The Interview movie

Just finished watching The Interview as as usual for this blog I won’t be rehashing the same themes splashed all over current news.

In short I did laugh at a few parts but on the overall found it just the same old crude high school humor fart joke type of movie that Hollywood continues to spew out.  Say something about boners, maybe even show a boner, try to be even raunchier than the previous movies, yes, this is American exceptionalism at its best.  

I don’t see why the DPRK should feel threatened since it is movies like this that show exactly how decadent America has become.  They could turn it around and use it as propaganda!  

Now, what really stood out for me was their mentioning of SEAL Team Six.  Mentioning this team is a testament to American’s severe case of attention deficit disorder and extremely short memory.  The fact is that the famous members of SEAL Team Six are all dead except (as far as I know) the one who wrote a tell all memoir Matt Bissonnette.  And there was even a line in the movie where the protagonist tells the CIA he will make a tell all memoir!

To mention this team where the members are mostly dead in a movie whose main assets are dick jokes seems extremely disrespectful.  It is as though there are absolutely no boundaries left when it comes to American “entertainment.”  

And furthermore, the story of these dead SEALS has become one of the fastest non-stories I can think of in my life.  One minute they are the most celebrated guys in the USA and the next minute they are dead with barely a whisper in the news.  Check out this news article: Families suspect SEAL Team 6 crash was inside job…

I’m not one for conspiracy theories but there are just so many incidents these days that don’t add up and oh look, there is a picture of a cat! 


That is what the internet and media have come to.  A massive amount of stupid information aimed at the masses.  In Internet terms the entire internet and media consuming public is getting DDoS’d on a 24 hour basis with packets of junk.  It is simply impossible to maintain a connection and concentrate on what is actually important. 

On a side note I think I’m the only one I know of who has actually received a post card from North Korea.  One of my old classmates was going there as part of a cultural/academic exchange and I donated a few dollars to be used to donate school supplies to the North Korean school children.  They sent me a postcard straight from Pyongyang which I think is pretty cool. 


The difficulty with truth in public – Ferguson

Another very long dry spell with no posts!  The reason is simply that I now have two kids instead of one.  With one kid you’re still afforded a modicum of free time, yet with two, the concept of 100% individual free time no longer exists. 

Today I read an article in the New Yorker regarding the nomination of Samantha Power.  As usual when seeking public office she had to disavow things she had said in the past which would hurt her chances of getting nominated.  This really struck a chord with me as a fine example of how we really cannot express our true thoughts and opinions in public space, especially in a world where everything is increasingly being recorded.  The pressure to conform, to self filter and to keep quiet has become great even for those not seeking public office.  

As for me, I created this blog to be able to express my own opinions and thoughts without reservation.  Perhaps another reason I haven’t posted in a long while is that I too am self filtering, afraid to jump into the pool and create waves.  Perhaps it is because I’m getting older and cautiousness is a side effect of getting older.  

Fortunately, I do have a principle to help me find my way back and that is to always be true to myself and my own ideas, no matter what other people think.  Those that retract their ideas, or modify them in a way to be more acceptable to the masses do so because they want something, there is something to be gained by changing their views.  As for me, I have nothing to gain and there is nothing I want except to express my views.  It may seem absurd to some but one of my main role models is Don Quixote.  He may seem crazy to everyone else but he is not afraid to live a life the way he believes to be best and express his own views.  When we boil it all down he just wants to make the world a better place and I think in such a decadent culture that we have now we could use a little Don Quixote.  

Therefore, I too have decided to do something a little risky and that is to comment on Ferguson and the overall uproar regarding what appears to be a race issue.  I also plan to be very brief.  After all, I just want to record my own thoughts, there is no sense in trying to convince anyone as opinions in this are pretty much set in stone.  

My personal opinion is that if a cop tells you to do something you do it.  You don’t shout, fight back, run or do anything else, you do what the cop says.  When you don’t do what the cop says you’re inviting trouble.  

In both cases that currently have the country in an uproar the victim did not do what the police told them to do and bad things happened.  

Yes, they did not deserve to die and there certainly could have been better ways of handling the situations.  However, if a person with a gun tells me to do something chances are I probably won’t be fighting back unless the situation was dire.  Cops are human beings and although highly trained may react in slightly different ways, especially when under pressure.  And cops are under pressure a LOT since they have to constantly deal with the scum of society.  

What is also not being discussed is the extremely high crime rate of African American males.  It just follows that the cops are going to interact with African Americans and thus the probably of bad incidents occurring is therefore higher.  To put this in glaring perspective, when was the last time there was an uproar about a cop shooting an Asian and then all the Asians rioted?  There wasn’t.  

But being someone who really tries to understand the other side I really try to understand the anger and to be honest, I’m not able to understand it since I’m not African American.  So I asked my longtime friend from childhood who is both African American and a cop.  

His response, unsurprisingly was that there must be personal responsibility.  When a cop tells you to do something you do it.  

Being my usual liberal self I argued that due to the injustices of the past the African American community has certain problems that other racial groups do not face.  I quoted a highly respected black professor (forget name, university) who said that the struggles continue because black people really have only been regarded as “people” in the USA since the late 1960s.  When they were slaves they were not people at all, then after slavery an inferior people, then with MLK finally became full people.  Yet since there have only been 40-50 years of being “full people” there is a lot of catching up to do and problems.  

Well, my buddy didn’t buy it.  He asked me “What color and I.”  I responded “Is this a trick question?”  He then went back to personal responsibility.  If people are not held accountable for their actions then society will not function.  In this case, do not fight the cops because without the cops many, many neighborhoods all across the nation would turn into war zones and anyone who denies this is dreaming.  

And as for personal responsibility, when we are angry at the system the worst response is to burn down and attack our own neighborhoods.  That response only makes things worse as businesses, jobs and upstanding people will want to move away.  Peaceful protests have been shown to work but what am I seeing on the news in Berkeley and Oakland?  I’m seeing thugs attacking people and looting.  

Personal responsibility – get some.  


Proof of Human Evolution

It has occurred to me that the proof for human evolution is right in front of our eyes.  


One of my favorite places to think is in the sauna at my gym.  The endorphins from the exercise have saturated my brain so I’m naturally high, and the heat makes me quickly relax as the sweat pours out of me.  It is at this transition between a hard, intensive workout and deep relaxation that wonderful insights will often present themselves.    

This gym has its amenities that include not only the sauna, but a pool, Jacuzzi and steam bath as well so it is quite popular with a very diverse group of people.  It also happens to be located very close to San Francisco one of the most diverse places on the planet.  Young, old, fat, thin, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Persian, Spanish speakers, French speakers, there is no limit on the diversity found there.  It is a veritable Galapagos of human specimen contained on three levels and 55,000 square feet.  

Now in order for living and irrefutable proof of human evolution one must simply do the following.

Go into the men’s locker room at my gym and open your eyes.

Boom!  There before you, is living walking proof of evolution while it dries itself off, applies deodorant, takes a dump and combs its hair.  

Not to be rude and trying to be as genteel as I can, the best evidence lies in the last noun of the previous sentence.  Hair.  

When you enter a locker room with an incredibly diverse array of men you will see hair, and a lot of it.  Hair will be in places it shouldn’t be, like on the tops of feet.  There will often be more hair running down the back than on the tops of heads!  Sometimes the hair is so plentiful on the torso it is as though they might be wearing a very poorly knitted sweater! 


The image of man we most commonly see before us in a gym locker room (or any changing area for that matter) could not be farther from the more classical male portrayal best represented Michelangelo’s David.  If one had never seen the nude male form before, was first shown a picture of David, then an image of one of the hairier specimens from my gym’s locker room, they could easily be forgiven for not believing the two examples are representations of the same species.  

The battlefield for this debate on evolution lies in the classroom.  There are monumentous debates among the states as to how the history and scientific books should be worded in regards to evolution vs other ‘theories.’  But just as Darwin emerged from his study and traveled afar for proof of his idea, our young people too engage in ‘field trips’ to further solidify and provide actual proof of what they have learned.  

As my gym locker room is a paradise of living, breathing scientific proof, yet undiscovered by the academic community I propose we arrange ‘field trips’ for the most mature of our young scholars.  What they will see is indeed shocking, but true science isn’t for the faint of heart!  Just march those wide eyed students right on through the middle from the door to the shower and back out again.  Let them pause to scribble down a few notes, snap a couple of pictures and gather undeniable evidence for consumption by the outside world.  Let the realization that we are indeed descended from the apes sink in right before their own eyes in all its musty, odoriferous and fuzzy glory!

 tourbusA revolution is at hand my friends.  It should have occurred a century ago at the Galapagos islands but nobody lives near the Galapagos islands so how could we be absolutely sure this wasn’t some anti-religious plot to confuse the faithful?  Well friends, my gym is in Daly City near San Francisco.  And San Francisco is a place everyone wants to visit if they haven’t already.  Perhaps in addition to field trips we could also make my gym’s locker room a stop on the big bus open top tour line!  Surely then everyone would then see for themselves and the case for evolution will disseminate far and wide as they return to their home countries!   

 Science is so exciting especially when new discoveries are made that completely overturn long held beliefs!  

A revolution indeed!  

MBA and Christianity?

21st century capitalism through a 1st century worldview!  (MBA and Christianity??)

It simply amazes me that with all our progress and all our magnificent universities of learning that have no comparison throughout history, the majority of humanity is still bound by the ancient beliefs from a time when humanity knew very little about anything!  

Perhaps the reason is that we do not have a solid explanation for these basic questions and therefore invent stories to comfort us against the terror of simply not knowing?  
1.)  Where am I from?
2.) What am I?  
3.) Where am I?  
4.) What does the source, the origin of all creation?  

So what spurned this post?  We’ll this advertisement I just saw on Facebook.  

MBA Christian Worldview


Being rather familiar with Christianity, I have a hard time reconciling true Christianity with an MBA.  An MBA is learning how to best increase profits, nothing more.  True Christianity is divesting yourself of all you own, your family, friends and following Christ.  I fail to see how the two are compatible.  

This world I live in seems to get more ridiculous as time goes on.   

Just for the record I wonder how Christians would react if they saw an advertisement for an MBA with a Muslim worldview, or a Jewish worldview?  This just shows that the people who created this add live in a bubble and know very little about the rest of the world.  Therefore, why value is their “worldview?”  It would be like asking a child their opinion of a college course!  




A Proposal – Gun Legislation

Greetings Representative Polis,

A few associates and I are having a gun conversation; as the entire nation is at this time.  I think there are some valid ideas the might be flushed out in policy creation. The content of this letter is a longer read, so I would like to start with a summary of the main thoughts-

  • Take the Big Government argument out of the equation and provide a competing lobby to the NRA.
  • Set some standards and requirements in gun ownership,
  • Identify ways to have peers take the keys away from the “drunk drivers” (mentally unfit),
  • Include a base cost lf gun ownership and incrementally increase the Expense Vs. Risk equation.

An obvious comparison of guns to other objects of danger often arises, and I think automobile analogies are best in this conversation, where it is a dangerous object causing many deaths each year. Additionally it is a good comparator because as a nation we have constructive conversations about auto policy and public duty in an atmosphere largely devoid of partisan positioning, as opposed to any discussion of guns.

I also think it is fair to complain that it is not the object that kills but the operator, and that mental fitness is the core element of responsible operation of either guns or vehicles.

The debate is most certainly about mental health, the cause is not the gun, but it is also about population density and in a sense… opportunity. We live in a world that is so connected virtually and so disconnected emotionally/physically. One example of school tragedies in China is a fine example of a similar terror, certainly effective horror in that school children are defenseless against insanity… but the analogy stops there as this could not happen in a movie theatre.  After 911 I think our entire nation is willing to jump on top of one man with a knife to save the rest. In any case, what we have a nation of Monday morning DB’s and those with guns saying the equivalent of “I wish that happened to me” (see

So let’s not be so black and white and hyperbolic in our argument- we don’t need to say yes/no to guns.  Management however is not easy- mental health is not clear, it is not even really understood, more over it requires continuous contact and feedback to monitor.  When associated with potential mass violence it is simply not feasible given the number of guns and owners… mental health is not as discrete and manageable as objects with serial numbers and manufacturing dates.

There is an expense our society is paying by allowing a virtually unregulated gun trade and it should not be paid by all of the citizens of the country; it should not be paid in the terms of unaccountability to those who loose loved ones; it should not be paid at the stress and expense of our protection officers. We have evidence that the weapons industry is not self regulating, that the nation has disparate systems undermined by a myriad of policy, enforcement, and funding… obstructions and it is time to make some cohesion in the way we manage all of these issues.

The 2nd amendment is an argument that comes up. There is always interpretation and how that interpretation is set depends upon the conditions and time for which you live. Our forefathers created a document with as much divine influence as they could muster.  In a contentious argumentative environment they came up with a work to be admired 200+ years later (Not Bad!). How could they conceive that neighbors would not physically talk to each other? How could they conceive that the publicly available musket could be modified to fire 1000 rounds a minute of armor piercing, projectile tumbling/flesh exploding- bullets?

2nd amendment- Well regulated militias: If a group of enthusiasts want to get together, practice defense against tyrants and blow stuff-up ROCK-ON! Can I come for a weekend?

·         How else can we get people to understand and respect the equipment they are using but by having a group of serious and experienced people inculcate a proper weapons mystique to the newbie’s (insert respect + favorite child hunting story here!  But lets not confuse this with the need to take an AR-15 deer hunting this weapon is not designed to preserve the maximum edible flesh). Socialization is a critical aspect of developing moral bearings in life and it is a powerful on the ground perspective when individuals are getting out of line.

·         The public at large is not well regulated sets of militias!

·         There needs to be a PR effort that gets individuals to recognize that no militia group is going to resist the tyranny of the government in any practical way that does not include defection of the army or support of a foreign power (ex. Egypt, Libya Vs. Syria). . The system of militias cannot be allowed to support armed subversive groups of HATE!. Not prejudism, secession, anti-tax (Whiskey Rebellion), wacko Waco Texas stuff. Sure that is impossible to prevent stuff like that from starting, just like it is impossible for people with strong opinions from building coalitions in churches and mosques, but there may be a need to “disband” such a militia (ex. in Michigan). Also there are environmental and safety concerns which need to be addressed- what is done on private property (blowing up tanks of fuel etc.) causes damage to the water air and wildlife, which others enjoy. We are one nation under god and as such we have a duty to all citizens.

-2nd amendment- Keep and Bare arms: To Keep- means to own. I keep my car in a garage; I keep my family heirloom diamond in bank safety deposit box. Keep does not mean that a citizen must have to have immediate access to a weapon capable of “taking-out” multiple targets at distance.

o       Also, I really don’t care about the definition or type of weapon if, we are managing “opportunity” for damage in the right way. There is nothing in the text that says citizens do not need to have licenses for different types of ammunition or “Arms”… we restrict explosives based on such a system we could do the same with ammunition. There is nothing in the text that says weapons cannot be securely stored in a way that would prevent you from access when in an unfit frame of mind. i.e. at your militia headquarters or gun range.  I contrary to many “Old West” stories many municipalities required cowboys to check their guns at the edge of town. Rural environments need secure storage as well maybe not a gun bank but building up a cache is not really protecting stock from coyotes and wolves.

·         To Bare- To use in a functional way, to use against a threat or enemy- Join a militia as noted above! This does not mean that a citizen has the right to bare arms at any and all times to keep said “Arms” under their pillow. In the army are your weapons with you in the barracks? Weapons must be secure and accounted for at all times!

In general there is a now and then aspect to any policy, some ideas discussed:

  1. Insurance on each gun- insuring that the weapon would not be used in ways that endanger the public. This pays punitive damage claims and weapon related legal fees minimum deductible 1,000- gun owners still need to have some responsibility in the bad judgment game.(Some might call this a tax regulated through private industry- but at least there is a clear service provided)
    1. It prices risk considering potential damage against experience security of and access to guns- go ahead, get a concealed weapons permit, own an AR-15 or something bigger. (more guns more expense, more public risk, more expense, no insurance no gun)
    2. Such a requirement provides not only a motivation for a duty of care but;
    3. funds for restitution and improved psych services, and
    4. includes lapses in insurance such and/or loss of weapon in such cases there is a funding mechanism for collection. (perhaps another private industry opportunity, or reward for guns that go missing, reducing the number available to criminals).
    5. This also solves the technical issues of registration and database maintenance, (Again something that all citizens need not pay, but a duty on those who take pleasure in gun ownership).

The government is not in the micro factor risk analysis game, and it should not be their duty.

  1. Reduced home storage of weapons socially encourage local militias gun clubs and ranges to get into the security and warehousing business.  Set limits on the types and number of weapons, amount of ammo allowed in unsecured areas.  Some weapons are only allowed to be kept and used in designated areas (race cars are not allowed on the streets, racing fuel is dispensed in restricted areas or to authorized users). (this idea is probably the most problematic but when tied to insurance cost of home storage it might be plausible)
    1. I don’t trust all citizens’ mental states, at all times, so those weapons and ammunition do not need to be immediately accessible.
    2. Militias, Ranges and Gun Clubs can get into the business of Gun Banking. A nongovernment set of eyes to appraise mental state of owners, hopefully in a personal and friendship level of connection
  2. Attendance in gun events… not lame safety demonstrations… Live fire hands on use of weapons with colleagues and professionals, building comradery, appreciation, professionalism and a sharing of best management practices. You are required to attend a number of gun events per year

So summary repeated-

  1. Take the Big Government argument out of the equation and provide a competing lobby to the NRA.
  2. Set some standards and requirements in gun ownership, identify ways to have peers take the keys away from the “drunk drivers” (mentally unfit)
  3. Include a base cost lf gun ownership and incrementally increase the expense Vs. risk equation.

Gun collection is a cool hobby but it carries and much heavier responsibility than stamp collecting this has not been priced into the market. Personally I think insurance is the ruin of our nation but it is a mechanism which can induce logical regulation of behavior without more police.

In closing, the nation has disparate systems undermined by a myriad of policy, enforcement, and funding obstructions and it is time to make some cohesion in the way we manage all of these issues.  We need you to put forward ideas that take tangents away from the vitriolic cannons repeated by entrenched constituents.  It is time to set a clear strategy rather than tactical solutions.

It is time to disarm the anger consuming our national conversation (guns, taxes, religion) and feel safe having a discussion about the issues facing our people.

At home I can set the tone and tenor of a chat but I look to you in creating a similar environment where we can make the best policy for all and our future as a nation.

With respect,


America the Violent

America is a violent country.

Murders, killings, loss of life, manslaughter, homicide.  The words we have to describe the extinguishing of life seem as numerous in our culture as the Inuit have words to describe snow.  That another murder will occur today in our largest cities is as sure and expected as the sun is to rise in the east.  

Murder in the USA is not simply common but it is also celebrated.  This is painfully and horribly obvious in the movies, television shows music and just about every other media venue available today which the population of the USA happily and greedily consume without moderation.  Many will point out that these macabre art forms are not real, they are just for pleasure!

Then one will turn on Fox news at the start of a war and feel a rush of exhilaration as their entertainment and blood lust cross over into reality.  Greedy eyes scan the screen for an updated and real time body count which as it mounts, 100, 120, 150 almost becomes similar to sexual arousal as the faintest glint of morality gives way to our innate and violent animal urges which evolution has not had long enough to shed.  

Evolution has given us however, a larger brain which we use to try and process, try to explain and reason out these primal thoughts.  When a murder has taken place we almost always have a need, a great desire to know why.  There simply must be a logical reason: insanity, the righting of a wrong, uncontrollable anger, terrorist, protecting freedom.  One reason that we will simply not allow any room for is simply that the urge to kill was necessary for millions of years in our evolution.  As I read history it seems the furthest we can go back to some sort of civilization is only 10 thousand years or so where one can reasonably expect people began to realize that murder is not a good thing.

Ten thousand years is a very short time in terms of the evolution of mankind.  The amount of time is even shorter when a rule was made “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” that seem to spread rather quickly (2000 years) as humankind forced their particular religious brand among the people through the extremely effective method known as war and a persuasion where the only other option was death.  

However, many cultures have matured and after many orgies of great destruction have, for the moment, pacified their blood lust.  The United States is not among these.

As our culture is awash in violence there are periodic outbursts which seem to be a culmination, an apex which like an exploding volcano releasing a bit of pressure.  We are shocked by the tragic results, reflect a little then go back to the status-quo.

This is quite unfortunate but what is truly shocking to me is that we are unable to use our brains and logic to correct this.  Changing an entire culture is not something that can be done just by making a new rule.  

Instead, it is like the alcoholic that must enter an AA program and take specific steps to rid himself of the affliction.  

Step 1:  Admit you have a problem

In the USA we cannot get to step one.  Admitting we have a violent culture is not something that has entered our collective consciousness.


Because it has been drilled into our brains that America is the best.  Admitting that we have a culture of violence is not compatible with the view we have of ourselves.  America is the protector of freedom, it is the country that wins the most Olympic gold medals, America invented the car, the airplane, the computer and just about every good thing that has been invented since America was founded!  

In fact, if America was a man, then it is obvious that second to “Uncle Sam” America would be represented as, well, Captain America!  When a culture has an image of themselves as the “doer of right” there is no room for a problem.  If there is a problem then just like the alcoholic it must be hidden away, or there must be an explanation.  

“I drink so much because you make me this way!”  

I have not come to this conclusion simply on a whim or by daydreaming.  It is presented to me on a daily basis by that grand sociological experiment known as Facebook.  This is the medium where once taboo subjects, those issues which usually call for a bit of decorum are now laid bare like an overweight Brit sunbathing on a beach in Spain.  It is simply shocking yet as the pasty Brits continue to flock to Spain, so do people in my network post their naked and untempered opinions.  

On a continual basis something occurs in our society which gets everyone very worked up and people take to the social networks.  If I were to take all of these posts personally then in the past week I have been:

1. Threatened with an unfriending if I did not agree or dissented 
2. Pleaded with to “simply understand” that their opinion is correct
3. Told that I am flat out wrong

These were not directed at me personally but instead were just random posts.  I do not use social media as a soundboard to persuade or threaten my friends.  To me, this is best left to those who allow their emotions and animalistic selves to overtake their rational, thinking side.  

Now, as is characteristic of this blog and where I do let emotion and my opinions rush forth, let me dive completely in.  

The USA has just had the absolute worst incident of violence it has ever had.  Adults are killed all the time in our culture, it is expected.  But children at school at their desks is the worst thing I can possibly imagine.  There can be no worse example and for the first time in a long time I am so severely affected that I cannot and do not want to read the news about this.  I think about them, I think about their souls and where they are now in the afterlife.  I think about their parents and how I do not think I could bare it.  I think that if something like this happened to my child I just might prefer to shoot myself.  I am not afraid of death but I am afraid of the pain these parents are experiencing.  I cannot dwell on this too much or it will drag me down so low it will take a while to come back out of it.  

Instead, let me tell you how disgusted I am with the reactions we have had in our culture.  On the social networks this has been said in various ways but can be summed up and accurately represented by this.

I am sad but…….

What came after the “but” was a selfish proclamation, a gauntlet thrown down (to all their friends!) that no situation, no matter how utterly unthinkable would affect their ability to own something.  

That something is a gun.  The blood was not yet dry from murdered small children and here we have half of the population defending their right to own an item that’s singular purpose is to kill or at least severely wound.

Thinking of this triggers another innate human reaction deep in my gut.  The reaction is in the face of something so terribly incomprehensible and sad I chuckle at such blatant idiocy.

I can think of no situation better suited for those who enjoy possessing firearms to keep their mouth shut.  

But no no, this is America where an individuals right to do whatever the fuck they want trumps everything else.  There is no “we” in the USA anymore, it is simply “I.”  It might do well to take “We the people” out of the constitution!  It should be replaced by “I the individual!”  

Hell, now that I think about it “We the people” sounds so Communist!!!!  There you go Fox News, I just gave you a GREAT argument for your stupid viewership.  

Even if one does not like the idea of getting rid of guns completely, then perhaps a rule could be set down that if one is able to kill X number of humans in Y seconds then it could possibly not be a great thing to have on the market?  

You see, if you have an urge to kill then you should really use a knife.  Using a knife takes COMMITMENT!!  You have to get up close and personal with the victim and really DIG INTO IT!   

With a gun murder is so impersonal.  You can just close your eyes and squeeze the trigger.  It takes absolutely no effort and you don’t even need to get your hands dirty.  

I’ve heard people say that criminals don’t follow laws so banning guns wouldn’t work.  We also have so many guns laying around already so what would a ban really do?  

Again, we go back to my argument about the alcoholic.  There is no one simple solution, no pill America can pop to simply make things better.  However, limiting the amount of alcohol might be a good first step!  Or if we need to step down slowly how about just having him drink beer and stopping sales of the 50 proof?  

Or hell, how about slapping a 5000% tax on the 50 proof?  

But no, America cannot take the first step.  America doesn’t want to take any steps at all!  Those that scream about their right to own guns, and all types of guns offer no solutions.  At least the anti-gun folks want to do something.  

As for my personal opinion, I’m not against hand gun ownership.  I am against assault rifle ownership.  In our society we are having too many instances of mass shootings by one individual.  I am against guns that can kill X number of people in Y minutes.  I think there should be a limit or at least a very very large tax.  

Finally and to reiterate, I am shocked by how uncivil our society has become.  For the record more people in my social network did not comment about gun rights after this tragedy.  It was mostly the Fox news viewers and they remain in a perpetual state of rage no matter the circumstances.  

As Romney said, 47% of the population can be written off for the Republicans.  Well, 100% of the Fox News viewership can be written off as they are not intelligent, thinking people.  

Right now the society of the USA needs to take a concrete step in the right direction.  I do not know what steps those are but I would hate to see this society fall further than it already has.  





Embassy Attacks

I just wanted to write down a few thoughts about the embassy attacks that are occurring.

The first is that I find it completely despicable that Romney has used the events to score political points. That was a very stupid move which all the pundits pointed out the day after he made it. I just heard on the news this morning that some are starting to agree with him as the attacks continue to spread.

They say that the Obama policy has made America weak and these attacks are proof of that.

How completely idiotic can we get? The reason that the USA is unpopular in Muslim countries is due to the support of Israel and the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Those are the two principal reasons (bar none!) and even though they are 100% apparent it is something you will not hear much on the news here.

And guess who started the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?

George W. Bush – Republican

Who has supported Israel? – Well every single administration has so no blame there. Obama has in fact taken steps to stand up to the Israeli lobby unlike most of his predecessors.

After reading the above, a Republican would think me an apologetic liberal. Keep reading and you will see this is not the case.

My second thought is how far the Muslim world has fallen from their days of glory with the Ottoman Empire and occupation of Spain. Spain is what I know and I know that the Muslims brought science, math and much learning to the rather uncivilized Christians of the time.

My how things have changed.

I try hard to come up with reasons for these attacks and can only guess that they may be related to the following.

1. Unstable Governments – These countries really have no or very rule of law at the moment
2. Thugs and terrorist groups have more leeway now that the dictators are gone and can run amok.
3. Due to the dictators, their societies have really not progressed in the past 40 years or so and have actually digressed.

On one hand I understand that a society needs time to adjust and terrorist groups would take advantage during time of weak government.

But in the end, these reasons and excuses have to stop. Much of the Muslim world needs to take a hard look at themselves and yank their societies into the 21st century.

To put this into very blunt perspective let us look at this example.

The most notable achievement of one society is that it has just put a robot on Mars to conduct scientific analysis.   The most notable achievement of a few other societies are that they go berserk at something offensive on the internet (imagine that!), burn buildings and kill people while screaming about God.

The people (young people especially) of those countries are going to have to fight their own terrorists in order to drag their societies into the 21st century.

The internet is full of offensive material. I can assure you it is not just Muslims for those of you who have never used the internet before.

Just had a thought pop into my head. I wonder if the TV reporter in Egypt was just being careless with this story and didn’t realize how much havoc it would create or if it was done on purpose.


*9.29.2012 – Update – Well, had some issues with the blog and this post got erased.  Trying to put it back as it was but the story in Libya also keeps changing.  Apparently it was a terrorist attack by various religious zealots.  So, as of 9.29.2012 I only have two comments.

1.  It looks like regular Libyans are grateful to the USA for helping them get rid of Gaddafi.  I was highly encouraged by these two articles.

1.  Hundreds of Libyans hand over their weapons – USA Today
2. After Quaddafi – Foreign Affairs

And finally, I still find this extremely funny:

Following Cultural Awareness Class, Marines Burn Down Own Embassy


Chick-fil-a – A debate between my conservative and liberal sides.

I sometimes wonder if the events that happen on the national stage are real or imagined.  This has been occurring with much more frequency in the past five years than ever before, so much in fact, that I have begun to question my own sanity.   Certainly so many hundreds of thousands of people could not be this absurd!  

Perhaps I am living in some sort of computer program that is set to have events become more and more bizarre until the subject (me) either has a breakdown or realizes that what is occurring simply cannot be reality.  


This fast food restaurant has been all over the news lately and if you haven’t heard of them, well, you should read more news.  

No, I take that back.  The news is what propagates the stupid.  Better to read a good magazine instead.  

I thought about how I would explain this news to one of my former English students in Japan.  They would ask what it is about and I can imagine the conversation going something like this.  (Level 2 or so in the NOVA ranking system)  :)  

Student:  Why so many people at fast food restaurant?
Me: They don’t want gay people to get married. 
Student:  eh?
Me: Yes, the owner of this restaurant gives lots of money to political campaigns against gay marriage.
Student:  So many people want to eat his chicken?
Me:  Yes.
Student:  Why?
Me:  It is America.  
Student: Americans not like gay people so want to eat the chicken?
Me:  No, they just don’t want the gay people to marry.  And they like chicken.  
Student:  Why eating chicken stop gay people from marry?  
Me:  They can buy the chicken and the owner of Chick-fil-a will get richer and can give more money to stop gay marriage.  
Student:  I cannot understand.
Me:  Me neither.   

After a while it is just funny to think about.  It is funny somehow a fast food restaurant has become the focal point AGAINST a social movement!  The focal point is not a politician, it is not a murder or violence, it is a FAST FOOD PLACE AND A CHICKEN ONE AT THAT!  

That is SO AMERICAN!  I tell you we Americans must look like absolute philosophers with absolutely stellar minds to be making our arguments by EATING!  And it could not have come at a better time!

It is the Olympic season, the time when we look up to our role models, the absolute best of our athletes and marvel at their exquisitely sculpted bodies.  It is at this time that the cream, the absolute best of our corporations have convinced us that sugary, fatty foods are synonymous with athletic prowess.  


Only in America.  

It is perhaps only here that completely contradictory messages have the ability to become one and to be accepted by a relatively educated population.  

Protecting Freedoms = Attack another country
Olympics = McDonalds
Private sector economic crisis = the fault of the (public) President
Sarah Palin / Michelle Bachmann = Intelligence and great leadership

I could go on, but I’m getting silly.  If you’re reading this and are a conservative, you would probably think I’m a liberal.  That has been more true than not lately but you wouldn’t be entirely right.  I’ve jumped on the liberal train as of recent but often change my mind and could easily swing into the libertarian camp completely bypassing the Republicans.

Why bypass the Republicans?  Because Republicans have gone bat shit crazy in the past decade.  I’m sorry but I cannot put it any more eloquently than that.  But this does not mean I cannot see the conservative point of view.  I spent 12 years in Catholic school so of course I can see the conservative view as clearly as I can see the tree in my yard!  

Without further delay, let’s have some fun!  It has been a while since I’ve debated myself and let’s do it about Chick-fil-a.

Before I do however, what the HELL does “Chick-fil-a” mean?  This is the dumbest name for a fast food joint that I’ve ever heard!  Now being a constant foreign language student I’m used to figuring out words and meanings that might be new to me.  I can quickly deduce that “chick” is just a shortening of chicken.  I don’t think they mean chick as in a baby chicken.  Baby chickens have very little meat so it would not make sense to want to “fil-a” a baby chicken although I cannot be sure.  I would also imagine that fil-a means fillet except was written by someone who was illiterate?  

Now, why would this be a good name for a fast food joint?  If I was on the Chick-fil-a board I probably would have voted this name down unless of course we were targeting the the less well off areas.  

I’m not trying to be snooty here at all, it is my guess, without knowing anything about Chick-fil-a, that this is the reason they chose that name.  I’m being completely honest.  

*Side Note: I couldn’t resist looking up fillet which I know comes from French as the t is silent.  The French spell it differently (filet) and I was curious how they came up with that word.  Apparently it comes from “fil” which means “wire” or “thread.”  Thus, when we “fillet” something it has all those burn line marks in the meat just like a thread.  

Wasn’t I going to debate myself?  Let’s get started for REALZ this time.  Well do it in a stream of consciousness format because I’m lazy.  

Those against gay marriage have an absolute right to their opinions.  They also have the right to eat as much chicken as they like in support of their beliefs.  After all, the liberals like to push everything down everyone’s throat.  The “liberal” media is just that, liberal.  The main outlets except for Fox rarely print the conservative point of view and liberals on the overall are snotty people you wouldn’t want to drink a beer with.  

By eating chicken the conservatives can finally make a non-aggressive point that NOT everyone supports gay marriage and this is a rather easy (and tasty!) way to express their feelings.  

The liberals are always comparing this to the civil rights movement and interracial marriage.  

*Now, if we went back in time it would be the conservatives who are against interracial marriage.  BUT, we are not going back in time, we are staying in the present!  Gay marriage just AIN’T the same thing as interracial!!!!!   Two people of the same sex just AIN’T natural and the Bible says so!  

Now hold on conservative me!  Perhaps your problem is that you just don’t know any gay people.  If you did you would realize that, as Lady Gaga says, they were BORN this way, no matter how gross what they do in bed is.  (did I just say that?)  Well, no matter, it is gross and I’ve expressed the same to my gay friends while hanging out in the Castro at the Lookout bar which of course is as queer as a gay bar could possibly be.  One night they were selling porn where two guys box each other then get it on.  

I was absolutely grossed out.  I mean how can those guys do THAT to another DUDE?  I think doing THAT is gross when straight people do it so maybe I’m just more of a traditionalist?  

Wait, where was I?  Wasn’t I supposed to be arguing the liberal point of view?  Or perhaps someone’s views cannot simply be placed in this camp or that.  Perhaps they can be mixed!  And you know we Global Citizen types certainly like to be seen as complex/mysterious/unique and many other adjectives that make us seem sophisticated.  

BUT, as I was saying, gay people were born that way, it happens in other species, it happened in Rome and it probably happened in the Catholic Church down the street so what’s the big whoop?  It is part of nature and these people should not be discriminated against so let them marry!

Besides, what is marriage anyway?  Is it a right conferred by the State or is it a religious thing?  If it is a religious thing then what if they don’t belong to that religion?  Last time I checked married people get benefits from the State so if being queer is part of nature and is thus “natural” then why is the State being so stubborn?  Oh yes, conservative people.  

Didn’t I mention something about protecting freedoms above?  We have freedom = war = no gay marriage.  I don’t even know what to do with that last sentence.  I suppose we could just throw it to Sarah Palin and she could come up with something.

And where the hell has she been anyway?  Is her show about Alaska still on?  I’d like to check it out.  

Ah but Conservative me makes a comeback!!!!!   Well, I still don’t agree as I think it is not natural and I don’t care what you say liberal me.  Besides that, we now have public officials saying they will not let Chick-fil-a operate in their cities?  What is this, Russia?  

*Liberal me interjects*  –  You mean Soviet Union?

Conservative me – Yea Russia!  Since when has a politician been able to block economic activity only based on a social issue????

Liberal Me – Civil rights era.  

Conservative me – You’re a snooty asshole liberal me!  It AIN’T the SAME THING!  

Well, I’ve made myself angry.  I guess the moral of the story is that liberal people are a bit snobby and try to ram all their new and crazy ideas down everyone’s throats.  This is very uncomfortable for the conservative types who like things THE WAY THEY ARE and really haven’t wanted to change anything since the Middle Ages AND been dragged kicking and screaming decade after decade, century after century until at last we arrive in modern times.  

It would be interesting to point out that a “conservative” society is Saudi Arabia, Iran and just about everyplace where the women have to cover themselves completely.  These are the countries that never ever let someone like Elvis get away with hip shaking and still go to church every week.  Hell, sometimes they pray 5 times a day!  

Well, maybe it wouldn’t be so interesting to point out so I won’t do it.  I just do not want to make conservative me any more angry than he already is.  

Maybe I’ll go eat some chicken.  Wait!!!  I actually just had chicken tikka masala for dinner!  Sorry conservative me, that sounds very suspiciously like liberal food.  I promise you, conservative me, that next time I’ll make some chicken prepared in the “fil-a” style.  

Love you.




History is Alive

In my short 35 year life I have had the great fortune to travel a good portion of the world and experience a great many things. Most of these travels occurred during my twenties but it was not the travels alone that contributed to these fantastic experiences. It was the study of language that gave me very deep insights into the various cultures and changed me forever.

Find here the music which sets the tone for this post:

Once you have enjoyed the music you can find the historical reference here

These languages which changed my life were Spanish, French and Japanese. Spanish and French gave me unique insight into the history of Europe and gave me confidence. That is to say, I thought I actually new something after becoming proficient in these languages. Yet, it was the study of Japanese that really humbled me and taught me that the more I learn, the less I realize I actually know. With Spanish and French I had only learned about the European part of the world. With Japanese I made a small splash into a completely different and wonderful world known as Asia. I was amazed by the insights learning Japanese gave me. It was then I realized that language can really open up a different way of thinking and change how one views the world. I now knew four languages but out of the 6800 or so languages in the world I could only comprehend the mindset of very few.

Furthermore, I never felt as though I mastered any language other than my native English (and that is debatable as well!) No matter how good you think you are at a language, the natives are better.

This post however is not a biography on my experiences and discoveries. Rather, it is something that carries a bit of the same magic that one can experience in their own home without setting foot in another culture.


There is nothing that will take the place of travel and learning other languages. One gains so much insight that it is near impossible to explain to others who have not had the same experience.

But, one can come close.

This post is about Netflix and the historical entertainment it offers us. Never in the history of mankind have we had such access to history portrayed as entertainment. Yes, yes, the plays and theatre of old are spectacular yet, those performances were never on demand, starting at the push of a button. Never have the masses as a whole had the access that they do now to rather accurate historical entertainment.

Unfortunately, even though such entertainment is now available, I wonder how many of the “unwashed masses” actually pay attention. There are so many other shows (of rather stupid subject) that history and historical fact now have to vie with the vulgar prancing around hoping to draw even more attention.

Forgive me, I continue to be extremely upset that even though we have more access to knowledge than ever before in the history of mankind, my brethren choose to entertain themselves with the equivalent of a Cockney lass with huge boobs who just happens to dance or sing surprisingly well. This cockney lass comes not from East London but from Jersey, the new one.

That was cruel. Some are actually very talented. My anger, nay, my disappointment stems from the seemingly endless support for current wars when most of the population do not understand history and choose not to educate themselves, preferring to watch henceforth mentioned Cockney Lass equivalent from Jersey, the new one.

Makes me upset. People are getting killed and the only people that could stop it choose to watch dancing and singing.

I digress. As you know I rarely stay on point and enjoy the frequent side-tangents. :)

Regarding Netflix, it has given me access to a lot of history that I can use to supplement my previous travels. In fact, it brings it alive!!

Yes, I know it is entertainment, but being a big fan of history, I use my Iphone to check the accuracy on Wikipedia.

*Sidebar – I wrote an argument Wikipedia Inaccurate? when many were calling it inaccurate back in 2006. Just wanted to give props to myself in that my judgement seems to stand the test of time in this case. :)

So I check Wikipedia and see that the historical truths match up pretty well with what I am seeing on Netflix.

So what am I watching on Netflix? Enough of my rambling already, lets get to the good stuff!!

The shows I’ve recently watched are the following. I thought a Youtube trailor might be able to give you a better impression than my simple explanations.

1. The Tudors

2. The Borgia

3. Rome

4. The Virgin Queen

I think four examples are enough to show how efficiently this new service called Netflix can really bring the past alive!!!

I would imagine there are two schools of thought on this. The first being those that prefer not to study at all and simply watch a show and believe they know something. A show is just a show and does not really confer any knowledge. Well, maybe a little knowledge but it really helps to read a quick biography and historical account about the show to really know what is going on

The second school would be the detractors. Those that believe they understand too much and will not give any standing to some theatrical performance infringing on their focus of study.

Not being an expert myself, I would imagine that the screen writers and movie studios employ enough financial firepower to employ those that do have expert knowledge in these historical matters and thus keep the story pretty accurate n’est pas?

So, for a plebeian such as myself, albeit a rather well traveled pleb and one who knows how to use his Iphone, I am inclined to believe these historical shows so long as they match up with what I read in Wikipedia.

What this does for me is absolutely brings the past alive!!!!!! The past was never brought alive for me in school as it entailed simple words on a page, ideas, places, people that meant nothing to me and were simply things that I must memorize to pass a test.

This changed of course when I actually visited such places.  However it was never brought alive as much as it has with Netflix!

It is now time for picture sharing.

Welcome to the Tower of London.  I did visit, I took the tour and I payed attention to everything my “Beefeater” guide said.  I also read my “Let’s Go” book to inform myself about the history.  Yet, the history of the place never came as alive as it did with the Tudors series and Elizabeth the Virgin Queen.  I could read a thousand historical books and I believe nothing would leave as deep an impression on me as these various TV (Netflix) series.

I think it was Ben Franklin, although I could be completely wrong, but one of the founders predicted that with the invention of the moving pictures books would no longer be necessary.  I have it in my head that it was Franklin but of course I could be completely stupid on this one.

My point is, I visited the tower of London, I tried to feel the ghosts there, I tried to feel the history.  I understood what happened and I tried to let it in.  I didn’t feel anything. It really didn’t come alive for me.

The only time I ever felt “ghosts” and the sense of history completely washing over me was in Toledo, Spain and I described the ghost part rather clearly in my post Ghosts.

So where else could I find “ghosts” and a real sense of history?

No, I didn’t feel anything in Rome.  I experienced neither Cesar nor the Borgias in Rome.  I just experiences ruins and various vagrants trying to seal my wallet. The glory of Rome has indeed vanished.

Actually, I did enjoy meeting a lot of young Italians at Piazza di Spagna but that was a rarity.  There were more opportunities for bad people to take my wallet than for me to meet the young vibrant youth of Rome at that time.  :(

Well, as you know my posts are never long and I grow tired after a few short paragraphs.  I guess the lesson for this post is that after watching so many shows about medieval Europe I can now more clearly understand the roots of Catholic vs Protestant, English vs France vs Spain and so on. By understanding the origins, I am able to much better understand the present.

***Quick mind dump ***

I grew up Catholic, a descendant of the Irish who were long oppressed by the English.  Why did I grow up this way?  Well my ancestors escaped the potato famine and came to the USA.  The English on the other hand used to be Catholic but Henry VIII decided to not be Catholic anymore because he wanted to marry another.  Throw in a bunch of politics and England didn’t want to be under the Pope anymore.  The Pope had gained his authority from an ancient “Cult of Christ” from long ago Rome that never really went away.  It was the religion that like the Duracell battery refused to die.  Since it was the only one that stood the test of time people took it as the truth.  And oh yea, it was the one that had the most military force behind it, so if you didn’t convert, bad things happened.  But even before bad things happened most were convinced bad things would happen after they die if they didn’t believe.

So anyway, our friend King Henry the VIII didn’t like the pope telling him what to do.  Some people agreed (Protestants)and over time these people eventually came to America.  These are the same folks that become our Presidents.  Well, except for JFK but he got shot.  After that we had more Protestants. Now we have Barack Obama who many believe is Muslim (lol).  The Republicans are still crazy incensed that he got elected and have now gone off the rails.  Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann?   For God’s sakes, all you supporters of them should never be allowed in a gentleman’s club again. Wait, the GOP is no longer a Gentleman’s club you say? It is full of idiotic hillbilly Jesus freaks you say? Boy, I really miss the old GOP. The heathens and unwashed are not only at the gate but have been invited in to sit down to dinner! >:(

I’m sorry, I’ve gone off the rails again.  I’m terrible.

I’m also tired and become tired of this post.  I really should write a book but am absolutely sure it would offend so many that it would stand no chance of being published.

No matter, I live in my own world and prefer to keep it that way.

I guess I’ll end this post with the truth that there is so much to learn. The trick is to keep it interesting which is something these shows and Netflix is very good at! They bring the past alive and make learning about history much more entertaining!