Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fast Food, Fast Decisions

Many of you may have noticed the quality of Mondays blog, "I said NO!", being of a higher grade than usual. It is due to the fact that my wife wrote that specific blog. I appreciate her stepping in and also appreciate the quality of her work, even if it does make my work look even more sophomoric...

Now for my thought for the moment:

Lately we have been hearing about the sins of fast-food and the affected, overburdened health care system. There was an article yesterday stating that Los Angeles is considering a year long ban on fast-food in the impoverished southern section of the city. And there was another article saying that by 2030 or so, all Americans may be overweight. I must confess that I did not read the articles but I have read similar articles in the past and I do have some thoughts on this.

To begin with, combining the two articles, or two types of articles, is an open door for higher taxes on fast-food/junk-food. While I'm not as conspiracy minded as my friend Rupert, I do see where a government appointed committee could combine statistics and see an area that could be exploited for higher tax gain, albeit under the guise of protecting the poor citizen from the evil and immoral producer of such junk/fast food. The same thing happened with cigarettes.

While I am not a smoker (I used to be) I am maddened by the manner of which smokers have been treated. The tobacco industry was absolutley wrong in placing additives into the cigarettes making them more addictive. So the government stepped in and penalized them. Not to mention the big trial lawyers who saw an opportunity to cash in on the opportuinty. While they pretended to come to the aid of the smoker via class action suit, the smokers received about $75 per capita and the lawyers of these cases made out with 20% of the total gain of $15 million or so, depending on the class action case. Then the tobacco industry raised the prices to offset the penalties they incurred. Where did that leave the smoker/consumer? Picking up everyone's tab is where it left them.

I don't know about you, but I don't think I would appreciate much help like that. I don't think that I could afford much of that kind of help. And that is the kind of help that we would get if junk-food/ fast-food continues in this direction.

I do think that smokers and obese people should pay a larger part of the insurance premiums. I think that they are a problem, A problem not THE problem, with our health care system. And I think that there are ways we could begin to move into that direction. But by no means do I want the help of the government or class action trial lawyers.

But who will help? What does a consumer and a citizen do? I wish there were something that I could do.

Time, space, intellect, and my one year old will not allow me to dig in much deeper here. We could focus on taxes, misappropriations, politics, pork, failing social programs, illegal immigration, moral decline, lack of responsibilities, universalism, as well as a myriad other topics. There is no quick fix for our situation. Big government and small minded people have tied it all together now, creating an overwhelming, depressing grey glob of messy confusion.

This isssue with the junk food will be another ingredient in the messy glob. There will be more studies that will have to be paid for; ridiculous studies to determine what obese is and what junk food is. Next will come the splitting of hairs, politics, and finger pointing. They will find that anyone weighing over 120 lbs is obese and anything other than plain rice cakes is junk. The media will fuel the frenzy, whether being responsible or not, and we will get worked into a dander since we mindlessly follow what others tell us. Then it will become a campaign issue and draw the lines in the sand. As we become polarized the government will eventually have to step in and do something. We will demand it!

Now the government has grown larger by twenty committes, three cabinet positions, fifty people who no one know what they will do, fifteen chickens, and one tambourine. And all of this will have to be paid for. By someone. And the unethical lawyers will be ready to step in to befriend the persecuted. All of this running the costs up into the billions by the time the issue is resolved. And the outcome will only be worse for the citizen.

So what do we do? How do we avoid this? Can the direction be changed?

I think it can be, but I am a little on the doubtful side. And I am not being a pessimist. If I didn't feel that people could do better, I wouldn't take time to point out the faults. If people didn't have such potential for greatness there would be little need for exposing the trivial. If I didn't know so many truly good people and love so many in my life, there would be nothing to fight for. Acts of compassion are getting fewer and farther in between but none the less still exist.

Getting back to what we can do, we can make better decisions in our lives. We must realize that our individual decisions affect other people, regardless of the "size" of the decision. Be it good or bad, our decisions can cause a change, even if only in thought, in our fellow man. And remember, one bad apple can spoil the whole barrell.

And we can't accept and settle for the fact that other's actions and decisions affect ouselves individually. We must take responsibilty for our own decisions and actions. No one can make us behave or react in any manner other than the manner in which we are willing to behave ourselves. We are stronger in our resolve. We must be more resilient. Regardless of how we are viewed or how we are treated we are responsible for our own individual actions, not responsible for the actions of others; with the exception of our children. We are responsible for their actions to an extent. And we need to teach them to behave responsibly and make the right decisions, regardless of their age.

We also need to be more active in our government. Not just talking around the water cooler or venting on a blogsite. But become informed as to how and why things are the way that they are. We need to be educated on the issues and we need to be in a position to hold our elected officials accountable. They are to represent the citizens and should make decisions accordingly. But when trying to make decisions for an uneducated, self-centered, finger pointing mob, the elected official will be left to his own devices. We see this too often already. We don't have to all agree or be in complete unity but we must all be accountable and responsible. We need more voice from Main Street not more noise from Washington...we need bigger people and smaller government. Then the trivial problems, such as fast food, will not be such big issues. And we could have hope for a outcome that will better suit the citizen/consumer.

I realize today's blog may be more of a soapbox style tangit than a concise treatise of any sort. I guess its almost a blog inside a blog... Maybe Everyone will see my genius in this. Probably not though...I ended up going in a totally different direction than the direction I had initially planned. I will not make any apologies, for my words are thought over and heartlfet, and my skill is limited and developing at this point. And many times issues are tied togethter and difficult to isolate for the puropose of social dissection.

I do hope anyone who reads this can glean over today's words and find something useful. And if no one can find it very useful, just blame my kids for distracting me or the web site for not being easier to publish my musings. There are alot of factors that I can't control... Meanwhile I'm going to get a Big Mac.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"I said, 'No!' "

AAAAHHHH, finally, a moment of peace. A tiny moment in history when there is no need to rush around seeking the location of a child; no need to wonder what is being spilled, or turned over, or eaten...or so I thought. The air is filled with sounds of childish jabbering and playful laughter...and then, it happened. Only a drip at first, then a stream, then an all out waterfall! Quick to my feet and around the corner I peer to find what every parent never desires to find...water! Lots of water...water flowing from one end of the bathroom to the other. Water squishing between my toes as I leap into the flowing H2O to salvage anything in the direct line of the overflow. In the midst of "Lake Mackenzie", I manage to force out, "How many times have we had this discussion? How many times have you been disciplined for this?" (Ok, so maybe I didn't express my concern QUITE like that!)

And then with a pause in my "water-filled" moment, I regress...How many times have I said, "No!" "Don't!" "Put that back!" "Stop!" "Why did you do that?" "Why won't you listen?" "Don't you understand that I only want what is best for you?"

Life with children seems to be full of the previous imperatives and questions. How often do those phrases pass through my lips? More often than I ever anticipated! In the midst of attempting to raise our children to be manner-filled, etiquette-wise, and "heathen-less", there can be great frustration! Why the need for constant "reminders" of what to do and not to do; and simply for their own good? Yet, as I ponder those thoughts, there is a still, small voice prodding gently at my own heart. "My dear child, why won't you listen? Why do I constantly have to remind you? Why do you reject or ignore my instruction when I DO know what is best for you?" Oh, the humbleness exuded when reality sets in that I, as a child of God, do not consistently, like my own children, hold fast to the "instruction" of my "Parent".

As I revel in those gentle reminders of my own relationship and interaction with the Lord, I feel rather ridiculous. Who would spend money to visit a doctor, but then use their own remedy? Who would pay to consult a beautician, but then cut their own hair? Who would hire a caterer, but then prepare their own meal? Our lives are full of opportunities to consult "experts". We do so because of a lack of expertise in differing subjects, and often times, it costs us monetarily. There is One not seeking monetary gain; One not executing a career; an Expert beyond compare with our, yes our, best interest at heart. How ridiculous to not consult and adhere to the "advice" of such a phenomenon! Yet, how often that humbling question is presented..."My dear child, why will you not listen?"

What stands in our way? What keeps us from following through? What makes us continually form "Lake _____" in our own lives? Questions easily answered by looking into the life of our own children. Simply put, only focusing on what they want. With no reverance for consequences, children push forward. It is only when the adventure ends in destruction, or something inevitably falls or spills, that the tears of sorrow (or pain!) flow and the regret begins. In the complexity of life as an adult, are we not also sometimes found guilty of pushing forward until the "adventure", one way or another, ends?

But, oh the lessons to be learned in the simplicity of a child. The TRUST exhibited in standing in a chair or crawling on a counter. The JOY exhibited in a beautiful butterfly or steadfast squirrel. The LAUGHTER in a game of hide-and-seek or peek-a-boo. The LOVE exhibited no matter the past experiences or mistakes.

What then is the answer for us today? How do we lessen the frequency of those gentle, but sometimes stern, words from the Father and begin a journey of faithfulness? One simple verse sums up this complex question...

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these"...we simply have to be willing to put ourselves aside and come to Him as a child...fully trusting; with child-like faith.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama's European Tour

While watching the coverage of Obama's European Tour this week, I have often wondered why his book, and only written works both literary as well as legislative, was titled, "The Audacity of Hope" instead of being simply titled, "The Audacity". Who does this guy think he is? And was he overseas as a senator or as a presidential candidate? With his voting record basically being a "present" vote over 200 times in his brief, two year senatorial career, I wonder why he, of all people, would be qualified as any type of delegate to visit the Middle East or Europe. I also wonder why and if any taxpayer money was spent to finance this leg of his campaign.

There are also questions of why he didn't spend more time in Iraq and why he cancelled his visit of injured military people in Germany. I understand the latter issue he said that he didn't want treated as a campaign issue. At least that is what he said. But who really believes that? I'm sure he wouldn't have had any difficulty telling all of those Americans laying in the hospital beds that he appreciates all that they have done even though it has all been for nothing; a complete military failure. Then he could explain why he managed to vote for cutting the funding needed to maintain their safety. Especially after so many votes of merely "present" being on his senatorial record. Could he actually have a conscience in these regards? And if he does, what is to stop his ego from trumping it? No, I think he knew that Americans are a little more difficult to exploit than Germans and that he didnt have many friends or fans in any military hospitals.

And I think this is basically the case for his brief visit in Iraq. Some say that he didn't want to be seen with a lot of muslims, further strengthening his ties to a radical religion. There may be some truth to that, but I think he just doesn't have much support there; and he refuses to lose his rock star staus by appearing lame in front of any crowd. And he is so brilliant that he has already laid out his plan for Iraq long before he even stepped foot in the region. So the need for anyone in the military regard has long since passed.

And he needed to end his tour on a high note. Get the formalities of the Middle East out of the way and get on to the more important issues, like Obama! The German charade was the equivalent of an encore at a rock concert. And almost as useful. I wonder how many of the people at the Victory Column will be voting for Obama come November? I can tell you the answer to that, one. Obama. But it will still successfully dupe many Americans already enamored with his popularity into believing Obama's self-promotion. But so does Brittany, Paris, Lindsey, and whoever else the media showers their blessings on; so one really shouldn't be surprised.

He is slick though. Too bad Clinton initially took the 'slick" moniker because it really suits Obama better. More empty rhetoric, full of finger pointing and empty promises while lacking any substance, or even solutions. Just a bunch of bombast.

One of the things that I find interesting is that "Obama's European Tour" hasn't helped him in the polls. Even with CNN's "Audacity of Hype" coverage he hasn't gained any ground on McCain. Actually he has lost ground. And despite all of the overinflated ego shared by him and the press Obama only leads McCain by 4%. Not a large margin for a Rock Star. According to the RCP poll he has lost points, albeit slight. Maybe more Americans are beginning to see through this masquerade.

I would like to end this as saying that I do not hate Obama. I am very critical of him and I think his media coverage is scandalous. I think he and his wife are bad for America. I find him dangerously underqualified to be our president, especially during the difficult times we are facing. And I do not endorse McCain, although I most likely will vote for him. He would not be my first choice for president but he is the best choice, in my opinion, at the moment.
I hope I don't offend any of my friends, especially my best friend and his family, who always vote opposite of myself and have conflicting views. I think all of my friends and I are part of what can work in this country; people who view things differently but don't allow those views to be a hindrance in our relationships. People who can respect each other's opinion when it is not crammed down our throat, and continue to root for the same football team as well as root for each other in our everyday lives.

Its basically like I tell my four year old son...We love Obama as a person but we sure don't want him as our president.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Trees

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the Maples want more sunlight
And the Oaks ignore their pleas.

The trouble with the Maples
(and they're quite convinced they're right)
They say the Oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all light.
But the Oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made
And they wonder why the Maples
Can't be happy in their shade.

There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the Maples scream "Oppression!"
And the Oaks just shake their head.

So the Maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
"The Oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light"

Now there's no more Oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw.

These words are from a song written by the progressive rock group, Rush. I cannot take credit for these words and I think that I will leave the social commentary to the readers today.
There is one thought I would like to leave you with today, and that thought is that we would be better suited to solve the differences betwen each other as people rather than have the courts or government solve our differences for us.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Peanuts: Our Newest Pariah!

A few weeks ago I read that some sporting venues were going to "Peanut Free Seating". Now I've heard of handicapped seating and smoke free sections and can understand the "hows and whys" of such seating, but never would I have imagined "Peanut Free Seating" would be a reality.

I was a little confused by this so I asked my mother what her take on this was. And realize that this is a person who can find a way for anything, and I mean anything, to kill you. Hard candy, a teaspoon of water, baby shampoo; theses are all potential killers to her. And you know what her take on this peanut free thing was? "Ridiculous" and "Whats the point?"

So peanuts received a relatively low score on the "potential death factor" test. Now I decided to try to get the behind the scenes, low-down on this peanut free issue. For this aspect, I approached the expert on all subjects great and small, Rupert Cadell. He is a very intelligent, albeit eccentric, friend of mine. He's to me, what Slats Grobnik was to Mike Royko. And Rarely is there a theme that Rupert doesn't have an opinion on, with or without any factual basis.

"There are actually two movements at work here," Rupert told me. "One is a very racist movement set out to discredit any person of any color."
"A racist movement involving peanuts?" I asked unbelievably. This is rich, even for Rupert. "I don't think that i follow you"
" When you think of peanuts and uses for peanuts, who is the first person that comes into your mind?"
" Jimmy Carter. I knew it! I knew that he..."
" No. Not Jimmy Carter," my friend interupted. "Think of a scientist"
"Oh", I said. "You mean George Washington Carver"
"And was he a person of color?" Rupert asked with a sly grin on his face.
"Now thats ridiculous! Even for you Rupert"
"Oh, I agree," my buddy said in a more serious tone. " And it's not my kind of thing, mind you. I find no reason or rationale behind racism. Its a sign of ignorance and..."
" I know where you stand on racism, Rupert." I said interupting my friend. " I mean that this is a far-fetched conspiracy theory"
" Maybe so. But what was the first venue that you heard of that would be considering going to 'peanut free seating?"
" Some kind of auto racing, Nascar or Busch series something or other I believe"
"And what are the roots of auto racing in America?" Rupert asked while that same sly smile came back to his face.
"I'm not getting any deeper into this, Rupert. What is the other movement you were speaking of?"

"The other movement behind the peanut ban is the religeous right", Rupert said with quiet confidence.
"o.k. lets hear this one," I said.
" This crusade is a little more intelligent. We also have a smoke free issue at work."
"A smoke free issue?"
"Yes, and a tax issue as well" Rupert stated.
"Where is this heading? I'm not as bright as you are, Rupert. Can you spell it out for me?" I answered as I began to remember how one can only take my friend Rupert in small doses.
"Its modern day prohibition, my friend! Thats what the religeous right is trying to revitalize, prohibition!", my friend said now more emphatically.
"I'm gonna regret this, but how do you come up with this? Wheres the proof?" I asked.
"First they placed a 'sin' tax on alcohol, only they called it something different. This began to increase revenue ahead of time, to help offset the loss of tax when alcohol would be abolished"
"Where does the smoke free and peanut free come in?" I asked.
"Don't interupt me and I'll tell you, Rupert chided. "Soon after the extra tax on alcohol, the religeous right and the government agencies that were working with the religeous right set their sights on gaining more revenue on a product that would remain after the riddance of alcohol. And that product was tobacco. They figured that they could make tobacco seem even more sinister than alcohol, but not so much morally, so they attacked it in a fiscal theater. They discussed the overburdened health care system and also pretended to care abut the health of the smokers. Im sure you know most of the isssue with tobacco and big government, I just wanted to point out the inauspicious..."
"I know about the overtaxed smoker if thats what you mean. I'm not real sure about this conspiracy thing though. And where do peanuts fit in?"
"I'm getting to it", Rupert answered abruptly." Soon after the taxation began to fill the coffers which would offset the loss of alcohol revenue, they continued on the health issue. They began to make smoke free seating sections and smoke free facilities but this was falling short of the goal of prohibition. So they moved onward to smoke free cities. This was the only way they could get smoking out of obvious places that smoking would exist, like bars and taverns, further attacking the psychological facet of the smoker while trying to moralize through the discreditation of alcohol and it's consumer."
"I find it hard to believe that Christians are in cahoots with the government and would be behind such a thing, Rupert. And where do the peanuts come in?" I asked as I began to really tire of this conversation.
"I said the religeous right, I never mentioned Christians. I do wish you would listen. And as far as the peanuts, think of what sits in bowls on bartops in taverns all across America..."
"Good grief, Rupert! This is where peanuts fit in?", I interupted.
"You don't think of it as being an issue now, but remember that an entire mountain begins to be moved by first beginning with a small stone."

After researching this "peanut free seating" issue and meeting with the experts I came up with some thoughts of my own. My initial thoughts were on the obvious things, like going to a ballgame and not eating peanuts and if I did eat peanuts, would i be ostracized? And I wondered what song they would sing during the seventh inning stretch since 'Take Me Out To The Ballgame' mentions peanuts. Would they have to rewrite the song? Or find a new song to sing? I know that it can be very trendy to hate tradition, but there are some traditions that it is unimagineable to upheave in our hearts and minds.

Is it necessary to create all of these special seating sections? I understand the smoking issue and the health problems from second hand smoke. And one person's rights can end where another person's begins and all of that stuff. But peanut free? Does the mere presence of peanuts cause health issues? Is the peer pressure of eating peanuts so great that we are tempted to partake even if it may cost us our lives? Are there really psychological issues that arise when a non-peanut person comes into contact with a peanut person? Aren't we, as a race, more resilient than all of this?

And my conversation with Rupert gave birth to some new thoughts. Not that I believe all of that conspiracy stuff, mind you. But it does make me realize how easy it is to find a conspiracy if one is given time and opportunity. We can formulate any manner of hysteria in our minds, even without the help of Oliver Stone.

I think about how easy it is to start a new crusade. And how many crusades there are in the world. How many people develop opinions that are not based in fact, or even based in any necessity to our being. And I wonder about how much better we would all be without all of these crusades. We would have less to talk about around the water cooler, that is probable. But would we be missing much of anything? Other than another argument over another person's perspective.

Issues like "Peanut Free Seating" are never as simple as their title implies. And there are usually alot of angles and legalities behind the motives of such crusades/movements. And they usually open a Pandora's box to some degree; and are such slippery slopes once we begin to walk down the pathway.

And all of this makes me wonder what is the standard by which we measure all things; and who devised such standard. And what are these things based upon?

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Meaningless! Meaningless!" Says The Teacher

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13

Often times in our life, we search for purpose. That is, if we take time to think about our existence and our actual being. Too often we are distracted with our jobs and our leisure; and the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We get caught up in the things we have built our lives out of, and many times become slaves to the very fabric that we use to "create" our lives.

We judge others with our own scales. We see others with our own eyes, or sometimes within the eyes of a social parameter, so to speak. We generalize and categorize, rationalize and form predisposed bias.

Then we, ourselves, feel like our jobs and our achievements define who we are. And what are our "achievements" based on? Someone else's point of view?

How many of us take time to think and remember Solomon's words that were written in the book of Ecclesiastes? Here is the wisest and wealthiest human being of all mankind, proven historically as well as biblically. Here are words we can apply, that can solve the issues of existence and mankind's purpose, albeit frank and to the most basic point.

And i'm not pointing this "column" to just those who read this blog; this advice is for the author, me, as well. The words of Solomon are forgotten and lost in the shuffle of my mind as much and as often as the next persons. So please don't find me self-righteous.

I suggest that anyone who reads this blog, to read the book of Ecclesiastes this weekend; but read the entire book! It can seem very negative and full of pessimism, just as the truth of mankind sometimes isn;t very pretty. But after reading the summarization in chapter twelve, it makes sense and places perspective on things. It is also a beautifully written book, full of expression and heartfelt setiment. Solomon experiences everything life has to offer in his lifetime and comes to the realization that serving God is the only thing that is truly fulfilling.

What have our life experiences lead us to believe?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Insert Title Here

As I look back at the blogs I have written over the past two weeks, there have been some obvious things that stand out. They are a little sophomoric at times. The typing leaves something to be desired and I should probably spend a little time editting and proofreading before I publish a blog (if only my kids would allow such a thing) I am more than a little rusty on my grammar and spelling and I have a unique writing style, none. But the one glaring weakness is my choice of titles. They have been pretty drab and not exactly attention grabbers.

Headlines have always had a way of fascinating me. They can allow a person to keep up with the news without actually reading the articles. And if the Title is especially interesting it can cause a person to read an article that they normally would overlook. But the most interesting aspect of the Title, to me at least, is how the Headlines reflect the views/opinions/ethics of society.

And I am fascinated because sometimes I don't fully understand the implications of the headlines. Or maybe I take them too literal. And usually I find them obvious and comical, even when they are intended to be serious. And here are some examples of some recent headlines and my take on them:

"What Makes A Man Want To Propose"
Did someone actually have to write a column about this? Initially I didn't think so, but as I consider the current divorce rate I think maybe it is necessary. And being happily married I had no need to read the article, but I did think of some reasons why a man may propose; A shotgun weilding, hillbilly brother. Having a few drinks too many. A weekend in Vegas. A woman with a pretty face. And I don't know if my list is very comparable to the original author's list. I do know that the title and picture under the headline implied reasons other than love, prayer, and mature decision making.

"Something Fishy: Shark Report At Jaws Site A Hoax"
Even more sophomoric than my stuff. Someone should have fought this urge and just said "No". My four year old was even insulted at this one. "Daddy, sharks aren't fish are they?".
"No, son, they are not. Its a clever play on words. Its what mature writers use to capture a reader's attention"
"Oh...can we read some more Dr. Seuss?"

"Should You Buy A Scooter To Save Gas Money"
I blame this one on the hysteria that has accomanied the $4 gasoline. And I didn't feel the need to read this article either. All I could think of, was that I sure wouldn't buy a scooter to look cool! It would have to be because of the gas mileage. Not much need for an elaborate column here.

"How To Avoid Lightning"
I'm not making this up. Someone wrote this article and it was placed in the health section. The health section. Maybe it's just me, but I find this funny. This article I had to read. And it was about as assinine as the title implied. "Stay indoors during storms". "Dont stand under tall structures during storms". "Metal can attract lightning so avoid it during a storm". I'm not making this up or embellishing here. These were parts of the article.
And come to find out, the joke is on me. Lightning can be unhealthy. Who knew?...and I checked to see if my mother wrote this and she did not. You are off of the hook, mom.

"Living Beyond Your Means: Five Tell-Tale Signs That Your Finances Have Entered The Dead Zone"
This was one of today's little gems. And I probably shouldn't joke much here, just look around and consider today's economy. Myabe people do need Five signs to know if they are broke. So I made my own five signs: 1- The Mason house eats white beans twice in one week. 2-The look on my wife's face when I ask her if she wants to spend the weekend in St. Louis. 3-We only put $50 worth of gas in our car. This used to be 'filling her up' but now is only a quarter tank full. 4-Having to use smelling salts to revive my wife after I tell her that I went shopping to save her some time. 5- look at our checkbook.

So I have given some examples of the headline/article relationship. It does point out the lack of originality in my own use of this writing tool. I do promise to my reader's, both of you, that I will try to do better. I will even use titles that are submitted to me, if anyone feels the urge to do so. I'm not proud and I could use the help in the headline area. Maybe I will even attempt to come up with a headline before I write my blog. As my studies have shown, society only cares about headlines. We don't have time nor concern for substance.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Favre For President?

As I read/listen to the Brett Favre situation with the Green Bay Packers a thought has occurred to me; Favre should run for president. Or at least get into politics in some degree. I believe he has many of the qualifications needed to perform an adequate job of it. And "adequate" is about as good as it gets for politicians these days.

Now lets look at Favre's qualifications. He is as in touch with his emotions as Hilary. Either one of them could be found crying and sobbing when they feel their end is near...the ego is a powerful thing.

Brett has waffled more times than Obama. And that is saying something! "The Candidate of Change" could be a perfect campaign slogan for both men. Neither one has had a solid, un-wavering stance on anything. Of course we excuse this as emotional, heartfelt, and human. But if we call a spade a spade we know that neither one has the foresight to make important, life changing decisions.

Favre has easily connected on as many passes as Bill Clinton, with or without a cigar. Take this "qualification" for whatever you want to take it as.

The former/future quarterback has to be, I repeat, has to be more intelligent than Jimmy Carter. Even though Favre has never been confused with any kind of genius, I would still put his jock mentality/i.q. ahead of Carter's cognititve capabilities. But this really isn't any type of complement. Most people acheive this status by default, due to Jimmy's smarts.

Demographically Farve could be a dominant force. He is from Mississippi. he could carry the southern states. And he played in Green Bay. That could help carry the blue collar vote, especially in Wisconsin and Michigan. The Football Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio so we would have to give him the edge in that battleground state. People in Texas love football. There are about four bajillion football teams of some class and size in our second largest state, so again he would become the favorite here as well.

Brett Favre's name has given him more free passes than either Clinton, Obama, and Al Gore put together. Just as the news media has overlooked major goofs and character flaws of the politicos, the sports media has done the same for Brett. Regardless of inventing the internet or throwing five interceptions in a single game, all have come out basically unscathed. We only want to see the positives in some people, I think because their negatives are so large we are forced to look away from them. And if the media lets any of them slide, then we probably should too. We are only about as smart as Carter, generally speaking. Making our own decisions is too much too ask.

Name recognition is another thing. He could be a Kennedy in this regard. He basically doesn't have to do anything to but live off of his over-inflated, unrealistic reputation. As I mentioned before, he can do no wrong. And if he did, we would dismiss his wrong as being full of heart...So basically he doesn't have to do anything. Period... Like a Kennedy.

This is just a sample of some of the "qualifications" I see. I could just name some names, like Arnold or Jesse Ventura or Springer, and make many more parallels. But that would only be beating a dead horse, so to speak, and I think that job belongs to real news reporters and politicians. And I am a little afraid of PETA, so I will digress.

But don't be surprised if you see Brett Favre's name on a ballot this coming November. And if you vote for him, especailly in Florida, make sure to leave no chad hanging.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I first want to thank everyone who has read and participated in the "Self-Inflicted Blog" this week. I sincerely appreciate the support and enjoy having a public forum for my musings. I would appreciate any feedback, both good and bad, that anyone has to offer. And if you have opinion that you would like to share, please email comments to my personal email. If you dont have my personal email then I would appreciate anything you have to say to be directed to Thank You!

Something I am really tired of is racism. And long before I was banned from the Rainbow Coalition web site, I was tired of Jesse Jackson. And I will be hanged if he hasn't somehow gotten back in the news.

And his stunt, this time, is newsworthy; unlike most of his hate-mongering and division-inducing rhetoric. When a supposed reverend so eloquently says " i want to cut his nuts off", thats news. I feel that the main point of the story should be how Jesse can call himself a reverend. Or how anyone can call someone with his history a reverend. Aren't there Biblical guidelines to be adhered to? Can anyone be a reverend? Do I even know what reverend means? Does anyone understand the title? Is nothing truly sacred?

And why does this bring up the issue of racism again? Wasn't this a case of a black man accusing/ speaking ill of another black man? And isn't the race of the people they are speaking of also black? So why racism?

First of all it is about racism because everyone's first response, including mine, was "what if a white man had said this?" We all wonder what would have happened if a white minister had said the same, exact, word-for-word thing but we do not take the time to ponder why that is our initial thought. We just go with our own knee-jerk reaction to something a so-called civil rights activist speaks into an unknowingly hot mike during a commercial break.

Also, I think that so many of us have been accustomed to Jesse, as well as many other black activists, trying to make us feel bad that we were born white, that we are automatically defensive of anything he says, even if it is not pertaining to white people. We have grown tired of being blamed for things we haven't done as well as being profiled and stereotyped. No one with any intelligence, white or black, wishes to be treated in such manner, but it does not excuse our actions in these instances. It does, however, make things a little more understandable.

I do not understand racism personally. I am thankful that racism isn't one of my personal struggles and that I am not ignorant enough to dislike or judge someone by the color of their skin. But I do understand what causes racism. Even when it is disguised by the media and activists as well as everyday ordinary people.

I am so tired of racism and wish it would go away. But with this years political climate being what it is, i seriouslly doubt it. And history tells us that racsim has been here a long, long time and probably will be around alot longer.

If only we would all see each other as individuals based on our character and merit. For too long we have been in too much of a hurry to stop and think about people being people. Its just too convenient to generalize.

If only we had a true man of God to lead us all, regardless of race. If only our activist wouldn't hide behind titles and our media focused more on the points of what were really important instead of what is edgy and provocative. Of course that would the responsibilty on us as individuals to turn away from scandal and glitz, and focus our individual priorities on things that are truly important.

Time, space, and my daughter won't allow me to delve much deeper into this at the moment. Thanks for reading and I apologize for the abrupt enidng.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Plenty of Blame

I guess one of the biggest issues of the day is the rising cost of gasoline. Hardly a conversation is carried on without mention of the topic. And that is understandable given that fuel costs affect the price of most everything we buy. So who is to blame for this dilema? Surely someone is to blame. Certainly a scapegoat can be found to carry the burden of blame.

Oh yeah, we have a scapegoat. Prsident Bush. According to most people he is the blame. I mean, he comes from Big Oil does he not? Hasn't he single-handedly started a war for his sole interest and for Big Oil? Some of the most genius minds, like Keith Olberman, and arm chair politicians, see John Stewart, have said so. And they are brilliant! If you are not sure about it, just ask them and they will tell you. But that is a different story for a different blog. And I for one take the minority view that this is not the fault of President Bush. If fuel costs would have risen even without the war, which they would have, people would be screaming for the president to do something. We should not invade other countries over moral or ethical atrocities, defense, or stability for our allies but we should go to war when it affects our pocketbooks. Bomb 'em all, for they have caused me great grief and overtaxed my bank account! But this is a topic for another day and another blog.

So in getting back to rising fuel costs, I understand we have a scapegoat in our president. And I know that really is what is important, shifting blame and not facing our own contributions of fault. Besides, he isn't human he's a politician.

But isn't there enough blame to go around? Foreign oil producers, especially the Saudis, truly are our friends. So why in their generosity and kindness have they continues to gouge us on oil? I do understand that oil is the only thing they have and when it runs out, unless sand becomes a valuable commodity, that the only thing that will save them is the fact that they own most of our country by that time. I also understand that they have shifted some blame to the global market thing and that China and India have overburdened such economy. And i realize that there is some truth in that statement. I guess I am just skeptical about the supply and demand issue. When demand goes up price goes up, and in the case of crude oil, by about three million percent. But the same product can increase supply and the price merely drops three percent.

And on that point I move the finger towards refineries and American businesses. Since they are being gouged, they pass it along to us consumers. And they really aren't entitled to make a profit. After all, they are not real people they are oil companies. And they only make an eight percent profit these days. Most businesses want to see more than an eight percent profit margin. But eight percent of two hundred billion dollars is alot more than eight percent of two hundred million. So how much is enough? We love capitalism and all it stands for as long as it benefits us personally. So shouldn't we punish the evil oil companies for their greed? Even though they pay a large share of the taxes from the business sector?

Which shifts the blame to our government. Why don't they ease some restrictions and taxes? I know the tax money is neede for pork and social programs, but wouldn't allowing one of the only markets making any money these days to operate with less interference and restrictions ultimately help the consumer? Because the way it is now is about like the way the cigarette tax has gone. Government finds evil, taxes evil to a greater extent, evil passes that added expense to the consumer, then the worker is hurt in areas other than cigarettes. Oh the poor consumer.

Which brings me to the last section of blame for today. Aren't we tired of people holding guns to our head and making us consume as much gasoline as we do? Aren't we tired of being responsible with our individual choices and priorites, only to get gouged by so many people both foreign and domestic? No, we can't be the blame. Besides, we're not people were just consumers. We've been forced to use as much gas as we have been using. We haven't had a choice in our cars or lifestyles. We do care deeply about the six toed owl and policies that will cause him to live better than our fellow man. We do love capitialism. We want everyone to experience liberty if it doesn't cost too much. We are true patriots.

Samuel Johnson is credited as creating one of my favorite quotes:

"Patriotism is the final refuge of a scoundrel"

If you don't think that, just watch the way we shift the blame.

Monday, July 7, 2008

True Horror

"What kind of tragedy happened to these poor, young girls?"
That was my initial thought as I came across a television program that had three young girls with over-sized, dark sunglasses covering up most of their juvenile facial features.
"Were they stricken with blindess? A childhood malady of some sort? Did they witness a horrific crime and were now in the witness protection program? Did they try to watch the latest solar eclipse with their naked eyes?" These were just some of the questions that went through my mind. But soon my questions turned into true horror...
It was a fashion blunder. That is what the problem was with these young girls; a lousy problem with style.
And more horrific was the fact that it was being treated as a true life-altering, tragic ordeal. An issue that was greatly affecting these girls' esteem and self-worth. An ordeal that could alter their entire futures.
I mean to tell you, this was huge!
Then this tribulation became deeper. This was worse than I had initially guessed. The caption appeared on the bottom of the screen and informed me that these young girls had between twenty and fifty, depending on which girl, pairs of sunglasses. And none of them accented their face correctly! AARRRGGGHHH!!! The Horror!!!!!
They went on to lament the size of their face and their skin type and a hairstyle and other features of theirs that would not allow them to stylishly wear the fashionable sunglasses of the celebrities and classmates. The spoke about this sunglass issue with fervor and sadness, What were they to do? How could they ever decide on a hairstyle? How could they accent an oval face adequately? If only Wayfarers or Aviators or even those jinky little John Lennon glasses would come into style their problems would be solved. Curses on you Lindsey and Brittany! "How could you do this to us, your biggest fans?" Oh how these kids complained.
But never fear! Tyra was going to find the right sunglasses for these girls and restore hope, order, and purpose to these girls lives. Even if the fifty sets of sunglasses at home did not work Tyra would continue this quest for the perfect pair. She would slay the dragon of fashion for these teens, making them a good, unembarrasing choice for the junior-high dance once again.
And i believe that Tyra was sincere in her concern for her fellow human beings. For one, she was on television. That must count for something. Secondly she was a talk show host and we all know that a talk show host would never exploit the problems, insecurities, or fears of their guests just to help themselves or their ratings. It just does not work that way in the Twentyfirst century. We have evolved into much a much better race.
As Tyra eased everyones fears and began accumulating points for the Nobel prize my thoughts shifted to my own work with teenagers. Of course I could not beleive that no one did a show like this ten years ago when i started working with teens. Where was this episode when I needed it? I have been trying to teach some of the wisdom of Solomon and other Biblical lessons to give purpose to others. I had foolishly hoped for God to give inner peace and prayed for grace. I tried to develop self-worth from the inside out and show that commercials and movies are not reality and that it is alright to have flaws, no matter how minor. All of the truths of thousands of years and all of the sacrifices Jesus made; all of the difficult things to face and the meaning of True Love felt lessened now that I know ZZ Top was closer to the answer, "Get yourself some cheap sunglasses."
I could not bear to watch the remainder of the program and I do not know what will happen to these girls. If they overcome their disorders, I assume they have a future in playing poker because I've seen several poker players on television wear sunglasses as they play cards. We can only hope that they find the magic pair of sunglasses that will calm their spirits and restore order to their inner sanctum. We can pray for comfort and peace in the fashion aspect of their life and wish grace upon their style. Then maybe they can develop some real self-worth. Then maybe they can do as their parents obvioulsy have done and truly help build self worth in young egos and purpose to our future generation.
Oh the horror...