Thursday, February 24, 2005
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
I'm not Catholic but would consider it if there was money in it for me.
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
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
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
"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.
"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
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:
- Your loved one already has low expectations of you.
- 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
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.
I resist heavily using the lower urinal. When it's open and the other one is in use, I'm faced with the awkward decision to check out the vacancy of the stalls or wait for the higher one to become available. Using the lower one just doesn't feel right.
One time I entered the bathroom to find the adult urinal being used and both stalls in use as well. I would've left the room immediately to use a bathroom on another floor, but I had a bunch of water and had been sitting in an hour long meeting so I didn't have much time to play with. I buried my quirky preference and began using the lower urinal and just as I started my business, the adult urinal became available. Then another gentleman came into the bathroom to find me using the lower urinal without the benefit of knowing that I didn't really have a choice in using it. I'm standing there thinking that somehow he'll think I prefer this urinal.
What kills me about this is that I rarely care what people think of me. I have an independent streak in me that normally overrides conforming to what people expect of me. Yet I find myself going through this self-inspection of how I'm being perceived while urinating. I have no idea why.
Beyond this problem I've found that the lower urinal where I work now is ridiculously close to the floor. The urinal is about 4 inches off of the floor. It feels like I'm about to pee on my shoes. I shouldn't feel guilty for not wanting to use it, but somehow I do. If this continues, I'll probably just start using an old water bottle at my desk.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
So, I'm giving the blog a chance...we'll see how it goes. Maybe we'll all learn and grow together...and maybe I'll fit into my high school prom dress again.
Now I know no one likes paying taxes but we accept it as one of life's realities. As the old saying goes "...death and taxes"
I don't mind paying taxes so much, but I do resent the income tax. The income tax is a tax on survival. Unless you stand at the freeway offramp with a cardboard sign you will surely find it impossible to survive without an effort put into making a living and earning a wage. This is how the income tax works:
Against your will the federal government takes money away from your wages before you even see the first dollar. They take thousands of dollars. If the possibility exists that they have taken too much, they've put in place a method where you can get your own money back from them. All you have to do is:
- Learn the complicated tax laws and begin the process yourself or hire a tax professional to help you get your own money back.
- Prove to the Internal Revenue Service that the amount they took by force from you all year is too much and you deserve to have your own earnings back.
- They review your numbers and then agree to eventually give back your own money but reserve the right to review the numbers later to make sure you didn't try to get back too much of your own money.
You live your life in such a way to be able to demonstrate on paper that you made very little money. After all of the deductions the goal is to prove that somehow your taxable earnings is zero. In other words, you work hard all year to accumulate as much wealth as possible but do it in such a way that at the end of the year you look like a pauper. Sounds like the American Dream doesn't it?
What makes the income tax completely wrong for a free society is that taxes by their very nature should be voluntary. Don't freak out, just listen. When you buy something you pay a sales tax (in some states). If you don't wish to pay that tax you can choose to refuse to purchase the item. Thus the tax is voluntary because you choose to subject yourself to it. With income tax, there is no choice.
What makes it worse is that 52% of income taxes pay for what our federal government calls "benefits." Who exactly gets the benefit from your money? Well, someone else probably. Fifty-two cents on every dollar you pay in income tax goes to someone else. Somehow someone decided that your money was better spent by another person. They took your wages from your job and gave your money to someone else. Just what you'd expect from a free society huh?
So while you're doing your taxes this year, remember that you're doing so because someone out there thinks someone else is to benefit from your attempt at survival.