Monday, March 31, 2008

The Seattle Aquarium - Nature's Toilet

This weekend I visited the Seattle Aquarium.  I will not tease you with my opinion of it and will just state it bluntly.  I'd rather look for living creatures in my downstairs toilet than visit the Seattle Aquarium again.  If you visit Seattle, please STAY AWAY from this so-called attraction.

The aquarium expects you to fork over an admission cost of $15 for an adult to get in...and it doesn't take long once you're in to wonder why you ever bothered.  You're greeted with a large entry hall that has a large wall tank toward the back.  You'd expect a breakdown of what you're looking at inside the tank somewhere or even perhaps using some multimedia headphones with some slick voice like James Earl Jones telling you what obscure mollusk you're looking at but basically  you're left with just a big boring tank of fish and junk.  Wow.  Where do I get a refund?  Well wait...maybe it gets better.

Head down a hallway and a large part of the area you're standing in is dedicated to things that live in a tide pool.  The aquarium itself is built on Pier 59 in downtown Seattle so most of what you're seeing in this large area is stuff that's probably living beneath the facility itself.

Here in this tide pool area you can touch the living creatures.  I watched one poor starfish get pawed over by several different kids in a span of five minutes.  I'm sure if the creature is able to think and feel at all it wishes for death every moment.  I know I was.

A circular "doughnut shaped" tank contained Jelly Fish and a propelled current within moved the jellyfish through past the watchful eyes of many.  I was finally seeing something interesting until the person I was with pointed out one small problem with the exhibit.  All but about two Jelly Fish looked dead.  I told myself they were probably sleeping and moved on...and looked at the similarly sleeping Octopus. 

SHARK!  Finally something cool.  The six-gilled shark which is native to Puget Sound.  The wall had a cutout of the creature showing its size so you could measure yourself up against this impressive creature.  Hanging from the ceiling was a full-scale model of the big where is it?  Hmm, must be around here somewhere.  As you're looking around you see that you're standing next to the shark exhibit.  It's a mock-up of an underwater research lab containing three empty chairs facing some monitors looping footage of sharks.  That's it.  Wanna see a shark?  Then go to some other aquarium because AT THIS AQUARIUM THEY EXPECT YOU TO PAY 15 BUCKS TO SEE AN EXHIBIT OF WHAT IT WOULD LOOK LIKE TO LOOK AT SHARKS...not the actual sharks themselves.  Bullocks.

The Orca (Killer Whale to non-northwesterners) exhibit was similar and my expectations were already being flushed down nature's toilet far enough to know that I'd probably only be looking at a picture of a whale...something I could do on any website.  Here let me replicate the whale exhibit at the incredible Seattle Aquarium:

There you of charge.  Keep your $15 and stay away from this absolutely worthless aquarium.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

People! - upon demand - UPDATED

The blonde guy is Larry Norman.  To build on Grump's warning...please do not drive or operate equipment after watching this video.

UPDATE: I misspoke when I said that this was The was in fact The Zombies. Forgive me for the mistake but I was escaping sniper fire and had to scurry away to an awaiting vehicle.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Are you ready? Many of you have heard my voice in person whether it was across a table with a sandwich in my mouth or in a public speaking event where I've droned on about things like Financial Management Software, Libertarian politics, and on occasion Theology. I plan to do a podcast as time allows and when certain current events just demand an audio approach. Have fun and would appreciate feedback as well.

Click here and enjoy the best 15 minutes you'll ever get from me.

Wow, our next president will suck too.

Hillary's experience is vast...though it appears that most of it only exists in her head.  This is a person who has wanted to be president for a long time and got a taste of it from the all important position of first-lady.  I'm not afraid of Hillary like some of you weirdos that email me but I will say this:  Yawn.

Barack Obama has been a member of a church that practices something called Black Liberation Theology.  It's a social justice church that emphasizes the gospel through social justice.  There are many churches like it though this one is not in the National/American Baptist Model where the civil rights movement is rooted.  I still don't believe Barack Obama is a racist...and so what if he is?  Will the republic be a little less off if the country's prison population began to more closely match our nation's population?  But seriously I would be in definite error if I didn't at least say this about Barack Obama:  Yawn.

John McCain...whatever.  Goes to Iraq while the other two are fighting and then the sheeple polls are reflecting that he seems more presidential.  Let me give you all some advice.  Go get some Myspace pages and begin chatting to each other and leave the grown-ups to handle the republic...okay?

Voting for any of these three will only encourage them.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Okay, you made me do it.

Canadians, progressives, liberals, and statists listen up.  I'll explain this once.  After this you may only expect my replies to include the most dismissive hand gesture that I can think of at the time of its reading.

The 2nd Amendment:

A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

The intent of the 2nd Amendment is not a matter of my opinion or yours.  It is chronicled quite nicely in the writings of the founding fathers as they attempted to give evidence for the need of a constitution.  Its intent is clear and to confuse it is merely a function of attempting to change its meaning to fit your own sensibilities.

The amendment states an intent to preserve (not grant) the pre-existing right of "the people" to keep and bear arms.  The word "people" was used in the Bill of Rights as a careful way to exclude slaves as the word "persons" was too inclusive.  We have thankfully cleared that up through additional amendments to our founding document.  Look at the other amendments and ask yourself if the Fourth amendments "...right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and affects against unreasonable searches and seizures..." is a right for a people group or a right of an individual citizen.  Could this be more clear?

The militia element of the amendment is an attempt to state purpose.  You'll find this pattern throughout the Bill of Rights.  They state individual rights and describe their collective purpose.  None of these rights are meant to be collective or restricted to a people group.  There is not a single sentence of writing by the founding fathers throughout history (Including the Federalist Papers) that states that membership in an active militia is a requirement for keeping and bearing arms.

The 2nd Amendment is not a guarantee of the right to hunt.  This amendment has one purpose:  It is the intention of the federal government to preserve nature's right to protect life, liberty and property from anyone who would presume to take it.

So there you have it.  History sides with me, the Constitution sides with me, the founding father's own writings side with me and to believe you I must consider them all wrong and you alone correct. 

I won't charge you for this lesson.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Supreme Court legalizes freedom

Well how about that?

According to the Supreme Court decision on the 2nd Amendment it appears that the court has upheld the opinion that the right to keep and bear arms is the right of an individual and not a collective right.

I won't go into a discussion about my opinion on this as I've written several posts in the past on this very discussion.  I can sum up my reaction to this decision with one word, "Duh."

I have two very polite collectivists that email me regularly from a country known to many of us as Canada.  I posted a discussion about gun rights that they discovered and neither have left it alone since...and coincidently neither has offered an opinion worthy of mounting a defense.  Like playing basketball with a can swat the ball away all day but to what end?

To celebrate this decision I'm going to go clean the weapons I have in my home and ponder in my heart how much discomfort that brings to some of you weirdos.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Thought Experiment

One time I presented a thought experiment to many male co-workers.  The question was:

If you had to marry another guy who would it be?

Most of the intelligent guys I worked with wanted to know where I was going with it so they turned the question around on me.  I'm okay with that...after all it was my experiment.  Here is how I answered:

Without question I would marry my buddy Eric.  We've never been in a fight.  I respect him quite a bit.  He's funny and we have a great deal in common.  I would marry him.

After they heard me answer they began listing different guys they would marry.  I'll never forget my boss at the time who said he couldn't make up his mind which two guys he wanted to marry so he asked if he could marry them both.  In my experiment I allowed that he could not only marry a guy, but two guys if he wanted.  He seemed relieved.

One guy in my department though struggled greatly with the experiment and finally said that he knew of no guy that he'd want to marry because he'd want to have a guy that looked like a girl.  When he said this everyone went quiet...and then wisely a colleague named Jason stated the obvious:  "Uh, dude...they'd still be a guy."

So I'm presenting this thought experiment to you:

If you had to marry a person of the same sex (by "had to" I mean that in my experiment conditions exist where there is no choice) or if you had to marry a pet...who or what would it be and why?

IRS - ugh

It's easy to hate the IRS. 

Last night I called them because they sent back information I gave them stating that they needed another form that contained all the information I already gave them.  Nowhere in their instructions does it mention that this other form is needed.

After talking to a few people and then finally getting transferred to a 'Tax Law Expert' their phone system hung up on me.  I'll probably try again tonight. 

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Putting in your thumb and pulling out a plum

About 10 years ago my mom was feeling pretty lonely.  My dad has passed away about a year before and living alone for the first time in decades was beginning to be painful.  One Saturday she received a phone call.

The phone conversation went like this:

Caller:  We're calling from the United Kingdom, would you talk to us?

My Mom:  Who is this?

Caller:  I got a free call to the United States and my 10 year old son and I picked the numbers for your phone out of a hat.  We had your area code and picked the rest because we wanted to call the Seattle area.

My Mom:  Sure, I'll talk to you.


The phone conversation goes for a little while longer and a few minutes later I pull up into my mom's driveway.  My mom kept them on the line and asked if I wanted to talk to them.  I thought it was a scam...until we talked.

The lady was a recently divorced woman raising two kids.  The younger boy was interested in the United States and Seattle in particular (music, software, etc.) so with only an area code to go with they assembled the rest of the phone number picking the numbers out of a hat...and got my mom.

Ten years later this wonderful family is still friends with us.  We've exchanged photos, stories, heartaches and celebrations.  We've exchanged wedding gifts, baby shower gifts and have spent many hours talking on the phone.

This is just one of those great feel good stories and even seems a little unbelievable...even as I type it.  I wish I had more of these to share.