December 29, 2008

Thoughts About Memorial Services

Buon giorno. While this may appear somber at first, keep going.

I did not make it to my brother's funeral. With the snow and ice in Michigan and New York, the cost and difficulties of actually getting a flight just after Christmas, etc., I was not expected to be there. But I expect to make it to the interment service in the spring. However, aside from being there in spirit, parts of this earlier post and Sharon's writings were included.

My other brother and his wife told me that it went well. And it was very different that what you might expect. Sure, it started with a hymn (one of his favorites, "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands"), Scripture readings and prayers at the beginning and end. But the part I like was based on one of Jack's favorite characters, Frosty the Snowman! This was also because Jack was a "happy, jolly soul". The sermon title was, "Don't You Cry, I'll Be Back Again Someday!" What a great double meaning!

I was cheering inside what Keith, Sharon and Rev. Gary had put together for Jack. (Yes, I feel it's safe to put first names in here. Especially since Tommy the Knocker has volunteered to give trouble to anyone who gives trouble to them. Capice?) Good job!

But in a way, why the sad faces? Yes, someone is no longer with us. But shouldn't this be a celebration of his or her life? Lela and I agree, "Roast me and toast me". We also agree that cremation is best (much of my family is using that route). On a side note, I know that some people say, "Gosh, Cowboy Bob, isn't cremation a pagan thing?" My response is, "So what? They can have a pagan ritual, we can have a Christian ritual."

I remember a recent episode of Ghost Whisperer, where a friend of the departed was supposed to give a solemn message. Instead, he said (paraphrasing here), "He wouldn't want us acting like this, all sad and everything. Let's celebrate his life, the joy he's given us!" Then he played some music and had everyone in the church dance to it. I thought that was great.

Maybe the funeral industry needs an overhaul. A good mix of spiritual values and celebration seems to be in order. When it's my time, I want to be looking down (heh, I hope I'm looking down and not looking up, if you catch my drift) and seeing some joy. At least, I hope I've brought some joy and been of some benefit to people.

OK, that's enough. Although somewhat joyous, I have to admit that the monitor got blurry a couple of times.

Ciao, Jack!

Addendum 12-30-2008 :

"God, how I hate solemn funerals. When I die, take me into a room and burn me. Then my family and a few good friends should get together, have a few good belts, and talk about the crazy old times we all had together."

— Marion Robert Morrison (John Wayne) . Jack liked John Wayne.

December 26, 2008

Bulletproof People

Don't worry, gang, Stormbringer still has plenty of thunder left in him. Not as loud today because I'm tired after the Christmas festivities.

First off, I want to clarify. At my age, I use the term "kids" loosely. It doesn't have to be someone college age or younger. I've seen people in their thirties that I consider "kids".

"What in the world are you on about, Cowboy Bob?"

People consider themselves bulletproof. The younger they are, the more indestructible they seem to think they are. Especially in areas related to health. Scott the Collector can booze it up, stay out late and still come in to work and I don't see a lack in his performance. Ernie the Gambler is gambling by chowing down on fast food and sugary sodas instead of decent meals. I don't mean that it's wrong all the time, but it's a lifestyle for him. That crap catches up to you. (It's funny, ZZ Top's "TV Dinners" just started playing...)

I want to tell people to wise up so they don't have health problems in the future. You know that I've told you about some heart difficulties that I've had, and became diabetic as well. Take care of yourselves while you can so you don't have to have my experiences. Yes, I know that things will happen despite your best efforts. But why go asking for trouble?

Here are some ways that I see the bulletproof mindset in younger people.

  • The "know everything" attitude. I want to knock some people over the head when they won't listen to the voice of experience, or even another intelligent viewpoint on a subject. This is often carried out through a statement that sounds like a prophetic utterance, no matter how inane it really is. Have you ever had a political or religious discussion with someone in the public indoctrination — I mean, education — system? It's alarming.
  • Refusing to admit when they're wrong. This is a kind of subcategory of the above point. It shows a closed mind, unwilling to listen to someone else's viewpoint or consider facts of which they were previously unaware.
  • Reckless driving. I've lost friends and acquaintances of all ages, or had them maimed, because of their cocky driving.
  • Reckless sexuality. Sure, you're young and you have more stamina. But promiscuity and binge sex? Aside from the moral difficulties and risk of incurable diseases, there are spiritual and psychological side effects that you are not considering.
  • Gullibility. Just because something is on the Internet, television, in a movie or "documentary" does not mean you have to suspend your ability to reason. Check things out, for crying out loud! Will this cause them harm? Well, what do you think?
  • Bad eating habits. Although I had straightened out my own habits for several years, the junk food caught up to me and I had to have a heart blockage removed. It accumulates and catches up to you in the future. And those blasted sugary drinks? You're killing yourself, Skippy. On the psych front, bad food and drinks (especially with little or no exercise) contributes to depression.
I don't think I need to go on about having the music too loud for too long, illicit drug use, excessive alcohol and tobacco or the inability to appreciate ZZ Top.

And I don't care what your music star and movie star heroes are doing. Let them self-destruct and go into rehab. Your assignment is to pay attention to what you're doing to yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. Consider using moderation.

I know you're probably saying, "This does not apply to me". See what I mean? Hey, I had to try.

December 21, 2008

A Time of Loss

Not much thunder from Stormbringer today.

Isn't it strange how sad events happen around Christmas? One friend told me that his brother-in-law's wife died last week, and that the brother-in-law has had a series of difficulties recently. Another friend knows someone who has suicidal tendencies. A third friend lost his father on Christmas Eve. I can name other disasters that happened around the week or two before Christmas. Yes, they happen all year round. But it's certainly more difficult at this time of year.

Today is December 21, 2008. About an hour and a half ago, my oldest brother died. He was 64.

Jack ("Jackie" to many family and friends) was born with Down Syndrome. He could not talk, but was able to do basic functions for himself. He was content to watch television or listen to his phonograph records. Jack was not able to stay at home for most of his adult life, and was in various state institutions and eventually into foster care. For the last few years of his life, he was in an adult home.

Later in life, he had health problems that developed. At the end, he had to use a walker to get around, and an oxygen tank was a frequent companion. Various infections occurred, and the last one is what did him in.

He was stubborn. The doctors were simply guessing, and I believe that it tormented our parents when they said he would not live very long. "He won't live to puberty"..."He won't live to..." Ha! He fooled them all. In fact, we understood on the 19th that he would not last the day. Stubborn Jack held off until the 21st.

There have been people praying for our family at this time, and we all have appreciated it. My next oldest brother and his wife were the main facilitators of his care. They did a great job, and I was especially glad of what they had to do, and deal with, while I was 750 miles away.

I have to admit that I had trouble in my younger years understanding and dealing with his condition. That, and the fact that we were apart most of the time added up so that we were never close. But he was still my brother. Hey, I've admitted my faults and failings on here before, yes?

One memory that keeps coming back is that my mother (who passed away a few years ago) said, "Just think, in Heaven, Jackie will be perfect." That was something for me to look forward to then as well as now.

I wouldn't be on my game if I did not add one moment of anger. This is directed to the arrogant atheists that seek to take away the faith of those of us who believe in God. What do you have to offer? Are you going to attempt to take away the comfort that my brother is now perfect, at peace, entirely whole in Heaven? That he will be with our mother? Or that our father, who does not know anyone (or who he is himself) will join them in a grand, happy reunion one day? Or the rest of us, at that? I have some people to look up myself...

I'm going to be more blunt here: This is part of what Christmas is all about. The real meaning. Jesus came to live among men, to die, to be bodily resurrected. At this time of loss, we have the hope that he gives us. Capice?

Addendum 12-22-2008:
Here is an excerpt from a letter from my sister-in-law. As I said, my father does not know anyone anymore, and does not even know who he is.
We stopped in to see Dad today. He did not seem to understand. I stopped in on one of his neighbors. Doris told me that last night after dinner, "John started scratching back & forth in his chair as he normally does; then all of a sudden he let out a very loud howl." Doris said he sounded like an angry bear. This would have been out the time of Jackie's passing. Just thought you would want to know.
Perhaps my father did know after all...
(Edit: My father died less than two months later.)

December 17, 2008

Liberal Kids These Days

Gather 'round, kids. Uncle Bob has another story to tell. This one is true (and I do tell you when they're not), but I'm not going to give names and locations because I don't want to cause undue embarrassment. I have proof, but that's only for my own satisfaction and not for public view. Also, I pieced together some of the details after the excitement.

I was messing with an instant messenger and picking on the daughter of one of my goomah's. She's in college, and I started playing. She did not know who I was, but the clues were there and she would have figured it out. Why didn't she? She's a bright girl. The problem was that she has a jealous, controlling boyfriend that was right there. He took over the messaging and started in on me.

The girl had told him she knew who it was, but he was having a good time thinking that he was ripping me a new one. He dared to accuse me of sexual harassment, which was laughably untrue. (I have plenty of girlfriends at the club, I don't need to make my moves on a college kid. Another reason that I wouldn't make any moves on the girl is that she is extremely liberal and the opposite of me in every way.)

Let me stop the story for a moment and point out that colleges are liberal indoctrination centers. Liberal girl's boyfriend was obviously a liberal as well. Why? Because she wouldn't hang around him if he wasn't, and because of what passes for education in colleges.

OK, back to the story. It is interesting is that he insisted that I identify myself, but refused to identify himself ("I don't have to!"). I did not initiate a conversation with this guy, and told him that he had a double standard. He did not know what it means! When I pointed it out, he still justified his actions. He was dead wrong on all counts, but still insisted that he was oh so very right.

I was nice to him for the girl's sake. People who know me are aware of my online slapdowns that send my opponents home crying to Mommie. Damn, I love running rings around them logically!

What I want to show is that cafone boy was incapable of restraining his emotions so that he could reason, he would not listen to his girlfriend (she knew it was me, remember), he certainly would not listen to any reason from me, he was fond of himself for thinking he had me (bada bing!), and justified his double standard.

I place a high value on critical thinking, even when it comes to emotions. The above situation shows what I already knew. Namely, that colleges do not teach reasoning skills. Instead, they teach liberalism, which is not logical and appeals to emotions. Liberals are in charge of the country now, and they seldom resort to rational thought processes. Reason is needed for making intelligent decisions. And that's why Conservatives need to take this country back. Capice?

December 1, 2008

Guard Your Cash

Buon giorno. I had been putting off writing this article until the first of the year, but I think people need to know now rather than later.

Now that Obummer and the other Socialists are going to be in charge in the USA, and economies are interconnected, perhaps what I have to say will affect readers outside these borders as well. Much of what I'm going to say is common sense, but sometimes things need to be summarized and repeated.

The economies are in bad shape, we all know. Our national "leaders" have points of view that will only make things worse. They will continue to create an entitlement (welfare) mentality, and will raise your taxes to do it. You believe that B. Hussein Obama will keep his promises to only raise taxes on the "rich"? Dream on. Or you want to see them pay more than they already do? You're dismissed. We don't need class warfare in this room, anyway.

I have no intention of giving you investment advice, however. This is simply what it takes to survive.
  • Times are tough, and they're going to get tougher. Start now and plan ahead.
  • Get out of debt, or lower as much of your debt burden as you can. Don't be foolish and only pay the minimums on your credit card debts, or you'll be there forever. And you don't want to have huge amounts of debt to pay off when they raise their interest rates. Those companies are always looking for an excuse to trick you, so they'll simply write a new rule and raise the rates.
  • Consider the underground economy. I'm not talking about the black market or downright illegal activities (that's some of my turf, anyway, so back off). Barter your way through things. What you need is the backyard mechanic that will fix your car because he owes you a favor anyway, or you can owe him one (be sure to pay it back!), or you may have other goods and services instead of money.
  • Pay cash. You can use this to gain a better rate. I know someone that needed limousine service and saved a couple of hundred dollars by paying cash. Hey, if some companies want to do business "off the books", that's up to them. Or the guy that will work on your computer if you give him cash or give him something else that he wants.
  • Do not buy things you do not need. I know you want that big-screen television, but put it off for a while. Maybe next year. If something you need has to be replaced, you'll probably have to do it. But not if it's going to be an expensive "upgrade". Not yet.
  • Back off from pressure. I have long believed that haste is Satan's favorite tool. "Do it now, or you'll lose the opportunity!" Sure, Buttercup. If I act now, I don't have time to think about it, figure my budget, find an alternative, see if I need it in the first place, and if you're a crook. Listen to that inner voice of caution.
  • Plan. That's the alternative to the pressure that I just mentioned. If you need or want something (Do I really need to tell you the differences between needs and wants?), look at your budget and plan for it. And learn about what you're wanting. Be an educated consumer. The more it costs, the more you should plan and think.
  • Don't be cheap. If you take the cheapest way out instead of paying for quality, you'll pay for the cheap stuff and pay to replace it with the good stuff. This is for things that matter. I don't care if you get salt and pepper shakers at the dollar store, capice?
  • Continue to give. It's a proven fact that Conservatives are more generous than Liberals, and charities will be hurting. I don't have time to go into the psychological and the spiritual aspects of giving, so I'll just say that we need to be here for others. Why? Because it's the right thing to do. Oh, you want something more practical. OK, try this: If you're not here for them, they won't be here for you. But I hope you're not that selfish.
I have some advice for businesses, too, in case they're willing to listen.
  • Make it up in volume. Don't be so greedy that you need fifty percent profit on ten items, when you can sell many more items if the customers see a lower price tag.
  • Excel in service. Tim's Automotive in Kingston, New York has done good work for my crew, and we recommend them. In fact, this "word of mouth" advertising brought us there.
  • Listen to the customer's needs as well as their words. Don't be a cheap stronzo and try to get them to spend money on something they don't need. Sell the correct product or service and they'll love you for that.
OK, Cowboy Bob is done for today. I hope you learned something. In fact, I implore you to follow this advice. And feel free to use the comments section.

September 24, 2008

Why I've Decided to Vote Democrat

Buon giorno. This arrived in my Inbox, and I decided to share it with the world.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

I'm voting Democrat because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

I'm voting Democrat be cause when we pull out of Iraq I trust that the bad guys will stop what they're doing because they now think we're good people.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday CAN tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

I'm voting Democrat because I'm not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as THEY see fit.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe three or four pointy headed elitist liberals need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would NEVER get their agendas past the voters.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that when the terrorists don't have to hide from us over there, they'll come over here, and I don't want to have any guns in the house to shoot them with.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that good intentions and lofty ideas are more important than demonstrating any mechanism or experience necessary to make them happen.

I'm voting Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I've decided to marry my dog.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn't.

Makes you wonder why anyone would EVER vote Republican, now doesn't it?

September 15, 2008

A Moving Experience

Buona sera. Cowboy Bob really hates the moving process, and that's what I'm in the middle of right now. There was the search process (which is frustrating and irritating enough), and I came through that in one piece. After the elation of finding a new place to go, there's the very tedious and stressful process of getting everything over there. Sure, the boys in the crew are more than willing to be pals and help drag furniture and boxes. But I have to put the stuff in the boxes, pack fragile items carefully, mark the boxes correctly ("Where the hell did I put the spare clip for the P-99?") -- and sort things.

The older we get, the more we need (and often want) to simplify. When moving day comes, you regret being a pack rat for all those years because you have to carry things that you haven't looked at in years or even forgot that you own in the first place. When the moving process is not hurried, you have time to sort through things and get rid of stuff. (When the moving process is hurried, you realize how much you don't need much more than the clothes on your back because you don't want certain unpleasant people to find you.) Simplify.

Here are some thoughts for getting ready for moving day (and uncluttering your life):

  • Act like there will be a moving day someday, even if you're not planning on one. That way, you're less likely to hold onto stuff that you really don't need; less hassle if the time does arrive.
  • Be honest with yourself. The old rule that "if you don't miss something when it's been out of sight and out of mind for a year, then you really don't need it" is a useful guideline. Especially if it's a picture of a lover that dumped you.
  • You can't be absolutely strict, however. Sometimes, there's a certain inner desire that you can't define that makes you keep something that's not practical. OK, if it doesn't take up too much room, and you don't have too many of those sentimental draws, fine, keep it.
  • Check with yourself later on. Maybe something you held onto can be discarded now; you're finally ready to let it go.
  • Re-evaluate every once in a while. "Where does this belong, instead of the junk drawer? Do I really need this in the first place?"
For the active packing aspect:
  • Give to charity or get in touch with Freecycle. I really hate it when people throw something perfectly good into the trash instead of giving it to someone else. It helps your conscience, is a form of recycling and probably brings you good karma.
  • Think about where it's going. Do you have room for it?
  • Plan the packing itself. Sure, that box will hold quite a few books. But can you lift it? Also, how much travel is involved? Your porcelain James Bond figurine may need extra bubble wrap if it's going to survive.
  • Don't judge your friends. Sure, there's always someone that will promise to help you move and then be a no-show. Forgive them. Also, some people that you think will help may have back problems or just have something that demands their time and they just can't do it. Get over it. However, if you are the one making the promise to help, be a man of your word. If you don't want to do it, don't make someone think you'll be there when you have no intention of doing it.
OK, that's enough. You get the picture, and you'll develop your own thinking and planning habits. And you'll learn to simplify.

September 9, 2008

Matters of Size

Advisory: Mature Content

Yep, I put an advisory on this one. It’s not going to be profane, illustrated or full of graphic descriptions of personal acts, but I’m reluctant for kids to read this.

Yours truly is not in much of a mood to kid around, so I’ll just get right to it. This one is for the men. If women are reading, fine. In fact, maybe you’ll want to send the link to this post (or use the e-mail button at the bottom of the article, next to the comments tag) and send it to male friends that need it.

I don't know how the rest of the world acts, but Western society places a great deal of value on the size of, uh, certain appendages. You know, the ones we usually cover up in public. Yeah, I see you’re catching on. Well, I’ll start with women anyway. I know you’re still reading this, and the first discussion point helps work towards my main goal.

I've heard women saying that they wish they could “upgrade” to larger breasts. Why? Because of the role society places on big hooters. And society changes. I read somewhere that in the 1920s, flat-chested was the “in” thing, and larger women would hide their size to appear smaller! And it’s not just men who put each other down. Women will put one another down for being less-endowed in the chest department.

If a woman isn't happy with her measurements, she has a few choices. One is to make the entire package more presentable. You change what you can, Cupcake, and have to live with the rest. Make the most of what you can, especially personality. If you think that all the guys will reject you because of the size of your melons (or apples, or limes, or whatever), well, first of all, you're wrong. Second, if some guy is going to reject you because of the fruit you bear (or bare), then he's a jerk and you're better off without him. Some men might have preferences, but it's usually the entire package that we want. If you have what your man wants, then accept that fact, and accept yourself as well.

By the way, forget the padding. Just like colored contact lenses, padding is false advertising. If you get a man interested in you, he'll eventually find out. It's better to be honest and up front (heh!).

I was so taken with one of my girlfriends that I didn’t even notice that she was impaired in the pair. She had so much going for her, I didn’t care about her measurements!

And now for the main topic.

It's more difficult for men in this society in regards to penis size. (Yes, I said it, deal with it.) It's become a measure of character and "manliness" to have a big cucumber. Uh huh. Wonder why this became a standard? Maybe you’ve been looking at too much porn, Zeke? (There really is a site called “circus penis”, featuring freakishly large men.) Porn stars are hired to fit an image that the producers want to present. And that image is not the typical male. No, commercial porn is fake. (Get real, nobody can last that long and have a woman squeal with joy the entire time. The director stops them, lets them cool down, and then they resume. Then there's editing the content.) Also, if you ever read porn stories, you’ll want to laugh out loud because the men are all so well-endowed: “She moaned with joy as she took my entire eight inches…” No wonder men have inferiority feelings! They watch porn (with all the realism of wrestling in the WWE), and they read fantasy stories and think that they’re real. I knew a guy that posted under the name of Hugh Jorgan. Sound it out a couple of times, you’ll get it.

Surveys say that most men are dissatisfied with their size, and wish they could be bigger.

Men get all upset because they think they’re not big enough, and that women (or “partners”, if you swing that way) will reject them because of that. Well, that’s between you and your lover. If you're pleasing, that’s all you need.

Let me point some things out, though. Because society equates “manliness” with penis size, and somehow, having a massive schlong automatically makes you a good lover. Neither assumption is true in the least. Notice the ridicule heaped on men? “Yeah, Charlie, you must have a small thing, there!” Or, “You’re a member of the Two Inch Club!” May as well make fun of someone for being too short, or too tall. Nobody can change those physical attributes, either.

Think, for crying out loud! How can something that is a genetic crap-shoot, an accident of birth, be something to be proud of? Man or woman, penis or breast, it’s nothing you built yourself. You have no right to boast about it, and you can’t change it. Accept it.

I know women that are intimidated by huge men. Doing the Bang Tango is sometimes painful for them! Sure, there are women that will have a preference for a “big” man. Fine, be that way. (Some have a physical problem that they can only feel “Hugh Jorgan”, and a minor surgery can correct that.) But there are many more women that are prefer a thoughtful lover that wants to please her.

Let me repeat this (and I hate to repeat myself): Having a big stick doesn’t automatically make you a good lay. Whatever you have, it’s how you use it. Learn some techniques, some skill, some restraint – and don’t be selfish. If you please her, she’ll most likely want you again.

If you want to get laid, you need to have some things going for you. Being married and faithful is vital. Good hygiene will help. So will decent manners, a job, an interesting personality, adequate clothes (don't be going Joe Fashion Conscious on me, though). Do some research at AskMen.com and Men's Health, among others, to see what turns women off — and on. Some goofball in a stained T-shirt, holding a beer, stinking like a goat and saying, "C'mere sweet cakes, gimme some sugar" isn't going to get lucky, is he? (Women aren't turned on by fat old guys. Unless those old guys have a lot going for them, especially money.) Oh, and walk with confidence.

Age doesn't always matter, either. Sean Connery was considered sexy in his sixties! Look at him, with that poise, confidence, walk...sounding nice, good thing I'm straight...

I’m going to close this with some links that back me up. I hope you guys will feel better about yourselves, accept the package (heh) that was delivered, and use it well. Here they are, read up, class: First, second, third.


Addendum 9-10-2008:
The last time I had sex, I had to pay an extra twenty dollars. I asked, "What's the extra twenty dollars for?"
"Finder's fee", she answered.

One last item for the Nervous Nellies that insist that they're too small: Remember seeing adverts for Enzyte, the "natural male enhancement" pill, with Smiling Bob? The penis size fears are so widespread that this pill was copied. Bad move. It's so fake that the founder of the enhancement pill is in jail for fraud!


September 2, 2008

It's a Morality Thing

I've been pondering this for quite some time, and some recent observations prompted me to write about it. Remember about a year ago when I wrote about The Arrogant Atheist? Yes, then I did some other stuff that was similar. I've noticed that atheism (and its kid brother, agnosticism) and liberalism go hand-in-hand. It appears that there is an elitist approach to atheism.

Why would someone claim to be an atheist? I can think of several reasons, including:

  • Upbringing and bad educational experiences
  • Bad experiences in life
  • Cultural influences
  • Political and social environment
  • Peer pressure, or the desire to please other people
  • Disappointment based on bad experiences in life (i.e., expecting God to be a grand Santa Claus in the sky, giving you whatever you want, whenever you want it)
  • Elitism
  • Moral choices
It's the last two parts that I want to touch on today.

Please pay attention, 007! I am not going to say that all atheists are the same, and that my definitions will fit all of them. These are observations and generalities coupled with my own experiences and discussions. I've met atheists that are very matter-of-fact about their lack of belief: "I'm an atheist." End of discussion, big deal.
First, there are peaks and valleys in the popularity of atheism. The colleges and universities that help to spawn this unfortunate state of mind were usually founded by Christians, and for a Christian purpose. Well, that obviously faded. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was the Jesus People movement among the young. That faded as well. And atheism would gain popularity for a while.

A recent discussion in Gizmodo took shots at a Christian organization for objecting to porn being available on airlines. The details of that are not what I'm after, but I noticed the anti-God crowd having a field day slinging rotten fruit at the people that want to make a stand for what they believe in. And one unintentionally amusing comment was made to the effect of, "You're an atheist and said so. I respect you more for that." Oh, please! There's an elitist shock value that comes with claiming to be an atheist, like the desire to make little old ladies say, "Oh!" in shock at dinner parties. You're an atheist, Cupcake? Wow, what a maverick you are. Or would have been. Nowadays, your kind is a dime a dozen.

Many atheists that I've come across want to show that they're renegades, and that they're more intelligent than everyone else. (For that matter, I'll never forget an atheist in my school, he was about fifteen years old, and exclaimed, "I think all Christians should be burned at the stake!" What a stronzo.) These arrogant cafones want to destroy the faiths of those of us who believe in a higher power. They want to silence us and essentially put us in a box.

Why?

These elitists claim that they are protectors of freedom, and do not want to see the establishment of religion in government. Fine, neither do most of us. (F'rinstance, who wants mandatory Bible instruction in school from a teacher that resents presenting it in the first place?) Those arguments ring hollow. There's something going on here, and they probably don't know it themselves.

It's a morality thing. If there's a God, then he makes the rules -- maybe we should find out what he has to say. And he may not like the way you're living. So, you dismiss his existence and carry on as if your choice was reality. Why do you think they're so opposed to Intelligent Design theories being presented? Oh, I think I just answered that a few sentences back.

I suppose that I had better go on into more dangerous ground. I can't help it.

How many atheists are Liberals? One...two...one thousand...six thousand...never mind, there are quite a few. OK, how many atheists are Conservatives? One...two...uh, considerably less, I believe.

That's because people who do not believe in a higher power are drawn to political parties that have an "anything goes" stance on morality. Why is abortion so important to American Liberals? They claim to protect a woman's "right to choose". Yeah, and she also had the right to choose to use birth control, or to keep her legs together in the first place. But that's a moral point, and will not be discussed.

The unbelieving elitists were incensed that their liberal candidate for the Presidency of the United States lost by several million votes in 2004, and voter turnout was very high. Afterward, many liberal sour-graping elitist liberals were blaming the more Conservative southern states for the loss. Well, and blaming religious people. And blaming anything else they could think of. But they also wanted to protect the country from the evil Conservatives, even though their position was clearly outvoted. Although the votes were cast, they wanted to save us from ourselves. Oh, how generous. The elite, losing minority wants to protect the unintelligent, uninformed and religiously deluded people and make things go their way! Scary.

This "map" from Michael "Fat Bastard" Moore says a great deal. They resent believers. In fact, Liberals are afraid of people who believe in God and have moral convictions.

I think these are fair questions to ask. And I can't help my observations. Check them for yourselves.

So, if you claim to be an atheist, and you're one of those arrogant types, I suggest that you ask yourself a couple of questions. First, is it an intellectually honest position?

Second, if you're wrong and you come face to face with God, do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?


Addendum 9-04-2008:
I promise that this is unintentional, but I'm happy to have found it. The day after I posted this, Rush Limbaugh said something very powerful that fits this topic:

"To believe in something greater than government, to believe in something greater than global warming, to believe in something greater than health care for all, to believe in something greater than pure, unadulterated socialism, is to be demeaned and disparaged. Like God is to be condemned. People who believe in God are to be condemned. The American left -- which now embodies the working class government, the Washington government, the American mainstream media, and the Democrat Party; that's the American left -- are truly frightened of God. That's who they're trying to beat. They're trying to wipe God out of every heart and soul in this country that believes in God. God is their competitor. Those of you who believe in God and are God's soldiers, you become the enemy on the battlefield."
Rush Limbaugh, 9-03-2008
Addendum 11-11-2008: Dr. Paul Kengore has some exit polling results that support what I say here.

August 27, 2008

Let's Go Phishing

You know I'm frequently trying to provide a public service. Here's another one.

This puppy just dropped into my personal Inbox. If you get this, don't click on anything, just delete it. It claims to give me an update to Windows XP and to Vista. If it was from Microsoft, well, my computer is registered, I get automatic updates, and they know full well what system I have. Why delete it? After a brief search, I found out it's a phishing scam (click for definition), and I took out the active link:

Free Update Windows XP,Vista
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July 23, 2008

Is This Manly?

A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Why the long face?"

Jokes are over.

OK, Gang, Uncle Bob is feeling a bit philosophical. Not the "meaning of life" kind of stuff. These questions are more immediate and, dare I say, relevant. This post is mainly for men. I'm sure women will read it and chime in with the comments button, too, and that's fine.

Over at The Art of Manliness, questions have been raised about, "Is (activity) manly?" The problem is, the term "manly" means different things to different people. Does an activity make you a better man? Maybe, and maybe not. I'm hoping that the guys at TAOM read this and give some input.

An assumption that can be made is that, if something is not "manly", it is somehow "un-manly". What does that mean, then? That it diminishes your manhood? Careful with that six-gun, Tex, you can shoot yourself in the foot with that assumption.

Worse yet, there's the assumption that if an activity is not "manly", then, by default, it's effeminate. Whoa there, Big Fella! That's a big leap. And an unwarranted assumption. (Yeah, big words. Told you I was philosophical today.) An activity could be considered "not manly" and be just an activity, nothing more.

A question posted at The Art of Manliness was: "Are video games 'manly'"? I don't really care. Does playing them make you a better man, somehow? Not bloody likely. Does playing them make you effeminate? Only if you spend too much time playing some kind of Dress-Up Dolly thing.

I'm making this a two-in-one discussion. First, I pointed out that certain terms mean different things to different people. That should be a given. Now, for something more difficult, yet related.

Is it "manly" to hit a woman? Is it "unmanly"?

My own feeling is that it's dead wrong ninety nine percent of the time. Ever hear the joke, "What do you say to a woman with two black eyes? Nothing! You already told her twice"? Not laughing? Me, neither. Sure, she annoys you. Yes, maybe she hit you, too. When I think about one of my favorite goomahs that is five foot two and thin as a rail, she could do almost anything to me and I'd let her get away with it. If someone raised a hand to her in my presence, he'd pay a big price, I promise you that. If it's someone that you love or care about that is having a tantrum, walk away. In that case, I think that taking it is a manly thing to do.

I was talking to a guy the other day and asked, "What if a woman starts beating you in the face?"

He replied, "I don't care who you are, man or woman, I'll take you down." I've also had women say the same thing.

But what if a woman is powerful enough to inflict harm, and she hits you first? Hey, if your safety is in jeopardy, I feel that all bets are off.

Part of this is because of Neil's problem (related in the previous post). He had someone treating him like crap for years, despite all he'd done for her. When she got physical with him on another occasion, he took it. When she tried again (face punching, that is), he hit back. This dame meant him harm.

Would he be a man for walking away and taking it? Most people would say, "Yes". He felt that he had to take a stand, and put the bully in her place because she would only get worse. (And she's not some tiny, frail thing that happened to have a bad day.) Is he somehow less of a man because he hit her back? (The key word is back. She hit him before, remember, and he took it. She hit him first in this instance, too.)

I don't think so.

But I promise you this, Neil isn't happy with himself, the situation or his actions. He felt it had to be done, but he didn't like it in the least.

Were his actions manly? Unmanly? A different category? I'd like to know what people think. Hit the comments button. You have to hit it first. You have my permission.

Addendum 7-29-2008: AoM seems to have missed some of what I'm trying to say:
"...wants to know what AoM means when they ask if something is manly or not. Really, the purpose of the survey question is to make it as open-ended as possible. Commenters are free to define “manliness” in their own way. (Isn't that pretty much what I said?) I personally envision it to mean, is this item or activity befitting of a grown man...believes that the opposite of manly is effeminate. (He did not read the article closely. I indicated that this is one possible conclusion, but I do not think it is necessarily true)This is not necessarily the case, although it could be. But the opposite of “manly” could just as well be “boyish.” Thus, to say video games are not manly is not to say they are effeminate, but instead to say they are childish."

In addition, he missed the bigger point, that the "manliness" discussion and the video game example was a springboard for a more important question. Those of you who have read this far will already know what that is.

Addendum 12-12-2009: I expanded on this subject here. Trust me, it's worth your time!
Addendum 8-03-2008:
Found out that this post is linked to here. Good reading on the subject of manliness.

July 22, 2008

More Emotional Terrorism


Buona sera. I've been busy. Not only was Lela out and my crew had to do extra work (yes, including yours truly), I've had to spend a lot of time talking to my old friend Neil (and I still wish he was in my crew). In our talks, I've mentioned the control freak and the way she makes Neil's life a living hell. First and foremost, she's a selfish, whiny control freak (see this post). Also, she had a go at Neil, who showed amazing restraint in not ripping her head off (discussed in that post). Neil's drawback is that he's been trying to be a nice guy instead of heading for the hills when he realized that the control freak's mother is an enabler and wants this lazy welfare slob ruining and running her life, and ruining his life, too. This cazzo is physically an adult, for crying out loud! Time to grow the rest of the way up and get a life!

After interrogating Neil for hours (I didn't think I was interrogating him, but he felt that way), I'm going to put this story together. It'll take a while, but it's amazing.

This is set in an apartment. The apartment is small, and the top floor of a two-level house.

Neil had not been having much sleep lately. He'd wake up with his mind racing and being angry at the situation, at his wife, at the adult child -- and at himself. He felt that by giving in and letting this 20-something-going-on-13-year-old ruin their lives, he was giving away his "Man Card" in efforts to live in peace.

But there is no peace with a control freak. Only submission. They're "takers"; this one instantly forgets all the things Neil has done for her over the years.

On Monday morning, his mind and emotions went into overdrive while he was in the shower. He's tried to co-operate with his wife and get along, but the wife's approach had been too coddling to please him. Sure, there was change. But it was for the worse. You can't appease a terrorist.

So, he got himself ready for work and had a plan in mind. Not a good plan, but remember, he had pretty well snapped inside. He knocks loudly on the girl's door at 6.45 AM (she hates waking up before the crack of noon). When she finally opened the door, he told her that she's going to start doing some things around the house, and doing them right. (After all, Neil and his wife work, and work extra, to pay bills that she has run up. Why not let "Miss Sit Around The House And Eat And Watch Television And Poop 46 Times A Day And Talk On The Phone" do something useful?) Naturally, with his rude approach and tone, she tells him...well, I don't want to give this an "adult rating", so I'll just tell you that she was rude and profane, and started to shut the door.

He kicked the door back open and said, "It's either winds of change or fist of rage". Well, naturally, words were exchanged, to say the least. Bitchley shoved Neil, and Neil shoved back. Then, she decided that she needed to punch him in the face.

Well, the last time she did that, he tolerated it. But he also resolved that it would not happen again. So, he hit back. She shoved and hit, and he gave her a helluva running shove back into her room, into some stuff and onto the floor. He was on top of her back and screaming some things he picked up from Kid Rock into her ear, essentially telling her never to touch him again.

The wife is freaking out and blaming Neil for his outburst, even though she has said that she's long been fed up with the baby girl's antics. (The "baby" is that way emotionally. Physically, she's in her 20s, like I said. Five foot six, I think, three hundred pounds or so. So, she wasn't easy to move! She built that girth up over years of doing nothing.) So, everyone's angry at Neil. His wife asks, "Why?" Neil says, "It's been a long time coming. Your way hasn't worked all these years."

But what's he supposed to do? Let her hit him again? He felt that she's a bully, an emotional terrorist, and needed to be stood up to (bad grammar here, I'm wound up too, get over it). He also knows that the police and the courts side with females ninety percent of the time in the USA. When she called the cops, he took anything metal or considered remotely dangerous out of his pockets and only had his identification.

The police came and listened to both sides of the story. Amazingly, Neil didn't have to wear metal bracelets and go to the cop shop like he was expecting. More amazingly, the police suggested that baby adult girl should be evicted, or Neil and his wife move away and leave her there! Yes, she was that credible to them -- they didn't take her very seriously.

Neil called the landlord to fix the window that had been damaged. She had chained the door and wouldn't answer it, so the landlord had to wait for the grown-ups to come home and let him in. Neil offered to pay for damage, but there was nothing that the landlord couldn't handle. And he wasn't angry, either. But no more property damage, please!

That evening, Neil and his wife came home and made plans. His wife's sister and the sister's boyfriend would come over to try to mediate. Sure. Worth a try.

Everyone was waiting. Control Freak finally comes in late (another power move, you see, since she knew it was happening and had agreed to it). Things went reasonably well at first. There were some disagreements, Neil was told where he was wrong and agreed to most of it, but not all. The witch was told that if she wants respect, she needs to give it as well.

She said that she has a knife in her room "for protection". Neil said the had made his point and has no intention of going in there anyway. (Later, he learned that the biggest enabler of them all, Neil's mother-in-law, suggested the knife! What a lame brain! What, she wants the granddaughter to kill Neil, then Neil's wife is a penniless widow and the wicked stepchild is in prison for life. Would that make her happy? Coddling is absurd. Brainless coddling is insane.)

After a while, Herself was caught in some lies and had her story clarified, she got louder and more irrational. The mediators were still doing well. But then, she launched into a tantrum, screamed about Neil, "I hate him!" and stormed out of the building.

In the aftermath, the mediators told Neil and his wife that the girl is hopeless. Also, Neil should watch his back. (The mother had been afraid of the daughter years before, and had hidden all the knives in the house out of fear for her own safety.) Best bet: evict her. She refuses to co-operate, wants to control the entire household, and won't do any giving of her own.

With the wife's anger and resentment (and used to being controlled by the girl and her own parents), well, she's not all that pleasant lately, either. Neil thinks that the marriage is over, or will be soon. Anyone have a place for him to stay?

The lesson of the story? I don't know. Stay away from stronzos? Maybe. I just wanted to share this amazing tale. Tragic, but amazing.

It's a good thing I wasn't dealing with that wicked adult child. I don't pull my punches. I'd be in jail again, and they'd need an ambulance to haul her away. She got off easy, and should be glad that Neil didn't "lose it" completely.

July 6, 2008

The Scams Just Keep on Rolling!

What can I say? If you get something like this, don't fall for it! And this is hilarious: Two of the links show that Kim Woo Choong is going to jail for fraud! These losers can't even scam right! And they want me to invest funds in China? Yeah, I'll invest in the Tibetan people! It'll be a helluva birthday gift for the Dalai Lama!

Now, I also hope you don't break the cardinal rule, and I'll say it again: NEVER give personal or confidential information away to strangers. "If it's too good to be true, it probably is" still holds true, so don't trust this stuff.

Some of these stronzos are stupid enough to keep circulating their names all over the Internet for a while. But later on, they'll change their names. The basic approach that I've posted in scams in this Weblog will still remain, however. So don't be fooled.

Dear Friend,

This is a Management Placement on behalf of Mr. Kim Woo Choong.

Mr. Kim Woo Choong is looking for an experienced business person/company that can profitably invest monies in excess of Fourty Nine Million US Dollars outside China. The sum will be paid from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Visit our bank website at http://www.icbcasia.com/eng/index.shtml
to request immediate information.



Most importantly, you will be required to:

[1]. Act as the original beneficiary of the funds.
[2]. Receive the funds into a business/private bank account.
[3]. Invest/Manage the funds outside of China.

Mr. Kim Woo Choong is willing to pay 10% for your role as the
beneficiary partner to the funds. Also, a subsequent 10% "Management
Commission” will be paid for your advised investment services.

If you prefer to be re-contacted for more express information, please
send us your:

[1] Full Names:
[2] Contact address:
[3] Direct Telephone No:

Be advised to visit the following links to be better acquainted with
Mr. Kim Woo Choong’s current profile and personality.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/BUSINESS/05/30/skorea.daewoo/?section=cnn_latest
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/HF01Dg03.html
http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=8637

We expect your correspondence and our response will be swift. Please
write back promptly via this confidential email address
mailcheung@aim.com, and I shall refer you to the appropriate quarters
for more information.

Signed:
Mr. Cheung Pui.
Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited
33/F, THE ICBC Tower 3 Garden Road,
Central Hong Kong

*************************
Addendum 7-13-2008
This scam just in. At an account under one of my assumed names. Aside from what I've been teaching you for several months, what more evidence does anyone need that it's a fraud?

Attn: Beneficiary
We wish to inform you of the just concluded Chevron Texaco Promotions held in London, United Kingdom. The Sum of $450,000.00 USD (Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand Us Dollars) was awarded to you as a result of the draw held. Your email was selected as one of the winning emails for this year's CHEVRON ONLINE ENDOWNMENT FUND AWARD (COEFA).

To file for claims you are to contactour claims director, Mr.Jean Paul of E-security Financial Trust Funds with his contact details below.

Mr.Jean Paul
Email:mrjeanpaul@gawab.com
Tel No: +447031970998
Announcer:Barrister.Martin Singh
Chevron Texaco Promotion

July 5, 2008

I Won The Lottery!

Wowie! No more sneaking at night, no more shaking down late payments for cheese deliveries, no more government work...Yeah, sure. One of the first rules in Not Being Scammed is that you don't fall for "winning" a lottery that you never entered. In a foreign country. Where they don't know your name. Don't be a cafone.

I have fun showing these scammers up, so here's today's lesson. From the keyboard of the lovely and talented Stephanie Wilson:

UK GAMING BOARD ALERT.
Compliments of the day to You and Your Family.
We wish to inform you of the result of the National Lottery Sweepstakes program
The entire staff of the Uk National Lottery wishes to inform you
that your Email address has won the total Cash Prize of £850,000.00
The draw was done electronically with several email addresses provided
to this office by microsoft to enhance the utilization of the internet.
Your email address attached to Serial no: 5368/02, was
Picked as One Of the Five Winning email Addresses.
For Claim Details,Contact: Fiduciary Agent Mr.Brian Hunt
Email: brianhunt103@hotmail.com
Tell:+44 70457 03793
Congratulations!!
National Lottery Inc

June 30, 2008

Control Freak

Ernie the Gambler, Neil and I were having an interesting talk about control freaks the other day. We were trying to figure out what their problem is in the first place, and how to disarm them.

Remember when I did that piece about manipulation and being manipulated? Well, the control freak is worse. Everyone wants to have some control of their lives, their destiny, their workplace, their front porch, whatever. And mentally healthy people don't want to be controlled, they want at least some say in their relationships.

These people are so weak minded that they are in so much fear and anxiety in their own lives, they want to control your life as well. You don't have much say when you're in a relationship with a control freak: Do what you're told. The problem is, when a control freak is a raving psychotic, there is no pleasing them; the rules constantly change. When you do what you're told or forced to do, this worst of controllers is still not pleased.

Control freaks are often like verbal machine guns. They use manipulation techniques that are blatant, and you feel like you've been machine gunned. You may or may not know what happened when the control freak is done with you, but you know that you feel lousy.

Other times, control freaks can be more subtle, but they still exert tremendous pressure until they get their way. This is a dreadful way to live. You can be controlled and manipulated, but you really don't know it until it's too late. And you can wind up learning their evil ways and using them to control and manipulate good people in your life.

Also, watch out for passive-aggressive traits, that's a vicious control and manipulation that sick people utilize.

I promise you from experience, you are damaged by long-term exposure to control freaks. They bring you down and they damage your self-esteem. In fact, you can end up being dependent on their control, because you've lost your own will and "need" to be controlled. God help you. Your best bet is to get away from control freaks. They do not know how to give or receive genuine love. All they know is how to take away. There is no pleasing them. So, if you're in a relationship with one, get the hell out! It's not true friendship or love. Take a good, long, honest look at it and see. If they want to get professional help, fine. After that, maybe then you can see about starting over in a relationship with them. But be very careful! Not that they'll admit to needing help in the first place, so they'll never seek it out. Capice?

For those of you who are confined with a control freak through living arrangements, a relative, a spouse: Get help. You'll need a therapist with good skills to help you deal with this kind of monstrosity if you can't get away from it.

Here is an interesting article on control freaks, if you want more information. And God help Neil and others who have to live with this kind of garbage that ruins their lives.

June 24, 2008

XP Antivirus

Uncle Bob is angry today. The Internet should be a fun and safe place. What a crock! (Although what it says is true, this link has strong profanity.)

Hal the Hacker was busy, so I had to help Teenie on my own. She got her fingers on the "XP Antivirus" software. It's vicious. And why was Teenie surprised by this, after all I've taught her? Well... "The new XP antivirus 2008, that hit the World Wide Web computers in March, is a major update to its predecessor. By calling it "major update" I mean that XP anti virus became more violent, more resilient, more immune to removal attempts, more "intelligent"; now it's recovering itself after being removed via Add and Remove Programs option in Windows Control Panel...This year's XP antivirus is more colourful, too, and features same interface as many legitimate antispyware software tools. It's totally understandable why even senior computer users install this rogue antivirus blindly believing to be protected and secure, while in reality they leave the gates of their computer wide open for a new flood of malware to come in and take control of the PC." I found that write-up here.

So this beastie pretends to be your friend, but you probably clicked on something and got it installed. If you haven't, don't. But you still may be tricked into installing this monstrosity. All it does is try to sell itself. What does it do, precisely? It give false errors, for one. You have problems, you have viruses! Liar!

"As you can see this program is fraudware in that makes changes on your computer and then states these changes are infections as a scare tactic to have you purchase the software. It goes without saying that under no circumstances should you buy it. The program does come with a removal option in the computer's Add or Remove Programs list, but when you attempt to uninstall it, all that happens is the entry is removed from the list and program's process is terminated. Next time you reboot, XP AntiVirus will start up again." The instructions for how to remove the farging bastich are found here, about halfway down the page. I believe that the part about scanning with Panda was a sales pitch. I couldn't connect with Panda, and the unintall instructions worked just fine. But I did follow up with Ad-Aware, just to be certain.

So, XP Antivirus and Vista Antivirus, it's brother, are not your friends. Kill them. Follow the advice in the links I gave you. I use good safety software, and I'm sure many of you do, too. But things like this can still sneak up on you. I've had to find detailed removal instructions before — wait, was that for me, or for someone else?


Hey, XP fiends! My favorite goomah has a present for you. Don't come around her any more, capice?

Addendum 7-31-2008:
I found something else that should be useful on this subject here.
Addendum 8-28-2008: Here's yet another useful piece.


June 19, 2008

More Monkey Business

Still waiting for news on the Tibetan protests for yesterday and today. The Chinese changed the route of the Olympic torch, and the timing, and kept it secret. If it's so much hassle, why bother? It's only a part of the Olympics since Hitler's 1936 games in Berlin. Hey, you ChiComs have a lot in common with Der Fűhrer, huh? Stronzos.

OK, so this guy sends me a comment that is longer than the original "Monkey Business" post. Right. Like I'm going to get into an essay war with someone and bore all of you to tears. Hal the Hacker wanted to send him a "personal message" that would show up on his computer, but I don't want him to stop trying to put that virus in the CCP computers in Beijing. Nicky says, "Fuggedaboudit" — after all, he must have ignored the warning that I am right. Instead, I'll just go on a bit more. But I won't get into all the deep science that I used to study. You and I have better things to do. So get ready, Cowboy Bob is going to let loose.

Term clarification: Evolution, in this sense, is marco evolution. (No, Tommy, it's not pasta. Sheesh, what a cafone.) The big stuff, the major changes, is macro evolution. New life forms and all that. Micro evolution, on the other hand, is something that we do see happening. It's in various animal breeds, f'rinstance.

One bit in that comment was that "we see evolution happening every day". The hell we do. Some scientists have abandoned gradual evolution because there's no evidence for it, so they say it happened very fast. So, it's either too slow that you can't see it, or it's too fast and you missed it (thanks, Ken Ham). That's just a cop-out.

He mentioned bacteria. Who cares about friggin' bacteria? Even if there is change, guess what? It's micro, not macro. Bacteria is still bacteria, capice? And it's still a very simple life form. Further, if you did see actual, genuine evolution, guess what? It still doesn't mean that it happened in the past, especially on such a wide scale as to manufacture all life on earth.

One other thing he argued with me about is that "atheists aren't happy that evolution is a substitute for God". Read up on history and the reaction to Papa Darwin, Cupcake. People were looking for a "rational" excuse for their existing disbelief.

A third thing that this guy didn't like about my last post is my belief that, if evolution is a law of the universe, there would be less diversity. He said that there would be more diversity, like what we see. Ummm...sorry, Pal. That's an off-the-wall opinion, nothing more.

For me, my learning, training, observations and just plain common sense still say that the universe was created and didn't happen by chance.

OK, play time is over. It's my turn to drive the guys over to the club. Ciao!

June 18, 2008

Some Monkey Business

Buona sera. While I'm waiting for the reports to come in for the Global Day of Action for Tibet (June 18, 2008), I'll tell you about a discussion the boys and I were having. We have a spectrum here. One guy believes in Creation Science or Intelligent Design on faith, without science. Another is pretty much hardcore in the pseudoscience of evolutionism (yeah, I know, big words again) and believes that materialism explains everything. Another thinks that God used evolution to create life on this planet, and that Genesis is only an allegory. (Of course, where it stops being allegory and starts being history is a question he can't answer.) As you see, the use of the term "evolution" in this case is the "general theory" of the origin of life.

As for me, I believed in evolution because of the way it's presented: It happened, and that's all there is to it. Everywhere you go, everything you read or hear, whenever origins of life are discussed, evolution is presented as an unassailable fact. Well, I listened to some Creationist speakers, read their material — and asked my own questions. So, I rejected evolutionism (it's a belief system, you see) on scientific grounds and credibility. Now the boys want me to explain myself in writing about the "credibility" part. I'd normally tell them to shut up and get back to work, but this is something I wanted to get into anyway.

Credibility is something that presents itself as believable. Does it make sense? When someone constantly tells lies, they are no longer credible, and you can't trust them. When something is presented with reason, logic, examples and proof, it becomes credible and you believe it. Part of what happens is that you mix in your own learning, thinking and experiences, and then decide if you can believe something or someone.

Evolution is presented as a fact. (This is interesting because the arrogant atheist jumps on the chance to disbelieve in a creator and still have an explanation for the existence of life.) More than this, it's presented as a law of the universe. There is a book called The Wisdom of Evolution. I haven't bothered to waste the time to read it, but the title fits in with the way so many people who are brainwashed into the evolutionism belief system will act: Evolution itself becomes a conscious entity; evolution is a substitute for God!

"Look how evolution equipped the gorilla...evolution gradually gave this animal the ability..." and so on, and so on. Not only is it an intelligent force for these people, but, in their faith, they accept it as fact.

Well, my knowledge of laws of the universe is that a law always acts the same way. For instance, when you drop a rock, it always falls down. It doesn't stay put or fall sideways unless there's some unusual circumstance that actively affects it. Capice?

When you look at nature, you see diversity. If evolution was a law of nature, there would be a heckuva lot more consistency. Different animals have different ways of coping or adapting. Some have fantastic eyesight, some detect vibrations, some have tremendous hearing while others are stone deaf.

I think that the Creator also has a sense of humor. The Duck-billed Platypus is hard to classify, so scientists called it a monotreme. It lays eggs, swims, detects electrical impulses, gives milk like a mammal, burrows in the ground — that's one weird beastie!

I have to shorten this up, but you get the jist of it. When I look around, I see holes in evolutionism and plenty of support for Intelligent Design. To believe in evolutionism, I have to suspend my disbelief, my common sense, my learning and my thinking ability. Sorry, guys, I can't accept your faith in the fake god of evolutionism. It's just not consistent. And very inefficient.

My own faith is based on reason and the ability to think, despite what evolutionists claim about it. Now, you can use your own thinking abilities and common sense. Ask questions of the established evolutionary orthodoxy, do research and get the Creationist side of the story. 

June 13, 2008

Life in Big Business

Buon giorno. I should have Neil write this because it's his story, but he's too busy trying to make money to pay the bills. As for me, I'm in a better mood because some money has come to me that I've been waiting a long time to have.

Neil works for a major American corporation. It's very big, and has international holdings. They complained that in their last quarter, they did not make as many tens of millions of dollars as they expected. Poor darlings! Neil says that this company is too big and too impersonal. I agree. The problem is, that's the way most of them get.

His company does not care about its employees. They make a pretense at benefits because they could not get anyone to work there if they did not offer them (and their health benefits are laughable; many employees rely on their spouses for health coverage). They cut out the overtime that many employees relied on to survive. Instead, they will have to learn the hard way that there is too much work, too little time to do it and it will lead to the company having to pay many large fines.

There are many irritations that show that this company does not care about the people that make it wealthy. An incident yesterday really set Neil off. One of his co-workers who has been there for over a decade was removed. (Well, they said "laid off". That's different from being terminated. Termination indicates that you are bad. A layoff is a nice way of saying, "Get lost, we don't need you anymore".) There were two others that were laid off, but they were in another office and he did not know them.

Now, this lady had been a good worker and learned many facets of the organization. So, she must have been making a halfway decent wage. When the company decided to do cutbacks, they not only eliminated the overtime, but eliminated jobs as well. She was caught in a "business decision".

Frankly, they've learned poorly from the Mafia (let's pretend that they really do exist). The half-assed ruthlessness of "nothing personal, it's only business" is coupled with incompetence. Organized crime does not accept incompetence. I've heard it said that the "business decision" and "nothing personal" line is crapola. When you lose your job, it's very personal. They're playing fast and loose with people's lives.

I detest the term, "Human Resources". What is a resource? Something that you use up, squeeze dry, throw away and find another. And now we have departments set up to officially drain you dry.

The cazzo bean counters in accounting don't care about the effects on people. They are only interested in making the fastest grotzits possible, and are unaware of long-term effects. Neil has already met people that are angry about the unjust removal of employees. They do not accept the "business decisions", and are less willing to work as hard because, frankly, hard work and loyalty are not rewarded. Well, sometimes they are, but it's just window dressing.

Businesses like this give Capitalism a bad name.

Let's end this comedy with an un-funny and actually somewhat touching moment from the end of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Mr. Shirley, the boss, suspended Christmas bonuses and did not tell anyone. Then he had to look the Griswolds in the eye. He said, "Sometimes things look good on paper, but lose their luster when you see how it affects real folks. I guess a healthy bottom line doesn't mean much, if to get it you have to hurt the ones you depend on. It's people that make the difference."

I'd like that carved into the concrete of every business.

There are successful businesses that are good to their employees, so it's not just a "business decision". These companies know the realities of having people work for them. Neil's company is a Fortune 500 business, but it's not in the top 100 "best companies to work for" lists.

Let me leave you with another quote: "If you give your employees your best, they'll give you their best." — Lee Iacocca

June 9, 2008

Obnoxious Fox

Buon giorno. You're traveling through a realm of annoyance. It is a realm that lies at the summit of man's irritation or the pit of his tolerance. It is a journey through a land of both ego and pride, of stupidity and ignorance. Arrogance is paramount. Introspection is rare. There's a signpost up ahead. Your next stop: The Obnoxious Zone.

OK, enough of the bad Twilight Zone introduction re-write. But I had to blow off some steam. Very rough weekend, especially with the brutal heatwave. Tommy the Knocker has put dry ice in front of his fan, it's so bad. Maybe if it didn't hit six weeks before the usual time, it would be easier to tolerate.

Yours truly has had to do some self-examination. Do I trash something that I like because of the people associated with it? That's what it comes down to. You see, I'm more than fed up with the "Spread Firefox" community. Basically, it's full of virgin geeks doing their "Yeah! Firefox rocks, dude!" rhetoric. And those kinds of cheer leading squads do not accept anything less than total agreement and encouragement.

I was a member of that community, but various responses to questions that I had asked, and others had asked, were sorely lacking. Did you notice the lack of "Get Firefox" buttons to click? I took them down because I was so angry at that crowd. The final straw was when a post I had made there about being intrusive (and linking to this post) mysteriously disappeared. Not that there was anything wrong with it, they had it up for a month or so, but it vanished. And posts before and after it were still there. Can't stand for anything less than enthusiastic agreement, Fox Fans?

The anger was so intense that I was about to delete Firefox itself. That's when I had to remember to practice what I preach: the representatives of an organization, movement, religion or whatever do not necessarily mean that the thing is bad in and of itself. I know people who hate Christianity because of bad Christians. No, the Bible is true and Christ has risen. Joe Superchristian is a phony, sure. He's also human and makes mistakes. But that's no reason to disbelieve in God, for instance. And I had to remember that I like Firefox better than the alternatives, not to delete it because of its fan geeks.

Maybe some of them will see this post. But I hope that the problems that I illustrate here will help show examples of how not to act. The first lesson is that you won't learn much from people that agree with you! And cowardly deleting postings in a public forum that pretends to encourage discussion will not accomplish anything. Except, perhaps, of having people like me delete their accounts and ceasing to aggressively spread "the word".

By the way. Fans of the Opera browser have done some very sneaky and underhanded things to promote their favorite software. So don't you guys get all excited about this post. Your time may still come.

Now I'm going to comment on some of the "Quick Wins"  (this is gone after a site overhaul) that were posted (and my comments were deleted after a month, as I said before). There are some good ones in there, so I won't mention those. And this time, I'm not going to be as gentile as I was in their forum, because this is my Weblog. Capice?

Go to a local computer store such as Best Buy, CompUSA or Fry’s. Open Notepad on one of the display machines and leave a short advertisement for Firefox. Is it just me, or would that be annoying and make people unwilling to try Firefox?

Earn yourself 10 affiliate points today. Send a letter to your local or campus newspaper about Firefox. They've always been dodgy about how to get the points, who assigns them, or whatever. Besides, they're only for "bragging rights", and, therefore, worthless.

Leave a post-it note on the desk of a random person in your office that you don’t know that says “getfirefox.com”. Don’t sign it. How tacky is this?

Leave a note in your mailbox telling your mailman about Firefox. Too bad people don't know that postal carriers are (theoretically) supposed to remove things from mailboxes that are not mail. Also, the carrier is there to deliver mail. I really don't think that she's all that interested in her next browser.

Eat out tonight. When you pay the bill, leave the waiter a monetary tip and a handwritten tip to the tune of “getfirefox.com”. As above, the server isn't interested in Internet stuff. This one isn't quite as bad, especially if there is indeed a monetary tip involved.

Print out three copies of this Firefox datasheet and pin it to three bulletin boards in your town. Think: community centers, gyms, workplaces, Jamba Juice… Is that effective, or is it just littering? After all, again, you have to be selective in where you put things. You decide.

There is no urgency. Lives are not at stake. Firefox is a great browser and thrives on people spreading its word. I'll still do it, but I will no longer be involved in the Spread Firefox "community".

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to reorder my Stormbringer Productions brochures. You see I have to edit out that part about "member of Spread Firefox". Arrivederci.

Addendum 6-10-2008: There are some serious people at Spread Firefox that are trying to make that community thing work, and I have been contacted by a couple of them, assuring me that my posts have not been deleted or targeted. It's a bug in the system.

Addendum 6-15-2008: I'm certain that I've ruffled a few Firefox feathers. If this fox wants to be fair and balanced, fans should do a search in the box at the top of the page for my positive references to Firefox.

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