The Closing of This Site

Due to a desire to start fresh and the lack of time to invest in continuing this site, I am shutting this page down. While there are still some decisions left to be made as to if and for how long this site will stay up, there won’t be any new posts unless the decision is made to remove it from the internet.

In addition, my other 4 sites on WordPress will be re-examined and when/if they will be removed or ended will be determined based on necessity and time as well.

The decision for this is based on 4 factors:

  1. Visibility – I can’t blame people for ignoring me when I don’t post for 6 months at a time, but even when I was frequently posting the most I did was less than a hundred – much too small for anyone considering to take this to the next level.
  2. Professionalism – while the idea of keeping a blog open is novel, some things work against me when job hunting. Of particular is my past opinions, many of which are strange or publicly unacceptable and some of which I no longer share. This will be very important to if I pull the site down.
  1. Spam-targets – when you maintain a diet daily it’s easy to keep the garbage out or minimize its impact – something much more difficult when it’s weeks or months between posts. I’ve often come back to find ads in the comments for garbage I wouldn’t endorse even if paid – and I want to be paid for what gets posted on something I control. I’m okay with WordPress and other sites I operate on advertising as it helps keep me free, but not with random hackers and bots doing so for someone else.
  2. Time – while I hope to regain time through building my next site to a point of sustainability, time spent going off of random, debatable topics of which are largely ignored or disregarded as falling in with the many topic-potatoes on Facebook and Twitter. I’d rather focus my energy and time towards more focused end goals, and since I already have FB and Twitter, I already have a better place for the random thoughts.

If you’ve been reading this at all, thank you, and I hope you will follow in the next step of this journey. I will keep you posted on the future soon.

I realize that many people are out there insulting the people who are on the polar opposite of their opinion. If you don’t belong to their side, you can leave the country. This rationale is causing a lot of people to be blind to some simpler, quicker Solutions to the problems that everyone is complaining about. This bickering and fighting should be on the sidelines, with the Fringe groups being the most extreme, not in the Middle with everyone.

If you read my posts, you know where I stand. You know I have a dislike for Trump, and I feel that he is a fucking idiot. What you may not know, however, is that I spend a lot of off time thinking of solutions to problems.

Trump wants to build an eyesore. He wants his wall, he wants to block out anyone he thinks does not belong. He tried getting the Mexican Government to pay for it, which was laughably ludicrous. He’s not trying to get the honest taxpayers and voters to pay for it, at the expense of a government shutdown.

If he were really as smart as his followers think he is, he would use his business sense to find a solution. He would realize he would not need a wall that would make things ugly along our border, that America should not be a castle for Invaders to try to storm.

He would realize, by utilizing business, he could solve the illegal immigrant problem. In doing so, he could also solve a number of other financial problems within the country.

People keep trying to fly to our country because, no matter how much we try to block it, we’re still more enticing than the places they’re coming from. We don’t do enough to incentivize people to become actual citizens, leaving them too many ways to skirt the system. You can’t punish them the wrong way, either – in case you haven’t noticed, people aren’t too Keen to torture or separation.

There’s nothing wrong with rewarding those who do come to this country, as that is what it sounds like is happening. However, what are we really doing to dissuade people?

Part 1 – incoming pay

For some people, America is the cheaper place to get stuff, or the only place. If you want to hit those people who are illegal, start forcing everyone to show IDs. Then, make an automatic price difference – those who prove they are either American citizens or have the legal right to be here get it at the normal price, hopefully A reduced price. Those who don’t have that sort of identification pay three times as much. No exceptions – if you forget your ID, you’re going to pay a text for that.

Part 2 – out-going pay

For many people, it’s the ability to make greater pay than what they would make in their own home countries. I met more than a few who send money home to the relatives, with no intent of ever actually becoming citizens. This is also where we hit them – anyone without proper identification gets paid 1/3 less then the normal pay for their job. That means if you’re a plumber being paid $15 an hour normally, you’re suddenly working for $5 an hour until you prove that you are a legal citizen.

When you have to pay out three times as much to get what you want or need, while making only a third of what you should make, you going to realize very quickly that it’s better to be a citizen here or to be here legally.

Part 3 – what could be worse?

For most people, this will be more than enough to incentivize they’re seeking legal rights to be a part of this country. They can continue to wait while their legal status is checked, and continue to live and work until touch point in time as they’re either made citizens or booted out of the country.

Some people, however, will find this outrageous. They won’t agree to pain extra to become a citizen of this country, and they will do what they can to try to skirt the system, using illegal IDs and documentation to get by the system. What do you do at this point?

This is where all that money for a wall can be placed Dash if you are caught doing this, rather than being sent to prison or place outside of our country, we take you to a special town. It will be a walled community, much like a prison. You won’t have nearly as many rules to follow as you will in a prison, but you will have the big one of not being able to escape until you’ve paid off your dues.

Living in these communities will have a double penalty on it – you’re now paying six times as much for the same items a normal citizen would have, while making a sixth of what a normal person doing your job with make. You’re not released until you pay back the amount you stole using the illegal documentation, and when you finally do get released, that’s when you’re released outside of the country, with a permanent bar on becoming a citizen. There will still be a path to citizenship available if they want it, but the price they will have to pay to do it will be substantially higher then if they do things the way I’m suggesting.

Part 4 – incentives

Obviously the easy part of coming up with this stuff is figuring out a plan – giving people reason why to go with it can be difficult.

The most obvious incentive, for taxpayers, is that we won’t need an eyesore that will be seen from space. No one living near these lands will have to worry about seeing a gigantic wall in their backyard. No one’s going to try to injure themselves, or try to wreck the wall, thus costing us more money in various areas. You’ll still need security, but it won’t cost nearly as much.

Second, you’ll actually be helping to protect those seeking to escape harm from other places. If they can live here while settling their citizenship, they’ll be incentivized to work with the system.

Third , the money coming from all of this will be going to pay off debts the US has and to build a greater Nation overall. Those employers paying people 1/3 of the average pay will be paying the other two thirds in forms of taxes for that person, so the companies will not be profiting from this. Same thing with the higher prices – those higher prices are not there for companies to profit from, they are there to dissuade people from bucking the system.

If you pay attention to my feeds on Facebook you may have noticed a lack of commentary on a former president’s death. (R.I.P. George H. W. Bush.) A lot of what I have to say about him I also had to say about McCain earlier this year, as he was another man whose politics I disagreed with but who I respected. I felt like I’d be repeating myself, and since most of the time he was I. Politics I was wrapped in my own world, I didn’t have the same connection to him that I had to McCain. In short, I didn’t feel like I had much to say about him.

But, like most deaths, you hear the stories and see them in a different context, and you note the things that are going on. In his case, I noticed a few things, similar to McCain, that needs to be brought to attention of our generation.

First, both men had no problem crossing party lines to do what they felt was right. The thing I remember most about Bush was what caused his defeat to Clinton in 1992, where he failed at his promise for “no new taxes.” What I didn’t know until this week was why those taxes were needed or how he had to compromise with Democrats to do it. Doing that now isn’t possible, as people are afraid of having the same repercussions as he did.

Second, he, like many other older people, kept himself respectable. Like most presidents, he was lampooned weekly on SNL and other shows, and like most other presidents, he shrugged it off or laughed with it. He had his disagreements, but he didn’t go on the offensive (that I recall.) He stepped out of the limelight when he was done, using his fame and presidency to help others.

Like the first point, this stands in stark contrast to the way things are now. He was like this long before his candidacy, as could be seen from his branding on everything to how he conducted public affairs. He can’t let others make jest of him, as he clearly demonstrates when SNL skewers him now. Sadly, this behavior carries on with the most famous officials of his party such as McConnell and Cruz – men who should know better.

Men and women of George H. W. Bush’s time – and, to a similar extent, John McCain’s time as well – grew up with something many of us lack today. They knew how to handle their grievances, how to set aside differences to work together, and how to respect people of all walks of life. They were not perfect – they still had a problem with people of different races and genders, something we definitely do better with today – but most knew not to lie, not to attack, and when they were beaten or proven wrong, how to take that defeat and be humble. They understood and defined what respect was.

That respect didn’t get lost because of technology, as either one of them, or any of the other countless elected officials before or with them, could have gone on many public rants and tantrums thanks to TV and radio. Yes, you could point to individual flaws and there’s made during their terms, as well as plenty of times where they fought back – but even in

A Matter of Pride

This one’s going to be short – it’s something I shouldn’t have to say , but something I’m really tired of reading online. Some people have nothing better to do turn the wine because there is no flag, no day, no month for them or their race, their gender, or any other idiocy.

Most of these people – and I’m really trying to be nice on this – wine whenever a specific flag is being flown by the government other than the American one, complain when there are parades or other celebrations of a race, gender, or other specific thing. The biggest, most annoying thing of all that? They wonder why there’s not something for them…

As an older white gentleman, I feel shame and anger every time I see this sort of lunacy.

The whole reason why we celebrate different cultures, different genders, giving them specific days, months, and recognition is because of how many of those in the particular genders, races, or other specific areas had to fight to be treated equally with everyone else. They had to fight for the right to vote, they had to fight for the right to equal pay, they had to fight to be out in public without shame, without having to be segregated, without being treated like shit by people.

White men have had the easiest going of all the races and all the genders. Although there were other culprits, other races and genders who enslaved and mistreated people, most of these actions we’re done by white men. Straight white men.

Women had to fight for the right to vote and the right to work. Black, Mexican, Asian people had to fight for those same rights and recognitions. Gay people, lesbians, transgender people are still fighting for the rights and the equal treatment, even though they’ve accomplished many of the same rights as women and other cultures have. Even with all of this recognition, however, they still fight for equal treatment Dash equal pay as their white male counterparts, equal acceptance out in public.

There is no shame in honoring the culture that your ancestors came from – if you are a German, be proud to be German. If you’re Irish, go ahead and be proud to be Irish.

However, show the same respect for everyone else whose culture, race, or gender had to fight to have the Equal Rights and treatments as you White straight males. When you actually fight for your rights against everyone else oh, you can complain then about not having equal treatment.

Until then, shut the fuck up and respect other people.

My Feelings on Abuse

My first real introduction to domestic abuse happen with my mother during the summer between 4th and 5th grade. My sister was over with my cousin celebrating her birthday, so I was home alone with Mom and her boyfriend. I had been playing games on my Commodore 64 if I remember correctly, the game was “Kickman” – and he had been drinking. He told me it was dinner time, I had asked him to let me get to a point to pause the game, and that’s when he hit me – hard enough to give me a bloody nose. There was no real reason – whatever my 10 or 11 year old self could have said wouldn’t have Justified the hit that I received. I ate dinner, and was grounded to my room.

It was a few minutes later that the fight broke out. My Uncle Jerry and his girlfriend had already been talking to my grandparents about Joe, and most of what they said about him was unflattering, so I knew that there was bad blood between my uncle and him. I didn’t see too many of the particulars, but I knew that Joe, in his drunken rage, flew out and attacked by Uncle as he was coming out to the house – fighting on the front lawn, as well as for the next couple of blocks.

The police got involved, my mom was put into the back of the squad car for a bit in handcuffs because of the incident, and I ended up staying with my grandparents that night, while his girlfriend got DCFS – child protective services for Illinois at that time, for those who are not familiar with the group – involved. Joe, as drunk as he was, managed to slip out and disappear.

Over the next year-and-a-half, there were many more incidents involving my mom and him, fewer than involved him and me or him and my sister during that time, and although DCFS had been involved, we were never taken away. Because of the drinking and drugs that were involved with my mom and him during that period, we lost the house that we were living in, and had to move into my grandparents house for part of that year before moving into a trailer a few miles away. Technically, for most of the latter half of that year, I was supposed to be at a different School because of how far and where we moved.

That following summer, on my 12th birthday, I moved in with my grandparents. I ended up finishing High School there, as well as living there until around my 22nd birthday, when after everything that had built up, they finally moved to Georgia. During most of that time, my mom continued to take the abuse, they both continued the lifestyle involving drugs and alcohol, and I was beginning to find out much about this as well as my father and his sexual abuse.

As you can imagine, this has a tremendous impact on some of my actions and Views with my life. There certain lines I will never cross without real justification – the reason why I control my drinking, the reason why I limit whatever I do physically, even when I find justification in my anger or frustration. I’m far from a perfect sayings and how I handle situations – I have a difficult time talking to people about things, even when I know that they are nothing like the incidence I grew up in. My distrust with authority started at this point – remember those handcuffs on my mom? The main reason that happened was because of Joe disappearing.

I also don’t take abuse lightly, however. The whole reason why I’m talking about this now is because of an incident that recently happened involving one of my friends. I don’t know, nor do I need to know, the specifics of what had happened – and I’m sure, once cooler heads prevail, we’ll get down to the truth of this incident. However, when your girlfriend is rushing you to get out the door so she can have one of her friends because “he had beat her up,” you can naturally understand the feelings of anger and rage, as well as the memories that resurfaced. The one thing I want to do with him right now I couldn’t do when I was a kid, nor could I do now, even if I wanted to – if my poor health wasn’t going to be a factor, the police involvement right now would.

Some things have always stood with me, however. There is never a good time to physically hit or beat up the person you are with, short of self-defense. There is never an issue to get physically or verbally abusive with your significant other or spouse. Although my feelings are not as strong about physically hitting your child when they are acting up, there’s a difference between hitting them to punish or teach them of their wrongs and physical abuse – the moment you draw or to leave a mark, that’s when you’ve gone too far. When the police have to be involved, that’s when the relationship either needs to have a serious turn or change, or it has to end. This is especially true when children are involved, as they will carry the memories of these sorts of incidents with them.

I will make two things clear right now. First, unless there is some drastic reason why I cannot assist you, if you are the abused you will always have safety with me. You Now understand the reason, and while I will not know all that you will need to do, I know plenty of people who will help me in such a situation. You Are Not Alone, and you don’t have to take that from anyone.

The second is for the abuser, and I sincerely hope that is not you. While I can certainly help you, do not expect that help immediately after you’ve hurt someone I care about. If you are doing this to a friend, you are not a friend of mine. If, after things have cooled down and you seriously want to get help to be a better person, I will help you dash but during the time before that, I am your enemy. until such point in time as you prove that you are not a threat, I will defend my friends. It is best for you to stay away.

No one has to be in an abusive relationship. If you are in one, seek help, get out of it. You will lose friends, you will lose family, you will lose support if you don’t.

If you’re the abuser, get help. Assuming the person you hurt even considers taking you back, there’s no reason to treat anyone that way. There are plenty of ways to learn how to better treat a person in handle a situation in which you would hurt someone, and even if the person doesn’t take you back, the people around you and the people you may end up with will thank you for that.

(I used Google to translate my speech to text, and postdated this a few weeks specifically to protect the people involved in the current incident. The last thing they need are a lot of people nosing their way into the situation they don’t belong in.)

Early Morning Feelings of a Hospitalized Uncle

Death and my family aren’t good friends.  While I can’t imagine Death being good friends with many beings, Death and I need to go a few rows.

I found out earlier this afternoon that one of my uncles is in the Hospital.  If he were to pass, he’d be the most recent known death for me family-wise.  I say “known” because most of those type of people – grandparents and such – were gone before I ever knew it.

I know what I should feel:  Sorrow, worry – I should be more concerned about his health.  He was the Uncle that I had seen more growing up, the one who could work on automobiles and make them work, the one with the house near the river at one time.

He’s also the one who treated and used most of my family very shittily.  The one who got more from my grandparents, then when he failed to make payments and they were forced to sell his house, the one who gave them a hard time over it . The one who used my sister and mother for storage, for money, for all sorts of other BS.

More important than that:  He’s the one who criticized my father for choosing not to be a part of my life – then chose later not to be a part of it either.  I don’t remember seeing him since before I moved out on my own the first time – He was at my grandma’s wake, but I don’t remember him there.

To put some context:  My grandmother’s memorial was in 2001, and I moved out the first time in 1999 – so it’s been 17 years.

He has given hell to my other uncle and mother, to my sister and former brother-in-law – but I was never a concern.

There’s a part of me that really wants to say “fuck you” to him, to ignore his death (should that come) and anything more to do with him – but there’s another part of me who’s worried about the people he affected:  His daughter, who told me about this development; My mom and other Uncle, my sister.  My hope is that, if he only has a little time left, he makes an effort to repair the damage he created with them.  (I’ll save him a little trouble:  I was nothing to him for the past 17 years – so I have no reason to want or expect that sort of change.  He distanced himself from me before anyone else, and I have very little for him other than motivation to get his shit together with everyone else.)

It touches another part of me, though:  It’s been a couple of years since I had last seen my cousin’s kid, months before tonight since I had seen my niece and nephew, and I’ve not seen a couple of my cousins – one of which now has kids – in years.  (Those kids, BTW, I’ve yet to meet.)

This is just on my mom’s side – on my dad’s side, the only nieces and nephews I know about I haven’t seen in a few years as well.

I find it weird and sad being that adult who doesn’t have that connection to the kids in his family – and yet feeling nothing but anger and numbness towards the relatives of my life who chose to do the same to me.  While no one will ever top my father for the amount of anger and pain his absence has given me, it saddens me how I am also a little like my uncle was to me.

I can argue all I want about how little I know about kids and family, about how much I suck with interpersonal relationships, but at the end of the day, how am I any better?  How can I learn to help them?

Sometimes we need reminders of what is important in life, of how much of an impression we can leave on those connected by blood, familial, and friendship ties.  While I shouldn’t be “their best friend,” I should try to be like the distant uncle was for me:  Someone they can look up to and learn from, someone they may not be able to have daily contact with but who makes that contact mean something.  They may not be my direct flesh and blood – but they shouldn’t have to feel numb about me as I do about my Uncle.

Sleep has finally caught up to me, and no amount of anger or sadness will change it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some More Thoughts regarding Mass Shootings – Let’s Make This Stop!

On April 20th most people who support legalized marijuana will be celebrating a famous police code by getting high.  For the rest of us, particularly those of us who are outcasts, who were bullied or care about the current gun discussion, we will be marking the 19th anniversary of something we should not celebrate:  The Columbine High School Massacre that left 15 people dead and many people searching for answers.

It was certainly not the first -You’d have to go back to before the Revolutionary War with Enoch Brown that left 10 dead in 1764 for that, according to Wikipedia.  ( The link to “School Shootings in the United States” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shootings_in_the_United_States )  It was, however, one of the first of the modern era, one of the first since Enoch to see double-digit deaths, and one of the first of many School shootings in the last 2 decades.  (For reference:  I graduated from high school in 1996, and this was the third major shooting since I graduated, behind Jonesboro and West Paducah.)

As I type this it has been almost a week since the most recent major news shooting, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead.  Like most other shootings, debate sparked up on blogs, social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, and most news broadcasts.  Unlike most shootings, many of the students have become very vocal, using their cellphones to capture and spread the incident, social media to organize rallies and marches against gun violence, and calling one lawmakers to finally take some action.

I’ve been a vocal component of a minority:  The people who oppose bans of any form but who want actions taken.  The bans part is not to be taken lightly:  among the most popular responses I see by politicians, depending on your political affiliation, is gun control, mass media (TV/Movies/Music/Video Games), and Mental Health.  According to the Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/10/26/gun-control-americans-overwhelmingly-blame-mental-health-failures-for-mass-shootings/?utm_term=.d28466010a56), more Americans see Mental Illness as the biggest cause, while Fortune Magazine and a new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds Congress and the President at fault.  (Fortune Magazine – http://fortune.com/2018/02/20/florida-school-shooting-donald-trump-congress-mass-shootings/, Washington Post – https://www.washingtonpost.com/page/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2018/02/20/National-Politics/Polling/release_513.xml?tid=a_mcntx)  Obviously, we can’t ban mental illness, but guns have been on the Democratic Party’s line-of-sight (pardon the pun) for almost as long as violent games, music, movies and TV have been the focus of the Republican Party.

Both types of bans would obviously violate the first and second amendments – but more than that, they would block the intended purposes of those amendments:  To be able to voice and protect yourself from opposing governments – even our own.

That doesn’t mean, however, that nothing can or should be done – in fact, much of the problem we have with mass shootings now stems from us doing nothing, save for the occasional “thoughts and prayers” by those who have the power to change things.  Something has to change.

If you follow me on FB you know most of the stuff I’ve posted has been liberal-based, calling for Gun Control, sharing ideas that could be implemented, and – when necessary – voicing opposition to those people who call for an outright ban.  Much of this blog post, therefore, is going to lightly gloss on anything relevant here:  This is more for the things I have yet to post or say online, those things that haven’t been discussed in greater context.

1.  DO NOT DISMISS THESE STUDENTS

Something to keep in your mind as we discuss this:  THIS INCIDENT IS STILL FRESH TO THEM.  This didn’t happen to somebody else:  They were witness to it, unwilling participants in a sick 19-year-olds game.  (By sick, I mean both definitions that would apply here.)  As time passes they may cool down or not be as active as they are now – but this is the swarm that follows when you take a stick to a wasp nest unprotected.

It disgust me that people are either using this knowledge to argue against their protests and organizing, or that people try to discredit them at all, even with video on social media.  Fox News interviewed some of those students, then followed it up with analysys by Rush Limbaugh – arguing AGAINST the students.  (A transcript of that can be found here:  http://www.foxnews.com/transcript/2018/02/18/rush-limbaugh-reacts-to-parkland-school-shooting.html )  It doesn’t surprise me in the least – these students are demanding gun reform, which goes against the conservative view.

It’s easy to do “armchair governing” (Thank you Rob Ti for the term) online and try to twist their view to your political beliefs – but it’s best to take these students seriously, to not downplay, twist, or call false their claims or what they call for.  The victims of the previous mass shootings didn’t deserve it, the 17 dead in this shooting don’t deserve it, and these students, teachers and parents crying out now don’t deserve it.

2.  Veterans and Teachers with Guns in School

I shared an image over the weekend with a number of laws that could be implemented that didn’t include an outright ban, and got into a heated discussion with a former boss (another Rob, not the one above) about those viewpoints.  (Him and I get into some typically heated discussions whenever I post anything he disagrees with.)  One argument I made that I couldn’t easily back: conservative suggestions that could have been made to law regarding the matter.

In truth, there aren’t many things I’ve seen on this point that I’ve liked:  Most of these shootings didn’t involve “terrorists” or “foreigners,” they were white American males;  keeping “God” and religion out of school isn’t the reason or the solution to the problem;  banning mass media will never be a solution; and allowing more open concealed carry opens a greater risk to anyone in a given area.  (How good would you feel killing an innocent bystander in trying to protect a school, mall, other public building?)

There is a solution I do like, that would be a great idea to implement and get the public backing:  hiring veterans, off-duty police officers, and other armed security to help prevent further shootings.

Since I often see this paired with “armed Teachers” and concealed carry, let me be clear:  We really shouldn’t be arming anyone with a close proximity to kids.  Anyone who works with kids can express how easy it is to lose control of a situation, how some kids – many of whom aren’t disciplined properly by their parents – ignore other adults when they try to take charge, and how determined some kids are not to cooperate.  Outside adults often don’t have enough authority or legality to step in, and even if that were changed and we trained them with firearms many teachers often work too close to students to take that chance.  All you need is that one students, in a fit of anger or depression, swipe the gun from the teacher, and you suddenly have an armed student. NOT. A. GOOD. IDEA.

These factors play much better to military, first responders, and armed security:  While they’d need to be close enough to stop a shooting, they don’t need to be so close to any students who might attempt such stunts all of the time.  You also save money by not having to pay teachers to arm themselves – no unnecessary training, guns or ammo wasted.  The people there would already be trained in these circumstances as part of their military, police, and security training – which would be more training than someone getting a “concealed carry” permit and gun.

There is one more reason to do this, though:  Good PR.  Police officers have been given a bad rap because of the atrocities that lead to the Black Lives Matter movement.  Having a few people representing those police and military aspects in the schools during the lunches where students can talk with them may give a positive presence towards them, and may even convince a few more people into those professions.

(Because this would be good publicity, BTW, I suggest the funding come from the Department of Defense – If the Department of Education can’t afford to give the teachers the money for the supplies they need, how else will they be able to pay these trained professionals?  There’s only a limited number of those who can afford the time needed for the job!)

The only major drawback – apart from the government possibly bungling this like a crackhead burrito – is one of the same as for the teachers:  making sure not to put people there that don’t belong.  Someone suffering from severe PTSD, for example, may have an “episode” in school – being armed, that could put a lot of people in danger.  According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/PTSD-overview/basics/how-common-is-ptsd.asp), 7-8 out of every 100 people in the U.S. will suffer from PTSD – even with a limited base of about 3-4 military/police per school, there’s a good chance of one of those “undiagnosed” veterans becoming a danger to themselves and others.

This is obviously not a foolproof plan – as you may have discovered, none of the suggestions so far are.  However, in the arsenal of tools that could be amassed to deal with this mass shooting situation, this one may be the most effective.

3.  Other Options Already Discussed in One Form or Another on Facebook

As I said, some of this was talked about on FB already – I’m only going to cover the highlight reel:

  • 14 Day Waiting Period – There is no current federal waiting period to purchase a gun, although 10 states (including both of my homes in IL and WI) and the District of Columbia have them.  The reason why I’ve always heard we had them was to prevent that impulse buy as a reaction to a stressful event.  I realize 2 weeks is a long wait, but that’s plenty of time to conduct a more thorough background check, and catch any red flags (such as the FBI Debacle involving the Florida shooter) we could miss.
  • Minimum Age to Purchase at 18 – The picture I shared suggested 21; however, you’re eligible for the military when you’re 18, which is why I suggest that age instead.  This should go towards real weapons, as well as the “toys” – airsoft, paintball, etc. – where you could learn real shooting from.  This is another “regulated by state” that should become federal.
  • Universal Background Checks – This should be a no-brainer:  Giving someone who’s shown violent tendencies, erratic or abnormal behavior shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun.  That should extend to parents as well:  A few of the shooter’s parents, including the one from Sandy Hook, had a parent supplying some of their weapons.
  • Domestic Violence Ban – this doesn’t have nearly as much of an effect (that I could find as of this writing) on mass shootings, but it ties directly to the Universal Background Checks, and affects many domestic partners in abusive relationships.  The same type of aggression applies, with the target being the same difference.
  • Enforcement of Current Media Policy, and Age Restrictions on Certain Types of Media – This goes against my core beliefs, against many articles I have found (most recently from Rolling Stone – https://www.rollingstone.com/glixel/features/video-games-school-shootings-w516863 – and The Conversation – http://theconversation.com/its-time-to-end-the-debate-about-video-games-and-violence-91607 ) and the knowledge it will have on all of the media industries – but we need to start enforcing age restrictions on certain types of games, movies, and TV.  While I would prefer the parent do their job to ensure that little Johnny doesn’t pick out the wrong message from “American History X” or “Call of Duty,” some people on the sales floor aren’t doing their due diligence to make sure not to sell to a minor.  There’s no sense in having rules you won’t keep.
  • Removal of the Dickey Amendment – ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dickey_Amendment_(1996) )  A problem that exists with Marijuana also exists with guns:  You can’t research or advocate gun control.  This HAS to be reversed if anything serious is going to happen.

Again, none of these individually will be a quick fix – but implementing them in combination may narrow the number of shootings we have to almost nil, if any.

The Most Important Thing – ACTION

The thing that has me more vocal now than before is that we’ve had plenty of time to learn, to speak up, to take notice, and to create action.  What many people are pissed off about, however, is that lack – some of these suggestions have already been in and out of the legislative branch, to no avail.  Many people online are attacking “Thoughts and Prayers” – something spoken by many a politician in recent years.

We’re not entirely powerless – we elect the people who represent us in government, who make the laws and lay the foundation of rules we follow.  We have the ability to communicate with those representatives regarding this matter, and the ability to assist police and the FBI in preventing future killings.

The survivors of the Florida shooting are going an extra mile, utilizing mass and social media to bring awareness and attention to an already burning powderkeg.  Rather than attacking each other based on political beliefs, we should be united under the demand that action is taken and something is done.

None of this discussion matters if nothing is done.  If we want to change, the time is now to take action.

Why I’m Not Immediately Backing Oprah (or Any Other Celebrity)

Posted on Facebook on Monday, January 8th, 2018 at 5:30 P.M. (approx.) and edited for grammatical errors.
Most of you are well aware of how I feel about President Orange Stain, aka Trump. (If you didn’t before, and you haven’t quite figured it out by my nickname for him – we may need to have a talk.) I’ve made no qualms about voting against him, and many of you have muted me for my commentary running up to the election.
What you may not know is that I’ve suggested that he run for President prior to him actually running – back when I watched “The Apprentice,” back when I knew little more about him than what had already been on TV. My thoughts then haven’t changed as far as needing a President with a little more business knowledge -but my opinion of Trump as that leader has. If I had known the things he had promised coming out of the gate, or all of the hatred he either allowed or (in a few cases) “joked” about, or all of the things we would eventually witness during the election, I’d never have suggested him, and I might not have watched him on TV.
While I can acknowledge this and understand why people did vote for him, I feel very concerned about all of this talk about Oprah Winfrey, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, or any other celebrity rumored to be running for office in the near future – and our reasoning for who we elect.
For those arguing about qualifications, I happen to agree with everyone who wants Oprah to run: You might not find a more qualified celebrity than here. She has her business, her network, her experience in the media, all of which make her equal to, if not better than, our current president – and she came from much less than he did. She’s also had a lot more social and political influence thanks to her talk show and, later, her philanthropy. If you want to stack things up on paper, if she can’t beat Donald, she can definitely go toe-to-toe and hold her own. (Funny thought: Wrestling match? Vince McMahon might like that idea!)
I have two problems, however, and while neither preclude me from voting for her if she runs, they both make me leary of any celebrity who runs, including her.
The first is what I learned from Trump: That, just because someone “appears” to be a good choice, that doesn’t guarantee that choice. Up until he announced his running, in spite of the few comments I heard about Obama from him, I might not have had a problem with him. The first two things that he announced in his running that made me against him – regarding Muslim immigrants and the building of a wall – were very much racist, and the first of many reasons why I went against him. As the news piled up, as the accusations came out and his actions on the trail reflected these bits of information, the more I became very much against him.
Whether we like it or not, the same thing that happened with Trump will also happen with Oprah if she runs. People will be releasing all sorts of information we’re NOT going to want to know about her, and while we’re unlikely to find as many shady things out about her as we did about Trump, there’s going to be enough questionable material there to worry about. We saw how ugly our last election became, and if we’re talking a 2020 run, Trump’s not going to change tactics – especially when he was a former guest. (Some of the commentary I’ve seen against her has already started this, showing pics of her hanging around Harvey Weinstein.)
The second is about how we’re choosing our elected officials. We had 11 possible Republican Candidates, 3 Democrats, and a few independents to choose from. We somehow managed to narrow this down to the two worst choices for President – and ignored the independents altogether. While I don’t think we had ANY really good choices, we did have less dramatic, more stable choices we could have voted for. Yes, they’d have been boring, they might not have made any progress in their directions as the two we narrowed things down to – but we wouldn’t be having “penis envy” discussions between the two biggest nuke heads on the planet, either.
When it came down to the election, it was an anti-popularity contest: You weren’t voting for someone as much as you were voting against what the other person might represent. Even then, popularity did not win – thanks to how all of those votes counted, the person who many Americans felt was worse still won where it counted the most by our laws.
Our President should not be chosen based on who’s more popular, rules be damned – it should be based on who’s more qualified, who can take charge and can lead. We narrowed it down to the two who shouldn’t be even close to the White House – and then chose the bigger clown.
Assuming the penis envy doesn’t get worse, we shouldn’t vote for popularity again.
This isn’t an anti-Oprah writing (or an anti-anyone, for that matter, unless you’re Trump) – if she’s the better candidate, if she lines up more with how I’m thinking at that time, she’ll likely get my vote. I’m not just going to back her, however, for giving some “damn good speeches” – and I don’t think anyone else should, either.
If anything, we should be making sure she really is the most qualified person for the job before we give it to her.

A New Horizon – And A Happy Farewell

If you were paying attention to my feed on FB, Twitter and here you may have noticed a page that was briefly up entitled “A Venting on the Job Hunt (Part I),” in which I outlined a lot of bad news and frustration from trying to find a full-time job since high school.  It was only up for a few hours – an unfortunate error on my part, which is why I am mentioning it:  It was written during a moment of tension, of fear and depression.

Fortunately, hours before the article was supposed to post – it was written in advance, in case the worst did happen – an interview over the phone that happened a few days before turned into a possible job.  (I’m also writing this in advance to make sure this is properly edited before it posts – and to catch it if this doesn’t pan out.)  It’s with the same company I’ve been with for a long time – which means, unfortunately, I can’t mention them by name directly.

This is obviously good news – it takes a load of stress off, and if I’m lucky, will allow me to return to school and life.  I get to keep what I’ve earned and stay with a company I am familiar with and enjoy.

The bad news is also obvious:  Because I am laid off, I can’t give a proper goodbye to my friends and coworkers, many of whom I won’t get to see due to a clash in time.  I apologize for that, but I hope we can meet up again soon.

I’ll post more about this in the near future – but I hope this goes well.

Sports Picks – Jan. 22nd, 2017

Football/Sports Update – Jan. 22nd, 2017

We’re down to the last three weeks of the football season – then boredom (and Hockey – something we enjoy but don’t follow as much) until baseball returns. (There’s also Nascar, but that’s not necessarily something worthy of a blog post alone – or is it?) Who are we picking?

Continue reading

FB: 10 Albums That Influenced Me As A Teen

I kept An interesting new game: List 10 albums that influenced you as a teen. Only one album per artist.

  1. News of the World – Queen
  2. …And Justice For All… – Metallica
  3. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Donny Osmond) – Soundtrack
  4. No More Tears – Ozzy Osbourne
  5. II – Boyz II Men
  6. Smash – The Offspring
  7. The Freddy Mercury Tribute Concert – various artists
  8. The Downward Spiral – Nine Inch Nails
  9. The Chronic – Dr. Dre
  10. Innuendo – Queen

If you’re on Facebook reading this, click on the link to read the full blog; if you’re reading this from the homepage and not the link, click on the headline to continue.

 

A recent FaceBook posting has people posting the albums from their teens. this is difficult for me, as for the longest time my main source of music was from whatever I could get from either MTV or the radio. This made things a little interesting: Because I’d record the award shows and special concerts off of TV, I actually prefer recordings of live shows over studio albums, and i had the idea of a mixtape down long before I was aware that it was a thing.

A friend of mine, in posting his response, gave his reason and links in his comments, while other friends who are musicians have done their own takes and comments. Before he did this, I had started adding my reasons as a side note, but I liked how he went in depth with his responses (not to mention how different his were from many of my other friends.) His only problem: The length of the combined list was equal to that of a decent blog, but WAY TOO LONG for a FB post.

In keeping with the spirit of the idea, I put mine on my blog. It’s also, however, why I opened with the original posting. What’s below is a more in-depth understanding of my responses.

  1. News of the World – Queen – My mom had a few albums growing up that we’d get to listen to as kids. The ones I remember most from that time are “Dancing on the Ceiling” by Lionel Richie and this album, and the nights during the summer when mom would play these and others on her record player. This album’s cover scared the hell out of me as a kid, but the songs stayed with me – especially later when Queen rereleased “Bohemian Rhapsody” for the “Wayne’s World” movie and soundtrack, and I’d rediscover a favorite band. Without this album and those fond memories, I doubt I’d even have much interest in music.
  2. …And Justice For All… – Metallica – One of the neighbor kids I grew up with, Tim, had a heavy influence on my musical taste, hooking me on classic bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, as well as the hair metal bands of the time. He had given me his copy of this cassette after he replaced it with a bought copy. (He had copied it from someone else, and did the lettering in the style at that time.) This would be one of those albums I rarely tired of, listening to it on my radio at night (to the disappointment and frustration of my grandparents. This album, and especially “One,” made me a (currently) lifelong fan, and one of my first real “choices” that wasn’t easily accepted.
  3. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Donny Osmond) – Soundtrack – It might be hard to believe, but I had some “special” courses growing up. These courses were the result of the problems with how I was dealing with my family growing up, and while there were some disadvantages to this (the biggest being the loss of at least one elective every semester,) it allowed for a couple of advantages, the biggest of which was to go on a field trip to see a musical in Chicago. At this time of this particular trip my mother and her boyfriend were living together separate of my sister and I, and my father had contacted me to tell me lies about my mom, thus influencing my decision to avoid performing and music.

    The musical in question was this. I heard they were doing it in school that year, and felt it’d be fun to be a part of, so I decided to try out, eventually auditioning for the part of Potiphar. I didn’t get the part, but the teacher encouraged me to come back to audition for the choir. The rest is history.

  4. No More Tears – Ozzy Osbourne – Remember those special classes I mentioned before? they also helped me have a “job” in the couple of years before I was of legal working age, going to a 5 hr, 4 day a week summer job that was supposed to train us on job opportunities, money math and how to find work. This included some field trips, one of which was downtown. That particular day one of the local radio stations was giving away free swag, and while we were waiting on a part of that I ended up getting a copy of this CD – which would be my first CD.
  5. II – Boyz II Men – This is probably my oddest mention given where my interest in music would drift to, but it also points to a consistency in the music I enjoy: I can have fun with it. When I was first singing with the choir I was also singing along with the music I enjoyed on the radio and at dances and such, trying to learn some of the stuff I thought would help me learn and adapt to this “new” choir thing. I already liked “Motownphilly” and “End of the Road,” but I used to listen to this album some nights before and during my sleep.
  6. Smash – The Offspring – While “Dookie” was my first introduction to modern punk, this was the first “punk” CD/tape I owned, and one of the first few albums I could listen all of the way through. It might be funny picturing my fat ass on a bike screaming the middle verses to “Bad Habit” before I could drive, but it never stopped me.
  7. The Freddy Mercury Tribute Concert – various artists – While the last two may be odd, this one may be debatable, as it’s technically NOT an album, but a concert video. I had recorded this off concert off of MTV when it aired, and copied my favorite songs (most of this concert) to cassete. What makes this significant, however, were the acts: Metallica, Extreme, Def Leppard and Guns ‘N’ Roses opened the show, performing sets of only a few songs, before Queen and friends took the stage. This was my first REAL introduction to David Bowie, thanks to them not only doing “Under Pressure” but “All the Young Dudes” and “Heroes;” My first exposure to Spinal Tap; My first real appreciation for George Michael and Elton John; and the heaviest link to my addiction with Queen, one of the first bands I heavily followed. For my early teenage years, even the age of punk, grunge, alternative, and rap, this was Heaven.
  8. The Downward Spiral – Nine Inch Nails – While I could easily blame Eli for my introduction to this band, MTV was what exposed me to this gem, thanks to the songs “Closer” and “Hurt.” Like “Smash” and many of the other aggressive things I was listening to, it resonated with a lot of the emotions I was dealing with at the time. It was also noteworthy for being one of the first albums with a song – “Ruiner” – to open my imagination – where I can imagine my own videos for songs, something I’d be able to do later with full albums.
  9. The Chronic – Dr. Dre – I’ve been familiar with Rap for a long time, thanks Run D.M.C., Beastie Boys, and Public Enemy. This was one of the first “Rap” CD’s I owned, and like many of the tapes and CD’s I owned, got a lot of playtime for it. One of the few reasons it’s on this list, however, is because it’s something I STILL listen to occasionally – like more than a few CD’s, this hit the right nerves and emotions, and unlike some Rap songs, most of what’s on this album is understandable – something some of today’s rappers simply don’t have.
  10. Innuendo – Queen – Back when I started getting interested in Queen a math teacher had given me a copy of this album. Like “Justice” did for Metallica, this helped me sink into Queen, blending many of the elements that influenced my music choices then into one album of classical, classic rock, and powerful lyrics.

One thing you may have noticed: Most of these listings came out before I graduated and had a heavy influence on those years. There were a couple of reasons for this.

First, right around the time of graduation and the start of college was a transition to the music I listen to now and was most heavily influenced by as an adult. The problem with this time – at least for this writing – was remembering when exactly I listened to what, as it fell on the edge of my teenage years. Rather than try to guess this, I chose to play it safe and look at it as “everything up to the end of High School.”

Second, that limitation also follows the limitations I had back in that time: where I was copying tapes and CD’s from the library (or checking them out for extended periods,) and where, while I liked bands like Green Day, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots, I can’t be sure what I owned at that time. I had MANY singles, which meant B-Sides and such, but not so many albums, due to what I could afford.

Sports Picks – January 7th, 2017

Football/Sports Update – Jan. 7th, 2017

It seems our little experiment from last week caused quite a stir – as we’ll be eating at Applebee’s sometimes this week in IL! While Amanda brought in a perfect 5-0 on her first try, we enter into the playoffs – and wondering what wrinkle we face this year.

I suppose, before we get to the playoffs, we should recap the final week…

Continue reading

My New Year “Plan” for 2017

2016 is almost in the can – good riddance! After the negativity, deaths and idiocy of this year, 2017 can only go in one direction. While my personal life wasn’t by any stretch terrible, my problems didn’t disappeared, some came back and all put a strain on many of the relationships I have. It being New Years, there’s no reason NOT to call them resolutions; however, I consider this the first steps in a plan, in which I declare what are problems and need focus. Doing this and setting a goal point should give the first means of refocusing my negatives into something positive.

Continue reading

Sports Picks – December 29th, 2016

Football/Sports Update – Dec. 29th, 2016

As we hit the last week of the regular season, I have gone winless this year. This week, I’m bringing in a special guest: My girlfriend Amanda, whose picks (barring nothing unusual) will be used on Sunday. In the mean time, because I enjoy making the picks, I’m offering mine for both comparison and fun – and as noted backup.

Continue reading

Sports Update – December 11th, 2016

If you’ve been following the blog the last few weeks, you know I’ve been making some changes – and didn’t post anything last week. (This wasn’t due to a lack of things to say, however – just a retooling of how I will say it!) In the meantime, I didn’t post anything regarding sports – time to fix that!

Football/Sports Update – Dec. 11th, 2016

  • Applebee’s Football Picks:

    Each week during the season the Applebee’s where I am from has a weekly $10 gift certificate for everyone who picks 5 winning teams of that week. They can pick any team they choose, though all 5 of their picks have to win to win the certificate.

    My record for last week was 2 and 3. My season record is 0 and 13, with an overall record this season of 37 and 31 in 68 games.

    Last Week’s Picks:

    1. New Orleans Saints lost to the Detroit Lions
    2. Green Bay Packers beat the Houston Texans
    3. Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Cincinnati Bengals
    4. Denver Broncos beat the Jacksonville Jaguars
    5. Washington Redskins lost to the Arizona Cardinals

    This Week’s Picks:

    1. Minnesota Vikings over the Jacksonville Jaguars
    2. Pittsburgh Steelers over the Buffalo Bills
    3. San Diego Chargers over the Carolina Panthers
    4. Cincinnati Bengals over the Cleveland Browns
    5. Tennessee Titans over the Denver Broncos
  • Favorite Teams picks:

    Unless there’s good reason, I rarely choose my favorite teams in any of these contests – I don’t want to throw bad karma their way by picking them. (Yes, as silly as it sounds, sometimes I believe in luck!) My favorites are the Chicago Bears, a team I grew up with and enjoy watching/cussing out, and the Green Bay Packers, another team I enjoy watching and have current local ties to. (I am also an odd duck, since these are rival teams, and their fans like to razz me for it. When they play each other, Bears over the Packers.)

    To be fair, I also pay attention to the other NFC East teams, in particular the Minnesota Vikings (a rival to both of my favs, though a favorite of many of my friends – #3 in ranks of who I want to win) and the Detroit Lions (with no friend ties, this team could go 0-16 like they did a few years back and it wouldn’t bother me much – I just don’t want them to beat my teams.)

    My record this week is 2 and 2 with the games below and the Packers and Lions games. My overall record is

    My picks last week were:

    • My picks for the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions were listed earlier.
    • Minnesota Vikings lost to the Dallas Cowboys
    • Chicago Bears beat the San Fransisco 49ers: I heard from a few birdies tell me how unsportsmanlike Kaepernick was. I was unable to see it due to the local Fox station’s choice of playing the Detroit game instead, but if it knocks the chip off of his shoulder, that’s a good thing – no good protest can come from someone being a jackass. On a plus side: The Bears won without Cutler – isn’t that enough reason to send his multi-million-dollar-waste-of-an-ass packing?

    My picks for this week are:

    • My pick for the Minnesota Vikings is above.
    • Detroit Lions over the Chicago Bears: Normally, I’d pick the Bears in any game over the Lions (and I’ll still want them to win) – but the Lions are statistically better, they’re playing on their home field, and the Bears are missing a couple of key players to dumbassed decisions (seriously, shouldn’t Performance-Enhancing Drugs improve performance?,) making this a logically sound, if unsettling, choice.
    • Seattle Seahawks over the Green Bay Packers: While I’m rooting for the Pack, statistically the Seahawks are doing better, and Green Bay’s defense is pretty banged up. That being said, it IS December, and we’re going to have snow to play with…

Tuesdays are usually results, while Fridays are usually picks. See you next week!

Weekday Update – Weekend Edition December 4th, 2016

Good Sunday! With how this week has been (Sorry, things on this blog took a back seat), I’m getting the rest of the football stuff up before the big game.

Weekday Update

  • Football/Sports Update (Tuesday/Friday):

    • Applebee’s Football Picks:

      Each week during the season the Applebee’s where I am from has a weekly $10 gift certificate for everyone who picks 5 winning teams of that week. They can pick any team they choose, though all 5 of their picks have to win to win the certificate. This week is different – with Thanksgiving games, we have a special section of picks this week.

      My record for last week was 4 and 4, winning 1 and losing 2 on Thanksgiving before winning 3 and losing 2 on Sunday. My season record is 0 and 13, with an overall record this season of 35 and 28 in 63 games.

      This Week’s Picks:

      1. New Orlean Saints over the Detroit Lions
      2. Green Bay Packers over the Houston Texans
      3. Philadelphia Eagles over the Cincinnati Bengals
      4. Denver Broncos over the Jacksonville Jaguars
      5. Washington Redskins over the Arizona Cardinals
    • Favorite Teams picks:

      Unless there’s good reason, I rarely choose my favorite teams in any of these contests – I don’t want to throw bad karma their way by picking them. (Yes, as silly as it sounds, sometimes I believe in luck!) My favorites are the Chicago Bears, a team I grew up with and enjoy watching/cussing out, and the Green Bay Packers, another team I enjoy watching and have current local ties to. (I am also an odd duck, since these are rival teams, and their fans like to razz me for it. When they play each other, Bears over the Packers.)

      To be fair, I also pay attention to the other NFC East teams, in particular the Minnesota Vikings (a rival to both of my teams, though a favorite of many of my friends – #3 in ranks of who I want to win) and the Detroit Lions (with no friend ties, this team could go 0-16 like they did a few years back and it wouldn’t bother me much – I just don’t want them to beat my teams.)

      My record this week is 0 and 1 thanks to the Thursday night game so far.

      My picks this week are:

      • my picks for the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions are above.
      • Minnesota Vikings lost to the Dallas Cowboys
      • Chicago Bears over the San Fransisco 49ers: won’t lie – this is a non-statistical-based pick. Rather than go with the stats and try to guess from there, I’m picking on Morals: While I support Kaepernick’s stance towards not standing for the flag, I feel a lot of the other things he is doing is damaging his protest. Knocking the chip of his shoulder probably won’t help much this season with their record, but losing to a third-string quarterback might. (I hate when a good cause gets ruined by an overblown ego – he’s not wrong, but he’s setting himself up to be in a terrible way.)
    • Tuesdays are usually results, while Fridays are usually picks.

I’ll try to return to normal this week. Have a great weekend!

Weekday Update (SUPERLATE) – November 30th, 2016

Good Day! Been a busy couple of days – so much so that I couldn’t finish yesterday’s postings in time! (Sorry!) While I prepare for the next interview, let’s discuss some things…

Weekday Update

  • Football/Sports Update (Tuesday/Friday):

    • Applebee’s Football Picks:

      Each week during the season the Applebee’s where I am from has a weekly $10 gift certificate for everyone who picks 5 winning teams of that week. They can pick any team they choose, though all 5 of their picks have to win to win the certificate. This week is different – with Thanksgiving games, we have a special section of picks this week.

      My record for last week was 4 and 4, winning 1 and losing 2 on Thanksgiving before winning 3 and losing2 on Sunday. My season record is 0 and 13, with an overall record this season of 35 and 28 in 63 games.

      Last Week’s Picks:

      Thursday:

      1. Minnesota Vikings lost to the Detroit Lions
      2. Dallas Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins
      3. Indianapolis Colts lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers

      Sunday:

      1. Tennessee Titans beat the Chicago Bears: My football coach in high school had a famous saying I keep repeating and saying that the Chicago Bears still need to learn: You need to play all four quarters. My confidence in the Bears has dampened over the years because, even in their better years, it seems like they forget this too consistently. The loss helps my record this week, but from what I watched, had they played the first three quarters like they played the fourth, they wouldn’t have had a heartbreaking loss – they’d have trampled the Titans. Maybe next year…
      2. Buffalo Bills beat the Jacksonville Jaguars
      3. Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Baltimore Ravens
      4. Arizona Cardinals lost to the Atlanta Falcons
      5. New York Giants beat the Cleveland Browns
    • Favorite Teams picks:

      Unless there’s good reason, I rarely choose my favorite teams in any of these contests – I don’t want to throw bad karma their way by picking them. (Yes, as silly as it sounds, sometimes I believe in luck!) My favorites are the Chicago Bears, a team I grew up with and enjoy watching/cussing out, and the Green Bay Packers, another team I enjoy watching and have current local ties to. (I am also an odd duck, since these are rival teams, and their fans like to razz me for it. When they play each other, Bears over the Packers.)

      To be fair, I also pay attention to the other NFC East teams, in particular the Minnesota Vikings (a rival to both of my favs, though a favorite of many of my friends – #3 in ranks of who I want to win) and the Detroit Lions (with no friend ties, this team could go 0-16 like they did a few years back and it wouldn’t bother me much – I just don’t want them to beat my teams.)

      My record last week was 2 and 1 – The Lions beat the Vikings on Thanksgiving, while I picked the Titans to beat the Bears. This only left the Packers for Monday night.

      My pick this week is:

      • Green Bay Packers beat the Philadelphia Eagles
    • Tuesdays are usually results, while Fridays are usually picks.
  • Hot Topics:

    • Stop Abusing the R Word

      Yesterday I briefly touched on Trump’s election recount remarks on Twitter – but, like a lot of other days, I’ve not really touched much on his supporters. Lately it’s because the people opposed to him have been annoying me with their actions: while I’m okay with the protests, the riots and other actions are as bad as some of the ones Trump-supporting racists are taking. That includes using the “R” word.

      Many of the memes and write-ups about this election from Anti-Trump support – including those who voted third party, did not vote, or “begrudgingly” voted for Trump – have voiced how many Trump supporters are “Racist,” their main arguments being the anti-Muslim/immigrant sentiment, the Mexican Wall, and (of course) Obama being half-black. While some of this is certainly true – skin-heads, Neo-Nazi’s, and other racists have come out in full force since the election, spray-painting Swastikas and racial slurs, bullying non-whites, and even attacking anyone remotely liberal online – The few of these kind of scum don’t represent all of the voters or define them with any form of unjustified hatred.

      Don’t confuse the hatred they have with the ugly bigotry we are seeing – with the number of jobs that have either left the country for cheaper pastures or have become obsolete, there are many workers who are displaced or working below what they’re used to. They’ve been promised for years, much earlier than when Bill Clinton was in office (if you look into history,) that they would rebound, things would return to normal and the life they feel they deserve they’d have. They often fell for the various “paths to success,” such as going to college or learning a trade. Obama was the last “President of Change” – so when that change didn’t happen for them, when the insurance went up and they’re still working below what they feel they deserve, struggling to make ends meet while our elected officials squabble like kids and work with foreigners, some of whom have proclaimed their hatred for and disrespect of us – that was the last straw.

      So in comes this knight in orange spray tan, someone they’re familiar with because of what they see on TV, in interviews and such, loaded with money, offering to take the leadership of the free world. He hits on your fears and your anger, tackles those sore spots – those people from other countries taking their positions, those terrorists coming to our country to kill as many of us as they can, those people who put being a thug above being respectable, above putting their past away – and stirs the fires in them. He runs against the perfect opponent: The wife of another “change” candidate, more famous for his Oval Office affair than for any good he’s done. In spite of how flawed he is, if not for the number of gaffs and mistakes the opponents made that handed the election to him, he remained their knight.

      Many people are afraid and angry right now, afraid for their life, their livelyhood, from some people who are also justifiable angry as well as some people who are “brainwashed” into that hatred. That doesn’t make them evil or racist – in fact, it doesn’t make them any more different from you except in how to fix these problems. We are no different from them if we associate all of them with hatred, and we have no room to criticize their angst against Muslims and Mexicans if we can’t see them as human.

    • Burn a Flag

      One thing that has exploded since the orange one tweeted from his butt again (no wonder it stinks!) is the issue of flag burning, a topic previously discussed and reviewed as protected under the First Amendment by the Supreme Court in Texas vs. Johnson in 1989. (Source: US Courts – http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/facts-and-case-summary-texas-v-johnson ) If you know me you know where I stand as far as the act: I respect the flag and other symbology of the United States, and while you are free to burn, desecrate or otherwise disrespect any of them, it shows your character when you do it for the wrong reasons. That being said, you understand how I feel about the orange one’s spewage: he would be stupid to try for any laws against it.

      That being said, if you value your first amendment rights, you should care about this issue. While history currently favors this act above respect, it’s not the first time the courts have flipped on an important issue – in fact, the most famous example involves civil rights.

      Many people know about Brown Vs. Board of Education and the cases that followed that eventually brought the rights of normal rights to all citizens, but not as many remember the case it overturned. In 1896, The Supreme Court saw in favor of racial segregation in Plessy vs. Ferguson. History took over half a century to right itself from its decision.

      This is being brought up to remind you that, if laws can be flipped and reversed in a good direction, it can also be flipped or reversed in a not-so-good direction. This makes Trump’s appointment to the Supreme Court extremely important: with a conservative judge in favor of what he wants, the possibility that he CAN pass such a law increases tremendously. It’s worth noting another court case here: Bethel School District #43 v. Fraser (1987), in which they found that a high school student who used obscene language in a speech did not have his First Amendment rights violated when he was given a suspension for it.

      Unfortunately, we can’t ignore his orangeness’s thoughts on this if we value free speech. While we laugh at how ridiculous his proposals on this and other media comments are, we can also remember how other people once laughed at the idea of people of mixed races sharing the same schools and public places together. History, sadly, has no sense of humor.

  • Show some Respect

    Last night my girlfriend Amanda expressed some frustration from people being asshats – in particular, about how a fact she posted on a news posting about the recount in Wisconsin got slammed by many conservative people. Even if I had the link, it’s not important – I’ve witnessed enough from people when I posted commentary and facts from Things I’ve actually heard to know what she’s talking about. I’ve also seen it happen to plenty of friends on both sides of the fence – most of them being trolled by punks looking to stir a fight than to debate or discuss.

    While I can’t really say much to make her feel better (sorry, but no man should have to tell a teacher who argues with their school board to “grow a thick skin,”) I can start advising people to do as I’m going to start doing:

    1. List sources people can go to and follow. Unless you’re referencing from the article you’re arguing on, having 2-3 sources to prove your argument can solidify your stance. Treat it like a school assignment, if possible.
    2. Demand that they list their sources so that other people can go to and follow as well. Most of these people claim to have heard it in a speech or just are trying to stir the pot, and have little to back their statements up. If they’re serious, they’ll be able to find links to counter-argue with.
    3. Report the ones who are simply trolling. There’s no point in taking it further than that.
    4. Above all, don’t stoop to their level. Don’t give them the satisfaction of getting what they want, even if they deserve it.

    We shouldn’t live in echo chambers where all we hear are like-minded voices – but by no means should we put up with someone trying to piss us off, either. It’s time to weed the riffraff from the garden…

Looks like I’ll have to post this after the interview… Have a great Day!!