Friday, May 30, 2008

Religion and Politics

Two great tastes that taste great together!

Or, for the sarcastically challenged... WTF?!

I've got nothing. It is total insanity. The only person I'll vote for must profess to be not religious or at least not mention their religion and agrees to sit on their hands for four years.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What if people are stupid?

Lately I've been questioning my political views to some extent. I believe that the government should stay out of my business. I believe that people need to learn to take care of themselves again and stop expecting Uncle Sam to protect them.

I can't find the quote but it seems like someone famous once said something about the fact that some people lack the ability to reason and thus you have the need for a government.

I was complaining to my mother a while back because she sent me one of those chain emails about Obama being a Muslim and out to do us all in because he's been trained since he was a wee little tike.

Then, I was out with one of my friends and was telling him about this email from my mother and he couldn't believe how people could be so stupid! -- he's a big Obama fan.

So, I was telling him that if I had my way, I'd vote for Ron Paul. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "Yeah, but did you hear about him? He's a racist who published that newspaper."

What is this world coming to? Are people really this stupid? Do we believe everything we read? Even if people do things in their past, they are allowed to change. Why do we let random media stories sway are opinions so drastically?

I've always been a "walk a mile in his shoes" kind of person. When I see someone getting a bad rap by the media I always wish I could talk to them so I could have my own opinions. We are promised innocence until proven guilty, but I don't think the founding fathers knew about the power of Television -- not to mention the Internet.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why we love to hate Microsoft

I am a geek.

I discovered computers when I was 11 and never looked back. In 1993 I built my first Intel computer running Win 3.1.

2 years later I installed Win 95 as soon as it was available.

I've installed Linux. I discovered Unix in 1992 at my first job out of college. I think it was SCO.

Personally, I like Linux a lot better than Windows. I like the flexibility it provides. The first thing I install on my new Window's machines is Cygwin so I can get my bash shell going on.

So, earlier this year I built a new PC. E8400 Dual Core Intel processor, 4 gigs of RAM, etc. It is the bomb. I installed Windows Vista. I bought a DirectX 10 compatible Video card.

I do this because everyone I know uses Windows. And everyone I know also knows I am a geek. I have to know all about Windows so that I can answer all of their questions. It's just easier. People expect it.

MAC's make me feel stupid. I know nothing about them. I've heard that they are based on a flavor of Unix but that's about it. I've never owned one and I've never successfully solved anyone's MAC problem. Maybe they don't have problems.

How did Microsoft get to where they are? Was it Bill Gates? Was he in the right place at the right time or is he a marketing computer geek nerd genius? He was born October 28th. That makes him a Scorpio. I'd say he's probably a marketing genius and lies a lot. I know all about Astrology.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Our military is the best in the world. I don't always agree with the Commander In Chief, but I love our military. You've got 18 year olds out there putting themselves in harm's way for people they don't even know. They are old enough to die because someone told them to, but they are not old enough to drink. They are members of the best team in the world. This Rahr's for you.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Quit whining about gas prices

From 2002 to 2004 I spent a lot of time in Germany. Back then the exchange rate was about $1.25 per Euro. I think today it's more like $1.50 per Euro.

Every time I put gas in my rental car it cost me around 50 Euro or about $60. I drove small cars. I figure they held around 12 gallons of gas. Everything over there is in liters of course.

Long story short. I'm nowhere close to that yet. The most I've spent to fill up my little Caliber has been about $43. So, we haven't caught up yet to where Europe was 5 years ago. But, we whine louder.

For the curious, the most expensive gas in the world is about $18.62 per gallon. I think the current price in Germany is about $8.65 per gallon. If you are really hard up, you can move to Argentina. It's 12 cents per gallon there.

It amazes me that the great USA can decide in 1960 to put a man on the moon and be there by 1969, but we are still dependent upon foreign oil. There is something not quite right about that.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What did FLDS do wrong in Eldorado?

Today, I think out loud.

I've just read an article about that crazy FLDS compound in Eldorado. 400+ kids removed from their parents.

Did Texas overreact?

As far as politics go I lean way towards Libertarian. I believe that if you are not hurting anyone, then you should be left alone. Drugs should be legalized. If I want to do drugs all day then I should be allowed to as long as no one else gets hurt. As soon as my actions hurt someone else then it's a crime.

Having said that, I also believe that religions brainwash folks. There are probably a rare few that don't, but the majority do. If I raise a child and from the time the child is born I teach them about a supreme being that will send them to Hell for an eternity of suffering if they don't do his wishes. Then, I am committing a crime. I am hurting that child. You are brainwashing a child by saying something is factual when it's not.

If I raise a child to believe that murder is okay and it's important to kill people and get away with it. Then I should be locked up. That's not right. It's brainwashing.

Raising a kid to be a Christian is different to some degree. Normal Christian doctrine doesn't involve hurting anyone. But these folks crossed the line. They've raised their little girls to believe it's okay to be married to old men and pregnant when they are 13. They've raised their little boys to believe it's okay to have more than one wife and that their wives should do what they say no matter what. It's part of God's plan. They have to do it or they'll burn in Hell forever. It's hard to get my mind around it.

Today, several (30 or so I think) mothers of these children won in a trial versus Texas saying that it was illegal for Texas to take away their children. I believe that they are right. The way Texas law enforcement handled this whole charade was and still is a mess.

I also believe that the parents at FLDS are wrong. But how can you criminalize brainwashing? At what point does it become brainwashing?

Kids are getting into trouble all the time and I reckon 99% of the time it can be traced back to bad parenting. If your parents do crack then their children will do it also. Children take after their parents.

Morally and logically it offends me. Any kind of brainwashing is offensive and this FLDS stuff has brainwashing written all over it. Go read "The Door to December" sometime. Somehow we have to let all children be free to choose.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Prognosis of House

As a rule, I don't watch TV. However, TV is not what it used to be. I also don't read the paper. I get my news from the Internet and I only read the news I'm interested in.

But, with the advent of DVR and different TV recording devices there are a couple of shows that I record and then watch when I have nothing better to do. "Bones" is one. "House" is the other.

Last night I had nothing better to do so I watched the season finale of House. On one hand it was disappointing. It had to have been the worst episode of House ever. I hated it. I patiently watched to the end of the episode waiting for it to become good and it never did.

On the other hand it was good because when the next season starts I'll be saving myself an hour per week where I can do something more entertaining. In one hour House went from my favorite TV show to one that sucks. Bones was good.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Tasmanian Devil Loves Your Playboy Bunny

Pay no attention to the title.

Once upon a time there was a man going through a rough patch and he played Everquest to get him through. It eliminated stress because he had a very active imagination and Everquest (EQ) took him to another world.

Two years later that man was happier about life and World of Warcraft (WoW) was released. WoW and EQ are very similar. They are both Massively Multi-player Online Role-playing Games.

I was much more addicted to WoW than I was to EQ. Even my kids played WoW.

I think the term "Role-playing" comes about because you are supposed to take on the characteristics of another being (dwarves, elves, whatever). EQ had quite a lot of that. I played EQ with a guy from up near Philadelphia and he always played a female character. He was good at role-playing. WoW doesn't have so much role-playing, but it's funner to play. I think the masses of people that play WoW are prohibitive to role-playing. It is more fun to be a dork in front of hundreds than in front of thousands.

I quit playing WoW. It was taking up too much of my time. But, I can't help looking anxiously ahead for the next big MMORPG and wondering what it will be and what it will be like. Maybe it's already here and I just haven't bought it yet.

So, anyway, all of my WoW characters ended with Taz. Since you are allowed to have multiple characters on multiple servers, I always ended all of my names with ...taz so that people could find me no matter where I was. And my Taz toons loved to play with the bunnies.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Odd Sense of Humor in the Stars

My blog is therapeutic for me. I normally write about things that bug me and my crazy opinions about why it bugs me. Today I will try something different.

I, believe it not, have a wickedly keen sense of humor. It can also be randomly insane.

I'll take this time to tell a true story about myself that will leave appreciative readers giggling and unappreciative readers going elsewhere for sanity.

When I got divorced 8 years ago, I started studying astrology. I went to a class and the lady teaching the class had everyone sit down based on their sun sign. I'm an Aquarius.

If you were being observant at the class, you would have noted that she left out one of the signs. I asked her about it later and she said that sign doesn't believe in Astrology so they never show up for her classes. I think it was Leo.

So, over the years I developed a one question test that I'd ask people at bars to guess their sign. I had a partner in crime for this. He's a crazy Sagittarius.

So, we'd go into a bar. Find the table with the hottest women we could find and go sit with them and say, "If you let us sit with you for a while, we can guess when you were born."

I guess I should mention at this point that I can't handle stupidity and I can't handle stubbornness. I suspect the two are closely related.

So, at this point in my story, I could be running for cover depending on how blank the expressions are looking back at me. Sometimes you get that 'deer in the headlights' look of the woman thinking, "Wow, I should have waited until I was 17 to drop out of high school."

But, more often than not, I am given enough positive reinforcement (read drunken entertainment) to continue my charade.

My first question is "How old do you think I am?"

Capricorns get irritated. They'll play, but they won't be happy and they usually guess old just to piss you off.

Aquarius say, "Well you are in here drinking beer so you must be at least 21". It's sarcastic humor. We hate being wrong, but we like experimenting and playing games with people's heads.

Pisces are hard to guess. They will happily play along as long as everyone else is, but their answers are not normally first and they change their answers to follow their predecessor's lead.

Aries will play, but they'll think you are stupid for playing such a silly game and will try to change the subject to politics or some other boring irritating subject that will get everyone's blood pumping. They'll say, "I think you're 40. Wasn't that how old Bush was when he quit drinking? Don't you hate that man. Worst President ever".

Taurus will play if they think you are cute enough and there isn't something else going on. If they are watching the band play or are in the middle of a different conversation, you might as well be talking to your hand -- unless you are really hot. I have good luck with Taurus.

Gemini are really hard for me to talk to. They pretend to play along, but the game has to be all about them so they'll tend to say, "Well, I'll tell you how old I think you are, but first you have to tell me how old I am. And don't you like my dress today?"

I don't like Cancers. George Bush is a Cancer. I have some Cancer friends who may be reading this so I have to be careful. So, I'll say -- in general, Cancers are slow. They talk slowly for some reason and I lack the patience to listen to them reason. "Uh. Do I get to ask you any questions before I guess your age? Is there a chance that you might be armed and take it out on me if I guess your age too high? What, uhhh, happens if I guess it right? Will you tell me if I'm right?"

Leos won't play, but they'll sit at the table and listen to their friends play. Unless their friends get really stupid then they'll try and put a stop to it. To me Leos are entertaining, but I have trouble guessing them most of the time. Sometimes Leos will play along if they are bored, but it will be "in passing".

Virgos get all silly when asked. I'm not sure why. I think perhaps they are too serious about life so they take a rather silly question and attempt to make it super silly in order to keep the scales of silliness in balance. Their typical answer is, "Do you ask everyone that?" followed by 10 minutes of intense giggling and beer snorting.

Libras are hard for me to guess correctly as well. I can talk to them and they are curious, but they lack a sense of humor. Getting a Libra to participate in the "guess my age" game requires proper presentation without too much wit. You must make it intriguing and not at all funny. They are the ones, that will defensively say, "Why does this matter?"

Scorpios are too busy thinking about themselves to really worry much about the answer. They are easy for me to guess because I dated a Scorpio for a few years and I can see them coming. I like Scorpios. They are entertaining. I just don't trust them.

Sagittarius are my favorite. It's like they are just waiting for a reason to be entertained and I can be very entertaining. What they don't realize is they become the entertainment because of me. And then I'm doubly entertained. They are easy to talk to, but their need for entertainment will make their response something like this, "If I guess your age within 2 years, you buy me a shot of tequila. If I guess wrong, then I'll buy you a shot of tequila. I'll play your little game if the outcome involves frivolity and drunkenness."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mixed Marriages and the Evil Within

The whole marriage thing is in the news again. I like that McCain, Obama & Clinton all say that they oppose same sex marriages, but believe that same sex couples should be entitled to the same legal protections. I'm not following the logic. It is starting to sound like they are mixing religion with government.

We are not allowed to say they are married because that has spiritual connotations, but if they are couples then they can still file a joint income tax return. Where is the difference?

Why do the American people need the government's blessing? I could live without it. When did we start worrying so much about what the government thinks?

If you work at a company and the company says, "Well, technically, we can't say that you are married, but we will still give your room mate health insurance." Uh. OK.

Maybe someone can explain this to me.

Is there a history of marriage? Did cavemen say, "I konked her on the head first, therefore she gets my cave when I die!"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Skimpy Americans

Today my favorite blogger made me a Tarzan fan for life.

Most foreigners can not believe how uptight Americans are about TV, radio, etc. We live in the "land of the free" where the government mandates our morality and the morality of our children. We make such big events out of stuff like this that it's no wonder kids feel like they have to sneak around to experience life. I applaud this girl wearing a dress she made to her prom. I would not have been brave enough to do anything like it. She should also pay attention more in English class. Maybe she was just nervous.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Turn me on Elections!

Somebody announced on some blog somewhere that I am a Libertarian. I don’t really like titles. The whole party system irritates me for the most part. There should really be a minimalist party. The Libertarian party wants limited government, but the way in which they go about it is too complex (at least in my opinion). I might blog more about this later.

Obama says he wants “change”. I haven’t seen or heard anything from him that indicates this. It all sounds like political mumbo jumbo to me. If it was between Obama and Clinton, I’d vote for Obama simply because I’ve heard the surnames Bush and Clinton way too much in the last 20 years.

Most of the time I kind of like what McCain has to say. My big complaint with him is he could be Bush’s brother and even though he talks about limited government the government underneath Bush’s leadership grew faster than ever. I don’t want to take that chance. However, given the choice between McCain and either of the democratic candidates I’d pick McCain.

I’d vote for Ron Paul before I’d vote for any of the above. But, Ron Paul’s personal beliefs are very contradictory to mine and I wonder if a person can keep his personal beliefs to himself when he is in a position of power. Can a good Christian, God fearing person take the helm of the greatest country in the world and not make changes defending the “good book”? I have my doubts. But, apparently he is still in the race and causing some interesting commotion…

Who is Bob Barr?

Today he threw his hat in as a Libertarian and is expected to win the nomination. Apparently Libertarian’s don’t spend millions of tax payer dollars campaigning across the USA. He’s expected to win the nomination held in Denver over Memorial Day weekend. Ballot access is also an interesting game. I read a little bit about Bob Barr and I like what he had to say. Of course, all of the “experts” think he’ll have some impact on the campaign but has no chance of winning. I personally believe that most media outlets are not much smarter than those at the Star Telegram and can’t do arithmetic when more than 2 candidates are involved so they only cover the cutest 2.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Grumpy, stressed old men and failure to blog

I'm trying to buy a new house. Yesterday I spent darn near all day house hunting, comparison shopping, making offers, arguing with real estate agents and fighting with my wife.

This morning, I woke up, checked my email and found 3 emails from my agent. The house we picked yesterday was way overpriced. They bought the house 2 years ago and today are asking $30k more than what they paid for it.

I'm tired of looking for house, but patience is a virtue and good things come to those that wait.

There is this other house that I like, but my real estate agent is not able to show me the house today. So, why can't I go look at it myself? I've sold a house before and my agent then said, "never show anyone your house unless they have an agent or are an agent." Where is the logic? Why can't I register somewhere and then apply to see the house and the owner let's me in to look around?

It seems crazy that you have to schedule house tours with an agent. I tried to do an online thing to schedule a tour of the house and they want to know if I already have an agent. I guess the people selling the house are wanting double commission for fools that want to see the house without an agent.

How come you can buy a $30k car in 5 years for about $700 per month, but a $90k house costs $600 per month for 30 years?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Not exactly opinions

I've run out of opinions. Today, I've decided to experiment with embedded video.

Sometimes, when I experience severe frustration, "angry music" helps me cope. I've done some mosh pits in my day.

What follows is one of my favorite "angry" tunes. It's got lyrics not suitable for minors so I'd advice all of my young readers not to watch it. "Dope" is the name of the band.

This next one is more tame so my younger readers can have something to associate with. "Stereomud" does this one.

And now you know a bit more about me than you did yesterday.

I recommend excessive volume...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Drugs paid for my education and encarceration

Today, 96 kids were arrested at San Diego State. I read the article twice. It never mentioned any "victims". And in other universities they allow armed gunmen to enter and have target practice. Perhaps our police are being used for the wrong kind of crimes?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

An idiot psychiatrist and the cars that love him

I’m not the “custodial” parent. Sometimes, it puts me in an interesting bind.

Yesterday was one such day. It takes some history to understand and the story takes many strange twists and turns. Bear with me if you can.

According to my divorce decree I am responsible for the insurance and 50% of the medical expenses for my two children.

My oldest child was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder when she was about 8 if memory serves correctly.

I don’t really like ADD. I distrust the diagnosing process and it’s awfully suspicious that doctors and pharmacies are making major dollars off of this “disease” that seems to be over diagnosed and expensive to treat. But, let’s assume that I agree with this diagnosis. She definitely is a bit scatter brained. I just prefer to blame it on a highly evolved thinker that easily gets bored at school. It must move on to more exciting things.

I should probably have left out the previous paragraph. You can re-read and skip it.

So, the last two years this eldest spawn of mine has decided to try and fail school. She’s almost 14 now so I suspect it has something to do with hormones and all that craziness that goes on when you go from girl to woman. Her behavior made my ex so crazy that she’s asking me for advice.

My advice was to seek out professional help. She was diagnosed with ADD by a pediatrician. I recommended going to an ADD specialist to see if they agree with the diagnosis or perhaps she just needs counseling to get her on the right path. This makes it doubly my responsibility to pay for the medical bills because now I had recommended a course of action that will require co-pays and possible new drugs.

My ex found an “ADD Expert” on my insurance plan and set an appointment. He is the great Doctor Neil Jacobson of Dallas. For $150 he talked to my 13 year old daughter for 15 minutes and then handed her a prescription for a “new drug” to treat her debilitating disease.

The next morning, she was in the emergency room with heart palpitations and unable to breathe. So, I was summoned to the emergency room from work. I am starting to feel like I paid $150 to this quack so that he could try and kill my daughter. Luckily, she got to the emergency room in time and they were able to calm her down and get her on the road to recovery. We couldn’t get in touch with good Dr. Neil. I suspect he was probably out cruising in his new Jaguar or something.

The directions on her bottle of "turn my fingers blue" death pills said, “Take 1 or 2 tablets daily”. Luckily, I guess, she only took 1.

How can a medical doctor prescribe this kind of medicine to a 13 year old after a 15 minute consultation? I still can’t get in touch with this whacky Dr. Neil Jacobson.

I decide to send him an email. I tell him he’s already wasted more than 15 minutes of my time and if I get a bill from the hospital then he’ll get a bill from my lawyer for giving life threatening medication to a 13 year old after a 15 minute consultation.

Yesterday, I received the bill from the hospital: $1300. I had already paid a $50 co pay. Now, I am out $1500 so I send a note off to an attorney. I’m not normally one to sue. People should just be human. Accidents happen.

The attorney told me that because of changes to medical malpractice law about 5 years ago, only the most severe cases are economical to pursue. So, if she had died I could afford to sue. Now, I am just out $1500 and get to think of Dr. Neil “the Jackass” Jacobson driving around in his Porsche.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sarcastic Opinion

I normally don't do this kind of thing. I seem to be a magnet for people that make me uncomfortable. I had one such encounter today.
I sent an email for advice and they recommend I put it in my blog. I'm thinking nobody reads my blog so it won't matter and if someone does, maybe I'll get some advice.

All badmouthing of real individuals is purely accidental and I feel guilty about it already. Some of the history and descriptions are abbreviated and not entirely accurate for story purposes. Here's the text of the email:

I need your sarcastic opinion on a personal dilemma.
I don't like religion. I think you know that.
Two years ago, my heater went out. It didn't go out because of the heater, but because there is aluminum wiring coming from my heating unit to my fuse box and I think the fuse box was the original one that came with the house back in 1978.

So, I called an Electric Company and they came out and told me I needed a complete new fuse box. The price: $3000.
So, I called around and I found this independent electrician from Arlington that got some good reviews. He said he was a master electrician. I think they rank them based on years of experience and stuff. It sounded like some professional thing (the company guy was a Journeyman).
Anyway, he came out in this junky looking van and he looked at it and charged me $70 and tightened up a screw and voila, it was fixed.
That worked for about 1 year and then it went out again.
So, I called this guy back and he came out in his junky little van and said that I probably needed a new fuse box. He said he'd do it for $300, but I'd have to buy the fuse box and the material (about $500 at Lowe's). I asked him if he'd come with me to make sure I got all the right things and he said sure.

So, then while we are out he starts talking about "The End of Days" and that the recent events are sure signs that the end of days are coming and have I given myself to Christ so that I'll be one of the "lucky few". He went on for maybe an hour. I figure he's saving me $2000+, so I can put up with it. I tried not to dialog too logically with him. Anyway, he did the work and it's been working very good ever since. No problems. I thought he might do a quick ugly job because as far as he was concerned the world was coming to an end anyway.
So, a few months ago I got a flyer on my door for Property Services. They basically do all the crap around the house that you don't want to do. It says they'll mow, do gardening, landscaping, all phases of carpentry work including remodeling. It's just what I need as I try to sell or lease my house. So, I call. This guy starts off with a nice sales pitch about the yards in my area that he has done. I mention the fact that I also want some work done in my kitchen to remove wall paper and do some dry walling and stuff and oh boy.
Apparently, back before Hurricane Katrina, he had a successful carpentry business and that is what he does by trade. His wife decided to have an affair and so he thought they needed time apart, so after Katrina he took his crew down to Mississippi to work there for 3 months. When he got back, the locks on his house were changed and his wife was living with some other man and she was pregnant. So, now after a divorce, he's decided to start over. He's created a nice little lawn mowing empire, but what he really wants to do is carpentry.
Then, somehow he found out that I work on computers. So, he wants me to build him some computers to help with his "ministry" because by God, he's gotten where he is today by praising God. And if we all learn to praise God we'll be a lot happier. In fact, he's been researching Hebrew and the Hebrew word for Praise can also be translated to happy. And all the wars during biblical times were won by the side that praised God and thanked God for delivering them from their enemies. The man talked on the phone for an hour. So, do I let him in my house? Will I get good cheap work done for having to put up with a brainwashed idiot?

PS: Even if the story made you mad, you gotta love that picture. It makes me giggle every time I see it.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Inhale recession

If you are a consistent reader of my sporadic blog then you’ll know that a few days ago I fixed our immigration problem quite eloquently and without any hard feelings.

Today, I will eloquently fix the economy -- again, without any hard feelings.

First, we have to define a few things.

Recession: A period of general economic decline; specifically, a decline in GDP for two or more consecutive quarters.

GDP: The total market value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given year, equal to total consumer, investment and government spending, plus the value of exports, minus the value of imports.

So, how do you increase GDP? You legalize marijuana. If you are really brave you just legalize all drugs for private consumption and for distribution. But, for now, let’s just legalize marijuana.

Marijuana is the 4th largest cash crop in America. And American law enforcement is spending $10 billion annually to outlaw the plant.

In 1997, the United States harvested 5.5 million pounds of marijuana worth $15.1 billion to growers and $25.2 billion on the retail market.

I’d be willing to bet that these numbers have increased in the last 11 years.

So, would an estimated $30 billion in sells help the GDP? If it were legal, would we be able to grow more? How much could we export to other countries where marijuana is legal?

I bet we could still tax it like a cigarette. The price would still be much cheaper than the illegal variety and the government would be able to collect revenue from this $25.2 billion in sells. But, the $25.2 billion number is from the illegal business and from 11 years ago! If the government imposed a 5% tax rate on marijuana sells today and let’s just provide a modest guess that legal marijuana sells today would be at $35 billion, that’s $1.75 billion in tax income!

And, my friends, that’s only the sells of the plant itself. When marijuana is legalized, I personally will buy tons of stock in the snack food industry whose sells are bound to go through the roof!