: most of us are behaving like sheep. We're allowing the people we look to for social guidance to lead us apart. They want us apart because that separation gives them power. But we shouldn't live to serve them. We should live to serve all the rest of us! 

How can we best serve each other? Let's start with love! My brother has a little saying at the bottom of his emails:

"Every time you encounter another human being, believe that they love you, and you will treat them as if they do..."

Maybe it runs in the family, but I believe that if everyone lived by this practice, we could easily get past our real differences. I say "real" differences because, as someone who actually appreciates an open dialog with people who don't share my views, I know just how close together we all are. Those that are managing to control many of us with their rhetoric would have you believe that people that don't share your views are evil. However, if you actually talk with them using an open heart and mind, you discover that the differences are tiny.

As a result of approaching life this way, I have accumulated friends, people I love, who don't share many of my ideas of how to make a better world. Here's what I've learned: like me, they want a better world for everyone. To me, this seems like a great starting point on which to build. I'm not a politician or a social engineer, but when I have conversations with my friends about the problems we face in the world, we come up with all types of ideas for solutions that we both agree would be good.

Most of these ideas start with tearing down the power centers that would like to keep us from having these conversations. For the people that would manipulate us, these conversations are the most dangerous thing. Personally, I like the idea of being dangerous to them. Some people talk about "the swamp" in Washington. The political mouthpieces would like you to believe the swamp is only in that other evil side -- it's ALL the swamp. "We, the people" will need to drain it. It starts with a few people with different views pretending to love each other. Practice makes perfect. I know it's hard after everything they told you, but why not start today anyway? Let's see what happens!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Dear Christians: This is a Test!


Unborn Child
You have assumed that Trump is an instrument of God. After all, he has promised reversal of abortion rights and a return to law and order. In fact, he promises a lot of things that good Christians support and by all accounts he has done his best to deliver.

First, he flaunted his misogynistic behavior and you overlooked it because he was doing God's work. Then, he denigrated the military and you overlooked that too. Maybe you were troubled by the obvious lying, but he's a politician -- they all do that!

Now, he's taken a drug derived from unborn babies to save his own skin and you again tell yourself that he's doing God's work. He must have a plan. What if this is God's test? With each new revelation, Donald Trump shows us that he cares not about God's commandments. So, keep supporting him and maybe you will be able to join him in Hell someday.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Bye Bye Democracy!

There's so much fake news out there these days. Why would you trust me? Don't! Check anything that sounds like a fact for yourself. Fact #1: The Patriot Act was sold on the basis of finding foreign actors that would use terror on civilians to manipulate governments. Fact #2: Terror is a word that has had its meaning distorted since the act was put in place. What is the difference between asymmetric warfare and terrorism? Do you know? It's an important distinction.

When small actors, whether they be governments, religious sects, or independent warlords; go up against larger actors, they must use asymmetric warfare. They fight with snipers, roadside bombs, and suicide bombers. When they use these tactics against military or government targets, they are not terrorists. When they use them on civilians, they are.

This matters because when we brand a group as terrorists, the Patriot Act becomes available. That means our government can whisk away anyone who is suspected of being involved without due process. If that "anyone" happens to be a U.S. citizen -- bye bye freedom!

Meanwhile, we continue to ratchet up military spending. There are no major wars going on for the U.S. right now, so what are they doing with all the money? Well, a chunk of it seems to be going to new ground vehicles and personal armor. Guess what they're doing with the old stuff? Fact #3: They're shipping it to domestic law enforcement agencies! You may have seen some of it in the streets lately. Police are looking more and more like the military.

Between the Patriot Act, the expanded definition of a terrorist, and police militarization, we have the makings of the perfect storm for a complete take-over. Couple this with a White House that is siding with the police to drive a wedge between them and the rest of the citizens and it's not hard to imagine a tipping point that ends badly for democracy.

We think these things can't happen in America -- land of the free. Look more closely. Freedom can be defined any way you like. Even the most autocratic regimes will generally leave people alone if they play along. Freedom is about the right NOT to play along. A quick look at what's going on in the streets these days should be a warning.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Covid On My Mind

Longing to go out.
My sister-in-law, Carolyn, had an idea for the family: keep a daily log (or blog) of our lives during this hopefully rare pandemic. Personally, I don't expect that these things will be all that rare.

Global warming is changing our planetary climate system and highly adaptable organisms are likely to adapt more quickly during this time of rapid change. If the weather doesn't get us, the microorganisms will...eventually.

I've been thinking about the idea of keeping a journal or something, but to be honest, my life isn't dramatically different. I am a scrum master, which is a person that works with software development teams to help them be agile. That means adapting to change quickly. My company, ITHAKA, is well along on our agle journey, so we're already quite adaptable. We also have multiple offices and various people working remotely, so we have all the tools in place to work from home.

My Home Office Rig
Furthermore, having been a work-at-home entrepreneur in the past, I already have a sweet set-up at home. Let's just say I don't worry too much about bad ergonomics. I did purchase a little 10" LED display so that I can see the people I'm online with while looking at shared screens. Oh, and this picture doesn't show my Herman Miller Aeron chair, which I was happy to buy for only $350 out of the back of a van in a Burger King parking lot in Belleville. I have it on good authority that is was legitimately purchased in a bulk office furniture buyout from an office closure. I'm going with that story. I love Herman Miller chairs. They fit my back just right.

The Man Cave!
I also have a Herman Miller chair in the basement -- my man cave! This picture was taken before I removed the sofa from the room. There's a little more space over in that corner now.

Music is a great hobby to have when you're homebound. I have a band called Sweet Melissa. I left the band to pursue other musical interests, but when they lost both their bass player and guitar player, Melissa called and asked if I wanted to rejoin. I did. We found a great new guitar player and we are all good friends. I have been trying to keep up with my friends by doing regular video chats, but with the band, "getting together" is a bit more challenging. Elan, our drummer, is a pilot for Delta. He still has to go to airports! He's a bit more stressed than the rest of us, who are in a better position to isolate ourselves.

We found a system called that might let us jam together over the Internet, but everyone has to figure out how to get their instruments hooked up first. That hasn't happened yet. A couple summers ago, I hooked up with my friend JP and occasionally my friend Noah and we jammed in the street. I really liked busking. JP moved to NYC, so I've decided to try out the one-man band thing. I was thinking that I might take it to the street this summer.

Well, with this nasty little virus spreading wildly, that may not happen. It seems the music world has taken to streaming live. So, yesterday I started trying to figure out how to do my own live streams on Facebook. I tried something called OBS, which only sorta worked. Today, I switched to trying something called livestream and lo and behold, it worked! I was just testing it out, but apparently various friends, family and acquaintances saw it anyway.

We're about to take the dog for another walk. Going for walks is one of the only things anyone can do out of the house these days, so lots of people are doing it. Most people around here are getting the social distancing thing, but a few people don't. I worry most about the kids. They may just forget or maybe they don't understand that just because they're not vulnerable doesn't mean the people around them aren't. Anyway, it's easy to catch up with the neighbors during walks, which seems sort of backwards since we're all supposed to be staying away from each other. Now that we've purchased enough food and toilet paper to stay home for a few months, it's just neighbors for a while.