Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Explaining the Email

Yesterday I received an email from someone I know who read through my blog and had a few comments. It was an interesting read for several reasons. It was eye opening in that I can kind of see how someone who reads my blog perceives me to be.

Keep in mind when I write to my blog, 75% of the time it's when things are boiling to the surface so you're getting to see my steamy side. My actual life is not nearly entertaining enough to write about. I spend a large portion of my life sitting in front of a computer playing with the latest Netbeans IDE or writing Java code to keep my programming skills up. I spend an even larger portion of my life sitting in my recliner with a laptop in my lap playing computer games. I was one of those geeky people who were addicted to Evercrack and then graduated to World of Warcrack.

Anyway, I was just gong to answer the email and I thought to myself, "Where's the fun in that? If he's raising these issues and asking these questions how many more are?" I'm going to copy and paste the email here and then respond inline. I'll have to omit sections to protect the innocent and their intellectual property, but, for the most part, it's intact.
Thanks for sharing your blog...that took a bit more courage than I have. As is most often the case, you and I agree on a lot of things and disagree on others.
I've read back almost to the beginning of your blog and I have some questions that you're free to entertain or ignore:
It's in my nature that I can't ignore anything. Sometimes I wish I could. This might be one of those times. I don't feel courageous, but then again I don't get why everyone is so uptight about their privacy. I think I blogged about that somewhere. 
Is a tall slide a good analogy for life? 
It's only tall if you've got goals.
Children climb the ladder of growing and schooling and, when they start their careers and adult life, it's like sliding down twists and drops and slow stretches.  Doesn't drug addiction act like a gap in the slide, where the person falls through and lands with a thud in the gutter?  
I like your analogy. Now, if the government would give me the legal means to truly teach my kids about the gaps. I can teach my kids about alcohol, no problem. But, the illegal drugs? All I know is what I've read and they can both read. I can tell them, "I've never done it, so you shouldn't. You might get addicted, hit a gap and fall in the gutter." But, that doesn't really do any good. Everyone knows when you tell someone they can't do something, they're going to try it the first time it's presented in a semi safe environment.
Don't you think that legalizing addictive drugs is like allowing the drug pushers to get near the top rung so they can push the child down the slide before it's fully built? Isn't it better if we don't let the pushers anywhere near the ladder?
If you legalize drugs there will be no "drug pushers" so they won't be anywhere near the ladder. You seem to be looking at it all from an illegal point of view. Of course, I may have too much trust in humanity as well. But I believe the biggest problem with drugs today is the "War on Drugs". War is never good for anyone.
  How is legalizing drugs victimless?
Legalizing drugs is not hurting anyone.
Does correlation prove causation?  Could Clinton have gotten the benefit of history rather than deserving credit for all (or even any) of the budget surplus? Could the implosion of the USSR and the explosion of computers have had more effect? Or the .com bubble?  Isn't Obama a victim of China and other countries kicking our butts in manufacturing/import laws? Won't whoever is president if/when China implodes be a giant in your eyes, no matter what he does?  I grant that the president gets the credit/blame for their piece of history but is that any reason to believe that Clinton would do miracles if he were president now?
Good points. I've often said we give the President too much blame/praise. He's just not that powerful.
As an extreme example: If your (future) son-in-law gets some gambling/drug debts, do you want him to have the option of pimping your daughter?  Couldn't he talk her into saving his rear-end merely by going to the nearest bar and giving hummers to each of the guys on the bar stools?  And, while they're at it, why not make three times as much while she's leaning over anyway?  How is legalizing prostitution victimless?  I don't remember now why I thought you wanted to legalize prostitution, though.
Legalizing prostitution is victimless. Forcing someone to do something they don't want to do is wrong (and I think mostly illegal). When the government makes things illegal it drives them underground where there is no protection. As long as prostitution is illegal, the above scenario could happen to anyone because criminals control the environment. They are already committing felonies so what's one more gonna matter?
Should you applaud Clinton getting a hummer when there are so many victims?  What about his wife?  What about Lewinsky's parents?  What about the worries of the other parents of DC interns?  What about Lewinsky herself?
I think you may be overreacting. Taking all other factors out of the equation, getting a hummer in the oval office is awesome! Yeah, it would have been better coming from Hilary. I just left that sentence out. Omission is my right as an author. And maybe Hilary gave him more than that in the oval office.  We just don't know about it. I did mention that if I were Bill, I'd be embarrassed to talk about it. It was a mistake (getting it from an intern), but it was her choice. If Bill somehow forced her to do something she didn't want to do then he should have been arrested.

I certainly don't see any victims (unless I missed something in the news).
Could parents in the past have forced their children to act right-handed because, otherwise, they would be left-handed and turn into arrogant ego-maniacs?  Just kidding there, everyone should be proud of themselves (as long as they're not hurting anyone).
Not a fan of forcing kids to do anything. Unless you use forcing, educating and teaching synonymously. There's nothing wrong with left-handed ego-maniacs. Since 1974, there have been only two right-handed Presidents.
Do you think you don't have a drinking problem?
I know I don't. My liquor cabinet is completely full.
  Do you think you'd be better off if you copied your driver's license onto a note where you signed a statement giving your friend permission to tell the tender not to serve you once you've drunk to the point where you're, again, not going to remember what you did the next morning? 
That would be an interesting idea. Alas, I don't have any friends.
Would that help your hangover problem? 
I actually don't get hangovers.
Might that save you some money and maybe a drunk-driving ticket?  Of course, you never wrote that you drive drunk so you're apparently smart enough not to.  I'm worried about everybody but, right now, you especially.
I'm gonna have to ramble here for a second or two.

Up top, I said, only the steamy stuff tends to come out in my blog. Once or twice a year, I go nuts. Here's why:
About a month before my 12th birthday, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It's funny how things like that affect you. I remember losing a lot of weight my first semester of junior high. I think I was down around 70 pounds when the PE teacher finally convinced my mom that something was wrong. Up until then I had been quietly dropping pounds and peeing every 5 minutes.

I remember going into the doctor and peeing in a cup. When he came into the room he told my mom he thought I had diabetes. I didn't hear diabetes (didn't know what it was anyway). I heard the first syllable, "die...". For a brief moment, I thought he was about to tell my mom how long I had to live. It scared the hell out of me.

He gave my mom a bunch of pamphlets to read. I asked if I could have them. She gave them to me. I know more about diabetes than most doctors. I have to take medicine to eat. I've never really talked about this to anyone so it's hard to write down. I don't want anyone to worry about me or feel sorry for me. I've got the best rose colored glasses three months at a psychologist can buy.

To give you a really bad analogy, when you've got diabetes, it's like driving a sloppy four cylinder stick shift where the clutch doesn't engage the same all the time and one of your pistons is bent to hell. From the time I was 12 until the time I was 18, I was trying to keep from stalling and scared to do anything out of the ordinary. I counted my carbohydrates. I took my injections. I didn't play any sports, I didn't go to any parties. I went to school and I learned how to drive my sputtering manual transmission body.

Something changed when I graduated high school. Maybe it was just the act of graduating. I don't know. I don't have a drinking problem. I maybe drink 12 ounces of beer per day. But once or twice a year I want to forget about driving a stick shift and just pretend to be normal. I figure I"ll eventually grow out of it.
I'm a post-compatibilist atheist with agnostic sprinkles (don't bother researching the "post-" part, it's my own term) but I appreciate that religion is often greatly beneficial to adherents and sometimes beneficial to others; do you see no benefit to brainwashing children?
I see no benefit in brainwashing anyone.  I was going to blog about the 19 year old who was involved with the tragic Boston Marathon bombings (I decided it was too controversial). 19 year old kids don't do that. He was brainwashed. You want to find the person responsible, you're going to have to find his brainwasher.
Wouldn't your president just hang low until the 'one year tryout' had passed and then go ballistic for the rest of his 6 year term? 
Anything can happen. The point is that during the election they make promises. If a President makes promises and he doesn't get any traction in what he promised for the first year, then he's either a liar or not qualified. Anyone can go ballistic. Now, they can go ballistic for 4 years. I think there is something fundamentally flawed about the way we elect people. I don't know the answer. I just think something needs to change (kind of like healthcare).
Of course, they're not going to eliminate the electoral college (and shouldn't).  Doesn't a 3rd party candidate just split the votes from the one he's most like and thereby shoot himself in the foot?  Won't online voting get more opinions from uninformed, lazy people?
Currently, that is what a 3rd party candidate does. It would be much better to eliminate the party system. However, if there were multiple parties and they were all given equal footing then suddenly there is no such thing as a "third party". Similar to your drug position at the top, you are making your argument based on our currently flawed system.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mental Age

The previous blog was supposed to be my last one of the year, but this mental age test has been invading my thoughts after it invaded my Facebook.

My wife took the test and had me take the test. She scored a 22.

Several of my friends on Facebook have taken it and I've seen scores from 22 to 43.

My youngest daughter took it and she scored a 22 (she's 16).

The test is only six questions. There are no right answers. There were several questions (like the first one) where I wanted to answer, "All of the above", but that wasn't a choice.

I diligently go through each question over and over and just pick the "best" answer even though none of them are necessarily the "right" answer.

Every time I do it, I score a 10. According to this test, I've got the mental age of a 10 year old! What the hell does that mean? My wife says I act like a 12 year old so the damn thing must be off by at least 2 years!

Click the link and hit the green "START" button:
Mental Age Test

Friday, December 20, 2013

Shades of Gay

I couldn't help but be roped into the Phil debacle.

But instead of rehashing what has already been said, I thought I'd take a different approach.

From the time I was 0 until the time I was 18, I was coerced into going to church and studying the bible 3 times a week. There were a couple of times in the last 2 or 3 of those 18 years that I met some pretty little woman who made me go to church with her. It was these times that I truly tried to act like I believed in the bible. A pretty face goes a long way! I have enough knowledge to debate with the best of them.

If there is one thing I learned in those 18 years, it's that you can not debate or have a discussion with anyone who bases their argument on faith. If they have faith, then you should just slowly back away. Faith is like saying, "I'm not as stubborn as a mule, I'm as stubborn as a whole caravan of mules equipped with 20 pound spiked shoes on each hoof." Back away slowly and find someone capable of having a meaningful discussion. You'll be glad you did.

I believe everyone is a shade of gay. The people who are scared to admit it or fall back on the bible argument as a crutch are usually a darker shade of gay on the inside. They work so hard at hiding it, that they appear what the media calls, for some strange reason, anti-gay.

A surprisingly large number of my friends, both past and present, are gay. Some of them I didn't know were gay until the advent of Facebook. Facebook has been a great eye opener in searching through all my old high school/college buddies and going, "Hmm. Now that I see it, I kind of wonder why I didn't notice that before."

I've been picked on, bullied, teased, and ridiculed, almost all of my life. Probably since the time I was 18, I've avoided country bars. There's something odd about country bars and the propensity of the clientele to ridicule everyone not wearing creased starched Wranglers, a cowboy hat and boots. You have to fit the mold or suffer the consequences. I don't fit the mold. I can pretend to be country, but cowboy hats give me a headache, boots make my feet hurt and the whole redneck attitude makes me feel a little stupid.

I've been to a plethora of gay bars. I've never been picked on at a gay bar. No one has ever called me a name or tried to demean me. I've been hit on a couple of times, but that didn't bother me. I can just politely explain my sexual orientation and they usually talk to me a while and then go away. The most obnoxious one told me to "Ditch the bitch and make the switch," which I just thought was funny. I've never felt uncomfortable at a gay bar, but I'm not gay.

The other day I was having a discussion with a friend of mine about homosexuality being a choice. He was kind of coming from a religious point of view so I was a bit wary, but it got me to thinking. How fortunate would you be to actually have a choice?

I'd wager that the majority of humans don't have a choice. They are either homosexual or heterosexual. But, what if, you were wired to have a choice? How open minded is that? You go out to a bar and everyone is attractive to you instead of just the men or just the women. You've increased your odds of having a meaningful relationship by what? 100%?

I, personally, would have an easier time choosing to be a serial killer than I'd be able to choose to be homosexual. The thought of being intimate with another man makes me feel a bit nauseous.

It even bothers me to watch two men kiss. I'd never tell them in person because I know it could be hurtful. I spend way too much time analyzing what I say to avoid hurting someone else. Some people call me shy. I say I'm just careful. Some folks need to be more careful in how they say things on national television.

In today's world, people seem to get bent out of shape too easily. Phil voicing his opinions should not have made anyone upset. Maybe he lacks the political correctness we've come to expect in our self-inflicted over-sensitive society, but so what? He really didn't hurt anyone.

He's probably a darker shade of gay than I am and he's using his faith as a shield (or his fear of some eternity in molten lava or something). Don't badmouth anyone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. We'll all be happier.