Tag Archives: culture

Captain America Gun

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.

Why?

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.  

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the USA – Now buy something

I first used this quote in my post MBA Students – A Scourge.  It was meant to convey to my readers exactly how I felt after returning to the USA after 5 years in Asia.  

It seemed that everywhere I turned, there was a solicitation, a sales pitch trying to separate me from my money.  Credit card offers, long term financing, product sales, warranties, rebates, so on and so on.  

Well, it seems that my feeling was correct.  The USA had gotten out of control in terms of all this buy, buy, buy, spend, spend, spend and it all came crashing down.  Now we sit in a recession and all eyes are on the economy.  

However, I’m getting the feeling that it is no longer simply a BUY THIS message, but instead the sales pitches have become much more mischievous.  These days, the sales pitch has turned into a “Let us help you,” message.  At first glance, one would think that the companies are doing it out of the kindness of their hearts.  But, being a sales person myself, I know better. 

Why write about this now you ask?  Well, there are a couple of reasons.  The first is that I’ve been in sales (in America) for five years now and have learned many of the tricks.  The second is that I have an enormous addiction to Netflix documentaries which continually confirm my suspicions.  

Now, if you’ve read the news at any time in the past year you’ve heard about legislation from Washington, you’ve winced at the horror stories from the banks and perhaps this has left you enraged.  

What I’d like to offer in this post is not a diatribe, nor will it be anything to upset you further.  I also won’t be going into all the complex details.  

Instead, I’d like to offer it as a bit of friendly advice.  

1.  It is all a game.

I just got done watching Frontline specials on credit cards, Debit Cards, banks and so on.  There has recently been so much anger over the tactics of credit card companies and the banks.  I’d like to offer just a few observations.  

Both Banks and Customers are to blame.  

It would seem that you have to chose one side or the other, when in reality both are at fault.  The banks are at fault for preying on the uninformed, uneducated, or simply put, people that have other things to do with their time then trying to figure out all the tricks the bank/credit card is trying to play.  The consumers are at fault for spending too much money that isn’t theirs.  

The banks have sales people just like any other company that sells stuff.  These sales people earn commissions and thus it is in their interest to sell even if it is not to the benefit of the buyer.  There are no points for empathy, or justice, or doing what is right.  As I’ve mentioned before, in the USA the system is built on profits going up, not down, nor sideways.  For people to stay employed, the profits have to continually go up.  

Therefore, the pressure is enormous on the sales people no matter what they sell, nor if it is in the consumers best interest.  The common thought in business schools is the free market works just like a well oiled machine in that the market will determine what services are needed and if they are not, they will not be around long.  

Yet, the pressure to sell has become so intense that this equation is now lopsided.  Since profits must continually go up, it is up to marketing, sales and overall management how to convince people to purchase what they are selling.  Remember, “they want to help you.”  ;)

As for the consumer, many of them are “institutionalized” and will buy into a service or product regardless of need, if the sales person can convince them to do so.  

Let’s look at credit cards as an example.  

At first blush, the credit card companies are not doing anything wrong.  They offer a service, with full disclosure to the terms and people take them up on it.  Then people spend too much money that is not theirs and cry to Washington that they were fooled.  

Let’s say for example that Washington hears their cries and bans credit cards.  Well, the market would still be there and the lending would take a different form.  

What form could it take?

Well, the mob or any criminal gang for that matter could take over the business.  They work kind of like credit card companies.  The credit card companies will break your wallet with 250% interest on short term loans if you do not pay, and the mob may simply break your legs.  

But it doesn’t have to be the mob.  There are the Payday lenders who charge 450% interest on short term loans which is almost as bad as broken legs.  Yet people still go to them.  I swear when I see people walk into those places I really just want to stop them!  

But instead of the mob or payday loans, let’s look at credit cards with a real life example.  ME!  

I’m educated, have been all over the place AND am a sales person.  But I have to tell you, I probably wouldn’t have payed any attention without my experience in other countries.  Coming back to the USA was like learning all over again and I asked questions instead of just accepting what was presented.  Even then, all the financial offerings are extremely confusing.  But here is what I’ve figured out so far. 

I use a cash back card from American Express.  I funnel every single purchase possible through that card.  Then I pay it off every month.  By doing this I can have them pay me to the tune of $1,000 a year.  

As I told you, it is a game,,, and I am winning.  

But even though I’m winning, the rules continually change and I have to keep on top of them.  American Express did change the game and now offer two very similar cards, a “Cash Back,” and a “Cash Back Preferred.”  Add to that, they did away with the old structure for new card holders but I’m grandfathered in with the old program.  

The main difference is Cash Back doesn’t have a yearly fee but may pay back less until you spend over $6,000.  The preferred card has a $75 yearly fee but will pay more upfront.  Add to the complexity, the purchases fall into different categories, each payback amount being different from .5% – 6%.  This means I have to figure out the following:

a.) Which purchases fall into which bucket
b.) How much I spend each month and keep a tally
c.) Understand which percentages fall into which categories and which apply to both cards. 

Seems like a lot of work!  I did sit down and did my research but was unsure of the outcome as it would involve a lot of math and at least a day of digging up records and calculations.  So, even though I’m all those things I said I was, these things are damn confusing since the rules keep changing.  

At the end of the day, I’m not too concerned about it because Amex still pays me a lot of money and from all the websites that do analyze credit cards it seems like I have one of the best.  

So, to win the game, I did say yes to the salesperson (after doing my research), I understand it is not my money, and the worst thing in the world to me is a fee.  

Now let’s look at banks.

The first rule is to hate any and all fees.  Never ever let them charge you one!  

Recently there was a proposal to start charging $5 a month if you use your debit card.  There was a huge uproar and the banks backed down.  But for me, I don’t give a rat’s ass about the debit card.  In fact, I may even side with the banks on this one.  Debit cards are a convenience for the consumer.  Back in the 80s there were no debit cards and we often payed with cash!  In fact, I am used to paying in cash since I lived in Japan and Vietnam.  

Besides people, you should funnel all your purchases through one major credit card that pays you cash back anyway, so who cares about debit cards!  You shouldn’t be using them at all!  

To sum up my thoughts on this, let’s look at the chain of power here and who really has it.  It is my contention that YOU do.  

The Government – The government makes laws to try and protect the consumer since their constituents are upset now.

Banks – The banks are smarter than the government and will find ways around these laws and employ other tactics to separate you from your money.

Consumer – THE BOSS!  The consumer should be smarter than the banks and find ways around all of their fees and not pay them one damned cent.  Besides, I just showed you how to do it with your credit card.  Make the banks/credit card companies pay you!  

The problem here?  Well, many people don’t think about what is going on with their money AND SPEND TOO MUCH!  

Again, why do they do this?  Well, I think it is because many are “institutionalized,” or simply put, have grown up in a culture that makes them believe money is free and they should buy everything they set their eyes on.  

They go into Mr. Big Bad Bank, and meet Miss Slick Salesperson who tells them money is free, they walk out all starry eyed and go straight to Nordstroms so they can buy things the society tells them they should have.   

Now, I understand that many have fallen on hard times.  I understand this.  But what also must be understood is that easy access to money doesn’t make it YOUR money and nobody would lend it to you unless they made a profit off it.  Profits mean getting back more than was lent out which means you have to pay more than you borrowed.  

Bad, bad bad.  

Just think about what Grandma would say to all this.  What if you could sit down with (preferably a depression era Grandma) Granny and explain how the credit card works.  First of all, could you explain it and if you did you might just convince yourself to pay off the balance every month.  If one couldn’t do this, then maybe Granny simply wouldn’t understand why anyone would borrow, say, $40, if in the end, they ended up paying $140 for the privilege?  

So, yea, I think I’ve come full circle with all this financial stuff.  At first, I was uncomfortable with the hyper-consumer culture that America had become.  After the economy crashed, I became angry at the banks and Wall Street that made it happen.  Then I was angry with both at the same time.  

Then I got over it and realized the following two things.

1. Consumers – Live in very affluent country, spend too much and want the government to help them.  After living in Vietnam I don’t have so much sympathy anymore.  Hell, we don’t have to go to Vietnam, we could go back to our own ancestors who came here with nothing and didn’t rely on the government or credit cards.  

2. Banks and Corporations.  – Greedy bastards all of them.  They make the most of their money by preying on the uninformed.  But what is a bank or a corporation?  They are made up of consumers themselves, of people who are also trying to earn a living and thus must always sell more of what people really don’t need.  If they do really well, then maybe they would get to be an executive and make millions!  

Now, take a debt ridden consumer and tell them they can be a corporate executive and make millions if they wish but it will be at the expense of the “uninformed” people.  I ask you, what percentage of people in this money crazed culture would say no?  

On one hand, you can have millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars and on the other hand, your sense of social justice, of fairness.  Be reminded however, that you’re only one executive in one company and if you went for the “fairness” side you’re really not going to change the system, would hurt profits thereby putting people in your company out of work and at the end of the day the only thing you accomplished was losing your own job.  

Interesting how things work isn’t it?  

Greed, selfishness and the unwillingness to help others.  It didn’t work out so well for the Roman empire and I wonder how long it will be until it breaks this current Empire.  

 

 

Astrological Signs and Blood Types

Tonight I feel like having a bit of fun.

I have been debating writing a post like this for some time and thought it over while on the elliptical at the gym.  To be honest, the elliptical is one place I can think clearly and come up with ideas for new posts.  I never turn on the T.V. turn up the music, stare out the window and start to daydream.  I sometimes become a little distracted by the TV the person next to me is using however and today they were watching the talking head pundits on CNN.

As I could not hear what they were saying, I thought about copying part of the broadcast and making my own dialogue like my friends and I used to do in High School.  I saw Wolf Blitzer (who comes up with a name like that, seriously!) and imagined him saying “You’ve been a very very naughty girl Grace.  I should spank you.  I’m going to treat you like the Taliban Grace, me and you, you are going to get some shock and awe baby. “

 

 

 Then the T.V. panned to Grace and her lips started to move.  “Yes Wolf, I am ANGRY, VERY VERY VERY VERY ANGRY.  I’ve been ANGRY my entire life!  If you come near me Wolf I’m going to bite you, I’m going to bite you VERY HARD.  I AM VERY ANGRY!”

 

But then, I thought no, a post about Astrological Signs, Blood Types and the Ying Yang would be much more fun.  I also started to wonder why in the hell was I thinking about doing something as juvenile as making my own dialogue to the monkeys on CNN?  Who thinks about stuff like that?

Perhaps I could find some answers with my astrological sign or perhaps my blood type.

Before I dive into it, you probably already understand the significance of astrological signs but are wondering about the blood type.  In the Japanese culture, it is believed that your blood type determines your character.  I’ll explain more about that when we come to it later on.

I.  My sign:  Gemini

To be honest, I have never really given much thought to astrological signs but in the interest of fun and entertaining myself let’s see if we can find some answers.  I looked up the description of a Gemini on astrology.com .  Let’s break this up into pieces.

1.  “Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac, and those born under this sign will be quick to tell you all about it. That’s because they love to talk! It’s not just idle chatter with these folks, either. The driving force behind a Gemini’s conversation is their mind. The Gemini-born are intellectually inclined, forever probing people and places in search of information. The more information a Gemini collects, the better. Sharing that information later on with those they love is also a lot of fun, for Geminis are supremely interested in developing their relationships. Dalliances with these folks are always enjoyable, since Geminis are bright, quick-witted and the proverbial life of the party. Even though their intellectual minds can rationalize forever and a day, Geminis also have a surplus of imagination waiting to be tapped. Can a Gemini be boring? Never!”

- Well, I’ll be damned, it looks like they’ve got my number.  Here I am sharing a post with all of you while I learn about what it means to be a Gemini.  Perhaps there is some truth to this astrological stuff.  It is true I like to develop my relationships for I’ve always thought that life is just no fun if you do not have anyone to share your experiences with.

I’m not sure exactly what “dalliance” means so I had to look it up.

- Dalliance:

  • the deliberate act of delaying and playing instead of working
  • flirt: playful behavior intended to arouse sexual interest

:-D Wow, as I’m not sure who is going to be reading this I think I am not going to comment further on this point.  Let’s continue on.

2. “Since Geminis are a mix of the yin and the yang, they are represented perfectly by the Twins. The Gemini-born can easily see both sides of an issue, a wonderfully practical quality. Less practical is the fact that you’re not sure which Twin will show up half the time. Geminis may not know who’s showing up either, which can prompt others to consider them fickle and restless.”

- Again, we have a perfect match.  In the blog a “Global Citizen” we are constantly trying to see both sides of the issue and combat the nonsense put forth by Wolf and Nancy.  I not only want to understand both sides but write on a blog to share it all.  Again, there seems to be some truth to astrological signs here.

I like the comparison with the Ying and Yang.  As you can see in my previous posts, some are light hearted and fun while others a bit dark.  I’m not even sure which twin is going to show up from day to day and sometimes there can be quite an internal struggle with the Dark Side!

3. They can be wishy-washy, too, changing their mood on a simple whim. It’s this characteristic which readily suggests the Mutable Quality assigned to this sign.

- Wishy washy??  I don’t know if that is the right description but I can agree with changing my mood on a simple whim.  I wrote about this in Mind Control , it’s not really hard to do, you just decide to be happy and presto.  The down side is you can also decide to be a moody b*tch as well which brings us back to the struggle as demonstrated by Luke and Darth.  LOL.

4. Geminis are both curious and clever, which is why they are such a hit at cocktail parties. Although they talk a great game, they also love to listen and learn. With any kind of luck, the Twins will find themselves in interesting company, because if they don’t, they are likely to get bored and start fidgeting.

- So that is the reason I start twitching when watching Fox News and damn near went into epilepsy when I found myself at that Tea Party a while back.  I never woulda thunk it!

5. Any social setting is a good one for a Gemini, however, since these folks are charming, congenial and love to share themselves with their friends.

- I’m down for a party anytime, anywhere.  I’ll bring the wine.

6. Geminis are playful, flirtatious and endless fun.

- Ok, I like my sign A LOT.

But being the flighty Gemini I am, I’ve tired of all the examples of what it means to be a Gemini.  Let’s move along to blood types.

II.  Blood Types

In Japan, they do not use astrological signs but rather blood types as the determinant of personality.  In fact, during WWII the Japanese army actually arranged their battalions around blood types so the group would be more effective!

I am a B blood type which unfortunately is considered “difficult” in Japan.  Being both serious and flighty can cause issues in a relationship.  One minute we are paying full attention and the next minute we are flying across the ocean on a jet ski only to be returned to the present by “Are you listening to me????”

In fact, it shares quite a few characteristics with the Gemini!

Here is the complete list provided by Issendai.com

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Every Japanese celebrity writeup and every anime character description with any claim to authority gives the person’s (or character’s) blood type. Why? Because, thanks to a remarkable bit of Science! by a gentleman named Furukawa Takeji, the Japanese believe that a person’s blood type affects their personality.

Each blood type has a personality profile. These profiles—which I took from a site whose location is long since lost in the mists of time, my apologies—are:

Type A

People with blood type A have a deep-rooted strength that helps them stay calm in a crisis when everyone else is panicking. However, they tend to avoid confrontation, and feel very uncomfortable around people. A types are shy and sometimes withdrawn. They seek harmony and are very polite, but all the same feel that they never really fit in with others. A types are very responsible. If there is a job to be done, they prefer to take care of it themselves. These people crave success and are perfectionists. They are also very creative, and the most artistic of all the blood types, most likely because of their sensitivity.

People with blood type A are also likely to be considered classic “type A’s”: stressed and conscientious. In anime, people like Hotohori are type A’s.

The Third Hokage, Haruno Sakura, Hotohori, Heero Yui, Keiko (Kayko) Yukimura

Type B

People with blood type B are the most practical of the blood groups. They are specialists in what they do. When they start a project, they spend extra time understanding and trying to follow directions than others might. When they are doing something, all of their attention is focused on it. They tend to stick to a goal and follow it through to the end, even if it seems impossible. They tend to be less than cooperative, as they like to follow their own rules and their own ideas. They are individualists. B type people pay attention to their thoughts a little more than their feelings, and therefore can sometimes seem cold and serious.

People with blood type B are often considered more relaxed, freewheeling, and unconventional than other types, although not necessarily to an unacceptable degree. In anime, the genki, off-the-wall types are type B, along with any kind of well-intended character who’s ruled by their impulses.

Naruto, Duo Maxwell, Miaka, Nuriko, Tasuki, Sagara Sanosuke

Type O

People with blood type O people are outgoing, energetic and social. They are the most flexible of the blood types. They easily start up projects but often have trouble following through because they give up easily. They are flighty and not too dependable. O types always say what’s on their mind. They value the opinion of others and like to be the center of attention. Also, people with O blood are extremely self-confident.

Type O, the most “average” blood type, is considered the best type in Japan.

Quatre, Sailor Moon, Saito Hajime, Kamiya Kaoru, Tamahome

Type AB

People with blood type AB are hard to categorize. They can have characteristics on both ends of the spectrum at the same time. For instance, they are both shy and outgoing. They easily switch from one opposite to another. AB people are trustworthy and responsible, but can’t handle it when too much is asked of them. They don’t mind doing favors or helping out, as long as its on their own conditions. People with this blood type are interested in art and metaphysics.

AB is considered the worst blood type. In predictability-loving Japan, they’re loose cannons. They also like to set their own conditions and reserve the right to drop out when things don’t meet their expectations. They’re known to be sensitive and considerate—at times—but it just isn’t enough to balance out the flaws in this blood type. For a while, some companies tried dividing their employees into work groups based on blood type, and no one wanted to work with the AB group. Anime villains are likely to be type AB.

Uchiha Sasuke, Hongo Yui, Tomo, Trowa Barton, Kenshin

A is most compatible with A and AB.

B is most compatible with B and AB.

AB is most compatible with AB, B, A, and O.

O is most compatible with O and AB.

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If you ever need to break the ice with a Japanese person just start talking about blood types and I can assure you the conversation will last for an hour!  I’ve personally had this discussion with my Japanese friends on several occasions and it has NEVER gotten old.

After reading the above I’m pretty surprised that a B is most compatible with another B.  If I imagined myself with a B type, I’m quite sure we would either have insane amounts of fun or absolutely kill each other.  As the description says, we can be both serious and freewheeling but not at the same time.  This is just as with the Gemini in that we are not sure which twin is going to show up!  From the video above, if Luke wins in both people, then fun will be had, but beware if Darth Vader decides to make a presence in either individual,,, it will not be a good time.  :(

So, if you examine yourself, would you agree that your personality matches your astrological description?  Your Blood Type Description?  Or is it all just a bunch of hooey?

I for one believe my astrological sign and blood type descriptions match up pretty well!

Call of Duty: Black Ops – War and Pain

This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for while.  It is something that really bothers me but seems very acceptable in the current cultural climate.

Let me being by saying I’ve been a gamer every since I was a child on the Atari 2600 running through the jungle in Pitfall.  Let’s run through a very quick list of my favorite games since the early 1980s.

From there I advanced to Sega Master System with my favorite game being Phantasy Star.

After the Master System I bought the Genesis and again, my favorite game was Phastasy Star (II).

After the Genesis I switched completely from consoles to computer games with my favorite being Warcraft I.

As games became better they also became more violent.  I played numerous games but perhaps my favorite was Grand Theft Auto Vice City.

Now, we have advanced and games are reflecting reality at a greater pace.  Most recently the game which is generating all they hype is Call of Duty: Black Ops and with this one I have a pretty big problem.

On the surface it seems like  a VERY COOL GAME!  This is something I would have really liked to play as a teenager.  The problem is I have lived in various countries and seen the effect of war.

So, when I see a game like this, if I had no international experience I would think it to be very cool.  Yet, with international experience it disgusts me.

This game takes place during the Cold War in various “hot spots” in order to contain Communism.  The problem is gaming has become to close to reality and reality is very messy.  I have a serious problem with my young countrymen playing a game in which they kill citizens of other very real countries and the impression that it is a “cool” thing to do.

I am not against war games or even very violent games.  My main issue is this.

In a very violent game based on a real war how do the citizens of the opposing countries feel?  What would we think if we went to Russia or Vietnam and found a game where you get to kill American soliders?  I imagine it would bother us very much.  Yet it now seems perfectly acceptable as long as it is American soldiers doing the killing.

My experience pertains mostly to Vietnam and I have seen with my own eyes the very real horror which took place there and continues to this day due to the destruction which war creates.  I have spoken with veterans of both sides and can see in their eyes the pain it caused.

In Vietnam I met a few American veterans who were engaged in honorable acts such as building schools and it seemed to me they were seeking to rectify the pain and guilt they find from what occurred there.  Now that I am in the USA I have met some which it is best to avoid the subject completely.  One encounter stands out among the others about how I told him I loved the country immensely.  He looked at me with horror and said “Yea, they are real nice when the kids attach grenades to the backsides of soldiers who are then blown to bits.

Others take it in stride and tell me very calmly “Yea, well I was there during a different time.”

I have also drunk beer with former North Vietnamese soldiers who are quite interested to speak with me and see how the younger Americans perceive their country.

As I was not alive at the time of the war I really cannot understand all the pain both sides went through.  What I do know is that Vietnam is a country that prefers to forgive and forget.  When I was in country, the only reminder I could see is when the Government set up a memorial right in front of the American Embassy in Saigon complete with soldiers to guard it as well as the “War Crimes Museum.”  This really caused a stir with the Americans.

Yet, what I have a very hard time fathoming is that in the USA, due to our capitalist mentality we have the audacity to create a video game in which you can play an American solider and kill Vietnamese and Russian citizens.

My question is how do you think the Vietnamese and Russians might feel about this?

The fact is, this is a question that never even crossed their mind.  The young simply hear the fashionable music and get excited by the abilities of the game. They have no clue of the pain and horror that actually occurred there.  They also have no idea that half of America was against the war.  What happened to the peace rallies of the John Lennon era?

(Please watch it is a very powerful video) (PLEASE WATCH THIS, OTHERWISE YOU WILL NOT UNDERSTAND THIS POST!)

What happened to love and peace?  Apparently, the ability to create a game where you kill other countries citizens is enough to make money thus reason enough to create and market.  Why is it we are so easy to forget the pain that was caused and how can we create such a game?

I asked a good friend of mine about this game “Black Ops.”  I reminded him that the war in Vietnam was lost and therefore would it be possible to play a North Vietnamese solider and kill the American soldiers?  I knew this would be a very provocative question and he seemed a bit shocked that I even asked.

It is just a game right?  Usually you get to play both sides.  But I’m willing to bet my entire existence that if the option to play the North Vietnamese were allowed there would be a complete sh*t-storm which would probably go right up to the government.

The last time a game caused such a stir was in GTA – San Andreas and the government had something to say about a patch called “Hot Coffee” which allowed for sex acts in game.  So let me get this straight, the graphic killing of other countries soldiers/citizens is ok but porn is not?

I also have reservations to even post such a question on the blog as it will be highly unpopular.  Yet, I cannot contain the sadness I feel when I hear the “fashionable music” being played and this game being portrayed as the best game of the year.

What people forget is that both sides of any conflict have families they love just as much as any other family.  Terrible things happen and loved ones are killed.  It absolutely disgusts me that my own countrymen can view this as entertainment.  When will we learn to start loving one another as all the major religions tell us to instead of creating entertainment where we kill each other?

(Listen to the Lyrics in this one)

Perhaps I am an idealist.  Perhaps I am one of the few to really abhor war and have the balls to call it out when I see it happening as entertainment.

In this game I wonder if they have the balls to show the crying family of the slain solider from Indiana who just wanted to serve his country?  I wonder if this game has the balls to show the complete slaughter of an entire peasant village?

I would guess not.  I would suppose they will just throw in another track by Eminem and glorify how “cool” it is to kill people.

You must excuse me for my passion on this article, I just cannot abide by such reckless profiteering on such an awful events in human history.  This gives me very little faith in humanity and to me, it feels like huge steps back in terms of learning to love and get along with each other.

So, no, I will not be playing “Black Ops,” but instead will stick to my game of Elves, Mages, Orcs and Warriors which also just happens to be the most popular MMORPG in the world.  Of course I am talking about World of Warcraft.

Again, please excuse me for my passion on this article.  With games that show the killing of other countries citizens, this Dude does not abide.

STOP STOP STOP STOP STOP WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

– An eye for an eye will make us all blind – Mohandas Gandhi

Arizona Immigration Law – A Unique Perspective

Yet again another political issue is all over the media.  And as usual the debate is superficial filled with shallow “talking points,” which paint the issue as black and white and the color you choose being your political affiliation.

I find the debate swirling around the details of the law a bit too much.  For example, will “profiling” be a problem and if the papers are checked only if a crime has been committed.  I feel we need to look at the larger picture.

I have a unique perspective on all this that I would like to share but first let’s do a quick overview of the logic employed by both parties.

1. Republican

The problem is with the “illegal” immigrants.  This means they entered the country illegally and if we are not upholding our own laws then why have laws at all?  People who enter the country legally are welcome but if you do not have your visas in order then you should be deported.

- This makes complete sense but again, I prefer to look at the larger picture.

2. Democrat

The Democrats are more “humanitarian” in that these are real people and we should work with them not just knee-jerk deport them if there is an issue with the visa.

-  It is good to be humanitarian and these people are human beings just trying to make a living.  However, if we cannot enforce our own laws then why have them at all?

Let’s being with the meaning of a “law.”  A law is a random rule or proclamation written by the governing authority in order to bring order/stability etcetera to the land being governed.  These “laws” have no inherent authority on their own as they are just ideas set down on paper and then enforced by the government to get people to act/behave in a certain way.  In the past, some rulers claimed that the “law” came from God which would give it a more superior authority than just the current ruling body.  In the USA, we often say it is “the law of the land,” which implies that the land (dirt, earth) made up the law and it is as old as the dirt itself.

However, laws are neither from God nor the land but are simply rules made up by human beings.  (The law of God is a whole other subject, let’s skip that for now as the only law I can think of regarding immigration is “love thy neighbor as thy self” which would mean Arizona is about to get struck by lightning.)

In order to empower any laws there must be people to follow them and the conditions below must be true:

1. These people must live on land since we are not all swimming in the ocean.
2. The land must have been taken at some point and proclaimed “this is our land, and the law applies to this patch of earth.”
3.  It has been a long time since we took it from the animals so the land must have been taken from another group of people.

So, there is land, it was taken and proclaimed as belonging to a certain group of people that are bound under these ideas we call laws.  BUT, the “law” remains an abstraction that could be dissolved should any of the above conditions change.  Just following the law because it is the law is for men without superior faculties!

If we look at history, the Mexicans used to own a part of the land we now call America.  During this time the Americans came up with the Monroe Doctrine which basically said “Hey Europe, this is our land, leave us alone because we have a law that says you should.”  Then we had the Mexican-American War in which the Americans took land from Mexico.  So basically America was telling Europe to quit trying to take any of its lands but at the same time was taking it from Mexico.

Some schools of thought wonder why the USA didn’t go further into Mexico with one of the reasons being they didn’t want to absorb too many people of Indian decent so stopped their progress.  I don’t know if this is true or not, it is just an interesting point that I’ll return to later.

Therefore, to sum it up, America made a law regarding other powers from taking any lands but did the same thing to other nations.  Aren’t “laws” interesting!!!

Fast forward to today and the Mexican view is that “we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us!”  So, to the Mexican mind they are simply returning to their former lands regardless of any wars being won or lost or any arbitrary laws that say they shouldn’t.  Heck, if we look at a lot of the names in the Southwestern states they are in Spanish and New Mexico is well… um, Mexico only NEW!!!

The Mexicans did lose the war but that did not mean they couldn’t come to America.  Passports were generally introduced during WW1 in Europe for security reasons (to keep out spies).  Imagine, before WW1 we could go wherever we wanted!!  So even though the land was won by the USA in war from Mexico and some laws were created people could still pretty much travel freely!  Travel freely many people did and there was mass immigration from Europe to the USA.

If we look at history, it seems various groups of people didn’t like the immigrants back then either.  English, Italian, Poles, and so on each came in droves and the racial slur “WOP” means (without pass) because these people were coming to America and were the ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS of todays population!!

As time went by America prided itself on being an accepting country and even wrote on the Statue of Liberty the following:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

- Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus

Well, apparently this doesn’t apply anymore or we wouldn’t be making such a fuss over immigration.  If we look at the big picture the people getting in a huff over illegal immigration are descendants of illegal immigrants themselves.  How’s that for irony!?  In the news today it was also reported in the article Congressman would support deporting US born children of Illegal Immigrants, that he would do just that.  Well, then that begs the question, how many generations of children does that apply to because if it goes back far enough you might be deporting YOURSELF YOU DUFUS!!

Further, people born in America were simply very privileged to be simply born here and now want to keep others out.  This doesn’t seem very reasonable to me since:

a.) They were just lucky to be born here, have no inherent right to keep out others.
b.) Their country used to pride itself on welcoming immigrants.

America really used the moral high ground of welcoming immigrants and being “free” in the past, especially when fighting the cold war.  There is a scene in “The Hunt for Red October,” in which a former citizen of the Soviet Union is allowed to venture forth in his new life in the USA and this dialogue took place:

Borodin: Do you think they will let me live in Montana?
Capt. Ramius: I would think they’ll let you live wherever you want.
Borodin: Good.  Then I will live in Montana. And I will marry a round American woman, and raise rabbits, and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pick-up truck, or umm… possibly even…a recreational vehicle, and drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?
Capt. Ramius: Oh yes.
Borodin: No papers?
Capt. Ramius: No papers. State-to-state.

Well, apparently papers are now needed in the state of Arizona so kiss the moral high ground bye-bye.

But HOLD ON let’s switch gears here as I recently heard a very interesting point in that Mexico would most likely close their borders if we sent all the Americans on welfare down to Mexico.  I’m sure this is true but there is a better example.  The Mexicans really give the Guatemalans a hard time and did close their border!

But instead of playing tit-for-tat and who does what worse it would be better to take the high ground and not even use that example.  Instead let us get to the real issue which is SHOCKING!

There are really no debates about illegal Canadians, English, or other white people.  This is about people of a different color who speak a different language and the white majority doesn’t like it.  Personally, I like it because I speak Spanish and love Mexican culture but this isn’t about me.  I’m simply calling a spade a spade.

This issue is not about laws, profiling, illegal and so on, it is about race and us vs. them mentality.  Remember my point above about America not advancing too far into Mexico because they didn’t want to absorb the Indian people?  Well, the Indians (er Mexicans) are advancing into the USA and it seems not much has changed in peoples attitudes in the last 200 years.

BUT HOLD ON the anti-illegal-immigration advocate would say, “There are many people of different colors in the USA and we have no problems if they have their visa in order.”  This makes sense and I understand their point and they are correct.  However, thinking about this on a high level, laws can be changed if we want them to and America makes certain accommodations for certain folks.  This is just a tidal-wave of “different” people coming in and frankly I think it scares a lot of people.  Again, there is nothing wrong with this, change can be frightening.  I still think if we step back it is about race and the people being a little “too different.”  I think they are afraid of too many of them coming in.  If we go to a personal level most Americans stick to their own groups and only let others in if they are a direct reflection of themselves.  There is a great quote from “Lazarillo de Tormes” in which he says “How many people there must be in the world who run away from others when they don’t see themselves.”

Regarding them taking “American jobs,” what ever happened to the Republican mantra “Doing jobs Americans do not want to do?”  A free wheeling capitalist would welcome all this cheap labor!!  So I’m confused about the political parties,, how can the Tea-party be pro capitalism yet refuse cheap labor??

These “illegal immigrants” are just human beings that are trying to better their lot in life and to use an Australian saying “good on ya mate,” I wish them the best.

The current hub-hub bruhaha of all this is that the white population is a bit frightened and therefore use “the law” which was made by their own politicians to ease any fear of having to deal with these people.

Time goes on, things change if we really followed great religious leaders then we really would “love thy neighbor” and not try to keep them from enjoying the benefits that we Americans were born into.  You want to ease any anxiety, learn Spanish, get smarter, obtain a better job and start loving people.  I’m sure you will be much happier if you did.

As for me, I’m going to go drink a Corona and find a pretty Latina to teach this white boy how to SALSA!!!

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A modified version of this post was read on live radio, Youth Beat Radio, WCRS, Community Radio for Columbus.  Click below to listen: