My Feelings on Abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Early Morning Feelings of a Hospitalized Uncle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

















































































































































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

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

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

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

I’ve been a vocal component of a minority:  The people who oppose bans of any form but who want actions taken.  The bans part is not to be taken lightly:  among the most popular responses I see by politicians, depending on your political affiliation, is gun control, mass media (TV/Movies/Music/Video Games), and Mental Health.  According to the Washington Post (, more Americans see Mental Illness as the biggest cause, while Fortune Magazine and a new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds Congress and the President at fault.  (Fortune Magazine –, Washington Post –  Obviously, we can’t ban mental illness, but guns have been on the Democratic Party’s line-of-sight (pardon the pun) for almost as long as violent games, music, movies and TV have been the focus of the Republican Party.

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

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

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


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

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

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

2.  Veterans and Teachers with Guns in School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Most Important Thing – ACTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

A New Horizon – And A Happy Farewell

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

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

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

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

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

Sports Picks – Jan. 22nd, 2017

Football/Sports Update – Jan. 22nd, 2017

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

Continue reading

FB: 10 Albums That Influenced Me As A Teen

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sports Picks – January 7th, 2017

Football/Sports Update – Jan. 7th, 2017

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

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

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My New Year “Plan” for 2017

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

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Sports Picks – December 29th, 2016

Football/Sports Update – Dec. 29th, 2016

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

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Sports Update – December 11th, 2016

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

Football/Sports Update – Dec. 11th, 2016

  • Applebee’s Football Picks:

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

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

    Last Week’s Picks:

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

    This Week’s Picks:

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

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

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

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

    My picks last week were:

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

    My picks for this week are:

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

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

Weekday Update – Weekend Edition December 4th, 2016

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

Weekday Update

  • Football/Sports Update (Tuesday/Friday):

    • Applebee’s Football Picks:

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

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

      This Week’s Picks:

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

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

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

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

      My picks this week are:

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

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

Weekday Update (SUPERLATE) – November 30th, 2016

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

Weekday Update

  • Football/Sports Update (Tuesday/Friday):

    • Applebee’s Football Picks:

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

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

      Last Week’s Picks:


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


      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 – ) 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 News 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 –

      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 –

      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 –
    • 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 –


  • 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.
  • 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:

    (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.


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…
  • 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 – ) 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 – )

      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 – )

      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 – )

    • 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!