Rantings 15 : Facebook Rants

Someday Facebook will be gone, or at least they will have deleted my account at some point in the future, so I thought I would put these rants along with the rest even though much of it is redundantly full of redundant redundancies.

Nov 6, 2012:

I had a restraining order put on myself a while back not to be closer than 50 yards of Facebook if I had the urge to respond to its political cyber-arena. However, Illinois' 21 electors are carved in stone, so for us here the presidential election is over, and has been over for quite some time. There was never any real possibility it would go "red". And since electoral votes cannot be split, all Romney votes will be discarded. Maybe we'll get to play next time, and at least those wasted votes make a silent statement that people are so fed up they will support pretty much anyone, qualified or not, in the hope of affecting change. And I think it's great when people stand behind a cause, real or imagined. Without a cause, there can be no hope. However, to me this election is just a media extravaganza like the Superbowl. Only difference, you already know what teams are playing before the season even starts. And worse, they're the same team. We like to think there is a huge divide in political idealisms between parties, but at best they all might engage in some lively bantor over drinks about abortion or gay rights, but not before they all pat each other on the backs for a job well done. They all play in the same sandbox, and any perceived differences are just a convenient illusion of contrast. The status quo will not be shaken or even stirred regardless of today's outcome. Perhaps we should be voting out our lobbyists instead of the politicians they solicit and simply put all legislative votes on ebay. I hate to be cynical (love it actually), but at my age it no longer makes sense to try and take back our country by supporting either of the two parties that took it away from us.

Feb 4, 2013:

Mark Twain said, "It's better sometimes to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt". Here I will attempt to remove all doubt. I've stayed clear of the big media-fueled gun control debate, but the more I read on both sides, the more I see everyone ignoring the elephant in the room. Here is my opinion on why both left & right may be missing the bigger issue: First, I admit that if forced to choose a side, I will always agree that the Federal Government needs to BUTT OUT of our personal lives. Stick with your Constitutional mandates and quit meddling in state & local affairs, because you suck at it. As for the subject at hand, the 2nd Amendment calls for the "Right to bear arms", so end of discussion, right? Problem being, at least with Liberals, is the broader definition of "arms". Does this include UZIs? How about grenade launchers? Infrasonic cannons? Laser weapons? Do we need to add an amendment that says you actually have to have common sense and not be a jackass to participate in all previous amendments? It's a valid point that there are too many people who abuse this basic right for malicious intent, but no one wants to take that 1st step on the slippery slope because we are simply not capable of doing anything in moderation. Once it starts, it snowballs. Opposing this bandwagon mentality, conservatives are warning of a hostile government takeover ending in a tyrannical slave nation, which is more bandwagon mentality that becomes so kooky that any truth regarding such a possibility is lost under layers of paranoid conspiracy mongering. On the other side, it's all about "saving the children", which for the most part is a sincere and genuine motivation, but lost under layers of self-righteous nanny-state protectionism doomed to a legislative domino effect. My opinion is that there is an underlying "windfall" in all this that neither side or the media have speculated on, hence the aforementioned "elephant in the room". Currently, China owns about 21% of our $16 trillion debt, or about $11,000 for every household in the entire United States. Japan comes in a close 2nd, but I suspect we have no intention of paying them back any more than they intend on paying us back for similar debts accrued since WW2. China, however, wants a return on their investment, and the grand plan over the next decade or so, according to "insiders", is to exchange dormant federally owned properties nationwide to offset this debt. China could use these properties for anything from manufacturing to research facilities, farming, drilling & oil processing, etc., which seems like a win-win for all concerned. China's problem with this arrangement is sending its civilians and soldiers here (their military is involved in EVERYTHING), because they see us as a wild-west anarchist society of homicidal barbarians. And why wouldn't they? We proudly broadcast our sociopathic behaviors to the rest of the world in all manner of media, and until we can at least get a small measure of control on our own population, they are reluctant to put droves of civilian and military personnel in harms way. However, although this seems to be the perfect equitable solution to our inevitable generational bankruptcy, many people (myself included) DO NOT WANT THEM HERE, period. Talk about your slippery slope. As they employ more & more Americans right here on American soil along with their own associates, how long will it be before they are fully integrated into our economic and political systems? Maybe I'm the one being all paranoid now, but I'm not alone in the fear that our grandkids may one day be assimilated into their military-industrial collective, and paranoid or not, that's NOT what our forefathers suffered, fought and died for. Adding the "windfall" of civilian disarmament would certainly civilize this process, and I can't help but think that this whole left-right "2nd Amendment" vs."Save the Children" media storm has been nurtured and perpetuated by the mainstream to distract us all from what will surely be a very unpopular economic occupation until, if ever, it is quietly implemented. I cite no references to the scope, intent, or progress of these debt negotiations, but it's reasonable to assume that these negotiations exist, and their absence from the mainstream is the primary basis of my suspicions. What we don't talk about scares me a lot more than what we can't stop talking about, and if the "selling out" of America has anything at all to do with the disarming of its citizens, we have much bigger issues than simply Bubba Ray keeping his guns or a fly by night messianic president and his socialist cronies who will soon be nothing more than names in a history book. Not saying I'm always right, just saying it would be really nice if everyone thought I was.

Sept. 5, 2013:

My how time flies. Hard to believe it's time again for a rant, and the huge controversial story is Miley's butt dance. Just kidding. Of course the big story is Syria (although sending Miley & Robin to Damascus does have a certain appeal). This rant however, will be difficult to be minimalistic or objective about, or even play Devil's Advocate to exaggerate that minimalistic view, because the cut & dried fact here is that once again the American government does NOT represent the will of the American people. The Kerrys & Grahams of Capitol Hill insist that we the people do not have enough information to decide what should be done. So...enlighten us. "No, that information is sensitive to national security". Really? How does a foreign civil war qualify as a domestic security issue? "Well...it's complex. You wouldn't understand. The US. can't show weakness. If you back down from a bully, that bully will just pick on you more". Sorry guys, I'm not buying it. That analogy works only if you're in junior high. I see this as the same mistake we make over & over again. History has shown that every time we overthrow a government we don't like, and install some guy we found doing dinner theater in Morocco as their new leader, that puppet president ALWAYS turns against us. And, as in the past, our justification for this intervention is "humanitarian" concerns. I mean, we can't stand by while a government poisons their own people with dangerous chemicals can we? That's clearly something that should be left to professionals like the U.S. Department of Monsanto. And if we were just concerned about people killing each other we would invade Detroit. I truly believe that every so-called intervention since Korea has been perpetuated by corporate special interests, whether it be oil or heroin, or simply the military industrial infrastructures that are sustained by these interventions. So go ahead, invade Syria, but do NOT use OUR money or OUR kids to do it. Send in your special U.N. forces that will presumably be funded by the companies who are best poised to profit from it. And stop being hypocritical about it, pretending like the US. has never seen collateral damage in our decades of meddling, because I'm sure that's how the Syrian government sees it, as the unfortunate blowback of having to break a few eggs to make an omelet. So does the Syrian regime need to be replaced? Of course it does (as does ours). Are we the right ones to do it? Of course not. We cannot afford it, the American people don't want it, it's none of our business, these limited strikes are just going to piss them off even more, and we would be giving China yet one more reason to consider taking us out once and for all. And if you believe they can't, you've fallen under the same illusion of invincibility that gets us into these situations in the first place. We still have the greatest military in history, but we're broke, overwhelmingly outnumbered by our enemies, and lead by career politicians who couldn't agree on a pizza topping without digging their partisan heels into the sand for months. If I seem a bit harsh, it's because this wretched flu-bug has killed my sense of humor.

Oct. 8, 2013:

Time for the monthly rant, and I suppose the phony baloney government "shutdown" is as good a place as any to start. I call it phony baloney because we have yet to see a single layoff amongst the 535 lobby whores that started this. Seems cowardly to me to mandate sacrifices then exclude yourself, placing the burden on people who have absolutely nothing to do with this. It's like I said about Syria. If Congress wants to invade Syria, then let Congress invade Syria. Just leave us and our kids out of it. We'll pay for their training and expenses, and I think I speak for most Americans by saying that we'll all chip in an extra 50 bucks a piece on our tax returns for them to stay there. Permanently. Same with the "shutdown". If Congress wants to chop heads, by all means do so, starting with Congress. For every member of Congress laid off we could save ten park rangers, and at least they know how to put out a fire. But no, this is not about saving money, and in many cases you're seeing these cuts actually costing more to sustain than the offset of lost wages, it's about childish tantrums, political grand-standing, and trying to convince us that we need government regulations to save all the important services that would still be functioning if not for government regulations (as per the U.S. Department of Redundancy Department). Both sides are blaming the other, but as far as I'm concerned they are ALL impotent and need to be replaced. As I've said before, it no longer makes sense trying to take back our country by supporting either of the two parties that took it away from us, so let's dissolve both parties and start fresh with people who serve their constituents and their own conscience instead of some partisan members-only cheerleading camp posing as a noble platform of doctrinistic ideology and competitive moral pretense. With that being said, let's look at the reason/excuse for this ridiculous power play, that being Obamacare funding, or "How to come up with imaginary money to pay for everything we didn't have money to pay for before". Now, although I could possibly benefit from this program given my age and current financial dilemma, I have to say I'm not in favor of it, not because I don't believe it's possible that nationalized/socialized health care can actually work. It can, same as state/city socialized infrastructures like your Police, Fire Department, Highways, etc. I'm opposed because we've squandered our monetary and military resources for decades feeding interventionist business interests around the globe and can't afford it right now, and because this plan has not been worked out well, only argued about incessantly by partisan grand-standers, and because, generally speaking, any time the federal government gets involved in business, it becomes a quagmire of bureaucratic inefficiencies incapable of being competitive in real world commerce. However, even though I'm opposed to American socialized health care at this time, in spite of the fact that we all created the need for it by letting the medical, pharmaceutical and insurance industry destroy corporate sponsored and private health care, I have to concede that the argument that Obamacare is unconstitutional is a bit hypocritical since they (Congress) voted it in over 3 years ago, and are now bending that same Constitution by trying to "un-pass" bills that are already laws. Yes I understand that it's not about the law itself but about the allocation of pretend money to pretend pay for it, but they've all had several years to figure this out, and it's not the American people's fault they wasted all that time crying about it instead of doing something about it. So again, leave us out of it. Either fix it or trash it, and sadly it looks like the only possible "shutdown" that will accomplish either is a furlough without pay of all administration and congressional personnel until they can actually EARN that pay by taking responsibility for the problems they created. Next month's topic: The Jenner split : Ratings ploy or Seventh Sign of the Apocalypse?

Nov. 12, 2013:

Political correctness offends me. Actually, I just like this oxymoronic play on words. However, in past monthly rants it occurs to me that I haven't really offended anyone at all, except maybe politicians, and they seriously need to be offended. This rant should address that oversight, so I apologize in advance. The two motivating articles here are one that explains why, in the past, people caught masturbating were institutionalized or imprisoned, the other explaining the rationale (or lack thereof) of Islamic dog slaughtering. The connection? Masturbation used to be (and still is in many countries today) considered a form of mental illness, because it undermines one's morality and self worth. The irony is that the reason it causes guilt and low self-esteem is because we are taught that it causes guilt and low self-esteem. Same deal with dog slaughtering. They believe dogs are evil because they have been taught that dogs are evil, which makes the dogs not like them which reinforces the belief that dogs are evil. The reality is, they're just dogs. Stop being afraid of them and so mean to them and they will like you better. When we adopt ideas that we think are our own but are actually made up by someone else, we are unable to modify these brittle ideas because we didn't think them up in the first place, and they become absolute regardless of how foolish. We want to learn, but once you truly believe you have all the answers, you stop asking questions. The convenience of this is not coincidental. In the Capitalist world, we use media to tell our kids what clothes, music, movies and games they like, to create the perfect consumer. In the Jihadist world, they keep their young men in an agonizing state of adolescent sexual frustration with the promise of a lust-fulfilling afterlife reward if they avenge their God, to create the perfect disposable soldier. Maybe that's why they hate dogs. A dog sees his Master as the creator of all things, but I doubt even a dog is dumb enough to think that in the afterlife his Master will be waiting with Porterhouse steaks and a line of poodles in heat. This "Be a good boy, get a treat" discipline keeps us in line, often exploiting our fear of the unknown. The mysterious question of what happens when we die has become an enigmatic taboo, the answers available only through the ambiguous writings of people who thought the Earth was flat and the Sun revolved around it. Most likely, like everything else, we just haven't figured out death yet until we learn how to measure and verify these processes, with the outcomes eventually ending up in school books somewhere in between "what makes electricity" and "how an eclipse works". Not that these ancient writings weren't inspired and profound, but the literalism forced on these beautiful poetic stories has buried the life lessons they teach us, leaving an archaic science and moral dogma comprised of rewards and punishments that demote God to an entity predisposed to human ambitions and failures. I partially blame language, or more-so the inadequacies of translations. I mean, we don't even have a pronoun for the word "God". The pronoun "IT" sounds so impersonal, "SHE" is totally out of the question, so we're stuck with "HE" (His will, to serve Him, etc), which subconsciously suggests that God has a penis (and a rather large one I'm sure). Attached to this is a whole host of bio-chemical neural attributes that make us think "HE" has the same emotional framework as us mammals. But just because I make fun of the popular "Grouchy Santa" notion of God as an old white-bearded guy in Heaven with nothing to do except keep up his naughty-and-nice list, that doesn't mean I'm an Atheist. It just means that I think we have about as much chance of understanding God as a white blood cell has of understanding the much larger entity that created it, and which it serves as it goes about its mundane routine in total darkness through our veins. Very little enhancement of this perception can be found in the extrapolated moralities and prophetic consequences that are superimposed on our beliefs to maintain the collective obedience of those who, as said, truly believe they have all the answers and stop asking questions. So I surrender to the fact that it all simply cannot be conceptualized, and joyously surrender to my own insignificance, our life being just a microscopic nano-second in time. You can believe the Big Bang created the Universe, you can believe God created the Universe, or you can just say God created the Big Bang. You can say God created man, or that evolution created man, or just say that God is evolving. For me it doesn't matter, because I choose to believe that God IS the Universe, alive in a way that cannot be defined, in the spaces between atoms, to the spaces between galaxies, the invisible canvas of a holographic temporal stereogram, and what we call reality is the Universe manifesting itself to perceive itself, perhaps because like the proverbial tree that falls and no one is there to hear it, the Universe as a single and complete entity no longer has a separate point of reference to acknowledge its existence, and therefore does not exist. So it perceives itself through fragmentation seeking defragmentation, from Big Bang to Big Crunch and presumably back again, with all things big and small made up of "just dots" in this exponentially pixilated jigsaw puzzle, including us. We are made of the same exact atoms that make up all the stars and planets in all the Universe, past, present and future. This simple unbreakable fact alone suggests that everything is connected and recycled, every particle an integral component, not just a creation. Any argument of "my God can beat up your God" is only a team mentality that obscures that connection and is often used to make us root for the home team and overcome adversaries that have been predefined for us. The best advice from any ancient story probably comes from the New Testament where Jesus said, "Thou shalt stop being assholes to one another" (really it's in there, I saw it). That advice alone is all we truly need, and the rest we can only understand HOW it all works but never understand WHY it all works. The very most we can hope for is to embrace and celebrate the poetry in motion that LETS it all work. You can call it God or Ra or Allah or Tao or Carl or anything you like. The name is for your convenience only and yours to keep and use as often as you like absolutely free.

Jan. 16, 2014:

Monthly rant: The Internet. Not really a rant, just observations and speculation, and this will be rather long and boring. I'm often asked why law enforcement doesn't do something about virus distribution and scareware extortion of money. I tell them it's because they have bigger fish to fry, like people flying planes into buildings, or smoking in public. You know, big things. While it's true that the FBI has no interest in your stolen maxed-out credit card number or pitiful life savings that you mistakenly assumed would still be worth something nowadays, I've always had the feeling that there is a little more than apathy to their "look the other way" attitude and the deliberate omission of information about cyber-crime by the news media that allows people to be more easily duped by these global extortion cartels simply by keeping us ignorant to the threats. Seems like instead of "let's look the other way" it's more like "let's sit back and see what happens", kinda like 911, where no, I'm not saying it was staged (like many still insist), but the 4 hour lack of response makes me wonder if the decision was made to let it play out. Pretty convenient that the now called "Patriot Act" was 90% complete BEFORE 911, but not implemented until after, in a record 45 days. The justification kinda fell right into their lap, already wrapped up with a big red bow on top. As for the current precarious state of the free internet, it's possible that by sitting back and allowing millions of people every single day to be exploited by these virus cartels, sooner or later there will be a cyber-911 take place that will justify taking control of it. The FCC and the U.N. are currently at odds about who should be the big boss, while ISPs like Comcast & Verizon are very close to their own takeover by way of extortionary "throttle fees" for businesses. Very soon websites will have to out-bid their competitors for bandwidth. But that's another story. The question here is, "Why control the internet?". Three requirements to sustain any Utopian hive society are that its worker bees consume, obey, and be happy. The 3rd one is important because discontent leads to dissidence. The Patriot Act ushered in a new era of "safety" from enemies both real and fabricated. However, for full assurance that our government is truly "saving us from ourselves" we need to trust that government. The mainstream news media does a pretty good job of keeping the really, really bad stuff from us other than the disaster/scandal/celebrity/fuzzy story of the day (which is good for ratings), so we are entertained in ways both heart-warming and shocking. Printed news and radio do not come close in terms of reach, so the only alternative to our sanitized and blatantly partisan TV fluff news is the ballyhoo of raw uncited information online. A lot of it is also biased, a lot of it is reckless presumption, and a lot of it is pure trolling to the point of making you wonder how much of it is just to rally anger and how much might be "Blue Book" style disinformation to be debunked and damage the credibility of actual facts. No matter, it's a big world and an infinite internet, and our only hope of uncovering those network news omissions that might erode our collective contented obedience. In Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (as in WW2 Germany) the solution was to destroy all the books. In the virtual realm, all we have are stupid Trojan Horse regulations like SOPA and PIPA that are deficient in achieving anything other than cutting down on a few isolated copyright infringements, simply due to lack of support. China has attempted to censor its internet for decades with very minimal success. The FCC has repeatedly failed in gaining financial support for expanding their regulatory infrastructure. The United Nations can't even rally support for their "watchdog treaties". That's why I think it will take a catastrophic meltdown, some super-duper virus or cyber-terrorist attack that takes down power grids, banks, military systems and so on, before the world gets on board with this plan to create and actively enforce a centralized system of compliance guidelines and violations. As with the Patriot Act, this system is somewhat in place already with the NSA technologies. Again, it's a matter of "let's sit back and see what happens". Then we open the real can-of-worms, detailing what those guidelines are and to what extent to enforce them. As always, it's not possible for us to do anything in moderation. It's either non-existent or full tilt overkill. It's been said of war that history is written by the victors. It's possible that future generations will be much more accepting of the Utopian hive they serve based solely on the information or lack of information available to them. In the meantime, we'll have to fend for ourselves against the barrage of virus technologies widely distributed by organized crime groups that, for now, have a free pass into the homes of nearly every Windows user on the planet.

April 13, 2014:

Monthly rant: Global warming and climate change. Like just about everything else, the subject of climate change has somehow become a partisan issue. Liberals insist it's real, it's our fault, and they need to create a solutions infrastructure that will save us from ourselves. Conservatives insist it's not real, it's all fabricated by Liberals, and they want to create a solutions infrastructure to save us from ourselves. Is climate change real? The climate is changing all the time. Just come to the Midwest where you can have a tornado watch and a winter storm warning in the same day. Now, I understand that seasonal climate shifts are not relevant to global climate shift other than the relationship between severe seasonal occurrences contingent on the ocean conveyors, and the root cause of those conveyor changes. Is global warming real? Actually, the Earth has been in a global warming period for thousands of years because we are slowly coming to the end of the last ice age. That's just the way it works. Ice age, then meltdown, then a period of stability until the next ice age. In the last 300 years however, this has accelerated. So I guess the real question is, are we as humans accelerating this meltdown, and if so, does this help reach that period of stability sooner or could it trigger the next ice age prematurely? We have no way of knowing whether or not this accelerated meltdown is naturally occurring or aggravated by an out of control human infestation. It's probably a bit of both, but it is very easy to assume that mankind's undoing will be mankind itself given our destructive nature. However, of the "5 Great Extinctions" (and numerous others), none were caused by any one species or as a direct result of an ice age. They were the result of long term chronic global conditions collapsed by a short term shock event, the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back". A chronic condition could be any gradual changes in the sea or air that would affect photosynthesis, such as changes in CO2 levels or oceanic sulfide emissions caused by low sea levels, extended cooling/warming, methane geysers, reality TV, etc. The plants die off, then the plant eaters, then the meat eaters. A short term shock event could be a solar flare, super volcano, asteroid impact, gamma burst, etc. Then add the complication of these things happening on a planet that has been knocked off its rotational axis (which is likely a primary factor in these chronic conditions in the first place), and it's easy to understand the periodic mass extinction domino effect. The Earth is incredibly resilient and does survive, but at a high cost. Best estimates are that since the beginning, 99.7 to 99.9 percent of all species have become extinct, as will us humans be eventually unless we propagate beyond our solar system. Maybe that's the real lesson behind Noah's Ark, that if we become complacent in our survival, and arrogant in our dominance, sooner or later we will go the way of the dinosaur. In the story "The Day the Earth Stood Still", they asked the alien "Why have you come to our planet?" to which he responded with a puzzled look "Your planet?". They said "Yes, why are you here?", and he said "To save the Earth". Soon after, he begins destroying everything and everyone, and when confronted with "You said you were here to save the Earth", his response was "Yes I am", and it was then that they realized he was saving the Earth from us. Kind of an "Interstellar Orkin Man". In reality, intervention is not necessary. Okay, we've been bad tenants (and certainly won't get our deposit back), but whatever damage we do, the planet will undo through the natural cycle of mass extinctions and the imperceptible erosive effects of time. Once we're gone, in a few hundred thousand years this will all have crumbled and be buried for some future Archeologist to dig up and spend his days trying to figure out what a Thigh-Master was used for. However, the Noah's Ark lesson goes beyond our own extinction, because even if we can't kill the planet, and it dodges every possible collision or catastrophe, it WILL die when the Sun dies. This is an inescapable fact with no debate other than when it will happen. My hope is that someday humanity will stop squandering its resources and start planning for the day our lease finally runs out. Hopefully, when we do load the animals 2 by 2, Russell Crowe won't be there with his rock monsters.

May 20, 2014:

Monthly rant: Morality & Mortality. This month's topic is inspired by one of my favorite people, the omnipotently translucent Greg Meyers, who had quite the thread going a while back about the "outrage" by many over the less-than-humane botched execution of a monster. It seemed unanimous that he didn't suffer enough rather than too much. While the Hollywood liberals and bleeding heart ACLU insist 2 wrongs don't make a right, most of us NEED a sense of justice through retribution in order to find any closure in heinous crimes committed against innocent people. We also want to make sure our monsters don't get a 2nd chance at these crimes. But even more so is the anger we feel towards these societal rejects. The pain and suffering they cause is wrong and simply will not be tolerated. But why is it wrong? It's easy to play Devil's Advocate and say that our idea of right & wrong is just an illusion of contrast created by our rational thought processes based solely on our bio-chemical emotional framework. However, these processes and frameworks differ from person to person, so we need laws and/or religious doctrines to regulate guidelines on how these polar contrasts are defined. The irony with both law and religion is that they are constructed and maintained by a very small chosen few, so instead of moderating our diverse perceptions of morality, it merely compromises them by forcing the narrow definitions of those chosen few on everyone else. For the most part that's okay, at least regarding the important things, because almost all of us can agree that malevolent behavior damages the human race to its genetic core, and that our existing moral definitions, no matter how narrow, are correct in their condemnations. Seems pretty obvious from an evolutionary standpoint that if we're here to be better than what we were, hurting each other is not the way to go about it. Proponents of selective extinction like Aryan purists would disagree, but that's a separate rant for another time. Back to who decides what's right and what's wrong, we don't need church and state to show us the difference. Now, NOT playing Devil's Advocate, it's easy to say yes, we know basic morality, but need guidance in moral behavior. When it comes to everyday social compliance, we need our preachers & politicians to show us the way. Without their guidelines we would be having sex with farm animals or even worse, smoking in public. So, like so many rants before, it comes down to our leaders "saving us from ourselves"... again. Could it be that this is why we have monsters in the first place? Because we are so easily trained in our behavioral patterns that we no longer have the ability to mature those patterns naturally? Use it or lose it. Maybe our monsters are seemingly unfixable because they have rejected their trained morality but are no longer capable of creating their own. Maybe they're just broken. I'm not excusing them. I believe sometimes a sick animal just has to be put out of its misery. Often with humans you need to put them out of our misery as well. Now some would say that the death penalty is barbaric and anyone who supports it should be shot, but in this country you have to be one sick puppy to warrant a death sentence, so what else can be done with them other than pay their hotel bill until they finally check-out, and often that's many, many years. Must be the prison health care us uninsured folks pay for. Anyway, although the technology doesn't yet exist (but I'm sure it will soon), I do wonder what the implications are of taking the most unfixable of our violent societal rejects, and wiping their memories completely clean, then sending them to a Monastery to learn how to help others, never knowing the real past. Kinda like nuking a hard drive and downgrading the OS from Win8 to XP. Does this absolve them of their crimes? Is there some latent genetic dysfunction that could make them revert to the way they were? Is there some Karmic justice that remains unfulfilled? I truly don't know. Something about it seems wrong to me, but that may be because of my moral behavioral training. In the meantime, my only suggestion is to leave well enough alone for now. We can't re-program our sociopaths, we can't let them loose on society, and it seems ridiculous to spend tens of thousands of dollars to take care of them, so I suppose an eye for an eye is our only working solution. And if it seems cruel that sometimes they suffer, think of it as maybe a good practice run for what Hell is going to be like. Or, for the more Karmic minded, think of it as paying off a small portion of some reincarnational debt so it won't be quite as bad next time around. After all, that bright light we see when we die just might be us being pushed out of a vagina into our new life. The last time I went through it I was so traumatized I couldn't walk or even speak for over a year, so I think I'll be careful of the baggage I leave behind at check-out time, just in case it's tagged with a forwarding address.

July 7, 2014:

Monthly rant: Morality & Mortality part. 2 - The Afterlife. Last month wrestled with the dilemma of what to do with our incurable sociopaths and what, if any, karmic debt remains after death. It ended with the notion that the bright light we see when we die could be us being pushed out of a vagina into our new life (and perhaps those glorious near-death experiences are just abortions). I admit I've always had a soft spot in my head for the concept of reincarnation, although not so much in the linear sense of one person having many lives, but rather an exponential sense of one life having many persons. Linear or not, I still resist this concept because, just like everyone else, I want to believe in an afterlife where our memories and personality remain intact and live forever in a celestial suite reserved for the righteous. My suite will probably be an old refrigerator box, but that's still more desirable than the idea of a perpetual evolutionary reboot that doesn't exactly put us at the top of the food chain where we like to be. It does make more sense though, that as the Universe perceives itself, a life-to-life reboot is required to subliminally store evolutionary learning experiences to compensate for the limited memory capacity of those individual biological life forms. One could argue that this process of ongoing generational streamlining is simply the result of genetically stored information passed on through procreation, but that doesn't explain how most species (even us mammals) have evolved oceans apart from identical species that share not only the inherent adaptive tendencies of their genetic framework, but also share extremely specific behavioral and personality traits despite having no ancestral lineage physically connecting them to one another. Carl Jung attributed these detailed commonalities over great distances to the "collective consciousness" of the individual species, but was unable to define the scope of those "collectives". Is there a separate collective for Wood Ducks and Mallard Ducks, or is it "Just Ducks", or even "Just Birds"? Linear reincarnation is flawed in that it suggests a "ranking" for all species that the Universe follows to manifest itself in an ordered sequence. Exponentially, this order may exist, but not to us since we exist in linear time. A bit of a paradox (or in this case a "Pair-a-Ducks") unless you keep in mind that, however fragmented the evolutionary process appears to us, it's still the result of that singular event when 2 particles moving at light speed got together to form the first Hydrogen atom and stopped moving long enough to be observed. Atoms form molecules, molecules form matter, matter becomes self-aware, and reality exists because it can perceive itself, which doesn't help OUR perception of life one little bit. In fact, the idea that everything is recycled, including us, makes me cling even more to the dream of an eternal heavenly afterlife where we get to meet the Big Guy with the white beard who keeps up his naughty & nice list (except on December 24th... Coincidence? I think not). Now, I've always said that since no one really knows, you can believe anything you like, just believe in something worthwhile. Faith based on fear, hate, or blind obedience to some cookie cutter ideology is simply a waste of time and not good for the kids. So, to soften the cold hard reality of our seemingly disposable existence in a grander evolutionary process, while retaining some of the unique beauty of that existence, I toy with the idea that Heaven is indeed eternal, but only for a little while. What I mean by this goofy oxymoron is the possibility of a state of being after death where we remember everything and understand the consequences of all our actions in a moment of crystal clarity outside the limitations of our linear-thinking minds. However, nothing is "forever", so this would more likely be a transitional state between death and re-birth. What validates the oxymoron is that if we remember every moment with the same vividness as any moment experienced in the "now", then time has no meaning since all moments exist for us simultaneously with equal clarity, and in this way is "eternal" because the perpetual moment that continually demands our perception of time does not apply outside our biological existence. A sort of "temporal nexus", or more metaphorically, like an autumn leaf broken free from the tree, falling weightless and seemingly suspended in time until it reaches the ground to be re-absorbed so the tree can continue to grow. In one way it's depressing to think we're doomed to participate in this cycle over and over again, but I do take comfort in knowing that we move it along one step closer to completion, and I take comfort in believing we may experience all our lives & loves one last time to attain closure on this chapter and joyfully start another. Yes, I know this is a silly notion, but we are ALL just making this up as we go anyway, right? Still better than the popular concept of a Sado-God who intentionally creates a flawed being for the sole purpose of punishing it for its flaws, which is like saying we have no choice but free will. Another stupid oxymoron. And still better than the likelihood that we live, we die, the end. Rather pointless, at least from a human perspective, unless you think of us as merely micro-organisms part of an imperceptibly larger living entity. So I'll just entertain my quaint delusions for now knowing that, if nothing else, if I never believe I have all the answers that means I will never stop asking questions. Maybe that's the purpose of reincarnationary evolution in the first place, to collect knowledge through cumulative experiences thereby improving and enhancing each generation's capabilities and understanding of a much larger universal process, surrendering to our own insignificance to become more significant in that process. It's the "dream stuff is made of", and will certainly make you stop and think. My problem is, I forget to start again.

July 31, 2014:

Monthly rant: A brief return to exoterica. The other day I joked about the "Butterfly Effect" and concluded that, if it's true that even the most subtle flapping of a butterfly's wings can impact a tornado's path, then we need to get rid of them because tornados suck. Of course I don't really hate butterflies, in fact they are one of the few bugs I can stand, especially this time of year when they take over your yard. I know there are millions of insect species, but I think they all pretty much fall into 3 categories: At the bottom of the evolutionary bug chain you have your parasites; flies, gnats, mosquitoes etc. They don't build nests and will lay their eggs in any old rotten garbage or carcass. I appreciate that they are the bottom feeders of life that lick the algae off the aquarium glass so to speak, but I hate that they have no respect for personal boundaries. I've made it clear to them that they can have my back yard, my front yard, even the park North of me or all the woods West of me clear to the river. But no, they insist on being wherever I happen to be. I even tried to get a restraining order but the oddly nervous girl at the courthouse was unable to help. As a result I have no compassion for them, and if just one bites me I declare war on the entire species. Second, you have your builders; ants, bees, wasps, etc. who care nothing about other creatures as long as you let them be. They're on a tight schedule and need to get their nests built and their eggs laid before it's time to perish. I respect that, but wasps in particular make me nervous because they sting and they're not very bright. A hundred trips a day back & forth and they still often can't find the entrance to their nest, becoming clearly agitated, and the last thing I want to do is get in their way. And if one gets in the house, well it's war on the species once again. Third, we have predators, which is pretty much all spiders. Outside, they are fascinating to observe. Inside, they are the most evil of all insects, lurking in the shadows, watching your every move, waiting to trap a moth, beetle, or small child. And if you try to kill one and miss, you can be sure they retreat to their lair only long enough to plot their revenge. I am at least thankful that they have not yet evolved to dog-size and have not yet developed wings. As for other insects, I don't know where they fall in these categories because they mind their own business and I don't really know what that business is. Grasshoppers for example seem to have no purpose other than to eat and jump around. At least crickets have a sport named after them. And centipedes are what? A metric version of the inchworm? And of course, we can't leave out the butterflies, who I imagine are regarded by their plain-jane cousins in the moth family as painted-up floosies who shamelessly flutter about like Las Vegas showgirls. The conservative part of me stands by our less-colorful winged friends, but one thing butterflies have over moths is that even though they are gussied-up tornado causing pollen whores, at least they're not dumb enough to fly into a bug zapper. So...in conclusion, 2 things: I don't care much for insects. They remind me too much of humans with their Borg-like hive mentality and malevolent collective behavior. Second: I obviously have nothing to talk about this month. I do actually, but I like to attack more relevant subject matter with a bit of dry cynical humor, and in the last month the world has seen more than its fair share of human suffering, so for now I am disengaged from any political or religious satire because my opinions seem petty and meaningless in the wake of recent events. These wakes will be rippling for generations, so all those driving the boats will probably be the subject of criticism in next month's rant. Did I mention that I don't like bugs?

Aug. 18, 2014:

Okay, Facebook is supposed to be fun, so I try to limit my opinions to once a month, but I can't stand it. Someone PLEASE explain to me all this nonsense in Ferguson or at least explain why after nearly 2 weeks this is still news. In Canada this would be news but here in the US where the murder rate is among the highest in the world and the percentage of population behind bars IS the highest in the world, why has this story continued beyond the shelf life of the American attention span? Is it just because the media keeps fanning the embers of an expired story because it's getting good ratings? I feel bad for the families involved and feel bad for the kid who will never have a chance to escape the urban gang mentality, but again, this aint Canada. This sort of thing happens every day, and it sucks, but it's not news any more than Trayvon was news. Two guys got in a fight. One died. Damn shame. The end. In this case, one was a cop, and where I come from if you pick a fight with a cop he WILL shoot you, especially if you're Mongo from Blazing Saddles who "if you shoot him you'll just make him mad". But here's the other thing I don't get. No one will just SAY what happened. Broad daylight and not a single credible witness, just people either saying he was gunned down in cold blood or that he attacked the officer. Come on guys, I can see getting the color of his socks wrong but how can these accounts be that far off from one another? It's as if EVERYONE is lying so this can be a race issue, which has nothing to do with anything. 2 guys got in a fight, one was green and one was purple. Not relevant. The only thing relevant is whether the officer snapped out or was defending himself against a more powerful adversary. The police know. The eyewitnesses know. Probably the dashcams know. This is less a race issue and more of an obstruction of justice on both sides. Stop lying, stop looting, stop protesting, stop grandstanding, stop covering up, stop letting the media turn this into a ratings competition. Just say what happened and let the courts deal with it. Regardless, my heart goes out to the kid's parents. No parent should outlive their child, no matter what.

Nov. 17, 2014:

Monthly rant: Global warming part 2. In part one I commented that the complexity of climate change has been reduced to a partisan issue where opinion on the subject is entirely mandated by political allegiance as an ideology required to keep your membership card in either club. Both doctrines have become over zealous to the point where proving the other side wrong is all that matters. With sub zero temps throughout the Northern hemisphere and 4 months until the 1st day of Spring, it would seem the environmental alarmist camp has been debunked, at least in terms of the Greenhouse Effect. But not entirely, if you regard this effect as not a root cause, but a piece of the puzzle along with the factors previously touched upon as to why half the land mass on this planet is uninhabitable. Those being, the Earth has been in a warming period since the end of the last Ice Age. Second, the Earth's rotational axis has been damaged since before even microbial life forms existed. Third, CO2 emissions introduced into the O2 layer do indeed trap heat, like a greenhouse. So if we're in a post-Ice Age and the Ozone layer is trapping heat, then why is it so damn cold? There is a fourth factor just recently being considered and chronologically mapped historically, at least as far back as the records go, that factor being the Sun itself. As we've been hearing a lot about lately, sunspot activity has been at a peak for several years, and Earth has dodged the bullet (literally) by missing a direct impact from these Coronal Mass Ejections. As the Sun goes into remission, referred to as "Solar Minimum", you would think that's a good thing since the fewer the flares, the less chance of being fried by one. However, new studies suggest that during these remissions, the Sun is actually "less hot" than during peak CMEs, and mankind's folly of contributing to the greenhouse effect might actually help to retain some of the Sun's diminished irradiance through this 10-20 year cycle. Early correlations of these cycles do match up with some of the coldest decades in history, but the records just don't go back far enough for a conclusive pattern. If that's the case we can expect our Northern winters to be increasingly brutal until the mid 2020s when the Sun starts to become active again. Myself, I think it's a case of "all-of-the-above", making weather cycles nearly impossible to predict from year to year. Rotational tilt is still at the heart of it, though. This tilt makes it difficult for the Earth's polar regions to receive direct sunlight much of the year. It's why we have seasons and why much of the Northern & Southern hemispheres are a dead tundra incapable of growing food. If you disregard these frozen areas and lifeless deserts, as well as the amount of Earth covered by water, you end up with over 6 billion people inhabiting roughly 9% of the planet, flocking to dense urban areas that become impoverished from over-crowding. The most likely cause of this tilt and wobble is a collision with another planet, moon, asteroid, or "BAR" (which is the technical acronym for "Big Ass Rock", sometimes referred to in NASA-speak as a "BFR"). However, I do intend on going to Washington sometime soon with my plan to restore the Earth's natural parallel-to-orbit spin. All I need are a thousand space shuttles retrofitted with harpoon launchers, and a whole bunch of rope. We'll straighten that puppy right up. In the meantime, bundle up, be thankful to be among the first humans in 200 million years that possess the technology needed to survive, and be sure to forward your heating bills to the following address:

Al Gore
02 Greenhouse Circle
Montecito, Calif 93108

Oct. 2, 2014:

The 3Ps: Procedure, Process, & Protocol. Working in QA at Glenayre I learned lots about the 3Ps, and anyone who has spent their life in manufacturing in any capacity knows that if a product doesn't meet specs, change the specs. Anyone who insists that procedure cannot be broken is either too busy or too lazy to deal with it or they have fallen prey to the political correctness that chokes not just our social communications, but the flexibility of our business verbiage. Procedures have to be followed in order for them to be perfect, but they are only as perfect as their ability to compensate for their imperfections. Processes are modified, added, or eliminated that rely on the adaptability of the procedures that define them, which is where protocol comes in to define when these deviations are reasonable and how these adjustments are implemented. If it's "against company policy", then change the policy. You guys wrote it, right? Easier said than done, more so these days, as those at the bottom of the company ladder have less importance in protocol and those at the bottom of the consumer ladder have less importance to those at the top of the company ladder. Today's corporate hierarchy assumes that as your pay grade increases, so does your IQ, so it's easy to believe your own infallibility and alienate yourself from such mundane details. But whether it be retail, wholesale, manufacturing, administration or services, as businesses and companies consolidate and grow, they rely more on their own red tape to hold them together, and the bigger they get, the more brittle and less flexible that red tape becomes. The result is often an ivory-tower management with weak delegation skills and poor follow-up. So...everyone just follows the letter of the law, and without the 3rd "P", the others become outdated and irrelevant to employees and consumers alike. The only way to hang on to either is to create a monopoly on your product, service or employ to force them to either participate or do without. The over-adherence to our stagnant guidelines may not be a major factor in the demise of our economic prowess, but it certainly makes everything cost more, makes customer service issues extremely challenging, and creates obstacles in trying to build the most talented work force possible. It also reflects what we've become as a society. As we petrify our rigid rules of behavioral perfection, we lose the required protocol that allows for the imperfections of those rules. Whether it be business, government, religion or our routine social compliances, Procedure defines what needs to be done, Process defines the necessary actions, and Protocol defines the governing influences over the first two. Protocol becomes stigmatic when there's no one left that fits the requirements of "governing influence", causing the procedures & processes to take on a static, iconic and inviolable life of its own. So, does that mean if something doesn't meet specs, or is against policy, or outside the "rules", you can't really change those rules? Of course you can. Just not me, not you, and sometimes not anyone else either. The remaining stigma is the foundation of Arcadian dystopia, an unchangeable bureaucracy creating a blurry line between the futility of not getting credit for the 12 hours your cable was out, to the obligatory enforcement of rules, laws & beliefs that no longer have protocol because their creators have been dead for generations. Sometimes this enforcement can be quite brutal, but for the most part it's just people saying "hey, I don't make the rules, just doin' my job here". However, if the rules attached to that job need to be fixed, get someone who can fix it. In the meantime, not my problem. can't help. don't care. just fix it. Nothing is carved in stone. Unless well, it's actually carved in a stone. However, if it's just the word "nothing" that's carved in the stone, the statement is still essentially correct, and all you need is a waiver signed by your supervisor.

Jan. 21, 2015:

Monthly rant: More from the Department of Redundancy Department. Yeah I know it's been way more than a month, but I'm to the point of recycling metaphors because the human race keeps recycling its mistakes. Whether the topic is corporate greed, partisan cheerleading, religious arrogance, cry-baby political correctness, race baiting, or just the general complacent dulling of our rationale from having our opinions spoon-fed to us, the root cause is always that bandwagon mentality that divides us into groups possessed by some collective cookie cutter ideology, many of which carry about the same motivational inspiration as the lyrics to "We're not gonna take it" by Twisted Sister. All we need is a vague commonality to pretend these beliefs are our own simply because we agree with them. It's why entire armies follow cruel megalomaniacs, and why people "flock" to protests, riots & rallies (pun intended) to flaunt their generic zeal like porn stars at a nudist colony. It's also why we see endless news stories of horrific executions of occupied civilians whose only crime was not jumping on the bandwagon. However, these genocidal atrocities, such as we see in Iraq and Nigeria, are so conveniently Draconian that I call BS on their claims of jihadist prophecy and noble Islamic crusade. Their zealous bandwagon is fake, driven less by manifest destiny and more by simple old fashioned revenge and greed. As with Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, they are manipulated by corrupt governments who use that thirst for vengeance and power along with the paranoia of superstition to perpetuate an "industry of fear" similar to the infrastructure created in the U.S. after 911. Terrorism stimulates the economy, adds tremendous wealth to the already wealthy, and keeps the masses in complete submission by that desperate need for protection from the "evil-doers" as George W. would say. Many believe these attacks, as well as domestic attacks like school shootings, are staged to further tighten the grip on society by saving us from ourselves, but that's assuming there's an air-tight multi-layered super intelligent maniacal conspiracy at work here. But, I don't see any brilliant masterminds, just political thugs who stand to gain from acts of terror by simply doing nothing, or intervening in such a collaterally inefficient way that it just creates more terrorists by dragging more people into the vicious circle of revenge as uninvolved families are unintentionally destroyed. As for ISIS, Boko, and other groups that brutally murder their own people, they can spout Sharia Law and scripture all day, but to me it's nothing more than the 10 commandments of Orwell's Animal Farm, twisted and perverted to create an omnipotent ruling class that controls its workers through fear and entitlements contingent on submission. As for those few who actually believe in a divine manifest destiny, and that bad things have to happen for a reason, they should consider that the reason bad things happen is because the Universe has a cruel indifference about it, not by design or intent, but by the sheer enormity and magnitude of it. The world is microscopic in the grand scheme of things, and more transitory than can be imagined. Anything that can happen, somewhere sometime probably will or has happened. You can't take it personal. And for those who view God as an invisible wizard or a "Mean Santa" who knows when you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake, how about we just grow up a little and try to expand on those perceptions beyond the simplicity of a children's fable. They say if you haven't grown up in 200 million years, you're probably not going to, but I don't believe that, simply because we've spent the last 199 million years just figuring out how not to be extinct. Our existence is still slippery at best, but we have learned how to survive on this rough old icy rock we call Earth, and now it's time to take evolution to the next level. I don't know what that level is, but as I've said in previous rants, the capacity for love, compassion & empathy seems to be exclusive to us mammals, which makes me feel that it must be an important part of that evolution. How's about we just try it for awhile and see what happens. The worst that can happen is that we might live happy peaceful lives, and like Bill Cosby sez, "and if you're not careful you might learn something". Probably not the best quote considering that it seems we've recently learned that Bill loves pudding. Pudding his penis where it don't belong. I digress. Point being, it doesn't matter who you are, just stop being stupid and mean, regardless of your religious beliefs, political views, what movies you like or what music you listen to. Although, if you listen to Kanye or Nicki you might need to be stoned to death. Or you might just need to be stoned. You never know, it may very well not only evolve your taste in music, but evolve your ability to embrace our humanity and understand the connection between all living things that is in itself a long glorious journey far more encompassing than our perceived realities. Or you might just get the munchies. Me, I'm still obsessing over whether or not the word "Draconian" needs to be capitalized when used as an adjective.

Feb. 2, 2015:

Well, the groundhog saw his shadow today and ran back to his hole, signifying another 6 weeks of winter. Conservatives are blaming the media for shadow fear mongering, Liberals claim they will protect groundhogs from their shadows regardless of the cost, and Al Sharpton is calling for all groundhogs to unite and destroy the Sun so their children can live in world free of shadows. In a Fox News interview, Punxsutawney Phil denied any coercion on the shadow's part, claiming it was simply "too damn cold".

July 7, 2015:

Monthly rant: Anger is all the rage.
Yeah I know it's actually been several months, but I have nothing to say that I haven't already said, and this will likely be my last installment, so rather than a specific subject, I'll just synopsize all the previous and current "hot topics":

ISIS: Go home. You're drunk. The news media is becoming bored with you and without their support you cannot force your prophecy into reality. You're like the boy who cried wolf just to get attention, and when the world comes to ignore you, you'll desperately pull a 911 and be wiped off the face of the Earth, which ironically is a key piece of your prophecy. However, Muhammad & Jesus won't be swooping down in a silver chariot to restore the Ottoman Empire afterwards. It'll just be another tragic chapter in history filled with cruelty and bloodshed that served no purpose whatsoever.

CHRISTIANS: Learn from your doomed Islamic counterparts. I'll say it again, prophecy happens for 3 reasons: 1) It was the most likely outcome of a predictable series of events. 2) Enough people believe in it to force its manifestation. 3) It was a damn coincidence. No one traveled to the future and back and any vision of the future is one of an infinite number of possible futures. Time is fluid and everything affects everything else all the time. Stop being over-zealous and stop abusing scripture to validate that zeal. The Bible is fine, I have no problem with the authors, just the editors. Two thousand years of pious aristocrats translating & abridging it to fit the times that has turned commitment to literalism into blind obedience to the gross inadequacies and manipulations of human language. Don't make the same sanctimonious mistakes as your Jihadist evil-twins. Screw the Apocalypse. Simply have love & compassion and the world will either join you or burn without you.

POLITICIANS: Retire. Now. We will find new ones that maybe, just maybe, won't suck. The 2-party illusion of choice is nothing more than team-mentality bandwagon media hype that has turned our electoral process into a Superbowl event where you already know which teams are playing but join the cheerleaders anyway. They can argue guns, gays & abortion all day but they all play in the same sandbox, and we will NEVER take back our country by supporting either of the 2 parties that took it away from us in the first place.

THE CONFEDERATE FLAG: Enough already. More news media fluff. Like Ferguson, the fabrication and perpetuation of a high-yield story to offset the expensive 20 second pieces that cannot be recycled. The sad reality is that nine people were brutally murdered in their own church. America's response? Ban the Dukes of Hazzard. And we wonder why the rest of the world thinks we're stark raving stupid. The Civil War was less about slavery & racism and more about rebelling against an intrusive, oppressive federal government that had overstepped its bounds. The flag means whatever you want it to mean. Too many soldiers, white & black, died under it, but to hide our mistakes from future generations only dooms them to repeat those mistakes.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY: Gay people have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us, right? Not gay so can't say, although I probably could be if it wasn't for that whole weird sex thing. Never understood why it was illegal in the first place, and I'm not worried that now livestock weddings are going to be pandemic, but as with Southern succession, this shows how 12 people out of 330 million can arbitrarily override the governments of 50 states without contest or even the option to express contention. Symptomatic again of an intrusive federal government overstepping its bounds. Still, congrats to all the gay couples out there, and since we're banning flags can we also get rid of that rainbow thing? It looks kinda queer to me.

OBAMACARE: Fix it or scrap it. Just stop using it as a hole in a partisan punch-card that gets you another free term in office when you get 12 punches. I'm all for national health care, but Socialism only seems to work on a local level; your roads, fire, police, etc., and whenever the federal government tries to compete in real-world commerce, it fails because it's too bloated and top-heavy to be efficient. For now it might be best to postpone Obamacare and instead fix the corrupted health care industry that created the need for it in the first place.

GUNS: The old corny 70's bumper sticker still says it best by saying "If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns". However, many believe it's worth sacrificing some of our protection against these modern day "outlaws" (now lovingly referred to as "thugs")in an attempt to keep guns out of the hands of all the Prozac-ridden crazies that always get their 15 minutes of fame by way of quantity vs. quality. Perhaps a more proactive approach would be to research better treatments for the mentally ill than all the nasty designer anti-depressants that seem to be the one commonality in all these mass shootings. The larger argument is that as a society we are incapable of moderation (like the stupid flag deal), and that any new gun control will snowball into total disarmament. The full blown conspiracy argument is that disarmament is the actual goal, to create a fascist utopian society that is productive, obedient & happy. China would especially welcome this dystopic vision of the future since they are reluctant to occupy our vast dormant federal properties in exchange for debt owed until we get a handle on our "savage wild-west mentality". I think we should leave well enough alone. American gun owners are quite responsible, most of our current gun laws can be easily fixed rather than radically replaced, and if we make China nervous, that's ok too. Maybe that will motivate both sides to come up with a better way to pay them back other than setting up shop here.

NSA: After 911 the NSA began monitoring every call & email here in the US and elsewhere. This was never a big secret and in the 11 years prior to Edward Snowden there have been countless articles and documentaries that detailed this enormous infrastructure. The media ignored it until it became "whistle-blower news worthy" and even people in Congress pretended to be shocked. If these politicians were that far out of touch and never read a single NSA report given to them, they should be fired. If they were lying for the sake of grand-standing, they should be fired. This was part of the deceptively misnamed "Patriot Act" and we all knew what a Pandora's Box it would be so stop with the fake outrage.

GLOBAL WARMING (oops, I mean "Climate Change"): When a planet is coming out of an Ice Age, it gets warmer. The climate is changing all the time, but if there are things we're doing to make it worse, figure out what they are and stop doing them. Again, quit making it a partisan issue just to keep your punchcard. To say it's all our fault and we need more laws is incorrect. To say it's a hoax just to make more laws is also incorrect. Both sides are extrapolating from this complex process only the information convenient to their own dogmatic agenda. Truth is, we're clueless as to what will happen and what to do about it other than stop polluting our home, which should be a given regardless. Even a dog won't crap in his own doghouse.

THE ECONOMY: So long as the Federal Reserve keeps diluting our currency with Monopoly money, that currency will continue to buy less regardless of wages. Stimulus bubbles, designed to promote borrowing, only benefit the banking systems and Wall Street high-rollers in the long term. In the short term, the bubbles burst and the consumer is back to square one. Lost equities are absorbed by the lenders themselves and by the high-rollers already wealthy enough to take advantage of the resulting windfall stock buyouts, further diminishing a working middle class already on the brink of credit card bankruptcy. More credit equals more fake money that further devalues our currency in the global market and our exchange ranking with the IMF. Sadly, this domino effect may not be stoppable.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: Just say what you want to say. I promise I won't cry. Stop walking on eggshells. Argue. Get mad. Yell & scream. Duke it out if you have to. Just stop thinking that being polite and considerate to the point of wussification is going to solve any of our social problems.

THE UNIVERSE: If I seem harsh or even arrogant in my comments, it's only because to condense an adequate assessment of these topics in single paragraphs, one needs to be blunt. There are other points of view with equal or greater validity on these matters, and some that are just plain stupid. However, that's one of the beautiful things about humanity, our perceptual diversity that great ideas are born from, taking on a life of their own beyond their individual components. It's from these rich perspectives that my grandiose hope for humanity is that we can someday, somehow learn to peacefully coexist and put these resources to bigger evolutionary goals and higher spiritual revelations. Whatever pronoun you attach to him/her/it, God IS the Universe manifest, and we are all made of the same exact atoms that make up all the stars & planets in ALL the Universe. If everything is truly connected in this cosmic self-realization, then even the smallest of things have their unique place in this connection and any imagined significance or lack thereof is irrelevant because it's all recycled on a molecular level. Every particle an integral component, not just a creation. Our transitory existence is the Universe perceiving itself one microscopic nanosecond at a time. Slowly we're beginning to understand HOW it all works but not WHY it all works, however we can embrace and celebrate the poetry in motion that LETS it all work. Time is defined as the "interval between moments", so cherish every moment because without time, everything would happen all at once and we would miss it.

As always, not saying I'm right, just saying it would be really nice if everyone thought I was. Thanks for the indulgence on this last rant. Moving forward I will try to limit my posts to Willy Wonka memes and pictures of food.

Nov. 30, 2015:

Monthly rant: First off, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Second, a short opinion regarding tragedy exploitation. Anyone who knows me knows that my spirituality is between me & God and not really defined by any one doctrinistic cookie-cutter ideology. I don't care what anyone believes because in my mind the capacity for love and compassion is the ONLY thing that matters regardless of pragmatic convictions. However, I've been reading lots of comments about the Colorado clinic shooting being an act of "Christian terrorism", comparing it to ISIS, and cannot bite my tongue on this because pretty much everyone I know is a Christian and are good & decent people who do not deserve to be judged on the act of one nut-job. A group of like-minded fanatics is terrorism. One lone lunatic is just that, a lone lunatic. Mental illness does not discriminate based on a person's religious or political pre-dispositions, nor is it selective according to race. Quite the opposite. ANY racial, religious or political dogma can feed a sick mind and add to the paranoia of an already tormented soul, which means that instead of blaming whites, blacks, religions, cops, refugees, liberals, conservatives, guns, whatever, for this current epidemic of psychopathic shootings, we need to blame human society as a whole for dividing itself into all the diverse prideful groups that perpetuate the "us vs. them" mentality, fueling the motivation of such disturbed and angry individuals by capitalizing on these tragedies to further their agenda. Perhaps we should all let go of our collective persecution complexes and look for commonalities in our polarized views that might actually lead to a constructive dialog rather than bunkering down in our zealous isolationist fortresses built only to prove that it's all someone else's fault, compounding this tragic event by refusing to accept that it was unpreventable, crusading for a justice that will never come, and holding your canonistic adversaries responsible. Put simply, "Divided We Fall". We are knee-deep in a rhetorical civil war that no one can win, and the only way out is to stop pointing fingers and start shaking hands.