Monday, December 26, 2005

New Year's Resolutions

It wouldn't be right to make new ones without telling you how I did on last year's resolutions.

2005 Resolutions:

1. Read the entire Old Testament - I read a lot of it but was side-tracked by a couple of good issues of some magazines I subscribe to. All I have left are the poetic books and the divided kingdom. I'm sure most of you have no idea what I'm talking about...anyway...on we go.

2. Get in shape - I lost 30 pounds and am much stronger due to some manual labor. As for stamina...that's a whole other matter.

3. Take a motorcycle trip down Hwy 101 and visit every cheesey roadside attraction including, but not limited to, the Trees of Mystery! - Well, I bought a motorcycle and rode it to my mom's house...and stopped for gas.

4. Get my book published. Check it out here. - The book isn't published yet but is much closer now that the Advanced Reading Copy is out and in the hands of a publicist. 2006 will be the year...I'm guessing.

Here we go for 2006

1. Really get my book published...for real this time...and then shamelessly beg people to buy it. These are short stories and if you like my sense of humor and a light-hearted expression of faith then you may enjoy this book.

2. Spend more time with my mom and my family.

3. Go camping more this summer.

4. Learn to relax again.

As you can see my 2006 list is much more laid back, but not as easy for me as it might look. We'll see how it goes.

What are your resolutions?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

How people find me

One of my stat programs on my home site tells me what search strings people used to find my site. It really cracked me up to see what types of things people would use and then consequently land on my site. If I had to guess the demographic based alone on these statistics I can only conclude that my website is a favorite of 8th grade boys.

Here are the results below:

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Every year, the same dumb debate

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or Merry Xmas or Seasons Greetings.

As I'm writing this I learned that there are some people who are going to boycott a company 'Winter Party' tomorrow because of the deliberate exclusion of the word Christmas. There are things that all people must remember.

To the secularist: Christmas is hardly religious as most everything about the celebration is secular in nature. It's also an official US holiday so lighten up a bit.

To the Mainstream Christian: What about a Winter Party offends you so much? Didn't the Apostle Paul commend us to not judge others by the 'moons' or 'sabbaths' that they keep? Does the Winter season/solstice apply here?

To the Evangelical: Get off your high-horse. Christmas is an Orthodox holiday anyway and leaves little for you to celebrate when it comes to keeping Jesus the 'reason for the season.' Sneak a little rum into your eggnog and shut up.

To the innocent bystander: Go about your way, there's nothing to see here.

I wish you all a productive winter and a successful calendar change!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I like my cat, though he's no Aslan

Aslan is of course the Lion in the Chronicles of Narnia stories. After seeing the movie my impression of Aslan may have exploited some flaws in my own cat. I like my cat, though he's no Aslan. Here I've listed some major differences between Aslan and my cat, Chesty.

Aslan the Lion

Chesty the House Cat

Aslan rescued Narnia from the evil White Witch, Jadis.
Chesty rescues hairballs from his stomach and routinely vomits them all around the house.

Aslan roared to rally his outnumbered army in an epic battle.
Chesty meows loudly every morning to rally me to fill his bowl with food.

Aslan died to save Edmund.
Chesty acts like he's dying when you pick him up or pet him when he's in a bad mood.

Aslan was a friend to all the animals of Narnia who were oppressed.
Chesty pretends that all animals incapable of feeding him don't exist.

Aslan's power brought Narnia out of a ever-present cold Winter.
Chesty routinely pees on the floor in front of the cold refrigerator.

Narnia - The movie or the book?

I have a reading disability. I'm never in a position to say something like "I liked the book better than the movie." because I never get through a book. I try to read every night and I find myself reading about three books a year. Think about that. That is what it's like to read like a 3rd grader. I won't get into the nuances of my reading problems because it's not as bad as it sounds. I have to some degree replaced traditional reading with what is popularly known as speed reading without knowing it.

I saw the Chronicles of Narnia last night. I've read the entire series and I can honestly say that the movie was not better than the book...It was the book. I was amazed that virtually nothing was left out and nothing really added. It was the book.

The movie has its critics but I don't care. I enjoyed the entire Chronicles of Narnia and consequently I enjoyed the movie too. I don't feel any geeky anxiousness to see the next installment in the movies, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What I hate about Christmas

(Don't forget to read what I love about Christmas in a post below)

I hate trying to get a parking spot at the mall.

I hate it when Christians insist that Christmas be about the birth of Christ and nothing else. I'm a Christian. I have a credible academic background in both history and theology. Christmas is both secular and uniquely Orthodox (read - Catholic) in nature but making it solely about Christ is foolish. I'm still not certain why Evangelicals are all onboard with the Christ Mass holiday. Seems like something they'd more likely just shy away from like the Advent. That said, I'm grateful for the birth of Christ everyday.

I hate having to deal with my family on Christmas. I'd love to be able to just rent a family for the holidays. Pay a one time fee and they show up and have a great time and give lots of cool gifts and then go away.

I hate the time my grandma had to go to the hospital on Christmas day when I was seven years old. The whole days stopped and my mom let me open one present while everyone was gone. I opened it up and it was a cool game that required a ball that was conveniently missing. ARGH!

I hate having to get gifts for family members that show up on Christmas but never call or even send thank you notes for stuff during the year. Not that a gift from me requires anything in return but how would I know what they'd want anyway? I feel like getting them a $50 gift certificate to the Crap Store.

I hate being told "If you don't like it you can return it" right after I open a gift. I feel like such an ass as everyone sits around and wonders "does he like it?" I just want to say thank you and be grateful that someone else thought of me.

I hate Miracle on 34th Street and I hate It's a Wonderful Life. Blargh.

I hate the claymation Christmas specials. I liked them as a kid but sheesh, do they suck or what?

I hate tinsel.

Sugar cookies = crap.

What I love about Christmas

Writing what I hate about Christmas is too easy so I'll save that for another time.

I love lights specifically. They nearly hypnotize me as I look at them. Blue lights give me a very calm a laxitive almost.

I love giving gifts and I love wrapping them. I love cool wrapping paper with lots of different holiday colors.

I love trains. I'm putting a train around my Christmas tree this year. YEAH!

I love eggnog. That's right...I do.

I love the Christmas Peanuts special and the quote "...of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Browniest." HA!

I love Handel's Messiah. Brilliant baroque music. If it aint baroque, don't fix it. Um, sorry.

I love that one salesgirl that tried to get me to buy some coat last year. I didn't need a coat, but ya know.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Real Tree or Fake Tree? - Need your help!

I've not had a Christmas Tree in 11 years. This year I'm putting up a tree..but what kind?

Since everyone who reads this blog are among the smartest people in the world...I need your advice.

Please respond with pros and cons and things that I need to consider.

A picture of what I end up with will follow in a future post.


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hospital Volunteers

I just visited someone in the hospital and had to deal with a hospital volunteer that didn't really speak English. His post was the information desk.

This was a tough one for me because I recognized that he was a volunteer which tells me to be patient no matter what, but at the same time it's hard to get 'information' from someone who does not have a mastery of the language of the general populace.

I had to spell the name several times and he never got it right. I finally wrote it down and he still couldn't find it. It was frustrating but I still thanked him genuinely for trying...really nothing else you can do.

If I was a hospital volunteer let's say in Brazil and I didn't speak Portugese...I would be probably mopping floors or emptying bed pans but not working the information desk. The man I dealt with today must have an incredible sense of self-confidence to volunteer for the task of giving information to people who speak an entirely different language.

As my grandmother used to say: God Bless his pointed little head.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Some thoughts on government bribes

Major League Baseball has a rule that if you bet on baseball then you're thrown out of the game completely. This rule is posted in every major league clubhouse throughout the country and Toronto. You can do lots of bad things as a baseball player and receive fines, ridicule, or suspensions but only betting on baseball will get you thrown out. Why? Because being a jerk doesn't make people think the outcome is fixed. As soon as the outcome of games are no longer seen as believable then the game is finished. (On a side note I hope Pete Rose never sees the hall of fame)

Government should have a similar rule. If you receive bribes that throw the legitimate role of government into question then you should have to receive some over-top-penalty. If you receive kick-backs as a result of 'serving the public' then you should not only face jail but receive the mark of Cain.

Additionally I might also add that the larger government becomes and the more power they hold, the greater need there is for their influence to be controlled. Taking the time to bribe a leaner and more efficient government would be less likely as they would wield less power and influence.

This isn't a libertarian issue, this is something that should disturb all citizens. No time for hanging with your party here, everyone should be calling out their own.

One more side note: I read about a study that showed that members of the United States Senate received investment dividends at a higher rate than professional investors. On average these 100 people in the Senate turned out to be the wisest investors in the nation topping all of the brokerage houses. I'm glad these wise people protect the public from people like Martha Stewart. What a bunch of jerks.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bad Holiday? You judge

Here are the highlights:

Dinner at my brother's.
Turkey wasn't done. (3rd time in a row)
The roast I brought was the backup plan. (2nd time in a row)
My sister and her soon-to-be ex-husband of several years showed up.
Family drama and outburst ensues around a photo printer device.
Stomach cramps follow dinner.
Missed my chance at pie while sitting on the toilet. (off and on for an hour and a half)
Went home and wondered why I got out of bed.

So whaddya think?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Things I'm thankful for

New house
My two cats
My wonderful mom
My relatively decent health
Everyone that makes my household tick
18 Senior Citizens that attend a class I teach
That one chick on the charter bus returning from Canada (long story)

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Samaritan's Purse

I recently have taken part in a charity gift drive sponsored by Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) which collects boxes of toys for children in third-world countries.

Here is how it works:

You take a box roughly the size of a shoe box and you fill it with items that a child may want or need. You select a tag that is age and gender graded so that you can target your gift items for their specific needs. They have a list of essential things they'd like you to give (basically toiletries and sanitary items) but you're able to fill them up with a lot of cool toys as well.

I was excited to take part in this because I received similar gifts to this when I was a child. I did not grow up in a third-world nation by any means but I did grow up in a poor household in a rural community. My mom would pick up mesh stockings from the fire department that were collected for poor families and these would be our gifts on Christmas morning. I was truly excited to have something that was meant for me. I remember having probably about three lean Christmas times but eventually our family got on our feet to some degree and we no longer relied on charity but were blessed with extra to give to others.

From this background I jumped at the chance to give to others. I was told that the dollar store would provide a great assortment of the right sized toys to cram into a shoebox and this turned out to be great advice. There was something about these toys though that turned out to be a bit ironic:

All of these toys were probably manufactured in the same third-world countries they were returning to as gifts.

This really did sort of bum me out. Talk about scraps from the table. I'm sending them items that were made in their neighborhoods after they were first made available in my marketplace. It's not like I have much of an alternative at this point. I couldn't personally make them any toys that they'd like and I'm sure they'll prefer the ones I passed along...but it still feels funny.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Cold Medicine, Force, and Iraq

I feel well enough to write while I'm just off of a fresh dose of cold medicine.

I've been called cynical by both liberals and conservatives for the following statement:

Government is nothing more than force.

Conservatives and Liberals alike love government for different reasons. While I appreciate fully the need for government, I do not however celebrate the need for it, but instead concede that it is a necessary evil in life. I do similarly my prostate check ups at the doctor. Interesting comparison...think about it.

So why Democrats and Republicans alike assume to lecture me on how my view of government is cynical, allow me to just expand on a simple observation.

Even though the war is over in Iraq, we still have a large military presence. Iraq has an elected government and a democratically chosen constitution. So our work must be done and we can start having ticker-tape parades for our returning troops right? Well, no...but why?

We have to setup an Iraqi security force. Is this to protect Iraq from its neighbors or to protect Iraqis from themselves? We alone could protect Iraq from its neighbors but the need for a security force is necessary for the government to be worthy of lawmaking. My point is that government by its very nature is force. To hear conservatives and liberals describe government here at home you'd think that we have government simply to solve every problem under the sun. But when trying to put together a government abroad our biggest concern is to make sure they have the skill and resources to use force against its people.

An even more elementary example was my first home owner's association meeting in my neighborhood. After a board was elected to 'govern' our 141 residences in our little neighborhood it wasn't long before someone asked, "How are we able to force people to follow the rules of the neighborhood?"

Because government is force we must always use force with temperance. This is why government should protect society from people who initiate force against others or use fraud to take property that is not lawfully theirs. These two things a government can and should do well. Once a government is in charge of public schools, medical care, and taking income by force we find that government does not only perform poorly, but it also starts to perform poorly in the basic things we should expect it to do well.

When the government passes laws outside of the boundaries of limited government, the force it uses is destructive. Don't kid yourself; when government is out of control there are two kinds of force remaining when it comes right down to it. Legal force (government) and illegal force (mafia). The difference? The government has flag poles outside of their buildings.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Heavily Medicated Blog Post #2

I've been sick all week and I've been living off of soup and cold medicine.

Here are some thoughts for you:

I enjoyed being sick more when I watched television. I so rarely watch television anymore because it just annoys me. I tried to watch some television while I have been sick but it only lasted for about 5 minutes.

This time last year I was in Washington DC talking to my congressman's senior aide about Social Security. He was polite, nice, and reasonably intelligent. He was also about as dumb about Social Security as anyone I've met.

I hope the Peanuts Thanksgiving special is on soon, I could really stand to watch that. I love it when Snoopy wrestles that chair in the garage. HA!

I'm tired; I'm gonna go lay down now.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Happy Veteran's Day

Be sure to thank a veteran sometime soon.

In Great Britain and other places in the free world this is known as Armistice Day commemorating the end of World War I. Happy Armistice Day to all of you.

I get the day off so I'm going to thank a vet by riding my motorcycle tomorrow.

Woo hoo!

2005 Election - Good News and Bad News

After tossing my primary ballot in the trash a month ago, I was able to delay the wonderful feeling that comes from voting and then watching as the returns show that just about everything I voted for lost. Oh well, I'm used to it. There is however a good mix of good and bad news to cover in an election year that most people didn't know about.

Good News:

People get to change laws instead of courts. Even if the law is completely stupid, you got what you wanted instead of some court telling you that your constitution has really meant something else all along but no one knew it until they so wisely discovered it.

Bad News:

People still vote to limit freedom.

Thomas Paine wrote: (by the way he was a founding father for you blue state elitists and hillbilly red staters)

"Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher." My emphasis added.

When people vote to limit freedom it is generally because they've mistaken the role of society and government. Society governs a great deal without the need for a law. Remember, by passing a law you're saying that offenders, if they persist, will come up against an organized force (police with guns).

My dumb state is so mixed up that a person will have to be caught stealing a car several times before jail time is even a consideration...but if this car thief smokes indoors then he faces the wrath of our new law passed on Tuesday.

It's very easily forgotten that everytime we pass laws that are unenforceable we dilute the rule of law making the job of the police impossible. This is why the enforcement of many laws is arbitrary. (Consider that the next time you get a ticket when you're driving with the flow of traffic)

I'm sure most of you blue staters didn't read this far because I mentioned laws and a founding father and that is usually enough to shoo you away...likewise you red staters probably didn't get past the first paragraph because of the long words. If you've read this far you probably consider yourself neither.

That alone is the only good news.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Under Lock and Key

I just spent a moment in the bathroom here at work.

The toilet paper and those tissue paper seat covers are locked inside their respective dispensers. When the janitor goes to replenish our supply he apparently must unlock each dispenser with a key to complete the job.

I'm guessing that a lock and key is necessary due to an inordinate amount of toilet paper theft. This isn't excellent quality toilet paper either...feels more like you're wiping with Editorial pages of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. It doesn't feel good necessarily but it's far more painless than actually reading it.

More Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter could go down in history (for wrong or right) as a president that obeyed the law, told the truth and kept the peace. The details of his administration can be glossed over easily as most Americans under 30 couldn't tell you what state he was from or even point it out on a map. (pssst...answer is Georgia...look lower right)

But no, he has to open his trap every moment he gets to talk about how the current administration is wrong. To be fair, Carter may have a point because no one in this country is more knowledgeable on the subject of being wrong as Jimmy Carter.

I've shared this story several times before but I think it deserves another go. CSPAN was broadcasting old presidential debates during the 2000 election. One night they had Reagan and Carter's 1980 debate on. With 20 years of hindsight I was absolutely amazed at how often Jimmy Carter was on the wrong side of history. You can claim that Reagan was a bad president if you want, but the fact that the former Georgia governor was the worst president in the 20th Century is barely debatable.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

An Open Letter to Jimmy Carter

Dear President Carter,

Please shut up and never talk again.

Tracy Green

Monday, October 31, 2005

Yes, another Halloween story

When I was 10 I was invited to go to a Harvest Party by some family friends. A Harvest party is code for a Halloween Party and usually takes place at a church. This naming convention doesn't offend the fragile sensibilities of Evangelical Christians...but anyway.

I took a dress that belonged to my sister and a long dark brown wig and went as a girl. I thought this was a great costume and had lots of fun at school with it earlier in the day. That evening when we got to the church we all were rounded up to go to a nursing home to hand out treats to old folks. When we were done there we'd come back to the church and raise hell at the party. I didn't mind this because I like older people and always have.

When we got to the nursing home we went from room to room or person to person and handed out treats to them and brightened their day. This is when I discovered that my costume was becoming far less fun.

Most of the old folks didn't recognize me as a boy dressed as a girl...but rather just a young girl. I got plenty of "thanks sweetheart" and "what an adorable cutey pie" comments that made me realize this:

If no one gets the joke, then you're basically just cross-dressing.

That was the worst Halloween ever.

A wonderful Halloween story

I used to manage a technical support group for a major software company that manufactured games. This was before they laid us all off and removed the distinction of 'major' from their description. I count myself as fortunate to have worked with everyone who was in my group and I keep in touch with many of them to this day.

I felt inclined one year to participate in our departments halloween decorating contest in the office. The two year's previous my group was the only one that didn't participate as I generally thought it a waste of time. But this group was up to the task and we started brainstorming a theme. After some wrangling and hemming and hawing we settled on one we all liked:

John Glenn is returning from space and he's hungry for brains

John Glenn was up in space during this time and our idea was that he would come back as a space monster and eat everyone's brains. As a tribute to John Glenn we hung glow in the dark stars from the ceiling and had an Astronaut Pinata (complete with John Glenn's face taped to the head). We also hung adult diapers from the ceiling in a salute to the geratric state of this great space pioneer. Everyone in my group used spray-on hair coloring to color all of our hair (including facial hair) grey. We won 1st prize. And just like that trashy neighbor you have down the street that leaves up their Christmas lights year 'round, our decorations (including adult diapers) stayed up well into the next summer.

The next Halloween is one I'll never forget. Our group got together to think of a new theme for our Halloween decorating. John Glenn eating brains was difficult to top and I think we did take a step backward in our sophomore attempt. The theme we decided upon was:

Ass Pirates of the Caribbean

We turned our collective cubicles into a large pirate ship complete with a center mast and crows nest. A sign on the mast read:

Seamen wanted. Inquire with the Rear Admiral on the poop deck.

Now many of you are probably thinking about the homo erotic elements of what the sign read but do not be confused. This had nothing to do with it at all as you'll notice in a few paragraphs.

On halloween we all dressed as the cheesiest pirates you could imagine. One of our guys brought a pair of shorts with fake buttocks on them. Whoever would wear this would be the Captain and Ass Pirate Extraordinaire.

In the afternoon our department always shut down and we had a party at the end of the day. Basically it was punch and pie with musical chairs. It was corny but I always enjoyed it. At one point of the party we would announce who would win the decorating contest and then have an individual costume contest. As could easily be predicted, Ass Pirates prevailed as a winning combination with the judges and now it came to the individual contest. As everyone in costume stood up at the front of the room each was selected and their ranking would be determined by corresponding applause. Each person got what ranked between polite clapping to thunderous approval. The next 15 seconds went in slow motion.

The last one to enter the room was the quietest guy in our group. Not shy but not personally dynamic either. He was wearing the 'Ass Pirate Captain' outfit (complete with a cool pirate hat, hook on hand, and eye patch) and he entered the room hunched over......he then starts to turn around and the room goes into an uproar as you can begin to see he's wearing the fake buttocks. As he got totally turned around the room went silent. Enough people had surrounded him that I wasn't able to really see but there wasn't so much as a whisper. Then after a few seconds sounds began to emerge in the room to groans and disbelief.

When I finally reached a decent vantage point I saw that our 'Captain' with fake buttocks had affixed a fake turd that was dangling strategically from center. The brown mass quivered with every movement causing more groans and disgusted noises.

The party was over about a minute later.

Knowing this magical moment would never be topped, we never participated in Halloween after that.

Happy Halloween everyone!

HEY! I'd love to hear from this old gang of pirates. Let's get the old band back together sometime.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rosa Parks

I've spent the last few evenings listening to Martin Luther King Jr's 'I have a dream' speech in its entirety. I've now listened to it about three times and although it is known as a great speech, it's truly greater than I ever gave it credit for.

At the height of my appreciation for the heroes of the civil rights movement I just learned that Rosa Parks died. This all reminds me of a story my mom has told me several times.

My mom (like me) grew up in Seattle and went to school in what was possibly the most diverse high school in the history of our dumb state. She took for granted that people could get along or hate each other without the benefit of race entering into the equation. While traveling in the south she got on a bus and took a seat. She noticed a black man reach up into her seat and take something off of it. She looked back and it was a sign that read: These seats are reserved for our colored patrons." She had accidentally sat in "their section" without knowing it and as a result was embarrassed to the point of tears. She begged their pardon and they thought she was crazy.

Rosa Parks went to jail and paid a $14 fine because she felt she was entitled to sit in any seat she felt comfortable in. She could've moved and avoided a scene, or worse but there is a point for everyone where freedom is more important. Living free requires people in every generation to remind the rest of us what Thomas Jefferson knew in his heart, but wasn't able to fully understand in his time: All men are created equal.

God Bless Rosa Parks

Thursday, October 20, 2005

So I got my absentee ballot

In summary:

Weird local issues I'm unfamiliar with. (I recently moved and in new county)

Can only choose from two parties. (of which neither can call me a member)

Some other crap I can't remember.


Ripped it up and put it in the recycle bin.

Now what?


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Halloween Haikus

hai·ku n. pl. haiku, also hai·kus
A Japanese lyric verse form having three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables, traditionally invoking an aspect of nature or the seasons.

These Haikus will exploit the form and construct, and will invoke the halloween season.

The Trick-or-Treaters
Knock on my door all night long
Crap candy for all!

Why did you slap me?
I'm cleverly dressed as a
Mammogram machine

That's a nice costume
You're dressed as a big brown turd
Oh, you are a bear?

Now you try.

I work in a serious place.

This post is back by popular demand as some had difficulty finding it on my other site. Enjoy!

I work in an office that is very professional. While people joke and are good natured, they are rarely off-color and don't come anywhere near stepping over boundaries. Most people I work with are adults and primarily middle-aged. At the age of 36, I'm one of the younger people who work here.

I just came out of the commercial software industry. Worse than that I came out of the gaming software industry. Everyday professional relationships resembled those I had with classmates in the eighth grade. Basically eight hours of fart jokes and calling each other names.

One day at my serious job, we were in a meeting. One of my colleagues got out of his chair to stand up to begin giving a presentation. Another of my colleagues immediately filled the chair he vacated. Noting that the chair was warm, the man now sitting said, "That man has a hot butt." He meant nothing funny by what he said.

I held my breath. I held it until I could hear my heart pound inside my head. This was so I wouldn't blurt out with laughter during this serious meeting.

Telling this to a friend of mine he suggested I should've said, "You should see him in a thong."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Supreme Court Nominees in the New Age

George W. Bush has been an awful president. I believe that to be a true statement. I have been hopeful when it has come to the subject of his supreme court nominees though. Most liberals think that all Republicans think about is abortion when it comes to the Supreme Court, but to think that is a fundamental misunderstanding of who Republicans are. I know this because my father and mother were both staunch Goldwater Republicans.

When Bush says that he will nominate a "constructionist" that means something. Seattle-area-liberals simply think it's code for "pro-life" but again, I could write volumes on the ignorance of West Coast liberals. I'm not saying that George W. Bush knows what it means, but it DOES mean something.

Being hopeful for a supreme court nominee these days is like being hopeful for a newborn baby. You hope for what they might be, but you have nothing to go on. You just hang on and endure the ride and hope that eventually everything turns out okay.

Bush has ushered in the age of the 21st Century "New Born Justice." Their history doesn't exist and no one knows who they are. We have no idea what their beliefs are when it comes to private property, abortion, medical marijuana, or anything.

The Senators who are tasked with the responsibility of confirming the qualifications of the nominee do not even expect to have answers to any of their questions. They just nibble here and there looking for a hot spot that may sway public opinion enough to justify some disqualification.

How does our president go about choosing a "stealth" nominee?

Here's my theory:

[Somewhere in a hallway in the White House]

President: Good morning, how are you?

Potential Nominee: Good morning Mr. President, I'm fine.

Pres: Great, great. Did you have a good weekend?

PM: Yes, it was alright.

Pres: Good, good...say you have any thoughts on state rights?

PM: I'm sorry?

Pres: Oh nevermind, did you catch the Redskins game?

PM: Um, no...I'm not a football fan really.

Pres: Are you a fan of the 2nd amendment?

PM: Excuse me sir?

Pres: Nevermind...look it was great talking to you.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I'm unprepared for Trick-or-Treaters

I've never lived in a traditional neighborhood before. I grew up in a rural area where we never had more than three trick or treaters throughout a Halloween evening.

The neighborhood I live in now is designed for trick or treating. My neighborhood features lots of houses in a small area, great sidewalks wide streets, limited traffic, and easy access. It's paydirt for every grubby little kid out there wearing a costume.

I don't want to be a total jackass on Halloween but I really don't want to answer the door all night. I also don't want a bag of burning crap on my porch either, which I'd deserve.

Tonight I'm heading out to buy two loads of candy. One will include "top shelf" candy and the other will be "crap candy."

Good Candy

Crap Candy

This is how I will decide who gets what:

1. Kids with clever costumes get the best candy. Everyone else will get crap candy.

2. Teenagers who are not even dressed up but are just out for easy candy will get good candy. I appreciate their complete laziness and will reward them. Teenagers who are wearing costumes trying to relive their childhood will get crap candy and my free and generously applied ridicule.

3. I will take photos of every parent who also dresses up and accompanies their children. Their ridiculous photo will appear on this blog under a post entitled, "Look at these idiots."

4. All "ghosts" with just a bedsheet over their head will be mocked mercilessly. They will also walk home crying with crap candy in their bags.

Maybe this will be a "Happy Halloween" after all.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Offensive College Mascots

If you are offended by college mascots then I have no other choice except to call you stupid. I've tried to understand and I've weighed all of the arguments and after all of the information has been distilled in the tiny pressure cooker that is my brain, I'm reduced to calling you stupid. Stupid.

You must first understand that this whole subject started for me at a younger age. I attended the now defunct Tolt High School in Carnation, WA. Our mascot was the Demon. Yes, we were the Tolt Demons. Did we think much of it? No. Did we make a big deal about it? No. Were we proud to have an original mascot? I don't think "proud" was a word used very frequently when describing our school, but we pretty much thought it was okay.

We had some Christians in our neck of the woods who petitioned for a long time to have the name changed. Apparently having Demons as the mascot was offensive to their spiritual sensibilities. I wasn't a Christian at the time, but looking back at it through the eyes of one all I can say is "stupid." My school's memory now is found in a display case maintained by a local historical society.

Now Native Americans (um...Indians to most people) are expressing their offense to the use of college mascots that use tribe names or wink in the direction of their fragile culture. It would appear that names like Redskins, Warriors, Braves, Indians, Seminoles, et al seem to negatively overshadow the new legacy to which they are aspiring, namely casinos and roadside trinket stands.

Because they can't continue to be angry about everything they just attack soft targets such as mascots in the name of protecting their culture.

Before you think that I can't possibly understand what the Native Americans are complaining about, allow me to give you a true illustration. Much of my family comes from Ireland and were Protestant. There is a heritage in my family that has experienced persecution because they would not bow to the Roman Catholic Church. They were Orangemen. Syracuse University uses the Orangemen as their mascot. In short the heritage that I admire and respect so much is reduced to this:

Am I offended? No.

Do you know why? Because it would be stupid.

Is the heritage of my family who were persecuted and finally moved to North America from Ireland properly represented by a giant orange with arms and legs? Um, probably not.

Everyone fundamentally forgets what mascots are for. You don't adopt a mascot because you hate it or want to demean it, you do it to get inspiration from the symbol you've adopted. It's true that it isn't always properly represented but that doesn't mean it is disrespected. Most of all, it doesn't mean YOU are disrespected.

I haven't heard a single person who cares that the Idaho mascot (Vandals) is now purely associated with the destruction and defacing of property instead of a Germanic Tribe that existed during the time of the Roman Empire. Because of this disparity it just exposes what we are truly being told is the only truth: Native American cultures must never be touched because they are more sacred than others...everyone else is up for grabs. Stupid.

Please, quit being stupid. Enjoy your heritage and culture and stop being so easily offended. Otherwise your new heritage will be that you're a bunch of crybabies.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Evidence I'm getting old

Several people in the last few weeks have shown me pictures of their kids...and I was actually interested in seeing them.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Disarming New Orleans Citizens

Apparently to restore order no one will be allowed to carry a weapon in New Orleans...unless you are a security guard hired to protect life and property. In other words if you're wealthy enough to hire someone to carry a gun for you then you can have as much protection as you can afford. If you're poor then I'm afraid you'll have to depend on the police...police who have already conceded that protecting life and property is a secondary responsibility in the face of the overall relief effort.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Feds failed New Orleans?

During the great Tsunami everyone complained that there was not sufficient warning time for people to escape. In New Orleans there was debate as to whether the call for the evacuation was equal to crying "wolf." I don't watch television as a general rule because it wastes my time. My housemate asked me, "You want to watch TV and see the hurricane come in?" There was enough warning that you could watch it come in with anticipation similar to the droves of idiots who can't wait to see who the next American Idol will be.

New Orleans now claims that the Feds failed them because despite having unprecedented warning of a category 5 hurricane that was coming right at their city, they also want immediate evacuation and help to get there for the citizens who stayed...stayed in their city that sits under sea level.

Now I know not everyone can leave. Especially people who are so used to urban living that they don't even own a car. I was sickened to see that no serious attempt was made to remove the sick, infirmed, and nursing home residents. Everyone I've seen asked about why they didn't leave had the same reply: "I had nowhere to go." So I guess that's the Feds fault too.

I'm not going to be in too many situations to defend the Federal government, but this wasn't anyone's fault. The blame belongs squarely on anyone who could've left, but didn't bother.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Congratulations New Orleans!!!

Good work on staying calm and uniting together after being hit by the storm. I'm sure you all will bring back all the stuff you stole when the emergency situation has subsided. Way to handle adversity, you Cretans.

While we're on the subject, let me take a moment to discuss the 2nd Amendment. (for you blue staters that's the amendment that you say talks about the National Guard even though the Guard didn't exist until about 120 years after the Bill of Rights was written)

The police said they were going to work on saving lives and work on protecting private property as secondary, if at all. So I'm sure the store owner that is standing in front of his store with a .45 drawn is experiencing fewer five-finger discounts. Just proof of what I've always said: It's the job of the police to protect society, not individuals. That's your job...gun or not.

I just remember how New York City handled September 11th with such grace and dignity and heroism and while I'm sure heroism is underreported in New Orleans, mass looting is a disgrace.

Of course I'm looking at it from the perspective of someone who lives in a city where jay-walking is considered a serious offense.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

This country needs more cowbell

Christopher Walken is apparently going to run for president in 2008.

I'd put in a link to his website so you could go right to it but it is so pathetic I'm not going to bother. Just go to your favorite search engine and look it up yourself. As far as I'm concerned his highest qualification is that he was in Wayne's World 2.

In other exciting news, I'm going to go feed my cats.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My reading level

I was recently given a book that I must recommend to all of you.

It is a children's book entitled: An Island Called Liberty by Joseph Specht.

While I joked earlier about having never read Ayn Rand, I do find this book on par with other great libertarian primers by Charles Murray or David Boaz. There is nothing like a children's book to expose how simple a concept can be.

The book is summarized by this blurb on the back cover:

Inside is the story of a right friendly land, Where people were quick to lend a free hand.With the best of intentions they passed many laws, To fix what they felt were quite fixable flaws.But the fixes, they found, were too much in the end, For the bureaus and programs and taxes they penned.

Once the lessons were learned, here's what they knew:

The contentment of many can't come from the few.

This book can and should be purchased by clicking here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Jacqueline Passey

Jacqueline Passey ran for Secretary of State for the state of Washington in 2004. I voted for her.

She lost (a distant third earning 82,097 votes) but was endorsed by the Seattle Times as the candidate you'd most likely desire to make out with. I made that up.

Her Blog is worth a read and surrendering a few minutes of your life. Thank me later.

Atlas Shrugged and then played some Xbox

A confession from a lazy libertarian:

I've not read an Ayn Rand book all the way through...and I barely care.

Let's just keep it between us, okay?


The Supreme Court

I made the mistake of listening to the radio this morning and was listening to the talk show discuss the upcoming Supreme Court nomination. I heard people from both the left and right explain who and who should not be on the Supreme Court. As always, they're both wrong.

The next person nominated to the court should be someone who has read the constitution...maybe even have read it a couple of times. They should familiarize themselves with the Bill of Rights (for Oregon citizens this is the first 10 Amendments to the constitution) I would like the next nominee to look at the enumerated powers (a list of powers the constitution says the government can have) that are in the constitution and then interpret law accordingly.

All I heard about today was would the new nominee be Pro-Choice or Pro-Life.

Listen up, I'm only going to say this once:

It doesn't matter.

Overturning Roe v. Wade would not criminalize abortion...but it would reverse a bad law. The United States Constitution does not speak on the matter of abortion or anything else pertaining to a person's body. In short, it is neither Pro-Life nor Pro Choice.

So who gets to decide?

The Tenth Amendment (remember the Bill of Rights I mentioned a few words ago?) says that the states get to decide on matters that are not enumerated in the Constitution. My state (Washington) has already made a law that says you can get an abortion under a certain criteria. If we don't like that law, we can change it. Every state can have their own laws on the subject.

So aside from a person who can read and then sort of understand what they've read...I don't really require much from a Supreme Court nominee.

It'd be nice if Bush got this least.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I went to Oregon

I've long been known as someone who dislikes Oregon. Most of these reasons are personal and somewhat illogical so don't expect me to defend my thoughts on this poor state in this blog. Being that I have such disdain for Oregon, it is quite remarkable that I visited our southern neighbor this weekend and had such a wonderful time.

What brought me to Oregon was Larry Norman. I won't pretend you know who he is necessarily so I'll just tell you. He is a singer/songwriter known worldwide for many controversial songs about politics, culture and Christianity. He began performing in the 60's and recorded a very classic album collected by many called Only Visiting this Planet. Many of his songs have been in movies and have been performed by other artists. Larry's popularity in the United States was hampered to some degree by a recording industry that was uncomfortable with the Christian nature of his songs and a Christian music industry in its infancy that was frightened by his outspoken political viewpoints against the Vietnam war and the explicit nature of some of his songs. Apparently Europe has always been able to stomach his music just fine.

Larry performed a farewell concert in his hometown of Salem, Oregon. The venue was the beautiful and impressive Historic Elsinore Theater. I could go on and on about how wonderful this theater is and how proud Salem should be to have it in their town, but that would be another blog all together. Here is their website

Larry's concert was amazing, but I'm a great fan of his and of that era of rock music in general so I won't bore you with tons of details. The concert had an acoustic set, and an a cappella set featuring five members of an African a cappella choir from Liberia, (Larry has been raising awareness for the plight of the people of Liberia) The concert had video intermissions showing Larry's career from television interviews, movie appearances, fan club videos and concert footage from all over the world.

Salem is the capital city of Oregon and there are many government buildings around the city. I'm a big fan of architecture and I am always drawn to buildings that are unusual. Salem had very few unusual buildings but did have a tall old looking brick church just a few blocks from the theater so I went and investigated. As one might imagine the church was on Church Street. Because the Capitol building was just across a few blocks down the cross street was State Street. In short, I was standing at the corner of Church and State. I took this photo with my cell phone to prove it.

After the concert I ate in one of the worst restaurants I've experienced in many decades and slept in a crappy no tell motel by the freeway. I could've chosen better, but there was a dogshow in town and an Eagle's Convention so most of the first pick lodging was taken. Early the next morning I did what I love to do most when I'm in Oregon...leave.

I made some other stops along the way and took more pictures and will probably post again and tell a story about sliding down some slick marble that lined a majestic stairway in the Washington State Capitol building. Everything can be an amusement park if you just put your mind to it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Burn that Flag?

This is one of those issues that it's easy for me to chime in on. Some have asked me what the libertarian viewpoint is on this subject and to be honest, I couldn't tell you. This is probably an area where we are split. This is where I come down on it.

I hate laws that even look like they inhibit free speech. This said, I'm uncomfortable about a constitutional amendment allowing congress to have the authority to determine this issue.

While we're on the subject of comfort let me just explain what makes me even more uncomfortable. I'm uncomfortable with American citizen or people living under the protection of this country burning the flag. They claim it is free speech, but last time I checked...burning something isn't free speech. Speech is speech.

There are certain things you can set on fire which send a message. Some of these messages we like, some of them we ponder, some we label as pure hate.

I think when someone burns a cross and claims that it is free speech, they are guilty of being naive about the clear and distinct message they are sending. The message that is exclaimed by burning a cross should never be protected by law.

In the same way that people celebrate burning man the message is far more abstract. I mean, it's basically a big rave, a modern day hippy celebration. Is burning man something that should be outlawed or is it free speech? Should the DEA at least be nearby ready to make a big bust?

Maybe we burn things because we've become so inarticulate at actually SPEAKING that the only way we can come close to getting across what little is on our minds, is to just light stuff on fire.

When it comes to burning the flag, allow me to propose a happy compromise that is workable for everyone.

Let's not criminalize flag burning. Instead let's make it legal to burn the flag, but also legal for rednecks to kick the ass of anyone they catch doing it. Nothing lethal, just a good beat down. After that the rednecks can go hunting and drink beers and the pinko commie that torched the flag can show off his scars for "the cause."

That's as reasonable as I can hope to be.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Doctors and Pot

When I was younger I remember hearing the expression "You don't have to make a federal issue out of it," meaning of course that they were making a bigger deal out of something than it really was.

This week the Supreme Court thinks that if your Doctor wishes to prescribe marijuana to treat chronic pain, then that is a federal issue.

A handful of states (including my own) have adopted laws allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for medical purposes. In many of these states the issue has gone before the people and approved at the ballot box. Even though each state has their own laws on the drug, the Supreme Court now says that these state laws offer no protection because marijuana is a federally banned substance.

Consider for a moment that banning alcohol required a constitutional amendment. To end prohibition they once again had to amend the constitution to repeal the former amendment. All this fuss to just ban a substance. But now we have banned marijuana without the need for such fuss and now a doctor is not even allowed to prescribe it if they believe that the substance has some medical benefit. Even after the people have voted to legalize it for medical use, their wishes are ignored because of a federal ban imposed by a few.

You can argue all day long about how or if the drug should be prescribed, but I dare you to show me where the constitutional authority comes from to ban it completely. These types of court decisions come from bad law and from the worst kind judicial activism.

...and I thought Republicans hated judicial activism...not when it's their judges.

Friday, June 03, 2005

My brother

I usually refrain from speaking about family or anything more personal than my two dumb cats but I'll break my own rule to write about my brother.

My brother is 13 years older than I am. This age difference really only goes to demonstrate that we did not grow up together. He has movie star looks in the respect that he doesn't look 50 years old at all. I remember it not long ago that someone asked if he was my younger brother...nice.

Our relationship over the years has been stressed by an age difference and typical acceptance issues from parents. Perhaps the biggest factor is that we are really polar opposites. I like sports, he doesn't. I am a musician, he isn't interested in music. I love politics, he just basically knows he hates conservatives. As the years have gone by and our life experiences have increased, I've come to realize we have a few things in common:

We both like cars. While taking our mom to the hospital for a procedure our waiting room became the local auto row. Neither of us wanted to buy a car, but instead we merely wanted look at them. We really just wanted to use the local dealership as our own personal car show. As salesmen came up to hound us and answer questions we weren't asking I noticed that both of us knew more about the cars than they did. We both like cars.

We both can be jerks. I'll admit that when it comes to being a jerk, I can only sit at the feet of my brother and learn. I'm not saying that I don't have my own impressive set of skills, but my brother has an unrelenting stamina and doesn't let little things like social boundaries deter him. I found out this commonality while at the registration desk with my mom. The woman handing my mother all of these forms was telling her information about her insurance that was not correct. The reason we knew this was my brother works in the medical insurance industry and picked out this plan specifically for our mom. So my brother politely corrected her and this is how the conversation went:

Woman: I need you to sign here and confirm that this is a replacement policy.

My mom: Where do I sign?

My brother: It's not a replacement policy it's a supplemental policy.

Woman: I don't think that's correct. This company normally handles replacement policies.

My brother: Just trust me, I know what the policy is; I arranged it for her.

My mom: Where do I sign?

Woman: Well, I'll have to double-check then because this company normally handles replacement policies.

My brother: Saying it over and over again won't make it anymore true.

Woman: Sir, you have to understand that this....

My brother: I'm in the insurance industry, I don't need a lecture from a desk clerk about the policy I picked out for my mother, so just do your job.

Woman: I'll just have to double-check then.

Me: If you're not going to believe him can you just go double-check and quit giving us a bunch of grief about it? Geez lady get your act together.

Woman: Exits with fear in her eyes

My brother: Looks like she didn't realize she was facing both barrels.

My mom: I wouldn't wish you two on anyone. It's her fault; she wouldn't listen.

We both can be jerks.

I live pretty closely to my brother and we actually share a great deal of time together. There are times where I prefer his company to anyone else. This is an amazing development given our history.

In the last couple of years my brother has given me advice, friendship and has demonstrated that while I have a great devotion and willingness to care for our mom...his devotion is even greater. And best of all...we're both jerks.

Monday, May 23, 2005

I Declare the Washington Goobernatorial Election Over

Today I heard the opening arguments for both the Democrats and the Republicans on the trial to challenge the 2004 election where Christine Gregoire was eventually elected by a span of 129 votes. Both of their arguments are full of holes and if it were possible, I wish they could both lose.

Here is my summary:

Democrats have rightfully tried to raise the bar on what amounts as proof. Some of their points are strong and others are quite stupid frankly. They contest that Republicans should have to prove how felons voted by affidavit. (violating their 5th amendment rights) They also contest that their needs to be proof of how "live" people voted in the place of the "dead" people whose ballots they use. (Violating normal laws of common sense) While I agree both of these would be "proof" it just an impossible thing to prove...this is partly why they are insisting it. In other words, they want the bar so high it can't be proven so Gregoire can remain as governor. Understandable.

Republicans have proof that the election was handled poorly. Their idea is to make sure they can show that it was handled poorly enough in the right places to put the election in doubt. I personally know it was handled poorly. I also personally know one dead person whose ballot was cast...I'm serious. I believe that there was some absolute stupidness involved with King County because I've lived nearly all of my life in King County and it's nothing new. Furthermore the Republican's claim of using some statistical reduction to eliminate votes, while a cute theory, doesn't prove anything when it comes to who won the election. The idea behind statistical reduction is to eliminate illegal felon votes in proportion to the presincts where they voted. If 60% of voters voted for Rossi in a presinct then all illegal votes found in that presinct will be deducted using that same proportion.

Who is to say that felons who were convicted on drug charges didn't vote for Libertarian Ruth Bennett in large numbers? After all, she was the only candidate who favors the end of drug prohibition. (as I do) The bottom line is that statistical reduction is not a basis to overturn an election and remove a sitting governor.

Now don't get me wrong...I think that Christine Gregoire is the worst governor in my lifetime (yes, including Dixie Lee Ray) and she's only been in office for a few months. I don't like her. I can't stand to hear her voice. I hate seeing her on television. She is an awful party hack that has done nothing but raise taxes and pay off her contributors (labor unions) in big ways. Unlike Republicans and thousands of Dinocrats, I must attempt to be intellectually honest. I've long conceded that the King County electorate (Seattle in particular) is retarded, so the results shouldn't shock me too much.

So what should the citizens of Washington state do now?

Drink coffee and sit in traffic like we have always done.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Clone Ron Paul

Congress needs about 300 more Ron Paul's to be elected. This is why cloning Ron Paul must start immediately.

Who is Ron Paul?

Ron Paul is a congressman for the 14th District of Texas.

Can a man with two first names really be trusted?

Before Ron Paul I would have answered emphatically, "NO!"

Can a man from Texas be trusted?

After Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush one could rightfully argue that people from Texas should not be allowed to run for office ever again. I'd allow an exception for Ron Paul.

What makes Ron Paul so great?

Ron is the only libertarian in the U.S. Congress and he is intelligent and outspoken. He is also simultaneously loved and hated by both Democrats and Republicans, which makes him a perfect candidate for cloning.

Ron Paul Fun Fact:

Ron Paul ran for president in 1988 and earned about a half-million votes. And while this was going on my state voted for Michael Dukakis. (though I can't find a single person around here that admits voting for how everyone you meet who lived in Germany during World War II just delivered the mail)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The New Poverty

Well, it was state assistance day at Fred Meyer again.

When I see pictures of people who live in poor countries, I always see the same thing:

Skinny people exposed to the elements.

When I see the alleged poor in this country I see people who are overweight and are wearing clothes that are out of fashion. Can we use that measuring stick and just say the war on poverty has been won and plan an exit strategy for our army of social programs?

I mean seriously...the president should just announce that we now have so many poor people properly clothed and completely overweight that there is no choice but to cut back on our social programs.

I'm willing to start them back up when you can show me some ribs...and I don't mean babyback ribs with barbecue sauce.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bad Political Humor #3

How many Republicans does it take to change a light bulb?

Just kidding. Republicans have their servants change the light bulbs.

Bad Political Humor #2

How many Democrats does it take to change a light bulb?

The light bulb may not be replaced until the proper environmental impact statements are completed. Once the paperwork is finished and fees paid, bids may go out among union workers...factoring prevailing wage costs of course...duh....

Bad Political Humor #1

Libertarian knock-knock joke.

Knock Knock.

Who's there?

Census taker.

Go away.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Hooray! A New Pope

I must confess that I'm a cynic of the papacy. I'm obviously influenced by my family who has been staunchly Protestant since it has been possible to do so. Aside from my mom's half-sister who converted to Roman Catholicism after she married, you'd have to look back over 500 years to find another papist.

My own need to have a distinct identity may have led me to turn to Roman Catholicism despite the leanings of my ancestors, were it not for one small problem: The Pope.

I don't believe that the pope is a successor to the Apostle Peter. I do not believe that he speaks the very words of God while speaking ex-cathedra (for other non-catholics this means when he speaks from his special chair) and I do not believe he is the Vicar of Christ. I believe he is capable of speaking the words of God only when he reads the scriptures...just like ladee dah!

That said, it would be naive to underestimate the power the pope has in the world. While deeply cynical my own father (an Anglican and staunch opponent of the Vatican) thought that John Paul II was a faithful man and a force for righteousness within Christendom. My dad said this even though he disagreed with the pope on so many issues. My dad rarely spoke of anything spiritual, so this comment was very profound.

While Benedict XVI gets used to his new clothes and huge apartment he does so with my blessing. I also don't pretend for a moment that he cares one iota about my blessing but handing out blessings is something I can do in my own blog, so there. I wish Benedict nothing but good, and I'll pray for him as often as my mind will remind me to. (Which isn't saying much considering I'd forget to feed my cats if they didn't stand at their dish and scream at me until I dumped kibble in their bowl)

Friday, April 15, 2005

How much taxation is too much?

It's April 15th. I prepared my taxes months ago but I did not mail them until today. This is because I owed more money in addition to that which was forcibly taken from my wages throughout the year. (see my post on Taxing your Survival)

The answer to this question is probably a matter of principle to some but the questions needs to be asked. How high should your taxes be before it is too much?
Socialists won't dare answer this question because they believe that the government is entitled to all of it and the burden should be on you to qualify to use it within their pre-defined social constraints.

Then there is Ayn Rand (who is basically is to weirdo objectivist libertarian types what L. Ron Hubbard is to Scientologists) said that 100% taxation isn't too much if it was all spent on defense of the nation and individual rights. So you can see, opinions vary.

I read in an interview that Bill Gates Sr. was talking about the need for more taxation and when asked about the overall cost of government he dismissively commented, "Yes, I suppose we should look for waste, but..." This is usually the response from people who see everyone's paycheck somehow belonging to the community in the form of government taxation.

Most government agencies run pretty lean. While there is waste in any organization, the real problem isn't waste, but rather asking a more fundamental question: What should be the role of government?

If you look at government budgets (and yes, I'm geeky enough to do this sort of thing) you'll find a large portion of the budget is "non-discretionary." Excuse me? Can I get your attention please? I know this is a boring post for some of you and the words are hard to understand but I'd appreciate it if you'd just hang with me for two more paragraphs...okay? Non-discretionary means that even if you wanted to, it can't be cut. Some law requires it or it is tied to the wages and benefits of government employees. So when you cut a department it usually means they have fewer pencils and their copy machines run out of paper, or they slow down the rotation of replacing their public vehicle fleet...but the size of the department remains large and intrusive and in most cases...completely unnecessary.

I'm not for cutting budgets, I'm for ending agencies. If government is going to cost a great deal then at least I want a say in what I'm paying for. Start by keeping agencies that do things that government can do well if they had the chance: Building roads and employing police. After that, it's time to dismantle agencies that do things that bureaucracies can never do well. Stop trying to counsel our children, plan families, and decide if people can clear blackberries from their land and hundreds of other areas where government is just out of line.

And I promise: If this is enacted...the few remaining agencies can have all of the office supplies they want.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Okay, haven't blogged much lately

There has been tons of things going on in the last couple of weeks, but I haven't mentally processed it all yet.

Johnnie Cochran, Terri Schiavo, the Pope all died recently. Almost a year ago a good friend of mine's son was killed in a motorcycle accident. He was a great kid who I always enjoyed. It was devastating and awful and that's the only way to explain it. I just realized a great deal of the news lately sort of had me reliving the emotion of that trauma from a year ago. I'm okay...hell it's even kinda normal. Different times of the year bring up different experiences and feelings from the past. For right now...this is another one.

I don't have much to say right now. Give me a few days and maybe I'll pull out a gem like "Pee Trough." You can find this celebrated article at:

See you in a few days.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Terri Schiavo

Here's a lesson for all you folks out there. If in the event that you become incapacitated or injured beyond the point where you are able to care for yourself and you have special wishes, make a living will so that whatever it is that you require will be taken care of for you.

Sadly, Terri had no such will.

Who is going to decide what happens to her now? Her husband has asserted his view which is allegedly Terri's view. Terri's family wishes to keep her alive and give her therapy.

The video I've seen of her was surprising in alot of ways. From the descriptions of a vegetative state I expected to see a lifeless body connected to tons of life support equipment. But instead she just appears to be a heavily brain damaged person that moves and responds to stimulus. Her only life support is a feeding tube; something that is used frequently for stroke patients that have long lost their ability to swallow.

I'll admit that I know precious little about her health. There are tons of doctors that have chimed in and have said that she has no hope of recovery and a few others that say her condition could improve with therapy. All of the doctors agree that without the feeding tube, she will die. (This tube was ordered removed by a judge in Florida)

Now the Federal Congress has tried to intervene with a bill that would prevent her from dying as a result of starvation/dehydration. This bill is addressed to Terri specifically. I have a huge problem with this.

***Warning - the next paragraph mentions the constitution...if this bores you or you don't care about the constitution then please skip down two paragraphs.***

Let me bore you now with a little bit of talk about the US Constituion. The constitution states that no bills of attainder shall be passed. This kind of bill was usually used in the British parliament where lawmakers would decide the guilt of a person without the benefit of a trial. The founders of our nation did not want our federal government dealing with matters that involved a single person, but instead these decisions were to be handled by the courts. This was to ensure the separation of powers.

***This ends the talk of the constitution -- begin reading below***

The big problem here is that our federal congress wishes to pass a bill that will impact only one person, therefore overriding the courts. Republicans often complain about "activist judges" that make laws from the bench, but apparently they have no problem making judicial rulings in congress. Of course both practices are wrong. Hopefully the Supreme Court will declare this bill unconstitutional. At the very least this should be decided at the state level.

Personally, I want Terri to live, yet I understand that my wants mean nothing here. All of the doctors agree she is not terminal and there are no legal documents declaring her wishes to die. This is not assisted suicide. To remove her feeding tube is to let her die of starvation and dehydration.

This would be anything but "death with dignity."

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Observations from lunch

I just returned from my midday meal break with many observations.

First, the closest shopping area from where I work is in what would normally be considered a low-income neighborhood. I could be wrong, but there is evidence that fits this demographic:

  • Neighborhood treats shopping carts as community property
  • Lots of gray-haired, fixed income citizens
  • Lots of broken down cars in parking lots
  • Tons of payday loan establishments
  • I pass by three "cheap smokes" places in less than one mile

Today the lines at the store were longer than normal so I figured the state must have mailed out the food stamps recently. (actually at this very store I learned that our state distributes debit cards with certain amounts available on them instead of stamps) Along with the long lines the pop and candy aisle was more packed than usual.

After getting a couple of corn dogs from the deli (which was also too busy to ring up my item there) I walked to the front to pay for my items and leave. This store (Fred Meyer) has four U-Scan stations where you can check yourself out acting as your own cashier. I figured my best bet to fight the crowd was to duck into one of these stations, work my debit card skills and get out.

There was already a long line to use the U-Scans and the four who were at each station didn't appear to be moving anywhere soon. One woman had a coupon for ice cream that was expired or for a different brand, another woman needed her ID checked for the case of beer she was buying, one other lady was trying to enter the code for onions to no avail and then there was this one guy.

This guy I imagine was in his early 60's and was dutifully obeying every command that the U-Scan was telling him to do. The problem began when the machine was mixed up and wasn't able to finish the transaction. Here is how the next four minutes went. (yes, I timed it.)

U-Scan Machine: Please place the item in the bag

Gentleman: (places item in bag)

U-Scan Machine: Please take the last item out of the bag

Gentleman: (lifts item out of bag)

U-Scan Machine: Please place the item in the bag

Gentleman: (places item in bag)

U-Scan Machine: Please take the last item out of the bag

Gentleman: (lifts item out of bag)

U-Scan Machine: Please take the last item out of the bag

Repeat this scenario eleven more times

Finally this guy threw the item on the floor and yelled, "I don't want it anymore!"

Most people turned their heads away to not look at the man or to disguise their smirks to preserve the man's dignity. Not me, I just stood there laughing. I picked up the bag for the gentleman and asked the attendent to help the man who was frustrated beyond words. To be honest, I didn't pity him. That could've been me in his shoes. He just needed some help.

No one was at fault here. The attendent had her hands full, the U-Scan's can be confusing, the gentleman just wanted to be able to buy his items and leave, and well...I laughed. I did my best to help but the damage was already done.

I bought my corn dogs five minutes later.

Monday, March 14, 2005

St. Patrick's Day

I'm one-quarter Irish. I don't wear green on St. Patrick's Day.

I've been told that wearing Orange on St. Patrick's Day is upsetting to the fragile sensibilities of Irish Catholics...Even though a third of their own flag is orange. To them I say, "boo hoo! not all Irish are Greensmen...therefore we celebrate our Irish heritage in our own way."

But get this...

Orangemen have been invited to march in a parade in County Cork this year. That's a true sign of peace in Ireland. Some in Northern Ireland have protested the Orangemen marching in the south, but I don't understand why. St. Patrick's Day should be a celebration of heritage whether green or orange. Those in the north could learn to lighten up a bit.

I realize a fair amount of you don't know what I'm talking about because you had a fine public education but when you see someone wearing orange on St. Patty's day...don't dare pinch them for not wearing green. Unless of course you want a shamrock shoved up your arse.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Red State Stupidity

I live in a blue state, but it's not exactly a state that is firmly blue. Aside from Seattle, Olympia, and parts of Bellingham the rest of the state is 50/50 or heavily red. (about 4% of Washington voters are Libertarian --hooray for us!)

My state's superior court is hearing arguments regarding same sex marriage. Many red staters want the superior court to rule that marriage is between a man and a woman and support the "defense of marriage act." Even more red-state nut jobs support President Bush's suggestion to amend the US Constitution on the matter. Almost universally do red-staters declare their opposition to gay marriage on religious terms...and rightfully so.

My question to you red-staters is simply this:

Why do you want the government to weigh-in on anything you see in religious terms? Why in God's name do you want the government to be put in a position to have an opinion about anything that resembles a religious opinion?

It is because of my own beliefs about gay marriage that I want the government to issue no opinion on it whatsoever. In fact, I'm still not sure why it is the government has a position on marriage of any kind.

For a long time, I've felt very uneasy about marriage certficates being used as official documents or baptismal certificates being used as a piece of identification. What I practice and perform as a matter of faith is really no one's business and is certainly not the business of Washington DC or Olympia.

If you go to a judge or a ship's captain and get married, that's fine too. It shouldn't be a matter for the state to worry about. Also if you're gay and want/need the type of paperwork that says you can visit your "partner" in the hospital or should be able to do that too.

The role of government should be to enforce contracts, not disqualify them on religious terms.

When it boils right down to it, the only reason the state wants to be involved in your marital status is so they know how to tax you. And that should disgust both blue and red staters.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Run to the border!!!

For those "blue staters" out there that worship Canada as an example of the kind of country you'd like to live in, you should see how that country pollutes water in my state. Your model for peace and eco-topian living not only dumps harmful heavy metals into the lakes of my state, but also dumps raw sewage into our waterways.

The city of Victoria, British Columbia (the capital city of BC) still discharges all of its raw sewage and though the United States has pleaded with them to stop, their crap still washes up on the shores of the Olympic Peninsula in Western Washington.

The Associate Press reports:
SPOKANE, Wash. - Most of the lead, cadmium and other heavy metals pollution sampled from Lake Roosevelt, the reservoir behind the Grand Coulee Dam, came from a smelter in Trail, British Columbia, according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Will any of these things be cleaned up in any hurry? Not as long as no one in Canada has an incentive to do so. Not as long as it gets harder and harder to make any money in Canada. Surely their wonderful, progressive, peaceful, tolerant and loving government will solve the problem soon, right?

Do you realize we have huge companies in the United States that make lots of money coming up with unique ways to clean up environmental problems? I hate to inform you further that one of these companies is Halliburton.

So why you blue-staters still know everything, please head to Canada and help them stop dumping their crap into our waters. Do something useful at least.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The things you do in a new house...

...when you don't have a computer or television hooked up yet.
  • Talk to your neighbors
  • Talk to the cats
  • Talk to yourself
  • Wash dishes
  • Clean things
  • Hang things up on walls
  • Walk around in the house forgetting what you're looking for
  • Call Verizon to ask why the DSL isn't hooked up yet

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

My old apartment

Some places you live become attached to you. In a number of important ways the apartment I just moved out of will have bound itself to my life forever.

I moved into the place under bad circumstances. A family that my then wife and I lived with began having uncontrollable problems with their two teenage sons. It became a matter of safety to move out.

While just starting college and working any job I could find to bring in money we barely had enough money to move in. I hated the place instantly. It was too small, it was cramped, it seemed noisy and you could hear the neighbor's plumbing. By that I mean when the neighbor took a shower or flushed the toilet it sounded as if it was all taking place in my living room.

As much as I hated the place it was pretty cheap, and had mostly mature neighbors. No cabana, club house or workout room that usually brings in younger couples or high school buds moving out on their own for the first time. While not an ideal place to live, it was time to use this place as a spring board to saving money for a home.

After about three years of living there and beginning to get ahead financially, I was suddenly forced to lose all of the ground I had made. Without getting into a great amount of detail my then-wife decided that she would be happier with another guy, another place, another short, she left. While she insisted that she was wanting to "work it out" and "waiting to see how she felt" I painfully left the door open for her to come back and we'd work through the trust and adultery issues. As a result, I came home one day and found the apartment cleaned out and I was later served with divorce papers. Apparently her "working it out" meant just finding enough helpers to help take everything. Needless to say I found myself without any furniture and without any money overnight.

While I was working through this whole thing my father was battling cancer, and losing. I remember being with him the night he slipped into a coma. We were talking about my situation, not his. He told me it was time to just take care of myself and move on. Good advice. He did finally pass away on my birthday a few days later.

I sat in my apartment pretty stunned. As someone who can, at times, resist change I was finding myself being confronted with more than I could handle. My aunt had just purchased new furniture and agreed to give me everything I needed. Her old furnishings (were about two years old and included a leather couch) were made available to me. My brother gave me a bed. A month hadn't gone by and I was sitting in a furnished apartment again...this time with better quality furnishings than of those that walked out the month before.

So now that I've bummed you out I should let you know that a hand full of incredible friends and supportive people, and of course a merciful God brought me through the time with some mental renewal. While getting the bank account to a point where having a house became possible, it did take about six more years...six more years in that little apartment.

So when I moved out I wondered what type of feelings I would have when I closed the front door for the last time. I guess like painful and challenging times in your life you sort of look back on them with some level of strength but wouldn't be willing to go through it again.

To sum it all up, I won't lie to you. I don't miss it at all.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Aliens Spanked Me

My cats woke me up this morning once again. It's becoming an everyday thing with them...but this isn't about my cats. While I was telling dumbass and dumbass #2 to "knock it off" I was, at the same time, trying to shake the cobwebs and become alert. I couldn't help but think that I had the remnants of a dream still stuck in my head. I couldn't get the dream straight in my mind so I let it evaporate. I dream regularly and even though the details can be hazy, I try to capture the events quickly and get them typed into a notepad file.

I normally don't have recurring dreams. Sometimes where the dream sequence takes place is the same, but the events are always distinct. When I was little I used to have a recurring dream. I'd be playing in our front yard and I'd look up into the sky and see UFO's. Seeing these saucer like objects I knew that I had better run to get into the house. Somehow I knew that the creatures that were piloting these crafts presented a danger to me.

In typical dream fashion the act of running is a joke. Every step comes with great difficulty and progress comes at a funeral's pace. You'd think that I'd fear abduction or experiments or invasive testing. In my case, when the aliens caught me (which they always did) they would simply spank me. By spanking I mean that while I'm running they grab me from behind and swat my ass. It was at this point I would always wake up.

I haven't been spanked by aliens in a dream for several decades now. I'm sure if I saw a flying saucer I'd just wake myself up before such an inelegant event occurred...kind of like how I always wake up if I see a bathroom in my dreams.

...but that's a subject for another post.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Pope John Paul II - My humble tribute

Obligatory disclosure follows:

I'm not Catholic but would consider it if there was money in it for me.

...end of disclosure.

I should also add that as I'm writing this, the Pope is alive and well. My tribute to him is one of his work, not of his life.

The Pope has done a good job as far as I can see from an outsider's view.

He hasn't advocated any rules regarding whether women can be priests or if priests can marry.
From what I understand of Catholic Dogma, the priest is central to all things sacramental. If as a Catholic you believe that grace is imparted to you from your participation in these sacraments, then nothing could be more important.

Not messing with the priesthood, while under immense pressure, is something he should really be admired for. If the position of priest has the authority to call Christ down out of heaven and into a cookie during mass, then any change you make to who can be considered a priest should be taken very seriously.

Note: To other non-Catholics who have no idea what I just said, I'm jokingly referring to the Holy Eucharist where the priest consecrates the bread and the cup and through "transubstantiation" the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine becomes the blood. Yes, I understand that by calling it a cookie I'm being a jerk.

Pope John Paul II has also had unprecedented relations with Protestant Christians as well. This is nice to see and is appreciated. As Protestant Christians are still outside of the full fellowship of the one and only true apostolic church, they are still going to hell, but it's nice to be respected in the mean time.

Anyway...when you're in the business of being in control of what people believe it's important to be serious about it and not just bend in the wind. For that reason alone I admire John Paul II.

God bless him.

Monday, February 21, 2005

President's Day

I have President's Day off. How will I celebrate it? I think I'll go outside and enjoy the sunshine since there are so few sunny days here in the soggy pacific northwest. Before I go, I'd like to list for you some of my favorite presidents.

George Washington - If he wasn't so awesome, this list wouldn't exist.

James Madison - The father of the constitution, and one of the contributors to the fantastic Federalist Papers. (for you Kerry voters the Federalist Papers were a series of essays written by John Jay, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton that acted as a running commentary on the original intent of the constitution.) His wife Dolly, made fantastic cupcakes.

Calvin Coolidge - One of the last few presidents that actually thought the federal government was too large and tried to do something about it. (For you red staters that means he didn't start boondoggles like No Child Left Behind and Medicare drug coverage while claiming to care about defecits)

Andrew Jackson - Someone once said, "He's my favorite president because he's what a lap dance costs."

John Quincy Adams - Firm abolitionist when it wasn't as popular. For that he will always have my utmost respect. (oh wait...for you intellectual blue state people I will clarify --abolitionist means he wanted to abolish slavery)

James K. Polk - For having the best "put up or shut up" slogan ever. (Fifty-four forty or fight!)

Jimmy Carter - Just kidding.

Most of our presidents I wouldn't trust to run a corner coffee stand but there were a few that were pretty good.

I'm going outside now.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Heavily Medicated Blog Post

I developed a cold somehow last evening and it has carried over into today. My ears interpret sound as if everyone is talking under a pillow. I find myself yelling "HUH?" frequently.

I read earlier that our relations with Iran have worsened some. Maybe if tensions get really high, radio stations will start playing that "Bomb Iran" song that was played to the tune of "Barbara Ann" by the Beach Boys...that'd be funny.

See the stupid stuff I think about when I'm sick?

I'm going to go blow my nose again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Comparing people to Hitler

I confess. I used to make stupid claims like:

"This is the sort of thing they did in Nazi Germany"


"That's how Hitler got started"


"That woman has the thighs of Eva Braun"

Okay, maybe not the last one, but I think you get the picture.

The more I learn about Adolph Hitler and the National Socialist part of Germany during the 1930's and 40's, the less I think anyone resembles them. I believe that Hitler and his henchmen possessed a unique evil mentality that just doesn't come around that often, thank God.

That's why I think that people who are attempting to make a persuasive argument fall flat on their face when they compare someone or something to Hitler. When I saw protesters in Seattle carrying signs that read: Bush = Hitler, I really wondered what type of statement they were really making. Does anyone truly think that the policies of the Bush administration, however flawed, resemble those of Nazi Germany? Where are the concentration camps? Where is the blitzkrieg through Canada and Mexico? Where is the killing of his political enemies by the thousands? And lastly and obviously, where is the attempt to exterminate a single ethnic group and diminish their presence to that of a "problem"?

No one compares anyone to Stalin. There's merit to the argument that Stalin was the one true champion when it came to evil madman dictators. In Seattle though, Stalin is given a pass. A good many Seattle-ites believe that Communism would probably work well, but it just hasn't been tried by the right people. So Stalin is reduced to the "wrong leader at the wrong time" and the methodical murders of millions of his citizens is swiftly swept under the global rug. I think anyone who views Stalin like this is on the same whacko-nutjob-quotient as those who deny the holocaust ever happened.

From now on when I need to demonize someone in an argument, I compare them to Liberace.

Oregon - Our retarded neighbor to the south.

I jumped out of my humble economy-style car to fill it up with unleaded and before I was able to slide my debit card in the slot, I was approached by a middle-aged woman who was in a panic.

"Can you help me pump my gas?" she asked.

I thought for a minute that she thought I was a gas station attendent but I wasn't dressed like one. I also realized that I can't think of a single gas station that has an attendent where I live.

"Why, what's wrong?" I wondered.

"I'm from Oregon, and I've never pumped gas before." She confessed.

From my research I've found that this is a phenomena that exists in only two states in our great country -- Oregon and New Jersey.

I'm not familiar with why New Jersey prevents the common citizen from pumping their own gas, but Oregon approaches it from a safety perspective. They require a permit and license for those who handle certain types of combustibles. Public safety is a huge concern for Oregon. It it also interesting to note that Oregon law allows you to decide if you want to end your life with the help of a physician, (assisted suicide) but does not allow you to pump your own gas.

"Sure, I'll show you how to pump gas; it's easy." I said to her. After all, I firmly believe that if you give man fire you will keep him warm for a day...but if you light a man on fire you will keep him warm for the rest of his life.

"I don't want to know how to do it, I just want you to pump the gas for me." She explained further.

What a lovely woman. She wanted me to stop was I was doing and be responsible for her ignorance. She sees her problem as my emergency.

I told her, "I'll fill up your car if you promise to drive straight to the border and never come back."

She looked for someone else to help her fill up her car.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

St. Valentine's Day

I've never seen the big deal.

Today I drove by about a half-dozen street vendors selling Valentine's Day gifts. The gifts consisted mostly of assorted cheap, waxy chocolates and a small stuffed animal sitting on plastic grass in an Easter-type basket and wrapped in heart decorated cellophane.

If you're giving a gift like this for Valentine's Day then one of two things is probably true:

  1. Your loved one already has low expectations of you.
  2. You don't really love the person at all but are astute enough to understand obligations.

I'm not sure what this kind of gift says. Probably something like:

"...I hope this gift is convincing enough to make you think I really care."

"...I love you very much, here's a gift...I hope you like crap."

"...oh you're welcome, it was nothing. Seriously, I mean it."

If you can make this holiday work, then I'm happy for you. For the mobs that see it like I do, well....we don't have sex much do we?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Anti Drug ads just get dumber and dumber

Let me begin with the obligatory disclosure that is required so that when you discuss a subject like this you're not just dismissed as a reefer addict hell-bent on the destruction of civil society:

I don't use drugs.

I have never used controlled substances outside of the prescription of a medical doctor.

I do not advocate drug use.

There that's out of the way.

I'm driving home and I hear a public service announcement begin on the radio. Allow me to paint with words the context of the commercial.

Young man: I tried marijuana once. Nothing bad happened.

Young woman: I tried marijuana once. Nothing bad happened.

Another young man: I tried marijuana once. Nothing... (sound clip of car skidding out of control interrupts dialogue)

The same young man can be heard in an emergency room asking frantically about the boy on the bicycle that he apparently hit and injured. He is unable to find out what's going on from hospital staff and he continues in a panic.

These types of commercials really get on my nerves. The guy was obviously high on marijuana and under the influence of this drug and he hits a kid on a bicycle and this is why marijuana is bad.

But this isn't the way our society understands and accepts intoxication of any kind. Alcohol is perfectly legal and incredibly intoxicating. It can impair a person to the degree that we have invented duties such as the "designated driver." Alcohol companies beseech their customers to "drink responsibly." This is evidence that as a society we can make the distinction between use and abuse. To abuse anything and put another person in harm's way is criminal. To enjoy a buzz in a bar or tavern and get a ride home is widely considered responsible. (I would personally argue that it still isn't responsible, but that's just me.)

According to these commercials we are to understand that the marijuana user is someone who will just throw caution to the wind and operate heavy machinery and drive cars and perform difficult surgeries while high because they have no ability to understand the difference between use and abuse. Apparently this level of discernment only exists for those intelligent alcohol drinkers and can't be left to marijuana smoking dolts.

We can debate about the health issues related to drug use, we can engage in intelligent discussions about how it impacts families, relationships, and whatnot. But don't play this stuff over the airwaves and expect intelligent people to believe it one bit. Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining. My parents may have raised ugly children, but they didn't raise stupid ones.