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!!

Weekday Update – November 28th, 2016

Good Day! Didn’t think I’d have much to say this morning – no massive surprises over the weekend, and other than Trump being Trump and Dumbasses being Dumbasses on a typical dumbassed weekend, there isn’t much new to say.

Then I wake up this morning to find some stupidity to be mad at, some ideas to improve this blog, and an over-cluttered mailbox courtesy of my girlfriend. I guess if you’re going to start Monday you HAVE to start right!

Weekday Update

  • Blog Notes:

    Readership improved this week – more from necessity than from real interest. The numbers, however, are still WAY LOW for me wanting to continue doing this – you can’t have an interesting or engaging conversation with just yourself for too long, especially when you’re putting a lot of effort – time, research – into that discussion.

    To that end, some more changes are coming this week, in terms of writing.

    • This page can get massive, with almost two chapter’s worth of info for about 3 noteworthy discussions. The intent was to get my epic miniblogs – the 4-5 paragraph rants accompanying a link – onto a separate page. Many of these, however, are still turning into full-fledge blogs themselves – 3-4 of those on one page can easily turn people away. Therefore, longer pieces that are more than 5 paragraphs will get their own post instead – If I need more than that for my writing, I need a separate post. This will start Wednesday.
    • Summaries and links of those finished postings will show up above Hot Topics. Mondays will include any from over the weekend. Only finished pieces – those that are online and have links, whether on this blog or on other sites – will be shared.
    • If something is through the first draft an announcement will be made for it.
    • The TV Update will be spun off onto a separate page, starting on Friday.
    • The Sports, Jobs, and School updates will continue to be here, either due to their short stature or infrequent nature.
    • This might seem obvious, but this is a work-in-progress – I may add more ideas or kill what’s not working at any given time.
    • Finally – so that it’s on the record (before I update my pages) – This is not a news site: it is a personal blog with opinions and stories related to, about, or from me. While I will take a scholastic/journalistic viewpoint and include whatever resources I have available at the time I write a piece, I don’t write encyclopedias, news or magazine articles (yet – if you’re interested, so am I) – unless I write a how-to of some sort or am stating what is happening/happened to me, I write opinions. Even if I look at both sides of an argument or do heavy research, you shouldn’t rely on my articles alone for news or information – you should also invest some time and research on your end, look into any sources I supply, and try to get as much from the horse’s mouth as possible. If you want news, there are plenty of them around – if you want honest discussion, grab a seat.

    Expect great things to come soon!

  • Hot Topics:

    • Blame the Lobbyists!

      For a while I felt like we were growing numb with the rash of mass shootings we were having – so waking up to the news of a mass-stabbing at Ohio State University (Source: NBC Newshttp://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/active-shooter-reported-ohio-state-university-campus-n689076?cid=sm_fb) shocked me a little: I don’t remember the last incident like this since The Pulse Night Club shooting back in June.

      One thing that hasn’t changed: the gun arguments. It’s only been a couple of hours, and even though some of the victims were stabbed, the many gun advocate friends I have are out in full swing, stating the same stale arguments of “if they were allowed to carry their guns to school this wouldn’t be a problem” while the anti-gun club blathers on about how “if there weren’t any legal guns this wouldn’t be a issue.” The few friends who stand in the middle preaching change, but not removal, are getting blasted by both sides (as usual.) You can’t talk necessity or responsibility to some people, and some people are fed up with how ridiculous both sides are.

      I’ve been clear on where I stand on the issue: there are grave dangers to eliminating guns, necessity to the wildlife and farm operations of this country, and the 2nd Amendment to defend – but we need to change things and be more responsible if we’re really going to continue arming citizens. allowing idiots increased access and privilege to shoot is NOT responsibility – it’s violent idiocy.

      One area I don’t see come up beyond the NRA: The Lobbyists. While some of us have hands-on experience with guns and many of us with people on both sides of the issue, we don’t usually hear much discussion on the people stoking the fears on both sides (beyond the National Rifle Association, that is.) Sure, media stokes the fire, either giving those who shouldn’t have anything beyond a peashooter plenty of ammo to get their rocks off with or those who fear and hate the weapons justifiable arguments for their next committee meeting, but people feed the media misinformation all of the time to make sure their argument is heard and won – and for the right amount of cash, it is.

      The best advice I can give those against guns is to practice and shoot with one – go on a hunting trip with an experienced friend, head to a shooting range and take some classes, work with someone you can trust to learn how and why to use it. If you’re the gun nuts I speak of, take a break from your guns for an extended period of time – 3 months to a year, at least, where the ONLY thing you do BEYOND EMERGENCY is the maintenance necessary to keep it in top working order. No shooting ranges or practice, and unless you own a farm or use the meat, no hunting. (Sorry if that doesn’t help much – I came from the “fear guns” camp initially, so I’m more familiar with that than with those born and raised with them.) The best advice for most people, however, is to ignore those stoking the fears – no matter which side they’re arguing from. Get rid of the noise first – then we might be able to discuss how to deal with these mass-killing problems on a reasonable and responsible approach.

    • Respect the Dead, regardless of their crimes.

      In the latest edition of our daily How Our President is an Idiot discussion (If you don’t have one now you were having one with Obama, Bush or Clinton), Our President-Elect and Our President both released statements in the wake of Fidel Castro’s death. Our president released a statement that was respectable – and brought backlash by Republican Lawmakers. (Source: The White House – https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/11/26/statement-president-passing-fidel-castro)

      At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. We know that this moment fills Cubans – in Cuba and in the United States – with powerful emotions, recalling the countless ways in which Fidel Castro altered the course of individual lives, families, and of the Cuban nation. History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.

      For nearly six decades, the relationship between the United States and Cuba was marked by discord and profound political disagreements. During my presidency, we have worked hard to put the past behind us, pursuing a future in which the relationship between our two countries is defined not by our differences but by the many things that we share as neighbors and friends – bonds of family, culture, commerce, and common humanity. This engagement includes the contributions of Cuban Americans, who have done so much for our country and who care deeply about their loved ones in Cuba.

      Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America.

      Trump, meanwhile, tweeted his comments, which he’s since either hid or removed (hard to tell since I’m not a follower):

      Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.

      While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.

      Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty. I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.

      (Source: The Gateway Pundit – http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/11/compare-contrast-donald-trump-obamas-statements-fidel-castro-death/)

      While I can’t blame Senators Cruz and Rubio for blasting Obama – their heritage and job may link the to former Cubans who left because of how Cuba was or the crimes committed under his power – I really can’t say the same for Trump: while showing outrage and calling him a monster may please those who voted for him, it is disrespectful for him to make such statements as his. I realize being an elected official makes his comments important, but I was taught a long time ago to respect the dead – something his comments clearly lack. Sometimes a little tact goes a long way.

      This isn’t the first, nor will it be the last, Trump tweet I disagree with – his comments about the election justify the recounts even more now than they did when I commented last week. (You would think a man whose arguments of “the election system is rigged” would be all for a fair recount, wouldn’t you?) It does, however, display a lot about his character and mentality, and reinforces many people’s justifications to remove him from office. We can’t change the good or the bad that Castro has done – we can choose, however, to be more civilized and better people from it.

Sorry for it being so late today – gotta find a job! Have a great Day!

Weekday Update (LATE EDITION) – November 25th, 2016

Good Day and Happy Black Friday! Hopefully everyone is all turkeyed out and done with the malls and stores, so you might actually read this! I also hope there wasn’t too much fighting and everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Weekday Update

  • TV Updates:

    This week was super busy, so I was super-behind in my usual watching. (Good thing I don’t worry about spoilers!)

    The formatting has changed drastically. (This is usually hand-coded before being uploaded onto WordPress – hope this doesn’t turn into a mess:

    • All titles currently listed link to their page on Internet Movie Database – imdb.com.
    • First column will be if I watched it or if it aired this week.
    • Second column is the series title.
    • Third column will be the season number.
    • Fourth column will be the episode number. (If it was a rerun week or did not air, the last aired new episode will be listed.)
    • Fifth column, if it aired, will be the rating – on a 0-5 star scale based mainly on enjoyment. 0 means I didn’t enjoy it, 5 means it was perfect and I enjoyed it immensely. If I didn’t watch the episode, NW will be listed – the episode will be followed up on the next week. If it did not air, will be the return date and will be the last entry in that row.
    • The last column is the episode title as listed in IMDB, if one is listed. (If it was a rerun week or did not air, the last aired new episode will be listed.)
    • Finally, watched shows will have a mini episode summary and my thoughts below it.
    • Sunday:
      • YES – The Walking Dead – 07 – 05 – 4.0/5.0 – Go Getters
        • Summary – Maggie and Sasha try convince Gregory to stay at Hilltop Colony while they recover. Enid and Carl go on a solo adventure to get to Hilltop. The Saviors harass and shake down the community.
        • Thoughts
          • Roller Skating Zombie Killing – a game idea?
          • LOVED the small green boombox – err, car.
          • Jesus needs to become a part of the regular group.
          • Maggie Greene – enough said.
          • HATED Simon – and, while I’m normally nice about this, I’m not this time. This guy has become very popular on the internet, yet he just rubs me the wrong way. If we were judging him on being an asshole, okay – I could agree on that. There are plenty of bad guys who aren’t assholes, and plenty of assholes who aren’t good bad guys. This guy is a bully and an asshole, BUT if he’s a bad guy, he’s more of a “Starscream” bad guy – he wants the power, but is too stupid to handle it. (To be fair, this IS his first real episode with any major focus, as opposed to being a background player – so he may change my mind.)
      • YES – Talking Dead – 06 – 05 – 4.5/5.0 – Go Getters
        • Summary – Guests Kevin Smith, Xander Berkeley and Tom Payne talk about the latest episode of “The Walking Dead” with Chris Hardwick.
        • Thoughts
          • They should have left the 80’s montage in the 80’s.😛
          • That was a cool sequence, though.
          • The second thing with Kevin Smith this week – watched this prior to posting, while watched “The Flash” yesterday.
    • Monday:
      • YES – Supergirl – 02 – 07 – 3.5/5.0 – The Darkest Place
        • Summary – Kara must rescue Mon El from CADMUS and meets Cyborg Superman disguised in Hank Henshaw’s body. Guardian gets framed by another vigilante and has to clear his name.
        • Thoughts
          • Glad to finally see the original TV Superman – err, Dean Cain – back.
          • Also glad to see Guardian making mistakes in spite of being around Superheroes – you’d think Jimmy Olsen and Winn would have learned some things from being around both Superman and Supergirl (as well as J’onn J’onnz, so for them to make mistakes means there’s room for them to grow.
          • Don’t like that they’re using Hank Henshaw as Cyborg – I’d only seen the character in the “Death and rebirth of Superman” story arc, when he looked like the original Superman, so when I watched the previews for this week, I thought J’onn might have been drugged or controlled.
          • Alex’s speech to Maggie – enough said.
      • YES – Gotham – 03 – 10 – 3.5/5.0 – Mad City: Time Bomb
        • Summary – Bruce, Selina, Ivy and Alfred discover the key Ivy stole connects to the Court of Owls and groups with people opposed to them when they kidnap Ivy. Edward Nygma kidnaps Tabitha and Butch to exact revenge for Isabella – only to find how wrong he was. Gordan must protect Lee and Mario after a failed car bomb uncovers a plot to kill Mario.
        • Thoughts
          • They shouldn’t have sped up Ivy’s age (done a few episodes back) – she seems to have gone from smart and timid to bold but stupid, which in turn is becoming annoying, especially when exploring Bruce and Selina.
          • The moment when the guillotine dropped was a surprise – made more surprising when Nygma realizes how wrong he was a few seconds before. Priceless.
          • They need to drop Penguin – as a mayor he’s useless, and as a villian he’s the one-too-many. When they finish this arc they either need to bring him back to a villian or kill him off, as his arc right now is boring.
          • The Court of Owls battle was awesome.
      • YES – Lucifer – 02 – 09 – 4.0/5.0 – Homewrecker
        • Summary – The owner of the property that Lux is on is murdered, leaving each new owner with a desire to evict Lucifer and tear the club down.
        • Thoughts
          • Thank you for bringing back the FUNNY! Seriously, it’s been missing the last couple of episodes.
      • YES – Conviction – 01 – 07 – NW – A Simple Man
        • Summary – While cameras harass and film the CIU, they investigate a man with a low accused of burning down a restaurant and killing a man.
        • Thoughts
          • The character’s IQ of 73 is similar to that of Brendan Dassey, convicted in the murder with his uncle Steven Avery of killing Teresa Halbech, as featured in the Netflix Documentary Making a Murderer.
          • A story repeated is not a story kept secret, Tess.
          • I LOVED how they handled the documentary crew – and how they tied into the case.
          • It was also good to see Morris O’Brien/Charles (Carlo Rota, in roles on 24 and Saw V) again.
      • YES – Timeless – 01 – 07 – 4.0/5.0 – Stranded
        • Summary – Flynn strands Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus in 1754, and they need to figure out how to get back.
        • Thoughts
          • This was the strongest episode of the series so far, due to the focus on the internal conflicts between the team and them trying to figure out how to get back between two different time periods.
          • LOVED the references to Star Wars and Dr. Quinn.
          • DISAPPOINTED that there wasn’t a bigger blot on the timeline as a result of being stranded – you would think those in that time seeing a strange ship would make a bigger impact than that.
    • Tuesday:
      • YES – The Flash – 03 – 07 – 4.5/5.0 – Killer Frost
        • Summary – Caitlin searches for Alchemy to try to rid herself of her powers. Wally comes out of the cocoon he was trapped in at the end of the previous episode, and must normalize. A secret exposed in conversation between Caitlin and Flash puts another friendship in strain. Julian reveals his secret.
        • Thoughts
          • The first thing I watched with Kevin Smith this week – even though “Talking Dead” aired on Sunday, I watched it a day after I watched this.
          • Heavy character focus and internal struggle with all of its members makes this one of the better episodes.
          • Could Caitlin’s powers be put to good, instead of her becoming Killer Frost?
          • WTF was the cocoon?
          • Are we going to see more of Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg, character reference from Heroes)?
          • Julian’s reveal is TOO obvious! One of the few mishandles. (I blame the writing – the actor’s done it before, but so have they.)
      • YES – This Is Us – 01 – 08 – 4.5/5.0 – Pilgrim Rock
        • Summary – The trip to Rebecca’s Parents house reveals the traditions that the family carries on today. Kate breaks up with Toby, Kevin brings Olivia to dinner, and after a sidetrack to William’s apartment for his tradition, Randal discovers the secret between William and Rebecca.
        • Thoughts
          • The best episode of the series so far – this one puts a test to many of the existing relationships in ways that weren’t all expected as soon as this.
          • I hope Toby gets back to Kate – it’d be nice to see them work out, as well as for him to return to the diet. NOT for himself, but for her to show his commitment to her.
          • The two actor’s relationship seems fake – the ding in the episode.
          • Randall’s discovery ended the tiff between his wife and William that I think everyone was expecting would lead to the reveal.
          • The bigger surprise was the episode ending with that and Randall’s change of heart as a kid about the episode.
      • OH – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – 04 – 06 – November 29th, 2016 – The Good Samaritan
    • Wednesday:
      • OH – Arrow – 05 – 07 – November 30th, 2016 – Vigilante
      • YES – Survivor – 33 – 11 – 4.0/5.0 – Million Dollar Gamble
        • Summary – A double-vote reveals the cracks in Gen X’ers.
        • Thoughts
          • I was disappointed that Zach didn’t go once he started spinning the war between the Gen X’ers. I hate when people play that in a game and so visibly get away with it.
      • OH – Designated Survivor – 01 – 07 – November 30th, 2016 – The Traitor
    • Thursday:
      • OH – DC’s Legends of Tomorrow – 02 – 06 – December 1st, 2016 – Outlaw Country
      • OH – The Blacklist – 04 – 08 – January 5th, 2016 – Dr. Adrian Shaw (No. 98) – Conclusion
      • OH – Pitch – 01 – 08 – 4.0/5.0 (Returns December 1st, 2016 – Unstoppable Forces and Immovable Objects
        • Summary – A rain delay gives the team an opportunity for Kangaroo Court while management plays mind games with Mike to convince him to trade to another team.
        • Thoughts
          • This was watched over a week ago – this review is to make up for the missing one last week.
          • It’s been weird getting used to Zach from Saved By The Bell as a burned-out, on-the-edge-of-retirement baseball player this season – but now that he’s on the verge of being traded, it’s going to suck to lose him.
    • Saturday:
      • OH – Doctor Who – 09 – 13 – December 25th, 2016 – The Husbands of River Song
    • Netflix/Streaming:
    • KEY:
      • NO/YES – (Not) Watched – notes below
      • NA – Not Aired
      • OH – On Hold – show has hit mid-season finale or is taking a break that week.
      • FS – Finished Season
    • Unlisted:
  • 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 this week is 1 and 2. My season record is 0 and 12, with an overall record this season of 32 and 26 in 58 games.

      Yesterday’s Picks: Vikings – L, Cowboys – W, Colts – L.

      My picks for Sunday are:

      1. Tennessee Titans over Chicago Bears: Chicago, Please Prove Me Wrong!
      2. Buffalo Bills over Jacksonville Jaguars
      3. Cincinnati Bengals over Baltimore Ravens
      4. Arizona Cardinals over Atlanta Falcons
      5. New York Giants over 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 2 – The Lions won last week, combining with the Giants win (beating my Bears.) I didn’t do so well with my Vikings and Packers picks. Since last week was the first week I did locals, my record is 2-2.

      My pick this week is:

      • Green Bay Packers over Philadelphia Eagles: Winter is usually when they fire up, and they’re overdue for a win now. Go Pack Go – Quit letting my Amanda down!
    • Tuesdays are usually results, while Fridays are usually picks.
  • Hot Topics:

    • A Correction of Confusion

      Yesterday I listed what I was thankful for, listing my girlfriend Amanda and her family. In that thanks, I mentioned that she sometimes stresses me out. Although that was meant as a light jab at how I tend to get, I’ve always felt the kind of stress I was talking about was the kind of stress that was normal with certain relationships.

      Because of the confusion and stress I caused in my jab, I am sorry. I’m a pain-in-the-ass, and much of the “stress” is caused more by my own flaws than by anything she does. Sorry for the confusion…

Sorry – spent most of the day rehabbing and catching up on some laziness. Have a great weekend!!

Christmas Wish List 2016 (a work in progress)

One thing I usually hate every year is the question “What do you want for Christmas?” I usually get asked by someone who makes me regret it by being reminded about wanting expensive stuff or being picky, not understanding why either of those are relevant. I’ve also become used to not having the job to have the money for gifts at Christmas time – something people don’t realize how depressing this is.

Having also had those “disposable” gifts – gifts that last a few years, but no real value or good memories – I try to tell people to get me something I’d remember them by. Unfortunately, that’s a concept that seems to be difficult to explain to people, so I’ve had to give up on that as well.

I tried to break this down to three categories, as well as to give a few measurements to help. In some instances I am specific as to the product – there is a specific reason and intent, therefore a substitute, even if it’s more expensive, won’t cut it. In other cases I may be looking for specific features – for example, you won’t be buying me a 3X shirt as I can’t wear it, but a 6x/7x Shirt (or a workout gift certificate) would fit the specifics I am looking for. Pay some attention to what I am looking for.

Finally, try to put some heart into it if it’s not going to fit my needs. I’d love to have stuff to remember people by, but whenever I ask for that, people look at me strangely and ask, “What do you want?” as if I’m from another planet. Many of the things I am asking for I should be able to pick up for myself when I work, and as I get older the need for possessions is less – I’m finally breaking away from when I used to horde things, and I’d like to keep it that way.

To keep up to date, check out my Christmas Wish List on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1L5VKU4DFTO7H/ref=cm_wl_list_o_9?

Clothing

  • Sizes: 62-64 Waist, 6x/7x Shirt, 12W shoes.
  • Needs:
    • Work Shirts/Pants – as I’m looking for more professional work I’m finding my clothing options very limited. Depending on the job I might have to look into custom tailoring, but for now I’m mainly referring to “business casual:” dress shirt and slacks, shoes that are shiny and won’t hurt to wear 8 hours at a time, etc.
    • Geek T-Shirts – anything from The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel/DC, etc. Scan Facebook if you need an idea of what I enjoy.
    • Music T-Shirts – Again, scan Facebook for what I like, but even more generic stuff (such as the microphones peace sign some of you have seen) would be cool.
    • Jeans – These are usually what I wear out of the fastest, what costs the most, and what are usually such a pain in the butt that I cycle between 3 pairs for periods of time. (I’m not embarrassed by this, but it’d be nice not to rely so much on such a small selection.)
  • What I’m good on/don’t need:
    • Underwear – even if I wasn’t, this is one area I’d rather handle myself. Think about it: The only person I’d be impressing is Amanda, and I don’t want to wear something that would scare her to death down there.
    • Socks – while more comfortable dress socks would be nice, the rest of the package is more important. These are usually reasonably cheap, making this a non-necessity.

Gift Certificates

  • Who:
    • Any food, gas or grocery in the Milwaukee area
    • date stuff (Movies, packages, etc.)
    • Amazon
    • Best Buy
    • Target
    • Newegg
    • Apple/iTunes
    • Hulu
    • Netflix
    • Steam

Cheap Gifts:

  • USB Charging Cords – Living up here has worn down the cords I had, so I’m struggling to replace a bunch. With me downsizing I only need to charge a LG G4 phone and headset, both of which use the same standard MicroUSB 2.0 plug. Don’t need adapters – very good in that area.
  • Phone Cradles – Like the charging cords, I can use a few of those. Both of us have similar style/body of phones (though she’s looking to upgrade soon – if you’re worried, double-check what she has.) I want it to be as close to safe driving level for using GPS and music applications.
  • XBox 360/One Controllers – No, I don’t have either system, but they are compatible with Windows 10 computers such as mine. Wired ones work best, though if you go XB1 you might be able to get away with a wireless controller. (It’d be really nice to play Amanda and others from many of our favorite emulated games, as well as some of the newer ones like Killer Instinct.)
  • Google Chromecast (SPECIFIC – SEE LINK) – I’m not a huge fan of streaming and external boxes attached to TV’s, which is part of the reason why I want to build a PC into an entertainment center. I am a fan of the Chromecasts, which does what I want and is simple to set up – the newer ones should be able to stream old-school games in Windows to the TV with better frame-rates than the originals, which would also make movie streaming without a browser better. I’ll keep an open mind about other screencasting options (necessary for practicing Powerpoint presentations for when I return to work/school,) but for the cost, this hits all of the right notes for me. https://store.google.com/product/chromecast_ultra?hl=en&utm_source=chromecast.com&utm_medium=MS&utm_campaign=retailers-buy-tv-4k
  • Music and Movies – I don’t like asking for this, as two problems usually happen:
    • The gift in question has to be specific to get the features I want – they’ll want to get the cheapest version possible, so I’d have to go back out and get the version I want later (defeating the purpose.)
    • The stuff I’m asking for comes from people who neither appreciate or understand the gift in question – so they may not want to get it for me.

    I understand how frustrating this is – so go to my wishlist on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1L5VKU4DFTO7H/ref=cm_wl_list_o_9?

    (NOTES: 1.) When listed, get the “Extended/Deluxe” editions that contain extra audio/video. 2.) Don’t waste the money on special packaging, statues, toys, etc. – I care more about what’s on the discs, NOT stuff that can easily get lost or that really contains no value. 3.) One collection – The Complete Hayao Miyazaki Collection – is listed for reference; any of the films from that collection would be cool, but at $200, I’m not going to ask for that directly.) 4.) You read the fine print. 5.) If you need more ideas, I will be adding to this list, or you can look on my Facebook page.)

Not-So-Cheap Gifts:

  • Car Stereo – I don’t like having a ton of externals to satisfy my needs, and right now I’m using a cassette adapter plugged into a USB Bluetooth audio receiver which is plugged into one of my 3-plug USB chargers, leaving the other two plugs for charging cords. I’d like to minimize down to only the charging cords, and I don’t really need the radio. I’m looking to a bigger screen, however, for useful driving tools such as a rear-view camera or GPS.What surprises me is how much these features came down in price – these features, if they existed, once cost in the thousands of dollars; now you can look on Amazon and Newegg and find what I am looking for within the $100-$200 range. Check the examples to get a rough idea of what I want – as long as it has Bluetooth and USB built in and makes life easier to drive, THAT is what’s important.

    Examples –

  • Adobe Creative Suite subscription – this was something I usually carried on my educational discount and student loans while going to school that lapsed when I didn’t have the money to recover. A year-long subscription on student discount is $239 – expensive, until you realize you’d be paying the same for a by-the-month cost. (Don’t try to get the non-student-discount subscription unless you plan to hire me to work – at $695, it’s too unreasonable to ask anyone to cover.)
  • Podcasting equipment – I’ve been longing for a home studio to develop podcasts for a while, but between costs, time, and finding the people who’d be interested in this venture, it’s been difficult. (Still looking for that last part – and it’d only cost gas!) The big thing is the Microphone and audio software – another reason for an Apple gift card, as Garageband is reasonably cheap and doable.
  • PC Components – I enjoy piecing computers together (it’s like a useful electronic LEGO set that’s just as fun once assembled as it is to assemble.) Because of the number of project ideas, I’ll leave this open – check on Newegg for parts. (Amazon may be cheaper, but Newegg’s system is easier to find the parts.) If you have to ask: Hard drives are always welcome, I’m an AMD fan, and I could use an extra couple of copies of Windows 10.
  • Tools – One of the biggest frustrations I have is having the know-how or basic idea on how to build or fix something, but lacking the power tools needed to get things done. My truck is a great example: I finally acquired an alternator a month ago, but I don’t have the jack or safety pieces to properly install it. (For my vehicle, a 2002 Infiniti QX4, the alternator is underneath the vehicle.) I’d like to work with wood, so a powered saw and drill would be nice. I have a basic toolkit, so the easy kits probably aren’t a good idea. (That’s also why this is in the Not-So-Cheap area.)
  • Logitech Harmony 950 Universal Remote – One remote to rule all of the devices! Read the specs to understand. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01H0GVCPI/ref=s9_cdeal_hd_bw_bk1AT_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&pf_rd_r=9D68GWJVDWNXK29G6AGS&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=d13f4b4c-2e35-55d8-921b-7be2528345c3&pf_rd_i=10967581

Donations

Finally, if none of these please you or answer your question, or if you just feel like doing some good in the world, I’m an advocate for free speech, education, technological advancement, and homelessness – so if there’s a good charity you like that fits one of these, feel free to donate in my name.

Merry Christmas!

If you STILL don’t have any idea on what to get me or need more clarity, feel free to email/message me online.

Weekday Update (Turkey Day Edition) – November 24th, 2016

Good day and Happy Thanksgiving! This was written the day before (Wednesday, November 23rd), so anything directly happening today will either be covered Friday or Monday.

Turkey Day Update

  • The Christmas Wish List is up… https://w2ed.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/2754/
  • 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 1. My season record is 0 and 11, with an overall record this season of 31 and 24 in 55 games.

      This being Thanksgiving, my picks for today are:

      1. Minnesota Vikings over Detroit Lions
      2. Dallas Cowboys over Washington Redskins
      3. Indianapolis Colts over Pittsburgh Steelers
      4. Tuesdays are usually results, while Fridays are usually picks.
  • Hot Topics:

    • The Call to Investigate

      On Tuesday, Cake shared a link with an urging from top computer scientists to Hillary Clinton to challenge the votes in those states. They site a big difference between the paper and electronic ballots, with Clinton receiving 7% fewer votes in counties that had electronic voting machines than the ones with paper ballots. (Source: CNN – http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/22/politics/hillary-clinton-challenge-results/index.html ) Yesterday brought Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, and Republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, calling for a recount in the three states in question (Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.) Stein is seeking to raise $2.5 million for said recount fight. (Source: Jill 2016 – , Los Angeles Times – http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-trailguide-updates-gop-sen-lindsey-graham-wants-congress-1479254194-htmlstory.html )

      I suspect that most Trump supporters will be against this – after all, any risk to endangering their candidate’s elect status is a threat to be reckoned with. However, they should be joining the chorus – as should everyone else.

      I argued yesterday that the key reason for Hillary Clinton’s loss was Trust – which was broken permanently that week before the Democratic National Convention. The emails that were leaked were the first of many important parts of hacks happening to the Democrats this campaign. Russian hackers were claiming responsibility for some of it, with Julian Assange listing them as a source.

      At the same time, Trump was beginning to bring his “election is rigged” talk during his campaign, at some points encouraging more released information and to hack in his favor while blaming “400 lb hackers” for revealing some of his skeletons. To suddenly trust the results now that it’s in his favor? Something smells rotten in Denmark…

      While all of this is going on, final recounts are going on in various states suggesting that Clinton won the popular vote, at this point, by over 2 million votes – a wider margin than the 600,000+ on election night. (Source: USA Today – http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2016/11/23/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-2-million-popular-vote/94339510/ )

      Too many hacking incidents, one of which broke the key issue of the election. Allegations of a system being rigged by more than one candidate. An abnormal vote discrepancy between the electoral college and the popular vote. The three states in question being some of the closest races of the election. What more reason do you need?

      The one thing the people of this country needs, with all of its problems with the police, military and government officials, is the ability to trust in its actions. With half of the country divided by the outcome, the media confused by how it messed up, and all of the negativity overall that it has brought, choosing to double-check the results should be a priority. Even if Trump stays the winner after all of that, you’d give some people a reason to rest – and if Hillary did win the recount, there is the legal system.

      Some things have to be done for the right reasons, to lay questions to rest and put minds at ease. I’d rather know the truth than to live a lie.

      Update: While writing this, Fox 6 (Milwaukee) announced that Wisconsin will be doing a recount based on Jill Stein’s push. (Source: Fox 6 – http://fox6now.com/2016/11/23/elections-commission-expects-green-party-to-file-for-recount-of-november-presidential-election-in-wi/ )

    • The Things I Am Thankful For

      Yesterday, I posted about all of the negative things I am not thankful for, in the hopes of purging some of them soon. You can’t focus on the negative without appreciating the positive, the good things going in your life. Consider this the second part to that list, the perfect way to appreciate today.

      • Family: My bloodline may be small and scattered, making family get-togethers difficult. That being said, they’ve continued to be my strongest support in the best and worst of time. Hope they’re having a great day today!
      • Amanda and her family: This was far from the easiest year, first with me trying to go to school while maintaining our relationship and later with me moving up here and still having difficulty finding work. I’m lucky to have her, even when she does stress me, and her family and friends also all sorts of shades of wonderful. Love you babe!
      • Friends: In spite of how politics have played into our lives, ripping apart friendships and testing the levels, I’m still lucky to have some of the greatest friends in the world.
      • Cats and pets: While the clean-up and maintenance sucks, having something to cuddle and play with when between job apps, tasks or just without your significant other helps keep life in perspective.

      The list may be shorter – but no corrective actions need to be made. As long as the solid relationships are maintained and debts are repaid, whatever hardships I face I needn’t worry about facing them alone.

    • Suicide Prevention

      I also posted these yesterday, but in case you need it – for those feeling deeply depressed or suicidal, here’s two websites that might help:

    Happy Thanksgiving! See you tomorrow!

Weekday Update – November 23rd, 2016

Good day! The day before we gather for Turkeys and Football… err, wait…

Ehhh, let’s just skip that… Trying to keep it light today.  (Political articles are the first two parts – to get to the personal, scroll down to the last part…)

Weekday Update

  • Hot Topics:

    • The Failure of the Democrats

      Another day, another run of political bullshit, all aimed at either how evil President-elect Trump is or how idiotic anyone opposing him is. It’s getting to the point that there IS nothing new – they’re repeated posts you’ve been seeing since June, with a few exceptions to more recent developments.

      One article did catch my eye: a piece about how Bernie Sanders ruined the Democratic chances for this election and had no chance to beat Trump. (Source: Medium, Sasha Stone, https://medium.com/@sashastone/ten-reasons-bernie-sanders-would-not-and-could-not-have-beaten-trump-b596674c1c93#.orz3dmllj ) In it, she lays out a fair argument against the man I voted for in the primaries – things that show how evil he really was. While I agree with her that Bernie would have lost to Trump had he won, by laying the blame onto him she completely missed the real reason Trump did win.

      Let’s rewind back to those Primaries, shall we? At one time there were 17 Republican and 6 Democratic nominees eyeing that presidential prize. Some of these people dropped out before there were debates – Democrat voters only had 3 to choose from, while there were 12 Republican Nominees that remained prior to the Iowa Caucuses. The one person EVERY candidate, Democrat or Republican, was gunning after: Hillary Clinton, who many believed would win her parties nomination.

      Clinton, in all fairness, had a large enough target on her back thanks to her years of service: The Benghazi incident and email scandals while as Secretary of State under Obama, a rape case that won a rapist his freedom in 1973, Whitewater while her husband was President (and all of his nonsense that added baggage,) her support of the Iraq war as Senator and her first nomination loss to then-future-President Barack Obama in 2008. Painting her as evil, as a scourge of American politics – that was too easy, which was why it amazed many people that she did eventually win the nomination…

      up until the week before the Democratic National Convention, when a number of emails were leaked suggesting the rigging of the primary elections. This exposed a number of flaws that were only rumored: that the DNC was pushing for Hillary and going out of their way to make sure that Sanders wouldn’t win wasn’t as much of a revelation as it was a disappointment. The incident would lead to chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz’s ouster prior to the start of the convention.

      What makes this incident key to this election also exposes the biggest key issue of this whole election: Trust. Everyone who gunned after Hillary in the debates and the campaign highlighted all of her flaws and painted her as untrustworthy prior to this, so to have it exposed that Schulz was doing what she can to make her the nominee left a bad taste in many people’s mouths. When the only thing that did happen as a result of the Email leaks was Wasserman Schulz getting the boot, that hardened the line in the sand drawn by many Bernie supporters, and divided the party. It also gave Trump even more ammunition – after all, how could she rig the general election?

      Many of the people who voted Trump or voted Third Party could never trust her, and nothing – not the numerous Twitter wars, the Trump University Lawsuit, the often rude commentary or his sexual inappropriateness – could change the level of that trust with her, and by doing absolutely nothing to really attempt to rebuild that trust, she doomed her nomination before accepting it.

      There were many, many, MANY other flaws this campaign, but this was the key that not only killed her chance to be the first female president, but many of the elections that Democrats lost this year. It gave such a strong argument that it painted the party itself as bad, and gave every Republican supporter ammunition – by tying the candidate to the evils of Hillary, that nominee energized their supporters to get out on Election Day.

      Back in 2008, when McCain lost to Obama, Republicans also protested, whined and cried – but they also built a foundation underneath this, a unified wall that sought to rebuild the trust to their party while keeping them under the same umbrella, undermining much of what Obama had planned. 2012 might have worked for them had it not been for Romney’s similar mistake – the 47% – that energized Democratic Supporters, but they never splintered in the way the Democrats did this year.

      This is why playing the Blame Game, protesting and rioting, and even vocalizing dissent is backfiring against the party – because they’re not addressing the single biggest problem that politics in America has. When you have a party THIS divided even after the main event, where they are blaming each other, blaming third parties, blaming the other party and linking their problem back to that – THAT’S the fundamental root problem, the elephant in the room, that needs to be addressed. Trust is probably the hardest thing to earn, the easiest thing to lose and – as we witnessed – can allow someone spouting division and hate, someone who would be revealed to be a monster – to win an election.

      Lesser of two evils, indeed

    • Now is More Important than History

      The other big political argument – if you will call it that – was the tweets made by an important cast member of the musical “Hamilton”the same cast member to address Mike Pence onstage after the show on Friday. The article, published by one of the many conservative-based “news” sites, highlights “racist” and “sexist” tweets by the star in an attempt to label liberals as hypocrites and the star as similar to what Trump was labeled as. (Source: Conservative Firing Line, http://conservativefiringline.com/hamilton-actor-lectured-pence-fire-racist-sexist-tweets/ )

      I didn’t respond to the friend who posted this mainly because I agree with his reasoning: You have to be prepared to have your secrets raided and exposed if you’re going to confront anyone on a public or political level. While I normally don’t trust sites like this (many of which twist current events or make stuff up that satisfies their readers,) the Twitter account seems to link to the actor – while it might be fake (“where’s the outrage from election night?,”) the article twists what was said to the context of its readers.

      Two things worth noting about the article: First, the source of the article listed Breitbart – whose head now has a cabinet seat with Trump – as its source. Second, the Tweets shared were 3-4 years old.

      I’ve been vocal about this a number of times – the past is not as important as the present. Much like my distrust of Hillary had nothing to do with anything before she became a senator, my dislike of Trump had nothing to do with his sexual comments on tape, his “Trump U,” or his previous bankruptcies. At one time, in fact – thanks to “The Apprentice” – I thought he’d be a GREAT Presidential choice, a unifier among many people. (Little did I know…)

      People make mistakes. They same stupid, hurtful and regretful things. They do stuff they’re embarrassed of later. That plays a small factor into who they are now – but unless they do something truly horrific, unless what they did was permanent and can’t be repaired, can’t be learned from – it’s not as important as who they are now.

      My dislike for Trump started the moment he announced building a wall to keep Mexican illegals out and labelling them as, among other things, “rapists.” My distrust of Hillary came in that week prior to the DNC, when she took no actions to suggest anything to fix the trust broken by those emails. While their pasts did eventually become factors in various forms, my opinion of them wasn’t formed by the past mistakes – it was formed by the actions and words they said, did or used during their campaign in the present.

      The actor, Brandon Victor Dixon, may or may not have said these things – the twitter account suggest that he did, but how do I know it’s not a fake Twitter account, ESPECIALLY when major media didn’t jump on this right away? How do I know what he’s like off stage? What I have is the one video of him talking on stage to Mike Pence…

      People make mistakes. They also do plenty of good. History is a good way to prevent the mistakes of the past from happening in the present – when we choose to listen – but it’s not the only thing that makes a person who they are. If you want to judge someone, base it on the here and now.

    • What I’m NOT Thankful For This Thanksgiving…

      Thanksgiving is one of those holidays we should remember the meaning of daily: to be thankful and grateful of what you do have. As the beginning of the end-of-year winter holiday season, however, it’s the first of many reminders of the negatives many people in their lives – the first pounding of a barrage of drums that eventually lead to some people’s depression (and sickness because of), heartache, and in some cases, suicide. This is why there’s a number of ads on TV and Radio, and online for suicide prevention around this time of year.

      A lot of people online like to do a daily “What I’m Thankful for” on their favorite social media accounts. I’m not a fan of the daily thing – as many of these posters know, November is often a difficult month to work time-wise, so it’s easy to forget a day or two, or the rest of the month after a few days. You also have to find a lot of things you’re appreciative of – some of which aren’t much more than immediate gratification. I’m not knocking the idea – I’m just saying it’s not necessarily for me.

      What might be for me, however, is a smaller version of that – done on Thanksgiving for appropriateness – and an opposite version of that. Highlighting the negatives, rather than ignoring them as many people want to do, gives an idea as to what we might consider for New Years Resolutions and highlights what we might want to change in the near future. I believe in change, in finding what makes you unhappy and excising it, so exposing these things might help in correcting them.

      Worst case scenario: I won’t be any worse off than I was before.

      • The Negativity from Social Media: This year was worse than any other in terms of connections, many of which were tested and strained by the events of the election and the world. Social Media, especially Facebook, has become so ingrained into all of our lives that too much of my mood can be affected by it. I get sick of arguing, of counter-posting, of trying to be positive online and of trying to think of comebacks and counterarguments – much of the last of which I bring on myself. I simply can’t just hop off FB because of how many sites and games I connect with that account.
      • The lack of a job: This is a root problem that affects many of the other things I’ll be listing, and the one that frustrates me the most. It’s easy for people to tell me to go look for work around this time or before, as it’s the holiday season – however, most of those people don’t realize how difficult it is just to get the interview or some of the ridiculous reasons why I’m ignored. While there are things I’m learning to improve this, the fact that, 4 years after swearing to return to school to rid myself of this problem, the best I can hope to find is seasonal and minimum wage fast food work – if that…
      • The Lack of Money: A big part of why I hate Black Friday is that I can never participate in the fun. I’ve only had the luck to work a few years all year round, and because most of those years I wasn’t driving, it’s never been enjoyable to even attempt to shop. (It also makes me regret those few squandered years, and hate receiving gifts, even more.) That lack of money keeps me from participating in other key things, as well – Christmas events that don’t involve standing in the snow usually require money to attend or ga/vehicles to get to.
      • The Deluge of Christmas Advertising: One of the two uncontrollables on here, another part of the hate for Black Friday and Christmas Shopping is the barrage of ads and store postings wanting you to buy this or that. Even when you can ignore them – commercials are a great time to go to the bathroom, clean or get a snack – you eventually have to get necessities, which means you need to face the crowds and deal with the extra help. You deal with these reminders of your other negatives while drowning in a sea of decoration that has been creeping in since before school starts – and yet we do nothing to change this. So long as the stores make money, why should they care about my well-being?
      • The Usual Weather: The other uncontrollable is also the unescapable: the cold weather that makes me sick, brings the snow, and turns people into irritable idiots. It’s bad enough trying to go to said stores without the snow, as some people are grumpy because of the cold – but throw in the snow that usually comes, and it turns many people into “Insta-Idiots” on the road.

      Fortunately, there’s a couple of solutions to rid myself of two of these problems without robbing a bank or winning the lottery. Social Media is the simplest: Disconnect. Don’t worry about the games, the lack of connections, or the drama online – take a break from it, and worry about something else.

      As for the rest, finding a decent-paying, stable year-round job – the kind I had hoped for years would come through my longest-running seasonal job – will solve that problem. As I figured out when I returned to school, the easiest way to rid yourself of negativity is to have an activity to take your mind away from it, and while you might not be dealing with the other problems in your life as rapidly, it’s easier to set up a solid foundation to work from when the main missing tool is flowing in.

    • For those feeling deeply depressed or suicidal, here’s two websites that might help:

    If I don’t post something tomorrow, Happy Thanksgiving! See you soon!

Weekday Update – November 22nd, 2016

Good day! Given the fact that I have to spend a fair amount of time hunting for work, trying to manage everything, and catching up with stuff, some changes are coming this week. I’m currently working on a name and organizing this, so if it’s a little unorganized this week, I apologize. (It’s a work in progress…)

Anyway, onto today’s musings…

Weekday Update

  • TV Updates:

    This section is moving to Fridays, both to allow some time for some of the shows to be caught up by others who may time-shift/watch their shows later. It also allows me to catch up on my own schedule – and to keep the weekends focused on a more positive direction.

  • 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 1. My season record is 0 and 11, with an overall record this season of 31 and 24 in 55 games.

      Last Week’s Picks: Titans – L, Lions – W, Buccaneers – W, Bills – W, Cowboys – W.

      My picks for Thursday are:

      1. Minnesota Vikings over Detroit Lions
      2. Dallas Cowboys over Washington Redskins
      3. Indianapolis Colts over Pittsburgh Steelers

      My picks for Sunday are:

      1. Tennessee Titans over Chicago Bears: Chicago, Please Prove Me Wrong!
      2. Buffalo Bills over Jacksonville Jaguars
      3. Cincinnati Bengals over Baltimore Ravens
      4. Arizona Cardinals over Atlanta Falcons
      5. New York Giants over 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 2 – The Lions won last week, combining with the Giants win (beating my Bears.) I didn’t do so well with my Vikings and Packers picks. Since last week was the first week I did locals, my record is 2-2.

      My pick this week is:

      • Green Bay Packers over Philadelphia Eagles: Winter is usually when they fire up, and they’re overdue for a win now. Go Pack Go – Quit letting my Amanda down!
    • Applebee’s NASCAR Pick:

      Last week was a two-part contest due to it being the championship, with part 1 being to pick the winner of the race and the second part being the finish of the 4 championship racers. (I had a funny feeling about that – and I was right.) I had picked Truex Jr. for the race winner, with Logano, Busch, Johnson, and Edwards (in that order) for the second part. Sadly, Jimmie Johnson blew both parts out of the water, taking top spot in both – ending the season with a double loss this week. See you in February, I hope!

    • Tuesdays are usually results, while Fridays are usually picks.
  • Hot Topics:

    • About Monday

      Sometimes you hit a bit of writer’s block – so most of yesterday and today was spent preparing for other things (such as rearranging the office and setting up for new furniture) as well as preparing for other sections of this blog and catching up on two articles I intended to finish before last weekend. Sorry.

    • Dual Hypocrisy

      Woke up this morning earlier than I wanted to – a good thing because I found out I wouldn’t have woke up at the time I wanted to; a bad thing because I found out I was having to rearrange my schedule and that i was not returning to sleep anytime soon. Needless to say, by the time I told myself to give up on getting rest, I was already crabby for a few hours.

      Most of you don’t care, as you wake up in whatever mood you wake up in or feel like this is too much drama. Most of you are also sick, in whatever form, of hearing the rest of the world’s bullshit: of how the liberals are protesting in the street and booing our presiclowns, how the Republicans that were elected are going to screw up the very fabric of America, etc. There’s always someone or something to complain about.

      If you’re lucky, you don’t have the time to deal with it: kids need to get dressed, you have a job to go to, you need to make sure your spouse, if they’re not working, isn’t wasting the day away, etc. Basically, you don’t have time for Facebook or Twitter, you have to “adult.”

      Some of you with these responsibilities, however, find the time to spread whatever nonsense fits your agenda, telling these “liberal/conservative” fools just where to shove their ideology, telling them to shut up and accept the election or why this evil man shouldn’t be president. This is in spite of me telling you to “knock it off,” to an unsurprising no avail.

      What many of you don’t see are the similarities:

      • Both of you have complained about the President, either the one currently sitting (as of this writing) or the soon-to-be
      • Both of you protested against either man, with the person you’re supporting now being the opposite of the man you’re protesting against
      • Both of you want the other side to shut up and for your side to have your way

      Very similar – and very childish. Wouldn’t you agree?

      One of the main reasons for becoming so vocal and bitter was becoming sick of the plethora of garbage postings like this I was seeing before I jumped in. I don’t deny my own hypocrisy, as I’d rather find more important topics to discuss; it was in realizing my own hypocrisy, however, that I realized the hypocrisy of everyone else.

      If you want reason to stop posting this stuff, at least in the morning, that doesn’t involve bashing your beliefs, try this: You DON’T need the stress, and you’re wasting too much of your time trying to convince others not to waste theirs. Remember all of those responsibilities and why you do them? Do you remember all of those end-goal dreams you had, of vacations and parties, of relaxing in a mellow mood or whatever you envisioned? How is worrying about the problems in Washington beneficial to you today, if you’re not someone whose job is tied directly to such stuff?

      There are better times in the day, when you’re more awake, to deal with the problems both near and far. There is justifiable reasoning for what you feel, and just as good of reasoning to be involved in that discussion, regardless of the side you’re on. It’s not a call to end the issues involved (I’ve already made such calls, to no avail) but to quit focusing attention to this first thing in the morning. Let’s all have our coffees first before we come at each other with iron-hot pokers.

    • “Numbers” is NOT the Reason that I Write

      The big discussion this weekend was the uproar between the cast of the latest hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” and our President-elect. As with many such topics like this, people are very vocal about where they stand, arguing with others who voice the opposite of their opinions. Naturally, as an advocate for our First Amendment rights, I HAD TO add to this discussion, posting links from Upworthy (http://www.upworthy.com/what-happened-at-hamilton-last-night-says-a-lot-about-the-kind-of-america-we-want-to-be?g=2) and others(numerous memes including from the cast, and an article from Politico http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/trump-hamilton-mike-pence-231661) and vocalizing how foolish it is for Trump to waste time on the matter – and that how the cast handled the issue was right.

      One of my old friends, a Christian man I met in high school years ago and who I remember having a good heart, as well as a vocal supporter for Trump – naturally disagreed with me, feeling I was adding to the drama with false numbers to pad my blog. (If you want to read my take: https://www.facebook.com/JediW2/posts/10154111434523181 – the posting should be public.)

      I didn’t include his name as I have with others – while I’m sure he could handle the harassment of some of those with a lesser mind, as a friend voicing a hotly-debated argument I feel he deserves that respect. He’s like many of the other friends I have who voted for Trump: very accepting of other views and other people, regardless of race; very connected to his beliefs as a Christian man, Served in the military and is now trying to raise a good, healthy family. In other words, he’s not the type of person you generally want to label as “evil” simply because you disagree with him.

      That being said, something really irked me about his response: that idea that I’m trying to drive numbers to my Blog Page.

      I won’t lie: I’d be happy if I received a few thousand hits per page. It would justify going down a writing path, knowing that people are not only interested in reading what I write, they’re invested in it. Like it or hate it, the fact that they took the time to read it, and to continue reading after that, is something most people who create want, regardless of the format.

      The incident, the posts that followed, all happened after publishing of Friday’s articles – and all happened on my FB feed, which is private to people who aren’t already my friend.

      There are many reasons why I write this – to give another medium to keep up with me, to continue in the practice of writing, to open discussion of how I feel on various topics, etc. Numbers do play a part in this: It helps to know that people read what you write, instead of ignoring and commenting instead, as many do.

      I care more about my friends and family reading this first, however – not how many thousands of others come to read. Also, I’d have posted it on my blog if it was just for that. (If I cared THAT much, why would I call him anything BUT the President?)

      We’re allowed to vocalize disagreement, and I’m not naive enough to think the President doesn’t have the right to voice his opinion – but as President-Elect, by demanding an apology providing a good example for the idea that rights come with responsibility. (Coincidentally, it’s the same argument often used by those who want stricter gun laws – and the people against those laws are, no coincidence, his supporters.) His words now carry greater meaning than most of those in the United States today, and certainly more than he’s ever had before – so why waste them picking fights and looking childish?

    • While we’re on the subject…

      Mike Rowe – formerly of Dirty Jobs and chief spokesperson for his foundation that aids in getting schooling in trades that aren’t typically offered in college – offers a well-written opinion on the matter on his Facebook page and blog. While I disagree with whether what the cast did in calling Mike Pence out was wrong, He offers a better, more-well-rounded response that sees the silliness in both sides. You can find it on his blog: http://mikerowe.com/2016/11/the-play-is-the-thing/, where you can find links to his podcast (that I mentioned in the past on FB – and that NEEDS to return soon) and to his foundation, mikeroweWorks, at http://profoundlydisconnected.com/.

    If I don’t post something tomorrow, expect something Thursday. See you soon!

Afternoon Update – November 17th, 2016

(Editorial note:  for some strange reason this did not publish on time.  Sorry for the delay.  –  WW)

Good Morning Afternoon (again)! A valuable reminder today: I haven’t felt well rested the last two days when wearing the CPAP mask, but I was able to stay awake all morning on those days.

Morning/Afternoon Update

  • TV Updates: Catching up on shows this week… (Previously commented on shows will be noted…)
    • Sunday:
      • Yes “The Walking Dead”
      • Yes “Talking Dead”
    • Monday:
      • Yes “Supergirl”
      • Yes “Gotham”
      • Yes “Lucifer”
      • Yes “Conviction”
      • Yes “Timeless”
    • Tuesday:
      • Yes “The Flash”
      • Yes “This Is Us”
      • OH “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
    • Wednesday:
      • Yes “Arrow”
        • Another show we’re having to wait two weeks for – returns Nov. 30th.
        • I get why Oliver didn’t unmask our vigilante in the last episode (he hopes to win him over like the others, I think), but I also think he’d save everyone a lot of time if he did.
        • Disappointed – but not surprised – by the big reveal. A character from the other side getting intimate with the good guys – how many TV shows haven’t used that plot line before? Hope the payout is good – right now, having Artemis as our go-between kills the necessity for Tobias Church’s big reveal a few episodes back (before he was murdered, thus killing Tyrese again)…
        • Finally, hope they don’t drag Quentin’s alcohol abuse on for too much longer. I get why he’s a drunk and am sympathetic, but I think the lack of his criticism from previous seasons is one of those things dragging the new Team Arrow down.
      • Yes “Survivor”
        • This is the first season I’ve watched from the beginning, so I don’t know if last night’s tribal council back-stabbing-secret-exposure Taylor and Jay tried to pull is a first for the show or something that regularly happens. I am glad, after watching his smug, revenge-seeking punk-ass act like the traitor that he is, he got the boot.
        • I do wonder how this will bode for Adam(who Taylor was trying to back-stab and give the boot to) and Jay (whose association to and final-feasting with Taylor could put a huge target on his back in the future.)
      • Yes “Designated Survivor”
        • Another show on hold until after Turkey Day on November 30th.
        • Found out there was only two more episodes before Christmas break…
        • STILL waiting for President Kirkman to bring out his inner Jack Bauer and start kicking ass – and taking names…
        • I like that they’re going to explore Leo’s birth parentage. I don’t like, however, that the father in question is a prisoner dirty douche-tip who’s trying to win his freedom by using his potential son’s birth – given my (lack of a) relationship with my father, I’d be royally pissed if I were to be used in the same fashion. (ESPECIALLY if how I found out was after growing up NOT knowing!)
        • I like that President Kirkman IS making the kinds of mistakes that we’d expect of someone thrust into the role of world leader after almost being fired. I am finding that part of the story, however, to be wearing thin – tonight’s president-helps-expose-double-agent was one of those stories that might have been better on the chopping block.
        • Wonder how that kidnapping’s going to play out…
      • Yes “American Horror Story”
        • Season Finale – this will be listed in “Unlisted” next week. (Awesome Season!)
        • This might be the most rushed episode of the series, with a lot more activity switching between websites and sub-shows than the rest of the season.
        • One of the few things I like is how this shifts back to relationships in the end – first by connecting Lana Winters (from “Asylum”) to Lee, and to mother and daughter.
        • That the relationship between Lee and her daughter became the main focal point of the season, while exposed a couple of episodes back, might also be the highlight of the series. The other people we focus on – Shelby and Matt, Audrey and Rory, Sidney, Agnes, and the rest of the cast – have done a good job in misdirecting us from this. (I suspect, however, that rewatching this season may show us “hints” to this that may have been overlooked – such as with The Butcher and Mama Polk.)
        • While this might have been the scariest season on record, I hope next season brings back some of the character development that would allow us to care more about them. I think, because of how condensed and “produced” this season was, it was difficult to fully connect to many of the characters – which is why the ending stands out even more. While we connect to the main three characters this season, having two or more people playing the same role, or having some of the cast (The actors of the “re-enactments”) play multiple roles this season, made it more difficult to connect with the others in the same way we would have in previous seasons, which I think made it more confusing or worse overall for some. (The shortened season might also be to blame – though, to be fair, The Walking Dead’s first season felt like it had more character development in 6 episodes than this did in 10.)
    • Thursday:
      • NA “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”
      • OH “The Blacklist”
      • NA “Pitch”
    • Saturday:
      • OH “Doctor Who”
    • KEY:
      • No/Yes – (Not)Watched – notes below
      • NA – Not Aired
      • OH – On Hold – show has hit mid-season finale or is taking a break that week.
      • FS – Finished Season
    • Unlisted: Big Brother (Summer show), Sleepy Hollow (Returns January 4th)
  • Hot Topics:
    • I hold a few rules to myself while on Facebook:
      • Only edit for spelling, grammatical, and “confusion” errors (errors where how I wrote it leaves it more confusing for many other people.
      • Never delete unless it was either entered in the middle of editing (happens often when I type on the phone), it’s duplicated (also mainly a phone issue, though it has happened on the computers as well), or something intended – such as a tag to someone – didn’t work.

      I used to also try not to start arguments and leave them unfinished, but I’m realizing things change and lives become busier – sometimes I’ve forgot about an issue I was arguing and by the time I return to the argument it’s long dead. (Sorry Luke!)

      When it comes to what others post on my stuff, I try to avoid deleting at all, for the same reason I avoid deleting because of how bad I looked: IT happened. I believe you can’t show growth or maturity, or have room and recall to learn from, if you’re constantly deleting your major errors. Sometimes you have to let others call you out and accept the proverbial “egg-on-the-face” to learn from the mistakes you make and to better understand them.

      This afternoon started with a friend of mine posting about an argument she had to delete with an old acquaintance of hers. Given what the argument was over and how it sounds, I understand why she had to delete it, and don’t fault/blame her for it. To quote her:

      “I delete them because words and their power can linger.Words can have affect long after being spoken, word power lingers ever longer in print form. In my own way by deleting his words from my social space, I have erased their power, I have taken away their ability to affect or influence.” — Jennifer Burns

      I bring this up because, with all of the political, racial, sexist, and otherwise argumentative negativity going around the last few months – especially with the recent election – people have clearly lost two vital things needed in discussion: Respect and Trust. I can’t fault Luke for posting a picture of what I said given how we’ve both seen others edit or delete postings for him. (I hope he understands when and why I edit now, BTW.) It makes it difficult to maintain my stance on deleting social history, when others use that stance to harm others or make them look bad.

      I’m not ashamed of the mistakes I make or the arguments I get in – I’m not ashamed of how many swear words I use, and I don’t care much about whether you like or agree with everything I say. I care about how others understand what I say, and if they can respect it, even in disagreement. I can accept someone thinking I’m the biggest laughing stock on the planet because I disagree with them over how we see President Trump – but I still hope they can respect my opinion on him and can respect me for at least making an arguable point. (I’ll leave “right” and “wrong” out, as information constantly seems to come out disproving or arming our previous beliefs and understandings.)

      I understand why some people do have to delete, however – no one should be made to feel ashamed or be harassed because of what you or others post. You can’t force people to respect you, but you can control how – or if – they associate with you. Conversations, especially online, should help us grow and be better, not tear us down – and, while I’m glad the tools are there for removing such destructive commentary, I hope we can return to this ideal soon and remove the necessity for those tools.

    • With all of the confusion over what racism is, I figured we needed a quick recap. According to Meriam-Webster:
      1. a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
        1. a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles
        2. a political or social system founded on racism
      2. racial prejudice or discrimination

      Does any part of this definition specify any specific race?

      People are throwing this word around, arguing that, because they have black friends or acquaintances, they are not racist. They often forget that their fear and anger contributes to their prejudices – and that how they refer to other people IS a part of racism. They ignore how stereotypes affect perspective, and how we associate to others based on things other than their actions contribute to this.

      You can’t hate a group of people and associate their uncontrollable features with them without being racist. It’s not a black or white issue – it’s a Mexican, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, European, Indian, and any other race’s issue, as much as sexism not only belongs to boys and girls, but to gay/lesbian, transgender, bisexual, queer, or any other sex going beyond the physical gender, or how age-ism isn’t limited to young or old. You don’t get to claim you’re one way when your actions speak the other.

      When people are painting swastikas on signs and buildings, scratching racial slurs into doors, outright bulling and taunting people, but you ignore that while you criticize, twist, and argue against the other side for protesting and rioting – what does that make you?

      We need to start being honest with ourselves. We need to accept that we might not know as much about each other as we are comfortable to admit. We need to accept that, while things like terrorism and violence are perfectly reasonable to fear and be angry with, blaming a group of people for anything other than actions crosses that line between normal and bigot.

    • THIS JUST BREAKING PRIOR TO POSTING:  BRENDAN DASSEY IS TO REMAIN IN PRISON, THANKS TO AN APPEALS COURT RULING.  (Source:  NPR – http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/11/17/502457887/brendan-dassey-of-making-a-murderer-to-remain-in-prison-appeals-court-rules )  The fact that they couldn’t give a reason is disturbing and disappointing, and a slap in the face to how the justice system has screwed this young man’s life.

Done preaching, teaching and speaking – see you tomorrow!

Afternoon Update -November 18th, 2016

Good Morning! Once again a reminder: This is a weekday blog, meaning no (regular) updates on the weekends. I’m also completing a first week of this – not happy with the amount of time invested, but many of the hot topics have required a little research. Anyway…

Morning Update

  • TV Updates: ALMOST watched them all…

    I will be updating the formatting next week – links to the IMDB sites for all of the shows to make it easier to find information from, a school letter-based grading system that should make it easier to gauge my commentary, and hopefully a way to engage you, the reader, for involvement.

    • Sunday:
      • Yes “The Walking Dead”
      • Yes “Talking Dead”
    • Monday:
      • Yes “Supergirl”
      • Yes “Gotham”
      • Yes “Lucifer”
      • Yes “Conviction”
      • Yes “Timeless”
    • Tuesday:
      • Yes “The Flash”
      • Yes “This Is Us”
      • OH “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
    • Wednesday:
      • Yes “Arrow”
      • Yes “Survivor”
      • Yes “Designated Survivor”
      • Yes “American Horror Story”
    • Thursday:
      • Yes “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”
        • Next week appears to be an off-week for all episodes except The Flash – which makes sense as Election Week aired new episodes for every other DC show.
        • I like that Steel’s getting a supersuit – as silly as it sounds, with a few exceptions (mainly from or connected to Krypton), it seems that all of the supersuits in the DC TV universe not only lend to the look, it adds abilities as well. (I suppose the “Super” suits for Supergirl and Superman are indestructible, so “technically” they’re adding an ability – though, by the same argument, so would most clothing in keeping us from being cold and butt-naked in most normal working conditions.)
        • Heat Wave, aka Rory, is becoming too human – I like that they’re making his character more relatable, but in doing so it’s taking the fun out of his character.
        • When is Ray going to bring back his A.T.O.M. suit? I realize it was destroyed a few episodes before, but he’s getting annoying in his search for self – an area we had explored a little before he made the suit.
      • OH “The Blacklist”
      • No “Pitch”
      • This is a shared show with Amanda that we didn’t get to watch last night – so commentary will be next week.
    • Saturday:
      • OH “Doctor Who”
    • KEY:
      • No/Yes – (Not)Watched – notes below
      • NA – Not Aired
      • OH – On Hold – show has hit mid-season finale or is taking a break that week.
      • FS – Finished Season
    • Unlisted: Big Brother (Summer show), Sleepy Hollow (Returns January 4th)
  • 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. My picks for this week are:
      1. Tennessee Titans over Indianapolis Colts: The odds for this one are high in favor of Tenn, as are the main gauges I check statistically for the team.
      2. Detroit Lions over Jacksonville Jaguars: The odds are heavily in favor of Jacksonville (If I am reading things correctly); however, statistically Detroit has more of the important numbers, such as points allowed in a game, points per game, and third down conversion in their favor.
      3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers over Kansas City Chiefs: The odds are in favor of the Bucs this week, and although their statistically down in points allowed, all of the rest of the statistics favor the Bucs. (Sorry, friendship’s not going to help here.)
      4. Buffalo Bills over Cincinnati Bengals: Everything with the odds and statistics favor the Bills. The only thing the Browns have going for them is that it’s a home game.
      5. Dallas Cowboys over Baltimore Ravens: The odds are in the Ravens favor; however, statistically the Cowboys seem to have the better offense, while there’s not enough of a defensive difference between the two to stick with those odds. I’d prefer a clear leader, but usually my last picks, when going by statistics, are the most difficult – so we’ll see.
    • 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 bea 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.)
      • New York Giants over Chicago Bears: The odds appear to be in favor of the Bears (it’s the first time using an odds site, so help me), but the statistics favor the Giants. That, plus we’re missing Alshon Jeffries and Cutler’s still QB. (You want the Bears to win more? Replace Cutler with a QB that’s consistent and GOOD!) Chicago, Please Prove Me Wrong!
      • Arizona Cardinals over Minnesota Vikings: This has nothing to do with dislike – a three-game losing streak,The odds are in Arizona’s favor, AND statistically worse in all but one category (Arizona’s defense allows a couple more points per game), the only thing the Vikings really have going for it, not looking at the eligible players, IS the fact that they’re playing in their new stadium. It’d be nice if they won for my friends – though that’d work against my teams.
      • Green Bay Packers over Washington Redskins: The odds, as well as the statistics, favor the Pack, even though it’s a road game and they’ve been on a losing streak of their own this season. If they can keep the points down they should win – an obvious statement, except that “Points Allowed” is one of the few stats I pay attention to where Washington leads. Go Pack Go – Quit letting my Amanda down!
    • Applebee’s NASCAR Pick: Like the above, during the racing season the Applebee’s in my hometown has a weekly $10 gift certificate for those who pick the winning driver. This will likely be the last week this season, as it is the Championship race (Captain Obvious, hard at work this week!) Unfortunately, I’m not sure if they’ll ask for the winner of the race or of the championship – but I will go with the oddsmaker in each: Martin Truex Jr. for the race, Joey Logano for the championship. (The things I do for free food… LOL)
    • Tuesdays are usually results, while Fridays are usually picks.
  • Hot Topics:
    • Metallica’s new album Hardwired… to Self-Destruct is out today – if I was working I’d try to get it; it’ll have to wait until after I get a few things taken care of first.

      One thing that’s disappointing, however, is the plethora of new videos – of which the majority of them suck.

      The songs are a small part of the problem: while tasty new Metallica morsels are always good, these just don’t seem as fresh as their previous stuff. It’s like they want to revisit And Justice For All…, similar to what they did with Death Magnetic – while it’s a good album, the reason why the albums between the 80’s and 90’s stand out IS how different each one was – while you had Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets as well as Load and ReLoad sounding somewhat similar to each other, they usually defined a distinct era of Metallica. There’s little to distinguish this new album so far from Death or Justice.

      The biggest complaint’s not of the album – it’s of the videos, and their decision to release one for each song, which isn’t working here. So far only a few of the videos I have seen – the aforementioned Murder One, A Gorrilaz-style tribute to Lemmy, Spit Out the Bone, Confusion and Here Comes Revenge, another animated one that kept my interest until the end. The rest I end up going and doing something else by the end of the first chorus – the idea either retreads, annoys or otherwise bores me.

      The disappointing thing is that Metallica could have pulled off their own version of “The Wall,” a classic in the sense that:

      1. Each song works individually on its own (or, if necessary, in pairs)
      2. While the videos explored different styles, each conformed to similar specifics making all of the videos cohesive, and
      3. Like a TV Show or movie, there is a cohesive overarching story.

      While they weren’t going for that, the idea of releasing a video for every song on an album puts it in comparison to that. Each of the videos where the band is featured – most of the songs not mentioned minus ManUnkind – lack the visual energy and excitement of previous albums, and do more to drive me away than interest me. (They do make good background filler, however, as the songs themselves aren’t too bad.)

      Of course, this could just be me longing for the old days when every Metallica video mattered – where even the worst videos and worst songs still were a “Hell Yeah” when they came on – or the fact that I’m getting old, they’re getting old, and I feel like nitpicking…

    • Dear Mr. Pompeo,

      As has come to my attention in a recent Ars Technica article, the way you want to deal with Edward Snowden is to kill him – or, to quote the article quoting you,

      He should be brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think that the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence for having put friends of mine, friends of yours, in the military today, at enormous risk because of the information he stole and then released to foreign powers.

      We both agree on one thing: He should be given due process and be put on trial because he did break the law. Going on trial is not about whether the law is right or wrong; it’s about what he did do (something he has not denied doing, by the way,) in much the same way that a self-defense victim might have to stand trial for having to hurt/kill someone to save their own life. It’s clearly stated that everyone deserves the right to a fair trial, and Snowden’s no exception.

      Where we disagree, however, is the end result. You want to punish him with a severe penalty to make an example of him over the way the law and agency is handled – something that is severely wrong in several areas, and that, like any other whistleblower, is unfair. Most people with his intelligence would know the dangers of trying to take the proper chain of command to fix things – and your comments prove more legitimacy in what he did because of it. Why run if you really have nothing to fear? Likewise, how else do you force change when the government you work for is doing wrong and has no desire to change? Attitudes like yours are what justify people urging President Obama to pardon him: The knowledge that he will never get the fair trial he deserves.

      I’m sure you get hundreds of death and endangerment threats on a daily basis – and if you were to do a background check on me, you’d find that my chubby butt would have a hard time killing a chicken tied to a tree while standing two feet away. (If that was confusing, this won’t be: I pose no threat to you physically.) I will warn you now, however: Your attitude on this matter is dangerous and wrong – and is more of a threat to America’s freedom than anything Snowden has done. Seeking anything other than a fair trial will drive away most of the best people you could find in your field, and will only encourage others to take risks in protest of your actions. Penalizing him for a flaw in the legal system, in the government and the way things are operated – is completely and horribly wrong.

      Let the legal system do their job right, if he ever gets caught. Don’t give the people reason to fight you.

    Two articles coming (hopefully) this weekend, and some new furnishings for this pad as well. Have a great weekend! Unless something new comes, See you on Monday!

Morning Update – November 16th, 2016

Good Morning! Waking up grumpy today, unfortunately – I have to wonder if nervous energy becomes a negative depressive energy when something you were hoping for doesn’t work out. (Either that, or having the sniffles sucks!) Sorry if my commentary is more negative today than usual.

Morning Update

  • TV Updates: Catching up on shows this week… (Previously commented on shows will be noted…)
    • Sunday:
      • Yes “The Walking Dead”
      • Yes “Talking Dead”
        • Happy 100th Episode!
    • Monday:
      • Yes “Supergirl”
      • Yes “Gotham”
        • This is beginning to feel like too much of a comic book series – not in a good way.
        • I was hoping they’d draw out the story further of The Executioner’s dive into madness before it was discovered.
        • Looking forward to where this takes Bruce, Selina and Ivy – since the preview showed the return of the Court of Owls.
      • Yes “Lucifer”
        • This one disappointed me – one of my favorite things of the show is the humor at the devil mixing in with mortals, having an infatuation with the detective, even a demon by his side. He’s a narcissistic smart-ass who just wants to have fun, and it’s entertaining watching him navigate the world.That’s why last night was a let down – it was as if the writer(s) who give him his sense of humor had a few days off, showing up near the end. The dramatics were interesting and it was an okay story, but that lack of humor hurt this episode.
      • Yes “Conviction”
        • Tonights episode, topically, would have been appropriate last week given the main case involved many of the hot topics that fueled this election.
        • Beth Greene… err, Brie Larvan/Bug-eyed Bandit… no, wait – Tess Larson is finally coming into her own on this show. Too bad we don’t get to enjoy her singing like we did on The Walking Dead.
      • Yes “Timeless”
        • This episode throws all of my theories about the possible ending out of the window while exposing the relationships between the team and the relation between Flynn and Wyatt. For the most part, drier than I was expecting for an episode set in the 70’s.
        • On the bright side, we DID get to see the Calculator (from “Arrow”) in the 70’s – as an important informant. “Follow the Money…”
    • Tuesday:
      • Yes “The Flash”
        • If Draco Malfoy isn’t Alchemy, I’m going to be extremely surprised…
        • Glad the group finally finally knows what Kaitlyn has gained – hope next week’s not a permanent transformation into Killer Frost.
        • Speedster God? WTF? (Sorry, time for me to cook…)
      • Yes “This Is Us”
        • When I first started watching this with Amanda, I understood a little bit why Amanda liked it: the relationship between Kate and Toby reminded her in some ways of her relationship with Mike. I think I grew interested because of the multiple relationships – between siblings Kate and Kevin, between Randall and William (his birth father, who let him be adopted at birth into this family – played by Bobby Fish from Marvel’s Luke Cage,) between Jack (played by Heroes Peter Petrelli) and Rebecca (The mother and father of this family, her being played by Mandy Moore), and between Kate and Toby. It sometimes makes me questions the relationships I have, and helps me understand other relationships close to me.
        • Tonight’s struggle between Kevin and Randall reminded me of the sibling rivalry My sister and I had growing up. It makes me wonder how much of what she did was her trying to get my interest – and later her trying to piss me off because I was an ass of a brother.
        • Pot Brownies and bad diets… enough said.
      • OH “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
        • Forgot that it was on hold until after Turkey Day…
    • Wednesday:
      • NA “Arrow”
      • NA “Survivor”
      • NA “Designated Survivor”
      • NA “American Horror Story”
    • Thursday:
      • NA “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”
      • OH “The Blacklist”
      • NA “Pitch”
    • Saturday:
      • OH “Doctor Who”
    • KEY:
      • No/Yes – (Not)Watched – notes below
      • NA – Not Aired
      • OH – On Hold – show has hit mid-season finale or is taking a break that week.
      • FS – Finished Season
    • Unlisted: Big Brother (Summer show), Sleepy Hollow (Returns January 4th)
  • Job Update: Yesterday’s interview with Dedicated Computing ended in disappointment as I found out I lost the job a few hours after leaving early. While I’m sad, I gained a couple of insights from this.First, I really went into this interview more unprepared than what I wanted to be.
    Part of this was ego, thinking I wouldn’t find out much about the company because they contract with the government, medicine and more industrial contracts. Part of it, however, was learning most of the important stuff about what the company expects an hour before the actual interview. (That’s probably the only real flaw with the way Educated Solutions Corp., the hiring agency that called me about the job, made) – I wonder, had some of the stuff (such as the interview questions) been emailed to me, if I would have been more prepared or less nervous.
    Second, I tend to get flustered and wordy when nervous, talking too much or giving too many details. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it had a couple of people (Amanda and Jenn, the person who I spoke with at ESC, but after each part of the interview yesterday I kept thinking, “Shut up Wayne, shut up Wayne!” Being prepared helps a little (as I learned in my classes,) but I’m also not typically nervous for an interview – or, if I am, I’ve never noticed until yesterday.
    While I’m disappointed in the outcome, I was equally impressed by both companies (which only adds to said disappointment) and feel like I could help. If you’re looking for work, have assembled PC’s, installed OSses, you may want to apply – it starts at $13 an hour, bumping up to $14.40 after 90 days.
  • Hot Topics
    • Waking up to political bashing is really getting old – some of you might find comparing Hillary Clinton to Monica Lewinsky (for those who don’t know, Bill Clinton’s Blow Job problem while as President – which should give you a hint as to the nature of this morning’s joke) funny, while some of you enjoy talking about Mr. Trump’s relation to the Oompa-Loompa’s and giant Cheeto’s for the hundredth time, but when you’re feed is 5:1 of any subject, you get burned out fast. Since some of you are complaining about what the other side says (also annoying,) maybe a tone-down while people cool down is in order. (On a bright note: THIS is the only political thin in today’s blog – a good sign things are normalizing.)
    • Yesterday I posted on “The Bear Tech” about a “Watch Dog 2” Gamer getting his PSN Account suspended for posting a picture that featured female genitalia. What I wanted to say – and didn’t – was how stupid this all is. First, the gamer didn’t do anything really wrong: it was an in-game shot, not an image he created. There was no response, even if he did share it, for sharing something the company that makes the game (Ubisoft), created.Second, other than the few wasted polygons generating said bits, what’s wrong with generating said parts in an adult video game? If this were Sonic or Mario, characters marketed towards kids and young adults, it would be understandable – what kind of perv would want to see Sonic’s Rocket? (Please leave that unanswered!) With adult games, however, we should be comfortable enough to handle an inadvertent flash or, if it makes sense to the game, some real, physical sexuality. I’m not saying we should waste the extra math figuring out how to do it all of the time, but maybe if we didn’t make such a big deal about it in the first place, it wouldn’t be a problem – and we’d be giving creators another level of control and freedom.Finally, to quote the article: “One thing’s for certain: We’ve come a long way from the days of Hot Coffee.” No, we didn’t – we learned how to strike up a few extra dollars by enticing people to every copy of the game available before the patch. Again, this is one of those “how much we pay attention” deals where, if we paid less attention to this, it wouldn’t be a problem – it’s almost like rewarding a kid repeatedly for bad behavior.

Time for a quick nap, and then a return to job hunting! See you tomorrow!

Morning Update: November 15th, 2016

Good morning! Sorry for a lack of an update yesterday, but a combination of writer’s block, lack of sleep and a lot to do got in the way. It was started way early (Sunday night) and left me with little to feel happy about going into the morning… then afternoon… you get the idea. Anyway…

Morning Update:

  • What This Is About: Last week I was getting sick of repeatedly getting ignored when I posted stuff. I started thinking about some of the most common complaints – that I write too much and too often, not allowing the reader any chance to breathe – and realized that, in addition to my pages on FaceBook (The Bear Tech, which is supposed to be a depository of my computer/video game/tech interests,) I needed an outlet for some of my longer essays. Thus, back to my main blog for that.The idea’s simple: If I’m spending more than 2 paragraphs on something, people probably won’t want to read it. While I can add a “TL:DR” to the end of a comment that may be read BECAUSE it’s a comment, for something newly shared it’s a different matter: If they don’t read what you’re writing, they’re likely to ignore what I’m sharing as well. Likewise, if they’re not going to waste more than 2 paragraphs on something I share, they’re going to be less tolerant on a status update – of which have, in themselves, become mini-blogs.So, this is a depository for such thoughts: personal stuff that most might not care about, mini-blogs for things I shared/intended to share, etc. One stop, one write-up, 5 days a week. (More when needed.)

    It’s an experiment going through changes as I work with it, so any feedback related directly to this is welcome below. If it’s topic-specific, please include the topic somewhere.

  • TV Update:
    • Shows to catch up on: “Sleepy Hollow.” Worth noting: FINALLY have a watch-by date: January 4th, when the show returns for season 4.
    • Weekly Round-up (Tuesday/Friday): FINALLY caught up on last week. However, this is now the scorecard:
      • Sunday:
        • Yes “The Walking Dead”
          • I HATE Negan – but Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s an awesome bad guy!
        • No “Talking Dead”
      • Monday:
        • Yes “Supergirl”<
          • Don’t like how they handled the “Alex Danvers coming out” subplot – it really feels like a tacked-on “ooh, let’s make this character gay for no reason” storyline because of how they handled it. With all of the alien stories surrounding many of its human and alien characters in this show, this felt very unnecessary.
          • DO like the Guardian – though, like the “Alex Danvers coming out” subplot, this can easily become tacked on. (CW, here’s a hint: NOT EVERY MAIN OR SUPPORTING CHARACTER HAS TO BE A BADASS FIGHTER.)
        • No Gotham
        • No Lucifer
        • No Conviction
        • No Timeless
      • Tuesday:
        • NA The Flash
        • NA This Is Us
        • NA Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
      • Wednesday:
        • NA Arrow
        • NA Survivor
        • NA Designated Survivor
        • NA American Horror Story
          • Season Finale
          • KICK-ASS JOB THIS SEASON!
          • I love not only being right (called the “Hollywood-based behind the scenes” stuff back in the summer in a comment about the mysterious trailers) but how they played it out.
          • Also love how scary it is: by making it a documentary followed by a found-footage story, they brought back a huge scare factor missing the last two seasons.
          • Not so happy about how they had Lee (Adina Porter) possessed by the Witch of the Wood, though it explains her confession – as well as her reasoning.
          • Also not surprised that she was the only survivor – with everyone else either “playing a part” (The original cast and crew) or lacking the experience (Matt and Shelby), the only one with any real survival training would have been the ex-cop. (I was hoping military actor Dylan was going to be it once he showed up, after last week’s confession – his death didn’t seem to fit.)
          • I’m going to speculate that the final episode’s going to be like a mini-“Making a Murder”-documentary, as it would fit with the rest of the season and trends it followed this year.
      • Thursday:
        • NA DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
        • OH The Blacklist
          • While I’m glad we’re done with Alexander Kirk and everyone’s safe and sound, I’m really getting annoyed by the “Kidnap Elizabeth/baby” subplot they’ve been overworking the last couple of years, and the dancing around the “Is Red her father” bit they keep on insisting (since the first season) HE ISN’T.
          • Returns January 5th.
        • NA Pitch
      • Saturday:
        • OH Doctor Who
          • Returns for Christmas
      • KEY:
        • No/Yes – (Not)Watched – notes below
        • NA – Not Aired
        • OH – On Hold – show has hit mid-season finale or is taking a break that week.
        • FS – Finished Season
      • Unlisted: Big Brother (Summer show), Sleepy Hollow (Returns January 4th)
  • Coming this week:
    • Christmas Wish List – I HATE the question, and usually dread Thanksgiving and Christmas because of it. Unfortunately, while I feel bad for often not being able to give anything, I feel even worse that most of my “Wants” fall into the expensive category – and that I’m somewhat picky about what I want. Geeks might understand – I can’t simply ask for a processor, as someone who doesn’t know me well may get me a CPU by the wrong company, that’s incompatible with the motherboard I want/get, is soldered on/built into the motherboard, or – if they’re computer-illiterate – a food processor. Likewise, I feel like anything I could quickly run into a store and grab quickly cheapens the value of the gift – and I’m at a point of wanting gifts that have personal value. Expect on Saturday in a separate blog.
    • Writer’s LabI’ve been toying with a few ideas for a while, and some of these ideas – often based on feelings that lead to thought-out plans – are things best left to the realm of fiction. Unfortunately, while I have these plans, I don’t necessarily have an idea for a story – or, if I did, it’s flimsy and needs works. This being National Novel Writing Month, and it already being over halfway over, I have no plans to pursue a story this year. However, I have backbones for plots or topics for stories, and I’m going to take some time to fill in the details. Expect this on Saturday in a separate blog.
    • Podcast stuff: Earlier this year I talked of doing my own Podcast – thankfully I didn’t, as the things that would have made said idea changed, thus ending said original idea. I STILL want to do this, however, and I have a couple of ideas for a couple of podcasts. What I would like, however, are some cohosts – people interested in talking about current events, Tech, TV, Movies and Music on a weekly/bi-weekly/monthly basis. I’m testing ideas still, but for now we may either use Skype or other video/audio-messaging software – in other words, if you can’t make it to Milwaukee it’s fine; a regular consistent time is needed, however. If you’re interested in either being a regular or guest cohost, or have an idea that’d fit one of these topics, drop me an email, Facebook or Twitter message.
  • Job Update (Monday/Friday):
    • Interview today at 11 A.M. for a PC Builder. (Part of the reason I’m up – I’d REALLY like to get this job!)
    • Applying the rest of this week.
  • School Update (Monday):
    • Need to pay off fines to be able to transfer, and still need to apply to University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. (Both are on hold because of the Truck.)
    • Because I am nearing a third semester potentially out of school, student loan repayment is coming.
  • Football/Sports Update (Tuesday/Friday):
    • Having gone 0-9 this year for Applebee’s $10 gift certificate in the weekly Football contest, I went and picked the 5 teams most of my friends root for: Bears, Packers, Vikings, Broncos, Chiefs. Sadly, they went 2-3, with the NFC North big losers this week.
    • Having a considerable losing streak in the NASCAR picks as well, picking Kevin Harvik to win the last race. Last win in this was this summer.
    • Tuesdays are usually results, while Fridays are usually picks.
  • Hot Topics:
    • On Sunday, after seeing a meme claiming that Hillary Clinton lost both the electoral college and popular vote, I did some digging – and hit the first blog with more than one view in a while. (!!!!!) I also proved that a few sites you wouldn’t expect share the same numbers, and all 8 of the sites I checked using the “fuzzy” math these numbers used (based on adding in Michigan’s numbers) were wrong – by a wider-than-explainable margin. Sorry, Conservative sites, not this time.
    • Most people who are anti-Trump aren’t going to like me for saying this: It’s been a week since the election. In that time, Facebook has really shown itself to be a shitshow, with most of you becoming a huge problem. While Trump supporters and voters have continued in some of their nonsense (see above), there’s a few things most of you Anti-Trump posters fail to understand:
      • There are a number of conservatives who are twisting the actions you take against you. Part of this you bring onto yourself when you riot, burn the flag, or do some of the disgusting stuff I’ve seen on the internet – do we really need to see ANYONE take a shit in the middle of the street on a photo and smear it? Part of this, though, is them – and thanks to your actions, they’re having an easy time with it.
      • Your posting on Facebook and Twitter has pretty much added to the negativity and bullshit that is already posted, and THEY’RE trying to twist THOSE postings against you.
      • To make matters worse, your postings are driving people AWAY from supporting you – and that’s on ALL of you, liberal and conservative alike.
      • Finally, a lot of you are making the assumption that either they are or they don’t care about racism or bigotry, that the other side is full of fascist idiots. The sad truth of the matter is, they’re not – they’re no different from anyone else. They had seen all sides (if they bothered looking at the third party options), and chose the one they felt best about, or chose against the one they felt was bad – JUST AS MOST OF YOU DID. While you and I feel that they made the wrong choice, that doesn’t make them evil, that doesn’t mean they care any less about any of us, and that doesn’t mean they deserve our hate – save it for the real racists and bigots who DO deserve it.

      In case you haven’t picked up on my subtle hint, it’s time to reconsider strategies and quit protesting, either online or in public. The negativity needs to end, people need to cool down, and although the fight is far from over, it’s very unorganized and hurting others more than helping them.

      You’re entitled to feel how you feel, and I’ll understand if you dislike me for saying it – but I’d rather win the important battles than to make them more difficult. Here’s the important thing to consider: What if NONE of his promises happen? What if, in spite of Republican control through all parts of government, he CAN’T build the wall, he CAN’T stop immigration of Muslims, He CAN’T OR DOESN’T do anything about the PPACA? What if NONE of the worst of his promises come to pass?

      We need to be prepared if they do come to pass. We need to be vigilant against those who’d hurt our friends, neighbors, or family for being who or what they are. We need to show legitimacy and reason to back our causes, give reason to stand with us – not against. We lost the Election, and it wasn’t done by anything disturbingly different from previous elections – they came out, we didn’t.

      It’s been a week – let’s focus on the next important thing.

I have an interview to prepare for now – be back tomorrow!

Inaccurate Election Meme – Clinton DID win the Popular Vote!

A meme is floating around now by Trump supporters claiming that Trump won both the electoral college and the popular vote:

inaccurate-electoral-college-numbers

While the numbers aren’t far off from what most sites is reporting – 290 vs 228 for the electoral college – the popular vote of 62,972,226 for Trump to 62,277,250 for Clinton is a few million off. This meme, generated from numbers by Conservative Spirit (Source: http://conservativespirit.com/breaking-final-election-2016-numbers ,) includes the votes from Michigan and New Hamsphire, while taking a jab at other sites like Google.

Sadly, a review of a number of other sites, including Google, says otherwise.

Google.com:

Trump – 62,975,049
Clinton – 63,596,617

Politico.comhttp://www.politico.com/2016-election/results/map/president :

Trump – 62,697,370
Clinton – 63,083,525

USA Todayhttps://elections16.usatoday.com/results/president :

Trump – 62,953,011
Clinton – 63,582,452

Wall Street Journalhttp://graphics.wsj.com/elections/2016/results/ :

Trump – 62,975,049
Clinton – 63,596,617

CNNhttp://edition.cnn.com/election/results :

Trump – 62,975,049
Clinton – 63,596,617

Fox Newshttp://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2016/presidential-election-headquarters :

Trump – 62,975,049
Clinton – 63,596,617

uselectionatlas.org http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/national.php?year=2016&off=0&elect=0&f=0 :

Trump – 63,213,006
Clinton – 63,903,188

Formula: (Reported final results) + Michigan Results + New Hampshire results = final number reported.  (Same as what Conservative Spirit used.)

NONE of the final numbers reported on these sites came close to the number in said meme, and only by adding these two states did the results come close. Four of the sites – CNN, Wall Street Journals, Fox News and Google – likely used the same source, as Fox News and WSJ are owned by the same company. (Why CNN and Google also have those numbers is unclear.) Each of the rest of these site have different results, but all have the same end result: Clinton won the popular vote.

Sorry, Conservative Spirit, but trying to deceive people with inaccurate numbers where you list another conservative source (The Gateway Pundit, http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/11/trumps-landslide-by-the-numbers-he-crushed-hillary/ ) that’s inconsistent with every other source DOES NOT make this reliable.

Facebook Rant – November 10th, 2016

(Editorial notes:  Links were updated, spelling errors were fixed where they were needed, and I’m STILL tired.  And yes, I posted it in blog form – in case anyone else feels like I do.)

Good afternoon – was going to message earlier this morning when the cats were keeping me up, but I didn’t like any of the Donald Trump jokes I was coming up with. (If you have to ask “Why Donald Trump?” you REALLY wouldn’t get it!)

The last time I felt like yelling at some people being ridiculous and overdramatic, at not being complete unsympathetic douche bags, I wrote a blog that, unsurprisingly, was ignored by the majority of you and everyone else on the internet. (It seems my blog is now only visited by the SPAMBots who registered that someone visited, only to leave some stupid comment with a link to whatever garbage they’re peddling.) So, I’ll try to keep this simple:

GROW. UP.

Hillary Supporters and anti-Trump protestors: if you REALLY believe in the fight stop drowning Facebook, Twitter and all of your news feeds with stupid shit like “If you voted for Trump unfriend me.” Losing you as a friend now is a surefire way to continue this mess while sealing yourself off in a vacuum – no one benefits from this, you’re kept out of their loops, and no one comes to understand the fundamental wrongs on both sides. There were many more supporters who were only supporting their candidate because they were against the other person than there were supporters who fully believed in the person they voted for. (Here’s a site with a few polls that appear to be trackable if you want to look it up:http://www.politico.com/2016-election/polls/ ) That means there are plenty of issues on both sides ignored by this election that need to be discussed and understood, and discussion can’t take place when you refuse to hear the other side. Lose the Ignore statuses – they won’t help you.

Also, I’m fine with the protests – you have EVERY RIGHT to be upset, angry, and worried about the future. Trumps campaign mirrors Hitler’s rise to power in a few spots, and because he hasn’t been in politics before now, we have no track record to see how many of his promises he’ll commit to – so there’s DAMN GOOD REASON to feel as you do.

What I’m not fine with, however, is the fighting, the damage of property, the attempted bullying, and any of the other tactics where violence, bloodshed and damage can happen. Peaceful protests are meaningless when people witness this, and it often works against the side doing it, making it harder for the peaceful protesters to be heard. If you believe in your message, watch your actions.

(To save one argument: would you tolerate if your kid – if anyone you knew – used the argument “they were also doing it/did it too?” Of course not – you’d probably use the tired “lemmings” or “jump off of a cliff/bridge” argument in response. DON’T DO WHAT THEY DO!)

Trump Supporters: The one area you consistently fail at is empathy, for understanding and relating to the other side. Let those who are angry and upset vent it – don’t call them out on it, don’t rub their faces in it, QUIT BEING SORE WINNERS. They’re allowed to feel what they feel, there’s absolutely no reason to instigate shit or make it worse.

Also, there’s some interesting videos to be found of voter intimidation at the polls (some of which was used in news coverage the last two nights) and some disgustingly ugly tactics being used, such as the vandalism on busses and churches. Don’t act like your shit doesn’t stink because a few buttheads on the other side do it – there’s more than a few asshats among your ranks that need to be weeded out and have some sense knocked into. If it’s unacceptable for them to do, it’s equally unacceptable for you to do.

While we’re at it, this idea of unfriending or unfollowing people also needs to stop on this side as well – same reasons apply: You can’t have actual discussion or change without being able to have a discussion with someone from the other side. You might be surprised to learn that there’s more similar to each other than are different, that there are things to agree on, that not everyone fits the stereotype “liberal.”

It’s okay for everyone to feel what they need to feel – get it out of your system, let yourself cool down for a bit in this area. What’s done is done, and however this will play out in the political sphere (with talks of a possible investigation by the White House – https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/…/investigate-voter-fraud-… ,) crying, moaning, groaning, and acting like idiots won’t change it. If you’re serious about the cause, if you’re serious about what you believe, as soon as we mellow out we need to have serious discussions with each other on what we feel is wrong and how to go about fixing it. We need to protect those who may come under scrutiny and harassment now that Trump has won, and we need to focus on what we can do to make things work going forward. That doesn’t happen acting like children.

Sorry for the long rant.

TL:DR – If you’re against Trump, get the feelings out, protest if you need, but stop acting like idiots. If you were for Trump, stop being sore winners, show some sympathy, quit acting like there aren’t idiots on your side. For all: stop the “unfriend/unfollow” and stop acting like children on the playground. Let’s work together, not against each other.

Also, bad reference to attempted Donald Trump joke/cat frustration. It’s that kind of day.

Get Out Today and Make An INFORMED Vote!

Today is Election Day, and everyone is up in arms getting you out there to vote. After all, it’s your right! It’s your civic duty! You have an obligation, and no right to complain if you don’t! If you don’t vote, “the greater evil” wins, and America will descend into darkness and chaos! Fire and Brimstone! Cats and dogs, living together!

Oh, wait – wrong movie.

You have a ton of celebrities encouraging you to vote, in many cases, endorsing candidates in one form or another. Many have been very outspoken against Trump, while a few stepped up to his defense. Even when they don’t vocalize who to vote for, they’re certain on getting you out there to just vote.

For young people, first timers and such, this is a great thing: they see this country as failing them, so encouraging them to vote may drive their willingness to participate in the political structure of this country beyond that vote. We need willing participants who actually care about what’s going on to get these clowns that don’t out of office, not more offspring of said circus.

That being said, for many of us, this isn’t our first rodeo – we busted our electoral cherries at least once before. Many of us treat it as our first, however – we watch these people on TV, listen to their ads on the radio, and follow what our friends and families have to say. Social media inundates us with information, not all of which is unbiased or accurate.

We’re saturated in so much noise that we follow who we feel is right.

One of the best things I’ve read, oddly enough, came from a celebrity: Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs.” His advice, when asked to endorse someone or to get people out there to vote, is better than most. I’ll let him tell it here, as well as his follow-up here, but to summarize it: educate yourself before you vote.

Most of us only understand the issues near and dear to us: the importance of income coming in, of our education, of our rights, of our well-being. We forget that the roles of our elected officials and how what they do affects things, placing our smaller problems onto someone who is supposed to be a world leader. The president might be able to suggest and coerce ideas, but they only have the last say, in most cases – and although they can be overridden, they often aren’t. The president’s policies often have a bigger scope beyond our petty affairs. Likewise, the roles of our elected officials in the Senate and House of Representatives often get mixed up as to who can introduce what and how many there are.

Obviously, the book list Rowe suggests is way too big for today’s election – it’s a good starting point for the next one. Likewise, taking courses today won’t help much in this election either – but if there are any openings in the local schools, it’s a good idea to take if it’s been a while. (Also a good idea, while you’re at it: debate classes or groups, for the argumentative types who don’t want to sound like teenage Twittertwits and FaceSlammers.) There’s even the resources I supplied in a recent blog posting – how well they will hold up beyond the election is anyone’s guess, in some cases, but the documentaries will still exist, and the ideas will still be worth following.

What can you do if for some strange reason you’re still undecided? What if you’re so sure of who you’re voting for that you can’t possibly see them as human? Here’s what I suggest:

  1. Compare the candidates – here’s a couple of cheat sites:
  2. Examine their character – facts and stances, pros and cons of what they promise mean nothing if how they act and treat people argue against it. Anyone can put an act on in public, but once the makeup and spotlights come off, how are they? For that matter, how are they in the spotlight all dolled up? Youtube has plenty of clips, some edited into those advertisements we’re all sick of, and the news websites should also have video clips of their stops and debates. Even those podcasts I mentioned in my blog post earlier have soundbites, analysis and interviews with people who’ve been around them, who’ve dealt/worked with them. It’s easy for someone who’s an expert salesman like Trump or a career politician like Clinton to promise things they have no intention to keep – it’s harder to tell which one is even semi-believable.
  3. Review the rest of the candidates – this isn’t just the president we’re electing; many local, state and federal representatives and officials are also fighting for their jobs, or trying to fill an empty seat of a retiring spot. These people play key roles in how our government runs and acts, and are in many ways more important to American interests than the President. They’re worth scrutinizing a few minutes over, especially if you’re not familiar with them.

Most people will tell you the importance of voting, and they’re not wrong. What they’re neglecting, and what may come back to haunt us later, is the importance of that involvement – of not just picking someone without a little knowledge first. It might be too late, with what few hours we have left, to change that, but hopefully we can be prepared for the next election, and what I’ve said gets you thinking. After all, knowledge is power – and that power’s what we will need to really make lasting change.

P.S.  I’ve already voted – did it by mail last week.

Fifteen Years Later

Most of us born before September 11th, 2001 have a memory of what we were doing that day before tragedy struck – and we’ve let many people, friends and strangers alike, know these stories.  We’ve heard many stories of the brave and fearless, made movies of the men and women on the planes and entering into the burning towers, and heard stories of communities and people coming together in the wake of the aftermath.  We made changes, built memorials, and fought back against those accused of being responsible.

In the years that followed, however, we’ve gone down a dark and ugly hole that now threatens to tear our country apart.  A black man once celebrated as becoming the first black president has been harassed by people trying to tie him to the Muslims who were responsible for those attacks 15 years ago, and are looking to do the same to the female presidential candidate who might succeed him.  Because of the actions of a few hateful individuals on both sides of the line, police officers around the country – once respected in the wake of this tragedy – now face harassment, endangerment and death for doing their job.  We have a presidential candidates threatening to build a wall dividing us from our southern neighbor in Mexico, while keeping a group of people out whose only ties to the terrorist groups are the religions both claim to worship.  We have various groups – Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter – labeled as “hate groups,” and a strong divide between color and religion, race and class.

Fifteen years ago, in the minutes, hours, days, and eventually months that followed the first plane hitting, that first tower crashing, after witnessing death and destruction and hearing massive losses – we were united.  Yes, a few people were angry and hateful, but for a while we forgot about race, religion, and class.  We respected those who carried a badge, remembered the heroism and sacrifice many of them carried that day.  For a while, the only colors important to your skin was if you were lighter than normal (aka sick.)

Fifteen years ago today, men and women, young and old, were sacrificed.  They didn’t ask or choose to be sacrificed or injured – 19 assholes who were part of a larger hate group chose that for us.  Their sacrifice, however, meant discussion and unification – granted, it was around a common enemy, but it did bring us together.

For a while, at least…

Do we need another tragedy, another day of planes bombing buildings, of people shooting at each other, to remind each other not to hate each other?  Can we unite again, in the wake of the many shootings and riots that have followed in our country since then?  Can we start remembering what being American is supposed to mean?

I hope in the future we use this day to honor those who put on Police, Firefighter and Paramedic uniforms, as well as to unite us as one people under one skin.  I hope our hate that we have now eventually dissipates and disappears, that we can get back to seeing ourselves as equals again, regardless of what region or belief you came from or are going to.

I hope, in another 15 years, we haven’t forgotten what brought us together in the first place, that we haven’t forgotten how united we were.  If we do, then – to borrow an oft-used phrase – “the terrorists will truly have won.”

A Larger, Lengthier Discussion on Colin Kaepernick

The more I read about this incident, the more I feel he should be suspended – this seems much more like a kid throwing a tantrum than a serious protest attempt. I’m not against protests (hence why I’m not suggesting violating his right to peaceful protest and booting him from football), but if you’re going to do something at a game (which makes sense when you have millions of fans watching,) do something tasteful and show some class and respect for your fans – don’t pick something that could be considered a lazy afterthought or excuse. You make too much to do that!

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2016/08/27/kaepernick-refuses-to-show-pride-in-a-country-that-oppresses-black-people/?utm_network=facebook&utm_post=6215232&utm_source=FB%20-%20SNF%20on%20NBC&utm_tags=srm%5Bfootball%5D

  • Facebook, August 27, 2016

Colin’s followed up with more comments since this post was shared : http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2016/08/28/kaepernick-liberty-freedom-and-justice-are-not-happening-for-all/

The NFL and the 49er’s organization have also responded, along with several players, coaches, and fans – the last of which I wanted to address.

Although I’ve already posted my opinion, I think more elaboration is necessary – especially as I read into these matters.  On the one hand – the hand that’s angry, that thinks he’s disrespectful – his protest feels cheap, he disrespected the people who serve this country (not the leaders he claims to be angry with,) and he can use his celebrity to make a much deeper, more positive impact on this issue if he really wanted to.  The excuse when I initially read it felt more like a last-minute cover-up to him being lazy, and for that, he should apologize.

On the other hand, it’s a song written by a slave owner (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/wheres-debate-francis-scott-keys-slave-holding-legacy-180959550/?no-ist) and voted into law shortly before the Great Depression (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star-Spangled_Banner).  It contains a few lyrics about slaves (http://government.lawyers.com/national-anthem-faqs.html) , and since the debate started, has come with support to Kaeperning’s sit-in from Shaun King (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/king-stand-star-spangled-banner-article-1.2770075) and Upworthy (http://www.upworthy.com/a-players-quiet-protest-sparked-an-important-national-conversation).  While I feel his actions were cheap, they were also effective – it gained a lot more media attention than the game itself, sparking debate, discussion and even a little education – not bad for protesting a song.

I definitely feel, because of the fan disservice, he should pay a penalty – something the NFL and 49ers have currently declared not to do.

However, there are limits to the degree of punishment and the ridiculousness of ideas fans arguing this are putting out there.  A lot of people have been calling for his termination, and a few have called for his deportation.  Some of those with his jersey have been burning them – something financially ridiculous and too extreme for my tastes.

A few have been professing law, citing U.S. Title Code 36 § 301 (https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/36/301), which states the rules for the national anthem, as the law.  Sadly, while these rules apply, they are not enforced as the law – they can’t be.

The 1990 Supreme Court case United States vs. Eichman (wikipedia:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Eichman), otherwise known as the “Flag-burning case,” is possibly the closest answer you will find for this – most of the links I found arguing about the requirement of this bore down to the wording of the law above and the link to the flag rules.  For those unfamiliar with this ruling, a 5-4 verdict ruled that laws involved in two separate incidents in Washington D.C. and Seattle where demonstrators burned the flag during protests.  Those laws, which were designed to protect and respect the American Flag, were deemed unconstitutional as they violated our First Amendment rights to free speech, assembly, and protest.

So, as far as the law of the land, Kaepernick is doing nothing illegal.

The law of the land, however, does not protect him from  being penalized by his employers – even though it might give him an edge if he were.  Since the NFL is not a government organization, the League and its teams can decide on the players such as him – just like any other private sector job.  Even though both have voiced – for argument’s sake – “ignorance” towards this act, that may not last – he’s been rumored to ride the bench this season for more than his playing time.

This brings me back to my purpose, though – as an advocate for free speech and the right to protest, as much as I disagree with what he’s protesting, saying he deserves anything beyond a fine or suspension is wrong, and even those punishments are arguable.  While something could happen from the league, to say he don’t have the right, or to deport him, or to terminate him – those who say these things are in the wrong.  Until he commits a legitimate crime, He can protest this way all that he wants.

This doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t do anything – obviously voicing online and in blogs (like this) our dissent is another exercise of our First Amendment rights, even though he can ignore these comments and posts – just as he can laugh at the dumbasses burning jerseys, since he already has the money he will get from them.

What will hit much harder:  Viewership and pocketbooks.  Even though it’s rumored that Kaepernick may ride the bench this year, nothing is yet written in stone – he may still end up starting on opening day, should rumors be false or injuries plague the 49er’s the next game.  That money which he gets is based on what the team generates of sales of tickets, TV viewership, and merchandise – so less people tuning in when he plays, going to watch the games and buying his jersey will have as good of an impact as him playing like the 64th-best QB in the league.  (For those not getting the math:  That would be the average for somewhere near the bottom of second string or top of third string.)  Money is a harsher wound that words, in this case.

So save your death threats, your “termination” and jersey-burning – if you REALLY want to hit Kaepernick hard, hit him where it counts.  Better yet, do your homework – quit attacking people for protesting, and coming to understand what they protest.

The Resources I Follow for Political Information

My apologies if you were expecting another rant online – as much as I want to scream at you to start paying attention, the sad truth of the matter is that most of the people who are reading this already  are engaged, have made their choice and – stubborn as ever – will stick to it even in the face of being wrong.  While Facebook and Twitter will play heavily into this election, most of us simply aren’t going to listen to our friends and neighbors – unless we agree with them, of course.

One of the things I’ve been meaning to get, though, is something I was called out on in Facebook.  I received a message shortly after sharing information about the Trump/Obama BS involved with New Orleans – to quote the important part of his message:

I am tired of watching my fellow Americans be brainwashed by celebrities and biased media. I implore you to get the truth before you make judgements. I beg of you research information prior to making choices and decisions about our countries future.

I was very tempted to argue with him, right then and there, about the conservative brainwash machine he was trying to feed – but, to be fair, the article I was sharing was consistent with the information I had previously received, which in turn had multiple sources.  That does mean I could have spent more time verifying information before sharing it – something that, after the fact, STILL verified what was being shared.

I don’t appreciate being called a liar, especially during an election that I’ve spent more time following than I care to admit.  However, this is a normal response – people want to think they’re right, and they don’t want to hear other people’s opinions.  When they hear them, they want to know the source – some to fact check, many to discredit.

I’m not going to tell you my information is 100% correct – facts are constantly updated, as are the opinions they form from them.  I also won’t tell you they’re unbiased – “unbiased” doesn’t exist.

I will, however, give you a brief look into my biases – as well as the sources I use.  Hopefully, you can use the information to better form your opinions, get a fact or two you might not otherwise get, and understand more of where I’m coming from.

The Tri-Scholarly System

The biggest change since returning to school has been learning to write papers effectively – important, since two things can ruin your grades:  Plagiarism, and the ability to reference.  In most of the papers I had to do, I had to reference 3 or more sources for a paper – which was something I follow when writing or researching something.  (There are a few exceptions to this – but you normally don’t write research papers on how-to articles or language books for programming.)

For normal, everyday article posting, it comes to three simple rules:

  1. Can this be verified by three or more semi-biased sources on both sides?  If Obama says something, for example, I should be able to see it on CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and a third source (usually Fox or someone who will essentially skew it to their view.)  If I only see it via a skewed source – someone proven to be biased towards a party, such as The Blaze – without any counter, it’s ignored.
  2. If it is a quote from something, I want to hear or see it.  Anyone can say that person said or did something – it’s different if that’s actually able to be listened to or watched.  Because of the ability to edit and generate information, I pay particular attention to edits – while I realistically don’t expect to hear or see full speeches or the full context of everything, I do expect not to hear signs in the audience or background that point to words and actions being made to fit a particular “desired” quote.  If I feel like what I see/hear is garbage, I ignore it.
  3. Is there context, patterns and records to prove the possibility of this?  I won’t rush to research as much of the latest news if I had multiple sources verifying something leading up to an event – a quick scan of Google can tell me who the main sources are posting it.  An interesting thing note are the patterns in how something makes news – something may become popular on Facebook and Twitter, but may only have resources going back to the Republican Party and their supporters – hence, nothing on TV or that isn’t edited to be twisted in the sense some would like.  Something legit will be spread on both sides – you’ll see something from Fox, but also something from CNN and MSNBC.

The Importance of Major Media

The constant argument I’ve heard from typical devotees (people who follow a particular party) is how biased the media is – how anti-Democrat Fox is and how they like to make information up, or how anti-Republican CNN is.  While the ideal would be for all media outlets to be unbiased, the sad truth of the matter is that there are too many humans involved in it to NOT be biased – and even for those where biased can be controlled to not be attacked.

Let’s go back to September 11th, 2001 – how serious or important would that event had been had only Fox or CNN covered it?  How important or serious would we consider that tragedy if only one network or news organization followed it?  Yes, all outlets had some sort of skew, but the news of the tragedy was practically on almost every channel on TV and radio, in every newspaper, etc.  Yes, there are now “truthers” out there, people who believe it never happened, or that it was a government job – but the overwhelming evidence shows that it did happen.

Move forward a bit to Obama’s presidency – much like Bush’s, controversy surrounds it on both sides, with documentaries pointing to lies on both sides, news posts all over the internet, and people attempting to edit videos and audio pulled from previous recordings to twist and shape what is really said.  Plenty of articles going up online via sites full of bias – meanwhile, trying to get us away from major media, calling them paid liars.  The biases major media has is much sharper and clearer than has ever been.

This is exactly why they’re so important.

Yes, CNN is going to tel a more moderate or Democratic tale, and Fox is going to put a Conservative spin on things – however, you’ll see the BS, and believe it happened more if the event’s on both channels.  You don’t have to like the news, but trust me, it’s hard to validate anything not showing up on it.

Facebook

Like so many people, Facebook has become the norm for information, and has proven itself very useful in a way that most media outlets have not.  On the negative side, it exposes the most political among us, showing our side and opening us to attacks from it.  On the positive side, if you’re lucky enough to be friends with people who strongly support both sides, you get an equal opportunity to see where the truth and the lies fall – and  chance to know misinformation before you see it.

The information that came into question was Donald Trump’s Play-Doh passout in New Orleans, where he (and, in the case of that particular article, Trump-supporting celebrities like Kirstie Alley) verbally attacked Obama for his golfing while Flood victims needed help.  The person who tried calling me out on Facebook claimed to be from the region, and said that POTUS made it clear he wasn’t going to break from his vacation.   The problem:  Sources for said information.  While I could find many audio and video quotes for the Governor’s comments about Obama and to Trump, as well as the mishandling by Trump of his visit, The President’s alleged comments weren’t so easy to find outside of conservative sites.  I found plenty of his criticism on his golfing, however. (To be fair, part of how he was elected stemmed from his calling out of George W. Bush’s mishandling of Hurricane Katrina around the same area years ago – again, it’s like the pot calling the kettle black.)

Likewise, I can find almost daily updates from my friends on what evils Hillary, Obama and Trump have done – which isn’t much different from 2008, except from fewer friends posting more information to show support for their party.  It’s not balanced – the majority of my friends who do post are conservative, according to the sources of the links.  The comments that follow, however, give me a greater understanding of the opinions than many of the articles posting poll numbers.

Yes, Facebook is far from the most accurate source of information – but it can give you a more accurate idea of what people are thinking than any article or piece, as well as a starting point for news.  While it may not change any opinions, it’s definitely influential.

Podcasts

The biggest difference this time – started during my long commutes between Amanda and school – is in the podcasts I listen to, something I hadn’t done before for politics.  I made a choice to expand my knowledge by trying to find podcasts which would balance my information out.  I listen to three on a weekly basis, each contributing a different informative aspect to my knowledge.

NPR Politics Podcast

Updated weekly as well as around special events, this podcast covers much of the important news, including sound clips from the parties and the major players in the news, opinions and facts researched by the NPR news team.  While I’d advise more practice for Vocalness and more Star Wars-watching for the non-watching members, it’s an entertaining form of the news.

http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510310/npr-politics-podcast

Bloomberg Masters in Politics

These two ladies, experienced producers Betsy Fischer Martin and Tammy Haddad, interview various political people and groups, which gives an inside look into the lobbyists and political leaders making an impact on this election.

http://www.bloomberg.com/podcasts/masters_in_politics

The Nation Start Making Sense

Like Masters in Politics, this is another interview podcast where Jon Wiener interviews usually 2-3 people with political influence (usually authors and writers for The Nation.)

https://www.thenation.com/authors/start-making-sense/

Documentaries

Like the Podcast, the news, the internet and print media, documentaries have helped to fill in gaps on both sides of an argument, providing information not typically covered on TV news or in print/internet articles in a visual form.  Unlike most forms of media, however, all forms of documentaries are biased – the filmmaker is trying to present an argument to you, like a “mega-commercial” for why you want to see things their way.  As such, it is recommended to follow up these movies with some investigation – Not everything presented will be fact.

The one thing I would encourage everyone to do, especially if they’re going to reference documentaries, is to find something legitimate and representative of the opposite side you support – if you vote Democrat, look into Republican-view Documentaries; if you vote Republican, look into Democrat-view Documentaries.  If you can look past what you feel to be silly and ridiculous, you can come to a better understanding of those people you disagree with, and find common ground to agree on.

The other thing I would suggest is focusing on the topic in discussion – NOT the party or players involved.  It’s easy to paint someone as evil and dirty based on these films, but the important discussion isn’t always the people involved – it’s the viewpoint in question.  That’s more difficult than people realize – which makes it EXTREMELY important to mention.

A final note:  Although these are recent films, none of these are on either Hillary or Trump, and limited because of the intended focus of discussion.  I welcome a film discussion in the comments below – maybe by getting a decent list of g00d films to watch, we can better understand all sides of a problem.

Inequality for All

Robert Reich, current “Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley” and former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton’s presidency, gives an important lecture about the economic divide, the death of the middle class and the rise of the 1% since the early 1970’s.  Sadly, the numbers can be backed up, and play a much larger and more important role in economics today.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2215151/

https://www.amazon.com/Inequality-All-Robert-R…/…/B00HQAI8EW

America: Imagine the World Without Her

Remember what I was saying about viewing a film from the opposite party?  Here’s an example.  This film, made by Dinesh D’Souza, is very much right-wing propaganda – but there are common and agreeable points in there as well.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2785390/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LH30VJ4/ref=atv_piv_owned?_encoding=UTF8&imdbref_tt_wbr_pivt=0m0stag%3Dimdbtag_tt_wbr_piv-20

The Billionaires’ Tea Party

This is heavily focused on the Tea Party movement that has played significantly over the last decade of politics, but the plays made aren’t too different between parties.  The most significant thing to note is how this movement started and is operating – you may understand why I have such distrust for openly-biased media.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2551580/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

https://www.amazon.com/Billionaires-Tea-Party-David-Koch/dp/B00OU4MDN4

Classes, Social Involvement, and the importance of Discussions

The biggest thing influencing what I post now was my recent return to college – pursuing an Associate of Arts to get my Bachelors degree in Computer Science allowed me to take some necessary but forced classes in Sociology, Politics, Psychology, Biology, History, Philosophy, Religion, Speech, and other subjects which will educate, inform and prepare people for the real world.  You don’t need to return to school, however – there are plenty of resources, online and in the cities, that allow people to have discussions and educate themselves in political matters.

Discussion, really, is the most important aspect I can encourage.  You can find plenty of media to fulfill the information need – but some of your best sources are going to be the people that you speak with.  Even when you disagree, you can find more information on which to search for the next argument, find common ground that both sides agree on, most importantly, find the important points to take with you into November.  You may see more opportunities than Hillary and Donald, and find an understanding to why both the #BlackLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter movements are important.  Agreement isn’t important – education is.

Conclusion:  Educate yourself, Discuss with Others, Get Out There and Vote

Back to reality for a moment:  This isn’t the same level as someone with a political science degree, a lawyer, professor or politician speaking – at the end of the day, I never pretended to be an expert, and I hope none of you will, either.  I may dislike politics and politicians for what they do, but I won’t pretend for a moment that I can do better.  (I lack the patience for it…)

I am, however, a concerned citizen -worried about the rights we have and the lives we live, and the impact these larger figures play in our lives.  We don’t usually think about how their decisions impact us until we go to do something they change – then we get frustrated and angry, saddened, but ultimately accepting, of their decisions.  We need to stop that -and fast.  We’ve always had the power – but we’ve brainwashed to believe otherwise, and will remain so until we accept it.

I hope by sharing my sources and insights to my understanding you examine your own sources and choices.  While I would like everyone to avoid voting for Trump, I don’t care about that as much as you learning to seek the truth – and understand that the other side isn’t your enemy.  If, after doing your searches and reading, listening to, and watching your sources you find that Trump or Hillary are the best candidates, so be it – as long as you’re ignoring the ones that say that Hillary made a deal with the Devil or Trump’s a born-again Australian (or something equally ridiculous – wasn’t Obama an alien from another planet?) as well as the ones only designed to make you think in a particular bias, that’s what’s important.

I’ll probably post more political posts in the coming weeks.  If you have a particular documentary or podcast to recommend, feel free to comment it below.  (I’d suggest avoiding criticism of my sources, since the creators most likely won’t read them.)

Facebook Repost – Milwaukee Riot, August 14th, 2016

​I’m still disgusted and disappointed by the riots in MKE last night as I wake up – the loss of jobs and resources as a few businesses in the area affected burned, as well as a police officer injured from a brick thrown to his head, is never good to hear.

What makes this worse, however, is social media – how it was used to fan the internal flames of the people involved after an incident yesterday afternoon, and how people once again reacted AFTER this began last night.  It sickens me how many people commenting called the rioters animals and said they need to go to jail WITHOUT understanding the cause of such anger.  I suppose we were a little spoiled when riots were over sports teams winning – not an angry community.

I don’t know what caused this – I’ve not lived in that area or visited it often enough to know.  I know people don’t usually riot like that without cause, nor do they take to attacking authority without cause.   This wasn’t some team winning/losing – this was anger and frustration, voiced with words by the aldermen and with flames by the citizens.

I still feel strongly that “Blue Lives Matter” – that the police who were there last night weren’t necessarily the cause to, or the continuation of, the riots, that efforts were made by police, and noted by the media, to build trust and support between them and the community.  Considering what’s been going on with the rest of the country, whatever happened last night could have been much worse than it was.

That’s also why “Black Lives Matter” – said sparking incident was a shooting earlier in the afternoon between officer and citizen, in an area full of incidents over recent weeks, months and years.  That gas station that burned was where a clerk shot a gun into the air to scare off some teens, and where there was boycotting as a result.

And yes, “All Lives Matter” – but when are you really going to see it?  The people who rioted – THEY’RE HUMAN.  Skin color, age, gender, belief – none of that changes that simple fact.  The riots that happened last night weren’t started by something simple, and they weren’t sparked by “animals.”

Such words and phrases are a small but important part of the divisiveness problem in the U.S. today.  These problems are not going away by simply shooting them or treating them like animals.  It’s going to come by treating each other with respect, by seeing each other equally, and by working to rebuild trust.  How we see each other has a lot to do with where this community, and the rest of America, goes from this.

Let’s Be Honest, America 2016 pt. 3: The Telephone Game, a.k.a. When Blind Faith Fails

An apology to those of you who speak to God daily:  this has nothing to do with your religious beliefs.  While I know there is a God, I also know that everyone has their own journey for a reason, and sometimes the belief has to stem from that journey.  It’s not my place to say, “God’s right Here!” – but it’s also not my place to say anyone’s wrong in their beliefs, either.

While it’s not my place to help anyone find an afterlife, I have every reason to be concerned about the current life we live – unfortunately, that means arguing with people who’ve become as fanatical in their political beliefs as they are in their religion.  This becomes extremely important as the politicians are equally, if not more, crazy and fanatical.  Again, the access to knowledge at our fingertips and the amount of information produced every second, minute, hour and day makes it difficult to imagine and sift through what is real and what isn’t.  Unfortunately, it makes it easy for those who realize how to use this knowledge to sway and manipulate knowledge to sway and manipulate the public -to what could be a disastrous result.

Most of us should be familiar with the telephone game:The first person whispers something to the second person, the second person whispers it to the third person, the third person whispers it to the fourth person, etc.  By the time you get it, what the original message was is forgotten – and usually what’s left is entertaining to compare.

Imagine a few people, with the money and resources to pay a few groups of “First people” a buttload of money to spread information.  Those people, powered by the internet to search and publish, research and twist, spread it to a few other people – not just through web pages, but at gatherings and meetings, on the radio and television, in the movies.  They spread it to a few more resourceful people, who spread it in similar ways.

Now imagine that first group being paid two things:  first, to spread said information with little “truthstones” (some facts plus some manufactured stuff) to lend credence to the story, and second, to cover their link to the original employer and source.

It sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  You’d think someone would be getting unhappy about a part of this and upending this scheme on everyone, but there’s a few ways around this:  Employ people who don’t need the money, who can pass for ordinary people like us, and who are equally fanatical about how this country should be run.

Some of us can find hintings of this, and can believe that one group could do this – but could all of our politics?

On one side, look at the stuff they’ve published, usually funded by their supporters but hitting theaters in parts of America where only the most popular films hit when they do.  (The other side, sadly, doesn’t have the grip on the media the party would have you believe.)  They won a few important cases, allowing them to manufacture and twist the news, allowing for outside groups funded by the manipulators to fundraise and air ads and information attacking the opposing party, etc.  The first amendment never said anything about the information being spread to be accurate, and while minor laws might punish the ordinary citizen, they’re mere mosquitos to the manipulators of that side.

On the other side, they do the exact same thing – they just try doing it more stealthly.  People often have to fight to get the truth from them, often resorting to illegal methods to do it, in doing so making the any truth obtained as murky as the lies both sides spread.  The same films are made, the same things happen on TV and in the Newspaper – same game, different players.

It’s easy to spell out how evil Trump is, and how horrible he’d be for the country – just as easy as it is to spell out how crooked Hillary is and how she belongs in jail.  Some of it is created by themselves, as they both tend to say questionable things (not always intentionally) that raises the ire of others.

A lot of it, however, is sadly the grown up version of the “telephone” game.

The things I believe aren’t based on what the opposition says.  I don’t need Trump telling me how evil Hillary is or how many crimes his supporters believe she’s committed – I can observe her actions and speeches and see that there are things to question about her presidency.  Likewise, I don’t need Hillary supporters reminding me of Trump’s mistakes or what he says – he says and acts in such a way as to prove how dangerous his election would be.  I also see how their fans act, people like you and I – THOSE people I care about.

Benghazi?  Trump University?  Do you even question who started these talking points?  I’ll give you hint:  Most people running for a higher position don’t brag about the mistakes they’ve made.  (They may talk about it, but there’s a huge difference between talk and brag.)

Quit buying into the lies – quit sending money to these supergroups spreading them, quit feeding attention to the people sharing them.  If you can’t prove or disprove it on your own (ie without a neutral party), ignore it.  You can find more in the actions and words of people, and how they handle problems and threats, than you will by the lies and misinformation of others.

In the final chapter of this next week, I will dive into sources I’ve been relying on for information, and explain some of the specifics behind it.  I won’t lie that it’s biased – most people don’t get the luxury of starting from a neutral point, sadly.  (That’s what makes my argument today so important:  unlike the existence of an afterlife beyond the pages of a book, we can prove – and choose to believe – what information is created by humans.)  How we choose to process the information, however, is crucial to the decisions we make in November.